BATTLESPACE UPDATE Vol.20 ISSUE 14
02 April 2018
NEWS IN BRIEF – EUROPE
EU combat gear plans
UK SDSR may need changes
NATO Not Ready For Russia
UK releases extra funding
German fears over A400M
£800m Agreed for U.K. Defence
Belgian F-35s to Drop Nukes
Leonardo signs for OCEAN2020
UK lifts defence spending
Croatia buys Israeli F16s
NATO nerve agent Statement
Dutch 2018 Defence White Paper
Norway’s procurement of F-35
French oppose arms sales to Saudi
NEWS IN BRIEF – USA
FVL hones in on attack recon
China’s AI ambitions
Not Cutting F-35 Buy
DoD Restructures Acquisition
Evolving the Future Force
F-35 sustainment costs lower
USAF Losing Third of F-35s?
NEWS IN BRIEF – REST OF THE WORLD
Russia tests new ICBM
Chengdu J-20 Better than F-22?
U.S. Brigade in Afghanistan
Qatar buys extra 12 Rafales
Israel Edges To NATO
Give Taiwan the F-35
Germany extends Saudi NOTAM
Government blocks Melrose bid?
Boeing to stand up new divisions
Melrose’s ‘Project Golf’ bid
Tata consolidates defence
Real Alloy Approval of Sale
Ontic Agreement With Honeywell
CACI backs down on CSRA
Kazakhstan sells subsidiaries
Fincantieri peak in revenue
Hindustan Aeronautics lists
Growth for MBDA in 2018
Bank financing for Remington
Elbit buys Universal Avionics
Remington files for bankruptcy
Smiths at an inflection point
MILITARY VEHICLE NEWS
Warrior, cracks appearing?
US Automated logistics system
RTD MoU for exports markets
Dutch Leopard 2s to Finland
JLTV Air-Defense System
NEW TECHNOLOGIES, NETWORKS AND COMMUNICATIONS
US Revamps R&D Funding
DARPA controls UAVs with VR
UK disruptive Titanium tech
Profits For Fast Innovation
Harris unveils US leader radio
Raytheon develops UAV swarm tech
US Army Strips Down Network
RAAF becomes networked force
TMD RF solid state amplifier
SATELLITE SYSTEMS, SATCOM AND SPACE SYSTEMS UPDATE
Viasat Antennas for CPI
U.S. approves SpaceX sat plan
UK Galileo participation critical
Relativity Space Raises $35m
SSL bags Amos-8 and BSAT-4b
DARPA’s resilient constellation
US Army’s satellite antenna
Orbital ATK unveiled vehicles
GovSat-1 Enters Service
UK frozen out of Galileo?
CPI wins Cubic Comms Contract
New Self-Installing Terminal
Orbital Agreement with Tethers
RADAR, EO/IR, NIGHT VISION AND SURVEILLANCE UPDATE
Chinese night driving system
DJI integrates FLIR sensor
US Army Tests Augmented Reality
China upgrades JF-17 radar
UAV Vision Launches Defence Vision
Order for balloon drones
Raytheon completes LTAMDS review
Rigby unveils new riflescope
Russia takes out Ukrainian drone
Defence Vision launched
Chinese technology to Pakistan
USN enhances P-8A capability
FLIR Systems debuted BosonTM
France tests BM radar
Accolade Thermal Binoculars
MISSILE, BALLISTICS AND SOLDIER SYSTEMS UPDATE
US Army Accelerates MSHORAD
Raytheon system upgrade contract
US timeline for SHORAD
Poland purchases IBCS
Trident II D5 missiles launched
Indian Navy portable MCM systems
Poland to buy Patriot from US
Nigeria builds Polish rifles
Brimstone on Apache and UAVs
Raytheon’s new Patriot software
Lockheed MAPS contract
Denmark invests in IED detection
US Navy mobile EM capability
PLA with PLL-09 self-propelled gun
Raytheon Targets DeepStrike
Bombs disguised as rocks in Yemen
BAE Systems demos 40mm cannon
Raytheon begins software work
ARA develops Silent Sabre
France looks to MAST-F options
UNMANNED SYSTEMS UPDATE
Protector faces further delay
FVL Plans Advanced UAV Teaming
Skunk Works shows Tailless X-44A
Leonardo solution for Navy UAS
CAMCOPTER® S-100 for RAN
CYBER, EW, CLOUD COMPUTING AND HOMELAND SECURITY UPDATE
RAF Tornados deploy BriteCloud
Cyber Security Export Strategy
Spending bill boosts cybersecurity
INTERNATIONAL PROCUREMENT OPPORTUNITIES
UNITED KINGDOM AND NATO
Parts of light firearms
Vehicle Battery System
Smoke Grenade Launcher
Swiss Air 2030 program
Italy spends $951m on UAVs
Czech IFV tender in mid-2018
Swiss Requirements Defined
Bulgaria spies Israeli F-16s
Thales joins Type 31e team
France meets A400M milestone
Super Hornet Block 3 upgrade
Major Overhaul in US Exports
US seeks AC-208 Grand Caravans
GSA opens VETS 2 IT contract
Congress Boosts Funds for Jets
REST OF THE WORLD
Saab offset for Korean MPA
RoK eyes French sub design
Design central to Type 26 utility
Fuel consumption of Aus Navy vessels
Philippines attack helicopter buy
CONTRACT NEWS IN BRIEF
Jankel Swing Mount contract
Jankel Smoke Grenade contract
Jankel Battery contract
Apache Defensive Aid Contract
MBDA Brimstone contract
Saab DMO contract
Senop Kongsberg contract
NG Polish IBCS contract
Latvia receives Puma UAS
Croatian buys Israeli F-16D
Leonardo Polish M-346 contract
Raytheon Polish Patriot contract
Northrop CRAM contract
Oshkosh M984E1A4 contract
Raytheon AN/ALR‐69A contract
Lockheed AN/SQQ-89A contract
Sparton display contract
Boeing F-15 RMP contract
GA MQ-9 Reaper contract
Harris AN/ALQ-214 contract
Raytheon AMRAAM contract
Rockwell GPS contract
UTC Pratt contract
GRIDS III contract to GD
REST OF THE WORLD
Saudi Arabia TOW 2B FMS
Saudi Vehicle CLSSA FMS
Airbus Helo Ukraine contract
Boeing Japanese E-767 contract
Saudi MSS helo FMS contract
Insitu Afghan ScanEagle contract
Martin-Baker selected for KFX
Rafael India Barak-1 contract
SGDC Brazil satellite contract
MANAGEMENT ON THE MOVE
TopEngineer.com Job Of the Week!
Orbital ATK expands in Mesa
Air Affairs Australia facility
GD’s Aus engineering centre
Philippine Parola-class OPVs
Indonesia launches PC-40
Singapore launches LMV
RoK’s First F-35A
Rising H135 deliveries
Philippine receives TC-90
A400M aircraft to Germany
PLANT CLOSURES, JOB LOSSES AND STRIKES
Trump pushes out Shulkin at VA
HMS Ocean leaves service
MILITARY AND GOVERNMENT
US Navy eliminates CIO office
Japan launches amphibious unit
UK JHC Future Force 2025
Estonian troops for Sahel
New US Futures Command
RAF’s 100th anniversary
Deputy at Cyber Command retires
Gen. Sir Nick Carter appointed
USMC James Anderson appointed
Rear Adm. D.A. Welch assigned
Rear Adm. R.L. Jackson appointed
Navantia Australia partners IKAD
CSIC and Thailand collaborate
Astrodyne TDI hires Chris Viola
Honor Defense hires Michael Carr
REST OF THE WORLD APPOINTMENTS
Rockwell appoints Jairo Soterio
EXHIBITIONS AND CONFERENCES
UK Export Control Symposium
Owning The Night 2018
Rash or Rational? North Korea and the threat it poses
Report Thursday 5 April 2018. (00.01hrs)
House of Commons and House of Lords Hansard Written Answers
British Army re-joins Boxer programme in step towards new armoured vehicles
Rest in Peace – GKN
By Howard Wheeldon, FRAeS, Wheeldon Strategic Advisory Ltd.
A Franco-German motor for Europe’s defence? Takeaways from the ELN-BDI side event at the 2018 MSC
By Alice Billon-Galland, Policy Fellow
NATO-EU Cooperation: Don’t Forget Berlin Plus! Share
By Nicholas Williams, Senior Associate Fellow
Turkey’s Relations with NATO are Undergoing a Historic Trial
By Ünal Çeviköz, Former Ambassador to the United Kingdom
Airbus Helicopter UK Goes From Strength To Strength
By Howard Wheeldon, FRAeS, Wheeldon Strategic Advisory Ltd.
A Strategic Approach to Defense Investment
By Andrew Philip Hunter
Vital Importance of SBA, British Forces Cyprus and RAF Akrotiri
By Howard Wheeldon, FRAeS, Wheeldon Strategic Advisory Ltd.
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NEWS IN BRIEF – EUROPE
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30 Mar 18. EU pushes new plans to rapidly move combat gear across Europe. The European Union wants to quicken the pace of moving military equipment across countries on the continent to prepare for future crises, according to a planning document unveiled Wednesday.
The project is billed as a key prerequisite for an ambitious project to build European defense capabilities outside of NATO, though still in support of alliance objectives. The “Action Plan on Military Mobility” comes after years of deteriorating relations with Russia, though no mention is made of the eastern neighbor in the March 28 communication to the European Parliament and the European Council.
While EU member states have fused many of the policies governing citizens’ daily lives, there are still bureaucratic hurdles toward the free flow of military equipment from Portugal to the Baltics and anywhere in between.
A pilot exercise initiated by Estonia last year demonstrated the viability of beginning larger-scale planning for a Europe-wide transportation network capable of handling heavy equipment like tanks, the document states. That drill examined the ability for countries along a North Sea-Baltic corridor to pass equipment from one end to the other.
The exercise uncovered height and weight restrictions on some bridges and put a spotlight on the lack of heavy-loading equipment used for oversized military materiel traveling by rail.
The new planning directive builds heavily on the idea of advancing dual-use scenarios, or tweaking transportation infrastructure meant for civilian purposes to also work for shipping military gear. By next year, European Commission officials will study what specific logistics projects are needed to enable greater mobility of military goods.
The planning document “invites” EU member states to “consistently take military requirements into account when building transport infrastructure.”
Besides infrastructure, the document also targets greater cooperation in the fields of shipping dangerous goods, customs and taxes, and cross-border movement permissions.
For many Germans, the new approach to moving military gear more efficiently is reminiscent of Cold War-era scenarios of NATO and Soviet tank formations facing off on the battlefield of Germany. At the time, officials built an entire nomenclature of signs, some of which are still standing, that told tank commanders what bridges and roads would hold their vehicles’ weight, for example. (Source: Defense News)
30 Mar 18. Senior UK defense officials admit strategic review process may need changes. In late 2015, the United Kingdom published its Strategic Defence and Security Review, or SDSR, a major document designed to lay out how the country plans to invest funds and posture its defense strategy for the next five years.
Two years later, British officials were forced to launch a smaller look at their defense spending plans to see what needed to be altered following Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, a decrease in the pound’s value, perceived aggression from Russia and a growing cybersecurity challenge.
Which raises the question: Is the SDSR format still relevant in an era when geopolitics and technological developments both seem to move at high speed?
“That’s a really good question,” said Stephen Lovegrove, who as permanent secretary of the Ministry of Defence serves as the top civil servant in the ministry.
In an exclusive interview with Defense News, both Lovegrove and Gen. Gordon Messenger, vice chief of the Defence Staff, expressed a belief that the SDSR process needs to be reconsidered, as it is no longer realistic to expect one plan can last five years.
“I am of the view that we need to take a look at that,” Messenger said. “The world is moving at a pace that doesn’t necessarily lend itself to regular five-year reviews.”
But that doesn’t mean things will be changing anytime soon, with Messenger cautioning that “it’s definitely something that we are going to need to do, but we haven’t really thought about how to do that.” He then added that such a decision would have to come from the government’s national security team at the Cabinet level.
Asked if a year-by-year review is the way to go, Lovegrove laughed and said: “I think we’d all probably go mad.” Instead, he pointed to the Trump administration’s recently completed National Defense Strategy as a potential model, which allows for long-term, big-picture planning with room to tinker with the details.
“The kind of direction we’re talking about here would certainly give greater priority and precedence to modularity, where you can sort of dial things up and dial things down a little bit, trying to squeeze the time from development through to actual deployment; all of those things are parts of this,” Lovegrove noted.
Aside from the most recent defense review, the U.K. has been trying to play around the edges of the SDSR. Most recently, the government announced a new investment of £48m (U.S. $68m) for a new chemical weapons defense center, following the March 4 use of a nerve agent against a former spy and his daughter in Salisbury — an attack the U.K. and its NATO allies have said was organized by Moscow. (Source: Defense News)
28 Mar 18. NATO Fears Its Forces Not Ready to Confront Russian Threat. If Europe came into conflict with Russia, only several thousand of the more than one million troops in its armies would be ready for rapid deployment, military planners fear. The U.S. now wants to step up readiness and ensure that at least 30,000 troops, plus additional aircraft and naval ships, can reach a trouble spot within 30 days of NATO commanders putting forces on alert, current and former allied officials say. European allies maintain more than 1 million people in their armies, but few of their combat formations can deploy within 30 days. The U.S. is pushing Europe to have more army battalions ready to move quickly. Russia denies any role in the nerve-agent attack or election meddling. The Kremlin has painted the moves as a concerted campaign against the country as it reclaims its place among the world’s great powers, and has vowed to respond forcefully. Boosting allied readiness in the face of resurgent threats from Russian has become a priority of U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis. He has told the North Atlantic Treaty Organization it must speed decision-making, improve its ability to move forces and ensure it has units ready to deploy with little notice, alliance officials said. NATO officials are debating the issue. Officials say there is general acceptance of the U.S. position and allies hope to reach an agreement before a summit of leaders in July. A U.S. proposal would have the alliance commit to having 30 battalions, 30 fighter squadrons and 30 naval ships ready to deploy. That would translate to roughly 30,000 troops and more than 360 fighter planes. (Source: defense-aerospace.com/Wall Street Journal)
29 Mar 18. UK releases extra funding, but military relevancy challenges remain. The United Kingdom has announced a plan to add £800m (U.S. $1.13bn) to the Ministry of Defence’s budget for the upcoming financial year, as top defense officials acknowledge that the cost to keep Britain’s military in top shape will remain a challenge.
The vast majority of that funding, £600m, will be withdrawn from the £10bn contingency fund for the Dreadnought submarine program, announced in the 2015 Strategic Defence and Security Review. The contingency is held by the Treasury, which has agreed to release the funds in an effort to keep the £31bn Trident missile-armed submarine program on track.
A further £200m will be added to the budget next year in the “Supplementary Estimates“ released by the Treasury in February 2018. While the £200m was assigned to the current financial year, the MoD said it had brought forward payments due next year, releasing extra cash for the 2018-19 budget.
“Today’s announcement will ensure that the work to rebuild the U.K.’s new, world-class nuclear submarines remains on schedule, and it’s another sign of the deep commitment this government has to keeping our country safe,” Prime Minister Theresa May said during a public appearance Wednesday.
The announcement comes as the U.K. and its NATO allies have accused Russia of organizing an attempted assassination using a nerve agent on British soil. The ongoing fallout from that issue has included the expulsion of Russian diplomats from 20 countries.
The issue of funding all of the U.K.’s defense priorities has been underlined since Britain voted to leave the European Union in 2016, which saw the pound’s value drop just as the MoD signed contracts for a series of major modernization programs. At the same time, the speed at which technology is developing means a constant stream of investment is needed to keep up with peer competitors.
Taken together, the reality is that defense is “an expensive thing to deliver if you’re in the premier league,” said Gen. Gordon Messenger, vice chief of the Defence Staff. “And we’re determined to remain in the premier league.”
“I don’t think that we should be too apologetic about the fact this is a tough gig to try and afford, and what we have to do is make sensible decisions within the budgetary envelope that we are afforded by our government,” Messenger added.
Messenger and Stephen Lovegrove, the permanent secretary of the MoD, laid out their views on the defense budget during an exclusive interview with Defense News on March 27 in Washington, D.C.
Fueling fears about affordability, an April 2017 report from a government watchdog warned that the U.K. modernization plan “is at greater risk of becoming unaffordable than at any time since its inception in 2012,” with a potential overrun of £20bn over the next decade. But Lovegrove downplayed the risk there, noting that the figure assumes an absolute worst-case scenario, including that the pound will remain at extreme lows for the entire 10-year period.
In terms of the pound, Lovegrove said: “Obviously we would hope that it would come back up a bit more because it does represent, if it were to stay at that level forever, a bit more of an affordability challenge.”
But he asserted the next few years will be unaffected either way, thanks to government hedging on the value of the pound ― and while “at the it’s a pressure, [but] who knows what it will be like in three years’ time?”
And Lovegrove seems to have found the silver lining on this particular cloud, noting “a low pound is good for our exporters. We are the second-largest defense-exporting industry in the world. And if other parts of the U.K. defense establishment can benefit from a low pound briefly, then I hope that they will be able to do so.” (Source: Defense News)
29 Mar 18. Germany raises fears over capabilities of Airbus A400M aircraft. Germany’s military fears that the Airbus A400M aircraft will not fulfil its needs in time as the troubled programme faces further problems, a report seen by Reuters reveals.
The confidential German military report said there was a “significant risk” that the A400M would not meet all its tactical requirements by the time the armed forces retires a fleet of aging C-160 Transall transport planes after 2021.
“It is not clear whether, when and how many mature deployable A400M will be available with the contractually required suite of tactical capabilities,” the report said.
“There are significant risks associated with the availability of the required tactical capabilities at the time of the retirement of the C-160. A capability gap cannot be excluded after 2021,” it added.
Problems included data such as fuel usage needing to be entered into multiple systems, meaning it could take up to 50 man-hours to plan medical evacuations and other missions, which the report said was “not acceptable” operationally.
Airbus, which last month took a new 1.3bn euro charge on the multinational A400M programme, declined to comment.
The programme was initially valued at 20bn euros ($25bn) but has reached well over 30bn euros, sources told Reuters last year.
Germany, the largest buyer of the A400M, has received over 17 of the 53 A400M aircraft it plans to buy.
The German report said the mission planning process meant that certain tasks, such as providing disaster relief or evacuating wounded soldiers, “cannot be executed”.
Although planning could be shortened to six to 10 hours, this was only possible by reducing the load of passengers and equipment, said the report.
The latest setback for Airbus comes after a preliminary deal by which Germany and six other NATO nations agreed to slow the planned delivery schedule and negotiate removing certain difficult to achieve requirements for the aircraft.
In return, Airbus has pledged to provide “all necessary support and resources” to Europe’s largest defence project.
The report cited continued concerns about the plane’s inability to meet requirements, such as the ability to drop parachute troops. It said Airbus could also seek additional funds to complete work on the self-defensive capabilities.
It also cited delays in carrying out testing of the plane due to insufficient infrastructure in Europe, and said a site in Yuma, Arizona was now being considered.
There were also “critical” problems with the production of sensor chips for the plane’s airborne warning system that had not been resolved, the report said, noting that Germany had received five A400M aircraft without the warning system. (Source: Reuters)
28 Mar 18. £800m Agreed for U.K. Defence. The Ministry of Defence (MOD) will benefit from an extra £800m in the next financial year, the Chancellor and Defence Secretary have confirmed. This includes access to £600 m from the Dreadnought contingency, announced in 2015, and will ensure that the UK’s new world-class nuclear submarines are delivered on time and within the £31bn budget agreed at the Strategic Defence and Security Review in 2015. In addition, £200m was agreed at the Supplementary Estimates earlier in the year. A Royal Navy submarine has always been on patrol, providing the continuous at sea deterrent for almost 50 years. And the next generation of submarines will ensure this can continue into the future, deterring conflict and protecting the nation 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. This money funds a key government priority that has been the bedrock of defence policy for nearly 50 years. Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond, said: “Our commitment to defence and national security is unwavering. The UK’s defence budget is the highest in Europe and the second highest in NATO and ensures Britain can continue to respond effectively to the ever-changing threats we face.
“We will continue to invest in our world-class Armed Forces and this additional investment of £600m will ensure the UK is protected by the nuclear deterrent provided by the new Dreadnought fleet into the 2030s and beyond.”
Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said: “This is a welcome boost to our Armed Forces, ensuring we can continue to back-up our national security with the ultimate capability. In a world of intensifying and evolving threats, we must strengthen and maintain our ability to seize opportunities and counter challenges as they emerge. I have launched the Modernising Defence Programme to ensure we have the capabilities we need to keep Britain safe in an increasingly dangerous world.” (Source: defense-aerospace.com/UK Ministry of Defence)
28 Mar 18. Belgian Military Secretly Wanted F-35s for Ability to Drop Nukes – Leaked Report. A scandal is brewing in Brussels over the government’s decision to replace its fleet of F-16 fighters, in spite of a 2017 report by Lockheed Martin which found that the planes’ service life could be extended by at least another six years. A leaked 32-page cabinet document from 2015 has confirmed that the Defense Ministry was lobbying in favor of Belgium’s purchase of 5th generation fighters which would allow the Air Force to use tactical nukes in stealth mode, Belgium’s De Standaard has reported.
Speaking to the newspaper, Dirk Van Der Maelen, a member of parliament from the opposition Flemish Social Democratic Party, said that the confidential document, titled “General Guidelines of the MOD,” confirmed that the defense ministry sees tactical nuclear capability as an important feature, contrary to Defense Minister Steven Vandeput’s earlier suggestions that this was not the case.
“The choice of the F-35 was already fixed in 2015. Minister Vandeput has always denied that the ability to carry nuclear weapons was an important criterion for the choice, but this does not seem to be correct,” Van Der Maelen, who has seen the document, said.
Offering praise for fifth-gen fighters, in spite of purchase and operational costs multiple times [higher than] those of the F-16, the document complains that fourth-generation planes don’t have the ability to drop tactical nuclear bombs in stealth mode. Nor do they have sufficiently sophisticated electromagnetic countermeasures, nor the ability to detect and defeat enemy radar. “This is possible only in 5th generation fighters,” the report stressed, without directly referring to the F-35 by name. Defense Minister Vandeput dismissed the leaked document as meaningless, saying it was just one of a series of drafts circulated at cabinet meetings during work on the 2016-2030 defense strategy. Belgium plans to decommission the first of its F-16s in 2023, with the rest to be retired by 2028. The State Department approved the possible sale of 34 F-35s to Belgium for $6.53bn in January 2018. Last month, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov marked Moscow’s concern over training exercises involving the use of American nuclear weapons by its NATO allies. According to Lavrov, such drills hamper the possibility of further nuclear disarmament, have a destabilizing effect on European security and mark a breach of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons. Moscow has no illusions that such exercises amount to preparations for using these weapons use against Russia, Lavrov stressed. (Source: defense-aerospace.com/Sputnik News)
28 Mar 18. Leonardo announced today the signature of the grant agreement for OCEAN2020, the most important project related to the initiative to boost Europe’s defence research under the European Defence Fund.
The initiative is funded by the European Union and implemented by the European Defence Agency, the latter acting as contracting authority, under the ‘Preparatory Action on Defence Research’ programme.
The signing took place at the European Commission in the presence of the European Commissioner for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs, Elzbieta Bienkowska, and Leonardo’s CEO, Alessandro Profumo.
The project – which will be funded by a grant totaling around EUR 35 m – will be led by Leonardo, which will coordinate a consortium composed of 42 partners from 15 European countries.
“OCEAN2020 will make it possible to promote technological research in a sector of great interest and relevance for Europe and for the Mediterranean area in particular, such as maritime safety,” said Alessandro Profumo, CEO of Leonardo. “Our team has established itself in a competitive environment thanks to a technologically innovative proposal of great strategic value. This is the culmination of an intense and effective collaboration among all 42 partners of the consortium, and I would like to thank each participant for their important contributions.”
Leonardo, within the scope of the same “Preparatory Action on Defense Research”, was selected as part of GOSSRA project, led by Rheinmetall, which is working to standardize soldier equipment that will improve the interoperability during joint operations conducted by forces of European countries.
The signing of today’s agreement further reaffirms the significant role played by Leonardo in the European security and defense initiatives. The company firmly supports the Commission’s proposal, aimed at providing the European Defence Fund with a budget of EUR 1.5bn a year.
from 2021 onwards. Of this amount, up to EUR 1bn a year will support the joint development of defence capabilities by the European Union’s Member States. An amount of EUR500m will be earmarked for research activities, essential for the growth and competitiveness of the European defense industry.
27 Mar 18. UK lifts defence spending by £600m to fund nuclear deterrent. Extra money will go towards programme to build four new submarines. UK prime Minister Theresa May announced an unexpected boost to British defence spending on Wednesday, handing an extra £600m to the Ministry of Defence towards the programme to build a new class of submarines to carry the UK’s nuclear deterrent. Speaking at Prime Minister’s questions, Mrs May said: “The chancellor of the exchequer and I agreed the Ministry of Defence will have access to £600m this coming financial year for the MOD’s Dreadnought submarine programme. Today’s announcement will ensure the work to rebuild the UK’s new world class submarines remains on schedule and another sign of the deep commitment this government has to keeping our country safe.” Mrs May went on to explain that when added to a further £200m released by the government’s supplementary estimates in February, a process where officials and ministers can release extra funding for existing and news spending commitments, the move takes the total of extra new money for the MoD to £800m in this financial year. The Dreadnought programme will see four new nuclear-powered submarines built to replace the Vanguard-class boats that currently carry nuclear-tipped Trident ballistic missiles and is expected to cost in excess of £31bn. The announcement comes in the middle of a review of the UK’s defence capabilities which was ordered after the defence secretary Gavin Williamson raised concerns over potential cuts to the armed forces to meet a funding gap of £20bn over the next decade. (Source: FT.com)
27 Mar 18. Croatia favours Israeli offer of F16s for air force. Croatia should accept Israel’s offer to supply its air force with F-16 fighter jets, the former Yugoslav republic’s national defence council said on Tuesday. Croatia asked five countries last year to bid for contracts to supply it with fighter jets: Sweden, Israel, the United States, Greece and South Korea.
The Israeli offer, which according to the media reports is worth some $500m, includes a squadron of 12 already used F-16s.
“The defence council has accepted that Israel made the best offer and accordingly gave a recommendation to the government,” the defence council, comprising top state and defence officials, said in a statement.
Its recommendation must now be formally approved by the government.
The Swedish company Saab had offered a squadron of new Gripen fighters, in a proposal that local media reported was worth some 800m euros ($992m). Croatia joined the NATO alliance in 2009 and the European Union in 2013. Its air force currently operates a squadron of outdated MIG-21 fighter jets. (Source: Reuters)
27 Mar 18. Statement by the NATO Secretary General on further decisions following the use of a nerve agent in Salisbury. Good afternoon, The attack in Salisbury was the first use of a nerve agent on NATO territory. On March 14, NATO Allies made clear their deep concern, and condemnation of this reckless breach of international norms. Since then, intensive consultations have taken place among Allies, including here at NATO and in capitals. Those consultations have resulted so far in the expulsion of over 140 Russian officials by over 25 NATO Allies and partners. This is a broad, strong and coordinated international response. And as part of that response, NATO is unified in taking further steps. I have today withdrawn the accreditation of seven staff at the Russian Mission to NATO.
I will also deny the pending accreditation request for three others.
And the North Atlantic Council has reduced the maximum size of the Russian Mission to NATO by ten people, in line with my decision.
This will bring the maximum size down to twenty.
This sends a clear message to Russia that there are costs and consequences for its unacceptable and dangerous pattern of behaviour.
And it follows Russia’s lack of constructive response to what happened in Salisbury.
Our actions reflect the serious security concerns expressed by all Allies, and are part of the coordinated international effort to respond to Russia’s behaviour.
They are proportionate, and in line with our legal obligations.
Today’s decision does not change NATO’s policy towards Russia.
NATO remains committed to our dual-track approach of strong defence and openness to dialogue, including by working to prepare the next meeting of the NATO-Russia Council. And with that I’m ready to take your questions. (Source: NATO)
26 Mar 18. Dutch 2018 Defence White Paper: Investing In Our People, Capabilities and Visibility
The Netherlands Ministry of Defence can once again have confidence in the future. After years of budget cuts, the Defence organisation is investing in its people, capabilities and visibility. Personnel will be given the equipment they need to work as effectively and safely as possible.
Capabilities will be enhanced by the procurement of new materiel and by the modernisation of existing resources. Investments will be made in IT and cyber. The Ministry of Defence will also work more intensively with partners, such as the business community, NATO and the EU.
In view of the deterioration of the security situation, an agile military force is vital. NATO is demanding larger and more robust units for allied defence, and the United Nations and the EU are turning to the Defence organisation increasingly often. In the Netherlands, too, the military needs to be there when needed. The restoration and reinforcement of the military organisation is therefore urgently needed. And that is going to happen. How? In what areas? To be able to do what? And why? This is all outlined in the Defence White Paper published today.
The document, entitled ‘Investing in our people, capabilities and visibility’, sets out what the armed forces are going to look like in the coming years. The White Paper states, for example, that capabilities will be enhanced by the modernisation of weapon systems, and the replacement and procurement of ships. Information-driven operations will also be a priority, as will increasing the deployability of fighter aircraft and helicopters.
The ever-changing security situation calls for an agile, robust military force. A force that adapts quickly and is there when it is needed. What does that mean in practice? The Defence White Paper explains. It also details what will be improved in the various elements of the Defence organisation. Much is possible with the extra money that will be allocated to the Defence budget over the years to come. The White Paper is full of plans, not only with regard to materiel, but especially with regard to personnel. Aspects such as improved career guidance, terms of employment, staying in a function longer, and the availability of new personal kit. The changes will take time, however. New personnel need to be trained and materiel procurement takes time to process.
Start of a journey
As far as Minister Ank Bijleveld-Schouten and State Secretary Barbara Visser are concerned, this Defence White Paper is not a destination, but the start of a journey along a path that determines the direction for the future. A future in which the Netherlands once again has a healthy military force, robust and agile. Follow-up steps are needed for this. These too are outlined in the Defence White Paper.
The Ministry of Defence wants to be an organisation for which people are proud to work, an organisation that is visible in society. An organisation that is a good partner to civil authorities, the European Union, NATO, the business community and societal organisations. A military force with sufficient means and people, satisfied personnel with faith in the organisation.
Defence White Paper 2018
We present to you a realistic and future-oriented Defence White Paper, a white paper which we firmly believe constitutes a starting point for strengthening trust in the Defence organisation; the trust of our people, trust in our organisation and the trust of society in the Defence organisation. (Source: defense-aerospace.com/Dutch Ministry of Defence)
26 Mar 18. F-35, submarine programs on track for Norway. Norway’s procurement of the F-35 joint strike fighter and new high-end submarines is on track, and the government is working to induct both new systems, Norway’s top defense official said Tuesday.
Norwegian Defence Minister Frank Bakke-Jensen told Defense News that he sees no problems ahead for either program, which, along with the planned procurement of the P-8 anti-submarine aircraft, constitute a major modernization of Norway’s military equipment.
Specific to the submarines, the minister said there were no concerns over the decision to pick the ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems 212A-class design, despite the fact the German fleet of similar design was put out of commission in late 2017 due to bottlenecks in the procurement of spare parts and an accident to one boat that happened off the coast of Norway.
“We also have some knowledge about submarines, so we think this will be a good project, building the new submarines with Germany. We also are looking for more partners to see if some more countries could participate,” Bakke-Jensen said of the program, which was selected February 2017. “So I think this is a good project so far.”
Norway intends to buy 52 F-35A conventional takeoff and landing jets to replace its current inventory of 56 F-16 Fighting Falcons, which it will phase out as early as 2021.
Meanwhile, the country plans to have its four new submarines ready to go by the mid-2020s, while also adding five P-8 aircraft in the 2022-2023 time frame. That means Norway’s military will have a very busy few years in the early part of the next decade — something for which Bakke-Jensen said his ministry is trying to plan.
“It’s challenging to change systems, of course. We are also changing the military system, the education system at the same time to cope with the changing and the new technology and the new jobs,” he said. “We think we have a very good plan. We think it’s important to stick to the plan.
“I think we will cope with it. But every time when you change existing systems you will have a dip in operational readiness, but not more than we can cope with.”
The minister said his team is working on timing to avoid that “dip” hitting all at once, adding that “we can assure that we can do the mission we’re supposed to do … we will time it and cope with it. That’s possible.” (Source: Defense News Early Bird/Defense News)
26 Mar 18. Poll shows most French oppose arms sales to Saudi-led Yemen coalition. Seventy-five percent of French people want President Emmanuel Macron to suspend arms’ exports to countries, including Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, involved in the Yemeni war, a YouGov poll showed on Monday. Pressure has been mounting on Macron to scale back military support for the two Gulf Arab states over concerns that French weapons are being used in the offensive, which marks its third year on Monday. The two Gulf Arab states are leading a coalition fighting the Iran-aligned Houthi group that controls most of northern Yemen and the capital Sanaa. The conflict has killed more than 10,000 people and displaced more than three m.
The poll showed that 88 percent of respondents believed their country should stop arms exports to all countries where there is a risk they could be used against civilian populations and specifically 75 percent for those operating in Yemen.
Seven in 10 people said the government should stop exporting weapons to Saudi Arabia and the UAE.
“On the occasion of the third anniversary of Saudi Arabia’s war in Yemen, it is high time for the (French) government to hear this message,” said Eoin Dubsky, campaign manager for the SumOfUs NGO, which commissioned the survey.
“Emmanuel Macron, who presents himself to the world as a humanist president, must pass from words to deeds.”
The poll comes as some European states, notably Germany, have curtailed ties with the Saudi-led military coalition. France, Britain and the United States have not followed suit.
France is the world’s third-biggest arms exporter and counts Saudi Arabia and the UAE among its biggest purchasers.
Unlike many of its allies, French export licensing procedures have no parliamentary checks or balances, making the system particularly opaque.
The poll showed that 69 percent of people wanted to see a strengthening of the role of the French parliament in controlling arms sales.
The survey was conducted online between March 20-21 with a sample of 1,026 people from various strands of the French population aged 18 and over. (Source: Reuters)
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30 Mar 18. Army Future Vertical Lift hones in on attack recon, long-range assault. The U.S. Army has been talking about procuring a Future Vertical Lift family of helicopters for the better part of a decade, but is wavering on what procurement effort it should first attack.
The service is weighing two options: prioritize the procurement of medium-lift aircraft to replace UH-60 Black Hawk and AH-64 Apaches, or buy an armed reconnaissance helicopter to fill the gap left from the OH-58 Kiowa Warrior’s 2014 retirement.
The Army still expects it will start fielding FVL aircraft in the early 2030s despite some delays in its Joint Multi-Role demonstrator program being conducted in advance of the FVL program of record.
Army Vice Chief of Staff Gen. James McConville and Brig. Gen. Wally Rugen, who is in charge of the service’s new team enlisted to work on vertical lift modernization, indicated at the Association of the U.S. Army’s Global Force Symposium that it’s not about developing a helicopter that can replace the current fleet performing the current mission.
FVL development will be geared, instead, toward the future fight and should align with the Army’s multidomain battle construct — that assumes the force will be fighting across land, air, sea, space and cyber and in contested environments — as well as the new National Defense Strategy.
With that in mind, it will be the Army’s priority to pursue a future attack reconnaissance aircraft that can team in complex ways with mission-specific unmanned aircraft systems as well as a long-range assault helicopter, Rugen said at AUSA.
Up until now, the Army had planned to pursue a medium-lift helicopter that would replace Black Hawks, and potentially Apaches, although the service is still wrestling with where an attack helicopter equivalent to Apache falls in the fleet, if at all.
And while the Army said it would prioritize the medium-lift capability, it has repeatedly declared its No. 1 gap is the armed reconnaissance capability currently being filled by expensive and heavy Apaches teamed with UAS.
Rugen and McConville were quick to say the jury is out on whether the service would pursue a long-range assault helicopter before an attack reconnaissance capability, or the other way around, or simultaneously.
The National Defense Strategy prioritizes lethality, McConville told a group of reporters at AUSA, and so the Army is “certainly aligning our future research and development and acquisition efforts to reflect what those priorities are. And when you think about it, certainly you could make the argument that a long-range assault helicopter increases lethality in some ways, but I could make probably a stronger argument that a future attack reconnaissance helicopter that is more lethal is going to provide more lethality to the force.”
The Army is in a position where it doesn’t have to decide what gets prioritized, he added, and the service is keeping its options open and looking at what industry brings to the table.
“We are collaborating with them and giving them ideas and what we would expect as far as cost and performance and, you know, kind of get with the playing field and see what they come back with, and then we will do some more collaboration and we will move forward,” McConville said.
Helo, unmanned requirements
The Army envisions using “purpose-built” UAS, rather than multipurpose, which will consist of several types with attributes that allow the service to “dominate in a contested airspace,” that aren’t easy to spot or detect, that are inexpensive, have swarming capabilities, are runway independent, and can target for Long-Range Precision Fires at operational and tactical levels, Rugen described. The UAS will also be able to deliver lethal or nonlethal effects like electronic attack in order to jam, spoof and kill radars, he added.
These UAS would team in advanced formations with an attack reconnaissance aircraft, Rugen said.
The attack reconnaissance helicopter would need to be sized “to hide in radar clutter, to operate in urban canyons and mega-cities and should be a clean-sheet design, he said.
The aircraft would be optionally manned with autonomy “baked into” the future aircraft and will have improved reach and survivability, Rugen said.
Together, an advanced team of UAS and attack reconnaissance aircraft will be able to work with the ground force and fires teams “to detect and deliver lethal effects, assess those effects and reattack if need be,” according to Rugen.
The long-range assault helicopter will need to have much greater speed, range and endurance than the current fleet. Once the attack reconnaissance aircraft and the UAS dominate an area or corridor, the assault helicopter will be agile and have the speed to “flow through that window of opportunity,” Rugen said.
The assault helicopter will also need to have a significant increase in protection, operate from sanctuary and exploit windows of opportunity, he added.
Every FVL aircraft on the battlefield will have an open-system approach, Rugen said, which will be government-designed and defined specifically so industry can plug capability into the architecture.
The fact the Army is seriously focusing on attack reconnaissance capability is good news for some in industry.
While the Army’s technology prototype demonstration being conducted in advance of an FVL program of record focuses on a medium-lift aircraft, Sikorsky, which is now owned by Lockheed Martin, has a smaller aircraft — Raider — which is already flying and would fit in the armed reconnaissance category.
Chris Van Buiten, Sikorsky’s vice president for technology and innovation, recently argued the case for prioritizing a light-attack aircraft as opposed to a medium-lift capability in which long-range assault would fit.
“The concept of doing light first is: First, it fills the urgent need that was kind of created by the departure of the Kiowa Warrior from the fleet that is now filled by the Apache,” he said. “That is a big airplane for the mission for a recon role as forces get pushed back by rapid-reaction-rocket kind of threats and will have to execute at a greater radius. I think the Apache is going to start to struggle in that recon role.”
With Raider is already flying — although the program experienced a hurdle when its first prototype was damaged in a hard landing during test flights — it could be ready to be built and fielded much quicker than a helicopter that has yet been built, he argued.
And “you could argue that FVL light is just a smaller, lower-cost program,” where only hundreds of aircraft would need to be bought instead of thousands,” Van Buiten said. “It might be a prudent way to get the ball rolling, get a win on the board, move FVL forward. It’s kind of a good warmup for a larger FVL program.”
Prioritizing the long-range assault variant also has a good case. But ultimately, FVL is a joint program, and the Army won’t be making its decision independently of the other services involved or without the Office of the Secretary of Defense, which, in the end, has the final say. (Source: Defense News)
30 Mar 18. China’s AI ambitions are driving US innovation. So what’s America’s hold up? China’s drive to lead the world in artificial intelligence is spurring American efforts keep its technological edge, especially when it comes to national security.
A technology wave equivalent to the Industrial Revolution, electrification and mechanization, “intelligentization” has the potential to change the way wars are fought, as well as finance, medicine and transportation, said former Deputy Defense Secretary Bob Work, now part of the Center for a New American Security’s Artificial Intelligence and Global Security Initiative.
“I think AI is as … important as the space race was in the Cold War. And as a nation, we responded to the challenge of competing in space.” Work said at a recent forum on the topic, drawing a comparison to America’s all-in effort to launch the Apollo 11 lunar mission.
The national security nexus is more about economic competitiveness than weaponry, Work said. “We’re not going to approach this as though we’re in an AI arms race with China. But without question China is the pacing competitor in AI right now,” Work said.
Still, just this month, Chinese media aired footage of military tests of a fleet of remote-controlled tanks, suggesting they could eventually be paired with AI systems. It was suggested China’s Type 59 tank, produced in large numbers but due to retire, could gain new life as robots.
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In January, the U.S. Army announced it was months away from qualifying an autonomous combat vehicle on a gunnery range, the first step toward weaponized robotics. Under the “Wingman” experiment, a specially configured Humvee hit targets with its on-board 7.62mm gun, the Army said.
Among the Department of Defense’s AI investments, the fiscal 2019 budget request includes Project Maven, which is aimed at developing AI that can quickly discriminate people, vehicle and weapons from the incredibly large amount of footage collected by drones and other intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance assets.
Up from the $19m research, development, test and evaluation request in 2018, the administration is seeking $110m for 2019.
Google is reportedly providing the DoD with access to its TensorFlow software to create object-recognition algorithms. Software engineers use TensorFlow, which is essentially a library of data, to train their algorithms for a variety of machine learning and deep neural network research.
Special Operations Command’s budget requested $5m to leverage commercial cloud services, citing TensorFlow as an example, to develop AI algorithms tailored in unspecified ways to special operations forces’ needs. It would leverage Project Maven.
China unveiled a plan in July to become the world leader in AI by 2030, considered a direct challenge to America’s lead in arguably the most important tech research to come along in decades. America’s relatively low-key response sparked The New York Times headline last month, “As China Marches Forward on A.I., the White House Is Silent.”
A path for America?
“To have a national response, you have to have a national push from above. So in my view it must start from the White House,” Work said, recalling President Lyndon B. Johnson’s leadership in America’s first moonshot.
Today, America faces questions of how to press ahead: Should it stand up an AI agency or special task force? How does it ensure AI’s use within the laws of armed conflict? How does it prepare for a malicious, superhuman AI?
In Congress, Rep. Elise Stefanik, chair of the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Emerging Threats and Capabilities, has introduced legislation aimed at getting America organized on AI. If passed, it would develop a commission to review advances in AI, identify the nation’s AI needs and make recommendations within a year to organize the federal government for the threat.
“China has specifically focused on artificial intelligence and gaining global supremacy by 2030. We cannot allow that to happen,” Stefanik told Defense News, adding that she is also concerned about Russia’s AI efforts.
The idea is to look — through the lens of America’s defense capabilities — at workforce development, at what innovation efforts the DoD needs to channel and at what it must do quickly. “What I don’t want is for this to be siloed: We need to look at AI’s effects on readiness, on weapons systems, on intel collection,” she said.
Some have argued China’s centralized state-run approach to AI gives it the advantage, as does its looser approach to data and privacy. But Stefanik countered that America’s private sector talent and innovation are superior.
“We just have to make sure that the Department of Defense can align these tools to ensure we are the global leader when it comes to AI,” she said
The subpanel’s top Democrat, Rep. Jim Langevin of Rhode Island, is co-sponsoring the bill, and Stefanik said she expects Senate Armed Services Committee member Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, to file a corresponding Senate bill in the coming days.
The bill is meant to spark and frame a conversation and to be incorporated in the annual defense policy bill, set for markup May 9. Stefanik’s subpanel has been a forum for discussions about Chinese tech advancements.
In January, Assistant Defense Secretary for Research and Engineering Mary Miller testified that China has prioritized investment in advanced materials and manufacturing, hypersonic weapons, advanced computing, artificial intelligence, and robotics, she said.
The DoD, meanwhile, has organized regular meetings on its various artificial intelligence efforts. “Over 40 organizations, over 150 people, typically any given week … come to talk about what they are doing and how they are investing in what their needs are,” Miller said.
One goal is to apply AI to back-office functions to streamline the Pentagon. Another is examining the foundations of AI — machine learning, data analytics, robotics and advanced computing — and how humans and AI can work together to provide war fighters with improved capabilities.
(Source: Defense News)
29 Mar 18. Not Cutting F-35 Buy, But Depot Structure May Change: CSAF Goldfein. The Air Force does not plan to cut its planned purchase of 1,763 F-35As — in fact, it’s not even not considering doing so — but it is pushing hard to bring down the sustainment costs of Lockheed Martin‘s prize program, the Air Force Chief of Staff told reporters this morning.
“We are all very concerned about sustainment costs,” Gen. Dave Goldfein told the Defense Writers Group. That “we” includes Ellen Lord, the head of Pentagon acquisition, Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson and Deputy Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan. Lord, who said in January the F-35 was unaffordable at current sustainment cost levels, and Shanahan both boast long careers in the defense industry and “know how this business works,” Goldfein said.
What is Goldfein’s cost goal? He’d like to see the F-35 cost about the same to operate — he would not be more specific — as it costs for an F-16 or an F-18.
F-35 production line
My colleague and former boss Tony Capaccio broke the story about an Air Force analysis that found the service would have to cut 590 of the F-35A fleet because of its stubbornly high operations and maintenance costs. Some estimates, viewed with deep skepticism by many F-35 supporters, say it will cost $1.1 trillion to keep all three variants of the Joint Strike Fighter fleet in the air and combat ready over the next 50 years.
Critics the estimates’ methodology is badly flawed. First, no other fighter program has ever been projected to fly for 50 years. Second, the Government Accountability Office performed its analysis using existing aircraft as the cost model, when the F-35 was specifically designed for easier maintenance. Finally, estimating fuel and parts prices for such a long period of time teeters on the absurd. The Pentagon finds it almost impossible to estimate fuel costs out a two or three years, let alone 50.
Regardless of the precision of the GAO estimate, however, senior OSD and Air Force officials are clearly worried about the costs. They may also be using this to help nudge Lockheed, since they’re unhappy about its negotiating tactics and its lack of transparency on cost. The international partners on F-35 are growing more anxious about the plane’s sustainment costs. Few argue about its capabilities any more. Instead, they worry whether they can afford to get the plane into the air should it be needed. Stephen Lovegrove, permanent secretary of the British Defence Ministry, told the Defense Writers Group with typically British understatement that there was “a degree of uncertainty” about sustainment costs — translation: we are damn well worried — and that meant “we must maintain absolute focus on it.”
I’ve heard over the last few months from various JSF partner countries that they are unhappy with the Air Force’s reliance on a traditional depot approach to maintaining and repairing the F-35. They believe the depot system drives costs up, slows things down, keeps most important maintenance work in US hands and would be very difficult to sustain in the event of war in Europe or the Pacific.
Depots are notoriously expensive and they are rarely fast. Their strong suit is that a depot can handle problems no one else can. Also, depots boast a unique institution on Capitol Hill, the Depot Caucus, designed to do nothing but preserve the jobs and locations as they are.
Goldfein told me that the Air Force is aware of this and is “looking at a couple of areas.” The only one he would discuss in any detail was 3D printing, aka additive manufacturing. In the event of a war driven by Artificial Intelligence, enormously fast and destructive as it would be, the US and its allies would find the depot system cumbersome at best. “We are looking at how we can have a more flexible mixture and how far back (from the front lines) does that occur,” Goldfein said.
When I asked him if he would take on the Depot Caucus, he only said, “I won’t answer that.” (Source: Breaking Defense.com)
29 Mar 18. DoD Restructures its Acquisition, Technology, Logistics Organization. Changes in the technology and business landscapes and worldwide threats are the driving forces behind the Defense Department realigning the way it does business to support the warfighter, DoD officials say. For those reasons, DoD’s acquisition, technology and logistics organization was restructured Feb. 1 into two organizations: Acquisition and Sustainment, and Research and Engineering, each with an undersecretary.
Ben FitzGerald, director of the Acquisition and Sustainment Office of Strategy and Design, explained the ongoing, two-year process to an American Council for Technology and Industry Advisory Council seminar of industry members, here, March 27.
With the reorganization aimed at simplifying business, which was mandated by Congress in the fiscal year 2017 National Defense Authorization Act, research and engineering will drive innovation and accelerate the advancement of U.S. warfighting capability, while acquisition and sustainment will deliver proven technology into the hands of the warfighter more quickly and affordably, according to the executive summary of an August report to Congress on the acquisition, technology and logistics reorganization.
Changing Service Authority
“Importantly from an AT&L perspective, we had traditionally had milestone decision authority,” FitzGerald said of the numerous changes the large-scale reorganization brings to DoD. “That has been delegated down to the [military] services. We now have the authority to create a new tier of acquisitioning … to do rapid prototyping [and] rapid fielding,” he added.
The effort is not about a reorganization chart, he said, adding, “[It’s seen as] major congressional reform and we will build that into the core of our organization.”
The reorganization will take time to figure out how to change the former acquisition, technology and logistics culture, to change how DoD does business and to change how the department works with industry, FitzGerald said.
“We want to take a data-driven approach,” he said, explaining that such an effort means DoD will look at a minimum of two levels of data. One is the performance of the actual acquisition system, and the other is the data associated with capability portfolios. Of the specific efforts to be undertaken in the reorganization, a focus on sustainment is one, he said.
“We really need to focus on sustainment and raising the prominence of sustainment,” FitzGerald said, noting that 70 percent of capability-related costs are about sustainment.
“An opportunity to innovate is usually in the sustainment phase,” he explained. “We need to figure out how to bring that community up front so it can influence how we design, so we can design for sustainment, so we have ways to prototype into sustainment, so we can think about the sustainment of [areas such as] software.”
FitzGerald called for support from industry in the reorganization undertaking.
“We’re going to need support to implement changes … and we’re going to need your recommendations about how to do what we’re doing, and constructive feedback when it appears that we’re not always headed in the right direction,” he said.
“[There’s] always risk associated with change. And we recognize that as we embark on this two-year process,” FitzGerald said of the reorganization.
“However, if our objective is to ensure ongoing military superiority of the United States of America, the greatest risk right now is to not change,” he added. (Follow Terri Moon Cronk on Twitter: at @MoonCronkDoD)
29 Mar 18. Deputy Secretary Explains Priorities in Evolving the Future Force. As the Defense Department examines the path toward evolution of the nation’s future military force, “we’re going change that word to revolution,” Deputy Defense Secretary Patrick M. Shanahan said here today.
Shanahan spoke at an event sponsored by the Center for a New American Security.
Evolving the Future Force is a multiyear project designed to examine how the joint force should adapt to adversary innovations across the spectrum of conflict, the deputy secretary said. It explores the necessary attributes and capabilities of a future joint force and how to evolve it in a cost-effective manner. The effort is examining opportunities that build on existing programs, capitalize on emerging technologies and leverage a high-low mix of assets, he added.
Shanahan told the audience of industry and academia experts and former government officials about Defense Secretary James N. Mattis’ three lines of effort in the National Defense Strategy: rebuilding military readiness while building a more lethal joint force, strengthening alliances and attracting new partners, and reforming the department’s business practices for greater performance. The strategy rolled out in January, the budget was delivered in February, and March has been about execution, the deputy secretary said.
“Many of these issues, problems, ideas [and] solutions have been either around for a while or they’re emerging, and we need to embrace them in a very risk-balanced way,” Shanahan said, adding that he has had three execution priorities this month, the first being “moving the needle on readiness.”
In doing so, he told the audience, officials are making sure they’re not just spending the money, but also are spending on the right things so we can move that needle.
The second priority has been de-risking programs of record, which he explained is making sure they execute flawlessly. The goal is to complete those programs ahead of schedule or under budget, Shanahan said, but the most important priority is accelerating modernization.
Concurrently with pursuing those priorities, he said, officials are pursuing reform in how the Defense Department does business. He noted that in days gone by, the Defense Department did a lot of research and development that later was leveraged in the private sector. Now, he said, much of the private sector’s research and development can be useful to the Defense Department, leading to a new approach for DoD: “Rip off and deploy.”
Leveraging Private-Sector R&D
“The mindset has always been, ‘We’ll grow it ourselves — it’ll be organic.’” he said. But now, he told the audience, DoD will leverage more things that have already been done in the private sector. “That also gives us a chance to bring new companies, new ideas, and expand the people that we work with in the Department of Defense,” he added.
The challenge in evolving an organization as large as the Defense Department how to move quickly in the same direction and evolve at scale, Shanahan said, adding that this is the basis of thinking behind the National Defense Strategy.
“It isn’t [that] the things that we’re going to do and the priorities that are being set are extremely important,” Shanahan said. “It’s the fact that we’re all going to work to it. It is a lubrication that allows us to involve more quickly.” (Source: US DoD)
29 Mar 18. US Air Force aims to lower F-35 sustainment costs to that of an F-16. The U.S. Air Force’s top general wants to see the cost of operating and sustaining an F-35 joint strike fighter fall to the same levels as current fourth-generation fighters like the F-16, he told reporters Thursday.
“Our initial target is to get them down to the equivalent or very close to what we’re currently spending to sustain fourth-generation fighters,” Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Dave Goldfein said during a roundtable.
There could be dire consequences for the F-35 program should operations and sustainment, or O&S, costs not go down as far as desired. On Wednesday, Bloomberg reported that the Air Force could trim its planned purchase of F-35As by a third unless O&S costs decrease by 38 percent over the next 10 years.
On Thursday, Goldfein downplayed speculation that the program could be cut, telling reporters that he continues to be committed to the Air Force’s entire 1,763-unit buy.
“We’re going to be buying these aircraft for a number of years, so it’s way too early to be talking about any curtailment of any procurement or any buy,” he said, adding that any decision to decrease the program of record “is really well out into the future.”
The U.S. Government Accountability Office projected in 2017 that total sustainment costs over the life of the F-35 program could amount to more than $1trn during a 60-year life cycle.
Support costs have been increasing as the number of planes and flight hours grow, but the internal Defense Department analysis paper obtained by Bloomberg pointed out that the Pentagon has only “limited visibility” into how the F-35’s manufacturer, Lockheed Martin, spends that money as a contractor.
O&S costs are “absolutely” a major concern, Goldfein acknowledged, and part of the department’s strategy is to pressure Lockheed to lower personnel- and contractor-support costs.
However, “it’s just not true that’s there’s any intent on our part to go one aircraft below the program of record, because that’s what we require today to actually accomplish the [national defense] strategy as its currently written,” he said.
The Air Force is the single-largest customer of the F-35, and any decrease in its planned procurement could have a ripple effect that drives up the unit price or O&S costs for the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps, as well as international partners that plan to purchase the Joint Strike Fighter.
However, some of those international customers are also growing concerned about the price of sustaining the aircraft.
During a March 27 roundtable, Stephen Lovegrove, permanent secretary of the U.K. Ministry of Defence, told reporters that the government is pleased with the jet’s performance and is committed to a planned purchase of 138 F-35B short-takeoff-and-vertical-landing aircraft.
But he added that decreasing O&S costs is of “intense interest” to the Britain.
“This is a new platform, and I am constantly being asked by parliamentarians in the U.K. as to what the total cost is going to be, and they are sometimes, understandably, a bit frustrated when I have to turn around and say at the moment: ‘Nobody is entirely sure,’ ” Lovegrove acknowledged.
“But we must maintain an absolutely laser-like focus on keeping those costs down because historically this is the one area where we’ve been OK at buying stuff, but we’ve not been necessarily good at sustaining and operating it as cost effectively as we possibly can. We need to work very, very hard on that, and we are doing so.”
Goldfein is hopeful the Defense Department can drive down the O&S bill with the help of two key players: Ellen Lord, the former Textron CEO who is now the Pentagon’s undersecretary of defense for acquisition and sustainment, and Deputy Defense Secretary Pat Shanahan, a former Boeing executive.
Both officials are “folks who have been out in industry for most of their careers who know how this business works at a level on the industry side and are now helping us wire brush down the cost of not only procurement but also sustainment,” he said. “It gives me a level of optimism in this program that we’re going to be able to get to a pretty good target.”
(Source: Defense News)
28 Mar 18. USAF Risks Losing Third of F-35s If Upkeep Costs Aren’t Cut. The U.S. Air Force may have to cut its purchases of Lockheed Martin Corp.’s F-35 by a third if it can’t find ways to reduce operations and support costs by as much as 38 percent over a decade, according to an internal analysis. The shortfall would force the service to subtract 590 of the fighter jets from the 1,763 it plans to order, the Air Force office charged with evaluating the F-35’s impact on operations and budgets, [said] in an assessment obtained by Bloomberg News. While the Defense Department has said it has gained control over costs for developing and producing a fleet of 2,456 F-35s for the Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps — now projected at $406bn — the internal analysis underscores the current and looming challenges of maintaining and operating the warplanes. It may cost as much as $1.1trn to keep the F-35s flying and maintained through 2070, according to the current estimate from the Pentagon’s independent cost unit.
A chart in the Air Force analysis, which was completed in December, said the service has “very limited visibility into how” increasing funds going to Lockheed for “contractor support” are spent.
The analysis represents the first public disclosure of the potential impact if support costs aren’t reduced. Using figures developed in 2012, the Air Force faces an annual bill of about $3.8bn a year that must be cut back over the coming decade. (Source: defense-aerospace.com/Bloomberg News)
26 Mar 18. Leap-Ahead Technology to Increase Soldier Readiness in Future Battles. For soldiers, survival depends on out-maneuvering the enemy. While the Army’s current fleet of tanks, infantry fighting vehicles and aircraft can protect soldiers against near-peer threats, these vehicles lack the critical technologies to maintain tactical overmatch in future battles. To counter these challenges, the Army identified the next-generation combat vehicle and future vertical lift programs as the second and third priority in its six-prong modernization strategy.
A cross-functional team was created to support each modernization priority, including one for both the NGCV and FVL programs. The teams are developing the blueprint for future technology with teams composed of subject matter experts from the requirements, acquisition, science and technology, test and evaluation, resourcing, contracting and cost and sustainment communities.
How U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command scientists and engineers are supporting the NGCV and FVL will be the focus of “Next Generation Combat Vehicle and Future Vertical Lift Modernization Priorities” Warrior’s Corner today from 12:40-1 p.m., at the Association of the U.S. Army’s annual meeting in Redstone, Alabama.
Research, Development and Engineering Command’s Tank Automotive Center leads the NGCV effort. The center is developing technology for the next generation of ground vehicles that are not only more lethal and survivable, but also much smaller, lighter and more fuel efficient. Key areas of research and development include: power architecture, protection, vehicle electronic architecture and autonomy.
Developments in engine, transmission and power generation for ground vehicles provide scalable power solutions that increase protection and lethality, while maintaining Soldier mobility on the battlefield. Current projects include the advanced combat transmission, integrated starter-generator and advanced combat engine.
Advanced Combat Engine
The prototype ACE, which the center plans to use for future engines, will not only have more power and vehicle mobility, but also use less fuel. Lower fuel consumption will reduce the risk of attacks to soldiers during refueling conveys.
The Army has developed the Modular Active Protection System, to support the need for better protection without adding weight to vehicles. The MAPS framework consists of a modular, open-system architecture that supports an active protection system. The open-system architecture enables new and evolving sensors, processing and counter-measure solutions to be integrated into ground vehicles, giving commanders the ability to counter threats as they change.
“Open architectures in general are designed to allow for advances in technology, whether it’s in autonomous systems, survivability, or any of the other several fields we develop, to be rapidly integrated onto our ground vehicles without wholesale redesigns or rebuilds of those vehicles,” said Christopher Ostrowski, the center’s associate director for NGCV.
Other areas of development include a flexible architecture for vehicle electronics that will meet increasing power demands and an open architecture for autonomous, tele-operated or driver-optional systems to enhance soldier safety.
“We’re envisioning an autonomous architecture where new autonomous behaviors or capabilities are enabled through software updates and upgrades, not unlike how smartphones today get updated,” Ostrowski said.
Future Vertical Lift
In response to the need for next generation Army aircraft with advanced technology, Research, Development and Engineering Command’s Aviation and Missile Center is paving the way to modernize the Army’s aviation fleet. FVL is an Army-led, multiservice initiative, focused on delivering the next generation of vertical lift aircraft to the joint warfighter with manned, unmanned teaming.
The Aviation and Missile Center partnered with industry to develop the Joint Multi-Role Technical Demonstrator, which incorporates existing and experimental capabilities that demonstrate vertical lift capabilities for future FVL programs. The Army is using the JMR-TD program to conduct ground and flight demonstrations to help inform requirements for next generation Army aircraft.
“The future operating environment demands a capability that is greater than what we have today,” said Dan Bailey, JMR-TD program director. “We are going to need capabilities for the warfighter with a rapid acquisition process and the best way to accomplish that is open systems architecture. Advanced vertical lift capabilities provide the future joint force ground commander with flexibility and asymmetric opportunities required in the future multidomain battle.”
Unmanned Aircraft Systems
The modular missile technologies program is developing technologies to support future Army aviation air-to-surface missiles. The program’s modular open systems architecture will not only reduce life cycle costs, but also address lethality gaps for manned rotary wing and unmanned aircraft systems platforms.
The Aviation and Missile Center has responded to the increase in unmanned aircraft systems by developing the Next Generation Tactical Unmanned Aircraft System Technology Demonstrator program. The NexGen TUAS TD is developing unmanned air vehicle technologies and capabilities that will improve flight performance, survivability and reliability for future unmanned aircraft systems, which will need to perform a diverse set of missions in contested airspace against near-peer adversaries in a multi-domain battle.
To support the multidomain battle and the Army’s pivot to a new modernization model, Research, Development and Engineering Command will continue to provide the research and development to build new capabilities and systems. These capabilities and systems will leverage the most mature technologies for soldiers to maintain tactical overmatch in future battles. (Source: US DoD)
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30 Mar 18. Russia tests new intercontinental ballistic missile. Russia has successfully tested its latest intercontinental ballistic missile, the country’s military said Friday.
The Defense Ministry said the launch from Plesetsk in northwestern Russia tested the Sarmat missile’s performance in the initial stage of its flight.
Sarmat is intended to replace the Soviet-designed Voyevoda, the world’s heaviest ICBM that is known as “Satan” in the West.
Presenting Sarmat and an array of other nuclear weapons earlier this month, President Vladimir Putin said that they can’t be intercepted.
Putin said that Sarmat weighs 200 metric tons and has a higher range than Satan, allowing it to fly over the North or the South Poles and strike targets anywhere in the world. He added that Sarmat also carries a bigger number of nuclear warheads, which are more powerful than the ones on Satan.
The Russian president also said the new ICBM accelerates faster than its predecessor, making it harder for the enemy to intercept in its most vulnerable phase after the launch. He also said Sarmat could carry an array of warheads capable of dodging missile defenses. (Source: Defense News)
30 Mar 18. How China’s New Stealth Fighter Could Soon Surpass the US F-22 Raptor. China’s Chengdu J-20 fifth generation air superiority fighter first entered service in early 2017, providing the People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) with an analog to the U.S. F-22 Raptor. The platform was the first fifth generation fighter to enter service anywhere in the world outside the United States, and came equipped with state-of-the-art radar evading capabilities, avionics, and air-to-air missiles. The fighter’s canard configuration served to further enhance stealth capabilities while maintaining high levels of maneuverability. With less than a year having passed since the J-20 was inducted into service, the next generation platform has already received its first set of upgrades aimed at enhancing its combat performance. These upgrades are but the first of many to come, which could well lead the J-20 to become a world leading aerial warfare platform.
A notable shortcoming of prototypes and early production models of the J-20 was their use of fourth generation engines, the WS-10G, which were heavily based on the Russian AL-31 used to power fourth generation heavy fighters. The platform lacked an engine comparable to the F119 used by the F-22 Raptor, leaving it underpowered and significantly less capable in an air superiority role. China’s military aviation industries have since the induction of the fighter however developed a fifth generation fighter engine, WS-15, with analogous capabilities to the F119. These new and superior engines will be installed on future fighters and represent a significant upgrade over previous capabilities. Reports from a number of analysts indicate that several J-20 fighters which took part in major military drills at the Zhurihe base in Inner Mongolia in mid 2017 were already equipped with the WS-15 for testing purposes.
Other upgrades for the J-20 include improved software, improvements to radar capabilities, enhanced avionics and superior electronic equipment. A lead engineer working on the J-20, speaking to the People’s Daily, said his team were making further modifications to the elite fighter’s engine, stealth coating and weapons bay. This would improve the platform’s flight performance, survivability, and firepower. The rate at which the J-20 has received upgrades is particularly significant when compared to the rate of upgrades for the F-22 Raptor, which has yet to complete installation of its second set of upgrades after almost 13 years of service. Upgrading the J-20’s weapons bay in a number of months, for example, represents an accomplishment the U.S. Air Force has attempted for years to achieve to improve the firepower of the F-22 and allow it to operate more advanced air to air missiles. F-22 upgrade programs such as the Raptor Agile Capability Release have taken years, not months, to implement and arguably are less significant than the upgrades China was able to so quickly apply to its J-20. By the time the U.S. Raptors have all been equipped with the new 180 km range AIM-120D air to air missiles, the J-20 is likely to have already begun to operate the new ramjet powered variants of the PL-21 and PL-12D air to air missiles with higher speeds, maneuverability and ranges estimated at 200-400 km. The pace at which the Chinese fighter’s capabilities are improving far exceeds those of the F-22.
The U.S. Air Force’s ability to improve the capabilities of the Raptor is limited largely due to the termination of production of the fighter, meaning it is no longer a “live program” undergoing continuous development in the same way as the F-35, F-15, and J-20. The age of the Raptor’s design, meaning it uses software and computer architecture developed in the 1990s with a core processor speed of just 25MHz, further complicates upgrades – causing particular issues when attempting to equip the fighter with newly developed weapons systems. The J-20’s far newer computer architecture is far easier to work with for China’s own military. While the J-20 was considered unable to match the capabilities of the F-22 upon its induction into service, the far faster rate at which upgrades can be applied are set to rapidly narrow the gap and could well lead the Chinese fighter to soon surpass the capabilities of its U.S. counterpart and in future go on to transcend them entirely. With both fighters representing the elite of each country’s respective aerial warfare capabilities, this will inevitably have significant implications for the balance of power in the Pacific. (Source: News Now/The Diplomat)
29 Mar 18. U.S. Brigade Arrives in Afghanistan to Advise, Strengthen Afghan Forces. A new Army formation deployed to Afghanistan is dedicated to focusing the power of the Afghan military and government on taking the fight to the Taliban to convince the group to reconcile.
The 1st Security Force Assistance Brigade will help the Afghan national security apparatus to increase its effectiveness. Members of the unit will advise down to the brigade and kandak level. A kandak is roughly the size of a battalion. There is a mix of advisers and self-protection forces in the unit.
Army Col. Scott Jackson, the commander of the brigade, spoke to reporters traveling with Marine Corps Gen. Joe Dunford, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, last week. Jackson spoke via phone from his headquarters at Advising Platform Lightning near Gardez, Afghanistan.
The brigade is a purpose-built organization designed, selected, trained and equipped specifically for this mission. Every individual is a volunteer.
Jackson deployed numerous times to Iraq and advised Iraqi troops. He said the changes in Afghan forces over the last eight years have been incredible. In 2010, U.S. forces were in the lead, partnering with Afghan forces in the fight against the Taliban and al-Qaida. Afghan soldiers accompanied Americans on combat patrols.
It is an Afghan battle now, Jackson said. They are in the lead, they decide the goals and they assign the resources. Afghans are the ones who gather the information and launch the strikes.
The 1st SFAB is falling in on established advisers at the train, advise and assist commands in Afghanistan. Those commands work at the corps-level and higher. Jackson’s command will advise six brigades and up to 36 maneuver battalions.
Each Afghan brigade has roughly 3,000 to 5,000 soldiers and is led by a brigadier general. “Then I have various types of battalion-level advising teams largely focused on advising the maneuver forces — the infantry battalions in the Afghan army,” Jackson said.
The brigade also has specialty advising teams that can cover down on everything from military intelligence to signal to engineers to field artillery and logistics.
“We cover all the functions that a regular U.S. Army brigade does,” Jackson said. The brigade, he said, will be advising units all over the country from the German-led Train Advise Assist Command – North in Mazar-e-Sharif to the [train, advise and assist commands] in Helmand and Kandahar in the south.
Training Afghan Forces
While the teams are going to partner with Afghan battalions, a good bit of the brigade force structure will engage with Afghan forces on the institutional training side. Each of the Afghan corps have a regional military training center and Afghan units use these to maintain their proficiency.
“We’re going to apply some of our advising skills to those training academies, too,” Jackson said.
This arrangement allows the Afghans to employ forces and build readiness at the same time.
Army Lt. Col. Jason Sabat, a battalion commander in the brigade based at Train, Advise, Assist Command South, has 14 teams advising units in the Afghan 205th Corps. “We fill the gap from brigade and below,” he said. “So of the four brigades that make up the 205th Corps, we are trying to align — at a minimum — a team that can persistently advise that brigade commander and staff.”
But the brigades are separated and that may not always be the case, he said. If so Sabat’s unit has a periodic advisory capacity to go out to those brigade headquarters to advise them.
About half of Sabat’s unit has been deployed to Afghanistan in the past. This familiarity with the region and the culture is allowing his personnel to move quickly into place.
With the introduction of the SFAB, U.S. advisors have the capability to accompany kandaks on operations, but that will only happen after a rigorous examination of the risk/reward ratio, Sabat said. “There is a [concept of operations] process that we will work through before we embed,” he said. “That takes under consideration the risks involved in the mission, the duration we’ve been with the unit, how well we know them, how long we’ve been in theater.”
The examination is a very deliberate process for all the right reasons. “We haven’t been [advising] at these levels for quite some time,” Sabat said. “Approval authority for accompanying a unit runs the gamut from the train, advise [and] assist commander to the commander of the Resolute Support Mission.”
Sabat and his advisors will be co-located with many of the units they advise in Kandahar. “This will allow the advisors to do their jobs, and since they will walk into the compound, advisors can assess what the maintenance picture is like in the unit, how many forces are assigned and how many are present for duty,” he said.
‘You See an Increased Bravado’
The Afghans are pleased to see American forces advising them once again. “In some of the initial engagements you see an increased bravado — sense of intestinal fortitude in the Afghans seeing a physical commitment standing there in front of them,” Sabat said.
But the reappearance of American advisers does not mean a shift to Americans doing the fighting. “The first tool you reach for should be an Afghan tool,” said Army Capt. Kristopher Farrar, an SFAB team leader who will be advising the 3rd Kandak, 4th Brigade on Tactical Base Gamberi in Train, Advise, Assist Command East. “We make sure that we use their soldiers, their weapons, their procedures and we are just helping refine that. In the past, where we may have tried to have the Afghans mirror the U.S. way of doing things, we’re trying to help them make their processes work smoother.”
Afghan forces have made great strides and have been conducting operations on their own. “We don’t want to re-impose that dependence,” Farrar said. “They’ve been fighting, they’ve been winning. We just want to help with those small adjustments that maybe they don’t see. An outside set of eyes is always good for any formation, and that’s what we are providing to these kandaks.”
Afghan forces are working to perfect intelligence sharing among the various entities that make up the security forces and the operations that result. Advisers help with that and the various corps in the country are working to gather and disperse intelligence, working with army, police, special operations forces and other entities to handle complex operations.
A recent operation in the eastern part of the country points to the progress made. Afghan commanders used intelligence from the National Directorate of Security to develop an operation plan to move into population centers. Special operations forces — the famed Afghan commandoes — led the way with shaping operations. Conventional forces interspersed with police followed. The corps used ScanEagle drones for intelligence, reconnaissance and surveillance, and then used MD-530 helicopters and A-29 Super Turcano fixed-wing attack aircraft to hit enemy positions.
All aspects of the military participated, all pillars of the Afghan government melded for the operation. The operation was a success.
“You can fight battles nose-to-nose — anybody can do that,” Jackson said. “But if we do our jobs right, the Afghans are not getting into a nose-to-nose street fight.”
Afghan forces need to use their all aspects of the nation’s power against the Taliban to convince the group that it is not worth continuing the fight. “That means effectively using intelligence, air power, ground forces, artillery — the whole bit,” the colonel said.
The advisers have just hit the ground, and Jackson insists they will be deliberate in their actions.
“We are not going to run out beyond our headlights,” he said. The teams will understand the environment, understand the risks and understand the missions. (Follow Jim Garamone on Twitter: @GaramoneDoDNews)
27 Mar 18. The Exercise by Qatar of the Option for 12 Additional Rafale Becomes Effective. The exercise of the option for the purchase of 12 additional Rafale fighters for Qatar comes into effect today. This option was exercised on 7 December 2017 at Doha in the presence of the President of the French Republic, Mr. Emmanuel Macron, and his Highness Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani. It followed the contract signed on 4 May 2015 between the State of Qatar and Dassault Aviation for the acquisition of 24 Rafale aircraft. Once these two batches have been delivered, the Qatar Emiri Air Force will operate 36 Rafale fighters. Dassault Aviation and its partners thank the Qatari Authorities for having given them this renewed opportunity to comfort 40 years of outstanding cooperation between the French aviation industry and the Qatar Emiri Air Force. With over 10,000 military and civil aircraft delivered in more than 90 countries over the last century, Dassault Aviation has built up expertise recognized worldwide in the design, development, sale and support of all types of aircraft, ranging from the Rafale fighter, to the high-end Falcon family of business jets and military drones. In 2017, Dassault Aviation reported revenues of €4.8bn. The company has 11,400 employees. (Source: defense-aerospace.com/Dassault Aviation)
26 Mar 18. Israel Edges To NATO As Turkey Pivots To Russia. For a while, Turkey and Israel were the unexpected couple, the increasingly Muslim state buying the Jewish state’s weapons and Israel offering Turkey a potentially strategic gas and oil pipeline.
That all changed when Israeli commandos raided the so-called Gaza Freedom Flotilla in May 2010 in international waters of the Mediterranean.
On one of the Turkish ships, the Mavi Marmara, Israeli Navy commandos faced resistance from about 40 of the 590 passengers. Some of the activists were armed with iron bars and knives.
During the struggle, nine activists were killed, including eight Turkish nationals and one Turkish American, and many were wounded.
That was a turning point in the relations between the two countries. But three years later, the two sides appeared to mend relations. In a half-hour telephone exchange between Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Turkey’s then-Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the former apologized on behalf of his nation; Erdogan accepted the apology and both agreed to enter into further discussions.
On June 29, 2016 the agreement was finalized and approved by the Israeli government. Israel paid compensation to the families of the people that were killed.
But as the Syrian civil war spiraled out of control and Daesh swept across Iraq, other forces gathered to disrupt the relationship. As the US worked with Kurdish forces to help destroy Daesh, Turkey grew increasingly angry with the US and has edged closer and closer to Russia, raising fundamental questions about Turkey’s NATO membership. And, of course, Turkey has other interests in the Middle East. All this has helped poison relations between the two states. Today, distrust of Turkey is the norm among high-ranking officials in the Israel defense industries and in the defense establishment. “With Turkey’s new friends, we better stay aside,” one of them told Breaking Defense.
Another said: “We cannot trust Turkey now. Should this country be shown the way out of NATO? What is the alternative?”
In the golden years of Israeli-Turkish relations, the Israeli defense industries were sure that they were going to hit the jack pot. In April 2005, Israel Aircraft Industries (IAI) and Elbit Systems won a contract to supply medium endurance drones to the Turkish military. Turkey’s local industry would provide sub-systems and services amounting to 30 percent of the contract.
But at the same time Turkey tried to bolster its leadership role in the Arab world. As part of that effort Ankara decided to cut all government-based business deals with Israel – ending a formerly substantial trade in military equipment. By that time Turkey had purchased 10 Heron drones from Israel Aircraft Industries in 2010.
That was the last deal. Since then, Turkey has developed its own drone, the Anka. Experts say the design is based on the Israeli aircraft.
Other negotiations, that included the supply of a spy satellite and other systems were stopped.
Since relations with Israel grew frosty, Turkey, has appeared to treat its NATO membership with disdain.
It has committed to buying Russian S-400 anti-aircraft systems. Gallia Lindenstrauss and Zvi Magen, senior researchers from the Institute for National Security Studies (INSS) in Tel Aviv, say in a recent paper that Erdogan’s advance payment to Russia for the purchase of two S-400 air defense batteries strengthens Russia’s standing in the Middle East but predict Turkey is likely to remain a nominal NATO member for the foreseeable future.
Part of the reason behind Turkey’s move to buy Russian is that when it needed improved air defenses during both Gulf Wars and the Syrian civil war, it had to rely on other NATO members stationing Patriot batteries in Turkish territory. The researchers note that Turkish officials charged that it took NATO members too long to act. Turkish officials also chafed at restrictions on Turkey’s use and access to them.
Another sign of Turkey’s growing estrangement from NATO: in April 2009, Turkey and Syria held a joint military exercise – the first of its kind between a NATO member and a Russian-armed and trained client state.
Another proof of the increasingly close relations with Russia, more than 50 percent of a pipeline that will supply Turkey with Russian natural gas under the Turkish Stream project has been completed. The Turkish Stream project envisages the construction of two pipelines, each 939 kilometers long. The natural gas provided by the first pipeline alone will meet 35 percent of Turkey’s natural gas consumption.
Finally, Russian companies will build Turkey’s first nuclear power plant. Work begins this year, Erdogan said recently.
Policymakers are now wondering, among other concerns, how a NATO ally will simultaneously operate a Russian-made air defense system and the planned, US F-35 stealth fighters.
Countries in the region are acting to counter the Turkish moves. The defense ministers of Cyprus, Greece and Israel met in Athens late last year to discuss strengthening cooperation to promote security, stability and peace in the Eastern Mediterranean.
Cypriot Defence Minister, Christoforos Fokaides, said after attending the first meeting with his counterparts: “Our vision is to gradually turn the wider region from a conflict zone to an area of peace, stability and cooperation.”
Meanwhile, Israel is slowly building closer relations with NATO. Last month Israel signed a logistics agreement with the NATO Support and Procurement Agency (NSPA). The agreement is a breakthrough for Israeli companies in the cyber, optics, defense and software sectors. Israeli sources told Breaking Defense that they will allow Israeli companies to compete in NATO tenders and be part of NATO’s database of authorized exporters, thereby opening many doors to Israeli companies choosing to operate in this channel.
The sources added that while the tenders have great potential, NATO member countries have the right to ask that bids be restricted to defense businesses operating in NATO countries. Israel, which is not a NATO member, is a “non-NATO ally.”
Will that status change in the future? In the fast moving geopolitical changes in this region and the wider world, it’s not impossible. (Source: Breaking Defense.com)
26 Mar 18. Give Taiwan the F-35 to deter China, top senators tell Trump. Two key GOP senators are pressing U.S. President Donald Trump to share Lockheed Martin’s F-35 or F-16V fighter jet to upgrade Taiwan’s aging air power and deter China.
Sens. John Cornyn and Jim Inhofe sent the letter to Trump on Monday, days after Taiwan defense officials confirmed their long-standing interest in the F-35. Cornyn, of Texas, is the Senate’s No. 2 Republican, and Inhofe, of Oklahoma, is the Senate Armed Services Committee’s No. 2 Republican.
The F-16V — billed as the most advanced fourth-generation fighter — would be a cost-effective alternative to the fifth-generation F-35, the letter argues. The lawmakers also said it would address the “quantitative and qualitative challenges” of Taiwan’s air defense fleet.
Of 144 F-16s Taiwan bought from the U.S. in 1993, 15 are in the U.S. for training purposes and 24 more will be offline for upgrades on a rolling basis through 2023. That means Taiwan is likely able to field only 65 F-16s at any given time in defense of the island — “not enough to maintain a credible defense,” the letter reads.
“If Taiwan’s air defense fleet is allowed to degenerate in number and quality, I am concerned that it would be destabilizing and would encourage Chinese aggression to ensue,” the letter reads. “Additionally, I am concerned that Taiwan’s military weakness and the inability to mount a credible air force would place an undue burden on forward-deployed U.S. forces in North East Asia.”
Those upgrades include fitting the F-16 with the active electronically scanned Northrop Grumman AN/APG-83 Scalable Agile Beam Radar, a new mission computer and an electronic warfare suite.
Taiwan is reportedly interested in the F-35B short-takeoff-and-vertical-landing version, through which Taiwan would aim to maintain air power if China attacked its runways in a first strike.
“The survivability of the F-35B and modern long-range sensors could help Taiwan intercept Chinese missiles, promoting deterrence well into the next decade,” the letter reads. “The F-35B would not only provide a modern fifth-generation fighter, but would also bolster their capabilities in next-generation warfare.”
Earlier this month, Chinese President Xi Jinping issued a warning to Taiwan, which China views as a breakaway province. However, Washington provides arms to Taipei under the 1979 Taiwan Relations Act, and Trump days ago signed a bill to make it easier for the U.S. and Taiwan to exchange official visits.
In June, China demanded Washington reverse its decision to sell Taiwan $1.42 bn worth of arms, saying it contradicted a “consensus” that Xi reached with Trump during talks in Florida last year.
Inhofe in February completed a congressional trip to the Asia-Pacific region, which included a visit to Taiwan. (Source: Defense News)
24 Mar 18: Saudi Arabia – Germany extends NOTAM for airspace over the Kingdom through 22 June. On 23 March, the German civil aviation authority issued an extension of its NOTAM (EDGG B0699/18) for the southwest portion of FIR Jeddah (OEJD) through 22 June due to the hazardous situation emanating from ballistic missile launches into Saudi Arabia from Yemen by Houthi rebels. The NOTAM advises German operators to avoid planning flights in the area as the majority of the Houthi ballistic missile launches into the Kingdom and associated intercepts occur within the southwest provinces of Asir, Jizan and Najran. These provinces are within the Security Control of Air Traffic and Air Navigation Aids (SCATANA) area of FIR Jeddah (OEJD), which is covered by NOTAMs issued by the Saudi civil aviation authority. The German NOTAM also highlights Houthi ballistic missile launches into Saudi Arabia which have targeted areas outside the SCATANA, including the cities of Jeddah and Riyadh.
Since the start of 2018, Saudi military forces have used US-made MIM-104 Patriot conventional surface-to-air missile (SAM) systems to intercept seven Houthi ballistic missiles over the southwest provinces of of the country. The Patriot has the capability to engage air targets at altitudes up to FL800 and at ranges out to 100 miles (160 km). On 22-23 March, Houthi rebels claimed a pair of ballistic missile launches into Najran and Jizan provinces of the Kingdom; however, the Saudi-led coalition has not released statements on either report. While legal civil aviation flights are unlikely to be directly targeted, kinetic missile defence activity creates the potential for misidentification and unintended interception of civilian air assets by Saudi military conventional SAM systems. Continued ballistic missile launches into the Kingdom by Yemen-based Houthi rebels and associated intercepts via Saudi military conventional SAM engagement highlights the HIGH risk airspace environment at all altitudes, particularly over the SCATANA area of FIR Jeddah (OEJD). (Source: Osprey)
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29 Mar 18. MPs call for government to block Melrose’s £8bn hostile takeover of GKN. One of Britain’s oldest engineering firms is to be taken over by a company that has been labelled an “asset-stripper”, prompting calls for the government to block the £8.1bn deal on national security grounds.
GKN, which was founded in 1759 and has 59,000 staff including 6,000 in the UK, succumbed to a “hostile” bid from Melrose after a lengthy and sometimes acrimonious corporate tussle that has spilled over into the political arena.
Melrose, which buys underperforming firms to cut costs and sell on at a profit, appealed directly to GKN shareholders after the company’s board rejected two bids, narrowly winning their approval at a vote on Thursday afternoon.
Investors’ blessing for the takeover signals an end to the independence of a 269-year-old engineering firm that provided the iron for the construction of Britain’s railways and produced Spitfires during the second world war.
Business secretary Greg Clark said he would consider calls from MPs and trade unions to intervene on national security grounds, given GKN’s role in making components for military aircraft including the Lockheed F-35B fighter jet.
Jack Dromey, the Labour MP who led a group of 16 politicians that wrote to Clark urging him to halt the deal, said the buyout of GKN by Melrose was a “bleak day for British industry”.
Liberal Democrat leader Vince Cable called for takeover rules to be strengthened to prevent “short-term speculators” snapping up shares in buyout targets in order to vote for a deal and pocket the profits.
The acquisition of GKN, which began life as an ironworks near Merthyr Tydfil in 1759, is the largest hostile takeover in the UK since US firm Kraft bought Cadbury in 2010.
That deal led to Cable, then business minister, calling for a “Cadbury law” to stop hedge funds and other short-term investors influencing takeovers.
Christopher Miller, the chairman of Melrose, said he was “delighted and grateful” after narrowly winning the shareholder vote with 52.4% of investor support, just above the required 50.1% threshold.
Melrose has consistently denied that its model of buying up businesses to sell on amounts to asset-stripping.
It has made legally binding promises to keep GKN’s UK headquarters and retain a British workforce, maintain research and development spending and refrain from selling its aerospace business for at least five years.
“Let me assure you that GKN is entering into very good hands,” said Miller, a protege of Lord Hanson, the 1980s wheeler dealer who built a corporate empire with a number of aggressive takeovers.
GKN’s directors said on Thursday that it still believes that the deal “fundamentally undervalues” the company but that it now had no choice but to recommend investors sell their shares.
Dromey said the government should not allow Melrose to complete the takeover.
He said: “Today is a bleak day for British industry. The takeover by Melrose makes a mockery of any talk by government of an industrial strategy.
“Britain’s takeover rules are in desperate need of reform. Yet again, as in the Kraft takeover of Cadbury’s, we have seen a jewel in the crown of British industry sold off because its shares were bought up by hedge funds.”
Dromey said the deal would not have gone through if the previous coalition government had agreed to Labour’s calls to restrict investors from voting on acquisitions unless they had held shares for six months.
The proposal was designed to prevent short-term speculators such as hedge funds buying up shares with the aim of influencing takeover outcomes for profit.
“To let a 259-year-old British engineering icon like GKN be taken over by a short-termist asset-stripper like Melrose is a monumental failure by ministers,” said Dromey.
“However, the government still has the power to intervene to block the hostile takeover takeover on defence and national security grounds. It should do so in the British national interest.”
Cable said: “The very narrow result – like Brexit – suggests that this takeover is not universally popular amongst shareholders. It seems it was only secured through votes from short-term speculators.”
Elliott Advisors, an “activist” investor with a history of intervening in takeovers, built up a 3.8% stake in GKN before the deal, which it urged fellow shareholders to back a week ago.
Cable called for the government to change corporate takeover rules to curb the voting power of short-term investors. He added that ministers should also be able to intervene in takeovers that might affect investment in research and development.
Clark said: “During the bid, Melrose made commitments which they are bound to honour including investment in research and development and maintaining itself as a UK business.
“Now that shareholders have made their decision the government has a statutory responsibility to consider whether the merger in its proposed final form gives rise to public interest concerns in the areas of media plurality, financial stability and national security.
“This assessment will be made by the appropriate authorities and the conclusion set out in due course”.
Trade union Unite echoed Cable’s concerns and said it would be “holding Melrose’s feet to the fire” to honour its commitments to GKN but said the government should still consider blocking the deal.
Unite’s assistant general secretary for aerospace, Steve Turner, said: “This takeover has put into stark relief the inadequacy of the UK’s takeover rules which put the interests of short-term speculators over those of the workforce and long-term investors.
“We need an overhaul of UK takeover laws to strengthen the voice of stakeholders to ensure other British companies do not fall prey to corporate vultures looking to make a quick buck against the national interest.”
During a two-month takeover battle, Melrose repeatedly accused GKN bosses of mismanaging the company, while opponents of the deal warned that Melrose would carve up the business and prioritise short-term profits over long-term success.
Melrose told the Guardian that many executives within GKN had privately expressed support for the takeover. “There have been back-channels from within GKN indicating they’d welcome a new broom. We think a lot of people within GKN are really going to welcome Melrose coming in.”
Melrose typically rewards senior staff with large financial incentives if they succeed in cutting costs to extract maximum value out of businesses it can then sell on.
The deal is the largest hostile takeover launched in the UK since Kraft swooped on Cadbury in 2009 and has attracted public scrutiny from politicians and unions, as well as investors. Earlier this month, GKN’s largest customer, Airbus, said it would take its business elsewhere if the Melrose deal went ahead.
Melrose first expressed interest in buying GKN in January. Subsequently GKN’s management revealed plans to merge its automotive business with the US firm Dana, in an attempt to fend off the hostile approach. (Source: theguardian.com)
29 Mar 18. Boeing to stand up new divisions, shake up weapons management. In an email sent to company employees Thursday morning, Boeing CEO Leanne Caret announced the company will stand up two new divisions next week.
Boeing is establishing a Commercial Derivative Aircraft division and a Missile and Weapon Systems division. The Commercial Derivative unit will be based in Seattle and take over responsibility for the KC-46 tanker, which has suffered delays and deficiencies, frustrating senior U.S. Air Force officials.
The unit will also handle the new Air Force One and P-8 submarine hunter. Tim Peters, a former Boeing KC-46 program manager, will head the unit.
The reorganization was first reported by Defense One and was confirmed to Defense News by a Boeing spokesman.
The Missile and Weapon Systems unit in Huntsville, Alabama, will monitor work on the new Ground Based Strategic Deterrent, the Ground-based Midcourse Defense missile interceptors, the Joint Direct Attack Munition and other weapons. This unit will be led by Norm Tew, former head of the company’s missile defense program.
“Commercial derivatives and missile and weapon systems are being stood up as their own divisions because those market areas are priorities within our long-term strategy,” Boeing spokesman Todd Blecher said.
According to Blecher, the migration of these programs has been in the works ever since Boeing began its development organization strategy, with each change occurring according to when programs reached certain milestones. “[W]hen Development Vice President Pat Goggin told Leanne Caret of his intention to retire, she decided the time was right to make the next step in her ongoing evolution of how we operate,” he said.
The company will also be disbanding its Development business unit, which was created in 2015 to improve the “affordability and schedule performance” of new products.
This is Boeing’s second major reshuffle in 18 months, as it moves to consolidate locations and cut costs. (Source: Defense News)
29 Mar 18. Melrose’s ‘Project Golf’ bid for GKN beats engineer’s ‘Damson’ defence. The opening salvo in what would become a three-month battle for British engineer GKN (GKN.L) was fired by Melrose’s (MRON.L) chief executive over the telephone.
On Friday January 5, Simon Peckham rang GKN’s advisers at JP Morgan to arrange a meeting with the FTSE 100-listed aerospace and automotive parts supplier.
The gathering took place the following Monday at the investment bank’s offices next to the River Thames at Blackfriars in London, according to a source.
It was there that Peckham and Melrose executive chairman Christopher Miller made their first takeover proposal to Anne Stevens, the 69-year-old former Ford executive who was interim CEO of GKN, and the engineer’s chairman, Mike Turner.
The cash-and-shares bid valued the engineering company at 7.4bn pounds and was dubbed “Project Golf” internally by UK-based industrial turnaround specialist Melrose and its advisers.
The codename was a reference to the model of car manufactured by Volkswagen, which is one of GKN’s biggest customers, a person with knowledge of the matter told Reuters.
The meeting between the four executives lasted for an hour at most, sources familiar with the situation said.
It marked the only time in the fierce battle that followed that executives from Melrose and GKN would speak to each other, in what quickly escalated into Britain’s biggest hostile bid since Kraft pounced on confectionery giant Cadbury in 2009.
The initial bid was swiftly rejected by GKN, which made the approach public on January 12, when it also appointed Stevens permanently as CEO and disclosed it was examining an alternative plan to demerge its main aerospace and automotive divisions.
At the time, GKN dismissed the Melrose offer as being “entirely opportunistic” and “fundamentally” undervaluing the engineer.
WAR OF WORDS
That set the tone for an acrimonious war of words between the two companies that lasted right up until the takeover battle’s denouement this week, when Melrose, which is also London-listed, finally clinched a takeover.
To win the fight, Melrose had to offer a better deal to shareholders than a rival tie-up with U.S. firm Dana (DAN.N) that GKN struck earlier this month. The Dana transaction was codenamed “Project Damson”, after a type of plum tree, by Stevens and her team, according to a source.
It was a narrow victory for Melrose, which had set a deadline of 1200 GMT on Thursday for GKN investors to back its offer.
When the deadline expired, Melrose had received acceptances from 52.4 percent of GKN shareholders. That just exceeded the acceptance threshold of 50 percent plus one share that Melrose had set.
Indeed, the fight between the two companies had become so finely balanced in its latter stages that even an adviser to Melrose conceded to Reuters earlier this week that he was anxious about the outcome.
“I’m confident but it would be wrong of me to say I’m not nervous,” said the adviser, who declined to be named.
The Melrose team, which included bankers from Rothschild, RBC Europe and Investec, endured not just months of criticism from GKN but scrutiny from British lawmakers, a U.S. congressman, regulators, the Unite trade union, GKN shareholders and Airbus (AIR.PA), which is the engineer’s largest customer.
The political attention was driven by GKN’s participation in U.S. and British defence programmes and worries about the status of its 6,000 British employees and their pensions following a Melrose takeover. This is because the turnaround specialist sells companies once it improves their performance, a strategy that fuelled concerns about jobs and the possibility an overseas buyer could acquire GKN’s sensitive aerospace business.
Since listing on London’s junior Aim market 15 years ago with net cash of just 12.7m pounds, Melrose has grown into a business with a market value of more than 4bn pounds.
It typically owns the firms it buys for three to five years. GKN is its biggest deal yet.
The aerospace and automotive components business is considered a mainstay of Britain’s engineering sector, tracing its roots back more than 250 years to an ironworks in South Wales. During the Second World War, its Hadley Castle site in Shropshire produced Spitfire fighters that won the Battle of Britain.
Today, GKN employs more than 58,000 staff around the world and supplies parts for vehicles and aircraft including the Porsche 918 Spyder supercar, the Blackhawk military helicopter and the Eurofighter Typhoon.
Two profit warnings in October and November caused by problems at GKN’s North American aerospace business, which sent its shares tumbling and prompted the departure of the executive originally selected to be its next CEO, gave Melrose the opening to launch its bid.
However, Melrose was not the only company to seize on the opportunity.
Late last year, U.S. axles and driveshafts maker Dana also privately approached GKN.
The British company and its advisers, which included Gleacher Shacklock, JP Morgan and UBS, started behind-the-scenes talks with the Ohio-based business early this year.
The resulting agreement between GKN and Dana would form the centrepiece of the engineer’s defence against Melrose.
Having already disclosed plans to split itself up, on March 9 GKN announced a cash-and-shares deal to merge its automotive business with Dana.
Along with a pledge to find a buyer for its powder metallurgy business and return as much as 2.5bn pounds in cash to shareholders, this would leave GKN purely focussed on its aerospace business.
Melrose quickly responded on March 12 by raising its offer to 1.69 new shares and 81 pence in cash per GKN share and declaring it bid “final”.
This gave GKN investors a choice: accept a deal that handed them 60 percent of Melrose and valued GKN at about 8bn pounds, or back the engineer’s management and take a 47.25 percent stake in Dana, which pledged to take a listing in London alongside its New York listing.
In the end, a slim majority supported Melrose.
“There’s a lot of disappointed people at GKN at the moment,” an adviser to the engineer said on Thursday evening. (Source: Reuters)
29 Mar 18. Melrose victorious in hostile bid for GKN. Turnround specialist triumphs after investors back £7.9bn cash-and-share bid. GKN narrowly lost its fight for independence on Thursday after a bitter 10-week hostile takeover battle that saw politicians, unions and industry rally to the side of the 259-year-old engineering company. Melrose Industries, the buyout group founded in 2003, declared victory after investors holding 52.43 per cent of voting rights in GKN backed its £7.9bn cash-and-share bid. It had set an acceptance threshold of 50.1 per cent. The battle went right to the wire with both sides saying the outcome was too close to call just hours before Thursday’s deadline. GKN’s fate appears to have been sealed by the more than 20 per cent of shares held by hedge funds and other short-term investors. Melrose has come under intense scrutiny from customers such as Airbus as well as the British government over whether the turnround specialists will continue to invest in the engineering group’s UK operations.
After the victory, Christopher Miller, Melrose’s chairman, insisted the group would create “a UK industrial powerhouse with a market capitalisation of over £10bn and a tremendous future”. “Let me assure you that GKN is entering into very good hands,” Mr Miller said. “Melrose has made commitments as to investment in R&D, skills and people and we are very excited about putting these into action.”
GKN conceded defeat in a brief statement. However, the narrowness of Melrose’s victory was seen as a sign of the growing mood in Britain against buyouts of well-known UK companies. “The very narrow result. suggests that this takeover is not universally popular among shareholders,” said Vince Cable, former business secretary and leader of the Liberal Democrats. “It seems it was only secured through votes from short-term speculators.”
The result draws the curtain on the UK’s biggest firm hostile bid since Kraft pounced on Cadbury in 2009. It is expected to raise questions over the rights of short-term investors to decide the fate of UK companies, and over the government’s ability to protect important manufacturing businesses from opportunistic bids.
“[The government] could have intervened to stop this takeover and they did not,” said Rebecca Long-Bailey, Labour’s business spokesperson. “Labour would have used its powers to stop this bid and will look at ways of broadening the public interest test to stop short-term, predatory takeovers which may do severe harm to our economy.”
The fight over the future of GKN sparked a political outcry, transforming the aerospace and automotive parts supplier into a symbol for the vulnerability of Britain’s industrial base as the UK prepares to quit the EU. GKN is a key investor in future aircraft wing technology, a focus of the UK’s industrial strategy. The controversy prompted the UK government to intervene, with Greg Clark, business secretary, this week demanding the right to veto the sale of GKN’s defence unit should Melrose win the takeover battle — despite the fact the government has no golden share. This takeover has put into stark relief the inadequacy of the UK’s takeover rules Steve Turner, Unite “The takeover by Melrose makes a mockery of any talk by government of an industrial strategy,” said Jack Dromey, Labour MP for Birmingham Erdington.
“Yet again, as in the Kraft takeover of Cadbury’s, we have seen a jewel in the crown of British industry sold off because its shares were bought up by hedge funds.”
Melrose’s business model of “buy, improve, and sell” underperforming industrial companies within three to five years has come under fire from MPs and GKN’s own customers, who have questioned whether the new owner will invest for the long-term. Melrose has repeatedly insisted it intends to maintain investment at least at GKN levels and rejected accusations that it is an asset stripper. Despite the intense campaign against Melrose, the takeover battle appeared to shift in its favour after Elliot Advisors, the UK arm of the high-profile activist fund manager, took control of 3.8 per cent of GKN and declared itself in favour of the deal. A person close to GKN said the support from Elliot and Legal & General Investment Management, a passive investor which held 2.6 per cent, helped push Melrose over the top. The government could still refer the deal to UK competition authorities, something advocated by the Unite trade union.
Paul Everitt, chief executive of ADS, Britain’s leading aerospace trade body, which expressed concerns about Melrose’s strategy, called on the government to ensure Melrose lives up to promises it made during the bid process. “It will be for government to assess whether these are sufficient or whether the bid should be referred to the Competition and Markets Authority,” Mr Everitt said. Melrose will also have to win approval of US regulators for the acquisition of GKN’s defence assets. Most of GKN’s operations are based overseas, with a high concentration in the US.
A person close to Melrose said Washington’s sign-off was expected imminently. Unite said it would demand Melrose honour concessions it made to the government late in the bid process. It also urged the government to review the deal in on national defence grounds. Steve Turner, assistant general secretary for aerospace, said: “This takeover has put into stark relief the inadequacy of the UK’s takeover rules which put the interests of short-term speculators over those of the workforce and long-term investors. “We need an overhaul of UK takeover laws to strengthen the voice of stakeholders to ensure other British companies do not fall prey to corporate vultures looking to make a quick buck against the national interest,” he added. (See: BATTLESPACE ALERT Vol.20 ISSUE 11. 29 March 2018, GKN shareholders accept Melrose £8bn hostile takeover offer) (Source: FT.com)
30 Mar 18. Tata Advanced to acquire group co’s defence arm. The Tata Group has kick-started consolidation in its defence and aerospace business, which is dispersed across various listed and unlisted entities, by bringing them under a single vertical within the holding company, Tata Sons. It said on Friday that Tata Sons’ wholly owned subsidiary Tata Advanced Systems will buy the defence division of the publicly listed Tata Power for Rs 2,230 crore.
At least a dozen group companies — including Tata Motors, Titan, Tata Technologies and TAL Manufacturing — are involved in the defence and aerospace business, which clocked revenues of Rs 2,650 crore in fiscal 2016. These businesses will be brought under the recently created infrastructure, defence and aerospace cluster, headed by former GE India chief Banmali Agrawala.
The defence and aerospace business, which the group entered in the 1940s with the supply of armoured steel for supporting the World War II effort, has been growing at a compounded annual rate of over 15% in the last five years. The consolidation move will remove duplication and build scale, which will help in bidding for projects with a higher net worth.
With the government trying to reduce its over-dependence on imports by stimulating indigenous defence industry, the group is betting on the segment as a big source for future growth. Tata Motors and Tata Power’s defence division are contenders for the government’s Rs 60,000-crore Futuristic Infantry Combat Vehicle project. The sale of the defence division by Tata Power will mark the electricity generating company’s exit from the business, which it had started in 1974. The unit, named Tata Power Strategic Engineering Division, manufactures and assembles missile launchers and night vision devices at its Bengaluru plant, and had a turnover of Rs 548 crore in fiscal 2017. Tata Power said that of the Rs 2,230 crore, it will get Rs 1,040 crore at the time of deal closure and the balance Rs 1,190 crore on the division achieving certain milestones. The proceeds from the sale will help the company to improve its balance sheet. (Source: Google/timesofindia)
29 Mar 18. Real Alloy Announces Court Approval of Sale to Company Noteholders. Real Alloy Holding, Inc. (“Real Alloy” or the “Company”) today announced that, on March 29, 2018, the U.S. Bankruptcy Court approved the sale of the Company to its noteholders, led by DDJ Capital Management, who submitted the previously announced “stalking horse bid” for total consideration valued by the Debtors at US$364m plus the assumption of significant liabilities.
Under the terms of the executed asset purchase agreement filed with the Bankruptcy Court on March 28, 2018, the purchase price is comprised of a cash payment, the assumption of certain liabilities of the Company, and a credit bid in the amount of US$184m. The sale includes all of the operations owned and operated by Real Alloy in Canada, Germany, Mexico, Norway, the United Kingdom and the United States.
Throughout the process, Real Alloy has and will continue its operations uninterrupted in the ordinary course of business, and will meet its day-to-day obligations to its customers, suppliers of goods and services, and employees.
Terry Hogan, President of Real Alloy, stated, “We are pleased to have received the Court’s approval of the sale. Under this agreement, Real Alloy will remain under ownership that has a firm understanding of the Company’s operations and looks to drive future growth and profitability. As anticipated, our operations have continued unabated during this process, with no disruption in service or deliveries to our customers. As part of the sale, the Company will maintain its headquarters in Beachwood, Ohio. All parties are working earnestly toward a closing, which is subject to certain regulatory approvals.”
Additional Information on the Chapter 11 Proceedings
Court filings and other information related to the court-supervised proceedings are available at a website administered by the Company’s claims agent, Prime Clerk, at https://cases.primeclerk.com/realindustry.
(Source: BUSINESS WIRE)
29 Mar 18. Ontic Signs License Agreement With Honeywell for Cockpit LCD Displays on Multiple Platforms. Ontic, a BBA Aviation company and aerospace industry’s leading provider of ‘Extended Life Solutions’ for Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) legacy products, has signed a new exclusive license agreement with Honeywell for cockpit displays.
The license covers 26 product families consisting of 162 line replaceable units. These LRU’s are fitted on over 50+ various commercial, military fixed-wing and rotorcraft aircraft manufactured by a number of aircraft OEMs including Airbus, Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Bombardier & Korean Industries, etc.
Gareth Hall, President of Ontic, said: “The proactive life cycle support planning that Honeywell has undertaken with Ontic provides assurance to the customers that these products are available for as long as the market requires them. Legacy electronics and avionics have been a substantial part of Ontic’s business for many years, and the products in this license are an excellent fit. We look forward to the continuation of our mutually successful 35-year relationship with Honeywell providing Extended Life Solutions.”
Ontic’s global legacy focus is supported from manufacturing and MRO facilities in Chatsworth, California; Cheltenham in the United Kingdom; and in Singapore.
Ontic is a wholly owned subsidiary of BBA Aviation plc, with over 42 years of aerospace product manufacturing and aftermarket support experience. Ontic provides FAA, CAAS, CAAC, TCCA, DCA, EASA Part 21 and 145 OEM support, including new and serviceable spares and repairs for over 4,500 maturing and legacy aircraft parts. Its portfolio of products, licensed or acquired from major OEMs such as Honeywell, UTC Aerospace, Safran, Thales and GE Aviation, span all major aircraft systems in both civil and military markets. (Source: BUSINESS WIRE)
28 Mar 18. CACI backs down, clearing way for General Dynamics to buy CSRA. In response to an increased bid from General Dynamics to acquire CSRA, CACI announced March 28 it has withdrawn its offer to acquire all outstanding shares of CSRA. The announcement clears the way for General Dynamics’ acquisition of CSRA to go forward.
Although initial reports indicated General Dynamics would stick with its original bid, a company statement released March 20 announced an amended merger agreement. The new proposal would have General Dynamics acquire all outstanding shares of CSRA for $41.25 per share in cash, an increase from the original $40.75 per share offer.
With the higher offer, the transaction is now valued at $9.7bn, including General Dynamics’ assumption of $2.8bn in CSRA debt.
In making the decision to stick with General Dynamics, “CSRA’s Board of Directors took into account various factors, including among others, the value, certainty of value, certainty of closing, and speed to closing of the General Dynamics offer, as amended, as compared to the CACI proposal” the statement says.
From CACI’s perspective, CSRA made the wrong choice. “CACI continues to believe that CACI and CSRA would be the superior strategic and financial business combination,” CACI Chief Executive Officer Kenneth Asbury said. “The combination would have created an industry leading pure play in the federal IT solutions and services market.”
CSRA has been a player in the defense tech community. In June 2017, the company was awarded a $143m contract from the U.S. Marine Corps to provide advanced IT services. In November 2016, CSRA won a task order to develop a cyber defense strategy for various offices within the Department of Defense.
29 Mar 18. Kazakhstan Engineering to sell more subsidiaries. Kazakhstan has continued efforts to reduce national holdings in defence and aerospace assets with the announcement that majority stakes will be sold in three subsidiaries of defence group Kazakhstan Engineering (KE).
The government of Kazakhstan announced that it will seek bids for 51% of shares in Semipalatinsk Machine-Building Plant with a starting price of KZT1.2bn (USD3.7m); 51% of Tynys for a starting price of KZT2.8bn; and 50% of Kazakhstan Aviation Industries for KZT4.8bn. A two-stage tender process commenced on 16 March and runs to 30 April this year. Semipalatinsk Machine-Building Plant is currently 99% owned by KE. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
28 Mar 18. Fincantieri reports new peak in annual revenue.
Majority state-owned Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri reported results from its 2017 financial year on 27 March, including a record high in annual revenues, which exceeded EUR5bn (USD6bn) in the period. This rise in revenue represented a 13% improvement on 2016 while the company’s adjusted net income jumped by 52% to EUR91m. Both its cruise ship and naval businesses grew their sales in 2017, although the former’s 27% expansion greatly exceeded the 5% rise in the sales of military vessels. Alongside the results the company also released details of its five-year business plan, which aims to deliver a further 50% increase in annual revenue by 2022. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
28 Mar 18. Hindustan Aeronautics lists 5% down at Rs1,152. Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), a defence public sector undertaking, has made its debut on the bourses at a 3.8 per cent discount to the issue price of Rs 1,215. On National Stock Exchange (NSE), the stock got listed at Rs 1,152, down by 5.19 per cent.
The company came out with an initial public offering (IPO) of Rs 4,200 crore, which was open from March 16 to March 20. The price band for the offer was fixed at Rs 1,215-1240. The issue is part of the government’s 2017-18 divestment plan. The IPO, however, got subscribed 99 per cent after Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC) came to its rescue by investing Rs 2,900 crore, which is 70% of the IPO size.
Overall, qualified institutional buyer’s (QIBs) portion was oversubscribed to 1.73 times while the non-institutional investors’ portion was subscribed 3 per cent and retail investors portion were subscribed 39 per cent.
According to a report by SMC Reserach, the company’s order book as on December 31, 2017 stands at Rs 68,461 crore, which includes products and services to be manufactured and delivered and excludes anticipated revenues from their joint ventures and subsidiaries.
The report also states that considering the P/E valuation on the upper price band of Rs.1240 EPS and P/E of FY2017 are Rs78.49 and 15.80 multiple respectively and at a lower price band of Rs 1215, P/E multiple is 15.48.
Looking at the P/B ratio on the upper price band of Rs1240, book value and P/B of FY17 are Rs387.08 and 3.20 multiple respectively and at a lower price band of Rs 1215 P/B multiple is 3.14. No change in pre and post issue EPS and Book Value as the company is not making fresh issue of capital.
HAL is into the design, development, manufacture, overhaul, repair, upgrade and servicing of a wide range of products including, aircraft, helicopters, accessories aero-engines, avionics, and aerospace structures. The company provides support for maintenance, repair and overhaul for indigenous and licence manufactured aircraft and helicopters, as well as for aircraft and helicopters procured directly by the Indian Defence Services. It is the 39th largest aerospace company in the world in terms of revenue. (Source: Google/India.com)
27 Mar 18. Confirmed growth and continued hiring for MBDA in 2018. For the fifth consecutive year MBDA recorded a high in orders, worth €4.2bn, in 2017 while revenue amounted to €3.1bn. By 31 December the company’s order book reached a record peak of €16.8bn, giving the group prospects for sustained growth over the next five years.
In 2017 export orders (€2.6bn) once again exceeded orders from the company’s domestic countries (€1.6bn). This high volume of export orders, achieved despite recent increasingly stiff American competition in Europe and the Middle East, confirms the competitiveness of MBDA products and enables the group to strengthen its critical mass vis-à-vis the US missile giants.
Export orders in 2017 notably include contracts with Qatar for MCDS coastal batteries and the arming of Fincantieri corvettes, but do not take into account the Typhoon armament for Qatar, a contract that is expected to enter into force in 2018. Other major contracts won in 2017 include VL MICA systems for GoWind corvettes in Egypt, Sea Ceptor for Type 23 frigates in Chile and Marte for fast patrollers in the UAE.
On the international front 2017 saw the creation in India of a joint venture between MBDA and its Indian partner Larsen & Toubro to meet the Indian Armed Forces’ future requirements under the New Delhi government’s ‘Make in India’ policy.
Domestically the year was marked in France by the first deliveries of naval cruise missiles (MdCN) and medium-range missiles (MMP) for land combat; in the United Kingdom, by the order for additional Meteor missiles to continue with integration on F-35 Lightning II; in Germany, by the formal kick-off of negotiations with the authorities on the TLVS air defence and anti-missile programme; and in Italy, by the choice of the CAMM ER missile within the framework of the replacement of the Aspide air defence missile system.
Co-operation in Europe on missile technologies also made significant progress in 2017 which will deliver future economies of scale and enhanced competitiveness in the coming years.
In this context, France and the United Kingdom launched the concept phase of the FC/ASW (future cruise/anti-ship missile) programme, which aims to replace SCALP/Storm Shadow, Exocet and Harpoon in both states.
The Franco-German summit of 13 July 2017 opened the prospect of co-operation in the segment of ground combat missiles fired from helicopters, and the development of a future European air combat system whose performance will require further leaps forward in the field of missiles.
In addition, 25 EU countries joined the Permanent Structured Cooperation initiative, which should facilitate the launch of European cooperation programmes. MBDA is proud to participate in the very first defence research programme (Ocean 2020 project), funded by the new European Defence Fund, which aims to explore future maritime monitoring and interdiction technologies.
Finally, a number of co-operation projects involving the United Kingdom and the other domestic countries made good progress in 2017 (arming of Typhoon aircraft with Germany, Italian ground-based air defence, local air defence for Spanish F 110 frigates, etc.).
MBDA CEO Antoine Bouvier declared: “The group continues to move forward on each of its three strategic pillars: to give its domestic countries guaranteed access to missile technological sovereignty, to pursue European consolidation, to develop international activities; these three actions jointly contribute to the critical mass of MBDA, that is its ability to achieve long-term development faced with its global competitors. We continue to view the future with optimism, targeting, as we expected, €4bn in revenue by 2020. To support this growth, the group plans to hire nearly 1,200 people this year, after recruiting 1,000 in 2016 and as many in 2017.”
26 Mar 18. U.S. banks provide rescue financing for gunmaker Remington. U.S. gunmaker Remington Outdoor Co has obtained commitments for nearly $300m from its existing lenders, including some of the biggest U.S. banks, after new sources of funding dried up in the months leading up to its filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
During that time, the company’s investment bank, Lazard Ltd (LAZ.N), approached more than 30 possible lenders, according to court documents.
“The vast majority of lenders contacted, however, indicated they were reluctant to provide financing to firearms manufacturers,” said Lazard banker Ari Lefkovits in the papers.
Most of the banks providing the bankruptcy funding were lenders to Remington before its current financial problems, according to court records. Without the funds, Remington may have been forced to go out of business and the banks could have seen their investment crash in value.
The company and its investors have been under heightened scrutiny after 17 were killed in a school shooting in Parkland, Florida in February.
Remington filed for bankruptcy one day after hundreds of thousands of Americans took to the streets to demand tighter gun control measures.
Banks often sell troubled loans to hedge funds when a borrower is heading into bankruptcy, but one source told Reuters that even as the Remington loans were heavily discounted, buyers were scarce.
The company’s bankruptcy lenders include Bank of America Corp (BAC.N), Wells Fargo & Co (WFC.N), JPMorgan Chase & Co (JPM.N) and Deutsche Bank AG (DBKGn.DE), according to court documents.
Remington disclosed the loan details in its Sunday bankruptcy filing, which the company said will allow it to cancel $775 m of debt and bring it out of Chapter 11 as soon as May.
Smaller banks Regions Financial Corporation (RF.N), BB&T Corp (BBT.N), Synovus Financial Corp (SNV.N) and Fifth Third Bancorp (FITB.O) have also committed to help fund Remington’s bankruptcy loans, court documents show. An affiliate of investment manager Franklin Templeton Investments, another lender, is also providing funds.
Bank of America, Regions, Deutsche Bank, JPMorgan and Synovus declined to comment.
BB&T declined to comment on its lending relationships. The bank said part of its consideration is to listen to its clients and stakeholders, who have a wide range of opinions.
“We’re deeply concerned with the increasing amount of gun violence in our schools and communities,” the bank said.
The others, along with Remington, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The company ran into trouble after borrowing to ramp up production in 2016 in anticipation of greater industry demand, according to court filings.
The expectation of higher sales was in part driven by fears of a Hillary Clinton presidency and tighter gun controls. With the election of Donald Trump, who has said he strongly supports gun ownership, the firearms industry was stuck with a glut of weapons and higher levels of debt.
Remington, which said in January it was nearly out of cash, plans to tap the loans from the banks to help pay corporate expenses, including payroll, during its bankruptcy filing.
Remington’s bondholders are also providing some of the bankruptcy loan and will receive a stake in the company when it exits bankruptcy.
Their identities were redacted in court documents.
The company also asked the court to seal the letters detailing the fees the lenders will earn from the loans, saying that the sums are commercially sensitive, according to filings in the bankruptcy court in Wilmington, Delaware.
The court records also showed that Remington’s business faces new hurdles in the wake of the Florida shooting.
The company cited a risk to its business from restrictions placed on gun sales by retailers such Walmart Inc (WMT.N), Dick’s Sporting Goods Inc (DKS.N) and Kroger Co (KR.N). Walmart accounted for 11 percent of Remington sales in 2017, according to court documents. Remington also said sales could be hurt by more government regulation, including enhanced background checks and a broader definition of “dealer” under current gun laws. Remington said if the 1994 federal assault weapons ban were re-enacted it would have an adverse effect on the business. (Source: glstrade.com/Reuters)
22 Mar 18. Elbit Systems Ltd. Receives Governmental Approval to Acquire Universal Avionics Systems Corporation. Universal Avionics Systems Corporation announces that Elbit Systems Ltd. (NASDAQ and TASE: ESLT) is in the process of completing the acquisition of Universal Avionics through an asset acquisition agreement. The parties have received the applicable government approvals and the closing is anticipated to occur in the coming weeks. Under the ownership of Elbit Systems, Universal Avionics will become a wholly-owned subsidiary.
26 Mar 18. Indian defence metals producer concludes IPO. The initial public offering (IPO) in Indian state-run defence company Mishra Dhatu Nigam (Midhani) was oversubscribed 1.2 times on the last day of the share sale on 23 March, statistics from the National Stock Exchange (NSE) of India shows.
The IPO in Midhani, which produces metals and alloys for the local defence industry, is expected to generate INR4.38bn (USD67.4m). NSE data shows that investors bid for about 59 m shares in Midhani or 1.21 times the 48.7 m shares on offer. Funds raised through the IPO will be redirected to the state as part of the Indian government’s privatisation programme. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
26 Mar 18. U.S. gunmaker Remington files for bankruptcy. Remington Outdoor Co Inc [FREDM.UL], one of the largest U.S. makers of firearms, filed for bankruptcy protection on Sunday to carry out a debt-cutting deal with creditors amid mounting public pressure for greater gun control. The company’s chief financial officer, Stephen Jackson, said in court papers that Remington’s sales fell significantly in the year before its bankruptcy, and that the company was having difficulty meeting requirements from its lenders.
Remington, America’s oldest gunmaker, announced in February it would reduce its $950m debtload in a deal that will transfer control of the company to creditors. The company plans to wrap up its bankruptcy as soon as May 3, according to court papers.
The filing comes after a Feb. 14 shooting at a Parkland, Florida high school that killed 17 and spurred an intense campaign for gun control by activists. The massacre led to huge U.S. anti-gun rallies by hundreds of thousands of young Americans on Saturday.
In some of the biggest U.S. youth demonstrations for decades, protesters called on lawmakers and President Donald Trump to confront the issue. Voter registration activists fanned out in the crowds, signing up thousands of the nation’s newest voters.
Major U.S. companies and retailers have taken some steps to restrict firearm sales.
Citigroup Inc said last week it will require new retail-sector clients to sell firearms only to customers who passed background checks and to bar sales of high-capacity magazines.
Citi also said it was restricting sales for buyers under 21, a move adopted by other large retailers, while Kroger Co’s superstore chain Fred Meyer said it will stop selling firearms entirely.
CERBERUS TO LOSE OWNERSHIP
Cerberus Capital Management LP, the private equity firm that controls Remington, will lose ownership in the bankruptcy.
Remington’s creditors, which sources told Reuters include Franklin Templeton Investments and JPMorgan Asset Management, will exchange their debt holdings for Remington equity.
The creditors inked the debt-cutting deal prior to the Parkland shooting, and it is unclear if any have exited. The restructuring support agreement allows creditors to sell their holdings, but the buyer is bound by the deal.
One investor told IFR, a Thomson Reuters news provider, that his firm had contemplated buying the Remington loans that will be exchanged into equity, which were offered at as low as 25 cents on the dollar.
“We bowed out because we were uncomfortable,” he said.
After a Remington Bushmaster rifle was used in the Sandy Hook elementary school shooting in Connecticut in 2012 that killed 20 children and six adults, Cerberus tried unsuccessfully to sell Remington, then known as Freedom Group.
Katie-Mesner Hage, an attorney representing Sandy Hook families in a lawsuit against Remington, said in a prepared statement that she did not expect the gunmaker’s bankruptcy would affect their case.
Remington and other gunmakers have suffered from slumping sales in the past year as fears of stricter gun laws have faded.
The chief executive of American Outdoor Brands Corp, maker of the Smith & Wesson gun used in the Parkland shooting, said on March 1 that some gun retailers reported increased sales after the Florida school shooting.
Remington filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware. (Source: Reuters)
23 Mar 18. Smiths at an inflection point. Export companies came under pressure on the day Smiths Group (SMIN) released its half-year figures, but the industrial conglomerate couldn’t blame the Trump administration’s tariff declaration for an initial sell-off on results day. Predictably, management pursued a ‘glass half-full’ narrative, as if flat constant-currency sales and a 20 basis point contraction in the operating margin might put a spring in your step.
This was borne out in the appraisal of the underperforming medical division (29 per cent of group revenues), which, supported by the launch of 11 new products, “made significant progress on its return to growth with underlying revenue improving to be flat year over the year”. In truth, we’re being a little churlish; it was apparent that management had responded to a fall-away in demand for the group’s medical supply products at the time of the 2017 interims, but recovery won’t be achieved overnight. Accept that the division is being repositioned to tap high-growth regions (7 per cent increase through the period), while taking account of the substantial R&D allocations and front-loaded development costs, and you could argue that a 50 basis point decline in capital returns (ROCE) represents a creditable result. Sales have also been constricted because of launch delays, but perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised (let alone alarmed) given the ambitious roll-out.
But if the medical division was in need of a restorative, you would imagine there was no option for the John Crane business unit beyond invasive surgery. The business, which provides engineering products for the global energy market and process markets (chemicals, pharma, environmental, etc.), has struggled as energy capital expenditure budgets headed south following the 2015 oil price slump. Management duly looked to optimise profitability by hiving off assets – including John Crane Bearings in the period under review – while eliminating exposure to upstream oil and gas markets. Again, recovery is likely to be a drawn-out affair, but a 5 per cent uptick in underlying operating profit, together with a 210-basis point hike in ROCE, suggests remedial measures are having the desired effect.
Bloomberg consensus gives July 2018 pre-tax profits of £529m, with adjusted EPS of 95.5p, rising to £567m and 106p in 2019.
Management has reiterated full-year guidance, but certain metrics will bear the imprint of changes in accounting treatment and US tax legislation. These figures won’t set the world on fire, but it should be remembered they’re set against strong comparators from H12017. There’s implied share price upside of 16 per cent based on Smiths’ historic enterprise/trading profit multiple relative to peers. Buy. Last IC View: Buy, 1,518p, 25 Sep 2017. (Source: Investors Chronicle)
Odyssey is an independent corporate finance firm which advises on acquisitions, business sales, management buy-outs and raising finance, typically in the £5m to £100m range. We have extensive experience in the niche manufacturing sector with our most recent completed deal being the sale of MacNeillie to Babcock Plc. Details can be seen at: http://www.odysseycf.com/case-study-macneillie/
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28 Mar 18. Warrior, cracks appearing? Sources close to BATTLESPACE suggest that during the trials for the new Warrior turret built by Lockheed under the warrior WCSP, cracks have appeared in the hulls post firing. This problem, according to sources, is because the MoD decided to increase the calibre of the CT40 canon to give it a bigger punch. The MoD is believed to have ignored warnings on possible problems if this calibre upgrade went ahead. The CT40 canon is GFE to Lockheed Martin. The current cost of WCSP is believed to be around £413m. The turret trials are taking place at Bovington.
27 Mar 18. Automated logistics system is expected to save the U.S. Army several billion dollars. Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE: NOC) has fully fielded the Global Combat Support System-Army (GCSS-Army) Increment I, completing the Army’s deployment schedule. With GCSS-Army, soldiers have unprecedented visibility into maintenance, dispatching, unit supply, property book, finance and materiel management for greater flexibility in operations. The web-based system replaces several aging and outdated management information systems in the Army, National Guard and Reserve. According to the Government Accountability Office, the Army expects the GCSS-Army solution to provide several billion dollars in financial benefits in the coming years.
“Our long history with enterprise resource planning systems and our strong partnership with the Army have made this monumental effort possible, and the benefits to the soldier are significant,” said Dan Verwiel, vice president and general manager, missile defense and protective systems, Northrop Grumman. “The streamlined logistics made possible by GCSS-Army will give soldiers greater agility, flexibility and a decisive advantage.”.
The fielding of the complex system, which integrates with more than 40 other Army systems, required the conversion of 3.2 billion assets valued at more than $350bn. When fully utilized, the Army Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Logistics projects more than 100,000 users worldwide.
26 Mar 18. Czech MoD plans IFV tender in mid-2018. The Czech Ministry of Defence (MoD) plans to issue a CZK53bn (USD2.6bn) tender for a family of 210 tracked armoured vehicles by mid-2018 and select a winning platform by early 2019, with initial deliveries expected to commence in 2020. The new vehicles are to replace obsolete Russian-designed BMP tracked IFVs currently in service with the Army of the Czech Republic (ACR). The MoD originally planned to issue a tender in October and select a winner in December 2017, but general elections and delays in forming a new coalition scuttled those plans. Furthermore, Defence Minister Karla Slechtova ordered a detailed review of all major planned acquisitions, including the IFV replacement programme shortly after taking office in early January. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
27 Mar 18. Renault Trucks Defense and Thales sign a Memorandum of Understanding in The Hague for exports markets. At a ceremony held on March 15th at the Residence of France in the Hague in the presence of Col. Sylvain Nogrette, Defense Attaché and Mr. Mathieu Kahn, Head of Department of Treasury and Economic Affairs at the Embassy of France, Thales and Renault Trucks Defense SAS have signed a Memorandum of Understanding for the integration of the Thales SOTAS on-board communication systems by Renault Trucks Defense in its vehicles for export markets.
Thanks to a native electronic network, Battlenet Inside, Renault Trucks Defense developed a proven capability to integrate any kind of mission equipment in its vehicles. The signature of this Memorandum of Understanding will facilitate an extended portfolio especially in communications.
Developed by Thales, SOTAS is a vehicle communications server designed around an open and modular architecture that makes it scalable and highly adaptive to differing operational requirements. The system’s modularity enables it to be configured for all vehicle types and missions. Its scalability means that upgrades can be performed easily and without the need for reinstallation, thus translating into great flexibility, which in turn delivers quantifiable logistical advantages, for a broad range of wheeled and tracked military tactical vehicles. SOTAS systems are fielded in more than 30 countries and Thales is committed to the continuous development of new capabilities to increase mission effectiveness.
Renault Trucks Defense designs and manufactures a complete range of tactical, logistics, armored and non-armored vehicles for military and security forces. It is a major supplier to the French Land Forces and Special Forces, responsible for the maintenance of more than 90% of all vehicles currently in service with the French Army. Renault Trucks Defense is also a major supplier for more than 60 countries. Its development in France and for Export markets is based on an intensive strategy of partnerships.
23 Mar 18. Netherlands transfers last Leopard 2s to Finland. The Netherlands will transfer the last of 100 Leopard 2A6 tanks to Finland in 2019, the Dutch Ministry of Defence (MoD) has said on its website.
The ministry reported that it began transferring 20 Leopard 2A6s to Finland on 21 March. The Netherlands decided in 2011 to phase out main battle tanks, and Finland bought its 100 Leopards 2A6s in 2014. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
21 Mar 18. USMC Developing JLTV Air-Defense System Armed with Laser Weapon. The US Marine Corps is putting together a new, mobile air-defense weapon system that’s mounted on a Joint Light Tactical Vehicle and could be armed with lasers to bring down enemy threats from above.
Marine Lt. Gen. Robert Walsh, deputy commandant for combat development and integration, talked about the Ground Based Air Defense Future Weapon System at a hearing Tuesday before the Senate Armed Services Committee’s subcommittee on seapower.
Lawmakers are worried that the U.S. military’s ground forces do not have modern air-defense systems capable of defeating aerial threats from adversaries such as Russia and China.
“Ground forces have not experienced enemy [air] attacks since the Korean War; however, I am concerned that manned and unmanned aircraft, rockets, artillery and missiles pose an increasing danger to Marine units and installations worldwide,” said subcommittee chair Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Mississippi. “The Marine Corps has not updated its air-defense capability since the early 1990s.”
Air defense is a key priority for the Corps as well as the Army, and Wicker made a point of stressing that neither service should be tackling this problem alone.
“I understand that the Army faces many of the same challenges,” he said. “This subcommittee believes that the two services should work together to meet similar requirements.”
Wicker wanted to know why short-range efforts have been progressing more quickly than a system designed to defeat medium-range threats.
Walsh said that the Marine Corps has been focused on countering threats from unmanned aerial systems — a preferred weapon of extremists in the Middle East — but is now starting to shift focus to longer-range threats such as aircraft and cruise missiles.
The Corps is developing the Ground Based Air Defense Future Weapon System, which is mounted on a JLTV and features the same radar system that the Army is using for short-range air defense, Walsh said.
The fiscal 2019 budget includes $607m to procure 1,642 JLTVs. Over the course of the program, the Corps intends to replace roughly one-third of its Humvee fleet with the JLTV.
The JLTV-based system relies on a Stinger missile for a “kinetic kill” capability but will feature an electronic warfare capability as well, Walsh said.
“We also have a developmental program on a laser, to be able to put a laser on it,” he said. “We are currently testing that with the opportunity to rapidly deploy that and demonstrate that capability.”
The longer-range capability has proven to be a challenge, Walsh said, adding that the Marines have budgeted research and development money into a joint effort with the Army.
“We used to have Hawk [missile] batteries that had this longer-range missile capability that we don’t have,” he said.
Over the next year, the Marine Corps plans to look to industry to see what systems are available for a demonstration, Walsh said.
“Getting something early and demonstrating that would get the air-defense community moving toward that higher-end capability quicker,” he said.
(Source: Defense News Early Bird/Militray.com)
Millbrook, based in Bedfordshire, UK, makes a significant contribution to the quality and performance of military vehicles worldwide. Its specialist expertise is focussed in two distinct areas: test programmes to help armed services and their suppliers ensure that their vehicles and systems work as the specification requires; and design and build work to upgrade new or existing vehicles, evaluate vehicle capability and investigate in-service failures. Complementing these is driver and service training and a hospitality business that allows customers to use selected areas of Millbrook’s remarkable facilities for demonstrations and exhibitions.
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28 Mar 18. US Army Acquisition Chief Revamping R&D Funding. The US Army’s assistant secretary for acquisition, logistics and technology is looking to aid the service’s modernization efforts by implementing new policies regarding research and development and intellectual property.
Bruce Jette said the Army has already realigned R&D funds to meet its top modernization priorities, which include long-range precision fires, a next-generation combat vehicle, future vertical lift platforms, a mobile and expeditionary communication network, air and missile defense capabilities, and soldier lethality.
“The idea is to put the money not on various projects that may have been growing with a life of their own, but instead bring that money back against the top six priorities,” he said March 28 at the Association of the United States Army’s Global Force Symposium in Huntsville, Alabama.
Additionally, Jette’s office wants to give more freedom to researchers and lab directors by providing some funds that are specifically geared towards innovating technologies that the military may not have anticipated, he noted.
“We can’t … incrementally engineer breakthroughs, and that’s what we’re trying to do is give them the freedom to do that,” he said.
Jette said the service is also working to establish a fund aimed at crossing the “Valley of Death,” referring to the process for transitioning new technologies into existing programs of record.
For example, a senior commander “would sit there and say ‘OK, one of the guys has this project, he’s got it done, it’s ready, and do we want to actually put it into that program?’” Jette said.
Following consultation with the program manager, senior leaders would then make a decision on the way forward, he explained. “We decide it’s worth it. We do it with our eyes open and … then we fund the transition.”
Jette also wants to improve how industry and the government handle intellectual property. Both sides have been “sloppy,” he said.
“The government starts using your IP, you start using the government’s IP, you can’t get extricated and we begin having unpleasant complications,” he said. There needs to be movement towards a more commercial model that may involve purchasing licenses from industry, he added.
“I’ve done this on the outside. Show me the box — that’s your IP. Put that in the bid. Show me what the limits of that [are],” he said. “Tell me what you want to do for licensing … [and] we can have conversations.”
Industry can also license intellectual property from the government, he noted. If “we built something and … you want to apply it commercially, you want to apply it to another effort, I’m willing to talk about licensing fees,” he said. “Most people don’t realize that, but the government can get paid for their intellectual property.” (Source: glstrade.com/National Defense)
26 Mar 18. DARPA looks to control drone swarms with VR. Standard practice for piloting a drone has been one operator for each unmanned vehicle. But what if a single operator could control tens or hundreds of drones? That’s a question the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency is working on with its Offensive Swarm-Enabled Tactics program.
As leader of one of the two OFFSET integrator teams selected in October 2017, Raytheon BBN Technologies is creating a virtual reality interface that allows a single user to control large groups of inexpensive unmanned vehicles. Northrop Grumman, the other lead integrator, is also designing, developing and deploying an open architecture for swarm technologies that uses game-based architecture to enable design and integration of swarm tactics, according to DARPA.
Raytheon has tested swarms with as many as 50 drones and plans to grow that number, according to Shane Clark, a scientist at Raytheon and principal investigator for the company’s OFFSET efforts.
“The goal is to allow a single user to actually control, in real time, up to hundreds of air and ground vehicles that have different capabilities or are different models,” Clark told GCN.
To manage the swarm, Raytheon developed a VR interface. In testing, the drones communicate with the “swarm tactician” using a laptop over Wi-Fi, though the plan is to remain communications-platform-agnostic. The tactician interacts with the environment with a HTC Vive and a pair of controllers. Right now, the data is just used for real time decision-making, so there isn’t a storage component, though that could be added in the future, Clark said.
Because interacting with hundreds of individual drones would be complicated, they’re managed in groups. Grouped drones can show their target area, given task, battery life and status of the communications link. Operators can drill down to see information on the individual drones too, Clark said.
The swarm itself is designed to act as a mobile ad-hoc network, with each drone acting as a link connecting the entire swarm together.
The interface is currently capable of simple commands like selecting a subset of the swarm and tasking it to move to a particular area, or asking drones to spin in place to get a sustained view of the surrounding environment. Many of the drones will be outfitted with electro-optical cameras capable of image recognition, and others will be equipped with LiDAR to allow for 3-D mapping.
Raytheon is working on a capability that would allow the operator to use the VR environment to draw around an area to be mapped, select the drones to complete the task and then issue a voice command to map the area, Clark said.
OFFSET is being conducted in a series of “sprints,” and groups of “sprinters” will be selected through the solicitation process to develop applications in several technology areas. The first sprint, released last year, addressed advancements in swarm tactics for a mixed swarm of 50 air and ground robots in an urban environment over 15 to 30 minutes. Relevant capabilities include mapping abilities, locating entry and exit points, deploying sensor networks and maintaining connectivity for warfighters, according to the broad agency announcement.
There have been three contracts awarded this year as part of the OFFSET program — to Soar Technology, Charles River Analytics and Lockheed Martin — according to updates on the original BAA.
The VR environment will be leveraged by different “sprinters” who will be using it along with the AirSim open source flight simulator developed by Microsoft to test the different tactics they’ve been chosen to develop.
“In simulation it’s easy to postulate a new sensor that gives you a particular capability and see how that might inform what sorts or tactics you could accomplish,” Clark said. “One of the examples they gave in the BAA was what if you had a camera that could see through walls, how would that change things?”
“We’re really interested in understanding some of that more speculative technology,” he said, “so that we’re not just building a pile of parts that will become obsolete, but be forward-looking.” (Source: Defense Systems)
28 Mar 18. UK MoD announces disruptive Titanium technology, metalysis. Metal 3D printing received a boost this week with two announcements from the UK. Titanium’s high strength, lightweight and resistance to corrosion make the metal a desirable choice for applications in aerospace, defence and healthcare. However, the cost of titanium makes it prohibitively expensive for wider use.
The FAST-forge initiative, funded by Innovate UK, aims to develop a process to make titanium cheaper and abundant. In turn this will allow the development of lower cost 3D printing materials.
Safran’s Landing gear which will test the application of FAST-forge titanium. Photo via Safran Group.
A “ground-breaking method”
Earlier this week the UK’s Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson gave further details about the project, “Our Armed Forces use titanium in everything from cutting-edge nuclear submarines and fighter jets through to life-changing replacement limbs – but production time and costs mean we haven’t always used it.”
Describing the FAST-forge process as a “ground-breaking method” Williamson added,
Dr Nick Weston from the Department of Materials Science & Engineering at the University of Sheffield is one of the leaders in developing the technology said, “FAST-forge is a disruptive technology that enables near net shape components to be produced from powder or particulate in two simple processing steps.”
The research is also funded with £30,000 from the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) in Porton Down, UK. Matthew Lunt the Principal Scientist for Materials Science at Dstl said, “We’re really excited about this innovation, which could cut the production cost of titanium parts by up to 50%. With this reduction in cost, we could use titanium in submarines, where corrosion resistance would extend the life, or for light-weight requirements like armoured vehicles.”
Metalysis receives $17m to advance 3D printable metal alloy powders
Metalysis, headquartered in Rotherham, South Yorkshire, is also involved in the FAST-forge project. As previously reported, Metalysis is developing the Fray, Farthing, Chen (FFC) Cambridge process, a method that allows the production of metal alloys from lower priced inputs.
Specifically, the FFC process used by Metalysis takes a solid feedstock and can produce a solid product without melting the feedstock. The company believes that the FFC method has application for between 30-40 elements in the periodic table, plus the resulting alloys that can be derived from them.
The FFC method will allow the production of spherical metal powder for metal 3D printing using inputs that cost $2.50/kg rather than the current $70.
This week Metalysis announced further funding of £12m ($17m) to move forward to commercial production under the Generation 4 (“Gen4”) scale expansion project. The funding comes from existing shareholders Woodford Investment Management, Draper Esprit PLC, ETF Partners and Interogo Treasury. Hercules Capital, Inc. (NYSE: HTGC), of California, U.S. are a new investor in Metalysis.
A Metalysis spokesperson gave 3D Printing Industry more details of when commercial production is expected to commence, “We are carrying out ‘first runs’ over the coming weeks, targeting commercial production within the next couple of reporting quarters.”
Much of the the project remains underwraps and details of additive manufacturing partners using metal powders made using the solid-state process remain “commercially sensitive” with limited details available. However, the Metalysis spokesperson explained the project is progressing very well. “Having built Generation 4, there are no real challenges left associated with the technology – we have achieved industrial scale.”
Speaking about the news, Dion Vaughan, CEO of Metalysis, said, “Naturally, we are pleased that Metalysis has attracted financial backing from both new and existing sophisticated institutional investors.”
28 Mar 18. US Army Offers Much Higher Profits For Fast Innovation. If you have innovative technology to sell the Army, the service’s acquisition chief wants you to make more money — if you can deliver, fast. Speaking to the Association of the US Army conference this morning, Bruce Jette announced he’d secured
- new grants for innovative small businesses, which he started awarding at the conference; and
- new funding to help promising technologies cross the “valley of death” between lab work and adoption by a weapons program.
Looking forward, the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics, & Technology — known as the ASA (ALT) — also proposed
- better protection for companies’ intellectual property; and
- higher profit margins for contractors that can deliver their products faster.
He also urged procurement officials to talk more with their counterparts in industry — a dialogue that’s been chilled by fears it could compromise competitions — and announced new rules on how Army-run laboratories should allocate their research funds.
The Army Incubator
The most immediate source of money? “The Army Technology Incubator & Accelerator has been hearing pitches all week” at the AUSA conference, Jette said, and even awarding contracts to get particularly promising innovations quickly. A new initiative aimed at companies without much defense experience, he said, these are similar in size to Small Business Innovation Research(SBIR) Phase I contracts.
At this conference, Jette said, the incubator’s focus is on technologies relevant to command and control — i.e. the Army network — and precision navigation and timing — i.e. ways to locate yourself in space and time when an adversary jams GPS. At AUSA’s large annual conference in DC this October, he went on, the incubator will also be looking at Artificial Intelligence, Directed Energy (i.e. lasers and microwaves), materials science, and the Internet of Things. The incubator will also start using non-AUSA venues to find innovators, he said.
The Valley of Death
The Pentagon has long struggled to get its weapons programs to adopt new technologies coming out of the laboratory. The labs, whose culture rewards breakthroughs, are enthusiastic about their innovations, but program managers, whose culture does not reward risk, often doubt that adding new tech to their weapons system will be worth the cost in money and time. Jette announced two initiatives to try to bridge this institutional and cultural divide.
First, “we are going to establish a fund specifically to cross the valley of death,” Jette said. If a program manager is considering adding a new technology but doesn’t have the budget for it, he or she can ask for additional money from the new fund. Then senior Army leaders will decide whether it’s worth the cost and potential delay.
“We’re going to have to be selective on those things we’re actually going to transition from research to programs… deliberately and with forethought,” he emphasized.
The Army is also working to “align” its Science & Technology (S&T) spending to its Big Six modernization priorities and existing programs. Under a new policy Jette is about to sign, each lab director must ensure 60 percent of basic and applied research (categories 6.1 and 6.2) must have “a relatively clear relationship” to some uniquely military purpose, he said. As research advances, the link has to get tighter: 80 percent of advanced technology and component development (6.3 and 6.4) must be endorsed by an existing program of record that’s interested in adopting it. Lab directors will still have freedom to allocate the remaining S&T funding (40 percent of 6.1 and 6.2, 20 percent of 6.3. and 6.4) at their discretion.
As software becomes increasing crucial to military capabilities from the F-35 stealth fighter down to handheld radios, intellectual property becomes increasingly vital to defense contractors. If your company’s competitive advantage is you stamp out sheet metal more efficiently, it’s probably hard for rivals to replicate your factory. If your advantage is superior software, however, it’s easy to copy your code.
“We’ve been sloppy — on both sides of the table — on how we manage our intellectual property,” Jette said.
Typically, when government and industry both contribute software to a military system, the two sets of code become intertangled, each interacting with and dependent on the other in myriad ways. Jette wants to move to what’s called an open architecture approach, in which each party contributes a self-contained module of software which interfaces with the other modules in a small number of clearly defined ways, according to some pre-established government or industry standard. As long as your module’s interface — its outer shell, as it were — meets the standard and connects to the rest of the system, no one needs to know the details of the code “inside” — where your IP resides.
When government does know a company’s IP, Jette added, officials need to be more scrupulous about protecting it. All too often, he said, when public documents like Requests For Information (RFIs) and Requests For Proposals (RFPs) lay out what the government wants, they’ll divulge key details of a competitor’s IP.
Higher Profit Margins
“The Amy is the largest socialist organization defending capitalism on earth,” Jette said. Better performance doesn’t translate directly into pay raises, “money is not a big motivator,” and profit is often seen as “a dirty sinful thing that you guys want” — to be minimized as much as possible. (Though Jette didn’t say so, another persistent factor is Congress’s occasional eagerness to beat up “greedy” contractors).
As a result, the Defense Department tends to keep profits margins low, around 10 percent. Companies respond by dragging out programs as long as possible, because if they can’t get a bigger percentage, they can at least increase the total expenditure they get a percentage of.
But in the commercial world, Jette argues, many companies — especially the most innovative — are willing to pay a premium to get things done fast. If a company can deliver results in half the time, it’s probably worth letting them take twice as much percentage in profit.
“I want to start looking for contracts where we can do that,” Jette said.
The Army is urgently accelerating weapons programs from automatic rifles to robotic tanks. “I’m very open to looking at how we can improve your profits as long as you can improve my deliveries.”
(Source: Breaking Defense.com)
26 Mar 18. Harris unveils two-channel leader radio for US Army. Harris Corporation has unveiled its new two-channel leader radio designed specifically for the Army at the Association of the U.S. Army’s Global Force Symposium this week, with expectations it will be chosen as one of the two radio deisgns to be purchased by the service soon.
The Army is expected to move forward with procuring two-channel leader radios in the May timeframe. The new contract could be worth nearly $4bn.
The process was held up due to a protest filed by Persistent Systems, which builds mobile network radio technology, last October. The Government Accountability Office denied the protest earlier this year.
The radios are expected to have the capability to communicate with Single Channel Ground and Airborne Radio (SINCGARS) and Soldier Radio Waveform (SRW). The radio is the successor to the single-channel Rifleman Radio, currently in limited use, but the service is deviating from full scale acquisition of the single-channel radio.
Harris and Thales were both selected to provide single-channel radios to the Army through competitively awarded contracts for lot orders.
Harris and Thales will again compete for orders for the two-channel radio when the Army does move forward by awarding both companies indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity contracts.
“It remains to be seen what exactly [the Army’s] acquisition strategy is, but in the short-term, we understand they are going to effectively amend the IDIQ for the single-channel radio to provide the leader radio to both Harris and Thales and over time we will compete for those orders,” Dana Mehnert, Harris Corporation’s senior vice president and chief global business development officer, told Defense News in a recent interview.
The Army moved away from procuring a single-channel radio because there are “a lot of advantages” to having both channels instantiated in a single radio, Mehnert said. “You can run two missions at once, so you can be getting live video on one channel and you are communicating, coordinating fires on the other channel.”
Additionally, a two-channel radio has the ability to crossband communications up and down the chain of command, Mehnert said, “so you can have coming in from one source, one waveform or one frequency and you can immediately retransmit it to another person.”
The leader radio is based off a radio the company is already providing to Special Operations.
Harris’ AN/PRC-163 Army Radio design has flexibility to add waveforms and new capabilities down the road. While interoperability with SINCGARS is necessary, as there are a half a m SINCGARS radios out there around the world, so is ensuring the radio can work with the established constellations of satellites such as Mobile User Objective System (MUOS).
“Our perspective is, the key thing is that you get a radio platform that can run the waveforms that you need today and will need in the future,” Mehnert said, whether they are waveforms Harris creates itself or conjured up by the government or a third party. “Your radio should be able to use all of them,” he added.
Room for growth
The leader radio has enough headspace to add capabilities over time, Jeff Smith, Harris’ vice president of business development for the U.S. Army and Special Operations Command, said in the same interview. “This radio has enormous capability to a point we can envision having signals based threat warning capability in the radio, [intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance] video feed module capability and, here in the near future, Iridium SATCOM mission module capability.”
While Harris is focused on the leader radio for the Army, it’s also looking at what it can provide in the future as the Army restructures and re-energizes its network. The service made a drastic move to curb its tactical network – the Warfighter Information Network-Tactical – and prioritize capability that can survive in a contested electromagnetic spectrum.
Harris is confident the Army will move forward with the HMS Manpack radio and the leader radio as key components to the lower tactical network going forward. Harris also provides a new version of the HMS Manpack to the Army.
The Army’s new network strategy emphasizes the desire to recapitalize its high-frequency radios with a next-generation HF radio capability. “We have a brand new next-gen HF radio that is ideally suited for that,” Mehnert said.
Harris even provided the Army’s first Security Force Assistance Brigade deployment to Europe with its AN/PRC-160 HF radio. The radio provides 10 times the data rates of the previous generation radio, Mehnert said.
“That is in the early stages, sort of remains to be seen how they are going to go forward with the program,” he said.
Harris is also watching the Army’s long-awaited next move on what it will do to acquire an airborne-tier capability. The company had developed a radio for the Army’s Small Airborne Networking Radio program based on its ground-based radios, but the service is moving away from procuring SANR in favor of something else.
“We still need a new airborne radio platform,” Mehnert said, adding the company has a multi-channel radio family on both ground-based and airborne platforms, “so we are excited to see what future direction they go on the airborne side.” (Source: glstrade.com/Defense News)
26 Mar 18. Raytheon developing technology to control drone swarms. Scores of unmanned vehicles could cooperate for complex missions. Under DARPA’s Offensive Swarm-Enabled Tactics program, Raytheon (NYSE:RTN) BBN Technologies is developing technology to direct and control swarms of small, autonomous air and ground vehicles. The technology includes:
- a visual interface that allows “drag and drop” creation and manipulation of drone tactics
- a game-based simulator to evaluate those tactics
- a physical swarm testbed to perform live tactics evaluations
“Operators use speech or gestures to control the swarm. This is a tremendous advantage during operations,” said Shane Clark, Ph.D. and principal investigator on the program. “The system provides sensor feeds and mission status indicators for complete situational awareness.”
The flexible, scalable programming software and simulation environment means users can coordinate drone behaviors in teams composed of different vehicle types that use various sensors.
DARPA is inviting additional organizations to participate in OFFSET as “sprinters” through an open Broad Agency Announcement. Sprinters can create their own novel swarm tactics and the Raytheon BBN team will work with them to evaluate the tactics in simulation, and possibly field them for live trials.
In 2016, Raytheon, as part of the Office of Naval Research LOCUST program, conducted demonstrations that successfully netted together 30 Coyote UAVs in a swarm. Raytheon BBN Technologies is a wholly owned subsidiary of Raytheon Company.
26 Mar 18. Can’t Stop The Signal: Army Strips Down Network To Survive Major War. The revolution in warfare will not be televised. In a future great power conflict, American command posts won’t have the live video feeds our officers got accustomed to in Afghanistan and Iraq. Unlike the Taliban, Russia and China can shoot down our drones, jam our transmissions, and hack our computers. So to prepare to fight them, we need a very different communications network — one the US Army is now studying how to build.
Instead of video, the screens will show minimalist messages and abstract icons on digital maps, updated by telegraphic bursts of data designed to avoid detection. Instead of constant micromanagement, there’ll be a taut silence broken by terse litanies of codewords, soldiers getting on and off the radio before the enemy can trace the transmission. Instead of direct uplinks to bulky, vulnerable satellites high in geostationary orbit, signals will bounce from low-orbiting mini-satellites to relay drones to ground antennas, following dozens of possible paths, too many for the enemy to block them all. Instead of specialist soldiers and contractor field service reps laboriously configuring and reconfiguring the network, artificially intelligent software will adapt autonomously to avoid jamming, hacking, and interference.
That’s the vision of the Army’s future network I walked away with from my recent discussions with service experts and officers, including Maj. Gen. Peter Gallagher, the hand-picked head of the service’s Cross-Functional Team for the network. After months of silence, the Army’s been making CFT leaders available to selected press ahead of its major modernization announcements at AUSA’s 2018 Global Force conference in Huntsville, Ala.
“We’ve got to discipline ourselves,” Gallagher told me in an interview. Commanders need to ask for only what’s both necessary practicable “based on the environment you are in and the type of fight you’re in.”
The Army has many missions, from disaster relief to urban warfare. In some of them, live full motion video is both helpful — say, to tell a terrorist with a gun from a civilian with a broom — and possible. But in a high-intensity, fast-moving fight against a great power adversary, he said, the network will be under attack, so you have to prioritize to ensure that at least three essentials get through:
- secure voice, so troops can talk to each other, because typing a text message under fire isn’t always practical, and nothing tells you whether a subordinate is confident or cracking up like his tone of voice;
- Position Location Information (PLI) that’s not reliant on the Global Positioning System, so you know where your people are even when GPS is jammed; and
- telegraphic updates on each unit’s status and enemies spotted so you can populate your digital map with what the Army calls a Common Operational Picture.
Instead of optimizing the network to provide the best user experience in normal circumstances — the current standard — you optimize it to provide acceptable performance in extreme circumstances. It’s the difference between watching a baseball game in live full-color video on your cellphone and watching one of those sports apps that shows an abstract baseball diamond with the names of players moving around it. Sure, it’s better to really watch the game, but the shorthand symbology tells you how the game is going, and its tiny data packets will get through when the video can’t.
Hiding In Plain Sight
Keeping your transmissions to the minimum is only half the battle. You also need to transmit them in a way that’s as hard as possible for the enemy to detect, trace, and block.
DARPA has been leading the way on new “Low Probability of Exploitation” waveforms that are harder to detect and intercept, Gallagher said. The electronic warfare corps can use its sensors to figure out both what the enemy is doing electromagnetically and which of our transmissions are too easy to detect. And artificial intelligence can help by automatically retuning radios so they use portions of the radio frequency spectrum where the enemy is less active.
The goal, Gallagher told me, is a network so low-profile and adaptable “that we have the ability to hide in plain sight.”
Hiding in plain sight also means moving away from the bulky, easily detected, easily targeted communications infrastructure the military got used to at its Forward Operating Bases in Afghanistan and Iraq. In Gallagher’s words, you don’t want everything in your system to be a “big green box” labeled “US ARMY.”
Instead, the Army should make use of civilian communications systems “We want to be unpredictable [and] use the entire collective communications apparatus on the planet to our advantage,” Gallagher said.
An enemy with a telescope and some knowledge of Newtonian mechanics can probably figure out where the US military’s communications satellites are. It’s much harder to figure which data packets out of trillions moving through commercial satellites, cell phone networks, and other civilian infrastructure might belong to US troops. It’s hiding your needles in a needle factory.
The military will still launch its own satellites, but they’ll be different, smaller, lighter, and more expendable. It will also create an “aerial layer” of drones and blimps (aerostats) to act as flying relays, where the enemy’s anti-aircraft firepower permits. And it can use ground-based transmitters, including so-called pseudolites — short for “pseudo-satellites” — that transmit GPS-like navigational signals over shorter distances and therefore at higher powers than the easily jammed satellites.
GPS is so vulnerable and so critical, in fact, that one of the eight Cross Functional Teams is devoted solely to Assured Position & Timing (APNT). Besides pseudolites, the APNT team told me in written responses to my questions, they’re looking at a host of methods: using radio transmissions between units and vehicles to measure distance and bearing; using advanced sensors to navigate by the stars like sailors; or even quantum computing. The CFT plans to conduct an industry day this fall to look for a wide range of solutions. No one thing will perfectly replace GPS, so the Army needs to piece together multiple partial solutions.
Being open to many new options, and being able to update to add new technologies as they emerge, is important not just for navigation but for the entire future network. Overall, Gallagher said, the system needs to be highly flexible, able to plug and play new capabilities — mini-satellites, mini-drones, local civilian cell towers — as needed. (The term of art for this is open architecture, a fraught field in itself). Different units will have different communications capabilities in different situations and on different missions, rather than there being a standard-issue solution Army-wide.
So where does that leave the Army’s current tactical network, WIN-T? While the service has stopped buying new WIN-T kit, it will still complete fielding WIN-T (in two versions) to all its combat brigades to act as a baseline for future modernization.
“It gives us a foundation,” Gallagher said, “an Internet Protocol (IP) based tactical network transport (layer)” — the part of a network that moves the data from application to application, node to node.
But is WIN-T really flexible enough to serve as the backbone for all the future capabilities the Army wants? Or will it have to be ripped up by the roots and replaced with something built from the start as an open architecture?
“We’re actually taking a look at that,” Gallagher told me. “I don’t think we can afford to scrap it and replace it completely.
Instead, Gallagher would rather replace WIN-T piece by piece, contract by contract, as the Army modernizes it — a new router here, a new transmitter there — until the whole thing is gradually transformed, much like the famous story of Lincoln’s axe.
What Gallagher doesn’t envision is another Acquisition Category 1 mega-contract to build an all new network. “Coming up with this next big ACAT-1 program that replaces WINT-T, I’m not sure that’s the answer,” he told me. “It’s a multitude of options…. that’s what we’re really trying to get after.” (Source: Breaking Defense.com)
26 Mar 18. JSFs to spur RAAF to become fully networked force. The RAAF had struggled to turn itself into a fully networked and integrated force but now had a catalyst to achieve that change – the new F-35A Lightning Joint Strike Fighter. Deputy Chief of Air Force Air Vice-Marshal Gavin Turnbull told the Air Power Conference in Canberra this week that the RAAF had talked about network-centric warfare and importance of integrated operations since 2000.
But it had struggled to generate the cultural mindset or technical ability to realise either.
“We needed a catalyst to create and sustain a transformational imperative. The F-35A is that catalyst. It began as the only advanced platform on our horizon but is now one of the many tools driving cultural and intellectual change we need,” AVM Turnbull said.
“F-35’s capacity for networking, its ability to fuse data and present information to the pilot and others on the network changes the way we must consider the kill chain and how we design and manage operations.”
He said F-35 was just one element driving this reformation inside RAAF.
The new EA-18G Growler electronic attack aircraft was also a significant force for change.
“In the digital change, the electronic spectrum and the information it bears will be an integral part of warfare and an essential one to master,” AVM Turnbull said.
“At times air force has talked a good game on its use of the EW spectrum but we never truly could master it as a combat effect that covered the spectrum of operations. With Growler that is changing now.”
AVM Turnbull said Growler could was both halfback and forward, able to carve out a single slice of an adversaries EW spectrum or block large swathes.
“It is something that we have not had to deal with the in the past and we need to be careful we don’t shut down our systems in the process,” he said.
Much of what’s possible in this arena remains top secret.
One speaker, Fergus Hanson, head of the International Cyber Policy Centre at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, gave some hints about how cyber could support air operations.
“An example is cyber Wild Weasel operations,” he said. Wild Weasel is a US term for suppression of enemy air defences.
Hanson said digital AESA (active electronically scanned array) radars – used on F-35, Super Hornet, Wedgetail and Growler – could be used in EW and cyber applications.
“Given the right knowledge of adversary systems, an AESA on a Super Hornet or JSF opens the possibility of getting inside others’ radar systems and making mischief by generating false signals or masking your own signature,” he said.
“This sort of exploitation could be put to a range of malicious applications.” (Source: Defence Connect)
24 Mar 18. TMD offers revolutionary RF solid state amplifiers for latest scientific and medical applications. After a successful first participation last year, West London based microwave and RF manufacturer TMD Technologies Limited (TMD) – in keeping with its successful and on-going expansion into different fields and market areas – will be attending this year’s International Particle Accelerator Conference (IPAC) in Vancouver.
Products for mainstream science
The IPAC event gives TMD the ideal occasion to highlight its potential in providing cutting edge products for mainstream science as well as the opportunity to meet and interact with relevant accelerator scientists, engineers, students, and industry representatives. TMD’s modular architecture, solid state RF amplifiers employ innovative power combining methods to give many user benefits:
The systems are very compact, typically one 19-inch rack/100 kW (pulse), with frequencies available from 20 MHz to 1.3 GHz. Operating as CW/pulse systems (with long pulse systems available) they have a wall plug efficiency competitive with tube technology.
With high MTBF and low MTTR, these highly efficient amplifiers are robustly resistant to VSWR mismatch, are easily maintainable with ‘hot swap’ availability, and exhibit no loss of power from any single element failure. The amplifiers can be combined to provide MW power capability.
Oxley Group Ltd
Oxley specialises in the design and manufacture of advanced electronic and electro-optic components and systems for air, land and sea applications within the military sector. Established in 1942, Oxley has manufacturing facilities in the UK and USA and enjoys representation worldwide. The company’s products include night vision and LED lighting, data capture systems and electronic components. Oxley has pioneered the development of night vision compatible lighting. It offers a total package incorporating optical filters, equipment modification, cockpit and external lighting along with fleet wide upgrade services including engineering, installation, support, maintenance and training. The company’s long experience of manufacturing night vision lighting and LED indicators, coupled with advances in LED technology, has enabled it to develop LED solutions to replace incandescent and fluorescent lighting in existing applications as well as becoming the lighting option of choice in new applications such as portable military hospitals, UAV control stations and communication shelters.
SATELLITE SYSTEMS, SATCOM AND SPACE SYSTEMS UPDATE
Web Page sponsor Viasat
19 Mar 18. Viasat Sells Their 6 to 18 Meter Multi-Band Antennas to CPI’s Antenna Systems Division. The Antenna Systems Division (ASD) of Communications & Power Industries LLC (CPI) has signed an agreement to purchase the limited-motion satellite antenna family from Viasat Inc. (Nasdaq: VSAT).
CPI ASD will acquire Viasat’s 6 meter to 18 meter multi-band antennas, providing a valuable extension of CPI ASD’s larger-diameter antenna product line, while enabling Viasat to focus on antenna and communications technologies for the growing broadband services market. The purchase price for the antennas was not disclosed.
Per the agreement, Viasat will transfer a range of limited-motion antennas at sizes including 6, 7.3, 9.1, 11.3, 13.5 and 16/18 meters, plus a 3.9 meter truck-mounted antenna, all designed for multi-band operation at C-, Ku-band and DBS frequency bands. These products will be integrated into the CPI ASD SATCOM product line, which currently extends from nomadic 2.5 meter antennas up to 9.4 meter multi-band Earth stations. CPI ASD will manufacture the large-diameter antenna products at the company’s facilities in Whitby, Ontario, Canada.
The sale of the limited-motion GEO Satcom antennas will allow Viasat to exit a non-core business in antenna manufacturing to focus on their Ka-band services business and related technologies. As part of the agreement, CPI will serve as a source for Viasat in the fulfillment of satellite ground system orders. The agreement is focused on the purchase of antenna technologies and is not expected to have an impact on employee headcount at either company. The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions and is expected to close within thirty days.
CPI ASD president Tony Russell said that Viasat has an outstanding reputation for innovation, and their large-diameter SATCOM antenna products and technology are a natural complement to those offered by CPI’s Antenna Systems Division. Adding their proven products to CPI Antenna Systems Division’s portfolio will allow CPI to expand the product line to address the broadest range of customer’s needs for high-precision SATCOM antenna systems.”
Kevin Harkenrider, president, Commercial Networks at Viasat, commented that their large-diameter product line has demonstrated years of consistent success in the market and will now fit squarely into CPI ASD’s product roadmap and growth objectives. With the company’s focus transitioning to new broadband markets, Viasat sees this deal as a win-win for both companies. (Source: Satnews)
29 Mar 18. U.S. regulator approves SpaceX plan for broadband satellite services. The top U.S. telecommunications regulator on Thursday gave formal approval to a plan by Elon Musk’s SpaceX to build a global broadband network using satellites. “This is the first approval of a U.S.-licensed satellite constellation to provide broadband services using a new generation of low-Earth orbit satellite technologies,” the Federal Communications Commission said in a statement.
The system proposed by privately held SpaceX, as Space Exploration Holdings is known, will use 4,425 satellites, the FCC said.
SpaceX did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
FCC Chairman Ajit Pai in February had endorsed the SpaceX effort, saying: “Satellite technology can help reach Americans who live in rural or hard-to-serve places where fiber optic cables and cell towers do not reach.”
The Federal Aviation Administration said on Wednesday that SpaceX plans to launch a Falcon 9 rocket on April 2 at Cape Canaveral, Florida. “The rocket will carry a communications satellite,” the FAA said.
The FCC said SpaceX has been granted authority to use frequencies in the Ka (20/30 GHz) and Ku (11/14 GHz) bands.
Musk, who is also the founder and chief executive of electric automaker Tesla Inc, said in 2015 that SpaceX planned to launch a satellite-internet business that would help fund a future city on Mars.
SpaceX wanted to create a “global communications system” that Musk compared to “rebuilding the internet in space.” It would be faster than traditional internet connections, he said.
Over the past year, the FCC has approved requests by OneWeb, Space Norway and Telesat to access the U.S. market to provide broadband services using satellite technology that the FCC said “holds promise to expand internet access in remote and rural areas across the country.”
About 14 million rural Americans and 1.2 million Americans on tribal lands lack mobile broadband even at relatively slow speeds.
FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel, a Democrat, said on Thursday that the agency needs “to prepare for the proliferation of satellites in our higher altitudes.”
She highlighted the issue of orbital debris and said the FCC “must coordinate more closely with other federal actors to figure out what our national policies are for this jumble of new space activity.”
28 Mar 18. Airbus says UK participation in Galileo project post-Brexit is critical. Europe’s biggest satellite maker urges Brussels to rethink plans to kick Britain out of space programmes. Airbus has slammed attempts by Brussels to freeze the UK out of the EU’s €10bn Galileo navigation project after Brexit, warning that British participation in European space programmes is critical to partnership on security and defence. Tom Enders, Airbus chief executive, has urged the European Commission to rethink its proposal to exclude the UK from access to Galileo’s encrypted services or industrial participation after March 2019. He called on both sides to find a long-term solution to retain Britain’s participation in all space programmes. “The UK’s continued participation in the EU Galileo programme will ensure security and defence ties are strengthened for the benefit of Europe as a whole, during a period of increasing threats to our security and geopolitical instability,” he said in a statement to the Financial Times. Describing the UK as “one of only two serious powers in Europe” on defence alongside France, Mr Enders insisted: “Maintaining and enhancing security and defence ties across Europe is vital for all citizens across the continent. Irrespective of the UK’s membership or not of the European Union, the UK is an important part of Europe geographically, economically and culturally, and must play an integral role for our mutual security. “The UK needs to be able to continue in current and future European security and defence programmes to strengthen the successful partnership that already exists.” Mr Enders comments come as London and Brussels are locked in a dispute over UK participation in Galileo. The row follows a letter to the UK from the European Commission in January which explained that it would be inappropriate to divulge highly sensitive information about post-2019 plans for Galileo’s highly encrypted public regulated service to a departing member state. Without a security agreement allowing for the exchange of highly sensitive information this would be against EU rules, according to EU officials. The PRS which has an added layer of security, is designed to be able to function when all other navigation services are being jammed. “If the commission shared this information with the UK (which will become a third country) it would irretrievably compromise the integrity of certain elements of these systems for many years after the withdrawal of the UK,” the commission said, according to an official who had seen the letter. Airbus is one of the world’s biggest communications satellite manufacturers, claiming roughly a quarter of the global market and with substantial manufacturing facilities in the UK. Its Surrey Satellites Technology subsidiary makes the payload — or brains — for the current generation of Galileo satellites. Galileo’s ground services are managed by Airbus in Portsmouth. Mr Enders comments reflect growing industry concern that UK companies are being locked out of the bidding for lucrative Galileo contracts to protect security elements of the satellite programme from being “irretrievably compromised” after Brexit. The UK government has signalled its desire to remain in the Galileo programme, as well as the earth observation platform Copernicus. These are seen as crucial to meeting the UK’s target of claiming 10 per cent of the global space industry by 2030. Tenders for the renewal of Galileo’s ground services contract are due in a few weeks and there are fears that Airbus will have to shift work to France in order to be considered for the contract. Galileo is Europe’s rival to the global positioning system developed and controlled by the US, used by millions of consumer devices around the world in a multibillion-dollar satnav market. It is seen as a vital back-up system for both civil and military purposes when it becomes fully functional after 2020. In particular its enhanced encryption — making it highly resistant to efforts either to jam its signal or to spoof the navigation system into believing it is somewhere else — are considered key by the US, the UK and other EU member states. The UK has so far done well out of the Galileo project, launched in 2003, funding roughly 12 per cent of the annual budget and receiving a work share of more than 15 per cent.
27 Mar 18. Relativity Space Raises $35m Series B Funding Led by Playground Global as It Extends Full-Stack Rocket Production Leadership and Reinvents Satellite Launch and Deployment. Relativity today announced the close of its $35m Series B financing, led by Playground Global with full participation from existing Series A investors Social Capital, Y Combinator Continuity and Mark Cuban. The funding will be used to grow the company’s scalable, automated process for manufacturing and launching entire rockets from conception to production. The company has proven itself as an emerging disruptor in the $7bn satellite constellation launch market and is working with leading commercial and government entities around the world. This new round brings Relativity’s total venture funding raised to over $45m.
The 3D printing and automation of rocket production was inevitable. The aerospace industry has relied on heavy, inflexible tooling and high-touch labor since its inception. As the demand for space access increases, new approaches must be developed to accelerate the pace of progress. Relativity has fundamentally rethought the entire process to build and fly rockets and is disrupting 60 years of aerospace tradition.
Since forming in 2015, Relativity has built the world’s largest metal 3D printer and completed over 100 rocket engine test fires on their quest to build their own rocket constructed almost entirely of 3D printed parts. This goes beyond just cubesats. The custom-built rockets launch Earth-orbiting satellites with large payloads (i.e. a satellite the size of a small car), six times the size of its competitors’ abilities. Relativity stands apart from other launchers in the space by not just employing 3D printing as a supplemental technique, but for over 95% of major components. Using machine learning in combination with their custom software, hardware and proprietary metal alloys, Relativity has cut rocket part count from 100,000 to 1,000 and dramatically reduced labor and timelines by orders of magnitude. Relativity’s process disrupts the entire tech stack from design algorithms, supply chain, inventory management, quality control, and the very way raw materials form themselves into complex aerospace products. It is this ingenuity that will save ms of dollars for each of Relativity’s customers at every launch.
“The future of space requires faster, cheaper, more flexible rocket production and launch that is simply not possible with traditional approaches,” said Tim Ellis, CEO and Co-founder of Relativity. “By leveraging an all-in approach to 3D printing, we will fully automate the production of rockets. This will change the way the launch industry views lead times, product iteration rates, and costs. Our technology development is also on-path toward scaling and sustaining an interplanetary society. We will build toward this amazing future far faster with our new capabilities.”
“Relativity is shaking up an industry that hasn’t experienced this level of innovation in decades,” said Jory Bell, Investment Partner at Playground Global and Relativity Board Member. “We are excited to be a part of a company that is taking a radical approach and we believe Relativity brings significant value to the aerospace ecosystem.”
The new funding serves as a catalyst for Relativity to continue its growth in the satellite constellation market and expand its partnerships. Relativity stands apart from others in the launcher space who’ve focused on small payloads at the expense of margins; the company is concentrating on larger payloads with unprecedented flexibility, lead time and low cost — one of the most difficult problems in aerospace but also one of the most lucrative.
The new funding will also further Relativity’s already strong partnerships; the company has over $1bn worth of MOUs and LOIs committed from leading commercial and government entities around the world. Relativity is the only venture-backed startup selected for the National Space Council Users Advisory Group through which Relativity CEO and Co-founder Tim Ellis serves as an advisor to the White House. The company was recently awarded a first of its kind, 20-year test site partnership with NASA Stennis valued at over $30 m for exclusive lease and use of the 25 acre E4 Test Complex. This is Stennis’ first CSLA agreement and enables Relativity to develop, qualify, and acceptance test up to 36 complete rockets per year and includes an option to expand up to 250 acres. Since January 2018, Relativity has quadrupled their infrastructure footprint size going from 10,000 square feet of manufacturing and office space to over 40,000.
By creating a fundamental shift in how quickly and inexpensively rockets are designed, constructed and launched, Relativity is forever changing the aerospace industry and paving the way for the future of humanity in space. (Source: BUSINESS WIRE)
26 Mar 18. SSL bags Amos-8 and BSAT-4b manufacturing contracts. Satellite manufacturer Space Systems Loral on March 26 announced two satellite operators contracted the company to build geostationary telecommunications satellites ahead of fast-approaching 2020 deadlines.
Israeli fleet operator Spacecom selected SSL to build Amos-8, a Ku- and Ka-band satellite for television broadcast and data connectivity services, and to have the satellite on orbit in 27 months.
Japan’s Broadcasting Satellite System Corporation, BSAT, tasked SSL with building BSAT-4b, a backup satellite that needs to be in orbit ahead of the Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo, which start in July 2020.
Amos-8: a win for SSL, but a major loss for Israel Aerospace Industries
Spacecom said earlier this month it was weeks away from ordering Amos-8 to bring the operator’s fleet up to four fully owned satellites. In a notice to the Tel Aviv stock exchange, Spacecom said it is paying $112m for the satellite, along with a ground control system, launch support services, and operational support of the satellite over its lifetime.
Spacecom is currently borrowing AsiaSat-8, rebranded as Amos-7, at a cost of $22m a year until 2020 to fill a hole in its coverage after Amos-6 was destroyed along with a SpaceX Falcon 9 in a September 2016 pre-launch explosion. The AsiaSat contract includes the option for a one-year extension, but Spacecom would prefer to return the satellite as soon as possible.
Spacecom said it will pay SSL a bonus if the company can build the satellite faster than the contract’s deadline. If Amos-8 falls behind, however, SSL will be penalized for the delay, Spacecom said.
SSL’s receipt of the Amos-8 contract is a blow to Israel’s domestic satellite manufacturer, Israel Aerospace Industries, which built Amos-6 but has struggled to maintain its telecom satellite manufacturing business.
In a statement provided to SpaceNews, IAI said it proposed a “state-of-the-art satellite which responds to the needs of the State of Israel,” but that the proposal was based on state involvement and funding it did not receive.
“Once the Government of Israel has decided not to provide the funding for the project, IAI stood no chance of competing against the pricing of foreign companies,” IAI said. “In the absence government support, Israel stands to lose a national asset of aerospace and satellite knowhow and capabilities, which has been nurtured over decades of research and development.”
Amos-8 follows another Spacecom order, Amos-17, that went to a non-Israeli manufacturer. Boeing Satellite Systems International is building Amos-17 ahead of a 2019 SpaceX launch.
Spacecom has a contract option to launch Amos-8 on a Falcon 9 rocket in the second half of 2020 using funds previously paid to SpaceX for the launch of Amos-6.
B-SAT backs up Olympic broadcast plans with incumbent supplier
Tokyo-based B-SAT, whose largest shareholder is the Japan Broadcasting Corporation NHK, plans to broadcast the 2020 summer olympics in ultra-HD — a level of quality that brings more detail but requires more capacity to distribute.
Satellite operators with large broadcast businesses have over the past two years begun trialing and launching their first 4K ultra-HD channels, which deliver four times the resolution as HD broadcasts. NHK is one of the frontrunners in ultra-HD, pursuing not only 4K, but also 8K which is 16 times higher resolution than HD.
Artist’s rendition of BSAT-4b. Credit: SSL/Maxar Technologies
B-SAT operates a fleet of four satellites, and uses the first three — BSAT-3a, BSAT-3b and BSAT-3c — for 2K broadcasts. The company said March 26 that it plans to start regular 4K and 8K broadcasts with BSAT-4a, an SSL-built satellite, this December.
“SSL completed BSAT-4a ahead of schedule and it is successfully operating on orbit,” Takashi Yabashi, B-SAT’s president and chief executive officer, said in a statement. “We are pleased to extend our very good relationship with SSL to continue our partnership on the BSAT-4b spacecraft.”
BSAT awarded SSL a contract to build BSAT-4a in June 2015. The satellite launched on an Ariane 5 in September 2017, or 27 months later. SSL said BSAT-4b will be similar to its predecessor, providing high-performance Ku-band broadcasting services from the 110 degrees east orbital location.
(Source: Defense News Early Bird/Space News)
23 Mar 18. DARPA seeks resilient constellation of satellites. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency is seeking information on new technologies it can use to manage the sharing of missions across large constellations of inexpensive low-earth orbit satellites for the Defense Department.
The distributed approach to networked satellites would provide “both redundancy and resiliency” even though it “requires much more complex management to fully optimize their performance, especially in a dynamic or tactical environment,” DARPA said in its request for information.
A potential solution could be increased autonomy and machine learning, the agency explained.
Among the technologies and concepts DARPA is considering to manage a mission across multiple satellites are:
- Autonomous operation of satellites in multiple orbital planes with multiple communications links, multiple ground stations, and/or multiple remote (tactical) users even when a ground station command link unavailable.
- On-orbit data cloud and autonomous management of dynamic, distributed data storage and processing functions across multiple satellites.
- The ability for constellations to autonomously reconfigure if some satellites lose some functionality or the mission changes.
- On-orbit processors with lower cost components.
This is not the first time DARPA has shown interest in constellations of small, low-earth orbit satellites. Its 2012 Space Enabled Effects for Military Engagements (SeeMe) program aimed to develop a constellation of up to 24 lightweight satellites that could supply space-based tactical information and imagery to warfighters in the field.
Responses to this RFI are due March 29. A subset of submitters will be invited to a Space Autonomy Workshop to help further identify technology challenges and development strategies. It is tentatively scheduled for April 24-26, 2018, in San Diego. (Source: Defense Systems)
24 Mar 18. The US Army’s newest satellite antenna is remarkably simple. The Army wants to move away from the static command posts that were common during the last 17 years of counterinsurgency fighting. In the future, forces will have to move, shoot and communicate in 30-minute increments against near peer threats, leaders say, meaning systems will have to be simple for general purpose soldiers. Contractors likely won’t be able to assist in the field as they had in the past.
But one development Army leaders are excited about the Transportable Tactical Command Communications, or T2C2, which was recently awarded full-rate production. T2C2, developed by GATR, which was recently bought by Cubic, will be the Army’s standard for early entry communications.
Cubic’s CEO said he is pleased with the full-rate production decision and sees additional opportunities for the technology.
“The Army has stated that they’re going to buy some 800 terminals for T2C2, but I see with the convergence of SATCOM that they’ll be other opportunities so the T2C2 umbrella will broaden,” Brad Feldmann told C4ISRNET in an interview at the Satellite 2018 conference in Washington, D.C., in early March.
“In addition to moving command and control data, per se, I think the Army has a whole bunch of different satellite ground terminals and certainly the GATR solution is potential for those.”
The solution, Feldmann explained, is the first tri-band solution providing Ku-band, Ka band and X band. Feldmann also said the solution was created with usability in mind so that soldiers could operate it with minimal or no field service representatives.
During an operational test last February, he said, two soldiers in Alaska with minimal training set the system up in 20 minutes.
“Soldiers were out there in four degree [temperatures]. They were able to set up, bring the entire capably, not just the antenna, but bring it into the network in less than 30 minutes,” Col. Gregory Coile, project manager tactical networks, told reporters during a visit to Fort Myer March 19 for a demonstration of the Army’s network.
When asked if there were issues meeting the Army’s production demands for T2C2, Feldmann noted that the company has been thinking about this for years.
“We’re greatly expanding our footprint in Huntsville,” he said, referencing the GATR facility located in Huntsville, Alabama. “We’re building a new building and attached to our existing building and we’ll have plenty of square footage to be able to produce GATRs like Chiclets.”
(Source: Defense News Early Bird/C4ISR & Networks)
24 Mar 18. How could a burgeoning satellite servicing industry help government? Orbital ATK unveiled two new vehicles in early March that would help extend the life of satellites at the 2018 Satellite conference held in Washington D.C. The aerospace manufacturing company touted their rendezvous vehicles as the latest step in the ongoing revolution within the field of on-orbit servicing technology.
As industry leaders at the conference boasted technological advancements, policy experts gathered on the other side of the convention center to discuss their role in this new rapidly developing market.
Commercial satellite operators are particularly interested in this field of technology because it may allow them to keep one satellite on orbit longer than expected. It would also allow operators to shuffle their fleet and provide more flexible services, which could benefit the Department of Defense.
“We know this industry is out there and it’s something that commercial companies are interested in doing,” said Tahara Dawkins, the director of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) commercial remote sensing regulatory affairs office. “What we need to do is enable it.”
Dawkins said five American companies have received licenses for on-orbit servicing. Under current law, operators need approval from multiple government agencies for different aspects of servicing missions in space. The FCC regulates spectrum, the FAA oversees launch, and Dawkins’ NOAA office licenses remote image sensors.
The National Space Council has proposed streamlining the entire space licensing process under a single authority within the Department of Commerce, but no such action taken has been taken as of early March.
“If we restrict this industry to a place where they’re not commercially viable, then this gets driven overseas,” Dawkins warned.
Lisa Kuo, director of commercial space programs for the Aerospace Corporation, cautioned against a hands-off approach to regulating the industry during its development period.
“At the very beginning, everybody’s going to be doing their servicing in a very different fashion,” Kou said. “We need to make sure that while on-orbit servicing is in its infancy, we set clear guidelines and policies so that everyone can follow suit until everything is a lot more standardized.”
Orbital ATK’s in-orbit servicing vehicle designs will predate any such industry standardization. The company is preparing to launch its first Mission Extension Vehicle (MEV) this year and announced at the conference the development of its Mission Extension Pods and Mission Robotic Vehicle, each designed to provide life extension to geostationary satellites running out of fuel.
The two new rendezvous vehicles are based on the Mission Extension Vehicle, but could be attractive to different customers that don’t need the full range of capabilities the MEV offers. The Mission Robotic Vehicle will function as a bus, transporting multiple Mission Extension Pods out to orbit and installing them onto client satellites. Once docked, the pods will be able to provide up to 5 years of life extension and orbit control to the receiving spacecraft.
Both Orbital ATK and the panelists at the conference were in agreement that the in-space servicing industry will continue to advance rapidly in the coming years.
“The holy grail of on-orbit servicing is not to extend life,” said Kou. “This is just the first step.”
“We fully intend to do more than just geo-life extension systems,” said Joe Anderson, the director of Mission Extension Vehicle Services at Orbital ATK. “Ultimately we want to develop an entire fleet of in-orbit service vehicles, including in-orbit assembly vehicles.”
Orbital ATK is currently being purchased by Northrop Grumman for $9.2 bn. Pending regulatory approval, the deal is anticipated to be completed within the first half of 2018. (Source: C4ISR & Networks)
19 Mar 18. GovSat-1 Satellite Enters Operational Service. GovSat-1 is the first satellite of GovSat, a public private partnership between the Government of Luxembourg and satellite operator SES. The satellite was launched into space on January 31 on board a flight-proven SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station and has since undergone extensive testing. The multi-mission satellite is operated by GovSat from the Secure Mission Operations Center in Luxembourg. The highly flexible and resilient GovSat-1 payload uses dedicated frequencies in X- and military Ka-band and enables an array of applications, such as connectivity for theaters of operation, interconnection of institutional or defense sites, border control, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR), as well as various types of communications on the move for land and maritime missions.
GovSat-1 is located at the 21.5 degrees East orbital slot, which allows the satellite to support missions over Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, as well as providing extensive maritime coverage over the Mediterranean and Baltic seas, and the Atlantic and Indian oceans. Dedicated entirely to governmental and institutional users, GovSat-1 features high-powered fully-steerable spot beams, an X-band Global beam and a total of sixty-eight transponder equivalent units.
Étienne Schneider, Luxembourg Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of the Economy and Minister of Defence, said, “I would like to thank all the members of the GovSat team for their hard work and commitment to bring the GovSat-1 spacecraft into operational service. This was the next major step in our public-private partnership with SES. GovSat-1 will further enhance Luxembourg’s excellent reputation in the global satellite communications market. The satellite will enable Luxembourg to meet its expanding obligations in European defence and to further diversify the national economy in a key technology sector.”
“GovSat-1 is a real game-changer when it comes to providing secure satellite communications to governments and institutions. The satellite’s X-band capacity is the most powerful and flexible available,” said Patrick Biewer, CEO of GovSat. “GovSat-1, coupled with our Secure Mission Operations Centre, forms one of the most reliable, cost efficient and secure satellite communications capabilities on the market, and we are delighted to announce that it has entered into operational service.”
26 Mar 18. May scrambles to avoid UK being frozen out of EU satellite project. Galileo contracts at risk as Brussels seeks to protect systems being compromised by Brexit. Theresa May is leading last-ditch efforts to stop an “outrageous” EU move to freeze Britain out of Europe’s €10bn Galileo satellite project, as space becomes a new frontier in Brexit negotiations. The British prime minister has been warned that hundreds of millions of pounds of contracts are at stake in the coming months, as Brussels prepares to lock Britain’s space industry out to protect security elements of the satellite programme from being “irretrievably compromised” after Brexit. Gavin Williamson, defence secretary, was said by allies to have “hit the roof” when told about the EU’s strict approach to sharing confidential information, even though the UK has offered “unconditional” security co-operation after Brexit. “What is being proposed [by Brussels] is outrageous,” said one senior UK official. The exclusion of Britain from Galileo’s sensitive “public regulated service”, an encrypted navigation system for government users, would also see the British armed forces cut off from the sophisticated new programme, a rival to the US’s GPS. The UK defence department is having “early discussions” on whether Britain could launch its own satellite system to break its dependence on the US system and its possible exclusion from the Galileo military application. “It would be hugely expensive — our priority is to sort this out with Brussels,” the official added. The European Commission wrote to the UK in January to explain that it would be inappropriate to divulge highly sensitive information about post-2019 PRS plans to a departing member state. “If the commission shared this information with the UK (which will become a third country) it would irretrievably compromise the integrity of certain elements of these systems for many years after the withdrawal of the UK,” the commission said, according to an official who had seen the letter. Only EU members can currently access the encrypted PRS system. However, the US and Norway are in protracted negotiations with Brussels over joining the programme. Mrs May is working to try to rescue the Galileo situation with Mr Williamson and other senior ministers including Greg Clark, business secretary, David Davis, Brexit secretary, and Philip Hammond, chancellor. The issue is highly charged politically since French companies are expected be the main beneficiaries if the UK were excluded from the next round of tendering for sensitive contracts. Mr Clark, who met Jean-Pierre Jouyet, the French ambassador, last week to discuss the issue, said Britain wanted “complete involvement in all aspects of Galileo, including the key secure elements which the UK has unique specialisms in and have helped to design and implement”. Another senior British official said: “Any suggestion that the UK poses a security risk to the EU or that our collaboration might be against EU interests is not only absurd but also pre-judges negotiations.” An Ariane rocket takes off from Kourou in French Guiana carrying a pair of Galileo satellites Although Mrs May said she wanted a full defence and security treaty with the EU, the commission has told the European Space Agency it must prepare for the worst-case scenario of a “no deal” Brexit. With the next round of long-term contracts expected to be awarded in June, that could mean the UK being excluded, since contracts awarded now could risk becoming illegal on Brexit day in March 2019. The ESA has been told to make plans as if ‘the UK is not in the programme any longer. These are the instructions that have to be followed EU official Among the UK companies potentially affected are CGI, a software company involved in encryption, and Qinetiq, which makes the PRS receiver. Many other British companies want to build applications on the back of the encrypted service. Airbus, with big operations in the UK, is a major player. One EU official said the ESA, which runs Europe’s space programme, has been told to make plans as if “the UK is not in the programme any longer”. The official added: “These are the instructions that have to be followed.” Any clarity on a security treaty could come too late for Britain to retain access or work on PRS, even though UK companies have been at the forefront of developing the technology. Britain funds 12 per cent of Galileo. In addition to existing tenders amounting to €3bn to complete the constellation of satellites, the industry estimates the potential market for Galileo-related applications and services could amount to €6bn by 2025. The latter market is a significant driver behind the UK’s ambition of taking 10 per cent of the global space market by 2030, which would mean more than trebling the £11.8bn annual turnover achieved in 2013 to £40bn. (Source: FT.com)
21 Mar 18. CPI Antenna Systems Division Receives Cubic Mission Solutions Contract for UAV Comms. Cubic Mission Solutions provide networked Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (C4ISR) capabilities for defense, intelligence, security and commercial missions. Under these awards, CPI ASD will supply its HD-30T Ground Data Terminal for tracking unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) from the ground and enabling encrypted Ku-band communications using Cubic RF modems. CPI ASD will also provide airborne advanced tactical common data link (TCDL) antenna products, including the AT-20 two-axis Data Link Antenna. This low-weight, high-gain technology ensures reliable connectivity with UAVs operating above warfighters on the ground.
The compact design of CPI ASD’s terminals provides maximum gain for their size and weight, which translates into an increased range of operation for the UAV and warfighters. Like all CPI ASD products for military applications, these advanced antennas are custom-developed on a proven product platform and are fully qualified to stringent military standards. They are manufactured at the CPI ASD’s Malibu facility in Camarillo, California. In the last decade, CPI has provided Cubic with ground-based advanced antenna products for tracking and communicating with UAVs. This long-term partnership helps provide U.S. and allied warfighters with real-time data streams that enable more informed decisions and actions.
Steve Lonngren, SVP of the CPI Antenna Systems Division, said that the company’s core competence is taking an idea and articulating it into a deliverable system, working in close partnership with the customer throughout design and qualification. That approach has demonstrated value to Cubic as it continually adapts its programs in support of military requirements. (Source: Satnews)
21 Mar 18. Isotropic Systems and Avanti Communications Develop Self-Installing Terminal, Expands Multi Markets. Isotropic Systems, provider of Next-gen satellite terminals is in partnership with Avanti Communications, a satellite operator that provides Ka-band satellite data communications services across the UK, Europe, the Middle East and Africa, to develop self-installing, all electronic scanning terminals.
The partnership signals Avanti’s belief that the transformational optical technology will open new addressable markets with disruptive pricing and enhance a range of mobility applications that service providers can flexibly deliver to consumer, government and enterprise users.
Isotropic Systems will customize the terminals specifically to Avanti’s requirements with a special focus on seamless multi-beam tracking, market-leading instantaneous bandwidth as well as significantly lower pricing. The innovative technology will also provide Avanti with the capability to deliver fixed broadband services that consume 90 percent less power with extremely high performance and reliability. A working prototype is expected in early 2019 and full scale production by mid 2020.
John Finney, founder and CEO of Isotropic Systems said that demand for broadband increases each day worldwide, and satellite operators such as Avanti, continue to build out their ecosystem to provide HTS services to underserved markets. Their unique technical capabilities and disruptive pricing enable Avanti to unlock the latent demand for HTS capacity by segments that require a significantly lower barrier to entry in terms of the CAPEX but without compromising on expected performance. Having gained the confidence of a long-standing satellite operator reinforces our vision of satisfying the demand for satellite data, mobility and broadband services by significantly minimizing the cost compared to existing ground terminals and making them much simpler to deploy.
Graham Peters, Managing Director of Government Solutions, Avanti Communications plc. added that they are pleased to partner with Isotropic Systems to lead their industry in creating and addressing new market opportunities based on this disruptive and innovative technology. Avanti is focused on delivering cost-effective high-throughput connectivity to serve customers across EMEA. (Source: Satnews)
21 Mar 18. Update: Orbital™ Research Ties Up an Agreement with Tethers, Unlimited Good News for Smallsats. Based on the 20 GHz low noise block converter (LNB) Orbital Research will manufacture a space-based 26 GHz Ka-band receiver to be used as a modular component of TUI’s line of SWIFT software-defined radios. These radios provide high-performance communication for CubeSats and other small satellites.
Orbital’s CEO, Ian McEachern said that they’re thrilled to partner with TUI on this project. They’re doing some really interesting things with advanced cognitive radio capabilities. Together they can help SmallSat ventures get to market faster with exceptionally high throughput and flexibility for challenging mission and regulatory environments.
The low-power, small-footprint SWIFT radios with Orbital receivers will specifically target the small satellite Tracking, Telemetry and Control (TT&C) market – and help customers overcome the challenge of spectrum congestion.
Dr. Rob Hoyt, TUI’s CEO TUI is delighted to be working with Orbital on their new SWIFT radio solutions for mid to high Ka-band CEO. Their LNBs are known for high performance and reliability in demanding environments – and that’s exactly what they need.
Orbital is also planning on developing a ground-based LNB at higher Ka frequencies to relieve congestion on the other end. (Source: Satnews)
At Viasat, we’re driven to connect every warfighter, platform, and node on the battlefield. As a global communications company, we power ms of fast, resilient connections for military forces around the world – connections that have the capacity to revolutionize the mission – in the air, on the ground, and at sea. Our customers depend on us for connectivity that brings greater operational capabilities, whether we’re securing the U.S. Government’s networks, delivering satellite and wireless communications to the remote edges of the battlefield, or providing senior leaders with the ability to perform mission-critical communications while in flight. We’re a team of fearless innovators, driven to redefine what’s possible. And we’re not done – we’re just beginning.
RADAR, EO/IR, NIGHT VISION AND SURVEILLANCE UPDATE
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28 Mar 18. China develops driving assistance system for military vehicles. Scientists at the Second Academy of the China Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation (CASIC) have developed a deep-learning-based driving assistance system for military vehicles designed to facilitate driving at night without lighting or in changeable light, according to a 27 March report by the Beijing-based publication Science and Technology Dail. The sensor in the system features a microchip a few centimetres in size that enables it to accurately perceive the driving environment in real time, said the report, adding that the system’s deep neural network can help the driver to detect and identify blurry objects and obstacles ahead by filtering out distractions such as backlighting, glow, and shadows. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
28 Mar 18. FLIR Provides Thermal Imaging for Next Generation DJI Zenmuse XT2 Dual-Sensor Commercial Drone Camera. FLIR Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ: FLIR) today announced that DJI, the world’s leader in civilian drones and aerial imaging, will integrate a FLIR thermal imaging sensor technology into its new DJI Zenmuse XT2 drone camera. The DJI Zenmuse XT2, DJI’s first dual-sensor and its most advanced gimbal-stabilized camera for commercial drone applications, furthers the collaboration between FLIR® and DJI. The Zenmuse XT2 also joins the ‘Thermal by FLIR’ partner program, which FLIR created to fuel thermal innovation and allow partners to leverage the leadership, quality, and innovation that FLIR’s brand represents in the thermal imaging space. Built with industrial and public safety applications in mind, the DJI Zenmuse XT2 expands upon the benefits in the first thermal-equipped camera jointly developed by FLIR and DJI, the DJI Zenmuse XT. The new drone camera includes both a high-definition 4K color video camera and a high-resolution radiometric thermal camera, allowing operators to switch between thermal and visible cameras in flight. The Zenmuse XT2 also uses FLIR’s patented MSX® technology, or multispectral dynamic imaging, that embosses high-fidelity, visible-light details onto the thermal imagery to enhance image quality and perspective.
The Zenmuse XT2 is compatible with the DJI Matrice 600 and Matrice 200 Series platforms and integrates with DJI’s data transmission technology for live video display. Full integration gives drone operators plug-and-play installation, real-time control, and recording during flight in thermal, visible, or thermal/visible picture-in-picture. This flexibility allows operators to acquire double the data in a single camera and stay focused on mission-critical tasks.
“The arrival of the DJI Zenmuse XT2 with a FLIR sensor signifies an important technological advancement for drone operators who need both a visible camera and the superpower benefits of thermal imaging in one product,” said James Cannon, President and CEO of FLIR. “Now drone operators can capture data without landing, an important advantage for search and rescues operations, monitor the health of mechanical and electrical equipment remotely, and identify potential problems in buildings. Our collaboration with DJI perfectly aligns with our mission to use our thermal technology to help save lives and livelihoods.”
“Since the introduction of our first FLIR camera in 2015 we have seen strong demand for thermal imaging-based products because they have helped transform DJI drones into essential and often lifesaving tools across a wide variety of industries,” said Roger Luo, President at DJI. “We are excited to introduce our next generation product together, the Zenmuse XT2, which is easier and more efficient to operate, and further demonstrates our commitment to innovation in the commercial drone industry.”
DJI is one of multiple partners involved with the new Thermal by FLIR program, created to support original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and product innovators interested in using the FLIR thermal imaging sensors to deliver the benefits of the World’s Sixth Sense. The program ensures that original equipment manufacturers and entrepreneurs can carry the Thermal by FLIR brand and receive additional product development and marketing support from FLIR to build and market their respective products. Additional Thermal by FLIR partners include Cat Phones, Casio, Panasonic, ARSENZ, and TinkerForge.
28 Mar 18. HUD 3.0: Army To Test Augmented Reality For Infantry In 18 Months. In 18 months, US Army soldiers will test a new helmet-mounted display, nicknamed HUD 3.0, that could help them aim better, navigate better, and even train against virtual enemies projected onto their field of view, generals said here Wednesday. The effort involves two of the eight high-level Cross Functional Teams created to field radical improvements rapidly.
Superimposing digital data on the physical world this way is called augmented reality. (By contrast, virtual reality is when the user sees only digital imagery). The closest civilian equivalent would be cross between a militarized Pokémon Go and ruggedized Google Glasses. The military’s go-to model, however, is the Head-Up Displays or HUDs found in fighter jets, which project data on a transparent pane in front of the pilot so they can check their instruments while still scanning the sky for danger, without having to look down at dials and screens (hence “head-up display”).
That kind of technology has become common in combat aircraft, but previous efforts to miniaturize it for foot troops failed. When soldiers need to check their digital maps, for instance, they have to pull out their devices and look down, taking their eyes off the real battlefield around them. Now the Army thinks it can make a HUD for the infantry and get it right.
Skipping from HUD 1.0 to HUD 3.0
By October, the Army will finish testing and start fielding what it’s calling HUD 1.0, the new Enhanced Night Vision Goggles – Binocular. Besides enhancing soldiers’ ability to see in the dark better than current night sights, the ENVG-B also can superimpose tactical data over the user’s field of view. That includes information from the tactical network about, say, friendly unit locations.
It also includes a cross-hairs (formally, a targeting reticle) digitally linked to your weapon and displays precisely where the bullet would land if you pulled the trigger now. In testing, it’s already improved the wearer’s marksmanship significantly, according to Brig. Gen. Christopher Donahue, handpicked head of the service’s Cross Functional Team (CFT) for Soldier Lethality.
The next evolution is an augmented reality display that can be attached to the current helmet and used for both real-world operations and training, Donahue told reporters here. In addition to real-life data from the tactical network, HUD 3.0 will be able to superimpose purely digital terrain, obstacles, and even enemies over the wearer’s field of vision, allowing a unit to run much more complex and challenging training scenarios.
Today, major Combat Training Centers like Fort Irwin, Calif. feature an “opposing force” (OPFOR) of specially trained troops to fight against visiting units, but wargames there are expensive and a soldier would be lucky to go once a year. With HUD 3.0, soldiers could train against an augmented-reality OPFOR every day at their own home bases. When you ran across the digital enemy, said Maj. Gen. Maria Gervais, who runs the digital training Cross Functional Team, HUD 3.0 would superimpose on your vision “an enemy soldier that looks and acts just like that soldier would.”
But wait — what happened to HUD 2.0?
An intermediate model between ENVG-B and the HUD 3.0 was in the original plan, said Donahue and Gervais. But as the CFTs worked with industry, they discovered the technology available was advanced enough “you can go faster and skip a step,” Gervais said.
Donahue credited Gervais with finding the critical contractor. “She introduced us to an industry partner — we’re not going to comment on the name — but we’re already teaming with them to build that prototype fairly quickly,” he said. “The goal is to have a final prototype that we can test in 18 months.”
There’s a lot left to work out, both technically and tactically. The HUD needs to be made light, compact, rugged, and easier to use — unlike the infamous Land Warrior reticle that effectively blinded the user in one eye and broke easily. The final device also needs some kind of settings menu or dial that controls how much detail the user is seeing. A platoon leader planning an operation, or a sergeant leading a squad through a forest towards an objective, may want much more detailed tactical symbology than a regular rifleman in the middle of a firefight.
“We’ve got to figure that out,” said Gen. Stephen Townsend, the new head of Army Training & Doctrine Command (TRADOC). To start with, he said, “there’s fairly simple stuff that I need. First of all, where am I? Where are my buddies? And where is the enemy?….Then other stuff could be optional.” (Source: Breaking Defense.com)
28 Mar 18. China to upgrade radar of Pakistan’s JF-17 fighter aircraft. China will upgrade Pakistan Air Force JF-17 Thunder multirole combat aircraft with the KLJ-7A active electronically scanned-array (AESA) radar, according to a 28 March report by the China Daily newspaper.
Hu Mingchun, head of the Nanjing Research Institute of Electronics Technology (NRIET) in Jiangsu province, was quoted by the state-owned paper as saying that the newest version of the KLJ-7 fire-control radar (FCR) will substantially improve the combat capabilities of the aircraft.
“Our product will tremendously extend the fighter jet’s detection range, giving it a much longer sight that will help it detect the enemy’s aircraft before they do; and this is very important, because in real combat if you see first, you fire first,” he said.
Want to read more? For analysis on this article and access to all our insight content, please enquire about our subscription options at ihs.com/contact (Source: IHS Jane’s)
28 Mar 18. UAV Vision Launches Military-Focused Defence Vision. UAV Vision, specialist designers of lightweight, gyro-stabilised imaging systems, announced the launch of its sister company, Defence Vision, which will focus exclusively on the military market.
Utilising some of UAV Vision’s best talent, Defence Vision will provide innovative products, quality service, and a tailored customer journey for military officials. To fulfil the growing demand for high-performance imaging sensors for airborne, ground and maritime missions, Defence Vision will become the sole trader of UAV Vision sensors for the military market. With an experienced team of engineers, the company will grow its product line with more innovative, high-performance and excellent value products to provide veterans with greater capabilities in their missions.
Defence Vision opened its headquarters in the heart of Melbourne, Australia. With a CBD location, Defence Vision has access to high-quality talent, which will be imperative to the development of the business. As the company expands, Defence Vision will be seeking motivated individuals to join its dynamic and creative team.
UAV Vision has been providing lightweight, gyro-stabilised camera systems for defence and commercial applications since formation in 2006. By introducing Defence Vision to cover the military market, UAV Vision has the advantage of focusing on the commercial market. This segregation means each company can prioritise the unique requirements and demands of their markets.
CEO of UAV Vision, Mike Bailey, said, “A commercial and a military mission is very different from one another. Although they may both require a lightweight, high-performance and multi-sensor imaging sensor; they have different end goals. By introducing Defence Vision, we can prioritise the needs of both customers. Defence Vision has taken on-board some of UAV Vision’s most experienced talent, whilst introducing industry specialists to the team. This is an exciting time for both companies as we can tailor our products, services and customer journeys to suit the needs of our commercial and military customers. With over 12 years of experience in delivering systems to both the military and commercial markets, we have the knowledge and practice to best serve them individually. “ (Source: UAS VISION)
27 Mar 18. DoD reorders $1.7m worth of balloon drones. The Department of Defense announced a $1.7m contract award to Drone Aviation Holding Corp. for a new order of the company’s camera-toting, helium-filled balloon-style drones known as the Winch Aerostat Small Platform, or WASP.
This is the fourth order of WASP systems from the DoD customer, which has deployed the tethered drones internationally for intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) and communications purposes., according to a March 26 press release from Drone Aviation.
WASP balloons can be assembled by two people in under an hour and operate from the sky while tethered to a moving, or stationary, vehicle, the company said. A single WASP costs about $800,000, and comes equipped with payloads designed for day and night ISR and secure, multi wave-form communications.
The latest award is the largest received by Drone Aviation to date, according to the company. The company declined to disclose which service within the DoD is purchasing the drones.
Drone Aviation says it anticipates delivery of the WASP tactical drones before the end of the third quarter of 2018. (Source: C4ISR & Networks)
27 Mar 18. Raytheon Company (NYSE: RTN) completed a program and technical review for the Lower Tier Air and Missile Defense Sensor, or LTAMDS, with the U.S. Army. Having led the development of advanced radar technologies for more than 50 years, Raytheon’s solution is uniquely prepared to meet the rapid growing needs of today’s soldiers.
“Air and missile threats are maturing faster than ever before,” said Tom Laliberty, vice president of Integrated Air and Missile Defense at Raytheon’s Integrated Defense Systems business. “Because soldiers in the field need new technology now, Raytheon is accelerating our potential LTAMDS solution so it is ready for delivery when needed.”
Raytheon will support U.S. Army efforts to complete LTAMDS concept development by solidifying performance specifications and refining cost and schedule as the program prepares to enter the Technology Maturation and Risk Reduction phase. The work to date has been focused on delivering an LTAMDS solution to soldiers that meets operational requirements as fast as possible.
Raytheon’s prototype technology test bed in Pelham, New Hampshire, continually tests several systems planned for LTAMDS. More than 3,000 testing hours have been completed to date. The testing environment allows the program team to determine key requirements including:
- optimal frequency band
- prime power capacity
- 360o surveillance and fire control
- resiliency in contested environments
- reliability and maintainability
27 Mar 18. Rigby unveils their new riflescope. London gunmaker John Rigby & Co. has recently released a new branded riflescope in 2-15×42 magnification. German engineers designed and built the scope on a 34mm tube and has been produced to sit perfectly on the Highland Stalker rifle, inspired by the smaller calibre rifles the firm used to make at the start of the 20th century.
The scope boasts the very latest technology to ensure it offers the finest and most detailed reticle in the first focal plane. As befits such a top-end product, the scope is also equipped with an innovative illuminated reticle.
It also incorporates Quick Reticle Adjustment (QRA), accessed by simply pulling the turret upwards to reveal the scale and ring and it can be locked in the positions “0” and “4 high”, as required.
To further complement the Highland Stalker – or any other Rigby rifle for that matter – it also comes complete with a leather scope cover embossed with the iconic Rigby ‘double R’ logo.
RRP €3,975, plus P&P. Available exclusively from www.johnrigbyandco.com.
26 Mar 18. What new Russian weapon took out this Ukrainian drone?
Analysts could see a gas station, and then a bright glow, and then the drone crashed. Last week, on the outskirts of Donbas, a Ukrainian non governmental organization flew a drone near the front lines, and encountered what appears to be a new counter-drone system.
The report comes to us from the Minsk Monitor, which writes:
As the NGO described, they noticed a flickering light (possibly an infrared emission) from what they suspect is an electronic warfare system. Soon after this happened, the drone was rendered temporarily inoperable. It was difficult to identify any specific system, as this suspected weapon does not look like other Russian electronic warfare complexes found in the Donbas, such as the Leer-3 featured in a separate @DFRLabinvestigation.
Last month, the Center for the Study of the Drone at Bard released a comprehensive survey of counter-drone systems. That survey, which looked at 235 different counter-drone products, found everything from birds to machine guns sold as ways to knock a drone out of the sky.
Again, from the Minsk Monitor:
We reached out to Arthur Holland Michel at Bard College’sCenter for the Study of the Drone to assess what type of system could have been filmed by the Ukrainian NGO. From the Center’s database of counter-drone systems, Michel did not recognize any of the products in the database. He noted that if a laser was actually being used, there would have been physical damage to the drone. Additionally, there are no counter-drone systems in the database that would create the light seen in the video.
It doesn’t appear that the drone was hit by a projectile or laser in its descent (though evidence of such would certainly change this analysis). Barring a physical projectile, the known non-kinetic methods for stopping a drone are threefold: radio frequency (RF) jamming, global navigation satellite system (GNSS) jamming, and spoofing. With RF jamming, the link between the drone and its operator is severed, usually causing the drone to descend or return to home. With GNSS, the drone’s link to satellite navigation is lost, and the drone then usually hovers in place, lands, or returns home. With spoofing, the attacker feeds the drone new information to take control of its flight.
None of these methods require any bright flashing lights, which could easily be a cosmetic feature of the counter-drone system. Given the drone’s sudden spiraling descent in the released video, it’s likeliest that the system featured is a radio-frequency jammer. It is also likely, given the system’s employment on the side of the Russian-backed separatists, that the system is another Russian-made electronic warfare weapon, fielded on the front lines of a proxy war as much for battlefield impact as it is for research and test purposes. (Source: Defense News)
27 Mar 18. UAV defence company launches in Melbourne. Specialist designer of gyro-stabilised imaging systems for unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), Port Macquarie’s UAV Vision, has launched a sister company to focus entirely on the military market. The new company, Defence Vision, said it will look to fulfil the growing demand for high-performance imaging sensors for airborne, ground and maritime missions. UAV Vision, which has been providing lightweight, gyro-stabilised camera systems for defence and commercial applications since formation in 2006, said Defence Vision will draw on UAV Vision’s experience to cover the military market.
CEO of UAV Vision Mike Bailey said the decision to segregate its commercial and military markets was a logical step.
“A commercial and a military mission is very different from one another. Although they may both require a lightweight, high-performance and multi-sensor imaging sensor; they have different end goals,” Bailey explained.
“By introducing Defence Vision, we can prioritise the needs of both customers. Defence Vision has taken on-board some of UAV Vision’s most experienced talent, whilst introducing industry specialists to the team. This is an exciting time for both companies as we can tailor our products, services and customer journeys to suit the needs of our commercial and military customers.”
Defence Vision opened its headquarters in the heart of Melbourne and, as it continues its expansion, is looking for more people to join its team. (Source: Defence Connect)
26 Mar 18. China reveals sale of advanced missile-tracking technology to
Pakistan. China has revealed the sale of an advanced missile-tracking system to Pakistan that may enhance the South Asian country’s ability to develop multiple independently targetable re-entry vehicle (MIRV) technology for its medium- to long-range missile systems.
In a 14 March statement the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) announced that its Institute of Optics and Electronics supplied Pakistan with “a set of four optical tracking measurement systems” capable of carrying out tasks such as automatic tracking, target monitoring, and image recording.
Chinese engineers and technicians completed integration tests over the past three months and provided “training and guidance” to Pakistani personnel, said the CAS, adding that the system “meets or exceeds” the agreed technical requirements “in terms of function, imaging quality, and distance and tracking accuracy”. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
26 Mar 18. USN enhances P-8A capability with software upgrade. The US Navy (USN) is rolling out a software upgrade programme designed to improve mission system functionality, as well as support and maintenance, for its P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft (MPAs) Increment 1 and 2 variants.
The Fleet Release 40 (FR40) upgrade involves a number of elements, Lieutenant Fan Yang, a naval flight officer and tactical co-ordinator with Patrol Squadron 5 (VP-5), told Jane’s. The primary content covers Increment 2 Engineering Change Proposal 2 (ECP 2) capabilities including Automatic Identification System (AIS) integration and significant enhancements to acoustic capabilities including Multistatic Active Coherent (MAC), based on fleet feedback in the context of making the Tactical Open Mission Software (TOMS) arrangement more user friendly. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
26 Mar 18. FLIR Systems debuted its newest line of thermal imaging products for the law enforcement and sporting markets at the 2018 Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor Trade (SHOT) Show in Las Vegas in January. Powered by FLIR’s compact, uncooled, high-performance 12-micron BosonTM thermal camera core, the 50mm ThermoSight Pro PTS536 thermal riflescope, 75mm ThermoSight Pro PTS736 thermal riflescope and Breach PTQ136 multifunctional thermal monocular combine crisp and clear thermal imagery with professional-grade features in durable, compact and lightweight housings. All three of these exceptional thermal imagers are now available for purchase at established FLIR dealers throughout the US.
FLIR Breach PTQ136
The new FLIR Breach PTQ136 multifunctional thermal monocular is built with hunters and tactical professionals in mind. At only 7.4oz, it is the lightest and most compact full-featured FLIR thermal monocular available. FLIR Breach can be concealed in a pocket or be mounted to a helmet with its mini-rail feature. Powered by the compact, 12-micron FLIR BosonTM core, FLIR Breach delivers crisp images, onboard recording and seven palettes to give a tactical advantage via fast detection of suspects or evidence, day and night.
23 Mar 18. France tests radar to detect and track ballistic missiles, satellites. France is exploring anti-missile defense with Onera, the aerospace research agency, conducting studies with a technology demonstrator, dubbed DRTLP, for an over-the-horizon radar to detect and track ballistic missile launches. Onera took delivery last year of the demonstrator built on a reduced scale of one-eighth for a very long-range radar, and tests have already begun, Thierry Michal, general technical manager, told reporters March 22. The research project is shared 50-50 with Thales, backed by the Direction Générale de l’Armement procurement office. The demonstrator will study a capability to detect and track a missile launch and forecast the point of impact, an Onera spokesman said. There will also be studies for detection and tracking of satellites.
The 20-meter-high demonstrator was shipped last year to Hourtin, part of the Biscarrosse missile research center, southwest France, operated by the DGA. Onera seeks to de-risk the technology with upstream research and present results of the study, allowing the DGA to decide how to pursue the project. The demonstrator draws on an active electronically scanned array, a radar technology used on the Graves satellite tracking system developed and operated by Onera. An AESA radar is fitted on the French Rafale fighter jet.(Source: Defense News)
23 Mar 18. Accolade Thermal Binoculars: Experience thermal technology immersion. Experience thermal imaging technology like never before with intuitive Accolade thermal binoculars from Pulsar! With four available models; XQ38 (PL77411), XQ50 (PL77412), XP38 (PL77413) and XP50 (PL77414), there’s an Accolade for every scenario including hunting, law enforcement and personal security. Delivering an entirely immersive thermal experience, Accolade thermal binoculars feature a dual eyepiece configuration that is comfortable and reduced eye fatigue during long observation periods. A 384×288 (XQ models) or 640×480 (XP models) sensor with 50hz refresh rates sends detailed thermal images up to 1,475 yards away to a 640×480 AMOLED display. Accolades also enjoy the same user-friendly features as Helion models, such as Wifi remote view and onboard video recording. Accolade thermal binoculars come standard with battery pack, battery pack charging kit, USB cable, hand strap, lens cleaning cloth and carrying case.
Blighter® Surveillance Systems (BSS) is a UK-based electronic-scanning radar and sensor solution provider delivering an integrated multi-sensor package to systems integrators comprising the Blighter electronic-scanning radars, cameras, thermal imagers, trackers and software solutions. Blighter radars combine patented solid-state Passive Electronic Scanning Array (PESA) technology with advanced Frequency Modulated Continuous Wave (FMCW) and Doppler processing to provide a robust and persistent surveillance capability. Blighter Surveillance Systems is a Plextek Group company, a leading British design house and technology innovator, and is based at Great Chesterford on the outskirts of Cambridge, England.
The Blighter electronic-scanning (e-scan) FMCW Doppler ground surveillance radar (GSR) is a unique patented product that provides robust intruder detection capabilities under the most difficult terrain and weather conditions. With no mechanical moving parts and 100% solid-state design, the Blighter radar family of products are extremely reliable and robust and require no routine maintenance for five years. The Blighter radar can operate over land and water rapidly searching for intruders as small a crawling person, kayaks and even low-flying objects. In its long-range modes the Blighter radar can rapidly scan an area in excess of 3,000 km² to ensure that intruders are detected, identified and intercepted before they reach critical areas.
MISSILE, BALLISTICS AND SOLDIER SYSTEMS UPDATE
Sponsored by Control Solutions LLC.
29 Mar 18. US Army Accelerates Air & Missile Defense Five Years: MSHORAD, MML, Lasers.
Today, Brig. Gen. McIntire told me, Army field artillery and air & missile defense are like two boxers, one who can only punch and the other who can only block. “We’ve got to have one boxer that has the ability to strike and block simultaneously,” he said. “That’s the speed that we’re going to need in the future.”To counter MiGs, Sukhois, Hinds, and missiles, the US Army is rushing anti-aircraft and anti-missile systems into service up to five years ahead of its original schedule. The head of the Army’s Air & Missile Defense Cross Functional Team, Brig. Gen. Randall McIntire, told me here the goal is to build on today’s uneven defenses — a lot of Patriot and a little THAAD to kill ballistic and cruise missiles, a few Stingers to down aircraft — and create multiple overlapping layers of protection.
The next five years will see a steady drumbeat of new systems:
- 2020: The first battery of MSHORAD, highly mobile, lightly armored Stryker vehicles with anti-aircraft guns and missiles to protect mobile frontline forces from enemy helicopters and drones. That’s five years ahead of the original fielding date, 2025.
- Late 2020 or early ’21: A new network link between Patriot and THAAD missile defense batteries, so Patriot can both protect THAAD from air attack and use THAAD’s longer range radar to find targets. This link was originally going to wait until the IBCS network was fielded in 2022 (below).
- 2021: The IPFC Multi-Mission Launcher (MML), a truck-mounted system bigger and less mobile than MSHORAD. MML’s larger magazine of larger missiles can reach targets at higher altitudes and longer ranges, especially cruise missiles and fixed-wing aircraft, as well as helicopters.
- 2022: The IBCS network, which will share targeting data among all air and missile defense systems, allowing any launcher to fire at targets spotted by any radar. (IBCS will incorporate the THAAD-Patriot link). This is the one system that’s been delayed, although the decision to do so predates the creation of the CFTs: IBCS was originally going to be fielded this year, but software development proved daunting.
- 2023: The first prototype platoon of 50 kilowatt lasers mounted on Stryker vehicles, which will join MSHORAD missile launchers in frontline forces to defend against small drones. That 2023 date isn’t final, McIntire told the AUSA conference here: “We’re looking at, can we move that to the left a little bit?”
The Army is also working on a larger truck-mounted laser — less mobile but more powerful — in the 100kW range. McIntire and his fellow officers didn’t offer a fielding date for that one. The Army has previously said it will be test-fired in 2022, but don’t be surprised if it’s accelerated.
When all these weapons are fielded, the plan is to group them in composite air and missile defense battalions, one for each of the Army’s 18 active and National Guard divisions. Each battalion would have three Stryker-mounted MSHORAD batteries — two armed with missiles and one with lasers — to move with the combat brigades. The battalion would also have one truck-mounted IFPC battery — mixing Multi-Mission Launchers and 100 kW lasers — to provide long-range, high-altitude coverage from relatively static sites in the rear. At higher levels, Patriot and THAAD missile defense launchers might also be integrated with offensive missiles and artillery (aka Long Range Precision Fires) to destroy enemy missiles before they can launch.
How will the Army afford all this new equipment, especially on top of the other seven Cross Functional Teams‘ proposals, such as robotic tanks, scout helicopters, andlong-range missiles? That’s a huge unanswered question. The Army has already reallocated over $1 billion in Science & Technology (S&T) funding over 2019-2023 five-year-plan, sacrificing projects that didn’t align with its Big Six modernization goals. (Air and missile defense is No. 5). But actually producing and fielding new equipment is markedly more expensive than developing the technology — and air and missile defense systems are some of the most complex, costly kit the Army has.
Last fall, when Army Chief of Staff Mark Milley introduced his Big Six modernization priorities and created the Cross Functional Teams to advance them, he ran down the list. First came long-range precision firepower to outgun Russian and Chinese missiles and rockets. Second and third came armored vehicles and aircraft to move on the ground and in the air. Fourth came the network, to communicate through enemy jamming. Those are all vital military functions, he declared, but “none of that’s going to matter if you’re dead.”
That, Gen. Milley said, is why his fifth priority is air and missile defense, to protect the force as it shoots, moves, and communicates. (The sixth is soldier lethality, better equipment and training for the infantry on foot).
The context into which these weapons all fit is called Multi-Domain Battle, the Army’s concept for complex, brutal conflicts against well-armed adversaries like Russia and China. In many ways, MDB is a reaction to post-Cold War overconfidence. The Army largely disbanded its anti-aircraft units in the 1990s, trusting Air Force, Navy, and Marine Corps fighters to sweep the skies of threats and provide fire support on-call. Army missile defense flourished but focused on stopping small numbers of ballistic missiles launched by a lower-tier threat like North Korea or Iran.
Russia and China, however, have small but growing numbers of high-end fighters like the Sukhoi Su-30, dense anti-aircraft defenses, and large arsenals of non-nuclear ballistic missiles, cruise missiles, and artillery rockets. Such an Anti-Access/Area Denial (A2/AD) force could keep US aircraft at bay while bombarding US surface ships and ground forces.
In such a conflict, Army forces have to defend themselves from air and missile threats. What’s more, US commanders aren’t content to sit at a relatively safe distance and trade long-range salvoes with the adversary. Instead, they plan to push forward on land, sea, air, space, and cyberspace (hence “multi-domain”) to find weak points in the A2/AD defenses, crack them open, and penetrate deep into vulnerable areas. Army forces might be the cutting edge, destroying enemy anti-aircraft radars and batteries on the ground so US airpower can break through.
As ground units move forward, they need air and missile defense that moves forward with them. That’s what MSHORAD — Maneuver Short-Range Air Defense — has been the Army’s most urgent air & missile defense priority.
MSHORAD, IFPC, & C-RAM
The Army has already restored some of its old Stinger missile force, training 104 two-person teams with the shoulder-fired version and getting Humvee-mounted versions, called Avenger, out of storage. But for a fast and lethal Multi-Domain Battle, the service wants longer-range missiles, like AIM-9X and Hellfire, on vehicle that was both better protected and could keep up with frontline tank units. Rather than revive the tracked M6 Linebacker (a variant of the tank-like M2 Bradley), the Army decided to install MSHORAD on the eight-wheel drive Stryker.
“We had the whole wheeled/tracked debate,” McIntire told me. Wheels aren’t as mobile over soft or broken ground, hindering them in cross-country assaults, but air defense vehicles are meant to hang back a bit behind the front line, so they’re protected from ground attack while they protect the force from air attack. In that tactical context, he said, the Stryker’s eight-wheel-drive is fine. Compared to Bradley variants, the Stryker’s greater capacity — for weight, space, and electrical power — makes it much easier to install and upgrade new systems like anti-aircraft guns, missiles, or lasers.
Often such debates take years of back and forth within the Army, as lengthy memos and passive-aggressive emails volley back and forth between Training & Doctrine Command (TRADOC), Research & Development Command (RDECOM), and Program Executive Offices (PEOs). But Milley created the Cross-Functional Teams to bring together representatives from all these tribes to accelerate the process. With Milley and other top leaders backing them up, McIntire’s CFT for air and missile defense moved MSHORAD’s fielding from 2025 to 2020.
“We shaved five years off,” McIntire told me proudly. “Got the directed requirement signed in two and a half months” — a process that normally takes more than a year.
Backing up MSHORAD will be IFPC, the awkwardly named Indirect Fire Protection Capability. Whereas MSHORAD need off-road mobility and armor protection to follow just behind frontline units, IFPC is a second line of defense protecting static sites — such as bases — or semi-static sites that can move but don’t do so constantly — such as command posts. That’s why IFPC systems like the Multi-Mission Launcher and the 100-kilowatt laser can be mounted on trucks, which, while lacking a Stryker’s mobility and armor, can carry much larger weapons.
Instead of developing IFPC, one reporter asked here, why does the Army just buy Israel’s proven Iron Dome anti-missile system? IFPC’s primary mission is defense against cruise missiles, McIntire explained. Iron Dome deals with slower, less sophisticated targets: rockets, artillery shells, and mortars. By about 2023, IFPC will be upgraded to deal with those lower-end problems too, but for now the US military is content with a purpose-built system called C-RAM.
C-RAM was an urgent improvisation during the Iraq war, a naval Phalanx gatling gun converted to protect land bases instead of ships. But it was also the forerunner of a new kind of cooperation between offensive and defensive forces, McIntire told me. When C-RAM’s radar picks up incoming rounds, it not only cues the Phalanx gun and issues a warning to troops nearby, it also calculates backward along the threats’ trajectory to locate where they were fired from. Then it can pass this data along to friendly forces that can retaliate: local ground troops, attack helicopters, or artillery.
C-RAM is a small-scale, tactical example of an idea McIntire wants to scale up dramatically. He envisions a future network of sensors that can detect enemy missile launchers so US long-range precision firepower can destroy them — preferably before they even get to fire — while US missile defenses shoot down whatever weapons the enemy does manage to launch.
Today, McIntire told me, Army field artillery and air & missile defense are like two boxers, one who can only punch and the other who can only block. “We’ve got to have one boxer that has the ability to strike and block simultaneously,” he said. “That’s the speed that we’re going to need in the future.” (Source: Breaking Defense.com)
28 Mar 18. Raytheon to begin work on US Army missile defence systems upgrade. Raytheon is set to commence work on sustaining and upgrading missile defence and strategic systems operated by the US Army, combatant commands, and other government agencies. The $600m contract was first announced in June and will continue for three years. Raytheon will start accepting directions from the US Army within the next one or two months to carry out software sustainment and system engineering services for critical systems. Critical US Army systems to be featured in the project include terminal high-altitude area defence (THAAD), AN / TPY-2 radars, the ground-based midcourse defence system, the sea-based x-band radar, and upgraded early warning radars.
Under the contract, the company will use its expertise in commercial software practices to ensure the quick delivery of software upgrades across the supported systems with an aim to improve their capabilities without affecting critical missions.
Raytheon Intelligence, Information and Services Mission Support and Modernisation vice-president Todd Probert said: “We’re bringing state-of-the-art, commercial software practices, such as DevOps and Agile, to make sure the systems the army depends on stay ahead of evolving threats.”
Work on the project will be carried out at the Systems Simulation, Software and Integration Directorate, US Army Aviation and Missile Research, Development and Engineering Center at Redstone Arsenal.
The centre delivers enhanced responsiveness to US troops through aviation and missile capabilities, and lifecycle engineering solutions.
The project is expected to directly generate approximately 800 jobs in the Huntsville, Alabama, US. (Source: army-technology.com)
28 Mar 18. US Army details timeline for Short Range Air Defense system contract and prototype. The U.S. Army plans to be fully under contract for mission equipment packages to transform its Stryker combat vehicles into maneuverable Short Range Air Defense, or SHORAD, systems by August with prototypes expected the following spring.
The timeline was detailed during an interview with Col. Chuck Worshim, project manager for cruise missile defense systems with the Army’s Program Executive Office Missiles and Space, who spoke to Defense News at the Association of the U.S. Army’s Global Force Symposium.
The service will issue a solicitation to industry called a request for ordnance technology initiatives. The ROTI will call for mission equipment packages for SHORAD on March 30, and then the service will make a selection among vendor offerings in June, Worshim said.
The Army has moved rapidly to bring SHORAD capability back into the maneuver force since then-U.S. Army Europe commander Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges about a year and a half ago recognized a capability gap in SHORAD that needed filled for possible operations against near-peer threats such as Russia.
Brig. Gen. Randy McIntire, who is in charge of the Army’s air and missile defense modernization effort via the new Futures Command, told Defense News in a previous interview that there are “two very viable candidates” with offerings today.
Worshim provided more granularity, stating that there are two viable candidates for an interim SHORAD solution from whom the Army has seen capability demonstrations. But he added that anyone can submit to the ROTI, and so other candidates may emerge through that process.
It’s no mystery who one of the “viable candidates” is. Boeing first brought an Avenger launcher loaded with a variety of missiles to AUSA Global Force last year. Then Boeing and General Dynamics Land Systems showed up at the Space and Missile Defense Symposium in August withan Avenger on a Stryker — the first SHORAD solution to integrate onto a Stryker platform before the Army even stated it would be the base vehicle for the system.
Boeing and GDLS brought their Avenger/Stryker solution again to Global Force loaded with Longbow Hellfire missiles as well as Stinger missiles. Then the next day, the companies swapped them out with AIM-9X Sidewinder missiles to show the versatility of the launcher platform. The system also has an on-board radar, which is a must-have requirement for the SHORAD system.
“We’ve already done some company investment to make sure we’re leaning forward to get all the components ready for production,” Jim Leary, director of Boeing global sales and marketing for weapons, told Defense News at Global Force. “That’s happening now. We aren’t assuming that there’s been an award, but we just know the right thing to do.”
The system also has room for a directed-energy weapon. Boeing is working on such a weapon for integration on the Stryker, which is under evaluation in Germany in a separate program.
The Army wants to integrate a directed-energy capability into SHORAD as an objective requirement, possibly within the next five years.
But there’s a dark horse emerging that went undetected despite several companies coming forward with SHORAD solutions last fall, including Iron Dome, Flying Tiger and others. While Boeing/GDLS, Israel’s Rafael and South Korea’s Hanwha as well as Raytheon and Lockheed Martin all participated in a SHORAD demonstration in the fall, there’s one solution that did not.
Leonardo DRS has a SHORAD system that is fully integrated onto the Stryker. The centerpiece is its “reconfigurable integration weapons platform,” made by its partner Moog, according to Ed House, DRS Land Systems’ business development manager, who spoke to Defense News at Global Force.
The company had an unassuming small-scale mock-up of its concept at its booth on the showroom floor.
The platform provides a choice of sites, directed-fire weapons and missiles, House said. The system is able to integrate both Stinger and Longbow Hellfire missiles, which is a requirement for the service’s maneuver SHORAD solution. It also comes equipped with a compliment of direct-fire weapons and sites to include the M230 chain gun and the 7.62mm coaxial machine gun.
The reason DRS didn’t show up to the demonstration in September at White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico, with the rest of the SHORAD candidates is because it was working on a very similar system for a counter-unmanned aircraft systems capability at Yuma Proving Ground, Arizona, in response to an urgent operational need.
That system was on display at AUSA Global Force.
But since the system couldn’t make it to White Sands, the Army is taking information from the C-UAS demonstration and will measure the performance against SHORAD requirements.
“We hope the Army considers our solution a viable candidate because we’ve done it, we’ve done it under live-fire conditions,” House said. “We don’t take anything for granted; though we’re very comfortable with the Stryker platform, we know how to integrate the capabilities being directed in the M-SHORAD offering, we’ve done it for a different customer right now.”
DRS’ C-UAS capability is already fielded and performing missions downrange.
Without naming names, Worshim confirmed that one viable candidate was present at the M-SHORAD demonstration in September while another one was doing counter-UAS work at Yuma at the request of the Army because of the urgent operational need to field C-UAS capability.
“Somebody could come out of the blue,” Worshim said. “And we would evaluate the proposal on its technical approach, cost, all the things, the performance that we are looking for, and they could be a viable candidate moving forward.”
The Army will be assessing a variety of aspects when considering which vendor or vendors to choose from ― yes, there could be more than one vendor, Worshim said. While technical approach is one, the ease of integration is another because it’s all about schedule and time, he added.
Cost is also important, but so is the potential for future growth. While the initial SHORAD will be on a Stryker, it’s possible the Army would consider other platforms down the road. And as the Army qualified, for instance, new interceptors for its Indirect Fire Protection Capability Increment 2 system, those could also be integrated onto SHORAD, Worshim said. And a future platform and solution should be able to integrate directed-energy capability onto the system.
At some point, the interceptors will need to have longer ranges. Improved sensor coverage and survivability are also among other possible future enhancements, Worshim noted. (Source: Defense News)
28 Mar 18. Poland leading NATO on transforming air and missile defense, ensuring coalition interoperability and acquiring flexibility for addressing future threats. The government of Poland has signed a Letter of Offer and Acceptance (LOA) with the U.S. government to purchase the Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE: NOC)-developed Integrated Air and Missile Defense (IAMD) Battle Command System (IBCS).
The LOA allows the U.S. government to start contracting with Northrop Grumman for production and delivery of IBCS that enables Poland’s modernized air defense capabilities.
Poland becomes the first international partner country to purchase the IBCS. By implementing IBCS, Poland will transform its IAMD capabilities in a manner consistent with how the U.S. Army is revolutionizing IAMD. Poland will also ensure seamless integration of its air defense forces in allied operations.
“We congratulate Poland on its recent anniversary of accession to NATO,” said Dan Verwiel, vice president and general manager, missile defense and protective systems, Northrop Grumman. “With IBCS, Poland sets a new standard for NATO for the most cutting edge IAMD capabilities possible.”
“Northrop Grumman looks forward to working with the Polish Ministry of National Defence and Polish industry to help produce and sustain IBCS for the WISŁA program,” said Tarik Reyes, vice president, business development, missile defense and protective systems, Northrop Grumman.
IBCS continues to confirm the effectiveness of a net-centric, enterprise approach to IAMD for getting capabilities to the warfighter that make a pivotal difference on the battlefield. IBCS replaces stove-piped legacy C2 systems to deliver a single integrated air picture and offer the flexibility to deploy smaller force packages. By integrating sensors and interceptors, IBCS provides wider area surveillance and broader protection areas. With its truly open systems architecture, IBCS enables incorporation of current and future sensors and weapon systems and interoperability with joint C2 and the ballistic missile defense system.
Key to IAMD transformation and the Army IAMD portfolio, the IBCS is managed by the U.S. Army IAMD Project Office, Program Executive Office for Missiles and Space, Redstone Arsenal, Alabama.
28 Mar 18. With the successful launch of two Trident II D5 Life Extension missiles built and upgraded by Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT), Navy submarine USS Nebraska demonstrated the readiness of the crew and strategic weapon system. The test, known as Demonstration and Shakedown Operation (DASO) 28, took place in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of southern California March 26.
“In addition to certifying the submarine and crew for patrol, the test launch collected valuable data about the performance of the D5 Life Extension missile configuration,” said Eric Scherff, vice president of Navy Strategic Programs at Lockheed Martin. “Instead of warheads, the missiles carried test kits and instrumentation to give us troves of information about flight and subsystem performance. The joint government and industry team will use this data to assess performance and to inform maintenance and sustainment plans for the upgraded Trident missile fleet for decades to come.”
The joint government-industry team achieved initial fleet introduction of the D5 Life Extension, or LE, design last year. With modernized electronics and upgraded avionics subsystems, the Trident II D5 LE configuration will be in service with the U.S. Navy and U.K. Royal Navy through the 2040s. The Life Extension program modernized the submarine-launched ballistic missile while maintaining the proven performance of the D5 missile for significantly less than the cost of designing a new missile.
DASO-28 increased the Trident II D5 record to 167 successful test launches since design completion in 1989 – the most reliable test record for a large ballistic missile.
28 Mar 18. Indian Navy turns towards portable systems for interim MCM requirements. Key Points:
- India will focus on portable and tethered MCM systems to meet interim requirements after decommissioning three minesweepers
- Service is not expected to receive new MCMVs for at least three more years
After retiring all but one of its Pondicherry (Natya I)-class minesweepers, the Indian Navy is now focusing on interim minesweeping and portable sonar systems as an interim measure while awaiting the acquisition of new mine countermeasure vessels (MCMVs), service officials have told Jane’s. The Indian Navy decommissioned three Pondicherry-class MCMVs on 23 March. The 61m vessels, INS Cuddalore, INS Cannanore, and INS Konkan, were retired after about three decades of service. INS Kozhikode (M 71) is now India’s sole MCM ship that is still in service, and it is currently deployed with the navy’s 21st MCM squadron. Among portable systems currently employed include 12 units of the EdgeTech-supplied Littoral Mine Countermeasures Sonars (LMCS). The systems are now being deployed from a number of different platforms, including the service’s fleet of Car Nicobar-class fast attack craft. In addition, the Indian Navy has also issued a request for information (RFI) for at least eight units of expendable underwater mine disposal systems. Being sought is a portable and expandable remotely operated vehicle (ROV)-based system that can detect and neutralise mines in harbours and sea approaches. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
28 Mar 18. Poland officially signs deal to buy Patriot from US. After years of laboring over details of a complex air and missile defense procurement deal, Poland signed a letter of offer and acceptance on March 28 with the U.S. government to buy Raytheon’s medium-range Patriot system currently in use by the U.S. Army.
According to a source with knowledge of the deal, Poland will buy — for what it’s calling its Wisla program — two Patriot Configuration 3+ batteries, the latest version of the system. There are two fire units per battery, so Raytheon will deliver four fire units total.
The first systems will also have Northrop Grumman’s still-in-development Integrated Air and Missile Defense Battle Command System, or IBCS, and the Lockheed Martin-made Patriot Advanced Capability-3 Missile Segment Enhancement missiles.
The source said delivery is expected in 2022.
At a time of dramatic change in leadership in Poland’s Ministry of Defence, the new guard — having just recently come aboard following the ousting of former Defence Minister Antoni Macierewicz and many of those under him — has brought the complex deal across the finish line.
There were many times where those following the possible procurement thought it would fall through. Poland first selected Patriot in 2014, but with a change in government, the new president wanted to take another look at the options available for a medium-range system.
The government ultimately settled on Patriot, but caught industry off guard when it said it wanted to incorporate Northrop’s IBCS that is in development to be the command-and-control system for the U.S. Army’s future integrated air and missile defense system. IBCS’ initial operational capability is delayed, but Northrop has a way to offer a version of the system for Poland’s Patriots sooner. And a Yockey waiver was granted for Poland to procure the system ahead of the U.S. Army.
The Poles also wanted 360-degree detection capability, which the current Patriot lacks. Poland plans to procure 360-degree radars for the Wisla program later. The U.S. Army is also working toward a 360-degree capability.
Poland ultimately wants to procure eight batteries, so some of these capabilities will be worked into later phases that will require further agreement between the U.S. and Poland.
The country also slowed the procurement process to go through painstaking offset negotiations to ensure those met legal requirements as well as goals the government had set for the program. The country wanted at least 50 percent domestic industrial participation.
Because of those complicated aspects to the sale, paired by sky-high U.S. State Department cost estimates that were not affordable for Poland, it seemed like an uphill climb to get to the point where both sides were prepared to sign a deal.
Poland closed in on cementing the letter of offer and acceptance last week when it signed an offset agreement. The details were not disclosed and much is classified.
According to Polish reports, the offset totaled just less than 1bn zlotys (U.S. $295m) and consisted of 46 offset areas, of which 31 are Northrop- and Raytheon-related and 15 are Lockheed-related. The entire deal, when all phases of the deal are executed, is expected to cost approximately 20bn zlotys.
“Signing the offset agreement with the Polish MoD sets the stage for the creation of new jobs in the U.S. and Poland and strengthens the trans-Atlantic partnership by fostering the exchange of information and ideas between U.S. and Polish industry,” Pete Bata, Raytheon’s vice president of Poland integrated air and missile defense programs, said at the time of its signing.
Now that the letter is signed, the U.S. government and Poland can begin contract negotiations with Raytheon, Northrop and Lockheed.
“Poland joins the now 15 nation-strong group of countries which trust Patriot to defend their citizens, military and sovereignty,” Wes Kremer, president of Raytheon Integrated Defense Systems, said in a March 28 statement. “Poland’s procurement of Patriot strengthens Trans-Atlantic partnership and security by enabling a common approach to Integrated Air and Missile Defense, and creating jobs in the U.S. and Poland.”
Of NATO members, the U.S., Germany, Greece, the Netherlands and Spain have Patriot, and Romania has signed a letter of offer and agreement for the system. The U.S. State Department has also cleared a possible sale of Patriot to Sweden, which is awaiting congressional approval.
According to Raytheon, the subsequent phase beyond the first two batteries would include the acquisition of additional Patriot fire units, gallium nitride-based 360-degree active electronically scanned array radar and a low-cost interceptor missile called SkyCeptor.
On the Missile Segment Enhancement side, Poland becomes the fifth international customer to sign an agreement to buy the missile. The U.S., Qatar, Japan, Romania and the United Arab Emirates have signed agreements to buy the Missile Segment Enhancement weapon.
“We’re honored to partner with Poland in support of the Wisla Air and Missile Defense system to protect and defend their armed forces, citizens and infrastructure. We also look forward to working with the Polish Armaments Group consortium of companies in support of the agreed to Wisla technology transfer,” Tim Cahill, vice president of Integrated Air and Missile Defense at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control, said in a March 28 statement.
“Today’s global security environment demands reliable Hit-to-Kill technology and innovative solutions. We expect PAC-3 MSE interceptors to continue serving as an integral layer of defense,” he added. (Source: Defense News Early Bird/Defense News)
28 Mar 18. Nigeria to manufacture Polish assault rifles. The Polish Armaments Group (PGZ) holding company and Defence Industries Corporation of Nigeria (DICON) signed a letter of intent on 26 March covering the production of Beryl M762 assault rifles in Nigeria, the rifle’s manufacturer Fabryka Broni announced. Signed by PGZ president Jakub Skiba and DICON director general Major General Bamidele Ogunkale, the memorandum determines three phases of technology transfer: initial assembling, partial manufacturing, and finally full production of the assault rifles at the Ordnance Factory Complex in Kaduna. It was not announced how many rifles will be produced in Nigeria.
Nigeria’s 2017 federal budget proposal allocated NGN364m (USD1m) and NGN390m respectively to establish production lines for the Beryl M762 and AK-47 assault rifles, the latter possibly being a reference to the OBJ-006, a Kalashnikov derivative unveiled by DICON in 2006. The Beryl M762 is an export variant of the Polish military’s 5.56 mm Beryl wz. 96C service rifle that is chambered in 7.62×39 mm. It has accessory rails, uses standard AK-47 magazines, and has a fire selector with single shot, three-round burst, and full-automatic modes. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
28 Mar 18. Today U.S. and Polish officials formalized an agreement for Poland to purchase Lockheed Martin’s (NYSE: LMT) Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3) Missile Segment Enhancement (MSE) missiles and related support equipment. With today’s announcement, Poland becomes the fifth international customer to sign an agreement to procure PAC-3 MSE.
“We’re honored to partner with Poland in support of the WISŁA Air and Missile Defense system to protect and defend their armed forces, citizens and infrastructure. We also look forward to working with the Polish Armaments Group consortium of companies in support of the agreed to WISŁA technology transfer,” said Tim Cahill, vice president of Integrated Air and Missile Defense at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control. “Today’s global security environment demands reliable Hit-to-Kill technology and innovative solutions. We expect PAC-3 MSE interceptors to continue serving as an integral layer of defense.”
Poland now joins the United States, Qatar, Japan, Romania, and the United Arab Emirates in signing an agreement to procure PAC-3 MSE. Several other nations have also expressed an interest in enhancing their missile defense capabilities with the PAC-3 MSE as part of the Patriot system.
Lockheed Martin is the prime contractor on the PAC-3 MSE upgrade to the Patriot air defense system. The PAC-3 MSE expands the battlespace with a dual-pulse solid rocket motor, providing increased performance in altitude and range. PAC-3 MSE is a high-velocity interceptor that defends against incoming threats, including tactical ballistic missiles, cruise missiles and aircraft. The PAC-3 MSE missile uses Hit-to-Kill technology, intercepting threats through kinetic energy via body-to-body contact.
As a world leader in systems integration and development of air and missile defense systems and technologies, Lockheed Martin delivers high-quality missile defense solutions that protect citizens, critical assets and deployed forces from current and future threats. The company’s experience spans missile design and production, infrared seekers, command and control/battle management, and communications, precision pointing and tracking optics, radar and signal processing, as well as threat-representative targets for missile defense tests.
27 Mar 18. MBDA deal may lead to British drone, Apache helo carrying Brimstone missile. Missile-maker MBDA has secured a £400m (U.S. $568m) capability sustainment program with the U.K. government, which will extend the service life of the country’s Brimstone air-to-surface missile. The deal could also lead to the weapon’s use on British attack helicopters and drones.
The contract will see the current Brimstone 2 weapon enhanced with software and a number of other updates. In addition, MBDA will manufacturer an unknown number of new missiles to replenish Britain’s inventory.
The capability sustainment opens up the path for Britain to field the weapon on Boeing Apache attack helicopters operated by the British Army and the new Protector UAV being acquired for the Royal Air Force to replace its Reaper fleet.
“The announcement today [March 27], while focused on Typhoon fast-jet capability, in reality enables [the Ministry of Defence] at a point of their choosing to decide what other platforms they want it on. … We hope for good progress on both [programs] this year,” said Chris Allam , MBDA’s group engineering director and the managing director of MBDA UK.
MBDA executives declined to provide dates for the upgrade and manufacture of the weapon, but said the work will extend the missile’s service life beyond 2030.
Production work in the U.K. could get underway later this year, said one executive.
The contract announcement coincided with the European company’s release of performance figures for 2017, which showed sales, backlog and exports moving in a positive direction, with orders recording a small slip.
Sales rose marginally to €3.1bn (U.S. $3.8bn) compared with €3bn in 2016. The order backlog was up nearly €1bn to €16.8 bn. Orders for the year declined though to €4.2bn from €4.7bn the previous year.
MBDA CEO Antoine Bouvier said it is the company’s ambition to achieve annual sales of €4bn by 2020.
MBDA is jointly owned by Airbus, BAE Systems and Leonardo.
The Brimstone 2 entered service with the Royal Air Force in 2016 and is itself an update from an earlier version, with improvements like an insensitive munition-compliant rocket motor and warhead.
“The new-build Brimstone missiles will incorporate all of the improved functionalities offered by the spiral upgrades of Brimstone that have taken place over recent years in order to meet U.K. operational requirements,” the company said in a March 27 statement. “The effort will also include a significant memory and processing update to the missile in order to enable all of Brimstone’s functionalities and to future-proof the missile.”
MBDA said the software enhancements being incorporated into the weapon will produce a common stockpile of missiles for use on fast jets, attack helicopters and remotely piloted vehicles.
The weapon is only operational on Tornado strike jets for the moment, but British work on the integration of the missile on the Typhoon jet is coming to a close ahead of it entering service on the aircraft by 2019.
The integration of Brimstone on the Royal Air Force’s Typhoons opens up opportunities with the growing list of customers for the fast jet.
Until recently, Saudi Arabia had been the only export customer, deploying the weapon on its Tornado strike jets.
Qatar is now on that customer list. Brimstone will be part of the weapons fit for the 24 Typhoons the Gulf nation recently ordered from the U.K.
Saudi Arabia also operates the Typhoon and recently signed a preliminary deal to buy a further 48 jets to add to the 72 aircraft it has already purchased.
Britain is yet to announce its intention to arm new Apache and Protector capabilities with Brimstone, but the decision to push through the missile upgrade is a strong signal of the country’s intention to do so.
Some updates planned for the Brimstone 2 are in part aimed at helicopter and remotely piloted vehicle operations.
Allam said the contract “tells you all you need to know about how the U.K. feels about Brimstone.”
“The contract will refresh the technology in the missile and enable production to continue into 2030,” he told reporters at a briefing.
(Source: Defense News Early Bird/Defense News)
27 Mar 18. Raytheon’s new Patriot missile software is more first-person shooter, less ‘Pong.’ Air and missile defense is one of the U.S. Army’s six modernization priorities, per the mandate of the forthcoming Army Futures Command. The Patriot missile will figure into that modernization, of course, so its creator is working to update both the hardware and software that goes along with it. That includes not only a streamlined command-and-control center, senior manager Bob Kelley told Army Times on Monday, but a re-imagined visual control system with its first new look in decades.
“To be perfectly honest, if I had the right comms hooked to the back of this, I could control a Patriot unit in the Pacific from right here,” the retired colonel, a former Patriot battalion commander, said.
The Army has purchased five of the new battalion-level command-and-control hardware systems, Kelley said, which look like five stackable tough boxes and can be loaded into one vehicle.
The current system, on the other hand, comes with a lot of infrastructure — a huge transport truck, towing a generator, with a motorcade of personnel.
“To really deploy that truck-mounted capability, that unit’s about 128 people, 34-40 vehicles,” he said.
The new system would require 10 people, he added.
To go along with this smaller footprint is a new software interface that takes the small, white geometric shapes of the old command-and-control system and converts them to a three-dimensional map with color-coded symbols and customizable information displays.
“This is almost the same look and feel as the first Patriot system that we rolled out to the Army in 1982,” Kelley said of the version the Army is running on now.
In addition to the slick interface, the new system puts a summary of key information — like heading, speed, altitude — at the bottom of the screen, along with bookmarked displays of more detailed information, which in the current system have to be searched for each time a soldier wants to access them.
“We built this through a series of workshops with current Patriot operators,” Kelley said, adding that there was excitement about the possibility of a new, more intuitive system.
It will also be easier to train on, and perhaps, increase the “attractability” of Patriot operation as a job, he added.
Patriot fire control enhanced operator/maintainers have been a hot job in terms of enlistment bonuses — $10,000 to $40,000 last year — because it’s a tough MOS to fill.
Though the Army has been slower to adopt the new software, Kelley said, they have approved a partial implementation, for 2020.
“We haven’t gotten the final word on full implementation, but we’re hoping to get that soon,” he added. (Source: Defense News)
27 Mar 18. The U.S. Army’s Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center (TARDEC) has awarded Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT) a next-phase contract to continue maturing the Modular Active Protection Systems (MAPS) controller base kit hardware and software and to support government integration efforts ahead of platform demonstrations scheduled to take place through 2019.
MAPS is designed to enable protection of vehicles and their occupants by integrating sensors and countermeasures in a common framework to detect and defeat existing and emerging threats.
Lockheed Martin delivered five MAPS controllers to TARDEC in 2017. As part of the 16-month follow-on effort, its engineers will work with TARDEC to mature the base kit hardware and software and to support integration of the MAPS Base Kit with existing sensors and countermeasures for U.S. Army virtual and range demonstrations on combat vehicles.
“Our MAPS offering is ready to support field tests using today’s platforms and active protection system components,” said Paul Lemmo, vice president of Sensors & Global Sustainment at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control. “A modular and open-architecture design means any component can be selectively upgraded across all MAPS-enabled platforms to address emerging threats. That promotes affordability by extending the system’s life cycle, and boosts protection for the warfighter without increasing vehicle weight.”
The TARDEC MAPS Base Kit, delivered by Lockheed Martin, consists of a controller, user interface, power management distribution system and application software. It integrates Modular APS Framework (MAF)-compliant components, sensors and countermeasures to detect and defeat threats targeting MAPS-equipped vehicles. In addition to current combat vehicle platforms, it is designed to support future vehicle protection system capabilities. A “MAPS: Ahead of the Threat Curve” video provides additional information about the system.
27 Mar 18. Innovation Fund Denmark to invest in IED detection project. The Innovation Fund Denmark is set to invest in a project conducted between physicists at Aalborg University and the MyDefence research and development (R&D) team. The collaboration focuses on the development of a new portable terahertz spectroscopy device that will enable the detection of explosives at safe distances. The Innovation Fund will invest kr6.1m ($1.01m) to fund the three-year and three-month-long DETRIS project.
The kr8m ($1.32m) ‘Detection of Explosives using Terahertz Radiation at Improved Standoff-distances (DETRIS)’ project will include several field trials, live testing, improvements of identification algorithms and close cooperation with researchers at Aalborg University.
MyDefence chief executive officer Christian Steinø said: “Explosives like those used in improvised explosive devices (IED) have a unique ‘fingerprint’ signature which can be clearly identified using terahertz spectroscopy.
“So far, the equipment for terahertz spectroscopy has been too bulky and fragile for out-of-the-lab applications or has been limited to measurements at distances of a few metres or less.
“Together with Aalborg University, we have found a way to produce a portable terahertz spectroscopy device that, when realised, will allow us to detect explosives at safe standoff distances.”
The use of terahertz waves poses a number of challenges, including detection range, as the waves are easily absorbed in water vapour.
This property of the waves could prove problematic especially when the technology is used to detect buried explosives in real-world settings.
The new device needs to be capable of issuing a warning to vehicle drivers when explosives are detected at far-off distances in time for drivers to react and remain safe. (Source: army-technology.com)
27 Mar 18. US Navy sets up mobile EM capability to test FDNF ships’ combat systems. The US Naval Sea Systems Command’s Shipboard Electronic Systems Evaluation Facility (SESEF) programme has set up a new mobile electromagnetic (EM) testing and evaluation capability at Naval Base Guam.
It has been established in order to support the combat systems of the US Navy 7th Fleet’s Forward-Deployed Naval Force’s (FDNF) ships.
The US Navy’s SESEF programme has been designed to create a permanent, full-capability facility at Naval Base Guam.
The facility is currently expected to be operational by 2020.
Naval Base Guam commanding officer captain Hans Sholley noted that the collaboration between the SESEF partners and the Naval Base Guam emergency management team, which operates the mobile command post, has helped provide an immediate fleet capability at a reduced cost.
Sholley said: “I’m glad that we could assist them and take advantage of utilising the mobile command post for other uses outside of real-world emergency situations, while they establish their permanent presence in Guam.”
The Naval Undersea Warfare Center Division Newport is responsible for providing project management and technical support services for the SESEF programme.
It has also partnered with Naval Base Guam, the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command, Naval Undersea Warfare Center Division Keyport Detachment Pacific, and the US Navy and US Marine Corps Spectrum Office Pacific to design, install and test the new mobile EM capability.
SESEFs are located near fleet concentration areas and are intended to deploy latest and advanced systems that radiate or receive EM energy, thereby functioning as a reliable partner for the two-party testing, analysis and troubleshooting of shipboard EM sensor systems.
Additionally, the facilities are designed to carry out real-time readiness evaluations of EM systems within an operational environment, as well as provide real-time data analysis, while minimising the time required for testing. (Source: naval-technology.com)
26 Mar 18. PLA possibly equipping marine corps with PLL-09 self-propelled gun. An image posted on Chinese online forums suggests that China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) may be equipping its marine corps with the China North Industries Corporation (Norinco) 8×8 PLL-09 self-propelled gun. Published on 24 March, the image shows the armoured vehicle, which is currently in service with the light mechanised units of the PLA Ground Force (PLAGF), painted in marine corps camouflage and being driven on a public road at an undisclosed location. The PLL-09 is armoured to the same standard as the 8×8 ZBL-09 infantry fighting vehicle (IFV), but is equipped with a modified version of the Type 96 122 mm gun, which can be elevated from -3° to +70°, thus giving the vehicle the ability to provide direct and indirect fire support. The maximum range of the gun, which is thought to be around 18km with standard ammunition, can be extended to 22km with base-bleed ammunition, according to Jane’s Land Warfare Platforms: Armoured Fighting Vehicles. The basic layout of the hull is based on that of the ZBL-09. However, the turret is likely to be protected to a lesser extent, especially if an amphibious capability is necessary. The troop compartment at the rear is used to accommodate ammunition and the weapon crew. The driver remains at the front left of the hull and at the rear of the hull is an enclosed turret, which includes the main armament. The latest developments come after Chinese President Xi Jinping stated at the opening of the 19th Party Congress of the Chinese Communist Party on 18 October 2017 that his country was planning to transform the PLA into a “state-of-the-art, world-class military” by the middle of this century. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
26 Mar 18. Raytheon Targets Army Multi-Domain Systems Like DeepStrike.
As the new National Defense Strategy shifts the U.S. armed forces’ focus from combating violent extremists to confronting China and Russia, Raytheon is offering an array of multi-domain capabilities to modernize the Army “not just for today but tomorrow,” Kim Ernzen, executive vice president of the company’s Land Warfare Systems, says.
Raytheon is particularly well positioned to meet one of Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Milley’s key priorities – improving the Precision Strike Missile (PrSM) capabilities, Ernzen adds.
The company already meets the Army’s needs for precision fires today, with its widely fielded Excalibur 155mm artillery round. “We just recently received another nearly $100m contract to produce additional Excaliburs,” Ernzen says. “The Army definitely is using them in theater today, having great success with it. It’s a great weapon. It has GPS, has long range. Definitely a go-to projectile for the Army.”
As is the case with a number of Raytheon-produced ground combat weapon systems, “Excalibur is one that has seen significant plus ups,” she says. The recent contract is for about 1,500 projectiles and “we expect to see more late this year, going into ’19.”
Raytheon also is working intensely to fill another of Milley’s top priorities, a guided rocket system with longer reach and greater capacity than the vintage Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS), an improvement that is urgently needed to counter the long-range systems fielded by potential peer adversaries.
Army Gen. Curtis Scaparrotti, NATO’S Supreme Allied Commander and the head of U.S. European Command, told Congress March 8 that American forces would be “out-ranged and out-gunned” in a conflict in Europe, an apparent reference to Russia.
Raytheon is aiming to help them avoid that problem with its $116.4 m contract for the Army’s DeepStrike program. “It’s a competition between us and Lockheed Martin,” Ernzen says. “The whole purpose is to provide long-range capability.”
The Army wants a system that can reach out about two times ATACMS’ roughly 100-mile range.
“Right now, the thing that is really exciting is that it will absolutely attack the overmatch threat with maximum range,” Ernzen says. “And it will increase the lethality, the load out, because the currently configuration of ATACMS is only one round per pod. This will definitely increase their capability to be more flexible.”
ATACMS can be fired from either the heavy track-propelled M270 launcher, which holds two rounds, or the truck-mounted HIMARS launcher, which holds one rocket. DeepStrike’s requirements are to double that load and be compatible with the existing launchers.
Another requirement is the ability to hit moving targets on both land and sea, a key element of the multi-domain thrust.
“We’re ahead of our schedule. The first flight tests are scheduled for next year. We want to continue to push on speed to market, because that is one of the critical elements for the Army, being able to field that asset as quickly as possible,” Ernzen says.
Making the system more resilient and able to function in a denied environment is a key part of Raytheon’s approach. “That’s one of the biggest things that the Army is facing, since they’ve been at war for nearly two decades in a very different type of war. It’s been very limited. And as they start to look at this pivot that’s happening in Eastern Europe and going back into what we would consider more of a conventional war, they recognize that, unfortunately, they have to regain some of the advantages that they definitely had.
“We (Raytheon) continue to invest in some of these technologies to give us the ability to insert them into products, ones that are existing or that we are developing, to be able to address some of these key things that the Army — and specifically the chief of staff — are focusing on,” she added.
An example of that, Ernzen says, was Raytheon’s investments in improvements in their anti-tank missiles. “We continue to look at the warhead’s lethality, and address some of the countermeasures that are on those tanks. We’re investing in those kinds of technologies to enhance the lethality of the systems.”
“We’re always looking at seeker technologies” and better systems “to see the hidden areas of battlespace, and pick out the target better.”
An example of that latter goal is Raytheon’s development of a third generation FLIR sensor.
“What third-gen technology does, is combine a mid-wave and a long-wave infrared emission. It gives longer distances, to enhance the range of view that the sight can see from the vehicle.” That “helps attack the overmatch capability that we currently are seeing in the battlespace.”
Combining these two IR waves “enhances your lethality in the battlespace,” including improved adverse weather performance, she added.
Raytheon is under contract to deliver “the B kit,” which essentially is the eye of the FLIR sight that gives enhanced low-light capability to the commander’s primary sight and the gunner’s sight on the M-1 Abrams main battle tank, Ernzen explained. “This is really going after enhancing, or upgrading, this battlefield package on the Abrams.”
Ernzen noted that Raytheon is able to sell many of its systems to U.S. allies and partners, which “helps offset costs for the Defense Department, to help keep their contracts competitive.” (Source: Breaking Defense.com)
26 Mar 18. Bombs disguised as rocks in Yemen reportedly show Iran aid. Roadside bombs disguised as rocks in Yemen bear similarities to others used by Hezbollah in southern Lebanon and by insurgents in Iraq and Bahrain, suggesting at the least an Iranian influence in their manufacture, a watchdog group said Monday. The report by Conflict Armament Research comes as the West and United Nations researchers accuse Iran of supplying arms to Yemen’s Shiite rebels known as Houthis, who have held the country’s capital since September 2014.
Those weapons allegedly included ballistic missiles used to target Saudi Arabia, which leads a military coalition of Arab nations backed by the United States that is stuck in a stalemate war with the Houthis. A barrage of Houthi missile fire on Sunday killed one person in the Saudi capital, Riyadh, and wounded two others.
Iran has long denied supplying arms to the Houthis, and its mission to the United Nations is dismissing the new report. Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has derided such weapons research as “fabricating evidence.”
The report is just the latest sign of how the conflict in Yemen, the Arab world’s poorest country where over 10,000 people have been killed, has changed from a civil war to a proxy fight among Middle East rivals. The Saudi-led war there turned 3 years old on March 25.
“What we’re hoping this does is make plausible deniability not very plausible,” said Tim Michetti, head of regional operations for Conflict Armament Research. “You can’t really deny this anymore once the components these things are made with are traced to Iranian distributors.”
Michetti’s organization, an independent watchdog group that receives funding from the United Arab Emirates, Germany and the European Union to research weaponry recovered in Yemen, said it examined a fake rock bomb in January near Mokha, some 250 kilometers southwest of the capital, Sanaa.
The fiberglass-encased bomb, packed with explosives, could be armed by radio and triggered by an infrared beam, the group said. It said there were three varieties, including anti-personnel mines and so-called explosively formed projectiles, which can penetrate armored vehicles and were used with lethal effect against U.S. troops following the 2003 invasion of Iraq.
Electrical circuitry in the bombs mirrored those manufactured by militants in Bahrain, while the bombs bore markings suggesting one workshop mass-produced the explosives, the report said. Such bombs, however, have yet to be used in Bahrain, an island kingdom off Saudi Arabia in the midst of a crackdown on all dissent.
Investigators also found a type of Chinese-manufactured wire covering used in other Iranian materiel, the report said.
It said independent experts also examined the explosives. Those experts said that “construction indicates that the bomb maker had a degree of knowledge in constructing devices that resembled, and possibly functioned in a manner similar to (explosively formed projectile bombs) that have been forensically tied to Iran and Hezbollah,” the report said.
Alireza Miryousefi, a spokesman for Iran’s mission to the United Nations, dismissed the report, saying the Houthis had no need for such weapons as they control stockpiles of arms purchased under former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh. The Houthis killed Saleh, their one-time ally, in December.
“President Saleh was the sweetheart of America and Saudi Arabia,” Miryousefi told The Associated Press. “It seems petro-dollars are promoting such reports in order to rationalize war crimes in Yemen as well as the oppression of Bahrain’s completely civil and popular protests.”
Told of the Iranian response, Michetti invited officials from Tehran to take part in his organization’s research in the future.
This is not the first time Iran has been accused of arming the Houthis.
The U.S. Navy’s 5th Fleet, based in Bahrain, has repeatedly said Iran sends arms into Yemen. It points to seizures over a four-week period in early 2016, when coalition warships stopped three dhows, traditional ships that ferry cargo in the Arabian Gulf. The dhows carried thousands of Kalashnikov assault rifles as well as sniper rifles, machine guns, rocket-propelled grenade launchers, anti-tank missiles and other weapons.
One dhow carried 2,000 new assault rifles with serial numbers in sequential order, suggesting they came from a national stockpile, a previous Conflict Armament Research report said. The rocket-propelled grenade launchers also bore hallmarks of being manufactured in Iran, the group said.
The group has also said drones used by the Houthis to crash into Patriot missile batteries in Saudi Arabia share “near-identical design and construction characteristics” of Iranian drones.
The weapons transfers also allegedly include ballistic missile technology. The United Nations, Western countries and the Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen all say the Houthis’ Burkan or Volcano missile mirrors characteristics of an Iranian Qiam ballistic missile. They say that suggests Tehran either shared the technology or smuggled disassembled missiles to the Houthis, who then rebuilt them.
Iran denies sharing missiles with the Houthis, though such a move would fit a pattern followed by the Islamic Republic since its 1980s war with Iraq. Iran largely has avoided direct confrontation with its foreign adversaries, instead relying on proxy groups that it arms through the hard-line Revolutionary Guard’s expeditionary Quds Force or other middlemen.
The latest accusation comes as the Saudi-led coalition faces intense international criticism for its airstrike campaign that has struck hospitals and markets, killing numerous civilians. The U.N. also says a Saudi-led blockade on Yemen’s ports is “essentially using the threat of starvation as a bargaining tool and an instrument of war” in a country already facing diphtheria and cholera outbreaks while on the verge of famine.
Iran’s weapons transfers to Yemen bleed Saudi Arabia, its regional rival, at a low cost while providing deniability for Tehran, analysts say.
“This has been just a golden opportunity for Iran to have this access and to do it so cheaply and continue to be this thorn in Saudi Arabia’s throat,” said Fatima Abo Alasrar, a senior analyst at the Washington-based Arabia Foundation and a Yemeni national critical of the Houthis. “It’s been a huge win for them.” (Source: Defense News)
26 Mar 18. BAE Systems demos 40mm cannon as option for US Army combat vehicles. BAE Systems has successfully demonstrated its 40mm cannon for the U.S. Army at Fort Benning, Georgia, as the service considers future lethality upgrades — particularly to its Stryker combat vehicle.
“Everything went perfectly,” Rory Chamberlain, a business development manager at BAE Systems, told a small group of reporters following the March 21 live-fire event.
The Army is in the market to up-gun its Stryker vehicles and boost lethality across its fleet of tracked and wheeled vehicles. The service recently fielded a Stryker with a 30mm cannon — the Infantry Carrier Vehicle—Dragoon — to Europe to be tested by the 2nd Cavalry Regiment ahead of a decision on whether to add similar lethality across the Stryker fleet.
During a recent House Appropriations Committee hearing on the Army’s budget request, Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Milley said it was the intent of the Army to continue Stryker upgrades. He also said the service is waiting for feedback from the unit evaluating the up-gunned Stryker in Europe before making a decision on how it will proceed in providing increased lethality across the Stryker brigades.
Milley said he expected to get feedback in roughly the summer time frame to allow the Army to reassess the path and determine the best way forward.
BAE Systems has spent years developing the 40mm cannon and is fielding it to both the British and French armies. The system is at a technology readiness level of nine.
The company had the cannon on display at the DSEI conference in London last fall, and representatives from the U.S. military saw it and asked to have the system brought to Fort Benning for a demonstration, according to Chamberlain.
The cannon comes with a suite of ammunition, including a point-detonating round, an airburst capability and an armor-piercing round.
The ammunition-handling system can accommodate roughly 70 to 100 rounds in an unmanned turret configuration. A manned turret’s ammunition load can go inside a vehicle, Chamberlain explained, and there are a number of system designs.
The feeder system is like a soda vending machine, able to spit out a variety of ammunition that is pre-loaded, and the system can recognize where certain rounds are in the loader throughout an operation.
The cannon is also able to fire roughly 12 rounds before an enemy can return fire, Chamberlain added.
But one of the most attractive features for the U.S. Army is the cannon’s ability to fire at a very high angle, which would allow it to fight in urban terrain.
Showing off for the service
During the demonstration, BAE fired two rounds of point-detonating ammunition against a brick wall, two rounds of point-detonating ammunition against a concrete wall and three rounds of airburst ammunition at a trench, Chamberlain said.
BAE tried to simulate some scenarios that would be relevant to operations involving Strykers and Bradley Fighting Vehicles, according to Chamberlain. For example, a Stryker might perform a wall breech, so the demonstration included the firing of a point-detonating round into a wall to create a hole followed by two airburst rounds through the hole into what would be a room behind.
For Bradley, the company simulated what would happen if the vehicle unexpectedly came across a main battle tank, firing one airburst round above the tank to blind its scope and then firing a round that simulated armor-piecing ammunition to neutralize the target and quickly escape. The range was not large enough to accommodate a powerful, armor-piercing round, according to Chamberlain.
U.S. officials were then able to twice fire five rounds of airburst ammunition, and others were able to fire the cannon using a variety of ammunition to show its versatility, Chamberlain said.
Overall the cannon fired 80 rounds and “worked swimmingly and perfectly,” according to Chamberlain.
He noted that many U.S. officials commented on the high elevation of the cannon as well as its power and accuracy.
BAE’s next step is to work with the Army Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center to help it understand the weapon and the details of the technology.
The company also pitched a shoot-off against any competition, Chamberlain said.
“I think there is going to be interest to let ARDEC look at the weapon in some more detail,” he said. And in parallel, the company would conduct a transfer of technology to help inform the Army. The service has already been given qualification data from the British and French armies.
“It’s a mature cannon,” Chamberlain said, noting the company fired 80 rounds in the space of a couple of hours and had no issues.
The company is setting its sites most immediately on the opportunity that might crop up later this year as the Army decides how it might increase Stryker lethality beyond the 30mm cannon.
“From my point of view,” Chamberlain said, “Stryker lethality is open, as much as they got the Dragoon, that is a fat turret and it’s doing its job and it’s what they wanted.”
Bu “the lethality and requirements for the upgrade are still to be decided,” he added.
The same could be true for the Bradley, he acknowledged, but said it’s less certain what the U.S. Army has in mind for a future lethality upgrade on that vehicle.
Maj. Gen. David Bassett, the then-program executive officer for ground combat systems, told Defense News at the Association of the U.S. Army conference last fall, that a 30mm cannon was being considered for the Bradley.
“There is a lot of talk about the [Next-Generation Combat Vehicle] and where that goes; we are looking at that as well. So in an unmanned configuration on a Stryker, manned configuration on a Bradley and NGCV, who knows what that is going to be,” Chamberlain said. “We are looking at that.” (Source: Defense News)
26 Mar 18. Protest over, Raytheon to begin work on $600m contract to sustain and modernize U.S. Army strategic software systems. Contract supports software upgrades to missile defense, radar and ISR systems. Raytheon Company (NYSE: RTN) is beginning work on a contract to sustain and modernize missile defense and other strategic systems operated by the U.S. Army, combatant commands and other government agencies.
The $600m, three-year contract was first announced last June and a protest was withdrawn in February. Within the next 30-60 days Raytheon will begin accepting directions from the Army to conduct software sustainment and system engineering services for critical systems including THAAD, AN/TPY-2 radars, the Ground-Based Midcourse Defense System, the Sea-Based X-Band Radar and Upgraded Early Warning Radars.
Raytheon will use the company’s expertise in commercial software practices to speed delivery of software upgrades across the supported systems to improve them without interrupting critical missions.
“We’re bringing state-of-the-art, commercial software practices, such as DevOps and Agile, to make sure the systems the Army depends on stay ahead of evolving threats,” said Todd Probert, vice president of Mission Support and Modernization at Raytheon Intelligence, Information and Services.
Work will be conducted at the Systems Simulation, Software and Integration Directorate, U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Research, Development and Engineering Center at Redstone Arsenal. The contract is expected to directly employ approximately 800 people in the Huntsville, Ala., area and Raytheon will begin transitioning and or hiring experienced software and hardware engineers, program managers, and other professional services experts in the coming months.
23 Mar 18. ARA develops Silent Sabre directed energy weapon. Applied Research Associates Inc (ARA) has developed a 1.5kw directed energy weapon called Silent Sabre that attaches to a rifle and performs similar to an acetylene torch at a range of 183-274m.
Joseph Paranto, ARA director of directed energy, told Jane’s at the Pentagon that Silent Sabre demonstrates the company is able to reduce the size of laser weaponry to an object that can be compacted and inserted into a 27kg backpack. Paranto said it takes roughly five minutes to attach the weapon to a rifle, but he expects a more accurate estimate in the future as ARA is building and testing Silent Sabre. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
23 Mar 18. France looks to MAST-F options. The French Direction générale de l’armement (DGA – Directorate General of Armaments) has awarded MBDA in France a EUR1.657m (USD204.3m) contract to submit detail on three air-to-surface missile options to inform a French Army decision on its Future Tactical Air-Surface Missile (Missile Air-Surface Tactique Futur – MAST-F) requirement.
The MAST-F solution is intended to equip the army’s upgraded Airbus Helicopters EC665 Tigre/Tiger HAD (Hélicoptère d’Appui Destruction) Mk3 standard attack helicopters, work on which is scheduled to begin in the 2023 timeframe. The MAST-F missile is planned to replace the current air-to-surface anti-armour capability provided by the Lockheed Martin AGM-114K1A/114N1A Hellfire II missiles, which France acquired under a foreign military sales request in November 2015.
The contract, entitled ‘Etude de consolidation des options MHT, EMMH, Brimstone 3 pour le programme de Missile Air-Surface Tactique Futur (MAST-F)’ (Consolidation Study of MHT, EMMH, Brimstone 3 options for the Future Tactical Air-Surface Missile [MAST-F] programme), was awarded in October 2017, but notice of the award was only issued on 1 March 2018.
MHT (Missile Haut de Trame, loosely translated as High Tier Missile) is a range evolution of the 140 mm calibre Missile Moyenne Portée (MMP – Medium-range missile) developed by MBDA in France for the French Army.
Characterised as a ‘fifth generation’ land combat system, MMP features a new-generation Sagem-developed dual-band colour TV/uncooled infrared seeker allowing engagement of both hot and cold targets; a new 2 kg 115mm multipurpose scalable effects warhead developed by Saab Bofors Dynamics Switzerland (SDBS), with two selectable modes – anti-armour and anti-infrastructure – both of which feature an anti-personnel capability; a real-time fibre optic spool data-link, and a two-stage propulsion system, solid rocket motor and booster. In its tactical canister, MMP is 1300 mm in length and weighs 15kg. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
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UNMANNED SYSTEMS UPDATE
Sponsored by The British Robotics Seed Fund
29 Mar 18. UK’s Protector UAS faces further delay. The entry-into-service (EIS) date for the United Kingdom’s General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc (GA-ASI) Protector unmanned aircraft system (UAS) has been further delayed, the government disclosed on 28 March. When the procurement of the UK-variant of GA-ASI’s Certifiable Predator B/SkyGuardian medium-altitude long-endurance (MALE) UAS was first announced in 2015 it was slated to replace the MQ-9 Reaper from 2018. However, a graphic released by the Ministry of Defence (MoD) in late 2016 then gave the Protector EIS entry date as 2021; now the government’s new National Security Capability Review (NSCR) says that this milestone will not happen until mid-2024.
News of the additional delay comes just days after the MoD announced on 13 March that a dedicated team is currently in the United States preparing for the platform’s arrival in the UK. The Protector Combined Test Team (CTT), which comprises experienced pilots, sensor operators, and engineers from the Royal Air Force (RAF), industry partners, and the US Air Force (USAF), is working through the issues related to the Protector’s compliance with national and international airspace and safety regulations.
The United Kingdom is investing in an initial 16 Protectors, but has a stated requirement for 20 such aircraft to replace the 10 Reapers that it currently fields (though a US Defense Security and Cooperation Agency notification of the proposed Protector sale put the number at 26). The Reapers were slated to be retired in the coming months to coincide with the arrival of the Protector, but it is likely that they will be extended to cover any delay and to prevent any capability gaps.
Protector is the UK’s name for the Certifiable Predator B (CPB) that is being upgraded with national-specific equipment and munitions. Equipment includes multispectral targeting systems and AN/APY-8 Lynx IIe Block 20A synthetic aperture radar and ground moving target indicators (SAR/GMTI), as well as enhanced datalinks. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
29 Mar 18. Future Vertical Lift Program Plans ‘Advanced Teaming’ with Drones. The US Army’s Future Vertical Lift cross-functional team wants to integrate new unmanned aerial systems into its family of rotary-wing aircraft, according to the group’s director.
The Future Vertical Lift program is a family of rotary-wing aircraft intended to replace the Army’s UH-60 Black Hawk, AH-64 Apache, CH-47 Chinook and OH-58 Kiowa sometime in the 2030s. Meanwhile, the service is currently running the Joint Multi-Role Helicopter demonstration program to help inform its requirements and reduce technological risk.
Brig. Gen. Wally Rugen said the group — which is one of many that have been set up to pursue the service’s top modernization priorities — will use the UASs with the other aircraft for “advanced teaming.”
The team also wants a clean-sheet designed, optionally manned future tactical reconnaissance aircraft in the family of helicopters that can “hide in radar clutter” and operate in megacities, he noted. The Kiowa is today’s scout helicopter. The Army has made several attempts to replace it over the past two decades, and of late, officials have said its recon mission maybe replaced by unmanned systems. Rugen said the scout-attack mission could be carried out by both manned and unmanned aircraft.
“These two form our advance team, and this advance team needs to deepen the interoperability between our ground force and fires team to be able detect and deliver lethal effects, assess those effects and re-attack if need be,” he said at the Association of the United States Army’s Global Force Symposium in Huntsville, Alabama.
When developing unmanned aerial systems, the team plans to have “multiple form factors,” he noted, but wants key attributes that will allow the service to work in contested environments.
Some of these attributes include swarming, runway-independence and the ability to target long-range precision fires at operational and tactical distances, he said. The team also wants these aircraft to be able to conduct non-lethal actions such as electronic warfare, he noted.
“We want to be able to stimulate— allow an enemy in a contested environment to turn on their radars. We want to be able to spoof those radars, hunt those radars and kill those radars,” he said.
Besides advanced teaming, the team is also examining a future long-range assault helicopter, which would be a fast system with increased protection, he said.
All systems are anticipated to have a resilient open-systems architecture, he noted, which would allow the Army to make quicker upgrades to the aircraft. (Source: UAS VISION/National Defense)
28 Mar 18. Lockheed’s Skunk Works Reveals Tailless X-44A. In 2001, Lockheed Martin’s Skunk Works secretly flew a flying wing unmanned air vehicle (UAV) with a roughly 9m (30ft) wingspan with modular wings and a bulbous fuselage as a technology demonstrator for a family of aircraft. As the company prepares to celebrate the Skunk Works’ 75th anniversary in June, Lockheed decided to reveal the existence of the formerly secret project at the Los Angeles County air show on 24 March in Lancaster, California, which lies few miles north on Highway 14 from the unit’s headquarters in Palmdale.
Lockheed’s “X-44A” greeted visitors at the entrance of the five-year-old local event near Edwards AFB, a storied flight test centre for the US Air Force and NASA.
Although the project’s existence is no longer a secret, Lockheed is not yet prepared to offer many details beyond the year of its first flight and its role as a demonstrator for a family of UAVs.
The project bears the hallmarks of many Skunk Works projects, including a name possibly intended to cause confusion. For two decades, the X-44A designation was thought to be assigned only to a NASA proposal for an X-plane. NASA’s late-1990s proposal, never consummated, called for testing a Lockheed F-22 with a trapezoidal wing and no vertical tails.
Why the X-44A designation was secretly reassigned to the Skunk Works UAV project is not clear. Lockheed’s confirmation and unveiling came nearly two months after Tyler Rogoway, a journalist for the The War Zone blog, first reported the X-44A’s alternative identity as a flying wing demonstrator.
Based on the designation and timing of first flight, Lockheed’s X-44A appears to pre-date the launch of a series of rival X-plane demonstrators, including Boeing’s X-45A that flew in 2002 and Northrop Grumman’s X-47A.
The X-44A also fills a gap in the Skunk Works’ long association with UAVs, which originated in the late-1950s with a proposal for the stealthy, subsonic surveillance aircraft called the Gusto II. A decade later, Lockheed fielded the unmanned D-21, a Mach 3 drone. It was originally designed to be launched from a modified version of the A-12, the variant of the Blackbird family acquired by the Central Intelligence Agency. After a flight test mishap, Lockheed re-assigned the D-21 to launch from the Boeing B-52.
Two decades later, a consortium of agencies, including the CIA, USAF and National Reconnaissance Office, commissioned the Skunk Works and Boeing to develop competing proposals for the Advanced Airborne Reconnaissance System (AARS), a high-altitude UAV with loitering capability, according to author and USAF official Tom Ehrhard, who in 2010 published “Air Force UAVs: The Secret History”.
Lockheed’s design for the AARS aircraft was likened to a “flying clam”, with a saucer-like blended fuselage and long, high-aspect ratio wings, wrote Ehrhard. But the project ended as a budgetary fiasco in 1992, as the cost of the aircraft rose to over $500 m.
Soon after, Lockheed proposed a similar-looking, but significantly smaller, concept for the high-altitude RQ-3 Dark Star UAV (pictured below), a programme funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). Ultimately, DARPA decided to move forward with Northrop Grumman’s non-stealthy rival to the RQ-3 – the RQ-4 Global Hawk.
Until the confirmation of the existence of the X-44A, nothing was known about Lockheed’s UAV development activity between the cancellation of the RQ-3 and the first flight of the Polecat UAV demonstrator in 2005. Four years later, the USAF also confirmed the existence of Lockheed’s RQ-170 Sentinel, a medium-altitude surveillance aircraft that became operational at least two years earlier.
As a seemingly modular flying wing with a bulbous body, the X-44A appears to belong to the same family of UAV designs as the Polecat and the RQ-170 from the mid-2000s, rather than the AARS and RQ-3 from the 1980s and 1990s. (Source: UAS VISION/YouTube/FlightGlobal)
26 Mar 18. Leonardo offers solution for Navy UAS. Italy’s Leonardo has teamed with Air Affairs Australia to present its AWHERO rotary unmanned air system (RUAS) for the RAN’s future Offshore Patrol Vessel (OPV) fleet. The company has been briefing Australian government and industry, with briefings set to conclude at the end of this week.
Leonardo said the new 200-kilogram category remotely piloted helicopter is the perfect fit for a number of Australian requirements supporting defence, law enforcement and border control programs.
Developed for land and naval operations, with maximum versatility in mind, Leonardo said the AWHERO is designed to deliver cost effectiveness for tasks such as maritime and border surveillance, homeland security, pipeline and powerline monitoring, monitoring the environment and critical infrastructure as well as supporting rescue efforts, disaster relief and damage assessment during natural disasters.
For maritime roles, the aircraft integrates a deck sensor and autopilot modes specially developed to permit landing and take-off from ships
AWHERO has a maximum gross weight of 205 kilograms and a useful load of 85 kilograms (fuel plus payload), with a maximum endurance in excess of six hours.
Leonardo has already been operating in Australia for more than 50 years, supplying a wide range of civil and military solutions including several helicopter models, the C-27J Spartan tactical airlifter for the Royal Australian Air Force and maritime communications systems.
The Italian defence leader said it sees “huge potential” for unmanned systems in Australia to further expand its footprint. (Source: Defence Connect)
26 Mar 18. Schiebel has successfully demonstrated the heavy fuel variant of the CAMCOPTER® S-100 Unmanned Air System (UAS) as part of its customer acceptance program with the Royal Australian Navy (RAN).
Under the directive of the Navy Minor Project (NMP) 1942 to procure a vertical takeoff and landing Maritime Tactical Unmanned Aircraft System – Interim Capability (MTUAS-IC), RAN sought a platform for shipborne intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR). Selected for its maturity and demonstrated capability, Schiebel’s CAMCOPTER® S-100 UAS successfully completed its flying program for the RAN validation and verification customer acceptance program at the Jervis Bay Airfield facilities in New South Wales, Australia.
In a comprehensive series of tests, the JP-5 (NATO F-44) heavy fuel powered CAMCOPTER® S-100, equipped with a Wescam MX-10S payload and at operational ranges of up to 60 nautical miles as well as altitudes above 10 000 feet, presented its ability to deliver world-class imagery to commanders.
As the RAN Contract Manager Kevin Beare noted, “The heavy fuel variant of the S-100 has performed very well during the validation and verification program and the RAN looks forward to utilising this platform to achieve NMP1942 project objectives over the coming years.”
“The S-100 will prove to be an effective asset in enhancing the Navy’s ISR capabilities,” said Hans Georg Schiebel, Chairman of the Schiebel Group. “We are excited about the positive feedback we are receiving from RAN and are looking forward to continued cooperation in the future.”
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Automation and robotisation are beginning to drive significant productivity improvements in the global economy heralding a new industrial revolution. The fund allows investors to benefit from this exciting opportunity, whilst also delivering the extremely attractive tax reliefs offered by the Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme (SEIS). For many private investors, the amount of specialist knowledge required to assess investments in robotics is not practical and hence investing through a fund structure makes good sense.
The fund appoints expert mentors to work with each investee company to further maximise the chance of success for investors. Further details are available on request.
CYBER, EW, CLOUD COMPUTING AND HOMELAND SECURITY UPDATE
Sponsored by Spectra Cyber Security Solutions
28 Mar 18. RAF Tornados ready to deploy BriteCloud decoys. Royal Air Force Panavia Tornado GR4 crews flying missions over Iraq and Syria are poised to benefit from a defensive update developed by Leonardo and recently approved for operational use by the UK Ministry of Defence. Named BriteCloud, the countermeasures update comprises an active, expendable decoy which is capable of luring an incoming radar-guided missile away from a host aircraft, resulting in what the company describes as “a large miss distance”.
Carried within a fighter’s standard chaff and flare dispensers, the “drinks-can-sized” device contains electronic radar-jamming equipment. Leonardo began development activities in 2012, working in collaboration with the RAF and the UK’s Defence Science and Technology Laboratory, and the system underwent successful trials in the USA last June.
“First deliveries of the decoys to the RAF will take place this month,” Leonardo confirms, adding that the technology “will be available for use by Tornado GR4 crews in the near future.”
Initial confirmation of the BriteCloud system’s pending service entry came during comments made by chief of the air staff Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Hillier in London on 27 March. Speaking at a Royal Aeronautical Society lecture to mark the centenary of the RAF’s formation – a milestone which falls on 1 April – he said the Leonardo decoy “is now ready for deployment: and easily adaptable for other platforms”.
Leonardo produces the BriteCloud decoy at its Luton site in Bedfordshire.
The RAF’s remaining two squadrons of Tornado GR4s are scheduled to be retired by April 2019, with the type’s capabilities to be assumed by the service’s Eurofighter Typhoons via the Project Centurion activity, and subsequently by the UK’s incoming fleet of Lockheed Martin F-35Bs.
(Source: News Now/Flightglobal)
27 Mar 18. UK Dept. of International Trade Publishes Cyber Security Export Strategy. The U.K. Government’s Department of International Trade has published its five-year Cyber Security Export Strategy. This new strategy harnesses DIT offices worldwide, working in close partnership with other parts of government, trade and commercial experts, academia, industry and industry-leading bodies such as the City of London Corporation and Healthcare UK. DIT will focus on three tiers of support:
- Pursue: In priority markets, DIT will act as a trusted advisor to support UK companies bidding for major opportunities, primarily selling to overseas governments and Critical National Infrastructure (CNI) providers.
- Enable: DIT will focus on six key sectors which are threat actors’ biggest targets and have significant cyber security budgets. DIT will curate bespoke offers for the top buyers in these sectors worldwide, running trade missions and pitching UK companies to address identified capability gaps.
- Respond: To showcase the best of UK cyber security, updated branding and marketing will be developed and deployed around the globe alongside new cyber content on great.gov.uk (Source: glstrade.com)
24 Mar 18. Spending bill gives election cybersecurity nearly $400m boost. The omnibus appropriations bill passed by Congress March 23, 2018, would set aside nearly $400m in funds across two election cybersecurity initiatives: the pre-existing Election Assistance Commission, as well as a new Election Infrastructure Security Initiative under the Department of Homeland Security. The EAC was established by the Help America Vote Act of 2002, and serves as an independent, bipartisan body to develop voting system guidelines and act as a national clearinghouse on election administration information. Under the FY18 omnibus bill, the EAC would receive $380 m to make payments to states “to improve the administration of elections for federal office, including to enhance election technology and make election security improvements.”
Those improvements could include replacing electronic-only voting equipment with a paper-record system; implementing a post-election audit; upgrading election computer systems; training election officials; implementing cyber best practices; and funding security-based election activities.
The EAC would also receive $10.1m for salaries and expenses, $1.5m of which would have to be transferred over to the National Institute for Standards and Technology for joint initiatives. The director of NIST will in turn be required to submit an expenditure plan to the EAC director and committees on appropriations in both the House and Senate.
The FY18 appropriations also include over $4m in funding for a new Election Infrastructure Security Initiative, though little is said about the mission of the EISI.
As a part of that funding, DHS’s National Protection and Programs Directorate will have to brief Congress within 60 days of the appropriations bill’s enactment on its assessment of election infrastructure vulnerabilities and its work with election officials to prevent cyber intrusions.
The FBI will also have an increased role to play in election cybersecurity under the new budget, by investing in counterintelligence and cyber-related investments necessary to help respond to foreign actors that pose an election-related threat. The FBI will have to brief the committee 90 days after the bill’s enactment on its plans for election security issues.
It is unclear how much this funding will impact 2018 elections, as many contests are already underway and the bill has yet to be signed into law. President Donald Trump indicated on Twitter Friday morning that he might veto the bill passed by Congress, because it lacks a protection for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals recipients and contains insufficient funding for a U.S.-Mexico border wall. (Source: Fifth Domain)
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To enhance your security, Spectra operate a Network Operating Centre (NOC) which provides 24/7/365 monitoring of your network to immediately identify any breach, or potential breach, as well as providing a UK based helpdesk. This enables the Customer to have proactive monitoring and provides the User with a 24-hour contact if they have concerns or issues with their network.
INTERNATIONAL PROCUREMENT OPPORTUNITIES
Sponsored by American Panel Corporation
UNITED KINGDOM AND NATO
23 Mar 18. Parts of light firearms
B2B Quote Ref no: B2B611486
Location: West Midlands
Register Interest Deadline: Thursday, April 12, 2018
Submit Documents Deadline: Thursday, April 12, 2018
Framework agreement for the supply of spares and accessories for the LRPAS Rifle.
27 Mar 18. Vehicle Battery System
B2B Quote Ref no: B2B612127
Location: South East
Register Interest Deadline: Monday, April 16, 2018
Submit Documents Deadline: Monday, April 16, 2018
Supply of Vehicle Battery Management Systems.
27 Mar 18. Smoke Grenade Launcher
B2B Quote Ref no: B2B612130
Location: South East
Register Interest Deadline: Monday, April 16, 2018
Submit Documents Deadline: Monday, April 16, 2018
Supply of 167-off 40mm Smoke Grenade Launcher and Control System with installation mounts.
27 Mar 18. Weapons Mounts
B2B Quote Ref no: B2B612131
Location: South East
Register Interest Deadline: Monday, April 16, 2018
Submit Documents Deadline: Monday, April 16, 2018
Supply of weapons mounts for 7,62 mm and 12,7 mm weapons systems for integration into light troop transport vehicles.
27 Mar 18. GPS Tracker
B2B Quote Ref no: B2B612128
Location: South East
Register Interest Deadline: Tuesday, May 01, 2018
Submit Documents Deadline: Tuesday, May 01, 2018
Purchase of a Global Positioning System Tracker. Includes maintenance for a period of 5 years.
27 Mar 18. Switzerland names contenders in $8bn ‘Air 2030’ program. Swiss officials have unveiled details of their envisioned reboot of the country’s air-defense complex, setting the stage for purchases of aircraft and ground-based missiles totaling more than $8bn.
The head of Switzerland’s defense and civilian protection department, Guy Parmelin, on Friday unveiled a list of requirements for the “Air 2030” program that the neutral country wants to begin fulfilling in the mid-2020s to defend its skies and repel intruders.
The existing fleet of decades-old F/A-18 and F-5 jets is considered too outdated for the task.
New aircraft under consideration include the Airbus Eurofighter, Dassault’s Rafale, Saab’s Gripen, the F/A-18 Super Hornet from Boeing and Lockheed Martin’s F-35A, according to the March 23 list of requirements published by the defense department.
Ground-based weapons on the short list are the Eurosam consortium’s SAMP/T system; the David’s Sling missile shield from Israel; and Raytheon’s Patriot system. Swiss officials want to protect an area of 15,000 square kilometers with ground-based weapons, which is more than one-third of the country. They also seek to intercept targets up to 12 kilometers high and 50 kilometers away.
The envisioned concept of operations dictates that a fleet of roughly 40 aircraft will intercept those targets outside of the ground weapons’ range. Officials want enough capacity to have four planes in the air at any given time during crises.
Request for proposals for an acquisition program are expected to be published in the summer, Renato Kalbermatten, a spokesman for the defense department, told Defense News in an email Tuesday.
Before a referendum is held about the project in the first half of 2020, ministry officials want to finish qualification of all potential vendors. That includes studying the data from a first round of proposals and collecting final offers from those still in the running at that time, according to Kalbermatten.
Referendums are a key tool of the Swiss political process. Asked by a Swiss news agency this month if the country would still have an air force if the population voted against spending money on Air 2030, Parmelin responded dryly: “That’s policymaking in Switzerland.”
The Swiss won’t be asked which type of aircraft the country should buy, only about the program as a whole. Government analysts would then decide which system is best suited for the task, Parmelin said.
A 2014 plebiscite saw the acquisition of Sweden’s Gripen defeated, a rare outcome for a referendum on security policy matters, Swiss national broadcaster SRF commented at the time.
Notably, Germany’s future TLVS air and missile defense system, a development based on the trinational Medium Extended Air Defense System, is missing from the lineup of candidate ground-based weapons. That is because the Swiss consider that system suitable only for short and medium ranges, according to Kalbermatten.
“As Switzerland has not had a defense system for long ranges since 1999, the first goal is buying a long-range system,” he wrote.
Exactly how much money will go to aircraft purchases and how much to ground weapons will depend on the interplay between the two program components ultimately picked, according to officials. However, previous estimates assume that $6bn or $7bn would be spent on planes.
Winning bidders must agree to arrange for 100 percent of the program cost to flow back into the Swiss economy through so-called offset agreements. Those can be negotiated after final contracts are signed, according to the defense department.
The government is looking for aircraft and missile hardware as is, meaning few to no “Helvetizations,” or Swiss-specific tweaks, would be made to the weapons, the new requirements document states. The ministry wants to purchase a single plane type under a “one-fleet policy.”
(Source: Defense News Early Bird/Defense News)
27 Mar 18. Italy plans to spend $951m on 20 surveillance drones. Italy is edging closer to acquiring a new surveillance drone based on a business aircraft design. The UAV will offer 24-hour endurance and have a top speed of 330 knots. Italy’s Ministry of Defence last month sent an acquisition request to Parliament’s defense commission for 20 Piaggio Aerospace P.2HH drones, costing a total of €766m (U.S. $951m). The platform, dubbed the HammerHead, is an unmanned variant of the Piaggio Aerospace P180 business aircraft, which flies with two pusher propellers.
The request is the latest episode in the drawn-out development phase of the medium-altitude, long-endurance UAV, which has been punctuated by a test crash and the planned sale of Piaggio Aerospace’s civil activity to a Chinese-backed fund. The request to Parliament describes the purchase of 10 piloting stations and 20 aircraft, which will be able to fly at 45,000 feet, carrying out intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition and reconnaissance missions.
The aircraft would be able to land at regular airports, fly in all weather conditions, and operate day and night in segregated and nonsegregated airspace.
With funding annually doled out until the completion of the program in 2032, the aircraft will be built at Piaggio Aerospace’s facility at Villanova di Albenga in Italy. The program has previously received funding thanks to Italy’s 808 law, which covers research funding for new defense technology.
The parliamentary commission did not vote on the request since it arrived too close to Italy’s March 4 election, which saw the country’s incumbent center-left government defeated, with no clear winner emerging. Talks will now be held in April to find a coalition government.
But in the meantime, Italy’s Defence Ministry is set to push on with the program since the opinion sought was nonbinding, according to the head of the commission, Francesco Saverio Garofani.
Despite its Italian origins, Piaggio Aerospace has been controlled since 2014 by Mubadala Development Company, a strategic investment and development firm in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.
In 2015, the firm said the Italian Air Force would be the launch customer for a smaller version of the P.2HH, known as the P.1HH, which appeared at the Paris Air Show that year sporting Italian Air Force colors. The company’s CEO at the time said the UAV could also serve to fill a gap before the planned European UAV known as the EuroMALE was launched.
Test flights were carried out with the support of the Italian Air Force; but before any Italian deal was announced, the UAE stepped in to sign a €316m deal in March 2016 to buy eight of the smaller P.1HH aircraft.
Then, in May 2016, the firm’s initial prototype crashed into the Mediterranean Sea, reportedly due to problems with the integration of the flight-control system. Test flights resumed in July 2017, and a spokesman said this month that the UAE would receive its first aircraft by year’s end, with all eight delivered by the end of 2019.
Meanwhile, Italy is now eyeing the larger version of the UAV known as the P.2HH, which offers longer endurance.
“The development of a new version of the UAV, which [is] more advanced and which offers greater performance, is one of the growth objectives of our firm,” said Renato Vaghi, CEO of Piaggio Aerospace. “So we are following with interest the legislative process that envisages the provision of funding by the Italian government for its development and acquisition.”
However, Italy is yet to place an order, three years after Piaggio Aerospace first said it would be the launch customer. If Italy’s plan was to buy the HammerHead as a gap filler ahead of the introduction of the EuroMALE, that gap is now getting smaller.
Meanwhile, Piaggio Aerospace’s Gulf owners starting planning last year to sell off parts of the firm’s civil activity, starting with its engine maintenance operation. More ambitious were plans to sell the intellectual property rights to the design of the P.180 business aircraft, which prompted the Italian government to invoke its so-called Golden Power legislation, which allows it to control the sale of strategic Italian industries.
Issued in October 2017, a government decree gave the government authority to ensure that during any sale, a firewall was created between military activity on the UAV and civil work on the P.180.
Mubadala began talks with a Luxembourg-based fund called Pac Investments, which is managed by Giuliano Felten, a former commercial director at Piaggio Aerospace. In a recent interview with Italian media, Vaghi said the talks with Pac Investments might lead to the opening of a production line for the P.180 in China as well as marketing of the aircraft in the country. (Source: Google/Defense News)
26 Mar 18. Czech MoD plans IFV tender in mid-2018. The Czech Ministry of Defence (MoD) plans to issue a CZK53bn (USD2.6bn) tender for a family of 210 tracked armoured vehicles by mid-2018 and select a winning platform by early 2019, with initial deliveries expected to commence in 2020. The new vehicles are to replace obsolete Russian-designed BMP tracked IFVs currently in service with the Army of the Czech Republic (ACR). The MoD originally planned to issue a tender in October and select a winner in December 2017, but general elections and delays in forming a new coalition scuttled those plans. Furthermore, Defence Minister Karla Slechtova ordered a detailed review of all major planned acquisitions, including the IFV replacement programme shortly after taking office in early January. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
23 Mar 18. Requirements Defined for the New Combat Aircraft and New Ground-Based Air Defence System. The DDPS has decided on the requirements to be met by the new means of defending the population against threats from the air. Moreover, it has defined the evaluation criteria and other armaments-policy requirements, including those for offset transactions. This week Federal Councillor Guy Parmelin, head of the DDPS, signed off the requirements for the new combat aircraft and the new ground-based air defence system (BODLUV) and informed the entire Federal Council accordingly. These requirements take account of security-policy, armaments-policy and economic-policy requirements for these procurements under the Air2030 programme. The aim of these requirements is to evaluate the new equipment according to standardised criteria and thus permit an objective comparison of the various types of combat aircraft and ground-based air defence systems. The way in which the funding volume of CHF 8bn earmarked by the Federal Council is to be divided between the renewal of the combat aircraft fleet and the renewal of the ground-based air defence system cannot yet been defined. This depends on the ultimate choice of aircraft type and ground-based air defence system. A powerful ground-based air defence system would permit a smaller combat aircraft fleet, and vice versa. (Source: defense-aerospace.com/Swiss Dept. of Defence, Civil Protection and Sports)
23 Mar 18. Bulgaria expresses interest in Israeli F-16s. Israel will be invited to offer F-16C/D fighters for the Bulgarian tender for a new fighter to replace the Bulgarian Air Force’s MiG-29s, Bulgarian Defence Minister Krasimir Karakachanov said on 19 March. He added that a letter from Boeing offering the F/A-18 had been received and that the F-16, Eurofighter, and Gripen offers would be requested from bidders that can offer new or used aircraft. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
23 Mar 18. Thales joins bidding team for UK Royal Navy’s Type 31e frigates. Thales has joined the industry team bidding for the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) Type 31e general purpose light frigate programme as part of the country’s National Shipbuilding Strategy.
The industry team comprises Babcock, BMT, Harland & Wolf and Ferguson Marine, who will collaborate to jointly deliver five Type 31e frigates to the UK Royal Navy for £1.25bn.
As part of Team 31, Thales will have the responsibility of developing the mission system solution for the navy vessels and Babcock will serve as the overall project programme lead.
Thales UK chief executive officer Victor Chavez said: “Thales UK is delighted to be working with Babcock and our partners as part of Team 31.
“We recognise the diversity of roles anticipated for Type31e and, together, we will create an exciting, innovative and flexible capability for the Royal Navy based on the best of UK and international technologies in an open-system architecture that will ensure long-term value for money.”
Babcock and BMT will collaborate to design the Type 31e light frigate based on their expertise in designing both naval and commercial vessels.
In addition, Thales and Babcock are partners in the Aircraft Carrier Alliance, which has been responsible for the design and construction of the Royal Navy’s new Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carriers.
Babcock chief executive officer Archie Bethel said: “Team 31 will allow Babcock and Thales to take forward the key lessons from the Aircraft Carrier Alliance and apply them in a new and highly capable team with Harland & Wolff, BMT and Ferguson Marine.
“We firmly believe that our combined skills can deliver an affordable and effective Type31e Frigate programme for the Royal Navy and offer something new and exciting in the export market.”
In recent trials, Thales has been collaborating with the UK Navy to assess if investments made in submarine sonar systems can provide additional benefits for frontline sailors in surface ships such as the Type 23. (Source: naval-technology.com)
21 Mar 18. France meets A400M milestone early. France received its 14th A400M Atlas military airlifter on March 16, a hand over earlier than expected due to the higher quality of the aircraft, the Armed Forces Ministry said Thursday.
“This delivery took place several months in advance of the scheduled date, thanks to significant improvement in the quality of the aircraft delivered,” the ministry said in a statement. The plane was flown March 20 to the Orleans airbase, a short flight south of the capital.
The quality of the 13th and 14th A400M were improved, such that the Direction Générale de l’Armement certified the aircraft in only three weeks, about half the time previously needed, a spokesman for the procurement office said.
Delivery of the 14th unit means the A400M fleet is now large enough for the air force to fly operational missions and also, shortly, to conduct test flight campaigns to certify further tactical capabilities, including in-flight refueling of Rafale fighter jets, the spokesman said. Other planned tests include landing the transport aircraft on rough airstrips.
The 15th A400M is due to be shipped next year, the first of the 11-strong batch of units scheduled for delivery in the draft 2019-2025 military budget law. That would being the French fleet to 25 units, halfway to the total order for 50 A400Ms for France.
Separately, an A400M for the first time flew 26 tons of fuel to the Menaka and Tessalit French army bases in Mali, supporting the Barkhane mission, army Col. Patrik Steiger, spokesman for the joint chiefs of staff, told journalists today. That single flight of logistical support to the African bases would previously have taken a few days, he added. (Source: Defense News Early Bird/Defense News)
27 Mar 18. US Navy set to launch Super Hornet Block 3 upgrade with Service-Life Modification contract. The US Navy (USN) is set to launch its Block 3 F/A-18E/F enhancement with a sole-source contract to Boeing to commence the Super Hornet Service-Life Modification (SLM) programme in fiscal year 2019 (FY 2019).
A solicitation posted by the Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) on 27 March states its intention to award Boeing a contract to cover SLM enhancements to up 15 aircraft in FY 2019 and to 30 aircraft in FY 2020.
“The contract will include the following in support of comprehensive service life modifications to the Super Hornets to maximise aircraft in-reporting status, and return aircraft to the fleet with increased service life and capability: aircraft inspections and physical verification of fleet usage; warranty and non-warranty modifications; repairs incident to modification; recurring and non-recurring engineering efforts; logistics; project management; parts, kits, [and] associated materials; and data,” the solicitation read.
Boeing previously revealed to Jane’s and other defence media that it expects to begin work on the USN’s Block 3 enhancement programme in FY 2019, and this SLM notification most likely pertains to this.
Taking elements of the previously touted International Roadmap and Advanced Super Hornet, the Block 3 will include upgrades to the Raytheon AN/APG-79 active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar; an Elbit Systems large area display (LAD) ‘glass’ cockpit and next-generation avionics; an infrared search and track (IRST); ‘shoulder-mounted’ conformal fuel tanks (CFTs); Integrated Defensive Electronic Counter Measures (IDECM); and new General Electric F-414-400 enhanced engines. A new processor that is a hundred times more powerful that today’s makes this possible. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
26 Mar 18. NSC Readies Major Overhaul in US Arms Exports. Call it, Sell American. The Trump administration’s National Security Council is readying a slew of proposals to cut bureaucratic red tape and reduce the long timelines normally involved in international arms sales.
The plan, dubbed the Arms Transfer Initiative, picks up on work started under the Obama administration, while adding a Trumpian element to the proposal that is described by administration officials as both promoting his America First philosophywhile ensuring that allies are better able to provide for their own security.
One administration official, emphasizing that the plan has not been finalized, told me key elements include an effort “to ensure that U.S. industries have every advantage in the global marketplace,” while making sure that decisions on selling equipment “are not delayed unnecessarily, and that when the U.S. government decides a sale is in our national security interest, we…follow through.”
The official was quick to note that in internal deliberations, the State Department has made clear it won’t budge on human rights conditions being met by the countries in question, and that sales “will not come at the expense of human rights.”
That commitment can bend with the circumstances, however, as has almost always been true. The U.S. government regularly approves bns in sales to countries who have come under international condemnation for how they use those weapons. Just last year while on a visit to Saudi Arabia, president Trump proudly announced a notional $110 bn in military sales to the country, which human rights organizations and the United Nations have accused of striking civilian targets with impunity in its war in Yemen. Not to mention the treatment of Saudi women, political prisoners etc etc. American military officials at Central Command have privately acknowledged the bloody toll Saudi and Emirati airstrikes have taken on Yemeni civilians, while there’s been little slackening in the American commitment to sell the country arms, provide intelligence and other military support to the Saudis and their other allies..
Underscoring Trump’s interest in foreign military sales, just last week he orchestrated an awkward scene in the Oval Office during the visit of Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. With the cameras rolling during what is normally a routine grip and grin opportunity, the president held up a series of large cue cards detailing bns in weapons sales to Saudi Arabia, holding the cards directly in front of the prince. The new leader, who spearheaded the Yemen intervention and is pushing for a harder line on Iran, sat with a strained smile as the president ticked off sale after sale adding up to about $12 bn. “That’s peanuts to you,” he told the prince.
The NSC, which did not return a request for comment, has yet to circulate the final draft of the Arms Transfer Initiative to the State Department or Pentagon, but one State Department official told me that they, “expect to see process improvements to make regulations easier for companies to follow,” with “more public advocacy for foreign partners to buy American.”
One former Pentagon official familiar with the project said the NSC has been “working hard to get it out this spring, but the turnover at State and NSC doesn’t help matters much. My sense is that they’re pretty far along, though.”
There have already been a series of meetings with representatives of the defense industry to “solicit their thoughts on how to minimize the self-inflicted bureaucratic and administrative hurdles to U.S. competitiveness,” the administration official told me, while pushing the America First policy of “better aligning our national security and foreign policy objectives as well as economic imperatives for American jobs.”
But the turmoil orchestrated by the president himself in ousting his Secretary of State and National Security Advisor via tweet has taken its toll, with multiple officials expressing uncertainty over when the NSC will issue the final paper to the rest of the government.
One issue to watch is how closely the administration will link this project with proposed reforms to selling drones to foreign partners, or if they morph to become two separate issues. They may well be treated differently as transfers and sales of unmanned aircraft are subject to the Missile Technology Control Regime, a consortium of 35 nations that exercises oversight over what kinds of missiles and drones can be exported from one country to another. Drones are often considered missiles in the context of the MTCR.
Under the terms of the current MTCR, any system capable of carrying a payload of 500-kilograms for more than 300 kilometers is subject to a “strong presumption of denial” for transfer. But the changes being proposed by Washington seek to open new categories of drones available for sale in part by focusing on speed — allowing drones that can fly less than 650 kilometers per hour to be capable of being shipped to international partners.
A meeting of the MTCR representatives is slated for April, but it isn’t clear if the American proposal will be introduced then. American drone manufacturers have long complained that they are restricted in what they can sell overseas, while countries like China and Israel are gobbling up the international marketplace in unmanned aircraft, unencumbered by the many self-imposed U.S. restrictions.
Remy Nathan, vice president of international affairs at the influential Aerospace Industries Association told me that he expected the proposed changes being worked by the White House for arms sales in general to emphasize wrapping up deals quickly. The proposal also needs to answer “how we’re making sure we get to the right answers quickly, because you’ve seen with this administration how important speed is. Flash to bang is important.”
Nathan assed that the defense industry is looking to have a better level of coordination between industry and government so industry can plan better. But early indications about what will be in the Arms Transfer Initiative “speaks to what we’ve been talking about all along — making this process more efficient, transparent and accountable. What we’re looking for is a strategic plan executed quickly.”
In 2017, the State Department approved a total of $153.7bn in defense sales — $41.9bn in Foreign Military Sales while licensing an additional $111bn in direct commercial sales between the American defense industry and foreign governments.
Remember, of course, that every other administration for much of the last 20 years has pursued some form of major arms export reform. John Hamre, head of the Center for Strategic and International Studies, pushed hard to win fundamental changes to the system when he was Deputy Defense Secretary back in the late 1990s. The Obama administration pursued changes, and now we have Trump. (Source: Breaking Defense.com)
26 Mar 18. US seeks AC-208 armed Grand Caravans for allies. The US Air Force (USAF) is to acquire AC-208 armed intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) aircraft for allied air arms.
A request for information (RFI) issued by the service on 23 March calls for 22 aircraft equipped with electro-optical/infrared (EO/IR) sensors, secure communications, datalinks, and air-to-surface guided rockets.
“The Air Force Life Cycle Management Center (AFLCMC), Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance and Special Operations Forces (ISR/SOF) Sensors, Foreign Military Sales (AFLCMC/WINI) is conducting market research to identify potential sources who may provide the [aircraft],” the RFI stated.
Under the terms of the RFI, the aircraft should be fitted with a WESCAM MX-15D EO/IR Sensor (with laser target designator and real-time image downlink to ground forces); a Harris RF-7800M-MP multiband radio set; as well as BAE Systems Advanced Precision Kill Weapon System (APKWS) guided rockets. The APKWS will be certified through a USAF process known as Seek Eagle, whereby the service certifies that weapons can be carried and separate safely from an aircraft, and that they can hit the target. It should also come equipped with a mission system control/display/recording/processing node with post mission recorded data transfer to ground node capability.
The RFI did not disclose a delivery timeline nor a prospective contract value.
This solicitation follows a number of recent Foreign Military Sales (FMS) of C-208B Grand Caravan aircraft that have been modified to the armed AC-208 Combat Caravan standard by Orbital ATK. The company recently upgraded the AC-208 to the Block 2 standard, which it names Eliminator.
The AC-208 Eliminator effectively doubles the aircraft’s weapons load, allowing for the carriage of two Lockheed Martin AGM-114 Hellfire air-to-surface missiles and/or two rocket pods on dual-launchers under each wing, compared with just one of each on the baseline aircraft. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
22 Mar 18. GSA opens VETS 2 IT services contract. The General Services Administration has opened its potential 10-year, $5bn “VETS 2” IT services contract for business and is ready to accept task orders on the vehicle, GSA has confirmed to Washington Technology.
VETS 2 — short for Veterans Technology Services 2 — was awarded to 70 companies in October of last year but subsequently was the subject of protests by four disappointed bidders: Async-Nu Microsystems, IronArch Technology, Software Engineering Services Corp. and SysVets.
IronArch withdrew its protest from the Government Accountability Office docket on Dec. 29. GAO then denied Software Engineering Services’ and SysVets’ protests respectively on Feb. 13 and Feb. 16. Async-Nu Microsystems saw its protest dismissed March 9.
VETS 2 is the federal government’s only governmentwide acquisition vehicle reserved exclusively for service-disabled, veteran-owned small businesses. It is the successor to the original VETS vehicle awarded in 2006 to 44 companies, also at a $5 bn ceiling over 10 years.
“Like its successful predecessor, VETS 2 provides agencies with access to customized IT solutions from a highly qualified pool of industry partners,” said Kay Ely, assistant commissioner of the Office of Information Technology Category at GSA’s Federal Acquisition Service.
Task orders will encompass areas such as data management, information and communications technology, IT operations and maintenance, software development, systems design, and new and emerging technologies. GSA received 187 bids for VETS 2. (Source: Defense Systems)
23 Mar 18. Congress Boosts Funds for Fighter Jets, Missile Defense In Military Spending Spree. It’s a good time to be a defense contractor. Weeks after the White House released its budget request, which provided a massive increase in defense spending, Congress took over and added even more money for ships, aircraft and missile defenses in what amounts to a spending spree on major weapons systems.
As part of the $1.3trn omnibus bill signed by President Trump on Friday, defense spending will jump to $700bn, the largest increase in 15 years.
“We need to take care of our military,” Trump said. “Our military is very depleted. But it’s rapidly getting better. And in a short period of time, it will be stronger than it’s ever been.”
Some budget analysts fear the infusion of cash could galvanize the Pentagon to invest in new programs that it won’t ultimately be able to sustain if the high level of spending doesn’t remain constant.
“The problem is, you can start ramping up, but if you don’t have a long-term budget deal to maintain this level of funding, a lot of this could get wasted,” said Todd Harrison, a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. “In many cases, we spent billions developing new technologies and new weapons but didn’t buy them, and that’s an ever-present concern when you’ve got a buildup in defense spending like this.”
One of the biggest boosts in funding is for aircraft. In all, the Pentagon would get 143 additional planes, bringing the total of aircraft procurement spending to $44bn, a 27 percent increase over the White House budget request. The big winner is Lockheed Martin, which manufactures the stealth F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. (Source: defense-aerospace.com/Washington Post)
REST OF THE WORLD
29 Mar 18. Saab prepares expansive offset package for Korean MPA requirement. Saab is preparing an expansive and flexible industrial collaboration package in support of its proposal to supply the Republic of Korea Navy (RoKN) with its Swordfish maritime patrol aircraft (MPA).
Martin Malmfors, head of marketing and sales at Saab Korea, told Jane’s in an interview that the package would encompass a range of direct and indirect offset activities as well as the potential to enable locally specific customisations. Malmfors claimed that the Swordfish MPA and Saab’s accompanying industrial collaboration package is a highly competitive proposal compared with the company’s main rival in the programme. Boeing has already confirmed that it will bid to meet the RoKN requirement, which calls for the acquisition of six MPAs, with its P-8 Poseidon. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
28 Mar 18. South Korea eyes French design for indigenous nuclear sub, sources say. South Korea’s Navy is reviewing a plan to build a 5,000-ton nuclear-powered submarine in an effort to boost its deterrence against North Korea’s sub-based nuclear attack capability.
Last October, the service commissioned from the Korea Defense Network five months worth of research on the feasibility of developing an indigenous nuclear-powered attack submarine. The Seoul-based think tank recently reported the results to the Navy, suggesting the service build a nuclear attack submarine modeled after the French 5,300-ton Barracuda-class sub, multiple Navy sources told Defense News.
“We’re reviewing the KDN report on indigenous submarine building in a careful manner,” a Navy spokesman said. “After thorough review, we’ll report it to the defense minister and the presidential office subsequently for final decision.”
The nuclear submarine project is, however, not to be discussed openly, the spokesman noted, in an apparent move not to harm the mood of inter-Korean dialogue.
“The nuclear-powered submarine-building plan is highly sensitive for itself and especially at a time when the discussions of inter-Korean summit and U.S.-North Korea summit talks are being taken place,” he said. He declined to comment on whether the submarine program could be halted or delayed due to the mood of the dialogue.
According to another informed Navy source, the KDN report referred to the Barracuda-class submarine as a model because the French sub, designed by DCNS, is powered by low-enriched uranium. “The use of uranium with over 20 percent enrichment for a nuclear-powered submarine could breach a nuclear agreement with the U.S.,” the source said.
“In that regard, the French submarine model is realistic and safe to secure nuclear fuel,” the source added.
Under a revised U.S.-South Korean nuclear deal signed in 2015, Seoul is not allowed to enrich uranium and reprocess spent fuel for military purposes. The deal allows enriching uranium for civil nuclear energy and low-enriched uranium.
South Korea launched a clandestine nuclear sub-building project in 2003. The project, code-named “362 initiative,” was canceled a year later when the plan became public and was brought to the attention of the International Atomic Energy Agency.
“During the 2003 project, we finished works of basic design for indigenous nuclear-powered submarine, as well as of a miniaturized nuclear reactor,” said Moo Keun-sik, a retired Navy captain who had led the “326 initiative.” “South Korea has enough ability to design and develop its own nuclear submarine.”
Moon said the South Korean effort would need foreign technical assistance on weapons integration. “Designing and building a nuclear-powered submarine is no problem for South Korean premier shipbuilders, but for integration of weapons and other equipment into the submarine platform, we may need some help from France or others,” he said.
Some experts are skeptical about the costs and development timeline of a locally built submarine.
“There are consensus that indigenous nuclear submarine building is to take 10 years or more, as longer as 17 years,” said Kim Dae-young, a research fellow with Korea Research Institute for National Strategy. “Per-unit cost is also expected to overrun the government’s estimated cost of some $1.1bn.”
Kim added that if the country wants a capability sooner rather than later, it should consider buying nuclear attack submarines or produce them under a foreign license.
South Korea has built nine 1,200-ton KSS-I diesel-electric submarines and nine 1,800-ton KSS-II subs, both with technical assistance from German shipbuilding company Howaldtswerke-Deutsche Werft. The Asian nation is on track to build its own 3,000-ton attack submarine known as KSS-III.
“Underwater operations with the fleet of diesel-electric submarines are restricted to detecting and countering the North’s [submarine-launched ballistic missile] threat,” Moon said. “On the other hand, nuclear-powered submarines will help conduct patrols for much longer periods to thwart North Korean SLBM attacks.”
North Korea’s submarine force is burgeoning, as it has developed new conventionally powered subs capable of firing ballistic missiles, according to experts.
The North is entering the final stage of development for a 3,000-ton submarine that could carry three SLBMs. The SLBM, called Pukkuksong-1, was reportedly successfully test-fired Aug. 26, 2016, and flew about 500 kilometers.
In August 2017, the communist state’s news agency released the Pukkuksong-3 SLBM, which appeared to be the latest in its series.
According to Seoul’s 2016 Defense White Paper, North Korea operates a fleet of some 70 submarines, including six Sinpo-class attack submarines.
(Source: Defense News)
29 Mar 18. Design pedigree central to Type 26 utility: BAE SEA 5000 head. The state-of-the-art anti-submarine warfare (ASW) features of BAE Systems’ Type 26 Global Combat Ship, dubbed the ‘paper ship’ by its competitors, far outweighs any risks associated with the fact it’s a new design that is yet to see service at sea, a BAE executive has argued.
Speaking on the Defence Connect podcast, BAE Systems’ SEA 5000 managing director Nigel Stewart said any concerns supported by claims the Type 26 is not a proven design in service and sea proven fail to take into account the benefits of the modern design and technology aspects of frigate, as well as its design history from the proven Type 23 vessel.
“I look at it a completely different way; that we think that one of the great strengths of our ship is the fact [of] how modern it’s going to be,” Stewart explained.
“It’s derived from the Type 23 … So in terms of the how you operate an ASW ship, the basics of an ASW ship, we’ve got a fantastic pedigree there. We are de-risking a lot of the Type 26 equipment on the Type 23 in the UK, which gives us confidence.”
The Type 26 vessel, one of the designs being considered by the Royal Australian Navy under the $35bn SEA 5000 Future Frigate program, is currently in production for the UK’s Royal Navy and is running five years ahead of the Australia SEA 5000 project.
If BAE Systems is selected for the SEA 5000 project, the first Australian vessel would be the fourth of class.
The first ship for the Royal Navy cut steel last year in Glasgow and is due to hit the water in 2020 while another two vessels will be in production, offering ample opportunity to de-risk the Australian project, Stewart said.
“The Australian program is running about five years behind the UK program,” said Stewart. “So, full production starts in Australia in 2022. And we think that’s … a perfect time scale really to make sure the de-risking happens in the UK program for the first class.
“But, we’re still going to ensure we’ve got a really modern design, and a modern vessel to go forward in Australia. So, yes, we’re looking at Australia, it should be the fourth class.”
Should the vessel be selected by the government for the SEA 5000 project, Stewart said prototype testing will commence in 2020, followed by full production at Adelaide’s Techport facilities in 2022.
So far, Tasmania’s Liferaft Systems Australia and Victoria’s Mackay Consolidated Industries have already won contracts on the UK Type 26 GCS program for the Royal Navy, as well as the Australian SEA 5000 project if BAE Systems is successful.
BAE Systems has also said it will establish a digital shipyard that will transform Australia’s shipbuilding industry and facilitate a transfer of intellectual property and technical data, including the digital ship design optimised for the production of the GCS.
The innovative digital shipyard will bring the “ship to life” during its service life, with intelligent systems, both on board and linked to those ashore, that will monitor the performance of the ship and its systems. The digital shipyard will also include an inventory of parts, including cost and acoustic signature, suppliers and their details.
BAE Systems also recently unveiled its workforce mobilisation strategy for the SEA 5000 project, with a recruitment strategy that will include an Early Careers Program to create a pipeline of apprentices and graduates throughout the build phase of the $35bn project.
The UK contender will commit to apprentices in steelwork, mechanical, electrical and technical trades, who will be central to the company’s strategy to ensure the right breadth and depth of skilled workers are brought into the multi-decade program. The company is anticipating that, at its peak, the Early Careers Program will have a population of around 150 apprentices, which will continue throughout the 35-year program.
A graduate program for business and engineering students will also offer opportunities for international placements across the company’s global business.
The Type 26 vessel is up against Fincantieri’s FREMM vessel and Navantia’s F-5000.
A decision on the $35bn SEA 5000 project is expected no later than June this year. The winner will design, build and sustain nine vessels that will replace the Anzac Class frigates. (Source: Defence Connect)
28 Mar 18. The Australian Defence Materials Technology Centre (DMTC) has commenced work on a project aiming to improve the speed, safety and fuel consumption of Navy vessels.
The $1.1m project will look to make the improvements through better use of unmanned aerial platforms.
Minister for Defence Industry Christopher Pyne said the new project aims to enhance the Australian defence capability and build industrial capacity in sensor and on-board data processing technology for unmanned aerial systems and small-satellite platforms.
“This project aims to develop miniaturised, high frequency sensor systems for deployment on cubesats and other unmanned aerial platforms, advancing passive radar technologies related to the processing of both line-of-sight and reflected GPS signals in real time,” Minister Pyne said.
“The initial application of this technology could enable Defence to deploy unmanned aerial vehicles to accurately estimate sea-state conditions, leading to improved safety, speed and fuel consumption for Navy vessels.”
The project is the first of four to be progressed under DMTC’s High Altitude Sensor Systems program, launched by Minister Pyne last September, and involves new DMTC partners Seaskip and UNSW Sydney’s Australian Centre for Space Engineering Research (ACSER).
Minister Pyne said DMTC’s model relies on the active involvement of every partner, encompassing industry companies with an appetite for research and development, brilliant researchers and a clear signal that the collaboration will address a Defence need.
“Defence’s ongoing involvement through a senior stakeholder group gives the end customer for this activity an awareness of promising new technologies and an opportunity to play their part in promoting the growth of an emerging industrial base,” he said.
“The DMTC model makes every dollar invested by the government go further.”
Under DMTC’s co-investment model, funding provided by government agencies, in this case CSIRO, is leveraged by contributions of cash and resources from industry and research partners. (Source: Defence Connect)
26 Mar 18. Philippines to reboot attack helicopter acquisition. The Philippines Department of National Defense (DND) has confirmed that it is preparing to reboot a programme to procure combat utility helicopters (CUH) following a terminated deal to acquire the platforms from Canada.
DND spokesman Arsenio Andolong said in comments reported by the official Philippine News Agency (PNA) on 23 March that the DND plans to restart the procurement soon and that it is currently reviewing helicopters from several countries. Jane’s understands that platforms being considered for the CUH programme include Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) T129 ATAK, Russia’s Mil Mi-35, and China’s CAIC Z-10. The procurement – valued by the DND at PHP12bn (USD230m) – features the acquisition of between 12 and 16 helicopters. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
American Panel Corporation
American Panel Corporation (APC) since 1998, specializes in display products installed in defence land systems, as well as military and commercial aerospace platforms, having delivered well over 100,000 displays worldwide. Military aviators worldwide operate their aircraft and perform their missions using APC displays, including F-22, F-18, F-16, F-15, Euro-fighter Typhoon, Mirage 2000, C-130, C-17, P-3, S-3, U-2, AH-64 Apache Helicopter, V-22 tilt-rotor, as well as numerous other military and commercial aviation aircraft including Boeing 717 – 787 aircraft and several Airbus aircraft. APC panels are found in nearly every tactical aircraft in the US and around the world.
APC manufactures the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter Large Area Display (LAD) display (20 inch by 8 inch) with dual pixel fields, power and video interfaces to provide complete display redundancy. At DSEI 2017 we are exhibiting the LAD with a more advanced design, dual display on single substrate with redundant characteristics and a bespoke purpose 8 inch by 6 inch armoured vehicle display.
In order to fully meet the demanding environmental and optical requirements without sacrificing critical tradeoffs in performance, APC designs, develops and manufactures these highly specialized displays in multiple sizes and configurations, controlling all AMLCD optical panel, mechanical and electrical design aspects. APC provides both ITAR and non-ITAR displays across the globe to OEM Prime and tiered vetronics and avionics integrators.
————————————————————————-CONTRACT NEWS IN BRIEF
27 Mar 18. United Kingdom-Weybridge: Armoured personnel carriers.
I.1)Name and addresses
Jankel Armouring Ltd
PO Box 1
Contact person: Graham Humphreys, Head of Supply Chain
Telephone: +44 1932834788
NUTS code: UKJ25
Main address: www.jankel.com
II.2.4)Description of the procurement:
Supply of vehicle weapons mounts comprising of:
366 x Swing Mount with G3 cone receiver for 7,62 mm weapons system.
167 x Soft Mount for 7,62 mm weapons system.
167 x Ring Mount with G3 cone receiver for 12,7 mm weapons system.
159 x Soft Mount for 12,7 mm weapons system to suit a maximum cyclic rate of fire circa 1 000 rpm.
Delivery DDP West Sussex, UK.
Price is not the only award criterion and all criteria are stated only in the procurement documents
Value excluding VAT: 1 750 000.00 GBP
II.2.7)Duration of the contract, framework agreement or dynamic purchasing system
This contract is subject to renewal: no
II.2.9)Information about the limits on the number of candidates to be
VI.5)Date of dispatch of this notice:
(Source: Europa TED)
27 Mar 18. United Kingdom-Weybridge: Armoured personnel carriers.
Section I: Contracting authority
I.1)Name and addresses
Jankel Armouring Limited
Jankel Armouring Limited
Contact person: Graham Humphreys, Head of Supply Chain
Telephone: +44 1932834788
NUTS code: UKJ25
Main address: www.jankel.com
Supply of 167-off 40mm Smoke Grenade Launcher and Control System with installation mounts.
II.1.5)Estimated total value
Value excluding VAT: 1 000 000.00 GBP
VI.5)Date of dispatch of this notice:
(Source: Europa TED)
26 Mar 18. United Kingdom-Weybridge: Armoured personnel carriers, 2018/S 060-131988.
Section I: Contracting authority
I.1)Name and addresses
Jankel Armouring Ltd
Jankel Armouring Ltd
Contact person: Graham Humphreys, Head of Supply Chain
Telephone: +44 1932834788
NUTS code: UKJ25
Main address: www.jankel.com
Supply of 199 x Vehicle Battery Management Systems complete with 398 x 14vDC vehicle / service batteries.
II.1.5)Estimated total value
Value excluding VAT: 2 000 000.00 GBP
VI.5)Date of dispatch of this notice:
(Source: Europa TED)
25 Mar 18. Preparation for Installation of the Apache AH-64E Defensive Aid Systems – Contract Award – 10th March 2018
B2B Quote Contract Award Ref no: B2B606986
Location: South West
Preparation for Installation of the Apache AH-64E Defensive Aid Systems – Contract Award – 10th March 2018
27 Mar 18. UK backs MBDA’s Brimstone missile to 2030 and beyond. The United Kingdom has awarded MBDA a £400m contract for the capability sustainment programme (CSP) of the advanced Brimstone air-to-surface missile, to extend its service life beyond 2030. Under the CSP effort, MBDA will manufacture new Brimstone missiles for the UK Armed Forces in order to replenish the country’s inventory and to maintain the UK’s battlefield edge into the future. The new-build Brimstone missiles will incorporate all of the improved functionalities offered by the spiral upgrades of Brimstone that have taken place over recent years in order to meet UK operational requirements. These include the highly capable Dual Mode SAL/millimetric wave (mmW) seeker, enhanced autopilot, and the new insensitive munition compliant rocket motor and warhead. The effort will also include a significant memory and processing update to the missile in order to enable all of Brimstone’s functionalities and to future-proof the missile. Brimstone CSP will deliver the baseline hardware standard that will be evolved through software enhancements which will result in a common stockpile of identical missiles for use on fast jets, attack helicopter and remotely piloted aircraft systems (RPAS) for the UK MoD and will enable the manufacture of Brimstone to meet export orders. CSP modes will be cockpit selectable providing users with simple access to the unique performance capabilities of Brimstone against the most challenging of targets.
26 Mar 18. Saab has received an order from the Defence Material Organisation, DMO, for support and update of simulators to the Netherlands Army’s Mobile Combat Training Centre. The order value amounts to SEK 115m. The contract is a two-year extension and includes an option for one additional year of support. In the early 2000s, Saab delivered the Mobile Combat Training Centre (MCTC) to the Netherlands Army and has since then delivered support to the customer. Over the years, the centre has been updated with new features and is today the world´s largest mobile training centre for training up to battalion level (Level 5). The training centre moves to several different nations in Europe for exercises in different environments and for joint exercises with other nations.
28 Mar 18. Senop to supply integrated command post shelters for Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace. Senop Oy has signed a contract with the Norwegian Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace AS for the supply of the integrated command post shelters. The contract is a continuation for a long term co-operation between Kongsberg and Senop. The deliveries will take place in 2019. The total value of the contract is not published. The new contract emphasizes Senop´s high capability to supply advanced light-weight command shelter solutions, their system integration and the punctuality
with the deliveries in the previous programs with Kongsberg.
28 Mar 18. The government of Poland has signed a Letter of Offer and Acceptance (LOA) with the U.S. government to purchase the Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE: NOC)-developed Integrated Air and Missile Defense (IAMD) Battle Command System (IBCS). The LOA allows the U.S. government to start contracting with Northrop Grumman for production and delivery of IBCS that enables Poland’s modernized air defense capabilities. Poland becomes the first international partner country to purchase the IBCS. By implementing IBCS, Poland will transform its IAMD capabilities in a manner consistent with how the U.S. Army is revolutionizing IAMD. Poland will also ensure seamless integration of its air defense forces in allied operations.
27 Mar 18. Latvia to receive Puma UASs from US. Latvia is to receive a pair of tactical hand-launched unmanned aircraft systems (UASs) from the US government, it was disclosed on 27 March. The Baltic state is to acquire two AeroVironment (AV) RQ-20A Puma UASs under a Foreign Military Sales (FMS) deal valued at USD1.96 m, the US Army revealed in a justification and approval (J&A) notification into the sole-source contract that will be awarded on 3 April. As noted in the J&A notification, the deal is to be broken down into USD856,474 for the two RQ-20A Puma systems; USD185,628 for an initial spares package; USD109,248 for three reconnaissance, surveillance, and target acquisition (RSTA) kits; and USD345,548 for contractor support. The Latvian armed forces do not currently field any unmanned aviation assets. The air force, which only numbers 250 regular personnel, has just one Antonov An-2 ‘Colt and one L410 Turbolet transport aircraft and two Mil Mi-2 ‘Hoplite’ and four Mi-8 ‘Hip’ utility and transport helicopters in its inventory, while the army has no aircraft at all. Designed to be flown autonomously or via AV’s common ground control station (GCS), the Puma UAS provides a persistent intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition, and reconnaissance (ISTAR); force-protection; and ‘over-the-hill’ reconnaissance capability. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
28 Mar 18. The Croatian government has decided to procure used F-16D Barak fighter jets from Israel, in order to replace its aging fleet of Russian jets. Croatia’s Defence Council, which includes President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic and Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic, made the decision at its March 27 meeting, the Defence Ministry said in a statement. The acquisition of 12 aircraft is estimated to be worth about $500m. In October, the Croatian ministry said it obtained four offers, including bids submitted by the U.S., Israel, Greece and Sweden. The former three countries offered to supply new or used F-16s, while Sweden’s bid was for the delivery of JAS 39 Gripen fighters. The purchase will allow Croatia to replace its outdated Soviet-designed Mikoyan MiG-21 aircraft with new fighters. The first jets are expected to be delivered to the country’s Air Force by the end of 2020. The F-16D Barak is fitted with a Pratt & Whitney F100-PW-200 engine with a 6,654-kilogram thrust, enabling it with a maximum speed of over Mach 2, according to data from the Israeli Air Force. The first F-16D models to enter Israeli service did so in 1987. (Source: Defense News)
27 Mar 18. Leonardo and the Armament Inspectorate of the Polish Ministry of National Defense have signed a contract to supply four additional M-346 Advanced Jet Trainers (AJT) that will join the Polish Air Force’s existing fleet of eight aircraft by 2020.
- The four additional M-346 aircraft will be delivered by 2020 and will join the fleet of eight already in service;
- CEO, Alessandro Profumo: “This contract reinforces Leonardo’s close partnership with Poland, a country where our technologies and skills are deeply rooted and which recognizes the unique capabilities of our integrated training system based on the M-346 aircraft;”
- The M-346 is the most advanced trainer aircraft in the world with 72 aircraft ordered by Italy, Poland, Singapore and Israel.
The contract, worth more than 115m euro, includes a support package. It also contains options for additional four aircraft and support package. (Source: Google/Newswire Today)
28 Mar 18. The government of Poland signed an agreement to purchase Raytheon’s (NYSE: RTN) combat proven Patriot™ from the U.S. Army. The agreement, formally referred to as a Letter of Offer and Acceptance, paves the way for Poland’s Patriot force to rapidly reach Initial Operational Capability, and sets the stage for the U.S. government to begin contract negotiations with Raytheon and its industry partners.
“Poland joins the now 15 nation strong group of countries which trust Patriot to defend their citizens, military and sovereignty,” said Wes Kremer, President of Raytheon Integrated Defense Systems. “Poland’s procurement of Patriot strengthens Trans-Atlantic partnership and security by enabling a common approach to Integrated Air and Missile Defense, and creating jobs in the US and Poland.”
Patriot is the backbone of NATO and Europe’s defense against ballistic and cruise missiles, advanced aircraft and drones. NATO Nations with Patriot: The US, Germany, Greece, the Netherlands, and Spain currently have Patriot. On Nov. 29th, Romania signed an LOA for Patriot, making it the 6th NATO member state to procure Patriot. Additionally, a Congressional notification regarding a potential Patriot sale to Sweden has been completed. Patriot in Poland: Prior to signing the LOA, Poland agreed to an industrial-participation proposal offered by Raytheon and its industry partners. To facilitate Poland’s self-sufficiency, which is required by Polish law, Raytheon will transfer technology to the extent permitted by US law and regulations. This LOA is for Phase I of “WISLA,” Poland’s two-phase medium-range Integrated Air and Missile Defense procurement. Under Phase II, Poland has stated it intends to acquire additional Patriot fire units, Gallium-Nitride-based 360-degree Active Electronically Scanning Array Radar, and SkyCeptor™, a low-cost interceptor missile.
29 Mar 18. Northrop Grumman Systems Corp., Herndon, Virginia, was awarded a $27,000,000 modification (P00023) to contract W31P4Q-15-C-0065 to extend the current Counter-Rocket Artillery Mortar command and control system tactical defense measures contract by 21 months and include Counter-Unmanned Aerial System capability and emerging technologies in sensors and electronic warfare. Work will be performed in Herndon, Virginia, with an estimated completion date of Nov. 29, 2019. Fiscal 2018 research, development, test and evaluation funds in the amount of $2,000,000 were obligated at the time of the award. U.S. Army Contracting Command, Redstone Arsenal, Alabama, is the contracting activity.
28 Mar 18. Oshkosh Defense LLC, Oshkosh, Wisconsin, was awarded a $8,865,727 modification (0020 05) to contract W56HZV-15-D-0031 for production cut-in of the Guided Missile Transport Engineering Change Proposal FHTV399 into the Family of Heavy Tactical Vehicles recapitalized M984E1A4. Work will be performed in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, with an estimated completion date of July 31, 2020. Fiscal 2017 other procurement, Army funds in the amount of $8,865,727 were obligated at the time of the award. U.S. Army Contracting Command, Warren, Michigan, is the contracting activity.
29 Mar 18. Raytheon Self Protect Systems, Goleta, California, has been awarded a $460,000,000 indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for the AN/ALR‐69A digital Radar Warning Receiver system. This contract provides for the fabrication, integration, testing and delivery of line replaceable units and shop replaceable units. Work will be performed in Goleta, California; and Forest, Mississippi, and is expected to be complete by March 2025. This award is the result of a competitive acquisition and one offer was received. A combination of fiscal 2016 and 2017 National Guard and Reserve Equipment Account procurements funds; and fiscal 2017 research, development, test and evaluation funds in the amount of $18,960,656 are being obligated at the time of award. Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, Electronic Warfare, Robins Air Force Base, Georgia, is the contracting activity (FA8523‐18‐D‐0004).
23 Mar 18. Lockheed Martin Rotary and Mission Systems, Manassas, Virginia, is being awarded a $12,537,910 cost-plus-incentive-fee, fixed-price-incentive, firm-fixed-price and cost-only contract for development, integration, manufacture, production and testing of the Navy’s AN/SQQ-89A(V)15 surface ship undersea warfare systems. The AN/SQQ-89A(V)15 is a surface ship undersea warfare (USW) combat system with the capability to search, detect, classify, localize and track undersea contacts, and to engage and evade submarines, mine-like small objects and torpedo threats. The contract is for development, integration and production of future advanced capability build and technical insertion baselines of the AN/SQQ-89A(V)15 USW systems. This contract includes options which, if exercised, would bring the cumulative value of this contract to $700,808,402. This contract combines purchases for the Navy (84 percent); and the government of Japan (16 percent), under the Foreign Military Sales program. Work will be performed in Manassas, Virginia (82 percent); Liverpool, New York (17 percent); Oldsmar, Florida (1 percent); and Owego, New York (less than 1 percent), and is expected to be completed by March 22, 2026. Fiscal 2016 shipbuilding and conversion (Navy); fiscal 2017 shipbuilding and conversion (Navy); fiscal 2018 research, development, test and evaluation; and fiscal 2018 other procurement (Navy) funding in the amount of $1,203,527 will be obligated at time of award and will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was competitively procured via the Federal Business Opportunities website, with one offer received. The Naval Sea Systems Command, Washington, District of Columbia, is the contracting activity (N00024-18-C-5218).
26 Mar 18. Sparton Corporation (NYSE:SPA) under the brand Aydin Displays, a leader in the ruggedized displays, computers, and peripherals market has been awarded a contract worth over $13m to supply BAE Systems with ruggedized Flat Panel Displays for a program supporting the Navy. Aydin Displays is contracted to deliver more than 600 displays over a two and a half year period. The Aydin Displays brand provides a wide variety of Defense / Military LCD Displays that are designed for some of the harshest conditions in military scenarios – land, air and on water. (Source: BUSINESS WIRE)
29 Mar 18. The Boeing Co., St. Louis, Missouri, has been awarded a $187,315,403 modification (P00058) to a previously awarded contract FA8634-16-C-2653 for F-15 Radar Modernization Program (RMP) radar upgrades. This modification provides for the exercise of options for 29 Group A and Group B kits, Group B radar spares, 22 conformal fuel tanks, RMP Systems Engineering Program Management, Interim Contract Support Rep Lakenheath, RMP Isopods and shipping containers. Work will be performed in St. Louis, Missouri, and is expected to be completed by April 30, 2022. Fiscal 2017 and 2018 procurement funds; fiscal 2017 Congressional-add funding; and Defense Working Capital funds are being obligated at the time of award. The contracting activity is Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio.
29 Mar 18. General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc., Poway, California, has been awarded a $295,654,506 firm-fixed-price contract for MQ-9 Reaper production. This contract provides for the production of the MQ-9 Reaper aircraft in the fiscal 2017 production configuration. Work will be performed in Poway, California, and is expected to be complete by July 29, 2021. This award is the result of a sole-source acquisition. Fiscal 2016 and 2017 aircraft procurement funds in the amount of $295,654,506 are being obligated at the time of award. The Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, is the contracting activity (FA8620-18-F-2303).
26 Mar 18. Harris Corp., Clifton, New Jersey, is being awarded $24,503,472 for modification P00003 to a previously awarded firm-fixed-price contract (N00019-17-C-0090) to exercise an option to procure 14 full-rate production lot 15 Integrated Defensive Electronic Countermeasures AN/ALQ-214 A(V)4/5 onboard jammer systems in support of the Advanced Tactical Aircraft Protection Systems Program Office for the government of Kuwait. Work will be performed in Clifton, New Jersey (59 percent); San Jose, California (14 percent); San Diego, California (7 percent); Rancho Cordova, California (5 percent); Mountain View, California (3 percent); and various locations within the continental U.S. (12 percent), and is expected to be completed in May 2021. Foreign military sales funds in the amount of $24,503,472 will be obligated at time of award, none of which will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Maryland, is the contracting activity.
23 Mar 18. Raytheon Missile Co., Tucson, Arizona, has been awarded a $523,148,647 fixed-price incentive modification (P00001) to previously awarded contract FA8675-18-C-0003 for Advanced Medium Range Air to Air Missile (AMRAAM) Production Lot 31. This modification provides for AMRAAM Production Lot 32 for the production of the AMRAAM missile and other AMRAAM system items. Work will be performed in Tucson, Arizona, and is expected to be complete by Jan. 31, 2021. This contract involves foreign military sales to Japan, Kuwait, Poland, Indonesia, Qatar, Germany, Australia, and the United Kingdom. Fiscal 2018 production funds in the amount of $308,016,581; fiscal 2018 research and development funds in the amount of $3,569,227; and foreign military sales funds in the amount $211,562,839 are being obligated at the time of award. Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, Air Dominance Contracting Office, Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, is the contracting activity.
27 Mar 18. The US Air Force (USAF) has awarded a follow-on order to Rockwell Collins for the delivery of 300 additional units of the Military Code (M-Code) Global Positioning System (GPS) receivers. Awarded by the USAF Space and Missile Systems Center (USAF SMC), the current order will be carried out in support of the airforce’s Military GPS User Equipment (MGUE) programme. Designed by USAF SMC, the MGUE programme will help increase GPS capabilities for the combatant at places where current signals might be unavailable. With the beginning of work on the MGUE programme in 2012, Rockwell Collins has developed and supplied, and will assist in the transition to M-Code receivers. In addition to enhancing traditional GPS for military use, M-Code is designed to co-exist with existing signals without interfering with current or future civilian or military user equipment. (Source: airforce-technology.com)
23 Mar 18. United Technologies Corp., Pratt & Whitney Military Engines, East Hartford, Connecticut, is being awarded a $239,691,086 advanced acquisition contract for long-lead materials, parts, and components for 137 low rate initial Production Lot 12 F135 propulsion systems for the Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps, non-U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) participants, and foreign military sales (FMS) customers. This includes 46 F135-PW-100 propulsion systems for the Air Force; 20 F135-PW-600 propulsion systems for the Marine Corps; four F135-PW-100 propulsion systems for the Navy; 63 F135-PW-100 and four F135-PW-600 propulsion systems for non-U.S. DoD participants and FMS customers. Work will be performed in East Hartford, Connecticut (67 percent); Indianapolis, Indiana (26.5 percent); and Bristol, United Kingdom (6.5 percent), and is expected to be completed in January 2021. Fiscal 2017 aircraft procurement (Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps); non-U.S. DoD participant; and FMS funds in the amount of $239,691,086 are being obligated at time of award, none of which will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract combines purchases for the Air Force ($88,712,796; 37 percent); Marine Corps ($43,786,916; 18 percent); Navy ($8,860,460; 4 percent); non-U.S. DoD participant ($64,429,754; 27 percent); and foreign military sales customers ($33,901,160; 14 percent). This contract was not competitively procured pursuant to Federal Acquisition Regulation 6.302-1. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Maryland, is the contracting activity (N00019-18-C-1021).
26 Mar 18. US Army’s Geospatial Center awards $200m GRIDS III contract to GD. The US Army Corps of Engineers Army Geospatial Center has awarded the Geospatial, Research, Integration, Development and Support (GRIDS) III contract with a potential value of approximately $200m.
Awarded to General Dynamics (GD) One Source, the new multiple-award, indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity contract includes one base year with four option years. General Dynamics One Source is a joint venture (JV) between General Dynamics Information Technology and General Dynamics Mission Systems. General Dynamics Information Technology Intelligence Solutions Division acting vice-president and general manager Adam Rudo said: “Our highly experienced team is dedicated to enhancing geospatial research and development. Under the deal, GD will be responsible for delivering technical services in order to help coordinate, integrate and synchronise geospatial information requirements and standards across the US Army. (Source: army-technology.com)
REST OF THE WORLD
23 Mar 18. Saudi Arabia seeks $670m sale of TOW 2B missiles from US. The Government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has requested an estimated $670m sale of TOW 2B (BGM-71F-series) missiles from the US.
The US Defense Security Cooperation Agency has notified Congress of the possible sale, which has been approved by the US State Department.
Under the proposed sale, Saudi Arabia seeks to acquire up to 6,600 TOW 2B missiles (BGM-71F-series) and 96 TOW 2B (BGM-71F-series) fly-to-buy lot validation missiles and other related equipment and services in support of the weapons. The sale package will also cover government-furnished equipment, technical manuals and publications, essential spares and repair parts, live fire exercise and ammunition, as well as tools and test equipment. Training, transportation, technical and logistic support, repair and return support, quality assurance teams, as well as an in-country field service representative (FSR) are also included.
Raytheon Missile Systems will serve as the principal contractor in connection with the potential sale. (Source: army-technology.com)
24 Mar 18. The Government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has requested a possible purchase of a new Foreign Military Sales Order (FMSO) II to provide funds for blanket order requisitions under a Cooperative Logistics Supply Support Agreement (CLSSA) for common spares/repair parts to support Saudi Arabia’s fleet of M1A2 Abrams tanks, M2 Bradley Fighting Vehicles, High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicles (HMMWVs), Light Armored Vehicles (LAVs), M198 Towed Howitzers, additional support, and other related elements of logistics and program support. The total estimated program cost is $300m. There are no principal contractors involved with this potential sale. There are no known offset agreements proposed in connection with this potential sale. (Source: glstrade.com)
26 Mar 18. Ukraine to buy new rotorcraft from Airbus Helicopters. The Ukrainian government is to procure a number of European helicopters to be used for a range of military and para-public operations, national media reported on 24 March. The country is to sign a contract with Airbus Helicopters for the purchase of 55 new H125, H145, and H225 platforms to be used by the Ukrainian National Guard (UNG), as well as by government and law enforcement agencies. The Interfax-Ukraine news agency that reported the planned deal did not provide a break-down of these helicopter numbers, and neither did it disclose a contract value or planned delivery timelines. Airbus Helicopters told Jane’s that it does not comment on discussions with potential customers. As noted by Jane’s World Armies, the UNG was a civil police organisation before being placed under the operational control of the army following the invasion and annexation of Crimea by Russia in early 2014. It now numbers around 46,000 personnel, and is equipped with similar equipment as the army. While the Ukrainian Army fields several Soviet-era helicopter types, comprising Mil Mi-2/6/8/9/24/26s, it is not known whether any of these are operated by the UNG. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
29 Mar 18. The Boeing Co., Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, has been awarded a $64,763,036 hybrid (fixed-price-incentive-firm, firm fixed price, and cost-plus-fixed-fee) modification (P00001) to previously awarded contract FA8730-18-C-0001 for the mission computing upgrade installation and checkout of four Japanese E-767 aircraft and associated ground systems. This modification provides for the exercise of options for the procurement of supplies and services for the installation and checkout of the four Japanese aircraft, and brings the total cumulative face value of the contract to $125,666,359. This modification involves foreign military sales to Japan. Work will be performed in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; San Antonio, Texas; and Seattle, Washington, and is expected to be complete by Dec. 31, 2022. Japanese foreign military sales funds in the amount of $64,763,036 are being obligated at the time of award. Total Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, Hanscom Air Force Base, Massachusetts, is the contracting activity.
24 Mar 18. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has requested the continuation of the Maintenance Support Services (MSS) contract that supports the Royal Saudi Land Forces Aviation Command’s (RSLFAC) fleet of AH-64D/E, UH-60L, Schweizer 333 and Bell 406CS helicopters. The MSS contract services includes management and installation of engineering change proposals and modification work orders; Repair and Return (R&R) management services and component repairs; aircraft simulator logistics, maintenance and technical support; training; and maintenance management support for the RSLFAC Headquarters staff; and other related elements of logistics and program support. The estimated total case value is $106.8m. The principal contractor will be DynCorps International, Mclean, VA. There are no known offset agreements in connection with this potential sale. (Source: glstrade.com)
28 Mar 18. Insitu Inc., Bingen, Washington, is being awarded a $47,037,076 firm-fixed-price delivery order (N6833518F0050) to a previously issued basic ordering agreement (N68335-16-G-0046). This order provides for the procurement of eight ScanEagle unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), spares, support equipment, one logistician field service representative (FSR); 16 FSR operators to provide ScanEagle UAS technical services; two site surveys and site activation teams; and program management to sustain and operate the ScanEagle UAS in support of the government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan under a Building Partnership Capacity case. Work will be performed in Afghanistan (95 percent); and Bingen, Washington (5 percent), and is expected to be completed in March 2019. Fiscal 2018 Afghan Security Forces funding in the amount of $47,037,076 are being obligated at time of award; none of which will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division, Lakehurst, New Jersey, is the contracting activity.
26 Mar 18. Martin-Baker selected for KFX. UK ejection-seat specialist Martin-Baker has secured a deal to support South Korea’s next-generation Korean Fighter Experimental (KFX) aircraft, it was announced on 23 March. Martin-Baker said in statement that it will supply its Mk18 ejection seat for the KFX, which is currently under development by Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI). The UK firm said KAI’s selection of the Mk18 continues the two companies’ collaboration, which started on KAI’s KT-1 ‘Woong-Bee’ Basic turboprop trainer aircraft and followed on the T-50 Golden Eagle advanced jet trainer (AJT). Underscoring Martin-Baker’s efforts to expand its footprint in the Asia-Pacific, the contract comes just a few months after the company was selected by Taiwan’s Aerospace Industrial Development Corporation (AIDC) to supply ejection seats for another development programme, the XT-5 ‘Blue Magpie’ AJT. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
26 Mar 18. India orders additional Barak-1 short-range SAMs. The Indian Ministry of Defence (MoD) has contracted Israel Aerospace Industries/Rafael Advanced Defense Systems to supply additional Barak-1 short-range surface-to-air missiles (SAMs). The contract, which is valued at INR4.6bn (USD70.5m), will see 131 Barak-1 shipborne, point defence missiles delivered to the Indian Navy (IN), the MoD announced in a 20 March statement. The acquisition had been cleared by the ministry in January. In April 2017 the MoD’s Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) had also cleared the import of 100 Barak-1 SR-SAMs worth INR5bn for the IN, but it is believed that no contract was signed thereafter. Prior to that, in October 2014, the MoD had signed a contract to acquire Barak-1s for the service for INR8.75bn. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
26 Mar 18. Brazil makes steps to gain SATCOM independence. Brazil is to purchase a second geostationary dual-band communications satellite (Satélite Geoestacionário de Defesa e Comunicações Estratégicas: SGDC). Brazil’s state-controlled Telebras awarded Visiona Tecnologia Espacial (a joint venture between Telebras and Embraer) a BRL10.5 m contract to manage procurement for SGDC-2. The project is in a request for information (RFI) phase, the Ministry of Defence said on 23 March. The SGDC-2 effort is expected to generate comprehensive interest from satellite producers. A third SGDC is to eventually be purchased. A first, built by Thales Alenia Space, entered orbit on 4 May 2017. The company was selected over MELCO and SSL and signed contract in December 2013 with Visiona. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
MANAGEMENT ON THE MOVE
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About the Role:
Project Manager (Government/Defence) – £650 – £700 per day – Dorset
We are currently looking for a highly experienced Project Manager for a leading global organisation in Dorset.
You will be providing project management leadership for a large, multi-site government project. You will manage the end-to-end project, ensuring tight deadlines are met and the project stays on track. You will identify and manage key risks and ensure regular communication and updates are given to key stakeholders.
This role would suit an experienced project manager, with a background working on Government, Defence, or Communications Projects. You will need to have experience delivering projects across large multi-site environments and be able to communicate well with both technical and non-technical individuals.
* Proven experience as a Project Manager delivering large scale, multi-site government/defence projects
* Technical background
* Very good communication and people skills
* Ability to build credibility with board, product leaders, engineers and other key stakeholders
* Ability to manage project to sufficient detail and keep on track (time and budget)
* Ability to identify and manage key risks
Rate: £650 per day
Length: 3-6 months
Project Manager (Government/Defence) – £650 – £700 per day – Dorset
STR Limited is acting as an Employment Business in relation to this vacancy.
29 Mar 18. Orbital ATK (NYSE: OA), a global leader in aerospace and defense technologies, and Arizona Governor Doug Ducey, today announced the expansion of the company’s production facility in Mesa, Arizona.
“Orbital ATK is engineering products that are critical to keeping our nation safe, and the State of Arizona is very proud of our longstanding partnership with the company,” said Governor Doug Ducey. “I thank Orbital ATK for continuing to invest in Arizona and create new, high-wage opportunities for our residents.”
The Mesa-based operation produces the world-renowned Bushmaster® family of medium caliber cannons that provide the U.S. military and its allies with the world’s most reliable weapons for air, land and sea combat platforms. The company has either installed or is on contract to provide its cannons to more than 50 nations globally.
The new 36,000 square foot facility will support the company’s ability to increase production capacity through collocating Orbital ATK’s warehouse and manufacturing operations into one site.
“Aerospace and defense is one of Mesa’s key economic development industries and it’s great to see companies like Orbital ATK expanding in our city,” Mayor John Giles said. “Orbital ATK’s new space will bring new jobs in engineering, manufacturing and management to one of Mesa’s fastest growing business hubs near Falcon Field Airport.”
In addition to manufacturing new cannons, Orbital ATK also offers aftermarket services providing spare parts, upgrades and operational training. It also provides maintenance which can range from either on-site service and repair to a full up remanufacturing capability at its Mesa facility.
When complete, the capital investment will nearly double the company’s current production capacity. This will help meet today’s surging demand while also addressing future growth requirements as U.S. and allied militaries are increasing their current defense capabilities in response to worldwide threats.
“Our operations date back to the days of Hughes Helicopters when the first cannon was produced for the U.S. Army in 1975,” said Lisa Brown, Orbital ATK Vice President, Guns Market Segment. “Today, our business is growing and we’re modernizing and adding local talent to meet the growing demand for our products and services worldwide.”
The expanded facility is scheduled to become fully operational before the end of the year.
“As a result of leaders like Orbital ATK producing innovative technologies here, Arizona has become globally recognized as an aerospace and defense industry hub,” said Sandra Watson, Arizona Commerce Authority President & CEO. “Our state has a long history of supporting Orbital ATK across several of its business units, and we look forward to continually growing that relationship. I congratulate Orbital on this most recent success!”
Orbital ATK’s Mesa facility currently employs nearly 200 full time employees and plans to add an additional 50 to 60 new engineering, program management and manufacturing technicians as a result of the increased campus footprint. This will include the fully modernized and secure production facility and separate operations headquarters where engineering, program management, business development and various operations support activities occur.
Today, Orbital ATK has hundreds of high-tech job openings that it is seeking to fill at its facilities in Mesa, Chandler, and Gilbert, Arizona. For more information please visit https://careers.orbitalatk.com. (Source: BUSINESS WIRE)
26 Mar 18. Air Affairs Australia opens new defence facility in Nowra. Defence supplier Air Affairs Australia has officially opened its new headquarters at Albatross Aviation Technology Park in Nowra, New South Wales, Australia.
The new facility has been opened in Australia after the company quadrupled its workforce from 35 to 130 people over the past two years and increased turnover by five times.
Australian Defence Minister Marise Payne said: “Air Affairs Australia is a unique Nowra success story, which provides the Australian Defence Force (ADF) with cutting-edge, specialised aerial target systems, as well as a range of other support to ADF training and spares for ADF aircraft.
“Using aerial target systems enables the ADF to undertake specialised training effectively and efficiently, using realistic scenarios that ensure our personnel have the skills needed to respond to any threats.”
Payne further said that the company is also responsible for providing the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) with specialist Jet Air Support that would help strengthen fast jet air operations training through mission type scenarios.
Payne added: “The Turnbull Government is investing A$200bn in our defence capability over the next decade to ensure the ADF is equipped to succeed in our challenging strategic environment.”
The investment made by the government to boost the safety and security of Australia helps drive investment and job growth in large and small cities throughout the country, including the Nowra region.
Member for Gilmore Ann Sudmalis said that Air Affairs Australia currently exports its equipment across Asia, from Thailand to South Korea, and aims to enter new export markets. (Source: army-technology.com)
26 Mar 18. General Dynamics Mission Systems has revealed it has opened a new office and engineering resource centre in Canberra.
General Dynamics Mission Systems (GD) has confirmed the new business and engineering centre has been launched in Brindabella Park, Canberra.
The location is home to the company’s commercial Mediaware business, which is a modernised and enhanced office space, holding meeting rooms and areas for engineering and collaboration, according to GD.
The location is also adjacent to the Department of Defence Capability Acquisition and Sustainment Group and Canberra airport.
Speaking about the decision to open the new centre in Canberra, Chris Marzilli, president of General Dynamics Mission Systems, stressed the importance of furthering the positioning of the company in the Commonwealth.
“General Dynamics is working with Australia’s Department of Defence supporting the Commonwealth’s defence modernisation plans,” Mr Marzilli said.
“Our tested and proven portfolio of land, sea, air, space and cyber technologies, products and systems will deliver cost-effective solutions for the current and future defence of the continent.” (Source: Defence Connect)
29 Mar 18. Philippine commissions seventh, eighth Parola-class patrol vessels. Key Points:
- The Philippine Coast Guard has commissioned two more Japan-built Parola-class vessels
- Platforms have been inducted amid an increased operational tempo, especially in southern Philippine waters
The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) has officially inducted its seventh and eighth Parola-class patrol vessels. The ships, which have been named BRP Cape San Agustin and BRP Cabra , with pennant numbers 4408 and 4409 respectively, were commissioned at the PCG’s National Headquarters in South Harbor, Manila Bay on 28 March. Cape San Agustin and Cabra are part of a PHP8.8bn (USD168m) contract signed between the Philippine Department of Transportation and shipbuilder Japan Maritime United Corporation (JMUC) in 2015 for 10 patrol vessels. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
27 Mar 18. India’s Goa Shipyard delivers second AOPV to Sri Lankan Navy. India-based company Goa Shipyard (GSL) has delivered a second advanced offshore patrol vessel (AOPV) to the Sri Lankan Navy at Vaddem, Vasco da Gama. The vessel is set to become the largest and most advanced ship to be deployed with the Sri Lankan Navy to date. The ship’s development forms part of the ongoing Sri Lanka Offshore Patrol Vessel (SLOPV) project, which has been established to facilitate the construction of two large size vessels for use by the country’s navy.
It represents one of the most significant defence cooperation initiatives between India and Sri Lanka.
GSL chairman and managing director retired rear admiral Shekhar Mital said: “This state-of–the-art and largest ship in the Sri Lanka Naval fleet will help meet the increasing requirement of the Sri Lanka Navy for undertaking policing and patrolling of its vast Exclusive Economic Zone.
“Great care, attention and forethought have gone in ensuring that this vessel is built to highest standards and the same has been validated in the harbour and sea trials, where ship has achieved all design specifications, to the satisfaction of our special friend, Sri Lanka Navy.”
GSL carried out the delivery of the 2,500t OPV 25 days ahead of the contractually agreed schedule date.
The company was also successful in reducing the vessel’s build period to approximately three years from the initial five-year period, which was previously required for the construction of vessels of this type until roughly three years ago.
The keel on the second Sri Lankan Navy AOPV was laid on 9 May 2015, while the vessel was subsequently launched on 2 May last year.
In addition, GSL delivered SLNS Sayurala, the first AOPV of the series, to the Sri Lanka Navy ahead of contracted schedule date in July last year. (Source: naval-technology.com)
26 Mar 18. Indonesia launches seventh PC-40 class vessel/ Indonesian shipbuilder PT Caputra Mitra Sejati has launched the country’s seventh PC-40 class patrol vessel. The 248-tonne platform, which will be known in service as KRI Albakora with pennant number 867 once it is commissioned, was launched on 26 March at the shipbuilder’s facilities at Banten in West Java. The PC-40 class is a lighter armed variant of the Indonesian Navy’s (Tentara Nasional Indonesia – Angkatan Laut’s, or TNI-AL’s) KCR-40 class missile attack craft. Each vessel has been built with weight considerations for a 30mm calibre naval gun in the primary position, and two 12.7mm machine guns in the aft section. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
23 Mar 18. Singapore launches sixth Littoral Mission Vessel. Key Points:
- Singapore has launched its sixth Independence-class Littoral Mission Vessel
- Republic is on track to operate the class of eight ships by 2020
ST Marine has launched the sixth Littoral Mission Vessel (LMV) on order for the Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN).
The warship, which will be known as RSS Fortitude with pennant number 20 once commissioned, was launched on 24 March at ST Marine’s facilities in Benoi. Fortitudeis part of a contract for eight 80m LMVs signed between ST Marine and the Singapore Ministry of Defence in 2013.
The programme’s first-of-class, RSS Independence (15), was commissioned in May 2017, while second and third ships in the class, RSS Sovereignty (16) and RSS Unity(17), were commissioned on the same day in November the same year. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
28 Mar 18. U.S. and Republic of Korea Officials Celebrate Debut of the Republic of Korea’s First F-35A. Republic of Korea and U.S. government leaders celebrated the public debut or ‘roll out’ of the first Republic of Korea Air Force (ROKAF) F-35A Lightning II at the Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT) Fort Worth production facility today. The event marks a major F-35 program milestone, strengthening national defense and global partnerships.
“Today is a truly meaningful day as we celebrate the roll-out of ROKAF’s first F-35A, the world’s best fighter jet, which will secure the sovereign airspace of the Republic of Korea,” the Republic of Korea’s Minister of Defense Song Young-moo said in a previously recorded message. “The deployment of the F-35 will serve as momentum to enhance the combined operations of the ROK-U.S. Air Forces, and advance ROKAF’s support capabilities for ground operations.”
The ceremony was attended by more than 450 guests, including five members of the Republic of Korea National Assembly Defense Committee, as well as Suh, Choo-suk, vice minister of National Defense; and Lt. Gen. Lee, Seong-yong, vice chief of staff of the ROKAF.
“This is a major step forward for our F-35 Enterprise and our ROKAF partners as we deliver Korea’s first F-35, the first of six F-35 aircraft that will be delivered this year,” said Vice Adm. Mat Winter, F-35 Program Executive Officer. “The F-35A is a game-changing capability that will enable the South Korean Forces to operate side-by-side with our U.S. Forces in protecting your nation’s homeland. I extend my personal congratulations to the combined government and industry team in achieving this milestone.”
U.S. officials in attendance included Ellen Lord, undersecretary of defense for Acquisition and Sustainment; Heidi Grant, deputy undersecretary of the Air Force for International Affairs; Vice Adm. Mat Winter, F-35 Program Executive Officer; U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, U.S. Rep. Kay Granger, and U.S. Rep. Marc Veasey.
“We are proud to support the Republic of Korea with the unrivalled 5th Generation F-35,” said Marillyn Hewson, Lockheed Martin chairman, president and CEO. “We know that it will be a symbol of strength reminding us all that when we partner together, our nations are safer, our people are more secure, and our future is brighter.”
The Republic of Korea’s F-35 program of record calls for 40 F-35A aircraft acquired through the U.S. government’s Foreign Military Sales program and to be built at Lockheed Martin in Fort Worth, Texas. The first aircraft will be delivered to Luke Air Force Base, Arizona, where ROKAF pilots and maintainers will begin training. F-35s will arrive in country in 2019 to the Republic of Korea’s main operational base at Cheongju.
The F-35 is the most advanced, survivable and connected fighter aircraft in the world. The F-35’s ability to collect, analyze and share data is a powerful force multiplier enhancing all airborne, surface and ground-based assets in the battlespace and enabling men and women in uniform to execute their mission and come home safe. To date, Lockheed Martin has delivered more than 280 F-35s, trained more than 580 pilots and 5,600 maintainers, and the F-35 fleet has surpassed more than 130,000 cumulative flight hours.
26 Mar 18. Airbus Helicopters reports rising H135 deliveries. Airbus Helicopters delivered a record 25 H135 Juno rotorcraft to support the United Kingdom’s Military Flight Training System (MFTS) programme in 2017, which it attributes in part to a commitment to increasing industrialisation in the United Kingdom to facilitate such successes. This is the highest number of H135s ever delivered to a single customer in a year, the company says, with 29 total Junos having been contracted for delivery under the rotary element of MFTS. The aircraft are based at RAF Shawbury, where they are maintained and supported, while RAF Valley is where the programme’s H145 Jupiter rotorcraft are supported. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
26 Mar 18. Philippine Navy receives remaining three TC-90 aircraft from Japan. The Philippine Navy has received a further three Beechcraft TC-90 King Air aircraft from Japan. The airframes, which were formerly in service with the Japan Maritime Self Defense Force (JMSDF) as training platforms, were formally received on 26 March in a ceremony held at the service’s Naval Air Group headquarters at Sangley Point, Cavite City. In attendance at the ceremony were Philippine Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, and Japanese Vice-Minister of Defense, Tatsuo Fukuda. The aircraft are part of an assistance package of five TC-90s donated by the Japanese government to improve the Philippine Navy’s maritime surveillance capabilities. The first airframe was commissioned in November 2017, while a second TC-90 was commissioned on 19 March. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
23 Mar 18. Airbus delivers two A400M aircraft to Germany and France. Airbus has formally delivered two latest A400M military transport aircraft to two European nations, Germany and France. This is the first time the company has delivered two A400M airlifters to two different countries in one single day. During a ceremony in Seville, Spain, Airbus handed over the aircraft to the European Organisation for Joint Armament Cooperation (OCCAR), which represented Germany and France and is currently in charge of the management of the A400M Programme.
OCCAR director Arturo Alfonso-Meiriño said: “It is a great pleasure to see two of the leading OCCAR nations receiving these superb aircraft on the same day in a year when the organisation is itself celebrating the 20th anniversary of the signature of its Convention.
“This is testimony to the effective work performed by OCCAR’s A400M team over many years in managing this exceptionally complex programme.”
The current deliveries are the 60th and 61st A400M aircraft handed over by the company, while they are also the 18th and 14th addition to the A400M fleet of the German Air Force and the French Air Force respectively.
Developed by Airbus Defense and Space, A400M is a tactical military transport aircraft that is equipped with four turboprop engines.
With the capability to carry up to 37t of equipment, the aircraft can conduct all types of missions related to transportation, including inter and intra-theatre links, assault landings on rough terrain, airdropping of personnel and equipment even from very high altitude, air-to-air refuelling, and medical evacuations. The delivery of the A400M to the French Air Force has been carried out several months ahead of schedule. The tests conducted by the French Directorate General of Armaments (DGA) and the airforce support the further enhancement of the tactical capabilities of the aircraft in the near future. (Source: airforce-technology.com)
PLANT CLOSURES, JOB LOSSES AND STRIKES
28 Mar 18. Trump pushes out Shulkin at VA, nominates Jackson as replacement. President Donald Trump ousted Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin on Wednesday in response to heavy criticism and nominated his personal physician, Rear Admiral Ronny Jackson, to replace him in the latest turnover among Trump’s team.
White House officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Shulkin had become a distraction due to a constant wave of speculation about his future and said he would be leaving in the next day or two. They said an undersecretary at the Department of Defense, Robert Wilkie, will be the acting secretary.
Shulkin had drawn fire for a damning report from the inspector general of the Department of Veterans Affairs. It found that during a trip to London and Denmark he improperly accepted tickets to the Wimbledon tennis tournament and his chief of staff made false statements so Shulkin’s wife could travel at government expense.
One official said the criticism of Shulkin was “making it harder for him to carry out the duties of secretary of the VA, which is something the president has made clear is a big priority for him.”
Jackson, a rear admiral of the U.S. Navy, has been working as a presidential physician since the George W. Bush administration, and has been the lead doctor monitoring Trump’s health since Trump became president.
Jackson gave Trump a clean bill of health early this year after giving the president a physical. He put him on a diet to lose some weight and directed him to get some exercise. Aides said Trump has been eating more fish and fewer cheeseburgers lately.
A Texas native who has been on active duty since 1995, Jackson served during the U.S.-led war in Iraq as an emergency medicine physician in Taqaddum, Iraq.
“Admiral Jackson is highly trained and qualified and as a service member himself, he has seen firsthand the tremendous sacrifice our veterans make and has a deep appreciation for the debt our great country owes them,” Trump said.
A White House official said Trump warmed to Jackson and had been aware that Shulkin had sought to make Jackson the VA undersecretary last year.
“The president wants somebody who gives him the best possible care to go over and give that same care to the veterans. That’s how strongly he feels about getting them represented properly,” the official said.
29 Mar 18. HMS Ocean leaves service. The HMS Ocean landing platform helicopter was officially decommissioned in Devonport on 27 March, the Royal Navy has announced. The ceremony was attended by Queen Elizabeth and the head of the Royal Navy, First Sea Lord Admiral Sir Philip Jones. The ship is being decommissioned only 20 years after it entered service. The decision to decommission it in 2018 was confirmed in the 2015 Strategic Defence and Security Review. Ocean has been sold for GBP84m (USD118m) to Brazil and will be handed over in June. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
MILITARY AND GOVERNMENT
According to a March 16 memo, the Navy CIO and “all supporting functions will be disestablished,” However, the DON CIO office will continue to operate, but on a small scale to comply with statute, Modly wrote.
“I will retain a small Office of the DON CIO Office of the Chief Information Officer reporting directly to me for statutory compliance, but will divest most other CIO functions to my DON CIO deputies in the services,” he said.
Modly, the chief management officer and his office’s senior leaders will absorb the Navy CIO’s responsibilities “to help rapidly prioritize and accelerate business transformation initiatives,” the under secretary wrote.
Most DON CIO functions, such as IT management, will be delegated to the services, while the new CMO will focus on audit outcomes, financial accountability, modernizing business systems, data strategies for business operations, and business reform across the Defense Department and Navy.
“We must build a business operations culture that employs faster access to accurate information, reduces overhead and bureaucracy, and streamlines processes that impede rapid decision making,” Modly wrote in the memo.
“This culture must demonstrate the relentless pursuit of operational improvements in order to stay ahead of our adversaries and make the best use of the resources we are provided by the American people.”
The services will each have leaders that report directly to Modly and serve as deputy CIOs from the Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Information Dominance (N2/N6) and Marines Corps’ Command, Control, Communications, and Computers (C4/CIO). (Source: Defense Systems)
28 Mar 18. Japan launches amphibious unit, but equipping concerns remain. Japan has launched its first full-scale amphibious operations unit as part of a sweeping reorganization of its ground force, but questions remain about equipment delays and future basing.
The 2,100-strong amphibious brigade is drawn from the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force (JGSDF) Western Army’s infantry regiment stationed at Camp Ainoura in Sasebo, Nagasaki prefecture. It is tasked with retaking Japan’s southern islands, stretching southwest from Kyushu to Taiwan, in the event an adversary occupies the islands.
The new brigade — under the command of Maj. Gen. Shinichi Aoki, formerly the deputy chief of staff of the Western Army — will include an amphibious infantry regiment along with a landing unit. The latter will operate the AAV-7 amphibious assault vehicles currently used by the U.S. Marine Corps. Japan has ordered the vehicle for itself.
The unit will also be transported by JGSDF Bell-Boeing MV-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft and the amphibious ships of the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force.
However, the JGSDF is facing hurdles equipping its amphibious forces. It ordered 30 AAV-7s from BAE Systems and has an eventual requirement for 52 vehicles by 2020, with deliveries of the first vehicles starting in 2015. Production delays for the first 30 vehicles were caused by a fire at a BAE Systems subcontractor and a parts shortage. Japan’s Defense Ministry said in late 2017 that it expected half of the vehicles to be delivered by the end of March 2018 and the other 15 by the end of July 2018.
Meanwhile, the introduction of the Osprey into the JGSDF has also been delayed by arguments over where to base the tilt-rotor aircraft. Japan has ordered 17 Ospreys, with the first aircraft undergoing flight testing as of late 2017. Delivery is expected in autumn.
It had originally been planned to base the Ospreys at Saga Airport, about 40 miles east of the amphibious brigade’s base, but this has been delayed by hesitation on the part of the local government following crashes of Okinawa-based Marine Corps Ospreys in Japan and overseas, along with the crash in January of a JGSDF Boeing AH-64D Apache attack helicopter into a house in the region.
In addition to the creation of the amphibious brigade, the recent restructure also sees the creation of a Central Command to better integrate the various JGSDF regional commands, as well as improve coordination with the maritime force and the Japan Air Self-Defense Force. The restructure will also see the revamp of eight of 15 JGSDF divisions and brigades, which will see them being reorganized into mobile/rapid reaction units. (Source: Defense News)
28 Mar 18. UK JHC prepares for Future Force 2025 and global contingencies. The United Kingdom’s Joint Helicopter Command (JHC) operates the country’s fleet of more than 200 battlefield helicopters. Over the past five years, the JHC has transitioned from supporting counter insurgency operations in Afghanistan and Iraq to a rapid-reaction global contingency role in support of the UK’s Future Force 2025. JHC is now looking at how best to support the British Army’s new high-readiness warfighting division including the new mechanised Strike Brigades that were formed as part of Future Force 2025.
JHC is preparing for a range of contingency operations that are likely to be undertaken in contested and operationally degraded and demanding conditions across the full spectrum of warfare. JHC’s three core outputs remain supporting UK land forces, littoral manoeuvre (LitM), and special forces (SF). In June, the latest Royal Navy (RN) AgustaWestland Merlin HC4 helicopters will enter service with the Commando Helicopter Force (CHF), and will embark onto the first of two RN Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carriers – HMS Queen Elizabeth (RO8) in August. JHC aircraft will support the carriers in their carrier strike and amphibious assault roles as part of JHC’s LitM capability. Also in 2018, the British Army’s Thales Watchkeeper unmanned aircraft system (UAS) is expected to achieve full operational capability (FOC) and enter service with the army’s new Watchkeeper Force under JHC. This timeline is uncertain, however, as the Watchkeeper failed to gain a key flight safety certificate in late 2017, leading to officials refusing to sign the system’s Release to Service clearance. On the battlefield helicopter side, JHC separates its fleets into roles of lift, find, and attack. Lift comprises Boeing Chinook HC5/HC6/HC6A, Airbus Helicopters Puma HC2, AgustaWestland Merlin HC3/HC3A/HC4/HC4A helicopters. Find comprises Thales Watchkeeper UASs and the AgustaWestland Wildcat AW159 AH1 Battlefield Reconnaissance Helicopter (BRH). (Source: IHS Jane’s)
28 Mar 18. Estonia pledges troops for France’s Sahel mission. The Estonian government announced on 22 March its intention to deploy up to 50 troops to Mali to support the French military’s Operation ‘Barkhane’ regional counter-insurgency mission. Parliamentary approval is now being sought for the deployment.
The contingent would be based at Gao in northeast Mali for a year and tasked with protecting the local Barkhane base and its surroundings, an Estonian Ministry of Defence (MoD) spokesman told Jane’s .
“The Estonian Defence Forces are considering sending an infantry platoon on armoured personnel carriers from the Scouts Battalion,” the MoD spokesman said. “The platoon will be using Finnish-made Patria Pasi XA-188 armoured personnel carriers.” (Source: IHS Jane’s)
27 Mar 18. JGSDF reorganises under single command, launches Amphibious Rapid Deployment Brigade. The Japan Ground Self-Defense Force (JGSDF) has undergone its largest reorganisation since its formation in 1954 with the creation of a unified command and the launch of an amphibious brigade tasked with defending Japan’s remote islands.
Called the Ground Component Command, the new structure was set up on 27 March at the JGSDF’s Camp Asaka in Tokyo and comprises 180 personnel. The new command liaises with the Joint Staff Office and assumes unified control over all JGSDF brigades and divisions under the orders of the defence minister. That same day the service also launched the Amphibious Rapid Deployment Brigade (ARDB) at Camp Ainoura in Sasebo, Nagasaki Prefecture, to enhance the country’s capabilities to defend the Nansei Islands in the southwest, including the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands in Okinawa Prefecture, which are controlled by Japan but also claimed by China. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
26 Mar 18. US Army Moving Forward With Plans for New Futures Command. The Army’s new modernization command will be fully operational by the summer of 2019, according to the service’s undersecretary. Speaking March 26 at the Association of the United States Army’s global force symposium in Huntsville, Alabama, Ryan McCarthy said the location for the Futures Command headquarters is yet to be determined, but will be in an urban setting. The service plans to examine factors such as proximity to private sector innovation and quality of life to narrow down options to 10 cities in the next few months. After the list is again whittled down to four potential locations, it will be sent to Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Milley for consideration.
“I don’t want to put it on a military installation,” McCarthy told reporters after his speech. “We need access to commercial industry and academia.”
The effort, which was formally announced in October, involves leveraging cross-functional teams geared towards pursuing the service’s top modernization priorities. McCarthy said the service hopes to use the teams, eight of which have already been set up, to drive down the requirements development process from five to seven years to two years or less.
The existing teams are focused on: long-range precision fires; the next-generation combat vehicle; future vertical lift; network command, control, communication and intelligence; assured position, navigation and timing; air and missile defense; soldier lethality; and the synthetic training environment.
Vice Chief of Staff Gen. James McConville praised the speed at which the cross-functional teams are working. The groups are streamlining the requirements development process, he noted.
“There’s collaboration going on between the entire system right now that I haven’t seen in over 12, 15 years of my time on the Army staff, and things are moving” forward, he said.
The Army plans on making a “major decision” about the future vertical lift initiative — which is envisioned as a multi-mission family of helicopters — this fall, McCarthy noted without providing additional details.
To build the new command, the service plans to add three subordinate elements to the existing organizational structure, McCarthy said during his speech. These include: futures and concepts, which will identify capability development opportunities based on threats and technology; combat development, which will establishment requirements for identifying needs; and combat systems, which will engineer and produce solutions.
“The work that they do will be fused with the requirements community” as well as the Army Capabilities Integration Center and Research and Development Command, McCarthy said. However, these organizations will still remain at their current locations, he noted. “We’re not going to move thousands of people from Alabama or Virginia … around the country. We’re going to look at their roles and responsibilities and align them,” he said. (Source: glstrade.com/NDIA)
26 Mar 18. The Royal Air Force’s celebration of its 100th anniversary – RAF100 – will be proudly supported by Raytheon UK as the primary sponsor of the 2018 RAF Engineering Challenge, and as the technical sponsor of the RAF100 Baton Relay. Both programmes are aligned with Raytheon’s role in supporting the RAF in defence of the nation and its allies. The Engineering Challenge is designed to generate interest in the RAF and inspire young people to consider careers in science, technology, engineering and maths, collectively known as STEM. The Baton Relay will commemorate 100 years of the RAF by transporting the baton to 100 locations in the United Kingdom and around the globe with current or historical RAF connections. The baton will stop at RAF Waddington, Lincolnshire, where Raytheon UK supports the Sentinel aircraft, and Broughton, North Wales, where the company performs systems integration work for the Airborne Stand-Off Reconnaissance, or ASTOR, programme.
Raytheon UK has also made a financial contribution to the RAF100 Appeal, a joint venture between the Royal Air Force and four major RAF charities.
“Many of Raytheon’s 1,600 employees in the U.K. work right alongside the RAF every day to support and maintain their aircraft and weapons systems,” said Richard Daniel, Raytheon UK chief executive and managing director. “Sponsoring these two important events is just part of Raytheon’s overall support of the RAF on its 100th birthday.”
Raytheon’s relationship with the RAF dates back to the late 1930s when the A.C. Cossor Company, acquired by Raytheon in 1961, developed the radar receiver for the Chain Home defence system and its associated radio communications network, which subsequently provided invaluable support to the RAF’s out-numbered pilots during the Battle of Britain.
Today, Raytheon continues to support the U.K. armed forces with intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft, such as Sentinel and Shadow, and weapons systems carried by the RAF’s Tornado, Typhoon and F-35 aircraft.
“Raytheon has a long and distinguished history of supporting the Royal Air Force,” said RAF Air Commodore Richard Barrow, head of the Air Staff. “We value our relationship with Raytheon as an industry partner and are grateful for the company’s partnership on RAF100.”
23 Mar 18. New deputy at Cyber Command to retire. Lt. Gen. William Mayville has submitted his retirement papers roughly eight months after assuming a newly created deputy commander position at U.S. Cyber Command. According to communications before the Senate dated March 20, the Pentagon’s under secretary of defense for personnel and readiness sent the committee a report approving Mayville’s retirement. The new dual deputy director position was aimed at helping Cyber Command navigate the elevation to a unified combatant command and eventual split from the National Security Agency without interrupting the regular day-to-day activities. Lt. Gen. Vincent Stewart, the agency’s other deputy, has been focused on more traditional day-to-day duties while Mayville was brought in to work intently on the tasks necessary for elevation. Sources have said this setup was meant to be a temporary hierarchy and that Congress was not likely to support the agency permanently having two deputies. Mayville’s move to Cyber Command, unlike Stewart’s, was not initially publicly announced by the Department of Defense. He had previously served as director of the Joint Staff, which is often considered a stepping stone to four-star command positions. Last year, Mayville was widely reported as a top candidate to be the commander of a unified Cyber Command. (Source: Fifth Domain)
28 Mar 18. General Sir Nick Carter appointed new Chief of the Defence Staff. Her Majesty the Queen has approved the appointment of General Sir Nicholas Patrick Carter KCB CBE DSO ADC Gen to take over from Air Chief Marshal Sir Stuart Peach GBE KCB ADC DL as the next Chief of the Defence Staff this summer. (Source: U.K. MoD)
28 Mar 18. U.S. President Donald Trump has tapped a new assistant secretary of defense for strategy, plans and capabilities — Marine Corps University’s James Anderson — the White House announced late Wednesday.
Anderson, the school’s vice president of academic affairs, has been outspoken in favor of America’s missile defense. He authored the 1999 book “America at Risk: The Citizen’s Guide to Missile Defense,” which details the risk of an attack from Russia, China or a “third-world” power. In 2012, Anderson voiced skepticism in the pages of Defense News about President Barack Obama’s willingness to negotiate with Iran over its nuclear program and Obama’s “unwillingness to credibly threaten military action.” In the late 1990s, Anderson penned a number of columns raising the alarm about North Korea’s missile program and advocating for swifter development of missile defenses. He was then a research fellow at the conservative Heritage Foundation. (Source: Defense News)
23 Mar 18. Rear Adm. (lower half) David A. Welch will be assigned as commander, Naval Surface and Mine Warfighting Development Center, San Diego, California. Welch is currently serving as director for international engagement, N52, Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, Washington, District of Columbia.
23 Mar 18. Navy Rear Adm. (lower half) Ronny L. Jackson for appointment to the rank of rear admiral. Jackson is currently serving as attending physician to the president; and deputy assistant to the president, Washington, District of Columbia.
29 Mar 18. Navantia Australia partners IKAD for Sea 5000 programme. Navantia Australia has signed an agreement with Western Australian firm IKAD Engineering to support its bid to meet the Royal Australian Navy’s (RAN’s) requirement for next-generation frigates. Through the memorandum of understanding (MOU) announced on 29 March, Navantia Australia said it will explore with IKAD Engineering opportunities for the local production and fabrication of components for the USD25bn Sea 5000 Future Frigate project. In the defence sector, IKAD Engineering specialises in mechanical engineering and products such as gearboxes and propulsion systems, as well as fabrication, piping, machining, and industrial coatings. The company has also produced naval vessel components including propellers, clutches, thrusters, stabilisers, elevators, steering, and heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
28 Mar 18. China positions to meet Thailand’s future naval requirements. The state-owned China Shipbuilding Industry Corporation (CSIC) and the Royal Thai Armed Forces have agreed to collaborate on military equipment and technologies. The agreement – signed on 26 March in Beijing – will see the two parties look to expand a partnership that has recently been strengthened through the Royal Thai Navy’s (RTN’s) order of an S26T (Thailand) diesel electric submarine. CSIC did not provide details about the new agreement, only saying that it will “further promote co-operation and exchanges [in relation to] Thai military equipment and open a new chapter in the collaboration between the two countries”. CSIC pointed to the agreement as indicative of the company’s “going out” strategy, which is reference to an approach, championed by President Xi Jinping, to strengthen China’s defence industrial footprint in strategically important foreign markets. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
28 Mar 18. Astrodyne TDI, a global developer and manufacturer of power conversion solutions that protect, enhance, and save peoples’ lives, has appointed Chris Viola to Chief Executive Officer. He will also serve as a member of the Board of Directors. Chris, who has been with Astrodyne TDI since 2011, will manage the overall operations and resources of the company.
27 Mar 18. Honor Defense has announced Michael Carr is joining the company as Director of Sales. Michael comes to Honor Defense with extensive experience in the outdoor industry. His background includes 18+ years with industry leading companies like Pradco, Vista and most recently Sportco. Mike will be responsible for all facets of sales across all channels.
REST OF THE WORLD APPOINTMENTS
29 Mar 18. Rockwell Collins has appointed Jairo Soterio as the managing director to lead the company’s growing presence in the Latin American (LATAM) region. As the new managing director for LATAM, Soterio is responsible for leading and developing the company’s commercial and government systems business interests in the region which has been growing due to orders for military radios, C-130 and P-3 cockpit upgrades as well as training and simulation solutions. For air transportation, Rockwell Collins has been working with multiple airlines in the region to provide advanced cockpits, weather radar and communications products. (Source: ASD Network)
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If you would like to know how TopEngineer can help your organisation, please contact the team on 03300 555850 or visit the site: www.topengineer.com Alternatively, if you are looking for a job, feel free to visit the site and apply for relevant roles.
EXHIBITIONS AND CONFERENCES
27 Mar 18. UK Government’s Export Control Symposium Set for May 8
The U.K. Government’s Export Control Joint Unit is announced that Export Control Symposium 2018 Will Take Pl. on Tuesday, May 8, at the One Great George Street conference centre, London SW1P 3AA. The Symposium will comprise:
- Plenary session in the morning, covering global influences and latest policy updates.
- Specialist workshops, including help with market risks; classifying items and US Export Controls. You will be able to register for workshops on booking.
- Networking “village” where delegates can talk to export control advisors from government and industry.
27 Feb 18. Owning The Night 2018 – Battlespace Surveillance. Fighting the 24 Hour War – Live UAV Detection Planned! ‘Owning the Night 2018’ is to be held at Chepstow Racecourse, Monmouthshire, South Wales, UK, in association with Cranfield Defence and Security, on Tuesday 20th November 2018.
‘Owning the Night 2018’ is to be held at Chepstow Racecourse, Monmouthshire, South Wales, UK, in association with Cranfield Defence and Security, on Tuesday 20th November 2018. This year it will be a one day event, with morning registration followed by the Conference and Exhibition, ending with a live evening battlespace surveillance demonstration, including live UAV detection, followed by a cocktail reception and buffet dinner at the racecourse.
Julian Nettlefold of BATTLESPACE said, “Chepstow Racecourse is an ideal venue to hold Owning The Night as it provides the conference and demonstration facilities under one roof. In addition, given its location in over 400 acres of countryside, with a secure perimeter fence, it is a perfect location for night vision demonstrations with little ambient light egress and the distances required to enable target location at range. Chepstow also has a road running inside the course which will enable Owning The Night to have night driving for the first time since 2009. These vehicles will form part of the night-time demonstrations and will be tracked by exhibitors’ cameras and sensors. We will also be demonstrating day and night live UAV detection systems for the first time.”
Nick Lindley, Director Symposia at Shrivenham said, “Holding Owning the Night at Chepstow represents another step in the development of the Symposia programme as we look to better match facilities to symposia aims and objectives, whilst still ensuring value for money. The innovative use of the racecourse offers us the freedom to deliver high-quality presentations, discussion, networking, exhibits and a range of demonstrations on a single secure site.”
Charlotte Caple of Chepstow racecourse said, “We are delighted to host Owning The Night 2018. Given the location and our extensive facilities, we can accommodate Owning The Night’s conference and demonstrations in one location. The fact that racecourses are required to have the highest standards of security, we are well placed to make this event a complete success and look forward to developing the event and others with BATTLESPACE and Symposia for future years.”
Today’s soldier is exposed to new and evolving threats in conflict, an adversarial and unrelenting activity, that can be transmitted live into our homes by 24 hour media often embedded with forces in the front line. In this scenario the soldier on the ground not only has to deal with his enemy in bad weather, poor light and darkness, he may also have to liaise with coalition forces, local and homeland security organisations, non-government and humanitarian agencies, as well as the media. These requirements require multi-functional skills and multi-cultural disciplines that add to the pressure of combat. He may also have to fight an amorphous enemy who is often indistinct from not only the local population, but also the assured information the soldier receives. The increasing amount of information and data that the soldier needs to analyse in his decision-making mean that systems that can deliver pervasive and better visibility, clearer and greater granularity, and can be fused with other information streams are likely to offer the advantage defence and security operators need.
Owning The Night 2018 will give Defence, Police, Government and Industry a taste of the future and the ability to try the latest night vision devices from weapon sights through night driving aids to advanced target tracking and identification systems.
Please submit proposed Conference Papers to Julian Nettlefold or Nick Linley.
Please contact Nick Linley or Leanne Lawson at Symposia At Shrivenham for Delegate and Exhibition Rates.
For further details contact:
Tel/Fax: +44 (0)207 6105520
Mobile: +44 (0)77689 54766
Director Symposia at Shrivenham
Defence Academy of the United Kingdom
Tel: +44 (0) 1793 78 (Mil 96161) 5847
Rash or Rational? North Korea
House of Commons and House of Lords Hansard Written Answers
Asked by Mr Kevan Jones
Asked on: 26 March 2018
Ministry of Defence
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what the UK contribution will be to NATO’s new Joint Support and Enabling Command.
Answered by: Mark Lancaster
Answered on: 28 March 2018
The configuration and requirements for the Joint Support and Enabling Command are being developed within SACEUR’s Implementation Plan for the NATO Command Structure Adaptation. This will be refined ahead of an announcement at the NATO Summit in July. It is too early to define the UK’s exact contribution but it will be consistent with the UK’s leading role in the Alliance and with a fair share of the burden alongside our Allies.
Asked by Mr Kevan Jones
Asked on: 26 March 2018
Ministry of Defence
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what steps he is taking with NATO Maritime Command to increase awareness of naval readiness across the NATO alliance.
Answered by: Mark Lancaster
Answered on: 28 March 2018
The Ministry of Defence (MOD) is working closely with the NATO Maritime Command (MARCOM), based in Northwood, London, on a range of defence and security issues including the development of naval readiness initiatives. One example is the ‘Ships Available At Sea For NATO Tasking’ concept that is facilitating the integration of ships from any NATO Ally, or approved Partner Nation, into a NATO-led operation at any time.
This work supports a wider “NATO Readiness Initiative” that will strengthen NATO’s readiness and operational flexibility by committing more naval capabilities to collective defence. We will continue to discuss this proposal with MARCOM in advance of the NATO Summit in July, where readiness as a whole will be a focus for the Alliance.
Asked by Caroline Lucas
Asked on: 21 March 2018
Ministry of Defence
Ministry of Defence: Cambridge Analytica and SCL Group
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, whether his Department has (a) had any contact and (b) held any contracts with Cambridge Analytica or its parent company SCL Group Limited or as formerly named Strategic Communication Laboratories Limited since 2010; and if he will make a statement.
Answered by: Guto Bebb
Answered on: 28 March 2018
The Ministry of Defence (MOD) has never entered into a contract with Cambridge Analytica. Since 2010, SCL Group has held two contracts with the MOD: one ended in February 2010 and the other in July 2014.