BATTLESPACE UPDATE Vol.20 ISSUE 16
16 April 2018
NEWS IN BRIEF – EUROPE
NATO Statement on Syria
Nerve Agent: Salisbury
HMS ALBION: Asia Deployment
SA80 A2: Upgrade
Typhoon: Training Facility
Titanium: Production Process
Defence Knowledge: Publication
Germany’s Tornado Costs Increase
RAF deploys Sentinel to Cyprus
Saudi Orders Spanish corvettes
Romanian defence spending
US, Norway share supplies
French companies uneasy in UK
Combat drone put on hold
Turkey’s Defence Budget
NEWS IN BRIEF – USA
New F-35 software position
Combat Aviation Priorities
A-10 in Jeopardy Again?
Forces Restore Competitive Edge
Pentagon not accepting F-35s
NEWS IN BRIEF – REST OF THE WORLD
India lifts blacklisting
India’s Reduces Russian Imports
Attacks on Syrian Chemical Arsenal
German Company Defies U.S.
China Opposes Taiwan Subs
France, Saudi strategy
Hawker Pacific acquired
US gunmaker shares rise
Aeronautics Gets Investment
L&T and BEL form partnership
Tata launches new firm
Boeing stake in Reaction Engines
Airbus AGM results
Universal Avionics acquisition
Saab AGM results
Changes after GD-CSRA acquisition
Rolls-Royce sells L’Orange
Airbus restated 2017 figures
New Hanwha aerospace company
MILITARY VEHICLE NEWS
ManTech USMC contract
Kharkiv Morozov builds Atlet
Thales welcomes UK Boxer decision
Airdrop tests of GMV 1.1.
ECDI Impact of Robotic Solutions
Amphibious vehicle contract award
Jankel Belgian LTTV contract
Endeavor Robotics, QinetiQ for CRS(1)
New N. American development facility
Legal Scholars Revolt Against Robots
NEW TECHNOLOGIES, NETWORKS AND COMMUNICATIONS
UK uses Software AG’s API
US Robotics Innovation Center
Teledyne e2v 512Kb CBRAM
Law for autonomous weapons?
ViaSat develops AN/PRC-161
Wigetworks Airfish 8 WIG craft
BAE’s Hallmark software testbed
U.S. Army wants for future radios
Persistent Systems MPU5 radio
SATELLITE SYSTEMS, SATCOM AND SPACE SYSTEMS UPDATE
China and Russia threaten US sats
Target for hackers? Satellites
Robot to repair spacecraft
Microsemi QML Class Q DLA
IAI mulls launching satellite
Inmarsat MSUA Awards
SpaceX Launches Iridium Sats
SpaceX To Launch Broadband Sats
RADAR, EO/IR, NIGHT VISION AND SURVEILLANCE UPDATE
30 years of Joint STARS
MDA wants more sensors
Sentient Vision Showcases ViDAR
Aerial refueling for E-2D
German Tornados struggling
Leonardo advances Kronos DBR
Portugal’s ISTAR capability
New IXI Dronekiller
Saab’s Giraffe 1X Radar
MKU MoU with Thales
Rheinmetall at AFCEA
Kent Periscopes Asian office
Puma™-Switchblade® S2S capability
Missile Defense Review in May
MISSILE, BALLISTICS AND SOLDIER SYSTEMS UPDATE
L&T MBDA Offer Systems to India
MBDA Sea Ceptor for Finland
DSM Dyneema concludes dispute
Orbital ATK expansions
China’s New Stealth Bombers
Italian AARGM OT&E campaign
Germany, Holland integrate GBAD
BDL to produce Astra BVRAAM
LRSO and B-52 integration in 2019
Saab Anti-Ship Missile Development
Weaponization of unmanned Fire Scout
New interest in BrahMos
Finland decision on marine weapons
Patriot and THAAD talk
Arnold displaying LWL-12
40N6 missile for S-400
UNMANNED SYSTEMS UPDATE
BlueBird JV with Cyient India
Aquabotix adds SwarmDiver USV
Australian sea trials of S-100
New undersea drones are smaller
Boeing’s new head of Phantom Works
Australian develops SUAS
Pentagon asking for drones
L3 Unveils Advanced Iver
Predator achieved milestone
China developing UAVs
Plans emerge for USN Triton
Send in a spider-bot
CYBER, EW, CLOUD COMPUTING AND HOMELAND SECURITY UPDATE
Thales Dubai Cybersecurity Hub
U.S. Adversaries in Cyberspace
USN EW program milestone
How to Jam U.S. Drones In Syria
Australian Cyber warfare
CyberUK 2018 opens
Hensoldt expands into cyber
Lockheed/Cobham NGJ-LB team
Indonesia EW suite from Thales
US Army Cyber Command authority
U.S. wants UAV-mounted jammers
INTERNATIONAL PROCUREMENT OPPORTUNITIES
F-16V, Saab Gripen for Slovakia
OIP and Hydroid JV for Toolbox
Portugal’s ISTAR capability
USN cruiser replacement strategy
USCG UAS acquisition approach
Pentagon multi-year V-22 deal
Presidential Helicopters numbers
Lockheed MQ-25 partners
REST OF THE WORLD
Spain eyes Saudi warships deal
Russia Il-112V to India
Made-in-India No Bar
Boeing joins hands with HAL
Canada’s innovation programme
IAF To Buy More F-15s Or F-35s
Upgraded F-16s to Colombia
Taiwan’s submarine programme
India RFI for 110 combat aircraft
Chilean Navy to upgrade PC-7s
CONTRACT NEWS IN BRIEF
MBDA RF DEW contract
Estonian ECDI contract
Jankel Belgian contract
Turkish Barbaros contracts
Boeing Spanish CH-47F contract
Northrop German MQ-4C contract
Endeavor Robotics contract
C.E. Niehoff contract
Orbital ATK contract
BAE Mk110 contract
Lockheed LRASM contract
Boeing PAR contract
Field Aerospace contract
Northrop LAIRCM contract
Raytheon DCGS contract
Satcom Direct contract
REST OF THE WORLD
FMS Australia – M795
FMS Saudi 155mm M109A6
Boeing Saudi contract
Elbit RTMC contract
Rheinmetall ammo contract
SMPP Indian contract
RAN Submarine contracts
Cellula Robotics contract
AeroVironment Aus contract
BAE APKWS II contract
Boeing F-15SA contract
Cobham RoK contract
Paramount Draken contract
Park Air Canadian contract
Sierra Nevada Saudi contract
XTEK ADF contract
MANAGEMENT ON THE MOVE
TopEngineer.com Job Of the Week!
BAE upgrades MISC
Kratos Australian facility
USN Christened Indianapolis
Indonesia reorganises fleet
India commissions Vikram-class
US vessels to Costa Rica
RAN’s LHDs held up
Indonesian Nagapasa-class sub
F-35 SDD program phase
Australia’s full combat F-35A
Lockheed HC-130J Combat King II
Mi-24 helos to Afghanistan
PLANT CLOSURES, JOB LOSSES AND STRIKES
Rick Waddell leaves White House
USN decommissions USS Dallas
Bremerton ends active service
MILITARY AND GOVERNMENT
AFP special operations command
Dana Deasy appointed
USMC MG C. Chiarotti appointment
Rear Adm. M.C. Skubic selected
Adm. P.S. Davidson reappointment
Rear Adm. D.M. Kriete appointment
Rear Adm. R.L. Jackson appointment
Rear Adm. B.W. Scott appointment
Rear Adm. Alan D. Beal nominated
Rear Adm. E.H. Black III nominated
Rear Adm. W.D. Byrne Jr., nominated
Rear Adm. Marc H. Dalton nominated
Rear Adm. John V. Fuller nominated
Rear Adm. M.P. Holland nominated
Rear Adm. H.W. Howard III nominated
Rear Adm. J.W. Hughes nominated
Rear Adm. Brian S. Hurley nominated
Rear Adm. Thomas E. Ishee nominated
Rear Adm. Roy I. Kitchener nominated
Rear Adm. S.T. Koehler nominated
Rear Adm. Andrew C. Lennon nominated
Rear Adm. S.J. Paparo Jr., nominated
Rear Adm. Mary C. Riggs nominated
Rear Adm. M.C. Skubic nominated
Rear Adm. J.E. Trussler nominated
Rear Adm. W.W. Wheeler III nominated
Rear Adm. K.R. Whitesell nominated
Capt. Darin K. Via nominated
Rear Adm. E.B. Cashman assigned
USMC LG M.G. Dana appointment
USMC LG D.H. Berger appointment
USMC Col. S. Liszewski nominated
USMC Col. L.M. Mahlock nominated
USMC Col. David L. Odom nominated
USMC Col. A.J. Pasagian nominated
USMC Col. S.M. Salene nominated
USMC Col. K.J. Stewart nominated
USMC Col. W.H. Swan nominated
USMC Col. C. Worth Jr., nominated
REST OF THE WORLD APPOINTMENTS
David Johnston appointed
Navantia and Hofmann MoU
AVIC and Belarus academy JV
AECOM partnership with IFS
- Dupont appointed at Naval Group
WFEL appoints Ian Anderton
Advantech Wireless appointments
Caroline Bibb joins J.F. Lehman
Northrop hires Gabrielle Batkin
House of Commons and House of Lords Hansard Written Answers
Eastern Europe: NATO
Foreign and Commonwealth
UK, US and French Governments Jointly Respond to Assad Syrian Atrocity
By Howard Wheeldon, FRAeS, Wheeldon Strategic Advisory Ltd.
Reconceptualizing Military Professionalization
By Tommy Ross
V-22 Remains ‘Most In-Demand DoD Platform’
Syria: Act Decisively or Not at All
By Anthony H. Cordesman
Syria: When and How Does This War End?
By Anthony H. Cordesman
The Forthcoming Missile Defense Review
BY Thomas Karako, Ian Williams
Safeguarding the Iran Nuclear Deal: A Blueprint for Europe
By Axel Hellman, Policy Fellow
On 16 Apr 03 the Treaty of Accession was signed, between the EU and the Czech Republic, Estonia, Cyprus, Latvia, Lithuania, Hungary, Malta, Poland, Slovenia and Slovakia. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 18/14, 16 Apr 18)
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NEWS IN BRIEF – EUROPE
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12 Apr 18. Statement by the North Atlantic Council on actions taken against the use of chemical weapons in Syria. In the North Atlantic Council today the United States, France and United Kingdom briefed Allies on their joint military action on 14 April. They briefed that a significant body of information indicated that the Syrian regime was responsible for the attack against civilians in Douma on 7 April, and that their military action was limited to the Syrian regime’s facilities enabling the production and employment of chemical weapons. The three Allies emphasized that there was no practicable alternative to the use of force.
Allies expressed their full support for this action intended to degrade the Syrian regime’s chemical weapons capability and deter further chemical weapon attacks against the people of Syria. Chemical weapons cannot be used with impunity or become normalized. They are an immediate danger to the Syrian people and to our collective security. Allies regret that the mandate of the Joint Investigative Mechanism, established by UNSC Resolution 2235 (2015), to identify perpetrators of chemical attacks, was not renewed in November 2017. Allies support international mechanisms to establish responsibility and prevent impunity for the use of chemical weapons.
Allies strongly condemned the repeated use of chemical weapons by the Syrian regime, and called for those responsible to be held to account. Allies also called on the Syrian regime and its backers to allow rapid, sustained and unhindered humanitarian access.
Despite sustained diplomatic efforts, the Syrian regime’s repeated use of chemical weapons against civilians has contributed to appalling human suffering since the start of the conflict in 2011. The use of such weapons is in flagrant violation of international standards and non-proliferation norms, multiple UN Security Council Resolutions, and the Chemical Weapons Convention, which Syria ratified in 2013. NATO considers any use of chemical weapons by State or non-State actors to be a threat to international peace and security.
Allies reiterate their support for UN-led efforts to achieve a lasting political resolution to the conflict that is consistent with UNSCR 2254 (2015) and the Geneva Communique (2012) and call on all members of the UN Security Council to uphold their responsibilities. In this regard, the Allies call on all supporters of the Syrian regime, notably Russia, to exercise responsibility to ensure that the Syrian regime participates constructively in the UN-led Geneva process.
Allies took this opportunity to restate our commitment to the Coalition to Defeat ISIS/Da’esh, as defeating terrorism in all its forms remains a key objective for our countries and a key challenge for the stability of the region. (Source: NATO)
12 Apr 18. Nerve Agent: Salisbury Incident. The OPCW published (12 Apr 18) a summary of its report on activities carried out in support of the UK’s request for technical assistance, following the Salisbury chemical poisoning incident on 4 Mar 18. The OPCW team confirmed “the findings of the United Kingdom relating to the identity of the toxic chemical that was used in Salisbury…”. A letter from the UK’s National Security Adviser to the NATO Secretary General was published (13 Apr 18) outlining additional intelligence concerning the Salisbury incident.
Comment: The OPCW’s investigation into the nerve agent used to poison Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia Skripal in Salisbury, began on 19 Mar 18. Yulia Skripal continues to receive police support, following her
discharge from hospital on 9 Apr 18. Sergei Skripal remains “seriously ill” in hospital. The NATO Secretary General confirmed (27 Mar 18) that, following the Salisbury incident, more than 140 Russian officials have been expelled “by over 25 NATO Allies and partners”. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 18/14, 16 Apr 18)
11 Apr 18. HMS ALBION: Asia-Pacific Deployment. The MoD reported (11 Apr 18) that HMS ALBION is being deployed to North-East Asia “to safeguard free trade, partake in joint training and exercises, and support UN sanctions against the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK)”. The assault ship will join the Type 23 frigate HMS SUTHERLAND in contributing to international efforts to monitor prohibited trading at sea by the DPRK (which provides a major source of funding for its nuclear programme).
Comment: HMS ARGYLL is due to arrive in the region later in 2018 in order to participate in a Five Power Defence Arrangements exercise with Australia, Malaysia, New Zealand and Singapore. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 18/14, 16 Apr 18)
27 Mar 18. Watchkeeper: Update. The Defence Procurement Minister confirmed (27 Mar 18) that no additional costs have been incurred as a result of Watchkeeper missing its Full Operating Capability 1 milestone. The Minister stated that “Watchkeeper could still be deployed on operations should the operational imperative warrant it.”
Comment: The missed milestone was revealed in a letter (dated 29 Jan 18) from the MoD’s Permanent Secretary to the Chair of the Public Accounts Committee. On 24 Nov 17, the MoD confirmed that programme costs from 2005/06 to 2017/18 amounted to £1,080m. Watchkeeper is said to remain on course to deliver within its current cost approvals. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 18/14, 16 Apr 18)
11 Apr 18. SA80 A2: Upgrade. The Defence Procurement Minister announced (11 Apr 18) that the SA80 A2 assault weapon is to be upgraded to the A3 model under the Mid Life Improvement (MLI) project. Changes to the weapon include: improved camouflage; a more streamlined fore grip and a bracket to secure new low light sights. An initial investment of £5.4m has been allocated for the project, which will be carried out by Heckler and Koch at the Nottingham Small Arms Factory. The first 5,000 weapons are to be upgraded under the present contract, with more to follow in due course.
Comment: Under the MLI project it is intended that the upgraded weapon will “remain in service until 2025 and beyond”. An initial batch of 364 improved weapon systems was delivered to the Small Arms School Corps
(SASC) and the Infantry Trials & Development Unit (ITDU) in January 2018 (for evaluation). (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 18/14, 16 Apr 18
06 Apr 18. Typhoon: Training Facility. The RAF advised (6 Apr 18) that the expansion of BAE Systems’ Typhoon Training Facility at RAF Lossiemouth
has been completed. The upgrade to the Typhoon flight simulation training system allows RAF Lossiemouth Squadrons to train in a formation of four aircraft (known as a ‘4 ship’). The expansion of the Typhoon Training
Facility saw the installation of two additional Emulated Deployable Cockpit Trainers (or flight simulators). Previously, with only two flight simulators, RAF Lossiemouth-based Squadrons had to travel to RAF Coningsby to undertake ‘4-ship’ exercises in the simulators there, or ‘live fly’ (using valuable resources).
Comment: Including 24 for Qatar, 623 Typhoon have been ordered to date. In addition, a final offer has been made to Belgium for 34 aircraft. A follow-on order of 48 aircraft for Saudi Arabia is also under discussion. (The Royal Saudi Air Force already operates 72 Typhoon.) (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 18/14, 16 Apr 18)
26 Mar 18. Titanium: New Production Process. The Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL) reported (26 Mar 18) that it has reduced the 40-stage process for producing titanium to just two steps, potentially halving production costs. Some £30,000 has been invested in the research project at the University of Sheffield which led to the development of the revolutionary FAST-forge production process. Following small-scale trials, a large-scale FAST furnace is to be built by DSTL and Kennametal Manufacturing (UK) Ltd for producing and testing bigger components.
Comment: Titanium has the strength of steel but half the weight. Although used for a variety of applications, from equipment components to prosthetics, the cost of production is prohibitive. According to DSTL, the FAST-forge process “could see a huge expansion of titanium parts and equipment throughout the military”. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 18/14, 16 Apr 18)
03 Apr 18. Defence Knowledge Strategy: Publication. The MoD published (3 Apr 18) the first edition of Defence Knowledge Strategy. The Strategy document is derived from the Knowledge Principles for Government, produced in 2016, which sets out seven strategic principles which Departments can adapt to suit their particular circumstances. The Strategy, which also addresses issues raised by the 2016 Chilcot Report (Iraq Inquiry), is aimed at all MoD personnel for improving the exploitation of knowledge, skills, experience and expertise.
Comment: As stated in the Foreword to the ‘Defence Knowledge Strategy’: “We have a habit of identifying lessons but then forgetting them and having to reinvent solutions”. The Strategy document is available via the Government web portal (www.gov.uk/). (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 18/14, 16 Apr 18)
13 Apr 18. Germany fears steeper Tornado costs after the UK ditches its planes. The planned phasing out of the United Kingdom’s last Tornado aircraft has German officials scrambling to deal with the increasing costs of a shrinking fleet. Continuing aircraft reductions in the tri-national program, which also includes Italy, have led to “significant technical, logistical and financial risk” in maintaining the 1980s-era fighter-bombers, officials have told lawmakers in a confidential report seen by Defense News.
While the prospect of Britain’s exit from the aircraft program has been known since November 2016, there is “no sufficient and comprehensive planning in place” for sustaining the remaining German planes, the report warns.
German defense leaders decided in 2016 to extend the life of the Tornado through 2035, with an assessment planned this summer of implementation plans to that end. Berlin originally purchased 357 aircraft; 93 are still in the inventory today, 88 of which belong to the Luftwaffe, according to the defense ministry.
A handful of German Tornados packed with reconnaissance equipment are currently deployed in support of Operation Inherent Resolve, flying missions over Iraq and Syria.
The defense ministry’s March 2018 report leaves open the question of how, and if, the UK would retain some kind of role in the program. Last November, the document states, there was talk about introducing a new, fixed scheme for financial contributions, abandoning the practice of going by the number of airframes used in each nation.
German defense officials wrote that they also are unsure what financial contributions can be expected of the Italians before Rome retires its Tornado contingent in 2027.
The British plan to use the Eurofighter Typhoon and the F-35 to absorb missions flown by Tornados. In Germany, the Typhoon appears to be the defense ministry’s preference for a follow-on aircraft, though there are also voices advocating for the F-35. Officials have requested information on both planes from the manufacturers, plus data from the maker of the F-18 and the F-15.
“The UK has a large number of airframes left in storage in a variety of conditions and including various degrees of upgrades between GR.1 and the latest GR.4 ‘diamond standard’ as flown over Iraq and Syria,” said Justin Bronk, a research fellow at the Royal United Services Institute.
“These will be a very valuable source of spare parts and consumables for the Luftwaffe Tornado force once the Royal Air Force has fully retired the type,” he added. “Since the Tornado manufacturing lines have long since closed, spare parts are expensive and often time consuming to procure, so Germany will no doubt appreciate access to the RAF’s stock of frontline and reserve airframes to cannibalise.”
Meanwhile, keeping the aging aircraft current is shaping up to be a challenging undertaking for the Bundeswehr. For example, digitization of the head-up-display likely will require the costly replacement of the aircraft’s main computer, officials wrote. That upgrade, which is at risk of coming late, is the prerequisite for the installation of a NATO-compliant friend-or-foe recognition system, mandatory by Jan. 1, 2019.
The new capability, dubbed IFF Mode 5/S Level 1, is currently behind schedule, according to the defense ministry report, which means the Tornados could potentially only operate under special authorizations, if at all, in 2019 and beyond.
The good news, per the German defense ministry: Other nations also appear to have trouble with the identification-system upgrade for their aircraft fleets, raising the prospect that NATO could delay the requirement.
(Source: Defense News)
13 Apr 18. RAF deploys Sentinel to Cyprus. A UK Royal Air Force (RAF) Raytheon Sentinel R1 surveillance aircraft has been despatched to Cyprus as part of a build-up of coalition assets in advance of a potential strike against Syria.
Open-source tracking picked up the ADS-B transponder of the RAF aircraft, serial number JZ690, as it took off from its base at RAF Waddington in Lincolnshire on the morning of 12 April. Later that day the same aircraft was detected over the central Mediterranean near the Greek island of Crete heading eastward towards the United Kingdom’s RAF Akrotiri on Cyprus.
An RAF spokesperson declined to provide any details to Jane’s on 13 April, saying, “All RAF intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance assets continue to support the allied effort on a rotational basis.
(Source: IHS Jane’s)
12 Apr 18. Saudi Arabian Military Industries (SAMI) and Navantia Form Joint Venture Partnership with 60% Localization Target. Under the high patronage of HRH Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz, Crown Prince, Deputy Chairman of the Council of Ministers and Minister of Defense, and in the presence of Mariano Rajoy Spanish Prime Minister, Saudi Arabian Military Industries (SAMI) and Navantia S.A. today signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) to create a joint venture (JV), that will manage and localize any naval combat systems activity including integration and installation. Both parties also inked a Letter of Intent (LoI) to design and build 5 Avante 2200 corvettes including Combat Management System, for the Ministry of Defense of Saudi Arabia. The signing ceremony came in conjunction with HRH Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s visit to Madrid, Spain. The MoA was signed by H.E. Ahmed Al-Khateeb, Chairman of SAMI, and Esteban García Vilasánchez, Chairman of Navantia.
H.E. Ahmed Al-Khateeb, Chairman of SAMI, explained that the agreement comes in line with Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 and following the announcement of HRH Prince Mohammed bin Salman to localize 50% of the total military spending by 2030. “As one of the ambitious outcomes of the Crown Prince’s vision, SAMI is currently exploring all collaboration and localization opportunities to build a strong autonomous military industries ecosystem”.
“Navantia is committed to partnering with Saudi Arabia and determined to expand its presence in the Saudi and regional market,” Al-Khateeb added.
Once operational, new joint venture (JV) will focus on program management and combat system integration and installation, system engineering, system architecture, hardware design, and software development, testing & verification, prototyping, simulation, and modelling.
Esteban García Vilasánchez, Chairman of Navantia, said: “We are delighted to be working with our friends in Saudi Arabia, and we are proud of the trust HRH Prince Mohammed bin Salman places in Navantia, and our ability to contribute to achieving the objectives of the Saudi Vision 2030 through this joint venture. The historical relationship between the two kingdoms [Spain and Saudi Arabia] dates back more than six decades, and we look forward to continuing our successful partnership in support of the Kingdom’s national security and technology development needs.”
The MoA will further solidify the relationship between Navantia and Saudi Arabian Military Industry company (SAMI). The resulting JV will contribute in maintaining the readiness of the Saudi military fleet. In addition, the agreement will create approximately 1,000 jobs and training opportunities for Saudi youth, and augment the participation of Saudi nationals in the industry, contributing towards the objectives of the Kingdom’s comprehensive Vision 2030 plan.
(defense-aerospace.com EDITOR’S NOTE: Saudi Arabia was originally due to order these five corvettes from Navantia in November 2016, but the signature was postponed at the last minute. (Source: defense-aerospace.com/Saudi Arabian Military Industries)
13 Apr 18. Report: Romanian defence spending to reach $7.6bn by 2023. Romania’s defence spending is expected to reach $7.6bn in 2023, registering a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 10.15% according to a report by Strategic Defence Intelligence.
Titled ‘Future of the Romanian Defense Industry – Market Attractiveness, Competitive Landscape and Forecasts to 2023‘, the report provides insights about the Romanian defence industry.
In 2018, the country’s defence budget is valued at $4.8bn, registering a CAGR of 23.57%.
Major factors affecting the nation’s defence spending include an ongoing programme to upgrade and modernise the Romanian Armed Forces to meet Nato standards, as well as participation in international peacekeeping missions. Defence spending trends are expected to continue this way and reach a total value of $31.3bn in 2019-23.
As a percentage of gross domestic product (GDP), the defence budget is expected to increase to an average of 2.2% during the 2019-23 period, compared with an average of 1.5% reported in previous periods.
The allocation of capital spending is anticipated to increase to an average of 41.7% during 2019-23, compared with the average of 32.6% in other periods, the report adds.
This increase has been attributed to the acquisition of additional F-16 multirole fighter aircraft, aircraft maintenance, repair and overhaul, a high-mobility artillery rocket system rocket artillery system, and a Patriot missile defence system, as well as corvettes, submarines, and 8X8 armoured vehicles.
Additional advanced military equipment fitted with upgraded technology to support modernisation plans is anticipated to drive capital expenditure over the forecast period.
Romania’s homeland security spending is expected to reach $4.9bn in 2023 from the $4.1bn reported in 2018, representing a CAGR of 2.97% during the 2019-23 period. (Source: army-technology.com)
12 Apr 18. US, Norway officially enter arrangement to share supplies for national security. The United States and Norway entered into an official arrangement to mutually supply defense goods and services needed for national security in an April 12 signing ceremony at the Norwegian-American Defense Conference (NADIC).
The Norwegian Ministry of Defense’ national armaments director Morten Tiller and Eric Chewning, the U.S. Defense Department’s deputy assistant undersecretary of defense for Manufacturing and Industrial Base Policy, both signed the Security of Supply Arrangement (SOSA) to cement the arrangement.
A SOSA allows, “the DoD to request priority delivery for DoD contracts, subcontracts, or orders from companies in these countries. Similarly, the arrangements allow the signatory nations to request priority delivery for their contracts and orders with U.S. firms,” according to a Pentagon definition.
The U.S. has entered into similar arrangements with eight other countries: Australia, Canada, Finland, Italy, Netherlands, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom. And the U.S. has established subsequent codes of conduct with industry in Finland, Italy, Sweden and the U.K.
“For decades the Norwegian industry has delivered critical defense equipment to the U.S. armed forces. This indicates that the U.S. authorities have considered Norwegian companies to be trustworthy suppliers for many years already,” Tiller said just prior to signing the document. “Norwegian companies have also cooperated with U.S. companies for many, many years and I would say with great success.”
A prime example of such partnership, Tiller noted, is the 50-year cooperation between Norway’s Kongsberg and Raytheon.
Tiller said that once the agreement is signed, the next step will be to enter a code of conduct arrangement with Norway’s defense and security industrial association where participating Norwegian companies “will commit to, as it is stated, make every reasonable effort, to provide priority support to U.S. authorities and prime contractors that need to invoke security of supply arrangement in future contracts.”
He added that he expected many Norwegian companies will sign up to the code of conduct and particularly the companies present at the signing, such as Kongsberg and Nammo, would do so “before the summer break.”
The agreement comes at a time where the U.S. is turning more toward strengthening alliances — a top priority laid out in the new National Defense Strategy.
“One of the partnerships we have enjoyed for many decades is out of Norway,” Chewning acknowledged. “The United States and Norway enjoy a long tradition of friendly relations of working closely together on a wide range of issues that are important to both our nations as well as the rest of the world.”
Chewning pointed to Norway’s strong role in the NATO alliance, participation in Operation Inherent Resolve, the country’s “innovative” industrial contributions to protecting U.S. forces in harm’s way, and the fact it is host to the Marine Corps’ prepositioning program that aids in the defense of Europe’s northern flank.
“This SOSA is another link in that strong chain that already binds us,” he said.
Nammo Inc. USA President Ola Skrivervik touted his company’s already strong presence in the U.S. — out of Nammo’s revenue of $570m, 41 percent of that was U.S. based — during a panel at NADIC directly following the signing.
Nammo also has roughly 400 employees based in the U.S. and is growing, he added.
Last year, the company established a public-private partnership with the U.S. Navy’s Explosive Ordnance Disposal at Indian Head in Maryland, to produce tactical solid rocket motors and develop new technology to boost the U.S. industry.
Nammo is most well-known for turning around the Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missile (AMRAAM) program when the Air Force discovered reliability issues during tests with ATK-manufactured rocket motors in 2010.
The company invested over $12 m of its own money in an alternative rocket motor for AMRAAM and got the Norwegian Air Force to fly the motors to Raytheon’s production facility in Tuscon, Arizona, at no charge to the US government in 2011. Nammo turned around a two-year production lag and put the missile program ahead of schedule.
Nammo has made 50,000 rocket motors between NATO countries for programs like AIM-9 Sidewinder, RIM-162 Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile (ESSM) and AMRAAM, Skrivervik said.
But doing business with the U.S. isn’t always easy. Nammo found itself at the center of an attempt to push congressional legislation through — two years in a row — that would have essentially shut out the company from providing rocket motors to programs like AMRAAM.
That legislation was narrowly defeated on the House floor in May 2016.
Skrivervik offered that the arrangement will “make a more formal commitment” to the work Norway and the U.S. do together.
Skrivervik advocated that an important aspect to improving relationships between allies is the ability to plan and commit to efforts long-term using open and transparent dialogue, which provides situations for industry to invest confidently.
And nations should be encouraged to find more programs where cost-sharing is possible, he added.
Skrivervik also said that generally conversations between industry and other governments is “very difficult” and new ways to interface with close allies are important.
Also speaking on the panel, Steven Grundman, the director of Emerging Defense Challenges at the Atlantic Council, suggested the focus, when it comes to cooperation between allies, shouldn’t be about buying finished products but more about co-developing new technologies.
Grundman also argued working in a small group, ideally a bilateral cooperation between countries, is the most efficient size in which to effectively collaborate. (Source: Defense News)
12 Apr 18. Brexit leaves French defense companies with big investment in the UK uneasy. The prospect of Britain leaving the European Union, dubbed Brexit, stirs deep disquiet among French defense companies, which are heavily invested across the English Channel, said Eric Trappier, chairman of Gifas, an aerospace trade association.
“We are worried by Brexit, particularly French companies, because we have developed strongly with British counterparts and invested heavily in Great Britain,” he told a news conference April 12. Trappier said he was speaking on behalf of Gifas; Cidef, the body which represents French aerospace, land and naval equipment manufacturers; and AeroSpace and Defense Industries Association of Europe (ASD), which represents European firms.
Those European firms have a significant presence in the U.K. — notably MBDA, Thales and Airbus — and there is uncertainty over what the trade requirements will be once Britain has left the EU, he said.
Questions loom such as whether British equipment will need to be certified by the European Aviation Safety Agency, customs clearance, and French staff working in the U.K. Also, there is doubt whether British companies will be eligible to apply for financing from the European Defense Fund being set up to boost arms research, he said.
“This a great worry for everyone,” he said. Companies wish to know promptly so they can prepare for the trade terms after Brexit.
There should be clarity over defense cooperation between Britain and the EU, with talk of a defense treaty with the U.K. after the exit, he said.
The U.K. is the second-largest trading partner for France, after Germany. The French and British supply chains are also intertwined — with the wings of the Airbus airliners built in the U.K. for example. Some 40 subsidiaries of Gifas members employ 35,000 staff in the U.K., which is the second-largest aerospace industry in Europe. There is at stake the flow of goods, investment and staff movement across the channel.
“We call for a transition as smooth as possible to avoid the risk to the supply chain and small and medium companies,” Gifas said.
Thales sees little direct harm from Brexit as there is little trade flow between its British subsidiary and the rest of Europe, the company’s chief financial officer has said. But there is risk of a slowdown in domestic trade after leaving the EU, leading to a weaker budget and less defense spending, Pascal Bouchiat has said. Trappier is president of ASD. (Source: Defense News)
12 Apr 18. UK was the one to put the brakes on drone demo project, industry says. British and French industry were disappointed after their offer to build a technology demonstrator for a combat drone was put on hold, mainly by the U.K., Eric Trappier, chairman of the Gifas trade body, said April 12.
“It’s true we were slightly disappointed, with our friend BAE, on the British issue,” he told a news conference on the 2017 results of Groupement des Industries Françaises Aéronautiques et Spatiales, or Gifas. The deal to build a demonstrator would have been worth €2bn (U.S. $2.5bn).
The companies had hoped the Anglo-French summit in January would given the green light, but due to “mainly British reasons,” there was no announcement of a program launch, he said. “We are waiting for an authorization,” he said.
“The British looked at their accounts,” he said. “They have not managed to find the money, or they have other priorities, or they are thinking of other things. The reality is it is not resolved,” he added.
BAE Systems and Dassault Aviation are industrial partners on an Anglo-French project for a Future Air Combat Air System Demonstration Program (FCAS DP), teamed with Rolls-Royce and Leonardo on the British side, and Safran and Thales on the French side.
The official joint statement which came out of the bilateral summit at Sandhurst military college was “light,” and now there is just talk of a technology roadmap, which is where the companies were five or six years ago, he said. The industrial partners felt a “brake” applied by the British.
The project has not been cancelled but is on hold, he said. That could reflect a “strong turbulence” stemming from Britain’s planned exit from the European Union, dubbed Brexit, and a budgetary strain the British prime minister must deal with, he added.
That “more modulated response” from London means the focus has moved to a Franco-German cooperation on a future fighter jet, he said. France has not abandoned the FCAS DP project, as studies continue and will contribute to the architecture for a future system for air combat.
Brexit is a factor but not the only one, said Jean-Paul Palomeros, a consultant and former French air chief of staff and former head of Nato Allied Command Transformation.
“There are many pieces, all moving at the same time,” he said. For the British there is Brexit but there is also the joint study for a future Franco-German fighter jet and a project for a European medium-altitude, long-endurance UAV, he said.
Building a demonstrator for an unmanned combat aerial vehicle would be akin to putting the cart before the horse, he said. France is studying how to fit all the elements in the future system for air combat, which will include fighter jets, armed and unarmed drones.
Gifas had 2017 sales of €64bn, up 6 percent from a year ago, of which €44bn was exported. Orders slipped 5 percent to €68.2bn. Military aircraft made up 24 percent of overall sales, up 2 percent. The sale of Rafale fighter jets made up the bulk of those defense deals.
Trappier is chairman and CEO of Dassault, and also chairs Cidef, an association that speaks for the French trade bodies for air, land and naval equipment manufacuturers.
“Following the Future Combat Air Systems Development Phase-0, we will continue our work on assessing the emerging conclusions before decisions are taken on future phases,” Britain and France said in a joint statement after the Jan. 18 summit. (Source: Defense News)
11 Apr 18. Turkey’s Defence Budget – the fallout from high inflation and a weak lira. Turkish defence expenditure soared by 14% in real terms to reach $13bn in 2018, however red flags in the form of double-digit inflation and continued weakness in the Turkish lira present real restrictions to future growth. Any significant increases made to the budget in the short term will be effectively wiped out in real terms and the purchasing power of the Turkish budget will continue to be eroded on international markets.
Over the last decade, high levels of inflation have resulted in incredibly volatile movements in the Turkish defence budget, with surges in spending in one year often followed by real cuts in the next. Meanwhile, the low value of the lira against Western currencies will continue to act as a barrier for international investment and further drive Turkey towards the goal of total self-sufficiency in defence production by 2023.
According to Jane’s Defence Budgets, Turkey’s 2018 defence budget of USD13bn places it 20th largest defence budget globally and the 8th largest in NATO behind the US, UK, France, Germany, Italy, Canada and Spain. In dollar terms, if the weakness of the lira persists, the Turkish defence budget will begin to fall out of the top 20 spenders in the early 2020s.
According to IHS Markit, double-digit inflation rates seen in 2017 will persist throughout 2018 with consumer price index (CPI) inflation averaging 10% over the year. As the government targets 5% real GDP (Gross Domestic Product) growth this year, pressure from President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on the Central Bank of Turkey to avoid increasing interest rates has intensified. This in turn is fueling further depreciation of the lira which cyclically drives up inflation by increasing energy import and foreign debt repayment costs.
The lira fell to TRY4.07 against the dollar in April 2018 compared to an average rate of TRY2.2 to the dollar in 2013.
Without a significant tightening in monetary policy, IHS Markit projects that the lira will remain subdued for the next decade – this will strain the affordability of defence programmes Turkey pursues with the West.
As the depreciation against the Russian ruble has been less severe, economic conditions may encourage further thawing of relations between the two countries.
The importance of the depreciation of the lira in terms of domestic defence spending has been somewhat lessened by the continued efforts of the Undersecretariat for Defence Industries (SSM) to increase Turkish self-sufficiency.
Turkey is looking to achieve full self-sufficiency by 2023 and has already established strong domestic production capabilities in the wheeled military land systems domain as well as small arms and radar systems. Naval shipbuilding capabilities are credible, while C4ISR and aerospace competencies continue to develop with large-scale systems integrators and SMEs developing subsystems play a key role in any of these domestic capabilities.
Since the 1990s, Turkey has made significant headway in the pursuit of self-sufficiency with successive development plans geared towards enhancing operations within the domestic defence industry. However, production remains heavily reliant on designs, capabilities and technologies of international contractors with offset accords forming a significant proportion of defence industrial activity.
Defence investment drivers
From a security point of view, defence spending increases in Turkey continue to be driven by Turkey’s geographic position and potential flashpoints that include ongoing instability in neighbouring Syria and the encroachment of Islamic State.
Turkey also has commitments stemming from NATO membership Several major programmes are also coming into the timeframe including the procurement of 100 Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II multirole fighter aircraft as replacement to F-16C/D under the Turkish Future Combat Aircraft (FCA) programme. Beyond the FCA programme, equipment such as electronic warfare jammers, additional AEW&C and C4ISR aircraft, air defence assets and radars will likely be given priority in the near-term as Turkey looks with increasing unease along its borders.
Defence procurement is used by Turkey as a tool for industrial development and while immediate needs may be fulfilled as outright purchases, longer term acquisitions are aimed at ensuring that the government meets its target of defence self-sufficiency by 2023. (Source: Google/http://www.arabianaerospace.aero)
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13 Apr 18. Pentagon creates new position to help guide software acquisition, F-35 development. The Defense Department is creating a new position to help formulate its software strategy and ensure that the Pentagon keeps pace with commercial advancements — and his most important job will be overseeing the F-35 joint strike fighter’s agile software strategy. During a Friday roundtable with reporters, Ellen Lord, the undersecretary of defense for acquisition and sustainment, announced that she has tapped Jeff Boleng to the newly created position of special assistant for software acquisition. Boleng, currently the acting chief technology officer at Carnegie Mellon University Software Engineering Institute, will start April 16 as a member of Lord’s team.
“Jeff Boleng will spend over 90 percent of his time on F-35. He is going to be the individual who is working amongst all of the groups to enable us to bring the right talent onboard,” Lord said.
“We have a challenge, I think both within the JPO [F-35 joint program office] as well as Lockheed Martin, in terms of getting a critical mass of contemporary software skill sets to begin to move in the direction we want to.”
As the F-35 joint program office embarks on a new strategy called Continuous Capability Development and Delivery, or C2D2, which involves introducing agile software development, Lord wants to ensure that both the JPO and Lockheed have employees with the right training to execute the effort and that they can attract new professionals with additional software expertise.
“This is something that [Lockheed CEO] Marillyn Hewson and I have talked about,” she said. “Lockheed Martin has some excellent software capability throughout the corporation. My expectation is that they’re going to leverage that on the F-35. And as we within the Department of Defense really increase our capability for software development focused on C2D2, our expectation is that Lockheed Martin will do the exact same thing.
“So they have the capability. I’m very energized about the leadership focus that I have seen in the last four to eight weeks, so I have great expectations that that will continue and that Lockheed Martin will keep pace or outpace DoD in terms of modernization for F-35 software development.”
Boleng, a former cyberspace operations officer and software engineer who served more than 20 years with the Air Force, last held the position of teaching computer science at the Air Force Academy before moving to the private sector.
At Carnegie Mellon, he is responsible for spearheading the institutes research and development portfolio, which includes software development, data analytics and cyber security activities in support of the Defense Department.
As the special assistant for software acquisition, he will help develop department-wide software development standards and policies and “advise department leadership on latest best practices in commercial software development.”
Boleng will also interface with Pentagon organizations charged with ramping up the department’s software prowess such as Defense Digital Services, a small group of former private-sector tech professionals who led the department’s “Hack the Pentagon” events and have conducted a few assessments of F-35 software.
That starts with a meeting today between Lord, Boleng and a Defense Innovation Board group centered on software acquisition, which has been embedded both with the joint program office and Lockheed Martin, Lord said. (Source: Defense News)
13 Apr 18. U.S. Military Must Develop All-Domain Defenses, Mattis, Dunford Say. If a nation wants to challenge the United States conventionally, that nation will lose.
So, nations won’t challenge America conventionally, but look for asymmetric ways to do so, DoD’s most-senior civilian and military leaders said to the House Armed Services Committee yesterday.
Defense Secretary James N. Mattis and Marine Corps Gen. Joe Dunford, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, also spoke about the problems caused by “gray zone” warfare.
Right now, the U.S. military is practiced in counterinsurgency operations. The defeat-Islamic State of Iraq and Syria campaign has honed the skills needed to train local troops and provide troops with enablers like close air support and logistics.
If groups like al-Qaida and ISIS were the only threats, then counterinsurgency forces would be fine. But Russia and China will be long-term competitors, and both countries are developing capabilities to challenge U.S. dominance. These areas include the cyber world, space and information operations.
It also includes anti-access strategies like building islands in the South China Sea.
Develop, Maintain Overmatch, Reassure Allies
The United States must develop and maintain overmatch in all domains of combat, and continue to reassure allies. “What we will do is make certain our allies know that we’re reliable and we can break through to them,” Mattis said. “We can get to them and stand with them at the time of need.”
This asymmetric challenge is sometimes described at the “gray zone” or the Gerasimov doctrine — after the Russian chief of General Staff Gen. Valery Gerasimov — or even as “little green men.”
Dunford described the strategy as the use of “political influence, economic coercion, use of cyber, use of information operations and then military posture,” during his testimony.
“So there’s a military dimension to it, but it’s clearly a broader problem than just a military dimension,” the general added.
The bottom line is that the competition taking place inside the gray zone “is really the competition for our allies and partners,” he said.
What the Russians are trying to do in the gray zone is undermine the credibility of U.S. alliances and partnerships, the general said. “So what’s critical for us to do is overcome in the information space, overcome in cyber capabilities, and then our military posture, the erosion of that relationship that we have with our allies,” Dunford said.
This requires broader government participation. The State Department, Treasury, the intelligence agencies, U.S. Agency for International Development and more need to be involved to bring some resolution to the gray zone.
Dealing within the gray zone is even more complicated because of the way the United States military thinks about conflict. The gray zone is predicated on a continuum between peace and war. The United States military sees an on/off switch between the two.
“The activities and the authorities that we have in place on a day-to-day basis reflect the fact that we’re at peace, and our adversaries don’t actually have the same restraints,” the chairman said. “So what they’re doing on a day-to-day basis looks more like moving towards war than being in peace.”
DoD is reviewing the issue. “We do believe that we are limited in the activities that we can perform on a day-to-day basis and the authorities that we have to allow us to be competitive,” Dunford said. (Follow Jim Garamone on Twitter: @GaramoneDoDNews)
13 Apr 18. Officials Detail Combat Aviation Priorities at House Hearing. Senior Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force leaders outlined priorities for combat aviation during a House Armed Services Committee hearing here yesterday.
Speaking for Navy and Marine Corps aviation, Navy Vice Admiral Paul A. Grosklags, commander of Naval Air Systems Command, told committee members he believes the DoD budget agreement covering fiscal years 2018 and 2019 is aligned with and supports the National Defense Strategy in rebuilding military readiness while providing a more lethal force.
“The lethality which naval aviation brings to bear in support of our nation’s interest will be greatly enhanced by the increase procurement numbers for aircraft and weapons, increased investment in the development of new and advanced capabilities and increased funding of our critical readiness and sustainment accounts,” Grosklags said.
Marine Corps, Navy Aviation Priorities
Grosklags provided aviation priorities for the Marine Corps and Navy.
For the Marine Corps:
— F-35 Lightning II aircraft procurement and sustainment;
— CH-53K King Stallion helicopter development and continuation of low rate initial production;
— Marine air-ground task force unmanned expeditionary capability, also known as MUX;
— Completion of the H-1 upgrades procurement program featuring UH-1Y “Venom” and AH-1Z “Viper” helicopters, the next generation of Marine Corps utility and attack aircraft;
— Maintaining lethality of legacy F/A-18 Hornet aircraft.
For the Navy:
— F/A-18 super Hornet service life modernization;
— Procurement of F-18 Block III upgrades, F-35’s, E-2 early warning aircraft, P-8 Poseidon aircraft, CMV-22 Osprey aircraft and MQ-4C Triton unmanned aerial vehicles; and
— Development of the MQ-25 unmanned air system and the next generation jammer.
A critical priority for the Navy and Marine Corps is full funding for aviation readiness accounts, including spares, officials said.
Naval and Marine Corps leaders also told committee members their services are committed to flight safety and are dedicated to reducing the likelihood of accidents.
Marine Corps Lt. General Steven R. Rudder, deputy commandant of the Marine Corps for aviation, told the committee his service is maximizing efforts to prevent aerial mishaps, and taking corrective actions if they occur. More money, Rudder said, is being spent on aircraft maintenance to keep older airframes in good shape.
“We’re giving maximum amounts to our [maintenance and parts] depots; maximum amounts to buy spares, giving max amounts to program managers so they can fix the airplanes,” Rudder said.
The general also said the Marines are stepping up efforts to buy new aircraft to replace older, more maintenance-prone aircraft.
Demand for Air Force Capabilities Grows
The demand for Air Force capabilities continues to grow, as the United States experiences a more competitive and dangerous international security environment, Air Force Lt. General Arnold W. Bunch Jr., military deputy for the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition, told the committee.
The Air Force is supporting combatant commander requirements in response to growing challenges from Russia, China, North Korea and Iran, in addition to the counterterrorism mission in the Middle East and around the world, Bunch said.
Air Force spending priorities include F-35 aircraft procurement, sustainment and modernization, KC-46 aerial refueler aircraft for their power-projection role, and the B-21 Raider bomber development program, Bunch said. According to the general, these efforts are key to the Air Force so it can answer the nation’s call when needed.
“The Air Force must build a more lethal and ready force, strengthen alliances and partnerships and deliver greater, more affordable performance,” Bunch said. “Future wars will be won by those who observe, orient, decide and act faster than adversaries in an integrated way across all domains.”
Bunch said his plan for the Air Force is to drive innovation, reinforce budget discipline and deliver capabilities with greater affordability at the speed of relevance.
“Today’s modernization is tomorrow’s readiness — readiness is not static,” the general told the committee. The Air Force, he said, will continue its efforts to bolster readiness, increase lethality and modernize in a cost-effective manner. (Source: US DoD)
12 Apr 18. A-10 in Jeopardy Again? Air Force May Not Keep All Warthogs Until 2030. The US Air Force may be backtracking from its stated plan to keep the A-10 Thunderbolt II flying until 2030.
During a House Armed Services Tactical Air and Land subcommittee hearing on Thursday, Lt. Gen. Jerry D. Harris, the service’s deputy chief of staff for strategic plans and requirements, said as a platform, the A-10, beloved among ground troops and attack pilots alike, will remain until roughly that time period.
But even as the “Warthog” got funding for brand-new wings in the $1.3trn omnibus budget, that doesn’t necessarily mean every one of them will be flying until 2030, Harris said.
“We will have to get back to you on the groundings per year, per airplanes,” Harris said in response to Rep. Martha McSally, a Republican from Arizona and former Air Force A-10 pilot.
“We are not confident we are flying all of the airplanes we currently possess through 2025,” Harris said.
In their written testimony, both Lt. Gen. Arnold Bunch, the Air Force’s military deputy for the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Acquisition at the Pentagon, and Harris said, “The new wing program will aim to avoid any further groundings beyond 2025 and will ensure a minimum of six combat squadrons remain in service until 2032. In addition to re-winging efforts, the Air Force is exploring ways to augment the A-10 fleet.”
The Air Force in January said it began searching for a new company to rebuild wings on the A-10 after ending an arrangement with Boeing Co.
The following month, it released a request draft for proposal for companies to start envisioning their petitions to re-wing the 109 remaining aircraft in the inventory which need the upgrades.
Air Force officials have said the service can commit to maintaining wings for six of its nine A-10 combat squadrons through roughly 2030.
McSally, said she understood the A-10’s need is based on operational tempo, but pressed officials on what Congress needs to do in order for the Air Force to “smooth out” A-10 retirement issues and re-winging efforts past 2025.
Even if the A-10s don’t fly, Harris said the service will preserve portions of the A-10 as it rotates some into backup inventory, or BAI, status. Harris did not elaborate how many A-10s that could apply to.
“We’re not going to make a further commitment [on additional wingsets] until we know where we’re going with both the A-10 and the F-35,” Harris said, referring to the further Initial Operational Test and Evaluation (IOT&E) testing between the two aircraft.
A “fly-off” between the two, part of the IOT&E testing, is expected in the near future.
The requirement that the two aircraft go up against each other was included as a provision in the National Defense Authorization Act for 2017 amid congressional concerns over plans to retire the A-10 and replace it with the F-35. McSally was one of the architects of the bill’s language.
“As we are looking at our [combat Air Force] roadmap and where we’re going with our modification program, our intent is not to have a grounding that impacts the fleet,” Harris said Thursday. “We’ll make sure we re-wing enough of the aircraft to have that capability and capacity.”
McSally said the need was for nine full squadrons — not the six the Air Force has suggested.
“With them being south of the DMZ, deployed to Afghanistan, just coming back from schwacking ISIS, and working with our NATO allies and all that we have on our plate, three active-duty and six Guard and Reserve squadrons for a total of nine, that’s already stretching it,” she said.
“How can we provide that capability to the combatant commanders with only six? I just don’t see it,” she said. (Source: Military.com)
12 Apr 18. Budget Allows Forces to Restore Competitive Edge, DoD Leaders Tell House. The budget agreement hammered out in Congress will allow the U.S. military to restore its competitive edge during a time of renewed great power competition, Defense Secretary James N. Mattis said today before the House Armed Services Committee.
The secretary testified alongside Marine Corps Gen. Joe Dunford, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and both men emphasized the budget agreement covering fiscal years 2018 and 2019 will give the department needed stability to implement the National Defense Strategy.
“The U.S. military has a competitive advantage over any potential adversary today,” Dunford said. “I am confident we can defend the homeland, meet our alliance commitments and prevail in any conflict.”
Three Lines of Effort
As DoD moves forward, it is pursuing three overarching lines of effort, Mattis said. The first is to build a more lethal force. The second is to strengthen alliances and build new ones, and third, the department will reform business practices for better performance and affordability.
Building a more lethal force is at the heart of everything the department does, the secretary said. “All our department’s policies, expenditures and training must contribute to the lethality of our military,” Mattis told the representatives. “We cannot expect success fighting tomorrow’s conflicts with yesterday’s thinking, yesterday’s weapons or yesterday’s equipment.”
Further, the United States cannot present any weaknesses, he said, as weakness draws attention and attacks. “The nation must field sufficient, capable forces to deter conflict, and if deterrence fails, we must win,” he said.
The budget request fully funds nuclear deterrence modernization. It modestly increases the end strength of the services to restore readiness. It funds an increase in the size of the Navy’s fleet and buys 77 F-35 and 24 F-18 aircraft. “This budget funds systems to enhance communications and resiliency in space,” Mattis said.
Cutting-edge research must continue to keep the military in the forefront, the secretary said. Cyber, advanced computing, big data analytics, artificial intelligence, robotics, autonomy, miniaturization, additive manufacturing, directed energy and hypersonics are among the technologies and processes that DoD will examine, the secretary said.
All this is done with a laser focus on increasing lethality, Mattis told the panel. “Those seeking to threaten America’s experiment in democracy should know if you challenge us it will be your longest and worst day,” he said.
Importance of Alliances
Alliances and partnerships form the base of American influence and power, Mattis said. He noted that 74 nations and organizations are now participating in the campaign to defeat the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, and 41 are participating in NATO’s Resolute Support mission in Afghanistan.
The secretary said he insists that every dollar that comes to the department must be spent wisely on capabilities and capacities. The department has the right people in place and expects to finish the first departmentwide audit in the coming year, he added. “The department is transitioning to culture of performance and affordability that operates at the speed of relevance,” Mattis said. “We will prioritize speed of delivery, continuous adaptation and frequent modular upgrades.”
Dunford discussed the emergence of Russia and China as challenges to the international order and accepted practices. But the nation also must meet the challenges of North Korea and Iran and the dangers posed by violent extremists in many parts of the world.
All this requires the United States to invest in the full range of capabilities, he said, from those needed to deter a nuclear attack to those designed to deter Russia and China, to those needed to fight a guerilla war.
All this means America must maintain “a balanced inventory of ready, lethal and flexible forces that are relevant across a range of military operations,” the chairman said. (Follow Jim Garamone on Twitter: @GaramoneDoDNews)
11 Apr 18. Pentagon stops accepting Lockheed F-35 jets over repair cost dispute. The U.S. Department of Defense has stopped accepting most deliveries of F-35 jets from Lockheed Martin Corp (LMT.N) because of a dispute over who will cover costs for fixing a production error, three people familiar with the matter said.
Lockheed confirmed on Wednesday that the Pentagon had halted deliveries of the jet over a contractual issue, but did not give further details.
Last year, the Pentagon stopped accepting F-35s for 30 days after discovering corrosion where panels were fastened to the airframe, an issue that affected more than 200 of the stealthy jets. Once a fix had been devised, the deliveries resumed, and Lockheed hit its target aircraft delivery numbers for 2017.
But deliveries were paused again over a dispute as to who will pay for what will likely be a complex logistical fix that could require technicians to travel widely to mend aircraft based around the world, said the people, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly about the matter.
When the Pentagon stops taking delivery of F-35s, foreign customers can also be affected. So far at least two foreign governments have stopped accepting F-35s as a result of this issue, two of the sources said.
A Lockheed spokeswoman said on Wednesday: “Production on the F-35 program continues and we are confident we will meet our delivery target of 91 aircraft for 2018. While all work in our factories remains active, the F-35 Joint Program Office has temporarily suspended accepting aircraft until we reach an agreement on a contractual issue and we expect this to be resolved soon.”
It was not clear when the suspension of deliveries began.
The Pentagon did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The fastening issue on the F-35 fleet was not affecting flights, nor was it a safety concern, the Pentagon said last year.
The delivery pause is the latest of several production issues that have arisen in the Pentagon’s most expensive weapons program, and comes at a time when the administration of President Donald Trump has criticized the cost of the fighter
In 2016, a fix for insulation problems in the fuel tanks and lines of the jets caused a slowdown in deliveries.
Shares of Lockheed erased a 2.7 percent gain on the day after Reuters reported the suspension. They closed flat at $339.44.
At the heart of the dispute is the government’s inspection of the planes during Lockheed’s production, which failed to discover problems with the fastenings, the sources said. Because neither party caught the issue at the time each is pointing the finger at the other to pay for the fix.
Two jets were received by the Pentagon despite the suspension because of specific needs in the field, one of the people said.
During routine maintenance at Hill Air Force Base in Utah last year, the Air Force detected “corrosion exceeding technical limits,” where the carbon fiber exterior panel is fastened to the aluminum airframe.
A lack of protective coating at the fastening point that would have prevented corrosion was identified as the primary problem, the Pentagon said at the time.
The F-35 business accounts for about a quarter of Lockheed’s total revenue. During the third quarter, sales at Lockheed’s aeronautics business increased 14 percent to $4.7 bn, led by higher sales of the F-35 and highlighting the program’s importance to Lockheed’s profitability. (Source: Reuters)
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13 Apr 18. Mattis, Dunford Detail Attacks on Syrian Chemical Arsenal. U.S., British and French air and naval forces launched attacks against the Syrian government’s chemical weapon arsenal in retaliation for the use of such weapons on civilians, Defense Secretary James N. Mattis and Marine Corps Gen. Joe Dunford, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said at a Pentagon news conference tonight.
“As the world knows, the Syrian people have suffered terribly under the prolonged brutality of the Assad regime,” the secretary said. “On April 7, the regime decided to again defy the norms of civilized people showing callous disregard for international law by using chemical weapons to murder women, children and other innocents. We and our allies find these atrocities inexcusable.”
President Donald J. Trump ordered the strikes to stop the regime from using such inhumane weapons again. Mattis said stopping the atrocities is in the vital national interests of the United States.
Research and Development Facilities
The strikes hit Syrian leader Bashar Assad’s chemical weapon research, development and production facilities. The strikes tonight were far harder than the ones last year, when the United States launched 58 missiles against the Shayrat air base following a chemical attack.
“Obviously, the Assad regime did not get the message last year,” Mattis said.
The strikes now send a very clear message to Syrian leaders “that they should not perpetrate another chemical weapons attack for which they will be held accountable,” the secretary said.
Mattis emphasized that the strikes were directed against the Syrian regime, and the strike planners went to great lengths to avoid civilian and foreign casualties. “It is a time for all civilized nations to urgently unite to end the Syrian civil war by supporting the United Nations backed Geneva peace process,” the secretary said.
The three nations forces were integrated throughout the planning and execution of the operation, Dunford said. “The targets that were struck and destroyed were specifically associated with the Syrian regime chemical weapons program,” the chairman said.
The first target was a scientific research center in the greater Damascus area. The military facility was a center for research, development, production and testing of chemical and biological agents, the general said. The second target was a chemical weapons storage facility west of Homs. “We assess this was the primary location of Syrian sarin and precursor production equipment,” he said. “The third target … contained both a chemical weapons storage facility and an important command post.”
The strikes should result in a long-term degradation of Syria’s chemical and biological warfare capabilities, the chairman said. “The strike was not only a strong message to the regime that their actions were inexcusable, but it also inflicted maximum damage without unnecessary risks to civilians,” Dunford said.
The strike was also planned to mitigate the risk to Russian forces that are supporting the Assad regime, the general said.
More than double the amount of ordnance used in last year’s strike was used in this one, Dunford said. He said there were reports of Syrian anti-aircraft actions, but it is too early to assess the effectiveness. There were no allied casualties.
The strike is meant to deter Assad from contemplating another attack, and allied forces are ready to continue the action if Assad continues to use these banned weapons, Mattis said.
(Follow Jim Garamone on Twitter: @GaramoneDoDNews)
13 Apr 18. India Moves to Reduce Its Reliance on Russia’s Defense Imports. India is reducing its dependence on Russia for critical defense programs, with the joint venture BrahMos missile set to be guided by a locally-developed target tracking device in the next year.
India’s defense scientists have developed a new indigenous system that identifies missile targets to replace the Russian-developed seeker on all future BrahMos, Sudhir K. Mishra, the chief executive officer of BrahMos Aerospace said.
“Our objective is to make use of the Indian seeker on all future BrahMos missiles,” Mishra said in an interview on the sidelines of India’s defense show, DefExpo, on Wednesday in Chennai. “The Russians say if the Indians supply a cheaper, cost-effective and reliable seeker, then let us take it from India.”
There are also plans to use a locally-made warhead on the missile, he said, without specifying a time frame.
Russia accounted for 68 percent of India’s arms import from 2012 to 2016, according to Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. It’s been the largest defense supplier to India since the 1960s when the MiG-21 supersonic fighter jets were bought to equip the Indian Air Force. These were then license-produced at the state-held Hindustan Aeronautics Limited until recently, when India began to junk the MiG jets and plan a complete phase out of the aircraft by 2022.
As Prime Minister Narendra Modi pushes ahead with his military modernization process with a targeted $250bn spend over 10 years till 2025, India has widened the scope of its arms purchases to include equipment from the U.S. In the last two years, the U.S. has emerged as India’s top defense supplier. Since 2007, the U.S. has won defense orders from India worth $17bn, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
India is preparing to test an anti-ship version of the seeker sometime in October-November this year, Mishra said. A successful second test would allow it to go into production soon after.
In the next five years BrahMos Aerospace plans to develop the hypersonic BrahMos missile that can achieve speeds of Mach 5, or five times the speed of sound, Mishra said. The Indian-Russian joint venture is working on overcoming the technological challenges involved in achieving hypersonic speeds for the present Mach 2.8 missile.
BrahMos is also working to extend the missile’s range to 800 km, he said, without giving a time frame. In March 2017, after India formally joined the international Missile Technology Control Regime, BrahMos successfully tested an extended range of 400 km for the missile.
13 Apr 18. India lifts blacklisting for two Israel defense companies. Indian government has lifted restricted blacklisting on Israel Aerospace Industries and Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, citing lack of evidence of supposed corruption.
A notification issued by the Indian Ministry of Defense last week said the government has decided to remove restrictions, effective immediately, that prevented the two Israeli defense companies to carry out defense business activities.
Following the acceptance of the classified report filed by the National Investigation Agency, the two companies are now permitted to participate in the ongoing and future procurements.
In 2006, Central Bureau of Investigation registered a corruption case against the two companies related to a $181.5m deal for nine Barak-I anti-missile defence systems for the navy from IAI, and 200 missiles worth $54.6m from Rafael. In February of this year, the two companies were put under restricted procurements category, permitted to carry out business dealings only on account of operational urgency, national security and non-availability of other alternatives.
Currently IAI is awaiting an additional order of two Phalcon airborne warning and control systems and unspecified numbers of tactical unmanned aerial vehicles, while Rafael is awaiting order for supply of Spike anti-tank guided missiles. An industry analyst who requested anonymity said MoD is now working out new measures to remove bottlenecks in weapons procurement, and lifting blacklisting is one such move.
(Source: Defense News)
11 Apr 18. German Company Defies U.S., Continues Sending Iran Parts Used in Syria Chemical Attacks. A German company involved in Syrian chemical attacks has defied a warning from the United States and continues trading with Iran, Ben Weinthal reported in The Jerusalem Post on Wednesday. A Syrian photographer found parts made by German company Krempel in Iranian-produced rockets that were used to target Syrian civilians with chemical weapons in January and February, resulting in the death of 21 children and adults.
“There continue to be ongoing risks with doing business there because the Iranians have not reformed their system,” the U.S. Under Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, Sigal Mandelker, said on Tuesday. She warned that Iran was using money to support Hezbollah and Hamas, as well as the regime of Bashar al-Assad.
Krempel conceded to the Post that it continues trading with Iran but maintained “Krempel GmbH complies strictly with legal guidelines.”
The company added that it was now delivering “a different Pressspan [also not a dual-use good] exclusively to an original equipment manufacturer in Iran because we can know the end usage.”
Krempel’s decision to do business with Iran drew a sharp condemnation from Julie Lenarz, a Senior Fellow at The Israel Project.
“On Saturday, harrowing footage of children foaming at the mouth, dying in agony from exposure to chemical weapons, flashed across our television screens again,” she said.
Lenarz told the Post that “since the nuclear accord was signed with Iran in 2015, European countries and companies have flocked to Tehran for lucrative business deal,” with devastating consequences. (Source: theisraelproject.org)
09 Apr 18. China Strongly Opposes Approving License for Taiwan Submarine Plan by US. China strongly opposed the United States’ approving license for Taiwan submarine plan and urged the US to stop all forms of military contact between the US and Taiwan, as well as arms sales to Taiwan, said the Spokesperson for Chinese Ministry of National Defense Senior Colonel Wu Qian in a written statement on Monday.
Taiwan’s media said that Taiwan’s so-called “defense ministry” confirmed that the US Department of State had approved the marketing license required for American manufacturers to sell technology to Taiwan that would allow Taiwan for building submarines.
Responding to the issue in a written statement, China’s Defense Spokesperson Senior Colonel Wu Qian demanded that the United States scrupulously abides by the one-China policy and the principles of three China-US joint communiqués, and stops all forms of military contact between the US and Taiwan, as well as arms sales to Taiwan.
“China firmly opposes the US arms sales to Taiwan, this is clear-cut and consistent. Taiwan is a part of China. One-China principle serves as the political foundation for the China-US ties,” Spokesperson Wu Qian said.
“China’s military has the ability and determination to defeat all attempts to separate our country, and will adopt all necessary measures to resolutely defend national sovereignty, security and territorial integrity,” Wu Qian stressed at the end of the statement. (Source: defense-aerospace.com/China Military Online)
09 Apr 18. France, Saudi Arabia agree new defence contracts strategy. France and Saudi Arabia have agreed a new intergovernmental accord to conclude weapons deals, a French defence ministry official said on Sunday. The agreement replaces a process that had been criticised by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who is also the country’s defence minister. Sources said the prince, who is known as MBS, wanted to make a break from past processes. He arrived in Paris on Sunday for a three-day visit.
“In conjunction with the Saudi authorities, France has initiated a new arms export strategy with Saudi Arabia, which until now has been managed by ODAS,” the official said, referring to the organisation that currently handles French defence interests in Saudi Arabia.
“It will now be covered by an intergovernmental agreement between the two countries. The ODAS company will only provide for the termination of existing contracts.”
The official did not elaborate. France, the world’s third-biggest arms exporter, counts Saudi Arabia among its biggest purchasers, and defence firms including Dassault and Thales have major contracts there.
In recent years, Riyadh has bought French tanks, armoured vehicles, munitions and artillery and navy ships. In 2016, licenses potentially worth 18n euros ($22.11bn) to Saudi were approved, with deliveries worth about 2bn euros. The crown prince’s visit comes amid growing pressure on Macron at home from lawmakers and rights groups over France’s weapons sales to the Saudi-led coalition fighting Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen. A private letter sent to Macron from 12 international non-governmental organizations last week urged him to pressure MBS to ease a blockade on Yemeni ports and suspend French arms sales. French daily newspaper Les Echos on Friday said a deal could be signed for navy patrol boats from CMN, while Le Telegramme reported a possible deal for Caesar artillery canons from Nexter. Neither company responded to requests for comment, and the French presidency has played down possible contracts.
A Saudi official said Riyadh would continue to buy military equipment despite public criticism, especially for its navy. (Source: Reuters)
About Harris Corporation
Harris Corporation is a leading technology innovator, solving customers’ toughest mission-critical challenges by providing solutions that connect, inform and protect. Harris supports government and commercial customers in more than 100 countries and has approximately $6 bn in annual revenue. The company is organized into three business segments: Communication Systems, Space and Intelligence Systems and Electronic Systems. Learn more at harris.com.
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12 Apr 18. Hawker Pacific to be acquired by Swiss company. Switzerland’s Jet Aviation has acquired integrated aviation solutions provider Hawker Pacific for US$250m. Jet Aviation, a subsidiary of General Dynamics, said the planned acquisition is part of the Swiss company’s plans to expand its presences across Asia-Pacific and the Middle East.
“The acquisition of Hawker Pacific represents a significant step in expanding our footprint, capability and customer offer across Asia-Pacific and the Middle East,” said Rob Smith, president of Jet Aviation.
“Hawker Pacific has a wide range of services including civil MRO, fleet services, FBO network and aircraft sales, enabling Jet Aviation to further expand its current portfolio, enter new markets, and reinforce the company’s position as one of the world’s leading business aviation service providers.”
Alan Smith, CEO of Hawker Pacific, said the acquisition will create a new leader in the aviation sector.
“We believe the company’s acquisition by Jet Aviation represents an excellent outcome for Hawker Pacific’s investors, employees and customers,” said Smith. “It builds on our strong values and passion for exceeding our customer’s expectations and I, on behalf of the management, am confident that the combination of the two companies will create a clear leader in the aviation space.”
Completion of the transaction, which will be the largest sale of an independent business aviation company in Asia-Pacific, is subject to customary closing conditions and is expected to be completed by the end of May. Hawker Pacific, founded in 1978, has four main operating bases in Australia in Sydney, Brisbane, Cairns and Perth. (Source: Defence Connect)
12 Apr 18. US gunmaker shares rise as analyst expects return to stability. Gunmaker shares advanced on Thursday after an analyst at Lake Tree upgraded shares of Smith & Wesson’s parent company and said he saw the firearms industry “bottoming following a tough 18-month period”. Shares in American Outdoor Brands rose 4 per cent to $10.83 after its stock was upgraded to “buy” from “hold” and the price target was lifted to $13 from $9. Meanwhile, shares in rival Sturm Ruger & Co rose 1.7 per cent to $55.10, while those in Vista Outdoor climbed 2.5 per cent to $17.74. American Outdoor Brands had faced a steep decline in sales over the past year amid fading expectations that the US would move to restrict gun sales after Hillary Clinton lost the presidential election in 2016. But Chris Krueger, an analyst at Lake Street, said: “With another election season coming up and renewed calls for gun control, a political component to consumer demand could once again drive higher sales.” Indeed, the gun control debate has heated up following a February school shooting in Florida where a gunman killed 17 people. Since then, many US companies have cut ties with the National Rifle Association. Fear of stricter gun control has in the past served as an impetus for higher gun sales. And the FBI’s adjusted National Instant Criminal Background Check System, considered a proxy for gun sales, showed that background checks rose nearly 14 per cent in March from a year ago. Mr Krueger, who expects a “more normalised consumer environment in the second half of 2018”, also took a more positive view on American Outdoor as he expects more innovative products from its M & P brand, which is already well regarded by both consumers and law enforcement. He projects that American Outdoor’s gun sales will decline in the first three quarters of fiscal 2019 before rising 2.2 per cent in the fourth quarter. The company’s fiscal year begins in May. American Outdoor shares are down 15 per cent year-to-date. Meanwhile Sturm, Ruger & Co shares are off 1.3 per cent, while shares in Vista Outdoor are up more than 20 per cent. (Source: FT.com)
12 Apr 18. Aeronautics Gets Investment from Israeli Insurer. Israeli insurer Phoenix Holdings Ltd. bought a 5.18% stake in Israeli drone maker Aeronautics Defense Systems Ltd., according to a Monday filing to the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange. The deal was completed in late March.
Following the announcement, on Monday Aeronautics’ stock went up by 1.73% and the company traded at a market value of $143m (NIS 501m).
Aeronautics first listed on the exchange in June 2017 and was traded at a market value of approximately $285m (NIS1bn) through July, before its stock began declining. Aeronautics’ stock has since plunged more than 50%.
Founded in 1997 and headquartered in central Israel, Aeronautics develops and manufactures unmanned aerial systems (UAS) for military and homeland security use, and has over 45 defense, military, and homeland security customers worldwide.(Source: UAS VISION/CTECH)
12 Apr 18. India’s L&T and BEL form partnership. Indian defence companies Larsen & Toubro (L&T) and Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) have signed an agreement to collaborate on pursuing opportunities in Indian and international markets. In a filing to the Bombay Stock Exchange on 11 April, L&T said the memorandum of understanding (MoU) had formalised its long-standing engagement with state-owned BEL, and enabled the two firms to enhance their defence products and services.
“The MoU seeks to leverage the capabilities of both the firms for meeting the growing requirements of the Indian armed forces. The [agreement] also intends to leverage the well-developed supply chain, vast experience and expertise of BEL and L&T to synergise and enhance exports,” said the L&T filing. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
12 Apr 18. Tata launches new firm to consolidate defence businesses. India’s Tata group has confirmed plans to consolidate its various businesses across aerospace and defence under a single entity. The new firm will be named Tata Aerospace & Defence (Tata A&D).
In a press release on 11 April, Tata Sons – the holding entity for the Tata group – said that the new company would leverage the group’s capabilities in land systems, aerospace production, weapon systems, sensors, and C4ISR.
Tata Sons said that it is currently in the process of obtaining necessary statutory and regulatory approvals in order to set up the firm.
The holding company added that Tata A&D would look to continue the strong partnerships that the group’s defence-related subsidiaries have secured with foreign original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) in recent years. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
11 Apr 18. Boeing [NYSE: BA] announced its investment in Reaction Engines Limited, a leader in advanced propulsion systems based in Oxfordshire, United Kingdom. Reaction Engines’ technology will contribute to the next generation of hypersonic flight and space access vehicles.
Reaction Engines is known for its Synergetic Air-Breathing Rocket Engine (SABRE), a hybrid engine blending jet and rocket technology that is capable of Mach 5 in air-breathing mode and Mach 25 in rocket mode for space flight. As part of the SABRE program, Reaction Engines developed an ultra-lightweight heat exchanger that stops engine components from overheating at high speeds, thus improving access to hypersonic flight and space.
“As Reaction Engines unlocks advanced propulsion that could change the future of air and space travel, we expect to leverage their revolutionary technology to support Boeing’s pursuit of hypersonic flight,” said Steve Nordlund, vice president of Boeing HorizonX.
Founded by three propulsion engineers in 1989, Reaction Engines produces robust technical designs for advanced heat exchangers, air-breathing engines, and the vehicles they could power. These capabilities may lead to high-speed point-to-point transport that is cost-effective and sustainable.
“Boeing is a world-leader in many fields, bringing invaluable expertise in hypersonic research and space systems. I am thrilled and honored that Boeing HorizonX has chosen Reaction Engines as its first UK investment,” said Mark Thomas, CEO of Reaction Engines. “This is a very exciting step that will contribute to our efforts to develop a commercial technology business and accelerate opportunities to further the future of air and space travel through SABRE technology.”
Boeing HorizonX Ventures participated in this $37.3m Series B funding round alongside Rolls-Royce Plc and BAE Systems. The Boeing HorizonX Ventures investment portfolio is made up of companies specializing in technologies for aerospace and manufacturing innovations, including autonomous systems, energy storage, advanced materials, augmented reality systems and software, machine learning, hybrid-electric propulsion and Internet of Things connectivity.
11 Apr 18. Airbus SE (stock exchange symbol: AIR) shareholders passed all resolutions at its 2018 Annual General Meeting (AGM), including the appointment of three new independent non-executive directors to replace long-serving Board Members whose mandates expired at the close of the AGM. Following the AGM’s approval, Victor Chu joins the Airbus Board of Directors for a term of three years. Mr. Chu, who is Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Hong Kong-based First Eastern Investment Group and a Member of the Board of China Merchants China Direct Investments Ltd., replaces Sir John Parker.
Jean-Pierre Clamadieu, Chief Executive Officer and Member of the Board of Directors of Solvay SA and a Member of the Board of AXA SA, joins the Board and replaces Jean-Claude Trichet.
René Obermann, a Managing Director at Warburg Pincus, Member of the Board of Telenor ASA and a Member of the Supervisory Board of ThyssenKrupp AG, replaces Hans-Peter Keitel on the Board.
“This AGM marked the end of an era and the start of a new one for the Board. I’d like to thank Sir John Parker, Jean-Claude Trichet and Hans-Peter Keitel for the immense contribution they have made to the development of Airbus over many years,” said Airbus Chairman Denis Ranque. “A special mention is due for Sir John who served the Board for over a decade, latterly as Chairman of the Remuneration, Nomination and Governance Committee. The Company has truly benefitted from his insight and industrial expertise. With the arrival of Victor Chu, Jean-Pierre Clamadieu and René Obermann, the Board has the right skills set to steer Airbus into the next decade.”
The mandate of non-executive director Amparo Moraleda was renewed for three years at the meeting. Mandates of all other Board members were not subject to any decision at the AGM.
Airbus has a policy of ‘staggered’ Board terms whereby one third of the 12 directors are reappointed or replaced every year to ensure a smooth transition and to be in line with best practices. This also avoids large block replacements at any single shareholder meeting.
At a Board Meeting following the AGM, Amparo Moraleda was appointed Chair of the Remuneration, Nomination and Governance Committee (RNGC), replacing Sir John Parker. Jean-Pierre Clamadieu was appointed a Member of the RNGC as was non-executive Director Claudia Nemat who moves from the Audit Committee. Victor Chu and René Obermann were appointed Members of the Audit Committee.
The proposed 2017 dividend of € 1.50 per share was also approved at the AGM. This represents an 11 percent increase compared to 2016.
11 Apr 18. Elbit Systems Ltd. (NASDAQ: ESLT and TASE: ESLT) (“Elbit Systems” or “the Company”) announced today that it completed the acquisition of the assets and operations of the privately-owned U.S. company Universal Avionics Systems Corporation (“Universal Avionics”) for a purchase price of approximately $120m. Headquartered in Tucson Arizona, and operating in several facilities across the U.S., Universal Avionics is a developer and manufacturer of commercial avionics systems for the retrofit and forward-fit market, for a wide range of fixed and rotary aircraft types. Universal Avionics’ solutions include Flight Management Systems (FMS), displays, communication systems, complete cockpit solutions and additional advanced commercial avionics systems, which are complementary to Elbit Systems’ internationally successful commercial avionics systems, Enhanced Flight Vision Systems (EFVS) and Head-Up Display (HUD) product line.
This acquisition will enable the Company to offer a broad portfolio of advanced end-to-end cockpit solutions for commercial OEMs and After Market customers. Following the acquisition, Universal Avionics’ business will continue to operate, with the same management and workforce and under the same name, as a wholly-owned U.S. subsidiary of Elbit Systems.
Bezhalel (Butzi) Machlis, Elbit Systems President & CEO, commented: “We have been providing unique enhanced flight vision and head up display systems for commercial aviation platforms for the last several years and see this business line as a key growth engine. Elbit Systems and Universal Avionics share the same DNA of innovation and technological leadership, and our combined portfolio creates synergies that will strengthen our competitive position. I welcome the management and employees of Universal Avionics to Elbit Systems, and I believe that their skills and experience will greatly contribute to our activity in the commercial aviation area.”
10 Apr 18. Saab’s Annual General Meeting Was Held on 10 April 2018 in Linköping.
Approval of Income Statement and Balance Sheet
The Annual General Meeting approved the Parent Company’s Income Statement and Balance Sheet, and the Consolidated Income Statement and Balance Sheet for the financial year 2017.
The Annual General Meeting decided on a dividend of SEK 5.50 per share to the shareholders and that the record date shall be Thursday, April 12, 2018. Payment of the dividend is expected to be made from Euroclear Sweden AB, on Tuesday, April 17, 2018.
Discharge from liability
The Board of Directors and the President were discharged from liability for the financial year 2017.
The Board of Directors
The following Board members were re-elected in accordance with the Nomination Committee’s proposal: Håkan Buskhe, Sten Jakobsson, Danica Kragic Jensfelt, Sara Mazur, Daniel Nodhäll, Bert Nordberg, Cecilia Stegö Chilò, Erika Söderberg Johnson, Marcus Wallenberg and Joakim Westh. Marcus Wallenberg was re-elected as Chairman of the Board. At the Board Meeting following the Annual General Meeting, Sten Jakobsson was re-elected as Deputy Chairman of the Board.
Fees to the Board of Directors and the Auditor
The Shareholders’ Meeting decided, in accordance with the Nomination Committee’s proposal, that the Board fees shall be SEK 1,750,000 to the Chairman of the Board, SEK 675,000 to the Deputy Chairman, and SEK 600,000 to each of the other Board members elected by the Shareholders’ Meeting and not employed by the Company. Compensation for work in the Audit Committee shall be SEK 225,000 to the Chairman, and SEK 150,000 to each of the other Audit Committee members. Compensation for work in the Remuneration Committee shall be SEK 150,000 to the Chairman and SEK 90,000 to each of the other Remuneration Committee members. Fees to the Auditor are to be paid according to approved invoice.
Guidelines for remuneration and other terms of employment
The Annual General Meeting decided in accordance with the Board’s proposal of guidelines for remuneration and other terms of employment for senior executives.
Long-term incentive program 2019, Special Projects Incentive 2018 and acquisition and transfer of own shares
The Annual General Meeting decided in accordance with the Board’s proposal of a long-term incentive program 2019 (“LTI 2019”), consisting of three parts: Share Matching Plan 2019, Performance Share Plan 2019 and Special Projects Incentive 2019. LTI 2019 comprises a maximum of 1,340,000 Series B shares.
The Share Matching Plan 2019 covers all permanent employees. The participants can save up to 5 percent of the base salary, for purchase of Saab Series B shares. If the purchased shares are retained for three years and employment within the Saab Group continues, the employee will be granted a corresponding number of shares by Saab free of consideration. The program covers a maximum of 900,000 Series B shares.
The Performance Share Plan 2019 is directed at a maximum of 175 key employees including the President. The participants can save up to 7.5 percent of the base salary for purchase of Saab Series B shares. If the purchased shares are retained for three years and employment within the Saab Group continues, the employee is entitled to matching of performance shares, free of consideration, provided that the performance targets are met. The program entitles the employee to allotment of 2-7 performance shares for each purchased share, depending on the group belonging. The number of performance shares is linked to three performance targets: organic sales growth, EBIT margin and free cash flow during the financial year 2019. The Performance Share Plan 2019 covers a maximum of 310,000 Series B shares in Saab.
Special Projects Incentive 2019 is directed at a maximum of 45 key employees, including the President. Special Projects Incentive 2019 is a complement to the Performance Share Plan 2019. Participation in the program also presupposes participation in the Performance Share Plan 2019 or the Share Matching Plan 2019. The program entitles the employee to allotment of performance shares corresponding to 15-52.5 per cent of the cash base salary for the financial year 2019 depending on group belonging, provided that the employment remains for three years and that performance targets are reached. The allotment of performance shares are based on the achievement of eight equally weighted performance targets during 2019, related to Saab’s special projects within the product areas Gripen, airborne radar systems (AEW&C) and submarines. For the President and other members of the Group Management, allotment of performance shares in the program and the Performance Share Plan 2019 together, may in total amount to a maximum of 75 per cent of the cash base salary for the President and 60 per cent of the cash base salary for the other members of the Group Management. The program covers a maximum of 130,000 Series B shares in Saab.
Furthermore, the Annual General Meeting also decided according to the Board’s proposal on Special Projects Incentive 2018 as a complement to Performance Share Plan 2018, which was adopted by the Annual General Meeting 2017. The program has performance period during the financial year 2018 and corresponding terms and conditions as the Special Projects Incentive 2019. It covers a maximum of 130,000 Series B shares in Saab.
The Annual General Meeting also decided to authorize the Board of Directors to decide on acquisition of a maximum of 1,470,000 Series B shares to secure delivery of shares to participants in Saab’s incentive program and for subsequent transfers on the stock exchange to cover certain costs associated with LTI 2019 and Special Projects Incentive 2018, mainly social security costs. The Shareholders’ Meeting further decided that no more than 1,140,000 Series B shares may be transferred, free of consideration, to participants in LTI 2019 and Special Projects Incentive 2018. Transfers are normally made during the financial year 2021-2022 and in February 2023 according to the conditions for LTI 2019 and Special Projects Incentive 2018.
Acquisition and transfer of own shares
The Annual General Meeting decided on authorizing the Board to, before the next Annual General Meeting, decide on the acquisition of Series B shares up to a maximum of 10 percent of the total number of shares in the Company. The purpose of the authorization is to be able to adjust the Company’s capital structure and thereby contribute to an increased shareholder value as well as to enable a continuous use of acquired shares in connection with potential acquisitions of companies and for the Company’s share-related incentive programs.
The Board of Directors were further authorized to, before the next Annual General Meeting, decide on transfer of own shares in connection with acquisition of companies. The purpose of the authorization is to provide the Board of Directors with increased scope for action in connection with financing of acquisitions of companies.
It was also decided that the Company shall have the right to, in consideration of earlier years established incentive programs, before the next Annual General Meeting, over the stock exchange transfer a maximum of 1,200,000 Series B shares in order to cover certain expenses, mainly social security payments.
Approval of transfer of shares in the subsidiary AD Navigation AS
The Annual General Meeting decided in accordance with the Board’s proposal to approve the Board’s resolution on transfer of shares in the subsidiary AD Navigation AS to TTL Holding AS.
06 Apr 18. Seaport-e to see changes after General Dynamics-CSRA acquisition. General Dynamics and its now-acquired CSRA businesswill divest a systems engineering and acquisition support services business in order to mitigate any potential organizational conflicts-of-interest.
This business within CSRA’s defense group works with the Navy and performs services under the Seaport-e contracting vehicle for professional services and other smaller vehicles, the Naval Sea Systems Command said Tuesday.
The companies will seek a third party to buy the CSRA System Engineering and Acquisition Services Business Unit and its support for NAVSEA. In addition, General Dynamics will operate CSRA as a sister company to the defense contractor’s IT services unit.
When General Dynamics first announced its deal for CSRA Feb. 12, GD CEO Phebe Novakovic told investors in a conference that both companies “identified one extremely small potential” OCI they planned to “dispatch with very expeditiously.”
General Dynamics also holds a position on Seaport-e, the Navy’s largest vehicle for acquiring acquisition-related and other professional services. A company spokesperson told me: “We are currently reviewing our options at this time and have not made any final determinations.”
As that sale process takes place, CSRA and General Dynamics will segregate and isolate program support work performed by the SEABU unit away from GD. There is recent precedent for contractors to divest of small units after large acquisitions in order to mitigate conflicts of interest that arise when companies advise the government on writing contracts for future programs they could later bid on.
Upon the closure of its Aquilent purchase in 2017, Booz Allen Hamilton divested the business that heldAquilent’s Seaport-e contract to Octo Consulting. That divestiture covered staff, data code rights and associated assets.
Concerns over conflicts of interest helped shape the government services landscape as it stands today.
First awarded in 2004, Seaport-e has brought $2.5m in total task order dollars to CSRA since then at a burn rate of $180,852 per year, according to Deltek data. The Navy has awarded $1.7m in task orders to General Dynamics since the award at a burn rate of $121,849 per year. (Source: Defense Systems)
09 Apr 18. Rolls-Royce sells parts maker L’Orange to Woodward for 700m euros. Britain’s Rolls-Royce (RR.L) said it had agreed to sell its German-based diesel parts maker L’Orange to U.S.-based engineering company Woodward Inc (WWD.O) for 700m euros (609.86m pounds), as part of its plan to simplify its business. Rolls-Royce, which makes engines for the aeroplanes, ships, trains and heavy-duty trucks, said that L’Orange would continue as a key supplier to its power systems business under a 15-year agreement. (Source: Reuters)
09 Apr 18. Airbus SE (stock exchange symbol: AIR) has restated its 2017 financial figures for the implementation of IFRS 15 “Revenue from contracts with Customers” as well as new reporting segments, as was already announced during the Full-Year 2017 results disclosure presentations. The restatements are now available on the Airbus website via the following link: www.airbus.com/investors/financial-results-and-annual-reports.html#financialresults. These restatements are provided for comparative purposes, in advance of the First Quarter (Q1) 2018 financial disclosure on 27 April, in which the Q1 2018 financials will be prepared under IFRS 15. IFRS 15 changes do not impact the 2017 reported Free Cash Flow or Net Cash position. There is no change to the FY 2018 guidance as provided in the FY 2017 disclosure: Based on around 800 commercial aircraft deliveries, compared to 2017 EBIT Adjusted of € 4,253 m (as reported), Airbus expects, before M&A, an increase in EBIT Adjusted of approximately 20 percent. IFRS 15 is expected to further increase EBIT Adjusted by an estimated € 0.1bn. Free Cash Flow is expected to be at a similar level as 2017, before M&A and Customer Financing. The restatements resulting from the change in reporting segments do not change the 2017 figures at a consolidated Airbus level.
06 Apr 18. Hanwha establishes new aerospace company. South Korea’s Hanwha Group have established a new subsidiary, Hanwha Aerospace, to expand its market share in aero-engine and aero-structure manufacturing domains.
The new company’s capabilities will be sourced from Hanwha Techwin, which will now be solely focused on security video and imaging systems.
The CEO of Hanwha Aerospace is Shin Hyun-woo, who was formerly head of Hanwha Techwin. Shin said at the launch of Hanwha Aerospace, “We will work together to achieve our vision of becoming a global number one partner for aircraft engines.”
Shin also said the new company will look to expand Hanwha Techwin’s partnerships with global aero-engine manufacturers in both the military and commercial segments. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
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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11 Apr 18. USMC awards $104m contract for vehicle C4I services. ManTech International has booked a pair of contract awards worth roughly $104.5m combined for engineering and integration services on Marine Corps ground vehicles. The first contract has a potential $82m value over up to five years for systems engineering, software integration and acquisition management support services. This work covers implementation of so-called “C4I” functions — command, control, communications, computers and intelligence — on ground combat vehicles. ManTech received the contract through the Navy’s Seaport-e contract vehicle for professional services.
Under the second $22.5m award, ManTech will perform design upgrades and other lifecycle management work on tactical vehicles. This work focuses on safety and protection measures, fuel efficiency and performance in all driving conditions. Vehicles covered under this contract include light, medium and heavy tactical vehicles; legacy wheeled vehicle systems; and ancillary equipment. ManTech received the second contract as a task order through the Defense Systems Technical Area Task multiple-award vehicle, which is managed by the Defense Department’s Information Analysis Center. (Source: Defense Systems)
11 Apr 18. Ukroboronprom subsidiary begins production of Atlet combat vehicles. Ukroboronprom’s subsidiary Kharkiv Morozov Machine-Building Design Bureau has launched serial production of the latest Atlet armoured recovery and repair vehicles (BREM).
The new recovery and repair vehicle has been designed by Kharkiv-Morozov Design Bureau specialists to carry out evacuation operations and repair works in field conditions.
The Atlet armoured vehicle is fitted with a crane unit, which is capable of carrying up to 25t. The unit replaces the main nodes and components of the tank, including the turret and the engine. A winch with a maximum gravity load of up to 250kN is fitted to the vehicle for evacuation operations. It is sufficient to take out the main battle tank.
The special equipment integrated on to Atlet enables it to tow combat equipment at 25km/h. A 1,000HP engine enables the 46t vehicle to speed up to 70km/h.
The vehicle has a load carrying capacity of up to 1.5t and is fitted with a welding machine and other equipment that allows it to conduct a range of work to restore vehicle combat capability.
In addition, the vehicle will help significantly improve the Armed Forces of Ukraine’s technical capability, providing an enhanced level of combat readiness to the tank units. (Source: army-technology.com)
11 Apr 18. Thales welcomes UK MoD decision to procure Boxer vehicles. Thales has welcomed the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) decision to procure the mechanised infantry vehicle (MIV) through the Organisation for Joint Armament Co-operation (OCCAR). The Artec joint venture (JV) company comprises Rheinmetall MAN Military Vehicles and Krauss-Maffei Wegmann. It has collaborated with a consortium of UK Defence Companies, including Thales UK, to provide the Boxer 8×8 armoured vehicle for the MIV programme through the OCCAR framework. Thales’ participation in the programme will help generate new job opportunities in the UK, supporting and sustaining highly skilled roles at sites in Glasgow, Belfast, and Bristol. The company will also be able to sustain several additional jobs throughout its supply chain in Scotland and across the UK. According to Artec, Boxer vehicles are capable of offering value for money and delivering an off-the-shelf ability that completely satisfies MIV programme requirements.
The contract for the MIV programme will enable Thales to deliver improved support for the Artec JV in the export market. Developed by Artec, the Boxer 8×8 armoured vehicle is flexible, modular and future-proofed, equipped with ballistic and mine protection. It enables any mission module configuration with a payload of up to 15t. Recently, the Australian Army has also selected the Boxer 8×8 vehicle for its Land 400 Phase II programme. (Source: army-technology.com)
10 Apr 18. US Army conducts low-velocity airdrop tests of GMV 1.1. The US Army Operational Test Command’s (USAOTC) Airborne and Special Operations Test Directorate (ABNSOTD) has carried out low-velocity airdrops of the Ground Mobility Vehicle 1.1 (GMV 1.1).
The vehicle is designed to provide support and tactical mobility to special operations troops in both urban and non-urban environments across all military operations and terrain profiles.
It can be transported using the army’s CH-47 Chinook helicopter, as well as the US Air Force (USAF) C-130 Hercules and C-17 Globemaster III heavy-lift aircraft.
Special Forces Weapons sergeant 1st Class Juan Cruz said that the operational testing of the vehicle is about the US troops.
Cruz said: “It’s about making sure that the GMV 1.1 is effective and suitable for the environments that these highly trained warfighters train and fight in.”
While the initial airdrop of GMV 1.1 was conducted out of the US Marine Corps C130J Hercules aircraft, other aerial support for the vehicle will be carried out by USAF or US Navy aircraft.
ABNSOTD Test Division chief lieutenant colonel Greg Oquendo said: “We test and assess army, joint, and multi-service airborne and airdrop related warfighting systems in realistic operational environments, using soldiers to determine whether the systems are effective, suitable, and survivable.
“Every piece of equipment soldiers use has been independently tested and evaluated to meet current and future army needs and requirements.
“The GMV 1.1 will be become the standardised special operations combat vehicle with the operational flexibility to support the SOF core activities of direct action, special reconnaissance, unconventional warfare and counterinsurgency operations.” (Source: army-technology.com)
10 Apr 18. EDSIIC: Estonian Defence Forces Assess Impact of Robotic Solutions on Defence Capabilities. The Estonian Centre for Defence Investment (ECDI) has awarded a public contract to a consortium of the Estonian Defence and Security Industry Innovation Cluster to launch a project entitled ‘Automated systems on the battlefield’, managed by the Centre for Applied Studies at the Estonian National Defence College (ENDC).
“The aim of the project is to assess how unmanned and automated systems could contribute to our combat power and how we can measure the impact of these new systems on combat power. To achieve this, we will run a number of field experiments and tests in collaboration with the 2nd Infantry Brigade units,” said Lt. Col. Sten Allik, Chief of the Centre for Applied Studies at the ENDC.
In collaboration with the Estonian Defence and Security Industry Innovation Cluster consortium, the project will test various unmanned ground and aerial platforms and the risks related to the exchanges of data, and will also seek solutions to make different systems interoperable.
“Robotic solutions and smart battlefield systems are changing warfare across the world; their effective use gives a significant advantage over conventional weapons systems,” explained Kuldar Väärsi, CEO of Milrem Robotics.
According to Väärsi, Estonia has a number of strong technology companies that offer solutions in a wide range of different sectors, such as cyber defence, electronic warfare, and unmanned ground and aerial vehicles.
“We want to be a reliable partner in the development of Estonia’s defence capabilities and comprehensive smart battlefield systems,” added Väärsi.
This is the first R&D procurement by the Estonian Defence Forces aimed at field experiments. The procurement procedure for the lease of unmanned ground and areal vehicles and for data collection was carried out by the Estonian Centre for Defence Investment (ECDI).
The consortium is based on the Estonian Defence and Security Industry Innovation Cluster and includes the following members: Milrem AS, the leading partner, develops and manufactures robotic ground systems; Marduk Technologies OÜ is a developer of drone detection and anti-drone solutions; AS Telegrupp provides various communication solutions; Smart Defence Systems OÜ develops battlefield awareness and information management systems; OÜ ELI develops and manufactures UAV-s and training systems; GuardTime AS is the world’s largest industrial blockchain technology provider; OÜ Rantelon’s main area of business is the design and production of electronic warfare solutions; and Threod Systems OÜ specialises in developing, producing and operating unmanned aircraft systems and their subsystems.
The Estonian Defence and Security Industry Innovation Cluster is co-funded by the European Regional Development Fund through Enterprise Estonia (Project EU49327). The aim of the cluster is to become a centre of competence in research and development and export in the defence industry sector. The vision of the cluster is to create synergy through co-operation between national and international capital in order to strengthen the Estonian defence industry and its exports. More information is available at https://defence.ee/about/. (Source: BUSINESS WIRE)
09 Apr 18. USMC nearing contract award for new amphibious combat vehicle. The US Marine Corps is nearing a decision on whether BAE Systemsor SAIC will build its new Amphibious Combat Vehicle, having just wrapped up operational tests of prototypes a week ago.
The Marine Corps is still on track to make an award for low-rate initial production to one of the companies in the June time frame.
All government testing of the prototypes concluded the first week of December and the Marine Corps issued its request for proposals the first week in January. Operational tests also began concurrently, John Swift, BAE Systems’ ACV program manager, told Defense News in an interview just ahead of Navy League’s Sea-Air-Space conference.
Government testing included land reliability testing, survivability and blast testing and water testing — both ship launch and recovery as well as surf transit.
Operational evaluations included seven prototypes each from both SAIC and BAE Systems, six participated and one spare was kept for backup.
The first month of operational testing took place at Twenty nine Palms Base in California, where Marines ran through a variety of tactical missions with the vehicles. And the following month, the vehicles went to Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, California, where it performed littoral penetrations, surf operations and a portion on land, according to Swift.
Over the course of the two-month time period — or roughly 10 weeks — the vehicles accrued almost 4,000 miles and over 1,500 mission hours, “which is unbelievable,” Swift said.
The operational tests validated “the robustness of our design,” Swift said, pointing back to the mileage and hours logged, adding, “that is phenomenal.”
BAE Systems’ partnered with Italian company Iveco Defense Vehicles to build its ACV offering.
The Marine Corps awarded both BAE and SAIC roughly $100m each in December 2015 to build 16 prototypes for the service to test.
The Marines plan to field 204 of the vehicles by 2020. The total value of the contract with all options exercised is expected to amount to about $1.2bn.
Some of the features BAE believes are particularly attractive for a new ACV is that it has space for 13 embarked Marines and a crew of three, which keeps the rifle squad together. The engine’s strength is 690 horsepower over the old engine’s 560 horsepower, and it runs extremely quietly. The vehicle has a V-shaped hull to protect against underbody blasts, and the seat structure is completely suspended.
SAIC’s vehicle, which is being built in Charleston, South Carolina, offers improved traction through a central tire-inflation system to automatically increase or decrease tire pressure. It also has a V-hull certified during tests at the Nevada Automotive Test Center — where all prototypes will be tested by the Marine Corps — and has blast-mitigating seats to protect occupants. (Source: Defense News)
06 Apr 18. Following the 2015 contract to supply the Belgium Ministry of Defence (BeMOD) with over 100 FOX Rapid Reaction Vehicles (RRV), Jankel has secured a second prestigious contract with the country’s military to supply a new fleet of specialist tactical vehicles. Jankel specialises in fully engineered solutions that utilise commercial-off-the-shelf base platforms and meet exact military customer requirements, standards and operational needs. The contract will see Jankel execute on this specialty by using the Mercedes UNIMOG platform to deliver 199 Light Troop Transport Vehicles (LTTV) to the Belgium army. The LTTV will be designed by Jankel’s team of engineers to provide a modular vehicle solution that will benefit from unique removable mission modules that enable the vehicle to be re-rolled for operational platform versatility. Alongside a fully integrated suite of military sub-systems that includes a removable ballistic protection kit, a Roll-Over-Protection-System (ROPS), weapon mounts and communications fit, the platform will provide full interoperability with the FOX RRV fleet. (See: BATTLESPACE ALERT Vol.20 ISSUE 13, 06 April 2018, Belgium army choose Jankel to deliver 199 new light troop transport vehicles (LTTV))
06 Apr 18. Endeavor Robotics, QinetiQ to compete for US Army’s CRS(I) ground robot. The US Army on 30 March awarded contracts to Endeavor Robotics and QinetiQ North America to competitively develop the service’s 25 lb (11 kg) Common Robotic System (Individual), or CRS(I), unmanned ground vehicle. “With this award, the army will begin a competition expected to last approximately 10 months to inform which contractor will be selected for the low-rate initial production phase award,” the service said in a 5 April statement. Endeavor Robotics and QinetiQ North America are to share a USD429 m “hybrid [cost-plus-fixed-fee and firm-fixed-price] contract for two indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contracts” that will have an engineering and manufacturing development (EMD) phase of approximately 10 months, according to the Pentagon’s award announcement. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
06 Apr 18. New North American facility to focus on improving vehicle efficiency in the Defense industry. A new facility has been developed in Michigan to help the Defense industry significantly reduce fuel consumption through better vehicle driveline efficiency. Developed and operated by Drive System Design Inc, the North American subsidiary of UK-based driveline engineering consultancy Drive System Design, the facility will offer a unique approach to the design, test and development of Defense vehicles. “Improving fuel consumption has a direct impact on the safety of soldiers but traditional solutions like light weighting and aerodynamics could compromise the vehicle, so a new approach is required,” says Jon Brentnall, President DSD Inc. “Our parent company has developed what we believe is Europe’s most advanced, commercially-available development center for driveline efficiency, with many test systems designed in-house to ensure that areas that have not previously received sufficient attention can now be investigated. It is our intention to build similar test capability tailored to the North American market.”
The facility will initially house a loaded transmission efficiency test rig and will be developed throughout the year to finally include three pieces of driveline test equipment. The current rig, which is fully operational, is suitable for all transmission types, including engine accessory drives, such as supercharger gearboxes. It will largely be used for transmission efficiency testing and the data produced will also ensure that transmission efficiency math models produced in-house are well correlated.
Further expansion throughout the year will include a hydraulic test stand for hydraulic valve body development and a tilt rig, which provides enhanced lubrication flow analysis capability. “This will require a larger facility in the area, which we are already investigating,” says Brentnall. “We are delighted to be offering this opportunity for the automotive industry in North America, but also for aspiring engineers looking for their next challenge – the initial expansion has already generated nine engineering vacancies.”
The new facility will also include extensive customer accessibility, allowing DSD’s engineers to work closely with its customers throughout design, development and validation programs. “Our consultant engineers in Europe found that they were able to produce designs that theoretically provided significant improvements but that the test facilities were not available to focus development attention in the appropriate areas,” Brentnall explains. “The answer was to work with the customer to develop our own test systems, designed specifically for the application. With the accelerating trend to electrification, the test center is also designed for mild and full hybrid drivelines and full electric drivelines.”
DSD Inc. will be attending the 9th Annual Michigan Defense Exposition (MDEX) this month (April 25-36th) to promote its design and development capabilities, including the new efficiency test rig.
About Drive System Design
Drive System Design (DSD) is an award winning engineering consultancy specializing in the engineering, development, test and control of transmission and future driveline systems.
Celebrating its tenth year of business in 2017, the company’s staff have experience working with vehicle manufacturers and Tier 1s around the world, designing new technologies and solving problems to make their products more competitive. They have the engineering, test, analysis and project management skills necessary to deliver projects to demanding timescales. Working closely with its customers through technical centers in Europe and North America, DSD is recognized as a world leading expert in driveline refinement, efficiency improvement and hybrid and electric vehicle transmissions. Drive System Design Ltd is ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 certified.
05 Apr 18. Legal Scholars, Software Engineers Revolt Against War Robots
While countries like Russia and China are investing heavily in artificial intelligence without restraints, the US and allied militaries like South Korea face a rising tide of opposition. The debate over the use of artificial intelligence in warfare is heating up, with Google employees protesting their company’s Pentagon contracts, South Koreans protesting university cooperation with their military, and international experts gathering next week to debate whether to pursue a treaty limiting military AI. While countries like Russia and China are investing heavily in artificial intelligence without restraints, the US and allied militaries like South Korea face a rising tide of opposition.
Rule of Law
The international conclave has the kind of name you only encounter when dealing with the United Nations and related organizations: the Convention on Conventional Weapons Group of Governmental Experts on Lethal Autonomous Weapons Systems (CCWGGELAWS?). Those experts meet next week and in August. Note they have a new acronym for armed AI systems: LAWS.
How is all this arcana relevant to the US military? Treaties are the bedrock of international relations, specific agreements that help define the relations between states. Idealists — and those who want to bind their enemy’s conduct — often believe treaties are the best mechanism for governing what is allowed in warfare.
Mary Ellen O’Connell, a law professor at Notre Dame, argued with quiet passion for restraints on AI, comparing it to nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction. What happens, she asked at a Brookings Institution forum today, when AI is mated with nanotechnology or other advanced technologies? How do humans ensure they are the final decision makers? Given all that, she predicts “we are going to see some kind of limitation on AI” when the governments that belong to the Convention on Conventional Weapons meet in November to consider what the experts have come up with.
To get an idea where many of those experts are coming from, take a look at this 2016 report by the International Committee of the Red Cross:
“The development of autonomous weapon systems — that is, weapons that are capable of independently selecting and attacking targets without human intervention — raises the prospect of the loss of human control over weapons and the use of force.”
O’Connell raised this issue, implying that the lack of personal accountability might make AI impermissible under international law.
Former Defense Secretary Ash Carter pledged several times that the United States would always keep a human in or on the loop of any system designed to kill other humans. As far as we know, that is still US policy.
A very different perspective on the issue was offered by retired Air Force Maj. Gen. Charlie Dunlap, executive director of Duke Law School’s Center on Law, Ethics and National Security and former Deputy Judge Advocate General. He cautioned against trying to ban specific technologies, noting that there’s an international ban on the use of lasers to blind people in combat — but there is no ban against using a laser to incinerate someone. The better approach is to “strictly comply with the laws of war, rather than try to ban certain types of technology,” he argued.
As a public service, let’s remind our readers of one of the first efforts to deal with this issue, Isaac Asimov’s “Three Laws of Robotics.”
- A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
- A robot must obey orders given it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
- A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law.
Of course, Asimov later added this, known as the Zeroth Law: “A robot may not harm humanity, or, by inaction, allow humanity to come to harm.” If an AI, in the service of a government, is killing enemy humans, it would appear to violate Asimov’s first law. But the actual laws of war, the Geneva Conventions, are clearly defined and do not ban intelligent systems from commanding and using weapons. If the AI is obeying all rules of war and can be destroyed or curtailed should it begin violating those rules, one can argue that an AI is less likely than a human to break down under the stress of combat and violate the rules of war.
Meanwhile, thousands of engineers, researchers, and scientists from Seoul to Silicon Valley are in open revolt against the marriage of artificial intelligence technologies and the military, and have targeted Google and a top South Korean research university for projects they have kicked off with their respective militaries.
The issue of the militarization of AI has been simmering for years, but recent, well-publicized advances by the Chinese and Russians have pushed Western military leaders to scramble to keep pace by pumping tens of ms of dollars into collaborations with civilian and academic institutions. The projects, and the headlines they’re generating, have dragged into the open difficult issues that had been simmering for some time over robotics research and the exploding arms race in AI and autonomous technologies.
A group of about 3,100 Google engineers signed a petition protesting the company’s involvement with Project Maven, the offshoot of the Pentagon’s Algorithmic Warfare taskforce, which uses AI to collect and analyze drone footage much more quickly and thoroughly than a human can to help military commanders.
“We believe that Google should not be in the business of war,” said the letter, addressed to Sundar Pichai, the company’s chief executive, that was first reported by the New York Times. The letter also demands that the project be cancelled and the company “draft, publicize, and enforce a clear policy stating that neither Google nor its contractors will ever build warfare technology.”
A second letter emerged Wednesday. This one was aimed at a top South Korean university which had kicked off a research project with the top Korean defense company. The missive, signed by more than 50 AI researchers and scientists from 30 different countries, lambasted South Korea’s KAIST university for opening a lab in conjunction with Hanwha Systems, South Korea’s leading arms manufacturer.
The lab, dubbed the “Research Center for the Convergence of National Defense and Artificial Intelligence,” is planned as a forum for academia to partner with the South Korean military to explore how AI can bolster national security. The university’s website said that it’s looking to develop “AI-based command and decision systems, composite navigation algorithms for mega-scale unmanned undersea vehicles, AI-based smart aircraft training systems, and AI-based smart object tracking and recognition technology.”
The university’s leaders have said they have no intention of developing autonomous weapons that lack human control, but the protesters said they will not visit or work with the world-renowned institution until it pledges not to build autonomous weapons.
As for the US effort, a Pentagon spokesperson told Breaking Defense that Maven “is fully governed by, and complies with” U.S. law and the laws of armed conflict and is “designed to ensure human involvement to the maximum extent possible in the employment of weapon systems.”
“I think it’s good that we’re having a conversation about this,” said Paul Scharre, director of the Technology and National Security Program at the Center for a New American Security. As far as Maven goes, he said, “I think this application is benign,” since it mostly uses open-source technologies, but he understands that engineers are concerned about the “slippery slope” of the greater military use of AI.
“Researchers have for decades been able to do their AI work and its applications have been very theoretical,” Scharre said, “but some of the advances we’ve seen in machine learning have been making this stuff very real, including for military applications.” No wonder, then, that legal scholars and software programmers alike have starting wrestling in earnest with the implications of armed AI.
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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12 Apr 18. British Army uses Software AG’s API management platform. The British Army has selected German digital transformation specialist Software AG to enhance the way the service shares critical data needed to prepare its forces for operations. Governance, monitoring, security and support of the army’s application programme interfaces (API) will be provided from the company’s management platform. A technical solution for integrating large defence applications was also obtained to expose reference data and services. The company has been hired to lead the army’s digital transformation strategy and develop an API management platform that will enable the secure connection of systems and data, allowing for integration with legacy systems.
Through the use of the API Management capability, the army will be able to offer a wide range of services across boundaries, collecting information from several systems.
This will help support a variety of functions, including equipment availability, operational readiness, payment of reserves, and trialling remote processing automation on legacy systems.
The API platform offers increased interoperability with access to information and services that were until now inaccessible.
In addition, API Management will facilitate the quick release of necessary capabilities, reduce siloed systems that require duplication of data, and increase the ability to expose services to personal devices.
US Army Software House Operations head lieutenant colonel Dorian Seabrook said: “Without effective data and services, it’s very difficult for planners to understand our forces state of readiness, or to create much-needed services for our soldiers; this is where the Software AG API suite is adding real value.
“We have been very impressed by Software AG from the very beginning.They have a thorough understanding of the challenges we face, and in just three months have delivered a platform which enables us to break down information silos and share information quickly, effectively and, most importantly, securely.” (Source: army-technology.com)
11 Apr 18. US Army mulls options for Robotics Innovation Center. The Army is considering opening a Robotics Innovation Center at Fort Benning, Ga.
Don Sando, deputy to the commanding general at the Maneuver Center of Excellence, announced the plan at the Ground Robotics Capabilities Conference hosted by the National Defense Industrial Association.
Whether physical or virtual, the Robotics Innovation Center will be a chance for the Training and Doctrine Command’s Maneuver Robotics and Autonomous Systems Office to work with other Defense Department groups, academia and industry. The center might not bring these groups together physically, Sando told GCN, but its goal is to unites them around a shared purpose – integrating robotics and autonomous systems into current and future combat teams.
Within the year, details will be available on the Robotics Innovation Center launch and membership, Sando said.
One of the first opportunities to bring these groups together will be at an industry day the Army plans for June. When the event is announced it will include a challenge related to autonomous systems, and “if you think you can be a part of the solution to that problem come on down [to the industry day] and let’s talk,” Sando said.
A second event is being planned for October, aptly named Bot-tober Fest, that will include two challenges: directed or kinetic energy and underwater operations. “Shooting robots and swimming robots,” Sando explained. “It’ll be neat.”
The Army demonstrated robotic systems’ potential at the Grafenwoehr Training Area in Germany this week when remote-controlled vehicles breached a barricade, Sando said.
“We did a robotic breach today, which has never been done before. This is a historic moment,” 1st Lt. Cody Rothschild told Stars and Stripes. The demonstration involved using remote-controlled U.K. Terrier engineering vehicles to clear a simulated minefield and breach a tank trench. The Robotic Complex Breach Concept demonstration also used unmanned aerial vehicles for observation, targeting and sensing of air conditions.
There are already plans for a second demonstration this fall at Fort Benning and a third a year from now at Fort Lewis in Yakima, Wash. These demonstrations will be informed by the results of the exercise in Germany, Sando said.
The Defense Department has developed an Unmanned Systems Roadmap that is currently undergoing review before its release, according to Jose Gonzalez, the deputy assistant secretary of Defense in the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics.
Autonomy and robotic systems are both listed as priorities in the National Defense Strategy, a summary of which was released earlier this year.
“The drive to develop new technologies is relentless, expanding to more actors with lower barriers of entry, and moving at accelerating speed,” the summary said. “New technologies include advanced computing, ‘big data’ analytics, artificial intelligence, autonomy, robotics, directed energy, hypersonics, and biotechnology — the very technologies that ensure we will be able to fight and win the wars of the future.”
(Source: Defense Systems)
10 Apr 18. Teledyne e2v announced the availability of the 512Kb CBRAM (TDRM24C512C-L), an ultra-low power, non-volatile memory (NVM) based on resistive RAM technology that can be used in aerospace and defense applications. The TDRM24C512C-L uses Adesto Technologies’ proprietary CBRAM (Conductive Bridging RAM) technology and provides system designers a faster and lower power alternative to legacy serial EEPROMs. The TDRM24C512C-L was designed on a process that has shown to be radiation tolerant, making it a good choice for satellites and other high-altitude applications. For more information on this new CBRAM® for Space, visit https://www.e2v.com/products/semiconductors/memory/
“Teledyne provides many types of semiconductors qualified for various ruggedized environmental requirements,” said Mont Taylor VP Business Development Manager at Teledyne e2v. “We’re pleased to be able to incorporate CBRAM technology into our product offerings and excited to provide very low power memory to help customers reduce power requirements on satellites and save cost.”
Teledyne e2v’s Hi-Rel resistive memory offers a 100K write cycle endurance and data retention of greater than 40 years at 125°C. The memory is available now and is packaged in a 10-lead Ceramic Flat Package. (Source: BUSINESS WIRE)
10 Apr 18. Do we need new international law for autonomous weapons? As the United States, Russia and China continue to push forward in their development of unmanned autonomous weapon systems, questions surrounding how these new weapons will be governed and regulated are becoming more salient.
This week, parties to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW) will be meeting at the Hague to discuss the definition of “meaningful human control,” a term that is central to the ongoing regulation discussion.
But for some legal experts, the bigger question is “whether the international community as a whole will demand compliance with any legal developments in Geneva on autonomous weapons, or compliance with the existing law we already have that’s implicated with this new technology,” Mary Ellen O’Connor, professor of law at the Notre Dame Law School, said last Thursday during a keynote address at the Brookings Institution. “We have the UN charter and other principles restricting the use of military force, we have principles of international humanitarian law to govern combat on the battlefield and we have human rights law. It’s all relevant.”
While any new weapon system introduced to a battlefield must abide by the principles found in current law, LAWs present unique challenges regarding accountability. Jeroen van den Hoven, professor of ethics and technology at Delft University of Technology in The Netherlands, believes a more fine-tuned concept of responsibility is needed to truly address the issues posed by LAWS.
“We come to these subjects, which are very complex and dynamic, and bring a theory of a 2000 year old [concept] that has been with us with quite some time and apply it to a very new dynamic and very complex world,” van den Hoven said. “It is as if you want to compare a Swiss precision watch with a sledgehammer. You cannot do that, it won’t work. It will never give you the right result”
Two accidents involving self driving cars in January demonstrate the brittleness of current autonomous technology and the regulatory challenges posed by such systems.
But when it comes to adjudicating behavior on the battlefield, for some the issue remains straightforward. “The law of war is well-established and whatever system we have, whether it is autonomous or human directed, it is going to have to comply with the fundamentals of the law of armed conflict, period.” said retired United States Air Force Major Charles Dunlap.
One issue with attempting to regulate new weapon systems is “inherently you are looking at a snap shot in time. … There is a big risk in trying to capture a snapshot of time of technology and trying to ban it,” said Dunlap. He added that “what we really are talking about here are weapons that don’t exist.”
Yet the fact that machine learning autonomous weapon systems are not currently being fielded doesn’t mean they won’t be in the future.
So how should the international community prepare?
For Dunlap, a recognized testing and evaluation norm is needed to ensure that when these systems are deployed they behave in the ways battlefield commanders expect them to. “If we can’t come to that where we can reliably to say that the weapon is going to operate as intended, lawfully then we can’t field it,” he said.
But O’Connor remains optimistic about the possibility of progress in the legal space, not only this week in the Hague, but also when the group of governmental experts on LAWs meets again later this year August and then again when states party to the CCW meet in November.
“I believe they are actually going to come up with something. … I think in November we are going to see some kind of limitation on autonomous weapons either in the form of a new protocol like the blinding laser protocol, or at least a declaration that brings meaningful human control into our legal thinking about weapons,” she said. (Source: Defense News)
10 Apr 18. New tactical radios boost soldier performance. ViaSat has developed the AN/PRC-161 Battlefield Awareness and Targeting System-Dismounted (BATS-D), a handheld Link 16 datalink system aimed at Joint Terminal Attack Controllers (JTAC) and Forward Air Controllers (FAC), supporting digitally aided close air support (DACAS) missions.
The radio has a line-of-sight transmit/receive range of over 185 km and a maximum transmit output of 8 W. It includes an embedded Selective Availability Anti-Spoofing Module (SAASM) GPS plus relative navigation (RELNAV) capability which provides assured positioning, navigation and timing (APNT) in GPS-challenged environments.
The radio weighs approximately 1 kg including the battery. The latter is the same power unit as that used with the AN/PRC-148 Multiband Inter/Intra Team Radio (MBITR). Lee Peterson, ViaSat Link16 programme manager, said that this had been deliberately chosen to achieve commonality with radio batteries used by special forces. The BATS-D can also be mounted on vehicles using a high-power Thales cradle adapter.
The radio can be used in three modes. As a standalone device in the untethered or autonomous mode it will provide precise participant location and identification (PPLI) data to the L16 network together with secure voice communications. In the light tethered mode, the connected host can display situational awareness data based on Cursor-on Target (CoT) messages when connected to an Android device using the Nett Warrior, USB or Ethernet interfaces. In this mode operators can originate limited tactical data to support DACAS, and communicate using a chat facility. In the fully tethered mode, the connected host can process any J-series message as necessary to support the mission with full control of radio functions using the same interfaces to a tablet or laptop. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
09 Apr 18. Singapore’s Wigetworks readies production-spec Airfish 8 WIG craft. Wigetworks, a Singapore-based firm specialising in wing-in-ground effect (WIG) technology research and development (R&D), is aiming to finalise the design of the production-ready version of its Airfish 8 (AF8) WIG craft prototype by the end of 2018 and is preparing to commence production when a launch customer is secured, company officials told Jane’s.
The AF8 is a 17m Type A-class WIG craft with a maximum take-off weight (MTOW) of 5,550kg and constructed from carbon and glass-fibre reinforced plastic sandwich material featuring a reverse delta wing airframe and has an overall height and wingspan of 3.5m and 15m respectively.
The craft will be powered by a pair of 550hp-class General Motors LS3 petrol engines, which drive reversible variable pitch propellers that enable it to achieve a maximum speed of 120kt (222km/h), although it typically cruises at speeds of 80–90 kt. Maximum range is quoted as 300 n miles when equipped with a standard fuel tank.
In its standard configuration, the AF8 can accommodate a two-person flight crew and up to eight passengers, although it can also be configured to transport a 1,150kg payload inclusive of fuel. The craft has a draught of only 0.5m when fully laden, enabling it to operate and berth close to shore with minimal support or infrastructure.
Utilising the WIG effect, the craft primarily cruises at altitudes of 1–3m while being supported by a field of high-pressure air beneath its wings and above the water surface, although it can also perform manoeuvres up to an altitude of 7m when necessary, such as avoiding obstacles. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
10 Apr 18. BAE’s Hallmark software testbed completes two test events. BAE Systems has completed two test events of its newly developed software testbed in support of the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s (DARPA) Hallmark programme. The Hallmark programme has been designed to develop advanced tools and technologies that would help plan, evaluate and execute US military operations in space.
In November, the company received a $12.8m contract from the US agency to develop a new space evaluation and analysis testbed for the Hallmark programme.
“The two test events will support the Hallmark programme’s aim to assist the military in quickly assessing and integrating technologies for space command and control.”
The latest testbed, Space Enterprise Analysis Capability (SEAC), will enable DARPA to develop and deploy tools to facilitate real-time space command and control. As part of the contract, BAE Systems used its experience in space domain awareness to design and develop an advanced flexible, scalable, and secure enterprise software architecture to help support technology development and experimentation. The two test events will support the Hallmark programme’s aim to assist the military in quickly assessing and integrating technologies for space command and control.
BAE Systems Space Systems director Ricardo Gonzalez said: “These evaluations established that the Hallmark testbed is capable of integrating applications on its framework.
“These scenarios may someday assist military commanders in obtaining space domain awareness to quickly assess, plan, and execute operation in space.”
The testbed has been designed to support live data feeds from a wide range of sources and facilitate strong security and data protection for varying levels of classification, in addition to external interfaces to support air, cyber, land and sea environments. (Source: army-technology.com)
07 Apr 18. Here’s what the U.S. Army wants in future radios. Advancements in electronics and tactics by high-end adversaries are forcing the Army to change the way it revamps and optimizes its communications network against current and future threats. The problem: adversaries have become more proficient and precise in the sensing and jamming of signals.
“What we’re looking for in terms of resilience in the future is not only making individual links more anti-jam and resilient, resistant to threats, but also having the ability to use multiple paths if one goes down,” Joe Welch, chief engineer at Program Executive Office Command, Control, Communications Tactical (C3T), told reporters during a network demo at Fort Myer in early March.
“Your phones work this way between 4G and Wi-Fi and that’s seamless to you. That’s kind of the target of what we’re intending to provide with next-generation transport for the Army’s tactical network.”
Members of industry are now looking to develop radios to these specifications outlined by the Army.
“We have an extensive library of waveforms — 51, 52 waveforms that we can bring to bear — that we can say look we can use this waveform to give you more resilience with this capability,” Jeff Kroon, director of product management at Harris, told C4ISRNET during an interview at the AUSA Global Force Symposium in Huntsville, Alabama, in March. “Down the road, we need to talk about resilience and what’s going on with the near-peer threats.”
Next-generation systems, leaders believe, will be able to provide this necessary flexibility.
“The radios that we’re looking at buying now — the manpack and the two-channel leader radios — have shown themselves to be able to run a pretty wide range of waveforms and we think it postures us to run some changes to those waveforms in the future as we look at even more advanced waveforms,” Maj. Gen. David Bassett, program executive officer of C3T, told reporters at Fort Myer.
While jammers have become more powerful and targeted in recent years, officials contend the entire spectrum can’t be interrupted at once. The Army realizes links won’t be jam-proof, Bassett told reporters at Fort Myer, so it is looking at how they can be either more jam-resistant or able to switch seamlessly across portions of the spectrum that are not being jammed.
Kroon noted that one of the big developments within the radio community down the road will be radios that seamlessly switch frequencies or waveforms without direct user input.
“I think, as we move forward, we’ll start to have more cognitive capabilities that will allow [the radio] to adapt automatically, and keep the user focused on their own job and let the radio handle the rest,” he said.
In addition to multi waveform and a large range of spectrum coverage, Kroon said the Army is also really looking for multifunction capabilities within radios.
Radios also have to have passive sensing capabilities to be able to understand the signals in the environment and provide some level of situational awareness of the spectrum environment.
“They have to have visibility into what’s going on around them … not just for [electronic warfare] purposes but sometime just knowing what’s going on in the spectrum around you as a planner is really important,” Kroon said.
“What’s actually going on out there, I don’t know I was told this frequency was clear, how do I really know. Having a radio come back and say look what we hit … it is actually very useful.” (Source: C4ISR & Networks)
22 Mar 18. Persistent Systems, LLC (“Persistent”) today announced the release of its Upper C-Band module for the MPU5 mobile ad hoc networking (MANET) radio, which transmits and relays voice, video, text, and sensor data in a robust, peer-to-peer fashion.
The new 5.1 to 5.9 GHz radio module, which is certified for unlicensed use in the Industrial, Scientific, and Medical (ISM) Band, will enable MPU5 users, both in the United States and around the world, to leverage the MANET for a variety of commercial applications, including:
- Live event video streaming,
- Facility security,
- Industrial Internet of Things (IoT) networking,
- Machine-to-machine (M2M) communications, and
- Unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) operations.
“To meet the needs of commercial operators, we already offer a FCC certified 2.4 GHz ISM (S-Band) module for the MPU5,” said Adrien Robenhymer, VP of Business Development for Persistent Systems. “Now, the Upper C-Band extends that capability into the 5 GHz ISM band, which is significantly less crowded than 2.4 GHz ISM, enabling higher performance around the world.”
Persistent Systems is a leader in providing communication systems for unmanned vehicles in the defense market. With its new Upper C-Band module, it is now well-positioned to extend its product offerings deeper into the commercial markets.
“We see a huge opportunity to expand the MPU5’s presence further into the commercial sector,” Robenhymer said. “MANET can provide a huge benefit to commercial customers in the growing M2M market, especially as agricultural and mining applications for unmanned vehicles have been expanding.”
He adds that Persistent is currently in talks with several large industrial vehicle manufacturers, which have been looking for precisely those sorts of solutions.
Certified under FCC Part 15 for unlicensed use in ISM Band, the Upper C-Band radio module provides 1W of average transmit power, the maximum permitted in the ISM band. The module also has Japan Type Certification under Article 2, Paragraph 1, Item 72 Category: RB (Unmanned Mobile Image Transmission System).
Defense customers have also shown interest in the module as it provides the ability to operate in an unlicensed band, simplifying spectrum coordination. It also allows Defense customers to blend in unnoticed in large cities where 5 GHz commercial operation is quite common. Defense, International, and Licensed customers are also able to take advantage of the radio modules 4W average transmission power, where permitted. This enables extremely long range and high throughput in the 5 GHz band.
Persistent remains committed to the modular radio architecture of the MPU5 and this Upper C-Band module is the fourth frequency module offering for the MPU5 Smart Radio. Customers can be confident when purchasing MPU5 systems, that they can operate the systems legally and effectively around the world. As spectrum relations continue to evolve around the world, that their MPU5 systems can easily be moved to new frequency bands. Both frequency modularity and upgradeability are important characteristics to our customers.
“We are ready to accept orders for the 5 GHz ISM radio module,” Robenhymer said.
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
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11 Apr 18. The sneaky ways China and Russia could threaten US satellites. Major global powers, such as China and Russia, are focusing more on space weapons that neutralize others’ satellites rather than those that destroy payloads on orbit, a new report has found.
The study by the Secure World Foundation, released Wednesday morning and previewed exclusively with Defense News, is a comprehensive collection of public-source information about the counterspace capabilities of China, Russia, North Korea and other world powers that could threaten American dominance in space.
When most Pentagon leaders discuss anti-satellite or counterspace capabilities, they reference the infamous 2007 Chinese test of an anti-satellite kinetic weapon, which successfully destroyed an old Chinese weather satellite and scattered thousands of pieces of debris in orbit.
But a more likely attack in 2018 would come in the form of electronic warfare jamming that could prevent users from turning on their equipment, directed energy attacks to dazzle sensors, or perhaps most plausibly, hacking a terminal on the ground so troops cannot operate it.
This non-kinetic approach is more about rendering equipment useless than it is destroying it outright ― a strategy that costs less and is harder to attribute, said Brian Weeden, a former U.S. Air Force officer and one of the authors of the new report, titled “Global Counterspace Capabilities: An Open Source Assessment.”
In other words, countries are smarter about how they pursue capabilities in space.
“The bad news is I think there is strong evidence we’re seeing more development and testing of counter space technologies than any time since probably the height of the Cold War,” Weeden said. “The somewhat good news is that at least for the time being, operational use of these counter space capabilities is limited to the non-kinetic types.
“We’re seeing development of broad range, everything from kinetic destructive technologies to jamming and hacking but the operational use so far seems to be limited to the jamming and hacking types.”
Per the report, these countries are the biggest players in the counterspace arms race:
- China has not slowed down its capability development since the 2007 anti-satellite test, but has also not repeated its action of destroying a satellite on orbit, a feat which drew global condemnation. The report concludes that Chinese capabilities against satellites in low-earth orbit (LEO) “is likely mature and may be operationally fielded on mobile launchers within the next few years,” but found that capabilities to target medium-earth orbit or geostationary earth orbit were likely still in the “experimental stage.”
- Russia has likely built up its capabilities on the back of Cold War efforts, but likely does not have anti-satellite capabilities “on a sufficient scale or at sufficient altitude to pose a critical threat to U.S. space assets” at this time. In addition, the capabilities under development don’t appear aimed at targeting assets outside of LEO. However, Russia has invested heavily in electronic warfare capabilities, and “can likely jam communications satellites uplinks over a wide area from fixed ground stations facilities” today if needed.
- The United States has highly-capable technologies that would allow them to maneuver near potential enemy systems in both geostationary orbit and low earth orbit, and has a number of technologies that could be adapted to anti-satellite systems with limited work. That includes mid-course missile defense systems, which could be used against satellites in low-earth orbit. Like Russia, the U.S. “likely has the capability to jam global navigation satellite service receivers [like GPS] within a local area of operation to prevent their effective use by adversaries.”
- Other nations in the report include Iran (unlikely to develop an anti-satellite weapon system, but has limited commercial GPS jamming capability), North Korea (“does not appear motivated to develop dedicated counterspace assets” but has limited GPS jamming options) and India (unlikely to develop a counter-space capability, but could probably move rapidly in that direction if it chose.)
Weeden describes the spread of these technologies, along with the publicly stated rise of great power competition between the U.S., Russia and China, as a “worrisome combination of trends.”
And it’s unclear how the U.S. can change that trend to deter proliferation of these capabilities – or if that is even a realistic goal anymore.
“The focus seems to be, ‘well, everyone else is doing it, we should too,’” Weeden said. “These trends appear to be used as an argument for why the US also needs to restart or develop more of its own offensive counter-space capabilities, rather than how do we tame or stop the proliferation and kind of get control of the technology, or deter use.”
For years, Pentagon officials were cautious of talking about a potential war in space, out of fears such statements could create an arms race in orbit. But in recent years, American officials have become more vocal about the threats, in part due to sequestration-related budget pressures that threatened to squeeze the space funding stream.
However, the report shows that the heavy investment in anti-space capabilities began in the mid-2000s, before that rhetoric from the U.S. shifted.
One area being invested in heavily by China, Russian and the United States are capabilities known as Rendezvous and Proximity Operations, or RPO – the ability to have a system in space maneuver around and interact with another nation’s satellites. Both China and Russia are pushing money into these capabilities and testing them on their own equipment, although the report notes there is “no proof” these are disruptive capabilities as opposed to intelligence gathering investments. (Source: C4ISR & Networks)
11 Apr 18. A new target for hackers? Satellites. Government and commercial satellite operators are increasingly the target of hackers, who are looking for inexpensive, but effective ways to limit space capabilities, according to a new report from the Secure World Foundation.
“A growing number of non-state actors are actively probing commercial satellite systems and discovering cyber vulnerabilities that are similar in nature to those found in non-space systems,” the report read. “This indicates that manufacturers and developers of space systems may not yet have reached the same level of cyber hardness as other sectors.”
The report, released April 10 and titled “Global Counterspace Capabilities: An Open Source Assessment,” points, among other vulnerabilities, to backdoors in Chinese electronics and Russian software packages used in the aerospace supply chain.
The authors, Victoria Samson and Brian Weeden, note that industry experts say that “despite some increase in awareness of the threat in recent years, the state of cybersecurity for satellite infrastructure remains dismal.”
Chinese hackers have been targeting cyber espionage operations at the U.S. and European satellite industry since at least 2007, the report said. More broadly, cyber attacks have included targeting command and control or data relay stations.
Techniques could include “fly-overs with manned aircraft, unmanned aerial systems (UAS), or weather balloons; signal disruption or hijacking through proximate positioning of broadcasting equipment using a more powerful signal, tapping the structure’s Internet or Ethernet cables, or piggybacking off of the station’s own data relays physical access, through either covert infiltration or social engineering; and network exploitation or attack, using traditional means,” the authors said.
While most satellite facilities are hardened against such attacks, the report notes that “sophisticated State attackers” have penetrated such systems.
In addition, hackers are also trying to exploit the terminals used to process the satellite signal. Using public information, the report cites cases of using very small aperture terminals, or VSATs, were penetrated because factory passwords were never changed. In another example, students were able to essentially recreate a denial-of-service attack on a GPS receiver. (Source: Fifth Domain)
11 Apr 18. Researchers eyeing launch of first robot designed to repair spacecraft. The US Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) in 2021 will launch the first space vehicle capable of approaching, inspecting, and grabbing a disabled satellite and either repairing or upgrading it. The NRL effort is part of a 15-year-old US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency programme called Robotic Servicing of Geosynchronous Satellites (RSGS).
Researchers at NRL have four primary goals for this spacecraft, Glen Henshaw, a roboticist with NRL, said on 9 April at the annual Navy League Sea-Air-Space conference in National Harbor, Maryland. Currently, if something goes wrong with a spacecraft in geosynchronous orbit (22,000 miles above the earth) it is difficult to determine what went wrong. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
10 Apr 18. Microsemi Corporation (Nasdaq: MSCC), a leading provider of semiconductor solutions differentiated by power, security, reliability and performance, today announced its RTG4(TM) high-speed signal processing radiation-tolerant field programmable gate arrays (FPGAs) have achieved Qualified Manufacturers List (QML) Class Q qualification by the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA). The qualification, which validates the quality and reliability of RTG4 FPGAs as well as the company’s qualification and manufacturing screening processes, enables easier design of Microsemi’s flash technology into space applications due to the streamlined process of working with QML-qualified products.
“We are excited to achieve this milestone qualification for our RTG4 FPGAs, which provides customers with added confidence in designing these devices in space flight systems and taking advantage of their high-speed signal processing capabilities to solve satellite signal processing congestion,” said Minh Nguyen, Microsemi’s senior marketing manager of space and aviation. “This designation also strengthens our leadership position in space and demonstrates our ongoing commitment to the highest quality and reliability solutions. We are continuing our qualification work with RTG4 with the goal of ultimately achieving a QML Class V qualification–the highest qualification level for integrated circuits.”
To achieve QML Class Q qualification, Microsemi leveraged the results of its MIL-STD-883 Class B qualification, in which RTG4 FPGAs passed a series of environmental tests to determine resistance to deleterious effects of natural elements and conditions surrounding defense and space operations, as well as mechanical and electrical tests. Upon completion of the MIL-STD-883 Class B qualification, RTG4 units from multiple wafer lots successfully completed 1,000-hour high temperature life tests. As part of Microsemi’s commitment to high reliability, these units were then taken through more high temperature life tests, exceeding the requirements of MIL-STD-883 Class B. The units have now successfully completed 4,000-hour high temperature life tests, again validating the high reliability of the company’s RTG4 flash cells in extreme conditions. Details can be found in the company’s reliability report.
As Microsemi is already a QML-V certified manufacturer of high reliability FPGAs for space applications, achieving the recent QML-Q qualification for its RTG4 FPGAs further strengthens its leadership position in the market and reflects the company’s focus on developing innovative solutions to meet the increasing demands of modern satellite payloads. In addition to satellites, its RTG4 FPGAs are ideally suited for applications including space launch vehicles, planetary orbiters and landers, and deep space probes.
According to Euroconsult’s report titled, “Satellites to be Built and Launched by 2024,” 60 percent more satellites will be launched by 2024 versus the past decade. This increase is driven primarily by civilian government agencies as established space countries replace and expand their in-orbit satellite systems and more countries acquire their first operational satellite systems.
The new QML qualification from DLA aligns with Microsemi’s focus on delivering industry-leading space-level capabilities, technologies and products. With the recent qualification for its RTG4 FPGAs, customers can now procure the spaceflight FPGAs screened to B-flow per MIL-STD-883 Class B specifications and Microsemi’s Extended Flow (E-Flow) using DLA’s standard microcircuit drawing (SMD) and designated part numbers. More information can be found in the company’s DLA Cross Reference Guide.
About Microsemi’s RTG4 FPGAs and Development Kit
RTG4 FPGAs bring new capabilities to the market and combine a wealth of features with the highest quality and reliability to meet the increasing demands of modern satellite payloads. The devices feature reprogrammable flash configuration, making prototyping easier for customers. RTG4’s reprogrammable flash technology offers complete immunity to radiation-induced configuration upsets in the harshest radiation environments, without the configuration scrubbing required with SRAM FPGA technology. RTG4 supports space applications requiring up to 150,000 logic elements, and each includes a LUT4 and a flip-flop with built-in triple module redundancy (TMR). The devices also features total ionizing dose (TID) beyond 100 kilorads, as well as high system performance of up to 300 MHz without single event transient (SET) mitigation.
The RTG4 Development Kit features Microsemi’s Libero SoC Design Suite, offering high productivity with its comprehensive, easy to learn, easy to adopt development tools for designing with Microsemi’s radiation-tolerant FPGAs. The suite integrates industry standard Synopsys SynplifyPro synthesis and Mentor Graphics ModelSim simulation with best-in-class constraints management, debug capabilities and secure production programming support.
RTG4 is Microsemi’s latest development in a long history of radiation-tolerant FPGAs that are found in many NASA and international space programs. For more information, visit http://www.microsemi.com/products/fpga-soc/radtolerant-fpgas/rtg4.
Microsemi Leading Space Innovation for 60 Years With one of the industry’s most comprehensive portfolios of space products, Microsemi provides radiation-tolerant FPGAs, radiation-tolerant mixed-signal integrated circuits (ICs), radiation-hardened DC-to-DC converters, precision time and frequency solutions, linear and POL hybrids, custom hybrid solutions, and radiation-hardened discretes including the broadest portfolio of JANS Class diodes and bipolar products. Microsemi is committed to supporting its products throughout the lifetime of its customer programs. The company continues to innovate and expand its portfolio, which includes its LX7730 radiation-tolerant telemetry controller IC, the new LX7720 radiation-tolerant power driver IC with rotational and position sensing, as well as its RTG4(TM) high-speed signal processing radiation-tolerant FPGA family. The RTG4’s reprogrammable flash technology offers complete immunity to radiation-induced configuration upsets in the harshest radiation environments, requiring no configuration scrubbing, unlike SRAM FPGA technology.
09 Apr 18. Israel Aerospace mulls launching satellite after Spacecom snub. State-owned Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) said on Monday it was considering launching and operating a communications satellite after it was passed over to build the Amos-8 satellite for Space Communications.
Israel’s Spacecom last month chose U.S.-based Space Systems/Loral (SSL), a unit of Maxar Technologies, over IAI to build the Amos-8 satellite that is slated to be launched by Elon Musk’s SpaceX in the second half of 2020. IAI, the maker of previous Amos satellites, said it was “surprised” Spacecom chose an American manufacturer.
It noted that it was examining manufacturing its own satellite, which it will also operate to provide satellite communications services to Israel’s government and other customers in Israel and abroad.
IAI said it planned to apply to Israel’s Communications Ministry for a license to operate the satellite.
In September 2016, the IAI-built Amos-6 was destroyed days before its scheduled launch when a SpaceX launcher exploded. Spacecom also lost contact with another satellite in 2015. (Source: Google/Reuters)
09 Apr 18. Inmarsat Government (L-TAC) has won the “Top Government Mobility Satcom Innovation” category in the Mobile Satellite Users Association’s (MSUA) 2018 Mobility Innovation Awards for its L-band Tactical Satellite (LTAC) service. The L-TAC service provides an L-Band satellite channel that can, in combination with the SlingShot system from Spectra Group (UK) Ltd, provide global beyond line of sight (BLOS) communications on the move (COTM), on any platform or in a dismounted role, for military Ultra High Frequency (UHF) and Very High Frequency (VHF) users. There is also a SlingShot system available for commercial VHF frequencies. Using in-service tactical radios, the L-TAC/SlingShot solution enables secure voice and data capability on existing radio networks across any operating area without requiring additional user-provided terrestrial infrastructure.
The service is implemented using a single hop through the Inmarsat-4 satellite system via directly connected L-band uplinks and downlinks, providing users with the same experience as operating with UHF satellite communications, but through a cost-effective L-band satellite channel and adding the vital capability of COTM.
“Government users around the world must have access to reliable communication capabilities, whether they are in an airplane or vehicle, on a boat or on foot, and our L-TAC service is empowering these communications – even in the most austere environments,” said Steve Gizinski, Chief Technology Officer, Inmarsat Government.
With the changing nature of military action, forces acting asymmetrically require a highly coordinated strategy that relies heavily on reliable and secure communications systems. If organisations are working in Coalition and are using different communication frequencies, SlingShot enables their disparate systems to all work over L-TAC, unifying the communications net. This is why L-TAC/SlingShot is already in use by a large proportion of NATO armed forces, supporting operations around the world and providing mission-critical command and control and coalition interoperability. The commercial variant provides capability for police, fire and medical support services, emergency services, aid agencies, embassy communications, border patrol and other civilian agency use in support of humanitarian assistance, disaster relief operations and other multi-department requirements.
SlingShot allows in-service tactical radios to operate over L-Band providing BLOS COTM for seamless secure tactical and strategic Command & Control communications. Small, lightweight and drawing low power, SlingShot can be used on any platform, providing a game-changing capability, extending tactical communications to where it is needed. SlingShot’s omni-directional antenna enable personnel travelling on foot, in vehicles on water or air, to maintain communications where other systems fail.
With reduced cost compared to traditional TACSAT, increased channel availability and minimal increase in the training burden SlingShot and L-TAC are redefining tactical communications.
Spectra CEO Simon Davies said: “We are delighted to be part of Inmarsat Government’s winning of the Top Government Mobility Satcom Innovation Award. Using Inmarsat’s world leading global constellation of geostationary satellites, SlingShot gives the unique capability to access single-hop real-time Beyond Line of Sight Communications, with no need for terrestrial infrastructure, no matter where you need to be.”
02 Apr 18. SpaceX Successfully Launches and Deploys Ten Iridium NEXT Satellites. Ten additional Iridium® NEXT satellites have been launched by SpaceX from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California to their orbits — the push to space occurred at 7:13 a.m. today (Friday, March 30, 2018). A previously launched Falcon 9 rocket was the vehicle used for this event, the fifth in a series of eight launches for Iridium. The SpaceX rocket had been previously cast as the vehicle in the launch of the Iridium-3 mission from Space Launch Complex 4E last October. The Iridium NEXT constellation is scheduled to be completed later this year at a cost of approximately $3 bn — the plan is for a total of 75 satellites comprising the constellation, placed via eight launch events.
Although no first-stage booster recovery is planned by the company for this Iridium-5 mission, SpaceX will attempt to capture the rocket’s fairing using what has been generically termed a “catchers mitt” net that was installed on the ship (named “Mr. Steven”), developed to enfold the nose cone prior to ocean envelopment.
Iridium will be empowering their new Iridium CertusSM service platform through the NEXT satellites to deliver enterprise-grade services across the globe, supporting HD video, low-bandwidth data apps, email and full internet access. Iridium has stated that their service will also be able to scale to meet the needs of any business with a variety of high-value services.
Iridium Communications Inc. (NASDAQ: IRDM) announced today that at 7:13:51 am PDT (14:13:51 UTC), SpaceX successfully launched the fifth set of 10 Iridium NEXT satellites into orbit from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.
All 10 new satellites have successfully communicated with the Iridium Satellite Network Operations Center and are preparing to begin testing. Shortly before launch, the Iridium network met a major milestone as it surpassed 1 m active subscribers. This continues a trend of significant growth and serves as a testament to the reliable, resilient and uncompromising nature of the Iridium network.
Paving the way for Iridium’s growth is the Internet of Things (IoT), where Iridium has established itself as the satellite network of choice to keep “things” connected beyond the limits of cellular coverage. More than half of the subscribers on the Iridium network are IoT devices, delivering a wide variety of solutions by hundreds of licensed technology partners. These devices are designed to do everything from tracking endangered species and monitoring power lines to controlling shipping container temperature levels or serving as tsunami warning systems.
Further positioning the company for success is the Iridium NEXT satellite constellation, which is now well more than half way completed. Once fully deployed later in 2018, the constellation will blanket the entire earth with its new capabilities like the Iridium CertusSM L-band broadband service and AireonSM global aircraft surveillance and tracking.
To date, Iridium has completed five launches of 10 Iridium NEXT satellites, all with SpaceX from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. A total of eight Iridium NEXT launches are currently planned with SpaceX delivering a total of 75 new satellites to orbit. In total, 81 satellites are being built, with 66 in the operational constellation, nine serving as on-orbit spares and six as ground spares.
The first stage booster for today’s launch was previously flown during Iridium-3 in October 2017, making this the second Iridium NEXT launch to use a flight-proven Falcon 9 rocket. Each launch strategically delivers new satellites to specific orbital planes to ensure the earliest possible completion of the constellation. The Iridium network is comprised of six polar orbiting planes, each containing 11 operational, crosslinked satellites, for a total of 66 in the active constellation. The 10 Iridium NEXT satellites launched today were successfully delivered to orbital plane one where they will replace first generation satellites over the next 30 days.
Iridium NEXT is the company’s $3 bn, next-generation, mobile, global satellite network scheduled for completion in 2018. Iridium NEXT will replace the company’s existing global constellation in one of the largest technology upgrades ever completed in space. It represents the evolution of critical communications infrastructure that governments and organizations worldwide rely on to drive business, enable connectivity, empower disaster relief efforts and more.
“It’s a unique coincidence that we passed the one m subscribers mark right at this launch, and it’s particularly exciting because we’ve surpassed this milestone earlier than we had anticipated,” said Matt Desch, chief executive officer at Iridium. “The new satellites and services we’re launching and continued strong subscriber growth are cementing our position as an industry leader and critical global communications platform and underscore the significant transformation we’ve undergone as a company over the last 10 years. This truly is a testament to the trust our partners and customers have in our network, which is only going to continue growing as the deployment of the Iridium NEXT constellation nears completion.” (Source: Satnews)
02 Apr 18. SpaceX Receives FCC’s Stamp of Approval to Launch 4,425 Broadband Satellites. SpaceX yesterday received US approval to launch 4,425 low-Earth orbit satellites, a key milestone in its plan to offer broadband with high speeds and low latency around the world.
The Federal Communications Commission issued an order approving SpaceX’s application with some conditions. SpaceX intends to start launching operational satellites as early as 2019, with the goal of reaching the full capacity of 4,425 satellites in 2024. The FCC approval just requires SpaceX to launch 50 percent of the satellites by March 2024, and all of them by March 2027.
“Grant of this application will enable SpaceX to bring high-speed, reliable, and affordable broadband service to consumers in the United States and around the world, including areas underserved or currently unserved by existing networks,” the FCC order said.
SpaceX’s network (known as “Starlink”) will need separate approval from the International Telecommunication Union (ITU). The FCC said its approval is conditioned on “SpaceX receiving a favorable or ‘qualified favorable’ rating of its EPFD [equivalent power flux-density limits] demonstration by the ITU prior to initiation of service.” SpaceX will also have to follow other ITU rules.
Like other operators, SpaceX will have to comply with FCC spectrum-sharing requirements. Outside the US, coexistence between SpaceX operations and other companies’ systems “are governed only by the ITU Radio Regulations as well as the regulations of the country where the earth station is located,” the FCC said.
SpaceX and several other companies are planning satellite broadband networks with much higher speeds and much lower latencies than existing satellite Internet services. SpaceX satellites are planned to orbit at altitudes of 1,110km to 1,325km, whereas the existing HughesNet satellite network has an altitude of about 35,400km.
SpaceX has said it will offer speeds of up to a gigabit per second, with latencies between 25ms and 35ms. Those latencies would make SpaceX’s service comparable to cable and fiber, while existing satellite broadband services have latencies of 600ms or more, according to FCC measurements.
“SpaceX states that once fully deployed, the SpaceX system… will provide full-time coverage to virtually the entire planet,” the FCC order said.
The FCC previously approved requests from OneWeb, Space Norway, and Telesat to offer broadband in the US from low-Earth orbit satellites. SpaceX is the first US-based operator to get FCC approval for such a system, the FCC said in an announcement.
“These approvals are the first of their kind for a new generation of large, non-geostationary satellite orbit [NGSO], fixed-satellite service [FSS] systems, and the Commission continues to process other, similar requests,” the FCC said.
SpaceX launched the first demonstration satellites for its broadband project last month. In addition to the 4,425 satellites approved by the FCC, SpaceX has also proposed an additional 7,500 satellites operating even closer to the ground, saying that this will boost capacity and reduce latency in heavily populated areas. It’s not clear when those satellites will launch.
FCC approval of SpaceX’s application was unanimous. But the commission still has work to do in preventing all the new satellites from crashing into each other, FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel said.
“The FCC has to tackle the growing challenge posed by orbital debris. Today, the risk of debris-generating collisions is reasonably low,” Rosenworcel said. “But they’ve already happened—and as more actors participate in the space industry and as more satellites of smaller size that are harder to track are launched, the frequency of these accidents is bound to increase. Unchecked, growing debris in orbit could make some regions of space unusable for decades to come. That is why we need to develop a comprehensive policy to mitigate collision risks and ensure space sustainability.”
FCC rules on satellite operations were originally “designed for a time when going to space was astronomically expensive and limited to the prowess of our political superpowers,” Rosenworcel said. “No one imagined commercial tourism taking hold, no one believed crowd-funded satellites were possible, and no one could have conceived of the sheer popularity of space entrepreneurship.”
SpaceX still needs to provide an updated debris prevention plan as part of a condition the FCC imposed on its approval.
The commission order said:
“Although we appreciate the level of detail and analysis that SpaceX has provided for its orbital debris mitigation and end-of-life disposal plans, we agree with NASA that the unprecedented number of satellites proposed by SpaceX and the other NGSO FSS systems in this processing round will necessitate a further assessment of the appropriate reliability standards of these spacecraft, as well as the reliability of these systems’ methods for de-orbiting the spacecraft. Pending further study, it would be premature to grant SpaceX’s application based on its current orbital debris mitigation plan. Accordingly, we believe it is appropriate to condition grant of SpaceX’s application on the Commission’s approval of an updated description of the orbital debris mitigation plans for its system.
The approval of SpaceX’s application is conditioned on the outcome of future FCC rulemaking proceedings, so SpaceX would have to follow any new orbital debris rules passed by the FCC. We detailed the potential space debris problem in a previous article. Today, there are more than 1,700 operational satellites orbiting the Earth, among more than 4,600 overall, including those that are no longer operating.
SpaceX’s plan alone would nearly double the total number of orbiting satellites. SpaceX told the FCC that it has plans “for the orderly de-orbit of satellites nearing the end of their useful lives (roughly five to seven years) at a rate far faster than is required under international standards.”
Opposition from competitors
SpaceX’s application drew opposition from other satellite operators, who raised concerns about interference with other systems and debris. The FCC dismissed some of the complaints. For example, OneWeb wanted an unreasonably large buffer zone between its own satellites and SpaceX’s, the FCC said:
[T]he scope of OneWeb’s request is unclear and could be interpreted to request a buffer zone that spans altitudes between 1,015 and 1,385 kilometers. Imposition of such a zone could effectively preclude the proposed operation of SpaceX’s system, and OneWeb has not provided legal or technical justification for a buffer zone of this size. While we are concerned about the risk of collisions between the space stations of NGSO systems operating at similar orbital altitudes, we think that these concerns are best addressed in the first instance through inter-operator coordination.
If operators fail to agree on a coordination plan in the future, “the Commission may intervene as appropriate,” the FCC said.
Many of the other conditions imposed by the FCC relate to power levels and preventing interference with other systems in various frequency bands. (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
Web Page sponsored by Blighter Surveillance Systems
12 Apr 18. Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC) today celebrated 30 years of information dominance for decision superiority provided by the Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System (Joint STARS) on April 5, 2018 – as it looks to the future of battle management command and control. Hundreds of Northrop Grumman employees, members of the U.S. Air Force 116th Air Control Wing and 461st Air Control Wing, Georgia Air National Guard leadership, State of Florida Senator Debbie Mayfield and Melbourne Mayor Kathy Meehan, celebrated the 30th anniversary of the E-8C Joint STARS aircraft first flight in a patriotic ceremony.
The event recognized the current and past employees who have worked on the program since its inception, saluted many of the civilian employees who received Air Medals from the U.S. Air Force in April 1992 for their outstanding mission support in Operation Desert Storm, and highlighted the commitment of the thousands of military and civilian employees who support the program today.
“Today we celebrate the vision of those who have come before us to develop the Joint STARS capability, and honor the dedication and commitment of those who continue keeping Joint STARS relevant and highly capable in the fight. It is also a chance to honor all who have supported and will support missions using this incredible capability,” said Col. Curtis “Walleye” Bass, commander, 461st Air Control Wing, United States Air Force. “Joint STARS remains the ‘Eyes in the Sky’ for boots on the ground as well as those in the air and on the sea. We look forward to continuing to support combatant commanders around the globe in this important mission.”
Grumman Corporation was awarded its first Joint STARS contract in 1985. The first development aircraft, named Air Vehicle 1, or AV-1, leveraged a government furnished commercial 707-aircraft platform which was militarized for the mission by Grumman. Leveraging its previous Ground Moving Target Indication (GMTI) work done on the Pave Mover program in the late 1970s and early 80s, Joint STARS test pilots flew the first development aircraft at 1:15 p.m. for two hours April 1, 1988. Eighteen days later, the program started its mission system preliminary design review and on July 5, 1988, the Department of Defense Acquisition Board declared full speed ahead for Joint STARS. By Dec. 22, Grumman flew the first Joint STARS radar test flight.
“Joint STARS is the only all-weather battle management command and control weapons system today in the Department of Defense. We’re honored to celebrate all that the system, and the warfighters who fly it, have accomplished in support of our nation’s security,” said Kevin Mickey, sector vice president and general manager, military aircraft systems, Northrop Grumman. “Flying nonstop since 9/11, Joint STARS has supported every major combatant commander – flying over 130,000 combat mission hours for CENTCOM alone. It is clear that Joint STARS is providing information dominance for decision superiority.”
Two Joint STARS aircraft, while still in the development phase, flew in 1991 to support Operation Desert Storm. A mix of development and production aircraft were again deployed in 1995 to support Operation Joint Endeavor I and Operation Joint Endeavor II in 1996. Northrop Grumman delivered its first production Joint STARS aircraft in 1996 and the last production aircraft in 2005.
Northrop Grumman’s battle management command and control team continues to leverage its 30 years of experience in this mission domain to support the United States Air Force in joint environments. In the past 15 years, Northrop Grumman has added 27 new capability upgrades to the 16-aircraft fleet and battle management command and control weapons system. The company continues to deliver new battle management capabilities to meet warfighter demand. Joint STARS has flown in every major U.S. combat operation since Desert Storm.
“American ingenuity created Joint STARS and it has proven its worth time and time again over these last 30 years,” said Senator Debbie Mayfield (15th District), State of Florida. “It is critical that we, in elective office, keep this battle management command and control capability at the forefront of the fight to support our combatant commanders around the world. Our enemies cannot have any battlefield advantage.”
11 Apr 18. With the rise of hypersonics, the Missile Defense Agency wants more sensors. The head of the Missile Defense Agency wants the Pentagon to improve its sensors to combat new missile technology coming from Russia and China, according to his testimony before a Senate Appropriations subcommittee April 11.
When pressed by Sen. Richard Durbin (D- Illinois) about whether the agency should spend $4bn on a new layer of sensors or on a new east coast missile defense site to address a potential future threat from the Iranians, Lt. Gen. Samuel A. Greaves was unwavering in his support for new sensors.
“We must improve the sensor layer. Period,” Greaves told the Senate Appropriations defense subcommittee.
The Missile Defense Agency has been advocating for sending a layer of sensors into space to respond to increasingly sophisticated missile technologies currently being developed by U.S. adversaries. Space sensors would attempt to fill the gaps within the current layer of terrestrial sensors operated by the Department of Defense.
During the hearing, Greaves expressed concern about hypersonic missiles, which would travel at least five times the speed of sound.
“The hypersonic threat is real and it’s coming … It’s just a matter of time before [Russia and China] have fully developed that capability,” he said. “The concern is that technology leaking into the space that we have to deal with, rogue nations like North Korea and Iran.”
But the first step to defending against such a threat, according to Greaves, is better sensors.
“With these maneuvering threats you must maintain custody from birth to death,” said Greaves. “Plus with the more complex countermeasures that these threats will produce to confuse our defensive systems, the ability to maintain a custody becomes even more important.”
In November 2018, Chinese state media outlets boasted of two tests of a new DF-17 missile, equipped with a hypersonic glide vehicle (HGV). The missile is likely capable of carrying both nuclear and conventional payloads and may be capable of delivering a maneuverable reentry vehicle rather than an HGV, according to reporting from the Diplomat.
Even if better sensors were in place, Greaves said other challenges to defend against hypersonic missiles remain.
“Once you develop an acceptable robust sensing architecture, then the other side of the equation is the interceptor piece,” Greaves said. “Do we need a new faster interceptor to combat the hypersonic threat?”
To respond to the increasing threat from hypersonic missile technology the MDA is requesting $120m in fiscal 2019 for hypersonic missile defense. While this is a small segment of MDA’s $9.9bn budget, it is a significant increase in the agency’s funding for this area. For fiscal 2018, Congress authorized $75.3m for MDA to initiate the development of a capability to counter hypersonic boost-glide vehicles and conventional prompt strike assets. (Source: C4ISR & Networks)
12 Apr 18. Sentient Vision to Showcase ViDAR Optical Radar. Australian sensor video analytics provider Sentient Vision will soon showcase its “game changing” ViDAR optical radar system, which gives tactical Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) the ability to cover up to 80 times more ocean in a single sortie than the same UAS equipped with existing EO/IR systems.
The Sentient Vision ViDAR (Visual Detection And Ranging) system is a light, compact self- contained unit comprising a forward facing high-resolution digital video camera that pans through 180 degrees, and software that analyses the resulting image feed to detect objects against an ocean background. The system autonomously detects, tracks and photographs objects, transmitting the image in real time to an airborne sensor console or laptop ground station where operators can then cross-cue the aerial platform’s primary electro-optical sensor to the contact by simply clicking on the image.
ViDAR has been extensively tested on the Boeing Insitu ScanEagle tactical UAS, including formal trials and operational deployments with the US Coast Guard and Royal Australian Navy and is in service with the Australian Maritime Safety Authority, Australia’s national search and rescue agency, aboard its new Challenger 604 SAR aircraft.
“Until now, through limitations with sensors and bandwidth, small tactical UAVs in the maritime surveillance space have generally only been used to keep an eye on surface contacts detected by other means,” said Sentient Vision’s Director of Business Development, Strategy and Partnerships, Simon Olsen.
“But in major trials and operational deployments we have now demonstrated that ViDAR can provide a detection capability for the ScanEagle, that we can autonomously detect targets in the ocean in real time and provide a cue back to the operator. For the first time we’ve demonstrated that a tactical UAV with ViDAR can search vast expanses of ocean and autonomously detect very
small targets at large ranges.”
In the September 2016 USCG trial ViDAR detected a 40-foot boat moving at 25 knots, at a range of 17.7 nautical miles. The system also detected a life raft at 3.7 nautical miles and the USCG “Oscar”, a mannequin designed to represent a single person in the water, at 1.5. nautical miles. ViDAR has even detected an airborne helicopter at 3.5 nautical miles and the periscope of a submerged submarine at 7.5.
Sentient’s new podded ViDAR system, on display on stand 1500 is lightweight and compact for easy mounting on helicopters and virtually any fixed wing aircraft.
“Size, Weight and Power (SWaP) factors define the capability and cost-effectiveness of low altitude manned aircraft and helicopters,” Simon Olsen said.
“The small footprint and compact size that make ViDAR ideal for unmanned vehicles also provide a payload-friendly, cost-effective solution, easily integrated with existing airframes and compatible with most commercially available sensors. ViDAR can be configured and adapted for missions such as search and rescue, counter narcotics, counter piracy and illegal fishing.” (Source: UAS VISION)
11 Apr 18. Northrop to begin cutting in aerial refueling capability in E-2D Advanced Hawkeye production this year. This year, Northrop Grumman will begin manufacturing the first E-2D Advanced Hawkeye early warning aircraft built from the ground up with an aerial refueling capability, program officials said Tuesday.
Northrop will start cutting in modifications to the production line starting with the 46th of 75 planned aircraft slated to be procured by the Navy, said Jane Bishop, the company’s vice president for airborne early warning battle management command and control.
“We’re about to lay the keel for that aircraft,” Bishop told reporters during a briefing at the Navy League’s Sea Air Space conference. “We’ll be delivering that aircraft in the fourth quarter of 2020.”
The Navy has had a longstanding requirement to make the E-2D capable of being refueled by Air Force and Navy tankers, but at the time the aircraft began production the service could not afford it, said Capt. Keith Hash, the Navy’s E-2/C-2 program manager.
“Sometimes there’s a desire to put everything in at once, and that would be wise, but unfortunately we live in a budget constrained environment and affordability has to come into play,” he said. “So this was deferred for a few years, and as we continue to build the requirements the budget will be made available to make this happen.”
The new capability could be transformational, allowing the E-2D to spend five hours on station — twice its current threshold — and increasing the aircraft’s total mission time from four to seven hours.
That pretty much doubles the time the Hawkeye can stay in the air conducting surveillance and doing the battle management command and control mission.
The upgrade will also come at a slightly higher cost. Northrop is designing and testing the modifications under a contract valued at about $250m, Hash said. Each production aircraft should cost about $2m more than the planes currently rolling off Northrop’s production line in St. Augustine, Fla.
Northrop and the Navy are currently negotiating a contract for retrofitting the first 45 E-2Ds, but Hash estimates that the effort should cost about $6m per plane.
The company has already delivered three developmental test planes in 2017 with the retrofits, and two more aircraft will begin the modification process this year, Bishop said. The most important of those upgrades involves installing a refueling probe in the wing center section where the fuel tank is located, as well as some changes to flight controls.
The refuelable version of the Advanced Hawkeye flew for the first time in December 2016. Since then, it has received gas from a KC-130, KC-135, F/A-18E/F Super Hornet and — most recently, this January — a KC-10.
It’s likely that the E-2D will also be qualified to be able to be refueled by the Air Force’s future tanker, the KC-46, and the Navy’s future tanker drone, the MQ-25, Hash said. (Source: Defense News Early Bird/Defense News)
11 Apr 18. German ‘Tornados’ still struggling with night ops.214
Germany’s Tornado aircraft are still behind the curve when it comes to the critical capability of night vision, the defense ministry has told lawmakers. Defense officials blame the delay, expected to last at least through 2018, on a personnel shortfall in the government office responsible for certifying the technology as deployment-ready, according to a confidential report seen by Defense News.
The problem is two-fold: For one, the cockpit’s current display lights are not suited for night-vision mode, meaning pilots wearing light-amplifying goggles are blinded by them. Secondly, military certification officials are unsure they can obtain the technical documentation from the goggles vendor that would be required for a fleet-wide stamp of approval.
When media reports surfaced in early 2016 that German Tornados providing reconnaissance over Syria and Iraq under Operation Inherent Resolve were unable to fly at night, the defense ministry within weeks retrofitted some aircraft with an interim solution. Even so, officials then said the night-vision capability was effectively unnecessary because the aircraft were only collecting imagery during the day.
At the time, a Bundeswehr photo quickly spread that showed a pilot wearing night vision goggles sitting behind the faint green glow of newly modified flight instruments, and the story mostly faded from public view.
But that makeshift fix remains an exception, and a suboptimal one at that, according to the defense ministry report. A fleet-wide implementation has “for years” been hampered by a shortage of certification experts, though a higher priority is now assigned to the project and a key qualification test is eyed for July, the report states.
Plans to schedule that review for February fell through because the requisite office was booked for more important work: Planes flying reconnaissance missions against the Islamic State are in dire need of improved communications security by this summer.
“The problems with the Tornados’ night-vision capability have been known for a long time,” Tobias Lindner, a Green Party member of the Bundestag committee overseeing the military, told Defense News. “It is scary to see that these problems continue to exist, and that projects suffer for the same reasons over the course of years. The defense ministry is unable to get these kinds of problems under control.”
The Tornado aircraft are the product of a decades-old, multinational cooperation between Germany, Italy and the United Kingdom. The German aircraft are entrusted with deploying U.S. atomic weapons for NATO in the case of a nuclear war. The air force still operates 88 of the planes, which are slated to remain in service until 2035.
The British, who said they will dial back their Tornado involvement, have previously modified their fleet to enable night vision.
Der Spiegel reported on its website in late March about the German planes’ problems with encrypted communications, which would endanger Berlin’s contribution of ten aircraft to an enhanced NATO Response Force. The air force responded that aircraft set side for that mission would meet all requirements.
Germany is in the market for a Tornado replacement. While defense ministry leaders have said they prefer an upgraded Eurofighter Typhoon, air force leaders have suggested a preference for the U.S. F-35. Variants of the F-15 and F-18 fighters also are under consideration. (Source: Defense News)
11 Apr 18. Leonardo advances Kronos DBR development. Work on Leonardo’s naval Kronos dual X-band and C-band active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar programme is progressing, with testing and production timelines for the Italian Navy’s new 6,270 tonne Pattugliatore Polivalente d’Altura (PPA) multipurpose offshore patrol vessels meeting development timelines, company officials told Jane’s .
Leonardo is contracted by the Italian Ministry of Defence (MoD) for the development, testing, and production of the Kronos dual band radar (DBR) under the supervision and support of the navy. Renzo Tosini, naval and air defence business director of Leonardo’s Land and Naval Defence Electronics division, told Jane’s that the programme is “progressing according to schedule”.
A complete Kronos DBR suite combines four Kronos Quad C-band panels and four Kronos StarFire X-band panels mounted in fixed arrays that are installed around the bridge superstructure and positioned side-by-side (instead one-over-the-other) to eliminate interference.
The PPA-class vessels will be delivered in three combat system configurations with ‘fitted-for’ capabilities, with the complete Kronos DBR suite equipping the PPA ‘Full’ model while the PPA ‘Light’ and PPA ‘Light Plus’ platforms will be fitted with the Kronos StarFire and the Kronos Quad respectively.
“The Kronos Dual Band AESA fixed-face radar system features a system manager capable of controlling both radars and the ship’s electronic warfare [EW] suite in real time to fully exploit the passive long-range and high-threat alert capabilities as well as the electronic attack modes, while ensuring the most effective use (digital blanking) of both systems,” Tosini explained.
Jane’s understands from Leonardo that the first Kronos StarFire X-band radar for the first-of-class PPA ‘Light’ is under advanced testing and evaluation and is scheduled for delivery in early 2019. The first full DBR suite that will equip the fourth vessel, a PPA ‘Full’ variant that is expected to be delivered in 2024. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
11 Apr 18. Portugal to establish UAV-based ISTAR capability. Tekever, Elbit Systems, Airbus’ SURVEY Copter, AeroVironment, and Altus are competing to deliver the Portuguese Army’s first intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition, and reconnaissance (ISTAR) capability based on small unmanned air vehicles (UAVs). The procurement, to run through 2021, is worth up to EUR6 m and is being executed by the NATO Support and Procurement Agency (NSPA) through an agreement with Portugal. A request for proposal (RFP) was issued on 21 December 2017 and closed on 28 February 2018. Bids are now being analysed, and a contract and initial deliveries are expected this year, the army told Jane’s. NSPA declined to elaborate on the bidders’ proposals. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
10 Apr 18. This gun shoots drones out of the sky. Ground pounders may soon be swatting those pesky drones from the battlefield’s airspace with the help of a new hand-held device.
The IXI Dronekiller is the first and only hand-held counter-drone technology employing the use of software defined radio, according to IXI Technology representatives at the Sea-Air-Space Exposition in Washington, D.C., this week.
“This is not a broadband jammer, like what you can buy online,” a company official told Defense News. “This is software defined radio, so we’re targeting whatever specific frequency drones are operating on.”
Each drone has a different type of frequency, for example the DJI Phantom — a common commercial-use drone — operates on the 2400 to 2483 MHZ frequency, or 2.4 GHZ band. Within that 2.4 band, an operator selects different channels to link between them and the drone itself. (Source: Defense News)
11 Apr 18. Saab’s Giraffe 1X Radar Offers a Man-Portable 75km Detection Range. Saab’s Giraffe 1X ground-based radar is the ultimate gap filler, providing airspace commanders with the capabilities needed to maintain continuous and accurate air situational awareness. With a surveillance-on-the-move capability, the awareness stretches even further. Forces will stay safer even when on the move and a situational awareness can be achieved at all times without any deployment time or any person having to be exposed to outside threats during deployment.
For mobile forces out in the battlefield, air situational awareness is critical. The threat can consist of rockets, mortar, unmanned aerial systems, missiles or asymmetric attacks from terrorist groups. Saab’s lightweight, compact Giraffe 1X can be handled by one single operator.
“Our new radar solutions, including Giraffe 1X, use digital technology with flexible software. Software-based solutions are instantly upgradeable and require fewer components, which means the radars can be built smaller and lighter”, says Daniel Forsberg, marketing director India within Saab’s market area Asia Pacific.
Providing reliable protection for the forces and assets is even more important in high-risk situations. This requires a flexible and agile radar which can be located close to the combat area. Saab’s Giraffe 1X is lightweight and designed for easy integration on any type of platform. This means that the complete radar can be transported for example on a pickup truck or a helicopter, or it can be towed on a trailer. Its flexibility and compactness mean Giraffe 1X can be easily relocated even by means of manpower only. For example from a vehicle to the rooftop of a building, making it ideally suited to the rapidly changing needs of mobile forces.
Giraffe 1X can be operated both remotely and locally, and it can either be installed on a building or mast or integrated into a suitable vehicle. Giraffe 1X is a 3D Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar, featuring the latest in radar technology, including Gallium Nitride (GaN) circuits.
Giraffe 1X forms part of Saab’s Mobile Short-Range Air Defence (MSHORAD) solution – comprising the Giraffe 1X, C2 and RBS 70 NG Remote Weapon System (RWS) it enables moving units to identify and counter air threats quickly and effectively.
The MSHORAD solution is designed to complement existing defence by filling the gaps in long-range radar coverage created by terrain obstacles. It acts as a protective shield, scanning the battlefield to find and identify a threat, then coordinating the necessary action to remove the target. As an entire package, MSHORAD provides a solution that increases survivability and supports domain sovereignty in conflict zones.
Saab offers a full range of high-performance radar systems for a multitude of applications and mission types within the naval domain and for weapon locating, air surveillance, and ground-based air defence.
11 Apr 18. MKU Limited, a leading defence company in India with a footprint in over 100 countries; and Thales, delivering extraordinary high technology solutions; have signed two MoUs for strategic co-operation in the development and production of optronic devices and F90 close quarter battle (CQB) rifles for the Indian Army.
The co-operation will help to enhance the night fighting capabilities of the Indian Army and homeland security forces. It envisages the manufacture of optronics equipment including weapon sights, night vision goggles, handheld thermal imagers and thermal infrared sensor engine for soldier systems, and other image intensification and thermal imaging systems for soldiers and platforms respectively. The optronic devices will be co-developed by Thales and MKU and both the optronic devices and F90 rifles will be manufactured in India at MKU’s facilities in Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh. These products will be offered to the Indian army and homeland security forces under the ‘Make in India’ initiative of the Centre. For weapons, the two companies plan to cooperate so that MKU could set-up an assembly and manufacturing plant in India for the carbine version of the F90 assault rifle, combat-proven and already in service with Australian Defence Forces. Light, balanced and accurate, the F90 CQB rifles developed with MKU will be well suited to Indian conditions and requirements.
“MKU is pleased to sign the strategic co-operation MoUs with Thales. This partnership will not only focus on meeting the requirements of our forces in India, but will also look at exporting the products to other parts of the world” says Neeraj Gupta, MD of MKU.
“We are very pleased to work in close collaboration with MKU for the development of weapons and optronic devices to address specific needs of the Indian and international markets. This co-development partnership reaffirms our commitment to India and is the result of our ambition to support soldiers on operations,”Alex Cresswell, senior executive Vice-President for Land & Air Systems at Thales said.
MKU, a global leader in the manufacture of ballistic solutions for personnel and platforms, is currently executing an Indian MoD contract for 158,279 ballistic helmets for the Indian Army and Navy.
It has already announced plans to diversify into weapon systems and will be setting up a manufacturing facility for the same in the newly announced defence corridor in UP.
Present in India since 1953, New Delhi headquartered Thales has other operational offices and sites spread across Gurgaon, Hyderabad, Bengaluru, Chennai and Mumbai, and has been playing an essential role in India’s growth story by sharing its technologies and expertise in defence, transport and aerospace markets. (Source: Google/deccanchronicle.com)
10 Apr 18. Detect. Connect. React: Rheinmetall presents new solutions for the networked battlefield of the future at AFCEA.
Detect. Connect. React. The increasing digitalization of the modern battlefield poses challenges for the armed forces as well as offering opportunities. Reliable networking of systems and actors at multiple command echelons is very important given the decisive impact of information, command and fire superiority. Turning its attention first and foremost to requirements at the mobile tactical level, Rheinmetall is creating solution concepts for the networked battlefield of the future. The Düsseldorf-based high-tech enterprise for security and mobility will be presenting a number of these at the AFCEA 2018 show, which takes place on 11-12 April in Bonn.
TacNet – Rheinmetall’s Tactical Management System
TacNet is Rheinmetall’s Tactical Management System TMS). It is designed to meet the requirements of high-mobility operations at the tactical level, essentially serving as a command and weapon engagement system.
Basically speaking, TacNet is structured to ensure that troops on the ground, vehicles of all types and tactical ops centres all share a common operational picture. Objective-oriented movement, efficient communication and combat effectiveness define the basis for soldiers at the tactical level. A state-of-the-art command and weapon engagement system, TacNet supports these capabilities while simultaneously opening up new possibilities.
In revolutionary fashion, TacNet welds two different software systems into a single product family. The cross-sectional display and control device feeds directly into TacNet. This expands the operational spectrum of the software to all touchscreen-operated systems. Other means of entering data, e.g. via control handles, are also possible.
As an integrative system, TacNet networks platforms, sensors and effectors. It is compatible with other command & control systems and interoperable thanks to the use of internationally recognized standards. Uniform operating interfaces at all echelons and a clear focus on essentials make it highly efficient. TacNet requires no special communications infrastructure. Thanks to a role-based range of functions it is scalable and can be expanded via apps.
TacNet consists of a common software core. Moreover, it is modular in design. Specific characteristics are derived from a sort of tool box: TacNet Soldier for mobile operations conducted with mounted and dismounted troops; TacNet Vehicle for tactical vehicles; TacNet Command for mobile and stationary command posts; and TacNet Rotary for tactical
helicopter providing close air support. Visitors to the Rheinmetall stand at AFCEA 2018 can familiarize themselves with TacNet Vehicle.
Gladius 2.0 – a new generation of soldier systems
Presented for the first time at DSEI 2017, Rheinmetall is also showcasing its new Gladius 2.0 soldier system at AFCEA 2018. Gladius 2.0 is a systematic expansion based on experience gained in the German Future Soldier – Expanded System (IdZ-ES) project. The Basic variant is the standard version for infantry soldiers. It comes with a smartphone that serves as the command computer, enabling participation in network-enabled operations. The Advanced version encompasses an expanded array of capabilities for military leaders, including a second radio for communication with higher-echelon command elements. In particular, Gladius 2.0 is characterized by high scalability and flexibility. This means that other components can be easily connected to all variants on a plug-and-play basis. Augmenting the portfolio is the Light version, an extremely low-weight variant designed for special operators.
PanoView – the innovative visualization system for vehicle crews
Making its debut in 2017, PanoView is a new kind of visualization system that is especially well suited for use in armoured vehicles. It significantly improves situational awareness and command superiority. Based on cameras mounted on the vehicle exterior, this innovative concept transmits video in real time either to special goggles or to the main display. Innovative is the quality and speed of the image processing technology. In effect, the vehicle crew can see “through the armour”. This lets them know what’s going on outside the vehicle. Additionally, the tactical information about the situation is fed into PanoView by TacNet as command and control system. However, the information base can also be extended by integration of platform sensors, e. g. Laser Warning System (LWS) or Acoutusic Sniper Location System (ASLS).
On stand M05 at AFCEA in Bonn, where we will be on hand to welcome you on 11-12 April 2018.
09 Apr 18. Kent Periscopes announces the opening of a new regional office in South East Asia at the Defence Services Asia (DSA) exhibition, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. As part of their continued success in and commitment to the Asian market, Kent Periscopes have opened their first regional office in Bangkok. The announcement coincides with Kent exhibiting a range of products at the Defence Services Asia (DSA) exhibition taking place in Kuala Lumpur from 16-19 April 2018. Kent Periscopes is a North Wales, UK based international supplier of unity vision periscopes, vehicle sights and related equipment for military armored fighting vehicles, tanks and armoured personnel carriers. They will be exhibiting a wide range of their products in association with their Malaysian partner Jasawali on stand number 20055 at DSA. One of products on display will be the Unity Vision Periscope that has entered service with the Malaysian Army. In July 2016, Kent Periscopes became part of the Gooch & Housego (G&H) group of companies. The acquisition is aligned with G&H’s strategic objectives of moving up the value chain and further diversification in the aerospace and defence sector. This integration serves to further Kent Periscopes’ momentum to be a leading provider of aerospace and defence products and services, including the spares, repairs and refurbishment sector.
Kent Periscopes’ sighting and observation solutions are sought out by some of the world’s best armoured vehicle manufacturers, procurers, maintainers and users. Kent’s product and service capabilities include unity vision periscopes, an innovative range of Embedded Image Periscopes (EIPs) The EIP system is designed primarily to give AFV Drivers enhanced capability whilst driving during the day or night. Current Drivers Night Vision Systems (DNVS) will use a unity vision periscope for day driving when the hatch is down and will then revert to a separate screen to show the images from the vehicle mounted sensors. This separate screen is sometimes clipped on to the unity vision periscope or mounted somewhere near but not always in a location that is easy for the driver to use.
The Kent Periscopes EIP system is a self-contained unit that offers the unique ability for the user to view the outside world through a standard unity vision ‘hard glass’ periscope, or through a sensor suite where the images are relayed to an embedded LCD that is cleverly hidden behind the unity vision mirror which folds out of the way with one simple operation of a lever. Therefore, there is no requirement for a separate screen and associated electrical harness.
Mark Batchelor, New Product and Business Development Director said: “Having a full-time regional presence further demonstrates the company’s commitment to and long-term investment in the South East Asian region”. He added: “It’s vital to have a strong presence in the region to enable our continued growth and to capture future business in Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam, Taiwan and Malaysia”.
09 Apr 18. AeroVironment, Inc. (NASDAQ: AVAV), a global leader in unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) for both defense and commercial applications, today announced the successful maritime demonstration of a Puma™-Switchblade® automated sensor-to-shooter (S2S) capability from a US Navy Coastal Riverine Craft for increased mission autonomy to counter threats. The tightly integrated walk-on/walk-off system uses existing RQ-20B Puma Block 2 – All Environment small UAS with the new Mantis i45 sensor gimbal combined with automatic coordinate transmission to the battle-proven Switchblade lethal loitering missile to quickly and accurately surveil and respond to threats on land or at sea.
“This new combination of our Puma unmanned aircraft system with our Switchblade loitering missile system gives commanders unprecedented ability to identify threats at long ranges, limit collateral damage and wave off targets subsequently deemed neutral or friendly,” said Rick Pedigo, vice president of AeroVironment’s Tactical Missile Systems business.
In a sensor-to-shooter mission, Puma, as a long-endurance intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) small UAS asset with a high-resolution day/night camera, positively identifies a target of interest and automatically passes the target location to Switchblade prior to its launch. Once Switchblade is launched, Puma continuously transmits the target location throughout the engagement sequence. When the target is in the field of view of Switchblade’s optical sensors, the Switchblade mission operator confirms the target and the Switchblade vehicle operator engages the threat. Switchblade continues to offer regret (wave-off) capability if, at any time, the target is identified as neutral or friendly.
In the Maritime demonstration, Puma identified a series of fast-attack craft moving toward a host platform and transmitted their target coordinates to Switchblade prior to launch. Once launched, Switchblade automatically flew to the fast-moving target and the operator defeated the threat by engaging it with an inert payload.
“Our sensor-to-shooter solution greatly enhances Switchblade’s capability to positively identify targets and reduce engagement timelines by performing target identification and location functions prior to launch,” said Pedigo. “By continuously updating the target location throughout the engagement, S2S significantly reduces the Switchblade operator’s workload.”
Sensor-to-shooter combines AeroVironment’s fielded Puma Block 2 (the “sensor”) and Switchblade loitering munition (the “shooter”) with additional equipment – a ruggedized laptop with S2S software, a Pocket DDL™ data link module and a larger gain antenna – to forward the Puma payload’s center field of view (CFOV) electronically to Switchblade as its target coordinate. On the laptop, the simultaneous Puma and Switchblade video dramatically elevates operator situational awareness and reduces the chances of mis-targeting.
“With future enhancements, multiple simultaneous threats can be defeated,” said Pedigo. Future enhancements will include a multi-pack launcher that holds up to six Switchblade munitions and software that allows operators to control multiple air vehicles simultaneously.
S2S currently is a prototype with plans for product release in the fall of 2018. Currently fielded Switchblade systems can be upgraded with the S2S capability.
06 Apr 18. Missile Defense Review expected in May. The Trump administration’s review of America’s missile defense capabilities is now expected to be released in May. The Missile Defense Review, a strategy document designed to take a holistic view of America’s missile defense posture, was expected to be released in February. But finally, it appears the document is nearing completion.
Pentagon spokesman Tom Crosson, in response to an inquiry by Defense News, said that the review is “currently in development” and that “we expect to release the review sometime next month.” The review is expected to be unclassified.
The review is part of a series of big-picture strategic documents that started with the December release of the National Security Strategy, followed by the January release of the National Defense Strategy, and continued with February’s Nuclear Posture Review.
Notably, the review was originally positioned as a “ballistic missile defense review,” but the term ballistic has since been dropped by the Trump administration ― something Tom Karako, a missile defense expert with the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said was a wise choice.
“The fact that the administration has dropped ‘ballistic’ from the review’s title indicates the document will probably employ a wider lens,” Karako wrote in a CSIS analysis Friday. “This could include a robust effort to better defend against Russian and Chinese cruise missiles, other maneuvering endo-atmospheric threats like hypersonic boost-glide vehicles (HGVs), and advanced short-range ballistic missiles.”
Although no one has spelled out the direction of the review, there have been some hints given about where the administration intends to take missile defense. The FY19 budget request for the Missile Defense Agency, for instance, increased by $2bn from previous funding levels, with an express focus on defeating a missile threat from North Korea. And Michael Griffin, the Pentagon’s new head of research and engineering, has expressed support for investing in airborne missile defense capabilities. (Source: Defense News)
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.
12 Apr 18. L&T MBDA Missile Systems Offers World Class Guided Weapon Systems Technology in India. L&T MBDA Missile Systems offers world class guided weapon systems technology in India. L&T MBDA Missile Systems Limited (L&T MBDA) is leveraging its strong parentage to bring in world class guided weapon systems technology for the Indian Armed Forces under the ‘Make in India’ initiative with a clear objective of indigenously developing, manufacturing and supplying highly advanced missiles and missile systems.
The L&T MBDA JV is exhibiting at the Defexpo 2018 at Chennai in Hall 8, Stand 1.5A. The joint venture (JV) between Larsen & Toubro (L&T), India’s multinational engineering conglomerate and MBDA, a world leader in missiles and missile systems, is targeting opportunities under the ‘Buy (Indian – IDDM)’, ‘Buy (Indian)’, ‘Buy & Make (Indian)’ and ‘Make’ categories of defence procurement.
Within only one year of its incorporation, the joint venture has already responded to RFI’s by offering the following missile systems to address Indian Armed Forces’ operational requirements:
- 5th Generation Anti-Tank Guided Missile (ATGM 5): This is the only 5th generation ATGM missile with substantially advanced features vis-à-vis other 3rd and 4th generation ATGM missiles. The missile is offered under the Buy (Indian – IDDM) procurement category for the Indian Armed Force. ATGM5 is making its public debut at Defexpo 2018, where a model of the missile will be displayed on the L&T MBDA stand and where its operational advantages will be demonstrated using a fully functional simulator.
- Short Range Surface to Air Missile (SRSAM) : The JV has offered the latest in surface to air missile technologies under the Buy and Make (Indian) Category for the Naval Surface Platforms requirements of the Indian Navy
- Medium Range Anti-Ship Missile System: The JV has offered the latest generation anti-ship missile system under the Buy and Make (Indian) Category for the Naval Surface Platforms requirements of the Indian Navy.
The JV is also preparing to participate in various ‘Make’ category projects.
Mr. J. D. Patil, Senior Executive Vice President and Whole-time Director, L&T commented: “Our long-standing commitment to India’s defence program is evident in our approach to offer best in class technology solutions. The L&T-MBDA joint venture has been working proactively to make available advanced missiles and missile systems catering to the needs of the Indian defence forces. We look forward to showcasing some of these offerings at the global defence industry exhibition Defexpo 2018.”
Loïc Piedevache, India Country Head, MBDA, said: “For over 50 successful years our strategy has been one of true partnership with the Indian Armed Forces and Indian industry. The JV offers the Indian Armed Forces the flexibility of choice regarding the timely acquisition of key operational capabilities, coupled with the optimized means of acquiring and mastering the very latest and most advanced guided weapon systems technology currently available anywhere in the world.”
L&T holds 51% and MBDA holds 49% equity in the joint venture company fully complying with India’s Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) policy norms for a Defence Manufacturing Company. The JV was incorporated on 05th April 2017 as an Indian Company.
(Source: ASD Network)
12 Apr 18. MBDA is pitching its Sea Ceptor for Finland‘s sea-based weapons buy. MBDA is indirectly pitching its Sea Ceptor naval air defense system to Finland, which is looking overseas to arm its planned four-strong fleet of Squadron 2020 corvettes.
The European missile company is making its offer, based on the Common Anti-air Modular Missile (CAMM), through three companies which are on the short list to supply the combat management system to the Finnish authorities, Paul Stanley, MBDA vice president for northern Europe, told Defense News April 10. Atlas Elektronik, Lockheed Martin Canada and Saab are bidding for the CMS contract, he said.
The bidders for the CMS deal will propose an “air defense system as part of a package, with recommendations,” he said. The Finnish authorities will then “make a selection.”
A best and final offer for the missiles could be expected in the fall, he said.
That indirect approach in the tender leaves the missile maker relying on the combat systems integrator, which is expected to offer the U.S. Evolved Seasparrow Missile (ESSM) and Barak from Israel, he said. It makes sense for the systems integrator to offer a range of weapons, while the missile company will not know if it is the first choice.
Raytheon Missile Systems builds the ESSM weapon, and BAE Systems in Aberdeen, South Dakota, builds the missile canisters.
Finland is also looking for a land-based anti-air missile, with companies to make “first response” at the end of April in a request for information, he said. That requirement opens up the possibility of the Finnish Army and Navy operating a common missile if CAMM were picked, he said.
MBDA developed and built the CAMM weapon for the British Army before fitting the missile on British Royal Navy warships.
The Finnish naval tender has set two key requirements: the weapon should be a mature system rather than a concept for a future armament, and the missile launcher should fit on the ship, he said.
MBDA believes its weapon meets those requirements.
The British Navy has certified and installed Sea Ceptor on three of the Type 23 frigates, including the Argyll, he said. The weapon will later be installed on the next generation Type 26 and Type 31frigates, as the Navy seeks to fit one type of anti-air missile on all its warships.
The New Zealand Navy has picked Sea Ceptor for its future frigates after holding a tender which pitched the British system againt ESSM, he said. Chile has selected Sea Ceptor for its Type 23 frigate after a competition which included ESSM and Barak. Brazil has also picked Sea Ceptor for its “home-grown” corvette program but has yet to sign a contract.
Spain, a long time operator of ESSM, has asked MBDA to conduct a technology study for the Sea Ceptor to be fitted its F110 future frigate, he said.
There is “a lot of interest in a fiercely competitive market,” which has long been led by ESSM, he said.
MBDA has worked with Lockheed Martin over five years to develop a lightweight version of the MK41 launcher for CAMM, he said. A qualification was signed two weeks ago for an extensible lightweight launcher, dubbed ExLS, which is intended to fit on smaller naval vessels.
That launcher allows a “soft launch,” which uses compressed air and avoids firing the main missile motor onboard.
Both the lightweight and conventional MK41 launchers are offered to Finland.
The Finnish Navy designers will seek high performance in a corvette which will sail through shallow waters and ice, he said. That calls for avoiding carrying heavy systems onboard, particularly at the bow, he said. MBDA expects that will favor a pick of CAMM, which weighs around 100 kg, about half the weight of ESSM, he added.
Finland seeks a missile with range of some 40 km, greater than the CAMM’s “effective range” of some 30 km, he said. MBDA is at the end of a development phase for a CAMM Extended Range version for the Italian Army and Navy. That missile, which would meet the Finnish range requirement, is expected to enter service with Italy in a year or two. That ER model would be available to Finland and Spain. (Source: Defense News)
12 Apr 18. British Army’s Rifle Set for Multi-million-pound Upgrade. The Ministry of Defence is upgrading the British Army’s standard combat rifle to ensure troops are equipped with the best possible battle-winning kit, Defence Minister Guto Bebb has announced. The SA80 A2 hand held assault weapon will be upgraded into the A3 model under the Mid Life Improvement (MLI) project, which will ensure the rifle has the enhancements needed to remain in service until 2025 and beyond.
An initial investment of £5.4m for the project, which will be carried out by Heckler and Koch, will help sustain around 20 highly skilled jobs at the Nottingham Small Arms Factory owned by the company.
Defence Minister Guto Bebb said, ”This multi-million-pound upgrade will give our Army a lighter, more hardwearing, better-camouflaged combat rifle so our soldiers can perform on the frontline of some of the most dangerous locations across the world. This investment is also a boost to Nottingham’s highly-skilled gun-makers who proudly support our troops in their task to protect our country in the face of intensifying threats.”
The changes to the rifle include:
A more durable hardwearing coating in a “Flat Dark Earth” colour offering better camouflage in a range of environments.
The A3 is 100g lighter than the A2 and has a more streamlined fore grip making the weapon easier to handle.
The A3 rifle has a bracket to secure new innovative low light sights which can clip on or in front of the day sight without the need to remove it. These sights are smaller, lighter and require fewer batteries whilst operating just as effectively in low light/night conditions.
Director Land Equipment at the MOD’s Defence Equipment and Support organisation, Major General Colin McClean said, ”The SA80 is a battle proven weapon used by the UK Armed Forces on operations all over the world. The upgrade will build upon the rifle’s state-of-the-art features enhancing accuracy and consistency. The Mid Life Improvement project will ensure that our troops have the right equipment at the right time.”
The MLI project will see 5,000 weapons upgraded initially with the intent to upgrade more weapons in the future. The fielding of the first tranche began in February.
(Source: ASD Network)
12 Apr 18. DSM Dyneema, the inventor and manufacturer of Dyneema®, the world’s strongest fiber™, has successfully concluded a dispute with the Israeli firm FMS Enterprises Migun Ltd (FMS) concerning the infringement and validity of DSM Dyneema’s patents. This is the final step in a series of disputes including earlier unsuccessful attempts by FMS to challenge the validity of DSM Dyneema patent relating to an improved polyethylene fiber of ultra-high molecular weight (UHMWPE). The action against FMS was filed in November 2017 and concluded in March of 2018.
“We are very pleased with this outcome, which again confirms the quality and value of our patents”, says Olivier Janin, VP Marketing and Sales of DSM Dyneema.
In addition to said patent infringement case, DSM Dyneema also ended another dispute with FMS relating to a patent concerning improved unidirectional sheets and pressed protective life saving articles made of such sheets, including inserts, helmets and vehicle panels. FMS had opposed DSM Dyneema’s patent, which was eventually granted on March 22nd, 2018.
These results add to the company’s positive track record in intellectual property (IP) cases. It reconfirms the strength of DSM Dyneema’s IP portfolio that protects the company’s innovations and the use by its customers against infringements. The patents in these cases were also granted in various other countries of the world including the US, Europe and Asia. In addition to these patents, the patent portfolio of DSM Dyneema covers more than 175 UHMWPE fiber and fabric related inventions, protected by some 1500 individual patents and patent applications in several countries of the world.
This vast IP portfolio furthermore underlines the company’s large number of unique innovations, as a contribution to human knowledge in the field of fiber technology, and particularly in fields of technologies that enable protective life saving products.
“Innovation is about creating technological advancements and bringing game-changing material science solutions to our customers. This is what makes DSM Dyneema the leading innovator in UHMWPE fibers and fabrics. Protecting these innovations via IP is at the heart of our business. We have consistently and vigorously defended our IP on many occasions, and will continue to do so”, said Olivier Janin.
11 Apr 18. Orbital ATK expansions anticipate surge in DoD advanced munitions technology needs. Orbital ATK has hired more people and is expanding facilities as it anticipates a surge in Defense Department advanced missile and munitions technology needs.
In addition to hiring 1,000 more people, “we have invested a decent number of ms, tens of ms, in a number of our facilities to support readiness,” Mike Kahn, Orbital ATK’s defense group president, told Defense News in an April 10 interview at the Navy League’s Sea-Air-Space conference. Orbital will soon be a part of Northrop Grumman, which bought the company late last year in a $9.2bn deal.
The company recently invested heavily in its Allegany Ballistics Laboratory in Rocket Center, West Virginia, where it builds rocket motors, warheads and fuses because it’s anticipating a “significant increase” stemming specifically from Army programs that are ramping up in the next few years, according to Kahn.
In Mesa, Arizona, Orbital ATK broke ground on a new facility to allow it to double the capacity of its industry-standard Bushmaster cannon line.
And the company is increasing the capacity to handle building two times as many of its Precision Guided Kits that are used to transform 155mm Howitzer rounds. Orbital ATK just celebrated the manufacturing of its 25,000th PGK.
In its Lake City, Missouri, ammunition plant, Orbital has been investing, for a number of years, both in capacity growth and process controls, as well as safety upgrades, Kahn said.
Orbital also opened a new facility a year ago in California to build the extended range version of its Advanced Anti-Radiation Guided Missile (AARGM).
The military requested in its fiscal year 2019 budget $20.7bn in missiles and munitions. The Army, specifically plans to buy more critical missiles and rockets and 148,287 155mm artillery projectiles for which Orbital supplies PGKs.
The Army is also planning to plus-up its Hellfire missiles, Guided Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (GMLRS) and Army Tactical Missile Systems (ATACMS) stock, which means more business for Orbital as well which supplies rocket motors for Hellfire and GMLRS and will also supply the rocket motor for the Hellfire replacement, the Joint Air-to-Ground Missile (JAGM).
GMLRS and Hellfire rocket motors are produced at the company’s West Virginia facility.
And there’s more DoD money for hypersonic and ramjet development and other technologies to extend ranges out to strategic distances, which Orbital ATK is also investing in heavily.
Orbital is also setting its site on ways to improve technology within its current systems to meet the needs of the services in the future, according to Kahn.
Orbital’s AARGM is currently only fielded for use on the Navy’s F-18 Super Hornets, but, by the end of the year, the company will be turning on production for the full engineering and manufacturing development phase for the extended-range version, which will allow it to be used in the F-35, Kahn said.
The AARGM-ER is slated for initial fielding either in 2022 or 2023 and following that the Air Force will work on integrating the weapon into a block upgrade for the F-35.
The Navy’s requirements are quite similar to the Army’s in terms of increasing range and lethality of its missiles and munitions, Bart Olson, the company’s defense group vice president, said in the same interview.
In recent years, the company has demonstrated how it can transform the Navy’s 5-inch guns to go farther and hit targets more precisely by providing a PGK variant for the rounds.
“And we are talking to the Navy and Marines about helping them with lethality upgrades centered around the land combat or sea combat areas,” Olson added.
With that in mind, the company is trying to foster interest in the Navy and Marines to move to a 30mm variant of the Bushmaster cannon. Currently the two services have fielded 25mm Bushmaster cannons. The 30mm cannon will get after a desire for more range and more lethality, Olson said.
The Army has already upgunned its Stryker fighting vehicle with a 30mm Bushmaster cannon and has sent the variant to Europe for evaluation with the 2nd Cavalry Regiment there.
Orbital also has a quick way for those using 30mm cannons to switch from 30mm to 40mm if desired, in less an hour, according to Kahn.
The company is also developing a full family of ammunition for the 40mm barrel, to include a practice round, a high-explosive dual purpose round, an armor penetrating round and an airburst round.
And Orbitals M230 chain gun used on Apache helicopters is now cropping up on ground platforms using a remote weapon station.
The company is also investing in advanced ammunition, such as programming 30mm rounds to be airburst rounds, which has great utility in countering unmanned aircraft systems, for example.
Orbital has a deployed a counter-UAS system with ground forces, but has ways to convert it to be used on ships or at sea ports.
And Orbital has also developed a way to guide small ammunition to hit even moving targets, Kahn noted.
The company took a 50-caliber round with precision guidance and hit moving targets in tests through the EXACTO program with the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency several years back, Olson said.
Advanced ammunition has great utility for programs like the F-35, Kahn said, because instead of shooting 30 or 40 rounds to hit a target, a guided round can take out a target in one or two shots. An F-35 is limited to carrying roughly 200 rounds.
The company has also used internal research and development dollars to build and qualify its Hatchet precision glide weapon, which is a 6-lb, air deliver munition that can be used from aircraft ranging from UAS, rotary-wing, fixed-wing fighters and bomber aircraft. The system can be deployed as a single weapon or used as a swarming weapon. Orbital plans to reach a technology readiness level of 7 by the end of the year through a live, guide-to-hit test. (Source: Defense News)
10 Apr 18. China’s New Stealth Bombers to Carry More Deterrent Power. Chinese military magazine Aerospace Knowledge recently sighted the H-20, the new generation of Chinese bomber aircraft, which was confirmed by experts to be a stealth aircraft and also more powerful as it could be equipped with nuclear and conventional weapons.
China’s new generation H-20 has been under development by the Shanghai Aircraft Design and Research Institute since 2008, reported Russian media rg.ru on Monday, saying the research is highly confidential in China and no details had previously been leaked.
China needs long-range advanced bombers that can carry up to 10 tons of weapons without aerial refueling, an unnamed military expert was quoted by the report as saying.
“The new generation of bombers can carry more bombs than the H-6K bombers, has the advantage of stealth features, and is able to strike targets from standoff ranges,” Song Zhongping, a military expert and TV commentator, told the Global Times on Tuesday.
Song said that China has made technological breakthroughs in its new generation of aircraft and also possesses proprietary technology, while stressing that “the new generation of bombers should be high-tech aircraft.”
“The new generation will be released in two years and enlist in the army within four to five years,” Song said.
“The exposure indicated that the technology has entered its mature stage,” Song noted.
The expert believed that the bomber is now even able to conduct test flights. The H-20 could improve the air force in both defensive and offensive capabilities, which will “enable the army to possess stronger nuclear and conventional deterrence,” Song said. (Source: defense-aerospace.com/Global Times)
11 Apr 18. Italian Air Force finalises AARGM OT&E campaign.
The Italian Air Force (Aeronautica Militare Italiana: AMI) has finalised the operational evaluation and testing (OT&E) of its AGM-88E Advanced Anti-Radiation Guided Missile (AARGM) Block 1 supersonic air-to-surface missile system with a live fire campaign at the US Naval Air Weapons Station (NAWS) China Lake Land Ranges in California during Exercise ‘Blazing Shield 2018’.
Commencing 2 April, a Panavia Tornado ECR (Electric Combat / Reconnaissance) aircraft from the AMI 155th ETS (Electronic Warfare Tactical Suppression) Group – attached to a contingent of nine AM platforms, including AMI Eurofighter Typhoons and a Spartan C-27J, assigned to NAWS as part of the exercise – conducted two successful live firings of the AARGM missile.
The ECR platform – a Tornado variant devoted to Suppression of Enemy Air Defenses (SEAD) missions – was piloted by a NAWS test crew, while a team from the Italian Air Force Test Wing (Reparto Sperimentale Volo: RSV) managed all phases related to the use of the missile from the China Lake Range Control Center, the AMI said in a release.
The AGM-88E AARGM – a US Department of Defense Acquisition Category ACAT 1C (Component) programme between the US Navy (USN) and the AMI – is the development upgrade of the AGM-88B/C High-Speed Anti-Radiation Missile (HARM) missile.
Baseline capabilities include an expanded target set, counter-shutdown capability, advanced signals processing for improved detection and locating, geographic specificity providing aircrew the opportunity to define missile-impact zones and impact-avoidance zones, and a weapon impact-assessment broadcast capability providing for battle damage assessment cueing.
Specifically, AARGM Block 1 introduces multimode terminal guidance, Digital Terrain Elevation Database-aided GPS/INS navigation, net-centric connectivity, a modified control section, and a weapons impact assessment transmitter. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
10 Apr 18. Germany, the Netherlands integrate GBAD. The Luftwaffe’s Flugabwehrraketengruppe (Surface-to-Air Missile Group: SAM-Group) 61, based in Todendorf, northern Germany, was subordinated to the Dutch Ground Based Air Defence (GBAD) Command in Vredepeel, the Netherlands, on 4 April, the Dutch Ministry of Defence (MoD) and Luftwaffe announced afterwards.
The subordination of the German unit is part of Project Apollo, which aims to bundle and expand German-Dutch GBAD, including through a binational task force for short- and very short-range air defence.
Addressing the handover ceremony in Vredepeel, German Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen said Germany and the Netherlands want to use synergies “to improve our existing capabilities and create new ones, especially to protect ourselves from short- and very short-range aerial threats”. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
12 Apr 18. BDL signs agreement to produce Astra BVRAAM. India’s state-owned Bharat Dynamics Limited (BDL) has signed a licensing agreement with the Ministry of Defence for the serial production of the indigenously developed Astra Mk I beyond-visual range air-to-air missile (BVRAAM), according to an 11 April statement by the Indian government’s Press Information Bureau (PIB). The stated-owned Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) formally handed over the technology behind the weapon, which completed development trials in September 2017, during the Defexpo 2018 exhibition in Chennai, said the PIB. Moreover, the DRDO transferred seven other technologies to BDL and six other private- and public-sector companies at a ceremony held in the presence of Indian Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, according to the PIB. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
11 Apr 18. USAF to launch LRSO and B-52 integration in 2019. The US Air Force (USAF) is to begin integrating the nuclear-capable Long-Range Stand-Off (LRSO) cruise missile onto its Boeing B-52 Stratofortress bomber aircraft from the beginning of 2019, the service disclosed on 10 April.
As noted in a presolicitation notification issued by Air Force Materiel Command (AFMC), the aircraft original equipment manufacturer (OEM) is to be awarded up to USD250 m to undertake integration development and testing of the weapon system on the USAF’s fleet of 76 B-52H bombers between 1 January 2019 and 31 December 2023 (with provision for an additional year if needed). Work will include the provision of modified aircraft hardware software development testing, logistics, training, and program management support, and will take place at Boeing’s Oklahoma City facility in Oklahoma. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
09 Apr 18. Anti-Ship Missile Development at Saab Technology Centre in Tampere. Saab newly established development centre Saab Technology Center (STC) in Tampere, Finland, is used for development of the Swedish Armed Forces next generation RBS15 anti-ship missile system.
In 2017 the Swedish Defence Materiel Administration, FMV, placed an order for the development of the Swedish Armed Forces next generation anti-ship missile system. Since the beginning of the development program, Saab has used its newly inaugurated development centre, STC, in Tampere, Finland, for development of vital parts to the new missile system. The development in Tampere is currently focused on microwave technology and development of the missile´s new active radar target seeker.
“For us it is very satisfying to use the centre as part of the development of the Swedish Armed Forces next generation RBS15 anti-ship missile system. The knowledge and experience among the people at STC is unique and we are confident that the work being done at the centre will benefit the future of our RBS15 missile system”, says Anders Gardberg, Managing Director at Saab´s country unit Finland. In March 2017 Saab announced an order from FMV for development and production of the next generation anti-ship missile system. The missile system will be delivered to the Swedish Armed Forces and for integration on both the new Gripen E fighters and the Visby class corvettes.
The inauguration of Saab´s new development centre Saab Technology Centre, STC, in Tampere, Finland was announced in the beginning of 2018. The Saab Technology Centre concept is able to expand into other fields of activity and locations. Saab and its subsidiary Combitech Oy currently employ close to 100 employees in Finland, with offices in Helsinki, Espoo, Jyväskylä, Tampere and Säkylä. (Source: ASD Network)
09 Apr 18. Weaponization of unmanned Fire Scout helicopter ‘on hiatus’ until 2023. The long awaited upgrade of Northrop Grumman’s MQ-8C Fire Scout unmanned helicopter with weapons remains effectively on hold as the Navy determines what munitions the littoral combat ship will carry in its armory going forward, the service’s program manager said Monday.
The Navy has a longstanding requirement to integrate the MQ-8C — an unmanned Bell 407 designed to operate from the Freedom and Independence class LCS and collect surveillance — with the advanced precision kill weapon system (APKWS), a BAE Systems product that transforms unguided 2.75-inch rockets into a precision-guided round.
However, the service will not be able to move forward with that effort until at least 2023, said Capt. Jeff Dodge, head of PMA-266.
“That development is in hiatus right now as we deal with ship integration issues and the limited magazine space that we have in trying to find out what the weapons mix should be” onboard a littoral combat ship, he told reporters at the Navy League’s Sea Air Space conference.
The Navy previously conducted land-based tests of the APKWS on an MQ-8B, an earlier version of the Fire Scout derived from the Schweizer 333. But although the tests “went great, from an airframe standpoint,” according to Dodge, future shipboard integration presents a challenge.
“One of the issues with advanced precision kill weapon system is — because its based on an unguided rocket— it’s designed to be built up in an armory, and the LCS armory doesn’t have the space to do the build up,” he said.
One potential solution is to ship each round already assembled, which would allow the weapon to fit in the LCS armory, Dodge said.
But another limiting factor is the future configuration of the LCS itself. As the Navy studies how to balance LCS survivability with the ship’s other capabilities and mission sets, service leaders are rethinking which weapons the ship should store for both itself and its onboard aircraft.
“That hasn’t resolved to give us a clear way forward that would make it a worthwhile investment at this point to continue the testing,” Dodge said.
If the Navy moves forward with weaponizing the MQ-8C, Dodge said the service will first do a quick assessment of whether APKWS is still the right fit for the Fire Scout. If so, the service will then evaluate how many rockets the drone will be able to carry.
“We had to go with three tube launchers for the MQ-8B because of its limited payload,” he said. “We think we can carry up to seven tube launcher which is more standard across DoD [with the MQ-8C].”
The MQ-8C is slated to enter service by the end of the calendar year. (Source: Defense News)
09 Apr 18. The Indian Defense Ministry has reiterated that serious negotiations are going on with the countries that have exhibited interest in the BrahMos supersonic cruise missile — an Indo-Russia joint project. Defense Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has said that India is keen on exporting the missile to friendly nations.
For the past few years, there have been speculations about Vietnam negotiating with India for the purchase of the BrahMos — touted as the world’s deadliest missile. Apart from Vietnam, several other South-East Asian countries, including Malaysia, Singapore, and Indonesia have evinced interest in purchasing the missile, according to reports. Some active discussions have also been going on with the South American countries like Peru and Chile. Seeking market opportunities in this part of the world, BrahMos Aerospace had participated in the FIDAE show held in Santiago, Chile, from April 3-8.
Presently, BrahMos Aerospace is working on an order worth $7 bn placed by the three services of the Indian Armed Forces. “If exports fructify, then the order for BrahMos missiles can almost double in another five years,” Sudhir Kumar Mishra, CEO, BrahMos Aerospace had said last October.
Based on demand for its armed helicopters, naval equipment, missiles including the BrahMos and the Akash air defense system, the Indian Defense Ministry has set an ambitious target of exports to the tune of $5 bn in the next seven years. In the last few years, the state-owned Defence Research & Development Organization (DRDO) has developed over two dozen platforms, like the Arjun tank, Tejas fighter, airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) system, advanced towed artillery gun system (ATAGS), weapon locating radar, high-speed heavyweight ship-launched torpedo, anti-torpedo decoy system which have the potential to attract countries in Africa and South-east Asia.
To boost exports, for the first time ever, the Indian Defense Ministry has also called over 40 defense attachés from missions abroad for a series of specialized briefings starting from Monday. They will also take part in the Defexpo which is set to be inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi later this week.
The attachés work at Indian missions across the world and are primarily tasked with defense diplomacy. The BrahMos missile is a product of BrahMos Aerospace, which is a joint venture of the Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO) of India and the NPO Mashinostroyenia of Russia. (Source: Google/sputniknews.com)
09 Apr 18. Finland nears decision on sea-based weapons. Finland is nearing a decision on how best to arm its upcoming fleet of new ship designs, with two U.S. weapons among the finalists.
Finland is replacing seven different vessels – three minelayers and four fast attack missile crafts – with four of the Squadron 2020 class Corvettes. According to a government timeline, the ship production contracts will be handed out by the end of this year, with construction starting in 2019. A first test run of the ship design will occur in 2022, with all four ships operational by 2027.
As part of that ship upgrade plan, Helsinki is eyeing how best to arm the new ships. Officially, that decision will come sometime in 2018, but there are indications the weapon selection could come in the first half of the year.
In a Feb. 27 interview with Defense News, Finnish Defence Policy Director-General Janne Kuusela stressed that Finland would consider all options for the weapon systems, noting that the Finnish defense industry is not capable of providing such assets. However, Finland has not specified what non-U.S. suppliers are being considered as alternatives.
“We are one of the few nations that do procure weapons through open competition,” Kuusela said. “So, we make sure that we get the best kit for best price.”
The Trump administration has already laid the groundwork to ease potential weapon sales, with the Defense Security Cooperation Agency having already cleared two potential packages of armaments through the U.S. Senate. Alerting the Senate of potential sales, even before a system is selected, saves time in the foreign military sales process.
The first package covered 68 Evolved Seasparrow Missiles (ESSM) and one ESSM inert operational missile, along with associated parts and technical expertise, with an estimated cost of $112.7 m. These weapons are for use on Finland’s new Squadron 2020 class Corvette ships.
The second package, which comes with an estimated price tag of $622m, covers a mix of surface launched Harpoon weapons, which will go on Finland’s Hamina class ships, the new Corvettes, and Coastal Batteries. Included in this package are 100 RGM-84Q-4 Harpoon Block II Plus Extended Range (ER) Grade B Surface-Launched Missiles, 12 RGM-84L-4 Harpoon Block II Grade B Surface-Launched Missiles, 12 RGM-84Q-4 Harpoon Block II+ ER Grade B Surface-Launched Upgrade Kits, four RTM-84L-4 Harpoon Block II Grade B Exercise Surface-Launched Missiles, and four RTM-84Q-4 Harpoon Block II+ ER Grade B Exercise Surface-Launched Missiles.
If selected, the ESSM package would be done at Raytheon Missile Systems in Tucson, Arizona, for the missiles, and BAE Systems in Aberdeen, South Dakota, for the missile canisters. On the Harpoon package, work would be done by Boeing’s St. Louis factory.
But the opportunities for American industry go beyond just missiles. As Finland stands up its new multi-role Corvettes, American firms stand to benefit with potential sales of sensors and equipment aboard those designs.
“The ships are constructed in the Finnish dockyards, but basically most of the things inside it are procured from abroad,” Kuusela said. “So they will have lots of U.S. technology in those ships, the sensors and weapons systems and weapons ammunition.” (Source: Defense News)
07 Apr 18. Army missile defense systems Patriot and THAAD talk in test.
The Army’s two key missile defense systems — Patriot and the Terminal High Altitude Air Defense system — successfully talked in a test conducted by the Missile Defense Agency and the service at White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico, April 6.
The Army is planning to tie THAAD and Patriot together within in two years and received a surplus of funding in the recently passed fiscal 2018 omnibus spending bill to proceed with the effort.
Tying the systems together is critical to establishing a more effective, layered approach to air-and-missile defense and could enhance the development of the Army’s future AMD command-and-control system, the Integrated Air-and-Missile Defense Battle Command System — or IBCS.
Both THAAD and Patriot picked up a live short-range Lynx missile target suing their radars and tracked the target individually, but both systems “exchanged messages through tactical data links and verified interoperability between the weapons systems,” according to an MDA statement.
No live interceptors were launched.
“These two weapon systems are vitally important as components of our layered ballistic missile defense system and it is critical that they are able to transmit data and communicate with one another,” MDA Director Lt. Gen. Samuel Greaves said in the statement.
The test supported the materiel release of the THAAD 3.0 software upgrades and meets requirements laid out in the FY16 National Defense Authorization Act for the MDA and Army to annually test interoperability and integration of THAAD and Patriot, the statement notes.
Driving the effort are the forces in South Korea where both THAAD and Patriot are deployed. THAAD is also deployed in Guam, while Patriot units are spread wider around the world. Patriot deployments are considered to be among the most taxing and lengthy ones in the Army. (Source: Defense News Early Bird/Defense News)
09 Apr 18. Arnold Defense, the US St Louis-based international manufacturer and supplier of 2.75-inch rocket launchers, is displaying its new, ultra-light LWL-12 2.75-inch/70mm Weapon Systems at DSA 2018. Launched earlier this year, DSA will be the second major exhibition within the region that Arnold Defense have attended this year. This proves the long-term commitment to this important region by the company.
Arnold Defense is the world’s largest supplier of rocket launchers, the company has manufactured more than 1.1 m 2.75-inch rocket launchers since 1961 for the U.S. Army, U.S. Navy, U.S. Air Force and many NATO customers and allies. The Company designs and manufactures rocket launchers that can be customized for any size, weight, capacity or form factor for platforms in the air, on the ground or at sea. Arnold Defense are represented in Malaysia by QIBLATIN SYNERGY.
Arnold Defense’s rocket launchers are designed and built with combat-proven technology and they comply with stringent U.S. airworthiness and safety standards. The Company’s products include the new, ultra-light LWL-12 (on display on Dillon Aero stand 10474) that weighs just over 60 pounds (27 kg) empty. Other core products include the 19-round M261 which is commonly used by helicopters; the thermal coated 7-round LAU-68 variants and LAU-61 Digital Rocket Launcher are used by the U.S. Navy and Marines; and the 7-round LAU-131 and SUU-25 flare dispenser are used by the U.S. Air Force and worldwide.
Traditionally, 2.75-inch rocket systems have been used as an area suppression weapon, ordinarily deployed by aviation assets. The Arnold Defense team are currently developing the FLETCHER smart, laser-guided launcher system, which will be available during 2018. A special forces vehicle mounted FLETCHER prototype, unveiled in 2017 at both DSEI and AUSA, utilizes the advancement of laser guided rocket technology to meet the modern demands of air, land and marine-based, mounted and dismounted asymmetric warfare, for special and conventional forces.
Jim Hager, President and CEO of Arnold Defense said “We are very excited to have our combat-proven rocket launchers on display at DSA as Arnold Defense is the program of record around the globe for both fixed and rotary wing platforms”. He added: “We manufacture the world’s most reliable and affordable rocket launchers for air platforms, but the sky is NOT the limit. Through our experience and innovation, we are developing the next generation of laser guided weapons systems for land and maritime missions. Working together, we protect both today’s warfighters and tomorrow’s on land, sea, and air, as we have for the last half-century.”
09 Apr 18. 40N6 missile for S-400 system could enter service ‘soon.’ A new long-range surface-to-air missile (SAM) for Russia’s S-400 Triumf (SA-21 ‘Growler’) air defence system may enter service soon, according to a 3 April report in the Russian daily Izvestia. The newspaper’s source in the Main Command of Aerospace Forces indicates a decision to produce the 40N6 missile could follow a final phase of testing over the next two months. Tested most recently in February, the missile received only minor design changes. It could be deployed for “experimental use” in operational air defence units this summer. The 40N6 reportedly is capable of destroying aircraft, cruise missiles, ballistic missiles, and manoeuvring warheads. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
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UNMANNED SYSTEMS UPDATE
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13 Apr 18. BlueBird Aero Systems Signs JV with Cyient India. Hyderabad-based IT services company Cyient has entered into a joint venture with Israel-based BlueBird Aero Systems on Wednesday. As part of the agreement, the joint venture named Cyient Solutions and Systems Private Limited will offer field-proven UAV systems to Indian defence, paramilitary, security, and police forces.
The JV, signed at the DefExpo,and named Cyient Solutions & Systems Private Limited, will have 51 per cent and 49 per cent shareholding by Cyient and BlueBird respectively.
Cyient Solutions & Systems will indigenize, manufacture, assemble, integrate, and test advanced UAV systems at its production facilities in Hyderabad by leveraging BlueBird’s technology and manufacturing know-how. Cyient Solutions & Systems, supported by BlueBird, will also provide comprehensive aftermarket services, including spares, repairs, maintenance, and support to end users across India.
The joint venture’s portfolio includes the SpyLite, ThunderB, and MicroB systems that offer highly-innovative UAS technology designed to fulfill covert, real-time intelligence, and tactical mapping-on-demand missions across open areas or crowded urban environments. Cyient Solutions & Systems recently conducted field trials in India that successfully demonstrated the SpyLite’s outstanding performance in a tactical surveillance role at high altitude and in extreme weather conditions.
Commenting on the announcement, Krishna Bodanapu, chief executive officer and managing director, Cyient, said, “The joint venture with BlueBird Aero Systems combines our design and manufacturing expertise to bring the best of UAV technology solutions to the Indian defence industry.”
NJ Joseph, MD and CEO, Cyient Solutions & Systems added, “BlueBird’s world-class technology, joined with Cyient’s manufacturing and aftermarket capabilities and local presence, offers exceptional value to the rapidly expanding market for UAV solutions in India.”
Ronen Nadir, founder and CEO, BlueBird Aero Systems said, “We are proud to team with Cyient in this joint venture that enables indigenisation, manufacturing, training, and support of our advanced, field-proven UAV systems in India. Bluebird is pleased to transfer to Cyient Solutions & Systems its latest, innovative technology and know-how to further enhance what we see as a long-term partnership with Cyient for the benefit of the Indian UAV market.”
(Source: UAS VISION)
12 Apr 18. TAI delivers first satellite-controlled ANKA-S system to Turkey. The Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) has delivered the first ANKA-S system with satellite control capability to the Armed Forces of the country. The package delivered to the Turkish Armed Forces includes two unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and relevant systems. The delivery has been carried out following the successful completion of an acceptance test for the ANKA-S system, which is capable of performing on both day and night autonomous aircraft. The TAI system has been developed in accordance with the International Security Standards with national flight control computer, national aerial vehicle control computer and national identification, friend or foe (IFF) safety and operational capabilities by new-generation payload integration and national possibilities. The satellite-controlled ANKA-S system will be used by the Turkish Armed Forces to strengthen the strategic power of the Air Forces Command.
The Air Forces Command will be capable of simultaneously controlling six aerial autonomous vehicles through the use of the satellite.
The UAV is capable of individual emergency landing due to completely simulated missions. In the case of link loss, the vehicle can carry out full autonomous landing in defined places. It is fitted with fully autonomous flight mission and camera-guided features that allow it to provide task-oriented flight. The advanced electro-optic/infra-red (EO/IR) camera diagnosis follow-up and designation tasks help provide combat search-and-rescue missions, air-to-ground / ground-to-ground communication support through radio relay. Technical and flight training provided for the Air Forces Command, which commenced in October last year, has been successfully completed. (Source: airforce-technology.com)
10 Apr 18. US Navy Announces Plans to Field New Unmanned, Weapons Systems at Sea-Air-Space Expo. The unmanned MQ-4C Triton aircraft remains on schedule to arrive in Guam later this year to begin an early operational capability, said Capt. Dan Mackin, Triton program manager, April 9 during the 2018 Sea-Air-Space Exposition.
The U.S. Navy’s new persistent, high-altitude intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) platform, Triton will ultimately operate continuously from five orbits, with four aircraft assigned to each. The concept is for one Triton to be departing for orbit while another is arriving back, one remains on station, and one is down for maintenance, Mackin said.
The Seventh Fleet orbit will be the first to stand up when two “baseline” Tritons arrive in Guam later this year. Guam will receive its full complement of Tritons when two upgraded variants arrive in 2021, when the program is scheduled to reach initial operational capability (IOC), Mackin said.
Whereas the two baseline aircraft come equipped with electronic support measures (ESM) that pick up the radar signals of ships, all successive Tritons will feature a more robust set of low- and high-band multi-intelligence (multi-INT) signals receivers, a capability that will allow for the sundown of the EP-3E ARIES II as the Navy’s signals-intelligence platform. The Triton program has been conducting operational test flights at NAS Patuxent River, Maryland, since February, but will soon transfer that testing to Point Mugu, which received the first operational Triton in November. The two baseline Tritons will depart for Guam following completion of operational test, Mackin said.
As of March 20, the Triton program had conducted 168 development and operational test flights totaling 1,170 flight hours.
In addition to Triton, several other programs under Program Executive Office for Unmanned Aviation and Strike Weapons (PEO(U&W)) shared news of recent successes.
MQ-8C Fire Scout set for IOC in 2018
Halfway through production, the MQ-8C Fire Scout unmanned helicopter is ready to begin initial operational test and evaluation this month and on schedule to reach IOC by the end of the 2018, said Capt. Jeff Dodge, Fire Scout program manager.
Dodge said the deployment history of the MQ-8B Fire Scout—more than 8,300 flight hours across 12 deployments since 2009— had informed development of the MQ-8C, which has increased range and payload capacity and more than double the endurance of its predecessor.
“We’ve made a lot of improvements from those first airframes, and we’ve incorporated all of that into the MQ-8C to get the system that we have today,” he said.
The program also expects to demonstrate by the end of 2018 an ability to integrate with the Link 16 data network to send real-time targeting information to weapons already in flight, “to allow for more precise targeting in those over-the-horizon scenarios,” Dodge said.
Italian tests, extended range make for ‘exciting’ time in AARGM program
A partner in the Advanced Anti-Radiation Guided Missile (AARGM) program, the Italian Air Force last week completed testing of the AARGM on its Tornado ECR jet with two successful live fires at Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake, California, a major step towards finishing its initial operational test and evaluation of the missile system, said Capt. Matthew Commerford, program manager for the Direct and Time Sensitive Strike Program Office. Italy will be the first foreign nation to employ AARGM.
“It’s exciting for [the Italian Air Force] in that after all this work with the cooperative development over these past years, AARGM is now an operational capability for them,” Commerford said.
As for “the next exciting thing” in the AARGM program, Commerford identified that as the extended-range variant currently in development. Whereas current AARGMs are powered by the same rocket motor that has been used in the High Speed Anti-Radiation Missile (HARM) since the 1980s, the extended-range variant will boast a newly designed rocket motor and airframe.
Commerford said the plan is to have the extended-range AARGM integrate with the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet and EA-18G Growler. While the new missile will be able to fit inside the F-35C Lightning II’s internal weapons carriage, initially it will not be integrated with the fifth-generation jet’s software, he added.
“It’s an exciting time for the AARGM program, with development of an extended-range capability to refresh that airframe and make it a capable weapon for the foreseeable future,” Commerford said.
New decoys, weapons to give Naval Aviators upper hand
In an effort to counter enemy air defenses and reduce the number of weapons needed to penetrate them, the Navy has begun development on a new system of decoy jammers that can be fired in tandem with armed missiles.
In addition to drawing enemy fire away from actual weapons, the Miniature Air Launched Decoy (MALD-N) will also be equipped with jamming technology to further suppress enemy defenses, said Capt. John Dougherty, program manager for precision strike weapons.
“One of the problems all of our weapons have is that targets are very heavily defended these days with very sophisticated defense systems, and what that makes us do as operators is we’re not in a one shot-one kill mindset, so we have to put multiple weapons downrange so that we can saturate the enemy defenses and achieve the effects we’re looking for,” Dougherty said. “MALD-N going to help with this problem.”
MALD-N is scheduled for an early operational capability (EOC) on the F/A-18 in 2021, with IOC set for 2022.
Between programs like MALD-N and the Navy’s first two network-enabled weapons—the Joint Standoff Weapon (JSOW) C-1, which delivered last year, and Harpoon Block II+, which is scheduled for IOC on the F/A-18 in July—“it’s an extremely exciting time to be in the weapons business,” Dougherty said.
Dougherty was particularly pleased to discuss the outlook for the Long Range Anti-Ship Missile (LRASM), a new weapon set to reach EOC on the U.S. Air Force’s B-1 Lancer in September, and on the Super Hornet a year later.
“LRASM to me is by far the most exciting capability that we’re about to roll out to our fleet aviators,” he said. “It allows our aviators both in the Navy and the Air Force sanctuary employment from long range against that high-end, capital-ship threat. It really is a change in the way we do business. It’s a new operational concept.”
Dougherty noted that, as a semi-autonomous weapon, LRASM can be taken downrange, employed and forgotten. Once a pilot fires LRASM, “they can turn around and go back home and enjoy sanctuary and safety from their ship,” he said.
Dougherty also touched on development of the Small Diameter Bomb (SDB) II, the Navy’s next-generation land-attack weapon. Expected to reach IOC on the F/A-18 in 2020 and the F-35B and C in 2022, SDB II will be able to pick up and seek moving land targets.
“So, you can see there’s a lot of new stuff that we’re putting into the hands of our warfighters, and I really think it’s going to tip the scale in our favor and really make our adversaries think twice before they start to challenge the international norms and order that we’ve all enjoyed for many years,” Dougherty said. (Source: defense-aerospace.com/US Naval Air Systems Command)
10 Apr 18. Aquabotix adds the SwarmDiver USV to its family of systems. Aquabotix has developed a swarming micro unmanned surface vessel (USV) that operates within a swarm and can dive below the surface to become an unmanned underwater vessel, collect data, surface, and return home.
The company has delivered 10 SwarmDivers to the US Navy, Ted Curley, chief development officer for Aquabotix, told Jane’s on 9 April at the annual Navy League Sea-Air-Space conference in National Harbor, Maryland.
SwarmDiver is 75 cm long and weighs about 1.7 kg. It can be deployed by dropping it from a boat or a pier into the water. It can also be deployed from a larger USV, he said.
The vessel has a range of 7 km and battery life of up to 2.5 hours. It uses a dual short-range radio and can communicate with other SwarmDivers that are within 5 m. One vehicle acts like a “queen bee”, Curley said, with the other vehicles communicating back to it. All the communications are done on the surface.
The USV is also fitted with GPS, IMU, and a compass.
The small USV can typically dive to a depth of 50m, but Curley noted it has been successfully tested at depths of more than 100 m. Because of its size and weight, SwarmDiver can operate in the surf zone.
Aquabotix is looking at different payloads, but for now SwarmDiver is fitted with sensors to collect environmental data. Within a swarm, each vessel can be fitted with a different sensor depending on an operator’s needs, Curley said. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
09 Apr 18. Australia set for multi-year at-sea trials of S-100 Camcopter on naval platforms. Key Points:
- The Royal Australian Navy is set to begin a multi-year evaluation of the S-100 Camcopter UAS across its aviation-capable ships
- Trials will prepare the service for more advanced shipborne UAS deployment concepts
The Royal Australian Navy (RAN) will soon begin shipborne trials of the Schiebel S-100 Camcopter rotor-winged unmanned aerial system (UAS) across its aviation-capable platforms, an Australian Department of Defence (DoD) spokesperson confirmed with Jane’s on 9 April. The service has recently completed a series of verifications to ensure that the JP-5 heavy-fuel-powered version of the system is suitable for shipborne evaluations, and is now cleared to conduct the trials at-sea. The trials will be conducted as part of Australia’s Navy Minor Project (NMP) 1942 programme, which seeks to imbue the RAN with interim shipborne vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) UAS competencies. NMP 1942 is widely seen as a precursor to Project SEA 129 Phase 5, which will equip the RAN’s offshore patrol vessels and major surface combatants with operational UAS capabilities. The RAN previously relied on a single aviation gasoline-powered S-100 unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) to inoculate its personnel with unmanned rotary-winged operations. The UAV, which was on loan from Schiebel while awaiting the delivery of two contracted heavy fuel variants of the Camcopter, was deployed with the RAN’s Navy UAS Unit (NUU) based within the Headquarters Fleet Air Arm at HMAS Albatross. The Australian government signed a contract with Schiebel in December 2016 for two Camcopter units in a package that includes three years of technical support, and an interim loan unit for initial personnel training purposes. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
10 Apr 18. New undersea drones are smaller, cheaper and can be refueled deep under water. Bright yellow underwater drones were a visible highlight on the exhibition floor here at the Sea-Air-Space Exposition.
Among the autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) featured: a new high-speed, micro-sized vehicle by Hydroid and a subsea drone refueling station by Teledyne Energy.
Hydroid’s Remus M3V is substantially smaller than previous models. With a compact, A-size (36-inch long, 4.875-inch diameter) envelope and no fins or appendages, the vehicle can achieve speeds of more than 10 knots and dive up to 300 meters. It can be used in search and survey; intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR); and multivehicle missions.
With its variable center of gravity, the Remus M3V can also operate in buoy mode. Its key marketing points are its small size, low cost and compatibility with existing AUV operating systems.
“The Navy always wants more with less,” said Justin S. Reid, business development manager at Hydroid. “They want a smaller vehicle that can do the same things as a larger vehicle, and also the price point to match it.”
Teledyne Energy featured its untethered subsea power station at the exposition, along with its Gavia AUV. The Gavia can perform side-scan sonar operations to capture images of the sea floor. It is intended to travel ahead of Navy fleets and transmit oceanographic data back to the vessels. Teledyne’s subsea power station can remotely refuel the Gavia and other underwater vehicles. Deployable via ship or helicopter, the fuel cell system has an energy storage of 200 kilowatt-hours and an operating depth of 3,000 meters. Teledyne will demonstrate the subsea power station at the Navy’s Advanced Naval Technology Exercise in August. (Source: Defense News)
10 Apr 18. Boeing’s new head of Phantom Works division sets sights on MQ-25 tanker drone, MUX unmanned rotorcraft. Boeing’s entrant for the Navy’s MQ-25 tanker drone competition will incorporate technologies from its recently acquired subsidiary Aurora Flight Sciences, the company’s head of its Phantom Works advanced tech and prototyping division confirmed Monday.
But Mark Cherry, who was named the vice president Phantom Works in October, isn’t giving up any information about Aurora’s contribution to the program until the Navy awards a contract this summer.
“We’re in a competitive situation so we wouldn’t want to tip off our competitors,” he told Defense News in his first interview in his new role. “The ability to leverage Aurora, we do it in ways that make sense in terms of putting us in a good competitive position.”
While Cherry gave no hints as to which Aurora technologies could be adopted in MQ-25, the company specializes in a couple key areas. It’s well known as a pioneer of unmanned aircraft like the ultra-long endurance Orion drone, as well as autonomous tech such as robotic copilots. It also manufactures advanced materials and aerostructures and has developed experimental aircraft concepts.
As the former president and chief operating officer of Aurora, Cherry is intimately familiar with the company’s product line and capabilities. But as Phantom Works’ head, he will have to expand his aperture to a wider product range that includes satellites and space platforms, fighter aircraft and munitions — a task he says is “really exciting.”
“One of the things that Leanne [Caret, CEO of Boeing Defense, Space and Security] challenged me on when I came in was to ensure that Phantom Works was the Phantom Works for all of Boeing Defense. So one of the things we did was make sure we had touchpoints with all of the different organizations within Boeing Defense as opposed to focusing on one particular sector.”
The Marine Corps’ program — which goes by the unwieldy name of Marine Air Ground Task Force Unmanned Aircraft System Expeditionary or MUX — could be a key test of Boeing’s ability to break down those silos.
The service in March released a request for information for MUX, seeking out insight from industry on long-range, ship-based unmanned rotorcraft that could be used for surveillance, as a communications relay and as armed support for manned aircraft.
That kind of a platform could be helmed by several of Boeing’s divisions, but rather than passing over MUX to the company’s rotorcraft or autonomous systems business, the intent is to work collaboratively as requirements evolve, Cherry said.
“The touch points we’ve established will help us streamline what’s the right answer for the Marine Corps for that need,” he said. “We’re doing that as an integrated approach.”
Cherry also said he wants to reevaluate how Phantom Works functions, and make changes where it makes sense to keep the organization agile.
After he assumed leadership of Phantom Works, “we did a lot of things in terms of moving out quickly and looking at process as very added. And that’s one of the things that we’re taking a hard look at is where process is actually adding value and where process we might need to look at doing some things — it might be — a bit differently,” he said.
That’s not to say that Phantom Works’ structure or processes are currently unwieldy or overly bureaucratic, but “whenever you’re in a large organization, you have to challenge paradigms,” he said. “You have to take a look at and see what does make sense and what doesn’t make sense.” (Source: Defense News)
10 Apr 18. Australian Army partners with Defence Innovation Hub. The Australian Army has partnered with the Defence Innovation Hub to award three innovation contracts to Australian industry and research organisations to develop a next generation Small Unmanned Aerial System (SUAS) for use by Australian soldiers.
Victoria’s SYPAQ Systems and NSW’ JAR Aerospace and the University of Sydney each received contracts totalling $783,000.
JAR Aerospace was awarded $275,000 to develop a hybrid vertical take-off and landing with a fixed wing unmanned aerial system that will incorporate target tracking, encryption and acoustic sensing and analysis at an extended range while the University of Sydney was awarded $249,524 to develop a lightweight unmanned aerial system that combines vertical take-off capabilities with horizontal fixed wing flight for extended speed and endurance. The system will be supported by a suite of cutting edge communication, control and sensor payloads.
SYPAQ Systems was awarded $258,621 to further develop its Corvo X small unmanned aerial system that has vertical take-off and landing capacity with an extended flight time. The Corvo X also has a ground control operating system appropriate for use on both Windows and Android platforms. This latest contract is now the third Defence Innovation Hub contract that the Victorian SME has won.
Minister for Defence Industry Christopher Pyne congratulated the three organisations for stepping up to answer the capability challenge presented by Army. The minister said SUAS are crucial to defence units which have an enduring need to be able to detect, observe and classify potential threats as they move through hazardous environments.
“Small Unmanned Aerial System capability enables airborne intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance activities,” Minister Pyne said.
“Ensuring our defence force personnel have the most up-to-date, cutting-edge technology supports them in their mission to defend Australia and its interests.”
“It is encouraging to see the Defence Innovation Hub, the Australian Army and local industry partners working together to develop innovative solutions to enhance defence capability.”
The latest contracts were selected as part of the new Special Notice platform trialled by the Defence Innovation Hub, which allows capability managers to call for industry and research organisations to submit proposals in response to specific capability challenges.
Special Notices will be advertised on the Defence Innovation Portal as they arise. (Source: Google/Defence Connect)
09 Apr 18. The Pentagon is asking for 3 times as many drones for 2019. The Pentagon’s enthusiasm for drones has never been greater.
A new report published today by the Center for the Study of the Drone at Bard University found that in the president’s new budget request, the Department of Defense is asking for three times as many uncrewed vehicles for 2019 as it did in 2018.
That’s 3,447 new drones, to be exact, but don’t expect the skies to go dark with Reapers anytime soon. Despite the numbers requested, the drone budget itself is up by only 26 percent. The Pentagon isn’t just buying more drones, it’s acquiring a whole range of new systems, for everything from undersea surveillance to cheap scouting quadcopters to lasers designed to shoot down the cheap quadcopters of adversaries. The drone century is only just beginning.
“This is the biggest we’ve seen in years that we’ve tracked it,” said Dan Gettinger. Gettinger is co-director of the Center for the Study of the Drone, and its report on drone spending, published today, tracked everything unmanned in the Pentagon budget, as the center has done since 2013. This year, adding up programs across services, the Center found that the Pentagon is asking for $9.39bn in drone spending. “We’ve seen budget hover in the 4-6bn annual range since fiscal year 2013,” Gettinger said. “A budget for just over 9bn for unmanned systems, that’s a pretty substantial increase.”
That $9.39bn breaks down into $2.6bn for the Air Force, $3.7bn for the Navy and the Marines, $1bn for the Army, and almost $1.3bn across the rest of the Pentagon.
“This year the Navy has just skyrocketed past the Air Force,” said Gettinger. Part of that is a $982m request for maritime systems, though last year Congress delivered over $200m less on sea drones than the Navy asked for. “Congress has taken a dim view of unmanned maritime projects in the past and has cut funding for some of those.”
The rise of the underwater drone
Part of the shift in spending from Air Force to Navy is the nature of the drones purchased. When it comes to the iconic drones of the last administration, long-endurance machines like the MQ-9 Reaper and the RQ-4 Global Hawk, the Air Force is simply buying fewer than it used it, and what units it does buy are mostly replacements for aging or lost models. These legacy systems still dominate the budget: maintaining and operating existing machines still costs a pretty penny. In the margins around those big-ticket items, there’s a quiet shift taking place: a new emphasis on cheap, small drones.
Quadcopters show up in every service except the Air Force, as well as Special Operations Command and the generic overall Pentagon budget. There’s $140,000 to buy 100 quadcopters for CTEF, or the Counter-ISIS Train and Equip Fund. The Navy and Marine Corps is asking for 200 InstantEye quadcopters, likely part of a “quads for squads” program. SOCOM wants 50 quadcopters listed as just “quadcopter,” as well as over 500 NANO VTOL drones (which are likely to be quadcopters) and 160 Micro VTOL drones (also almost certainly quadcopters). And the Army’s asking for 1084 drones as part of the Soldier-Borne Sensor program, which wants to put palm-sized quadcopters at the disposal of infantry. Altogether, that’s over 2,000 quadcopters of various models. Excluding the ones requested by SOCOM, which are grouped together with multiple varieties of larger drones, the Pentagon is asking to spend about $30m on small 1,400 drones, for about the same price as two MQ-9 Reapers.
“There’s not a lot of quadcopter action in prior budgets,” Gettinger said. “Last year was the first year we saw some substantial movement on that front, with some funding for quadcopters for CTEF, but it was nothing compared to what we see in FY 19.”
Besides putting small drones into the sky, the Pentagon is also looking to spend more on tools to shoot drones down. In this space, the Navy is also looking to fund multiple counter-drone laser projects, but somehow real-life lasers aren’t even the biggest ticket item. The Department of Defense is asking for $1.07bn on counter-drone tools in this budget, up from $453.9m last year Much of that increase is in the Army’s “Low-slow-small Integrated Defense System” (LIDS), which appear to be some form of guided missile.
“The military is taking a lot of different approaches to solving counter-drone issue,” Gettinger said. “Some of that involves outfitting existing defense systems with [counter-drone] capability and some of it involves thinking about how UAS threat can evolve in the future.”
Speaking of guided missiles, the Center report notes that the Army and Navy are asking for a combined total of 1,618 Switchblade loitering munitions. Related to both cruise missiles and drones, they don’t quite fit in either category. Gettinger noted that technically the Switchblades are included in the budget for missiles, making them closer to Hellfires than Reapers. Complicating it further, the Navy’s submarine-launched Blackwing drone is based on the Switchblade body, though it’s formally billed as an ISR platform, rather than a weapon.
“There’s new funding for Army combat ground vehicle program,” says Gettinger, “It’s not a huge amount of funding but it’s definitely part of the project that we’re going to keep an eye on in the future. They’re going to field test a system, remotely operated M119 armored personnel carrier.”
Specifically, that’s $40m under the “Robotic Combat Vehicle Experimental Unit Prototypes project,” which wants to see robots accompany human-containing vehicles into battle.
It’s hard to say how much of this request will make it through Congress. Yet as a statement of where the Pentagon wants to go, it’s an invaluable guide. By piecing together the whole of the drone budget, the Center finds a pivotal moment, where drones are smaller and more numerous and better dispersed, and distributed too among boats and in submarines and driving on the ground and carried in backpacks. Drones are a big part of how every service sees war in the future playing out, and from cheap scouts in the field to elaborate lasers built to shoot down hostile drones, the notion that drone war is a separable part of warfighting can largely be laid to rest. Drones are an evergreen part of war, now.
Begun, the drone wars have. (Source: Defense News)
09 Apr 18. L3 Unveils Advanced Iver Autonomous Undersea Vehicle. L3 Technologies (NYSE:LLL) announced today that its new Iver Precision Workhorse (Iver PW) autonomous undersea vehicle (AUV) will be featured at its exhibit (Booth 2339) at the 2018 Sea-Air-Space Exposition hosted by the Navy League April 9–11, 2018, at the Gaylord National Convention Center in National Harbor, Maryland. The new Iver PW is the first in a family of advanced, highly capable military AUVs to address a wide variety of customer missions, including multi-domain intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR), anti-submarine warfare (ASW), seabed warfare and mine warfare.
“L3 is making strategic investments in advanced C6ISR capabilities that position us as a prime integrator in the emerging undersea market,” said Christopher E. Kubasik, L3’s Chief Executive Officer and President. “Iver PW offers a broad range of innovative technologies to our U.S. Navy and international customers to aid in executing their missions.”
Iver AUVs support a range of military AUV tasks, with longer endurance, enhanced reliability and survivability, multi-sensor support and increased autonomy. With advanced capabilities, the new Iver PW extends critical features that have made the Iver product family the AUV of choice for military and commercial missions.
“The Iver PW demonstrates L3’s ingenuity and customer focus in developing next-generation processing, autonomy and power technologies to enable new capabilities and missions for a real-time tactical advantage in the field,” said Jeff Miller, L3’s Senior Vice President and President of its Sensor Systems business segment.
The company plans to demonstrate other AUV technologies at Sea-Air-Space, including its novel aluminum-water AUV power module developed by L3 Open Water Power for lithium-free safety and extended range, as well as its theatre ASW simulator developed by L3 Adaptive Methods. (Source: ASD Network)
09 Apr 18. General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA-ASI) today announced that its Predator®-series family of Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA), encompassing Predator, Predator B, Gray Eagle, and Avenger® lines, has achieved a historic industry milestone: five m flight hours. The milestone was achieved on April 4, with 360,311 total missions completed and more than 90 percent of all missions flown in combat.
“Five m flight hours is a testament to the reliability of our RPA systems that are designed, built, and maintained by a dedicated group of skilled and innovative professionals for operations around the world,” said Linden Blue, CEO, GA-ASI. “Our 25-year history has produced a list of ‘firsts’ in RPA development and we have leveraged this progress to apply the latest technology and advancement in our new and improved aircraft, such as the MQ-9B SkyGuardian™.”
The identification of the specific aircraft and customer that achieved the milestone is unknown as every second of every day, 69 Predator-class Medium-altitude, Long-endurance aircraft are airborne worldwide. Flight hours have continued to grow at unprecedented rates in recent years, with 500,000 flight hours achieved from 1993 to 2008, one m hours in 2010, two m hours in 2012, three m hours in 2014, and four m hours in 2016.
“The demand for persistent situational awareness using GA-ASI RPA is demonstrated daily through the increasing accumulation of flight hours. This demand is consistently answered by our team of employees, suppliers, and partners who work hard to meet our customers’ dynamic mission requirements,” said David R. Alexander, president, Aircraft Systems, GA-ASI.
Recently GA-ASI’s Predator B/MQ-9 Reaper fleet passed its own historic milestone, achieving two m flight hours on November 12, 2017 after flying approximately 143,279 total sorties. Predator B/MQ-9 Reaper flight hours now account for approximately 40 percent of GA-ASI’s five m total flight hours and are increasing at an average rate of 37,000 hours a month.
GA-ASI has more than 8,000 employees with 1135 employees and subcontractors deployed worldwide. On average, GA-ASI produces approximately eight aircraft per month. GA-ASI aircraft average over 50,000 hours per month supporting the U.S. Air Force, U.S. Army, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, NASA, the Italian Air Force, the Royal Air Force, the French Air Force, the UAE Armed Forces, and other customers. Missions include helping protect ground units on the battlefield; supporting U.S. Customs & Border Protection operations, and first responders in the wake of natural disasters. These aircraft systems continue to maintain the highest operational availability rates in the U.S. Air Force and U.S. Army aircraft inventories. GA-ASI has produced more than 825 aircraft to date and over 300 Ground Control Stations (GCS). The Predator-series family includes Predator A and Predator XP; Predator B/MQ-9B Reaper, Guardian, Predator B/MQ-9B Reaper Extended Range (ER), MQ-9B SkyGuardian, and SeaGuardian; Gray Eagle/ER; and Predator C Avenger/ER.
05 Apr 18. China developing UAVs for aircraft carriers. The China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC) has confirmed it is pursuing a development programme for carrier-based unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), according to an interview with CASC senior engineer, Shi Wen, published in the Global Times newspaper on 3 April.
Additional remarks from Li Jie, a widely quoted naval commentator in Beijing, added that “research into carrier-based UAVs started a long time ago”.
In fact, commercial satellite imagery captured in November 2016 shows a UAV at a catapult test site of the People’s Liberation Army Navy Air Force (PLANAF) base at Huangdicun. The site has two catapult test tracks installed side by side, one of which is assessed to be steam powered, and the other electromagnetic. (Source: Defense News Early Bird/IHS Jane’s)
09 Apr 18. Future plans emerge for US Navy’s Triton surveillance drones. It could be several years before the Navy can deploy persistent, around-the-clock surveillance using its new high-flying surveillance drone.
The MQ-4C Triton, a cousin of the Air Force’s RQ-4 Global Hawk, is capable of flying at altitudes of 50,000 feet for over 24 hours providing persistent intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance in maritime environments.
Last November contractor Northrop Grumman announced it delivered the first of two Tritons to the Navy for operational testing. These two aircraft, following a series of operational tests at Point Mugu, California, will be delivered to Guam and perform ISR missions for the Navy’s 7th Fleet in the Pacific.
Navy officials have said to provide an orbit of Tritons — a 24/7 persistent ISR capability over a target — four aircraft are necessary.
This won’t happen in 7th Fleet until the 2021 timeframe.
The aircraft that will be delivered to Guam are what the Navy is calling a baseline capability and 7th Fleet will not receive additional Tritons until the 2021 timeframe when the service seeks to equip forthcoming Tritons with a raft of intelligence payloads.
This so-called “multi-int” capability will take over for the retiring EP-3 surveillance aircraft.
In terms of other theaters, Capt. Dan Mackin, program manager, for the Navy’s Persistent Maritime Unmanned Aircraft Systems Program Office, told reporters at the annual Sea Air Space conference in National Harbor, Maryland on April 9 that locations next in line for the orbits will be Sigonella, Italy; 5th Fleet based in the Bahrain; Mayport, Florida and Whidbey Island, Washington.
“The orbits are based on the capacity stand up and we’re producing roughly three aircraft per year,” Mackin said. “If you think of the timing from that perspective, as soon as we have four aircraft, we’ll get each of those orbits stood up.”
Fifth Fleet is currently operating the Broad Area Maritime Surveillance—Demonstrator, or BAMS-D, a capability based on the Global Hawk that was intended to be a short term demonstrator, but has been in such high demand that it has been operating in theater for over seven years.
One of the critical tasks the Triton will perform is a cooperative mission with P-8 Poseidon surveillance aircraft. Mackin said that the P-8’s primary mission is anti-submarine, which makes its additional ISR role difficult to perform simultaneously.
The Triton, he noted, will fill that role by performing high-altitude ISR while the P-8 performs anti-submarine warfare. Operators of both platforms have the ability to chat and collaborate during these missions.
(Source: Defense News)
05 Apr 18. After an explosion, send in a spider-bot. Nothing in particular about Festo, a Germany-based international corporation specializing in industrial robotics, suggests that the company has a mandate to design spider robots. Yet the company is perhaps best known for its array of bio-inspired machines, everything from ants to flapping butterflies to, now, tumbling robot spiders. The latest, straightforwardly dubbed “BionicWheelBot,” is inspired by the flic-flac spider, which can transform from normal legged movement to a sort of sideways handstand that then launches into a wheel motion.
That’s hard to capture in words, so here’s what it looks like in a gif:
Why the spider bot? What purpose can there be in such a machine? Festo’s choice of a flic-flac spider is instructive, as the flic-flac can move efficiently through the desert sands of its native Morocco. Here’s how Festo puts it:
[The flic-flac spider] is, therefore, ideally adapted to its surroundings: on even ground, it is twice as fast in so-called rolling mode than when walking. However, where it is uneven, it is faster walking normally. As such, in the desert, where both types of terrain can be found, it is able to move safely and efficiently.
Since its discovery, Professor [Ingo] Rechenberg has been working on transferring its movement patterns to the technical field. The studies into the spider’s behaviour led to the design of various robots that can propel themselves on difficult terrain. For the BionicWheelBot, the scientist from Berlin has now developed the kinematics and drive concept together with our bionics team.
Transforming from a wheel to a legged-mode of transportation is the stuff of Saturday morning cartoons, and it it is the evolution of a real-life spider. As Festo shows, it can also be the stuff of future robots.
What could militaries do with machines like this? My mind immediately went to the destroyer droids featured in the Star Wars prequel trilogy (and the Clone Wars TV show). In fiction, the robots traveled fast over level terrain as wheels, and then stabilized into legged gun platforms once in combat. Outside of fiction, the dual-modes of a rolling robot suggest patrols or inspections, a machine that can speed along intact roads to where it needs to go and then, once there, walk over any rubble or rough terrain to scout the area. Wheeled vehicles often get stuck on anything other than a smooth surface, and tracked machines can be slow, so rolling into action and then climbing over, say, the new debris from an explosion would mean the robot can be in place fast and surmount obstacles that would delay or hinder other robots.
Festo is not in the business of designing biomimetic robots for military use, so it’s likely up to someone else to figure out if a rolling walking spider scout bot is the kind of tool troops might want to take into the field. If they decide against the wheeling spiders, there are still plenty of other robotic companions available. (Source: C4ISR & Networks)
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CYBER, EW, CLOUD COMPUTING AND HOMELAND SECURITY UPDATE
Sponsored by Spectra Cyber Security Solutions
11 Apr 18. Thales to Open a Cybersecurity Hub in Dubai. Thales’s cybersecurity hub in Dubai will become a centre of excellence for Cyber Consulting, services to the region. The Middle East, and in particular the UAE, have huge digital ambitions and is becoming increasingly digitized across virtually all its major infrastructures. The Cyber Hub will harness Thales’s local expertise and use established world-class methodologies as well as cyber training, simulation and threat intelligence.
Recent reports suggest that the Middle East is especially prone to large-scale cyberattacks, making security in the region a major priority. Across 2017 alone the number of incidents in the region has doubled, meaning the threat of cyber-attacks on businesses there is at an all-time high . But most importantly, as businesses continue to extend big data, cloud and mobility, and Internet of Things (IoT) across the entire value chain, from industrial equipment and processes to consumer devices, such attacks are not only growing in number, but also in sophistication. A more proactive and robust approach must be taken to secure critical data and futureproof businesses for success.
Thales is committed to supporting customers’ big ambitions by accelerating their transformation and enables them to make the right decisions at the right time. To that end, Thales has invested over €1bn over the past three years in key digital technologies, including IoT, big data, artificial intelligence and cybersecurity. These competencies will be brought to bear at the Dubai Cyber Hub, where the group’s expertise in safety and security critical markets, will be leveraged against Thales’s region-specific expertise and footprint. The strategy aims at helping customers in the region deliver successful business and digital transformation, both safely and securely.
Through a consultancy-led approach, the Cyber Hub will utilise established methodologies developed by the group, including, cyber health checks, cyber vulnerability investigations, industrial control and SCADA specific risk assessment, as well as cyber training and simulation and threat intelligence. These methodologies, will be leveraged with the products and services from Thales’s diverse portfolio, and tailored to local needs by using local expertise, with the ultimate aim of enabling local businesses to adopt a more agile and proactive response to customer needs.
The Hub will seek to improve customers’ competitive advantage by providing them more robust cyber security protocols, and develop opportunities to upskill and build strategic partnerships with other established cyber businesses across the Middle East.
The final piece of the puzzle comes from Thales’s long established track record in fostering strong partnerships with SME’s, startups, and leading academics. One of the first examples of efforts in this area will be the leveraging of best practices garnered by the Thales 2017 STATION F programme, where the Group supports talented cyber SMEs in their development. These will be incorporated into the Hub’s operations, in an effort to embed the Hub as an integral part of the local start-up and incubator ecosystem, and ultimately boost the local landscape to benefit the Middle East’s digital transformation as a whole.
”GCC countries, and in particular the UAE, are at the heart of digital transformation. As the value chain becomes increasingly digitised, the risk of cyberattacks is also on the rise. The stakes are high and cybersecurity is the critical component in the equation; it must be built into applications to protect businesses and critical infrastructure from the very beginning of the process. Through our Cyber Hub, we will work with our customers to bolster their organisations against vulnerabilities and deliver world-class digital transformation safely and securely” Pascale Sourisse, Senior Executive Vice-President, International Development, Thales. (Source: ASD Network)
11 Apr 18. U.S. Faces Evolving, Emboldened Adversaries in Cyberspace, Officials Warn. As threats in cyberspace constantly evolve, the United States is facing adversaries that are increasingly sophisticated, capable and emboldened in that domain, top defense officials told lawmakers today. The cyberspace domain has “evolved dramatically” in the eight years since U.S. Cyber Command was established, Navy Adm. Michael S. Rogers, the director of the National Security Agency and commander of Cybercom, said at a hearing of the House Armed Services Committee’s subcommittee on emerging threats and capabilities.
“Today we face threats that have increased in sophistication, magnitude, intensity, velocity and volume, threatening our vital national security interests and economic well-being,” Rogers said.
Kenneth P. Rapuano, assistant secretary of defense for homeland defense and global security, testified alongside Rogers at the hearing on the fiscal year 2019 cyber budget, strategy, policy and programs.
Rapuano stressed the importance of good “cyber hygiene” and described national cyber security as a “team sport.” He said 2018 will be a landmark year because Cybercom will elevate to unified combatant command status, will welcome a new commander and will complete the force generation phase of the cyber mission force.
He highlighted the prioritization of the three themes in the 2018 National Defense Strategy: increasing lethality, strengthening alliances and reforming the department’s practices.
He said his focus has been on ensuring the Defense Department is organizing, resourcing and posturing itself to be “ready to fight in and through cyberspace in a conflict with great power competitors.”
The Defense Department, Rapuano said, is pushing hard to ensure it can “deter aggression and out-think, out-maneuver, out-partner and out-innovate our competitors and adversaries in cyberspace.”
Emboldened Cyber Adversaries
The United States has concerns about activities by Russia, China, Iran and North Korea, Rogers said.
“Russia and China, which we see as peer or near-peer competitors, respectively, in cyberspace, remain our greatest concern,” Rogers said. “But rogue nations like Iran and North Korea have grown growing capabilities and are using aggressive methods to conduct malicious cyberspace activities.”
Further, Rogers said several states have mounted sustained campaigns against U.S. defense contractors to identify and steal key enabling technologies, capabilities, platforms and systems.
“Our adversaries have grown more emboldened, conducting increasingly aggressive activities to extend their influence with limited fear of consequences,” he said. “We must change our approaches and responses here if we are to change that dynamic.”
Rogers, who is retiring later this spring, thanked the committee for its support of the mission and its confidence in his work and the work of Cybercom.
He highlighted recent successes of the command, including the first joint force headquarters in the Department of Defense Information Network achieving full operational capability, as well as Joint Task Force Ares successfully integrating cyberspace operations into the broader military campaign to defeat the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.
“Without cyberspace superiority on today’s battlefield, risk to mission increases across all domains and endangers our security,” he said.
President Donald J. Trump has nominated Army Lt. Gen. Paul M. Nakasone, the commander of U.S. Army Cyber Command, to succeed Rogers.
(Follow Lisa Ferdinando on Twitter: @FerdinandoDoD)
10 Apr 18. New US Navy EW program set for major milestone this summer.
One of the Navy’s newest electronic warfare programs is slated for what’s known as a “critical design review” — a technical audit to ensure any systems produced under the program can meet performance, cost, schedule and risk baselines.
The Advanced Off-Board Electronic Warfare (AOEW) design is a self-contained sensor pod that will be outfitted to MH-60 Sierra and Romeo helicopters to extend a ship’s line-of-sight limitations in the electromagnetic spectrum. Executives at Lockheed Martin, the payload’s designer, said they’re on track for the CDR and testing in late June or early July.
“It is a very fast program,” Joseph Ottaviano, director of electronic warfare systems at Lockheed Martin, told C4ISRNET during an interview April 9 at the Navy League’s Sea Air Space conference, adding it’s only been a little over a year since the award to CDR.
Part of the speed has to do with understanding the electronic warfare infrastructure the Navy wants, Ottaviano said. Citing a quote from a flag officer, he noted the Navy’s EW approach is now one of enterprise protection.
In the past EW was taken as more of an anti-ship missile defense approach to an individual ship, but things are changing.
“You’re defending not just yourself, but the battle group,” Ottaviano said.
While not divulging much detail, Ottaviano also added that AOEW — and even the Surface Electronic Warfare Improvement Program, for which Lockheed is working on Block 2 — can share its data with other assets.
This creates a more holistic situational understanding of what signals exist within a certain area — informing not just the Navy, but the joint force. (Source: Defense News Early Bird/Defense News)
10 Apr 18. Russia Has Figured Out How to Jam U.S. Drones In Syria, Officials Say. The Russian military has been jamming some U.S. military drones operating in the skies over Syria, seriously affecting American military operations, according to four U.S. officials. The Russians began jamming some smaller U.S. drones several weeks ago, the officials said, after a series of suspected chemical weapons attacks on civilians in rebel-held eastern Ghouta. The Russian military was concerned the U.S. military would retaliate for the attacks and began jamming the GPS systems of drones operating in the area, the officials explained. The officials said the equipment being used was developed by the Russian military and is very sophisticated, proving effective even against some encrypted signals and anti-jamming receivers. (Source: defense-aerospace.com/NBC News)
10 Apr 18. Australian Cyber warfare capabilities need more investment: ASPI. Continued investment in cyber capability is crucial if Australia hopes to remain ahead and defend against the latest cyber military threats, a new report from the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) has warned.
In a review of the government’s readiness for cyber warfare, ASPI has recommended a “substantial” increase in spending on cyber, beyond that flagged in the 2016 Defence White Paper, as the government looks to prepare to face future adversaries, as well as a focus on better training.
“The 2016 Defence White Paper noted that ‘enhancements in intelligence, space and cyber security will require around 900 ADF positions’. Those positions were part of the $400 m in spending announced in the white paper and will be spread across the ADF,” the report said.
“While this is significant, given the limits of what can be achieved with current spending on conventional kit, the Australian government should consider conducting a cost/benefit analysis on the relative value of substantial further spending on cyber to provide it with an asymmetric capability against future adversaries. This would need to include a considerable investment in training.”
Another key recommendation in the report, authored by head of the International Cyber Policy Centre Fergus Hanson and ASPI visiting fellow Tom Uren, suggests increasing the salary of Australian Signals Directorate (ASD) staff and establish an alumni network in an effort tackle recruitment and retention issues that the government faces due to competition with the private industry.
“Recruiting and retaining Australia’s top technical talent is a major hurdle. In the medium term, ASD will have to continue to invest heavily in training, raise salaries … and develop an alumni network and culture that allow former staﬀ to return in new roles after a stint in private industry,” the report said.
The report comes after Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull in 2016 confirmed Australia’s offensive cyber capability while announcing Australia would use this capability against offshore cyber criminals. While the capability allows Australia to respond to serious cyber attacks, and support for military operations, including those against Daesh in Iraq and Syria, and counter offshore cyber criminals, it is not without its weaknesses. The report said capabilities need to be highly tailored to be effective, like the Stuxnet worm that targeted Iran’s nuclear centrifuges, meaning that they can be expensive to develop and lack flexibility. When used in isolation, they are unlikely to be decisive and while major, blunt attacks (such as WannaCry and NotPetya) are relatively cheap and easy, they are unusable by responsible state actors such as Australia. Achieving the appropriate specificity and proportionality requires investment of time and eﬀort. The report also flagged the capability requiring constant, costly investment as cyber security evolves as another weakness, as well as the capability not being able to be showcased as a deterrent in the same way that conventional capability can, because revealing specific capability renders it redundant as defences are repaired. (Source: Defence Connect)
10 Apr 18. Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE: NOC) is participating in CyberUK 2018, the National Cyber Security Centre’s flagship cybersecurity event, where the company will discuss emerging cyber systems and the potential for driving innovation through synergies in government and commercial industry partnerships. CyberUK 2018 is attended by U.K. and international cyber security experts from government, industry, the CNI and academia.
Vern Boyle, vice president, advanced technologies, Northrop Grumman, provided industry insights on National Security Perspectives and Potential Synergies with Commercial Technologies at the track 2 session on Tuesday at 3:30 p.m.
“Defence and national security systems must withstand nation-state level attacks and these sophisticated threats often drive the need for unique government-purpose solutions,” said Boyle. “Military grade cyber resilience technologies and innovations can contribute to security in consumer and commercial applications, and have an important role to play in creating synergies between government and commercial industry partnerships.”
10 Apr 18. Hensoldt expands into cyber domain. Germany’s Hensoldt announced on 10 April that it had formed a joint venture with Secure Elements to offer cyber-security solutions. The new company, known as Hensoldt Cyber Gmbh, will develop security-hardened basic IT systems. The organisation is working on developing secure operating systems and basic hardware for use in Hensoldt systems. Marian Rachow, managing director of Hensoldt Cyber, noted that the focus on basic computing “avoids the shortcomings of conventional cyber protection, which only kicks in at higher application levels and can therefore be easily circumvented”.
The company noted that development and integration of systems will be undertaken in Germany, thereby allowing for a secure product-development chain. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
10 Apr 18. Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT) and Cobham (LSE: COB) are joining forces for the Next Generation Jammer Low Band (NGJ-LB) competition to replace the U.S. Navy’s ALQ-99 tactical jamming system currently on the E/A-18 Growler aircraft.
“The Lockheed Martin and Cobham team will leverage expertise in both companies to offer the U.S. Navy a critically important system with increased capability and reduced risk,” said Joe Ottaviano, director of electronic warfare at Lockheed Martin. “Our team is confident we can meet the Navy’s need for improved jamming capabilities with a scalable, open architecture design that balances capabilities with size, weight and power constraints.”
Both partners on the team bring critical capabilities and areas of expertise. Cobham developed and was the only production partner to the U.S. Navy for the ALQ-99 Low Band Transmitter/Antenna Group (LBT/AG) and has been supporting the LBT/AG program for more than 20 years. Lockheed Martin has been developing electronic warfare solutions for more than 40 years and has experience with various airborne and naval electronic warfare programs, including the Advanced Off-Board Electronic Warfare (AOEW) system and the multi-mission AN/ALQ-210 and AN/ALQ-217 Electronic Support Measures (ESM) systems for the U.S. Navy. These Lockheed Martin products provide situational awareness, threat warning and proven electronic warfare solutions to detect, track and deter incoming threats.
“Cobham has continued to invest in state-of-the-art, next generation Airborne Electronic Attack (AEA) transmitter capabilities for the EA-18G community and looks forward to continuing to deliver reliable and scalable solutions well into the future,” said Jim Barber, senior vice president of Cobham Integrated Electronic Solutions, a business unit of Cobham Advanced Electronic Solutions. “Our strong partnership with Lockheed Martin on programs such as AOEW and the Surface Electronic Warfare Improvement Program (SEWIP) Block 2, along with our collective capabilities and heritage with the electronic warfare community will provide the best value for the U.S. Navy.”
The NGJ-LB system will be integrated on the EA-18G aircraft and will replace the ALQ-99 low band pods. The ALQ-99 is a tactical jamming system that has been deployed on the EA-6B Prowler and now the EA-18G Growler. The NGJ-LB system will provide significantly greater electronic attack capabilities in the lower frequency bands of the electromagnetic spectrum against modern threats.
Cobham is the only company to continuously provide ALQ-99 Airborne Electronic Attack transmitters to the U.S. Navy since the initial operational deployment of the EA-6B in 1972, delivering over 850 transmitters. Since that time, Cobham has invested in cutting edge Gallium Nitride (GaN) power amplifier and antenna technology to ensure that the Navy’s high performance, reliability, and sustainability needs are met. Cobham’s latest ALQ-99 Low Band Transmitter has provided critical protection for U.S. and coalition warfighters since 2005.
09 Apr 18. Indonesia selects electronic, anti-submarine warfare suite from Thales for Martadinata frigates. Key Points:
- Indonesia has selected electronic and anti-submarine warfare sensors from Thales for its SIGMA 10514 warships
- Equipment will bolster the platform’s role as an all-round major surface combatant
The Indonesian Navy’s (Tentara Nasional Indonesia – Angkatan Laut, or TNI-AL’s) Martadinata-class frigates have been equipped with the Scorpion 2, and the Vigile 100 radar electronic countermeasure, and support systems from Thales as part of its electronic warfare suite.
The TNI-AL currently operates a fleet of two ships in the class, which has been built according to Damen Schelde’s SIGMA 10514 design. Lead ship KRI Raden Eddy Martadinata (331) was commissioned in April 2017 while its sister vessel, KRI I Gusti Ngurah Rai (332) was inducted in January 2018.
The Scorpion 2 has been designed to counter target acquisition radars and missiles with active radar homing guidance methods. The system employs a steerable dual-head transmitter unit, and operates in the 7.5 to 18 GHz frequency. According to a product literature from Thales, the system can handle up to two threats simultaneously.
Meanwhile the Vigile 100 employs between four and six direction-finding antennas around the platform’s mast to locate and identify potential hazards. The system operates in the 2–18 GHz range, and works in tandem with the Scorpion 2 system to provide the platform with area and self-defence capabilities against radar and electronic threats.
Besides the radar electronic warfare equipment, Jane’s has also received confirmation from an Indonesian industry source that the Martadanita frigates have been equipped with the CAPTAS-2/UMS 4229 variable depth sonar (VDS) from Thales. This is in addition to the Kingklip/UMS 4132 hull-mounted sonar from the same company. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
05 Apr 18. US Army Cyber Command gets limited acquisition authority
Army Cyber Command is using a limited acquisition authority granted in 2017 to get capability into the hands of operators faster.
This authority, delegated by the Army Acquisition Executive, grants the deputy to the commander of ARCYBER the ability to expend resources to develop, modify and acquire non-program of record, cyber operations-peculiar equipment and capabilities, an ARCYBER spokesman wrote to Fifth Domain.
“I have the ability to authorize projects up to $500,000 [in research, development, test and evaluation funds], and $2 m for procurement to do acquisition for an operational command,” Ronald Pontius, deputy to the commander, said during a speech in early March at an AFCEA-hosted conference.
Leaders have often discussed the need to procure rapidly, given how fast things can change in the cyber domain.
“As we talk about the way ahead, the Army also recognized … that Army Cyber Command needed the ability to do what I call operational development,” Pontius said. “Smaller prototyping is actually delegated directed to me as the deputy to the commanding general.”
The Air Force, similarly, has devised a nontraditional, and some might say controversial, mechanism for rapid cyber procurement for operators. The Air Force, under a construct termed Real Time Operations and Innovation (ROTI), uses operations and maintenance funds for rapid cyber capability development (a funding source ARCYBER’s authority does not include).
The military has certain buckets of funds, colloquially known as the “color of money,” allocated for specifically defined things. Typically, the services have used research, development, test and evaluation funds in this space. Many might be hesitant to get creative when it comes to fiscal law and think outside the box, because using funds other than what they were intended for can be cause for imprisonment.
Within the ROTI, the Air Force has established a three-pronged criteria for such rapid cyber capability development:
- Total anticipated investment is less than $2m;
- The “project enhances or is linked to an existing operational system, platform or capability;” and
- “The project’s end product or capability can achieve Capability Release for Operational Use in less than 180 days.” (Source: Fifth Domain)
02 Apr 18. After Failed Search for Jammer Drones, US Army Takes Unusual Step. The service is switching to a little-understood and lightly regulated contracting method to get them.
The U.S. Army wants drone-mounted signal jammers now to dominate future electronic warfare and is switching to a little-understood and lightly regulated contracting method to get them.
After more than a year trying to fill a standard contract for a drone-mounted system to jam enemy communications, the Army’s electronic warfare division is switching course and will use a fast-track system that isn’t bound by traditional contracting rules.
Rather than continue its year-long, Federal Acquisition Regulation-based solicitation, the Army Electronic Warfare and Cyber division is handing its multi-function electronic warfare Air Large program over to the Consortium for Command, Control and Communications in Cyberspace, or C5. While the Army will still pick the winner of the Air Large contract, that company will be a member of the C5 consortium.
The Army began a traditional FAR-based solicitation in February 2017 for an electronic warfare system that would jam enemy communications and establish signal superiority for U.S. troops. Under the original proposal, that system would be mounted on a Gray Eagle unmanned aerial system.
After more than a year working through the contracting process, the EW division decided to shift to using the Defense Department’s other transaction authority, an increasingly popular solicitation process that doesn’t have to abide by acquisition regulations.
Having moved beyond the restrictions of the FAR, Army EW was able to tap one of the main OT contracting methods: the consortium.
When the Army releases the revised requirements, only C5’s 900-plus members will be eligible to compete for it. If interested, those members will be able to submit white paper proposals through the consortium, which will pass the bids along to Army contracting officials for consideration.
The new requirements have not been released yet, but a C5 representative told Nextgov they are expected within the next few weeks and will be immediately sent to consortium members.
While only C5 members will have access to the solicitation documents, other companies can join C5 at any time, a representative said. The annual membership fee is $500.
Along with access to C5 contracts, consortium members also get assistance with their proposals, which C5 contracting officials double-check before sending along to Army contracting officers.
The original solicitation proposed a single-award, multi-year contract with no dollar ceiling, though that could change under the new requirements. (Source: Defense News Early Bird/Defense One)
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12 Apr 18. Lockheed F-16V, Saab Gripen Compete for Slovakian Order. US manufacturer Lockheed Martin on April 10 delivered an offer for its F-16V combat aircraft to Slovakia, which is in the final phase of its search for a new fighter to replace the obsolete MiG-29s still operated by its air force. The F-16V, the latest version of the venerable US fighter, is competing with Saab’s Gripen for the Slovak order. Defense Minister Peter Gajdoš will submit his recommendation to the Slovak cabinet by June 29, 2018, according to local news reports.
Slovakia wants a modern, single-engined fighter with a lower fuel consumption than the twin-engined MiG-29. Slovakia also wants to replace these fighters to free itself from dependency on maintenance and spare parts by Russia. Moreover, their availability is unacceptably low: while Slovakia has 12 MiG-29s, only three to four are able to fly” at any one time, local defense analyst Jaroslav Nad told the DennikN website.
t’s official proposing new AESA equipped F-16 Block 70 multi-role fighters to replace MiG 29 aircraft. F-16 is a pillar of NATO defence in Europe. This most advanced & capable variant is at price comparable with its competitor – 1st deliveries 2022.
Given the general similarity between F-16 and Gripen – both are single-engined, single-seat fighters with broadly comparable capabilities – acquisition and operating costs are likely to be the dominant selection criteria. The major capability difference is that the F-16V is being offered with the APG-83 Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar, while the Gripen C offered by Sweden has a mechanically-scanned radar.
A notable difference between the two competitors is that the “V” version of the F-16 has not entered production, and will not be available for delivery until 2022 at the earliest, while the Gripen is in production and, if Slovakia opts for a lease, like Hungary and the Czech Republic, Swedish Air Force Gripen Cs can be delivered within two years.
Costs likely to determine choice
Lockheed’s offer, as outlined in an April 4 Congressional notification by the Defense Security Cooperation Agency, comprising 14 F-16 Block 70/72 V aircraft with a relatively modest weapon package, is priced by DCSA at $2.91bn, or about $208m per aircraft including weapons, training and support.
“The proposed F-16 aircraft deal will be able to compete with the Swedish Gripen aircraft and will form part of a package that includes training and weaponry,” Lockheed representative Michael Kelley told the local TASR newswire, but he declined to specify the actual cost as the sale is still under negotiation. He also declined to specify flight hour costs, only saying that “although the cost of Gripen might be lower, their service life would be less than those of F-16s,” TASR reported.
Slovak MoD spokeswoman Danka Capakova said last week that, in reality, “the price of the F-16 will be about 1bn euro lower, since at least in the first phase Slovakia will not go for the full package,” the Slovak DennikN website reported April 10.
The price for Gripen has not been made public, and moreover depends on whether Slovakia would buy Gripens or lease them; the Czech Republic is currently paying 50m euros per year to lease 14 Gripens, it added.
A Saab spokesman could not provide information on the company’s offer to Slovakia by deadline, and said in an April 12 e-mail that “when it comes to prices and such, we normally don’t give that sort of detailed information out for competitive reasons,” a fear that the US Government and Lockheed Martin obviously do not share. However, it is public knowledge that the Czech Air Force operates 14 Gripen under 10-year lease agreement signed in 2004 and costing CZK19.6bn (now worth $770m). This agreement was extended for another 12 years in May 2014. On the basis of the original lease, Gripen’s cost works out to €77m per year at current exchange rates, although the cost was probably increased when the lease was renewed.
Operating and maintenance costs of Gripen are also much lower than those of the F-16. While no official figures are available, Jane’s Defence Weekly says Gripen’s flight hour costs are around $4,700, compared to $7,000 for the F-16.
However, the F-35 Selected Acquisition Report released on March 19, and which compares F-35 and F-16C/D operating and support costs, pegs the F-16C/D Cost Per Flying Hour at a far higher $26,000, of which $6,000 for maintenance, $2,000 for sustaining support and $10,000 for unit-level manpower. Unit operations ($6,000) and continuing system improvements ($2,000) bring the total to $26,000.
While direct cost comparisons are not possible without detailed knowledge of both offers, the orders of magnitude between F-16V and Gripen differ sufficiently for the balance to lean towards the latter.
But a Lockheed spokesman suggested April 12 that “we wait see what’s in US Government response, when submitted, as the actual price from both bidders will depend on training, logistics, weapons support, and not just the platform.” He added that “I would draw your attention to our statement that we will be competitively priced versus competitor.”
F-16 deliveries in 2022 at the earliest
Lockheed’s Michael Kelley told TASR newswire that the F-16V would not be delivered before 2022, ostensibly to give the Slovakian Air Force time to modernize its infrastructure, adding that the first four F-16Vs should be delivered to Slovakia at that time. The fact that the F-16’s “V” version is not yet in production is probably not unconnected to the four-year delivery time. This means that Slovakia would have to operate the MiG-29 for at least five more years, which is likely to prove costly — they are estimated to cost €200-250 m – and some Slovak media fear that, being classified, this contract could allow some shady business practices and encourage corruption. Gripen can be delivered faster, TASR reported. Saab claims it can deliver the first fighters within two years, which would allow Slovakia to avoid extending the MiG-29 maintenance contract with Russia, which runs out at the end of 2019.
“The few months gap until delivery of the new fighters could be bridged by cooperation with the Czech Republic, which could take care of our airspace” Nad told DennikN. (Source: defense-aerospace.com)
11 Apr 18. OIP and Hydroid partner to compete for Belgian MCM Toolbox programme. Defence company OIP Sensor Systems has signed a partnership agreement with Norwegian technology firm Kongsberg Maritime’s subsidiary Hydroid for the Belgian Ministry of Defence’s (MoD) mine countermeasures (MCM) toolbox programme. The toolbox comprises one of two main parts of Belgium and the Netherland’s bi-national concept for future MCM, along with the MCM platform. The team is expected provide an MCM package under the initiative, which will consist of the operational Seagull multi-mission unmanned surface vehicle (USV), an effective acoustic underwater communication technology and advanced electro-optic systems. Additionally, the package is slated to include Hydroid’s new and widely deployed remote environmental monitoring units (REMUS), as well as autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) and the company’s autonomous deployment and retrieval system (DRS).
Hydroid president Duane Fotheringham said: “We are pleased to be teaming with OIP on the MCM Toolbox programme.
“Together, our technology and capabilities provide a complete MCM solution that serves as a crucial component for increasing our customer’s mine action capability.”
The collaboration will primarily focus on enabling the team to win significant shares of the development and production of the MCM toolbox programme. It is also expected to support OIP’s aim of forming a highly competitive Belgian lead collaboration, which would combine a proven unmanned MCM solution with an extensive systems integration experience.
OIP Sensor Systems chief executive officer Freddy Versluys said: “We are proud to form this excellent team.
“Our integrated solution is a powerful, precise and extensively tested package that provides a robust, effective and efficient answer to the customer’s operational needs.” (Source: naval-technology.com)
11 Apr 18. Portugal to establish UAV-based ISTAR capability. Tekever, Elbit Systems, Airbus’ SURVEY Copter, AeroVironment, and Altus are competing to deliver the Portuguese Army’s first intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition, and reconnaissance (ISTAR) capability based on small unmanned air vehicles (UAVs). The procurement, to run through 2021, is worth up to EUR6 m and is being executed by the NATO Support and Procurement Agency (NSPA) through an agreement with Portugal. A request for proposal (RFP) was issued on 21 December 2017 and closed on 28 February 2018. Bids are now being analysed, and a contract and initial deliveries are expected this year, the army told Jane’s. NSPA declined to elaborate on the bidders’ proposals. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
12 Apr 18. US Navy’s top officer lays out aggressive new cruiser replacement strategy. Buoyed by rapid progress on the next-generation Frigate, the U.S. Navy’s top officer is ready to quickly move out on the long-debated replacement for the Navy’s aging cruisers.
In an exclusive interview with Defense News, Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson laid out a strategy for a new large surface combatant that uses some of the tricks the Navy is employing on the FFG(X) program: looking at existing hull forms as a base for a tailor-made future combatant that can evolve over time.
“We’re going to start putting the pedal to the metal on the next major surface combatant,” Richardson said Wednesday afternoon. “I think we learned a lot in the frigate discussion and turn around the major surface combatant discussion in record time.
“I’d like to do the whole thing, well, as fast as possible but do it in the frigate timeframes: in terms of defining what we want, the requirements, getting industry involved, making it a very open competition.”
The Navy will be zeroing in on what they want out of their new ship very quickly, Richardson said, which means shipbuilders and industry could be getting bids together on the Navy’s new major surface combatant in a matter of months instead of years.
“I’d like to get this pretty well defined in the 2018, 2019 timeframe,” he said.
Richardson pointed to three main focus areas for a new major surface combatant: An existing hull form to speed up acquisition; excess power capacity; and the ability to rapidly switch out systems.
“Some parts of that ship are going to be very similar to ships that are around right now (hull forms) and that’s going to last the life of the ship,” Richardson said. “So, let’s get a hull form – and there are probably ones out there that are just fine.”
The second area Richardson pointed to is the electrical plant, a must if the Navy is going to integrate lasers and electromagnetic weapons in the future.
“Power plant and power generation: You need to really pay attention to that because when you buy that, its very hard to change that after you buy it,” he said. “And if you think about the kinds of combat systems and weapons systems we’re going to have on future ships, they have got to be able to generate pulsed power and those sorts of things.
“So, lots of power: Buy as much power as you can afford because it’s like RAM on your computer, you’re going to need more as soon as you buy it.”
The third area, Richardson said, is that new technology must be easily switched during short stints in the yards, not requiring major ship alterations to accommodate new systems.
“Everything else, though, is swappable,” Richardson continued. “And that has to be designed in to the DNA of the ship so you can come in on a short upkeep and swap out your radar system, or your combat system, or put this weapons system in.
“It has a lot to do with designing standards so that everybody can build to those standards so it’s a much more dynamic, swappable type of a thing.”
Since taking over as CNO, Richardson has championed an aggressive approach to acquisitions that brings in industry earlier in the process to define what is possible with mature or maturing systems, an approach designed to get new technology out in the fleet faster than the long timeline associated with developing new technologies for a blank-slate design.
It’s an approach he’s pushed with the FFG(X) and the unmanned MQ-25 Stingray tanker. The idea is to get new tech out in the fleet quickly and in the hands of sailors and officers to put it to work.
“We’ll get this design done and because some things will be permanent and some things will be swappable, let’s just get that thing out there – It will be 100 percent better than the current cruiser,” Richardson said. “And then [when] we get smarter, we’ll put the next iteration out there.”
Power and Sensors
Experts who reviewed Richardson’s comments on the next surface combatant were generally positive about the CNO’s approach to getting the next large surface ship on the water sooner rather than later.
An important part of the discussion about a new large combatant of this nature will be what sensors the Navy wants on it, said Bryan Clark, a retired submarine officer and analyst with the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments.
One of the growing concerns among Navy leaders is the massive radar signature of the fixed phased-array radars that have been the fixture of the AEGIS surface Navy.
“I would be very interested in what the Navy is thinking regarding the main sensors of the future large surface combatant,” Clark said. “The vulnerability of active sensors to counter-detection may argue for the next large surface combatant having large, high-gain passive sensors.”
Clark said it was a great move to ensure that the next surface combatant has excess power and capacity for future capabilities. The Navy’s current large surface combatant program, the DDG-51 destroyers, are moving on to a Flight III variant that supports Raytheon’s AN/SPY-6 Air and Missile Defense Radar. But to support the power-hungry sensor, engineers had to pack a ton of extra power generation capability in the Arleigh Burke hull form.
The Navy has said that the addition of more power just about maxed out space inside the Burke.
This suggests that the Burke hull form is probably not appropriate for the next major surface combatant under the parameters laid out by CNO, Clark said, and it may suggest the Navy has even broader plans for this hull than just replacing the cruisers.
“This approach will help get the new large surface combatant out there sooner, which would help the Navy address the constraints of the DDG-51 design, which with Flight III has little margin left for growth,” he said. “The desire for a faster design process suggests the Navy wants to shift to a new large surface combatant design earlier than 2029, which is when he next [large surface combatant] appears in the FY19 shipbuilding plan.
“The CNO is talking about the new surface combatant as if it were a replacement for the [cruisers], but the shipbuilding plan does not reflect two classes of large surface combatants being constructed. I assume this new ship will replace the CGs initially and then replace the DDG-51 Flight 1s.”
If CNO wants to build the ship into an existing hull forms with lots of extra capacity, the list of contenders isn’t very long at the moment.
Most countries are focused on frigate-sized ships, which meant the Navy had a glut of contenders for FFG(X), but there is a much more limited supply of large surface combatants, said Jerry Hendrix, a retired Navy captain and analyst with the Center for a New American Security.
“As I see it just right off the bat, there are really only three: the British Type 26, Burke and the Zumwalt (DDG-1000),” Hendrix said. And of those contenders, really only Zumwalt has the excess power generation CNO is looking for.
Huntington Ingalls has also done designs for its LPD-17 San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock that added vertical launch tubes and other surface combatant capabilities, but such a ship would have difficulty keeping up with the aircraft carrier, Hendrix added.
Using the Zumwalt hull form has its own challenges, said Clark. The Navy has been thrilled with the extra space and extra power generation the Zumwalt offers, but stability in the water for the stealthy destroyer has been a limiting factor in some conditions, he said.
Bryan McGrath, a retired destroyer skipper and consultant with The FerryBridge Group, said the focus on power and quick upgrades was good, but agreed that that stock of large combatant hulls is slim at the moment.
“Focusing on power is a good thing,” McGrath said. “Focusing on the ability to rapidly modernize through what he calls ‘swappable’ capabilities is a good thing. I hope [CNO] has an open mind on hull forms though, as I think the DDG-51 hull form is about played out and likely wouldn’t be large enough to accommodate the basket of things we want on a large surface combatant, leaving the DDG-1000 and the LPD-17 from existing US designs.”
“Both are fine ships, but I’d like to see what the naval architecture and design community is capable of before limiting the playing field. (Source: Defense News Early Bird/Defense News)
10 Apr 18. USCG taking novel UAS acquisition approach. The US Coast Guard (USCG) is buying a small unmanned aircraft system (SUAS) capability for its National Security Cutters (NSCs) through an atypical approach meant to reduce acquisition risk as much as possible.
The USCG essentially leased SUAS for its cutters for two years while generating requirements and logging lessons learned.
“We are trying something pretty new” and developing a programme of record while operational units use a system and feedback to the requirements personnel, Vice Admiral Sandra Stosz, deputy commandant for mission support, said during a 10 April panel at the Navy League’s annual Sea-Air-Space conference.
The USCG is seeking a ‘cutter-based UAS’ for its major cutters, including its NSC vessels and a planned Heritage-class offshore patrol cutter.
For risk reduction, the USCG in 2016 procured an SUAS capability for USCGC Stratton(WMSL 752), an NSC, as an ‘analyse/select’ phase via a pre-existing multiple award contract by US Naval Air Systems Command. That order was for the contractor-owned ScanEagle SUAS and included contractor operation, integration, and maintenance, but the USCG fully owned the surveillance data.
The effort appeared successful, and the SUAS helped Stratton on multiple drug interdiction missions and helped the USCG to refine the concept of operations and requirements for a request for proposals (RFP), which the USCG released in February.
According to the RFP, the USCG wants a “commercially available intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance capability for the NSC fleet that can remain airborne for about 12 continuous hours per flight”. The SUAS will “conduct surveillance, detection, classification, and identification operations; it will also support prosecution by providing real-time imagery, data, target illumination, communications relay, and other capabilities to the NSC and other government platforms as needed”. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
10 Apr 18. Pentagon nears new multi-year V-22 Osprey deal, eyes foreign sales. The US Department of Defense is nearing another multi-year procurement agreement for its Bell-Boeing V-22 Osprey tiltrotor aircraft, and hopes to leverage lower costs in that deal to book more Foreign Military Sales (FMS) orders.
A third multi-year procurement deal for V-22s has been in the works for about year. “We feel confident we’ll have that signed in June,” Colonel Matthew Kelly, the programme manager for the V-22 Joint Program Office (PMA-275), told reporters during a 10 April briefing at the Navy League’s annual Sea-Air-Space exposition in National Harbor, Maryland.
It would take the programme through fiscal year 2022 (FY 2022) and mainly comprise US Navy variants and FMS to Japan, but the government is trying to keep space in the agreement so that another US military service or another export customer could take advantage of the more economical unit price.
Israel is understood to have again expressed interested in the Osprey, which it has considered buying several times before.
“We’ve been in discussions with Israel … we came close, it kind of fell through,” Col Kelly said. “Over the last six months we’ve had some increase in interest and discussions with Israel.” He added that “there’s nothing imminent, but we’re pleased that Israel is considering the V-22 again”. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
09 Apr 18. Navy Considering Proposal for 17 Presidential Helicopters. Four years into a $1.2bn contract for the new VH-92 presidential helicopter, the Navy has flown two initial test aircraft and is considering a proposal to acquire a full fleet of the new presidential helicopters. That’s according to Col. Eric J. Ropella, who became the new Marine Corps program manager for the VH-92 on March 22. Ropella provided an update on the program during the first day of the 2018 Sea Air Space Exposition April 9.
The most notable recent news, according to Ropella, was the flying of the Navy’s first two VH-92 test aircraft, engineering develop models (EDMs) 1 and 2, in July and November of 2017, respectively. The aircraft are now in a Lockheed Martin facility in Owego, New York, for painting and interior installation.
“Once we get the aircraft this summer, we will conduct government tests, mostly validating and verifying the [aircraft’s] unique requirements,” Ropella said.
According to Ropella, the program office has pursued an acquisition strategy of identifying a commercial, already-in-use helicopter and then working with the contractor to integrate a “government-defined and developed mission-systems package.”
“[With Sikorsky’s S-92], that’s exactly what we’ve done, and we’re following that acquisitions strategy very successfully,” Ropella said.
In May 2014, the Navy awarded the contract for the VXX Presidential Helicopter program to Sikorsky for six S-92 test aircraft and associated support equipment with production options. (Since receiving the contract, Sikorsky has been acquired by Lockheed Martin.)
In 2016, the design passed its critical design review, clearing it for production. Now the Navy is working on a proposal to buy 17 production aircraft, for a total fleet of 23, which will replace the fleet of eight H-60Ns and 11 VH-3Ds that currently support the president.
“The proposal that we have is for a total of 17 aircraft to be purchased in three years,” Ropella said.
Toward the end of 2018, the first two test aircraft will undergo operational assessment by the VH-92 operational test team of pilots from Marine Corps Helicopter Squadron (HMX) 1. Findings from that assessment will inform the 2019 permission request to buy the rest of the production aircraft.
With the first two test aircraft now flown, the other four test aircraft are in Stratford, Connecticut, where they are being transformed from S-92s into VH-92s. Unlike the first two, these four will be fully configured for mission support.
In 2019, the Navy will also begin cadre training with a unique VH-92 training system of electronic course-ware and simulators to get pilots up to speed.
“As you can see there is a lot of stuff going on over the next year,” Ropella said. “We were in the run phase last year. Now we’re in the sprint phase.”
He expects the four fully configured aircraft to be delivered in summer 2019. Eventually those aircraft will become mission aircraft. (Source: ASD Network/Naval Air Systems Command)
09 Apr 18. Lockheed announces industry partners on Navy’s MQ-25 tanker drone offering. Lockheed Martin’s unmanned MQ-25 tanker drone proposal for the Navy will incorporate some familiar equipment, including the General Electric F404 turbofan engine that powers the Super Hornet and the F-35C landing gear made by United Technologies Corp., company executives announced Monday.
Triumph Aerostructures, which will manufacture the internal structure of the drone, rounds out the list of suppliers disclosed by Rob Weiss, outgoing head of Lockheed Martin Skunk Works, and Jeff Babione, who will take over Skunk Works this summer.
“We’ve done a great job of pulling together a real proven set of aerospace technology providers,” Babione told reporters during a briefing at the Navy League’s Sea Air Space conference.
Triumph has manufactured structures for a wide range of aircraft including Northrop Grumman’s E-2D Hawkeye, the Bell-Boeing V-22 Osprey and Lockheed’s F-35 joint strike fighter, he said. Meanwhile UTC’s landing gear has proven its utility in a “difficult use environment,” and the F404 has clocked more than 13 m flight hours.
“That engine is already on the carrier and they would have everything they would need to support the MQ-25, no innovation required — extremely important in reducing the risk and overall cost,” Babione said.
Although Lockheed’s MQ-25 offering is re-using equipment from legacy airframes, Skunk Works is arguably taken the most risk in its design, putting out a tanker drone concept that doesn’t look much like its competitors.
For one, the company ditched its previous design after the Navy ended its program for a surveillance and strike drone and began an effort to develop an unmanned aerial refueling asset, whereas competitors General Atomics and Boeing heavily reused their MQ-25 designs.
But perhaps even more noticeably, Lockheed is the only competitor offering a flying wing aircraft after Northrop Grumman dropped out of the competition last year. Both General Atomics and Boeing have notably put forward wing-body-tail aircraft.
“We did a number of trade studies,” but found its previous design “was a compromise, as frankly most derivatives end up being,” explained Weiss. The company viewed wing-body-tail configurations as “big, heavy, expensive” and “not as high performing an airplane as we would like,” and returned to a flying wing configuration.
Lockheed liked the higher range and low fuel consumption of a flying wing design, Weiss said. Another Lockheed official on the program added that most tankers store fuel in its wings, “but all we are is a wing,” potentially allowing it to carry more fuel.
Another big departure from its competitors is Lockheed’s sales approach, which has showcased the aircraft’s room to grow into other applications, including a penetrating strike mission.
A video revealed during the briefing Monday showed Lockheed’s MQ-25 launching two AGM-154 Joint Standoff Weapons from the hard points that would usually carry its drop tank and refueling pod.
Meanwhile, while the MQ-25 is not a stealth aircraft, it’s a “a plane form that would lend itself to a low observable design,” Weiss said, and could be modified to be LO in the future if the Navy wishes. The Navy plans to pick an MQ-25 vendor this summer, and will award a contract for the four engineering and manufacturing development aircraft, with an option for three more test assets.
Unlike Boeing, Skunk Works has not unveiled a prototype yet, but Weiss said he didn’t believe there was a benefit to creating a flyable prototype before a contract award.
“We are prepared to move into an accelerated program for the development phase,” he said.
A Navy-required deck handling demo is coming up “in the very near future,” Weiss said, but he would not disclose whether Lockheed would use a surrogate aircraft during the tests except to note that the company will not use its X-44 flying wing demonstrator during tests. (Source: Defense News)
REST OF THE WORLD
12 Apr 18. Spain eyes Saudi warships deal as crown prince meets king.
Deal to sell five corvettes warships to Saudi Arabia could be worth about $2.5bn. Saudi Arabia’s crown prince held talks with Spain’s King Felipe VI on Thursday during an official visit to the country which coincides with negotiations to sell Spanish warships to the oil-rich kingdom.
The king met with Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who serves as defence minister and also controls economic policy for the world’s top oil exporter, at the Zarzuela Palace on the outskirts of Madrid, before hosting a lunch there in his honour.
He is expected to sign five memorandums of understanding in the areas of culture, science, employment, air transport and defence when he meets with Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy later on Thursday.
Prince Mohammed arrived in Spain late on Wednesday hot on the heels of a three-day official visit to France and after a tour lasting several weeks of Egypt, the United States and Britain that saw the self-styled moderniser sign multi-million-dollar deals.
Madrid is the last stop of his global diplomatic charm offensive in a bid to project a new liberal image of his conservative kingdom.
Top-selling daily newspaper El Pais reported earlier this week that Spain would likely make progress during his visit on a deal to sell five corvettes warships to Saudi Arabia for around twobn euros ($2.5bn).
“The signing of this memorandum of understanding (on defence) can be a step in that direction,” a Spanish government source told AFP.
A coalition of NGOs including Amnesty International and Greenpeace urged Madrid not to go ahead with the deal because the corvettes could be used in Saudi Arabia’s military campaign against Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen, where thousands of civilians have been killed.
But Spain’s loss-making shipbuilder Navantia is placing a lot of hope on the deal, which has reportedly been under negotiation for two years.
Spanish firms have already won two major infrastructure contracts in Saudi Arabia in recent years.
A Spanish consortium, Al-Shoula, is building a high-speed railway across the desert to link the holy cities of Mecca and Medina while Spanish construction group FCC leads one of three consortia building a rapid transit system in the Saudi capital.
Spain’s public works ministry has identified Saudi Arabia as one a “nation of interest”.
Under Prince Mohammed’s “Vision 2030”, a package of economic and social policies designed to free the kingdom from dependence on oil exports, Riyadh plans to spend 32bn euros in transportation infrastructure in the next decade.
Spain and Saudi Arabia’s royal families are very close as King Felipe VI’s father Juan Carlos was a close friend of the kingdom’s late King Fahd, who reigned from 1982 to 2005, and is close to his brother King Salman. (Source: ArabianBusiness.com)
12 Apr 18. Russia offers Il-112V to India. Russia is pitching its Ilyushin Il-112V airlifter to India to fulfil that country’s Medium Transport Aircraft (MTA) requirement. Ilyushin said on 12 April that a proposal has been drawn up by Russia for the sale of the twin-turboprop to India, as that country looks to replace its ageing Avro 748M fleet. India has yet to formally comment on the proposal.
India’s MTA effort to replace its Avro 748M fleet (not to be confused with its now-aborted but similarly titled Multirole Transport Aircraft [MTA] effort to develop a twin-jet airlifter with Russia) has been running since 2013. In May 2015 a Tata-Airbus consortium was selected to deliver 56 C295 aircraft, but the actual contract has yet to be signed. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
11 Apr 18. Made-in-India No Bar: Armed Forces Can Procure Equipment of their Choice, Says Nirmala Sitharaman. Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Wednesday said armed forces have been given the free hand to procure their choice of equipment from Indian or foreign manufacturers as per their requirement even though she always tells them to procure from local sources.
Despite India looking forward to exporting military equipment, she said that she would not prevail upon the armed forces to necessarily buy from local manufacturer much against certain other requirements.
“When I am promoting Indian exports, Indian manufacturing, I am also telling the forces to procure as much as possible rocure domestically….I want to drive a thin line between one the government’s enthusiasm to make sure that production capabilities are such that they can meet international standards and be export worthy and the other side of the line where army, navy or Air Force, make their decisions on what they want, what combination of equipment they want and in that combination, if an Indian produce type fits in then they take it.
“But I can’t for a moment imagine that I prevail upon them that they necessarily buy what is Indian, which I also want to export much against certain other requirements which they may want to look at,” Nirmala Sitharaman said while addressing a press conference at the ‘DEFEXPO 2018′ here.
Sitharaman said that it was their call on how many Indian-produced missiles or equipment fits into “their plans and I have to respect that”. “They are using indigenous products, maybe not as much as we would want, however, there is a fine line. The forces will have to take a call on what they need,” she noted. (Source: defense-aerospace.com/DNA India)
12 Apr 18. Boeing joins hands with HAL, Mahindra for ‘Make in India’ Super Hornet fighter jets. Eyeing the mega Indian Air Force (IAF) contract for 110 fighter jets, Boeing on Thursday announced a partnership with PSU Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) and Mahindra Defence Systems (MDS) for manufacturing the F/A-18 Super Hornet fighter jets in India. The US aerospace major said the partnership will also work for joint development of future technologies in India, saying it will transform India’s aerospace and defence ecosystem. The Super Hornet ‘Make in India’ proposal is to build an entirely new and state-of-the-art production facility that can be utilised for other programmes like India’s Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft (AMCA) programme, the company said in a statement.
“Boeing is excited to team up with India’s only company that manufactures combat fighters, HAL, and India’s only company that manufactures small commercial airplanes, Mahindra.
“This partnership brings the best of Indian public and private enterprises together in partnership with the world’s largest aerospace company, Boeing, to accelerate a contemporary 21st century ecosystem for aerospace & defence manufacturing in India,” said Pratyush Kumar, the president of Boeing India.
The announcement was made on the second day of the Defence Expo here.
Boeing is among the leading military aircraft producers like Lockheed Martin, Saab, Dassault and Russian Aircraft Corporation MiG that are likely to vie for the deal to supply 110 fighter jets to the IAF in one of the biggest such procurement in recent years globally which could be worth over $15bn. An RFI (Request for Information) or initial tender for the mega deal was issued by the IAF on April 6 with officials saying that the procurement would be in sync with the government’s ‘Make in India’ initiative in the defence sector.
Aircraft manufacturers have to send their proposals by July 6. Officials had said the jets will be produced jointly by a foreign aircraft maker along with an Indian company under the recently-launched strategic partnership model which aims to bring in high-end defence technology to India. Noting that HAL has always been at the forefront of aerospace development in India, its chairman T Suvarna Raju said the partnership will create an opportunity to strengthen indigenous platforms in India thereby contributing to the Make-in-India activities. According to the company, the programs under progress at HAL include production of SU-30 MKI, Hawk-AJT, Light Combat Aircraft (LCA), Dhruv-ALH and Cheetah/Chetak helicopters
Boeing said the partnership will for production of an affordable, combat-proven fighter platform for India, while adding it will result growth momentum to the Indian aerospace ecosystem with manufacturing, skill development, innovation and engineering and job creation.
As the most advanced and least expensive aircraft per flight hour of its kind, the F/A-18 Super Hornet will deliver on India’s need for a carrier and land based multi-role fighter, the company said, it said.
“The Super Hornet does not only have a low acquisition cost, but it costs less per flight hour to operate than any other tactical aircraft in US forces inventory. And with a plan for constant innovation, the F/A-18 Super Hornet will outpace threats, bolster defence capabilities and make India stronger for decades to come,” it said.
The F/A-18 Super Hornet has a long life ahead, with the US Navy making significant investments in the latest evolution, the Block III, Boeing noted. Kumar said that partnership with HAL and Mahindra will enable Boeing India to optimise the full potential of the country’s public and private sector to deliver next-generation F/A-18 fighter capabilities.
10 Apr 18. Canada launches new defence innovation programme. Canada’s Minister of National Defence, Harjit Sajjan, launched an inaugural Call for Proposals (CfP) on 9 April under the new Innovation for Defence, Excellence, and Security (IDEaS) defence research and development programme. Created as part of the country’s “Strong, Secure Engaged” defence policy that was launched in 2017, the IDEaS programme is to receive a total of CAD1.6bn (USD1.2bn) in funding over 20 years.
Minister Sajjan said that “The IDEaS Programme will provide unique opportunities for Canadians to put forward their best solutions on defence and security challenges, and will help put those solutions into the hands of the women and men of the Canadian Armed Forces.” (Source: IHS Jane’s)
09 Apr 18. Will Israeli Air Force Buy More F-15s Or F-35s; Intel May Tip Balance. The Israeli Air Force (IAF) may delay the acquisition of a third Lockheed Martin F-35 squadron in favor of a fast purchase of additional new versions of the F-15. In recent deliberations within the IAF’s high command, the leading direction was clear – -priority for the additional F-15’s while delaying the purchase of a third F-35 squadron.
However, the head of the IAF’s aircraft department, Col. H., told Breaking Defense that the force will soon face the decision whether to purchase additional F-35s, on top of the 50 that are included in the signed contracts. “We are very pleased with the performance of the aircraft,” he said.
Even before the delivery of the test aircraft the IAF has equipped the first F-35’s with Israeli-developed systems. Sources told Breaking Defense that the rapidly changing situation in the Middle East, especially the Iranian effort to gain more influence in countries like Syria and Lebanon, makes buying F-35’s more urgent. The sources added that the decrease in the price of the F-35 will be a one of the main factors in the expected decision.
According to sources close to the issue, while the F-35 can perform best when its stealth feature is essential — in later phases of combat — the IAF believes the need is for other aircraft, ones with advanced avionics that can operate in conjunction with the F-35 and carry heavy loads of weapons.
Retired Brig. Gen. Assaf Agmon, who served in the IAF as a fighter pilot and in senior command position and then headed the Fisher Institute for Air and Space Strategic Studies told Breaking Defense that it will be a mistake to delay the acquisition of an additional F-35 squadron. “The F-35 is not just another aircraft, it brings a total revolution in the interoperability of air, ground and sea sensors.”
He added that even the Americans have not yet learned the full operational capabilities of the F-35 “and what they do know they not always share with us. So we have to learn by ourselves and this is being done everyday”
He said that it will be a mistake to invest in another platform based on its capability to carry heavy loads of weapons systems: “The Israeli defense forces have enough ways to use massive fire power against faraway targets”.
Another retired IAF brigadier general, who asked not to be identified, said that he was against the acquisition of the F-35 from the outset: “This is a very expensive aircraft that will not really change the capability of the IAF in the coming 20 years.” With the current Israeli defense budget there is no way to create a critical mass buying F-35s. “This is a niche system that cannot serve as a game changer. The combat now is based on standoff weapon systems, which makes the presence of an aircraft like the F-35 in the fighting area less important,” the retired general said.
The contrasting views of the two former high ranking IAF officers symbolize the debate within the IAF. The crucial factor may be the senior leadership of the Israeli Defense Forces and Israel’s intelligence community. The scales tip to the opposite direction whenever the intelligence guys present the most imminent threats, and these changes ARE frequent in the unstable Middle East.
If the IAF decides to purchase additional F-15s, the deal is likely to occur in the middle of the 10 years U.S defense package that was recently approved by Washington. The new package, in effect from 2019, is for $38bn over 10 years, up from the $31bn over the last decade.
The IAF command wants to keep a “critical mass” of fighter aircraft that can carry a variety of heavy load weapon systems, including some that are being currently developed by the Israeli defense industries.
The IAF’s F-15D Baz are central to Israeli air power. They operate a number of missions including air superiority, strike, reconnaissance, and command and control and networking “stations”.
In the meantime, the IAF is continuing to open the envelope of F-35. And the IAF is adding capabilities to the already operational Adir stealth fighters. This even before the delivery of the dedicated test F-35 that will be delivered in 2019.
The Israeli F-35A, known as the F-35I Adir, recently took part in the attacks on Syrian ground-air systems that followed the downing of an Israeli F-16 by a Syrian ground -air SA-5 missile.
The IAF refused to be specific but said that the stealth fighter’s capabilities are a “game changer.”
In mid-March, several IAF sources described the F-35 as a “super intelligence collector” in stealth mode and with the capability to disperse the data to forces in the air and on the ground.
IAF Commander Maj. Gen. Amikam Norkin has decided to classify all F-35 operations so as not to give away data an enemy could use to decrease the stealth fighter’s capabilities.
The IAF’s Golden Eagle squadron is currently operating nine F-35 ‘s; this year another six will be delivered. (Source: Breaking Defense.com)
09 Apr 18. Israel offers upgraded F-16s to Colombia. Elbit Systems and Israel Aircraft Industries (IAI) have offered to provide surplus Israeli Air Force’s (IAF’s) Lockheed Martin F-16A/B Netz and F-16C/D Barak fighters to Colombia, senior military sources have told Jane’s. The offer, which includes airframes that are held in storage and/or are soon to be retired, is aimed to fulfil a Colombian Air Force requirement for between 12 and 18 advanced combat aircraft to replace current IAI Kfirs. According to Jane’s sources, the Israeli consortia would put the F-16s through a service-life extension programme that would include replacement of structural parts and upgrades to the avionics and engine to bring the aircraft to a standard described as “close to Block 50”. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
09 Apr 18. US approves marketing licence in support of Taiwan’s submarine programme. Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defense (MND) has said the US government has awarded a marketing licence in support of its efforts to develop and construct diesel-electric submarines.
The approval enables US industry to transfer submarine-related expertise to Taiwan, which a year ago launched a programme to design and build an indigenous fleet of between six and eight boats.
The MND said in a statement on 7 April that approval for the marketing licence was given by the US Department of State.
The MND added that it “expresses its thanks to the US government for attaching importance to Taiwan’s defence and security”. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
06 Apr 18. India issues RFI for 110 combat aircraft. India’s Ministry of Defence (MoD) has issued a request for information (RFI) for the planned acquisition of 110 multirole combat aircraft for the Indian Air Force (IAF) under New Delhi’s ‘Make in India’ initiative. The 72 page-long RFI has invited responses from original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) by 6 July, specifying that the platforms, which are set to be acquired under the MoD’s Defence Procurement Procedure 2016, should be capable of performing air superiority and air defence roles. Moreover, the platforms will be required to conduct strike, reconnaissance, maritime and electronic warfare missions in addition to ‘buddy refuelling’ of other aircraft. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
06 Apr 18. Chilean Navy to upgrade PC-7s. The Chilean Navy is set to put some of its Pilatus PC-7 Turbo Trainers through a service life extension program (SLEP) with upgrades aimed at keeping those aircraft operational well into the 2030s, senior military sources told Jane’s. After studying replacement options that included the possibility of acquiring new training aircraft, a decision was made in favour of extending the service of the PC-7s due to cost effectiveness, sources said at the FIDAE air show. Chile’s Air Naval Command has used the PC-7 since 1978, when it received aircraft ordered in late 1976. The type has proven satisfactory and seven aircraft remain serviceable after 40 years of operation. (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
09 Apr 18. MBDA contracted for continued RF DEW research. The UK’s Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) has awarded MBDA a GBP3.2m contract to continue research into Radio Frequency Directed Energy Weapons (RF DEW) technology on behalf of the Ministry of Defence (MoD). RF DEW devices operate by projecting electromagnetic energy from a transmitter onto a target at sufficient power so as to damage or disrupt electronic equipment. The RF DEW Research and Technology (R&T) Project Phase 2 contract, awarded on 26 February, covers an initial six-month contract plus an additional 12-month option. “The contract aims to provide a coherent and co-ordinated RF DEW programme of work building directly upon previous R&T activities,” said Dstl in a transparency notice published last September, adding that the scope of work will “provide a mechanism to exploit novel technologies for the benefit of the wider MoD equipment programme and Complex Weapons portfolio”. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
10 Apr 18. The Estonian Centre for Defence Investment (ECDI) has awarded a public contract to a consortium of the Estonian Defence and Security Industry Innovation Cluster to launch a project entitled ‘Automated systems on the battlefield’, managed by the Centre for Applied Studies at the Estonian National Defence College (ENDC). (See: MILITARY VEHICLE NEWS for detail) (Source: BUSINESS WIRE)
06 Apr 18. Following the 2015 contract to supply the Belgium Ministry of Defence (BeMOD) with over 100 FOX Rapid Reaction Vehicles (RRV), Jankel has secured a second prestigious contract with the country’s military to supply a new fleet of specialist tactical vehicles. Jankel specialises in fully engineered solutions that utilise commercial-off-the-shelf base platforms and meet exact military customer requirements, standards and operational needs. The contract will see Jankel execute on this specialty by using the Mercedes UNIMOG platform to deliver 199 Light Troop Transport Vehicles (LTTV) to the Belgium army. The LTTV will be designed by Jankel’s team of engineers to provide a modular vehicle solution that will benefit from unique removable mission modules that enable the vehicle to be re-rolled for operational platform versatility. Alongside a fully integrated suite of military sub-systems that includes a removable ballistic protection kit, a Roll-Over-Protection-System (ROPS), weapon mounts and communications fit, the platform will provide full interoperability with the FOX RRV fleet.
10 Apr 18. A local consortium of two big-scale Turkish defense companies will upgrade the navy’s Barbaros-class frigates, the companies announced.
Military electronics specialist Aselsan, Turkey’s biggest defense company, and military software concern Havelsan will perform half life-cycle full modernization work on the frigates. Both companies are state controlled. Aselsan said in a statement it sent to the Istanbul Stock Exchange that its share of the work was worth €175m plus TL 457m (approximately $115m). Havelsan did not disclose its share of the work.
Aselsan said the modernization work would be completed by 2025. (Source: Defense News)
06 Apr 18. The Government of Spain has requested to buy seventeen (17) CH-47F cargo helicopters with customer-unique modifications, twenty-one (21) Common Missile Warning System (CMWS) AN/AAR-57A(V)8, and forty-two (42) Embedded Global Positioning System (GPS) Inertial Navigation System (INS) (EGI). Also included are mission equipment, hardware and services required to implement customer-unique modifications, communication, Aircraft Survivability Equipment (ASE), and navigation equipment including AN/ARC-231 Multi-mode radios, AN/ARC-201D SINCGARS radios, AN/ARC-220 High Frequency (HF) Radio, Identification, Friend or Foe (IFF), AN/AAR-57A(V)8, and the Radar Signal Detecting Set (RSDS), AN/APR-39A(V)1, special tools and test equipment, ground support equipment, airframe and engine spare parts, technical data, publications, MWO/ECPs, technical assistance, transportation of aircraft and training, and other related elements of logistics and program support. The estimated total case value is $1.3bn. The principal contractor will be Boeing Helicopter Company, Philadelphia, PA. The purchaser typically requests offsets. Any offset agreement will be defined in negotiations between the purchaser and the contractor. (Source: glstrade.com)
04 Apr 18. Germany – MQ-4C Triton Unmanned Aircraft Systems.
The State Department has made a determination approving a possible Foreign Military Sale to Germany of MQ-4C Triton Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) for an estimated cost of $2.50bn. The Defense Security Cooperation Agency delivered the required certification notifying Congress of this possible sale on Apr. 4, 2018. The Government of Germany has requested to buy four (4) MQ-4C Triton Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS), one (1) Mission Control Station (MCS) comprised of one (1) Main Operating Base (MOB) (MD-3A) and one (1) Forward Operating Base (FOB) (MD-3B), ten (10) Kearfott Inertial Navigation System/Global Positioning System (INS/GPS), units (2 per aircraft plus 2 spares), and ten (10) LN-251 INS/GPS units (2 per aircraft plus 2 spares). This proposed MQ-4C UAS sale will be a modified version of the USN Triton configuration. Also included is one Rolls Royce Engine (spare), communication equipment, support equipment, mission planning element to include Joint Mission Planning System (JMPS) Global Positioning System (GPS) items, Communications Security (COMSEC) equipment, mapping, training, support equipment, consumables, spare and repair parts, tools and test equipment, ground support equipment, flight test support, airworthiness support, personnel training and training devices, applicable software, hardware, publications and technical data, facilities and maintenance support, U.S. Government and contractor engineering, technical, and logistics supports services, and other elements of unique engineering efforts required to support the integration, installation and functional platform compatibility testing of Germany’s indigenous payload and other related elements of logistics and program support, and other related elements of logistics and program support. The estimated total case value is $2.50bn. (Source: ASD Network)
11 Apr 18. The US Army has awarded an engineering, manufacturing and development (EMD) contract to Endeavor Robotics for development of an advanced ‘back-packable’ robot. The company is one of the two chosen to share the $429m awarded contracts under the US Army’s Common Robotic System-Individual (CRS-I) production programme. Final award of the development contract will take place after the EMD down-select the complete delivery of more than 3,000 ‘back-packable’ robots. The contract is due to be awarded during the second quarter of the 2019 fiscal year. The CRS-I ‘back-packable’ robot weighs less than 25lb. It will feature a common platform to allow field operators to quickly reconfigure it to conduct a range of missions by adding or eliminating different modules and payloads. (Source: army-technology.com)
06 Apr 18. C.E. Niehoff & Co., Evanston, Illinois, has been awarded a maximum $9,239,535 firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for generators and alternators for 2 1/2 ton medium tactical vehicles. This was a sole-source acquisition using justification 10 U.S. Code 2304(c)(1), as stated in Federal Acquisition Regulation 6.302-1. This is a five-year contract with no option periods. Location of performance is Illinois, with an April, 30, 2023, estimated performance completion date. Using military service is Army. Type of appropriation is fiscal 2018 through 2023 Army working capital funds. The contracting activity is the Defense Logistics Agency Land and Maritime, Warren, Michigan (SPRDL1-18-D-0060).
12 Apr 18. Orbital ATK has secured a $115m production order to supply small-calibre ammunition for the US Army. Under the deal, the company will produce a variety of 5.56mm, 7.62mm and .50-calibre ammunition. The new ammunition will be manufactured at Lake City Army Ammunition Plant in Independence, Missouri, which is owned by the US Government and operated by Orbital ATK.
09 Apr 18. SES Government Solutions (SES GS), a wholly owned subsidiary of SES, has been awarded a USD 24.8m multi-year contract by the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD). Under the new agreement, SES GS will provide the United States Africa Command (U.S. AFRICOM) with high throughput, low-latency managed satellite communications services in the areas of their operations. SES GS will be delivering a highly complex customized end-to-end solution, which will provide dedicated, flexible and secure connectivity to end users and those who support them. The managed services include low-latency high throughput capacity, gateway services, monitoring and control, satellite terminals, field service support, as well as terrestrial backhaul. The high throughput capacity is delivered through an entire 432 MHz fully steerable Medium Earth Orbit (MEO) beam, allowing U.S. AFRICOM to meet evolving real-time operational needs. (Source: BUSINESS WIRE)
09 Apr 18. BAE Systems has been awarded a contract by General Dynamics to provide two additional Mk110 Naval Gun Systems for the Independence variant of the U.S. Navy’s Littoral Combat Ship (LCS). The additional guns are part of a follow-on to a current contract, bringing the total number of Mk110 systems to 15 for the Independence variant. The fully automatic Mk110 gun system, known internationally as the Bofors 57Mk3, is the deck gun of choice for the LCS. It is a multi-mission, medium-caliber shipboard weapon, effective against air, surface, or ground threats without requiring multiple round types. The system is capable of firing up to 220 rounds per minute at a range of more than 9 nautical miles using BAE Systems’ six-mode programmable, pre-fragmented, and proximity-fused (3P) ammunition. (Source: BUSINESS WIRE)
12 Apr 18. Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control, Orlando, Florida, has been awarded a $13,920,004 fixed-price incentive modification (P00012) to previously awarded contract FA8682-17-C-0037 for Long Range Anti-Ship Missile (LRASM) Lot 1 production. This modification provides for four LRASM missiles. Work will be performed in Orlando, Florida, and is expected to be complete by Feb. 28, 2020. Fiscal 2017 missile procurement funds in the amount of $13,920,004 are being obligated at the time of award. Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, is the contracting activity.
10 Apr 18. The Boeing Co., Seattle, Washington, has been awarded a $24,069,475 firm-fixed-price modification (P00027) to previously awarded contract FA8625-16-C-6599 to advance the maturity of the air vehicle design beyond the preliminary design level on the VC-25B. This modification supplements work already taking place under the PAR contract, including the acquisition of two commercial Boeing 747-8 aircraft and VC-25B preliminary design activity. Work will be performed in Seattle, Washington, and is expected to be complete by December 2018. Fiscal 2018 research and development funds in the amount of $20,636,032 are being obligated at the time of award. Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, is the contracting activity.
09 Apr 18. The US Air Force (USAF) has awarded a $155.7m contract to Field Aerospace for the upgrade and modernisation of the avionics on its entire T-1A Jayhawk trainer fleet. Under the terms of the deal, the company will work in collaboration with its subcontractors, Nextant Aerospace, Rockwell Collins and FlightSafety International, in order to deliver an avionics modification programme, including all development, certification, equipment, installation and training. The scope of the project will cover the upgrade of the USAF’s 178 T-1A aircraft, in addition to the development of 30 training devices, which include 16 operational flight trainers and 14 part-task trainers. The first prototypes are expected to be delivered to the airforce within the next year. (Source: airforce-technology.com)
11 Apr 18. Northrop Grumman Systems Corp., Rolling Meadows, Illinois, has been awarded a $209,703,172 modification (P00417) to previously awarded contract FA8625-12-C-6598 for Large Aircraft Infrared Counter Measures (LAIRCM) equipment and support. This modification provides for LAIRCM equipment and support in the calendar year 2018 base hardware buy, and brings the total cumulative face value of the contract to $1,575,087,096. Work will be performed in Rolling Meadows, Illinois, and is expected to be complete by April 30, 2020. This contract involves foreign military sales LAIRCM acquisitions to South Korea (3 percent). Fiscal 2016, 2017, and 2018 aircraft procurement; National Guard; Navy; and operations and maintenance funds in the amount of $209,703,172 are being obligated at the time of award. Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, Wright Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, is the contracting activity.
10 Apr 18. Analytics technology provider PlanetRisk has won a four-and-a-half year, $12.5m contract to help the Army run a global system for sharing information on incidents and threats in the proximity of military facilities. The Joint Analytic Real-time Virtual Information Sharing System is based in a cloud environment and works to integrate complex, open source and commercial data into pieces of information for the Army to both share and report. PlanetRisk said Monday that “JARVISS” holds a Defense Department authority-to-operate and is also on track to become FedRAMP certified. The Army plans to fully roll out JARVISS later this year. The Army uses JARVISS to receive and catalog hazard events and suspicious activities in order for users to view threat information before, during and after an incident. (Source: Defense Systems)
11 Apr 18. Raytheon Company (NYSE: RTN) has been awarded a U.S. Army contract to demonstrate the company’s commercially available mobile intelligence platform that will allow soldiers to quickly collect and access information on the battlefield. This commercial laptop-based platform, called the FoXTEN, may be considered as a future mobile component of the Army’s Distributed Common Ground System. DCGS is an intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance system that enables deployed soldiers to collect, process and display intelligence information from a variety of sources and sensors. The Army is upgrading their existing DCGS system with a series of new components and capabilities, including the mobile platform. Under the contract awarded by the U.S. Army Contracting Command, Raytheon will demonstrate the company’s FoXTEN software product, which can be loaded onto a commercially procured laptop and easily deployed and used by soldiers operating in the field. FoXTEN quickly connects warfighters to intelligence from various sources, giving them the real time information they need to make mission decisions across all battle domains. FoXTEN, when loaded onto a laptop, is lightweight, requires little power and can operate at low-transmission speeds. The Army will conduct a series of operational tests of the FoXTEN software over the next year before making a final procurement decision.
12 Apr 18. Satcom Direct Communications (SDC), the leading provider of Inmarsat aeronautical satellite connectivity services to the U.S. Military, Department of Defense (DoD), state and local agencies has been re-awarded a Blanket Purchase Agreement (BPA) by the U.S. Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA). This five-year agreement, which is a renewal of the previous BPA contract awarded to SDC in 2012, allows SDC to provide secure voice and broadband data services to support global aeronautical missions for the DoD and other federal agency bodies. The contract is also an important milestone in the military government market, as this will be the first US government procurement contract in place for Aeronautical Inmarsat GX services. The agreement has a ceiling value of $245m over the life of the contract, which is 1 Base Year and 4 Option Years. U.S. government users will continue to benefit from easy ordering access to quickly establish worldwide connectivity on board all Inmarsat-equipped aircraft via SDC. As an Inmarsat Tier 1 Distribution Partner and Value-Added Reseller, SDC supplies the full range of Inmarsat L-band solutions, including SwiftBroadband, BGAN, FleetBroadband, Swift64 and Classic Aero services, as well as the new Ka-band service, Global Xpress (GX), to U.S. government users. SDC optimises and enhances the connectivity experience with the provision of Inmarsat’s Global Xpress Ka-band high-speed broadband communications satellite network, providing seamless reliable worldwide mobile connectivity at speeds up to 15 Mbps. With the Satcom Direct Router (SDR) and SDC’s custom built value-added services, such as SkyBond channel bonding and aggregation solution, SDC also enables the fastest SwiftBroadband inflight data speeds worldwide. The aeronautical services will be supported by SDC’s comprehensive terrestrial network and the Melbourne, Florida-based SD Data Center of its affiliated company, Satcom Direct, to ensure secure transmission of all U.S. DoD data-transfers from aircraft to U.S. Government specified locations. Combined, the services will ensure always-on global connectivity, even in the most geographically challenging locations. In addition, all users will have access to the SD Pro® integrated software flight platform to monitor and manage their connectivity services and usage in real time. SD Pro delivers flight planning, scheduling, flight tracking, flight data, connectivity monitoring, and maintenance tracking via a single, simple, fast and secure access point.
REST OF THE WORLD
04 Apr 18. Australia – M795 with Insensitive Munitions Explosive (IMX) 101 Explosive Fill 155mm HE Projectile. The State Department has made a determination approving a possible Foreign Military Sale to Australia of M795 with Insensitive Munitions Explosive (IMX) 101 Explosive Fill 155mm HE projectiles for an estimated cost of $148m. The Defense Security Cooperation Agency delivered the required certification notifying Congress of this possible sale on Apr. 4, 2018. The Government of Australia has requested to buy two thousand, five hundred four (2,504) rounds of M795 with Insensitive Munitions Explosive (IMX) 101 Explosive Fill 155mm High Explosive (HE) Projectile. Also included are 155mm High Explosive, Illumination and White Phosphorous munitions, point detonating fuzes, electronic-timed fuzes, M231 and M232/M232A1 propelling charges, percussion primers, technical publications and books, technical data for operational maintenance, technical assistance and services, and other related elements of logistics and program support. The total estimated program cost is $148m. (Source: ASD Network)
05 Apr 18. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia – 155mm M109A6 Paladin Medium Self-Propelled Howitzer System. The State Department has made a determination approving a possible Foreign Military Sale to Saudi Arabia of 155mm M109A5/A6 Medium Self-Propelled Howitzer structures for conversion to M109A6 Paladin Howitzer systems for an estimated cost of $1.31bn. The Defense Security Cooperation Agency delivered the required certification notifying Congress of this possible sale today. The Government of Saudi Arabia has requested a possible sale of one hundred and eighty (180) 155mm M109A5/A6 Medium Self-Propelled Howitzer structures for conversion to one hundred and seventy-seven (177) 155mm M109A6 Paladin Medium Self-Propelled Howitzer systems; three (3) Fire Support Combined Arms Tactical Trainers (FSCATT) static training devices; one hundred and eighty (180) M2 HB .50 Cal Machine Guns; and eight (8) Advanced Field Artillery Tactical Data Systems (AFATDS). Also included are M109A5/A6 overhaul, conversion and refurbishment services; Special Tools and Test Equipment; Basic Issue Items (BII); Driver’s Vision Enhancer (DVE) Wide system; Program Management Support; Verification Testing; System Technical Support; Transportation; spare and repair parts; communications equipment; personnel training and training equipment; tool and test equipment; repair and return; publications and technical documentation; Quality Assurance Team (QAT); U.S. Government and contractor engineering; technical and logistics support services; and other related elements of logistics and program support. The estimated cost is $1.31bn. (Source: ASD Network)
10 Apr 18. The Boeing Co., St. Louis, Missouri, is being awarded a $64,063,059 cost-plus-incentive-fee contract to restart the stand-off land attack missile – expanded response production line in support of the government of Saudi Arabia, as well as the redesign of obsolete, nearly obsolete, or uneconomical parts to support production and improve future sustainment. Work will be performed in St. Charles, Missouri (97 percent); and other locations (3 percent), and is expected to be completed in March 2019. Foreign military sales funds in the amount of $64,063,059 will be obligated at time of award, none of which will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was not competitively procured pursuant to 10 U.S. Code 2304(c)(4). The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Maryland, is the contracting activity (N00019-18-C-1057).
10 Apr 18. Cambridge Pixel’s Video Security Display (VSD) system has been selected as part of a military mobile protection programme in the Middle East, integrating multiple sensors (radar and cameras) to provide comprehensive and effective monitoring for a border and maritime security application. The project involves the supply of forty systems through Cambridge Pixel’s Middle Eastern partner – Defense Integrated Solutions Security Systems (DISS). Each system is equipped with multiple sensor interface hardware and the VSD application software for deployment on a mobile platform.
11 Apr 18. The Royal Thai Marine Corps (RTMC) has signed a contract with Elbit to procure the Israeli company’s 155 mm autonomous truck mounted howitzer system (ATMOS). The RTMC said in a statement that the contract was signed in late March and features the delivery of six ATMOS systems, which will be built locally by the state-run Weapon Production Centre (WPC). The contract is valued at USD26m and provides opportunities for additional units to be procured and built locally if required. The contract fulfils a long-standing RTMC requirement to augment its existing firepower, which currently includes a mix of ageing Canadian-designed GC-45/GHN-45 155mm howitzers acquired in the 1980s. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
11 Apr 18. Rheinmetall wins major order for artillery and tank ammunition. An international customer has contracted with Rheinmetall to supply it with artillery and tank ammunition worth a total of round €380m; the order intake was booked in Q1 2018. The calibre of the artillery ammunition ordered is 155mm, the tank ammunition, 120mm. The contract is set to run for 42 months. Ever since the foundation of the company over 125 years ago, Rheinmetall has set the global standard for fire support technology. Moreover, the Düsseldorf-based Group is the world’s foremost maker of smoothbore tank main armament systems. Just awarded, this order reconfirms Rheinmetall’s leading role in the field of advanced weapon and ammunition systems.
12 Apr 18. Indian Government to buy bullet proof jackets for army. The Government of India has signed a major capital procurement contract for the purchase of 186,138 bulletproof jackets for the Indian Army.
Signed under the ‘Make in India’ initiative, the contract will see the supply of the life-saving jackets to the Indian Army after nine years since it made its first request, reported NDTV. The deal for the urgently required jackets follows a series of field evaluation trials. Ergonomically designed jackets feature contemporary and advanced specifications with additional protection and a bigger coverage area.
Modular equipment will provide enhanced protection and portability to the soldiers deployed in different operational situations, ranging from long-distance patrolling to high-risk room intervention scenarios.
The jackets are designed to provide soldiers with 360° protection from latest hard steel core bullets in combat scenarios. The current contract has been processed under the ‘Buy Indian’ category, supporting Indian manufacturers in fulfilling the Indian Army requirements for its personal protective equipment. Specialist bulletproof solutions company SMPP is claimed to have received the procurement contract, reported The Economic Times. The company said that the project is worth Rs6,390m ($98.46m). SMPP has already delivered bulletproof products to the air force, navy and paramilitary forces in India. (Source: army-technology.com)
06 Apr 18. Australian steel companies sign contracts for RAN’s Future Submarine programme. Australian steel makers Bisalloy and BlueScope have signed contracts with Naval Group Australia to produce up to 250 tonnes of specialised steel for the Royal Australian Navy’s (RAN’s) Future Submarine programme. “The steel produced will be tested to determine whether it meets the specification for the pressure hull of our new Future Submarines, which is an essential safety requirement,” Minister for Defence Industry Christopher Pyne said in a 6 April statement, adding that during the past 12 months Naval Group has been working with Bisalloy and BlueScope to develop and qualify Australian steel to meet the specifications required for the submarines. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
11 Apr 18. The Government of Canada has awarded a contract to Cellula Robotics to develop a fuel cell that will help enhance the capability of autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs). The project is intended to enable the AUVs to store a greater amount of energy in order to support long-range and long-duration missions. It forms part of the government’s commitment to supporting the research and development of upgraded sub-surface surveillance capabilities in the Arctic region. The current contract features a total value of C$648,000 and has been awarded under the 2016 Innovation Call for Proposals for Canada’s All Domain Situational Awareness (ADSA) Science & Technology (S&T) programme.
The enhanced sub-surface surveillance solutions are expected to boost the government’s ability to exercise sovereignty in Northern Canada, in addition to offering enhanced awareness of safety and security issues.
12 Apr 18. Australia is spending AUD1.4m (USD1.08m) to acquire additional AeroVironment Wasp AE small unmanned aerial systems (SUASs) via the Canberra-based company XTEK for what has been described as “a novel concept demonstration” by the Australian Army. The order, which was disclosed by XTEK to the Australian Stock Exchange on 10 April, coincides with the announcement of three separate innovation contracts awarded to local companies for the development of a next-generation SUAS for use by Australian soldiers under Project Land 129 Phase 4B. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
10 Apr 18. Qatar to arm Apache helos with APKWS II. Qatar is to arm its Boeing AH-64E Apache Guardian attack helicopters with the BAE Systems Advanced Precision Kill Weapon Systems (APKWS) II guided rocket.
US State Department approval for the sale of 5,000 of the 70mm rocket kits to the Gulf state was announced by the Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) on 9 April. Valued at USD300 m, the proposed sale includes support, spares, and training. The Qatar Emiri Air Force (QEAF) is to receive 24 latest variant Apache attack helicopters by mid-2020. BAE Systems has developed the APKWS in partnership with the US government to provide fixed- and rotary-wing pilots with a low-collateral-damage precision-guided weapon for use against soft and lightly armoured targets. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
06 Apr 18. The Boeing Co., St. Louis, Missouri, has been award a $49,534,984 indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity modification (P00015) to previously awarded contract FA3002-13-D-0012 for Royal Saudi Air Force F-15SA OEM. This modification provides for a one-year extension to the period of performance of the existing contract and brings the total cumulative face value of the contract to $305,000,000. Work will be performed in Khamis, Saudi Arabia, and is expected to be complete by Aug. 6, 2019. This modification involves foreign military sales to Saudi Arabia. Foreign military sales funds in the amount of $49,534,984 are being obligated at the time of award. The 338th Specialized Contracting Squadron, Joint Base San Antonio Randolph, Texas, is the contracting activity.
10 Apr 18. Cobham has landed a contract to design and produce the oxygen system for South Korea’s future fighter, the KF-X manufactured by Korean Aerospace Industries, the company announced Tuesday. Under a multiyear agreement that covers the development phase of the aircraft, Cobham will develop an onboard oxygen generating system for KF-X. That system will include technologies including the company’s Next Generation Oxygen Concentrator — which creates breathable oxygen from engine bleed air—and its Electronic Seat Mounted Regulator that allows pilots to control the flow of oxygen. The system will meet or exceed South Korea’s requirements, but will also be able to be upgraded in the future with emerging technologies like pilot breathing sensors, the company said in a news release. (Source: Defense News)
09 Apr 18. Draken International, a global leader in advanced adversary air services, has signed an agreement with Paramount Aerospace Systems, a subsidiary of Paramount Group, for the overhaul and ongoing engineering support of their recently acquired fleet of Mirage F1M aircraft from the Spanish Air Force. Draken acquired 22 Mirage F1M and F1B fighter jets in an effort to enhance adversary services for its US Department of Defense and allied nation customers. The Mirage F1Ms were predominantly flown by the Spanish Air Force and received a full radar and avionics suite modernization in the late 1990s. This acquisition along with the most recent purchase of twelve supersonic radar equipped South African Denel Cheetah fighter jets increased Draken’s fleet size to over 150 fighter aircraft. With the completion of the procurement phase, the Mirage F1Ms will now undergo reassembly, restoration and airworthiness certification by Paramount Aerospace Systems at Draken’s Lakeland, FL maintenance facility. Paramount Aerospace specializes in the modernization of fixed wing platforms including leading the previous modernization of the Mirage F1M while still in Spanish Air Force military service. Paramount possesses extensive capabilities on the Mirage F1 with full airframe and engine overhaul capability, as well as the ability to upgrade and modernize avionics and mission systems. (Source: Google/benzinga.com)
09 Apr 18. Northrop Grumman Corporation’s (NYSE: NOC) U.K.-based air traffic management (ATM) subsidiary, Park Air Systems, has been awarded a contract to provide the latest version of its remote control and monitoring system, MARC Server, to NAV CANADA, the Canadian civil air navigation services provider. This software will be used to monitor their nationwide air traffic control radio system from multiple sites around the country. Additionally, Northrop Grumman is developing a bespoke interface module for NAV CANADA to monitor their unique Radio Telecom Interface Multiplexer (RTIM) network management equipment. NAV CANADA will roll out the installation of MARC Server software to manage their existing Park Air equipment, as well as their bespoke interfaces through 2018 and 2019. The NAV CANADA radio network consists of more than 5,000 radios deployed at more than 300 remote locations. The modular nature of MARC Server software allows Park Air to develop interfaces for one-off pieces of equipment such as NAV CANADA’s RTIM in a manner that enables the customer to retain ownership of any proprietary interfaces. Training for NAV CANADA communications engineering staff on the MARC Server software will be provided in the Park Air Academy near Peterborough in the U.K. Park Air provides a range of training courses, from basic ATM communications to highly specialised modules for advanced learners.
06 Apr 18. Sierra Nevada Corp., Hagerstown, Maryland, has been awarded a not-to-exceed $14,029,200 ceiling increase modification (P00010) to previously awarded undefinitized contract action FA8620-16-C-4003 for the Saudi King Air 350 program. This contract provides for the modification of two King Air 350 extended range aircraft with intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance/synthetic aperture radar capability, one transportable ground station, one fixed ground station, and one mission system trainer. This modification brings the total cumulative face value of the contract to not-to-exceed $85,774,950. Work will be performed in Hagerstown, Maryland, and is expected to be complete by April 2020. This contract involves 100 percent foreign military sales to Saudi Arabia. Foreign military sales funds in the amount of $9,494,750 are being obligated at the time of award. Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, is the contracting activity.
10 Apr 18. Canberra’s homeland security specialist, XTEK has secured another contract with the Australian Defence Force (ADF) for more Small Unmanned Aerial Systems (SUAS) worth $1.4m. The $1.4m purchase order placed by the ADF is for additional WASP AE SUAS and associated services including technical support, training and spare equipment made by Simi Valley’s AeroVironment. In its announcement to the ASX, XTEK said this latest SUAS order, which comes after last year’s announcement that defence would spend $42m with XTEK for SUAS, was made to undertake a novel concept demonstration by the Australian Army. (Source: Defence Connect)
11 Apr 18. Three Australian small businesses from Adelaide, Melbourne and Sydney have become the latest companies to secure contracts to further develop their innovative technologies through the Defence Innovation Hub.
Sydney-based Omega Dev Group was awarded a $44,000 contract, which will aim to develop facial protection that integrates with current Australian Defence Force protective equipment for use in training scenarios, which could provide a more realistic training environment that ensures the safety of ADF personnel, while Melbourne’s Seer Security landed a $268,000 contract to explore a data platform to strengthen Android application security.
Adelaide-based company Mincham Aviation was awarded a $272,000 contract, the largest contract of this tranche, which aims to explore the development of a tube-launched unmanned aerial vehicle. The proposed innovation could allow operators to accurately deliver payloads from ships in adverse weather conditions. (Source: Defence Connect)
10 Apr 18. The Australian Army has partnered with the Defence Innovation Hub to award three innovation contracts to Australian industry and research organisations to develop a next generation Small Unmanned Aerial System (SUAS) for use by Australian soldiers.
Victoria’s SYPAQ Systems and NSW’ JAR Aerospace and the University of Sydney each received contracts totalling $783,000.
JAR Aerospace was awarded $275,000 to develop a hybrid vertical take-off and landing with a fixed wing unmanned aerial system that will incorporate target tracking, encryption and acoustic sensing and analysis at an extended range while the University of Sydney was awarded $249,524 to develop a lightweight unmanned aerial system that combines vertical take-off capabilities with horizontal fixed wing flight for extended speed and endurance. The system will be supported by a suite of cutting edge communication, control and sensor payloads.
SYPAQ Systems was awarded $258,621 to further develop its Corvo X small unmanned aerial system that has vertical take-off and landing capacity with an extended flight time. The Corvo X also has a ground control operating system appropriate for use on both Windows and Android platforms. This latest contract is now the third Defence Innovation Hub contract that the Victorian SME has won. (Source: Defence Connect)
MANAGEMENT ON THE MOVE
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TopEngineer.com Job Of the Week!
Software Engineer in High Wycombe
Location: High Wycombe, UK
Job type: Contract
Category: Software Engineering
Job Reference: 938051
Posted on: 9 Apr 2018
About the Role:
Buckinghamshire (6 month contract)
Software Engineer required to join a globally established defence company in the Buckinghamshire area. The company provides a variety of electronic products for military applications. The Software Engineer will support the software teams to develop current and future projects through all phases of the implementation lifecycle (design, programming, unit testing, integration and final verification). The initial projects of the Software Engineer will most likely be focussed on, but not constrained to, gun fire control systems and electro-optics systems.
On offer for the Software Engineer:
– Competitive Hourly Rate
– Initial 6 month contract (Potential of extension due to projects)
Key responsibilities of the Software Engineer include:
* Software development in accordance with company procedures and tools.
* Development and documentation of the Software Design, through Software Design and Interface Specifications.
* Writing and running Software Test Specifications.
* Attending regular project, schedule and risk reviews with the project manager and Team Leader
* Provide project input to project progress reports and meetings, engineering estimates to complete and input to risk identification and mitigation.
* Supporting Systems Integration and fault investigation,
* Software design using a combination of UML and free format word design document
* Working within an Agile environment contributing to daily scrums and backlog estimating
* Software\Hardware integration and debugging
* Fault analysis and resolution
* Software Design Proving and supporting Acceptance Tests
* Supporting Factory Acceptance Tests
* Supporting Integration Tests
* Supporting System Acceptance Trials.
Requirements of the Software Engineer include:
Essential for project – UML, Rhapsody, QNX, C++, CLI, .NET Forms development, Subversion, Jira and Visual Studio multi-threaded windows Human Computer Interface design.
Desirable for project – Network configuration and troubleshooting (TCP\UDP\IP\SNTP\IGMP), Hardware\Software Interfacing and Integration, digital video encoding techniques.
ALL CANDIDATES MUST BE ELIGIBLE FOR SC CLEARANCE
This advert was posted by Gold Group – one of the UK’s leading niche recruitment consultancies. We span a variety of specialist industries and are the recruitment company to help you find your next career opportunity. We pride ourselves on our commitment to candidates and stick to our ethos of finding the right role for the right person. Visit our website or get in touch today to discuss this role, find out what else we’ve got or just for a chat about the state of your industry. Services advertised by Gold Group are those of an Agency and/or an Employment Business. Please be aware that we receive a high volume of applications for every role advertised and regularly receive applications from candidates who exceed the job credentials. We will only contact you within the next 14 days if you are selected for interview.
12 Apr 18. BAE Systems has announced a £10m investment programme to upgrade its Maritime Integration and Support Centre (MISC) in Portsmouth – a specialist facility providing vital support for Royal Navy warships whilst researching future combat systems and technologies.
Located on Portsdown Hill and shaped like a Type 45 destroyer, the MISC is a unique facility that accurately replicates real-life ship conditions using the same combat system technology found across the Royal Navy’s surface fleet – including systems used to track threats, co-ordinate weapons and manage on-deck aircraft movements. The facility enables highly skilled engineers to develop and test key elements of combat systems before they are installed on ships and, once in service, provide them with through-life support.
Supporting the development of future combat systems, BAE Systems’ £10 m investment programme will research new technologies such as artificial intelligence, information and electronic warfare, unmanned vehicles and new weapons.
The MISC will benefit from new facilities including a state of the art visualisation suite able to display live tactical data from any Royal Navy warship anywhere in the world, further enhancing warship support. The pioneering technology will provide BAE Systems’ Naval Combat Systems Integration Support Services (NCSISS) engineers with all the information they need to keep ships battle ready and support them in their deployments.
Richard Williams, BAE Systems Naval Ships Combat Systems Director, said: “The Maritime Integration and Support Centre is a vital facility for ensuring combat systems equipment aboard the Royal Navy’s fleet remains at peak operational performance, and allows us to continue our work on the combat systems of the future. Our investment will ensure the MISC will build on the success it has enjoyed since opening in 2004 and help us understand how new technologies can be introduced to keep navies safe.”
The visualisation suite adds to existing MISC technology such as the Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carrier integration facility. Between 2009 and 2017, whilst HMS QUEEN ELIZABETH was under construction nearly 500 miles away in Rosyth, the MISC remotely supported installation of its mission-critical systems. Supported by high quality navigation simulations, the ship’s crew was able to plan the platform’s historic first entry into Portsmouth last August.
The MISC will remotely integrate the HMS PRINCE OF WALES combat system throughout 2018, whilst in July testing will begin on combat system equipment for the Royal Navy’s new City class Type 26 Global Combat Ships. The first ship in class, GLASGOW, is under construction at BAE Systems’ facilities on the Clyde.
06 Apr 18. Kratos opens Australian aerial target facility. US defence technology company Kratos Defense & Security Solutions has announced the opening of a new site in Nowra, New South Wales, Australia. The facility, which will initially focus on tactical unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and aerial targets, also positions Kratos to compete for future Australian opportunities across the entire scope of the company’s capabilities, the company reported on 5 April.
“I am excited to be expanding our international footprint and leveraging the (approximate) USD85m in investments we have made to develop and field a suite of high performance UAS, which provide ideal solutions for both the US DoD and many foreign defense agencies,” Kratos President and CEO Eric DeMarco said. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
12 Apr 18. US Navy Christened Littoral Combat Ship Indianapolis. The US Navy christened its newest Freedom-variant littoral combat ship, USS Indianapolis (LCS 17), during a 10:00 a.m. CDT ceremony Saturday, April 14, in Marinette, Wisconsin. The future USS Indianapolis, designated LCS 17, honors Indianapolis, Indiana’s state capital. She will be the fourth ship to bear the name. The principal speaker was former U.S. Senator Richard Lugar of Indiana. Mrs. Jill Donnelly, wife of U.S. Senator Joe Donnelly of Indiana, will serve as the ship’s sponsor. In a time-honored Navy tradition, she will christen the ship by breaking a bottle of sparkling wine across the bow.
“The future USS Indianapolis honors more than a city, it pays tribute to the legacy of those who served during the final days of World War II on board USS Indianapolis (CA-35),” said Secretary of the Navy Richard V. Spencer. “This ship will continue the proud legacy of service embodied in the name Indianapolis, and is a testament to the true partnership between the Navy and industry.”
LCS-17 is the fourth ship to carry the name of Indiana’s capital city. The most recent Indianapolis was a Los Angeles-class fast-attack submarine, commissioned Jan. 5, 1980, which served through the end of the Cold War before being decommissioned in 1998. The first Indianapolis was a steamer built for the U.S. Shipping Board (USSB) and commissioned directly into the Navy in 1918. After two runs to Europe, the ship was returned to the USSB following the war. It is the second Indianapolis (CA 35)—a cruiser—that is perhaps the best known of the three. The ship was sunk in the final days of World War II, and her crew spent several days in the water awaiting rescue. But it was her impressive war record that first brought the ship to the attention of Navy leaders and the American public. The ship and her crew served faithfully throughout the war, seeing action in the Aleutians, the Gilbert Islands, Saipan, the Battle of the Philippine Sea, Iwo Jima and Okinawa. In addition to frequently serving as the flagship of the U.S. Fifth Fleet, the ship earned 10 battle stars for World War II service and successfully completed a top secret mission delivering components of the instrument that ended the war.
Two survivors of the CA 35 crew, Richard Thelen and Art Leenerman, are scheduled to attend the christening ceremony on behalf of their shipmates. The future USS Indianapolis is a fast, agile, focused-mission platform designed for operation in near-shore environments yet capable of open-ocean operation. It is designed to defeat asymmetric “anti-access” threats such as mines, quiet diesel submarines and fast surface craft. LCS is a modular, reconfigurable ship, designed to meet validated fleet requirements for surface warfare (SUW), anti-submarine warfare (ASW) and mine countermeasures (MCM) missions in the littoral region. An interchangeable mission package is embarked on each LCS and provides the primary mission systems in one of these warfare areas. Using an open architecture design, modular weapons, sensor systems and a variety of manned and unmanned vehicles to gain, sustain and exploit littoral maritime supremacy, LCS provides U.S. joint force access to critical areas in multiple theaters. The LCS class consists of two variants, the Freedom variant and the Independence variant, designed and built by two industry teams. The Freedom variant team is led by Lockheed Martin (for the odd-numbered hulls). The Independence variant team is led by Austal USA (for LCS 6 and the subsequent even-numbered hulls). (Source: US DoD)
12 Apr 18. Indonesia reorganises surface combatants, prepares for establishment of third fleet. Key Points:
- The Indonesian Navy is reorganising its surface assets to prepare for the establishment of a third fleet
- The service will undergo a significant reshuffling of surface combatants and change in commands over the next few months
The Indonesian Navy’s (Tentara Nasional Indonesia – Angkatan Laut, or TNI-AL) proposals to reorganise itself into three fleets have received the approval of President Joko Widodo, and the service is now preparing to move the headquarters of its Eastern Fleet (Komando Armada Republik Indonesia Kawasan Timur: KOARMATIM) from Surabaya in Eastern Java to Sorong, in West Papua.
In preparation for this move, KOARMATIM will transfer the TNI-AL’s fleet of three Fatahillah-class corvettes and three Bung Tomo-class frigates to the Western Fleet (Komando Armada Republik Indonesia Kawasan Barat: KOARMABAR). (Source: IHS Jane’s)
10 Apr 18. India commissions first new Vikram-class OPV. Key Points:
- The Indian Coast Guard has commissioned its first 97m Vikram-class offshore patrol vessel
- Platform validates the capabilities of Indian private shipyards to deliver on more complex Mil-Spec platform projects
The Indian Coast Guard (ICG) has commissioned its first new Vikram-class offshore patrol vessel (OPV).
The platform, which has been named ICGS Vikram with pennant number 33, was officially inducted on 11 April in a ceremony officiated by Indian Minister of State for Defence, Subhash Bhamre. Vikram is part of an INR14320m (USD220m) contract awarded to Larsen & Toubro in March 2015 for seven vessels.
The OPV was launched in October 2017 at Larsen & Toubro’s Kattupali shipyard, while a second ship in the programme was lowered into the water in January 2018. Vikraminherits the name and hull number of the first ship in a class of nine that was in service with the ICG since 1983 and began retiring in 2012. The service currently operates a single ship, ICGS Vigraha (39), in this older class of vessels.
The new Vikram class has an overall length of 97m, an overall beam of 15m, and a hull draught of 3.6m. The platform has a top speed of 26t, and a standard range of 5000 n miles at 12kt. The ship’s construction design and construction processes have undergone dual certifications from the American Bureau of Shipping and Indian Registrar of Shipping.
The vessel can accommodate a helicopter, such as the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) Dhruv, on its flight deck to augment its search-and-rescue (SAR), and maritime patrol capabilities. The ship can also carry two rigid hull inflatable boats (RHIBs), on davits that are located on the port and starboard, for maritime interdiction operations.
(Source: IHS Jane’s)
09 Apr 18. US vessels donated to Costa Rica depart Baltimore. Two platforms donated by the United States to Costa Rica departed from Baltimore, Maryland, on 3 April and will reach the Central American nation’s Puerto Caldera, in the Pacific, by the end of April.
The two patrol boats, formerly known as Long Island and Roanoke Island, are 110 ft Island-class cutters that were constructed in the 1980s and were decommissioned by the US Coast Guard in 2015. The vessels will be renamed Libertador Juan Rafael MoraPorras (GC110-1) and General Jose Maria Cañas Escamilla (GC110-2) and will be used by Costa Rica’s coast guard (Servicio Nacional de Guardacostas: SNC). (Source: IHS Jane’s)
09 Apr 18. Announcement of full operating capability for RAN’s LHDs held up by commercial discussions. Full operational capability for the Royal Australian Navy’s (RAN’s) two 27,500-tonne Canberra-class landing helicopter docks (LHDs) will not be declared until commercial negotiations are completed on the successful remediation of faulty propulsion pods, a parliamentary committee has been told. Both LHDs were sporadically either unavailable for service or subject to operating restrictions during 2017 due to irregularities within their azimuth propulsion pod systems. These problems were later linked by Chief of Navy Vice Admiral Tim Barrett to oil migration across seals in the propulsion systems. Each ship is propelled by two Siemens Navantia 11 MW azimuth thrusters, each with an onboard electric motor, driving propellers measuring 4.5m in diameter. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
09 Apr 18. Indonesia prepares to receive second Nagapasa-class submarine. Key Points:
- The Indonesian Navy is preparing to bring its second South Korean-built submarine home
- Service is on track to operate a class of two boats by 2018, with a third under construction in Surabaya
A pioneering crew for the Indonesian Navy (Tentara Nasional Indonesia – Angkatan Laut, or TNI-AL’s) second Nagapasa (Type 209/1400)-class diesel-electric submarine (SSK) has arrived in South Korea to prepare the boat for its journey home. The SSK, which will be in service as KRI Ardadedali with pennant number 404 once commissioned, will begin the journey home from Okpo, on the South Korean island of Geoje, towards Surabaya on 23 April, said the TNI-AL. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
12 Apr 18. The F-35 program has accomplished the final developmental test flight of the System Development and Demonstration (SDD) phase of the program.
“Completing F-35 SDD flight test is the culmination of years of hard work and dedication from the joint government and industry team,” said Vice Adm. Mat Winter, F-35 Program Executive Officer. “Since the first flight of AA-1 in 2006, the developmental flight test program has operated for more than 11 years mishap-free, conducting more than 9,200 sorties, accumulating over 17,000 flight hours, and executing more than 65,000 test points to verify the design, durability, software, sensors, weapons capability and performance for all three F-35 variants. Congratulations to our F-35 Test Team and the broader F-35 Enterprise for delivering this new powerful and decisive capability to the warfighter.”
The final SDD flight occurred April 11, 2018 at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md., when Navy test aircraft CF-2 completed a mission to collect loads data while carrying external 2,000-pound GBU-31 Joint Direct Attack Munitions (JDAM) and AIM-9X Sidewinder heat-seeking missiles. From flight sciences to mission systems testing, the critical work completed by F-35 test teams cleared the way for the Block 3F capability to be delivered to the operational warfighter. More than a thousand SDD flight test engineers, maintainers, pilots and support personnel took the three variants of the F-35 to their full flight envelope to test aircraft performance and flying qualities. The test team conducted 6 at-sea detachments and performed more than 1,500 vertical landing tests on the F-35B variant. The developmental flight test team completed 183 Weapon Separation Tests; 46 Weapons Delivery Accuracy tests; 33 Mission Effectiveness tests, which included numerous multi-ship missions of up to eight F-35s against advanced threats.
“The F-35 flight test program represents the most comprehensive, rigorous and the safest developmental flight test program in aviation history,” said Greg Ulmer, Lockheed Martin’s vice president and general manager of the F-35 program. “The joint government and industry team demonstrated exceptional collaboration and expertise, and the results have given the men and women who fly the F-35 great confidence in its transformational capability.”
Developmental flight test is a key component of the F-35 program’s SDD phase, which will formally be completed following an Operational Test and Evaluation and a Department of Defense decision to go into full-rate aircraft production.
While SDD required flight test is now complete, F-35 flight testing continues in support of phased capability improvements and modernization of the F-35 air system. This effort is part of the Joint Program Office’s Continuous Capability Development and Delivery (C2D2) framework, which will provide timely, affordable incremental warfighting capability improvements to maintain joint air dominance against evolving threats to the United States and its allies.
With stealth technology, advanced sensors, weapons capacity and range, the F-35 is the most lethal, survivable and connected fighter aircraft ever built. More than a fighter jet, the F-35’s ability to collect, analyze and share data is a powerful force multiplier that enhances all airborne, surface and ground-based assets in the battlespace and enables men and women in uniform to execute their mission and return home safe.
11 Apr 18. The Indian side approved the technical configuration of the light utility Ka-226T helicopter developed by Russian Helicopters Holding Company to be assembled by Joint Venture Indo-Russian Helicopters Limited in India. The project on the delivery of 200 Ka-226T units and establishment of Ka-226T serial production in India is being implemented under the intergovernmental agreement signed in 2016.
In May 2017, the joint venture was registered in India to perform the helicopter assembly with the subsequent localization of production. As of date, the Indian Ministry of Defense approved the payment of JV charter capital. Moreover, the MoD identified the production site, the JV shall be situated in the vicinity of Tumkur, near Bangalore.
“Approval of helicopter configuration to be delivered and assembled in India means that the technical aspects of the project have been finalized. We and our Indian partners shall commence the preparation of contractual documents in the near future”, said Andrey Boginskiy, Director General of Russian Helicopters Holding Company.
Light utility Ka-226T helicopter features coaxial main rotor system, maximum take-off weight of 3.6 tons and is capable of transporting up to 1 ton of payload. It can be equipped with a transport cabin, which allows transporting up to 6 people, or modules fitted with special equipment. Improved flight performance of Ka-226T helicopter, environmental friendliness, cost effectiveness, state-of-the-art avionics suite and additional flight safety solutions make this helicopter one of the best in its class.
09 Apr 18. Australia receives first ‘full combat’ F-35As. Australia has received a further batch of Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighters (JSFs), and the first to be fitted with the latest ‘full combat’ software. Three conventional take-off and landing (CTOL) F-35As (AU-3 to AU-5) were delivered to the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) to add to the two already delivered, the Australian defence minister, Christopher Pyne, announced on 9 April. While the two aircraft already delivered were fitted with the Block 3i (initial combat capability), these latest three aircraft have the Block 3F (full combat capability) software package. Indeed, Australia is the first international partner to receive aircraft to this standard (Israel, which is a customer of the F-35 rather than a partner, is understood to already have its aircraft at this standard).
All five F-35As are currently located with the US Air Force’s (USAF’s) 61st Fighter Squadron at Luke Air Force Base (AFB) in Arizona, where they serve as part of the international training fleet. With five more RAAF F-35As set to join them at this location before the end of the year, the first aircraft will arrive at RAAF Williamtown in New South Wales shortly after.
The F-35A will enter Australian service from late 2018, replacing the RAAF’s ageing Boeing FA-18A/B ‘legacy’ Hornets and augmenting the Boeing F/A-18F Super Hornets and EA-18G Growlers. Full operating capability for the type in RAAF service is scheduled for 2023.
The F-35 is the central tenet in the RAAF’s ambition to build itself up as the world’s first fully networked ‘fifth-generation’ air force, with an ambitious procurement programme including the Super Hornet combat aircraft and Growler electronic attack aircraft; the Boeing E-7 Wedgetail airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) platform; up to five Gulfstream 550 intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance, and electronic warfare (ISREW) aircraft; seven Northrop Grumman MQ-4C Triton unmanned aircraft systems; and an armed medium-altitude long-endurance unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), such as the General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc MQ-9 Reaper. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
06 Apr 18. Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT) delivered the first HC-130J Combat King II combat search and rescue tanker to the California Air National Guard on April 5 at the company’s site. The HC-130J will be operated by the 129th Rescue Wing (RQW) at Moffett Air National Guard Base, California. The 129th RQW currently operates a fleet of MC-130P Combat Shadow aircraft, which will be replaced by four new HC-130Js, and a fleet of HH-60G Pave Hawk rescue helicopters, which are built by Lockheed Martin’s Sikorsky business in Stratford, Connecticut. Like others in the U.S. Air Force Rescue community, the 129th RQW lives by the motto, “These Things We Do, That Others May Live,” which reflects its mission of supporting combat search and rescue anywhere in the world. The 129th also performs a wide variety of civilian search and rescue missions, including distressed persons aboard ships, lost or injured hikers, and medical evacuations.
“The 129th Rescue Wing has long relied on its MC-130Ps to exemplify the National Guard’s commitment to being, ‘Always Ready, Always There,'” said George Shultz, vice president and general manager, Air Mobility & Maritime Missions at Lockheed Martin. “The arrival of these new HC-130Js ensure these Airmen will have the increased power, enhanced capabilities and proven performance that will continue to help save lives — in California, throughout the Pacific region and around the world.”
The HC-130J is the only dedicated fixed-wing personnel recovery platform in the Air Force and Air National Guard inventory. The HC-130J supports missions in all-weather and geographic environments, including reaching austere locations. The HC-130J is also tasked for airdrop, airland, and helicopter air-to-air refueling and forward-area ground refueling missions. It also supports humanitarian aid operations, disaster response, security cooperation/aviation advisory, emergency aeromedical evacuation and noncombatant evacuation operations. The HC-130J is one of eight production variants of the C-130J Super Hercules, the current production model of the legendary C-130 Hercules aircraft. With more than 400 aircraft delivered, the C-130J is the airlifter of choice for 18 nations, with more than 1.7 m flight hours of experience supporting almost any mission requirement — any time, any place.
05 Apr 18. India to supply four Mi-24 assault helicopters to Afghanistan. India will underwrite the supply and delivery of four refurbished Russian-built Mil Mi-24 assault helicopters by Belarus to the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF) over the next few months, Jane’s has learned. “The Indian government has agreed to source these helicopters from Belarus, as Russia remains under international sanctions due to its military action in Ukraine in 2014,” said Rahul Bhonsle, the director of Security Risks Asia: a New Delhi-based defence management consultancy. India is currently unable to supply these helicopters to the ANDSF, given that its stocks of these platforms are depleted, he added.
PLANT CLOSURES, JOB LOSSES AND STRIKES
12 Apr 18. Trump’s deputy national security adviser to depart. The White House’s revolving door of officials and advisers continues to whirl. Rick Waddell, President Donald Trump’s deputy national security adviser, will be leaving his position, the White House said on Thursday. “Dr Rick Waddell plans to step down from his position at the White House,” according to a statement. “He will stay on board for the immediate future to help ensure a smooth and orderly transition. Dr Waddell is highly respected and very well liked within the White House and the United States Army. We thank him for his continued service.” The news comes just two days after Tom Bossert, Mr Trump’s homeland security and counter-terrorism adviser, abruptly resigned. It also comes as the world awaits the US’s response to the situation in Syria, where the government of Bashar al-Assad is alleged to have used chemical weapons on its own people over the weekend. Mr Trump sent the market into a tailspin this week and drove oil prices to their highest levels since December 2014 after he said he was nearing a decision about whether to launch a strike on Syria in response to the alleged attack. He upped the ante on Wednesday, warning Russia to “get ready” if it plans to defend the Assad regime against US military action. However, he appeared to backtrack on Thursday, saying he “never said when an attack on Syria would take place.” (Source: FT.com)
10 Apr 18. US Navy decommissions USS Dallas submarine after 38 years of service. The US Navy has decommissioned the Los Angeles-class fast attack submarine USS Dallas (SSN 700) during a ceremony held in the controlled industrial area (CIA) at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard (PSNS) Bremerton.
The navy vessel’s decommissioning was carried out by a team led by the Puget shipyard and Intermediate Maintenance facility.
USS Dallas final commanding officer commander David Kaiser said: “Professional warfighters come together with a huge organisation of exceptional technical expertise and capabilities to shut down, dismantle and render safe all the systems and equipment, which gave that vessel its lethality.
“We built a critical, questioning, proactive team that has met or exceeded all expectations.”
The approximately 360ft-long, Los Angeles-class submarine carried out several missions to ensure national security during its 38 years of naval service. It was deployed a total of 14 times and steamed over one m miles, visiting more than 30 nations worldwide. SSN 700 completed its most recent deployment on 22 November 2016. It is the second US Navy vessel to be named after the city of Dallas in Texas. The submarine’s final, extended, seven-month deployment to the US 5th and 6th Fleet Areas of Operation saw the vessel sail 37,000 nautical miles (nm), while making port calls to Brest, France; Al Hidd, Bahrain; and Duqm, Oman.
General Dynamics Electric Boat division, based in Groton, Connecticut, originally laid the keel of the USS Dallas on 9 October 1976.
The submarine was launched on 28 April 1979 before being commissioned with the US Navy on 18 July 1981. USS Dallas featured a displacement of more than 6,900t and an accommodation capacity of approximately 140 sailors. The vessel was capable of supporting a wide range of missions such as anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface ship warfare, strike warfare, and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR). (Source: naval-technology.com)
09 Apr 18. US Navy’s Oldest Commissioned Submarine Visits Pearl Harbor for Final Time. Friends and families of the crew gathered on the pier here April 6 to welcome back the Los Angeles-class fast-attack submarine USS Bremerton as it returned from its final deployment.
Bremerton successfully completed a six-month deployment while conducting operations in support of national security.
“The entire crew performed with excellence,” said Navy Master Chief Petty Officer Wade Jacobson, Bremerton’s boat chief. “In six months we took the nation’s longest-serving submarine more than 42,000 nautical miles, executing multiple missions in some of the toughest and busiest environments in the world, and conducted five foreign port visits.”
During the deployment, 25 sailors earned their submarine warfare qualification, and 19 achieved advanced supervisory qualifications.
“I want the American public to know that they should be incredibly proud of every single person on this boat,” Jacobson said. “Each one has sacrificed something to do the job, and it can sometimes be stressful, but through grit and determination, each one has come through successfully.
The completion of its Western Pacific deployment marks the end the ship’s active service in the Pacific. It will soon head to Bremerton, Washington, for deactivation.
“The Bremerton is one of the most impressive engineering marvels in human history,” Jacobson said. “It is truly incredible for a warship to be operational at such deep and strenuous depths for nearly 40 years.”
Bremerton made port calls to Singapore and the Philippines, and some of the crew used the visits to volunteer and interact with host countries.
“The best part of deployment for me was getting the chance to play soccer with children we visited in the Philippines,” said Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class Daniel Kim. “It was a great opportunity to see and interact with the local community.”
Jacobson extolled the crew for its flexibility during the challenging deployment. “Every curveball thrown our way was hit out of the park,” he said. USS Bremerton is the 10th ship of the Los Angeles class and the oldest commissioned submarine in the Navy. Its keel was laid in Groton, Connecticut, in May 1976. (Source: US DoD)
MILITARY AND GOVERNMENT
12 Apr 18. AFP activates unified special operations command. The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) have unified the special operations units of its major services under one command as a result of lessons learned in the Zamboanga City attack in 2013 and the siege of Marawi in 2017, AFP Chief of Staff General Rey Leonardo Guerrero was quoted by the state-owned Philippines News Agency (PNA) as saying on 8 April. Named the AFP Special Operations Command (AFPSOCOM), the new structure, which was activated on 6 April, is headquartered in Fort Magsaysay in the Philippine province of Nueva Ecija. It assumes unified control of the air force’s Special Operations Wing; the navy’s Naval Special Operations Group; the army’s Scout Ranger Regiment, Special Forces Regiment and Light Reaction Regiment; and of the Joint Special Operations Group of the AFP General Headquarters. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
06 Apr 18. The Pentagon announced April 5 that JP Morgan Chase’s former chief information officer Dana Deasy will become the Department of Defense’s top IT official in early May. Deasy was appointed CIO at JP Morgan Chase in 2013, eventually managing a $9.5bn technology budget in 2016, according to the company’s annual report. Deasy retired from the company in September 2017. (Source: Defense News)
11 Apr 18. USMC MG Charles G. Chiarotti for appointment to the rank of lieutenant general, and assignment as deputy commandant for installations and logistics, Headquarters, U.S. Marine Corps. Chiarotti is currently serving as the deputy commander, U.S. Forces Japan, Yokota Air Base, Fussa, Japan.
10 Apr 18. Rear Admiral (lower half) Michelle C. Skubic, selected for promotion to rear admiral, will be assigned as commander, Naval Supply Systems Command / chief of Supply Corps, Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania. Skubic is currently serving as commander, Defense Logistics Agency – Land and Maritime, Columbus, Ohio.
10 Apr 18. Navy Adm. Philip S. Davidson for reappointment to the rank of admiral, and assignment as commander, U.S. Pacific Command, Honolulu, Hawaii. Davidson is currently serving as commander, U.S. Fleet Forces Command, Norfolk, Virginia.
10 Apr 18. Navy Rear Adm. David M. Kriete for appointment to the rank of vice admiral, and assignment as deputy commander, U.S. Strategic Command, Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska. Kriete most recently served as director, Strategic Capabilities Policy, National Security Council, Washington, District of Columbia.
10 Apr 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.
10 Apr 18. Navy Rear Adm. (lower half) Brent W. Scott, Chaplain Corps, for appointment as chief of chaplains. Scott is currently serving as chaplain of the Marine Corps; deputy chief of chaplains and deputy director of Religious Ministries, N097B, Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, Pentagon, Washington, District of Columbia.
10 Apr 18. Navy Reserve Rear Adm. (lower half) Alan D. Beal has been nominated for appointment to the rank of rear admiral. Beal is currently serving as reserve deputy commander, U.S. Naval Forces, U.S. Central Command, U.S. Fifth Fleet, Manama, Bahrain.
10 Apr 18. Navy Rear Adm. (lower half) Eugene H. Black III has been nominated for appointment to the rank of rear admiral. Black is currently serving as commander, Carrier Strike Group Eight, Norfolk, Virginia.
10 Apr 18. Navy Rear Adm. (lower half) William D. Byrne Jr., has been nominated for appointment to the rank of rear admiral. Byrne is currently serving as commander, Carrier Strike Group Fifteen, San Diego, California.
10 Apr 18. Navy Rear Adm. (lower half) Marc H. Dalton has been nominated for appointment to the rank of rear admiral. Dalton is currently serving as commander, Task Force Seven Zero; and commander, Carrier Strike Group Five, Yokosuka, Japan.
10 Apr 18. Navy Rear Adm. (lower half) John V. Fuller has been nominated for appointment to the rank of rear admiral. Fuller is currently serving as commander, Carrier Strike Group One, San Diego, California.
10 Apr 18. Navy Rear Adm. (lower half) Michael P. Holland has been nominated for appointment to the rank of rear admiral. Holland is currently serving as commander, Submarine Group Ten, Kings Bay, Georgia.
10 Apr 18. Navy Rear Adm. (lower half) Hugh W. Howard III has been nominated for appointment to the rank of rear admiral. Howard is currently serving as assistant commander, Joint Special Operations Command, U.S. Special Operations Command, Fort Bragg, North Carolina.
10 Apr 18. Navy Rear Adm. (lower half) Jeffrey W. Hughes has been nominated for appointment to the rank of rear admiral. Hughes is currently serving as commander, Navy Personnel Command; and deputy chief of Naval Personnel, Millington, Tennessee.
10 Apr 18. Navy Reserve Rear Adm. (lower half) Brian S. Hurley has been nominated for appointment to the rank of rear admiral. Hurley is currently serving as reserve deputy commander for Maritime Operations, U.S. Fleet Forces Command, Norfolk, Virginia.
10 Apr 18. Navy Rear Adm. (lower half) Thomas E. Ishee has been nominated for appointment to the rank of rear admiral. Ishee is currently serving as director, plans and operations, U.S. Naval Forces Europe – Sixth Fleet; deputy commander, Sixth Fleet; commander, Submarines, Allied Naval Forces South; and commander, Submarine Group Eight, Naples, Italy.
10 Apr 18. Navy Rear Adm. (lower half) Roy I. Kitchener has been nominated for appointment to the rank of rear admiral. Kitchener is currently serving as deputy, U.S. Military Representative to NATO Military Committee, Brussels, Belgium.
10 Apr 18. Navy Rear Adm. (lower half) Stephen T. Koehler has been nominated for appointment to the rank of rear admiral. Koehler is currently serving as commander, Carrier Strike Group Nine, San Diego, California.
10 Apr 18. Navy Reserve Rear Adm. (lower half) Andrew C. Lennon has been nominated for appointment to the rank of rear admiral. Lennon is currently serving as deputy chief of staff, Submarines, NATO Maritime Command, Northwood, United Kingdom.
10 Apr 18. Navy Rear Adm. (lower half) Samuel J. Paparo Jr., has been nominated for appointment to the rank of rear admiral. Paparo most recently served as commander, Carrier Strike Group Ten, Norfolk, Virginia.
10 Apr 18. Navy Reserve Rear Adm. (lower half) Mary C. Riggs has been nominated for appointment to the rank of rear admiral. Riggs is currently serving as director, research and development, Defense Health Agency, Falls Church, Virginia.
10 Apr 18. Navy Rear Adm. (lower half) Michelle C. Skubic has been nominated for appointment to the rank of rear admiral. Skubic is currently serving as commander, Defense Logistics Agency – Land and Maritime, Columbus, Ohio.
10 Apr 18. Navy Rear Adm. (lower half) Jeffrey E. Trussler has been nominated for appointment to the rank of rear admiral. Trussler is currently serving as director, future plans, N3/N5, Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, Washington, District of Columbia.
10 Apr 18. Navy Rear Adm. (lower half) William W. Wheeler III has been nominated for appointment to the rank of rear admiral. Wheeler is currently serving as commander, Patrol and Reconnaissance Group, Norfolk, Virginia.
10 Apr 18. Navy Rear Adm. (lower half) Kenneth R. Whitesell has been nominated for appointment to the rank of rear admiral. Whitesell is currently serving as commander, Carrier Strike Group Four, Norfolk, Virginia.
10 Apr 18. Navy Capt. Darin K. Via has been nominated for appointment to the rank of rear admiral (lower half). Via is currently serving as command surgeon, U.S. Central Command, Tampa, Florida.
10 Apr 18. Rear Admiral (lower half) Edward B. Cashman will be assigned as commander, Standing NATO Maritime Group One, Norfolk, Virginia. Cashman is currently serving as commander, Joint Task Force Guantanamo, U.S. Southern Command, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
10 Apr 18. USAF Gen. Terrence J. O’Shaughnessy for appointment to the rank of general, and assignment as commander, U.S. Northern Command; and commander, North American Aerospace Defense Command, Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado. O’Shaughnessy is currently serving as commander, Pacific Air Forces; air component commander for U.S. Pacific Command; and executive director, Pacific Air Combat Operations Staff, Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii.
10 Apr 18. USMC Lt. Gen. Michael G. Dana for appointment to the rank of lieutenant general, and assignment as director of the USMC Staff. Dana is currently serving as the deputy commandant for installations and logistics, Headquarters, U.S. USMC, Washington, District of Columbia.
10 Apr 18. USMC Lt. Gen. David H. Berger for appointment to the rank of lieutenant general, and assignment as deputy commandant for combat development and integration, Headquarters, U.S. USMC; and commanding general, USMC Combat Development Command. Berger is currently serving as the commander, U.S. USMC Forces Pacific; and commanding general, Fleet USMC Forces Pacific, Honolulu, Hawaii.
10 Apr 18. USMC Col. Stephen E. Liszewski has been nominated for appointment to the rank of brigadier general. Liszewski is currently serving as the military assistant to the Secretary of the Navy, Washington, District of Columbia.
10 Apr 18. USMC Col. Lorna M. Mahlock has been nominated for appointment to the rank of brigadier general. Mahlock is currently serving as the deputy director of Operations, Plans, Policies, and Operations Directorate, Headquarters, U.S. USMC, Washington, District of Columbia.
10 Apr 18. USMC Col. David L. Odom has been nominated for appointment to the rank of brigadier general. Odom is currently serving as the chief of staff, III Marine Expeditionary Force, Okinawa, Japan.
10 Apr 18. USMC Col. Arthur J. Pasagian has been nominated for appointment to the rank of brigadier general. Pasagian is currently serving as the chief of staff, U.S. USMC Systems Command, USMC Base Quantico, Virginia.
10 Apr 18. USMC Col. Sean M. Salene has been nominated for appointment to the rank of brigadier general. Salene is currently serving as the assistant chief of staff, G-3, II Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.
10 Apr 18. USMC Col. Kevin J. Stewart has been nominated for appointment to the rank of brigadier general. Stewart is currently serving as the executive assistant to the deputy commandant for installations and logistics, Headquarters, U.S. USMC, Washington, District of Columbia.
10 Apr 18. USMC Col. William H. Swan has been nominated for appointment to the rank of brigadier general. Swan is currently serving as the tactical air section head, Aviation Weapons Systems Requirements Branch, Department of Aviation, Headquarters, U.S. USMC, Washington, District of Columbia.
10 Apr 18. USMC Col. Calvert L. Worth Jr., has been nominated for appointment to the rank of brigadier general. Worth is currently serving as the division chief, U.S. Central Command Division, Regional Operations, J-35, Joint Staff, Washington, District of Columbia
REST OF THE WORLD APPOINTMENTS
09 Apr 18. A former defence minister has been appointed as Australia’s first defence export advocate. David Johnston has taken up the role, which was first flagged in the Defence Export Stategy released earlier this year. Johnston held the role of Minister for Defence from September 2013 until late December 2014. Minister for Defence Industry Christopher Pyne said Johnston’s experience will be pivotal in his new role. (Source: Defence Connect)
10 Apr 18. Navantia and Hofmann Engineering sign MoU for RAN’s Future Frigate. Navantia Australia has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Hofmann Engineering to support the Royal Australian Navy’s (RAN) $25bn SEA5000 Future Frigate programme.
The deal will see Hofmann Engineering carry out joint development works and secure the provision of the propeller, main reduction gear and propulsion shafting for Navantia Australia’s proposed F-5000 frigate under the programme.
Hofmann Engineering is a Western Australia-based provider of engineering solutions and full turnkey tooling services.
The company has manufactured machined components, system components, propeller shafts, generator rebuilds and gearbox repairs since 1988, along with a variety of other capabilities in partnership with the RAN.
Navantia Australia chairman Warren King said: “We are extremely proud to be able to work with such a renowned Australian company.
“Hofmann Engineering will bring strong capability and experience to the continuous naval shipbuilding programme, and we look forward to working with them to further build Australia’s sovereign capability.”
Navantia Australia initially submitted its proposal to the Australian Government’s Future Frigate programme in August last year.
The company noted that its proposed F-5000 frigate design will be based on the Hobart Class destroyers.
Hofmann Engineering managing director Erich Hofmann said: “The opportunity to work with Navantia Australia to bring technologies to Australia and develop them locally is a significant step forward for the development of a local sovereign industry.”
Navantia claims to have identified more than 300 Australian companies to help deliver the capabilities required for the Future Frigate programme to date. (Source: naval-technology.com)
09 Apr 18. China’s AVIC and Belarus academy form joint venture. The Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC) and the National Academy of Sciences of Belarus (NASB) have formed a joint venture (JV), the official Belarusian Telegraph Agency (BelTA) reported on 6 April.
Citing the NASB press service, BelTA said the new joint company is named Aviation Technologies and Systems and will be focused on developing and producing aerospace systems for Belarus and Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). The news agency quoted Yuri Leonovets, the director general of Aviation Technologies and Systems, as saying the new JV will design its own “high-technology products and launch the serial production of both its own developments and those of AVIC”. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
06 Apr 18. AECOM strengthens supply chain management for federal and commercial clients by leveraging IFS technology. AECOM, a premier, fully-integrated global infrastructure firm, announced today a partnership with IFS, the global enterprise applications company, to modernise and transform its supply chain management capability using IFS Applications™. IFS Applications is an integrated application suite for critical business processes such as supply chain management, predictive maintenance and digital transformation.
AECOM’s Management Services group will utilise these tools to expand its portfolio of offerings, improve efficiencies, eliminate manual processes and provide exceptional value to its customers, including the U.S. Department of Defense, U.S. Department of State, U.S. Department of Energy, NASA and commercial clients. Enabling the company’s procurement and supply chain professionals with IFS technologies will drive even greater agility, flexibility and responsiveness to clients’ ever-changing mission priorities.
“Through the implementation of dynamic supply-chain technology, AECOM will help our clients achieve performance excellence and maximise their opportunities,” said John Vollmer, AECOM’s president of its Management Services group. “Our clients will realise increased value and savings through robust automation, significantly improved response times, reductions in inventory levels and planned on-time deliveries. We are excited about this partnership with IFS – a force multiplier for AECOM and our continued growth in the federal sector.”
“IFS has a proven history of being able to help organisations like AECOM meet the requirements of federal government clients in settings ranging from procurement, asset management and maintenance, repair and overhaul, through complex government contracting vehicles,” said Kevin Deal, vice president of Aviation and Defence for IFS. “We are excited about the opportunity to help AECOM automate and streamline numerous front and back office processes, enabling the company to tighten the procurement cycle, regardless of whether inventory is received at an AECOM warehouse, a customer location or a construction site. We look forward to standing up a supply chain management system that AECOM can leverage to enable growth in the market.”
09 Apr 18. Appointment of François Dupont as Director of the International Trade department at Naval Group. With effect on 2 April, François Dupont is appointed Director of the International Trade department at Naval Group. He will oversee all the areas in which Naval Group has prospective customers. He reports to Alain Guillou, Executive Vice President, Development. International development represents a major challenge for Naval Group, whose international sales should represent 50% of its revenues by 2020, compared to a third currently. François Dupont joined Naval Group at the age of 54 as Director of the International Trade department after having dedicated 28 years of his career to the export market. A graduate of Columbia University, he spent 18 years with Thales, as manager of the Thales subsidiary in Malaysia then in India. Since 2011, he headed France and export trade at the Thales sonar subsidiary.
11 Apr 18. WFEL Ltd, a world leader in the supply of rapidly-deployable military bridging systems, is pleased to announce the appointment of Ian Anderton as Managing Director, succeeding Ian Wilson, who will shortly retire from the company.
Ian Anderton brings with him extensive experience of the defence industry, coupled with a strong background in operational improvement. For many years, Ian held senior management roles within BAE Systems, including Managing Director of the Munitions Division and COO roles within BAE’s Maritime Division, responsible for both submarines and warships.
Prior to his time at BAE, Ian was General Manager for Pirelli Power Cables and also spent some 12 years in a variety of leadership roles within ICI.
Prior to his time at BAE, Ian was General Manager for Pirelli Power Cables and also spent some 12 years in a variety of leadership roles within ICI.
03 Apr 18. Restivo and Radford Join Advantech Wireless as Company President and VP of Global Sales, Respectively. Baylin Technologies Inc. (“Baylin”) (TSX: BYL) has announced that the firm’s subsidiary, Advantech Wireless Technologies Inc. (“Advantech”), has appointed John Restivo as President of Advantech and Tony Radford as Vice President of Global Sales of Advantech, effective immediately.
Mr. Restivo has been a leader in the SATCOM Industry for the past three decades. Educated as an Electrical Engineer, John started his career as Director of Systems Engineering and Operations for Scientific-Atlanta’s Satellite Communications Division. He then joined TriPoint Global as Chief Technology Officer of their $200 m manufacturing operation and then took the helm at Radyne/Comstream as President. For the last number of years, John has been the General Manager of Paradise Datacom, a division of Teledyne Technologies.
Joining the company as Vice President of Global Sales, Mr. Tony Radford will work from the Buford, Georgia, office. Tony has amassed a 30 year career in the satellite communications industry and has worked in a variety of roles, including engineering, sales and sales management, at such companies as Scientific Atlanta, VertexRSI, STM Wireless, Paradise Datacom and Teledyne Technologies. Incidentally, Tony co-founded Telecom International, a SATCOM systems integration company that was ultimately purchased by STM. Tony is pleased to join the Advantech team and work with a company whose brand is well known throughout the global Satcom industry. (Source: Satnews)
11 Apr 18. J.F. Lehman & Company, a leading middle-market private equity firm focused on the aerospace, defense, maritime, government and environmental sectors, is pleased to announce the appointment of Caroline R. Bibb to its Operating Executive Board (“OEB”). The OEB is a group of seasoned industry and government executives who have significant experience in the firm’s target industries. Through key relationships and sector-specific knowledge, OEB members contribute to sourcing and evaluating transactions, advising on portfolio company strategy and recruiting senior level portfolio company management. Carol joins the OEB after completing five years of service with J.F. Lehman & Company as Managing Director, Operations. In that capacity, she was responsible for leveraging the firm’s extensive operational resources and empowering portfolio company executive teams to drive growth and value creation. As part of her transition to the OEB, Ms. Bibb will remain a director of several current portfolio companies including National Response Corporation, Ravn Air Group, Sprint Energy Services and API Technologies.
09 Apr 18. Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE: NOC) has appointed Gabrielle Batkin as vice president of legislative affairs, effective today. Batkin will report to Lesley Kalan, corporate vice president, government relations. In her new role, Batkin leads the corporate legislative affairs organization and staff. She is responsible for implementing and overseeing all Northrop Grumman interactions with the U.S. Congress and related organizations, including the development of proactive activities to promote Northrop Grumman’s legislative agenda and build legislative and policy coalitions.
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House of Commons and House of Lords Hansard Written Answers
Asked by Viscount Waverley
Asked on: 28 March 2018
Ministry of Defence
Eastern Europe: NATO
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what coordination exists between NATO partners and those Eastern European nations most vulnerable to cyber-attacks and hybrid threats.
Answered by: Earl Howe
Answered on: 11 April 2018
At its 2016 Summit in Warsaw, NATO made a Cyber Defence Pledge to strengthen both individual and collective capability. The Alliance now engages regularly with its European partners to discuss Cyber and Hybrid threats at both the strategic and operational level. The NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence (based in Tallinn) and the European Centre of Excellence for countering Hybrid Threats (based in Helsinki) provide expertise and encourage cooperation and information-sharing among NATO Allies, EU Member States, and their partners. The UK is a leading participant in both Centres.
Asked by Baroness Quin
Asked on: 26 March 2018
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
EU Common Foreign and Security Policy
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what institutional mechanisms for future involvement in EU foreign policy cooperation they envisage for the UK after Brexit.
Answered by: Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Answered on: 10 April 2018
On leaving the EU, the UK will pursue an independent foreign policy. The future security partnership with the EU should respect both the EU’s decision-making autonomy and the UK’s sovereignty, and enable us to combine our efforts to the greatest effect where this is in our shared interest. We aim to be able to consult regularly with the EU, deliver operationally through EU mechanisms where this is in our shared interest, and work together on developing defence, cyber and space capabilities.
Asked by Mr Kevan Jones
Asked on: 27 March 2018
Ministry of Defence
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what recent representations the Government has received from the F-35 Joint Program Office on the proposed takeover of GKN by Melrose.
Answered by: Guto Bebb
Answered on: 06 April 2018
The Ministry of Defence was contacted by the F-35 Joint Program Office on the proposed takeover of GKN by Melrose in January 2018.