BATTLESPACE UPDATE Vol.20 ISSUE 17
23 April 2018
NEWS IN BRIEF – EUROPE
Nerve Agent: Salisbury Incident
India: Defence Co-operation
Commonwealth: New Posts
Arctic Policy: Publication
NAO Report: Skilled Personnel
Lithuania wants AA missiles
NATO moves into new HQ
Britain to quit Galileo?
Turkish TF-X Incentive
Turkish shipyards JV
Turkey provides tax breaks
NEWS IN BRIEF – USA
Advanced Gun System Update
Boeing, Embraer close to tie-up
Army Air & Missile Defense Future
US Army stops accepting AH-64E
USAF Teams With NRO For SSA Bird
Space Architect Is Back!
GE still mulls breakup
Fruits of Acquisition Changes
Increasing Global Threats
Trump boosts weapons sales
Speed Must Accompany Innovation
Trump’s ‘Buy American’ drive
NEWS IN BRIEF – REST OF THE WORLD
- Korean suspends testing
F-22/F-35 Hybrid for Japan
Japan deficit fixed by arms
Trump Restricts Israeli Aid
Flintlock Exercise in Africa
Indian advanced fighter on ice
ISIS Contained in Syria
Pakistan shuns US
Iran Using Yemen as Test Bed
India, Sweden ink action plan
New Russian Syrian Missile Deal
US denies export rights to ZTE
Chinese J-10C Begins Combat Duty
Indian, French Industry MoU
BAE Systems’ Malaysian profile
GKN’s board steps down
Ultra SFO Investigation
FLIR Investment in DroneSense
SDI buys New Technology
ZTE ban hits U.S. shares
GE books $4.2bn charge
MILITARY VEHICLE NEWS
Russia adopts BMPT Terminator
Contract for Estonian CV90s
New Cloud Leopard variant
Lynx for Czech Army?
Belarus showcases Cayman MATV
Russia Rolling Ahead with UGVs
Will Milley Replace Abrams Tank?
Dstl Autonomous resupply effort
NEW TECHNOLOGIES, NETWORKS AND COMMUNICATIONS
Pentagon developing AI center
DoD Must Be More Agile
USMC Use 3-D Printer for F-35
Azart showcases Ratnik radio
IAI Wins Tac4G Contracts
New TT Space Electronics® range
X-Ray Combustion Experiment
New AI Joint Office
Czech Gripen comms upgraded
SATELLITE SYSTEMS, SATCOM AND SPACE SYSTEMS UPDATE
ViaSat-3 No Longer for Eutelsat
Raytheon Polar Scout satellites
Lockheed’s GPS IIIF proposal
US missile warning satellites
Patent covering LEO satellites
USAF boosts satcomms
Arianes Use Gofa Tanks
Airbus ships SES-12 satellite
OCX at an inflection point
DARPA Launch Challenge
ULA Launches AFSPC-11
SDC BPA contract by DISA
Orbital Next Gen Launch System
GOMX-4 Nanosatellites commissioned
IRNSS-1I Satellite launched
USAF’s CBAS satellite testing
Lasercom Tech for Satellites
RADAR, EO/IR, NIGHT VISION AND SURVEILLANCE UPDATE
Senegal buys Ground Master 400
Sale of 100th ELM-2084 MMR
USN tests AMDR
Sentient’s ViDAR success
Russia jamming UAV signals
Network tools improve security
MISSILE, BALLISTICS AND SOLDIER SYSTEMS UPDATE
OFB and BEML 155mm system
Norinco reveals Fire Dragon
Meggitt Selected as Finalist
F/A-18, APKWS Flights
Pakistan test-fires Babur
155mm Sharang towed gun
JSSOW onto F-35C
Nammo refurbishes facilities
Thales FZ220 rocket on MD530G
Remote controlled naval mine
China’s bans autonomous systems?
Ukrspecsystems unveils RAM UAV
MdCN missile debut
Javelin missiles in India
UNMANNED SYSTEMS UPDATE
Czechs to develop VTOL UAV
Electronic Conspicuity Beacons
Ukrspecsystems unveils VTOL
Taiwan Test Flies Teng Yun
Adani, Elbit Set Up Plant
CYBER, EW, CLOUD COMPUTING AND HOMELAND SECURITY UPDATE
DoD Closer to Cloud Computing
How to Stop Cyber Intrusions
Businesses Lack Confidence
MASS discloses CounterWorX
Sectra Tiger®/R approved by EU
INTERNATIONAL PROCUREMENT OPPORTUNITIES
UNITED KINGDOM AND NATO
KBR buys Carillion’s interests
German plan for STH Program
Underfunded Maintenance Backlog
B-21 Preliminary Design Review
Meggitt Training Systems Selected
Pentagon JEDI cloud solicitation
REST OF THE WORLD
Australian SEA 5000 decision
Malaysian upgrade programmes
Indonesia pulls out of KFX/IFX?
Airbus Malaysian MPA bid
Enforcer 10000 LDP for Malaysia
UkrOboronProm offer to India
Rolls tech transfer to India
CONTRACT NEWS IN BRIEF
Chemring MoD orders
Curtiss-Wright Thales contract
BAE Estonian CV90 contract
Bittium Finnish contract
Patria Finnish contract
Latvia acquires RQ-20A Puma
Comtech Modem Contract
FLIR PB-EOS contract
Lockheed PATRIOT contract
Med-Eng USAF contract
Raytheon Barracuda contract
Altavian UAS contract
GD US BICES-X contract
LM hypersonic contract
Raytheon AMDR contract
REST OF THE WORLD
Rheinmetall Port contract
Civmec Luerssen contract
Damen Indra contract
Kongsberg Malaysian contract
L3 RAN contract
Saab Australian contract
FMS MH-60R to Mexico
MANAGEMENT ON THE MOVE
TopEngineer.com Job Of the Week!
Mechanical Weapons Engineer
P-8 Lossiemouth facility
Aselsan Malaysian expansion
Elbit office in Berlin
US Navy Commissioned LPD 27
Singapore’s 8th LMV
Leonardo Malaysian demo
PLANT CLOSURES, JOB LOSSES AND STRIKES
Rob Joyce will leave role
MILITARY AND GOVERNMENT
UK shortage of 8,200
Estonian troops in Mali
US Pilot Workforce Requirements
Jeff Boleng appointed
Rear Adm. S. Koehler selected
MG Sean M. Jenkins appointed
MG Gary W. Johnston appointed
MG John S. Kolasheski appointed
MG Patrick E. Matlock appointed
BG E.J. Deedrick Jr. appointed
BG Brian R. Bisacre appointed
BG C.D. Costanza appointed
BG P.B. Roberson appointed
Col. W.D. Taylor appointed
REST OF THE WORLD APPOINTMENTS
ACM Mark Binskin appointed
LG Angus Campbell appointed
Vice Ad D. Johnston appointed
Rear Ad. M. Noonan recommended
Dr A. Sagel at Rheinmetall
Mechanised Infantry Vehicle
Scrutiny of Russia
Veterans Mental Health
Arms exports inquiry
Of Tabloid Defence Disinformation!
By Howard Wheeldon, FRAeS, Wheeldon Strategic Advisory Ltd.
Of Parliamentary Democracy and WPP
By Howard Wheeldon, FRAeS, Wheeldon Strategic Advisory Ltd.
Civilian Casualties in Kunduz: The Struggle to Mitigate Civilian Harm in Partnered Operations
By Hijab Shah, Melissa Dalton
Lessons Learned? Success and Failure in Managing Russia-West Military Incidents 2014-2018
By Thomas Frear, Research Fellow
The world’s largest collection of toy soldiers is to be auctioned after all 250,000 were found in a British collector’s garage. (MailOnline, 19 Apr 18.) (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 18/15, 23 Apr 18)
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NEWS IN BRIEF – EUROPE
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17 Apr 18. Nerve Agent: Salisbury Incident. The Government released (17 Apr 18) details of the clean-up operation in Salisbury following the chemical poisoning incident of 4 Mar 18. Work has begun to bring a small number of potentially contaminated sites in the city back into safe use. All remaining potentially contaminated sites will remain secured. The Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA) is planning and overseeing the work which is expected to take “a number of months”. In addition to the expert advice of the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory, the MoD is providing 190 specialist personnel from the Army and RAF in support of the operation.
Comment: DEFRA’s Chief Scientific Adviser gave details of the clean-up work during a public meeting in Salisbury on 19 Apr 18. It is believed that there could still be undiscovered ‘hotspots’ of the Novichok nerve agent which was used to poison Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 18/15, 23 Apr 18)
18 Apr 18. India: Defence & Security Co-operation. The Indian Prime Minister visited the UK (18 Apr 18) as a guest of the Government, prior to attending the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in London. A UK-India statement: shared values, global capability was published and included measures to enhance co-operation to promote international security and stability in cyberspace. The MoD confirmed (18 Apr 18) that discussions have been held on how the RN can work more closely with their Indian counterparts within the Indian Ocean region and on developing defence industrial relations.
Comment: The above joint Statement builds on the ‘Defence and International Security Partnership’ agreed in 2015. A copy of the Statement is available via the Government web portal (www.gov.uk). (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 18/15, 23 Apr 18)
19 Apr 18. The Commonwealth: New Diplomatic Posts. During the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in London (19-20 Apr 18), the FCO confirmed the establishment of six new High Commissions (in Lesotho, Swaziland, the Bahamas, Tonga, Samoa and Vanuatu) and a further three missions (in Antigua & Barbuda, Grenada and St Vincent & the Grenadines). The
Foreign Secretary said that the new missions “will strengthen the UK’s diplomatic influence in the Commonwealth and help to deliver the UK’s security and prosperity objectives”.
Comment: As HM The Queen welcomed 53 Commonwealth Heads of Government to a reception at Buckingham Palace (19 Apr 18), over 400 members of the Armed Forces performed ceremonial duties including a Guard of Honour.
(Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 18/15, 23 Apr 18)
04 Apr 18. Arctic Policy: Publication. The FCO published (4 Apr 18) Beyond the ice: UK policy towards the Arctic. The document follows the 2013 publication, Adapting to Change, which set out the UK’s approach towards the Arctic. The Government is committed to: helping to understand a changing Arctic through world-class science, protecting the Arctic’s fragile environment and promoting prosperity in the region. The policy paper is available via the Government web portal (www.gov.uk).
Comment: The RN reported (20 Apr 18) that the Trafalgar Class SSN HMS TRENCHANT broke through ice at the North Pole during Ice Exercise 18 (ICEX). The SSN has been undergoing trials in the Arctic, co-ordinated by the US Navy’s Arctic Submarine Laboratory. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 18/15, 23 Apr 18)
18 Apr 18. NAO Report: Skilled Military Personnel. The National Audit Office (NAO) published (18 Apr 18) a report on the level of skilled personnel within the military. The report highlights that, as at January 2018, the shortfall of full-time trained regulars within the Armed Forces was 5.7% below the requirement and that there were much larger gaps in critical skills. 102 ‘pinch-point’ trades do not have enough trained regulars to carry out operational tasks without measures such as cancelling leave or training.
Comment: The NAO found that most of the pinch-points were in the engineering, intelligence, logistics, pilots, communications and medical trades and that the shortfalls were mainly the result of recruitment and retention problems. An MoD Spokesman commented (18 Apr 18) that recruiting and retaining talent “is one of our top priorities” and that there are sufficient personnel to meet all operational requirements. ‘Ensuring sufficient skilled military personnel’ was published as HC 947 and can be accessed via the NAO website (www.nao.org.uk). (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 18/15, 23 Apr 18)
20 Apr 18. Lithuania wants more NATO anti-aircraft missiles to deter Russia. Lithuania wants the United States to bring more defence systems such as long-range Patriot and short-range Avenger missiles to the Baltics where some fear Russia is more powerful in the air.
The country has asked Washington to install the systems more regularly for exercises, arguing NATO needs to know the region well in case of conflict, Defence Minister Raimundas Karoblis told Reuters.
“Yes, of course (we are asking)”, he told Reuters on Thursday. “We are talking not only about the Patriots but also other capabilities, such as short-range Avengers, and other systems to create a regional architecture of air defence, because we are not able to do that ourselves.”
Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, once ruled from Moscow but now part of NATO and the European Union, need Western help despite growing defence budgets due to their small economies. Poland was equally alarmed by Moscow’s seizure of Crimea in 2014 and is spending more than $5bn on buying Patriot missiles from Raytheon Co after a deal in March.
Patriot missile defence interceptors are designed to detect, track and engage unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), cruise missiles and short-range or tactical ballistic missiles.
But the small Baltic countries cannot afford costly military jets or advanced air defences, making them reliant on the United States and NATO to fill the gap.
From Kaliningrad, a Russian exclave on the Baltic Sea, any aircraft or missiles could reach most of Poland, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia.
DEPLOYMENT “AT ANY TIME”
Karoblis did not expect NATO to increase defences in the Baltics immediately but he expects the alliance to show greater commitment at a NATO leaders summit in July to deterring any threat in the Baltics.
One difficulty is that other NATO members face defence gaps after years of better ties with Russia following the end of the Cold War that made such defences unnecessary.
“We would like to have the permanent deployment of ground missile systems and other capabilities, but we understand that a quite significant part of these capabilities were lost by NATO after the Cold War and it’s difficult to rebuild them fast”, he said. “We need to ensure that (air defences) could be deployed (in the Baltics) at any time necessary.”
NATO began improving the region’s defences after Russia’s Crimea annexation, including putting four multinational battalions of about 1,000 troops to rotate in each Baltic state and Poland.
But the alliance has shied away from deploying permanent military capabilities, partly to avoid escalating tension with Russia. The Kremlin says NATO, not Moscow, is the risk to peace in Europe.
“The security situation (in the Baltics) is not improving,” said Karoblis, sitting in his ministry next to a painting depicting a Lithuanian cavalry battle with Russian Bolsheviks, almost a hundred years ago.
“One of the places where (NATO) unity could be tested is the Baltic countries. This is, at least, a theoretic possibility”. (Source: Reuters)
20 Apr 18. New home, but same worries, as NATO moves into glass and steel HQ. Almost a year after U.S. President Donald Trump inaugurated NATO’s new billion-dollar headquarters with fanfare at a special summit, alliance officials are now finally moving in, leaving their prefab 1960s base that leaked during rainstorms. Two decades of planning, construction and an additional year-long delay caused by technology problems now appear to be behind the Western alliance.
Its international staff and 29 embassies should be rehoused by mid-June, ready for a NATO defence ministers’ meeting and then a two-day NATO summit of alliance leaders in July, which Trump is expected to attend, officials say.
But within the shiny glass and steel interlocking buildings, NATO allies will face familiar problems, including how to handle a newly assertive Russia and manage the collective defence of Europe.
The move was originally due to take place soon after the May 25, 2017 visit by the U.S. president and other Western leaders. Trump, a former property developer, praised the 1.17bn-euro ($1.45bn) building as beautiful but said he had refused to ask how much it had cost.
NATO Deputy Secretary General Rose Gottemoeller said the move was about a year behind schedule.
“I don’t think that’s bad for an enormous building project,” she told reporters but conceded that rainwater dripped into her office in NATO’s current headquarters during a recent heavy winter storm.
The delay has stemmed in part from an ambitious plan for a central IT system to act as a brain to run the building. That was complicated by contractor Lockheed Martin Corp’s deal to sell its IT services division in early 2016.
Leidos Holdings Inc completed the job but “the handoff from one company to another was a factor,” Gottemoeller said. The building has 60,000 sensors helping control everything from the temperature of meeting rooms to secure-area doors.
The 4,200 staff will work in a total office space similar in area to the United Nations headquarters in New York. Except that to meet Belgian building requirements, the NATO HQ is only 32 metres (105 ft) tall at its highest point.
Seen by some as a Cold War relic until Russia’s 2014 annexation of Crimea, NATO has gained new relevance as the West confronts Russia, cyber warfare, militant attacks in Europe and seeks to defend against the threat of ballistic missiles from Iran to North Korea.
With glazing equivalent to 10 football pitches, sleek, airport terminal-like halls and the expanded, amphitheatre-like North Atlantic Council decision-making chamber, many staff currently housed in the 1967 headquarters across the street in Brussels have been eager to move for months.
Last year at the May summit, with jets flying overhead, NATO used the new building to project an image of power and renewal, avoiding too much talk about its unfinished status. That has lead to some confusion among non-NATO diplomats and residents of Brussels about which of the two buildings – the 1960s prefab, or the glass palace – were working.
Until June, both are. NATO officials shuttle between the two buildings, as delegations shift boxes and archives, on a special bus service dubbed “the magic carpet” by officials.
NATO decided it needed a new home in 1999 because its headquarters in Brussels were only meant to be temporary. They were built in a hurry when the alliance was forced to leave Paris after France’s withdrawal from the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation’s military command in 1966.
In a throw-back to NATO’s origins in the Cold War, the new headquarters features two concrete panels made up of masonry from the Berlin Wall.
It also displays a piece of the wreckage from the 107th floor of one of the Twin Towers in New York, destroyed during the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on the United States — the only time the alliance has activated its collective defence clause. (Source: Reuters)
21 Apr 18. Britain threatens to quit Galileo satellite project. Row deepens over whether UK will be allowed access to sensitive information after Brexit. Britain has threatened to walk out of Europe’s €10bn Galileo satellite project, in a deepening row with Brussels over whether the UK can be trusted with sensitive information after Brexit. Greg Clark, business secretary, is also calling for an immediate three-month freeze of the procurement process for Europe’s satellite navigation system “to allow UK industry to compete fairly in the contract tendering exercises currently under way”. Bidders are due to put in their best and final offers for the ground control segment of Galileo next week, while a second, bigger tender for back-up satellites, worth hundreds of millions of euros, is expected to be launched within weeks. Mr Clark has set a deadline of Monday for agreement on the freeze. The UK business secretary has written to his European counterparts warning that if British companies are excluded from secure elements of Galileo, this would increase the cost by €1bn and lead to delays of about three years. In a blunt letter dated April 19, also sent to EU industry commissioner Elzbieta Bienkowska, Mr Clark said that unless Britain had access to secure parts of the Galileo project it could simply walk away. Since the project’s launch in 2003, the UK has funded roughly 12 per cent of Galileo’s annual budget. “Galileo would no longer meet our basic security requirements and would deprive us of the ability to compete on a fair basis,” Mr Clark wrote. “Regrettably, without continued access to security-related information, the UK could be obliged to end its participation in Galileo.” The EU has threatened to exclude the UK from Galileo’s sensitive “public regulated service”, an encrypted navigation system for government users. It said that sharing sensitive information with a third country — Britain — would “irretrievably compromise” the service. Recommended Analysis Satellites UK cries foul over exclusion from EU satellite plan Britain’s armed forces were also keen to access PRS, a rival to the US’s GPS which is designed to continue working when all other navigation services are jammed. However, the Brussels move would make that impossible as under EU rules PRS can be accessed only by member states. “The UK would be forced to consider other options that could better fulfil our needs,” Mr Clark wrote. The British ministry of defence is having “early discussions” about whether it could launch its own satellite system to end its dependence on GPS. Mr Clark said that the European Commission had failed to reply to a letter sent on February 16 by Sir Tim Barrow, Britain’s EU ambassador, raising London’s concerns: “He has yet to receive a formal response.” The row is significant because it suggests that the EU is not willing to forge a trusting security relationship with the UK after Brexit, in spite of an “unconditional” offer from Theresa May of a defence and security pact. Building a Mars rover It is additionally sensitive because London believes that the French government is behind the move. A senior industry executive said recently to the Financial Times that excluding British companies from secure parts of Galileo would mean that they could no longer bid for the software and ground links that control the 30 orbiting satellites. Airbus manages the ground control system out of Portsmouth while software company, CGI, secures the links. “The UK is the incumbent,” the source said. “If the tendering rules are not changed within weeks then Airbus would be forced to move work out of the UK. The work would go to France because they have the most relevant expertise.” Britain’s space industry has been outraged by demands that UK bidders for EU programmes accept clauses that would eject them from existing projects on the day that Britain quits the EU. In addition they would be liable for the costs of finding their own replacements. “As things stand if there is no resolution to this issue . . . it is not feasible to bid from the UK,” the industry source said. Failure to reach agreement on UK participation in Galileo would also put the government’s target to secure 10 per cent of the £400bn global space industry by 2030 in jeopardy. The UK’s strategy has been to develop commercial applications for the information gathered by Galileo, and in particular for public services using PRS, as well as the earth observation system, Copernicus. Mr Clark said earlier this month at the UK-German Konigswinter conference that the row over Galileo would “destroy scientific relationships, delay the deployment of a service that will keep us safe and cause dedicated workers to lose their jobs”. (Source: FT.com)
17 Apr 18. Turkish National Fighter Jet TF-X Project Receives TL 4.8bn Incentive, Plans to Fly By 2023. Turkish Aerospace Industries Inc. (TAI) has rolled up its sleeves to produce Turkey’s national fighter jet, the TF-X. The fifth-generation fighter jet, one of the country’s largest design projects announced by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, will be realized within a project-based incentive system. Preliminary design activities received a TL 4.8bn ($1.16bn) incentive certificate under the incentive program. The project will employ 3,200 people, with an indirect employment contribution estimated to be around 11,200.
Speaking to Turkish daily Dünya, TAI General Manager Temel Kotil said they will work with British BAE Systems, which plays various roles in the design of F-35 aircraft. “We have foreseen a four-year period for the preliminary design phase. In this phase, the structure of the plane will be determined. The development of engineering, technology, testing infrastructures and certification processes of the aircraft and the acquisition of capability for the design of the fighter jet are steps of this phase,” Kotil said.
Kotil also said that TAI will establish the technology, human resources and physical investments for the TF-X jet, informing that a very large team will be working on the project.
He also explained that the first TF-X prototype should be ready for its first flight in 2023. “The TF-X is a fifth-generation invisible plane that can reach supersonic speeds with afterburners,” Kotil said. “We want to get all of the kinks worked out and have it ready by 2029 and put into service for the Turkish Armed Forces in 2031.” (Source: defense-aerospace.com/Daily Saba)
16 Apr 18. Turkish shipyards join forces to develop first locally made ship engine. Five Turkish shipyards have joined forces to build a consortium in order to develop the country’s first indigenous ship engine. The shipyards Sedef, Anadolu, Sefine, Selah and Istanbul, all privately owned, have formed Turkish Associated International Shipyards, or TAIS, that will design, develop and produce engines for military vessels.
Sualp Urkmez, CEO for Anadolu Shipyard, said the consortium aims to produce the first engine prototype within two and a half years and start serial production within four and a half years.
The need to earn engine production capabilities is obvious. “Turkey is the only country in the world that can produce vessels of all types (including military) but does not have an engine production plant,” said Metin Kalkavan, chairman of a federation of Turkish maritime chambers.
Kalkavan said Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has urged local shipyards to produce local systems, including engines, at “whatever the cost.”
“That will elevate Turkish shipyards to the class of countries that can compete in world markets as prime contractors,” he said. “It is imperative that we build our warships and their systems and subsystems locally.”
TAIS is preparing to launch an investment first into the design and development phases of the venture.
Urkmez said the consortium calculates that the Turkish market will generate demand for 100 ship engines in the first 10 years of operations. “In addition to that, there will be a need to change the engines of up to 400 ships,” he said.
But more importantly, according to Urkmez, exports will ensure the survivability of TAIS. “Exports of vessel systems in the prime contracting category will be the driving force behind the engine idea,” he added.
Industry sources say Turkish shipyards have become “70 percent self-sufficient” in production compared to only 20 percent a decade ago.
At the Doha International Maritime Defence Exhibition and Conference last month in Qatar, Turkish producers won contracts worth $800m, of which $500m went to Turkish shipyards.
The Turkish government is fully backing the engine venture. “It is a policy-level decision to support every activity for the development of indigenous engines, for land, aerospace and naval use,” a senior procurement official said. “There will be big demand for engines both from our own programs and from foreign contracts our companies will compete for.
“The idea is to end our dependence on foreign engine technology at a time when local companies have the capabilities to produce most of the [naval] systems and subsystems.”
According to Ozgur Eksi, a defense analyst with C4 Defence, the local investment in engine technologies makes sense. “TAIS brings together some of Turkey’s most prominent shipyards. It is only natural that this consortium wants to develop an indigenous engine at a time when the naval market is visibly prospering,” Eksi said.
A country located in a volatile region, Turkey has in recent years thrived to push up its regional political clout, and the government has commissioned a wide range of vessels from local shipyards.
In the past two years a total of six naval ships have been either delivered to the military command or launched. These are the Ada-class corvettes TCG Burgazada and TCG Kinaliada; landing ship TCG Bayraktar; logistical support ships TCG Yuzbasi Gungor Durmus and TCG Ustegmen Arif Ekmekci; and rescue ship TCG Alemdar. In the past 15 years Turkey has completed 14 military ship programs. The number of Turkish shipyards has risen from 37 to 80 since 2003.
Last year Turkey launched a national frigate program that involves the construction of “I-class” vessels. These ships can carry longer-range weapons systems compared to the Ada-class corvettes and feature advanced command-and-control systems.
Sedef, one of the partners of TAIS, is building in partnership with Spain’s Navantia the TCG Anadolu. The vessel is a derivative of the Spanish ship Juan Carlos, described as a “light aircraft carrier.”
Under the program, worth more than $1bn, Navantia will provide the design, technology transfer, equipment and technical assistance to Sedef for the TCG Anadolu. The ship will be built in Turkey and feature locally made command-and-control and combat systems.
The TCG Anadolu also will feature a fully equipped flight deck with the ski jump ramp in front. It will be capable of operating up to 12 F-35B fighter jets and 12 helicopters at a maximum range of 9,000 miles. Its 5,440-square-meter flight deck and a 990-square-meter aviation hangar can accommodate either 12 medium-sized helicopters or eight CH-47F Chinook heavy-lift helicopters. The ship will be delivered to the Turkish Navy in 2021. (Source: Defense News)
16 Apr 18. Turkey provides tax breaks, loans to attract investment in local defense programs. In an effort to boost indigenous defense programs, Turkey is providing incentives, which include generous tax breaks, tax reductions and exemptions from import duties.
The incentives include additional levies and soft loans.
In just the first two months of 2018, the government incorporated 13 defense investment projects submitted by 12 companies into its incentives program. These investments are worth $350m.
The largest investment program benefiting from the incentives during the January/February time frame was Roketsan’s new production line. The state-controlled missile maker’s investment plan is worth $217m.
Military electronics specialist Aselsan, Turkey’s largest defense company, has won incentives support for its new $35m investment in electronic systems and new $40m investment in aerial and missile systems.
Official figures show a boom in private defense investment, too. According to the Ministry of Economy, $1.9bn of defense investment by private companies will be subsidized by government incentives this year.
These investment plans include a total of $220m for armored vehicles, a laser gun and unmanned land vehicles; and $125m in diesel tank engines by armored vehicle producer BMC, a Turkish-Qatari private joint venture.
Private firm Most Makina will receive government incentives for its planned $385m investment in steel equipment for defense systems.
Turkish Aerospace Industries, or TAI, will invest $1.2bn in its TF-X program, an ambitious plan for the design, development and production of Turkey’s first indigenous fighter jet. TAI is developing the TF-X with BAE Systems. (Source: Defense News)
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20 Apr 18. Advanced Gun System was holding back the Navy’s new stealth destroyer. Development issues with the Navy’s Advanced Gun System, destined to be one of the main armaments of DDG-1000, prompted the Navy to change Zumwalt into a ship killer, the Navy’s top requirements officers said Tuesday.
The Navy announced in February in budget justification documents that it intended to integrate Raytheon’s SM-6 missile and was changing the mission from a land-attack platform to a ship killer.
In testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee’s seapower subcommittee, Vice Adm. Bill Merz told senators that the slow development of the AGS prompted the change.
The AGS, in conjunction with the Long-Range Land Attack Projectile, was supposed to fire a round more than 80 nautical miles. The Navy canceled the projectile after truncating the total Zumwalt-class buy to three ships pushed the cost per round up to more than $800,000 per round. Furthermore, the system was also failing to achieve the range it wanted out of the system, Merz said.
“Even at the high cost, we still weren’t really getting what we had asked for,” he said. “So what we’ve elected to do is to separate the gun effort from the ship effort because we really got to the point where now we’re holding up the ship.”
Merz said the ship was ready to start its life with the fleet and that the larger MK 57 vertical-launch system canisters will allow for more advanced weapons to be developed and fired from the ship.
“It does have 80 vertical launch cells. Those are the larger variety cell, so that opens up opportunities for advanced development on our weapons side also. Our combat system is very good as are inherent ship capabilities.
“We think the ship is very well-built, ready to join the fleet. We’re very excited to get her and we’ll continue to develop the rounds for the gun in parallel.”
Mission Change & Gun System Blues
The Navy has moved ahead with a plan to add SM-6 on to Zumwalt, which allows the Navy to engage surface targets and extremely long ranges among other missions.
In August, the Navy shot down a medium-range ballistic missile target with the SM-6, which uses a fragmenting explosion near its target as the kill mechanism.
This is different from the SM-3 Block IIA in development that hits its target directly. SM-6 can also be used to hit surface targets at sea and on land from hundreds of miles away. Beefing up the ship-killing armament even further will be the new and improved maritime version of the Tomahawk, which could be loaded into the MK-57 VLS. For the Maritime Tomahawk, Raytheon is integrating a new seeker into its tried-and-true strike missile for long-range ship-on-ship engagements. The land-attack version has a range of more than 1,350 nautical miles.
But the sticking point for the Navy in the development of the Zumwalt-class has been the gun.
In January, Zumwalt’s former commanding officer, Capt. James Kirk, said the Navy was in a holding pattern on the guns. While the service is keeping an eye on a couple key technologies that could fill in the gap left by LRLAP, “there is not a plan right now for a specific materiel solution for the replacement round,” Kirk told reporters at the Surface Navy Association symposium.
“We continue to monitor industry’s development and technical maturation. An example of that is the Hyper Velocity Projectile,” he said, referring to a high speed guided munition made by BAE Systems and originally developed for use in electromagnetic rail guns.
“We’re monitoring that technical maturation to see do we get there to get the kind of ranges and capabilities we want, that’s the right bang for the buck, cost to capability, for the Navy. We’re monitoring that, but we have not made a decision for that yet.”
The Navy got in its present pickle with the 155mm/62-caliber gun with automated magazine and handling system because the service cut the buy from 28 ships, to seven, and finally to three.
The AGS, the largest U.S. naval gun system since World War II, was developed specifically for the Zumwalt class, as was the LRLAP round it was intended to shoot. There was no backup plan so when the buy went from 28 to thee, the costs stayed static, driving the price of the rounds through the roof.
“We were going to buy thousands of these rounds,” said a Navy official familiar with the program told Defense News at the time. “But quantities of ships killed the affordable round.” (Source: Defense News)
20 Apr 18. Boeing, Brazil’s Embraer close to tie-up: report. Talks aimed at a tie-up between planemakers Boeing Co (BA.N) and Embraer SA (EMBR3.SA) that also involve Brazil’s government are at an advanced stage, O Estado de S. Paulo newspaper reported on Friday, citing unnamed sources.
The Boeing and Embraer partnership would create a new company in which the U.S. planemaker would have an 80.01 percent stake and the Brazilian firm 19.99 percent, the paper said, adding this was a model supported by the Brazilian government.
Boeing, Embraer and Brazil’s Defense Ministry did not have an immediate comment on the report. The two jet manufacturers said in December they were discussing “a potential combination,” but the Brazilian government, which holds veto power over strategic moves at Embraer, needs to approve the deal.
The paper said one of the points still under discussion was the appointment of a government representative to the board of the new company. Boeing is against this, O Estado said, but the Brazilian government is strongly in support of the move.
The joint venture will only include Embraer’s commercial jet operation, and exclude its defense and executive jet businesses, O Estado said. Boeing’s initial expectation was to include all three Embraer business units in the tie-up, the paper said. (Source: Reuters)
20 Apr 18. Army Air & Missile Defense Faces The Future. “If something kicks off, we’re the first ones to see it,” the sergeants told us. “We’re the first ones to react. And you’re on the line, they’re coming after you.”
How busy is US Army Air Defense Artillery? “We have been at war for two decades in the ADA community, operating worldwide, and hardly anyone has noticed,” one general told us a few years ago in the Pacific — and that was before the US deployed the THAAD missile defense system to South Korea.
“Whether you’re stateside, whether you’re deployed for overseas, whether you’re in a combat zone, or you’re in a friendly nation, you have to be ready for action. No matter where I am, the question is the same: are we ready to start?” air defense Sergeants First Class Nicholas Martin and Jonathan Pace told us when we visited Fort Sill, home of Army air defense. “Can we heat up the missiles now and fire them? Are we watching the skies correctly? Even if you’re not in a combat area, you’re always watching the sky, because in a scenario where nobody’s fighting, the air defense is still watching.”
“There’s always been that intensity that if something kicks off, we’re the first ones to see it,” the sergeants told us. “We’re the first ones to react. And you’re on the line, they’re coming after you.”
For decades, enemy air defenses were the US military’s first target in a conflict. American air defenders know full well they will probably be the first target for a peer adversary.
The ADA force has shifted over time from anti-aircraft defense to missile defense as Patriot and THAAD have become the most visible parts of the force, while Short Range Air Defense (SHORAD) has atrophied. Now the Army is urgently trying to rebuild its SHORAD capability against drones, helicopters, and attack jets, even as it seeks to expand its missile defenses against cruise and ballistic missiles. Stopping a few North Korean or Iranian missiles is no longer enough, as it was in the 1990s: Now the concern is increasingly a massive (non-nuclear) strike by Russia or China, who see ballistic missiles as simply a longer-range form of artillery.
All told, Air Defense Artillery is at the heart of Army’s transformation from a counter-insurgency force to one prepared for higher-tempo, higher-intensity combat operations against a major power. The ability to protect the force against enemy missiles and aircraft is a key element of what is being referred to as multi-domain warfare, part of the broader shift by all four services towards dealing with peer competitors in contested environments, where air superiority needs to be created, not assumed.
The deployed air defense forces are priority systems, kept well supplied and well trained. They have demonstrated a remarkable level of availability: according to our discussions at Fort Sill, more than 95%.
Their training has been historically tied to specified geographical regions where they expected to deploy, but the increasing global nature of conflict means that you may need to move to an unexpected fight. As we learned during our visit to Fort Sill, the ADA force is training for that shift as well.
For example, the Patriot batteries train to two types of mission. The first is to prepare for the specific area of interest where they are specifically scheduled to be deployed; with the simulators programmed for the real combat situation likely to face the operators. But increasingly there is a second type of training as well, for what the Army calls Global Response Force or GRF scenarios. These scenarios put a premium on flexibility because they involve preparing for rapid deployment to a crisis, which might pop up worldwide, training against a variety of threats and scenarios.
The US air defense community is at the cutting edge of international practice. Indeed, there is a Patriot global enterprise of several allied nations operating Patriots, and with the Poles becoming the latest Patriot operator. This creates important opportunities to work together in a crisis — albeit limited by the differences among the Patriot variants operated by different countries,
The Way Ahead
For the future, there is a lot of discussion about the importance of artificial intelligence for the force. But again it must be noted is how much AI is already in the force. Patriot and THAAD are fully capable of automated launch. The constraints on the man-machine interface going forward will depend on the nature of the threat – the speed and scope of incoming strikes – as well as the nature of the Rules of Engagement (ROE) in place.
With regard to ballistic missile threats, the ROE are very clear: the ADA warriors can respond rapidly. With aircraft and cruise missiles, the situation is different because these air-breathing threats move more slowly. One thing that will have to change is how to shape ROEs that allow for rapid response in case of adversary cruise missiles and aircraft. As AI decision making tools evolve, the ability of the machines themselves to discriminate among threats and to inform the operator will allow more rapid decision making at the appropriate level as well.
A foundational change in the Army’s approach to ADA command and control can pave such a way ahead. The Army has decided to have a common C2 system across its missile defense force, first integrating Patriot and THAAD, then future systems such as IFPC (Indirect Fire Protection Capability). The Army calls this new C2 the Integrated Air & Missile Defense Battle Command System or IBCS. Indeed, when Poland recently acquired Patriot, Warsaw insisted that IBCS be packaged with its Patriot system. IBCS’s open architecture will allow Poland to integrate their shorter-range air defense systems with Patriot as well.
IBCS has been tested last year and clearly works. It is a significant acquisition breakthrough for the Army. Instead of having every missile defense system requiring its own expensive, tailor-made command-and-control, the Army can make it a requirement for companies to provide systems that are IBCS compliment. This means that the Army can then focus on buying missiles and sensor as commodities to be plugged into the IBCS network, rather than buying a stovepiped C2 system for each one.
There is a challenge, however, which occurs across the software-enabled 21stcentury combat force. Whether an F-35, a Triton drone, or IBCS, it is hard for Washington decision makers not to keep adding requirements that require rewriting code, rather than getting it good enough to deploy and then upgrading it over time through a spiral development process. Clearly, IBCS needs to get into the field, rather than endure a drawn-out process of requirements growth and softwarerewrites. The US Army needs to have a Nike moment with regard to IBCS: just do it. (Source: Breaking Defense.com)
20 Apr 18. US Army stops accepting AH-64E helos from Boeing due to safety concerns. The U.S. Army has stopped taking deliveries of AH-64E Apache attack helicopters from Boeing because the service is not confident in the durability of what it deems a “critical safety” item, Defense News has learned.
“We stopped accepting deliveries of new AH-64 Echoes because of a strap pack nut that we believe to be really suspect,” Brig. Gen. Thomas Todd, program executive officer for Army aviation, confirmed to Defense News on April 19.
As part of Army safety inspections of the fleet, the service determined it was “not happy” with the performance of the nuts in severe, coastal environments and saw corrosion due to climate and stress, according to Todd.
The nut in question holds very large bolts that subsequently hold the rotor blades on the helicopter and is therefore determined to be a critical safety item, Todd explained.
While Boeing had already begun a strap pack nut redesign effort six months prior, the Army decided to not take delivery of AH-64 Echo models in February, Todd said, and received guidance from the Army secretary reinforcing the decision. In March, the Army told Boeing it would stop taking receipt of helicopters permanently until the company began fielding a new and improved, acceptable strap pack nut.
It took Boeing and the Army some time to get at exactly what was the root cause of the corrosion and aggressive wear and tear on the nut. But a cause has been identified and the Army has approved a redesign, and Boeing will provide new nuts after testing of the new design beginning in the summer, Todd said.
The company has been working at a “very thorough but expeditious pace over the last six months,” he said. “We are in testing as we speak.”
The Army has estimates that Boeing will be able to field two Apache battalions per month, starting sometime this summer, with the new parts, Todd said. “And we expect them to keep that pace until complete through the entire fleet as well as [Foreign Military Sales] customers that purchase through the U.S. Army,” he added.
Countries that have bought or ordered AH-64Es are India, Indonesia, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, South Korea and Taiwan.
In fact, Todd said, the Army would push Boeing to do better than two battalions in a month, “so there is every chance that we could accelerate.”
Boeing, in a statement provided to Defense News, said: “Our highest priority is the safety of the warfighter and the reliability of our products. We’re continuing to partner with the Army to address issues, deploying Boeing experts to assist the Army in the field with inspections, and return to the delivery schedule.”
The first units to receive new parts will be those that fly regularly in severe, coastal environments. Todd estimates that is roughly six units in the Army.
There are 653 AH-64Es currently fielded. “We are stable there because ultimately we stopped inductions as well because we did not want to hurt the fleet,” Todd said.
Boeing builds an average of six AH-64Es per month in its Mesa, Arizona, facility.
When the Army first fielded the Echo model, it was forced to ground the entire fleet within a month of declaring operational capability following an incident at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington, in December 2013, related to a transmission issue. The service and Boeing resolved the issue in roughly a month.
There have been eight AH-64E mishaps since the Army began fielding the variant in 2013, with five of those considered major accidents involving millions of dollars in damage and/or causing fatalities or major injuries. A crash in 2016 at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, resulted in the loss of both crew members. And earlier this month, also at Fort Campbell, an Apache crashed, killing both soldiers.
While the Apache safety record is not unblemished, the Army’s overall current safety record is steadily improving.
“We believe, quite frankly, that some of these things that we do, to include stopping production, is the exact type of management that is expected of us and helps us achieve those safety rates,” Todd said.
“Airworthiness and safety of our fleet is paramount. We put nothing higher than that. That is why we put inspections in place. It is largely an enterprise effort across all the engineering organizations inside Army aviation and we certainly think this puts us on a path to recovery,” he added. “We expect Boeing as well as anybody that provides a product to the U.S. Army to put a good-faith effort forward in addressing efforts like this any time, and again we look forward to returning a great capability of the Echo model to the fleet soon.” (Source: Defense News)
20 Apr 18. Air Force Teams With NRO For Secret SSA Bird. After years of missed deadlines, cost overruns and underperformance the Air Force has split the requirements for the troubled Joint Mission System program’s Increment 3, dividing them between the Coalition Space Operations Center and the National Space Defense Center. In a separate but apparently related action, the Air Force has also partnered with the nation’s spy satellite builder to create a new Space Situational Awareness satellite.
After years of missed deadlines, cost overruns and underperformance the Air Force has split the requirements for the troubled Joint Mission System program’s Increment 3, dividing them between the Coalition Space Operations Center and the National Space Defense Center. In a separate but apparently related action, the Air Force has also partnered with the nation’s spy satellite builder to create a new Space Situational Awareness satellite.
Gen. Jay Raymond, the head of Air Force Space Command and the Joint Force Space Component Commander at Strategic Command, outlined these two program shifts here in his speech this morning. He noted that AFSPC wrote a command and control Concept of Operations (CONOPS) and a situation and warning CONOPS with the NRO.
“From that (C2) CONOPS we then canceled a program that we were building because it wasn’t going to meet our mission needs, and we entered into a partnership with the NRO on a joint space situational awareness program,” Raymond said in his speech. “It will get better capability that meets our mission needs on orbit at a cheaper cost than what we had in the past.” That’s the new SSA satellite.
The other change Raymond outlined in his speech is that the Air Force is “transitioning” to a new system, ESBMC2 — Enterprise Space Battle Management Command & Control — from JMS Increment 3 that will apparently be able to manage much more Space Situational Awareness data from a wider array of sensors and work seamlessly with the Intelligence Community.
The Joint Mission System is designed as the principal source of knowledge about where and when satellites are in orbit. But it can’t handle the enormous amount of data that will soon become available thanks to the Space Fence — roughly four times as much data as it currently absorbs — and it isn’t designed for offensive and defensive space operations. Those are the ambit of the National Space Defense Center, the US government’s space warfighting center.
The original Request For Information (RFI) for ESBMC2 makes clearer how close the system’s ties are to the National Reconnaissance Office, secretive builder and operator of America’s spy satellites, and to what is now known as the National Space Defense Center, formerly called JICSpOC. It notes that “JICSpOC will leverage existing JSpOC systems and integrate them with new capabilities to better enable unity of effort between the Department of Defense and the IC for space operations. ESBMC2 system scope extends past the JSpOC alone; the program office envisions that any capabilities developed will also support the JICSpOC.”
The JICSPOC experiments validated the need for a new warfighting space strategy in 2016 to address the increasing threat. It required, Air Force officials say, “a more dynamic, warfighting C2 system that was based on an open architecture systems with defined message standards, enabling us to rapidly on-board planning and tasking software applications.” ESBMC2 program will provide those. It is funded out of the JMS program line. JMS Increment 2 is still in development and provides key SSA planning and tasking within the ESBMC2 system while supporting safety of flight missions.
ESBMC2 is being developed by AFRL, RCO and SMC.
These decisions reflect the increasing integration of operations and personnel between the military and the Intelligence Community for space operations. Breaking Defense readers will remember the National Space Defense Center, which first brought together the Air Force and NRO. The NRO had resisted closer ties for several years and only began joint operations with Air Force and other military after being subjected to persistent pressure by then-Deputy Defense Secretary Bob Workand his boss, Secretary Ash Carter.
The reason for the “transitioning” away from Increment 3 is the greatly increased range and types of threats, Air Force officials say. Also, the Joint Mission System faced “critical deficiencies” and needed beefier cyber defenses, according to the most recent Pentagon’s annual Operational Test and Evaluation report. That may well have played some role in the Air Force’s decision.
One of the policy decisions that tells you how well a program is doing is who controls Milestone Decision Authority, the legal right to make decisions on a program’s progress. Here are the five programs the Air Force does not have Milestone Decision Authority for: OCX, EELV, ESBMC2 (the new system), JMS Increment 2 and WCS. For now, the Office of the Secretary of Defense is keeping those high-risk efforts under its direct oversight. (Source: Breaking Defense.com)
20 Apr 18. Space Architect Is Back! As Wilson Unveils Space Reforms.
For a long time, the US military has not had a designated space architect, someone whose main job is to consider our warfighting and intelligence needs and recommend all the satellites and capabilities that are needed. The National Security Space Architect was folded into the National Security Space Office (NSSO) back in 2004, and the NSSO was abolished eight years ago. It was sort of replaced by joint and contractor assignments assigned to the Executive Agent for Space.
But Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson announced Tuesday night there will again be a space architect, one detail among many in a spate of space reforms she announced here. Known as the Chief Architect, we learned this morning it will reside at Space and Missile Systems Center in Los Angeles. Lt. Gen. John Thompson, the SMC commander, told me the office will include his chief technology officer, his chief systems engineer and his chief integrator. A source very familiar with the old Space Architect and NSSO praised the decision to create the SMC position: “Good that it’s ‘back’. Yes, it’s needed and can help things go faster if done right. Best of all, it’s not in the Pentagon (OSD) and is hosted by the AF! One caution is that it needs to include the other Services and close relations with industry & Allies, all of which is very doable.”
Now there’s an interesting wrinkle to all this. I later grabbed Gen. Jay Raymond, head of Air Force Space Command, for a brief walk in the exhibit hall here and chatted about the space architect. He says he’s got one performing the role now in the person of the A5, Brig Gen John Shaw at AFSPC, the AFSPC/A5/8/9 for strategic Plans, Programs, Requirements and Analysis.
“He will work very closely with the SMC Chief Architect,” AFSPC spokesman Col. David Westover told me.
The Chief Architect will work, Thompson said. with the Air Force’s Rapid Capabilities Office, the NRO and other intelligence agencies to build an enterprise architecture. If this architect really does the full space portfolio it will also look at ground stations and supporting infrastructure, which are crucial to making satellites useful. More on that later.
A second source, who did not wish to be identified but has decades of senior level experience in the IC and in Air Force space, said putting the architect in SMC — or the Air Force for that matter — is a mistake. It should, this source said, be in the Office of Secretary of Defense so it can be a truly honest broker among the services and more closely coordinate with the intelligence agencies. I mentioned this to Raymond and, not surprisingly, he said it belongs in the Air Force. Service officials have made it a mantra to say that they control 90 percent of US military space capability.
I’ve included the video at the top because it does a surprisingly good job of illustrating the space architecture in its entirety, as well as the threats to it. It was first shown here Tuesday during Gen. Raymon’d s presentation. (Source: Breaking Defense.com)
20 Apr 18. GE still mulls breakup, confirms distributed power unit for sale. General Electric Co (GE.N) said on Friday it was still considering a potential breakup of the 126-year-old industrial conglomerate, but such a move was secondary to running its businesses better.
Boston-based GE is divesting about $20bn in assets in an effort to reduce costs and boost profits as part of a three-year restructuring plan under Chief Executive Officer John Flannery, who took over Aug. 1.
The company on Friday reported adjusted earnings that beat expectations, sending shares higher, though some analysts saw GE’s relatively weak unadjusted results as more telling.
Asked about a potential break-up, Flannery said the company is considering all options, but is focused on ensuring the businesses perform well.
“There’s no sacred cows,” he said on a conference call with analysts. “We are reviewing a number of structures. We are working through this right now in great detail with the board.”
He promised investors an update “in the next couple of months.”
GE shareholders are due to vote on board members next week.
GE said on Friday it had decided to sell its distributed power business and may be able to announce a deal by mid-year, confirming an earlier Reuters report.
The business, which includes GE’s Jenbacher and Waukesha lines of reciprocating gas engines, is attracting strong interest from potential buyers, GE said. Reuters reported in February that GE was considering a sale of the business, which could be worth $2bn. Separately, GE was exploring merging its transportation business, which makes locomotives, with Wabtec Corp (WAB.N), a U.S. maker of equipment for the rail industry, a person familiar with the matter said.
GE is considering the deal as one of several alternatives for the transportation business, including a potential spin-off, and no decision has been taken, the source said, asking not to be identified discussing confidential discussions. GE and Wabtec did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Bloomberg News first reported on the talks. (Source: Reuters)
18 Apr 18. Service Members Seeing First Fruits of Army Acquisition Changes. Army Undersecretary Ryan D. McCarthy visited here yesterday to see the results of the service’s new modernization strategy.
Three leaders of the Army’s cross-functional teams accompanied McCarthy. Program Executive Office Soldier sponsored the visit.
All of this is in support of the Defense Department’s priority of building a more lethal force. Much of the equipment that was on display outside the Night Vision Lab is also part of the Close-Combat Lethality Task Force established by Defense Secretary James N. Mattis.
McCarthy said he wanted to meet the scientists, engineers and subject matter experts. “Normally, you are in the Pentagon and you are making decisions based on what’s on a Power Point slide,” he told reporters at the event. “Now, I have experience in this, but nothing is better than going out and talking to the people involved in the project. … I was in the infantry, and a lot of this stuff will be the next generation of stuff we will use.”
McCarthy saw three of the investment projects related to the cross-functional teams. “I’m very encouraged,” he said. “I think the rigor behind the investment decisions is better because the requirements community is much closer to the acquisition folks.”
The smaller teams also mean better products and products that feed off each other, and the teams are synchronizing these capabilities, he said. This will improve the products and make it easier to see how the projects land on the technological roadmap for future upgrades.
Synthetic Training Environment
The undersecretary used the example of building a synthetic training environment. This will allow service members to run through an operation in the virtual world long before they board a helicopter for insertion into combat. “It’s bringing a lot of what we learned in the aviation community to the infantry and the armor, and it is much more cost-effective as well,” he said.
Enhanced binocular night-vision goggles not only will allow soldiers, Marines and special operators to perform better at night, but also will be integral to the synthetic training experience, McCarthy said. The system will fuse synthetic training into the goggles so service members will train on systems they will take to combat.
“It will also be able to capture information so we can evaluate a soldier’s performance in training and when they are actually out there firing live bullets,” he added. “It will give commanders more information and help soldiers improve.”
The bottom line is the Army wants to pull more capability as soon as possible, and a lot of the information must come from practical application. “We need to put these things out there and test them and see how they really work,” the undersecretary said.
If the equipment marries together an operational and technological concept, the service will fight for the capability, McCarthy said.
The process is moving faster. The enhanced binocular night-vision goggles will be in the hands of infantry, Marines and special operators beginning a year after being first proposed, an official with PEO Soldier said. This is lightning fast in the DoD acquisition world.
“For the restructuring effort at the macro level of the Army, we tried to bring organizations closer together,” McCarthy said. The organization brought tasks and requirements under one roof.
“That’s how we are reducing how long it takes to make a decision,” he said. Allowing the cross-functional team leaders to make decisions brings responsibility down three layers.
“The challenge we have had is all the people involved in the decision,” he said. “That is why it takes years between each milestone, because you are just passing information back and forth. If there are 50 inputs, do they all have to be in there? If not, then reduce the number of inputs required and leave the risk with senior leadership where it belongs.”
The department needs to trust leaders to make hard choices, McCarthy said. “We can’t afford to spend seven years thinking about a requirement,” he added. “If it is going to take that long, you are probably not going to get it. So we need to get these capabilities sooner.”
With the larger projects in particular, this one change has the potential to take years off the decision cycle with more accountability, he said. “The environment we created allows for more sharing of ideas,” the undersecretary said. “It is a big cultural issue for us, and the best is that everyone is embracing it.” (Follow Jim Garamone on Twitter: @GaramoneDoDNews)
18 Apr 18. Increasing Global Threats Call for Capabilities to Deter, Defend, Officials Say. In today’s increasingly complex and threatening environment, the Defense Department must sustain the capabilities needed to deter and defend against attacks on the U.S. homeland, its forces abroad and its allies and partners, John C. Rood, undersecretary of defense for policy, said on Capitol Hill yesterday.
“We must make the investments needed to address the ongoing erosion of our operational advantages and remain the pre-eminent military power in the world,” Rood told the House Armed Services Committee’s panel on strategic forces, in support of the fiscal year 2019 DoD budget for missile defense and the policies, programs and capabilities it supports.
Adversaries Developing New Threat Capabilities
“Our adversaries are taking deliberate steps to extend their operational reach and are developing new capabilities to range targets in North America and Canada,” Air Force Gen. Lori J. Robinson, commander, U.S. Northern Command and North American Aerospace Defense Command, told the panel.
“At U.S. Northcom and NORAD, we understand the urgency of keeping pace with these evolving threats,” the general said. “We also recognize that North Korea represents the most immediate threat to our homeland and therefore remains Northcom’s highest priority. I’m confident the ground-based Missile Defense System can defeat this threat today and I strongly support the continued improvements to the ballistic missile defense enterprise to maintain our advantage.”
In 2017, DoD requested the reprogramming of fiscal year 2017 funding of more than $400m to counter the North Korean missile threat, Rood noted. “Congress approved this request for which we are grateful,” he said.
Support for Homeland Defense
“These funds support important homeland defense activities including initiating work on the procurement of 20 additional ground-based interceptors in Alaska as early as 2023, which will bring the total to 64 fielded interceptors. The reprogramming also funded a service life extension to the Cobra Dane radar in Alaska and software upgrades to the sea-based X-band radar, both of which are essential elements to our homeland defense,” he added.
In November 2017, the president submitted an amendment to the 2018 budget request for $4bn for missile defense, which includes construction of a new missile field at a military installation in Alaska and additional procurement funding for 20 more interceptors, Rood noted.
The fiscal year 2019 budget request includes $9.9bn for the Missile Defense Agency and $3bn in additional money for air and missile defense activities in the military departments, he said.
Fiscal Year 2019 Budget
“This budget funds a more capable [gound-based interceptors] with the redesign kill vehicle, the deployment of missile tracking, and discrimination sensors networks in Alaska, Hawaii and the Pacific region, and a new space-based kill assessment capability,” Rood said. “These near-term investments will help us obtain substantially more performance and efficiency out of the [ground-based Missile Defense System] necessary to meet the evolving threat.”
DoD also is taking steps to bolster homeland defenses against missile threats, and 2018 will complete the first part of a two-part effort to provide effective surveillance against these threats to the National Capital Region, he said. The surveillance will enhance DoD’s ability to detect, track and investigate suspicious aircraft and cruise missiles, and when necessary, queue U.S. missile defense systems against the full spectrum of air threats, Rood added.
“We’re on track to begin the second phase of this effort in fiscal year ’19, which will expand our capabilities to detect, identify and take decisive action before threats can strike potential targets within the National Capital Region,” he said.
Regional Missile Defenses
DoD also is looking into technologies and concepts to provide scalable and deployable options for expanding this capability. The department’s budget request also includes deployment of regional missile defenses tailored to meet threats to U.S. forces abroad and allies and partners in Europe, the Middle East and the Indo-Pacific region, Rood said. The budget also enhances DoD’s regional missile defense capability.
“Our focus is on developing and fielding missile defense capabilities that are mobile and relocatable, which allows us flexibility to respond to a crisis wherever it might emerge. Because systems such as Patriot, Terminal High Altitude Area Defense and Aegis BMD-capable ships can be surged when and where required, they make it possible to deploy layered missile-defense capabilities that are responsible to regional threats as they arise,” he said.
DoD is encouraging its allies and partners in Europe, the Middle East and Near East in Asia to acquire missile defense capabilities and to strengthen cooperation to move toward a more interoperable and integrated missile defense architecture against hostile ballistic missile and cruise missile threats, Rood said.
“Looking forward, it’s clear our potential adversaries are modernizing and expanding their capabilities. We must ensure that our missile defense investment strategy and priorities enable us to meet the most dangerous threats today while also enabling us to counter future missile threats as they expand,” he said. (Follow Terri Moon Cronk: @MoonCronkDoD)
19 Apr 18. Trump launches effort to boost U.S. weapons sales abroad. The Trump administration rolled out a long-awaited overhaul of U.S. arms export policy on Thursday aimed at expanding sales to allies, saying it will bolster the American defense industry and create jobs at home.
U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during a joint news conference with Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida, U.S., April 18, 2018. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
The White House aims to speed up arms deal approvals and increase the role of senior U.S. officials, including President Donald Trump, in closing foreign sales, while giving greater weight to business interests in sales decisions that have long prioritized human rights.
The initiative, as first reported by Reuters, adds the full weight of government to Trump’s direct personal role in pushing arms sales during interactions with foreign heads of state.
Companies that stand to benefit from the new policy most include Boeing Co (BA.N) and the other top U.S. defense contractors, Lockheed Martin Corp (LMT.N), Raytheon Co (RTN.N), General Dynamics Corp (GD.N) and Northrop Grumman Corp (NOC.N).
The plans have been in the works for a year, with White House trade adviser Peter Navarro playing a major role in driving the project forward. Navarro is best known for pushing the administration to take tough trade actions against China.
Human rights will now carry equal weight alongside other considerations in planned arms sales including the needs of allied nations and the economic loss if the U.S. contractor does not win the sale when decisions are made on whether to approve an arms deal.
“This is a balanced policy,” said Ambassador Tina Kaidanow, an official with the State Department who oversees arms export agreements. “We absolutely look at human rights as one of a set of considerations that we look at.”
In a joint new conference with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Florida, Trump said late on Wednesday his administration was working to “short circuit” the cumbersome bureaucratic process at the State Department and the Pentagon to expedite arms sales to Japan and other allies.
But giving economic and commercial concerns equal weight to human rights in the arms sales decision-making process raises concerns.
“The new policy retains the legally binding language that prohibits weapons transfers when there is actual knowledge that they will be used to commit war crimes,” Brittany Benowitz a former U.S. Senate staffer and lawyer who worked on human rights issues and arms transfers.
“However, the policy did away with the more comprehensive assessment of risks when contemplating a weapons deal. A transaction can still occur to a human rights abuser so long as the U.S. has no specific knowledge that system will be used to commit atrocity crimes,” Benowitz said.
The new policy will go well beyond a relaxation of rules for foreign military sales under President Barack Obama in 2014 that enabled U.S. arms contractors to sell more overseas than ever before.
The export policy explicitly states it aims to “strengthen the manufacturing and defense industrial base” and as a part of this “when a proposed transfer is in the national security interest, which includes our economic security, and in our foreign policy interest, the executive branch will advocate strongly on behalf of United States companies.”
Trump has pressed foreign governments to buy more U.S.-made weapons in nearly every call he has had with a head of state of major allies, a State Department official said this week.
The planned revision of U.S. weapons export policy also includes a new drone export policy that allows lethal drones that can fire missiles and surveillance drones of all sizes to soon become more widely available to U.S. allies.
Two potential beneficiaries of the rule changes, Textron Inc (TXT.N) and Kratos Defense and Security Solutions Inc (KTOS.O), currently market smaller armed drones internationally.
The new approach represents a “fundamental shift” in the way the United States sells large armed drones, Rachel Stohl, director of the conventional arms program at the Stimson Center think tank in Washington, said.
The full text of the drone policy will remain classified along a list of potential buyers being given fast-track treatment is expanding to include more countries, a State Department official told Reuters this week.
Previously, U.S. government sources had said that more NATO members, Saudi Arabia and other Gulf partners as well as treaty allies such as Japan and South Korea would be given the favorable treatment regarding drone sales.
The Aerospace Industries Association trade group said the policy was an important “first step” and more needed to be done because “increasing demand for American defense products has strained the system, resulting in an overburdened and fragmented process beset by avoidable delays.”
18 Apr 18. Speed Must Accompany Innovation, Pentagon Official Tells Senate. The United States military has plenty of innovators, but it doesn’t have much time, the new undersecretary of defense for research and engineering told a Senate Armed Services subcommittee today.
Michael D. Griffin told the senators that the speed of innovation will become the differentiating factor.
“In a world where pretty much everyone today has equal access to technology, innovation is important, and it will always be important,” the undersecretary said. “But speed becomes the differentiating factor. How quickly we can translate technology into fielded capability is where we can achieve and maintain our technological edge.
“It is not about speed of discovery, it is about speed of delivery to the field,” he said.
The United States military is still the most technologically advanced in the world, but that advantage is eroding, Griffin said, noting that Congress created his position to re-establish U.S. overmatch. “Our mission is to, if necessary, re-establish and then maintain out technical advantage,” he said.
Russia and China have invested in technologies specifically aimed at hitting gaps in American defenses. The United States is in competition, “and the pace of that competition is increasing,” Griffin said.
His new office will look at closing the gap on current and emerging threats. It will also aim at “driving the disruptive innovation that provides the technical dominance on the scale and timeline called for by the defense strategy,” he said.
Griffin said his job will be to establish the technical direction for the Defense Department. “This is more than just recommending the path forward,” he said. “My organization must assure the future force has what it needs by working with warfighters to develop new concepts of operation through mission analysis and experimentation.”
DoD must use intelligence products, technology forecasting and its own analysis to inform decisions on where to invest, what programs it will prototype, what experiments to do and what emerging capabilities and concepts of operation will help the military succeed, Griffin said, and he has established a strategic analysis cell within his office for this purpose.
“I will concentrate on establishing processes and methods to drive effectiveness and affordability by examining our acquisition, testing and sustainment processes in the system design phase, by setting and adhering to open architectures and interface standards while implementing good system engineering and cyber resiliency,” the undersecretary said. “Ultimately, I intend to establish and embrace a collaborative culture focused on piloting new pathways for speed and capability to the future force.”
The department will continue to push new technologies such as autonomous and unmanned systems, artificial intelligence, biotechnology, microelectronics and cyber warfare for offense and defense, Griffin said. He noted that the technologies are not just important to DoD and the military, but are part of a global industry, and said that is something the department must learn to leverage.
“The department is not short of innovators. We are short of time, and we lack expertise in adapting commercial market advances to military needs,” he said. “We need to strike a balance between bringing in new technologies and getting current technology out to the field. We need to deal with the valley of death between innovation and real applications.”
Innovation is messy, Griffin noted. “If the department is really going to succeed with innovating, we are going to have to get comfortable with making mistakes,” he said. “Increasing the use of prototyping, demonstration, experimentation will help the department more rapidly mature technology to assess the impact that innovative technologies can have on the future force.”
Building prototypes and testing them with operators allows the department to speed innovation by driving down technical and integration risk, Griffin said. (Follow Jim Garamone on Twitter: @GaramoneDoDNews)
17 Apr 18. Arming the world – Inside Trump’s ‘Buy American’ drive to expand weapons exports. In a telephone call with the emir of Kuwait in January, U.S. President Donald Trump pressed the Gulf monarch to move forward on a $10bn fighter jet deal that had been stalled for more than a year. Trump was acting on behalf of Boeing Co (BA.N), America’s second-largest defence contractor, which had become frustrated that a long-delayed sale critical to its military aircraft division was going nowhere, several people familiar with the matter said.
With this Oval Office intervention, the details of which have not been previously reported, Trump did something unusual for a U.S. president – he personally helped to close a major arms deal. In private phone calls and public appearances with world leaders, Trump has gone further than any of his predecessors to act as a salesman for the U.S. defence industry, analysts said.
Trump’s personal role underscores his determination to make the United States, already dominant in the global weapons trade, an even bigger arms merchant to the world, U.S. officials say, despite concerns from human rights and arms control advocates.
Those efforts will be bolstered by the full weight of the U.S. government when Trump’s administration rolls out a new “Buy American” initiative this week aimed at allowing more countries to buy more and even bigger weapons. It will loosen U.S. export rules on equipment ranging from fighter jets and drones to warships and artillery, the officials said.
Reuters has learned that the initiative – which industry sources said will be announced on Thursday – will provide guidelines that could allow more countries to be granted faster deal approvals, possibly trimming back to months what has often taken years to finalise.
The strategy will call for members of Trump’s cabinet to sometimes act as “closers” to help seal major arms deals, according to people familiar with the matter. More top government officials will also be sent to promote U.S. weapons at international air shows and arms bazaars.
Shares of major U.S. defence contractors added to gains after the news and Raytheon hit an all-time high.
Human rights and arms control advocates warn that the proliferation of a broader range of advanced weaponry to more foreign governments could increase the risk of arms being diverted into the wrong hands and fuelling violence in regions such as the Middle East and South Asia.
The Trump administration stresses that the main aims are to help American defence firms compete better against increasingly aggressive Russian and Chinese manufacturers and give greater weight than before to economic benefits of arms sales to create more jobs at home.
One Trump aide, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the new initiative is also intended to ease human rights restrictions that have sometimes led to an effective “veto” over certain arms deals.
“This policy seeks to mobilize the full resources of the United States government behind arms transfers that are in the U.S. national and economic security interest,” a White House official said, responding to a request for comment on the story.
“We recognise that arms transfers may have important human rights consequences,” the official said. “Nothing in this policy changes existing legal or regulatory requirements in this regard.”
One of the main architects of the new policy has been economist Peter Navarro, a China trade aseptic ascendant in Trump’s inner circle. His effort to boost arms exports has drawn little resistance within the White House, officials said.
‘WHOLE OF GOVERNMENT’
The initiative has been in the works for months and some of its expected components have already been reported. But with the rollout nearing, more than a dozen industry sources and current and former U.S. officials have provided Reuters with the most complete picture yet of Trump’s policy, though they caution that last-minute changes are still possible.
The policy will call for a “whole of government” approach – from the president and his cabinet on down to military attaches and diplomats – to help drum up billions of dollars more in arms business overseas, U.S. officials said.
It will also call for cutting red tape to secure faster deal approval on a broader range of weaponry for NATO members, Saudi Arabia and other Gulf partners as well as treaty allies such as Japan and South Korea, among others, they said. Many details will remain classified.
Companies that stand to benefit most include Boeing and the other top U.S. defence contractors, Lockheed Martin Corp (LMT.N), Raytheon Co (RTN.N), General Dynamics Corp (GD.N) and Northrop Grumman Corp (NOC.N). All of their shares have surged by double-digit percentages, led by the doubling of Boeing’s stock price, since Trump took office in January 2017.
Trump’s aides also want more senior officials to attend major international arms shows, including cabinet members such as Defence Secretary Jim Mattis and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, to promote U.S.-made weapons the way countries such as France and Israel pitch their companies” wares.
“If you go to the Paris air show, you see the French foreign minister standing in front of the Airbus pavilion,” one U.S. official said. “We’re getting outplayed so we have to change our culture.”
In addition to the broad arms export initiative, Trump is expected to sign a separate document easing exports of military drones, an item high on foreign governments’ shopping lists, officials said.
U.S. foreign military sales totalled $42bn last year, according to the U.S. Defence Security Cooperation Agency. Experts say exports from Russia, the largest U.S. competitor, are typically half those of the United States.
The Aerospace Industries Association trade group said it had first lobbied Trump during the 2016 presidential campaign on the need for “bolstering U.S. manufacturing” and encouraging allies to take more responsibility for their own security.
While many presidents have helped promote the U.S. defence industry, none is known to have done so as unabashedly as Trump, a former real estate developer who seems sometimes at his most comfortable when he is promoting U.S. goods.
Trump regularly discusses specific arms sales with foreign leaders in meetings and on the phone, according to White House statements. And on a trip to Japan last November, he publicly urged Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to buy more American weapons.
More recently, at an Oval Office meeting with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman last month, Trump held up posters with pictures of U.S. jets, ships and helicopters and other armaments sold to Saudi Arabia. “We make the best military product in the world,” he boasted to reporters as the prince sat smiling beside him.
Other presidents, including Richard Nixon, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush stressed the need to strengthen the defence industrial base, but they did it more subtly, said William Hartung, director of the arms and security project at the Center for International Policy, a non-partisan think tank.
“Nobody’s been as blatant about it as Trump,” he added. “Nobody has yelled it from the rooftops.”
Boeing Co. Former President Barack Obama would sometimes talk to allied leaders about weapons systems that he felt suited their security needs, but aides said he preferred to keep weapons salesmanship at arm’s length.
The Trump administration’s plan to overhaul the Conventional Arms Transfer policy, the framework for evaluating foreign sales, goes well beyond Obama’s relaxation of rules in 2014 that enabled U.S. arms contractors to sell more overseas than ever before. Obama drew a clear line, however, requiring each sale to meet strict human rights standards – though he was criticized at times for allowing some controversial sales.
Trump has already gone ahead with several deals that Obama blocked, including the sale of $7 bn in precision-guided munitions to Saudi Arabia despite human rights groups’ concerns they have contributed to civilian deaths in the Saudi-led campaign in Yemen’s civil war.
ANATOMY OF A TRUMP-ERA DEAL
How Boeing’s Kuwait deal got on Trump’s agenda for the Jan. 17 call with Kuwait’s Emir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber al-Sabah illustrates how seriously the administration is taking the arms export push.
The State Department granted approval in November 2016, in the final months of the Obama administration, for Kuwait to buy 40 F/A-18 Super Hornet strike fighters.
But Kuwait, a U.S. Gulf ally, appeared to drag out negotiations, U.S. officials and industry sources said, and the purchase was still not finalised by the time the emir visited Trump at the White House last September.
Trump told reporters at the time that, at the Kuwaiti leader’s request, he had intervened and won State Department authorization for the deal – a false claim since that approval had already been granted nearly a year earlier.
Months later, Boeing’s request for a presidential nudge to Kuwait was channelled to National Security Council aides, who included it among Trump’s “talking points” for the January phone call, two people close to the matter said.
This time, Trump did make a difference. Just days later, Kuwaiti state media reported the deal was done. The Kuwaiti government did not respond to requests for comment. A Boeing spokesman declined comment. (Source: Reuters)
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21 Apr 18. North Korean pledges to suspend missile and nuclear testing. President Trump greets report of concessions as ‘big progress’ ahead of summit. North Korea said it would suspend missile testing and close down a nuclear test site, according to state media on Friday, a move greeted as “big progress” by President Donald Trump. The announcement came as North and South Korea are due to meet at the end of the month and amid signs that a touted summit between Mr Trump and North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un could take place in June. “From April 21, North Korea will stop nuclear tests and launches of intercontinental ballistic missiles,” the Korean Central News Agency said, as quoted by the South Korean Yonhap agency. Mr Trump quickly claimed it as a boon to efforts to seek a lasting deal on de-nuclearisation. “North Korea has agreed to suspend all Nuclear Tests and close up a major test site. This is very good news for North Korea and the World — big progress! Look forward to our Summit,” Mr Trump tweeted. Seoul’s presidential office welcomed Pyongyang’s announcement as “meaningful progress” towards de-nuclearisation. “This will create a very positive environment for the success of the upcoming inter-Korean and the US-North Korea summits,” said the presidential spokesman Yoon Young-chan. “We will do our best in our preparations to make the inter-Korean summit a stepping stone for de-nuclearising the peninsula and establishing permanent peace.” China’s foreign ministry likewise was upbeat about events. “Achieving the de-nuclearisation of the peninsula and lasting peace of the region serves the common interests of the people on the peninsula and of the region and meets the shared aspirations of the international community,” said the ministry in a statement. However, Itsunori Onodera, Japan’s defence minister, told reporters that North Korea needed to give up its short-range ballistic missiles and its nuclear weapons. “The contents of this announcement are insufficient to satisfy us,” he said. CIA director Mike Pompeo met Mr Kim over Easter in a secret mission to lay the groundwork for the mooted summit with Mr Trump. The Trump administration had pushed for months for Pyongyang to give a public sign that it was ready for serious negotiations about de-nuclearisation that might trigger a new round of significant talks. Many US officials and former officials have been sceptical that North Korea would make concessions, seeing any embrace of talks as a means to develop its programme in secret or extract concessions on sanctions. (Source: FT.com)
20 Apr 18. Lockheed Martin to propose stealthy hybrid of F-22 and F-35 for Japan: sources. U.S. defence contractor Lockheed Martin Corp (LMT.N) plans to offer Japan a stealth fighter design based on its export-banned F-22 Raptor and advanced F-35 Lightning II aircraft, two sources said.
Lockheed has discussed the idea with Japanese defence ministry officials and will make a formal proposal in response to a Japanese request for information (RFI) after it receives permission from the U.S. government to offer the sensitive military technology, said the sources, who have direct knowledge of the proposal.
The decision on whether to release parts of the highly classified aircraft designs and software to help Japan stay ahead of Chinese advances will test President Donald Trump’s promise to overhaul his country’s arms export policy.
The proposed aircraft “would combine the F-22 and F-35 and could be superior to both of them,” said one of the sources.
Japan, which is already buying the radar-evading F-35 to modernise its inventory, also wants to introduce a separate air superiority fighter in the decade starting 2030 to deter intrusions into its airspace by Chinese and Russian jets.
The country’s air force currently flies the F-15J, based on the Boeing F-15; and the F-2, based on the Lockheed Martin F-16. Both designs are decades old.
Japan’s ambition to build its own stealth fighter was in part spurred by Washington’s refusal a decade ago to sell it the twin-engined F-22, which is still considered the world’s best air superiority fighter.
Although the Japanese stealth aircraft programme, dubbed the F-3, was conceived as a domestic effort estimated to cost around $40bn, Tokyo has recently sought international collaboration in a bid to share the expense and gain access to technology it would otherwise have to develop from scratch.
Any aircraft built with international partners must have Japanese-designed engines and radar, however, and feature other components made locally, the other source said. Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (7011.T) tested a prototype stealth jet in 2016 that cost the Japanese government $350m to develop.
“We are considering domestic development, joint development and the possibility of improving existing aircraft performance, but we have not yet come to any decision,” a Ministry of Defense spokesman said on Friday.
The Japanese government in March issued a third RFI for the F-3 to foreign defence companies and sent a separate document outlining its requirements in more detail to the British and United States governments.
In addition to a proposal from Lockheed, Japan is hoping for responses from Boeing Co (BA.N), which makes the F/A-18 Super Hornet multirole fighter, and BAE Systems Plc (BAES.L), which is part of the consortium that built the Eurofighter Typhoon high-altitude interceptor.
“We look forward to exploring options for Japan’s F-2 replacement fighter in cooperation with both the Japanese and U.S. governments. Our leadership and experience in 5th generation aircraft can be leveraged to cost-effectively provide capabilities to meet Japan’s future security needs,” a Lockheed Martin spokeswoman said.
Boeing and BAE did not immediately reply to requests for comment.
Japan’s last jet fighter, the F-2, which entered service in 2000, was built jointly by Mitsubishi Heavy and Lockheed Martin. As Japan’s leading fighter maker, MHI, which built the World War Two-era A6M Zero, would anchor the Japanese portion of any new project.
20 Apr 18. Trump sees big arms sales as quick fix for Japan trade deficit
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe faced the full force of U.S. President Donald Trump’s “America first” policy as they spent seven hours together over two days in Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort.
Abe’s hopes for leading Trump back to the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade pact were quickly brushed off as the president made clear his preference for bilateral negotiations to secure U.S.-friendly deals in cars and beef.
Both leaders are apparently unable to make large-scale concessions ahead of key elections — the midterm elections for Trump and Abe’s bid to extend his leadership of Japan’s ruling party. The two sides seem eager to seek quick fixes to the $70bn trade deficit the U.S. has toward Japan through big arms sales.
The U.S. “supports Japan’s efforts to improve its defense capabilities, and we’re exploring ways to expedite the sale of American military equipment to Japan,” Trump told a joint news conference with Abe on Wednesday. Abe had told Trump during their meeting that introducing high-performance equipment, including American materiel, was necessary to bolster Japan’s capacity for defense.
Trump’s primary goal with this sales push appears to be reducing the U.S. trade deficit with Japan, which is America’s third-largest deficit with any trade partner, coming in behind those with China and Mexico. Japan has resisted Trump’s urging that it increase imports of American autos and farm products. But both countries stand to benefit from more weapons sales, and military equipment is far pricier on a piece-by-piece basis than ordinary goods: One F-35A stealth fighter costs Japan around $140m. The country already plans to purchase 42 of the advanced aircraft, and Trump seems to expect it will buy even more, helping bring trade into balance. Japan also plans to install two Aegis Ashore missile defense systems costing around $1bn each.
In concrete terms, Trump aims to overhaul the Foreign Military Sales program the U.S. uses to sell sensitive or secret equipment to allies. At present, buyers such as Japan must pay for their equipment up front, and are given no clear timeline for delivery. Tokyo has previously called for improvements in the process.
“It would be, in some cases, years before orders would take place,” Trump said, blaming “bureaucracy” in various government agencies for problems with the FMS scheme. In fact, a shortage of staff on the American side is partly responsible for delays in delivery, according to a Japanese government source. On the trade front, Trump made clear his preference for bilateral negotiations over a multinational framework such as the TPP.
The launch of new trade talks between U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Toshimitsu Motegi, Japan’s minister of state for economic and fiscal policy and TPP point man, was part of Tokyo’s strategy to start bilateral talks with the Trump administration but ultimately bring Washington back into the TPP.
The game plan stumbled out of the gate as Trump made his stance clear at the press conference on Wednesday. “I don’t want to go back into TPP. … I like bilateral better,” he said.
Lighthizer has said the agricultural sector will be his top goal as he negotiates better access for American products. On beef, for example, TPP nation Australia will see its tariffs fall to just 9% over time, while levies on American beef will stay at 38.5%. In bilateral negotiations, the U.S. may ask for lower tariffs than Australian beef.
For Japanese automobiles entering the U.S., Washington had initially agreed in TPP talks to scrap levies over the course of 25 years. Autos make up 30% of American imports from Japan and are a major source of the trade deficit. In bilateral talks, Washington could seek to extend the phaseout period to protect American automakers.
U.S. automakers could also pressure the Trump administration to ink an agreement with Japan to avoid measures that would weaken the yen, in fear of an influx of cheap Japanese vehicles. That, in turn, could handcuff the Bank of Japan’s monetary policy, which currently centers on massive monetary easing.
“We will absolutely not enter negotiations over a free trade agreement,” said a Japanese official who attended Abe and Trump’s meeting. The Japanese leader, who must run for re-election as his party’s chief this fall, told Trump on Wednesday that Japan cannot concede any more on agriculture than it has in the TPP.
Wendy Cutler, vice president of the Asia Society and a former TPP negotiator, said Trump’s rebuff of multilateral free trade agreements in favor of bilateral deals has so far seen little success. “The other countries [of the TPP] just aren’t interested,” she told the Nikkei Asian Review. “The administration favoring bilateral deals yet having no partners to show for it, I think, should lead them to really reconsider their approach.”
As Washington embarks on trade negotiations with a reluctant Tokyo, a Japan-European Union economic partnership agreement works its way toward ratification. Under the Japan-EU pact, Japanese cars will be able to enter the EU tariff-free in eight years, while American cars will retain their 10% levy.
Trump looks to make a show of strength ahead of the midterms in November. He rebuffed Abe’s request on Wednesday that Japan be exempt from U.S. tariffs on steel and aluminum, and said he wants results in the next several weeks from the Motegi-Lighthizer talks. This rushed approach paid off in recent talks with South Korea, which agreed to cap steel exports to the U.S. at 70% of recent levels.
(Source: Defense News Early Bird/asia.nikkei.com)
20 Apr 18. Israeli Firms Scramble As Trump Administration Restricts Military Aid.
After years of subsidizing the Israeli defense industry, the US is now insisting Tel Aviv spend all the military aid it gets from America on American companies. The Israeli government and hundreds of Israeli companies are scrambling to adjust, with one estimate predicting 20,000 layoffs.
In the past, when the US provided Israeli with grants under the Foreign Military Funds program, Israel could convert 25 percent of the aid from dollars into shekels to buy Israeli products and support local R&D. But under the new 10-year FMF agreement signed in 2017, that percentage will gradually drop over time to zero.
Under the new agreement signed in September 2016, the US will pay Israel $34bn over the decade from 2019 to 2028 — but eventually all FMF funds will have to be used for the purchase of US-made systems.
Retired Maj. Gen. Gadi Shamni, executive Vice President of land systems at Israeli Aerospace Industries (IAI), headed the special commission that was formed to prepare the needed changes. In an interview with Breaking Defense, he said that the Israeli defense forces will get approximately 5bn Israeli shekels (about $1.4bn) less each year when agreement is fully implemented.
“That may cause small companies to collapse or get into big problems,” Shamni said. “We will need to transfer some of the production to the U.S and that can be done with our American subsidiaries. But the real solution is in the hands of the Israeli government, which will have to increase the defense budget. Without that, I’m afraid , companies will get into problems but the greater risk is that less will be put into R&D. If that happens, in some years we will lose our technological edge.”
“There will be no choice but to increase the defense budget so that it will be possible to hold the procurement from Israeli companies in the current format,” a senior government source agreed.
A few weeks ago, Israel’s industrial organizations sent a letter demanding that the Ministries of Defense, Finance, and Economics & Industry urgently establish an inter-ministerial team to decide how to deal with the decreased ability to purchase locally made systems with US funds.
Even before the new FMF agreement, Israelis were often unhappy with the strings placed on how they could spend US aid — strings that have been pulled tighter in recent years. This is an issue that companies are not happy to discuss openly, but they do behind closed doors.
“You make the best systems for combat missions, but still you are forced to buy them elsewhere” a top figure in one of the leading Israeli defense firms told Breaking Defense. The Israeli industry develops and manufactures more and more advanced systems that are being exported but which their natural customers, the Israel Defense Force, can’t always buy.
When the Israeli Air Force updated its (American-made) F-15I fighters, for example, it chose radars from America’s Raytheon over equally advanced electronics from IAI. And in areas such as drones, US companies are now competing on tenders that previously were considered only marginally profitable. “Now we find American companies in almost every competition,” a source in the ministry of defense said.
The Israeli defense industry isn’t waiting on government to take action, with many companies already taking steps to cope with the FMF restrictions. At IAI, for example, “we are reorganizing our activities in the U.S to be ready for the changes in the market,” said Joseph Weiss, president and CEO. The Israeli company currently operates in the US through local companies: IAI North America, Stark Aerospace, and ELTA US.
“We are in the process of building a new strategy for our operations in the US,” said Weiss. ” It will be based on proxy companies that will have U.S boards and will act separately from our other activities.
IAI is now evaluating some opportunities to purchase local American companies that will serve as proxies that will allow IAI to increase its sales in the U.S market, Weiss said: “The size of our American market is now about $850m annually and we think we can increase it.”.
Elbit Systems has been operating in the U.S through its subsidiaries ELBIT Systems North America and EFW. As a public company — Israel’s largest — Elbit was more active and more assertive than the state-owned companies, establishing a big presence in the U.S even before the new FMF agreement was planned. Recently ELBIT Systems announced that it completed the acquisition of a privately-owned American company, Universal Avionics Systems Corporation, for approximately $120m.
State-owned Rafael Advanced Defense Systems is also getting ready for the new rules. The company’s CEO, retired Maj. Gen. Yoav Har-Even, told Breaking Defensethat the company is preparing for the new FMF regulations. That includes expanding its current Orlando-based company CATS, which has been successfully operating in accordance with existing procurement requirements, as well as evaluating similar additional partnerships.
Military aid to Israel has long been controversial in the US, to the point of entering pop culture by being satirized in The Onion more than once. The new restrictions will definitely make life harder for Israeli firms at home — but they might find new opportunities in America.
(Source: Breaking Defense.com)
20 Apr 18. U.S. army trainers try to build West Africa defences against jihad. Kicking up clouds of pink Saharan dust, U.S. military trainers impersonated militants, waved flags saying “death to outsiders” and threw smoke grenades toward approaching Nigerien commandos this week, as a surveillance drone hovered overhead.
The joint military exercises between U.S.-led Western forces and several West African nations, dubbed “Flintlock”, have been going on since 2005. This year, however, they have focused more closely on the evolving threat posed by Islamist militants, whose mounting numbers and capabilities require an ever more sophisticated response, military commanders told Reuters.
“Flintlock … has over the years evolved,” Major General J. Marcus Hicks, who leads some 1,000 American special operations forces across about a dozen African countries, told Reuters.
“What’s different this year is that we have intentionally focused on the developing threat situation in the Sahel and the ongoing challenges in the Lake Chad region,” he said.
Jihadist groups linked to al Qaeda and Islamic State are launching increasingly brazen attacks on U.N., Western and local forces and civilian targets across West Africa’s Sahel region, including a raid in western Niger last October that killed four U.S. Green Berets.
This year’s 14th instalment of Flintlock brought together about 1,900 special forces troops from 12 Western and eight African countries this month in Niger, whose porous borderlands with Mali and Burkina Faso along Africa’s vast Sahel have seen the biggest surge in attacks.
Similar exercises were conducted in Burkina Faso and Senegal.
“The Sahel is not an easy place,” Colonel Kassim Moussa of Chad’s special forces said at a military base in the western town of Ouallam, where Nigerien commandos in blue helmets and loose fitting uniforms braved the scorching midday sun to simulate raids on a jihadist camp.
“It has to be synchronised as they (the militants) go across borders very easily, very fluidly, so getting our partners to work together is a big driver,” trainer Colonel Craig Miller said at the exercise.
The militant threat has ballooned this decade with the emergence of Boko Haram’s insurgency in northern Nigeria and the Lake Chad region, and the jihadist 2012 takeover of north Mali.
A French intervention in northern Mali in early 2013 helped beat back that threat, but the militants have regrouped, launching attacks in Mali, Niger, Burkina Faso and beyond.
Niger’s Defence Minister Kalla Moutari said at Friday’s closing ceremony that the officers had shown “their capacity to … lead aerial and land operations”.
Critics of Western nations’ policy in the region say they have overemphasised the military aspect of the threat at the expense of root causes that are swelling the militants’ ranks, including government rights abuses and inter-communal conflicts that lead some to align themselves with the jihadists.
20 Apr 18. South Korea’s F-35 purchase under probe. Despite the celebrated rollout of the first F-35 Lightning II fighter jet for the South Korean Air Force last month, the fifth-generation stealth aircraft is not widely welcomed by the Seoul government.
The contract of procuring 40 F-35As signed under the former Park Geun-hye administration has been under intensive investigation with regard to possible influence-peddling over the Lockheed Martin-built multirole fighter’s selection process and price lobbying.
The Board of Audit and Inspection of Korea, or BAI, has widened its probe against the F-35 selection from Seoul’s 2014 F-X III competition, according to defense sources.
“The BAI inspection over the F-35 purchase was launched late last year, and the inspection has been widened since January,” Kang Hwan-seok, spokesman of the Defense Acquisition Program Administration, or DAPA, told Defense News. The spokesman declined to elaborate on the contents of the probe.
According to Defense Ministry officials, the state watchdog recently summoned former defense chiefs, including Defense Minister Kim Kwan-jin and DAPA Commissioner Lee Yong-geol, to probe doubts regarding the F-35 selection process.
The inspection is focused on determining why the DAPA overturned its original decision of choosing Boeing’s F-15 Silent Eagle as the preferred bidder, and why the agency quietly changed the Foreign Military Sales-based variable price contract to a fixed one.
In September 2013, Boeing, which offered the stealthy F-15 Silent Eagle, was selected as the preferred bidder for the $7.4bn F-X III contract for 60 aircraft, as rival Lockheed Martin failed to submit proposals below the budget. The Eurofighter-led Typhoon consortium was also priced out.
But the decision was overturned a couple of weeks later after a group of retired Air Force generals sent a pubic letter to the presidential office, calling for a reconsideration of the purchase of the F-15 Silent Eagle, which the former Air Force leadership argued doesn’t have a clear advantage over North Korea.
The DAPA’s executive meeting presided over by Kim Kwan-jin subsequently voted down the Silent Eagle and restarted the F-X III acquisition from scratch. Kim said at the time that rejecting the Silent Eagle was influenced by “political judgement.”
The Joint Chiefs of Staff later revised the F-X III operational requirements, putting a higher priority on stealth capabilities, leading to the de facto private contract for the F-35. The number of fighters to be procured was decreased from 60 to 40, in an apparent move to meet the F-35 budget proposal. The final contract was signed in March 2014.
“The F-X III selection process is a black mark on DAPA’s procurement records,” said Charles Park, a researching member of the Defense Management Research Institute affiliated with Kookmin University in Seoul. “No one can deny the F-35 has better stealth capabilities than the F-15 Silent Eagle. But the Silent Eagle won the race fairly under due rules. Nevertheless, the DAPA did a flip-flop on its decision without warrant.”
The price of acquiring the Joint Strike Fighter is also a bone of contention.
Under the FMS contract with the U.S. government, South Korea was supposed to pay the unit price of F-35s on the low-rate initial production basis.
Seoul initially signed the contract for the unit price of some $120m, and the price reductions were required to be returned to the Seoul government. As of March 2018, the unit price has been reduced to $94m, according to Lockheed Martin’s report on F-35 program status and fast facts.
The DAPA, however, signed a revised agreement in 2016 with the U.S. government to fix the F-35 price tag at about $120m. Asia Economy, a local daily, reported the DAPA decided to fix the price to provide price reductions to Lockheed Martin for helping the development of South Korea’s military satellites.
“Lockheed Martin agreed to support the launch of five South Korean military satellites as part of F-35 offset deals but didn’t implement the deal properly, citing its budget restraints,” Rep. Woo Sang-ho of the ruling Democratic Party said during a parliamentary audit of government offices last October.
“Under the rules, Lockheed Martin was accountable for some $28 million of liquidated damages for delay, but the DAPA decided to exempt the compensation and rather offer the price reductions of F-35As to the U.S. company,” Woo said. “This is clear violation of DAPA regulations, and the price reductions should have belonged to South Korean taxpayers.”
A Lockheed Martin spokesperson pointed out that the price contract was signed between the governments of Korea and the United States.
“Any price contract was made between the two governments under the FMS, so we’re not in a position to comment,” the spokesperson told Defense News.
DAPA spokesman Kang said he could not reveal the contents of the evised F-35 contract, but added that “the price fixing is true.”
Some local experts believe the probe into the F-35 deal could have a negative impact on the Air Force’s plan of introducing 20 more F-35As.
“As inter-Korean relations begin to thaw, the military leadership keeps a low key on weapons procurement programs such as the F-35,” said Kim Dae-young, a research fellow at Korea Research Institute for National Strategy. “In the meantime, the probe into the previous F-35 acquisition could affect new procurement plans.” (Source: Defense News)
20 Apr 18. Indian $8.63bn advanced fighter aircraft project with Russia put on ice. The proposal for India and Russia to jointly develop an advanced fighter — the eponymous Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft (FGFA) — has been formally buried. Business Standard has learnt that National Security Advisor Ajit Doval conveyed the decision to a Russian ministerial delegation at a “Defence Acquisition Meeting” in end-February.
Doval and Defence Secretary Sanjay Mitra, who attended the meeting, asked the Russians to proceed alone with developing their fifth-generation fighter. They said India might possibly join the project later, or buy the fully developed fighter outright, after it entered service with the Russian Air Force.
New Delhi and Moscow have discussed the FGFA since 2007, when they agreed that Hindustan Aeronautics (HAL) would partner Russia’s Sukhoi Design Bureau (Sukhoi) in developing and manufacturing the fighter. In 2010, Sukhoi flew the fighter, called Perspektivny Aviatsionny Kompleks Frontovoy Aviatsii, or “Prospective Airborne Complex of Frontline Aviation” (PAK-FA). Seven prototypes are currently in flight-testing.
Russia said the PAK-FA met its needs, but the India Air Force (IAF) wanted a better fighter. So HAL and Sukhoi negotiated an $8.63-bn deal to improve the PAK-FA with the IAF’s requirements of stealth (near-invisibility to radar), super-cruise (supersonic cruising speed), networking (real-time digital links with other battlefield systems) and airborne radar with world-beating range. In all, the IAF demanded some 50 improvements to the PAK-FA, including 360-degree radar and more powerful engines.
Defence ministry sources who played a direct role in negotiations with Russia say much of this money was earmarked for Indian production facilities for manufacturing 127 FGFAs, and for India’s work share in developing advanced avionics for the fighter. It also included the cost of four PAK-FA prototypes for IAF test pilots to fly.
Now, the IAF has backed away from the FGFA because it argues the PAK-FA — which Sukhoi has been test-flying since January 2010 — is not stealthy enough for a fifth-generation combat aircraft.
Aerospace analysts who support the PAK-FA reject this argument. They point out that the US Air Force F-22 Raptor, was built with an extraordinary degree of stealth, but that proved to be counterproductive, since it resulted in high maintenance and life-cycle costs. Burned by that emphasis on stealth alone, US designers de-emphasised stealth while building their latest fifth-generation fighter, the F-35 Lightning II. Instead, they focused on building its combat edge through better sensors, highly networked avionics and superior long-range weapons.
The cancellation of the FGFA project has far-reaching implications for the IAF, for which this was once its high-tech future fighter. United Progressive Alliance (UPA) defence minister AK Antony had ruled out buying the F-35 Lightning II, arguing that India would have the FGFA to meet its fifth-generation fighter needs.
Indian aerospace designers also cited the FGFA experience as essential learning for developing the indigenous fifth generation Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft (AMCA), which the Defence R&D Organisation (DRDO) is pursuing.
Now, the FGFA’s burial sets the stage for the IAF to eventually acquire the F-35 Lightning II, which comes in air force as well as naval variants. Indian military aviation, once overwhelmingly dependent upon Russian fighters, helicopters and transport aircraft, has steadily increased its purchases from America. On Tuesday, appearing before a US Senate panel for his confirmation hearings, Admiral Philip Davidson — nominated as the top US military commander in the Indo-Pacific, said the US should aspire to “break down” India’s historical dependence upon Russia.
The IAF has been split down the middle on the FGFA. Broadly, flying branch officers of the “French school”– whose careers have centred on the Mirage and Jaguar fighters — have tended to oppose the FGFA. Meanwhile, officers from the “Russian school”, their careers grounded in the MiG and Sukhoi fleet, have supported the FGFA.
Opponents of the FGFA have even argued that the project would duplicate and hinder the indigenous AMCA project. However, last July, an experts group headed by Air Marshal (Retired) S Varthaman, set up to consider this question, ruled that there were no conflict lines between the FGFA and AMCA. It stated that the technological expertise that would be gained from working with Russian experts would benefit the AMCA project.
In co-developing the FGFA, HAL was expected to deploy its experience in working with composite materials, which were to replace many of the metal fabricated panels on the PAK-FA. India was also expected to participate in designing the 360-degree active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar. In addition, the experience of flight-testing the Tejas Light Combat Aircraft would be refined by flight-testing a heavier, more complex fighter. These challenges were expected to imbue Indian engineers with genuine design skills, of a far higher magnitude than the lessons learnt from licensed manufacture. In addition, the FGFA’s foreclosure means the loss of $295 m that India sunk into its “preliminary design phase” between 2010 and 2013. (Source: Google/business-standard.com)
18 Apr 18. ISIS Contained in Syria, Changing Tactics, OIR Spokesman Says.
Iraqi security forces and Syrian Democratic Forces continue to contain Islamic State of Iraq and Syria fighters in areas of the middle Euphrates River valley, an Operation Inherent Resolve spokesman said yesterday.
Army Col. Ryan Dillon briefed reporters at the Pentagon from Baghdad and said that SDF forces, with coalition support, “continue to look for opportunities to exploit ISIS weaknesses and conduct strikes and attacks against these remaining terrorists.”
Syrian forces are continuing to secure areas they have liberated, especially in and around Raqqa, which was the capital of the self-proclaimed ISIS caliphate. Syrian internal security forces are removing thousands of improvised explosive devices and weapons caches the terror group planted, Dillon said.
Some Territory Under ISIS Control
ISIS does continue to control some territory, the colonel said. “These are near Hajin, which is along the Euphrates River north of Al Bukamal, and in Dashisha, near the Syria-Iraq border,” he said.
In Iraq, security and stability operations continue, and Iraqi security forces continue to search for ISIS terrorists. While ISIS has gone underground in an attempt to regroup, it is still a threat in the country, Dillon said.
“The ISF know their enemy. They know that they are a threat,” he said. “And they are planning and implementing security measures with coalition support in this critical period leading up to parliamentary elections in May.”
More Work Remains
More work remains to be done in Iraq, Dillon said, noting that ISIS is an adaptive and determined enemy. “The coalition remains focused on enhancing our Iraqi partners’ capacity to sustain their operations and protect their citizens against these terrorists,” he added.
While ISIS has been expelled from most areas in eastern Syria, the terror group is changing and attacking pro-regime forces in the West.
“ISIS is starting to conduct more attacks on the west side of the Euphrates River outside of Abu Kamal against pro-regime forces,” the colonel said. “And then we’ve also seen … the retaking of neighborhoods in southern Damascus.
ISIS has been defeated militarily, Dillon said, but the group hasn’t given up. “Many have run … back into the desert areas and into these vast rural areas to hide and attempt to regroup,” he told reporters. “But that doesn’t mean that they’re exclusively just in these desert areas. Others have attempted to go back into and blend back in with population centers as well.”
This is why there is still a residual presence of the group in northern Syria, and Iraqi security forces continue to search for and arrest ISIS operatives on their territory, the colonel said. (Follow Jim Garamone on Twitter: @GaramoneDoDNews)
17 Apr 18. Pakistan shuns US for Chinese high-tech weapons In a sign of the shifting balance of power, Islamabad now purchases much of its advanced military equipment from Beijing. In the last few months of the Obama administration, the US state department made an announcement which caused a new breach in Washington’s tumultuous relationship with Pakistan. John Kirby, then the department’s spokesman, said Congress had decided to approve the sale of eight fighter aircraft to Pakistan. However, he added that some senior members of Congress “have made clear that they object to using foreign military financing [a form of military aid to help countries buy US weapons] to support it”. While the announcement garnered little attention in Washington, it was a much bigger deal in Pakistan: by withdrawing financing support, the US had in effect increased the price of the new F-16s from $270m to $700m, putting them out of Islamabad’s reach. US policymakers were concerned about Pakistan’s perceived failure to tackle domestic extremism, which has had a knock-on effect in Afghanistan, where the US is engaged in its longest overseas war. But for their counterparts in Islamabad, the incident confirmed what they had believed for a while: the US could no longer be relied on as their armed forces’ primary source of advanced weapons. China’s president Xi Jinping gives a speech aboard a Chinese warship last week. China is now the biggest weapons exporter to Pakistan © Reuters As a result, Pakistan is focusing instead on the rollout of the next batch of the JF-17, the fighter jet it is developing with China, and which is catching up with the F-16 in terms of capabilities. One former Pakistani minister recalls telling colleagues the US decision confirmed his worst fears. “We have learnt over time that the Americans are terrible when it comes to honouring their promises,” he says. “This was bound to end up in divorce.” Pakistan’s response encapsulated what had been a slow but steady shift in military procurement away from American-made weapons towards Chinese ones, or those made domestically with Chinese support. Since 2010, US weapons exports to Pakistan have plummeted from $1bn to just $21m last year, according to data from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. During the same period, those from China have also fallen, but much more slowly, from $747m to $514m, making China the biggest weapons exporter to its southern neighbour. The shift coincided with Islamabad’s growing suspicion about the closeness between the US and India, but was accelerated by the killing of al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden on Pakistani soil in 2011, which badly damaged relations with the US. This year, relations deteriorated again when President Donald Trump suspended $2bn of military aid to Pakistan, accusing it of showing “nothing but lies and deceit” in its promises to crack down on the Taliban and affiliated groups. The problem for Mr Trump is that he needs support from Pakistan as he recommits to the war in Afghanistan, and his officials are finding that Islamabad is less responsive than usual to the US message. It is thought that China is supplying drones like the Wing Loong to Pakistan. Harrison Akins, a research fellow at the Howard H Baker Jr Center for Public Policy at the University of Tennessee, says: “The Trump administration’s decision to pursue sanctions against Pakistan, alongside Trump’s fiery rhetoric . . . can only push Pakistan further into the arms of Beijing — especially with Pakistan’s shift from US military supplies to Chinese military supplies. “In the short term, this will make the US mission in Afghanistan more difficult and costly.” For the US, there could be longer-term consequences that stretch well beyond its complicated relationship with Pakistan. Sales of weapons systems, often backed by preferential financial terms, have become central to the way the US has managed its vast network of military alliances and partnerships — in effect, a form of patronage. But many of those countries are now advertising their ability to buy some of that hardware from other governments. Key allies such as Saudi Arabia and Turkey have signed arms agreements with Russia. From the Philippines and Thailand in east Asia, to large parts of Africa, world leaders are also increasingly looking to China to provide the kinds of weapons they always used to buy from the US. Between 2011 and 2015, China exported 88 per cent more in weapon sales than during the previous five years, according to Sipri. “Twenty years ago, China did not have the technology to be able to compete with the west, but now there is not much difference,” says Siemon Wezeman, a senior researcher at Sipri. “Many countries also see Chinese supplies as more secure, as Beijing does not tend to cut them off over awkward issues such as democracy or human rights.” Share this graphic While many countries are just discovering the benefits of Chinese weapons, Pakistan has been buying from Beijing for decades, starting after the US placed an arms embargo on it in the wake of the 1965 war with India. After that, every time Islamabad has suffered diplomatic problems with Washington supplies of Chinese weapons have risen. In the 1980s and 1990s, Beijing provided supplies and technical knowledge to help Pakistan develop its nuclear weapons, and in the early 1990s shocked Washington by selling its neighbour more than 30 M-11 missiles, capable of carrying nuclear warheads. But the nature of the military relationship has changed in the past decade. China is now selling the kind of high-end systems in which the US once specialised to Pakistan’s military, and is co-developing many others. “In the last decade, China has collaborated much more expansively with Pakistan, with the intention of providing its ally with a tactical, military-technical edge,” says Jon Grevatt, an analyst at the defence research company Jane’s IHS Markit. Examples since 2010 include A-100 rocket launchers, HQ-16 air defence missile systems and VT-4 tanks, which are reportedly now being tested in Pakistan. But three weapons systems in particular encapsulate the new Chinese capabilities, and the way in which they threaten US influence in south Asia. The first is the JF-17 fighter aircraft. To understand why Islamabad has been so keen to develop the warplane requires a potted history of the F-16, the American-made jet, and the starring role it has always played in the melodrama of the US-Pakistan relationship. A Chinese-manufactured VT4 battle tank, which is being supplied to the Pakistani army © EPA After sending about 40 of the aircraft to Pakistan in 1983, the US cancelled a second shipment in 1990 because of concerns over Pakistan’s nuclear weapons programme. The incident triggered fury in Islamabad, not least because Pakistan did not recover the money it had already spent on the aeroplanes — only receiving partial compensation in 1998. Pakistan officials still talk about the “perfidy” they believe the US showed in 1990. They say the recent decision not to allow them to use military aid to buy a further batch is merely confirmation the Americans are not to be trusted when it comes to weapons supplies. Luckily for them, just as the US was making it more difficult to buy its weapons, Beijing was knocking on the door. In 2007, Pakistan flew its first two JF-17s, whose parts were made in China and assembled locally. The jets were not as nimble or deadly as the American fighter, but cost about a third of the price. And crucially, China has shared the designs so the Pakistan’s armed forces can build their own, and even export them. “We buy weapons from the Americans off the shelf, but they won’t share technology,” says Mushahid Hussain, chairman of the Pakistani senate’s defence committee. Speaking to the Financial Times from his office in Islamabad, where his desk is adorned with Pakistani and Chinese flags, he adds: “Also, politics doesn’t get in the way of things, whereas the Americans, if they are angry with us, they stop everything.” Selling to Pakistan The US Air Force F-16 pilots show their close-flying skills at an airshow in Maryland © AFP $700m Approximate price to Pakistan of an F-16 jet, up from $270m, after the US removed subsidies in 2016 $5bn Value of 2016 deal for Beijing to sell eight attack submarines to Pakistan $60bn Projects earmarked for development as part of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor If the US thought the F-16 was irreplaceable, it received another unwelcome surprise in September 2015, when satellite images revealed that an attack by Pakistani forces on Islamist militants near the Afghan border was carried out by a drone that “strongly resembled” a Chinese design, defence experts said. While surveillance drones are simple enough to build, say military experts, ones with armed capabilities are far less easy to develop. Washington has been so concerned about how armed drones might be used by other governments, it has refused repeated requests from Islamabad — among other countries — to buy American systems. Some in Islamabad see the development of their own drone technology — with apparent Chinese support — as a precursor to taking a more defiant stance towards the US’s own drone strikes in Pakistan’s tribal areas. “Towards the end of the [Barack] Obama administration, Pakistanis would see drone attacks on their screens every night,” says Sherry Rehman, a former Pakistani ambassador to Washington. “This felt not just like an encroachment on our sovereignty, but an act of aggression.” China’s development of armed drones is also attracting attention in the Middle East, where countries that are barred from procuring American ones have bought or have shown interest in buying from Beijing. Experts say they believe Saudi Arabia, Iraq, the UAE and Egypt have all bought them in recent years. Pakistani protesters demand the US stops drone attacks in tribal areas in 2014 © AFP One deal in particular shows how ambitious the Chinese have become in their weapons sales. In October 2016, just a month after the US said it would not subsidise the sale of new F-16s, Beijing announced it would sell eight attack submarines to Pakistan for about $5bn — the biggest single arms export deal in the country’s history. The deal is a shot across the American bow because it could enhance Pakistan’s capacity to challenge India in the Indian Ocean. At a time when Washington is relying on India to provide a bulwark against perceived Chinese maritime expansionism, experts say sales such as this pose a threat to that strategy. “This is a headache for both the Americans and the Indians,” says Mr Wezeman. In Islamabad, US officials are engaged in a blizzard of diplomacy as they try to repair the rift between the two countries. “We are not walking away. We have suspended the security assistance, but our channels of communication are open,” says one senior US diplomat. But Pakistanis say they fear relations have hit a historic low. “The Americans are hectoring us in private now; even at the worst times that was not the case,” says one Pakistani official involved in talks with US counterparts. Mr Hussain says: “People are bored with the US — they have given up on the US. Let them stew in their own juice. Forget about them.” But for Islamabad, the big change in recent years has not been the rhetoric — they have seen this kind of flare-up before — but the reduction in Washington’s leverage. The US has already cut back most of its aid to Pakistan — something it has been able to absorb in part because of Chinese money flowing into infrastructure projects as part of the $60bn China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. Now Washington’s traditional threat that it will cancel military deals holds less sway. “The problem for Washington is that there will come a time when you run out of levers,” says the Pakistani official. “It is best to keep options and windows open.” Recommended The Big Read China takes ‘project of the century’ to Pakistan If Pakistan shows that Chinese support enables it to resist US demands to do more to assist the war in Afghanistan, it will set an example for other countries. “Arms sales have long been a tool of US foreign policy, to cement alliances and gain influence,” says Mr Wezeman. “Now that Chinese technology is competitive, if American allies start saying they prefer the terms offered by China, that spells trouble for the US.” Additional reporting by Farhan Bokhari Buying and selling: Pakistan also hopes to become arms exporter For Pakistan’s defence planners, the collaboration with China on defence technology is not only about equipping their own armed services. They are also hoping they can become a significant arms exporter and, in doing so, help to boost the country’s low foreign currency reserves. Pakistani officials say that between 2014 and 2016 the country exported about $63m of weapons, but last year they announced an intention to increase that to $1bn a year. To do that, they say, they will focus on selling aircraft such as the JF-17, jointly made with the Chinese, to countries such as Egypt, Turkey and Nigeria. Farooq Hameed Khan, a commentator on security affairs, says: “Pakistan’s close collaboration with China has helped us build our quality of weapons. Gone are the days when Pakistan only produced small arms.” Pakistan’s defence industry received a big boost in 2015 when China quietly signed an agreement with Myanmar to export at least 16 JF-17s. But the terms of that deal also showed why it will be difficult for Pakistan to increase its defence exports by the amount it is targeting. Officials say the $256m deal would have probably collapsed without China’s offer of long-term credits to Myanmar — something Pakistan was not in a position to offer. “China extended long-term credits which made this deal possible,” said one senior government official in Islamabad. “The weapons systems that we make have improved over time. But our economic realities are such that we can’t give loans to other countries if they want to buy our weapon systems.” One western official says: “Even if you say your products are competitive, the challenges countries face are also huge. The international arms bazaar is not an easy place.” Farhan Bokhari (Source: FT.com)
17 Apr 18. Iran Using Yemen as ‘Test Bed’ for Malign Activities, DoD Official Says. Iran is exploiting the situation in Yemen, arming opponents of the internationally recognized government and using the country as a “test bed” for malign activities, a top Defense Department official told lawmakers today.
The United States, as Defense Secretary James N. Mattis has said, supports efforts for a United Nations-brokered settlement to the conflict, Robert S. Karem, assistant secretary of defense for international security affairs, told a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on U.S. policy in Yemen.
The conflict, which began more than three years ago, threatens regional security and U.S. national security interests, which include the flow of commerce in the Red Sea, he said.
“Yemen has become a test bed for Iran’s malign activities,” he said, adding that a political solution to the conflict will “reduce the chaos that Iran has exploited to advance its malign agenda.”
With support from Iran, the Houthis – a Shia group trying to take control of Yemen – have launched more than 100 ballistic missiles and “countless” rockets into Saudi Arabia directed at major population centers, international airports, military installations and oil infrastructure, he said. In this month alone, he added, the Houthis have launched more than 13 ballistic missiles and long-range rockets into Saudi Arabia.
Terrorist Organizations ‘Directly Threaten’ U.S., Allies
The Defense Department’s first line of effort and priority in Yemen is the fight against al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula and the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria in Yemen, Karem said. AQAP and ISIS in Yemen are “two terrorist organizations that directly threaten the United States, our allies and our partners,” he told the senators.
U.S. forces are working in coordination with the U.N.-recognized government of Yemen to support regional counterterrorism partners, he said.
AQAP and ISIS in Yemen are plotting from safe havens in Yemen against the American people and U.S. allies and partners, Karem said. U.S. military forces are conducting airstrikes against them in Yemen to disrupt and destroy terrorist networks, he said.
“We need a stable, inclusive government in Yemen to provide security to the Yemeni people and to reduce and ultimately eliminate terrorist safe havens that are being used by al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula — AQAP — and ISIS in Yemen,” Karem said.
A second line of effort, he said, is to provide limited noncombat support to the Saudi-led coalition in support of the U.N.-recognized government of Yemen, he said.
Fewer than 50 military personnel work in Saudi Araba with the Saudi-led coalition, advising and assisting with the defense of Saudi territory, sharing intelligence and providing logistical support, including aerial refueling, Karem said.
Single-Largest Humanitarian Crisis in the World
The conflict has had a devastating impact on the population, Karem and witnesses from the State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development told the Senate panel.
“Defeating ISIS in Yemen, al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, countering Iran’s malign activities in that region, and above all, reducing the extraordinary suffering and hardship for the Yemeni people — all of these goals hinge on the resolution to the Yemeni conflict,” David M. Satterfield, the State Department’s acting assistant secretary for Near Eastern affairs, said.
Yemen is the single-largest humanitarian crisis in the world, with more than 75 percent of the country, or more than 22 m people, needing humanitarian assistance, said Robert Jenkins, deputy assistant administrator for USAID’s Bureau for Democracy, Conflict and Humanitarian Assistance.
Further, the country is facing the world’s largest cholera outbreak, with more than 1 m suspected cases, he told senators.(Follow Lisa Ferdinando on Twitter: @FerdinandoDoD)
17 Apr 18. India, Sweden ink joint action plan, innovation partnership. With the aim to build a win-win partnership with Sweden making use of the opportunities offered by India’s development programmes, the two countries on Tuesday signed a Joint Action Plan and an Innovation Partnership following a bilateral summit between Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Swedish counterpart Stefan Lofven here. Jointly addressing the media here along with Lofven after their talks, Modi said that Sweden has been a strong contributor to the Make in India programme from the beginning and recalled that the Swedish Prime Minister himself led a big business delegation to the Make in India summit in Mumbai in 2016.”The main theme of our discussions today was how to develop a win-win partnership between Sweden and India through the opportunities offered by India’s development programmes,” Modi said. “As a result, we agreed to a Joint Action Plan and an Innovation Partnership.” Stating that innovation, investment, start-ups, manufacturing were among the main areas of cooperation between the two countries, he said that attention was also paid to renewable energy, urban transport and waste management to improve the quality of life of the Indian people. According to the Joint Action Plan, both sides will initiate a multi-stake holder Innovation Partnership for a Sustainable Future, underpinning the mutual commitment to drive prosperity and growth and address societal challenges such as climate change and sustainable development through innovation. The Action Plan also aims to exchange knowledge and explore cooperation on smart cities, including transit-oriented urban development, air pollution control, waste management, waste-to-energy, waste-water treatment, district cooling and circular economy, including through dialogue and capacity building.
The two sides also agreed to exchange know-how and explore cooperation in the areas of electro-mobility as well as renewable fuels. The Joint Action Plan aims to deepen collaboration between the two countries in smart, sustainable and renewable energy, women’s skills development and empowerment, space and science, and health and life sciences.” Defence and security is an important pillar of our bilateral relationship,” Modi said in his address to the media.” Sweden has been partner of India in defence sector for a long time. I am confident that new opportunities for cooperation in this sector will arise in the future, especially in defence production.” Modi said that both sides also agreed to further strengthen security, especially cyber security cooperation. According to the Joint Action Plan, both sides agreed to explore the finalisation of a bilateral agreement on exchange and mutual protection of classified information for cooperation in the defence area and encourage industry partners to develop supply chains for small and medium sized enterprises with major defence and aerospace original equipment manufacturers. “One more thing that we have agreed upon is that the importance of our relationship should be reflected at the regional and global levels,” Modi said. “We have been closely cooperating on the international platform and this will continue.” Modi also said developments in Europe and Asia came up for detailed discussion during the bilateral summit. According to the Joint Action Plan, both sides “reaffirmed the need for reform of the UN Security Council, including its expansion, to make it more representative, accountable, effective, and responsive to the realities of the 21st century”.
“Both Prime Ministers called for greater unity and stronger international partnership to counter terrorism, disrupt terrorist networks and financing, and to prevent violent extremism,” it stated.On his part, Lofven said that he believed that Sweden and India make a perfect match. Stating that India is undergoing an unprecedented economic transformation, he said that Sweden has a lot of innovative solutions to offer in this connection. “I am very pleased to announce that the Swedish government will kick start our Innovation Partnership by providing up to 50m Swedish kronor (Over $59m) for innovation cooperation with India in the field of smart cities and sustainability,” Lofven said. Following the summit, Modi and Lofven participated in a round table with Swedish CEOs during which the CEOs were exhorted to invest in India and participate in the country’s flagship initiatives, External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Ravessh Kumar said in a tweet. Earlier in the day, Modi called on Sweden’s King Carl XVI Gustaf at the Royal Palace here and the two leaders exchanged views on strengthening bilateral cooperation. India and Sweden will on Tuesday also co-host the first ever India-Nordic Summit, where, apart from Modi and Lofven, the Prime Ministers of the other four Nordic countries of Denmark, Finland, Iceland and Norway will also be present. Modi will hold separate bilateral meetings with the leaders of the other four Nordic countries on the sidelines of the summit. The Indian Prime Minister arrived here on Monday evening on the first leg of his three-nation tour of Europe that will also see him going to Britain and Germany. This is the first prime ministerial visit from India to Sweden in 30 years after the visit of then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi in 1988.After attending an Indian community event here late on Tuesday night, Modi will depart for London on the second leg of his tour. (Source: Google/www.5dariyanews.com)
16 Apr 18. Russia Hints at New Missile Deal with Syria. Following strikes on the Syrian military, Russia has suggested that it will transfer S-300 surface-to-air missile systems to Syria’s control. The spokesman for the Russian General Staff, Sergei Rudskoy, said in the aftermath of American, British, and French strikes on Syria that Moscow could reconsider delivering the S-300 (of an unspecified variant) to Syria.
“I would like to note that a few years ago, taking into account a pressing request of some of our Western partners, we stopped supplying S-300 air defense systems to Syria,” Rudskoy said. Following the strikes, however, he noted it is “possible to return to mulling over the issue, and not only with regard to Syria but also to other states as well.”
Syria has sought procurement of the S-300 for a few decades, in order to boost its air-defense network in the face of numerous hostile Air Forces in the region. Besides the recent American-led strikes near the capital, Israel has frequently carried out raids on Syrian soil, especially during the ongoing conflict, to target Hezbollah positions and convoys. In 2007, Israel destroyed a suspected nuclear reactor in eastern Syria, in an operation the Israeli military officially confirmed last month.
Despite Syria’s pressing interest in acquiring the S-300, a contract has never been completely fulfilled under pressure from the West and Israel, though seemingly Syria has made payments towards the procurement of the system, under a 2011 contract. The sale was reportedly for four S-300PMU-2 surface-to-air missile systems, along with associated hardware and an unknown number of missiles, at a cost of $1bn.
In 2013, around the time that the U.S. was considering a strike in response to a chemical weapons attack in Eastern Ghouta, a Russian military industry source told Reuters that Syria had recently begun making payments on the S-300. The source stated, “They’ve already made the first payment for the Yak-130, likely 10 percent of it. Regarding the S-300, they’ve definitely made a first downpayment of 20 percent, but we are probably at half of the payment at this point.”
The contract was frozen and delivery of the S-300 to Syria never occurred, raising questions about the Syrian downpayment, should it have actually been made, within the context of a potential new arrangement for the transfer of the system to Syria.
As noted, Rudskoy did not mention the variant of S-300, or the quantity, that Russia was considering delivering. As the S-300 and its various versions are out of production, Syria would presumably be acquiring second-hand systems from Russian storage that would need to be refurbished prior to transfer. Iran procured four S-300 systems (perhaps the same four offered to Syria in 2011) after the conclusion of a nuclear deal with world powers that totaled around $1 bn.
In order to afford the system, Damascus will likely seek either donation, discount, or financial assistance, given that its national budget is heavily burdened by the ongoing conflict. In order to support its ally, Russia may be willing to extend some support towards the Syrian military’s acquisition of the system.
Given the history of Syria-Russia S-300 negotiations, it should not be assumed that the sale will be completed. However, this time around, Moscow may be less willing to listen to Western or Israeli protests, especially as the Russian government seeks a way to respond to American-led strikes on its client. (Source: defense-aerospace.com/Forecast International)
17 Apr 18. US denies export rights to ZTE. The US government has denied Chinese company ZTE export rights for seven years following accusations that it had illegally traded with Iran and North Korea, as well as further misleading the Department of Commerce throughout an ongoing investigation into these activities.
Imposed by the US Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) on 16 April, the denial of export privileges will ban the company from trading in the United States, thus having effects on its business in the country and on its supply chain that includes provision of components for military communications systems.
The issue with ZTE dates back several years, and in 2012 it – alongside Huawei – was accused by the US government of being a threat to national security due to the potential to carry out espionage by using telecommunications technology for malicious purposes on behalf of the Chinese government. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
17 Apr 18. China’s Fighter Jet J-10C Begins Combat Duty. China’s new multi-role fighter jet J-10C began combat duty Monday, the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) air force announced. Equipped with an advanced avionics system and various airborne weapons, the domestically-developed fighter has airstrike capabilities within medium and close range and is capable of precisely striking land and maritime targets, the air force said in a statement. It is China’s third-generation supersonic fighter and made its debut when the PLA marked its 90th anniversary in July 2017 at Zhurihe military training base in Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region. Shen Jinke, a spokesperson for the PLA air force, said that the air force will advance training and war readiness, and sharpen its striking, defensive, and air delivery capabilities. It will also firmly safeguard China’s airspace security and national strategic interests in the new era, Shen said. The new jet is modified from the J-10 fighter jet and will help improve the air force’s fighting and war-readiness capabilities, said Wang Mingzhi, a military expert. The air force is gradually building a combat system adapted to the need of informationized air warfare, comprised of heavy air superiority fighters such as J-11 series, multi-role fighters such as J-10 series and J-16, new-generation stealth fighters such as J-20, and medium and long-range bombers such as H-6K, Wang said. (Source: (Source: defense-aerospace.com/China Daily)
16 Apr 18. In Syria Strike, F-22 Raptor Once Again Left on Combat Sidelines. The F-22 Raptor is fast developing a reputation as the aircraft that gets left behind during combat ops.
The Air Force fifth-generation stealth fighter was not flying alongside a pair of B-1B Lancer bombers that dropped missiles on Syrian targets. Nor was it conducting overwatch in the area as the bombers for the first time deployed the Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile-Extended Range in combat during Saturday’s strikes against a chemical lab and two equipment facilities, according to U.S. Air Force Central Command.
“Among the options considered, leveraging the B-1B to launch stand-off weapons from outside Syrian airspace was the preferred [course of action] for a number of reasons, including minimal risk to aircrew and aircraft, and the precise destructive capability of the JASSM-ER,” spokesman Lt. Col Damien Pickart told Military.com on Monday.
While British Tornado and Typhoon and French Rafale and Mirage fighters participated in the strike, Defense News reported over the weekend that F-22s weren’t present. Instead, Marine Corps EA-6B Prowler electronic warfare aircraft provided support. (The B-1 itself also has some signal jamming capabilities).
Some F-15C Eagles and F-16C Fighting Falcons were reportedly spotted as a part of the mission as well, according to The Aviationist.
Pickart said the F-22 had remained an option for the strike. But ultimately, it was the JASSM-ER’s time to shine.
“The F-22A was available, but wasn’t required for the operation as planned,” he said. “That said, the F-22 is well suited for the defensive counter air mission it continues to conduct over Syria, protecting coalition and partners forces on the ground and in the air.”
The F-22 missed out on previous combat opportunities last year. In separate incidents in June, F-15 Strike Eagles and an F/A-18 Super Hornet had encounters with adversarial aircraft.
On June 8 and again on June 20, Air Force F-15Es shot down Iranian-made Shaheed drones over At Tanf as the unmanned aerial vehicles approached or dropped munitions near U.S.-backed forces on the ground.
On June 18, a Navy F/A-18E Super Hornet conducted the U.S. military’s first air-to-air kill involving a manned aircraft in nearly two decades when it downed a hostile Su-22 Fitter south of Taqbah.
“We put the F-22s in the highest-threat areas as much as we can, but they can’t be there 24/7,” Brig. Gen. Charles Corcoran, commander of the 380th Expeditionary Wing, Al Dhafra Air Base, United Arab Emirates, told Military.com later that month. The 380th houses the F-22 mission for the Middle East.
“Nobody’s sad about not getting a kill,” said Corcoran, himself an F-22 pilot. “We’re happy that everyone’s doing their job.”
Officials told Military.com the F-22 isn’t necessarily showcasing its role as an air-to-air fighter in the conflict. Instead, the twin-engine jet is doing more deconfliction of airspace than dog-fighting.
The plane has the ability to identify other aircraft, down to the airframe, and detect surface-to-air missiles and relay their existence to other friendly forces while maintaining a low-observable radar profile.
The Raptor finally made its combat debut in Afghanistan on Nov. 19, conducting a ground-attack mission to pummel suspected drug labs in the country with small diameter bombs.
Some criticized the use of such a high-end fighter for the role, but at the time, ground commanders and Air Force counterparts applauded the Raptor’s employment.
The Raptor “was used because of its ability to deliver precision munitions, in this case, a 250-pound bomb, small-diameter, that causes the minimal amount of collateral damage,” Army Gen. John Nicholson, commander of the NATO-led Resolute Support mission and U.S. Forces Afghanistan, said at the time.
The Air Force, meanwhile, has somewhat shifted its position and endorsed the view that perhaps hitting drug labs is meant for light-attack aircraft such as the A-29 Super Tucano.
Speaking at the Heritage Foundation in March, Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson made the case for the service’s ongoing light attack experiment, “rather than taking out narcotics facilities in Afghanistan” fifth-gen fighters “like the F-22” can skip out on such missions and instead prepare for the high end fight against adversaries like Russia and China.
Similarly in February, Wilson told audiences the same thing during a Mitchell Institute breakfast.
“We should not use F-22s to destroy a narcotics factory in Afghanistan,” she said, according to Breaking Defense. (Source: Military.com)
16 Apr 18. Indian, French defence associations sign MoU to promote partnership. The Indian and French defence and aerospace industries associations today signed a memorandum of understanding to promote partnerships between the companies of the two countries. A statement by Groupement des Industries Francaises Aronautiques et Spatiales (GIFAS), the French Aerospace Industries Association, said it signed the MoU with the Society of Indian Defence Manufacturers (SIDM) in the field of aerospace and defence.
The MoU will allow the implementation of measures to promote a mutually beneficial cooperation in aerospace and defence manufacturing, research and technology, human capital, engineering services, systems integration.
“The signing of this MoU between our two bodies is an excellent opportunity to develop the cooperation between France and India and shape the aerospace and defence industry of the future,” GIFAS managing director Pierre Bourlot and SIDM director general Subrata Saha said after signing the MoU.
Speaking at a seperate event, Eric Trappier, CEO of Dassault Aviation, which manufactures Rafale, said France has been very transparent in the pricing of the fighter jet with India and some parts of the deal have to be kept secret.
Congress had alleged a “scam” in the defence deal.
Trappier said Dassault has an advantage in the new multi-bn Indian fighter jet procurement plan floated by India.
Last week, the Indian Air Force initiated the procurement of 110 fighter aircraft for its depleted combat force now languishing at 31 fighter squadrons against a desired strength of 42.
Trappier said his company won the last time on performance and cost, and it can do it again. In 2015, the NDA government scrapped a USD20bn medium multi-role combat aircraft (MMRCA) project to acquire 126 fighters, in which Rafale had emerged winner. Later, in an inter-governmental deal, India bought 36 Rafale fighters from France in a euro 7.8bn contract with Dassault that requires Rafale deliveries to commence in June 2019. (Source: Google/www.business-standard.com)
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19 Apr 18. BAE Systems looks to build Malaysian profile. BAE Systems is moving forward with several sales opportunities in Malaysia, headlined by the company’s continuing engagement in promoting the Eurofighter Typhoon for the Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF).
Company officials told Jane’s at the Defence Services Asia (DSA) 2018 exhibition in Kuala Lumpur that while the Typhoon represents the biggest opportunity in the market, prospects in the land systems and naval domains are also being pursued by the company.
John Brosnan, BAE Systems’ managing director for Southeast Asia, explained that in addition to the Typhoon, which the company has been promoting to Malaysia for several years, the company is pursuing other air force and naval upgrade programmes in the market as well as emerging opportunities to supply artillery systems. Cyber defence is another area where BAE Systems is expanding its profile in the country.
BAE Systems’ Typhoon proposal is intended to meet a longstanding requirement in the RMAF to procure a multirole combat aircraft to replace its ageing fleet of MiG-29s, which were initially scheduled to retire in 2010.
Brosnan said BAE Systems is waiting for the general election in Malaysia, scheduled for May, and for the government to be settled before making a decision on the MRCA. The Typhoon is widely thought to be in pole position to meet the requirement alongside the Dassault Rafale fighter aircraft.
“The Typhoon offer we put on the table still stands, and this includes UK financing support and local partner support,” said Brosnan. “We have strong UK government support for this, and when we get through the election we will be looking to step up our efforts to engage with the [Malaysian] government on this programme.” (Source: IHS Jane’s)
19 Apr 18. Melrose’s directors have identified further ways to wring more out of their takeover of GKN after finally gaining the keys to the business.
The mid-cap turnaround firm revealed its £8.1bn offer had become unconditional today as it had secured acceptances from 85pc of GKN shareholders.
Current chief executive Anne Stevens, finance boss Jos Sclater, chairman Mike Turner and the rest of GKN’s board stepped down today, with directors from Melrose taking on interim board roles.
They will stay in those roles until GKN’s shares are cancelled and the business delists as it merges with Melrose, a move expected in mid-May.
Having had full access to GKN’s accounts, Christopher Miller, Melrose chairman, said his company’s hopes had been confirmed.
“Our in-depth review has confirmed our expectations about the size and scale of the opportunity to create lasting value for shareholders and all stakeholders as we drive the businesses to their full potential,” he said.
“Today sees the formation of a new manufacturing powerhouse, headquartered in the UK and with diverse operations around the world.”
The takeover will go ahead despite opposition from trade unions and some politicians, who had accused Melrose of planning to “asset-strip” GKN. It is still subject to approval from Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson, with concerns being raised about GKN’s work on sensitive defence projects. However recent reports citing unidentified Government officials claimed that Mr Williamson did not see any issues.
Melrose has made a series of “binding commitments” to the UK and other governments about national security in relation to the takeover, as well as saying it would take a long-term investment approach and keep the company’s headquarters in the UK.
Mr Miller added: “We look forward to working closely with those governments as a responsible supplier and corporate citizen.” Shares in Melrose edged up 1.2pc on the news. (Source: Daily Telegraph)
19 Apr 18. Ultra Electronics Holdings plc (“Ultra”, the “Company” or the “Group”) SFO Investigation. The UK Serious Fraud Office (the “SFO”) has informed Ultra that it has opened a criminal investigation into suspected corruption in the conduct of business in Algeria by Ultra, its subsidiaries, employees and associated persons. This follows a voluntary self-report by Ultra to the SFO. Ultra continues to co-operate with the SFO. Given the stage of these matters, it is not possible to estimate reliably what effect the outcome of this matter may have on the Group. The Company will provide a further update as and when appropriate.
18 Apr 18. FLIR Systems Completes Strategic Investment in DroneSense. Apr. 18, 2018– FLIR Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ: FLIR) and DroneSense, Inc. announced today that FLIR has completed a strategic investment in DroneSense, makers of a unique software platform that serves the growing needs of public safety organizations in utilizing unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) to better perform their missions.
The minority investment by FLIR in DroneSense will create opportunities for the companies to collaborate and share their respective expertise and customer relationships to develop and bring to market advanced UAS operating, management, and reporting systems. FLIR’s advanced thermal imaging payloads for UAS platforms provide first responders a new sense of awareness by imaging heat, seeing through smoke, and seeing at night. DroneSense’s comprehensive solution will enable first responders of all types to build and scale their UAS programs with full accountability and transparency. Together, the FLIR and DroneSense offerings will enhance situational awareness, act as a force multiplier, and ultimately save more lives as organizations continue to integrate UAS into daily missions.
“This alliance with DroneSense will help bring to market a truly mission-critical solution needed by first responders to effectively deploy a complete UAS program across their organizations,” said James Cannon, President and CEO of FLIR. “We believe this platform is scalable geographically, across multiple markets, and across multiple FLIR Business Units. While focused today on UASs, we see longer term opportunity for the solution to be extendable to other forms of sensing devices.”
16 Apr 18. SDI Signs Definitive Agreement for Acquisition of New Technology. TSX-V: SDZ) (OTCQB: SDEV) Security Devices International Inc. (“SDI” or the “Company”) announces the signing of a Definitive Agreement with André Buys of South Africa to purchase certain registered patents and designs, provisional patents and designs, drawings, testing results, molds, prototype products and other intellectual property in exchange for cash and/or stock in the Company, as well as a stream of royalty payments to Mr. Buys. As part of the agreement, Mr. Buys will join the Company as Chief Technology Officer (“CTO”) and Manager, New Product Development.
These patents and related Intellectual Property (“IP”) focus on a new less lethal delivery system that delivers chemical irritants from handgun-like “Personal Security Devices (PSDs).” Employing a shaped (finned) projectile, rather than a round ball, SDI expects to offer less lethal security devices that have the same or better accuracy than comparable conventional firearms.
The shaped rounds, to be marketed under the Company’s Mini Ball™ tradename, are expected to be accurate to within two to four inches at 100’ and will be able to deliver up to four times the active ingredient of a round ball, providing tremendous stopping power. The combination of accuracy and enhanced payload should make SDI’s PSDs extremely effective less lethal alternatives.
Code-named “Stingray,” the Stingray HD (Home Defense) is a light-weight, .68 caliber hand-held personal security device equipped with a 7-round magazine and capable of accurately and effectively engaging a target at up to 60 feet – less lethally and without causing serious injury. The Stingray PE (Professional Edition) PSD is a .49 caliber 12-round PSD targeted at professional security personnel who are increasingly called upon to engage in life-threatening situations but don’t have access to or reject the use of lethal force. Aside from traditional law enforcement, this potential market includes private security guards, campus police, first responders and even teachers. Sophisticated gun owners and higher-end consumers may also opt for the high-end Stingray PE. The Stingray PE fires an aerodynamically shaped finned projectile that offers unprecedented accuracy and greater payloads at ranges up to 200 feet. Pump action shoulder fired devices, catering to the SWAT, anti-riot and corrections officer markets, utilizing the same technology, are planned for 2019.
SDI believes that this newly acquired technology can be scaled both up and down in size. The PSDs (shown above) will be the same size as the most popular firearms, allowing them to fit easily into a holster, purse, nightstand drawer or jacket pocket. With a planned roll out in late 2018, management believes that these PSDs will be extremely popular for home defense, private security, school and campus security, as well as SDI’s traditional law enforcement and correctional services markets. SDI also anticipates developing versions of the round and launcher that can be used in the animal husbandry and agricultural industries to deliver medications, herbicides, pesticides and/or marking rounds. For 2019, the Company is planning to scale up the technology so that it can be used with a new gas-fired 40mm launcher, shooting rounds equipped with SDI’s patented collapsible head technology.
“We are very excited to welcome André Buys to SDI as our CTO,” said Dean Thrasher, CEO of SDI. “SDI has always prided itself on being the industry leader in less lethal technology. André’s impressive body of work, which includes innovative gas-fired devices and patented finned projectiles, brings the industry and consumers a whole new range of alternatives to the use of lethal force. Given everything that is going on in this country with violence, gun control, school security and the outrage over excessive use of force,” said Thrasher, “the need for technology to engage threats at the Point of Incident – within seconds not minutes – without the risk of life, has never been greater.”
Paul Jensen, President and COO of SDI, added, “We are very excited about these new products because they will bring the same kind of less lethal options currently available only to the military, corrections and law enforcement agencies to a much broader range of users, including homeowners, private security guards and potentially schools. There are over 120m households in the US, over 1m private security guards and over 150m gun-owners; all are potential users of this new technology. People want security but, as we have seen over and over again in the media, are increasingly intolerant of the use of lethal force when other means of engagement are available. Through technology, we are making those means available, on a very wide scale basis – and saving lives in the process.”
“I have spent much of my career developing devices and munitions to overcome the inherent inaccuracies of paintball-type projectiles and other round projectiles used in law enforcement and corrections,” said Mr. Buys. “The patented fin-projectile technology has been proven to have the lowest shot dispersion of all known less lethal gas-fired projectiles and its unique design offers greater payload capacity, significantly increasing its effectiveness. It is a real pleasure to be associated with professionals who share my passion for bringing this timely and much-needed technology to market quickly, in order to satisfy this immediate need.”
The Company also announces the issuance of 1,500,000 options under the SDI option plan to specified management. These options have an expiry date of April 12, 2025 with an exercise price of USD$0.15 and a trigger price of USD$0.30, USD$0.50, and USD$1.00 for each batch of 500,000 options, respectively. The Company’s stock price must close above the trigger price for 20 consecutive days in order for the option to be triggered. (Source: BUSINESS WIRE)
16 Apr 18. ZTE ban hits shares of U.S. optical component suppliers. Shares of American optical components makers fell on Monday after the U.S. Department of Commerce decided to ban companies from selling components to Chinese telecom equipment maker ZTE Corp for seven years. ZTE pleaded guilty last year in federal court in Texas for conspiring to violate U.S. sanctions by illegally shipping U.S. goods and technology to Iran. Shares of Maynard, Massachusetts-based Acacia Communications Inc, an exclusive supplier to ZTE which got 30 percent of its total revenue in 2017 from the company, fell as much as 34.7 percent in early trade, hitting a record low.
Shares of another supplier, Oclaro Inc, which earned 18 percent of its fiscal 2017 revenue from ZTE, fell 17 percent.
Stocks of other optical companies were also trading lower. Lumentum Holdings Inc fell 6.8 percent, Finisar Corp 3.7 percent, Inphi Corp 11.3 percent, Fabrinet 10.4 percent, and NeoPhotonics and Applied Optoelectronics 4.7 percent each. Lumentum declined to comment, while others optical component makers were not immediately available for comment. (Source: glstrade.com/Reuters)
13 Apr 18. GE books $4.2bn charge, restates earnings as expected. General Electric Co (GE.N) said on Friday it took a $4.24bn equity charge and reduced earnings for the last two years by 30 cents a share, figures in line with expectations the company set earlier this year when it said it would comply with new accounting standards. The maker of power plants, jet engines, medical devices and other industrial goods had estimated the after-tax, non-cash impact would be about $4.2bn, plus reduced earnings for 2016 and 2017 of about 29 cents a share. The accounting change prompted GE to recast two years of past financial statements to reflect lower income and asset values under the new standard, and those will be reflected when GE reports first-quarter results on April 20.
The value of GE’s contract assets are being written down, but that does not change the value of the long-term contracts GE has, nor does it affect GE’s cash flow or earnings estimates for 2018, GE said.
The adjustments appear within expectations, Edward Jones analyst Jeff Windau said. “Now the focus moves to next Friday’s earnings.”
The figures suggest GE executives have gotten to the bottom of some accounting issues and bolster confidence in Chief Executive Officer John Flannery after a series of financial surprises, including underestimating the impact of insurance policies that prompted a $6.2bn charge in the fourth quarter, analysts said. GE shares were down 1 percent at $13.35 in aftermarket trading after rising 2.4 percent on Friday.
The new accounting standard governs how companies estimate and recognize revenue from long-term contracts, and is designed to make a company’s cash flow more closely match its income, accounting experts and analysts said.
The prior standard allowed companies to recognize future revenue from such agreements more quickly. The new standard shifts revenue to later in the contract duration, analysts said.
Companies typically use the cost of providing services as a basis for estimating future revenue from the contracts, but the process can lead to over- or under-estimating the value of the contracts as assets on the balance sheet, experts say.
GE’s contract asset tally has soared 70 percent to $28.8bn in 2017, from $16.9bn in 2014, most of it in its power and aviation units. The majority of the total reflects revenue GE has already booked but for which it has not billed customers, which creates the gap between profit and cash flow, according to GE’s regulatory filings.
GE also made adjustments for new accounting standards for pensions, cash flow and taxes on Friday.
GE’s accounting is under scrutiny after earnings swung to a loss last year and GE said its 2018 results would be at the low end of its forecasted range of between $1.00 and $1.07 a share.
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission is looking into GE’s accounting for contract assets, raising investor concern but GE has said it is not overly concerned about the investigation.
GE said in February that it expects to make the adjustments as it switches to the new accounting standards for contracts.
GE said it chose to restate 2016 and 2017 earnings, a more exacting standard under the new rules, because it will allow investors to compare 2018 results with the prior years. (Source: Reuters)
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17 Apr 18. Russian MoD adopts BMPT Terminator. The Russia Ministry of Defence (MoD) has adopted the BMPT Terminator fire support vehicle, a source from UralVagonZavod (UVZ), its manufacturer, has told Jane’s.
“The ‘tank support’ vehicle known as Terminator has entered service, and deliveries to the Russian military have already started. The first batch has been handed over to the military,” the source said, adding that some 10 vehicles had been delivered so far. “They will participate in the Victory Day parade on Red Square in Moscow on 9 May,” the source added. He said the BMPT Terminator made its international debut at the DefExpo 2018 exhibition in Chennai, India. “UVZ showed a mock-up of the vehicle to the Indian military.”
Unlike the BMPT-72, or Terminator-2, unveiled at the Russia Arms Expo 2013 show in Nizhny Tagil, the serial production BMPT is based on the chassis of the T-90 main battle tank (MBT). “Combining the Terminator`s chassis with that of the T-90A and T-90S MBTs substantially simplifies the use of the vehicle, reducing maintenance costs,” the source said. The Terminator`s armament suite comprises two 30 mm automatic guns, a medium machine gun, two automatic grenade launchers and four Ataka-T anti-tank guided missiles. “On the battlefield, the BMPT is equivalent to six infantry fighting vehicles and 40 soldiers. The vehicle can engage all types of targets, including small craft and low-flying helicopters,” he claimed.
The MoD acquired an unspecified number of BMPTs under a contract signed with UVZ at the Army 2017 defence show in August. “BMPT was tested under field conditions in Syria,” the source pointed out. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
17 Apr 18. Milrem and BAE Systems Sign Maintenance Support Contract for Estonian CV90s. Patria’s subsidiary Milrem LCM and BAE Systems have signed a contract to support Estonia’s fleet of CV9035 Infantry Fighting Vehicles (IFVs). Milrem LCM, an Estonian provider of defense vehicle lifecycle management, will provide maintenance and repair services for CV9035 vehicles from its facilities in Estonia. The first batch of IFVs arrived in Estonia in October 2016, followed by a second shipment in December 2017. The agreement is part of BAE Systems’ wider contract with the Estonian government to maintain and sustain 44 CV9035 vehicles acquired from the Netherlands in 2014. This co-operation will provide long-term benefits to the Estonian Defense Forces by sustaining and developing these vehicles for years to come.
“We are proud to work with BAE Systems’ as its preferred maintenance support partner in Estonia. Milrem LCM is committed to providing the most reliable framework for the Estonian Defense Forces as the country seeks to increase the combat capability of its land forces, now and in the future,” says Kuldar Väärsi, CEO of Milrem LCM.
BAE Systems is also teaming with Milrem LCM in the pursuit of the CV90 Support Vehicles re-build program. The requirements, expected from the Estonian Center for Defense Investment later this year, are predicted to cover the maintenance, repair and rebuild of an additional 37 CV90 MkI vehicles procured from Norway. Once outfitted, the support vehicles will form part of the same mechanized battalion as the CV9035. Estonia is one of seven user nations operating CV90 IFV. There are more than 1,280 vehicles in 15 variants in service with Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland and The Netherlands.
Milrem LCM, owned by Patria (60%) and Mootor Grupp (40%), is a reliable and trustworthy partner for the Estonian Defence Forces. Patria’s experience and know-how support Milrem to grow further and extend the coverage of Milrem’s services to provide comprehensive and professional life cycle support for full range of defence equipment.
17 Apr 18. Taiwan’s MPC unveils new Cloud Leopard variant. Taiwan’s state-owned Materiel Production Center (MPC) and the National Chung-Shan Institute of Science and Technology (NCSIST) has unveiled at the Defence Services Asia 2018 (DSA 2018) exhibition in Kuala Lumpur a model of a new variant of its indigenously developed Cloud Leopard (Yunpao) armoured vehicle fitted with an integrated mortar system. Called the Cloud Leopard Mortar Carrier, the 24-tonne vehicle, which is based on the Cloud Leopard Type 2, is equipped with MPC’s recently developed Advanced 81/120mm Mobile Mortar Weapon System, a model of which was also displayed at DSA 2018. The weapon is located at the rear section of the vehicle, with a horizontal sliding hatch opening to enable the mortar system to be deployed and fired. The vehicle’s suspension system has been modified to hydro-pneumatic and its steering upgraded to six-wheel (8 × 6) steering from the previously four (8 × 4) to reduce the steering radius to 9m.
Moreover, the new Cloud Leopard variant, which is equipped with a remote-controlled weapon station (RCWS) that is reloaded from inside the vehicle, has 16 daylight and thermal-imaging cameras mounted around its hull, providing driver and commander with omnidirectional monitoring capabilities. The mortar system mounted inside the vehicle is “equipped with an electro-servo control system and advanced firing-control modules and fitted with a mechanism that reduces the recoil by up to 70%”, a company official told Jane’s. The system, which weighs less than 1,000kg, can fire all types of 81mm or 120mm mortar rounds and be dismounted to operate independently of the vehicle. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
17 Apr 18. The Rheinmetall Lynx – a powerful and versatile cat of prey, springing into action in the contest to be the Czech Army’s new IFV. The Czech armed forces are currently pressing ahead with a far-reaching modernization programme. Among other things, its fleet of BMP-2 infantry fighting vehicles, which dates from the 1980s, is to be replaced with a family of modern systems. Procurement of over 200 new medium-weight fighting vehicles is on the table. Most of these are to be equipped with a high-performance medium-calibre turret. Rheinmetall – a proven, longstanding partner of Czech industry – has put forward its new Lynx for this project, a medium-weight, modular platform armed with the Lance turret system.
The Lynx – agile, versatile, lethal, highly protected
Right from the outset, the Lynx was designed for maximum modularity. Characterized by superb survivability, off-road mobility and overall combat effectiveness, it is based on tried-and-tested technologies. Heavily armed, highly protected and extremely agile, this tracked armoured vehicle is built to assure successful outcomes on the battlefield. It lends itself to military operations ranging from peace enforcement missions to high-intensity combat.
During comparative trials in Vyskov last summer, Rheinmetall entered the lists with a Lynx equipped with the Lance turret. The Lance turret’s main armament is a stabilized, airburst-capable automatic cannon, available in 33mm and 35mm versions. This lets the Lynx engage targets at ranges of up to 3,000 metres with precision, effectiveness and efficiency, even when on the move. The vehicle can also be armed with various antitank guided missiles such as the EuroSPIKE, which the Czech and German armed forces both have in their inventories. Other effector options include remotely controlled weapon stations as well as a package of advanced electronic countermeasures.
The Lynx infantry fighting vehicle is available in two versions: the KF31 and KF41 (KF stands for Kettenfahrzeug, the German word for ‘tracked vehicle’). First unveiled in 2016, the Lynx KF31 weighs up to 38 tonnes, and can comfortably carry a three-man crew and six-man section of fully equipped infantrymen in complete safety. Weighing in at over 40 tonnes, the Lynx KF41 is roomy enough to seat two extra troops. Both vehicles – the Lynx KF31 and Lynx KF41 – can be quickly and easily configured for other missions, including command and control, reconnaissance, repair and recovery or medevac operations – and the list goes on.
“By Czechs, for Czechs” – a concept tailored to meet customer requirements
But it’s not just the platform that is so compelling. Rheinmetall wants to include the Czech defence industry in the project in a major way. The planned deadlines for commissioning are to be worked out in close cooperation, with development and production to take place in both the Czech Republic and Germany.
Local development and production as well as the establishment of a robust supply chain will bolster Czech national sovereignty and the Lynx’s Czech DNA, assuring the long-term viability of the country’s defence sector as a key member of the NATO alliance. Moreover, the project will result in the creation of highly qualified jobs in the Czech Republic and added value for Czech companies, while simultaneously increasing the operational effectiveness of the Czech Army. Furthermore, Rheinmetall is eager to include as many Czech firms as possible in its global supply chain.
Today Rheinmetall is already an important partner of Czech industry. The Group’s Automotive unit produces car parts in Ústí nad Labem. In the defence domain, RayService supplies Rheinmetall with wiring harnesses for combat vehicles. And in cooperation with Ceská zbrojovka a.s., Rheinmetall is a major supplier of ammunition to the Czech armed forces. Other cooperation partners include Quittner & Schimek s.r.o, VOP CZ, sp and Rohde & Schwarz. The project to modernize the Czech Republic’s fleet of IFV would lead to a further intensification and expansion of cooperation.
16 Apr 18. Dutch Army receives first upgraded Leopard 2s.
The Dutch Army received its first three Leopard 2A6MA2 main battle tanks (MBTs) from Krauss-Maffei Wegmann on 11 January, the Dutch Ministry of Defence (MoD) has announced. A total of 18 of the upgraded Leopard 2s will be delivered by 2019, equipping the Dutch tank company of the German Army’s Panzerbataillon (Tank Battalion) 414. The German and Dutch armies began forming Panzerbataillon 414 in 2015. The battalion comes under the command of the Dutch Army’s 43 Mechanised Brigade, which is in turn part of the German 1st Panzer Division. The parent German division will lead the NATO Response Force (NRF) starting in 2019, which will therefore include Dutch Leopard 2A6MA2s. The Leopard 2A6MA2 is equipped with a Dutch battle management system (BMS), including blue force tracking, according to the Dutch MoD. Panzerbataillon 414’s German Leopard 2s will also be upgraded to the 2A6MA2 standard and equipped with the Dutch BMS so they can operate with 43 Mechanised Brigade, a ministry spokesman told Jane’s. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
16 Apr 18. Belarus showcases Cayman MATV. The 140 Repair Plant Joint Stock Company (JSC) of Belarus has completed the first example of the Cayman, which the company describes as a mobile armoured transport vehicle (MATV). From its appearance this is based on a modified Russian 4×4 BRDM-2 amphibious scout car, or uses components from this vehicle which were developed more than 50 years ago but are still deployed by many countries. The only means of entry and exit on the original BRDM-2 vehicle is via the roof hatches above the commander and driver positions towards the front of the hull. However, company engineers have removed the twin belly wheels positioned between the front and rear wheels of the BRDM-2 as well as its one-person turret armed with 14.5mm KPVT and 7.62mm PKT machine gun, which has a large turret basket that penetrates the crew compartment. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
13 Apr 18. Russia Rolling Ahead with Unmanned Ground Combat Vehicles. Russia is moving forward with efforts to develop semi-autonomous unmanned ground vehicles that could be used in combat against U.S. and NATO forces, according to one expert. The country has already openly displayed its interest in autonomous technology, as evidenced by its use of de-mining robots in Syria. The systems were widely reported to have successfully helped Russian soldiers clear out improvised explosive devices and unexploded ordnance from recaptured areas.
“Syria was a major laboratory … for the Russian military technologies,” said Sam Bendett, a research analyst in the Russian studies program at the Center for Naval Analyses. “Clearly Syria was a big success and Russians are keen to build on that,” he said April 11 at the National Defense Industrial Association’s Ground Robotics Capabilities Conference and Exhibition in Springfield, Virginia.
In the development of larger unmanned systems, Moscow is “slightly ahead” of the United States, he noted.
“If you compare … you will not see large systems on the American side. You won’t see large, tank-sized devices. You’ll see mostly midsize to small UGVs, which operate extensively and successfully,” he said. “Russians are thinking extensively about how they are going to fight their war.”
Bendett said the United States’ high-tech weapons currently provide NATO with an advantage over its former Cold War adversary.
“Anything that can move that fight away from Russian borders as possible to the territory of the potential enemy is a go, essentially, in the minds of the” Russian Ministry of Defense, he said.
Many of their unmanned systems projects are is still in the experimental stage, he noted. “We can see what they are experimenting with and we are trying to discern from what they’re actually showing out there what their [concept of operations] might be.”
According to Bendett’s presentation, Moscow’s UGV development efforts include: the Udar/Vihr combat vehicle, which has its own small unmanned aerial system; the Uran-9 combat vehicle; the Soratnik combat vehicle; the Prohod-1 de-mining system; the Argo amphibious vehicle; and the Nerehta development, test and evaluation platform for artificial intelligence technologies.
But with the exception of the Uran-9, which has a 30 mm cannon and is the largest UGV of its kind, “almost everything else almost essentially just carries a machine gun,” Bendett said. “How effective is that going to be in combat?” he asked.
Additionally, Russia is still finding ways to overcome vulnerabilities that are common to robots developed by other countries, he said.
“Right now, every single UGV out there … is very vulnerable to small fire, to grenades, to [rocket-propelled grenades], to large caliber machine guns,” Bendett said. “If it falls in a ditch, it sometimes cannot get out,” he noted.
“Within the Russian MoD, the debate is, ‘are these going to be expendable devices, fire and forget? Or are we going to develop some kind of a a retrieval mechanism so that we can retrieve more expensive, larger, heavily armed and more capable UGVs?” he added. (Source: glstrade.com/NDIA)
12 Apr 18. Will Milley Replace The Abrams Tank? Futures Command Advances. The Army will choose the four-star chief of its new Futures Command in “two or three weeks,” Secretary Mark Espertold reporters this morning after a Senate hearing. A location for the (fairly small) headquarters will follow, with the service honing its list of 30 cities to 10-12 this coming week but not announcing the final site until “late June,” Esper said.
But Army Futures Command is just a means to an end: modernizing the Army for high-intensity war against Russiaor China. That includes replacing the iconic but aging M1 Abrams main battle tank, as well as other war machines, with an all-new Next Generation Combat Vehicle optimized for urban warfare, Army Chief of Staff Mark Milley told the Senate Armed Services Committee.
In fact, Milley seemed to get out in front of Secretary Esper, who spoke only about replacing the M2 Bradley infantry fighting vehicle, a tanklike troop carrier. Normally in lockstep, the two men described very different objectives for NGCV. It’s possible they’re just talking about different phases of a single overarching strategy.
UPDATE That’s exactly what they were doing, an Army official told me after this story originally posted: The Next Generation Combat Vehicle initiative will replace the Bradley first, as the most urgent matter, but NGCV will go on to replace other vehicles, including the tank. “There’s no gap in between where the Secretary and the Chief are on this thing,” the official said. “It’s just a matter of different phases.”
But at the very least, the difference in emphasis was striking. Certainly Milley sounded more ambitious and long-term — even a little like the notorious FCS program — while Esper was more modest and short-term.
A Family Of Vehicles?
In the hearing, Milley called for an NGCV “family of vehicles” that would “eventually” replace everything from main battle tanks to armored ambulances. But when I pressed Esper on this after the hearing, he only reiterated his past statements that the near-term priority was to replace the Bradley.
“The Bradley, the Abrams, and the Stryker (wheeled infantry carrier) were designed and came online many years ago,” Milley told the committee. “Now they’ve had various upgrades and improvements over the years, but they are predominantly technology and ideas that come out of the sixties and seventies….The Abrams, Bradley, and the Strykers, realistically, their lifespan is probably 10, maybe 15 years.”
“So the Next Generation Combat Vehicle…will eventually replace the entire family of vehicles that we have,” Milley said. “There’ll be multiple variants. There’ll be a tank-like variant, there’ll be an infantry carrier-type variant, there’ll be logistics and medical variants. It’s a family of vehicles, it’s not a single vehicle, but they’ll be based off of a common chassis and common engines and powerpacks.”
“It must be optimized for urban operations, which our current families of armored vehicles are not,” Milley added. “It must be optimized so that it can be both manned and either autonomous or semi-autonomous, robotic, depending on what the commander chooses to do in the situation in the battlefield. Those are significant, radical changes.” (Note that the optionally manned NGCV is separate from but complementary with the proposed Robotic Combat Vehicle, which will never have a human aboard).
Esper, by contrast, was much less expansive. He didn’t discuss NGCV at all in the hearing and responded only briefly when I asked afterwards. “The focus is on Bradley right now because that is the vehicle that is reaching the end of its life soonest,” he told me and other reporters. “The focus right now is on… Bradley replacement.”
What To Build
What does the Army need to replace most urgently? The M1 Abrams and M2 Bradley entered service at almost the same time circa 1980 and both have been extensively upgraded since. But the Bradley’s running out of horsepower and electrical power to handle further add-ons, with at least some crews in Iraq carefully switching some systems off before turning others on so as not to overload the alternator. The Bradley is also less well-armed and armored than the Abrams — it’s basically a transport, not a tank — and can only carry four to six infantry (depending on their equipment), not a full squad. So replacing the Bradley has been the Army’s priority for some time, for example in the cancelled Ground Combat Vehicle program.
Could a future family of vehicles start with a Bradley replacement in the near term, which Esper says is the priority, and then modify the basic design to produce a tank, a mobile howitzer, an armored ambulance, and so on, as Milley envisions?
It isn’t an engineering impossibility. Russia’s new T-14 main battle tank and T-15 infantry fighting vehicle are built on the same Armata chassis, with further variants planned, while Israel’s Namer IFV is built on the chassis of the Merkava MBT.
But the last time the US tried to build such a common family of vehicles was the Future Combat Systems, cancelled in 2009. NGCV wouldn’t have to repeat the self-inflicted injuries of FCS, which initially limited its designs to under 20 tons to make them easier to airlift, forcing painful compromises, and coupled them to a complex wireless network and multiple robots in a megaprogram that became impossible to manage. But FCS has become such a byword for disaster that anything resembling it gets Congress and the D.C. cognoscenti nervous.
Even if you could build a battle tank and a troop carrier off the same basic chassis, would it be a good idea? The two missions are historically very different.
A tank is built around the biggest gun available, firing the largest shell as fast and far as possible to destroy the toughest targets, with enough armor to take a hit from comparable weapons. (At least on the front, where traditional tank armor is thickest; an urban warfare vehicle would need to defeat attacks from all sides, above, and below).
An infantry fighting vehicle, by contrast, is meant to carry foot troops into the thick of battle and provide supporting fire: The lion’s share of its internal volume goes to passengers, not weapons. Historically IFVs are also usually cheaper and more lightly armored, but there are rare heavy IFV designs like the Israeli Namer and cancelled US Army GCV that are as heavy and well protected as any tank.
Building an MBT and an IFV off the same chassis implies the same engine and suspension, which implies the same maximum weight, which implies the same amount of armor. So if you want a normal tank and use th same chassis for an infantry fighting vehicle, you end up with a heavy IFV. If you want a normal IFV, your tank ends up pretty light.
Tanks But No Tanks?
There’s also the recurring argument that you don’t need main battle tanks anymore. Since 1973, many experts have argued they’re obsolete because lighter vehicles, like IFVs, and even infantry can kill them with anti-tank missiles. But Israel and Russia have both developed Active Protection Systems (APS) that can shoot down incoming missiles and RPGs, which are relatively slow and fragile. By contrast, today’s APS cannot stop high-velocity solid shot from tank cannon, which means the big-gun main battle tank may be more important than ever.
The other problem with heavy tanks, however, is harder to get around: It’s getting them around. Western MBTs like the Abrams, Merkava, and German Leopard weigh 60 to 70 tons — even the Russia Armata exceeds 50 tons — which makes them too heavy for almost any aircraft, many bridges, and some roads. More important in the long run, moving all that weight burns a lot of fuel and wears out parts, requiring a huge supply chain to keep the tanks moving.
But supply lines will be prime targets for precision weapons in future war. The Army’s Multi-Domain Battle concept calls for units to spread out and keep moving to avoid attack, operating “semi-independently” without regular resupply. If main battle tanks are to function in this kind of fight, they’ll have to be very different designsfrom today’s Abrams, which burns three gallons of gas every mile.
“Someone needs to raise the specter of the MBT becoming obsolete or a liability in the future, if only to make the Army take it seriously and really think it through,” one former Hill staffer told me. “I’m skeptical of the operational viability in a sustained fight. I don’t think anyone has really looked at the logistics of it. (Source: glstrade.com/Breaking Defense.com)
12 Apr 18. Autonomous resupply effort concludes phase one. The Defence Science Technology Laboratory (Dstl) has concluded phase one of its Autonomous Last Mile Resupply programme, QinetiQ announced on 9 April.
The programme challenged industry and academia to design technologies to deliver vital supplies to soldiers on the front line.
The Dstl selected QinetiQ’s Titan UGV to participate in the programme. The vehicle, produced in collaboration with Milrem, demonstrated its capability at QinetiQ’s Hurn proving ground in February 2018.
During the exercise, Titan was remotely tasked from a QinetiQ ground control station to autonomously navigate a route over mixed terrain, demonstrating its ability to deliver supplies to deployed soldiers. Aberystwyth University’s camera-based navigation system was also demonstrated on the UGV.
In a separate exercise for the programme, QinetiQ partnered with Malloy Aeronautics to demonstrate its Hoverbike UAS for delivery of frontline supplies by air. Using the same ground control station deployed in the Titan exercise, the Hoverbike was tasked via a wireless link to deliver a 13kg payload by automatically navigating waypoints, avoiding predetermined no-fly zones and adapting its route mid-flight.
Dstl will announce the winning proposals for phase two of the Autonomous Last Mile Resupply programme in May 2018. (Source: Shephard)
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19 Apr 18. Pentagon developing artificial intelligence center. The Pentagon is working on a plan to stand up an artificial intelligence center in order to streamline the department’s myriad AI programs.
The idea, which comes as defense officials are increasingly concerned about China’s investments in AI capabilities, has now been embraced by both Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis and Michael Griffin, the undersecretary of defense for research and engineering.
Speaking at the House Armed Services Committee April 12, Mattis said “we’re looking at a joint office where we would concentrate all of DoD’s efforts, since we have a number of AI efforts underway right now. We’re looking at pulling them all together.”
In hearings Tuesday and Wednesday, Griffin elaborated on the state of that AI center, saying it is very much in the early stages.
“I’m working right now with folks on my staff to answer questions like ‘who should lead it, where should it be, what projects should it do, and most importantly how does such a center fit into the overall AI strategy for the department and the nation?’” Griffin said on April 18.
He added that the department counts 592 projects as having some form of AI in them, but noted that not all of those make sense to tie into an AI center. And Griffin wants to make sure smaller projects that are close to completion get done and out into prototyping, rather than tied up in the broader AI project.
On Tuesday, Eric Schmidt, the former Google executive who chairs the Defense Innovation Board, said he hoped the AI center would be stood up in conjunction with one or more universities, in order to maximize the number of cutting-edge voices involved.
The biggest benefit from creating an AI center may come from creating a clearing house of information which can be input into training an artificial intelligence, something Schmidt, who has previously been critical of how DoD handles data, said is vital.
“The DoD, broadly speaking, has a great deal of data, which is not stored anywhere. It’s stored in places which the programmers are no longer alive, [that] kind of thing,” Schmidt said. “And getting all that data in a place that’s usable and discoverable and useful for the mission at hand is crucial.”
Artificial intelligence is one of the key technologies, along with hypersonics and directed energy, identified by Griffin as a major focus for his time as the R&E head for the department. Part of that drive comes from the reality that Russia and, in particular, China have made whole-of-government efforts to invest in and develop AI capabilities.
Schmidt himself has warned that by 2025, China will have surpassed the U.S. in AI capabilities, and has called for a “Sputnik moment” around AI. Those comments have been echoed by former deputy secretary of defense Bob Work. Members of the defense committees appear open to the Pentagon’s goal of getting an edge on AI, with Rep. Elise Stefanik, chair of the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Emerging Threats and Capabilities, having already introduced a bill to develop a new all-of-government commission to AI. (Source: Defense News)
18 Apr 18. DoD Must Be More Agile in Technology Development, Official Says. The Defense Department must embrace a more agile approach to technology development to keep pace with rapidly evolving adversaries, the undersecretary of defense for research and engineering told lawmakers yesterday.
Michael D. Griffin appeared before the House Armed Services Committee for a hearing on promoting DoD’s culture of innovation. He spoke alongside the chairman of the Defense Innovation Board, Eric Schmidt, who is the former chairman and chief executive officer of Google and its parent company, Alphabet Inc.
Adversaries Present New Challenges
“Our adversaries are presenting us today with a renewed challenge of a sophisticated, evolving threat,” Griffin said. “We are in turn preparing to meet that challenge and to restore the technical overmatch of the United States armed forces that we have traditionally held.”
Griffin noted dramatic capability advances throughout the world in the air, land, sea, space and cyber domains.
“These advances, coupled with our adversaries’ commitment to a demonstrated pace of prototyping and experimentation and fielding, that, at present, far outstrips our own pace, present a formidable challenge to U.S. forces operating around the globe,” he said.
DoD Continues to ‘Push the Envelope’
Griffin highlighted the work of the DoD research and engineering enterprise, noting the labs, engineering and warfare centers and partnerships with research centers, academia and industry.
The Defense Department, he said, is addressing critical technology and capability gaps through a combination of adaptation of existing systems and the development and introduction of innovative technologies.
“The department continues to push the envelope with research into new technologies such as autonomous and unmanned systems, artificial intelligence, machine learning, biotechnology, space technology, microelectronics and cyber, both offense and defense,” he said.
In addition to technological innovation, the department is pursuing new practices and organizational structures to support a culture of innovation, he said.
Finding a Better Way to Do Business
The DIB is a federal advisory committee comprising experts in academia, technology and business. It examines the way the department does business and provides recommendations to improve processes and incorporate commercial best practices.
Schmidt described some of his meetings with members of the military as he studied innovation for the board.
He said he saw units upgrading to long-outdated computer programs, computer systems that didn’t work with each other and a product development process in which systems are outdated by the time they are delivered.
“My summary conclusion is that we have fantastic people who are trapped in a very bad system,” he said.
The DIB, which holds its next public board meeting April 26, has made a dozen recommendations to the Defense Department, to include rewarding “bureaucracy busting” activities and lowering barriers to innovation.
(Follow Lisa Ferdinando on Twitter: @FerdinandoDoD)
19 Apr 18. USMC Use 3-D Printer to Make Replacement Part for F-35 Fighter
Marines with Combat Logistic Battalion 31, 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit, are now capable of “‘‘additive manufacturing,’“ also known as 3-D printing. This innovative process uses 3-D printing software to break down a digital model into layers that can be reproduced by the printer. The printer then builds the model from the ground up, layer by layer, creating a tangible object.
Marine Corps Sgt. Adrian Willis, a computer and telephone technician, said he was thrilled to be selected by his command to work with a 3-D printer.
3-D Printing is the Future
“I think 3-D printing is definitely the future — it’s absolutely the direction the Marine Corps needs to be going,” Willis said.
The Marine Corps is all about mission accomplishment and self-reliance. In boot camp, Marine recruits are taught to have a “‘figure-it-out’” mindset, and 3-D printing is the next step for a Corps that prides itself on its self-sufficiency.
“Finding innovative solutions to complex problems really does harken back to our core principles as Marines,” Willis said. “I’m proud to be a part of a new program that could be a game-changer for the Marine Corps.”
The Marines deployed here use their 3-D printer as an alternative, temporary source for parts. As a permanently forward-deployed unit, it’s crucial for the 31st MEU to have access to the replacement parts it needs for sustained operations. The 31st MEU’s mission — to deploy at a moment’s notice when the nation calls — is not conducive to waiting for replacement parts shipped from halfway around the world. So 3-D printing capabilities dovetail with the MEU’s expeditionary mandate.
‘Fix it Forward’
“While afloat, our motto is, ‘‘Fix it forward,’” said Marine Corps Chief Warrant Officer 2 Daniel Rodriguez, CLB-31’s maintenance officer. “3-D printing is a great tool to make that happen. CLB-31 can now bring that capability to bear exactly where it’s needed most — on a forward-deployed MEU.”
Proving this concept April 16, Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 121 successfully flew an F-35B Lightning II aircraft with a part that was supplied by CLB-31’s 3-D printer. The F-35B had a plastic bumper on a landing gear door wear out during a recent training mission. Though a small and simple part, the only conventional means of replacing the bumper was to order the entire door assembly — a process that’s time-consuming and expensive.
Using a newly released process from Naval Air Systems Command for 3-D printed parts, the squadron was able to have the bumper printed, approved for use and installed within a matter of days — much faster than waiting for a replacement part to arrive from the United States.
‘My Most Important Commodity is Time’
“As a commander, my most important commodity is time,” said Marine Corps Lt. Col Richard Rusnok, the squadron’s commanding officer. “Although our supply personnel and logisticians do an outstanding job getting us parts, being able to rapidly make our own parts is a huge advantage.”
VMFA-121 also made history in March as the first F-35B squadron to deploy in support of a MEU.
Making further use of the MEU’s 3-D printing capability, the MEU’s explosive ordnance disposal team requested a modification part that acts as a lens cap for a camera on an iRobot 310 small unmanned ground vehicle — a part that did not exist at the time. CLB-31’s 3-D printing team designed and produced the part, which is now operational and is protecting the drone’s fragile lenses.
The templates for both the plastic bumper and lens cover will be uploaded to a Marine Corps-wide 3-D printing database to make them accessible to any unit with the same needs.
The 31st MEU continues to brainstorm new opportunities for its 3-D printer, such as aviation parts and mechanical devices that can be used to fix everyday problems. Though only in the beginning stages of development, officials said, the 31st MEU will continue to push the envelope of what 3-D printing can do in the continued effort to make the MEU a more lethal and self-sufficient unit. (Source: US DoD)
19 Apr 18. Azart showcases Ratnik combat radio. Russian communications firm Azart showcased its new R-187-P1E handheld combat radio at the Defence Services Asia (DSA) 2018 exhibition in Kuala Lumpur.
The R-187-P1E is a multimode voice and data dual band V/UHF radio operating in the 27-520 MHz frequency band with a frequency hopping speed of a claimed 20,000 hops per second.
An Azart representative told Jane’s that the R-187-P1E was first developed in 2014 for the Russian Army, and has been selected as part of the Ratnik soldier system. Fielding commenced in 2017.
The radio has a claimed range of at least 4 km. In fixed-frequency mode it has a data transfer rate of 256 kbps and in frequency hopping mode a data rate of 28.8 kbps. It is also equipped with an embedded global positioning system (GPS) and Global Navigation Satellite System (GLONASS).
The radio measures 192x65x37 mm and weighs less than 0.5 kg. It does not feature encryption but the representative said that its hopping speed provided sufficient security at the tactical level.
Two lithium-ion battery types (6 Ah and 12 Ah) are available, with a minimum life of more than 12 hours.
Development of a software-defined vehicular radio, the R-187VE, is nearly complete and it is expected to be launched later in 2018.
(Source: IHS Jane’s)
17 Apr 18. IAI Wins Several New Contracts With Tac4G Communication System. Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) recently won several new contracts for Tac4G, a tactical communication system. Concurrently, IAI has announced several new capabilities have been added, including Tac4G’s integration in tactical UAVs and additional platforms. The unique communication system has been developed by ELTA, IAI’s Intelligence and reconnaissance Division. Tac4G’s first global exposure was made during Mobile Deployment Communications 2018 Show and Conference in Warsaw, Poland, winning strong interest on behalf of NATO’s communication commanders who attended the event. Tac4G is an LTE (Long term Evolution), broadband tactical communication systems designated for armies, law enforcement, border control and para-military applications. It provides robust and secured communication independently of local operators. In addition, it is capable of transmitting high-volume video broadcasts to and from tactical forces in order to provide them with the necessary intelligence and achieve high situational awareness. Tac4G connects end-users, sensors and weapon systems in a unified manner onto an independent, versatile network. In response to newly identified need among end users, ELTA has recently developed a new capabilities which allows the connection of tactical UAVs to the communication network and its embedding in UAVs, drones and other platforms. The integration became possible through reduced weight and power consumption.
Major General (ret.) Gadi Shamni, Executive Vice President of Land Systems, said, “Military communication needs are experiencing significant growth with projections indicating even stronger growth in the coming years. Communication systems need to respond to the evolving needs, Tac4G provides an ultimate solution for forces on the field that suffer from bottlenecks in secured transmission of data and high quality video. Tac4G addresses these issues with a versatile, conceptual change for the current and future battlefield. It is differentiated from other systems in offering scalability for growing data volumes.” (Source: ASD Network)
17 Apr 18. TT Electronics, a global provider of engineered electronics for performance critical applications, has announced the introduction of its New Space Electronics® range. Higher volume satellite constellations in low Earth orbit are driving a requirement for increasingly cost effective components. TT Electronics’ New Space Electronics offers a solution that delivers reduced screening but is fully traceable, with proven space grade heritage. Low Earth orbit satellites are increasingly popular for enabling improved and more localised Earth observation, surveillance and communication. Whilst deep space exploration demands component survivability for 20 years or more in the harshest of environments, the higher volume satellite constellations in low Earth orbit are driving a requirement for cost effective components destined for operational use over just three to four years in more benign conditions. As part of mission licensing, the space agencies that sanction the launches need to know the components will work after this time to ensure appropriate deorbiting and decommissioning of the satellites, and that no space debris is left in the atmosphere. This is where TT Electronics’ New Space Electronics comes in as a solution that delivers cost effective screening using fully traceable and space proven die. TT Electronics’ New Space Electronics range offers recognisable discrete components alongside standard multi-chip array configurations.
16 Apr 18. US Army Researchers Conduct First-ever Combustion Experiment with X-Rays. The U.S. Army Research Laboratory’s Center for Unmanned Aircraft Systems Propulsion made an historic first with its experiment in a gas turbine combustor using X-rays. The data will help advance gas turbine engine designs for higher power density and efficiency, scientists said.
“This is the strongest X-ray source in the world,” said Dr. Tonghun Lee, an associate professor in the Department of Mechanical Science and Engineering University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, which recently joined forces with ARL.
Lee and his graduate students, along with partners from the ARL Center for UAS Propulsion, set up shop in the U.S. Department of Energy’s Advanced Photon Source at Argonne National Laboratory in Illinois, resulting in a unique experiment, which continued through April 11
“We’re here to do spray imaging inside a gas turbine combustor as relevant to the Army,” Lee said.
Lee said their experiment mimicked what happens inside a typical Army helicopter gas turbine engine.
Inside a gas turbine engine, a combustor is fed high pressure air that is heated by constant pressure. After heating, the air passes from the combustor through the nozzle guide vanes to the turbine, producing thrust. Combustors play a crucial role in determining many of an engine’s operating characteristics, such as power density, fuel efficiency and levels of emissions
“We had a combustion going on, which is done for the first time ever at APS and we are imaging the spray breakup at the very tip of the injector using an X-Ray source,” he said. “Typically that region where the liquid breaks up is very dense and it’s difficult to image anything inside there.”
By using the world’s most powerful X-Ray source, the team was able to penetrate and understand how the ligaments, or strands of burning fuel, breaks up into small droplets.
“We are trying to understand exactly what occurs inside the gas turbine combustor to understand how it responds to different operating conditions,” Lee said.
The data gathered during this experiment will become the initial conditions for numerical simulations that will further understanding of gas turbine combustors.
“We’re trying to get an understanding of the physics, which to this day we have been speculating, we can really visualize using this X-Ray source,” he said. “We want to understand what we’re doing right now, understanding the fuel impact. When Soldiers are off in a different location and they have different types of fuels, how will it impact the combustor they have?”
The professor said in the slightly longer term, he hopes the data from the experiment will allow researchers to design more optimized combustor systems for the future.
“The Advance Photon Source has spent a lot of effort over the last decade or so looking at spray-droplet breakup. And never has it been done in a live combusting environment,” Lee said. “So we made the hardware to make it happen and this is actually this first time it’s ever been done live with a combusting flow in a combustor.”
Lee, while remaining a faculty member at UIUC, recently accepted an additional position as a researcher on the laboratory’s regional office in Illinois, ARL Central. The Army established ARL Central in November 2017, as an extension of its Maryland-based headquarters with the goal of leveraging regional science and technology talent.
“It was great to see a team of ARL, UIUC and Argonne researchers working together with the unique capability at the Advanced Photon Source to gain unprecedented insight into the fuel injection and combustion process,” said ARL Central Regional Lead Dr. Mark Tschopp. “It was so exciting to see this novel experiment firsthand because it symbolizes what ARL Central is all about — partnering to accelerate discovery and innovation for future Army applications.”
The experiment was the first accomplishment of the lab’s new Center for UAS Propulsion, which kicked off a massive partnership between academia and industry. ARL held a ribbon cutting for the center April 2.
“I am so pleased to perform this historic experiment right after the ribbon cutting ceremony for Center for UAS Propulsion,” said center founder Dr. Chol-Bum “Mike” Kweon, who also serves as the lab’s Propulsion Division chief. “I was thrilled watching the quality of the spray breakup processes in the gas turbine combustion in real time, which is extremely difficult to measure at this quality.”
Dr. Jaret Riddick, director of the lab’s Vehicle Technology Directorate watched the experiment in person April 4.
“Future Vertical Lift is one of the Army’s six Modernization priorities,” Riddick said. “Future tactical unmanned aerial vehicles will play a key role in manned-unmanned teaming for Future Vertical Lift.”
Breakthroughs in small engine technology for future unmanned aerial vehicles will enable longer duration, larger payloads and silent operation, he said.
“Research partnerships through the newly established Center for UAS Propulsion, such as the one we witnessed at Argonne National Lab, will make these breakthroughs possible in support of the Army modernization priority for Future Vertical Lift,” he said.
The U.S. Army Research Laboratory is part of the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command, which has the mission to ensure decisive overmatch for unified land operations to empower the Army, the joint warfighter and our nation. RDECOM is a major subordinate command of the U.S. Army Materiel Command. (Source: UAS VISION)
13 Apr 18. Pentagon, Intel Agencies Set Up New AI Joint Office
The Pentagon is moving out quickly to get in front of Chinese advances in artificial intelligence, and is rushing a plan up to Capitol Hill to work with the intel community more closely.
The Pentagon will submit a report to Congress this summer outlining plans for a new office to lead the military and intel agencies’ work developing and acquiring artificial intelligence tools, a high priority for the national security wing of the federal government alarmed at the huge leaps China is making in the field.
Michael Griffin, the Pentagon’s research and engineering chief, told a crowd at the Hudson Institute on Friday that his office is still hammering out the details, but the Joint Artificial Intelligence Center (JAIC) will tie together the military’s efforts with those of the Intelligence Community, allowing them to combine efforts in a breakneck push to move government’s AI initiatives forward.
Griffin said that plans are still very much a work in progress, but he wants to make clear it won’t be a traditional joint office. For one, speed is critical. Once things are in place, the staff will need to move quickly to break down walls across the military and 17 intel shops to ensure American advantages in machine-learning outpace those of the Chinese.
But that might be a tall order. Many in Silicon Valley are balking at working with the government on military weapons or surveillance systems that they say could be used to kill people or intrude on personal privacy. That’s a problem the Chinese simply don’t have, as research institutes and universities are compelled to work with the authoritarian government when asked.
That difference was thrown into high relief earlier this month, when thousands of Google employees signed a petition demanding their company stop work with the Pentagon on Project Maven, a program that would use Google’s AI software to collect and analyze drone footage.
The Pentagon counters that Maven isn’t a weapons system, and makes use of open-source technology to speed up how human analysts sort through information. A DoD 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.”
Chinese officials have boasted that they plan to be the world leader in artificial intelligence by 2030, an effort underscored by massive investments that cut across civilian and military applications. In 2017 alone, $12.5bn in startup funding flowed into artificial intelligence companies, with Chinese startups receiving 48 percent of that money.
But Griffin isn’t only concerned about the Chinese advantages in AI. He’s also worried about the decline in the amount of hardware being built in the United States.
As much as 80 percent of the microelectronics being used in the United States today are produced in Taiwan, he said, and while the small island is an American ally, it sits “uncomfortably close to a nation that has in many ways declared itself to be an adversary to the United States.” He’s concerned that Taiwan’s microelectronic manufacturing could be taken out by cyberattack, crippling both the Pentagon’ and commercial sector’s ability to upgrade and replace its existing systems.
“If another nation can bring about the collapse of our civilian economy, in what sense can the Department of Defense defend the nation?” he asked. “If we cannot rely upon our software, if we cannot fully trust the software and electronics, then in what sense can we say we defend the nation?”
In other Pentagon technology news, the Pentagon’s head of acquisition and sustainment, Ellen Lord, told reporters at the Pentagon Friday that Jeff Boeing will be the building’s new special assistant for software acquisition. He’s currently the chief technology officer at Carnegie Mellon University’s Software Engineering Institute. (Source: Breaking Defense.com)
13 Apr 18. Czech Gripen combat, comms upgraded. Saab’s MS20 capability upgrade has been completed on the Czech Air Force’s Gripen fleet, the company announced on 11 April. The capability upgrade involved both hardware and software upgrades, improving Gripen’s ability to engage ground targets by incorporating unguided and laser-guided bombs into the aircraft payload, and the air-to-air capability is enhanced by the introduction of new radar modes.
The Gripens will also undergo integration of the Litening III electro-optical targeting pod. The pod will be used for guiding missiles and bombs as well as for aerial reconnaissance and combat. The upgrade also implements the Alliance Link 16 data link as well as cryptomodules for covert communication.
Jonas Hjelm, head of Saab business area aeronautics, said: ‘We are very pleased with the success of this capability upgrade. We are honoured to have a long-term partner in the Czech Air Force. It is largely due to this long-term mutual cooperation between Swedish FMV, the Czech Air Force and Saab that the upgrade went smoothly and according to plan.
‘We wish the pilots and the whole air force continued success in meeting their objectives both within their airspace protection operations and their joint NATO operations.’ (Source: Shephard)
Oxley Group Ltd
Oxley specialises in the design and manufacture of advanced electronic and electro-optic components and systems for air, land and sea applications within the military sector. Established in 1942, Oxley has manufacturing facilities in the UK and USA and enjoys representation worldwide. The company’s products include night vision and LED lighting, data capture systems and electronic components. Oxley has pioneered the development of night vision compatible lighting. It offers a total package incorporating optical filters, equipment modification, cockpit and external lighting along with fleet wide upgrade services including engineering, installation, support, maintenance and training. The company’s long experience of manufacturing night vision lighting and LED indicators, coupled with advances in LED technology, has enabled it to develop LED solutions to replace incandescent and fluorescent lighting in existing applications as well as becoming the lighting option of choice in new applications such as portable military hospitals, UAV control stations and communication shelters.
SATELLITE SYSTEMS, SATCOM AND SPACE SYSTEMS UPDATE
Web Page sponsor Viasat
09 Apr 18. ViaSat-3 Satellite No Longer for Eutelsat’s Use. Viasat has confirmed the company will not be moving forward with Eutelsat Communications on a deal for use of the ViaSat-3 satellite — this is due to Eutelsat’s decision to pursue a local market alternative.
Viasat President and Chief Operating Officer Rick Baldridge released the following statement: “Viasat remains excited about its ViaSat-3 program for Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA), which is well underway and on track. The Company believes there is significant interest in the ViaSat-3 program from prospective regional partners, as ViaSat-3 is expected to be the highest capacity communications satellite system in the world when it launches. The ViaSat-3 satellite for EMEA is expected to serve more than 1 Terabit per second (Tbps) of total network capacity to meet the growing broadband needs of residential, commercial aviation, maritime, enterprise and government sectors. The current Viasat / Eutelsat joint venture, which has been in operation for more than one year, will continue to be governed under the existing agreements. Viasat’s joint ownership of the KA-SAT satellite is currently serving Viasat’s commercial aviation and government customers as well as direct-to-home residential subscribers throughout Europe.”
As there was no binding agreement with Eutelsat for the ViaSat-3 EMEA satellite, Viasat’s capital plan is not dependent on Eutelsat’s participation to proceed with the ViaSat-3 program. Viasat also confirmed that Eutelsat’s ViaSat-3 decision has no direct impact on existing contracts. Viasat and Eutelsat closed a broadband joint venture in March of 2017 that gave Viasat joint ownership of the KA-SAT satellite. The joint venture also enabled Viasat to create a new consumer retail service in Europe, which is currently in early-stage operations and focuses on bringing enhanced broadband internet service plans to select European countries. (Source: Satnews)
18 Apr 18. Raytheon Company (NYSE: RTN) has built two small, Polar Scout satellites for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security in partnership with Millennium Engineering and Integration. The satellites have flexible radio frequency receivers to help search and rescue teams locate emergency beacons in remote areas, such as the Arctic.
Raytheon assembled the small satellites at the company’s advanced missile production facility in Tucson, Arizona. The smallsats are part of a project led by the U.S. Air Force Operationally Responsive Space program to show how they can be built efficiently and cost effectively.
“With our automated production lines, Raytheon can produce highly reliable, small satellites quickly and affordably,” said Dr. Thomas Bussing, Raytheon Advanced Missile Systems vice president. “Because our advanced manufacturing facilities are flexible, we can build small satellites or satellite components designed by Raytheon or another company.”
Small satellites are less expensive and can be produced more quickly than large geostationary satellites. Operating from lower orbits, the smallsats apertures and sensors can meet mission requirements normally accomplished by larger satellites.
“Because of its innovative technology and advanced production facilities, Raytheon has been the ideal partner for this program,” said George Moretti, Millennium Engineering and Integration executive director.
In addition to Millennium, Raytheon worked with Rincon Research and Space Dynamics Laboratories to develop and produce the Polar Scout satellites. The smallsats are scheduled to be launched into lower Earth orbit later this year.
19 Apr 18. Lockheed submits proposal for USAF’s GPS IIIF satellite programme. Lockheed Martin has submitted a competitive and fully compliant proposal for the US Air Force’s (USAF) GPS III Follow On (GPS IIIF) programme. With an aim to generate up to 22 next-generation satellites, the USAF programme will help provide improved capabilities to the most advanced global positioning system (GPS) satellites ever designed.
Offering three times better accuracy, GPS IIIs provide up to eight times improved anti-jamming capabilities and help extend the life of the spacecraft to 15 years, which is 25% longer than the newest GPS satellites on orbit today.
The satellites feature new L1C civil signal, which makes them the first ever GPS satellites to be interoperable with other international global navigation satellite systems such as Galileo.
The GPS IIIF programme will support a Regional Military Protection capability that will increase anti-jam support in theatre in order to ensure the US and allied forces are not denied to GPS access in hostile environments.
Each GPS IIIF satellite will also feature a fully digital navigation payload and include a laser retro-reflector array, which enables the positioning of on-orbit satellites to be refined with ground-based, laser precision. The US Government will also equip each Lockheed Martin satellite with a new search-and-rescue payload, which will help first responders detect and respond to emergency signals.
Lockheed Martin Navigation Systems Mission Area programme manager Johnathon Caldwell said: “When we developed our design for the first ten GPS III, we used a flexible, modular architecture that would allow for the insertion of modern technologies and new airforce requirements in a low-risk manner.
“In addition, our GPS IIIF solution is based off a design already proven compatible with both the airforce’s next-generation operational control system (OCX) and the existing GPS constellation.”
The first ten GPS III satellites of the airforce are currently in full production at Lockheed Martin’s GPS III Processing Facility, which is a $128m cleanroom factory designed in a virtual reality environment to enhance efficiency while reducing costs in satellite manufacturing.
In September, the USAF declared Lockheed Martin’s first GPS III satellite ‘Available for Launch’ (AFL). (Source: airforce-technology.com)
18 Apr 18. USAF sets ambitious goal to procure next missile warning satellites in five years. The Air Force is aiming to slash four years off the procurement of the next generation of missile warning satellites, reducing the time to develop and field the first satellite from nine years to five years, the service’s top civilian announced Tuesday.
During the fiscal year 2019 budget release, the Air Force announced its plans to cancel the 7th and 8th satellites in the Space Based Infrared System constellation, or SBIRS, which provides early-warning capability to the nation’s missile defense system. Instead, it will transition to a new program called Next Generation Overhead Persistent Infrared.
Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson wants the new satellites to be more survivable and fielded more quickly, and will announce in a speech Tuesday night at Space Symposium that her goal is to shave four years off the program.
“We aren’t going to spend years on an analysis of alternatives. We will drive toward simplicity and use known sensor technology,” she said, according to prepared remarks of her speech. “But the biggest barrier to speed isn’t in industry; it’s in the Pentagon.”
Putting the first satellite on orbit in five years is an aggressive goal, said Will Roper, the service’s top acquisition executive.
However, it’s unclear where the starting post actually is. Roper said the clock will start ticking down “once the program manager has the reins, and the reins means that they have a vendor that they’re working with.” But it’s unclear whether that means when a number of vendors begin prototyping concepts, or when the service makes its final downselect.
“We are going to begin with very focused prototyping, competitive prototyping as opposed to the long analysis,” Roper told reporters ahead of Wilson’s speech. “That shaves time off … increases competition, determines the people who can really build on the schedule, who are the ones that can’t and then you can pare down.”
As far as what the SBIRS follow-on will look like, it’s clear that much is still to be determined and will rely on the results of the prototyping effort and what companies can prove is in the realm of the possible.
Wilson said the service will lean on mature sensors and a common satellite bus to speed up the fielding of the new satellites. The Air Force will also set up a new, still unnamed office, which will report directly to Roper, which will “change the Pentagon rules on how we buy things so that speed is possible.”
Chief of Staff Gen. Dave Goldfein added that the new satellites must also be part of a defendable architecture. That, Wilson said, could mean giving those satellites defensive capabilities, making them more maneuverable or putting more fuel onboard.
Part of that survivability could also involve putting the missile warning satellites in a mix of different orbits.
“We’re not ready to say what we think the right mix is,” Roper said. “Part of moving to prototyping is acknowledging that you’ve got some experimentation and discovery to do. There are benefits to having things in LEO, there are benefits to having things in GEO, there are benefits to having things in highly elliptical orbits.” “We need things that work together to give us a resilient architecture.”
Gen. John Hyten, the head of U.S. Strategic Command, was one of the biggest critics of the original SBIRS follow-on plan. In December, he said it was “ridiculous” that it would take until 2029 to field a baseline capability. However, on Tuesday afternoon he told reporters he was “excited” about the Air Force’s new trajectory with Next Generation Overhead Persistent Infrared.
“I made a little bit of an overstatement to make a point — saying that I wouldn’t support the development of any more big, fat, juicy targets,” he said. “I need a flexible warfighting capability to meet the requirements I have.” (Source: Defense News)
17 Apr 18. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has awarded a patent covering unique features of the revolutionary low-earth-orbit (LEO) satellites that are being brought to market by AST&Science.
“This new U.S. patent is an important milestone and underpins our growing portfolio of intellectual property,” said Abel Avellan, CEO and Chairman of AST&Science. “The patented features incorporated into our Micron™ LEO satellites will enable an incredible range of commercial, defense and emergency response applications at unprecedented low acquisition costs and speed to market.”
The patented technology of the AST&Science satellites will make it possible for the Microns to be manufactured in very high volumes, offering the lowest cost per radiated kilowatt and the largest system gains and spectrum reuse ever achieved in the industry, according to Avellan.
AST&Science last month acquired a controlling interest in NanoAvionics, a European manufacturer and systems integrator of small lightweight satellites. NanoAvionics launched its second satellite in June 2017 under a European Commission atmospheric research program. The satellite utilizes an innovative liquid chemical propulsion system – the first of its kind in the space industry.
“With two test satellites already launched and a fast-growing team of more than 50 scientists and engineers, we are well on our way to meet our goal of transforming how LEO satellites are designed, manufactured and used,” Avellan said. “Our patented features will allow us to support a range of government and commercial space mission capabilities that have until now been impossible.”
AST&Science is investing $25m to build a totally new high-volume facility for mass production of the Micron satellites, partnering with industry leaders in low-cost manufacturing. The company has shortlisted several locations in the U.S. A final site for the plant will be selected very soon, according to Avellan, who said the company may also consider additional manufacturing capacity in Europe.
16 Apr 18. Lockheed Martin Submits Proposal for U.S. Air Force’s GPS IIIF Program. Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT) has submitted a competitive and fully compliant proposal for the U.S. Air Force’s GPS III Follow On (GPS IIIF) program, which will add enhanced capabilities to the most advanced GPS satellites ever designed. The GPS IIIF program intends to produce up to 22 next-generation satellites.
The Air Force’s first 10 GPS III satellites, currently in full production at Lockheed Martin, are already the most powerful GPS satellites ever designed. GPS III will have three times better accuracy and up to eight times improved anti-jamming capabilities. Spacecraft life will extend to 15 years, 25 percent longer than the newest GPS satellites on-orbit today. GPS III’s new L1C civil signal also will make it the first GPS satellite to be interoperable with other international global navigation satellite systems, like Galileo.
Lockheed Martin’s proposal for the GPS IIIF program adds further power, resiliency and capabilities to GPS III.
- The biggest feature of GPS IIIF will be a Regional Military Protection capability, which will increase anti-jam support in theater to ensure U.S. and allied forces cannot be denied access to GPS in hostile environments.
- Lockheed Martin’s GPS IIIF will feature a fully-digital navigation payload. The payload on the first 10 GPS III satellites is already 70 percent digital.
- Each GPS IIIF satellite will include a laser retro-reflector array, which allows the positioning of on-orbit satellites to be refined with ground-based, laser precision. The precise positioning of each satellite ultimately enhances the positioning signals they generate.
- Additionally, the U.S. government will provide each GPS IIIF with a new Search and Rescue payload. These hosted payloads, spread around the globe on GPS IIIF satellites, will make it easier for first responders to detect and respond to emergency signals.
“When we developed our design for the first 10 GPS III, we used a flexible, modular architecture that would allow for the insertion of modern technologies and new Air Force requirements in a low-risk manner,” said Johnathon Caldwell, Program Manager for Lockheed Martin’s Navigation Systems mission area. “In addition, our GPS IIIF solution is based off a design already proven compatible with both the Air Force’s next generation Operational Control System (OCX) and the existing GPS constellation.”
Currently, the first 10 GPS III satellites are in full production at Lockheed Martin’s GPS III Processing Facility, a $128m cleanroom factory designed in a virtual reality environment to drive efficiency and reduce costs in satellite production.
In September 2017, the Air Force declared Lockheed Martin’s first GPS III satellite “Available for Launch” (AFL). GPS III Space Vehicle 01 (GPS III SV01) is in storage waiting for the Air Force to call in up for launch.
GPS III SV02 completed rigorous Thermal Vacuum (TVAC) testing in December 2017, is currently in its final environmental testing, and is expected to be declared AFL in summer 2018. GPS III SV03 was fully integrated in fall 2017 and recently began TVAC, and SV04 was recently integrated in anticipation of environmental testing later this summer. GPS III SV05 has now received its navigation payload and is in final vehicle build up. Not far behind, GPS III SV06 has begun its initial build with GPS III SV07 also planned to begin production this spring.
To date, more than 90 percent of parts and materials for all 10 satellites have been received, from more than 250 aerospace companies from 29 states, to help ensure GPS III maintains the gold standard in position, navigation and timing.
16 Apr 18. USAF launches experiment to boost satellite communications. United Launch Alliance successfully launched two Air Force satellites aboard an Atlas 5 rocket from a launch complex at Cape Canaveral in Florida March 14.
The Air Force’s dual-payload mission included an experimental satellite bus, known by the acronym EAGLE, and a secretive communications satellite, the Continuous Broadband Augmented SATCOM spacecraft (CBAS).
The Air Force had kept the identity of CBAS (pronounced “sea bass) under wraps until April 6. Even after acknowledging its existence, the service declined to identify the the contractor who built CBAS and only released a short description dressing the spacecraft’s mission.
“The mission of CBAS is to augment existing military satellite communications capabilities and broadcast military data continuously through space-based, satellite communications relay links,” the Air Force’s Space and Missile Systems Center said in a release.
In the lower position of the payload shroud, attached to aft of the CBAS, sat the Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) Secondary Payload Adapter (ESPA) Augmented Geosynchronous Laboratory Experiment satellite, dubbed EAGLE. Developed by Orbital ATK for the Air Force Research Laboratory, EAGLE is both a satellite and bus platform hosting a suite of other experiential payloads for the Department of Defense.
EAGLE’s primary mission is to demonstrate a maneuverable vehicle design which can transport up to six payloads to GEO, according to a ULA release.
One payloads on board the EAGLE is the Mycroft satellite. Named after the older brother of Sherlock Holmes, the Mycroft is a mini satellite designed to deploy away from the EAGLE only to return within one kilometer of its parent spacecraft. From there it will evaluate the EAGLE’s surroundings using an space situational awareness camera and sensors to perform guidance, navigation and control functions on the EAGLE, according to an Air Force fact sheet.
“Together, EAGLE and Mycroft help train operators and development of tactics, techniques and procedures during exercises or experiments to improve space warfighting,” the fact sheet reads. “Other experiments hosted on the EAGLE will detect, identify and analyze system threats such as man-made disturbances, space weather events or collisions with small meteorites.”
Mycroft is a follow-up to the ANGLES satellite which was launched in 2014 and ended its mission in November. ANGLES was used by the Air Force to evaluate space-based threats and to expand techniques used to maneuver closer to specific objects on orbit.
The satellites launched Saturday were part of the Air Force’s multi-manifested mission called Air Force Space Command (AFSPC)-11. The Air Force declared the launch a success shortly after 2 a.m. EDT on Sunday in a press release. (Source: Defense News Early Bird/C4ISR & Networks)
17 Apr 18. Ariane Rocket Satellites Use Gofa Manufactured Tanks For Final Fuelling. Final fuelling of the satellites carried by the Ariane 5 rocket will be completed using chemicals delivered in tanks manufactured by GOFA Gocher Fahrzeugbau GmbH, a Chart Industries, Inc. company.
The tanks consist of two parts containing the chemicals, which, when mixed together, provide the energy to send the satellites on their mission once in space.
The tanks have been designed to fully meet all US and European transport regulations for hazardous liquids and gases. This means that the tanks can be used at Cape Canaveral in the US, the Guiana Space Centre at Kourou in French Guyana, in Japan at the Tanegashima Space Centre and in Baikonur Cosmodrome in southern Kazakhstan.
The fully insulated units are housed in a frame which is built to protect the tanks whilst they are being transported and to make it easier for Ariane Group to move them to the required location.
Though the tanks have been primarily designed for use in the US with the Ariane 5 they can also be used on the Falcon Heavy Rocket of Space X.
The Ariane Group contract, awarded in 2017, is a success for the company’s newly established Government Sales Team, specifically established to provide GOFA’s core competencies to government organisations and adjacent markets through the development of storage and transport solutions to deliver water, fuel and gases wherever required.
“The contract capitalises on the group’s experience where understanding the complex regulations is a pre-requisite of success and it was this which was a major part of winning the contract,” said Alexander Schramm, Managing Director of GOFA.
Headed by Jan Gerhard-de Vries, the team has offices in the US, Canada, UK and Ireland, Germany, Eastern Europe, Russia and the UAE.
17 Apr 18. Airbus has Shipped SES-12 Highly Innovative Satellite to Launch Base. The SES-12 all-electric communications satellite, built by Airbus for SES, has been shipped from the Airbus Defence and Space facilities in Toulouse, France, to Cape Canaveral, Florida.
SES-12 is the largest and most powerful all electric satellite ever produced. It is based on the highly reliable Eurostar platform in its E3000e variant, which uses electric propulsion for orbit raising (EOR). The related mass saving enables SES-12 to combine two high-capacity missions, equivalent to two conventional satellites, in one satellite.
To fulfill its dual mission, SES-12 features both wide beams and high throughput spot beams to serve diverse connectivity needs.
The communications payload incorporates state-of-the-art solutions, in particular multi-beam antennas linked to a digital signal processor, which enable a multitude of basic spectral channels to be allocated to various beams in a completely flexible manner.
The satellite will provide expansion and replacement capacity to serve the data, mobility, government and video sectors in the Asia-Pacific region.
SES-12 will operate in the Ku and Ka-bands with a total of 76 active transponders and eight antennas. It will have a launch mass of 5,400 kg and an electrical power of 19 kW. It will operate in geostationary orbit at the 95° East location and has been designed to remain in service for more than 15 years. (Source: ASD Network)
16 Apr 18. OCX at an ‘inflection point,’ says Pentagon’s top weapons buyer. The Air Force’s ever-late and pricey next-generation GPS control station has been a headache for years, but the Pentagon’s top weapons buyer says there is reason to believe the program is leaving its troubled past behind.
Ellen Lord, under secretary of defense for acquisition and sustainment, sounded a cautiously optimistic note on the future of the Operational Control Segment (OCX) program during a Friday roundtable with reporters ahead of Space Symposium, which runs this week in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
“OCX is a program that I have spent quite a bit of time on because it is a perfect example of where both the department and industry are behind the curve in terms of modernization of software practices,” she said. “We don’t have enough data yet to say we are entirely confident that we’re on the road to recovery, but early indications are very good.”
Pentagon and Air Force leaders claim that the problems with OCX originated from the complexity of requirements and speed of change in the software world. In essence, software developers at OCX manufacturer Raytheon just couldn’t keep pace with the rate that cyber threats evolved, at least if they were forced to stick to traditional processes.
In June 2016, the Defense Department was forced to declare that OCX had hit a Nunn-McCurdy breach — a level of cost overruns so significant that it triggers a department review of whether to cancel the program. The Pentagon eventually decided to keep OCX but restructure it, forcing the Air Force to hand control over the program to the department itself.
On Friday, Lord pointed to a number of ways the program has come a long way since then.
As of April 1, the program has completely pivoted from traditional waterfall software development to Agile and DevOpps — a transition more than a year in the making that allows software developers to work more collaboratively with operators and incrementally test (and re-test) new code.
“We are now coding every day and testing every night. If you look at Raytheon’s actual floor space in terms of where the OCX team is, you will see an open concept in marked contrast to other groups on the exact same floors,” Lord said.
The department also continues to have regular programs reviews with Raytheon, with Lord adding that she recently sat down with Raytheon CEO Tom Kennedy and Will Roper, the Air Force’s top acquisition executive, to talk about progress on OCX.
And on Friday, Lord announced the creation of a new special assistant for software acquisitionthat will be able to help guide software-heavy programs like OCX or the F-35 joint strike fighter.
In March, Raytheon announced that the company had entered the final stages of the software build, which involves increasing automation and developing controls for civilian and military-specific GPS signals.
“Our team has two primary goals this year,” Dave Wajsgras, president of Raytheon Intelligence, Information and Services, said in a news release. “We will support the U.S. Air Force’s GPS III launch this fall and complete the software build for the full operational system by year’s end.”
But the program is still not in the clear, at least in terms of getting costs under control. Total acquisition costs for the OCX program grew by 12 percent — or $665.3m — in 2017, according to the selected actuation report released in April. The acquisition program is now estimated to come in at about $6bn due to changes in requirements and an expected funding increase due to the new service cost position.
Performance-wise, Raytheon is “over the 50 percent mark now,” but “the data has to speak for itself,” Lord said.
“We will be looking over the next several months to see how many lines of code are actually being developed and are working well,” she said.
“And we have told the team whereas we have a high level of management vigilance on the program right now, if they demonstrate through metrics that they are making progress both in terms of schedule and cost, we will begin to refrain from so many reviews and so forth. So we’re closely monitoring where it goes.” (Source: Defense News)
19 Apr 18. DARPA Launch Challenge. Yesterday DARPA announced the DARPA Launch Challenge, designed to promote rapid access to space within days, not years. “Our nation’s space architecture is currently built around a limited number of exquisite systems with development times of up to ten years. With the launch challenge, DARPA plans to accelerate capabilities and further incentivize industry to deliver launch solutions that are both flexible and responsive,” the agency said.
“Current launch systems and payload development were created in an era when each space launch was a national event,” said Todd Master, DARPA Launch Challenge programme manager for DARPA’s Tactical Technology Office. “We want to demonstrate the ability to launch payloads to orbit on extremely short notice, with no prior knowledge of the payload, destination orbit, or launch site. The launch environment of tomorrow will more closely resemble that of airline operations — with frequent launches from a myriad of locations world-wide.”
Companies and joint ventures might still name their teams, that will receive exact details on the payload in the days before each of the two launch events, with only a few weeks’ notice about the location of the first launch site. Once they successfully deliver their payload to low Earth orbit (LEO), competing teams will get details of the second launch site. Teams again will have just days to successfully deliver a second payload to LEO, for a chance at a prize. Final ranking for the top three prizes will depend on speed, payload, mass, and orbit accuracy.
In late 2019, qualified teams will compete for prizes, with a top prize of $10m. (Source: ESD Spotlight)
15 Apr 18. ULA Successfully Launches AFSPC-11 Mission for the USAF.
A United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket carrying the Air Force Space Command (AFSPC)-11 mission lifted off from Space Launch Complex-41 on April 14 at 7:13 p.m. EDT. AFSPC-11 is a multi-payload mission. The forward payload is referred to as CBAS (Continuous Broadcast Augmenting SATCOM) and the aft spacecraft is EAGLE (EELV Secondary Payload Adapter (ESPA) Augmented Geosynchronous Experiment).
“Today’s launch is a testament to why the ULA team continually serves as our nation’s most reliable and successful launch provider for our nation’s most critical space assets,” said Gary Wentz, ULA vice president of Government and Commercial Programs. “I want to thank the entire ULA team, and the phenomenal teamwork of our mission partners.”
This mission was launched aboard an Atlas V Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) 551 configuration vehicle, which includes a 5-meter large Payload Fairing (PLF). The Atlas booster for this mission was powered by the RD AMROSS RD-180 engine. Aerojet Rocketdyne provided the five AJ-60A solid rocket boosters (SRBs) and RL10C-1 engine for the Centaur upper stage.
This is the 77th launch of the Atlas V rocket, ULA’s 4th launch in 2018 and the 127th successful launch since the company was formed in December 2006.
ULA’s next launch is the InSight mission for NASA on an Atlas V rocket. The launch is scheduled for May 5 at Space Launch Complex-3 at Vandenberg Air Force Base, California.
With more than a century of combined heritage, United Launch Alliance is the Nation’s most experienced and reliable launch service provider. ULA has successfully delivered more than 125 satellites to orbit that aid meteorologists in tracking severe weather, unlock the mysteries of our solar system, provide critical capabilities for troops in the field and enable personal device-based GPS navigation. (Source: ASD Network)
12 Apr 18. Satcom Direct Communications to Provide Worldwide Voice and Data Connectivity for USG and DoD. Satcom Direct Communications (SDC 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 U.S. 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 optimizes 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.SDC also provides consistent, 24/7/365, customer support which resolves service issues, and troubleshoots terminal and equipment issues, as well as “core” Inmarsat services.
Stefan Tilliard, VP of SDC, said that the company Satcom Direct Communications has a proven track record of serving the U.S. government with a combo of technology solutions and support tools for all users, from individuals through to complex DoD missions. With the addition of the powerful GX service, the company anticipates providing a best-in-class global connectivity solution for U.S. military, diplomatic, intelligence and civilian government aviation users. Tilliard continued by stating SDC has an extensive understanding of how connectivity is used by these customers, who are often operating critical missions in extreme environments. This in-depth knowledge, expertise and the firm’s proven capability in managing requirements and exceeding expectations, even in the most difficult of circumstances, certainly contributed to SDC being awarded the BPA for a second time. (Source: Satnews)
16 Apr 18. During the 34th annual Space Symposium in Colorado Springs, Colorado, Orbital ATK (NYSE:OA), a global leader in aerospace and defense technologies, today provided a detailed update on the important progress being made on its Next Generation Launch System. The company reaffirmed its commitment to the U.S. Air Force’s Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) program for national security space missions with the announcement of the name of the rocket, OmegA, and the selection of its upper stage propulsion system. As one of the company’s largest strategic investments, OmegA will provide intermediate- to heavy-class launch services for Department of Defense, civil government and commercial customers beginning in three years.
“Orbital ATK is very excited to partner with the U.S. Air Force to develop OmegA, our new EELV-class launch vehicle,” said Scott Lehr, President of Orbital ATK’s Flight Systems Group. “Our OmegA rocket provides the best combination of performance, affordability and reliability to support the full range of our customers’ mission requirements. Based on our experience of producing more than 430 launch vehicles over the last 35 years, we have the rigorous processes, operational discipline and oversight transparency that are expected by our U.S. government customers. And with the industrial resources and financial capabilities of a $5 bn revenue company, Orbital ATK is fully committed to meeting the technical and schedule requirements of this important program.”
Over the last three years, Orbital ATK and the U.S. Air Force have together invested more than $250m in developing the OmegA rocket, and the company has committed to an even larger additional investment to complete its development and certification. Orbital ATK is already building major propulsion and structural elements with a program workforce of about 500 employees. OmegA is on schedule to complete propulsion system ground tests in 2019 and to conduct its first launch in 2021.
The rocket configuration consists of Orbital ATK-built first and second solid rocket stages, strap-on solid boosters and a cryogenic liquid upper stage. After careful consideration, Orbital ATK recently selected Aerojet Rocketdyne’s RL10C to be OmegA’s upper stage propulsion engine.
“The RL10 has provided reliable upper stage propulsion for more than five decades and we look forward to continuing that legacy with Orbital ATK and its OmegA rocket,” said Aerojet Rocketdyne CEO and President Eileen Drake. “By selecting the RL10, Orbital ATK is able to leverage investments made by the U.S. Air Force and others to build resilient space launch capabilities for our nation.”
“The RL10 has an extensive flight history and provides a low-risk, affordable engine with outstanding performance,” said Mike Pinkston, Deputy General Manager of Orbital ATK’s Launch Vehicles Division. “OmegA is a robust all-American launch system with its entire design based on flight-proven technologies and common components from Orbital ATK’s diversified lineup of rockets and propulsion systems.”
Orbital ATK has a long history of launching critical payloads for the Department of Defense, NASA and other customers with the company’s Pegasus®, Minotaur and AntaresTM space launch vehicles as well as a wide array of strategic missile interceptors and targets in support of critical national security launch programs.
“We currently have 10 launch vehicle product lines that are in active production and operations for our government and commercial customers, leveraging the efforts of one of the industry’s most experienced launch vehicle development and operations teams,” said Pinkston. The company has built and delivered about 160 space and strategic launch vehicles and approximately 275 target vehicles in the past 35 years, with current annual production rates totaling about 20 vehicles per year.
Approximately 500 employees are currently working on OmegA, a number that is expected to grow to about 1,000 people over the next 18 months. The company’s development team is working on the program in Arizona, Utah, Mississippi and Louisiana, with launch integration and operations planned at Kennedy Space Center in Florida and Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. The program will also support hundreds of jobs across the country in its supply chain.
The next phase of the OmegA program is expected to begin when the U.S. Air Force awards Launch Services Agreements in mid-2018, which will include the remaining development and verification of the vehicle and its launch sites. After initial flights of its intermediate configuration in 2021, OmegA will be certified for operational EELV missions starting in 2022 with initial heavy configuration flights beginning in 2024. (Source: BUSINESS WIRE)
13 Apr 18. Successful Commissioning of GOMX-4 Nanosatellites. As part of a mission to demonstrate interlink communication on nanosatellite tandem formation flights and data retrieval, including surveillance of the Arctic area, the Danish nanosatellite specialist GomSpace launched two nanosatellites in February. 12 weeks later, GomSpace for the first time showed the possibility of live data capture from the two nanosatellites in space at a press conference held in Aalborg, Denmark. At the same time, the press conference marked the official transition to the so-called demonstration phase, following the mission’s test phase. The latter has thus been successfully completed, and the mission is now ready to carry out its scheduled tasks.
On February 2, 2018, GomSpace launched two nanosatellites mounted on the Chinese missile Long March 2D from a launch station in the Gobi Desert. The objective of the two nanosatellites, based on GomSpace’s 6U platform, is in part to monitor the Arctic area. It is an area where ice has melted significantly in recent years, meaning that the area sees more and more activity in the shape of aircraft and ships, researchers and tourists. GomSpace nanosatellites are optimally designed for such purposes as they can fly in tandem formation and thus cover a very large geographical area. The price per nanosatellite is very competitive, and the full coverage of nanosatellite formations is significantly higher compared to large, traditional bn-dollar satellites, making it economically feasible for a country like Denmark to add even more nanosatellites to the monitoring of the Arctic area.
GomSpace has built the satellites and is responsible for their operation, and at the press conference in Aalborg, the company demonstrated a historic live data transmission during which the orbiting satellites communicated with a ground station in Aalborg. Since the launch of satellites in February, GomSpace’s technical team has been testing the two satellites’ various subsystems to ensure optimal communication and data capture. The two nanosatellites, currently flying in orbit at a height of 500 kilometers, shoot a speed of 7.5 kilometers per second and the high speed means that there are only three “windows” per day during which GomSpace can retrieve the data recorded by the nanosatellites. The data are images and signals from ships and aircrafts and as successfully demonstrated at the press conference, this retrieval process went according to schedule, and the satellites can send both images and data signals down to Earth.
As part of the project, GomSpace and the European Space Agency (ESA) have signed a contract that includes design, production, integration, launch and operation of one of the two satellites, and ESA was also present at the press conference in Aalborg.
“The GOMX-4B satellite is our most advanced satellite design to date, and we are pleased that ESA participates in a project which, for the first time, shows how to exploit the benefits of satellite tandem formation. The platform and technology have a lot to offer to our customers and we therefore expect a lot of commercial potential moving forward. This is definitely the next-generation satellites”, states Niels Buus, CEO of GomSpace.
The satellites are based on GomSpace’s 6U platform and measure 20x30x10 cm and weigh about eight kilos. The satellites are launched into the correct orbit, and the historic mission will show how two satellites can be connected both during the launch and orbit phase. The formation flight allows satellite coverage across the globe at a fraction of the traditional costs, while also allowing ground stations to track data from aircrafts and ships, and it furthermore paves the way for radio communication between two geographical locations. (Source: ASD Network)
12 Apr 18. PSLV-C41 Successfully Launches IRNSS-1I Navigation Satellite. In its forty third flight, ISRO’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle PSLV-C41 successfully launched the 1,425 kg IRNSS-1I Navigation Satellite today from Satish Dhawan Space Centre SHAR, Sriharikota. PSLV-C41 lifted off at 0404 hrs (4:04 am) IST, as planned, from the First Launch Pad. After a flight lasting about 19 minutes, the vehicle achieved a Sub-Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit with a perigee (nearest point to earth) of 281.5 km and an apogee (farthest point to earth) of 20,730 km inclined at an angle of 19.2 degree to the equator following which IRNSS-1I separated from PSLV. After separation, the solar panels of IRNSS-1I were deployed automatically. ISRO’s Master Control Facility (MCF) at Hassan, Karnataka took over the control of the satellite. In the coming days, orbit manoeuvres will be performed from MCF to position the satellite at 55 deg East longitude in the planned Geosynchronous Orbit with an inclination of 29 deg to the equator. IRNSS-1I is the latest member of the ‘Navigation with Indian Constellation (NavIC)’ system. NavIC, also known as Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS), is an independent regional navigation satellite system designed to provide position information in the Indian region and 1,500 km around the Indian mainland. A number of ground facilities responsible for IRNSS satellite ranging and monitoring, generation and transmission of navigation parameters, satellite control, network timing, etc., have been established in many locations across the country as part of NavIC. Till now, PSLV has successfully launched 52 Indian satellites and 237 customer satellites from abroad. (Source: defense-aerospace.com/Government of India)
08 Apr 18. Launch Base Testing of the USAF’s CBAS Satellite is Completed and will Fly with the EAGLE in Mid-April. The U.S. Air Force is scheduled to launch the CBAS satellite and the Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) Secondary Payload Adapter (ESPA) Augmented Geosynchronous Laboratory Experiment (EAGLE) satellite on the AFSPC-11 mission aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V EELV from Space Launch Complex 41, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida, in mid-April.
Managed by the Military Satellite Communications Directorate of the U.S. Air Force’s Space and Missile Systems Center, the CBAS Satellite is a military satellite communications spacecraft destined for geosynchronous orbit to provide communications relay capabilities to support the nation’s military senior leaders and combatant commanders. The mission of CBAS is to augment existing military satellite communications capabilities and broadcast military data continuously through space-based, satellite communications relay links.
The Air Force Space Command’s Space and Missile Systems Center, located at the Los Angeles Air Force Base, Calif., is the U.S. Air Force’s center of excellence for acquiring and developing military space systems. Its portfolio includes the Global Positioning System, military satellite communications, defense meteorological satellites, space launch and range systems, satellite control networks, space based infrared systems, and space situational awareness capabilities. (Source: Satnews)
08 Apr 18. Lasercom Tech for Satellites and Constellations Under Development by Mynaric and Leti. Mynaric has formed an exclusive partnership with Leti, a French research institute at CEA Tech, on a key technological development in high-speed communication. The collaboration centers on the next generation of Avalanche Photodiodes (APD) for telecommunication systems that will now allow for an improved performance level far exceeding the already record-breaking values achieved by Mynaric’s laser communication products.
The development is a significant landmark and fundamentally increases the appeal of Mynaric’s laser communication products for large technical companies set on satellite and high-altitude constellations comprised of hundreds — and, in some cases, thousands — of units. The exclusive agreement positions Mynaric as prime supplier for these constellation networks of interconnected aircraft, drones and satellites.
Companies building constellations — in space, in the stratosphere, as well as in commercial airspace — will see numerous benefits reflected in this key upgrade to Mynaric’s laser communication systems with the technology yielding considerable improvements in distance and offering the potential to significantly decrease system complexity. Importantly for the aerospace industry, this reduced system complexity is expected to lead to lower production costs, size, weight and power consumption of Mynaric’s laser communication units, expanding the economic viability and market reach of laser communications.
Joachim Horwath, Mynaric founder, board member and technical lead, stated that this key technology allows the company to reach spheres of miniaturization and link distance that have been up to now unthinkable and which, until now, have been inaccessible. This is the kind of technological boundary-pushing that fundamentally reshuffles what is possible and the signed agreement positions us as the exclusive supplier for this revolutionary technology for high-speed communications.
The collaboration effectively serves both organizations’ purposes with the technological benefits allowing Mynaric to make their products cost effective and simpler, thus aiding the upscaling needed for serialization and Leti, yet again, successfully transferring a unique technological development into commercial viability.
The exceptionally high-performance photo diode that has been developed by Leti offers sensitivity improvements at least 10 times greater than existing sensitivity. This allows for more than double the current link distance or significant simplification of systems.
Dr. Ludovic Poupinet, head of Leti’s optics and photonics division, said that Leti is already known as a leading R&D force in telecom and datacom integrated photonics, especially for high-speed optical devices and circuits. Mynaric is a fast-growing, dynamic company in wireless laser-communications systems and is now addressing world-class customers and suppliers. This collaboration is, therefore, a win-win opportunity that will extend Leti’s renown in the promising field of free-space optical telecom.
Dr. Johan Rothman, detector-physics scientist at Leti, added that the collaboration with Mynaric is a great opportunity to boost the development of HgCdTe APDs to reach the required speed for high data rate telecommunications. Demonstrating this performance will open an important commercial perspective and a path to a fast industrialization of the detectors. It also will accelerate time to market of detectors optimized for scientific applications, such as atmospheric LIDAR and spectroscopy.”
Dr. Wolfram Peschko, the CEO of Mynaric, stated that the cooperation between Mynaric and Leti highlights the importance that the firm’s joint creativity plays in pushing to give already highly successful technical products heightened performance and make them more affordable and indispensable in the march towards equipping constellations to enable global internet connectivity. Through the diversification of our technological partnerships — adding the years of experience and research from Leti gained from the company’s long-standing partnership with the German Aerospace Center (DLR) — is what helps the company to further improve products and prioritize the commercialization and serialization of the laser communication products that the market needs. (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
19 Apr 18. Senegal’s armed forces are relying on Thales’s air defence and surveillance expertise with the procurement of Ground Master 400 long-range radars and a SkyView command and control centre to ensure airspace surveillance and security. Governments have a mandate to exercise national sovereignty and protect their countries’ airspace from 21st century threats. The Senegalese armed forces are to deploy a state-of-the-art airspace surveillance and control capability to address these critical priorities in today’s complex threat environment. Ground Master 400 is a fully solid-state three-dimensional surveillance radar that incorporates all the latest advances in radar technology. Senegal’s Ground Master 400 systems will be connected to the SkyView command and control centre at the Ouakam air base in Dakar. This fully
automated system is flexible, scalable and includes an intuitive user interface, enabling operators to establish the air situation autonomously and report to the national authorities in real time to contribute to national security. This first cooperative project between the Senegalese armed forces and Thales marks the beginning of a promising long-term partnership in the air surveillance field.
17 Apr 18. IAI-ELTA completes sale of 100th ELM-2084 MMR. Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) subsidiary ELTA has completed the sale of the 100th ELM-2084 multi-mission radar (MMR) system. The ELM-2084 MMR radar family has been acquired by several nations across the globe and is used for air surveillance and defence. IAI-ELTA’s 100 radar systems and related projects have recently exceeded $1.9bn in sales. Initially built for the requirements of the Israeli Defense Forces, the MMR family has been upgraded to offer capabilities for air surveillance and defence, counter rocket, artillery and mortar (C-RAM), artillery hostile weapon location, and friendly fire ranging. MMR is the primary sensor of the Iron Dome, David’s Sling, and IAI’s land-based Barak weapon systems.
Israeli Missile Defense Organization (IMDO) director retired colonel Moshe Patal said: “The Israeli active interceptor sensor network includes multiple MMR radars, which serve for air situational surveillance and air defence systems.
“These systems are connected and fully interoperable with US systems for regional Air Situation Picture and engagement coordination. This interoperability has been evaluated and proven during numerous joint US-Israeli exercises such as Juniper-Cobra.”
Since 2011, the ELM-2084 radar has carried out more than 1,500 operational intercepts in battlefields. The ELM-2084 MMR family implements an advanced 3D active electronically steered array (AESA) supporting modular and scalable architecture. Featuring high redundancy, degradation, reliability and availability, the radar family supports artillery weapon location and air defence operational missions. In addition, the ELM-2084 radar provides optimal solutions for short, medium and long-range missions. (Source: army-technology.com)
16 Apr 18. USN tests AMDR as Aegis upgrades continue. The US Navy (USN) is ramping up testing of its Air and Missile Defense Radar (AMDR) – or SPY-6 – as the service invests in improving its current Aegis combat system with new antennas designed to increase sensor sensitivity.
Integrating AMDR with Aegis has presented the USN with “lots of challenges”, Captain Casey Moton, programme manager for guided-missile destroyer (DDG) 51 ships, said on 10 April during a Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) briefing at the Navy League Sea-Air-Space exposition in National Harbor, Maryland.
“The radar is undergoing testing in Hawaii,” Moton said, as the USN focuses on the integration efforts. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
16 Apr 18. Sentient’s ViDAR shows success during USCG ScanEagle demonstrations. Sentient Vision Systems has developed a wide-area persistent surveillance capability for manned and unmanned aircraft to see over long distances of open ocean. The Visual Detection and Ranging (ViDAR) system is being demonstrated aboard the Boeing-Insitu ScanEagle unmanned aerial vehicle by the US Coast Guard (USCG) as the service is preparing to select an unmanned aircraft for operations from National Security Cutters.
On ScanEagle, there is a single ViDAR camera that provides a 180° field-of-view of the ocean. When it finds an object, it provides a thumbnail picture to the operator, Richard Glyn-Jones, director business development for Sentient Vision Systems, told Jane’s. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
14 Apr 18. Everybody wants the ability to take down drones. Drones entered the public conversation in an era of uncontested skies. Against fighters on the ground, drones were only occasionally vulnerable to infantry-carried anti-air missiles. Those weapons are rare, expensive, and while sometimes capable of destroying a drone, they are designed for other targets. But the days of hunting drones exclusively by missile are over, and this week brings us two stories that better reflect the existing counter-drone world.
U.S. officials confirmed to NBC news that Russia was jamming the signals of drones in Syria. From NBC’s report on April 10:
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. The drones impacted so far are smaller surveillance aircraft, as opposed to the larger Predators and Reapers that often operate in combat environments and can be armed.
Russian jamming of drones was also reported in Ukraine, and continues to this day, as new tools knock commercial drones from the sky.
Jammers end any impunity drones once enjoyed, and while they’re not as threatening at attacks on people-carrying aircraft, it means drone flights are no longer without risk, and any intelligence gained from such an operation must be weighed against the possibility of losing the asset.
Counter drone tools are hardly just a battlefield concern. This week, IXI Technology donated a $30,000 “Drone Killer” to the police department of Oceanside, California. The blocky Drone Killer looks like a weapon straight out of Unreal Tournament, complete with G.I. Joe plastic casing and bullpup handles. It weighs 7.5 lbs, features two picatinny rail mounts, can detect drone signals at up to 2 miles, and can jam multiple drone frequencies at a range of 1300 feet.
The Drone Killer is one of 235 counter-drone products collected in a survey of the market by the Center for the Study of the Drone at Bard University. The counter-drone market includes everything from directed-antenna jammers held like rifles to drones carrying nets to special software-defined radio ground stations, marketed at primarily customers in the military and in law enforcement. Here, both markets converge: as nonstate actors and militaries both buy and use commercial drones, the tools needed to stop drones on the battlefield and the tools needed to stop a drone outside a warzone are similar if not the same.
Depending on locality, counter-drone tools may be subject to anti-jamming legal constraints, like FCC rules limiting such devices generally and carrying constraints on who may be exempt from those rules. Yet the problems of jammers, the risk of one cutting off internet or radio or cell phone signals to civilians or other people in the area, are the same no matter if the conflict is one formally authorized by Congress or an encounter by a small city police department.
Questions of what to do with a jammed drone, of ways to navigate it safely down and possibly apprehend its pilot, and how to do it in the presence of civilians may have different answers depending on the context of the drone flight and who is doing the jamming. Yet the questions themselves will persist regardless of the context. The age of drones flying free in uncontested skies, at home or abroad, is over. (Source: C4ISR & Networks)
12 Apr 18. How network tools can improve base security. In 2011, the simple exploitation of an existing data set could have prevented a near disaster in northern Afghanistan. Then, an entire operations center watched as the feed from an MQ-1 drone, newly reassigned from its original mission, displayed a growing group of protesters at the perimeter of a small U.S. forward operating base. Although conventional signals intelligence indicated a possible disturbance, full-motion video confirmed the severity of the threat only well after it had matured. Intelligence analysts didn’t understand what the protestors were doing — and why they were doing it — until they had already massed at the entry point. If used properly, automated social media monitoring and geofencing, which calls for creating virtual geographic boundaries, could have filled this critical gap in situational awareness.
Goodbye gates, guards and guns
New technologies are transforming physical security from “gates, guards and guns” to an imperative that’s increasingly reliant on data systems. Efforts like last year’s pilot program between the Air Force and AT&T to establish a perimeter network utilizing multi-protocol label switching and SIM chip technology via an LTE network at Maxwell Air Force Base are the new normal. That system created a wireless smart perimeter with infrared sensors and facial recognition to detect and identify intruders as well as to alert base personnel of potential security breaches.
The military’s use of biometric scanning through facial recognition software, license plate “grabbers,” UAV and aerostat surveillance, and radar and seismic detection sensors are nearly requisite for access control. The application of technology of the internet of things — as evidenced by nearly $9bn of federal money in 2015 — plus an embrace of artificial intelligence feed into the growing chorus for “smart bases.”
Harnessing networks for geo-situational awareness
Yet, one application of new technology could quickly exploit existing data sets and be rapidly employed, likely preventing surprises like the one in Afghanistan in 2011. Using geofencing to surface high-quality, publicly available information, layered atop conventional active and passive physical security measures, would enhance situational awareness around military bases.
While many bases already exploit social media data and integrate big data streams into a common operational picture, like Northrop Grumman’s Critical Incident Response System and AT&T’s Common Operational Portal, the U.S. military can more widely apply and emphasize this concept overseas. For starters, analysts at the tactical level could determine the latitude, longitude and radius of the area of interest around a forward operating base and adjust this geofence for monitoring. Designated social media aggregators would then comb available application program interfaces to surface information within the bounded area. These aggregators would deliver real-time data (e.g., geotagged photos posted to a variety of social media platforms) for analysts to triage and then paint a comprehensive intel picture, similar to targeters teasing out patterns of life through a watered-down version of activity-based intelligence. Such methodologies to identify patterns and predictive indicators — often through automation — are already staples of private sector and U.S. law enforcement physical security practices.
To go further, the use of natural language processing for sentiment analysis within this open-source intelligence would improve indications and warning. Sentiment indicators that identify potential threats in multiple languages are being used in the private sector and by U.S. law enforcement, with obvious applications overseas. Additional advantages of this big-data approach are a prodigious and archivable metadata trail, and the potential for interagency information-sharing that leverages the link analysis proficiency resident in many government organizations.
Potential obstacles to implementation
Despite its quick deployment potential overseas, domestic applications for the U.S. military’s use of geofencing and social media monitoring are limited. In a stark example of litigation risk, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter suspended social media monitoring startup Geofeedia’s access after a challenge from the American Civil Liberties Union in 2016. Renewed reluctance by social media companies to share data with third parties, borne out of reported misuse of user data by the firm Cambridge Analytica, would likely hinder future development of similar technologies. And until costs are offset by more widely applied AI technology, monitoring and assessing the veracity of ingested information will eat into analytical capacity. Yet, the responsible integration of open-source methodologies that reduce risk and improve situational awareness surrounding U.S. military bases is worth the roadblocks. Otherwise, the risk of surprise is too great. (Source: Fifth Domain)
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.
18 Apr 18. India’s OFB and BEML unveil 155mm 52 calibre mounted gun system. Arms industry company Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) and manufacturer Bharat Earth Movers (BEML) have launched their latest 155mm 52 calibre mounted gun system at the DefExpo 2018 held in Chennai, India.
The new gun system has been completely and independently designed and produced by OFB, in collaboration with BEML and arms manufacturing company Bharat Electronics (BEL). The development supports the Government of India’s ‘Make in India’ initiative.
The mounted gun includes the latest advanced laying and sighting systems, such as global positioning system (GPS)-aided inertial navigation systems (INS).
“The gun is highly manoeuvrable in all types of terrain and capable of being automatically deployed to carry out missions independently.”
Muzzle velocity feeder data management systems, day and night firing, ballasting computer system capability are also featured.
The high-mobility BEML-Tatra 8X8 truck is used as the base vehicle for the gun system.
A 300kW (402HP) engine powers the truck, providing a power-to-weight ratio of more than 10kW/t. It is equipped with independent wheel suspension and swinging half-axles for improved cross-country mobility.
On one tank, the vehicle has a range of 1,000km, with an on-the-road top speed of 80km/h and cross-country cruising speed of 30km/h.
Target destruction capability of the latest 155mm 52 calibre mounted gun system is approximately 42km. The gun is highly manoeuvrable in all types of terrain and capable of being automatically deployed to carry out missions independently. (Source: army-technology.com)
17 Apr 18. China’s Norinco reveals Fire Dragon 280A tactical missile. The China North Industries Corporation (Norinco) has revealed the development of the Fire Dragon 280A Tactical Missile for use by its AR3 multiple launch rocket system (MLRS).
This 750mm-diameter missile is not only larger than the previous largest munition available to the AR3 – the 370mm Fire Dragon 280 guided rocket – but also has a 10km-longer range (290km), according to the company.
“The 7.38 m-long missile, which completed development trials in 2017, is fitted with a 480 kg high-explosive blast/fragmentation warhead that uses pre-formed fragments,” a company spokesperson told Jane’s at the 16-19 Defence Services Asia 2018 (DSA 2018) exhibition in Kuala Lumpur.
Guidance is provided by INS aided by a global navigation satellite system (GNSS), GPS, and the BeiDou systems, thus giving the missile a stated circular error probable (CEP) of no less than 30 m at its maximum range.
The official told Jane’s that the AR3’s previous eight (two pairs of four) launch tubes have been replaced with two launch containers, each of which holds one Fire Dragon 280A.
The company also revealed that the modifications made to the MLRS mean that the TL-7B land-based version of the TL-7 anti-ship cruise missile (ASCM), which was first unveiled at the 2016 Singapore Airshow, can also be mounted on and fired from the AR3.
The official described the 6 m-long ASCM as being fitted with a 320 kg semi-armour-piercing warhead “capable of destroying a medium-sized or large enemy warship”. (Source: Defense News Early Bird/IHS Jane’s)
17 Apr 18. Meggitt Training Systems Selected as Finalist for U.S. Army Targeting Program. Meggitt Training Systems, the leading provider of integrated live-fire and virtual weapons training products and services for armed forces and law enforcement, has been named one of five companies qualified to fulfill a vital U.S. Army combat skills training program for American and allied warfighters. The Army Targetry Systems program has a total value of $125m. Individual contracts will be awarded during the next five years with an estimated completion date of March 15, 2023. The program will be administered by U.S. Army Contracting Command, based in Warren, Michigan.
“Meggitt Training Systems appreciates the opportunity to deliver on the upcoming Army Targetry Systems program,” said Jon Read, Meggitt’s live-fire systems director. “We believe our track record at U.S. Army training ranges at home and abroad makes us the ideal choice for the next generation of live-fire targets.” With more than 75,000 infantry target systems successfully fielded on 122 military bases around the world, Meggitt Training Systems products are proven to be reliable and flexible to support both skills qualifications events and more complex unit-collective training. The company’s offerings include a variety of multi-function and stationary infantry targets, as well as moving infantry targets, to provide maximum realism during training. (Source: BUSINESS WIRE)
16 Apr 18. USMC Complete First F/A-18, APKWS Operational Flights.
The Marine Corps’ F/A-18 squadrons recently flew with the Advanced Precision Kill Weapon System (APKWS), a highly accurate 2.75 rocket that provides air-to-ground weapon support.
APKWS allows the F/A-18A-D to maintain a forward-firing, moving-target capability while increasing available ordnance per aircraft and provides a more efficient weapons match versus target sets currently seen in theater.
“This is an incredible weapons system that our most experienced pilots down to the newest pilots can effectively employ,” said Lt. Col Jon “TAG” Curtis, commanding officer of one of the F/A-18 squadrons.
The low-cost 2.75-inch rocket has a laser guidance kit that gives it precision-kill capability. It has ability to destroy targets while limiting collateral damage in close combat.
Curtis’ squadron received the new weapon system in February and completed ground training and in-flight training to ensure the weapon worked effectively. All of the weapons fired during training directly impacted the final aim point.
“The PMA-242 APKWS and PMA-265 F/A-18 joint Integrated Product Team (IPT), with key stakeholders (Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft and Weapons Divisions, VX-31/VX-9, Marine Corps headquarters and BAE Systems), rapidly developed and executed an integration plan, cutting normal integration time by nine months and saving $4.9m of allocated funds,” said Lt. Cmdr. Daniel Ropp, APKWS deputy program manager
The team established a land-based integration program to expedite fielding with a limited employment envelope using a tailored approach in engineering, logistics, and contracting to deliver units to theater as quickly as possible. This effort supported on time training and operational employment of APKWS for the deploying squadron in OIR, exemplifying “Speed to the Fleet”, he said.
The F/A-18 is the second Navy fixed-wing platform to carry APKWS. It is also employed from the AV-8B as well as rotary-wing platforms including the UH-1Y, AH-1Z and MH-60S/R. The Navy and Marine Corps have fired thousands of combined fixed- and rotary-wing shots and hundreds in combat scenarios. (Source: ASD Network)
17 Apr 18. Pakistan test-fires enhanced version of Babur cruise missile. Pakistan successfully test-fired what it described as an enhanced-range version of its indigenously developed Babur cruise missile on 14 April, according to a statement by Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR): the media wing of the Pakistani military. Called the Babur Weapon System-1 (B), or Babur-1B, the missile was shown in video footage released by ISPR being launched from a transport-erector-launcher (TEL) vehicle, cruising and later hitting a target at an undisclosed location.
While the range to which the missile was tested was not revealed, ISPR said that the weapon “can strike targets both at land and sea with high accuracy at a range of 700km”.
The Pakistani military described the Babur as a low-flying, terrain-hugging missile, capable of carrying various types of warheads, and equipped with state-of-the-art navigation technologies of terrain contour matching (TERCOM) and all-time digital scene matching area correlators (DSMAC), which enable the weapon to engage “various type of targets with pinpoint accuracy even in the absence of GPS navigation”.
The ISPR has repeatedly referred to the Babur series of missiles, which are capable of delivering both conventional and nuclear payloads, as “important force multipliers” for Pakistan’s policy of strategic deterrence.
The latest development came some two weeks after ISPR announced that Pakistan had conducted a test-firing of its Babur-3 submarine-launched cruise missile (SLCM). (Source: IHS Jane’s)
16 Apr 18. India’s OFB unveils 155mm Sharang towed gun. The Indian Ministry of Defence’s (MoD’s) Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) has displayed its newly developed 155mm/45 calibre Sharang towed gun at the Defexpo 2018 exhibition in Chennai. The Sharang, which weighs 8.4 tonnes, has an overall length and width of 11.84m and 2.45m respectively. The barrel is approximately 7m long and is equipped with a single baffle muzzle brake and horizontal sliding wedge breech block. The towed gun also features automatic loading via a pneumatic flick rammer. MoD Director Rituraj Sharma and Deputy Director General Alok Prasad of the Ordnance Development Centre said the Sharang is an indigenously developed weapon that is aimed at meeting the Indian Army’s requirement to replace existing Russian-made 130mm caliber M-46 towed guns, which have been in service since 1968. OFB officials said at Defexpo that the Sharang has emerged as the winning bid, with the service expected to acquire as many as 300 towed guns to be delivered within a four-year period. Test trials of Sharang have been successfully completed in the Pokhran range. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
17 Apr 18. Raytheon Company (NYSE: RTN) and the U.S. Navy completed the final developmental test to integrate the Joint Standoff Weapon C onto the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter’s C variant, keeping the low-cost, air-to-ground missile on track for full deployment in 2019.
The JSOW glide weapon uses a GPS-inertial navigation system with an imaging infrared seeker that can identify and track targets autonomously. JSOW C weighs 1,000 pounds and is effective against high-value land targets at ranges greater than 70 nautical miles, day or night, and in adverse weather conditions.
“With JSOW C in its internal weapons bay, the Navy’s F-35C can now eliminate the toughest ground targets from significant standoff ranges,” said Mike Jarrett, vice president of Raytheon Air Warfare Systems. “JSOW’s advanced warhead and smart fuse provide fighter pilots with plenty of flexibility against hard and soft targets — plus, it has many programmable effects.”
Lockheed Martin, manufacturer of the F-35, and the F-35 Joint Program Office participated in the latest test, which took place on the Navy’s China Lake ranges in California.
17 Apr 18. Nammo to refurbish manufacturing facilities in Maryland, US. Norwegian missile manufacturer Nammo has received board approval for the refurbishment of its production facility in Indian Head, Maryland, US.
The initiative was originally outlined in the company’s 2017 annual report and is set to involve an investment of up to $40m at the plant.
The development will also help generate several new manufacturing jobs in the region, which is expected to boost the local economy of Maryland.
Nammo Energetics Indian Head (NEIH) president Pete Sioma said: “Through this investment we are following up on our commitment to the US Navy, we are generating new high-wage jobs in Maryland and adding to the half a bn dollars that the Naval Surface Warfare Center Indian Head already contributes to the state’s economy.
“This is good news for workers in both Indian Head and Charles counties.”
Nammo Energetics Indian Head (NEIH) previously signed a 30-year public-private partnership (P3) agreement with the US Naval Surface Warfare Centre Indian Head Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technology Division (NSWC IHEODTD) in January 2017. NEIH is an approved Special Security Agreement company, which is currently owned by Nammo. The partnership will see NEIH and the US Navy provide assistance to the US Department of Defense via the supply of solid rocket motors, propulsion, tactical warheads and demilitarisation services of US munitions inventory. In addition, Nammo’s new plant is anticipated to produce various items that are important for the country’s national security once operational. (Source: naval-technology.com)
16 Apr 18. McDonnell Douglas Helicopters relies on Thales’ lightweight rocket launchers for its global customers. Thales announced the qualification of the FZ220 rocket launcher for unguided and guided munition (70mm) on the latest McDonnell Douglas’ light helicopter (MD530G). This qualification follows the trials ran in Arizona, in Yuma Proving Ground (YPG), a United States Army facility in March 2018.
This qualification takes place while McDonnell Douglas is helping modernize the light helicopter fleet for multiple countries across the globe, including the Malaysian Army. A new modern platform can now be equipped by a Thales solution and offers more opportunities to the forces around the world.
Low mass is of utmost importance in helicopter applications. Thales’ light weight rocket launchers made out of composite material are on average about 50% lighter than comparable metallic rocket launcher and have no corrosion issue. They have been especially developed for rotary wings due to limitation of payload.
Thales is continuously innovating and adapting its systems on light helicopters. This qualification paves the way to further business opportunities for the FZ220 rocket launcher.
16 Apr 18. China’s ALIT offers air-defence systems for Southeast Asian market. Chinese company Aerospace Long-March International Trade Co Ltd (ALIT) is looking at Southeast Asian countries as potential markets for its range of air-defence systems, a company official told Jane’s at the 16-19 April Defence Services Asia 2018 (DSA 2018) exhibition in Kuala Lumpur.
“From the advanced FN-16 manportable air-defence system (MANPADS) to the FB-10 short-range surface-to-air (SAM) and LY-80 medium-range SAM systems, countries in the region can set up a compatible air-defence system that is not only state of the art but also cost-effective,” said the official, adding that several countries in the region have shown interest in the systems offered by the company. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
16 Apr 18. This remote controlled ‘naval mine’ attaches to ships, explodes on command. A leading Turkish drone manufacturer says it developed a “mobile naval mine” that can blow up warships of all types.
The Wattozz program has been jointly undertaken by Albayrak Savunma, a drone maker, and Karadeniz Technical University in Turkey’s Black Sea region. Wattozz is named after “vatoz,” which translates to stingray.
The Wattozz features the shape of a stingray and is made of titanium and aluminium. It has two cameras fitted into the eye sockets of the “stingray” and can cruise at a maximum speed of 5.5 knots for up to 12 hours. The drone features three integrated engines.
The mobile mine is an underwater drone that can be used for surveillance or assault missions. It can carry explosives and is controlled by encrypted acoustic sound waves.
The stealthy Wattozz cruises underwater and then sticks itself under the hull of an enemy vessel with electromagnetic magnets. The explosion is controlled from a remote station. It can stay inactive on the seabed while in sleep mode. It also features a self-protection system against predatory fish and other animals with its electromagnetic and ultrasound signals. Mustafa Adnan Albayrak, chairman of Albayrak Savunma, said the company has been working on the Wattozz program for the past two years. He said the company will officially launch Turkey’s first indigenous armed underwater drone within three months. (Source: Defense News)
16 Apr 18. China’s shock call for ban on lethal autonomous weapon systems. China has called on nations “to negotiate and conclude a succinct protocol to ban the use of fully autonomous weapon systems”, in so doing becoming the first Permanent Member of the UN Security Council to call for a ban on ‘lethal autonomous weapon systems’ (LAWS).
The call was made on the final day of a Group of Government Experts (GGE) meeting on LAWS held at the UN office in Geneva from 9 to 13 April under the aegis of the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW). In other noteworthy developments, Austria became the first sizable European nation to call for a ban on LAWS. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
16 Apr 18. Ukrspecsystems unveils RAM UAV loitering munition. Ukrspecsystems, a Ukrainian company specialising in unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) development, unveiled its latest RAM UAV/loitering munition at Defexpo 2018 held in Chennai from 11–14 April. Jacob Cereteli, general manager at Ukrspecsystems, told Jane’s that work on RAM UAV commenced in 2017 with flight testing already concluded. A complete system comprises a RAM UAV, a catapult launcher, and a laptop-based ground control station (GCS) that commands the loitering munition using an encrypted datalink out to a range of 30km. The loitering munition has a maximum take-off weight (MTOW) of 8kg and measures 1.78m long and with a 2.3m wingspan. An electric motor enables it to stay aloft for up to 40 minutes at cruising speeds of up to 100km/h, although it can reach a maximum speed of 150km/h when engaging a target with its 3kg warhead. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
15 Apr 18. MdCN missile makes operational debut in allied strikes on Syrian CW sites. The French Navy’s new Missile de Croisière Navale (MdCN) land attack cruise missile made its operational debut as part of allied strikes against Syrian chemical weapon sites during the night of 13-14 April. Three MdCN missiles were launched from the Aquitaine-class FREMM multimission frigate Languedoc operating in the Mediterranean. The missiles are believed to have targeted a chemical weapons facility near Homs. Developed by MBDA under a full-scale development contract awarded by the Direction générale de l’armement (DGA) in December 2006, the MdCN has been developed to provide the French Navy with a sovereign ‘deep strike’ capability against fixed high-value targets. (Source: Defense News Early Bird/IHS Jane’s)
12 Apr 18. Not just F-16 fighters, Lockheed ready to make Javelin missiles in India. With the Indian Air Force beginning the process of buying 110 fighter jets, in a deal that could be worth more than $15 bn, Lockheed-Martin has expressed its readiness to shift its F-16 fighter aircraft manufacturing unit to India — and the US government, according to the manufacturer, will allow it to do so.
That apart, the American global aerospace and defence major is also prepared to transfer the technology of its third generation anti-armour Javelin guided missile system to India for its future manufacture.
At least two Lockheed-Martin officials at the DefExpo 2018 told IANS that if the defence procurement deals were signed with the company that is all geared to bid for the world’s biggest fighter jet order, it would walk the extra mile and transfer technology to local partners for sophisticated parts of defence products.
“We are offering a deal that is completely compatible with ‘Make in India’ — offering a stand-up production line in India,” said Randall L Howard, who heads International Business Development for aircraft at Lockheed-Martin Aeronautics.
He said more than 4,000 F-16s have been sold to countries across the world. “We are offering to shift the manufacturing base and produce all of our F-16s in India; not just for India, but for the whole world — across South East Asia, across South America, across Middle East.”
Asked if the Trump administration would allow it to do so, Howard said the company had “full support of the US government”.
He said the single-engine supersonic multi-role fighter aircraft that has seen action in the Afghanistan and Iraq wars was currently being built around the world, and setting up facilities in India would not impact jobs in the US.
“So whenever we have a situation, we will be able to build the entire aircraft in India. But we will continue to have parts that come from the US. That will continue to create jobs in the US. This absolutely supports American jobs,” he said, adding Lockheed was also looking at the possibility of setting up the entire ecosystem, including one with a runway, to produce the fighters in flyaway condition.
Another Lockheed-Martin official, Haley Donoho, who is business development head of the shoulder-fired anti-armour Javelin missile, said a possible joint venture for the system “is in good standing with the Indian government”.
“Should the Indian government be interested in the third generation missile system, we are ready to sell Javelin under a foreign military sale contract which is the most transparent acquisition contract you can find. You can trace at every step where the money is going.”
He said Lockheed-Martin has got the US government’s nod to transfer its “high-degree” technology to its partners in India for the development of the 22 kg portable missile system that comes with a combination of “fire and forget” and “man in the loop” capability, with a range of up to 4 km.
The missile, which automatically guides itself to the target after launch, has been used by US forces in the cold mountains of Afghanistan and in the hot deserts of Iraq. With its arched top-attack profile, Javelin climbs above its target for improved visibility and then strikes where the armour is weakest, he said.
“The US government was ready to transfer high-degree technology under US-India Defence Technology and Trade Initiative (DTTI) when the previous deal was done. The US government has indicated to us, and to the Indian Defence Ministry, that we will continue on the discussion with similar levels of transfer of technology.
“I can’t speak for the US government, but they are interested in the same type of deal for transfer of high-degree technology, specifically for India. We have done this for no other country.”
Asked about the future of India’s fledgling indigenous defence-building capabilities, the two officials said it was only a matter of time before the country emerges as one of the major military manufacturers in the world.
“I think it is coming. We will see whether it will take off quickly or slowly. But I think it is coming. This is India. Lots of engineers, lots of researchers, people with lots of capabilities. It is only a matter of time. We see it is coming,” Donoho said. (Source: Google/business-standard.com)
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UNMANNED SYSTEMS UPDATE
Sponsored by The British Robotics Seed Fund
18 Apr 18. Czechs to develop VTOL UAV. The Czech Ministry of Defence (MoD) announced on 12 April plans to award a research and development contract in June to its subsidiary, the Military Technical Institute (VTU), to develop a light vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) for the Army of the Czech Republic (ACR).
The ACR currently operates several mini and light UAV platforms, including the hand-launched AeroVironment RQ-11 Raven and Wasp III, and the catapult-launched Boeing Insitu ScanEagle.
These were procured from 2009 for ACR forces serving in Afghanistan to provide beyond-line-of-sight tactical awareness and general reconnaissance missions.
Although the ACR is seeking to procure additional Wasp III and ScanEagle platforms for CZK 200m (USD9.8m) by 2020, sources close to the MoD said the ACR is also seeking a UAV platform with the long endurance of the ScanEagle, while also offering a VTOL launch-and-recovery mode to ease deployment in remote or restricted areas of operation. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
18 Apr 18. France Wants Electronic Conspicuity Beacons on Drones. The French government has proposed a new law making it mandatory for all drones to be fitted with electronic conspicuity beacons – an idea with big implications for the future of drone regulation.
The proposal, written in legal French (a translation of which can be found here) would mandate the installation of beacons on all unmanned aircraft.
It appears to be part of a public consultation exercise by a governmental agency, the Direction Générale des Enterprises (France’s version of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills) on adding electronic and visual beacons to all drones weighing 800g or more, as part of recent amendments to France’s Post and Electronic Communications Code due to come into force on 1 July 2018.
The proposed beacon would run on the unlicensed 2.4GHz Wi-Fi spectrum allocation and transmit data using the rather elderly 802.11n specification. The machine-translated proposal state that the “the signaling message takes place in the payload part of the Wi-Fi frame 802.11n. The message corresponds to an 802.11n Wi-Fi frame running over a wireless network in AD HOC” and also state that the message payload must include:
- a code for the drone’s manufacturer;
- the drone’s unique serial number;
- its latitude and longitude;
- the latitude and longitude of its takeoff point;
- its speed;
- its heading;
- and a timestamp for all the above.
The unique manufacturer code will be a trigram issued by French authorities. Each message must be broadcast at intervals no greater than three seconds.
Also mandated will be the fitting of a light visible from 150 metres away, flashing the Morse letter U. The light must not use any of the colours presently used for manned aviation, and therefore will not be using the colours red, white or green. Interestingly, the proposals explicitly state that a single beacon will be acceptable for a swarm of drones. (Source: UAS VISION/The Register)
16 Apr 18. Ukrspecsystems unveils VTOL-capable. Ukrainian company Ukrspecsystems has unveiled a vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) variant of its PD-1 unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) at Defexpo 2018.
The company’s general manager, Jacob Cereteli, told Jane’s that the conventional fixed-wing UAV has now been fitted with four electrically powered rotors, two on each wing, which enables for VTOL operations.
The system has an endurance of more than 10 hours and can carry an improved payload of 10kg, an improvement from the 8kg in an earlier version. The UAV has a service ceiling of 3,000m, with operational range of more than 500km when fitted with an on-board 150 W generator.
Its surveillance capability is stated as 100km, and can be fitted with a range of payloads, including high-definition video cameras, and light detection and ranging (LIDAR) sensors. Output from these sensors can be streamed in real time to the operator. The UAV can also be equipped to dispense two self-inflatable life-saving buoys. The PD-1 utilises the AES-256 encrypted digital datalink, and is equipped with an inertial navigation unit. It can take off and land conventionally on runways that are at least 100m, or launched using a catapult and recovered with an in-built parachute. The UAV has a maximum take-off weight (MTOW) of 40 kg, is powered by a four-stroke engine, and can attain a cruising speed of 25m/s. The PD-1 can broadcast multiple portable video terminals within a range of 50 km, and these feeds can also be integrated into artillery combat systems to assist with target identification and fire corrections.
The UAV features a composite airframe with no metal parts, which makes it lighter and less prone to detection. In fully autonomous mode, the system has an endurance of 10 hours, and an operational range of 400 km.
(Source: IHS Jane’s)
16 Apr 18. Taiwan Test Flies Domestic Teng Yun. Taiwan has been testing its domestically made “Teng Yun” (騰雲) or Cloud Rider drones near an Air Force base in sparsely populated Taitung County.
The Teng Yun is a medium-altitude long-endurance Unmanned Aerial Vehicle produced by the National Chung-Shan Institute of Science and Technology (中科院).
One of the drones was recently spotted flying above the Zhihang (志航) Air Force Base in Taitung County, according to the United Daily News. The newspaper reported that local residents first thought it was a fighter jet because of its large size, but they noted it did not have a cockpit and made a different sound. The aircraft, which resembled the U.S.-made Predator, was seen flying close to the fishing port of Fugang on several recent evenings. Taiwan’s Air Force lost interest in purchasing the Teng Yun due to its electronic systems, the United Daily News quoted an expert as saying, but the recent tests might indicate that the Chung-Shan Institute upgraded the systems and that the Air Force might have again expressed a willingness to buy. (Source: UAS VISION/Taiwan News)
15 Apr 18. Adani Group, Elbit to Set Up Hyderabad Drone Plant
As part of the joint venture, Adani and Elbit will develop, maintain and upgrade Elbit’s unmanned air vehicle systems Hermes 900 and Hermes 450
Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India-headquartered, conglomerate Adani Group has entered a joint venture with Israeli drone maker Elbit Systems Ltd. to set up a drone plant in Hyderabad in India, according to a report published on Wednesday by Indian business newspaper The Hindu Business Line. As part of the joint venture, the companies will develop, maintain and upgrade Elbit’s medium-altitude, long-endurance unmanned air vehicle systems, Hermes 900 and Hermes 450 in India. The planned plant will manufacture composite aerostructure for Elbit’s Hermes 900, in the city of Hyderabad in southern India, the report said. An initial investment of $15m, may go up to $100m depending on orders by the Indian government, according to The Hindu Business Line. Speaking at DefExpo 2018, a security systems event held in Tamil Nadu, India, Ashish Rajvanshi, head of defense and aerospace at Adani, said that the joint venture will provide dedicated support to the Indian Armed Forces, according to the report. (Source: Google/www.calcalistech.com)
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CYBER, EW, CLOUD COMPUTING AND HOMELAND SECURITY UPDATE
Sponsored by Spectra Cyber Security Solutions
19 Apr 18. Defense Department Moves Closer to Cloud Computing. The Defense Department’s information technology move to the cloud will rapidly deliver advantages to the battlefield by enabling new machine learning and artificial intelligence capabilities, Dana W. White, chief Pentagon spokesperson, told reporters today.
White said the existing DoD IT infrastructure is a federated legacy environment based on earlier technology.
“Transitioning from legacy systems to the cloud will improve security, data accessibility, affordability and performance for both the warfighter and business operations across the department,” she explained.
The department is best served by a highly competitive and innovative technology industrial base, she said, adding that DoD is looking for a fully interoperable, user-friendly, affordable and secure cloud solution.
“Cloud” can mean many different things to different people. Cloud computing is the use of servers pooled together to provide virtual computing, storage, and additional services. With JEDI Cloud, DoD is pursuing infrastructure and platform as a service, which is the foundational layer necessary to enable advanced capabilities such as machine learning and artificial intelligence.
The Cloud Contract
“Acquiring software is not like acquiring ships or planes, but we must adhere to the same acquisition language and laws,” White said. “This contract is an example of how we are modernizing the department and reforming the way we do business.”
White said she wants to separate fact from fiction, and what the cloud is and what it is not. “We are conducting a full and open competition to acquire the best cloud capability for the war fighter,” she said. “It is a single-award contract. It is not a sole-source contract, and it is not designed with a specific vendor or company in mind. In fact, multiple vendors may form a partnership to offer us a competitive solution.”
It is a two-year contract with two option periods, White said, adding that this means the initial contract award is for only two years.
“A single-award strategy is appropriate today because of the current marketplace,” White said. “After the initial two-year contract period, we will re-examine the marketplace and make a decision about the capabilities we need for the next option period,” she added.
“We are excited about the future of the DoD cloud,” White said, noting that 46 companies responded with questions to the first draft solicitation.
“We wanted competition, and now we have it,” she said. “Ultimately, we want the best cloud capability for the warfighter.” (Follow Terri Moon Cronk on Twitter at @MoonCronkDoD)
17 Apr 18. US Army Scientists Uncover How to Stop Cyber Intrusions. U.S. Army-funded researchers at the University of California in Los Angles have found a proverbial smoking gun signature of the long sought-after Majorana particle, and the find, they say, could block intruders on sensitive communication networks. The Majorana particles, which were predicted more than 80 years ago by Italian theoretical physicist Ettore Majorana, could become critical building blocks for quantum computers because their unusual properties make them resistant to external interference and prevent loss of quantum information. The discovery not only solves a long-standing problem in physics, but also opens up a potential avenue to control Majorana fermions for realizing robust topological quantum computing, said Dr. Joe Qiu, manager of the Solid-State Electronics Program within the Engineering Sciences Directorate at the Army Research Office, an element of the U.S. Army Research Laboratory, located at Research Triangle Park in Durham, North Carolina. Quantum computers could solve problems much more quickly and efficiently than classical computers, potentially leading to significant improvement in situational awareness with the capability to process large amount of available data, a fundamental priority research area for the U.S. Army.
“Prior experimental approaches based on semiconductor nanowires on superconductors have produced inconclusive signals which could also be attributed to other effects,” Qiu said. “The UCLA experiment using stacked layers of magnetic topological insulator and superconductor has demonstrated the clearest and most unambiguous evidence of the particles as predicted by theory so far.”
The research leading to the discovery represents a close interdisciplinary collaboration between a team of researchers including electrical engineers, physicists and material scientists. The UCLA team is funded by an Army Multidisciplinary University Research Initiative, or MURI, award jointly managed by Electronics (Dr. Joe Qiu), Physics (Dr. Marc Ulrich) and Materials (Dr. John Prater) Divisions at ARO. ARO funds research to initiate scientific and far-reaching technological discoveries in extramural organizations, educational institutions, nonprofit organizations and private industry that may make future American Soldiers stronger and safer.
This research was led by Prof. Kang Wang, a UCLA distinguished professor of electrical engineering, of physics and of materials science and engineering, who also holds UCLA’s Raytheon Chair in Electrical Engineering.
First published in the prestigious journal Science last July, the research was featured in an invited talk presented by Professor Wang as well as two other related invited talks by his collaborators during the American Physical Society March Meeting.
“Because the Majorana particle is its own anti-particle — carrying zero electrical charge — it is viewed as the best candidate to carry a quantum bit, or qubit, the unit of data that would be the foundation of quantum computers. Unlike ‘bits’ of data in standard computers, which can be represented as either 0s or 1s, qubits have the ability to be both 0s and 1s, a property that would give quantum computers exponentially more computing power and speed than today’s best supercomputers,” Qiu said.
The Majorana particle has been the focus of keen interest for quantum computing in large part because its neutral charge makes it resistant to external interference and gives it the ability to leverage and sustain a quantum property known as entanglement. Entanglement allows two physically separate particles to concurrently encode information, which could generate enormous computing power.
“Imagine that bits of data in standard computers are like cars traveling both ways on two-lane highways,” said Wang, who also is director of the King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology’s Center of Excellence in Green Nanotechnology. “A quantum computer could have many lanes and many levels of ‘traffic,’ and the cars could hop between levels and travel in both directions at the same time, in every lane and on every level. We need stable, armored quantum ‘cars’ to do this and the Majorana particles are those supercars.”
For their research, the team set up a superconductor, a material that allows electrons to flow freely across its surfaces without resistance, and placed above it a thin film of a new quantum material called topological insulator, to give the engineers the ability to manipulate the particles into a specific pattern. After sweeping a very small magnetic field over the setup, the researchers found the Majorana particles’ distinct quantized signal — the telltale fingerprint of a specific type of quantum particles — in the electrical traffic between the two materials.
“The Majorana particles show up and behave like halves of an electron, although they aren’t pieces of electrons,” said Qing Lin He, a UCLA postdoctoral scholar and co-lead author of the Science paper. “We observed quantum behavior, and the signal we saw clearly showed the existence of these particles.”
In the experiment, Majorana particles traveled along the topological insulator’s edges in a distinct braid-like pattern. The researchers said the next step in their research will explore how to use Majorana particles in quantum braiding, which would knit them together to allow information to be stored and processed at super high speeds. Lei Pan, a UCLA doctoral student in electrical engineering and the paper’s co-lead author, said Majorana particles’ unique properties would appear to make them especially useful for topological quantum computers.
“While conventional quantum systems have sophisticated schemes to correct errors, information encoded in a topological quantum computer cannot be easily corrupted,” he said. “What’s exciting about using Majorana particles to build quantum computers is that the system would be fault-tolerant.”
The research team also includes collaborating members from UC Irvine, UC Davis and Stanford University.
The U.S. Army Research Laboratory is part of the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command, which has the mission to ensure decisive overmatch for unified land operations to empower the Army, the joint warfighter and our nation. RDECOM is a major subordinate command of the U.S. Army Materiel Command. (Source: defense-aerospace.com/US Army)
17 Apr 18. Thornberry proposes eliminating DISA. The Defense Information Systems Agency is on the chopping block in new legislation from House Armed Services Committee Chairman Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-Texas), who’s on a mission to slash Pentagon bureaucracy.
In proposed legislation unveiled April 17, Thornberry outlined plans that would close DISA by January 1, 2021, transferring all IT contracting, acquisition services and senior leader communications functions to “other elements of the Department of Defense.” Any functions and personnel not transferred as part of that directive would be eliminated, according to the proposal.
The bill also fully transfers the Joint Force Headquarters-DoD Information Networks organization to U.S. Cyber Command.
DISA oversees the operation of DoD networks and IT, as well as significant parts of federal communications, mobility, satellite communications and cloud services. JFHQ-DoDIN in in charge of defending DoD networks at the operational level.
The Thornberry bill directs the DoD deputy chief management officer to submit to Congress by March 1, 2020, plans for the closure and transfers of functions.
But this isn’t the first time DISA and its operations have been targeted in the search for Pentagon efficiencies.
In 2010 then-Defense Secretary Robert Gates rolled out plans to save the department $100bn by centralizing defense IT infrastructure, consolidating key IT functions and closing the office that housed the Pentagon’s CIO role, the assistant secretary of Defense for networks and information integration. The proposal also moved the CIO function to DISA.
Other previous plans, including some directed by then-Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. James Cartwright, called for moving the Joint Staff’s command-and-control elements and IT-focused groups from the former Joint Forces Command to CYBERCOM.
CYBERCOM itself actually evolved from elements of DISA, as well as U.S. Strategic Command and NSA. Originally, DISA’s late-1990s Joint Task Force for Computer Network Defense expanded into the Joint Task Force for Global Network Operations, which was later rolled into CYBERCOM.
But it’s not clear if CYBERCOM is necessarily the best place for those functions – something the agencies’ organizational history underscores, according to DISA’s former top technology official.
About five years after the launch of CYBERCOM, leaders came back to then-DISA Director Lt. Gen. Ronnie Hawkins and asked to reestablish the Joint Task Force-Global Network Operations “’because there are things we don’t have time to do and we’re not good at doing in network operations and defense,’” said Dave Mihelcic, former DISA CTO now at Juniper Networks. “So now we’re talking about taking those assets and rolling them into CYBERCOM, when they were missions CYBERCOM didn’t want to do in the first place.”
It’s also uncertain that a defense IT reorganization would yield what Thornberry is targeting in the new bill. That’s the conclusion officials came to last time defense officials were on a sweeping hunt for IT efficiencies and savings, in the directives ordered by Gates and Cartwright.
“We [previously] had a large analysis of DoD missions and functions targeting IT efficiencies, and at one point they looked at rolling DISA’s functions under a combination of the military services and CYBERCOM,” Mihelcic said. “But what they found in the detailed analysis then was that it was actually going to require a significant investment to effect that change, and the savings were not significant over time.”
Besides closing DISA, Thornberry’s proposal also would eliminate the Defense Technical Information Center, the Office of Economic Adjustment, the Defense Technology Security Administration, the Test Resource Management Center, Washington Headquarters Services and the Defense Human Resources Activity.
DISA has a total budget of nearly $10bn and more than 5,000 employees and 7,500 contractors. Officials there did not respond to a request for comment. (Source: C4ISR & Networks)
16 Apr 18. Research Reveals Businesses Lack Confidence in Their Own Plans to Manage Cyber Attacks. BAE Systems has released new research into how businesses can react to a cyber incident. The study found that just 9% of UK businesses feel totally confident in their organisation’s cyber breach mitigation plan. Despite continuing news of cyber attacks and data breaches every day, the findings indicate that businesses are still struggling to establish plans that will help them deal with this 21st century threat.
The responses by sector reveal that no companies surveyed from the manufacturing industry are totally confident in their organisation’s cyber breach mitigation plan. This is followed by:
- 5% from ‘other’ commercial sectors
- 7% from retail, distribution and transport
- 10% from IT
- 15% from business and professional services
- 15% from financial services
James Hatch, Cyber Services Director at BAE Systems Applied Intelligence, said:
“Many organisations still see dealing with a cyber security breach as a black swan event, something significant and unexpected that in hindsight could have been prevented, and have not yet made their mitigation plans business as usual. Effective management of cyber breaches requires businesses to be organised and prepared for the threats that they face, with a clear process in place. Everyone involved should be confident in what they need to do.”
Related Research on ASDReports.com:
Global Critical Infrastructure Protection Market 2018-2028
When asked what was their most important tool in identifying a cyber-attack quickly, almost half (48%) said that technology is their most important tool, with people coming second at 32%. Just 15% named process – but organisations need to deploy a combination of people, process and technology in order to be cyber resilient.
“There are two problems. Most organisations struggle to deal with something beyond the experience of their people. Each time existing experience is stretched it can cause an emotional reaction within organisations. They have to prepare for these new experiences and learn how to handle in the future. External specialists can help but are most effective when their involvement and arrangements for mobilisation, access and communication are defined in advance. There is absolutely a role for technology and automation, especially in reducing the workload involved in dealing with routine incidents so that security teams have the bandwidth to deal with what really matters.
“The range of incidents that an organisation can face varies hugely from ransomware outbreaks to covert targeted attacks to accidental data breaches. But that doesn’t mean that businesses cannot be prepared for all of these eventualities. The key is to differentiate the routine from the unusual and the urgent from the important and prepare for each with the right combination of technology and automation, people and skills, policy and process. Once this is done, cyber breaches become more manageable and less emotional.” (Source: ASD Network)
16 Apr 18. MASS discloses CounterWorX countermeasures development. UK electronic warfare operational support (EWOS) house, MASS – part of Cohort PLC – has disclosed details about the development of CounterWorx, a modular suite of analysis, modelling, and simulation software tools evolved to support and enhance electronic warfare (EW) countermeasures development (CM Dev) against evolving and ever more complex threat systems.
Designed to be used individually or collectively, the CounterWorX tools are intended to provide the user with a comprehensive subsystem modelling capability to advance CM solutions for platform protection both in their specific individual spectra – radio frequency (RF), infrared (IR), and electro-optic (EO) – and also, and more increasingly, in the multi-spectral domain, for example where missile threats use RF and IR seekers within an engagement.
CounterWorX comprises a suite of five software tools that address the different stages of the CM Dev process. “At the start of the CM development process it is very much about analysing threat data and finding vulnerabilities, and for that we use CounterWorX Discover,” Paul Bradbeer, EWOS technical sales manager at MASS, told Jane’s. Discover, which effectively determines missile capabilities from limited information, uses a reverse-engineering approach to establish engineering-based inferences about missile performance, based on physical layout and properties. Typically the Discover tool takes the physical dimensions of a missile (for example, from a scaled photo) and uses engineering principles (such as aerodynamics and the position of the missile’s various control surfaces) to establish likely performance metrics (such as thrust, aerodynamic coefficients, etc.). Tools such as this give a scientific basis for analysis and modelling, can generate new data, or validate existing data from other sources. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
17 Apr 18. International medical imaging IT and cybersecurity company Sectra’s (STO: SECT B) encrypted smartphone, Sectra Tiger®/R, has been approved by the European Union (EU) for the communication of information at the RESTRICTED security level (RESTREINT UE/EU RESTRICTED). The device provides EU agency officials with a modern mobile platform that gives them easy and secure access to highly confidential information when needed.
The RESTRICTED security level is a classification used for information which, if it fell into the wrong hands, could pose a threat to national security.
“The RESTRICTED approval from the EU is confirmation that our solution stands up to eavesdropping and hacking attempts from the most resourceful parties in the world, says Simo Pykälistö, President of Sectra Communications. Smartphones are increasingly operating in an environment where the security of data is constantly being put to the test. We’ve developed a solution that can consistently pass these tests, providing one of the most secure mobile systems available today”.
Sectra Tiger/R was developed by Sectra under guidance from the Dutch National Communications Security Agency (NL-NCSA). The EU is the latest organization to grant RESTRICTED approval for Sectra Tiger/R, joining the NL-NCSA and NATO. RESTRICTED approvals from these bodies and other national security authorities make it possible for a large group of users to take advantage of the very latest mobile technology.
Sectra Tiger/R is built on the Samsung Knox platform. The enhanced platform security, which, combined with Sectra’s encryption technology, enabled the approval at the RESTRICTED level, is the result of a strategic partnership between Sectra and Samsung. This means that Sectra Tiger/R can be installed out-of-the-box on the latest Samsung smartphone or tablet models, without the need for device adaptation.
“Security is a top priority for government organizations when choosing mobile technology,” said Neil Barclay, Senior Manager, Samsung Europe. “Leveraging our enterprise grade security, we’ve collaborated with Sectra to create a unique and highly customized platform that manages and protects the most sensitive and confidential information”.
Spectra Cyber Security Solutions
If your data resides on a computer, server or other electronic device with an outward facing connection, like the internet, then it is vulnerable to attack.
As a minimum, you should take steps that include encrypting your data and ensuring your digital perimeter is protected by firewalls, user authentication and other measures to prevent an unauthorised intrusion.
As well as managing integrity of data, ensuring a high Quality of Service is always available is crucial. With 15 years of success, securing, designing and delivering voice and data networks for Defence, Security, Public and Commercial organisations, Spectra understands the threat of Cyber Security and the vital importance of ensuring data arrives on time, error free and uncompromised.
Spectra Group is ISO 27001 accredited which, as an information security management standard, is clear and precise, listing 114 key security controls that should always be at the heart of any organisation’s approach to securing its information assets
Spectra Cyber Security Solutions provide defence-in-depth, with proactive testing, to identify weaknesses in networks and procedures and protect your data, to further minimise risk. Services include Network Health Checks, Cyber Security Compliance, System Engineering and Cyber Security Training.
To enhance your security, Spectra operate a Network Operating Centre (NOC) which provides 24/7/365 monitoring of your network to immediately identify any breach, or potential breach, as well as providing a UK based helpdesk. This enables the Customer to have proactive monitoring and provides the User with a 24-hour contact if they have concerns or issues with their network.
INTERNATIONAL PROCUREMENT OPPORTUNITIES
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UNITED KINGDOM AND NATO
19 Apr 18. KBR, Inc. (NYSE: KBR) announced today, following Carillion’s recent insolvency, it has completed the acquisition of Carillion’s interests in Aspire Defence. Through the Aspire Defence joint venture KBR has supported the UK Ministry of Defence (MOD) on Project Allenby Connaught since 2006, under one of the largest infrastructure Private Finance Initiatives in the UK. Aspire provides high quality design, construction and base support services to the British Army for living and working accommodations. KBR assumed operational control of the Aspire Defence joint ventures following Carillion’s insolvency announcement in January – including the hiring of affected Carillion staff – and has maintained normal business operations without disruption to the delivery of services or performance.
“This acquisition and our commitment to maintain the stability of the project strengthens KBR’s long-standing relationship with the UK MOD as a core client,” said Stuart Bradie, KBR President and CEO. “KBR has spent more than 12 years delivering this program to re-house soldiers into fit for purpose accommodation and working facilities.”
“We look forward to continuing to provide market-leading construction and long-term maintenance services in support of the Army Basing Programme within the Project Allenby Connaught footprint and to provide base support services across Salisbury Plain and Aldershot garrisons,” Bradie continued. “This project underpins our long term relationship with the MOD whether at the home base, providing deployed operational support or acting as an integrator of complex defense equipment and systems.”
With more than 22 years remaining on the Aspire contract this acquisition provides KBR with enduring, stable and profitable backlog. The impact to KBR’s earnings and cash flows has already been included in 2018 Guidance issued on February 23, 2018.
18 Apr 18. Sikorsky, a Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT) Company, announced its German industrialization plan for competing in the German Air Force “Schwerer Transporthubschrauber” (STH) Program with the world class heavy lift helicopter, the CH-53K King Stallion. Rheinmetall Group, which has entered into an exclusive arrangement with Sikorsky, will lead in-service support for the CH-53K.
The Sikorsky CH-53K team will host the German companies in an industry chalet during ILA Berlin Airshow April 25-29. Sikorsky will showcase plans for the long-term sustainment of the CH-53K by German aerospace industry. The plans will optimize maintenance and repair for the German Air Force for future decades.
“The CH-53K is the most modern and capable heavy lift helicopter ever built and has the ability to fly for the next 50 years performing ever expanding combat, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief missions,” said Dan Schultz, president of Sikorsky. “We look forward to our partnership with German industry to bring true heavy lift capability to every aspect of the German Armed Forces.”
The CH-53K helicopter is the best choice for handling missions like humanitarian aid, troop transport, casualty evacuation, support of special operations forces, and combat search and rescue. No matter the mission, the aircraft provides the highest degree of safety for its crew and occupants in all conditions. With the legacy fleet of the CH-53G, Sikorsky has a strong relationship with the Bundeswehr. The CH-53K will enable the German Armed Forces to conduct bona fide heavy lift operations. Intelligent, reliable, low-maintenance and survivable, the CH-53K is the future of German Heavy Lift.
German companies participating in the CH-53K industry chalet at ILA Berlin are: Rheinmetall – which will lead the effort – MTU, ZF Luftfahrttechnik GmbH, Autoflug, HYDRO Systems KG, Rockwell Collins Germany, Jenoptik, Hensoldt, Liebherr, and Rohde & Schwarz.
Sikorsky, with its lead exclusive teammate for in-service support, Rheinmetall, continues to identify additional German defense companies to contribute to the sustainment of the helicopter in Germany.
The CH-53K King Stallion advances Sikorsky’s 50 years of manufacturing and operational success with its CH-53A, CH-53D/G, and CH-53E predecessors. Built to thrive on the twenty-first century battlefield, including shipboard operations, the CH-53K aircraft is an all-new aircraft, using modern intelligent design. The rugged CH-53K is designed to ensure reliability, low-maintenance, high availability and enhanced survivability in the most austere and remote forward operating bases. The CH-53K is a production platform; it will be fielded to the U.S. Marine Corps (USMC) as a fully-operational aircraft in 2019. By the time Germany receives its first aircraft, the CH-53K will have been in service with the USMC for five years. The CH-53K is the modern heavy lift solution that will provide the German Armed Forces with a proven heavy lift helicopter that can be entered into service seamlessly without need for upgrades for the next several decades.
18 Apr 18. DoD’s Underfunded Maintenance Backlog Exceeds $116bn, Official Says. The requested $10.5bn in military construction and family housing programs in the president’s fiscal year 2019 budget request makes significant progress to recapitalize facilities, but it will not reverse the impacts of six years of sequestration, the assistant secretary of defense for energy, installations and environment said today.
“We currently have an underfunded maintenance backlog exceeding $116 bn; 23 percent of the department’s facilities are in poor condition, [and] another 9 percent are in failing condition,” Lucian Niemeyer told the House Armed Services Committee’s subcommittee on readiness.
“My frank assessment [is that] it may be too costly to buy ourselves out of this backlog,” he said. “We must work to remove unneeded capacity to fund higher priorities. As noted in the National Defense Strategy, we continue to reduce excess infrastructure and will work with Congress for options for base realignment and closures. These efforts will be enhanced by a careful evaluation we are undertaking of how and when we base new forces and new capabilities.”
Niemeyer said DoD budget priorities establish a foundation to rebuild the agility, resilience, readiness and lethality of the armed forces. The following objectives were developed, he told the panel, to confront the challenges that exist after years of underfunded facility and infrastructure accounts:
— Using every program and funding source available to cut out waste in DoD infrastructure;
— Continuing to advocate for adequate funding for installations accounts;
— Protecting installations in ranges from incompatible development and improving combat credibility of the nation’s test and training ranges;
— Enhancing energy security;
— Exploring new opportunities for third-party partnerships;
— Working with military engineering contracting communities to develop smarter contracts and executing contracts smartly;
— Continuing to provide for the welfare of DoD people and resources through unparalleled environmental stewardship and occupational safety programs; and
— Continuing to collaborate with the hundreds of defense communities around the country that support military bases and provide for troops and their families.
“These guiding principles will allow us to apply the resources requested in this budget to achieve real results,” Niemeyer said.
Reviewing Facilities Use
Rather than another request this year to authorize a new round of base realignments and closures, Niemeyer said, the Defense Department is reviewing the use of its facilities.
“For instance, we must ensure the facilities that were sized for 100 personnel actually have 100 personnel in them. We also have proposed increased efforts to demolish facilities we don’t need,” Niemeyer said. The department also is reducing leases and moving functions into DoD facilities, he said.
DoD is proactively improving military construction project delivery and contract manager processes to deliver power projection projects on schedule and within budget, he told the subcommittee. And given the risks documented recently by the Department of Homeland Security, he added, DoD’s energy programs are focused on energy security for critical facilities.
“Our warfighters also need access to unencumbered land, water and air space to hone their readiness and lethality without compromising health and safety,” he said. “We are heavily engaged with other federal agencies to provide larger and more realistic air and sea ranges with less maneuver restrictions to better simulate battlefields and threats around the world. Our commitment is to provide combat credible test and training ranges.
“We have both challenges and opportunities in support of our new national defense strategy,” Niemeyer said. “We have a determined sense of urgency to achieve results now, knowing that each achievement deters aggression by our adversaries.” (Follow Terri Moon Cronk on Twitter at @MoonCronkDoD)
18 Apr 18. B-21 Bomber Finishes Preliminary Design Review, and Air Force Official Is ‘Comfortable’ with Progress. A U.S. Air Force official told a Senate subcommittee Wednesday that the new B-21 bomber has completed its preliminary design review and that he was “comfortable” with the progress made by builder Northrop Grumman Corp. The bomber is now on its way to critical design review, said Lt. Gen. Arnold Bunch Jr., the military deputy of the office of the assistant secretary of the Air Force for acquisition. Citing the “nature of the work,” Bunch declined to go into further detail about how the Air Force planned to spend the $2.3 bn it requested for the bomber program for fiscal year 2019 when asked by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas). However, he said the program was “continuing engineering manufacturing development” and “some of those risk reduction areas.” The first set of software for the platform has been delivered, and the program is getting “set up” for the next set of software to come in, Bunch told the Senate Armed Forces Subcommittee on Airland during a hearing about Air Force modernization efforts. (Source: defense-aerospace.com/Los Angeles Times)
17 Apr 18. Meggitt Training Systems Selected as Finalist for U.S. Army Targeting Program. Meggitt Training Systems, the leading provider of integrated live-fire and virtual weapons training products and services for armed forces and law enforcement, has been named one of five companies qualified to fulfill a vital U.S. Army combat skills training program for American and allied warfighters. The Army Targetry Systems program has a total value of $125m. Individual contracts will be awarded during the next five years with an estimated completion date of March 15, 2023. The program will be administered by U.S. Army Contracting Command, based in Warren, Michigan.
“Meggitt Training Systems appreciates the opportunity to deliver on the upcoming Army Targetry Systems program,” said Jon Read, Meggitt’s live-fire systems director. “We believe our track record at U.S. Army training ranges at home and abroad makes us the ideal choice for the next generation of live-fire targets.” With more than 75,000 infantry target systems successfully fielded on 122 military bases around the world, Meggitt Training Systems products are proven to be reliable and flexible to support both skills qualifications events and more complex unit-collective training. The company’s offerings include a variety of multi-function and stationary infantry targets, as well as moving infantry targets, to provide maximum realism during training. (Source: BUSINESS WIRE)
16 Apr 18. Pentagon updates its JEDI cloud solicitation. The Department of Defense has released an update to its draft request for proposals on the sweeping Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure cloud contract — worth potentially bns over the next decade — which includes responses to industry questions and comments on the solicitation.
The Pentagon issued the first draft request for proposals on March 7, 2018, after a public industry day where DoD officials emphasized the widespread changes and improvements they hope to bring about through the JEDI cloud. The updated version of the RFP includes revised requirements and a statement of objectives for the contract, as well as the answers to industry feedback on the first draft. The Q&A document includes 81 pages of industry questions and government responses, addressing 1,030 items ranging from issues of identity management to cybersecurity. According to the updated statement of objectives, the JEDI cloud could potentially be used by all military departments, all DoD components, the defense intelligence community, the Office of the Secretary of Defense, the U.S. Coast Guard, the intelligence community, international allies and partners, and contractors supporting defense business and mission operations. Industry now has a second opportunity to comment on the proposal, based on the provided government responses to past questions and the modifications to JEDI requirements. Commenters have until April 30, 2018, at 11 a.m. EST to submit their feedback. The final solicitation for the contract is scheduled for early May 2018, with an award anticipated in September. (Source: Defense News Early Bird/C4ISR & Networks)
REST OF THE WORLD
19 Apr 18. Down to the Wire: With the Australian SEA 5000 Future Frigate decision believed to be imminent, we summarise the contenders. The competition for Australia’s new Project SEA 5000 warships is drawing to a close, with bids in and considered, and a decision reportedly set to be announced during the life of this issue. Whatever the ultimate outcome, Australia will end up with nine advanced warships and a new high-tech shipbuilding industry which will go some way to replacing the defunct car makers.
“It’s been a cracking competition,” noted one industry insider.
The new vessels, termed Future Frigates, will replace the Navy’s eight Anzac class frigates which were constructed by Tenix Defence – now BAE Systems Australia – at Williamstown in Victoria between 1993 and 2004. Two additional vessels went to New Zealand. The Anzacs started out as modestly capable vessels, termed by one former coalition government minister as “floating targets.” But they have been steadily upgraded and, now with the Australian CEAFAR radar, Saab 9LV combat system and ESSM air-defence missile, they possess a world-class air defence capability. With the first of the Anzacs reaching planned life of type in the late 2020s, the former Labor government spelled out the requirement for a new warship in its 2009 Defence White Paper. What we needed, it said, were vessels designed and equipped with a strong emphasis on anti-submarine warfare (ASW) because of the proliferation of submarines across the region. The Navy had always possessed an ASW capability, but since the end of the Cold War and during its commitment to the prolonged Gulf campaigns, it had languished. In August 2015, the coalition government announced Project SEA 5000 to find an Anzac replacement would be brought forward, with construction of the first vessel to start in Adelaide in 2020. The Competitive Evaluation Process was to start in October 2015. But, more than just building new ships for the Navy, the government wanted to use this project as the foundations to re-establish a shipbuilding industry. So, it wouldn’t be enough for bidders to come up with a good ship – they also needed to show how they would create a whole new national capability and an enduring industry to support it.
In April 2016, the government announced a shortlist of three contenders – Spanish shipbuilder Navantia with its F5000 design based on its F100/Hobart class DDGs; BAE Systems Australia with the Type 26 Global Combat ship; and Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri with a design based on the FREMM multi-mission frigate. On face value, each contender has its merits. (Source: defense-aerospace.com/Australian Defence Business Review)
18 Apr 18. Malaysian upgrade programmes on hold. Three delayed Malaysian military aerospace upgrade programmes are expected to proceed following the conclusion of the country’s general election, which is scheduled for May, industry officials told Jane’s at the Defence Services Asia (DSA) 2018 exhibition in Kuala Lumpur.
The officials confirmed that programmes to upgrade the Royal Malaysian Air Force’s (RMAF’s) BAE Systems Hawk aircraft, Sikorsky S-61A-4 ‘Nuri’ helicopters, and Lockheed Martin C-130H transport aircraft are all subject to continuing discussions but are “more or less” ready to proceed to contract-signing stage.
“Negotiations on all programmes are continuing but we expect contracts to be progressed following the election,” said one official from the National Aerospace and Defence Industries (NADI), the parent group of Airod, which has already been designated prime contractor on the three upgrade programmes. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
17 Apr 18. Indonesia considers pulling out of KFX/IFX project. Key Points:
- Indonesia is considering withdrawing from the KFX/IFX development programme with South Korea.
- The reasons for the potential withdrawal include financing, technology sharing, and geopolitical factors.
The Indonesian government is contemplating withdrawing from the programme with South Korea to develop the next-generation Korean Fighter Xperiment/Indonesia Fighter Xperiment (KFX/IFX) aircraft, Jane’s has learnt.
Speaking at the Defence Services Asia (DSA) 2018 exhibition in Kuala Lumpur Indonesian officials said that while the country’s involvement is currently continuing, several key issues are causing debate over whether participation should be terminated. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
17 Apr 18. Airbus looks to leverage industry ties in Malaysian MPA bid. Airbus is looking to leverage its growing industrial ties in Malaysia to help secure a contract to supply a maritime patrol version of its C295 twin turboprop light tactical transport aircraft to the Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF).
The service’s requirement for maritime patrol aircraft (MPA) is longstanding but received a boost in the 2018 defence budget when, unexpectedly, the procurement received some funding to support initial elements of the programme, such as feasibility projects and research. However, Airbus, along with its rivals, is waiting for the full requirements to be disclosed by Malaysia and that will be possible later this year once the country’s general election, scheduled for May, is concluded. It is possible that the full programme will feature the RMAF’s acquisition of four MPA but this has not been confirmed. Speaking to Jane’s at the Defence Services Asia (DSA) 2018 exhibition in Kuala Lumpur, Airbus said that they believe the C295 MPA best fits the RMAF’s requirement due to the maturity of the aircraft, which is already in service by the Brazilian Air Force, and the country’s expanding collaboration with local industry. The RMAF operates four Airbus A400M military transport aircraft, the last of which was delivered in 2017, and through this programme the company has established links with Malaysian firms including Composites Technology Research Malaysia (CTRM), a subsidiary of DRB-Hicom Defence Technologies (Deftech), and Contraves.
Airbus is also looking to increase this engagement in the coming few years. The company told Jane’s that it is planning to increase by 25% the value of outsourcing in the country across commercial and defence domains. The current value of outsourcing is USD400m a year, making Malaysia Airbus’ largest supplier base in Southeast Asia, but this will increase to at least USD500m a year by 2021. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
17 Apr 18. Damen positions Enforcer 10000 LDP for Malaysian multirole ship requirement. Netherlands shipbuilder Damen is positioning its Enforcer 10000 landing platform dock (LPD) to meet an anticipated requirement in the Royal Malaysian Navy (RMN) for multirole support ships (MRSS). Gysbert Boersma, Damen’s sales director for Malaysia and Indonesia, told Jane’s that the company is currently in talks with both the RMN and local industry in support of the bid.
However, he also conceded that the MRSS programme is unlikely to start in the near term, given the general election in Malaysia in 2018 and the lack of funding that the procurement has so far secured from the country’s national defence budget. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
17 Apr 18. UkrOboronProm offers to maintain Indian Navy’s new Kiev-class vessel. Ukrainian company UkrOboronProm has shown readiness to provide maintenance services for the Indian Navy’s latest Kiev-class aircraft carrier, INS Vikramaditya. The offer was made during the DefExpo 2018 event, which was held in India. UkrOboronProm director general Pavlo Bukin and India Naval Staff chief admiral Sunil Lanba discussed the possible participation of Ukrainian defence industry enterprises in the modernisation and upgrade of the Indian Navy’s vessels as part of the development. Furthermore, Bukin emphasised the country’s interest in the joint development of navy vessel and coastal radar systems and sea buoys, as well as engaging in the supply of spare parts for Indian Navy ships and submarines. UkrOboronProm noted that the company could facilitate the continued delivery and joint production of gas turbine engines as part of the offer, in addition to providing maintenance services for INS Vikramaditya. The 284m-long aircraft carrier features a displacement of 44,500t and can sail at a maximum of speed more than 30k.
The warship has been constructed by Ukrainian specialists based at the Mykolaiv shipbuilding plant.
INS Vikramaditya represents the Indian Navy’s newest and largest vessel and was originally commissioned on 16 November 2013.
The Kiev-class vessel is equipped with four propellers and powered by eight latest and advanced boilers featuring steam capacities of 100 tonnes per hour (tph) at a very high pressure of 64bar, thereby producing a total power output of 180,000 shaft horsepower (shp).
The Indian Navy vessel has maximum beam of approximately 60m and is able to accommodate the MiG 29K, Kamov 31, Kamov 28, Seaking, ALH and Chetak aircraft. (Source: naval-technology.com)
13 Apr 18. Rolls-Royce agrees naval propulsion tech transfer to India. Rolls-Royce and Goa Shipyard Limited (GSL) have signed an agreement to jointly assemble MTU Series 8000 engines in India that will power navy and coastguard vessels. They will assemble the 16-cylinder and 20-cylinder MTU Series 8000 engines at state-owned GSL’s new facility in Goa, the companies announced on 12 April during the Defexpo show in Chennai. Technology transfer will include localising engine components, engine assembly, testing, painting, and major overhauls, all relating to the diesel engines that power the Indian coastguard’s new offshore patrol vessels, six of which have been completed and five are under construction. They will also power five of the navy’s OPVs under construction by Reliance Defence Engineering, and the seven coastguard OPVs being built by Larsen & Toubro. (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
19 Apr 18. Chemring Group is pleased to announce that the UK Ministry of Defence (“MOD”) has now confirmed orders for the next two years totalling approximately £23m. All contracts are with UK based subsidiaries and are for the supply of countermeasures (£11m), pyrotechnic products (£8m) and a range of demolition stores (£4m). Deliveries under these contracts will be made during the MOD’s financial years commencing April 2018 and April 2019.
13 Apr 18. Curtiss-Wright to provide mission computers to Thales. Curtiss-Wright Defense Solutions has received a contract from Thales UK for its commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) Packaged COTS (PCOTS) mission computers, the company announced on 10 April. The system will be used with Thales’ new Elix-IR next generation threat warning system, an airborne multifunction passive infrared threat warning system designed to provide enhanced mission survivability for military aircraft. The initial development contract is worth $300,000. The potential lifetime value of the production contract is estimated at $30 m. Production will begin in late 2018 and is expected to run through 2028. The PCOTS rugged mission computer, housed in a rugged chassis, features Curtiss-Wright 3U OpenVPX single board computers and switches. Thales’ Elix-IR system provides simultaneous and unimpeded missile warning, hostile fire indication and 360° coverage from a single sensor system. The system can detect passive man/crew-portable air defence systems, small-to-large calibre guns, rocket propelled grenades and other unguided rockets that are threatening the platform. The Elix-IR has been designed for use on a wide range of rotary and fixed-wing platforms including helicopters, transport aircraft and VIP aircraft. (Source: Shephard)
17 Apr 18. Milrem and BAE Systems Sign Maintenance Support Contract for Estonian CV90s. Patria’s subsidiary Milrem LCM and BAE Systems have signed a contract to support Estonia’s fleet of CV9035 Infantry Fighting Vehicles (IFVs). Milrem LCM, an Estonian provider of defense vehicle lifecycle management, will provide maintenance and repair services for CV9035 vehicles from its facilities in Estonia. The first batch of IFVs arrived in Estonia in October 2016, followed by a second shipment in December 2017. The agreement is part of BAE Systems’ wider contract with the Estonian government to maintain and sustain 44 CV9035 vehicles acquired from the Netherlands in 2014. This co-operation will provide long-term benefits to the Estonian Defense Forces by sustaining and developing these vehicles for years to come.
13 Apr 18. Bittium Wireless Ltd, a subsidiary of Bittium Corporation has received a purchase order from the Finnish Defence Forces for products included in the Software Defined Radio based Bittium Tactical Wireless IP Network™ (TAC WIN) system, which is meant for tactical communications. The value of the purchase order is EUR 14.3m (excl. VAT). The purchase order does not change Bittium’s financial outlook for the year 2018, published on February 22, 2018 in Bittium Corporation’s Financial Statement Bulletin 2017. The purchase order is based on the Framework Agreement signed by Bittium and the Finnish Defence Forces on August 9, 2017, according to which the Finnish Defence Forces will order
products included in the Software Defined Radio based Bittium TAC WIN system during the years 2018-2020. According to the Framework Agreement, Finnish Defence Forces will issue separate purchase orders for the products each year. The products ordered now will be delivered to the
Finnish Defence Forces during the year 2018. If materialized in full, the total value of the Framework Agreement is EUR 30m (excl. VAT). Bittium issued a stock exchange release about the Frame Agreement on August 9, 2017. The purchase order is part of the renewal of the Finnish Defence Forces’ command, control and communications system, where the Software Defined Radio based Bittium TAC WIN system acts as the backbone network for tactical data transfer. Bittium TAC WIN provides broadband IP network
connections for mobile communication stations and command posts. In the reformed combat doctrine of the Finnish Defence Forces, mobility, leading the troops on the move, and effective communications play a key role.
18 Apr 18. Patria to supply bridge-laying equipment to Finnish Army. Aerospace and defence company Patria has been selected to deliver bridge-laying equipment systems for the Finnish Defence Forces.
The Finnish Ministry of Defence has authorised the Defence Forces Logistics Command to sign an agreement with the company for the equipment systems. Under the €28.6m deal, the Finnish Defence Forces will receive four new Leopard 2L bridge tanks integrated with the ability to handle Leguan bridges of different lengths. As part of the project, Patria will be responsible for building the bridge-laying equipment systems on the Leopard 2A4 platforms previously procured by the country’s defence forces. In addition, the company will deliver bridge-laying ability of different length bridges for the previous six Leopard 2L bridge tanks and nine SISU E15TP-L bridge vehicles purchased by the country.
Between 2004 and 2008, Patria carried out a bridge system project and provided the Finnish Defence Forces with six bridge-laying tanks and nine bridge-laying vehicles. Authorisation will help increase the number of bridge tanks and upgrade the current equipment. The project is expected to create about 55 total years of employment in Finland. According to the company, deliveries of the new tanks and upgrade works of the previously purchased bridge-laying tanks and SISU E15TP-L vehicles are expected to take place between next year and 2021. (Source: army-technology.com)
19 Apr 18. The National Armed Forces of the Republic of Latvia is set to acquire RQ-20A Puma tactical hand-launched unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) from US-based technology company AeroVironment.
The Latvian Armed Forces intends to use more than $3m of US financial support for the procurement of the Puma drones, which would help strengthen the country’s surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities.
Under the scope of the US Government’s foreign military funding programme, the Latvian Army will receive three RQ-20A Puma UAS that are slated to be delivered next year. (Source: army-technology.com)
09 Apr 18. Comtech EF Data’s SLM-5650B Modem Receives DoD Contract. Comtech EF Data is being awarded a $58,891,826 indefinite-quantity/indefinite-delivery contract for Comtech SLM-5650B modems, SLM-5650B modem upgrade kits, firmware upgrades and technical support services, according to the latest contract announcements from the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD). The commercially available modems support satellite communications and interoperability across U.S. Navy platforms and shore sites. The contract includes five one-year ordering periods. Work will be performed in Tempe, Arizona, and is expected to be completed by March 2023. Fiscal 2018 other procurement (Navy) funds in the amount of $8,213,031 will be placed on contract and obligated at the time of award. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This sole-source contract was not competitively procured in accordance with 10 U.S. Code 2304(c)(1). The Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command, San Diego, California, is the contracting activity (N00039-18-D-0007). (Source: Satnews)
13 Apr 18. FLIR Systems Inc., North Billerica, Massachusetts, is being awarded a $10,686,000 firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity modification to a previously awarded contract (N00164-13-D-JQ59) to procure electro-optical infrared (EO/IR) sensors and cable kits for the Patrol Boat – Electro Optics System (PB-EOS) for the Coast Guard and Navy. This modification will increase ceiling and revise maximum quantity from 142 to 168 for EO/IR sensor systems including cable kits. The primary mission of the PB-EOS is to provide enhanced visual imagery to augment existing electronic sensors that will enhance low visibility and night navigation, maritime interception, coastal observation and surveillance, insertion and extraction operations, combat search and rescue, identification, real-time situational awareness and threat warning, reconnaissance and surveillance, documenting navigational hazards as well as visit, board, search and seizure operations. Work will be performed in North Billerica, Massachusetts, and is expected to be completed by October 2019. Fiscal 2018 Coast Guard; fiscal 2018 other procurement (Navy); and fiscal 2018 operations and maintenance (Navy) funding in the amount of $1,150,380 will be obligated at time of award and will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was sole-sourced to FLIR Systems Inc. The Naval Surface Warfare Center Crane Division, Crane, Indiana, is the contracting activity.
18 Apr 18. Lockheed Martin Corp., Grand Prairie, Texas, was awarded a $200,000,000 modification (0001 03) cost-plus-incentive-fee contract W31P4Q-17-G-0001 for Terminal High Altitude Area Defense, Phased Array Tracking to Intercept of Target (PATRIOT), Advanced Capability (PAC-3) missile segment enhancement integration and PATRIOT launch on remote development. One bid was solicited with one bid received. Work will be performed in Grand Prairie, Texas, with an estimated completion date of Feb. 28, 2022. Fiscal 2018 research, development, test and evaluation funds in the amount of $10,500,000 were obligated at the time of the award. U.S. Army Contracting Command, Redstone Arsenal, Alabama, is the contracting activity.
17 Apr 18. Med-Eng to provide EOD 10 bomb suits for USAF. The US Air Force (USAF) has awarded a contract to Safariland Group company Med-Eng for the procurement of bomb suits and accessories to safeguard its explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) teams. Under the five-year indefinite delivery indefinite quantity (IDIQ) contract, Med-Eng will deliver its EOD 10 bomb suit for the USAF personnel. The $15m contract was awarded to the company following a competitive solicitation process and could involve a procurement of up to 305 EOD 10 bomb suits. Prior to selecting the equipment, the Med-Eng EOD 10 bomb suit was evaluated to check compliance with the new National Institute of Justice Standard 0117.01 (NIJ Standard) for protection against blast, fragmentation, impact and heat, among other factors. (Source: airforce-technology.com)
17 Apr 18. Curtiss-Wright Corporation (NYSE: CW) today announced that it has been awarded a contract valued in excess of $85m to provide main propulsion steam turbines and auxiliary equipment for the U.S. Navy’s Ford-class aircraft carrier Enterprise (CVN 80). The award was received from Huntington Ingalls, Newport News Shipbuilding (HII-NNS) to support planned ship construction. Curtiss-Wright is performing the work within its EMS division in the Power segment. Engineering and manufacturing will commence in 2018 and will continue through at least 2022. The products will be shipped to Newport News Shipbuilding in Virginia.
18 Apr 18. Raytheon Co., Portsmouth, Rhode Island, is being awarded an $83,312,265 cost-plus-incentive-fee contract for the design, test and deployment of the Barracuda mine neutralization system. The Barracuda mine neutralization system is an expendable, autonomous unmanned underwater vehicle intended to identify and neutralize bottom, near surface and drifting sea mines. It will field a shallow water capability and be an expendable modular neutralizer consisting of a kill mechanism, propulsion, sensors, and communications buoy that enables wireless communication to the deployment platform. This contract includes options which, if exercised, would bring the cumulative value of this contract to $362,740,742. Work will be performed in Portsmouth, Rhode Island (96 percent); and DeLeon Springs, Florida (4 percent), and is expected to be completed by November 2022. Fiscal 2017 and 2018 research, development, test and evaluation (Navy) funding in the amount of $11,392,392 will be obligated at time of award and $1,594,935 will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was competitively procured on the basis of full and open competition via the Federal Business Opportunities website, with one offer received. The Naval Sea Systems Command, Washington, District of Columbia, is the contracting activity (N00024-18-C-6303).
18 Apr 18. Altavian, Inc. has been awarded a $250m Indefinite Delivery, Indefinite Quantity contract with the US Army. Under the Program Executive Office Aviation, Products Office for Tactical Unmanned Aircraft (TUAS), Altavian will be supporting the largest small UAS program in the world. The US Army Family of Systems, Unmanned Aircraft Systems (FoSUAS) includes the RQ-11, the RQ-20, supporting control and communications equipment, and other technologies to be fielded over the contract period of performance. All systems are designed to be carried by a single dismounted warfighter, quickly assembled, and deployed to provide immediate over-the-hill surveillance and reconnaissance. Altavian supports the mission of the Army to provide critical, real-time intelligence for warfighter protection and extended operational reach. Under this new contract, Altavian will compete to provide quality components to sustain the FoSUAS fleet, as well as upgrading offerings to increase the capability, resiliency, and cost-effectiveness of the fleet. New offerings include upgraded avionics and radios with increased frequency options, along with a handheld ground control station (H-GCS). Altavian will continue to supply RQ-11 and RQ-20 direct replacement parts for the Government. (Source: UAS VISION)
13 Apr 18. General Dynamics Mission Systems, Scottsdale, Arizona, has been awarded a $144,000,000 indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for the operation, sustainment, maintenance and expansion of the global U.S. Battlefield Information Collection and Exploitation System Extended (US BICES-X) federated trusted network environment infrastructure. Work will be performed at various locations around the world and is expected to be complete by March 31, 2024. This award is the result of a sole-source acquisition. Fiscal 2018 operations and maintenance funds in the amount of $23,747,903 are being obligated on two task orders at the time of award. The Secretary of the Air Force, Concepts, Development, and Management Office, Pentagon, Washington, District of Columbia, is the contracting activity (FA7146-18-D-0360).
18 Apr 18. Lockheed Martin Corp., Lockheed Martin Space, Huntsville, Alabama, is the successful offeror of a $928,000,000 ceiling indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for the hypersonic conventional strike weapon. This contract provides for the design, development, engineering, systems integration, test, logistics planning, and aircraft integration support of all the elements of a hypersonic, conventional, air-launched, stand-off weapon. Work will be performed in Huntsville, Alabama. This award is the result of a competitive acquisition and three offers were received. Fiscal 2018 research, development, test and evaluation funds will be obligated at the time of award on the first task order. Air Force Life Cycle Management, Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, is the contracting activity (FA8682-18-D-0003). (Source: defense-aerospace.com/US DoD)
19 Apr 18. Raytheon Co., Marlborough, Massachusetts, is awarded a $136,529,350 fixed-price-incentive (firm target) modification under a previously awarded contract (N00024-14-C-5315) to exercise an option for Air and Missile Defense Radar Program (AMDR) low rate initial production (LRIP). The LRIP unit will be deployed on a DDG Flight III class ship. Work will be performed in Marlborough, Massachusetts, and is expected to be completed by April 2021. Fiscal 2018 shipbuilding and conversion (Navy) funding in the amount of $136,529,350 will be obligated at time of award and will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Sea Systems Command, Washington Navy Yard, District of Columbia, is the contracting activity.
REST OF THE WORLD
18 Apr 18. Multim Dollars Order from an International Customer: Rheinmetall Protects New Naval Port. Rheinmetall is protecting a new naval port for an international customer. The multiphase contract is a worth a double-digit euro m figure. It includes the installation of state-of-the-art sensor and advanced command and control technology to protect the equipment from unauthorized access, damage and sabotage. Work will begin in 2018 and is expected to be completed in 2021.
To protect the infrastructure, a network of different sensors – different day and night vision cameras, radars, proximity sensors and sonars – will be used to maintain a comprehensive picture of the situation. Furthermore, Rheinmetall is integrating monitoring technology and control systems, such as an integrated building management system, energy supply monitoring, a fire alarm system and a vessel traffic monitoring system. All information flows into the operations center from which the naval base is monitored.
The heart of the monitoring system is Rheinmetall’s Command and Control software – a powerful, innovative software for leadership support which meets all NATO requirements. Rheinmetall’s Command and Control software supports the decision-making of the management and staff organization. The software processes, documents and manages sensor data of any quantity and size and supports the planning and deployment of tactical means.
16 Apr 18. Western Australia’s Civmec has finally been awarded a contract by Luerssen Australia to play the lead role in the SEA 1180 Offshore Patrol Vessel (OPV) program. The awarded scope includes the supply and processing of steel for all 12 vessels. Following the build of the first two vessels in South Australia, which will be built by ASC Shipbuilding, Civmec will undertake specific fabrication and construction activities for the following 10 vessels. Final consolidation of the 10 vessels will be undertaken at its new $80m shipbuilding facility in Henderson, WA, which is currently under construction. With this contract, Civmec’s order book now stands in excess of $800m. (Source: Defence Connect)
19 Apr 18. Dutch shipbuilder Damen has entered an agreement with Indra for the delivery of its next-generation electronic naval defence system, RIGEL RESM/RECM. Indra’s defence solution is slated to be installed on-board a new long-range offshore patrol vessel (POLA) that is currently being built by Damen for the Mexican Navy. The deal is expected to boost Indra’s market position in Mexico, where the company has been operating for the past two decades and employs more than 2,500 personnel. The Mexican Navy’s latest POLA is a Damen SIGMA-series naval ship. RIGEL is a broadband digital reception technology-based system that has been designed to provide vessels with analysis, detection and countermeasure capabilities. The solution is capable of detecting and analysing radar signals, while providing command officials with information regarding the presence of other platforms. It is also able to alert users of the risk of being detected when required. (Source: naval-technology.com)
18 Apr 18. Norway’s Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace AS has secured a 124m euros (RM597.23m) from the Malaysian navy to deliver naval strike missile (NSM) to the latter’s six new littoral combat ships. According to Kongsberg’s website on Wednesday, Boustead Naval Shipyard Sdn Bhd is building the ships based on naval group’s Gowind Class design. Kongsberg president Eirik Lie said this contract is a follow-on to the agreement announced on April 9, 2015 for NSM shipboard equipment. (Source: Google/www.thestar.com)
16 Apr 18. L3 Technologies (NYSE:LLL) announced today that it has been awarded a contract for the Royal Australian Navy’s (RAN) SEA 1180 Offshore Patrol Vessels (OPV). The prime contractor, Luerssen Australia Pty Ltd., has selected L3 Communications Australia Pty Ltd. to provide the integrated communications, bridge, navigation and platform management systems for all 12 OPV platforms. Work on this program will be performed by L3 Communications Australia and supported by cross-segment collaboration from L3’s Communication Systems, Sensor Systems and Electronic Systems business segments. Following successful program execution on contracts for the Canberra Class Amphibious Assault Ship Landing Helicopter Dock (LHD) and Collins Class Submarine, this important contract award reinforces L3 Communications Australia’s leadership in providing world-class communications and electronic systems for the RAN.
(Source: BUSINESS WIRE)
20 Apr 18. Saab Receives Order for Australian OPV Situational Awareness System
Saab has received a contract from Luerssen Australia for the Situational Awareness System (SAS) for the Royal Australian Navy’s new Offshore Patrol Vessels (OPV). The contract is expected to run over the 12 year OPV shipbuilding programme, which will see the delivery of 12 new ships.
In addition to the SAS, which is based on Saab Australia’s 9LV Combat Management System, the OPV will be fitted with Saab’s EOS 500 (electro-optical fire control director).
19 Apr 18. DoD/DSCA Notifies Congress of Possible FMS of MH-60R Multi-Mission Helicopters to Mexico. The U.S. Department of Defense’s Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) has notified the Congress that the Government of Mexico has requested to buy eight (8) MH-60R Multi-Mission Helicopters, equipped with: twenty (20) T-700 GE 401 C engines (16 installed and 4 spares); sixteen (16) APS-153(V) Multi-Mode radars (8 installed, 8 spares); ten (10) Airborne Low Frequency Systems (ALFS) (8 installed and 2 spares); fourteen (14) AN/APX-123 Identification Friend or Foe transponders (8 installed and 6 spares); twelve (12) AN/AAS-44C Multi-Spectral Targeting Systems Forward Looking Infrared Systems (8 installed, 4 spares); twenty (20) Embedded Global Positioning System/Inertial Navigation Systems (EGI) with Selective Availability/Anti-Spoofing Module (16 installed and 4 spares); thirty (30) AN/AVS-9 Night Vision Devices; one thousand (1,000) AN/SSQ-36/53/62 Sonobuoys; ten (10) AGM-114 Hellfire missiles; five (5) AGM-114 M36-E9 Captive Air Training missiles; four (4) AGM-114Q Hellfire training missiles; thirty eight (38) Advanced Precision Kill Weapons System (APKWS) II rockets; thirty (30) Mk -54 Lightweight Hybrid Torpedoes (LHTs); twelve (12) M-240D machine guns; twelve (12) GAU-21 Machine Guns. Also included are twelve (12) AN/ARC-220 High Frequency radios; spare engine containers; facilities study, design, and construction; spare and repair parts; support and test equipment; communication equipment; ferry support; publications and technical documentation; personnel training and training equipment; U.S. Government and contractor engineering, technical and logistics support services; and other related elements of logistical and program support. The total estimated value is $1.20bn. The principal contractor will be Lockheed Martin Rotary and Mission Systems in Owego, New York. There are no known offset agreements in connection with this potential sale. (Source: glstrade.com)
MANAGEMENT ON THE MOVE
www.topengineer.com is the world’s largest specialist engineering jobs search engine, hosting thousands of job opportunities worldwide at any one time.
TopEngineer.com Job Of the Week!
Job – Mechanical Weapons Engineer – CWEW in Plymouth
Location: Plymouth, UK
Salary: £13.48 – £19.03 Per hour
Job type: Contract
Category: Energy/Offshore/Mining & Marine
Job Reference: 137644SCR
Posted on: 19 Mar 2018
About the Role:
Mechanical weapons engineer required for work at Devonport dockyard in Plymouth within the controlled weapons & engineering workshop.
Duties to inlude:
Undertake installation, repair and maintenance on Weapons Systems and Equipment.
Competent to work on mechanical equipment and systems in the marine defence and commercial industry.
Read drawings, interpret work instructions and perform the work to time, cost and quality.
To be able to carry out surveys and pre-refit examinations of equipment, machinery and structures/fittings.
Set to work by the use of test equipment.
Carry out functional testing.
Competent to use general workshop machinery and hand tools related to the role of mechanical fitter.
Cleaning up of own work arisings.
Slinging duties as required.
May be required to work out of area for very short period to cover maintenance activities on Royal Naval vessels
Any other task within the individual’s competence as directed by the Company.
18 Apr 18. Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson cut the first turf on a £132m facility for the UK’s new fleet of submarine hunting P-8 Poseidon Maritime Patrol Aircraft at RAF Lossiemouth in Scotland today.
The site will be the future home to the country’s nine-strong, new P-8A Poseidon MPA fleet. The aircraft’s key role will be to protect the UK’s submarine-deployed nuclear deterrent and its two new aircraft carriers, whilst it can also deploy missiles capable of destroying enemy submarines beneath the sea.
The new Lossiemouth facility will be completed in 2020, to coincide with initial operating capability of the P-8 Poseidon aircraft. Built by Elgin-based Robertson Northern, it will comprise a tactical operations centre, an operational conversion unit, squadron accommodation, training and simulation facilities and a three-bay aircraft hangar.
The MoD say it is investing £3 bn over the next decade in its Maritime Patrol Aircraft capability, and last year confirmed £3.7bn to start building the first three of eight Royal Navy Type 26 frigates on the Clyde as it continues to boost its capabilities.
Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said: “These submarine hunters will play a vital role in keeping the UK safe from the increasing threats and aggression we face in the skies, on the sea and below the waves. This massive investment demonstrates the huge contribution Scotland makes to protecting Britain and how defence generates prosperity and opportunity. Moray is benefitting from 200 local construction jobs during this building phase, with the number of personnel employed at RAF Lossiemouth growing by 470 to 2,200 people when this is complete.” (Source: News Now/UK MoD)
17 Apr 18. Aselsan commits to Malaysian expansion. Turkish company Aselsan is expanding its presence in Malaysia through a new local subsidiary and teaming arrangements with several domestic enterprises.
A company official, who did not want to be identified, told Jane’s at the Defence Services Asia (DSA) 2018 exhibition in Kuala Lumpur that Aselsan’s drive in the country is presently focused on pursuing additional sales of its remote-controlled weapon stations (RCWS).
Aselsan has already secured sales of nine of its SMASH 30 mm remote-controlled stabilised naval gun systems. However, eventually, Aselsan also hopes to expand its level of engagement to encompass other areas of its capabilities, which include communications, radars, electronic warfare, avionics, and missile defence. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
16 Apr 18. Elbit Systems Ltd. (NASDAQ: ESLT and TASE: ESLT) (“Elbit Systems” or “the Company”) announces the opening of an office in Berlin as part of its expansion of its activities in the German market. Following more than a decade of successful activities in Germany, focusing on the development of a technological, industrial and commercial base, Elbit Systems’ office in Berlin will enhance the Company’s growing activity in the market. The acquisition in 2004 of the long-time provider to the German Defense Forces, TELEFUNKEN RACOMS, and the strong relationships with leading local German defense industries, have placed Elbit Systems’ operations in Germany on sound foundations that combine knowledge transfer and industrial capabilities. The Company’s presence in the market enables it to successfully engage in several programs for the German defense forces, including: supplying a variety of tactical radio systems, providing advanced electro-optic systems for infantry soldiers, and together with DIEHL BGT Defense, developing and supplying directional infra-red countermeasure (DIRCM) systems for Airbus A400M military transport aircraft. Elbit Systems views Germany as a key market and as an international technological and industrial hub with sophisticated military and homeland security forces. The Company is continuously exploring additional cooperation with local industries and plans to focus its efforts on leveraging its operationally proven systems and globally acclaimed technological expertise in order to offer a broad portfolio of solutions as well as expand transfer of knowledge and enhance local production. Elbit Systems has been consistently expanding its operations in key European markets, as part of the Company’s long-term strategy. Examples of recent European programs include the UK Military Flight Training System, the Benelux Smart Vest program, the Swiss Unmanned Aircraft Systems program, providing self-protection systems for NATO’s A330 fleet and providing a European country with an array of electronic warfare and signal intelligence systems.
19 Apr 18. US Navy Commissioned Amphibious Transport Dock Ship Portland. The US Navy commissioned its newest amphibious transport dock, the future USS Portland (LPD 27), during a 10:00 a.m. PDT ceremony Saturday, April 21, at the Port of Portland, Marine Terminal 2 in Portland, Oregon. Deputy Secretary of Defense Patrick M. Shanahan delivered the ceremony’s principal address. Bonnie Amos, wife of the 35th Commandant of the Marine Corps, retired Gen. James F. Amos, serves as the ship’s sponsor. In a time-honored Navy tradition, she will give the order to “man our ship and bring her to life!”
“USS Portland enters service in a period of dynamic security challenges, and I am confident this ship and crew will conquer these and future challenges because of the strength and talent of the Sailors and Marines who will serve aboard this ship,” said Secretary of the Navy Richard V. Spencer. “I am certain that USS Portland will proudly represent both the Unites States and the people of Portland in maritime operations around the world for decades to come.”
USS Portland (LPD 27) is the second ship to honor Oregon’s largest city and is the third U.S. Navy ship to bear the name Portland. The first ship was heavy cruiser USS Portland (CA 33), named for the city in Maine, which was commissioned Feb. 23, 1933. Serving throughout World War II, she saw action at a number of important battles, including Guadalcanal, Leyte Gulf, Corregidor, and Okinawa. The second ship, dock landing ship USS Portland (LSD 37), named for the cities of the same name in Maine and Oregon, was commissioned Oct. 3, 1970. Over the course of nearly 33 years of service, she participated in a number of important operations, including the 1976 evacuation of American citizens from Lebanon, the 1983 multi-national peacekeeping mission to Beirut, Lebanon, and deployment of Marines to Kuwait in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
The future Portland is the 11th San Antonio-class ship. These ships are designed to support embarking, transporting, and landing elements of more than 800 Marines with both a flight deck, which accommodates CH-53E Sea Stallion, CH-46/SH-60 helicopters and MV-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft, and a well deck, which can launch and recover landing craft and amphibious vehicles.
San Antonio-class ships are versatile players in maritime security with the ability to support a variety of amphibious assault, special operations or expeditionary warfare missions, operating independently or as part of Amphibious Ready Groups, Expeditionary Strike Groups, or Joint Task Forces. In addition to performing their primary mission, San Antonio-class ships have conducted anti-piracy operations, provided humanitarian assistance and supported foreign disaster relief operations around the world.
16 Apr 18. ST Marine lays keel for Singapore’s eighth Littoral Mission Vessel. Key Points:
- Singapore has laid down the keel for its final Littoral Mission Vessel
- Republic is on track to progressively replace its Fearless-class patrol boats with eight LMVs by 2020
Shipbuilder ST Marine has laid down the eighth and final Independence-class Littoral Mission Vessel (LMV) on order for the Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN).
Keel for the vessel, which will be known in service as RSS Fearless with pennant number 22 once commissioned, was laid down on 12 April at ST Marine’s shipyard in the western Singapore.
Fearless is part of a contract signed between Singapore’s Ministry of Defence and ST Marine in 2013. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
17 Apr 18. Leonardo, with the support of the UK’s 847 Naval Air Squadron, presented its AW159 Wildcat helicopter to Malaysia’s Armed Forces at Royal Malaysian Navy Base Lumut and Leonardo Helicopters’ facility at Subang Airport, near Kuala Lumpur last week. The two AW159 Wildcats are part of the French Navy’s five month amphibious deployment, Exercise Jeanne d’Arc, to the Middle East, Asia and South Pacific and are embarked on the helicopter assault ship FS Dixmude to provide a battlefield reconnaissance capability to the deployed forces.
The AW159 has a semi-rigid rotor head which gives it high agility and the same legendary ship operating capabilities of the Lynx helicopter. It is also fitted with composite rotor blades utilising the same technology that enabled the Lynx to break the world helicopter speed record. The AW159 is powered by a pair of LHTEC CTS800-4N engines, each providing up to 1,361 shp, which gives the aircraft exceptional performance, even in hot and high environments.
The AW159 has the most modern integrated cockpit of any naval helicopter, featuring four large area (10” x 8”) cockpit displays and a fully integrated avionics suite and mission system to provide increased mission capability and increased crew effectiveness. The key sensors integrated into the AW159 include the Leonardo Seaspray 7000E series Active Electronically-Scanned Array (AESA) radar, a dipping sonar system, electro-optical device and Leonardo electronic warfare systems. A range of weapons can be carried, including torpedoes and air-to-surface missiles, on its weapon carriers.
The UK’s Royal Navy and British Army operate 62 AW159 Wildcats in both naval and over land roles including ASuW, ASW, maritime surveillance and battlefield reconnaissance, while the Republic of Korea Navy operate eight AW159 helicopters in ASW and ASuW roles. The Philippine Navy has also ordered two AW159s that will be delivered next year. The Royal Malaysian Navy currently operates the Leonardo Super Lynx 300 helicopter in the Anti-submarine warfare (ASW) and anti-surface warfare (ASuW) roles.
847 Naval Air Squadron is part of the UK’s Commando Helicopter Force based at Royal Navy Air Station Yeovilton and operate the Army variant of the AW159 Wildcat. The British Army’s variant of the AW159 Wildcat is almost identical to the Royal Navy variant with the only major equipment differences being the Army aircraft do not have the Seaspray 7000E series AESA radar or weapon carriers.
PLANT CLOSURES, JOB LOSSES AND STRIKES
16 Apr 18. White House cyber coordinator Rob Joyce will leave his role in the administration and return to the National Security Agency, where he worked prior to his current position, Reuters reported April 16.
Joyce joined the Trump administration over a year ago, and was outspoken on cyber issues facing the nation, such as the over-usage of Social Security numbers as an online identifier.
The announcement comes on the heels of Joyce’s boss Tom Bossert’s April 10 departure as homeland security adviser and Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster’s April 6 exit from the national security adviser role.
John Bolton, a former U.N. ambassador under President George W. Bush, took over McMaster’s position, though there is no announcement from the White House of who will replace Bossert or Joyce. (Source: C4ISR & Networks)
MILITARY AND GOVERNMENT
17 Apr 18. ‘Dambusters’ reformed as UK’s first F-35 unit. The Royal Air Force’s (RAF’s) 617 ‘Dambusters’ Squadron has been officially reformed as the UK’s first Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) unit. A formal ceremony was held on 17 April in Washington, DC, which saw the new commanding officer, Wing Commander John Butcher ask permission from the Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Hillier, to reform the squadron. Though an RAF unit, the reconstituted 617 Squadron will be staffed by personnel from both the RAF and the Royal Navy (RN). Currently located in the United States, 617 Squadron is due to transfer to its future homebase at RAF Marham in the UK in the coming weeks, ahead of the start of sea trials aboard HMS Queen Elizabeth before the end of the year. With the RAF’s 617 Squadron now reformed as the UK’s first operational F-35 unit, the RN’s 809 ‘Immortals’ Naval Air Squadron (NAS) will join it as the second operational unit in 2023. Both of these will be served by 207 Squadron as the type’s Operational Conversion Unit (OCU). The UK has to date received 15 of its planned 138 F-35 jets (this number will be procured over the life of the programme and will not all be fielded at one time). (Source: IHS Jane’s)
17 Apr 18. Armed forces’ personnel shortage of 8,200 is ‘largest in a decade’ Recruitment slump unlikely to be fixed within five years, says report. The number of full-time, trained, regular military personnel was 137,3000 in January. Britain is short of 8,200 military personnel because of a slump in recruitment and unlikely to fill most of the gaps within the next five years, the National Audit Office said. The findings come as the Ministry of Defence lobbies the Treasury for more funding in a context of growing threats to Britain from Russia and other sources. In a report published on Wednesday, the NAO said the shortfall in personnel was “the largest gap in a decade”. As of January, the number of full-time, trained military personnel — regulars — was 137,3000, 5.7 per cent below the level required to meet its objectives set in 2015. The figures do not include civilian staff, reserves or contractors. Recruitment had been 24 per cent below target in 2016-17, while a greater proportion of staff have left the military. The NAO said that the defence ministry’s approach “of placing increasing demands on regulars is not a sustainable long-term solution”. Recommended Robert Shrimsley UK defence minister tries a pre-emptive strike over his life story The gaps are now “in many ranks and trades” and the MoD should carry out a “deeper analysis of the causes of high levels of departure”, the NAO said. One factor may be morale: the Armed Forces attitude survey found that only 42 per cent of regular personnel were “satisfied with service life” in 2017, down from 60 per cent in 2010. Britain is spending bns of pounds on new military equipment, including submarines, meaning that the MoD must make cuts even as its budget grows. The NAO has previously said the department’s equipment plan is “not affordable”, pointing to a shortfall of between £4.9bn and £20.8bn by 2027. Gavin Williamson, the defence secretary since November, won an extra £600m in funding for the 2018-19 financial year, to be spent on submarines. He has also blocked a proposal to overhaul the army’s recruitment efforts, which would have included dropping its slogan “Be the Best”. The NAO identified 102 “pinch-point” trades, including engineering, intelligence and medicines. The MoD estimated it would fill shortfalls in only six of the 102 trades within five years. (Source: FT.com)
17 Apr 18. Estonia to contribute to French-led Operation Barkhane in Mali. The Estonian Defence Forces has revealed plans to support the French-led military mission Operation Barkhane in the Republic of Mali.
Estonia plans to contribute an infantry unit comprising of up to 50 members, in addition to armoured personnel carriers and support elements.
Base security and close area patrol force protection would be the platoon’s responsibility under the deployment.
The platoon was formed on the basis of the Scouts Battalion. It would be a part of the French unit, based in the Gao field base in Mali.
Estonian Defence Minister Jüri Luik said: “Estonia has been an active contributor to international military operations since the restoration of its independence, and by doing so has ensured our own security.
“Doing so has helped Estonia to become a solidary and reliable ally, whose positions are taken into account.”
According to Luik, the country’s contribution to Operation Barkhane will strengthen relations between the two countries and help bolster Estonia’s position regarding security questions within Nato and the European Union.
Luik added: “The events taking place in Africa affect us all, hence, we cannot leave threats originating from the south to be handled by countries that are located closer to Africa.
“In the same way, France considers the security of our region to be a shared concern, and is set to once again join the allied unit stationed at Tapa next year.”
Operation Barkhane is a French-led mission conducted in the Sahel region of Africa to manage the issues arising from the region, particularly those directed at Europe such as terrorism and illegal immigration.
In addition to Estonia, the UK expressed interest in the Mali mission.
11 Apr 18. DOD Needs to Reevaluate Fighter Pilot Workforce Requirements. The Air Force, the Navy, and the Marine Corps had gaps between the actual numbers of fighter pilots and authorizations (i.e. funded positions) in fiscal years (FY) 2013 through 2017. In FY 2017 the Air Force’s gap was the widest at 27 percent of authorizations (see fig. above) and is projected to continue through FY 2023. The Marine Corps’ gap grew from 6 percent in FY 2006 to 24 percent in FY 2017; it is concentrated in fighter pilots below the rank of major. While the Navy did not have comparable data, it had a gap at fighter pilots’ first operational tours that grew from 12 percent in FY 2013 to 26 percent in FY 2017, and Navy officials stated it could increase through mid-2019. Service officials attributed these gaps to aircraft readiness challenges, reduced training opportunities, and increased attrition of fighter pilots due to career dissatisfaction. To help increase fighter pilot numbers, the military services are taking actions, including increasing the amounts of financial incentives to retain pilots. The military services have not recently reevaluated squadron requirements to reflect increased fighter pilot workload and the emergence of unmanned aerial systems (UAS). According to service guidance, squadron requirements are to be reviewed on a 2-year schedule and to be updated as conditions change (in June 2017 the Navy revised its guidance to extend its schedule from 2 years to 5 years).
However, service officials acknowledged that they have not updated all squadron requirements within the last 2 years. These officials stated that the requirements have not been reevaluated because existing conditions do not warrant the change. However, fighter pilots and squadron leaders interviewed at locations GAO visited consistently stated that the typical workload has significantly increased in recent years due to, among other things, changes in fighter aircraft tactics and technology and reductions to administrative support in squadrons.
Further, the military services have not assessed the effect of increased reliance on UAS on fighter pilot requirements. The Air Force’s vision for UAS notes that systems will work in tandem with cockpit-operated aircraft and that autonomous technologies will potentially lead to personnel efficiencies.
Without re-evaluating squadron requirements to reflect current and emerging conditions, the nature of the gap may be inaccurate and thus make it difficult for the military services to target strategies to meet their personnel needs.
Why GAO Did This Study
Fighter pilots operate aircraft that are critical to achieving and maintaining air dominance during combat operations. The military services invest significant time and funding to train, compensate, and retain fighter pilots. According to Air Force officials, it costs between $3-$11m and takes approximately 5 years to develop an individual fighter pilot to lead combat missions.
Senate Report 114-255 included a provision for GAO to review the Department of Defense’s (DOD) management of the fighter pilot workforce. GAO’s report (1) assesses the extent to which the military services had differences in the number of fighter pilots compared to authorizations, and describes any contributing factors as well as initiatives to address the differences, and (2) assesses the extent to which the military services had reevaluated squadron requirements for the number of fighter pilots needed, including consideration of UAS pilot requirements.
GAO analyzed military service personnel data, documentation on service initiatives to address factors contributing to fighter pilot shortages, and service documentation of requirements; met with a non-generalizable sample of fighter pilots at seven locations; and interviewed DOD and service officials.
What GAO Recommends
GAO recommends that the Air Force, the Navy, and the Marine Corps reevaluate fighter pilot squadron requirements. DOD concurred with the recommendations. (Source: defense-aerospace.com/US Government Accountability Office)
16 Apr 18. USD(A&S) Software Special Assistant Announcement. Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment (USD(A&S)) Ellen Lord announced the appointment of Jeff Boleng as Special Assistant for Software Acquisition. In this role, effective April 16, 2018. Boleng will serve as a key member of the Under Secretary’s executive leadership team, providing strategic focus and overall policy guidance on all matters of defense software acquisition. Boleng will formulate the Department’s software acquisition strategy, advise Department leadership on latest best practices in commercial software development, support the enterprise to build a team of top-tier software engineers, and work to develop modern software skills in the acquisition workforce. Boleng has a breadth of experience across the Department of Defense (DOD) and the private sector. Prior to joining DOD, Boleng served as the chief technology officer (acting) and deputy chief technology officer at Carnegie Mellon University Software Engineering Institute. Before that, Boleng served more than 21 years in the United States Air Force as a cyberspace operations officer and software engineer. In his last assignment with the Air Force, Boleng served as the deputy department head, Department of Computer Science at the United States Air Force Academy. Boleng received a Doctor of Philosophy degree and a Master of Science degree in Mathematical and Computer Sciences from the Colorado School of Mines. He received a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science from the United States Air Force Academy.
16 Apr 18. Rear Adm. (lower half) Stephen T. Koehler, selected for promotion to rear admiral, will be assigned as director of operations, J3, U.S. Pacific Command, Camp H. M. Smith, Hawaii. Koehler is currently serving as commander, Carrier Strike Group 9, San Diego, California.
13 Apr 18. MG Sean M. Jenkins, deputy commanding general, Installation Management Command, Joint Base San Antonio, Texas, to chief, Office of Security Cooperation-Iraq, Iraq.
13 Apr 18. MG Gary W. Johnston, deputy chief of staff, intelligence, Resolute Support Mission, North Atlantic Treaty Organization; and director, J-2, U.S. Forces-Afghanistan, Operation Freedom’s Sentinel, Afghanistan, to commanding general, U.S. Army Intelligence and Security Command, Fort Belvoir, Virginia.
13 Apr 18. MG John S. Kolasheski, deputy chief of staff, G-3/5/7, U.S. Army Forces Command, Fort Bragg, North Carolina, to commanding general, 1st Infantry Division and Fort Riley, Fort Riley, Kansas.
13 Apr 18. MG Patrick E. Matlock, director of training, Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff, G-3/5/7, U.S. Army, Washington, District of Columbia, to commanding general, 1st Armored Division and Fort Bliss, Fort Bliss, Texas.
13 Apr 18. BG (Promotable) Edwin J. Deedrick Jr., assistant commander-support, Joint Special Operations Command, U.S. Special Operations Command, Fort Bragg, North Carolina, to commanding general, 1st Special Forces Command (Airborne), Fort Bragg, North Carolina.
13 Apr 18. BG Brian R. Bisacre, commanding general, Army Corrections Command; and deputy commanding general, U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command, Arlington, Virginia, to commandant, U.S. Army Military Police School, U.S. Army Maneuver Support Center of Excellence, Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri.
13 Apr 18. BG Charles D. Costanza, deputy commanding general (support), 1st Armored Division, Fort Bliss, Texas, to director of training, Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff, G-3/5/7, U.S. Army, Washington, District of Columbia.
13 Apr 18. BG Patrick B. Roberson, deputy chief of staff, G-3/5/7, U.S. Army Reserve Command, Fort Bragg, North Carolina, to commander, Special Operations Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve, Operation Inherent Resolve, Kuwait.
13 Apr 18. Col. (Promotable) William D. Taylor, deputy commander (maneuver), 1st Cavalry Division, Fort Hood, Texas, to commanding general, U.S. Army Operational Test Command, Fort Hood, Texas.
REST OF THE WORLD APPOINTMENTS
16 Apr 18. New Chief of the Australian Defence Force unveiled.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Minister for Defence Senator Marise Payne have revealed who will replace the current Chief of the Defence Force, Air Chief Marshal Mark Binskin.
Lieutenant General Angus Campbell will replace current Chief of the Defence Force, Air Chief Marshal Mark Binskin when his four-year term ends in June.
Lt Gen Angus Campbell has served as Chief of Army since 2015 and was the public face of Operation Sovereign Borders.
Outside of the forces, Lt Gen Campbell was a public servant in the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet where he rose to become Deputy National Security Adviser. (Source: Defence Connect)
16 Apr 18. Changing of the guards in the ADF. Following confirmation from the Governor-General, Lieutenant General Angus Campbell AO, DSC will be appointed Chief of the Defence Force, while several other appointments have also been made.
Lt Gen Campbell will replace Air Chief Marshal Mark Binskin in July this year. Lt Gen Campbell joined the ADF in 1981 and was appointed Chief of Army in 2015. He is widely known as the face of Tony Abbott’s anti-people smuggling program, Operation Sovereign Borders. In his four-year term, ACM Binskin has overseen Australia’s contribution to the counter-Daesh coalition in the Middle East and the ADF’s transition from combat operations to the current train, advise and assist mission in Afghanistan.
The government has also recommended the Governor-General appoint Vice Admiral David Johnston AM as Vice Chief of the Defence Force.
Air Vice Marshal Mel Hupfeld AO, DSC has been recommended as the new Chief of Joint Operations. AVM Hupfeld is currently the head of Force Design and responsible for the development of Australia’s future force.
Vice Chief of Defence Force Vice Admiral Ray Griggs AO, CSC will retire from the ADF in July but the Prime Minister and Senator Payne hinted he will take another public sector role soon
Chief of Navy Tim Barrett AO, CSC will also retire from the ADF in July after a 42-year career. Barrett has overseen the Royal Australian Navy as it undertakes its largest modernisation since WWII.
Rear Admiral Mike Noonan AM has been recommended to replace Barrett as Chief of Navy, and Major General Rick Burr AO, DSC has been recommended to replace Lt Gen Campbell as Chief of Army.
Chief of Air Force Air Marshal Leo Davies AO, CSC, who was appointed to a four-year term in July 2015, will continue to serve in his current position. (Source: Defence Connect)
17 Apr 18. Dr Alexander Sagel switches to executive board of Rheinmetall Defence, takes over as head of Weapon and Ammunition division. Dr Alexander Sagel, until now head of the Hardparts division at Rheinmetall Automotive, assumed overall responsibility for the Weapon and Ammunition division of the Group’s Defence arm effective 1 April 2018. In his new position he simultaneously serves on the executive board of Rheinmetall Defence, reporting directly to the chairman, Armin Papperger. The division consists of three business units: Weapon and Munition, Propulsion Systems, and Protection Systems. Dr Sagel, 47, originally comes from near Kassel, Germany. He studied material sciences at the Technical University in Berlin as well as at the California Institute of Technology, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and the University of Wisconsin–Madison before earning his doctorate from the University of Ulm. Afterwards he worked at Daimler AG for seven years, holding various executive posts in research and development as well as in sales. Dr Sagel joined Rheinmetall Automotive in 2005, serving in a number of leadership positions in the Hardparts division, which he ultimately headed.
Rheinmetall Defence’s Weapon and Ammunition division is a world-renowned technology leader, supplying an extensive range of products and services in the large- and medium-calibre domain. These include the 120mm smoothbore main armament of the Leopard 2 main battle tank, the 155mm gun of the PzH 2000 self-propelled howitzer, and the state-of-the-art 30mm automatic cannon of the Bundeswehr’s new Puma infantry fighting vehicle.
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20 Apr 18. Defence Committee – Oral Evidence Session.
Mechanised Infantry Vehicle procurement.
Tuesday 24 April 2018 The Grimond Room, Portcullis House
- Stefan Lischka, Managing Director, ARTEC,
- Peter Hardisty, Managing Director, Rheinmetall Defence UK
- Craig Priday, Managing Director, Pearson Engineering
- Guto Bebb MP, Minister for Defence Procurement
- Lieutenant General Paul Jaques CBE, Chief of Materiel (Land) and Quartermaster General, Ministry of Defence
- Major General Christopher Tickell, Director General Capability, British Army, Ministry of Defence
On 31 March, the Ministry of Defence announced that the UK would re-join the Boxer programme and explore options to equip the Army with the 8×8 troop carriers to modernise its vehicle fleet and meet the Army’s Mechanised Infantry Vehicle requirement. The Committee is holding a one-off evidence session with representatives of the ARTEC Joint Venture, manufacturers of Boxer, and Guto Bebb MP, Minister for Defence Procurement, and senior British Army officers, to examine the procurement process for the Mechanised Infantry Vehicle.
20 Apr 18. Foreign Affairs Committee. Co-ordinated effort is essential to scrutiny of Russia, say Select Committee Chairs. Following an initiative by Tom Tugendhat MP, Chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee, the Chairs of relevant Select Committees met on Wednesday and agreed to co-ordinate inquiry work to scrutinise Russian government activities and the UK Government’s response. To be known as The Russia Co-ordination Group, the Chairs of JCNSS, Defence, DCMS, Foreign Affairs, Home Affairs and Treasury Committees have agreed to meet regularly with the aim of:
- Ensuring that parliamentary scrutiny of the Government’s policy on Russia is as joined-up and effective as possible
- Co-ordinating Committee work relating to the scrutiny of Russian-related activity
- Sharing knowledge about relevant inquiries by Committees
- Sharing areas of questioning with other Committees.
It is anticipated that the Intelligence and Security Committee of Parliament will also be represented, with its involvement subject to the necessary restrictions around the confidentiality of its work.
The Chair of the Co-ordination Group, Tom Tugendhat MP, said, “As unease about Russian malign influence grows, it is essential that we understand the extent of Putin’s activity. Parliament is well-placed to do this. House of Commons’ committees routinely hold evidence sessions in a bid to draw out information and deliver reports rooted in evidence and scrutiny. But as Committees tend to operate separately, they may not have the full picture – seeing the symptoms rather than the cause. Take the question of sanctions on Russian government officials and oligarchs. While the Treasury Committee examines economic crime and the UK’s anti-money laundering and sanctions regime, the Foreign Affairs Committee is considering the actions open to our Government to deal with the proceeds of Russian corruption being funnelled into the UK. Sharing information between committees will allow a more informed response. This is a crucial time for UK-Russia relations. In areas of intelligence and security, interference in elections, disinformation as well as our co-existence post Brexit, it will be easier to respond to any aggression from an informed standpoint. Our work will be much more effective if it is co-ordinated.”
19 Apr 18. Defence Committee. Armed Forces And Veterans Mental Health.
Tuesday 24 April 2018 Wilson Room, Portcullis House.
- Professor Cherie Armour, Associate Dean (Research and Impact), Ulster University
- Dr Beverly Bergman, University of Glasgow
- Dr Lucy Abraham, Clinical Psychologist at Veterans First Point Scotland
- Dr Neil Kitchiner, Director & Consultant Clinical lead at Veterans NHS Wales
- Dr Walter Busuttil, Director of Medical Services at Combat Stress
- Rod Eldridge, Clinical lead at Walking with the Wounded
- Karen Mead, Head of Psychological Wellbeing at Help for Heroes
In this session, the Defence Committee takes evidence from academics and clinicians on the extent of mental health issues in both serving armed forces personnel and veterans in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, how this might differ to the UK overall and the reasons why.
The Committee will also take evidence from leading national charity providers of military mental health services on what they consider to be the extent of mental health issues in the Armed Forces community.
17 Apr 18. BAE Systems and Leonardo questioned in arms exports inquiry. The Committees on Arms Export Controls continue their inquiry into arms export controls during 2016 on Wednesday 18 April with an evidence session with BAE Systems and Leonardo. BAE Systems is the nation’s largest defence company and has played a central role in a number of major programmes, including the Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carriers and the F-35 Lightening II. In addition, along with Leonardo, it is a major partner in the Typhoon programme. Leonardo is also a world leader in cyber and physical security systems. The session will provide an insight into the UK’s licensing regime for strategic exports from the viewpoint of two of the country’s largest defence exporters. It will investigate how licences are issued, and how the Consolidated Criteria are applied, from an industry perspective. The Committees will also examine the issues surrounding the licensing of cryptographic equipment, and the use of agents to secure export opportunities.
Wednesday 18 April
Committee Room 16, House of Commons
- Philip Bramwell, Group General Counsel, BAE Systems
- Sue Tooze, Senior Manager, UK Exports and Control, BAE systems
- Andrew Cowdery, Director, Government Affairs, Leonardo