BATTLESPACE UPDATE Vol.20 ISSUE 22
29 May 2018
NEWS IN BRIEF – EUROPE
Iraq and Syria: OP SHADER
RAF Air Command: Military Space Ops
HMS OCEAN: Pre-Sale Refit
Bio-ethanol Fuel: Production Line
AI: New Hub
Northern Ireland: Reserve Service
Zimbabwe: Re-joins Commonwealth
NAO Report: Nuclear Enterprise
Letters for new Dutch materiel
Dutch Defence White Paper
Netherlands Enterprise Agency
NATO Statement on MH17
Probe into Czech radar deal
Turkey threatens F-35 retaliation
AW101 Commando Merlin Mk4 Delivery
HMS Queen Elizabeth work on F-35B
Thales eyes bolt-on M&A
Max-fac Brexit costs £1bn a year
UK Nuclear Enterprise affordability gap
EU offers up industry cash infusion
Spanish defence budget presented
Johnson needs special aircraft
UK price tag on US alliance
EU Steps on U.S. Iran Sanctions
NEWS IN BRIEF – USA
Bill bars F-35 sale to Turkey
Process for DoD Strategy Driven
Offsets Agreements Related to Sales
Industrial base is at risk
Budget Not Much Bigger Than China
NEWS IN BRIEF – REST OF THE WORLD
Australian 2016 Defence White Paper
U.S. Position After Iraq Election
Fighter Aircraft Market Worth $249bn
- Korea destroyed nuclear facility
Iran Rejects Call to Remove Troops
Chinese Bombers Land on Island Airport
First F-35 Operational Strike
RoK may axe arms purchases
China’s build up in S. China Sea
Operation Roundup Targets ISIS
Babcock not guilty by association
Héroux-Devtek Reports Results
UTC to invest $15bn in U.S.
Ministers ignored Carillion advice
Babcock announces Results
Carlyle Group moves on HGH
QuEST expansion plans
Rostec reports Results
MILITARY VEHICLE NEWS
ARTEC sets out Boxer stall
Czech armoured vehicle shortlist
Tata Motors delivers Safari Stormes
EDA Military Mobility Symposium
Paramount at KADEX-2018
HORIBA MIRA signs Turkish deal
U.S. software bill update
SOCOM Hyper-Enabled Operator Tech
Raytheon JV with Persistent Systems
Sensors sniff out chemical weapons
SATELLITE SYSTEMS, SATCOM AND SPACE SYSTEMS UPDATE
U.S. More Lethal in Space
Piaggio Taps SatCom Link
US Space Prototyping Funding
UK makes Galileo condition
TRASC solution for C-130
Inmarsat loses maritime monopoly
UK Defence Space Strategy
EMALE flies under satellite control
Israel’s new $200m satellite
RAF control for UK space
Cobham communications upgrade
Lockheed AEHF-5 tests
RAF’s space operations
Comms from Seattle to Antarctica
UK looks to Australia on Galileo
RADAR, EO/IR, NIGHT VISION AND SURVEILLANCE UPDATE
Holosun unveiled Elite illuminator
HD-TVI into Eagle Eye Camera VMS
AI System for Radar Data
Side-scan sonar for mine ops
FLIR announce new products
US JTAGS capabilities in Japan
New UTC Optical UAV Payload
China could shoot down JSTARS
Defence IQ Military Radar Conference
DroneShield airport use Report
Sightmark Ultra Shot reflex sights
RAF talks on E-3D AWACS replacement
MISSILE, BALLISTICS AND SOLDIER SYSTEMS UPDATE
Sea Ceptor Enters RN Service
Russian Sub Fires Bulava Missiles
Ukraine tests Javelin
Life extension firing of BrahMos
Russian Missile Has Unlimited Range
Rafael unveils EPIK guidance kit
Russia modernises some Kh-22
Belarus showcases MM-60 launcher
Australia selects Spike LR2
Konstrukta unveils gun system
Russia nuclear armed UAS sub
UNMANNED SYSTEMS UPDATE
UAS rolled out by Australian Army
AeroVironment introduces Shrike 2
Lockheed Martin Stalker XE Upgraded
Signus 35V – Multirole UAS
FAA modifies restrictions
Russia’s Altius MALE UAV
C2, TACTICAL COMMUNICATIONS, AI, CYBER, EW, CLOUD COMPUTING AND HOMELAND SECURITY UPDATE
SEAL Teams Need Better Comms
New Reconnaissance Tools Needed
Czech Army MKEB II mobile EW system
Lasers helping the Afghan Air Force
SOCOM Looks To Upgrade Comms
Michigan Cybersecurity Research Lab
North Korea Is A Cyber Super Power
UK launches AI lab at Dstl
Syncsort Buys Townsend Products
US Army needs to move fast on EW
Cyber cell protecting DoD networks
New BAE and Dell cloud solution
INTERNATIONAL PROCUREMENT OPPORTUNITIES
UNITED KINGDOM AND NATO
UK nuclear defence programme
US Turkey’s top Western arms dealer?
Airbus withdraws Polish arbitration
Pentagon Expedites Weapons Exports
GAO rules against Sikorsky over UH-1N
Airbus proposes H135 for US Navy
Boeing Apache multiyear contract
Warthog replacement anyone?
REST OF THE WORLD
Canadian helo award to Leonardo
Australian and US unis partner
Aus Naval shipbuilding hearing
Philippines to receive Cobra
IAF’s Jaguars to get upgrade
Taiwan Submarine Upgrade
India’s LCA Mk 1A faces delays
Brazil launches Tucano programme
Australian Future Frigates decision
SEA 5000 Aegis integration
CONTRACT NEWS IN BRIEF
Bittium Finland contract
Saab Gripen C/D contract
GD vehicle contract
Lockheed GMLRS contract
Lockheed Phased Array contract
Oshkosh HEMT contract
Oshkosh PLS contract
Lockheed USW contract
AV Switchblade contract
Boeing P-8A contract
BAE Lockheed JSF PBL contract
Charles River contract
REST OF THE WORLD
Lockheed Phased Array contract
Paramount Kazakhstan contract
Raytheon Romania contract
Japan selected Rolls-Royce
Saab Philippines contract
Bahrain FMS for Penetrator Warhead
Chemring flare contracts
Deimos Imaging Brazil contract
Lockheed Ecuador contract
Rostec China Su-35 contract
Irkut Kazakhstan contract
MANAGEMENT ON THE MOVE
TopEngineer.com Job Of the Week!
Technical Authority – Marine
New Bell AVLC in Washington
UK Clyde commercial framework
US Navy Commissions Manchester
Libya gets ex-Irish OPV
Japan orders Hibiki-class
US strengthens capacity
UK clears A400M for MEDEVAC
VRT500 helicopter launched
PLANT CLOSURES, JOB LOSSES AND STRIKES
ASC job cuts
Retired Type 23 in reserve
Denel CEO steps down
MILITARY AND GOVERNMENT
USAF wing structure
MG Lori Reynolds nominated
John H. Gibson II sworn in
MG C.F. Bentley appointed
MG James J. Mingus appointed
BG Jonathan P. Braga appointed
BG Antonio M. Fletcher appointed
BG Garrick M. Harmon appointed
BG J.L. Johnson Jr. appointed
BG John S. Laskodi appointed
BG John C. Ulrich appointed
USN Capt. C.C. French appointed
USMC MG C.E. Mundy III appointed
USMC MG L.E. Reynolds appointment
REST OF THE WORLD APPOINTMENTS
Ad. Siwi Sukma Adji appointed
TAI MoU with KAI
Rolls-Royce Kawasaki partnership
Aeronautics agreement with Romaero
Lockheed hires Michele Evans
Mike Morningstar joins RUAG
SIG SAUER promotes Hana Bilodeau
SIG SAUER hires Brad Criner
EXHIBITIONS AND CONFERENCES
Owning the Night 2018
Future Anti-Ship Missile Systems
House of Commons and House of Lords Hansard Written Answers
Exports: Arms Trade
Royal Fleet Auxiliary
ARTEC sets out its stall for UK Boxer Programme
By Julian Nettlefold
Exensor – Securing Borders
By Julian Nettlefold
International Satcom Strategy – Capacity Vs Coverage
By Julian Nettlefold
Defence Space Conference 2018 – Defining UK Space Strategy
By Howard Wheeldon, FRAeS, Wheeldon Strategic Advisory Ltd.
The remains of a Romano-British cemetery and a section of an Iron Age ditch have been found at Corunna Barracks while preparing the site for the construction of Army accommodation. (MoD, 18 May 18.) (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 18/19, 28 May 18)
8 Sinclair Gardens
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NEWS IN BRIEF – EUROPE
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25 May 18. Iraq and Syria: OP SHADER. On 9 May 18 Typhoons bombed a pair of terrorists in Western Iraq. The following day Typhoons destroyed a Daesh-held building in the Syrian Euphrates Valley. On 14 May 18 Typhoons bombed a terrorist mortar position in Eastern Syria. A Daesh tunnel complex South West of Mosul, which terrorists were attempting to re-occupy, was attacked by Tornados on 20 May 18. (MoD, 25 May 18.)
Comment: The MoD reported (25 May 18) that, during a Global Coalition update in London, the Deputy Commander of the Combined Joint Task Force (Operation Inherent Resolve) said: “The campaign against Daesh is not over. We will continue to fight side by side with our international allies…”. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 18/19, 28 May 18)
21 May 18. RAF Air Command: Military Space Operations. During the UK’s first Defence Space Conference the Defence Secretary announced (21 May 18) that RAF Air Command has assumed responsibility for command and control of UK military space operations to defend UK interests in space. Over the next five years it is intended to increase the number of personnel working in the space sector from 500 to 600. A new Space Strategy, which is expected to be published in the Summer, will set out plans to protect UK operations against emerging space-based threats. With reference to the EU Galileo programme the Defence Secretary confirmed that the UK has contributed £1,200m towards funding the project “and provided vital ground infrastructure in the Falklands and the Ascension Islands”. Continued involvement in Galileo “remains our preferred option, however we are working on alternative options…”.
Comment: The space industry is currently worth £14,000m a year to the UK economy and the new Strategy is also aimed at ensuring that the UK “continues to benefit from this growth in satellite technology”. The Department for Exiting the European Union published (24 May 18) a ‘Technical note on the UK’s participation in Galileo’ which outlines areas for discussion, as negotiations continue with the EU on BREXIT.
The technical note is available via the government portal (www.gov.uk). (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 18/19, 28 May 18)
21 May 18. HMS OCEAN: Pre-Sale Refit. In answer to a House of Commons Written Question, the Defence Procurement Minister confirmed (21 May 18)
that £29m was spent on refitting HMS OCEAN to make her ready for sale.
Comment: HMS OCEAN was sold to Brazil for £84m, with £55m of the revenue generated being reinvested in Defence. The Brazilian Navy is due to take possession of the ship in June 2018. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 18/19, 28 May 18)
17 May 18. Bio-ethanol Fuel: New Production Line. The Defence Procurement Minister opened (17 May 18) the production line for a “pioneering new fuel” at Cardiff-based BCB International. Known as FireDragon, the fuel burns cleanly, is non-toxic and is made from sustainable natural ingredients. The fuel is used by UK troops to heat combat rations where regular catering facilities do not exist. Almost eight million of the FireDragon fuel tablets have been supplied to the British Army.
Comment: FireDragon is being supplied as part of a £3.6m legacy contract awarded to BCB International in October 2015. Under the contract, the company supplies Operational Ration Heaters which are used to prepare
hot drinks and to heat pouched meals within Operational Ration Packs.
(Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 18/19, 28 May 18)
21 May 18. Artificial Intelligence (AI): New ‘Hub.’ Hosting the first joint US-UK Defence Innovation Board meeting (21 May 18) the Defence Secretary announced the launch of a new AI hub, known as AI Lab, based at the Defence Science & Technology Laboratory (DSTL) at Porton Down. AI Lab will enhance and accelerate the UK’s capabilities in the application of AI-related technologies to Defence and security. DSTL currently delivers over £20m of research related to AI and “this is forecast to grow significantly”.
Comment: The meeting between the UK Defence Innovation Board and its US counterpart explored “important areas of co-operation” between the two countries. A reciprocal visit to the US is planned for later in 2018 when
joint recommendations will be developed. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 18/19, 28 May 18)
24 May 18. Northern Ireland: Reserve Service. The Defence Secretary announced (24 May 18) an increase of 189 Reserve posts, taking the number of Army Reserve posts in Northern Ireland to 2,100 by the end of 2018.
Comment: Reserve service is particularly popular in Northern Ireland. More than twice as many people from Northern Ireland volunteer for the Reserves compared to the national average. As well as the 1,850 Army
Reservists, there are 110 RN/RM Reservists and 130 RAuxAF personnel in Northern Ireland. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 18/19, 28 May 18)
21 May 18. Zimbabwe: To Re-join The Commonwealth. The Commonwealth advised (21 May 18) that Zimbabwe has applied to re-join the organisation. The proposal came in a letter dated 9 May 18 to the Secretary-General from the President of Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe joined the Commonwealth on becoming independent in 1980 but withdrew from the organisation in 2003.
Comment: To re-join the Commonwealth, Zimbabwe has to demonstrate “that it complies with the fundamental values set out in the Commonwealth Charter, including democracy and rule of law plus protection of human rights such as freedom of expression.”. An official date for an election has yet to be set, although it will probably be in July 2018. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 18/19, 28 May 18)
22 May 18. National Audit Office (NAO) Report: Nuclear Enterprise. The NAO published (22 May 18) a report on the network of programmes, equipment and people that support the maintenance of the UK’s submarine-based deterrence, collectively known as the Nuclear Enterprise. The MoD forecasts that it will spend £5,200m across the Enterprise in 2018-19 which represents 14% of the Department’s overall budget. The NAO is concerned that the MoD faces a £2,900m affordability gap from 2018 to 2028, assuming that it realises £3,000m efficiency savings over the same period. With reference to the Dreadnought programme, an MoD Spokesperson said (22 May 18) “the NAO’s report highlights our position that it is on track to be delivered on schedule and within the original estimated cost”.
Comment: The Dreadnought programme, replacing the current Vanguard-class boats from the early 2030s, is budgeted at £31,000m. On 28 Mar 18 it was confirmed that the MoD would have access to £600m contingency
funding for 2018-19 to ensure that the programme remains on schedule. ‘The Defence Nuclear Enterprise: a landscape review’ was published as HC 1003 and can be accessed via the NAO website (www.nao.org.uk). (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 18/19, 28 May 18)
28 May 18. Dutch Secretary of State Visser has sent 15 letters for new materiel. Dutch State Secretary for Defence Visser recently sent 15 so-called A-letters to the House of Representatives. In a separate letter, she informed members of the House of Representatives about the coherence of the different projects. All investments are highly necessary. The Navy, in particular, is looking for new ships to increase its
effectiveness. These include a second support ship, a combat support ship, and the replacement of the two multipurpose frigates and six mine countermeasures vessels. The combat support ship needs to be deployed in 2023. The advantage of this purchase is that knowledge and expertise from earlier projects can be re-used, and that the maintenance of the
materiel and education and training of the personnel will be facilitated.
The two new frigates are also highly necessary. The multipurpose frigates are responsible for antisubmarine warfare, a capability which is strongly needed by NATO. The current frigates need spare parts, which are often not available. This leads to dissatisfaction and extraordinarily high maintenance costs. The first new frigate is expected to be available in 2025. This will be a joint acquisition with Belgium, with the Netherlands as lead nation. The six current mine countermeasures vessels are from the ’80s and therefore no longer capable of tracing modern mines. The future fleet will include unmanned mine countermeasures surface vehicles,
which will be deployed from a safe distance by a manned mine countermeasures vessel. The Navy will receive the vessels (manned and unmanned) between 2025 and 2030. Belgium and the Netherlands
have decided to have one joint acquisition project with Belgium as lead nation. (Source: www.nidv.eu)
28 May 18. The new Dutch Defence White Paper: its role and opportunities for the Dutch economy. In March, the Defence White Paper 2018 was submitted to the Dutch House of Representatives. The Ministry of Defence will invest in human resources and materiel for a stronger adaptive force. The Netherlands will then be able to better respond to international geopolitical developments, which have become unpredictable and complex. Dutch industry would like to co-operate with the Ministry of Defence in responding to these developments. Security and stability are of the utmost necessity for an open economy like that of the Netherlands. Dutch companies possess enough knowledge and innovation to respond to the developments and to create new employment. The key question at the event on 15 May at VNO-NCW was how the Ministry of Defence and Dutch industry can support and strengthen each other. The White Paper is not only about materiel but mainly about human resources. How can industry and the military co-operate regarding the career prospects of employees? During the event on 15 May, the Minister of Defence shared her views on these topics. Mr Arend Jan Boekestijn presented his views on the issue with a special focus on Franco-German co-operation in Europe. Members of the House of Representatives, Andre Bosman, Salima Belhaj en Hanke Bruins Slot, were also present to discuss the challenges with NIDV Director Ron Nulkes, Michelle Postma (Fox-IT), Gerben Edelijn (Thales), Michiel van der Maat (GKN/Fokker), René Berkvens (Damen) and Reginald Visser (Maritime Knowledge Centre). The event was chaired by Rens de Jong. A new covenant for the “Defence Business” (Platform Defensie Bedrijfsleven) platform was signed with the NIDV, Bouwend Nederland, Bovag, FME, Koninklijke Metaalunie, Nederland ICT, TLN, VNO-NCW
and MKBNederland. (Source: www.nidv.eu)
28 May 18. Funding opportunities at the Netherlands Enterprise Agency.
On 6 June, the NIDV and the Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO) of the Ministry of Economic Affairs & Climate are holding an information event about funding possibilities for the Dutch Defence and Security
industry. While covering issues ranging from economic missions to support in the area of innovation, the RVO’s ‘ambassadors’ Rob Overkleeft and Herman Brouwer will explain the following programmes for you:
- WBSO (fiscal support to motivate innovations)
- Innovation credit
- International funding opportunities
- Support for economic missions
Paul Kruis, the point of contact for the Horizon 2020 programme, will also be present. In addition to the presentation of funding opportunities, there will be time to discuss individual cases,
with an opportunity for follow-up and networking. All NIDV-participants have recently received an invitation for the event and can register on the intranet. (Source: www.nidv.eu)
25 May 18. Statement by the NATO Secretary General on MH17 investigation. The Netherlands and Australia have announced that they hold Russia responsible for its part in the downing of flight MH17 on 17 July 2014. I call on Russia to accept responsibility and fully cooperate with all efforts to establish accountability, in line with United Nations Security Council Resolution 2166.
Yesterday’s interim report of the Joint Investigation Team on the downing of MH17 concluded that the missile launcher used to shoot down the plane originated from the 53rd Anti-aircraft Brigade of the Russian Federation, stationed in Kursk.
The downing of MH17 was a global tragedy, and those responsible must be held accountable. NATO has repeatedly expressed its full support for the efforts undertaken by the Dutch authorities and others to shed light on what happened on that terrible day, and to achieve justice for the 298 people who were killed and their loved ones.
25 May 18. Czech defense minister orders probe into Israeli radar deal. The Czech Republic’s defense minister has ordered the military police to launch an investigation into the pending purchase of eight ELM-2084 multimission radars from Elta Systems, a subsidiary of Israel Aerospace Industries. Karla Slechtova said she decided to probe the planned contract due to “extremely serious findings,” local news agency CTK reported. The military police is also looking into the Defence Ministry’s ongoing procedure to acquire 12 multipurpose helicopters, according to the minister.
The acquisition is estimated to be worth about 3.6bn koruna (U.S. $163.5m).
Last March, Slechtova said she would not sign the deal unless the 3-D radars are interoperable with NATO’s air-defense system. The move followed a decision by the Czech National Cyber and Information Security Agency that declined to approve the documentation for the acquisition. Without the institution’s certification, it would be impossible to integrate the radars with NATO infrastructure, according to the minister.
The purchase is to allow the Czech military to replace its obsolete Soviet-designed radars with new equipment.
Under the helm of Slechtova’s predecessor, Martin Stropnicky, the country’s incumbent foreign minister, the Czech ministry selected Elta Systems’ bid in December 2016 after evaluating three offers submitted by France, Sweden and Israel. (Source: Defense News)
25 May 18. Turkey threatens retaliation if new bill stops F-35 sale. The Turkish government has vowed reprisals if the U.S. Congress passes a defense policy bill that prevents the sale of Lockheed Martin-made F-35 fighter jets to Ankara.
The Senate Armed Services Committee on Thursday passed its version of the $716 billion National Defense Authorization Act with language that directs the Pentagon to submit a plan to Congress to remove the NATO ally from participation in the F-35 program.
“According to agreement, everybody has a mission and we expect everyone to fulfill these missions,” said Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman Hami Aksoy, Ahval reports. “Such steps are breach of the spirit of our alliance with the U.S. As our minister stated, if such steps are taken, we will have no other choice but to respond accordingly.”
Turkish Foreign Affairs Minister Mevlüt Cavuşoğlu said earlier this month the country would retaliate, after the House version of the NDAA was unveiled. That bill contains a broader prohibition on any foreign military sales to Turkey until the Pentagon reports to Congress on the impact of U.S.-Turkey tensions.
The Senate approved its version of the massive bill after meeting behind closed doors this week, but the text of the bill itself is not expected for about another week. The panel was steered by its No. 2 Republican, Sen. Jim Inhofe, of Oklahoma, as its chairman, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., was battling brain cancer at home in Arizona.
The NDAA is several steps from becoming law. The House passed its version earlier Thursday, and the Senate must pass its version before the two are reconciled over the summer into a final bill for both chambers to pass.
One provision in the SASC-passed NDAA says the Senate believes Turkey should be sanctioned if it completes the purchase of the S-400 long-range air and anti-missile defense system from Russia.
Separate language from Sens. Thom Tillis, R-N.C., Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., and James Lankford, R-Okla., targets the F-35 sale. It directs a report with timelines to remove the Turkish government from participation in the F-35 program with the least impact on other international program partners.
The lawmakers cited Turkey’s imprisonment of American Pastor Andrew Brunson as well as the S-400 deal. Turkish officials have said the purchase is a matter of national sovereignty, but NATO members have expressed concerns because the S-400 is not interoperable with NATO systems.
“I truly wish we could instead be working to pass an NDAA that would strengthen the relationship between Turkey and the United States,” Tillis said. “However, the Turkish government’s recent actions, including the wrongful treatment of Pastor Brunson, has made this congressional response both necessary and appropriate.”
“There is tremendous hesitancy [about] transferring sensitive F-35 planes and technology to a nation who has purchased a Russian air defense system designed to shoot these very planes down,” Shaheen said in a statement. “This amendment is meant to give the Departments of State and Defense the guidance and congressional support they need to ensure that this does not happen at this time.”
The congressional action comes as the Trump administration pressures Ankara to rethink the S-400 purchase, which was announced in December.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo testified Thursday on Capitol Hill that he had spoken with Cavuşoğlu in recent days to push for Brunson’s return and implore Ankara not to buy the S-400.
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Turkey’s capacity to access the F-35, he said, “is still very much a live issue.”
U.S. Ambassador to NATO Kay Bailey Hutchison called the purchase “very serious” at a public forum on Wednesday.
“They’re a very important partner,” she said of Turkey. “But no partner in NATO has ever purchased a Russian system that is not capable of being interoperable with our NATO systems.”
(Source: Defense News)
25 May 18. Guto Bebb MP, UK Minister for Defence Procurement, announced the delivery of the first AW101 Commando Merlin Mk4 helicopter during a ceremony held at Royal Naval Air Station Yeovilton yesterday. The event marks a major milestone for Leonardo’s Merlin Life Sustainment Programme (MLSP) contract to convert 25 former Royal Air Force Merlin helicopters to fully marinised amphibious support Commando Merlin helicopters for use by the UK’s Commando Helicopter Force.
Geoff Munday, Managing Director of Leonardo Helicopters in the UK, said at the ceremony “The delivery of the first Commando Merlin marks the culmination of over four years of design, development and manufacturing effort by Leonardo here in the UK. The result is the world’s most advanced and capable amphibious support helicopter that can fly faster, further and carry much more than the now retired Commando Sea King, delivering a greatly enhanced capability to the Commando Helicopter Force.”
The Commando Merlin Mk4/4A helicopters are fully optimised for ship operations and include automatic main rotor blade folding and tail fold, an uprated undercarriage and enhanced cabin safety features. The aircraft are also fitted with the same advanced technology cockpit developed by Leonardo for the Royal Navy’s Merlin Mk2 aircraft, giving the UK’s Merlin fleet a common cockpit featuring five 10” x 8” integrated display units, two touch screen units for controlling the aircraft’s systems and mission equipment, as well as two cursor control devices to control the tactical displays.
Leonardo’s electronic warfare experts in Luton have also upgraded the self-protection system on the new Commando Merlin aircraft to provide optimum security. The previously-federated Defensive Aids System (DAS) has been integrated with a latest-generation DAS Controller, which allows the system to rapidly identify hostile weapon systems and initiate appropriate tactics and countermeasures. By introducing a level of automation and integrating DAS functionality with the helicopters’ new cockpit display units, pilot workload is reduced. Leonardo already provides defensive aid suites across the UK Armed Forces’ helicopter fleet and provides Electronic Warfare Operational Support (EWOS) for all of these platforms, allowing the fleet’s protective systems to be re-programmed in response to changing battlefield conditions.
25 May 18. HMS Queen Elizabeth members work with F-35B Pax River ITF team. Members of the flying control and flight deck control teams on-board the British Royal Navy’s HMS Queen Elizabeth (R08) have worked alongside the F-35 Pax River Integrated Test Force (ITF) team ahead of the new F-35 Lightning II jet’s initial test programme.
The F-35 Lightning II combat aircraft is currently slated to carry out its first trials on-board the Royal Navy’s Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carrier during the third quarter of this year.
Almost 20 personnel from the R08 team witnessed the F-35B test aircraft BF-02 and BF-04 taxi, conduct short takeoffs and perform two vertical landings each as part of the exercise.
HMS Queen Elizabeth Commander Air Royal Navy commander James Blackmore said: “It’s the first time they’ve ever seen the jet or been up and close to it as it’s performing its flight manoeuvres, so they got to feel the environment of what it’s like, the sort of noise, the heat, the sound and the pressure of the aircraft, so that when it comes to deck for the first time, it’s not a surprise.”
Blackmore is in charge of all aviation activities carried out on-board all Royal Navy vessels that are specifically designed to handle the F-35 Lightning II aircraft.
The flight deck of the 65,000t HMS Queen Elizabeth aircraft carrier has been developed to accommodate helicopters and the F-35B short take-off and vertical landing (STOVL), added Blackmore.
The F-35 Lightning II aircraft is a fifth-generation fighter jet that combines advanced stealth with fighter speed and agility.
It is equipped with fully fused sensor information, network-enabled operations and increased sustainment capabilities compared to previous models. (Source: naval-technology.com)
25 May 18. EU allocates €500m in 2019 and 2020 to EDIDP programme. The European Union (EU) has agreed to allocate €500m in 2019 and 2020 to the European Defence Industrial Development Programme (EDIDP) to enhance cooperation in the defence industry.
The EDIDP is a new programme that has been designed to focus on cross-EU country development of EU defence capabilities, such as drones for military use or a European cyber defence mechanism.
European People’s Party Group spokesperson and rapporteur Françoise Grossetête said: “We have taken a first and very important step to increase cooperation in the defence industry and strengthen the competitiveness of the EU defence industry by agreeing with the Council to allocate €500m in 2019 and 2020 to the EDIDP.”
The current €500m investment is expected to increase to €1bn every year from 2021.
Pan-European cooperation in the development of weapons systems, such as aircraft, battle tanks and navy vessels, is also expected to increase in the future.
To support and bolster the pan-EU development of defence systems, at least three companies from three different EU nations are required to participate in the programme.
Grossetête added: “The all-European defence technological and industrial base, in particular our small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and mid-caps, will benefit from this programme in order to strengthen our strategic autonomy. Excellence and innovation will be the main drivers.”
On 7 June last year, the European Commission published the proposal for a regulation on the EDIDP, as part of the implementation of the European Defence Action Plan (EDAP).
The EDAP involved the establishment of a European Defence Fund that will be used to support collaborative research in the development of latest defence technologies and defence products jointly agreed by the EU member states. (Source: army-technology.com)
25 May 18. Thales eyes bolt-on M&A but not chasing scale of U.S. rivals. France’s Thales (TCFP.PA) has its eye on bolt-on acquisitions after securing chipmaker Gemalto but feels no immediate pressure to match the scale of ‘nose-to-tail’ aircraft parts suppliers like United Technologies, its chief executive said.
“Thales continues to examine opportunities for small and medium acquisitions. There are no other (acquisitions on the scale of) Gemalto in the pipeline,” Patrice Caine told a meeting of aerospace journalists on Friday.
In December, Gemalto (GTO.AS) accepted a 4.8bn-euro ($5.60 billion) takeover bid from Thales to create a leader in digital security.
Asked if Thales is big enough to confront rivals like United Technologies (UTX.N) after its planned purchase of Rockwell Collins, or Honeywell (HON.N) – both worth around four times Thales’s $27bn market value – Caine said “time will tell”.
“On all of our markets…what counts is to be more innovative and competitive and that is not directly related to size,” he added.
He dampened suggestions that these U.S. conglomerates would reap an advantage by bundling sales of equipment or services from the nose to tail of aircraft, to edge out smaller rivals like Thales whose aerospace unit makes up 38 percent of sales.
“I haven’t really seen the notion of commercial bundling materialise. It’s not in the interest of planemakers who … want to keep control of the overall architecture of their aircraft,” Caine said.
“If one day it took off, then that would call into question our model and size, but today it’s not happening in practice.”
24 May 18. ‘Max-fac’ Brexit bill will cost aerospace sector £1bn a year more than previously thought, MPs are told.
Brexit will cost Britain’s aerospace and defence sectors almost £1bn a year more than previously expected, MPs were told today.
ADS, which represents the UK aerospace, defence, security and space sectors, has written to two influential committees after giving oral evidence in parliament last autumn.
The Treasury Committee and Exiting the European Union Committee were told previous £1.5bn a-year estimates understated the annual bill. This was based on 2016 export volumes; based on 2017 statistics the yearly cost was revised up to £2.3bn.
The bill assumes Britain pursues a maximum facilitation, or max-fac, Brexit option
Today’s letter, from ADS CEO Paul Everitt to committee chairs Nicky Morgan and Hilary Benn, laid out the multi-billion pound bill would be “highly damaging to our sectors”.
The upward revisions are a product of increased trade with the EU, in particular from the aerospace sector where demand for British aircraft parts is spiralling to ultimately keep up with the increased consumer appetite for air travel.
Read more: Brexiters and Remainers both clobbered by Rogers
The analysis is based on OECD estimates that customs barriers could lead to the imposition of costs of between two and 15 per cent of the value of UK exports to the EU.
A max-fac route, referenced as a “highly streamlined customs arrangement”, is preferred by many Brexiteers as providing a clean break with the customs union. It is at odds with the second of two options under consideration of a hybrid customs partnership once Britain exits the EU – something Prime Minister Theresa May is reported to be in favour of.
Everitt wrote: We continue to believe that a customs union between the UK and EU provides a pragmatic solution that would minimise new costs to a far greater extent than the two customs models currently proposed.
The ADS letter comes after HM Revenue & Customs yesterday told the Treasury Committee a max-fac route could cost between £17bn and £20bn.
23 May 18. UK faces £2.9bn affordability gap to maintain Nuclear Enterprise. A new report released by the National Audit Office (NAO) has revealed that the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) is facing an ‘affordability gap’ of £2.9bn with regards to the maintenance of the country’s Defence Nuclear Enterprise. The MoD will be required to bridge the affordability gap between 2018 and 2028 to successfully address the funding deficit.
The report also suggests the ministry will have to manage its people, contractors and schedule more effectively in order to maintain the submarine-based nuclear deterrent, which currently supports the UK Government’s national security policy. NAO head Amyas Morse said: “As the department invests heavily in the Dreadnought-class submarines and more widely across the Enterprise, it needs to ensure that the new structures, processes and workforce operate effectively together to manage the £2.9bn affordability gap across the Enterprise.”
The Royal Navy initially commenced the construction of its Dreadnought-class submarines in October 2016.
The vessels have been designed to gradually replace the four Vanguard-class boats beginning from the early 2030s.
NAO’s latest report also warns that the timeframe for the construction of the Dreadnought-class ships will be affected by progress with the development of other Royal Navy submarine programmes.
The construction schedule is also expected to affect the support and maintenance requirements of in-service submarines.
Additionally, the MoD will be required to coordinate its estate plans to build the necessary facilities, including sufficient dock capacity for the maintenance of the new submarines, as well as the decommissioning and dismantling of 20 navy boats.
The defence department anticipates that it will spend £50.9bn on nuclear equipment and other support programmes between 2018 and 2028.
Furthermore, the MoD will need to reduce costs, identify efficiencies and re-programme work schedules in order to maintain the Defence Nuclear Enterprise, the report added.
The department previously signed a number of contracts worth a combined £960m in March for the second phase of production for the Dreadnought-class ships, in addition to £1.5bn worth of contracts for the development of the seventh and final Astute-class submarine. (Source: naval-technology.com)
23 May 18. EU offers up cash infusion to European defense industry. The European Union has agreed to bolster the ailing European defense industry by allocating €500m (U.S. $585.19m) in 2019 and 2020 to the European Defence Industrial Development Programme.
The EDIDP is a new program aimed at the development, for instance, of drones for military use or a European cyber defense mechanism. Funding is expected to increase to €1bn per year from 2021.
It means increased pan-EU cooperation in major weapons systems such as aircraft, battle tanks and navy ships should now be possible.
A European Commission spokesman said the “core objective” of the funding was to make Europe’s defense industry more competitive and innovative. The program will act as an “enabler for cooperation, incentivising potential collaborative development programs.”
“It aims to encourage cooperation in developing the technologies and equipment needed to address common defense and security challenges,” added the spokesman.
What remains unclear at this stage, however, is the role and future involvement of the U.K. in EU-funded defense programs after it exits the EU, due to happen at the end of March 2019.
Questions remain particularly about the impact a British exit will have on the European Defence Technological and Industrial Base (EDTIB) and, indeed, on the desirable future agreements between the U.K. and the EU in this area.
With a turnover of €97.3bn in 2014, 500,000 people directly employed and 1.2 million indirect jobs, the European defence industry is a major industrial sector. But the European defense market has been shrinking, with NATO saying spending on defense by its 26 European members slipped to about $250bn in 2014 from $275bn in 2010.
The new €500m funding, announced Wednesday, is partly designed to the give the sector an economic shot in the arm.
The deal will now be presented to EU ambassadors for their endorsement on May 29, after which it will be submitted to the European Parliament for a vote and then to the EU member states for final adoption.
It is expected that the program will finance the first capability projects in 2019.
To foster the pan-EU development of defense systems, the requirement is that a minimum of three companies from three EU countries participate.
For prototypes, up to 20 percent of the cost could be covered by the program while for other actions such as design or testing, it can go up to 100 percent.
For the period 2021-2027 the EU also plans to allocate €13bn for the European Defence Fund, a relatively new initiative which has already started to fund pan-European research projects. The new funding announcement was welcomed by Elżbieta Bieńkowska, EU commissioner for the internal market, industry, entrepreneurship and small and medium enterprises, who said the program “is part of our wider efforts to establish a credible Defence Union which protects its citizens. With this agreement, we are building EU’s strategic autonomy and boosting the competitiveness of the EU defense industry.”
Further comment came from Krasimir Karakachanov, Deputy Prime Minister for Public Order and Security, Minister for Defence of Bulgaria, which currently holds the Presidency of the Council, who added, “This agreement will allow the European Union to fund for the first time a programme on defence capabilities. This new step in our security and defence cooperation reflects the importance in today’s world of doing more as Europeans for our own security.”
Elsewhere, Françoise Grossetête, a senior French centre right Member of the European Parliament and rapporteur on the issue in Parliament, said, “We have taken a first and very important step to increase cooperation in the defence industry and strengthen the competitiveness of the EU defence industry.
“The all-European defense technological and industrial base, in particular our SMEs and mid-caps, will benefit from this program in order to strengthen our strategic autonomy. Excellence and innovation will be the main drivers.”
A source at the European Defence Agency, based in Brussels, said, “maintenance of a strong and competitive DTIB in Europe is a fundamental underpinning of the European security and defense policy. A robust EDTIB is a prerequisite to the EDA achieving its mission: improving the EU’s defense capabilities.
“It is this DTIB which supplies the bulk of the equipment our armed forces use. It is also a valuable economic asset. Europe possesses a widely-capable, and in many sectors, world-leading DTIB but we need to ensure that the DTIB is capable of meeting our needs on time, to specification, and to budget.” (Source: Defense News)
23 May 18. Spanish defence budget presented to parliament. Spanish Defence Minister María Dolores de Cospedal presented the country’s 2018 defence budget to parliament on 22 May. Defence spending will rise by 6.38% to EUR9.25bn (USD10.9bn). This includes money allocated for overseas missions and paying off outstanding debts, while the actual ministry budget has increased by 10.7% to EUR8.45bn, according to the minister. Spain’s chief of defence staff said the nation’s defence spending is still too low, but moving in the right direction. Speaking before the budget presentation in parliament, General Fernando Alejandre Martínez added, “This budget is not the goal, but a step forward. We are starting to think there is light at the end of the tunnel.” (Source: IHS Jane’s)
23 May 18. My apologies but I couldn’t resist making comment on our Foreign Secretary, Mr. Boris Johnson saying that he ‘probably needs’ a special aircraft to help him travel the world to promote British interest rather than, provided that it was cost effective of course, his having to use commercial flights like almost everyone else.
In what I believe was a conversation with reporters and from an account that I have seen on the BBC website, Mr Johnson reportedly said that although senior members of the cabinet are entitled to use the RAF Brize Norton based Voyager aircraft for important missions the multiple use of [Voyager] for [military personnel transport and this aircraft also being the RAF’s primary air-to-air tanker refuelling capability] mean that Voyager aircraft are very difficult to get hold of for use by the Foreign Secretary.
Mr. Johnson is most likely referring to there being only one Voyager aircraft from a total fleet of nine aircraft that are officially based at RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire to have been specially fitted out for use by very senior members of the Royal Family and the prime minister and who, for obvious reasons of seniority and status, have priority of the Foreign Secretary and his other cabinet colleagues.
Operated by the AirTanker consortium Voyager capability was delivered over a period of three years as part of the Future Strategic Tanker Transport (FSTA) programme for the Royal Air Force. Based on the Airbus A330-200, the 14 strong Voyager aircraft fleet comprises a mix of two and three point Multi Role Tanker Transport (MRTT) capability. The core tanker refuelling fleet consists of nine aircraft with five being included as ‘surge’ capability. The latter surge capability is available to be leased to airlines both for passenger and cargo transport. The final aircraft was delivered in May 2014.
Mr. Johnson also questions why the Voyager aircraft fleet, just as the Vickers VC-10 fleet operated by the Royal Air Force and that preceded Voyager operating in a similar dual capability capacity for the best part of fifty years are painted grey! What a dumb question that was given that we are talking military aircraft capability here rather than jazzed up liveried commercial aircraft that with their bright colours can be spotted in the air for miles!
Adding insult to injury, the hapless Foreign Secretary has a go at what he calls ‘other jets that are available’ which presumably is a reference to the BAE 146 aircraft in services with the Royal Air Force and ‘Queens Flight’ based at RAF Northolt and which he says have not been upgraded for forty years! For a start, whilst these fine aircraft are not exactly new I rather doubt that they are as yet forty years old. I could easily find out but quite frankly, I have better things to do!
I am all for providing those who represent us abroad with the respect, dignity and realisation that they deserve for the hard work that they do and undertake on our behalf. Sometimes it is right that we afford our senior ministers with air transport capability that matches the occasion. It is absolutely right of course that, as Head of State, Her Majesty the Queen is afforded use of Voyager when this is deemed appropriate. But, as far as I am aware, Her Majesty has never complained about having to use British Airways commercial flights and she well knows that often this is the best and most efficient let alone affordable way of travel. Neither should the Foreign Secretary. It is no bad thing for ministers to suffer a touch of hardship when flying by air is it and Mr. Johnson should be no exception! (Source: Howard Wheeldon, FRAeS, Wheeldon Strategic Advisory Ltd.)
22 May 18. British defense chief puts a price tag on US military alliance. Britain’s defense secretary has put at least a £3bn-a-year (U.S. $4bn) price tag on the value of the country’s close military relationship with the US, but conceded that the arrangement was priceless to the government.
“We benefit massively from our relationship with the U.S. I said you couldn’t actually put a price on it, but when you look at [it] in terms of the benefits we get on a yearly basis I think we would benefit to the tune of a very minimum of £3bn, and that is taking a very conservative approach,” Gavin Williamson told the parliamentary Defence Committee on Tuesday.
Williamson said the benefits came in “terms of technology, in terms of joint programs working together. Quite frankly we would always struggle to put that level of investment into a program if we wanted to bring it to fruition, so we are a massive beneficiary of this relationship.”
The remarks come as the committee concluded an inquiry into British relations with the U.S. and NATO. The findings of the report are expected to be published in the next few months.
The defense secretary earlier in the day announced the Ministry of Defence had on May 21 hosted a meeting with the U.S. Defense Innovation Board in London aimed at sharing, among other things, innovation priorities.
Britain’s relationship with the U.S. could take a serious hit, however, should media reports from last week prove true ― that London is considering cutting its pledge to buy 138 Lockheed Martin F-35 fighter jets and instead purchase more of the cheaper Eurofighter Typhoons as part of its defense review, officially known as the Defence Modernisation Programme.
One British newspaper described the possible move as “an epic snub” to Washington.
Williamson also announced Britain’s investment in the creation of what will be called the AI Lab ― a defense center for artificial intelligence, machine learning and data science based at the MoD’s Defence Science and Technology Laboratory facility in Porton Down, southwest England.
With the cash-strapped MoD expected to publish the defense review ahead of the NATO summit in Brussels scheduled for July 11, lawmakers wanted to know whether Washington had voiced an opinion about British defense spending.
Williamson said the U.S. Defense Department and others in the states had contributed to the defense review, but the subject of money hadn’t been on the agenda formally or informally.
“What they have asked is to make sure we have the right capabilities. But we have not had a discussion about defense spending. … They have put a very high value on the capabilities we have, and they would be very concerned to see that capability eroded,” Williamson told the committee.
The defense secretary specifically noted “massive ticket items that the U.S. sees as pivotal for the defense and security of NATO members”:
- Rapid deployment of troops as part of NATO.
- Special forces.
- The new Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carrier battle group.
- The nuclear deterrent.
- Countering the uptick in Russian submarine activity in the North Atlantic.
Williamson also mentioned the Royal Navy’s mine-hunting capabilities and said Britain is a world leader in terms of technological development done in partnership with the U.S., asserting that in some cases the U.S. is further behind Britain.
Under the Obama administration, senior U.S. military and diplomatic figures voiced concern over Britain’s declining defense capabilities as spending slipped close to falling below the NATO-set spending target of 2 percent of gross domestic product.
“They [the U.S. administration] recognize that our commitment to 2 percent is something to be praised and is an important signal to other European nations to be spending at that same level,” Williamson said.
Earlier this month, Woody Johnson, the U.S. ambassador in London, urged Britain to increase its defense spending.
The Defence Modernisation Programme is meant to prioritize British capabilities and programs, in part to reflect the rapidly changing threat posed by Russia and others since the Strategic Defence and Security Review was published in 2015.
The MoD, which is facing a multibillion pound black hole in the defense equipment and other budgets over the next few years, will have to find significant cuts from efficiency gains and other measures to balance the books. The department is also fighting for more money from the Treasury to stave off cuts.
Defense funding problems took a new knock Tuesday when the National Audit Office, a government-spending watchdog, warned that the program to design, build and support nuclear submarines over the next 10 years faces a £6bn funding gap.
The NAO said the nuclear submarine program, principally the building of four Dreadnought-class nuclear missile submarines, could face delays and cost overruns partly caused by a lack of nuclear engineering skills and the complexity of the project.
19 May 18. EU Takes Steps to Activate Blocking Statute against U.S. Sanctions on Iran. Following the unanimous backing of EU Heads of State or Government at the leaders’ meeting in Sofia on the evening of 16 May for the proposals of President Juncker and High Representative/Vice-President Federica Mogherini, the European Commission has acted on four fronts:
- Launched the formal process to activate the Blocking Statute by updating the list of US sanctions on Iran falling within its scope. The Blocking Statute forbids EU companies from complying with the extraterritorial effects of US sanctions, allows companies to recover damages arising from such sanctions from the person causing them, and nullifies the effect in the EU of any foreign court judgements based on them. The aim is to have the measure in force before 6 August 2018, when the first batch of US sanctions take effect.
- Launched the formal process to remove obstacles for the European Investment Bank (EIB) to decide under the EU budget guarantee to finance activities outside the European Union, in Iran. This will allow the EIB to support EU investment in Iran and could be useful in particular for small and medium-sized companies. All relevant rules and procedures will apply to individual financial operations.
The European Parliament and the Council will have a period of two months to object to these measures, once proposed, before they enter into force. This period can be shorter if both Institutions signal their non-objection before the end of the period. The processes can be ended if political circumstances no longer justify the adoption of the measures.
- As confidence building measures, the Commission will continue and strengthen the ongoing sectoral cooperation with, and assistance to, Iran, including in the energy sector and with regard to small and medium-sized companies. As a first step, the Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy, Miguel Arias Cañete, will travel to Tehran already this weekend. Financial assistance through the Development Cooperation or Partnership Instruments will also be mobilised.
- The Commission is encouraging Member States to explore the possibility of one-off bank transfers to the Central Bank of Iran. This approach could help the Iranian authorities to receive their oil-related revenues, particularly in case of US sanctions which could target EU entities active in oil transactions with Iran. (Source: glstrade.com)
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25 May 18. New US Senate bill bars sale of F-35 jets to Turkey over S-400 Russia deal. A US Senate committee has passed a defense policy bill that bars the sale of advanced F-35 warplanes to NATO partner Turkey, faulting Ankara for its purchase of an air defense system from Russia.
The amendment to the $716bn National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), passed on Thursday, was proposed by Democratic Senator from Michigan Jeanne Shaheen and Republican Senator for North Carolina Thom Tillis.
It removed Turkey from the F-35 program over its S-400 purchase from Russia as well as imprisonment of an American Christian pastor in Turkey on spying and terrorism charges.
Shaheen’s office stated that Ankara’s intention to buy the Russian surface-to-air missile batteries was “sanctionable” under US law.
“There is tremendous hesitancy (about) transferring sensitive F-35 planes and technology to a nation who has purchased a Russian air defense system designed to shoot these very planes down,” said the Michigan senator.
The NDAA, according to the report, is several steps from becoming law.
The US House of Representatives passed its version of the bill earlier on Thursday, but the Senate must also pass its own version of the bill before engaging to reconcile the two versions to come up with a final compromise legislation for a vote in both houses of the Congress later this year.
Turkey has said the S-400 system would boost its defense capabilities in the face of threats from Kurdish and Daesh-linked militants as well as conflicts across its borders in neighboring Syria and Iraq.
Ankara has also vowed to take retaliatory measures in case Washington enacts a law blocking weapons sales to Turkey, a key partner in the US-led NATO military alliance.
Turkey intends to purchase more than 100 F-35 jet fighters, and has had talks with US officials about the likely purchase of Patriot anti-air missiles as well.
Ankara’s move to purchase S-400s — deemed incompatible with the NATO systems — has also unnerved some other NATO member nations, prompting NATO officials to warn Turkey of unspecified consequences.
US-Turkey ties have been seriously on the decline in recent months over a host of issues, including Washington’s policy of backing Kurdish militants in Syria and a number of legal cases against Turkish and American nationals being held in the two countries.
Earlier this month, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu warned in an interview that Ankara would retaliate against the US if Washington halted its weapons sales to Ankara.
Cavusoglu described any moves by US lawmakers to block arms sales to his country as wrong, illogical, and not fitting of the alliance between the two NATO allies.
Israel is the only regime in the Middle East to which the United States has sold F-35 jets. Tel Aviv said earlier this week that its military was the first to use the stealth aircraft in combat operations over Syria and Lebanon.
Israel began receiving the fifth-generation F-35 stealth fighter from the United States in December 2016. The aircraft were declared operational approximately a year later.
“We are the first in the world to use the F-35 in operational activity,” Israeli air force commander Maj. Gen. Amikam Norkin boasted during a recent conference.
Boasts over Beirut
Norkin also raised a tiff for releasing a picture and details of an Israeli F-35 fighter allegedly high above Beirut.
Lebanon has yet to respond to the alleged intrusion but several Israeli cabinet ministers decried the display of the image as “unnecessary arrogance and showing off.”
The picture was reportedly shown by Norkin on Tuesday at a conference for visiting commanders and deputy commanders of over 20 foreign air forces.
Norkin reportedly revealed that Israel had used the US-made F-35 in at least two attack missions, making it the first regime in the world to use the aircraft operationally.
Israel has been acting as a de facto air force of militants fighting to topple the Syrian government.
The Israeli regime has stepped up its attacks on Syrian military positions in what is considered an attempt to prop up terrorist groups that have been suffering heavy losses and retreating on multiple fronts.
Using Lebanon’s airspace, the regime has attacked the Syrian soil on many occasions since 2011. Lately, Israeli warplanes have invaded the Lebanese airspace and fired missiles at targets in Syria without entering the country over fears of being hit after the Syrian air defenses shot down an Israeli F-16 fighter jet in February. (Source: News Now/http://www.presstv.com)
24 May 18. Funding Process for DoD Now Strategy Driven, in Healthy Place, Mattis Says. The funding process for the U.S. military is back in a healthy place, Defense Secretary James N. Mattis said yesterday in Colorado Springs, Colorado. The secretary spoke at the U.S. Air Force Academy graduation, and today he participated in the U.S. Northern Command/North American Aerospace Defense Command change-of-command ceremony at Peterson Air Force Base, also in Colorado Springs.
Mattis emphasized the ties between the National Defense Strategy and the budget process, and said the budget submission was underpinned by strategy for the first time in 10 years.
DoD Funding Process
He has urged congressional leaders to provide predictable funding for the department since taking office, and urged Congress to become more involved in its constitutional duty to fund the department. In nine of the last 10 years, the department spent at least some of the time under a continuing resolution.
“What that meant was, if there were evolving threat or a thing we needed to adapt to, number one, we didn’t have a strategic framework within which you’d go, for example, to the Congress and say here’s why we want additional money here,” the secretary said.
And the department couldn’t get additional monies under a continuing resolution. “Without the steady budget, we could not do new starts,” Mattis said. “So things from the Army’s modernization program, to cyber efforts, to outer space efforts were either stillborn or just put in a dormant status.”
This situation caused the American military overmatch to erode over time, and now the department must make up for lost time, the secretary said.
“We are doing that with the bipartisan support of the Congress to pass the two-year authorization bill and … the omnibus bill,” he said.
Mattis is pleased that Congress is no longer in a spectator role with the budget, “but actually saying where they want money put. There will be arguments … and good arguments, about where the priorities should be. And that’s up to us to make certain we can bring the analysis that we have of defining problems and what solutions we want to bring forward.”
More Lethal Military
Still, DoD officials must recognize that proposed changes must be tied “to make the military more lethal in outer space and cyberspace, at sea, on land, and in the air,” the secretary said. “And we want to do so as much as possible by strengthening our partners and our allies.”
Finding funding from within is also a major push, and Mattis insists DoD must be a good steward of taxpayer dollars. Congress has given the department new tools to enable the Pentagon to adopt best practices from industry and reform processes inside the department.
“Congress has actually had to step in and reorganize our acquisition, technology and logistics oversight into research and engineering for the future, and then acquisition sustainment,” he said.
After years of stops and starts, he said, the Pentagon may actually be able to deliver on sustainable reforms. “I cannot right now, look you in the eye and say that we can tell you that every penny in the past has been spent in a strategically sound and auditable manner,” he said. “And so this year, for the first time in 70 years, the Pentagon will perform an audit.
“We’ll have an audit done of itself and I look forward to every problem we find, because we’re going to fix every one of them,” he continued. “So, I can look you people in the eye and say I’m getting your money and here’s what I’m doing with it.”
New technologies and new uses for older technologies are being studied with research into artificial intelligence, hypersonics, outer space activities, and research in the cyber realm, the secretary said.
“These have all got to be looked at, because as we say in the U.S. Department of Defense, our adversaries get a vote and you have to deal with that if we’re going to keep this this experiment of America alive,” he said. (Follow Jim Garamone on Twitter: @GaramoneDoDNews)
23 May 18. BIS Prompts Reporting for CY 2017 on Offsets Agreements Related to Sales of Defense Articles or Defense Services to Foreign Countries or Foreign Firms – (83 Fed. Reg. 23885) – The U.S. Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) reminds the public that U.S. firms are required to report annually to the Department of Commerce (Commerce) information on contracts for the sale of defense articles or defense services to foreign countries or foreign firms that are subject to offsets agreements exceeding $5,000,000 in value. U.S. firms are also required to report annually to Commerce information on offsets transactions completed in performance of existing offsets commitments for which offsets credit of $250,000 or more has been claimed from the foreign representative. This year, such reports must include relevant information from calendar year 2017 and must be submitted to Commerce no later than June 15, 2018. Submit reports in both hard copy and electronically. Address the hard copy to “Offsets Program Manager, U.S. Department of Commerce, Office of Strategic Industries and Economic Security, Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS), Room 3878, Washington, DC 20230.” Submit electronic copies to .
23 May 18. America’s industrial base is at risk, and the military may feel the consequences. Underneath the rosy picture of a strong U.S. defense industry lies a demographic challenge for the workforce and contraction issues, a new government study has concluded.
The annual Industrial Capabilities report, quietly released May 17 by the Pentagon’s Office of Manufacturing and Industrial Base Policy, found that America’s defense industry continued to outperform other industrial sectors in fiscal 2017.
However, long-term trends “continue to threaten the health of the industrial base, limit innovation, and reduce U.S. competitiveness in the global markets,” the report states.
The greatest challenge that could harm domestic defense capabilities is the demographics of the workforce. Only 39 percent of the current workforce is under the age of 45. And while jobs in the aerospace and defense sectors are seen positively by the majority of young professionals, only 1.5 percent of 25- to 34-year-olds in the U.S. have a science degree.
Taken together, the challenge is obvious to the authors of the report: Aerospace and defense companies are “faced with a shortage of qualified workers to meet current demands as well as needing to integrate a younger workforce with the ‘right skills, aptitude, experience, and interest to step into the jobs vacated by senior-level engineers and skilled technicians’ as they exit the workforce.”
The report notes that the Department of Defense had a trio of meetings with the Aerospace Industries Association in FY17 to address workforce issues, with promises for those dialogues to continue in the future.
The report also describes what it sees as the biggest threats to the industrial base for different domains of warfare.
According to the Pentagon, the biggest risk for the aerospace sector is its ability to “sustain the design and manufacturing skills and capabilities needed for future aircraft design and manufacture.” Specifically, the authors of the report are concerned that “foreign dependency, single or sole sources, and financial viability continue presenting a risk for the aircraft” puts lower-tier suppliers at risk in the defense and aerospace sector.
For the ground vehicle sector, the Pentagon is concerned that a lack of innovation over the last decade has led to stagnation, and hence “any new combat vehicle design will face cost, schedule, and performance challenges.” And notably, the authors warn that around the world, combat vehicles are slowly approaching parity with the U.S. at a time that “the lack of new development programs for tracked systems is challenging the U.S. ability to innovate in this subsector.”
The shipbuilding sector remained stable for FY17, but continues to face potential consequences if something were to happen to the small, highly concentrated industrial base. The DoD should continue to closely monitor shipbuilder workload to ensure enough production exists to keep the industrial base alive, the report says.
The space sector is “increasingly dependent” on the commercial market, which evermore so is focused on nonmilitary launches. While that has provided technological developments in the last decade, it also means certain parts and qualifications used for national security space missions are in short supply. “Unless a timely investment to establish a domestic capability is made, the United States will be at high risk of putting multiple [national security] programs in jeopardy,” the report found.
There are also major concerns about the “organic industrial base” ― those internal suppliers who handle acquisition, sustainment and maintenance issues. But the infrastructure that makes up the organic industrial base is struggling mightily, which is impacting the ability to do work in a timely fashion. For example, each year, a “significant number of work stoppages are attributable to the age and condition” of the naval shipyard infrastructure, which is on average seven years older than industry standard.
Merger and acquisitions activity remained steady from the previous fiscal year, with 13 potential mergers reviewed by the DoD. But the total value of transactions increased from previous levels, thanks in part to three major mergers and acquisitions ― United Technologies’ acquisition of Rockwell Collins, Northrop Grumman’s acquisition of Orbital ATK and Ultra Electronics’ planned acquisition of Sparton Corporation. (Source: Defense News)
22 May 18. US Defense Budget Not That Much Bigger Than China, Russia: Gen. Milley. “I’ve seen comparative numbers of US defense budget versus China, US defense budget versus Russia,” Gen. Milley said. “What is not often commented on is the cost of labor. We’re the best paid military in the world by a long shot. The cost of Russian soldiers or Chinese soldiers is a tiny fraction.”
It’s become a commonplace to say the US spends much more on defense than any other country — but what if that’s not exactly true? Inspired by something Army Chief of Staff Mark Milley said to the Senate, I pulled together some numbers that suggest America’s superior spending power erodes dramatically when you compare actual purchasing power. Once you factor in how much the US military spends on pay and benefits for uniformed and civilian personnel — almost half the budget by some measures — as opposed to weapons, operations, and training, then China’s defense budget may actually be bigger.
We aren’t econometricians here at Breaking Defense, so our methodology is admittedly very rough. What we are good at is listening to Pentagon and Hill leaders very carefully, and I was struck by an exchange last week at a hearing of the Senate appropriations subcommittee on defense.
“I’m going to ask you all a town hall question; it’s the kind of thing you might run into in any town in America,” said Sen. Dick Durbin, the subcommittee’s ranking Democrat. “You tell us that one of our biggest threats, greatest enemies, is Russia; turns out we read recently that Russia spends about $80bn a year on its military…..So let me get this straight: We’re spending $600, $700bn against an enemy that’s spending $80bn. Why is this even a contest?”
The traditional answer is that the US has global commitments — multiple allies to defend, myriad adversaries to deter — and therefore it’s not fair to compare our budget to any one country’s. But General Milley instead took issue with the math:
“I’ve seen comparative numbers of US defense budget versus China, US defense budget versus Russia or any other number of countries,” Milley said. “What is not often commented on is the cost of labor.”
“We’re the best paid military in the world by a long shot,” he continued. “The cost of Russian soldiers or Chinese soldiers is a tiny fraction. So we would have to normalize the data in order to compare apples to apples and oranges to oranges…. take out the MILPERS (military personnel) accounts for both the Chinese, Russians, and/or the US, and then compare the investment costs.”
“I think you’ll find that Chinese and Russian investments, modernization, new weapons systems, etc., their R&D — which is all government-owned and also is much cheaper — I think you’d find a much closer comparison, Senator,” Milley concluded.
Now, estimating what China and Russia actually spend on defense is complex enough, let alone separating out their pay and benefits costs. Russian military pensions, for example, were paid from the defense budget until the mid-1990s, then taken out. So we can’t do the entire exercise Milley recommends. But we can do two crucial parts of it.
First, the standard comparisons of international defense spending — like the graph above — convert everything to US dollars at market rates. That’s fine if you’re comparing countries’ power to buy military equipment with hard currency on the global market.
But countries like Russia and China buy most of their equipment from domestic suppliers, which they can pay in local currency. As Milley points out, most of these domestic defense firms are also either officially government-owned or heavily government-influenced, and their products are generally much cheaper than their US equivalents.
So instead of using market rates, a better measure (albeit still imperfect) would be Purchasing Power Parity (PPP), which tries to account for prices being different in different countries. Now for the second part of Milley’s proposed comparison: Set aside the roughly 42 percent of the US defense budget that goes to pay and benefits. Now the US doesn’t look so dominant anymore. In fact, the Chinese budget looks bigger: The unanswered question is how much of that we should take away to account for their personnel costs. Whatever methodology you use, Russian spending remains a fraction of US — although that fraction rises sharply, from just 11 percent at market exchange rates, to 26 percent at purchasing power parity, to 44 percent of US spending excluding pay and benefits. But Chinese spending rises from 38 percent of US (market rates) to 71 percent (PPP) to 122 percent(excluding US pay & benefits spending).
Now, this is comparing the entire Chinese budget to part of the US budget, so the actual China:US ratio is lower that this graph shows. How much lower depends on how much of the Chinese budget goes for personnel. But if it’s anything less than 18 percent of their budget, about $78.5bn — the difference between their total budget (PPP adjusted) and ours less personnel — then they’re still spending more than we are, adjusted for purchasing power, on weapons, training, operations, and so on.
The obvious counterargument is that you generally get what you pay for. US military leaders routinely extoll the quality of American personnel — their skill, dedication, and initiative — as our decisive advantage, more important than even our advanced technology. So perhaps our high spending on personnel is central to our military performance. But perhaps regimes that treat their people less generously can still get the human performance they need and have a lot more left over for new weapons.
(Source: Breaking Defense.com)
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24 May 18. Australian Government called on to revisit 2016 Defence White Paper. In its annual The Cost of Defence report, the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) has urged the government to revisit the 2016 Defence White Paper amid ongoing deterioration of the strategic environment and changing capability needs. The report for the 2018-19 Defence budget, which said Defence costs total $99,606,202.74 per day, argues that while the government is broadly meeting its commitment to get the Defence budget to 2 per cent of GDP by 2020-21, the government needs to readdress where these funds are being spent.
Defence economics senior analyst and author of the report Dr Marcus Hellyer argues that the strategic environment Australia is facing has continued to worsen since the White Paper’s release; with China ignoring the existing rules-based global order with its de facto annexation and subsequent militarisation of the South China Sea, the current leadership of the US seemingly unable to decide whether it wants to support the existing order, ignore it, or tear it down, while the development of emergent technologies such as cyber, space-based capabilities, artificial intelligence and hypersonics continues, leaving the Australian Defence Force open to an increasingly broad spectrum of threats.
Whether Australia will be able cover all these threats, and others, or whether it should prioritise select threats is up for debate, but Dr Hellyer says the 2016 White Paper, which sets out six drivers that shape Australia’s security environment, did not set any parameters around such prioritisation, as the papers before it had done.
“Unfortunately, the 2016 Defence White Paper doesn’t provide clear guidance on prioritisation. It might be time for the government to revisit some of the White Paper’s assumptions, either to confirm that it does set out the right path, or, as we believe it should, make some changes to the plan,” the report said.
“The content and timing of Defence White Paper’s investment program have not been revisited, despite changes (for the worse) in the strategic environment it was intended to address.”
In this vein, Dr Hellyer also argues pressures to funding are already eminent with sustainment costs growing by the day.
“Sustainment budgets appear to be increasing faster than predicted. Between last year’s PBS and the mid-year additional estimates update, the sustainment budget increased by $1.5bn, or 16.7 per cent. And this year’s sustainment budget is around $1bn more than predicted last year. Some of that is likely to be due to different accounting practices that Defence has adopted, but one gets the sense that perhaps the sustainment requirements of an increasingly complex force were underestimated in the White Paper and Defence is having to adjust,” the report says.
Dr Hellyer said this funding pressure, which will be most felt in sustainment and personnel, has come from the large chunk of Defence spend going towards the $89bn Naval Shipbuilding Plan, which will see Australia acquire nine Future Frigates, 12 Offshore Patrol Vessels and 12 Future Submarines, urging for better public debate in this area.
“Funding pressures are already emerging, with more to come in sustainment and personnel right at the time when a large share of the investment budget is being tied up in shipbuilding. Informed decision-making and public debate on these issues is essential to navigating them in order to keep Australia secure,” Dr Hellyer said.
“To support this, the government needs to demand Defence provide greater public transparency in its planning and reporting.”
Dr Hellyer is not the first to call for more transparency in Defence reporting this year. Centre Alliance senator Rex Patrick called on Defence to undertake serious changes in its acquisition process to deliver better results for the Australian defence forces and the taxpayer after figures released by the Department of Defence revealed major defence projects are facing delays between 14 and 54 months on average.
“The project data that has been released to the Senate by Defence shows that major reform is required in Defence’s approach to the procurement of capability and its subsequent delivery to operational commanders,” Senator Patrick said in January.
“Billions upon billions of dollars are being wasted as Defence takes on unnecessarily risky acquisitions.”
The joint committee of public accounts and audit also called for Defence’s financial reporting on sustainment to become more transparent and use “plain language”.
The joint committee released its report in March this year, eight months after the Australian National Audit Office released its own report examining whether Defence had a fit-for-purpose framework for the management of materiel sustainment.
The committee found that while the financial reporting on Defence sustainment is mostly “adequate”, there were overarching problems including “variations in descriptive information, including no explanation of variations in full-year outcomes, the use of different terminology across documents, and missing links between what was planned and what was actually achieved”. (Source: Defence Connect)
24 May 18. U.S. in ‘Wait and See’ Position After Iraq Election, Mattis Says. The victory of Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr’s party in Iraq’s recent election has put the United States in a wait-and-see position, Defense Secretary James N. Mattis told reporters yesterday in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
The secretary was in Colorado to preside at the change-of-command ceremony for North American Aerospace Defense Command and U.S. Northern Command.
“History tells us that all wars eventually end, and the decisions you take following a war — comparing the United States leadership after World War II, versus what came out of Versailles after World War I — can set the conditions for the future,” the secretary said, adding that in this case, the United States must first see who is going to be the prime minister, because no party or coalition won enough to govern Iraq on its own.
After World War II
“First, all wars eventually come to an end. By 1948, ’49, after the vicious World War II, the Pacific Island Campaign was as vicious a fighting between two nations that’s ever been in history,” Mattis said. “We all know what Germany did during World War II with death camps [and] with invasions across Europe.”
And yet, by 1948 and 1949, he said, “we were standing up NATO to defend Western Europe, and we were working with Germany.”
“The Marshall Plan was underway,” Mattis said. “We were [also] working with Japan.” Germany and Japan now are U.S. treaty allies, he noted.
Mattis pointed out that despite the rout of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, some terrorists remain in Iraq. “But it was interesting, wasn’t it, that in the midst of everything going on next door in Syria, having recently destroyed the ISIS strongholds in Iraq – they are still isolated cells of them, of course,” the secretary said.
A Responsive Government
The secretary reiterated the United States will have to see whether the new Iraqi leaders form a responsive government.
Mattis noted the Marshall Plan was met with initial skepticism.
“People in 1944 were told basically in five years we’ll be serving alongside German troops and sending locomotives and railroad tracks to Germany,” he said. “We would have laughed in your face, said that’s not going to happen; this is a war to the death. Damn near lost.”
But that’s exactly what we did, he noted.
“So wars rub the veneer off all of us and leave the passions really exposed, and now it’s time for strategic thinking, for looking to the future, and determining how the Iraqi people can dictate their future,” the secretary said, “not external threats from Iran, not money from Iran, not internal threats from ISIS or other terrorists.
“This is between our two governments, and we’ll see what government they end up with,” Mattis said. “So we’ll play that forward. It’s too early to tell.” (Follow Terri Moon Cronk on Twitter: @MoonCronkDoD)
23 May 18. Fighter Aircraft Market Worth $249bn Over Next 10 Years. In its new study “The Market for Fighter Aircraft,” Forecast International projects that a total of 3,243 fighter aircraft will be produced from 2018 through 2027. The value of this production is estimated at $249.3bn (in FY18 U.S. dollars). The total number of fighters to be produced over the next decade is 13.1 percent (377 units) higher than the number of aircraft produced during the previous 10 years, when production in the fighter market averaged about 280 aircraft per year. Production during the 2018-2027 forecast period will peak at 380 aircraft in 2021. Annual production will then decline through 2027, with production falling to 269 aircraft that year. The Lockheed Martin F-35 will be the largest fighter program over the next decade, due primarily to its selection as the tactical fighter of choice for the U.S. Air Force, Navy, and Marine Corps. Indeed, of the 3,243 fighters expected to roll off the production lines during the next 10 years, 1,466 will be F-35s, representing more than 45 percent of the market.
The F-35 program has also secured several export customers, but Lockheed Martin must continue to reduce the aircraft’s procurement and operating costs if it is to achieve sales expectations on the world market.
The outlook for the remaining U.S. fighters – the Boeing F-15 and F/A-18E/F Super Hornet and Lockheed Martin’s own F-16 – was once grim but has improved in recent years. While many of the U.S. government’s allies – traditionally the best customers for U.S. fighters – will likely buy the F-35, uncertainty over the aircraft’s capabilities and the high cost of early production aircraft are leading other countries to consider legacy U.S. aircraft.
“One key market for legacy aircraft from the U.S. and Europe is the Middle East,” said Forecast International Senior Aerospace Analyst Douglas Royce. “Orders from energy-rich customers in the region are helping to extend production lines at Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Dassault and the Eurofighter consortium.”
European manufacturers will account for 11.6 percent of fighter production during the forecast period. This includes the Eurofighter Typhoon (95 units), Dassault Rafale (158) and Saab Gripen (125). Meanwhile, Russia’s United Aircraft Corporation (UAC) will continue to provide fighters to nations outside the U.S. and European defense spheres. China is a potential competitor in this submarket, but has yet to fully develop a solid export program for its most advanced fighters. (Source: defense-aerospace.com/Forecast International)
24 May 18. North Korea says it has destroyed nuclear test facility. Analysts divided on significance of the move. North Korea said it had destroyed its nuclear test site in a move designed to show its sincerity about pledges to denuclearise. But the dismantlement of the Punggye-ri facility, the country’s only known test site, has divided opinion, with many analysts viewing the move as more of a symbolic gesture by Pyongyang than a genuine step towards abandoning nuclear weapons. The destruction of the site, which took place on Thursday witnessed by western and North Korean journalists but not by independent scientists, comes amid growing anxiety that proposed talks aimed at denuclearising the Korean peninsula are about to fall apart. Donald Trump is due to meet Kim Jong Un, North Korea’s leader, in Singapore on June 12 for a summit that the US president hopes will pave the way for the denuclearisation of the reclusive regime. (Source: FT.com)
22 May 18. Iran Rejects Russia’s Call to Remove All Foreign Troops from Syria. Iran on Monday rejected a call from Russia to pull Iranian forces out of Syria in the event a permanent peace agreement is reached in the war-stricken country, The Times of Israel reported.
“No one can force Iran to do anything,” Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Bahram Qasemi said, according to the Tasnim news website.
“As long as terrorism exists and the Syrian government wants, Iran will have presence [in Syria],” Qasemi said. “Those who have entered Syria without the consent of the Syrian government should leave.”
After a meeting with Syrian regime President Bashar al-Assad on Thursday, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that foreign powers must pull their troops out of Syria to respect any final political settlement in the country.
“We presume that, in connection with the significant victories and success of the Syrian army in the fight against terrorism… with the onset of the political process in its more active phase, foreign armed forces will be withdrawn from the territory of the Syrian Arab Republic,” Putin said, according to CNN.
Russia’s envoy for Syria, Alexander Lavrentiev, later added that Putin’s comment was aimed at Iran, Iranian-backed terrorist group Hezbollah, the United States and Turkey.
In an op-ed for The Hill published last month, TIP CEO and President Joshua S. Block, wrote that the U.S. must “make clear to Moscow” that American forces will not pull out of Syria “before the Iranians are out of the picture. Anything short of that is not up for debate.”
21 May 18. Chinese Air Force Bombers Land on Island Airport for First Time The People’s Liberation Army Air Force landed its H-6K bomber aircraft on an airport in the South China Sea during a recent exercise, marking the first time Chinese bombers have used an airport in the region. Several H-6Ks from an unidentified aviation division, headed by division commander Hao Jianke, took off from an undisclosed air base in South China and made a simulated strike against sea targets before landing on an island in the South China Sea, according to a statement published by the Air Force on Friday. The aircraft then conducted takeoff drills using the island’s airport, the statement said. It noted the operation provided experience for Air Force bomber units to use islands as their bases. The division involved in the exercise has taken part in patrols over the western Pacific Ocean, South China Sea and plateaus, according to the Air Force. The statement quoted Wang Mingliang, a researcher at the PLA Air Force Command College, as saying that takeoff and landing exercises on islands in the South China Sea will help the Air Force strengthen its combat capability to deal with marine security threats.
Wang Yanan, editor of Aerospace Knowledge, told China Daily that after the Air Force’s bombers are able to be deployed on islands in the South China Sea, their operational range as well as China’s maritime defense parameters will be tremendously extended, adding to existing prowess to deter any plots to compromise China’s territorial integrity from the sea.
According to the Chinese government, there are at least four large airports in the South China Sea – on Yongxing Island in the Xisha Islands and Meiji, Zhubi and Yongshu reefs in the Nansha Islands – that are capable of handling large aircraft.
In 2016, large jetliners from Chinese airlines carried out landings and takeoffs using airports on Meiji, Zhubi and Yongshu reefs.
The H-6K is the PLA’s most advanced bomber and is capable of carrying supersonic cruise missiles to make precision strikes against land targets or ships. Foreign analysts speculate that the aircraft has a flight range of about 3,500 kilometers while China’s CJ-10 series cruise missiles have a minimum range of 1,500 km, which means the bomber is able to hit targets at least 5,000 km from where it takes off.
Aviation Industry Corp of China, the nation’s leading aircraft maker, is developing a new long-range strategic bomber, which observers say is likely to have an operational range of at least 12,000 kilometers and a maximum carrying capacity of 20 metric tons of bombs and missiles. (Source: defense-aerospace.com/China Daily)
22 May 18. The First F-35 Operational Strike. This morning (Tuesday), an international air force commander convention began at the Israeli Air Force Auditorium, featuring air force commanders and senior officers from over 20 countries. IAF Commander, Maj. Gen. Amikam Norkin: “We performed the F-35’s first ever operational strike. The IAF is a pioneer and a world leader in operating air power.”
“The ‘Adir’ (F-35I) aircraft are already operational and flying combat missions. In fact, we have performed the first operational F-35 strike in the world. We attacked twice in the Middle East using the F-35 – we are the first in the world to do so. (Emphasis added—Ed.) The Israeli Air Force is a pioneer and a world leader in operating air power”.
These are the words of IAF Commander Maj. Gen. Amikam Norkin, spoken today (Tuesday) at the International Air Force Commander Convention’s opening at Israel’s Air Force Auditorium.
As part of the convention, which also marks the Israeli Air Force’s 70th anniversary, air force commanders and senior officers from over 20 countries will arrive in Israel. Among the countries participating in the convention are the United States, UK, Germany, Canada, Greece, Poland, Italy, Cyprus, Austria, Bulgaria, Brazil, France, Czech Republic, Romania, Croatia, the Netherlands, Finland, Belgium, Vietnam and India.
“This gathering is an exceptional event marking aerial, global and regional cooperation in order to strengthen regional stability. Your presence here has a strategic meaning for the people of the IAF and for myself, and for that I thank all of you”, said Maj. Gen. Norkin.
The air force commanders will participate in lectures and reviews surrounding IDF and IAF strategic topics. These will include a historical review of the IAF; a regional strategic review; a lecture regarding the “fifth-generation” of aircraft given by the CEO of Lockheed-Martin, Marillyn Hewson; a lecture by the Multinational Force and Observers, operating in the Israel-Egypt border; and a lecture given by the commander of the USAFE (United States Air Force Europe). Later, the commanders will meet IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gadi Eizenkot.
The IAF Commander told the other commanders of some of the IAF’s operational events over the past few weeks. “We checked what the Iranians were doing around us. Quds Force was based in the T-4 airbase, 250 kilometers from Israel. From this base, they attempted to attack us using a UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) which infiltrated Israel a number of months ago. After this event, we saw that they continued to store munitions in this base, including aerial defense capabilities which we attacked this month.”
“Over the past weeks, we understood that Iran was transporting long-range missiles and rockets to Syria, among which are ‘Uragan’ missile launchers which we attacked, just north of Damascus”, added Maj. Gen. Norkin. “The Iranians fired 32 rockets towards Israel. We intercepted four of them, while the rest fell outside of Israel’s territory.
“Afterwards, we attacked dozens of Iranian targets in Syria. Sadly, the Syrian aerial defense systems fired over 100 SAM (Surface-to-air missiles) at our aircraft using SA-5, SA-17 and SA-22 missile batteries. In response, we destroyed their SAM batteries. A short time later, we destroyed a 20-meter deep Hamas tunnel”.
Taking Off in the “Lavi”
Tomorrow (Wednesday), the senior commanders will receive a tour of Tel-Nof AFB, from which they will take off for a mutual training exercise in the “Lavi” (M-346) aircraft, the Flight Academy’s advanced training aircraft. During the flight, the commanders will be able to see the vistas and views of Israel. The “Lavi” aircraft will be escorted by the 140th (“Golden Eagle”) Squadron’s “Adir” (F-35I) aircraft for a formation sortie.
Afterwards, the air force commanders will meet the Prime Minister and receive a tour of an exhibition displaying IAF aircraft and Israeli defense industry equipment. Eventually, they will arrive at Jerusalem, where they will meet the president and visit the Pilot’s Mount, the IAF’s main memorial site. (Source: defense-aerospace.com/Israeli Air Force)
18 May 18. South Korea may axe arms purchases amid talk of peace. As talk of peace spreads across the divided Korean Peninsula following the April 27 inter-Korean summit, South Korean military authorities seem to be having second thoughts about arms development and purchase programs.
The military programs were primarily launched to deter threats posed by nuclear-armed North Korea, which on May 16 reacted to U.S.-South Korea military exercises by canceling a high-level meeting with officials from the South. The country also threatened to scrap a planned summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
A number of defense officials and experts in the South agree that the so-called three-axis system countering the North’s conventional and nuclear threats, in particular, will be readjusted in terms of budget and acquisition priorities.
The three-axis includes the “Kill Chain,” which aims to preemptively strike North Korean targets; the layered missile defense shield, dubbed Korea Air and Missile Defense, or KAMD, to thwart North Korean missiles; and the Korea Massive Punishment and Retaliation strategy, or KMPR.
Nearly $230bn is allocated for acquiring weapons systems related to the three-axis scheme and other strategic initiatives between 2019 and 2023.
“The establishment of the three-axis system has been a top priority for the South Korean military in the face of North Korea’s increasing military threats,” said Kim Dae-young, a research fellow of the Korea Research Institute for National Strategy, a Seoul-based security think tank. “The situation has been changing with the remarkable inter-Korean rapprochement so that the military authorities face a dilemma over its arms procurement programs, especially the three-axis plan.”
Case in point: South Korea’s plan to buy MH-47 helicopters for the Army’s special forces unit to overthrow North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
As part of efforts to enhance KMPR operations, the 1,000-strong unit, nicknamed “decapitation unit,” was inaugurated last December amid simmering tension with the North, which conducted its sixth nuclear test and test-fired long-range ballistic missiles.
One key platform the South planned to buy for the unit was the Boeing-built MH-47 special operations helicopter capable of carrying special forces into Pyongyang’s weapons of mass destruction facilities as well as conducting evening cross-border raids if conflict should break out.
The MH-47 acquisition plan, however, is to fizzle out, according to Army officials, an apparent move not to intimidate the North Korean leader, who pledged an end to hostile acts against the South as well as denuclearization efforts.
The Joint Chiefs of Staff planned to request budget allocation for 10 Boeing-built MH-47G models with the per-unit price of some $140m, according to an industry source.
“The U.S. has never exported the MH-47 operated by the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment, but the Korean military requested the United States Forces Korea several times to persuade the State Department to permit selling the helicopter,” the source privy to U.S. foreign military sales to Korea told Defense News. “The State Department is said to give a positive feedback recently, but now the Korean military has changed its position.”
A South Korean Army spokesman confirmed the MH-47 buy has been put on the back burner.
“We can’t say the MH-47 purchase plan is canceled. It’s more precise to say the plan is put on hold considering the peace mood on the peninsula,” the spokesman said. “For many types of special operations, advanced heavy-lift helicopters flown with a multimode radar featuring terrain-following and weather-detection functions are essential,” the officer said. “So the acquisition of special operation helicopters is expected to be carried out somehow, but not now.”
The planned purchase of AH-64 Apache attack helicopters is also expected to be affected by the inter-Korean reconciliation. The Army, operating 36 Apaches, pushed to double the number of the heavy attack helicopters in a bid to improve its air assault capability.
“Weapons programs for ground troops are the first to be cut if arms acquisition readjustment takes place,” said Moon Keun-sik, the legal and external relations director of the Korea Defense and Security Forum, a private defense think tank in Seoul. “With possible budget cuts and thawing inter-Korean relations, the procurement of more Apache helicopters, for missions across enemy lines, is expected to be scaled back at least.”
Despite the prospect of arms purchase readjustments, Moon expects most key weapons programs will continue as scheduled in tandem with Seoul’s effort to take back wartime operational control of its armed forces from the U.S. military.
“With wartime operational control of its armed forces, the South Korean military will rather require more advanced weapons programs, as the envisaged defense reform plans prioritize building a slimmer but more sophisticated military force in place of troop cuts,” the director said.
“But the main theme of arms procurement programs could be shifted from imminent North Korean threats to potential threats posed by neighboring countries,” he added, specifically citing South Korea’s plans to locally build nuclear-powered submarines and spy satellites.
Attending a security forum in Seoul on May 12, South Korean Defense Minister Song Young-moo said U.S. authority of operational control of South Korean troops during wartime could be transferred to South Korean commanders by 2023. The ministry plans to request about $46bn in next year’s budget for the “Defense Reform 2.0” initiative.
Against that backdrop, information, surveillance and reconnaissance assets will likely be a part of the South’s materiel shopping list, according to the research fellow Kim Dae-young. South Korean troops are heavily dependent on American ISR assets.
“ISR equipment such as airborne early warning and control aircraft, drones, and maritime patrol planes are not expected to be swayed by inter-Korean affairs, as such equipment [is] necessary for developing an independent defense posture against future threats, including territorial disputes,” Kim said.
On the other hand, the introduction of 20 stealthy F-35A fighter jets is likely to be postponed, he noted. The South Korean Air Force ordered 40 F-35As under a foreign military sales contract in 2014.
“Stealth fighter jet is a top source of concern to the reclusive North Korean regime. The incumbent Moon Jae-in administration could be wary of more stealth aircraft purchase rubbing Kim Jong Un’s fur the wrong way,” the researcher said. “So the purchase of more F-35As, if any ― it is likely to be deferred to the next government.” (Source: Defense News)
21 May 18. ‘US criticizes China’s militarization of disputed South China Sea. The Pentagon criticized what it called China’s “continued militarization” of island outposts in the disputed South China Sea, where the Chinese air force landed long-range bombers for the first time, putting entire Southeast Asia within their range.
The China Daily newspaper reported Saturday that the People’s Liberation Army Air Force conducted takeoff and landing training with the H-6K bomber in the South China Sea.
China is pitted against smaller neighbors in multiple disputes over islands, coral reefs and lagoons in waters crucial for global commerce and rich in fish and potential oil and gas reserves.
A statement from the Defense Ministry late Friday said the exercise was conducted on an island reef, but it did not specify when or where, saying only that it took place recently at a “southern sea area.” It involved several H-6Ks taking off from an air base and making a simulated strike against sea targets before landing, the ministry said.
Wang Mingliang, a military expert, was quoted in the statement as saying that the exercises will help the air force improve its “real combat ability against all kinds of marine security threats.”
The U.S., which doesn’t have any territorial claims but insists on freedom of navigation and a peaceful resolution of the disputes without coercion or threat of force, criticized the move.
“The United States remains committed to a free and open Indo-Pacific,” a Pentagon spokesman, Marine Lt. Col. Christopher Logan, said in an email. “We have seen these same reports and China’s continued militarization of disputed features in the South China Sea only serves to raise tensions and destabilize the region.”
The Washington-based Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative, using Chinese social media posts, identified the location of the exercise as Woody Island, China’s largest base in the Paracel Islands that are also claimed by Vietnam and Taiwan.
With a combat radius of nearly 1,900 nautical miles (3,520 kilometers), the H-6K bomber would put all of Southeast Asia in its range from Woody Island, AMTI said.
Farther south in the Spratly group of islands, China has constructed seven man-made islands and equipped them with runways, hangers, radar and missile stations, further cementing its vast territorial claims in the busy waterway.
The U.S. and others accuse Beijing of militarizing the region to bolster its claims. Washington has said it violates a pledge by President Xi Jinping to former President Barack Obama not to militarize the area. China says it has a legitimate right to build up defenses on the islands.
Adm. Phil Davidson, the new head of the Pacific Command, said recently that China had reached the tipping point in its control over the South China Sea.
Beijing’s island bases can be used to challenge the U.S. presence in the region, “and any forces deployed to the islands would easily overwhelm the military forces of any other South China Sea-claimants,” Davidson wrote in recent testimony to Congress. (Source: Defense News)
21 May 18. Operation Roundup Targets ISIS Remnants in Syria. In Operation Roundup, Syrian Democratic Forces continue to defeat remnants of Islamic State of Iraq and Syria fighters in Syria’s Middle Euphrates River valley, Army Col. Rob Manning, the Pentagon’s director of press operations, told reporters today.
The SDF has also gained ground through offensive operations and occupies the majority of the ground along the border since beginning Operation Roundup on May 1, Manning said.
The SDF has cleared the Baghuz area of Syria and continues to reinforce battle positions there, he said, adding that the troops are also preparing for future clearance operations in the Dashiba vicinity.
“Coalition forces support the SDF’s efforts by conducting air, artillery and mortar strikes against ISIS targets,” the colonel said.
In the past 48 hours, coalition military forces conducted strikes against ISIS fighters and equipment near Abu Kamal, engaging ISIS tactical units, command and control, supply routes and fighting positions there, Manning noted.
Since the beginning of Operation Roundup, the SDF has continued to gain ground through offensive operations and occupies the majority of the Iraq-Syria border, he said.
The SDF, Manning said, has cleared more than 19 square miles of territory, bringing the total liberated area in the Euphrates River valley to more than 1,900 square miles.
As the SDF liberates territory, he added, coalition forces are working with local military and civil councils to assist in establishing security conditions on the ground, so that ISIS cannot return to terrorize the local population and reestablish safe havens to plot and carry out terror attacks.
NATO Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan
And in Afghanistan, “the Resolute Support-NATO mission continues to train, advise and assist the Afghan National Defense and security forces, and is focused on implementing the U.S. South Asia strategy in securing Afghanistan,” Manning said.
The Afghan government remains firmly in control of Farah city, he said, noting that in addition to corps level and commando advising, an expeditionary advisory package and security forces assistance brigade advisers arrived last week to advise at the brigade, and if necessary, the battalion level.
“Afghan tactical air controllers coordinated the Afghan air force’s strikes near Farah,” Manning said, and A-29 Super Tucano aircraft conducted 20 hours of support to the Afghan-led offensive.
“Additionally,” the colonel said, “this was the first time A-29s [were] flying from both Kabul and Mazar-i-Sharif, conducted airstrikes, returned to those bases, were rearmed and refueled by Afghan air force maintainers and then returned to conduct strikes against Farah city. This speaks to the growing capabilities of the Afghan air force.” (Follow Terri Moon Cronk on Twitter: @MoonCronkDoD)
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24 May 18. Babcock not guilty by association. As UK-based outsourcers spent much of the last 12 months embroiled in seemingly endless crises, Babcock (BAB) has continued plugging along. The group, which provides bespoke engineering services, saw its share price weighed down by negative sector-wide sentiment, and worries that looming Ministry of Defence (MoD) budget shortfalls could constrict trading activity. (The MoD remains its largest single customer.) Fears that Babcock was going down the same path as Capita (CPI) or, heaven forbid, Carillion, intensified in February when it revealed that it would miss forecast revenues for the year. But as these solid set of full-year figures demonstrate, the group is made of sterner stuff. Although the misgivings weren’t entirely misplaced, it’s worth noting that some of the bears have backed off, with the percentage of short positions falling back slightly since March.
The group’s trading performance was bolstered by sales growth in the land, aviation and nuclear divisions, which also offset a drop back in Marine. The nuclear business appears to have shrugged off the decision to cut short the Magnox nuclear decommissioning contract in August 2019. Management said the loss of revenues from the contract could be mitigated by work undertaken with energy giant EDF and new opportunities coming from the UK Atomic Weapons Establishment.
Babcock’s balance sheet, like its benighted sector peers, may be stuffed to the gills with intangible assets and receivables, but it’s debt profile is actually improving. Net debt declined to 1.6 times cash profits, from 1.8 times at FY2017, and is forecast to contract to a multiple of 1.4 by next March. And while some peers are expecting to take a hit from the introduction of IFRS 15 – an accounting standard governing revenue recognition on long-term contracts – the group isn’t expecting any adverse impact from adoption of the measure.
Analyst Panmure Gordon raised its target price to 820p following the announcement, and is forecasting adjusted pre tax profit of £522m in the year to March 2019, giving EPS of 83.4p (up from £512.5m and 83p in 2018).
The worries over MoD budgets are certainly justified, but even though the group order book was £1bn down on last year at £18bn, that needs to be set against 24 per cent growth in the bid pipeline, bringing the combined order book and pipeline to £31bn. We think Babcock offers a more resilient business mix than sector peers and its shares have 20 per cent implied upside based on their historic enterprise/cash profit multiple. Buy. Last IC View: Buy, 620p, 7 Feb 2018. (Source: Investors Chronicle)
23 May 18. Héroux-Devtek Reports Fiscal 2018 Fourth Quarter Results.
- Sales of $113.0m, versus $120.9m in the previous year
- Operating income of $6.7m and net income of $5.9 m, or $0.16 per share
- Adjusted EBITDA1 of $19.4m and adjusted net income1 of $10.4 m, or $0.29 per share
- For fiscal 2018, cash flow related to operating activities of $56.1m, in line with last year
- For fiscal 2018, record free cash flow1 generation of $50.8 m, as compared to $33.0m a year ago
- Contract announced with AAR Corporation for a landing gear remanufacturing in support of the U.S. Air Force
- CESA and Beaver acquisitions expected to close during the first semester of fiscal 2019
Héroux-Devtek Inc. (TSX:HRX), (“Héroux-Devtek” or the “Corporation”), a leading international manufacturer of aerospace products, today reported its results for the fourth quarter and fiscal year ended March 31, 2018. Unless otherwise indicated, all amounts are in Canadian dollars.
“We reported fiscal 2018 results relatively in line with expectations. We had strong deliveries related to the Boeing 777 program, shipping 13 landing gears in the fourth quarter alone and 42 for the year. We ended the year with a strong backlog at $466m, an increase of 15% over last year. We also generated record free cash flows of $51m. Today, we are in a healthy financial position to pursue our next expansion phase, with cash and cash equivalents of $93 m and a resulting net debt of $39 m,” said Gilles Labbé, President and CEO of Héroux-Devtek.
“We look to the new year with enthusiasm as we expect to leverage many opportunities for future growth, including the closing of the CESA and Beaver acquisitions, as well as the positive long-term outlook on commercial aerospace and increased defence spending commitments worldwide. In addition, we are well positioned to obtain a number of contracts on several aircraft programs given our fully integrated offering, leading-edge equipment and international network,” added Mr. Labbé.
measure. Please refer to the “Non-IFRS Measures” section at the end of this press release.
FOURTH QUARTER RESULTS
Consolidated sales reached $113.0m, compared with $120.9m last year. This 6.5% variation reflects lower sales in both the commercial and defence aerospace markets and a net negative impact on sales of $1.4m resulting from year-over-year fluctuations in the value of the Canadian currency versus foreign currencies.
Commercial sales decreased 5.4% to $57.5m, compared with $60.8m last year. The decrease was mainly driven by lower large commercial programs sales, including the scheduled ending of a Tier-2 contract, and lower aftermarket customer requirements for regional aircraft. These negative factors were partly offset by increased Boeing 777 deliveries.
Defence sales decreased 7.7% to $55.5m from $60.1m. This variation is essentially due to lower spare parts requirements from the U.S. Government.
Gross profit decreased to $19.0m, or 16.8% of sales, versus $20.8m, or 17.2% of sales last year. The decrease was largely attributable to unfavourable product mix, mainly related to lower sales of spares and aftermarket requirements for regional aircraft.
Operating income stood at $6.7m, or 5.9% of sales, compared with $8.7m, or 7.2% of sales last year. Adjusted operating income was $12.1m, as compared to $12.3m last year. This quarter’s adjusted operating income excluded $5.4m of restructuring charges related to workforce adjustments, following the non-renewal of the USAF contract, and acquisition-related costs. Adjusted operating income from the fourth quarter last year excluded a $3.6m restructuring charge related to workforce adjustments made following production rate reductions for certain aircraft programs announced by OEMs. Consequently, adjusted EBITDA, which excludes non-recurring items, was $19.4m, or 17.1% of sales, compared with $19.2m, or 15.9% of sales, a year ago.
Net income for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2018 was $5.9m, or $0.16 per diluted share, compared with $8.9m, or $0.25 per diluted share, a year ago. Excluding non-recurring items net of taxes, adjusted net income reached $10.4m, or $0.29 per share, versus $9.1m, or $0.25 per share last year.
As at March 31, 2018, Héroux-Devtek’s funded (firm orders) backlog stood at $466m, versus $405m as at March 31, 2017.
For fiscal 2018, consolidated sales reached $386.6m, versus $406.5 m in fiscal 2017. Commercial sales reached $195.1m versus $210.8m a year ago, while defence sales totalled $191.5m compared with $195.7m last year. Year-over-year fluctuations in the value of the Canadian currency versus foreign currencies decreased sales by $2.4m.
Gross profit for fiscal 2018 amounted to $61.3m, or 15.9% of sales, compared with $68.0m, or 16.7% of sales, in fiscal 2017. Operating income was $23.4m, or 6.0% of sales, versus $35.6m, or 8.7% of sales a year ago. Adjusted operating income was $30.3m, compared to $35.9m last year. Adjusted EBITDA reached $56.9m, or 14.7% of sales, versus $61.4m, or 15.1% of sales a year earlier.
Net income was $13.7m, or $0.38 per diluted share, in fiscal 2018, compared with $31.8m, or $0.88 per diluted share, in fiscal 2017. Adjusted net income stood at $24.2m, or $0.67 per share, versus $26.4m, or $0.73 per share last year.
SOLID CASH FLOWS AND HEALTHY FINANCIAL POSITION
Cash flows related to operating activities amounted to $18.5m in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2018, versus $29.1m in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2017. This variation mainly reflects a less favourable variation in non-cash working capital items. Fourth quarter free cash flow was $20.0m compared to $22.8m last year. For fiscal 2018, cash flows related to operating activities were $56.1m, in line with last year, with a record free cash flow amounting to $50.8m, up significantly from $33.0m last year, primarily as a result of lower net cash flow utilized in investing activities.
Given this free cash flow generation, Héroux-Devtek’s already healthy financial position improved further as at March 31, 2018, with cash and cash equivalents of $93.2m, while total long-term debt was $132.0m, including the current portion, but excluding net deferred financing costs. Long-term debt includes $54.2m drawn against the Corporation’s authorized credit facility of $200.0m. As a result, the net debt position was $38.8m at the end of the fourth quarter, down from $92.3m as at March 31, 2017. The net-debt-to equity ratio was 0.10:1 as at March 31, 2018, versus 0.26:1 as at March 31, 2017.
UPDATE ON PREVIOUSLY ANNOUNCED ACQUISITIONS
Following a longer than anticipated regulatory process, the CESA acquisition is now expected to close during the second quarter of fiscal 2019. The transaction is subject to certain approvals, including by the Spanish Council of Ministers and the prior acquisition by Airbus of the stake of its minority partner in CESA. The closing of the Beaver acquisition is expected to occur during the current quarter, subject to customary closing adjustments and certain regulatory approvals.
Héroux-Devtek announced workforce adjustments of about 60 employees at its Longueuil facility following the non-renewal of the US Air Force contract announced on March 27, 2017. These workforce adjustments along with other restructuring costs related to the decrease in volume resulted in non-recurring charges totalling $5.0m before taxes.
UPDATE ON DASSAULT FALCON 6X
Heroux-Devtek recently signed an amended contract for the design and manufacture of the Falcon 6X landing gear. (Source: Google/globenewswire.com)
24 May 18. United Tech to invest $15bn in U.S. over next five years. United Technologies Corp (UTX.N) said on Wednesday it would invest more than $15bn (11.2bn pounds) for research and development and capacity expansion in the United States over the next five years, spurred by the recent tax cuts. The company also plans to hire 35,000 people in this period and spend about $75bn with U.S. suppliers to strengthen local economies. The maker of Pratt & Whitney aircraft engines said about $9bn of the investment is expected to go towards research and development, including on artificial intelligence and autonomy. The remaining $6bn will be used to increase capacity in existing manufacturing facilities and improve efficiency. The announcement comes at a time when the company is facing pressures from activist shareholders who believe that a breakup into three businesses could unlock $20bn in value. (Source: Reuters)
23 May 2018. Ministers ignored advice to put Carillion on highest risk level. MPs say contractor lobbied Cabinet Office against provisional ‘black’ rating. The UK government ignored advice to put Carillion on its highest risk rating before its collapse in January, following pressure from board members of the now-bankrupt company that was a major supplier of outsourced public services. Every government supplier that has contracts across departments and generates revenues of more than £100m a year is assessed according to a red-amber-green traffic light system. Suppliers most at risk of collapse are given a black status. Although Carillion had been given an amber rating because of its performance on contracts with the Ministry of Defence and Ministry of Justice, it was not until after it issued a profit warning in July 2017 that the government downgraded it to red. In November 2017, officials recommended a provisional “black” rating for Carillion on the grounds of “triggers of financial distress”. But, according to a report by a committee of MPs, the Cabinet Office, which supports the prime minister and other senior ministers, did not confirm the designation “following representations from the company”. Carillion won two big government contracts in July last year after its first profit warning and downgrade to red status. These were for work on the HS2 high-speed rail line and a contract with the MoD. Despite a second profit warning in September, the company announced a contract to work on the electrification of the London to Corby line at the start of November. Carillion collapsed less than two months later with liabilities of £7bn and just £29m in cash. The government has committed £150m to stepping in to provide services, such as school meals and hospital cleaning, in its place. Sir Geoffrey Clifton-Brown, deputy chair of the public accounts committee, which published the report, said the findings show the government’s traffic light warning system appeared to be “too slow and clunky”. “The Carillion board’s erroneous belief that the government would not let the company collapse appears to have contributed to their failure to take the necessary action to save the company and prevent the sad loss of jobs and damage to numerous suppliers and subcontractors when Carillion went into liquidation.” Recommended Analysis Support services Carillion probe pulls no punches on individuals or institutions The Cabinet Office said it “engaged closely with Carillion’s board members for a number of years and this remained the case after the profits warning in July 2017. But it is not right for taxpayers to bail out a private sector company.” Mark Fox, chief executive of the Business Services Association, which represents public sector suppliers, said fewer businesses were bidding for government contracts because the government had not been “procuring work on a sustainable basis” with “far too much focus on the lowest possible price”. “The Cabinet Office needs to focus …on creating a vibrant and sustainable market with smaller and medium-sized businesses and charities as an important part of the mix,” he said. “This is the best way to ensure healthy companies bid for public sector work.” Following a series of public sector contract scandals, a 2013 report by the National Audit Office warned the government was too reliant on a small number of big suppliers and that there was a lack of clarity about profits and performance. According to the latest information from the government’s Insolvency Service, 2,301 Carillion workers have been made redundant, and a further 11,637 staff transferred to other employers. About 3,000 of the group’s 19,500 UK employees have been retained but face an uncertain future. Discussions continue with potential purchasers of Carillion’s remaining contracts. MPs on the pensions and business select committee last week published a damning report on Carillion’s collapse, which demanded the UK’s big four accountancy firms be referred for potential break-up, as a “cosy club incapable of providing the degree of independent challenge needed”. The committees on Tuesday published follow-up letters to regulators including one to the chair of the Competition and Markets Authority that asked for a review of the audit market “as soon as possible”. (Source: FT.com)
23 May 2018. Babcock announces Results. Operational highlights:
- First year of operating in realigned sector structure, Technology Group established
- International underlying revenues increased to 28% of Group total • Aircraft carriers: HMS Queen Elizabeth delivered to the Royal Navy, HMS Prince of Wales named and undocked at Rosyth
- Successful delivery of Royal School of Military Engineering benchmarking programme
- Military flight training: UK training started at new school at RAF Cranwell; French FOMEDEC contract mobilisation on track
- Played crucial role in extinction of major fires across Southern Europe
- Formal agreement reached on Magnox; Sellafield PFCS under budget and ahead of schedule
- Completed IFRS 15 review confirmed no impact on results following adoption Chief Executive Archie Bethel said: “I am pleased to report another year of further progress on all fronts. Underlying revenue and profits increased to record levels with excellent cash generation, and we further strengthened the balance sheet by reducing our net debt while increasing our dividend for the seventeenth consecutive year. We ended the year with an order book and bid pipeline worth £31bn, which supports our future growth prospects. We have always been a specialist engineering services company with a strong UK heritage but the changes we have made in the last couple of years are beginning to deliver meaningful benefits. Our new sector structure is making a real difference, we are increasingly focused on our core business areas of defence, emergency services and civil nuclear, and are on track to exceed our target of having 30% of the Group’s underlying revenue coming from international markets by 2022. We expect to make further progress this year and are confident about Babcock’s longer-term prospects which are underpinned by our technical expertise, unique infrastructure and a sustainable business model which is increasingly relevant to our key customers in noncyclical and highly regulated markets” Archie Bethel Chief Executive.
Babcock enjoyed another successful year in 2017/18, with underlying revenue, operating profit and profit before tax at record levels. The Group delivered growth of 2.8% in underlying revenue, 1.7% in underlying operating profit and 3.6% growth in underlying profit before tax.
This has resulted in a 3.6% growth in underlying basic earnings per share. On a statutory basis, revenue for the year was £4,659.6m (2017: £4,547.1m), up 2.5%. Statutory operating profit increased by 3.1% to £370.6m (2017: £359.6m). Statutory profit before tax increased by 8.0% to £391.1m (2017: £362.1m), reflecting the net profit growth from joint ventures and associates and a reducing finance cost. Basic earnings per share, as defined by IAS 33, was 66.6 pence (2017: 61.8 pence) per share, an increase of 7.8%. Our focus remains on delivering returns and cash and on strengthening the balance sheet.
We have further reduced net debt and have achieved targeted cash conversion of 106% before capex (2017: 115%) and 82% after capex (2017: 86%). Excluding the one-year effect on working capital outflow of the French Airforce pilot training contract (FOMEDEC), this represents cash conversion of 116% before capex and a five-year high conversion rate of 92% after capex. This improved financial and operational performance, delivered in a year when the political and economic environment has created concern and uncertainty, demonstrates the stability and quality of our business. Babcock has unique market positions in many areas with a broad base of loyal customers whom we support through thick and thin. Over the last fifteen years or so, Babcock has steadily established strong long term positions in three major markets: defence, emergency services and civil nuclear – initially in the UK but increasingly worldwide. These three long term markets currently account for over 70% of our underlying revenue and will be the main focus of growth over the next few years.
This strategy is supported by the realignment of the Group into four sectors – Marine, Land, Aviation and Cavendish Nuclear – at the beginning of the financial year. The realignment was implemented quickly and smoothly and has brought added clarity and transparency to our operations and financial results. It has brought together our capabilities and our specific sector expertise and experience, equipping us to compete for contracts which we would not otherwise have been able to pursue. Importantly, the realignment has helped us to transition from our old ways of working into an organisation which is structured to take our business model outside the UK and create a compelling proposition for new customers.
This focus on international markets has seen our non-UK business growing to 28% of Group underlying revenue (2017: 25%) without any change to overall Group margin, positioning us to beat our target of securing 30% by 2022. Australia and South Africa have been established as our first international ‘home countries’, recognising that they are delivering Babcock solutions across multiple sectors. We have secured a number of important new contracts in Spain, Australia, Sweden, Oman and Norway, and mobilisation for the French Airforce pilot training contract at Cognac, France is well advanced in preparation for the service starting later this year.
We have also established a new Technology Group, focused on driving technology transfer across the four sectors. Technology is playing an ever more important role in delivering innovative support and sustainment solutions across the Group – and technology and data are at the heart of our operating solutions. We have designed the weapons handling and discharge systems for every UK submarine ever built, and are the technical authority for a number of classes of ships and submarines in the UK and Canada – and are often the partner of choice to introduce new helicopters to the market. We have developed and operate sophisticated training simulations to help train French and UK military pilots. We use Augmented and Virtual Reality to enhance our training and smart through-life sustainment solutions and are a technology application partner. We recently won a contract to provide specialist equipment for Sellafield which will utilise our unique engineering expertise at Rosyth and in Cavendish Nuclear – this is the kind of complex engineering work which really plays to our strengths. We continue to successfully deliver major projects, and after twelve years are now in the final stages of the UK’s Queen Elizabeth Class Aircraft Carrier build programme. This year saw two significant milestones in this landmark project – HMS Queen Elizabeth was officially handed over to the Royal Navy, and her sister ship, HMS Prince of Wales, was formally named and floated out of the build dock. We also completed a review of our contracts against the new IFRS 15 accounting standard, and were able to confirm at the half year that adoption of the standard will not result in changes to our contract control and revenue recognition processes.
Finally, we continue to focus on continuous improvement of our Health and Safety performance, and once again had an excellent year achieving even higher standards across the Group.
Operational performance We have made significant progress and provided critical support to customers dealing with exceptional issues in a number of long term contracts, including:
- UKMFTS flying training started at the new training school, RAF Cranwell
- Successful delivery of the Royal School of Military Engineering (RSME) benchmarking programme
- Supported the Metropolitan Police and London Fire Brigade through a challenging period
- Delivered first batch of Missile Launch Tube Assemblies for the new Dreadnought Class of Trident nuclear submarines
- Naval Service Apprenticeships scheme awarded Oustanding rating from OFSTED
- Four vessel OPV contract for Irish Naval Service approaches successful completion
- In Oman, Duqm JV: successful completion of first packages of marine support work for the US Navy
- Reached formal agreement on hand back of Magnox contract to BEIS at the end of August 2019
- At the Sellafield nuclear facility, Pile Fuel Cladding Silo decommissioning project is progressing well
- FOMEDEC French Airforce pilot training contract on track Introduction continued
Order intake remained strong in the period, with over £4.5bn of new contracts added to the order book. Contracts secured include:
- HADES, a new contract to provide technical support services at 17 RAF bases
- 10-year Sellafield nuclear decommissioning contract to provide ‘Glovebox’ equipment
- First orders received for patented ecoSMRT® liquid natural gas marine transportation system
- Renewed core firefighting contract in Italy for a further seven years
- Selected as preferred bidder for renewal of significant Spanish aerial search and rescue contract (SASEMAR)
- Further Type 23 frigate life extension awards: HMS Lancaster and Richmond
- Hinkley Point C: new contract from EDF to deliver training for the new build nuclear plant
- Naval support contracts for Collins Class submarines and ANZAC Class frigates • Australian Defence Force ground support equipment.
Long term visibility continues to be one of our consistent strengths, with the combined order book and bid pipeline growing to around £31bn (2017: c £30bn). This provides clear visibility of future underlying revenues, with 76% of underlying revenue already secured for 2018/19 and 50% for 2019/20. The bid pipeline continues to be supported by a buoyant tracking pipeline of opportunities which have yet to formally come to market. During the year, we maintained our win rates, achieving success in over 40% of our bids for new contracts, and over 90% for renewals.
21 May 18. Carlyle Group moves on HGH Infrared Systems. The Carlyle Group has announced it has entered into negotiations to acquire a majority stake in HGH Infrared Systems.
The private equity firm’s Carlyle Europe Technology Partners III division will provide the equity for the transaction, which is now subject to customary employee consultations and regulatory approvals, and is expected to close in the third or fourth quarter of this year.
This investment has been welcomed by French company HGH as it aims to increase its international reach.
“This potential partnership with Carlyle is excellent news for our customers,” Thierry Campos, CEO of HGH Infrared Systems, said. “It will also help HGH to move to the next level and to build on our strong international growth trajectory.” (Source: IHS Jane’s)
21 May 18. QuEST outlines aerospace expansion plans. Key Points:
- Singapore-headquartered QuEST looks to leverage an expansive geographic profile
- Company also puts a premium on applying new technologies in manufacturing
Aerospace group QuEST Global is positioning itself for expansion by investing in new technologies, building its geographic footprint, and developing new partnerships with original equipment manufacturers (OEMs).
The company – headquartered in Singapore and with facilities in several global locations – provides commercial/military OEMs and tier-1 companies with aerospace and aero-engine services including design, development, testing, manufacturing, maintenance, and support.
Steve Gerber, QuEST Global’s senior vice-president, Strategic Accounts, said in an interview with Jane’s that the company’s efforts to develop and expand its capabilities are driven by requirements to meet a growing backlog of orders across global and regional aerospace domains.
(Source: IHS Jane’s)
18 May 18. Rostec reports rising Russian defence exports. Russia’s military exports reached an annual value of USD13.4bn in 2017, according to comments Rostec Corporation CEO Sergei Chemezov made to state news agency TASS on 17 May. The figure represents a rise of 2.3% compared with 2016. Chemezov also reported that Rostec’s total revenue for the year rose by 26% to RUB1.6trn (USD25.6bn), while earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortisation was 14% higher at RUB121bn. The key export markets for Russia were unchanged in 2017, with the Middle East, North Africa, India, and China highlighted as the most significant customers. The reports of growth in Russian arms exports come despite continuing international sanctions against the country. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
Odyssey is an independent corporate finance firm which advises on acquisitions, business sales, management buy-outs and raising finance, typically in the £5m to £100m range. We have extensive experience in the niche manufacturing sector with our most recent completed deal being the sale of MacNeillie to Babcock Plc. Details can be seen at: http://www.odysseycf.com/case-study-macneillie/
As a result of this and related projects we have developed relationships with buyers and funders looking to acquire or invest in the sector. We would be happy to share further insights into the sector and to carry out reviews of businesses whose shareholders are considering an exit, acquisition or fundraise.
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23 May 18. ARTEC sets out its stall for UK Boxer Programme. Following the announcement on 31 Mar 18 that that British Army has taken a step towards exploring a deal for a fleet of new armoured vehicles, potentially supporting at least 1,000 British jobs, by announcing it is re-joining the Boxer programme, the ARTEC team of Rheinmetall and KMW held an Industry Day at Chepstow to brief industry on opportunities for Boxer in the UK; David Pile of Rheinmetall Defence UK gave the brief. (SEE: BATTLESPACE ALERT Vol.20 ISSUE 12, 31 March 2018, British Army re-joins Boxer programme in step towards new armoured vehicles)
The appointment of General Sir Nick Carter as the new Chief of the Defence Staff was a huge boost to the Boxer selection as he had expressed preference for a sole source selection of Boxer rather than an expensive drawn out competition. The selection by Australia of Boxer was also a big boost to the vehicle’s prospects for the UK. With access to the full datapack and IP from OCCAR, no VAT and crucial UK DNA in the original design, the other competitors, Nexter, GDUK and Patria, had to run hard to beat this selection.
The MOD is now taking forward negotiations with the Organisation for Joint Armament Cooperation (OCCAR) and Artec. Looking forward to the Assessment Phase, concluding in 2019, this will consider the comparable benefits of manufacturing locations and different supply chains for Boxer, as well as value-for-money. Any deal will be subject to commercial negotiation and assessment in 2019 and the aim is to have the first vehicles in service with the Army in 2023.
OCCAR is a European intergovernmental organisation which facilitates and manages collaborative armament programmes through their lifecycle between the UK and European allies. The organisation manages the Boxer programme and, as an OCCAR member state, the UK has the necessary Intellectual Property Rights to the Boxer and greater control over ensuring Britain benefits from supply chain work.
Artec has already made commitments to British industry by signing partnership agreements with BAE Systems, Pearson Engineering and Thales UK, but it was confirmed yesterday that until a Systems Requirement Document is finalised, that these partners are not confirmed for the Programme.
Key proposed UK Partners are Raytheon for GVA, Power Modes and Training, Thales for comms, Bowman integration and Command Post version, William Cook for castings, Marshalls for the ambulance version, BAE Systems, DB Santasalo for the angular gearbox, Parker Hannifin for rear ramp hydraulics, Rolls-Royce MTU for engines and WFEL for welding.
As part of the proposed deal, the UK is also expected to see substantial inward investment from Rheinmetall, one of Artec’s parent companies, who signalled their intention to launch a production and integration centre for armoured vehicles in the UK as part of the programme. This would represent a significant commitment which would lead to long-lasting armoured vehicle capability in the UK. Rheinmetall said that the facility to build Boxer in the UK will be decided by the end of 2018.
The other of Artec’s parent companies, Krauss Maffei Wegmann (KMW), already has a substantial UK manufacturing facility in Stockport, from where it designs, manufactures and supports complex military equipment as far afield as the US and Australia, as well as parts of Europe.
Many British companies attended the event to compete for the manufacture and supply of many of the vehicle sub-systems, as well as for a full production and assembly line in the UK. Estimates suggest Artec’s planned investment in the UK could secure or create at least 1,000 jobs, based across the country including locations such as Glasgow, Newcastle, Sheffield, Stockport, Telford and Wales.
With the likes of Rolls Royce already powering Boxers with engines and Parker-Hannifin, William Cook Engineering and other British companies also supplying sub-systems for the vehicle, this deal could secure a broader industrial UK partnership.
David Pile gave the audience an in-depth brief into the scope of the vehicle to be supplied and the project timeline:
- The Systems Requirement Document is likely to be finalised by the end of September 2018
- The initial number of vehicles to be procured is 508, with room for options.
- Rheinmetall in Germany will be the Prime Contractor and there will not be a Prime Systems Integrator.
- Contract negotiations will start in earnest once the Systems Requirement Document is finalised. If a contract cannot be agreed then the MoD has stated that it will initiate a new MIV competition, opening up MIV to Nexter, GDELS, Lockheed Martin and Patria.
- ARTEC is aiming for a 60% UK content. Companies wishing to bid were directed to either KMW or Rheinmetall, with Rheinmetall in Germany taking the lead on electronics and architecture.
- The aim is for the electronic systems to be GVA Compliant.
- The vehicle will have ‘UK Special’ ECM, Bowman/Morpheus and Protection Level (not given for security reasons). It is expected that UK companies will bid for the spall liners.
David Pile outlined the Programme milestones
- The Programme will have 30 year life starting in 2025 -30 In Service Date
- Contract Award – 2019
- Demonstration Phase 2020 with 22 vehicles
- Initial Operating Capability with one Battle Group – 2023
- Full Operating Capability – 2025
Final base vehicle Specification
The Final Base Vehicle Specification has yet to be finalised. Rheinmetall outlined the variants required by the MoD:
- APC variant – based on the Dutch design
- Command Post variant– based on the Dutch design
- Ambulance – based on the German/Dutch design
- Repair – based on the Dutch design
- Extra models may be procured for specialist applications. These can also be truck-mounted.
A Recovery variant is being considered but not in the initial batch along with a turreted version, again under consideration. The UK vehicle will be equipped with an Overhead weapon Station (OWS) although no specific type was stated.
The MOD conducted a comprehensive market analysis of Mechanised Infantry Vehicles in-service, entering service and in development. The analysis was guided by the British Army’s requirements and how best to deliver them. The Boxer delivered on protected mobility, capacity, flexibility, utility and agility. (See BATTLESPACE UPDATE Vol.19 ISSUE 39, 25 September 2017, Boxer UK Partners Outlined, ARTEC eyes 4 British companies)
A number of observers at the event questioned whether the sole selection of Boxer, being purchased through OCCAR was more of a political than industry initiative to ensure that the UK remained close to the European defence industry during the current Brexit negotiations. Others questioned whether there was indeed a budget for MIV with Ajax, MRV(P) and Challenger 2 LEP taking the bulk of the budget.
On wider issues another source told BATTLESPACE that the whole fleet of British Army vehicles was being put under a review to dispose of the older vehicles and free up support budgets for new vehicles. Certainly, there is no appetite at Abbey Wood for another FRES-type competition, so it is likely that following complex contract negotiations that ARTEC will get to the next level and a contract award by 2019 and then at last after 30 years, the British Army will have its 8×8! (See: FEATURES for details of the brief: ARTEC sets out its stall for UK Boxer Programme By Julian Nettlefold)
23 May 18. Czech armoured vehicle shortlist. Sources close to BATTLESPACE suggest that the GDELS ASCOD and the Rheinmetall Lynx have been downselected for the Czech Army APC Requirement. The requirement to purchase the vehicles was launched in 2017. Czech Defence Minister Martin Stropnicky announced that the government was presented this week a plan to spend $5bn to modernize the Czech Land Forces by 2026, including a $2bn acquisition of at least 210 new infantry fighting vehicles.
23 May 18. Tata Motors delivers Safari Storme SUVs to Indian Army. Tata Motors has reportedly begun delivering Safari Storme vehicles to the Indian Army.
On 27 April 2017, Tata Motors announced a contract for the supply of 3,192 units of the Tata Safari Storme 4×4 vehicle to the Indian Armed Forces.
The delivery of the vehicles will be carried out in a phased manner for both for the Indian Army and the Indian Navy.
Prior to its selection under a new category of vehicles – GS800 (General Service 800), the Tata Safari Storme 4×4 was put through 15 months of testing in different terrains across the country.
The vehicle, which will serve as a replacement to the Maruti Gypsy in the 4×4 light vehicle category, met three basic criteria stated in the Request for Proposal floated by the Indian Ministry of Defence (MOD).
The three requirements were a minimum payload capacity of 800kg; hard roofs, and air conditioning.
Featuring electronic shift-on-fly technology and a horsepower of 156bhp and 400Nm torque, Safari Storme provides easy drivability, swifter response and lower noise, vibration, and harshness.
It also offers superior fuel efficiency and ground clearance of 200mm, according to Tata Motors.
The Tata Safari Storme 4×4 vehicle is a modified version of a variant designed for civilians. It has been upgraded with an updated drivetrain and modified suspension. (Source: army-technology.com)
23 May 18. EDA Military Mobility Symposium, 07 June 2018.
On 7 June 2018, the European Defence Agency (EDA) and the Bulgarian Presidency of the Council of the European Union (EU) will co-organise a Deploy Symposium entitled “Military Mobility – Key to European Security” in Brussels. Political and military decision-makers as well as high level officials of Member States, EU institutions and agencies, NATO, and other relevant stakeholders will assess progress in and exchange views on European Military Mobility.
Military Mobility is key to European security. Today’s security environment demands the smooth, efficient and effective movement of military personnel and assets within and beyond the European Union. As a complex and multidimensional issue, Military Mobility requires a ‘whole-of-government’ approach whilst respecting national sovereignty.
The EU’s Action Plan on Military Mobility, presented by HR/VP Federica Mogherini and the European Commission on 28 March 2018, outlines the steps the European Union is taking to improve Military Mobility. The Action Plan builds on the Roadmap on Cross-Border Military Transportation developed by the European Defence Agency and in close cooperation and coordination with all relevant actors, including NATO.
At the Symposium, high-level speakers from national governments and armed forces as well as NATO representatives and European defence actors will discuss the way ahead in key note speeches and two panel discussions focussing on the EU and cross-departmental synergies and on military requirements for Military Mobility respectively.
Confirmed speakers include HR/VP and Head of the Agency Federica Mogherini, the Bulgarian Minister of Defence Krasimir Karakachanov, the Dutch Minister of Defence Ank Bijleveld, the Slovenian Minister of Defence Minister Andreja Katič, the Chairman of the European Union Military Committee General Mikhail Kostarakos, the Italian Chief of Defence General Claudio Graziano, the NATO Director General International Military Staff General Jan Broeks, and EEAS Deputy Secretary General Pedro Serrano.
Registration for the conference is open until 28 May 2018 for invited participants only. For further questions, please write to .
22 May 18. Paramount Group, the African-based global defence and aerospace company, and its joint venture in Kazakhstan, Kazakhstan Paramount Engineering (KPE), exhibited their latest range of next generation armoured vehicles at the international Kazakhstan Defence Expo (KADEX-2018) held in Astana. In addition to its word-leading land system technologies, Paramount and KPE will also exhibit a wide range of aerospace and naval capabilities, including the modernisation and enhancement of fixed and rotarywing aircraft, unmanned systems and multi-role naval vessels.
The focus of KPE’s exhibit showcased the advanced Barys Infantry Combat vehicle family comprised of the 6х6 and 8х8 vehices, and also the Arlan 4×4 mine-protected armoured personnel carrier. The Barys 8, the localised version of Paramount’s Mbombe 8 was unveiled for the first time at KADEX 2016. It represents the pinnacle of land system technologies and was developed to meet the increasing demand for multi-role, high mobility and mine hardened platforms. Its unique design allows for the fitment of a very large array of weapon systems enabling the Barys 8 to be customised for armed forces all around the world. In 2016 it was fitted with a Russian 57mm automatic cannon on the “AU-220M” remote weapon station. This year the Barys 8 will be fitted with a remote weapon station jointly developed by Kazakhstan’s “KAE” LLP and Aselsan, called the Sarbaz. The Sarbaz is a 30mm gyro-stabilized remotely controlled gun turret. Additionally, the vehicle is also fitted with a 7.62mm coaxial machine gun. The Ministry of Defence of Kazakhstan is in the final stages of the evaluation of the Barys 8×8 combat vehicle ahead of acceptance into service by the country’s armed forces. This follows intensive winter and summer trials during which the vehicle performed exceptionally under extreme conditions.
Making its debut at KADEX, the Barys 6, the new winterised version of Paramount’s Mbombe 6, will be demonstrated with a unified combat compartment and stabilized cannon-machine-gun armament that is currently in use on the BTR 82-A. Visitors at KADEX will be able to view the most popular Kazakhstani armoured vehicle “Arlan” in various different configurations; equipped with a “SARP” remote weapon station, the “SARP-S” modernized remote weapon station paired with a 7.62 mm PKT machine gun, and also with a full suite of reconnaissance equipment.A number of the “Arlan” armored wheeled vehicles that are in service with the Kazakhstani armed forces will form a key part of the mobility and firepower displays that will take place during the exhibition.
Ivor Ichikowitz, Group Chairman of Paramount Group said, “In only a few years, Kazakhstan Paramount Engineering has established itself as an innovation leader and industrial powerhouse in the region. This is the result of our strong partnerships with the Government of Kazakhstan and local industry. We are proud to showcase the unique capabilities of KPE and its locally manufactured world-beating technologies. The success of KPE is a testament to the shared vision, commitment and hard work of our partners and employees.”
Johan Delport, KPE Director said, “The advanced armored vehicles produced at our modern manufacturing facility in Astana comply with the highest international standards, offering a wide range of armoured vehicles characterized for outstanding reliability, mobility and levels of protection. Our dynamic portfolio on display at KADEX 2018 is the result of our dedication to innovation, the support of our local partners and the high level skills of our workforce.”
The Kazakhstan Defence Expo (KADEX-2018) took place from 23-26 May in Astana.
21 May 18. HORIBA MIRA signs deal with Turkish defence firm. HORIBA MIRA, a global provider of engineering, research and test services to the automotive, defence, aerospace and rail sectors, has signed a deal with a consortium including Turkish defence company Katmerciler.
The consortium, which also includes Savronik and Delta, will now work to develop MIRA’s state-of-the-art unmanned ground vehicle (UGV) platform VIKING to meet specific Turkish requirements.
The UGV can be integrated with various payloads including the detection of improvised explosive devices, remote surveillance and soldier support.
The agreement for strategic international cooperation was formally signed at the 2018 Turkish British Tatlıdil Forum, in the UK – a forum established in 2011 to improve political, economic and cultural ties between the UK and Turkey.
he talks were chaired by former Home Secretary Jack Straw and attended by Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan who was in the UK on a state visit and for meetings with Theresa May.
The Turkish Undersecretary of Defence Industries (SSM), İsmail Demir also attended the meeting. The HORIBA MIRA team will provide their expertise in developing the prototype platform – an unmanned ground vehicle complete with autonomous technology and an advanced hybrid powertrain.
Declan Allen, managing director at HORIBA MIRA, said: “This deal further represents how HORIBA MIRA is viewed on the world stage as a world-leader in high-tech autonomous vehicles. It is testament to the reputation of our engineers that we are the go-to company for developing innovative vehicles for the defence industry.” (Source: Google/www.thebusinessdesk.com)
Millbrook, based in Bedfordshire, UK, makes a significant contribution to the quality and performance of military vehicles worldwide. Its specialist expertise is focussed in two distinct areas: test programmes to help armed services and their suppliers ensure that their vehicles and systems work as the specification requires; and design and build work to upgrade new or existing vehicles, evaluate vehicle capability and investigate in-service failures. Complementing these is driver and service training and a hospitality business that allows customers to use selected areas of Millbrook’s remarkable facilities for demonstrations and exhibitions.
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24 May 18. U.S. bill would force tech companies to disclose foreign software probes. U.S. tech companies would be forced to disclose if they allowed American adversaries, like Russia and China, to examine the inner workings of software sold to the U.S. military under proposed legislation, Senate staff told Reuters on Thursday.
The bill, approved by the Senate Armed Services Committee on Thursday, comes after a year-long Reuters investigation found software makers allowed a Russian defense agency to hunt for vulnerabilities in software that was already deeply embedded in some of the most sensitive parts of the U.S. government, including the Pentagon, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and intelligence agencies.
Security experts say allowing Russian authorities to conduct the reviews of internal software instructions — known as source code — could help Russia find vulnerabilities and more easily attack key systems that protect the United States.
The new source code disclosure rules were included in Senate version of the National Defense Authorization Act, the Pentagon’s spending bill, according to staffers of Democratic Senator Jeanne Shaheen.
Details of bill, which passed the committee 25-2, are not yet public. And the legislation still needs to be voted on by the full Senate and reconciled with a House version of the legislation before it can be signed into law by President Donald Trump.
If passed into law, the legislation would require companies that do business with the U.S. military to disclose any source code review of the software done by adversaries, staffers for Shaheen told Reuters. If the Pentagon deems a source code review a risk, military officials and the software company would need to agree on how to contain the threat. It could, for example, involve limiting the software’s use to non-classified settings.
The details of the foreign source code reviews, and any steps the company agreed to take to reduce the risks, would be stored in a database accessible to military officials, Shaheen’s staffers said. For most products, the military notification will only apply to countries determined to be cybersecurity threats, such as Russia and China. Shaheen has been a key voice on cybersecurity in Congress. The New Hampshire senator last year led successful efforts in Congress to ban all government use of software provided by Moscow-based antivirus firm Kaspersky Lab, amid allegations the company is linked to Russian intelligence. Kaspersky denies such links.
In order to sell in the Russian market, tech companies including Hewlett Packard Enterprise Co (HPE.N), SAP (SAPG.DE) and McAfee have allowed a Russian defense agency to scour software source code for vulnerabilities, Reuters found. In many cases, Reuters found that the software companies had not previously informed U.S. agencies that Russian authorities had been allowed to conduct the source code reviews. In most cases, the U.S. military does not require comparable source code reviews before it buys software, procurement experts have told Reuters. The companies have said the source code reviews were conducted by the Russians in company-controlled facilities, where the reviewer could not copy or alter the software. McAfee announced last year that it no longer allows government source code reviews. Hewlett Packard Enterprise has said none of its current software offerings have gone through the process. (Source: glstrade.com/Reuters)
22 May 18. SOCOM Pursuing ‘Hyper-Enabled Operator’ Technologies. Special Operations Command is launching a new effort to develop “hyper-enabled operator” technologies that will give service members enhanced capabilities, said the director of the command’s science and technology office May 22.
“The hyper-enabled operator is a concept, it is not a deliverable product,” said Lisa Sanders during remarks at the National Defense Industrial Association’s Special Operations Forces Industry Conference in Tampa, Florida. The ultimate is goal to make warfighters as effective as possible in achieving their missions, she said.
The concept includes four technology pillars: communications, computing, data/sensors and human-machine interfaces.
More effective communication devices are needed to connect operators on the tactical edge and provide them with up-to-date information, Sanders said.
Computing and sensing capabilities are also critical to improving situational awareness by pushing data to dismounted troops, she noted.
“Then the last piece is really, really important as we get to this” hyper-enabled operator, she said. An effective human-machine interface is needed to leverage the new communications, computing and data/sensing technologies. That interface needs to be tailorable, it needs to be adaptable,” she said. “It cannot be the same for every person, it probably won’t be the same at every point in the mission.”
The command plans to develop these technologies under an aggressive timeline, Sanders said.
“There are going to be things that are going to spin out really quickly, that are available today,” she said.
Equipment that includes commercially available technologies could be ready and in the hands of operators in as little as six months, she said. However, most will probably be developed in an 18-month to two-year timeframe, she added.
Other capabilities — such as machine learning — will take much longer to develop and field, she said.
“If I really need to understand how I’m going to use artificial intelligence … to provide a positive identification for either the hostage that I want to rescue or a building that I’m going to be in, [then] there are a lot of questions that have to be answered about how do I validate some of these tools,” Sanders said.
Artificial intelligence presents many challenges, and it has taken major companies such as Google a large amount of time to develop AI-enabled technologies like self-driving cars, she noted. “That’s because people are trying to understand what happens when things go wrong,” she said.
“The normal way that we validate things like that is that we test every possible outcome and that’s how we determine what’s safe,” she added. “But in the world of artificial intelligence you can’t do that because every outcome is changing with every input that you put in.”
SOCOM needs to work through some policy questions as it develops the technology, she said. In some cases, it could take 10 years for capabilities to get approved, she said.
“I do think you are going to see a fairly substantial amount of products that are coming out in the two- to five-year window of time, and then it’s the ones that are policy constrained that are going to take us longer” to field, she said.
Special Operations Command plans to hold a technical experimentation event with industry in early November at Avon Park Air Force Range, Florida, that focuses on the four technology areas related to the hyper-enabled operator, Sanders said.
Separate from the hyper-enabled operator concept, the command’s S&T shop is also looking at investing in technologies that could give dismounted troops more lethality and better navigation capabilities, she said. Biotechnology is another area of interest, she added. (Source: glstrade.com/Breaking Defense.com)
22 May 18. Raytheon adds Persistent’s Wave Relay MANET technology. Raytheon has entered a new partnership agreement to integrate Persistent Systems’ Wave Relay mobile ad hoc network (MANET) technology into its product family.
Persistent’s Wave Relay technology is an advanced MANET solution that is capable of quickly and continuously adapting to fluctuations in terrain and other challenging environments in order to optimise connectivity and communication performance.
Under the agreement, which has a performance period of five years, Persistent has already commenced the integration of its solution across Raytheon’s family of manned and unmanned systems and sensors.
Raytheon Advanced Concepts official John Hobday said: “Over the next five years, the battlefield will experience a transformational infusion of autonomy, collaborative behaviours, swarming, and artificial intelligence.
“A scalable, dynamic, peer-to-peer communication system with edge computing will provide the foundation on which these technologies will be built.”
The Embedded Module provided by Persistent Systems is easy to integrate and offers increased capability.
This will allow Raytheon to support and accelerate its development efforts, with an aim to launch new and advanced products in the market.
Persistent chief executive officer Herbert Rubens said: “Persistent’s vision is to empower the soldier via the network.
“The real winner today is the soldier on the ground. As industry leaders, such as Raytheon, incorporate Wave Relay technology into their systems and sensors, the soldiers gain massively increased capability without having to carry any additional weight.
“The advanced systems that Raytheon is developing will improve situational awareness, protect our soldiers, and make them more effective.” (Source: army-technology.com)
21 May 18. The sensors that could sniff out chemical weapons. As Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad has shown, chemical weapons are no longer on the forbidden fringe of warfare.
“Let’s be clear: Assad’s most recent use of poison gas against the people of Douma was not his first, second, third, or even 49th use of chemical weapons,” Ambassador Nikki Haley told the UN Security Council on April 13. “The United States estimates that Assad has used chemical weapons in the Syrian war at least 50 times. Public estimates are as high as 200.”
That evolution has breathed new urgency into U.S. military efforts to more effectively detect the use of chemical and other non-conventional arms. One project underway at the Navy Research Lab stands at the forefront of that effort.
Researchers in the Material Science and Technology Division are developing atomically-thin semiconductors to serve as sensors in emerging detection systems. The team published a 2017 paper in Scientific Reports and has two patent applications pending.
“We’re now in the applied phase of basic research. We’re going to start building prototypes that we can test in real world situations,” said Adam Friedman, the lead researcher on the team which includes at least seven physicists, chemists and engineers. “We’re looking for ways to build the technology that we can put into real sensors in the field.“
The military already has access to a range of portable sensors. The primary models detect based on electronic measurements, optical readings and ion mobility spectrometry. They’re good, but not good enough. The chief drawback is that sensors are specialized: chemical sensors look for chemicals but aren’t optimized to search for traces of radiation, for example. Most also have mechanical limitations.
“They can usually do only one thing, they tend to be dependent on things like temperature and humidity, and they also use a lot of power,” Friedman said.
Other military leaders have acknowledged the need for a more robust solution.
“As the threat of a chemical or biological attack on the United States homeland and military forces abroad continues to grow, the Department of Defense’s (DoD) sense of urgency to develop effective chemical and biological sensors to mitigate this threat also grows,” a DARPA document reads.
DARPA has its own effort underway. Its SIGMA+ program aims to combine sensors with sophisticated analytics as a means for detecting nuclear, chemical and other threats.
The NRL effort aims to create a sensing mechanism that is literally three atoms thick, a sensor that virtually eliminates concerns about size, weight and power.
“We’re talking about putting the entire thing onto a watch battery,” Friedman said. “If you do that and add a few antennas and some measuring electronics, it would cost $10 per sensor and weight less than 5 grams. You’d probably get a week of batter life out of it.”
The physics is excruciating, but it basically comes down to this: all the major “nasty compounds” tend to shed electronics. Sarin gas, ammonia-based explosives, “they all have an excess amount of charge, and these [developmental] materials happen to be very good at accepting charge,” Friedman said.
“These films can sense a single electron. It is reflected in the film’s conductivity and reflected in its optical properties. The film becomes more conductive and we read that conductivity” in order to determine what happened, he said.
Scientists know what it looks like when toxic substances shed electrons. The material being developed by NRL will detect those minuscule electronic exchanges and rapidly determine what noxious substances are present.
Navy’s expeditionary forces have already expressed an interest in the technology, “You have lots of people and potentially lots of information about the battlefield,” Friedman said. With a fast and accurate detection tool, “you can put it all together to get a much better picture of what is going on.”
The NRL sensor could be incorporated into existing sensor platforms within five years. In the long term, scientists envision this becoming a standard piece of expeditionary equipment.
“My goal is to put a sensor on every single Marine or soldier in the field and to be able to integrate the information from all of those sensors to get an overall picture of the battlefield,” Friedman said.
“If you can make the sensors small and sensitive and wearable, and if everyone has one and they are interconnected, your platoon will be able to pinpoint buried explosives or the location of a chemical factory,” he said. “It would make the battlefield safer for soldiers who would have much more information, and it would make missions much more efficient if you are trying to locate something that could possibly be dangerous.” (Source: C4ISR & Networks)
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Oxley specialises in the design and manufacture of advanced electronic and electro-optic components and systems for air, land and sea applications within the military sector. Established in 1942, Oxley has manufacturing facilities in the UK and USA and enjoys representation worldwide. The company’s products include night vision and LED lighting, data capture systems and electronic components. Oxley has pioneered the development of night vision compatible lighting. It offers a total package incorporating optical filters, equipment modification, cockpit and external lighting along with fleet wide upgrade services including engineering, installation, support, maintenance and training. The company’s long experience of manufacturing night vision lighting and LED indicators, coupled with advances in LED technology, has enabled it to develop LED solutions to replace incandescent and fluorescent lighting in existing applications as well as becoming the lighting option of choice in new applications such as portable military hospitals, UAV control stations and communication shelters.
SATELLITE SYSTEMS, SATCOM AND SPACE SYSTEMS UPDATE
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24 May 18. U.S. Military Seeks to Be More Lethal, Including in Space, Mattis Says. The U.S. military is seeking to be more lethal in all domains, including space, Defense Secretary James N. Mattis said yesterday. In a briefing with reporters in Colorado Springs, Colorado, Mattis said U.S. Northern Command will have to change to meet the challenges of the future, to include space-related security challenges.
“As the threats to North America evolve, we’ll have to evolve the command, too,” he said. “It will continue to adapt from what it does, incorporating cyber defenses, outer space priorities and, of course, the air-breathing threats that we’ll have to stay alert to.”
Pentagon Business Reform
Mattis said changes start with business reforms inside the Pentagon. He noted the Defense Department is currently not adopting best practices from industry.
“We want to make the military more lethal in outer space and cyberspace, at sea, on land, and in the air,” Mattis said. The department, he added, also wants to strengthen relations with U.S. partners and allies.
The department needs to examine the changing character of war, to include issues like artificial intelligence, hypersonics and outer space activities, according to Mattis.
“These have all got to be looked at, because as we say in the U.S. Department of Defense, our adversaries get a vote,” he said.
Mattis travelled to Colorado for the U.S. Air Force Academy’s graduation ceremony yesterday and the change of command today at Northcom and the North American Aerospace Defense Command.
Northcom was established Oct. 1, 2002, to provide command and control of DoD homeland defense efforts and coordinate defense support of civil authorities. (Follow Lisa Ferdinando on Twitter: @FerdinandoDoD)
24 May 18. Piaggio Taps SatCom Link To Fly Hammerhead UAV. Recent flight tests of the Piaggio Aerospace P.1HH Hammerhead have included beyond-line-of-sight (BLOS) flight control by satellite of the twin-turboprop Avanti business aircraft modified as a UAV. Piaggio claims that this is the first such BLOS test performed with a European-designed remotely piloted MALE (medium-altitude long-endurance) aircraft.
The flights were performed from Birgi Airport in Italy and used the Athena-Fidus communications satellite developed by Franco-Italian company Telespazio. The satellite link also received and passed along data from the Hammerhead’s onboard sensors. The achievement “is the evidence of Piaggio’s commitment to the continuous development of the P.1HH HammerHead [which has demonstrated] uncontested excellence within the industry,” said Piaggio chief technology officer Fabio Guida.
Piaggio resumed test flights of the Hammerhead last July, after the loss of the prototype in May 2016. The UAV first flew in 2013, and the company later claimed a strong commitment from the Italian air force. But a proposed contract for six aircraft (three systems) was never concluded. However, a company official told AIN this week that production of eight aircraft ordered by the UAE Armed Forces is underway, with six of them due for delivery this year. Piaggio is wholly owned by Mubadala Investment Company based in Abu Dhabi, UAE.
During the past 13 years, Italy’s Leonardo has flown two experimental MALE UAVs, Sky-X and Sky-Y, that have satellite links. However, although these links have transmitted sensor data, they have not controlled the UAVs, if Piaggio’s claim is correct. (Source: AIN News)
24 May 18. USAF to Boost Rapid Prototyping Funding for Space Systems. Air Force leaders have signed off on a major increase in funding for the Space Enterprise Consortium, which speeds up the acquisition of new space technologies. The push to more rapidly acquire capabilities is happening as Pentagon officials have come to view space as a warfighting domain on part with air, land and sea. The consortium was created last year to better leverage innovation by nontraditional companies and other organizations that don’t want to deal with the Defense Department’s acquisition bureaucracy and traditional regulations. It is being organized by the Advanced Technology Institute. It uses other transaction authority contracts, which allows small businesses and non-traditional contractors to develop prototypes without adhering to the cumbersome Federal Acquisition Regulation. Congress recently modified the contracting vehicle to allow companies to go directly under contract after the prototyping phase is completed. It allows the contracting agencies to acquire new technology more quickly by making an end run around the FAR. Until recently, the plan was to allocate up to $100m over five years to the consortium for rapid prototyping of a variety of space-related technologies to include ground systems, launch, spacecraft, software and processes.
But the Air Force is now taking a more ambitious approach, said Gen. John “Jay” Raymond, commander of Air Force Space Command.
“It’s been so useful to us that [Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics William Roper] recently increased that ceiling to $500m,” Raymond said May 24 at an Air Force Association event in Arlington, Virginia. In March, the consortium had about 100 members, but that number has since increased to 153, he noted.
The first contract award occurred in April. Since then, money has been awarded to build almost a dozen different prototypes. “They’ve got several more solicitations out for award as we speak,” Raymond said.
The averaging amount of time from solicitation to award is about three months, he noted.
“It’s truly a rapid acquisition effort,” he said. “What you will see is the trend of wanting to be innovative, wanting to go fast and wanting to look at nontraditional partners. And that’s what that [increase in funding] reflects.”
Raymond was asked if industry can expect to see additional boosts in spending for the consortium in the coming years.
“We’ve already seen an increase from … $100m up to $500m,” he said. “We’ll see how that goes and progresses. And I encourage you to engage with the Space and Missile Systems Center for more details on that as we go along.”
Raymond said he could not immediately identify where the additional $400m would come from or if it would require reprogramming. Meanwhile, the Air Force Space Command chief wants to tap the commercial sector to perform some cyber-related tasks that airmen are currently assigned.
“One of the things that I’m really pushing on is to leverage commercial industry more in cyber than what we do today,” Raymond said. “Today we have thousands of airmen that come to work every day to keep a network up — basically an unclassified network. And what I am really working hard to do is to allow us to leverage and capitalize on commercial industry, and then refocus our airmen on those things that are militarily important in cyber, not just running a network.”
The service has an initiative called enterprise IT, or network as a service, he noted. “I think you’re going to see … our leveraging of commercial industry heighten in the years ahead,” he said. (Source: glstrade.com/National Defense)
24 May 18. UK makes Galileo satellite a condition for EU defence collaboration. Exclusion from navigation system would hit trust needed for full security partnership, London warns. Britain is making unrestricted access to the EU’s Galileo satellite navigation system a condition for future defence and security collaboration with the bloc. The UK has for the first time formally set out its conditions for participation in the Galileo programme as part of discussions in Brussels this week on the implications of Brexit for Britain’s defence and security partnership with the EU. Britain is demanding unrestricted security and industrial access to secure elements of the €10bn programme, both during the Brexit transition period and after the UK leaves the EU. The UK is also demanding that Brussels reopen tenders touching on Galileo’s highly secure military grade signal, the Public Regulated Service, and revise requirements that all related work be done from EU member states. “Future UK participation in Galileo is a strategic choice which will have a permanent effect on our future defence and defence industrial collaboration,” the UK government warned in a position paper presented to EU negotiators in Brussels. The bitter row over UK access to the Galileo’s highly encrypted PRS signal has become a test case for discussions on Britain’s departure from the EU. EU officials have claimed they are merely following the rules — agreed by Britain at the launch of Galileo 15 years ago — which exclude third countries from the exchange of secure information. The UK wants Galileo to be a core component of a future UK-EU security partnership. However in its document the UK argued that exclusion from Galileo would damage the trust needed on both sides for a full security partnership. “From a security perspective, any gap in UK involvement in the design and development of Galileo and PRS, whereby the UK is unable to manufacture components or assure those manufactured by member states at any point, will constitute an irreparable security risk,” said the British government in the document. “It will mean the UK will not be able to rely on the system for our own security and defence needs.” Current EU restrictions on UK participation in Galileo would have “implications for the ceiling placed on future UK-EU security co-operation”, it added. The UK reiterated its threat to pull out of the Galileo programme and pursue a British alternative if full access is not granted. The document also suggested that the UK could seek to recover its €1.4bn investment in the programme so far and some of the value in the satellite assets. “If agreement cannot be reached on the future balance of rights and obligations, and UK security and industrial requirements consequently not be met, the UK could not justify future participation in Galileo,” said the document. Exclusion of the UK from PRS would not just deal a blow to security collaboration with the EU. It would also seriously jeopardise the UK’s ambition to generate £40bn in sales from the space sector by 2030. British-based companies such as CGI UK, Qinetiq, and Scisys have designed and developed much of the security around PRS. An EU Commission spokesman said: “Our position has always been very, very clear, crystal clear on this” “This issue is being discussed with our British partners, negotiations are ongoing. These are precisely the sort of issues that we need to address and we had the occasion to highlight this many times.” (Source: FT.com)
24 May 18. iDirectGov to unveil TRASC solution for C-130 aircraft. Military satellite communications (SATCOM) provider iDirect Government (iDirectGov) is set to unveil its tactical removable airborne satellite communications (TRASC) for C-130 military transport aircraft at the 2018 Special Operations Forces Industry Conference. TRASC integrates commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) components into an airborne terminal to provide troops with advanced and modern SATCOM technology. The components are integrated, tested and airworthy-certified. The iDirectGov solution features multi-band 18in parabolic Ku/Ka dual-band antenna provided by UltiSat. The antenna features a lightweight robust carbon fibre composite frame and high data rates. TRASC also includes SelectTech’s roll-on roll-off transit case integrated with the iDirectGov 9800 AR Satellite Router, power supply and gateway router, and R4’s C-130 hatch or wing shoulder panel.
The R4 solution is based on a US Air Force and Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)-approved design for a multi-purpose hatch system.
iDirectGov president John Ratigan said: “iDirectGov is excited to partner with leading companies on TRASC, which provides the airforce with a product that meets all the specified communications requirements for the military’s airborne needs, including TRANSEC and military operating standards.
“When the military needs communications technology to perform a particular mission, it becomes a costly and time-consuming endeavour to start from scratch and build a solution.
“This partnership enables the Department of Defense to leverage the best COTS technology in the marketplace in order to speed up time to market and reduce development costs, all while meeting mission specifications.”
The parabolic antenna is said to be the only dual-band antenna that enables TRASC to support both military and commercial Ka frequencies.
To support voice and data for C-130 airborne applications, TRASC works with a number of Ka, Ku, X-band or a combination of these.
Being a fully FAA-compliant solution, TRASC is compatible with all variants of the C-130 military aircraft and can work with existing iDirectGov hub-based SATCOM networks. (Source: airforce-technology.com)
24 May 18. Inmarsat loses maritime safety monopoly. First-quarter results provided sanctuary from the barrage of woes in the battle of Inmarsat (ISAT) and investors enjoyed a brief moment of calm. That was not to last. The International Maritime Organisation has fired a sizeable hole in the company by approving ship safety technology made by two competitors – a move that will further hamper management’s efforts to keep Inmarsat afloat.
For years, the satellite telecoms giant has monopolised the maritime safety systems market as it owned the only technology approved by international regulators. Although the group didn’t actually make any money from its Global Maritime Distress & Safety System, approved safety systems are a legal requirement, meaning Inmarsat has enjoyed a presence in every large vessel worldwide. This allowed the group to cross-sell other voice and data services.
But that’s not to say its maritime business has been plain sailing: revenues only tipped back to growth in the final three months of 2017 after eight consecutive quarters of declines, on a year-on-year basis. Yet recently management had been more positive about the division’s growth prospects, due to the strong demand for its newest broadband service, Fleet Xpress.
But now the barriers to entry have been lowered for the group’s competitors, Iridium and BeiDou Navigation Satellite System. The former – a US-based company – is expected to begin fitting its safety systems into new vessels from 2020, meaning Inmarsat will have to start competing for contracts. Analysts are worried that this will also hamper the group’s efforts to ramp up its Fleet Xpress sales. It’s particularly bad news because maritime is Inmarsat’s most important business, contributing 40 per cent of revenues and 61 per cent of adjusted cash profits last year.
IC View: Patching up the plethora of holes in Inmarsat’s strategy is no easy task and management – which is facing a shareholder revolt over pay – may be starting to lose the patience of its crew. That said, the group maintains a strong position in a growing market, which has incredibly high barriers to entry. A forward price/earnings ratio of 13 times looks tempting, but uncertainties over the cash flow and revenue growth keep us at hold at 350p. Last IC View: Hold, 396p, 2 May 2018. (Source: Investors Chronicle)
23 May 18. UK confirms launch of first Defence Space Strategy. UK Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson has confirmed the launch of the nation’s first Defence Space Strategy. With UK military systems becoming increasingly dependent on space technology, the Royal Air Force (RAF) Air Command has assumed responsibility for command and control of military space operations in order to defend the interests of the country in space.
RAF chief of air staff Sir Stephen Hiller said: “I am determined to ensure that the RAF’s leadership of military space operations transforms our ability to address the growing threats and hazards.
“In doing this, it is essential that we work jointly across defence and with partners across government and internationally.”
Expected to be initiated this summer, the new Defence Space Strategy has been designed to protect UK operations against emerging space-based threats. This includes jamming of civilian satellites used by broadcasters and satellite navigation to support military capabilities.
UK Defence Minister Guto Bebb said: “Space is a vital part our economy, with an industry worth £14bn a year.
“With the launch of this strategy, we are setting our aspirations much higher to ensure that our industry continues to benefit from this growth in satellite technology. We are investing millions into Britain’s most innovative companies to help us launch forward in the space domain.”
Currently, satellites and space-based services offer communications, imagery, precision targeting and friendly force tracking for the armed forces.
The UK’s Defence Space Strategy will examine how the country can work in collaboration with its Nato allies in order to protect and defend their mutual space interests.
Williamson also confirmed that the 500 personnel currently working in the UK defence space sector will be increased to more than 600 over the next five years under the space strategy. (Source: airforce-technology.com)
23 May 18. European MALE UAV flies under satellite control for first time. Leonardo and its partner Thales have conducted the first satellite-controlled flight of a European medium-altitude long-endurance (MALE)-class unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV).
The milestone, announced on 23 May, involved an unmanned Piaggio Aero P.1HH Hammerhead aircraft demonstrate the ability to be controlled using beyond line-of-sight (BLOS) ground-based radio coverage.
As noted by Leonardo, the Hammerhead’s ground control station (GCS) linked up with the Athena-Fidus satellite, which is managed by Telespazio’s Fucino Space Centre, to operate the aircraft, its onboard systems, and its sensors. The satellite link was also used to receive the data acquired in-flight.
The purpose of the test, which was carried out at Birgi airport in Trapani, Italy, was to evaluate the efficacy of the satellite technology for various dual-use applications under realistic conditions as part of the wider Demonstration of Satellites Enabling the Insertion of [remotely piloted air system] RPAS in Europe (DeSIRE) II research project that is led by Telespazio and jointly initiated by the European Space Agency (ESA) and European Defence Agency (EDA). (Source: IHS Jane’s)
22 May 18. Israel’s new $200m satellite sparks controversy ― and questions. Israel’s space industry has found itself the subject of controversy, as allegations about political deal-making and a state bailout at the taxpayers’ expense clash with a government citing national security as justification for its decisions.
State-owned Israel Aerospace Industries in late March lost out to an American firm on a contract to build the AMOS-8 communication satellite for the private company Spacecom. The satellite operator’s decision to go with the cheaper American competitor stoked fears that it could spell doom for Israel’s domestic satellite production, as Spacecom is the only customer for IAI’s satellite department, which also builds the Ofek line of spy satellites.
Following Spacecom’s decision to go with the Palo Alto-based Space Systems/Loral LLC, the Ministry of Science, Technology and Space released a statement in April saying the government had informed Spacecom it “stands by its original position in favor of a ‘blue and white’ [Israel-made] satellite.”
The statement quoted a parliamentary report that ruled that preserving Israel’s independent satellite production capability is vital “in times of emergency” to ensure Israel “maintains the independent ability to use satellites to collect and transmit information by way of Israeli communication satellites.”
Spacecom refused to comment on questions about the AMOS-8 sent earlier this week, and a representative from the Defense Ministry referred all questions to the Ministry of Science, Technology and Space, calling the matter “a government decision.”
IAI’s bid for the AMOS-8 was for more than $200m, nearly double the $112m contract Spacecom signed with Space Systems/Loral LLC. In addition, the satellite has an expected launch date of February 2021, while the IAI satellite should take at least four years to build.
Israeli politicians have argued that preserving Israel’s satellite construction capabilities is a matter of national security for a country that prizes confidentiality and maintaining a qualitative edge over its enemy states in the region. But there have also been allegations of backroom political dealings influencing the decision to have IAI build the satellite.
In February, police recommended bribery, fraud, breach of trust and extortion indictment against Labor and Social Services Minister Haim Katz. The case alleged that he intervened in internal IAI matters involving the workers union, in exchange for favors from IAI employees.
The head of IAI’s employee union is his son, Yair Katz.
In early April, Israel Police was leaning toward closing an investigation against Haim related to alleged corruption at IAI.
Earlier this month, an article in Israel’s TheMarker appeared to link the decision to have IAI build the satellite to internal Israeli politics, in particular within the Likud party.
The article quoted Yair, who told Israel’s Channel 10 news days earlier that the manufacturing of the satellite in Israel will be partly “as a result of our ability to reach the decision-makers of the country. If they were to disappoint us ― it’s safe to assume that those same decision-makers would not receive the trust of [IAI] employees in the Likud primaries.”
A day after the report, Mossi Raz, a parliamentarian from the left wing Meretz party sent a letter to Israeli Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit calling on him to open an investigation into the ministry’s decision to have the IAI build a new state-operated communication satellite.
The letter said the decision “has very far-reaching repercussions for the national budget,” and that Yair’s statement appeared to indicate that internal politics played some role in the decision to purchase the satellite.
Contacted by Defense News, the ministry dismissed any connection to internal Israeli politics and said the government has been working since December 2016 to promote the development and manufacture of a communication satellite that would be owned by the state and operated by IAI.
“The recommendations made by the space committee under the leadership of Peretz Vazan, the director general of the Science and Space Ministry to build a communications satellite in Israel, were based solely on professional discussions with officials in all the different branches of the space profession in Israel and due to strategic considerations, which would be optimal for the national and security needs of the state of Israel,” the ministry spokeswoman told Defense News.
The spokeswoman added that it is necessary for Israel to maintain its ability and know-how in the construction of communication satellites.
A longtime former official with IAI, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that because Spacecom is a private company with shareholders to whom it must answer, “the management can’t allow itself to pay $100m more [for the satellite] simply because IAI is putting pressure on the government to subsidize the communications satellite program.”
The official said that IAI’s production is more expensive because of its higher manpower costs and because the company doesn’t produce satellites at the same scale as major American manufacturers, which can build dozens of satellites a year, while IAI takes a few years to build a single satellite.
“The problem is: How do you, on the one hand, preserve IAI’s [satellite] program without forcing or dictating to Spacecom that they must buy the next satellite from IAI?” the official said.
The official asserted that security considerations drove the emphasis on keeping satellite production domestic ― not any sort of political backdoor dealing with the workers’ union; namely, the desire by Israel to maintain complete confidentiality about the science and capabilities of its satellite platforms.
Over the years, Israel has deployed a number of highly sophisticated, classified defense systems that were jointly built with the U.S. or bought outright from American firms, such as the Lockheed Martin F-35 fighter jet and the Raytheon-Rafael Advanced Defense Systems David’s Sling missile defense platform.
Why does Israel need the AMOS?
The AMOS series satellites are communication satellites that provide fixed and mobile service for broadcasters across Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia. The first satellite in the AMOS series ― AMOS-1 ― was launched in 1996 and is still in service.
The decision to build the AMOS-8 follows the loss of the AMOS-6 satellite, which in September 2016 was destroyed in a fire on the launch pad ahead of a planned launch by SpaceX. The fire was a major blow for Spacecom, which lost a $95m contract with Facebook to use the satellite’s broadband capacity.
After the loss of AMOS-6, Spacecom replaced it in February 2017 by way of renting a satellite that was already in service. Built by AsiaSat, the satellite was renamed AMOS-7 by Spacecom.
Opher Doron, vice president and general manager of IAI’s Space Division, said Monday that the decision to have IAI build a new satellite “is not about the government saving IAI, that’s totally not it. It’s the government making a clear decision that it wants to keep national capabilities in geo-communication satellites and acting accordingly.”
He added that in order to preserve this satellite construction capability, “you have to keep the industrial base [in Israel] and build the satellites.”
Doron said that losing the bid did not jeopardize the Space Division, in that “as long as the government is building a communications satellite with us, Spacecom can go where they went.”
He also said the deal to build a new government satellite with IAI had nothing to do with politics or pressure from the workers’ union.
In a March 26 news release, Space Systems/Loral LLC said satellite it will build “will deliver state-of-the-art broadcast, broadband and data services from Spacecom’s 4 [degrees] west ‘hot spot’ to Europe, Africa and the Middle East.”
Space Systems/Loral LLC said the satellite is expected to be in service for at least 15 years.
On Monday, Spacecom announced that it had signed a $55m contract with an unnamed, non-Israeli customer to purchase satellite capacity on the AMOS-17 satellite as well as “other collaborations.” The satellite is being built by Boeing Satellite Systems International to replace the AMOS-5 and has a launch date scheduled for the second quarter of 2019.
Under the contract signed with Space Systems/Loral LLC on March 25, Spacecom has up to 60 days to make the down payment on the AMOS-8 contract. Otherwise, the deal will be canceled, which could mean that IAI would be hired to construct it instead.
“It’s not over by a long shot,” Doron said Monday. (Source: Defense News)
21 May 18. RAF assumes control for UK’s military space activities. The UK Royal Air Force (RAF) has been given responsibility for the country’s military space activities as part of a wider Defence Space Strategy to be revealed in the coming weeks. The RAF’s Air Command has taken on responsibility for command and control (C2) of all UK military space operations, Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson announced on 21 May. This disclosure is part of a wider national space strategy to be unveiled in the summer (third quarter) of this year.
Timed to coincide with the opening of the inaugural Ministry of Defence (MoD)-sponsored Air Power Association Defence Space 2018 conference in London, Williamson’s disclosure on 21 May is a recognition of the UK military’s increasing reliance on space systems and technology, and the need to boost the country’s presence and expertise in the domain.
“We must make sure we are primed and ready to deter and counter the intensifying threats to our everyday life that are emerging in space,” Williamson said, adding; “It is essential we protect our interests and assets from potential adversaries who seek to cause major disruption and do us harm.”
Giving the keynote address at the Defence Space 2018 conference, the chief of the RAF Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Hillier reiterated the defence secretary’s comments with regard to the importance of space to the wider UK defence picture, at the same time as noting the growing importance of space to his own particular service.
“The UK defence sector is becoming ever more reliant on this vital domain. Our adversaries have recognised the advantages of space, and are we are at acute risk from those who would look to [do us harm]. We need to work increasingly hard to secure the space capabilities on which we are now utterly reliant. (Source: Defense News Early Bird/IHS Jane’s)
22 May 18. At this year’s EBACE (29th to 31st May, Geneva, Booth O105), Cobham announces a new cost-effective communications upgrade option bringing all the benefits of Inmarsat’s SB-S technology platform and FANS 1/A compliance to business jets. Enabled by the development of an STC on a Chicago Jet Group (CJG)-owned Falcon 900 aircraft, this joint Cobham and CJG initiative brings a solution to the market that will allow operators to fly preferred FANS routes with CPDLC and ADS-C functionality, while also servicing passengers with high speed data services, all via a single channel of SwiftBroadband. This will be accomplished by combining Cobham’s Next Gen AVIATOR 300D satcom system with partner Avionica’s avWiFi intelligent router. The revised STC will cover the Falcon 900 B/C/EX series with the potential for development on other airframes. By providing direct satellite data link communication between the pilot and Air Traffic Control, operators can fly the most direct routes in the years ahead and bring critical safety, navigational and performance data directly into the cockpit to reduce pilot workload, increase efficiency and improve overall operational safety. The complete segregation of safety and non-safety related voice and data connectivity ensures that international business travellers in the cabin will have access to connectivity for voice calls and internet.
Scott Beutel, Regional Director, Satcom Aero, Cobham, said: “As the only SB-S approved system currently flying, our AVIATOR satcom products are already allowing airlines to operate FANS routes over SwiftBroadband, so it’s exciting to bring this technology to the business jet market. Like the airlines, business jet owners are embracing the concept of a fully connected flight deck as it will provide them with a new level of improved operations which will translate into an improved financial bottom line.
“There is a compelling advantage to upgrading communications equipment on board your aircraft, so we are pleased to work with our partners CJG and Avionica to enable an easy and cost-effective solution that ensures our Next Gen AVIATOR 300D and 350D systems are available to more customers.”
Mike Mitera, President of Chicago Jet Group, added: “When Cobham approached us about the AVIATOR 300D and Avionica avWiFi package, we were very excited to work with them and develop an STC to bring this cost-effective cockpit and cabin connectivity solution to our customer base. Chicago Jet Group has been leading the way in researching FANS solutions and securing approvals for multiple retrofit FANS STC’s so that we can equip operators to meet global navigation mandates. In addition to supporting FANS capability, this innovative solution will also provide voice and data connectivity to the cabin enabling passengers to stay connected globally during all phases of flight.”
With its fuselage-mounted intermediate gain antenna, the AVIATOR 300D provides a connectivity option to operators at a price point well below historical solutions and offers more connectivity flexibility than other systems. In addition, the Cobham 350D system, type certified with antennas including Cobham’s HGA-6000 series and HGA-7001, or Honeywell’s AMT-50 and AMT-700, is available for customers requiring higher bandwidth.
The avWiFi, from leading aircraft data collection and data transmission manufacturer Avionica, is the smallest and lightest product on the market available to support such data segregation while also providing WiFi.
21 May 18. Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT) recently put its fifth Advanced Extremely High Frequency (AEHF-5) satellite through its paces in realistic simulations of its future launch experience. The satellite completed the tests successfully and is now in system-level testing in preparation for delivery to the U.S. Air Force in 2019. For the 39 days of Thermal Vacuum Chamber (TVAC) testing, AEHF-5 was subjected to extreme cold and heat in zero atmosphere, to simulate its upcoming on-orbit life. TVAC is a part of a battery of tests that ensure a satellite will arrive in space functionally sound and ready to operate through the extreme temperature changes of space.
Following the TVAC test series, AEHF-5 completed acoustic testing, where the satellite was subjected to high intensity, low frequency sound waves that simulated the vibrations generated by a rocket propelling its payload from zero to over 17,500 miles per hour in under eight minutes.
“TVAC and acoustic tests are critical milestones in the production cycle of a satellite, where we have one shot to get it right, so we take every precaution to ensure the vehicle is ready for the harsh space environment. We design and build our AEHF satellites to serve our military’s strategic and tactical protected communications needs. The team and the satellite performed flawlessly, and AEHF-5 is now in system level testing,” said Michael Cacheiro, vice president for Protected Communications at Lockheed Martin Space.
Following its anticipated 2019 launch, the satellite will join the AEHF constellation that continues to provide global, highly-secure, protected and survivable communications for U.S. and allied warfighters on ground, sea and air platforms.
In addition to AEHF-5, the fourth AEHF satellite is rapidly nearing the end of its production journey. AEHF-4 will be shipped to Cape Canaveral Air Force Station later this year in preparation for a launch on an Atlas V launch vehicle. Once on-orbit, AEHF-4 will complete the minimum constellation of AEHF satellites needed to bring global Extended Data Rate (XDR) connectivity to warfighters and international partners.
“XDR adds an unprecedented protected communication capability, providing 10 times more communications throughput than the legacy MILSTAR constellation,” stated Cacheiro.
The AEHF team is led by the U.S. Air Force Military Satellite Communications Systems Directorate at the Space and Missile Systems Center, Los Angeles Air Force Base, Calif. Lockheed Martin Space, Sunnyvale, Calif., is the AEHF prime contractor and system manager, with Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems, Redondo Beach, Calif., as the satellite payload provider.
21 May 18. RAF assumes control for UK’s military space activities. The UK Royal Air Force (RAF) has been given responsibility for the country’s military space activities as part of a wider Defence Space Strategy to be revealed in the coming weeks.
The RAF’s Air Command has taken on responsibility for command and control (C2) of all UK military space operations, Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson announced on 21 May. This disclosure is part of a wider national space strategy to be unveiled in the summer (third quarter) of this year.
Timed to coincide with the opening of the inaugural Ministry of Defence (MoD)-sponsored Air Power Association Defence Space 2018 conference in London, Williamson’s disclosure on 21 May is a recognition of the UK military’s increasing reliance on space systems and technology, and the need to boost the country’s presence and expertise in the domain.
“We must make sure we are primed and ready to deter and counter the intensifying threats to our everyday life that are emerging in space,” Williamson said, adding; “It is essential we protect our interests and assets from potential adversaries who seek to cause major disruption and do us harm.”
Giving the keynote address at the Defence Space 2018 conference, the chief of the RAF Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Hillier reiterated the defence secretary’s comments with regard to the importance of space to the wider UK defence picture, at the same time as noting the growing importance of space to his own particular service.
“The UK defence sector is becoming ever more reliant on this vital domain. Our adversaries have recognised the advantages of space, and are we are at acute risk from those who would look to [do us harm]. We need to work increasingly hard to secure the space capabilities on which we are now utterly reliant. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
19 May 18. The Coast Guard’s big ask: secure comms from Seattle to Antarctica. As the Coast Guard refreshes its polar icebreaking capability, the new vessels leaders envision will boast a range of technology upgrades including enhanced communications capabilities as well as secure, real-time voice and data exchange.
The service operates two polar icebreakers: the heavy vessel Polar Star and the medium icebreaker Healy. Another heavy ship, the Polar Sea, has been out of action since 2010 due to engine troubles.
This spring, the Coast Guard issued a request for proposals that seeks design and construction details for up to three heavy icebreakers, with a single contract award expected in fiscal year 2019.
Several factors have combined to spark a sense of urgency around the icebreaker fleet. It’s been over 40 years since the United States has recapitalized its heavy polar icebreaker fleet, according to the Government Accountability Office. In that time, a lot has changed.
Russia, with the largest arctic landmass on the planet, now has a fleet of 40 icebreakers, according to Department of Homeland Security documents
At the same time, while climate change may be thinning the polar ice, it may also be accelerating Coast Guard’s polar missions.
Diminishment of polar ice “could lead in coming years to increased commercial ship, cruise ship, and naval surface ship operations, as well as increased exploration for oil and other resources, in the Arctic — activities that could require increased levels of support from polar icebreakers,” notes Ronald O’Rourke, a specialist in naval affairs with the Congressional Research Service.
In the request, the Coast Guard calls out the need for several technological enhancements to meet that mission going forward.
Severely degraded comms
Icebreakers need enhanced communications to deal with the challenges inherent in polar operations.
“Communication is severely degraded at higher latitudes, beyond 65 degrees north and south,” said Eric Nagel, a spokesman for the Coast Guard’s acquisition directorate. “Coast Guard polar icebreakers need to be able to communicate in Polar Regions with a wide range of groups from commercial shipping and recreational boaters to scientific researchers. The polar icebreakers also need to maintain network connectivity with the Department of Homeland Security, Department of Defense and other federal and international partners.”
In addition to high-latitude solutions, the service also is asking industry to provide an enhanced capability to exchange mission essential information. The solicitation calls for an icebreaker that can maintain “near real-time voice and data communications in the clear, protected, and secure modes of operation in polar regions,” Nagel said.
Along with its scientific and commercial missions, the Coast Guard also is a military force, and the next-generation ice breaker will need to be able to work seamlessly with military counterparts.
“Interoperability with the DOD and joint forces is essential to mission completion. Polar icebreakers must be able to project U.S. sovereignty and influence in ice covered surface waters in the high-latitude maritime areas and maintain international peace and stability in the polar regions,” Nagel said.
In general, the Coast Guard is looking for large-bandwidth communication solutions, especially those that can endure extreme environmental conditions. The technology will have to be vibration resistant, or else have incorporated measures that isolate it from jolts as the ship slams through ice.
This comes on top of an already extensive mission, which according to DHS may include: “Rescuing cruise ships that get locked in the ice, clearing the way for natural resource exploration, keeping commerce lanes passable or opening new ones, as well as many other missions. They also must complete the annual 10,000-mile open sea voyage from Seattle to Australia and then down to Antarctica. Once there, the icebreaker must smash through the frozen bay to lead a cargo ship to McMurdo Station with a year’s worth of life-sustaining supplies.”
Despite the highly specific nature of polar work, the Coast Guard has said it can acquire all these capabilities in commercial off the shelf and open architecture equipment and systems, except for technologies to provide communication using military satellites. The resulting polar icebreaker design “will assure year-round access to key regions and will enhance capabilities to independently execute Coast Guard missions across a wide range of operational conditions,” Nagel said. (Source: C4ISR & Networks)
21 May 18. Britain looks to Australia for help on Galileo rival UK aims for first tenders for satellite navigation system by end of the year. The UK government has secretly been weighing plans for an alternative to Galileo since 2016. The UK is aiming to launch the first tenders for a satellite navigation system to rival Europe’s €10bn Galileo project by the end of the year, with hopes rising that Australia could become a partner in the programme. Britain is expected to signal its determination to press ahead with its own programme in discussions with EU negotiators next week, should Brussels continue to insist that the UK be barred from secure elements of Galileo. In a sign of the escalating tensions over the ban, the Ministry of Defence will on Monday announce plans to boost resources for a specialist space unit under the control of the Royal Air Force, which will explore military requirements for a UK global navigation system. The MoD is looking at ways to collaborate with countries in its “Five Eyes” intelligence sharing alliance with Australia, New Zealand, the US and Canada. Two Whitehall officials told the Financial Times that Australia, which last week announced plans for a National Space Agency, had indicated potential interest in a UK project. However, this was at a very early stage and there had not yet been any formal contact on the subject, several officials said. The Australian government had no immediate comment on whether it would participate in a UK system. The moves come as Britain prepares to put funding behind its threat to withdraw from Galileo, even though its preferred option is to remain in the programme. “For industry to carry out any work on a UK system they will need contracts,” said one official. Industry and Whitehall officials said the government was hoping to launch invitations to tender for initial engineering and design work in the next few months, barring unforeseen delays. Although proposals for a UK system were only announced last month, the government has secretly been weighing plans for an alternative to Galileo since 2016. Two feasibility studies were commissioned from industry, the most recent last autumn, looking at what the UK’s needs would be and whether British companies had the capabilities required. The latest study estimated that a UK system could be delivered for about £3.7bn and would create some 5,000 jobs. This month, the government created a task force charged with developing options for a system with both civilian and military grade signals. “That would not have been done if the results of the study were not positive. There is potential to create growth,” said the official. “This idea [for a UK system] has not suddenly appeared out of nowhere.” Britain’s threat to go it alone has been sparked by the EU’s insistence on maintaining rules put in place when the Galileo project was first launched in 2003 to reduce Europe’s reliance on the US’s military-run Global Positioning System. Recommended Brexit Unspun podcast FT Podcast: Britain and EU fall out over Galileo Under EU rules, non-member states cannot access or work on Galileo’s military-grade signal, known as the public regulated service, without a defence and security agreement. However, British-based companies such as CGI UK have largely designed and developed the security around this highly encrypted service while Airbus Defence and Space in the UK has managed Galileo’s ground control centres. Surrey Satellite Technologies manufactures the satellite payloads. This work will now have to be transferred out of the UK when it leaves the EU in March 2019, and UK companies are already being excluded from discussions on the system’s future development. This has sparked alarm in the defence ministry, which wants UK oversight of the source codes that control the PRS system and of its secure receivers. This month, the UK implicitly threatened to withdraw security authorisation for any British-based companies taking on new Galileo contracts, in effect barring the transfer of critical technology to the EU. The UK Space Agency said: “The government has been clear there is mutual benefit to our full participation in Galileo but it is right to develop options for a national alternative to ensure our security needs are met in the future.” (Source: FT.com)
At Viasat, we’re driven to connect every warfighter, platform, and node on the battlefield. As a global communications company, we power millions 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
07 May 18. Holosun Technologies recently unveiled the new LS420 Elite illuminator and laser unit during the NRA Annual Meetings and Exhibits in downtown Dallas, Texas. Featuring a visible and IR laser pointer, an IR laser and white LED illuminator, the LS420 Elite has numerous tactical and hunting applications, especially for the shooter who uses night vision equipment. Built within a solid Titanium body, the LS420 Elite operates via a multi-functional mode selector and a rear adjustable focusing knob. The unit allows elevation and windage adjustments at ½ MOA, and the unit itself is capable of adjustments of + or – 60MOA. What’s more, all the lasers are controlled simultaneously by the same W/E adjustments, so the operator only has to zero one to get on target with all.
Available with red or green pointer lasers, the LS420 Elite is IPX8 Certified Waterproof to five (5) meters and runs on two CR123A batteries or one 18650 battery. It even contains a 600-lumen flashlight. Weighing it at just 11-ounces, the LS420 Elite can operate at temperature extremes from -40 to +123 Fahrenheit. This compact illuminator and laser is just 3.6″L x3.1″W x1.5″H, and the unit’s quick-detach mount attaches fast and easily to any Picatinny rail system. The LS420 Elite is a military-grade unit used by security professionals, tactical shooters and hunters, without an exorbitant military-grade price.
- Coaxial Laser Mechanism
- Visible & IR Laser Pointer
- IR Laser & White LED illuminator
- Rear-facing IR Focusing Knob
- Multifunctional Mode Selector
- Solid Titanium body
- IPX8 Certified Waterproof
- ½ MOA Windage & Elevation Adjustment Per Click
- Travel Range +/- 60 MOA
- Two CR123A/One 18650 Battery
23 May 18. Eagle Eye Networks, Inc., the leading global provider of cloud-based video surveillance solutions, today announced the integration of HD-TVI (high definition transport video interface) via encoders and recorders from Hikvision into the Eagle Eye Cloud Security Camera VMS.
HD Over Coax solutions offer some advantages over standard IP video camera systems, such as low upgrade cost, simple installation and less networking complexity. HD Over Coax is able to transmit reliably four to five times the distance of typical IP cameras allowing for longer cabling runs. The Eagle Eye Networks implementation of HD Over Coax utilizes existing analog cabling by simply replacing the camera and updating the encoder or recorder to communicate with the Eagle Eye Networks’ Bridge or CMVR (Cloud Managed Video Recorder).
This latest addition to the Eagle Eye Networks’ Cloud VMS list of supported technologies further demonstrates Eagle Eye Networks’ commitment to providing customers and partners with the most innovative choices available to improve video quality and reduce the cost of implementation. This industry first offering can save end-users significant expense when they are ready to move to the cloud. An additional benefit in choosing Eagle Eye Network’s Cloud VMS solution is the ability to use HD Over Coax cameras within the same system as traditional analog or IP cameras. The Eagle Eye Cloud Security Camera VMS bridges and CMVRs are already able to support both analog cameras and IP cameras from hundreds of manufacturers including Axis, Bosch, Dahua, Hikvision, Panasonic, Pelco and Sony.
With Eagle Eye’s implementation, supported devices are plugged in to the secure CamLan port on Eagle Eye’s range of bridges and CMVRs creating an isolated, cyber-secure network for the HD transmission to to the Eagle Eye Cloud. Eagle Eye customers and resellers will benefit greatly from the flexibility to design systems using digital or analog cabling infrastructure.
21 May 18. Pax River Engineer Developing Artificial Intelligence System for Radar Data. An engineer at NAWCAD is developing an Artificial Intelligence (AI) system with the potential to teach itself how to recognize and remove external interference from radar signals.
The AI system is an outgrowth of Ph.D. research into pulsars and mysterious cosmic signals called fast radio bursts conducted by the Atlantic Test Range’s (ATR) electrical engineer Stephen Itschner.
“I’m hoping it will help us automate a process that’s now very time consuming because we have to do it all by hand,” said Itschner, who works with ATR’s Advanced Dynamic Aircraft Measurement System (ADAMS) group.
If successful, Itschner’s system will be integrated into ADAMS, which provides radar cross-section data from aircraft during flight tests.
“Radar cross-section is just a measure of how big a target looks to a radar,” he said. “It’s more related to electrical size than to actual physical size.”
Radar signals bouncing back from an aircraft can be contaminated with external Radio Frequency Interference or RFI, he said.
“It’s essentially the same as the static you hear on a radio when there’s lightning nearby,” he said. “It can come from other radar sites, walkie-talkies, military radios, boat radios, even garage door openers.”
When plotted on an x-y graph, RFI appears as sharp peaks throughout the radar signal, making it hard to tell what represents the true radar return from an aircraft and what is coming from unwanted external sources.
“Radar cross-section post-analysis is very labor-intensive,” said Jim Ashley, head of ATR’s Aircraft Signature and Avionics Measurement branch. “We’re hoping Steve’s research will lead to an 80 percent solution – letting the machine do 80 percent of the work before we turn it over to our human analysts.”
Itschner presented his initial results with a limited set of data at a meeting last week to the country’s top radar experts at the National Radar Cross Section Test Facility (NRTF) managed by Holloman Air Force Base near Alamogordo, New Mexico.
According to Itschner, his system achieved 80 percent correct RFI classifications with almost no false positives, that is, virtually no misidentification of true radar returns as RFI when using a “proof-of-concept” set of radar data from a Learjet. He trained the AI system on 90 percent of the Learjet data, then tested it against the remaining 10 percent which the system had not encountered before.
“I’ve gotten it to train and test well on one class of target,” he said. “But I haven’t yet looked at whether that type of training will extend to, say, a helicopter or other type of jet.”
Ashley said the ADAMS equipment is being upgraded to handle new, more complex aircraft programs that will require far greater data analysis capability. “It’s simply not going to be practical to continue using people to do all of it,” he said.
NRTF engineers at the conference have come to similar conclusions, Itschner said.
“They independently found they’re going to have the same type of problem for a slightly different application and would need a solution similar to the one we’re working on,” he said. “It gave me a nice warm feeling to know we’re on a promising track.”
The similarities between Itschner’s work with radar and his Ph.D. research in radio astronomy led him to develop the artificial intelligence system, or machine learning, as he calls it. For his Ph.D. Itschner’s working on instruments and signal-processing techniques to identify fast radio bursts, which are very powerful but extremely brief eruptions of energy from deep space.
“They’re very mysterious signals and no one knows quite what they are,” he said. “They only last for a millisecond and they’re completely unpredictable.”
Itschner is looking for commonalities among fast radio bursts, radar and RFI in order to develop machine learning systems to analyze them.
He’s come up with a machine learning algorithm – a series of computer instructions – called a Convolutional Neural Network (CNN). The CNN is able to identify whether a piece of radar data is corrupted with RFI or not. In his astronomy research, he uses a neural network to determine whether data captured by a radio telescope comes from a fast radio burst or not.
“People can learn to see the difference without too much training, and CNNs are really, really good at mimicking human vision performance,” he said.
“To hand-design an algorithm that can see the same differences people can, an engineer traditionally would choose features that would help discriminate between objects – two types of fish for example. I would say, ‘let’s look at the length of the fish and the number of fins it has’,” he said. “I’d just try different things and then build a system around that.”
But that traditional approach restricts the algorithm’s discriminating ability, he said. “Its accuracy is limited by the engineer’s imagination.”
So instead of telling his algorithm to look for specific characteristics of a real radar return data versus RFI, Itschner lets the CNN figure them out for itself.
“All you do is give the algorithm a bunch of examples and an answer key that says what class each example really belongs to, and the machine is able to learn the difference on its own,” he said. “Eventually it learns to make correct decisions on new data so that a human doesn’t need to examine it.”
Itschner’s initial results are encouraging, Ashley said. “The next step is to buy hardware for the higher processing power needed to train the system for a wider range of radar data,” he said. The equipment is expected to arrive at ATR in time to begin running AI training algorithms next month.
“We’re not sure yet if it’s the right way forward,” he said, “but Steve’s work will help us narrow down how best to apply it to ATR.” (Source: ASD Network/Naval Air Systems Command)
22 May 18. USN focuses on side-scan sonar for countermine operations. The US Navy (USN) will depend on side-scan sonars and related synthetic aperture sonar (SAS) technology to conduct mine countermeasures (MCM) operations using Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) mission packages, said the service in a recent report to Congress.
“Effective minehunting systems rely heavily upon the deployment of a side-scan sonar, which primarily searches for bottom mines on the sea floor, combined with a fully integrated volume search sonar,” the USN said in its report on SAS technologies for the LCS MCM package, released on 21 May.
“SAS technology provides improved minehunting performance for the side-scan sonar,” the report said. “These fully integrated minehunting systems drastically reduce the total amount of time needed to search large bodies of water in order to support combatant commander operational MCM timeline requirements.” (Source: IHS Jane’s)
22 May 18. FLIR Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ: FLIR) today announced the availability of three products for use by global militaries and government agencies including border patrol agents. These products include two FLIR Ranger® mid-range panel radars, one with airborne drone and ground target detection, and the Recon® V UltraLite thermal monocular. The products, unveiled at the Special Operations Forces Industry Conference (SOFIC) 2018 in Tampa, Florida, are part of FLIR’s Soldier Solutions family and demonstrate the company’s commitment to deliver the most advanced equipment to armed services personnel.
The FLIR Ranger R8SS-3D and R8SS radars, part of FLIR Ranger family of radars, offer mid-range detection capability for both fixed-based installation and forward-deployed operations personnel. The R8SS-3D detects both land and air objects, such as micro-drones, and differentiates birds from drones. The Ranger R8SS-3D reports the altitude and location of small drones at ranges of 2 miles and can also detect vehicles and people walking or crawling. Both the R8SS-3D and the R8SS, the latter of which offers land detection only, can detect over 500 threats and their exact locations simultaneously, and work within an existing data network. The R8SS series mount to either a vehicle, surveillance tower, or tripod, and allows for full 360-degree surveillance, ensuring that threats within surveillance range are detected.
The FLIR Recon V UltraLite is the latest thermal monocular in the Recon series, which is currently used by military, government, and police forces around the world. Weighing less than three pounds (1.4 kilograms), 2.5 pounds (1.1 kilograms) lighter than previous versions, the Recon V UltraLite can be used as a handheld device or mounted to a tripod or other fixed location. The system also has Android Tactical Assault Kit (ATAK) network capabilities to provide warfighters real-time understanding of what’s going on around them. Durable and easy to operate, the Recon V UltraLite uses commercially available AA batteries and features up to 4 hours of continuous use.
“With the ability to detect both drones and land-based objects, our new mid-range 3D radar complements our Ranger radars product line, filling a critical gap for fixed site security and the broader force protection mission,” said James Cannon, President and CEO of FLIR. “All of our innovations are the result of FLIR’s strategy to create advanced technology funded by our own research and development. These products demonstrate our focus on anticipating future needs of the dismounted warfighter and border patrol agent, and we are pleased to help support the missions of the men and women tasked to help keep us safe.”
22 May 18. The U.S. Army and Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE: NOC) have deployed enhanced Joint Tactical Ground Station (JTAGS) capabilities in Japan to advance battlespace awareness and missile defense.
The work is part of the pre-planned product improvement program previously awarded to Northrop Grumman to modernize JTAGS. The system was first fielded in 1997 to provide in-theater missile warning using data directly from satellite sensors.
“JTAGS is perpetually ‘on duty’ and ‘first to see, first to report’ on ballistic missile launches,” said Dan Verwiel, vice president and general manager, missile defense and protective systems, Northrop Grumman. “Our continuing collaboration with the Army has enabled even greater capabilities to protect our joint warfighters and allies.”
Northrop Grumman updated JTAGS hardware, software and communication systems. Additional JTAGS data sources include the Space Based Infrared System geosynchronous scanner and highly elliptical orbit feeds. Improvements were also made to soldier-machine interfaces and for cyber protection.
JTAGS receives and processes data directly down-linked from the Defense Support Program and other infrared satellite sensors. JTAGS then disseminates near-real-time warning, alerting and cueing information on ballistic missile launches and other tactical events of interest throughout the theater using multiple communications networks.
Under the direction of the Army Space and Missile Defense Command, Redstone Arsenal, Alabama, Northrop Grumman has been the JTAGS prime contractor since 1994, responsible for developing, fielding, maintaining and enhancing the system worldwide.
22 May 18. UTC Unveils Laser-Compliant Optical Payload for UAS.
At the Special Operations Forces Industry Conference (SOFIC), UTC Aerospace Systems announced the release of its new TASE400 LD optical and laser designation payload system for small to midsize UAS applications.
At 7 inches in diameter and 10.6 pounds, with a laser designator that is fully compliant with NATO STANAG 3733, the TASE400 LD is one of the industry’s lightest laser-compliant optical payload systems for UAS applications. As a result, UAS users in the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) Group 2 (21-55 lbs.) unmanned segment will now be able to reap the benefits of a laser designator capability for the first time, while users on the lower end of Group 3 (less than 1,320 lbs.) will also be able to utilize the system.
The TASE400 LD is the latest addition to the company’s TASE family of systems that are operationally proven, having flown hundreds of thousands of hours in the harshest of unmanned military environments, including missions for U.S. Special Operations Forces.
“In the past, if troops in the field needed laser designator capability, they would typically have to call in additional assets to meet the need,” said Matt Lendway, site lead for UTC Aerospace Systems’ TASE imaging and Piccolo autopilot business. “Now, thanks to the lighter TASE400 LD, they can carry that capability with them, enhancing their own efficiency while freeing up assets to focus on other missions.”
TASE400 LD provides operators with day/night, visible/mid-wave infrared (MWIR) imaging capabilities for improved situational awareness and an optimized lens design for enhanced object recognition. Integrated into this system is on-board video processing with image stabilization, overlays, picture in picture (PIP) and enhancement capability. An on-board GPS/INS with integrated geo-pointing and ViewPoint tactical PED (processing, exploitation and dissemination) provides operators the ability to multitask, record and disseminate critical data for use at their fingertips. The system’s laser designator is compatible with all NATO guided munitions and semi-active laser seekers. (Source: UAS VISION)
19 May 18. US Air Force secretary: China, Russia could shoot down new JSTARS on day one of a war. Even a new version of the Air Force’s JSTARS battlefield management and control aircraft would be vulnerable to being shot out of the sky during the opening salvo of a conflict with Russia or China, Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson told lawmakers Thursday.
As part of its proposed fiscal 2019 budget, the Air Force wants to cancel the program to recap the E-8C Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System aircraft, which previously sought to buy 17 new Boeing 707-sized planes to replace its old inventory.
But some lawmakers aren’t thrilled with that plan, and are putting up roadblocks.
Last month, the House Armed Services Tactical Air and Land Forces Subcommittee included a provision in its portion of the 2019 defense authorization bill that would make life difficult for the Air Force if it doesn’t recap JSTARS.
This provision would cap funding for its proposed Advanced Battle Management System program ― which the service envisions as a possible alternative to the recap ― at 50 percent, until the Air Force moves forward
In her testimony before the Senate Appropriations subcommittee on defense, Wilson said that a new JSTARS would not be able to get close enough to a fight against an advanced military ― especially against Russia ― to do any good.
“Russian and Chinese surface-to-air missiles have more range, and the plane would be shot down in the first day of conflict,” Wilson said.
Wilson instead floated a middle ground that incorporates the Air Force’s alternative, which would fuse data collected from a combination of manned, unmanned and space-based platforms. But, she said, it would cost billions more.
“The question rises, could we do both?” Wilson said. “It could be recapitalize JSTARS, and also build an advanced battle management system that could operate in a contested environment. Yes, we could do both, and it costs about $7bn more than what we propose in our budget.” (Source: Defense News Early Bird/Airforce Times)
21 May 18. Defence IQ Military Radar Conference, 28 – 30 August, 2018 – London, United Kingdom. Military radar systems have undergone substantial changes since they were first deployed, with new challenges forcing new operating procedures and capabilities in radar. With the emergence of UAV’s and drones, and the increasingly and overwhelmingly cluttered Electromagnetic Spectrum, military radar operators now face their greatest challenge in recent history. As the threat develops across new and multiple fields, engaging with these challenges now is a critical requirement for all radar operators.
While these new systems undoubtedly present major challenges to the radar community, they also present one of their greatest opportunities; new developments in UAV’s and autonomous drones, for instance, have created new opportunities for micro-radar systems as guidance systems – a particular focus for numerous autonomous last mile delivery programmes currently being developed by the world’s military
Military Radar 2018 will identify the critical improvements to radar functionality. Key to the programme will be an update on the US inter-department radar procurement to detect and track UAV’s, and updates from leading figures on the Autonomous Last Mile Resupply programme in the UK.
Join a panel of experts at the 16th annual Military Radar summit, as they establish a critical path for applying advanced radar technology to address new challenges. Take part in the only summit committed not just to realising the latest research, but to understanding how this research is being applied by the world’s leading defence agencies.
21 May 18. DroneShield has today released an ASX announcement regarding the results of an independent certification of the compatibility of DroneShield product modules with airport use. The announcement is as follows:
- DroneShield emitting product modules independently assessed as compatible with airport use.
- Drones are a significant threat to safety at airports.
- Certification obtained as part of airport procurement processes.
DroneShield Ltd (ASX:DRO) (“DroneShield” or the “Company”) is pleased to announce the results of independent certification by 360°RF, a US based specialised radiofrequency testing laboratory, as compatible (that is not interfering) with the most commonly utilized communications and navigation systems employed in the United States aviation/airport environment.
RfOne™ and RadarZero™, core modules within DroneShield’s DroneSentinel™ detection system, have been assessed as creating no increase in background EMI when operational, measured across a wide range of aviation frequency bands used by airports and aircraft.
DroneCannon™, the drone mitigation element of DroneShield’s DroneSentry™ system, has been determined to operate strictly within the advertised bands. In the non-GPS mode, these ranges are outside of aviation frequency bands.
18 May 18. Sightmark announced the release of the latest generation of Ultra Shot reflex sights, ripe with upgrades and a fresh new design. With three available models; R, A and M-Spec, Sightmark has created resilient close-range optics perfect for everything from target shooting to law enforcement and military operations on both AR platform firearms and shotguns. All RAM series sights are now powered by a CR123A battery, which provides superior battery life (200-2,000 hours) over other red dots and reflex sights. A wide lens quickens target acquisition while helping to maintain a wide FOV. Quick-detach models include an improved QD lever allowing a low profile to keep the sights from snagging on gear or unlatching during the heat of the moment. Ideal for target shooting and hunting, the Ultra Shot R-Spec (SM26031), or Range Spec, features four reticle options with red or green illumination and a new low battery indication which prompts the reticle to blink when the battery is low. The R-Spec boasts 10 brightness levels, from low light to sunny outdoors, and slotted windage and elevation adjustments, able to be changed with a flathead or common tool. The new aluminum-constructed Ultra Shot A-Spec (SM26032), or Advanced Spec model, retains many of the same updates found in the R-Spec, but adds 6-night vision settings, allowing the sight to be used in conjunction with night vision devices. Shockproof up to 8 ft., the R-Spec is shielded by a sturdy aluminum alloy housing and protective aluminum shield.
The most durable and advanced sight in the Ultra Shot line, the new M-Spec LQD (SM26034) and M-Spec FMS (SM26035) were designed for law enforcement, hunting and competition shooting scenarios. Waterproof up to 40 ft. and able to withstand up to .50 BMG caliber recoil, this fixed mount M-Spec features motion sensing activation (5 min. shutoff w/ motion activation, 12-hour auto-off) to conserve battery life but still keep the optic ready for when it needs to be. This cutting-edge reflex sight has an integrated retractable sunshade that reduces lens glare and protects the optic during rain or snow.
17 May 18. RAF starts talks on E-3D AWACS replacement. Key Points:
- The RAF has begun to consider replacing its E-3D AWACS aircraft
- It is becoming increasingly costly to maintain the E-3Ds, meaning that replacing rather than upgrading them might be the most cost-effective option
Senior UK Royal Air Force (RAF) officers and procurement officials have begun discussions with industry teams to look at options to replace the service’s ageing and unreliable fleet of Boeing E-3D Sentry Airborne Warning and Control Systems (AWACS) aircraft.
According to senior UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) sources close to the project, the MoD’s Modernising Defence Programme (MDP) review is now considering the E-3D replacement issue. (Source: News Now/IHS Jane’s)
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.
23 May 18. £850m Sea Ceptor Missile System Enters Service With The Royal Navy. A world-class missile system that will protect the Royal Navy’s new aircraft carriers has officially entered service, Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson will announce today. Sea Ceptor provides a powerful shield against airborne threats, including hostile combat jets, helicopters and other missiles, and has been developed and manufactured through Ministry of Defence contracts worth around £850m. It will be carried by the Royal Navy’s Type 23 frigates, and has been successfully demonstrated through a trials and test firing campaign that started last year. Most recently, Plymouth-based HMS Montrose became the third ship to test fire the system.
Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said: “Sea Ceptor will protect our nation against the intensifying threats we face today and in the future, giving our ships a powerful shield against everything from supersonic missiles to enemy fighter jets. Fitting our warships with this ground-breaking technology not only protects our Navy but shows we are world leaders at sea. HMS Argyll will be the first ship to deploy with this cutting-edge system when she heads to support peace and security in the Asia Pacific region later this year.”
The announcement, set to be made at the RUSI Sea Power Conference in London, follows detailed analysis of data gathered during the first of class firing trials by HMS Argyll, which took place last year. HMS Westminster and HMS Montrose, the second and third ships to be fitted with Sea Ceptor, have since also carried out successful firings. Sea Ceptor has been designed and manufactured by MBDA and is directly supporting 600 jobs in Bristol, Stevenage and Bolton as part of the Team Complex Weapons partnering agreement between MOD and MBDA. The first firings of Sea Ceptor were conducted from HMS Argyll at the Hebrides range off the coast of Scotland and saw the system tested against a range of complex scenarios – including engaging multiple targets at once.
Sea Ceptor is a major improvement on the existing Seawolf missile system which is being replaced. It offers improved performance against current and projected future threats, the ability to engage multiple targets, and allows the frigates to protect escorted vessels. The system is to be fitted to the Royal Navy’s new Type 26 frigates.
Richard Smart, Director Weapons for the MOD’s procurement organisation Defence Equipment and Support (DE&S), said: “Sea Ceptor’s entry into service with the Royal Navy is a significant milestone, a massive achievement for everyone involved and a proud moment for the team. It’s really exciting to be delivering a new capability that will form part of the protection for the new aircraft carriers and will help to keep our service personnel and our country safe.”
Recently, HMS Montrose took part in the third test firing of the system and successfully intercepted a fast-moving drone target. Within seconds of the missile bursting from the ship’s silo, the simulated threat was destroyed.
Commander Conor O’Neill, the Commanding Officer of HMS Montrose, said: “The test firing we carried out represents the successful culmination of a great deal of hard work by many people from Babcock, the Short Range Air Defence team, DE&S, MBDA and the Royal Navy, “I am extremely proud of my ship’s company for their professional attitude which enabled the test firing to go so smoothly. This missile system represents a vastly-improved capability for the Royal Navy, and puts us ahead of the game in being able to defend ourselves and our new aircraft carriers from threat.”
22 May 18. Russia’s Nuclear Submarine Successfully Test-Fires Bulava Missiles. Russia’s Project 955 Borei-class strategic nuclear submarine Yuri Dolgoruky has successfully test fired four Bulava intercontinental ballistic missiles from the White Sea to hit designated targets at the Kura range in the Far Eastern Kamchatka region, the press service of the Russian Northern Fleet said on Tuesday.
“On May 22, the Project 955 Borei-class lead strategic nuclear submarine Yuri Dolgoruky made a successful test salvo launch of four Bulava ballistic missiles from the designated area in the White Sea to targets at the Kura range on the Kamchatka Peninsula,” the press service said.
According to the press service, the missiles were launched from a submerged position. It was the first salvo fire from this type of submarines.
“The test confirmed combat readiness of the Project-955 Borei strategic submarine and the Bulava missile system,” the press service stressed.
Russia’s ministry of defense said the submarine fired a salvo of four Bulava missiles for the first time. A previous video posted here only showed two missiles being fired. The previous Bulava test launch from the Yuri Dolgoruky submarine was conducted on June 26, 2017 from the Barents Sea and an experimental salvo launch of two such missiles was carried out on September 27, 2016. The launch was performed from the White Sea towards the Kura practice range in the Russian Far East.
The warheads of the first missile performed a full cycle of the flight program and successfully hit the designated targets at the practice range. The second missile self-liquidated after performing the first stage of the flight program.
The submarine Yuri Dolgoruky is the Project 955 Borey-class lead vessel. The underwater cruiser is armed with a set of Bulava sea-launched intercontinental ballistic missiles and also with torpedoes. The sub can be armed with cruise missiles. It has a full displacement of 24,000 tonnes, is about 160 meters long and 13 meters wide. The R-30 Bulava is a solid-propellant ballistic missile developed specially for Project 955 submarines. It can deliver 10 warheads of 150 kilotonnes each to a distance of 10,000 kilometers. (Source: defense-aerospace.com/TASS)
22 May 18. Ukraine tests U.S. missile systems for first time. Ukraine tested its Javelin missile systems on Tuesday for the first time since receiving the weapons from the United States to boost its defences in its conflict with pro-Russian separatists. Washington has been one of Kiev’s staunchest supporters since Moscow’s annexation of Crimea in 2014 and the subsequent outbreak of fighting in Ukraine’s eastern Donbass region that has killed more than 10,000 people.
Kiev and Washington believe the anti-tank systems will help Ukraine build its long-term defence capacity.
The United States says Javelins cannot effectively be used to take territory, but Russia says supplying them will further destabilise the situation by encouraging the use of force. Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko announced the first test of the missiles on Twitter: “Finally this day has come,” he said. “I am grateful to (the United States)… for the firm decision that Ukraine should be armed.”
The tests were carried out in northern Ukraine, away from the eastern front line. Intermittent clashes in eastern regions have continued despite a notional ceasefire and diplomatic peace efforts.
The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), which monitors the implementation of Ukraine’s much-violated ‘Minsk’ peace agreement, warned on Tuesday of an escalation in fighting along the front line.
“I call strongly upon the sides to immediately stop the fighting …and do their utmost to protect the civilian population,” OSCE Special Representative Martin Sajdik said in a statement. (Source: Reuters)
22 May 18. India conducts life extension test-firing of BrahMos missile. India has successfully test-fired the BrahMos supersonic cruise missile in Balasore, Odisha, as part of the weapon system’s service life extension programme. The missile was test-fired from a Static Inclined Launcher stationed at launch pad three of the Integrated Test Range (ITR) at Chandipur.
Carried out by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and BrahMos Aerospace, the trial was conducted to demonstrate the efficacy and the missile system’s longevity. An ITR official said that the life extension test was carried out to validate the missile’s life-extension technologies that are indigenously developed for the first time by DRDO and BrahMos team, according to Press Trust of India reports.
During the trial, the BrahMos precision strike missile flew in its designated trajectory, demonstrating that all the major components of the weapon functioned properly.
Congratulating the DRDO and BrahMos team, Indian Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said that the successful test-firing would support significant cost savings on the replacement of missiles in the inventory of the Indian Armed Forces.
In November last year, the supersonic cruise missile was launched from a Sukhoi-30 MKI fighter jet for the first time.
With a flight range of up to 290km, BrahMos is a two-stage missile that can be launched from land, sea and sub-sea platforms.
BrahMos is a joint venture (JV) company formed by the DRDO and Russian aerospace enterprise NPO Mashinostroyeniya (NPOM). (Source: army-technology.com)
22 May 18. Putin Claimed A New Nuclear-Powered Missile Had Unlimited Range — But It Flew Only 22 Miles In Its Most Successful Test Yet. Russian President Vladimir Putin bragged earlier this year that his country had a new nuclear-powered missile with unlimited range — but it has yet to perform a successful test over multiple attempts, according to sources with direct knowledge of a U.S. intelligence report on the weapons program. The cruise missile was tested four times between November and February, each resulting in a crash, according to sources who spoke to CNBC on the condition of anonymity. The U.S. assessed that the longest test flight lasted just more than two minutes, with the missile flying 22 miles before losing control and crashing. The shortest test lasted four seconds and flew for five miles. (Source: defense-aerospace.com/CNBC)
21 May 18. Rafael unveils EPIK add-on precision guidance kit for rocket artillery. Rafael Advanced Defence Systems has released details of its EPIK (Electro-Optical Precision Integration Kit) technology development; a capability enhancement designed to furnish unguided surface-to-surface rocket system effectors with autonomous stand-off precision guidance and increased range.
EPIK is an add-on precision guidance kit (PGK) that leverages the electro-optical sensor and scene-matching/signal processing technologies developed for Rafael’s Spice family of air-to-surface munitions.
“EPIK is similar in concept to the add-on PGK we developed for the Spice munition,” Gal Papier, Head of Marketing & Business Development, Precision Tactical Weapons Systems at Rafael Advanced Defence Systems, told Jane’s.
“We saw that the Spice technology excelled as capability multiplier for air forces; however, a considerable number of ground forces have unguided surface-to-surface rockets in their inventories – these have a high circular error probable (CEP) – meaning they don’t hit the target precisely, they hit around it. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
21 May 18. Russia to modernise some Kh-22 air-to-surface missiles. Russia plans to modernise some retired Kh-22 (AS-4 ‘Kitchen’) air-to-surface missiles and return them to operational status, according to a 15 May report in Izvestia. Ministry of Defence sources told the newspaper a total of 32 missiles will be refurbished under a three-year contract worth RUB300m (USD4.8m). Developed by Raduga design bureau in the 1960s, the Kh-22 was the main weapon carried by Soviet Tu-22M ‘Backfire’ bombers until the end of the Cold War. The missile, armed with nuclear or conventional warheads, was intended primarily for use against US and NATO aircraft carriers and battle groups. But it could also target strategic installations ashore. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
21 May 18. Belarus showcases MM-60 rocket launcher. Belarusian company BSVT-VV has completed development of its MM-60 multipurpose rocket launcher and has already attracted interest from a number of Asia Pacific countries, a company representative told Jane’s.
The disposable MM-60 rocket launcher is designed to defeat troops under cover, lightly armoured vehicles and structures, and comprises a digital sighting system (DSS) and a containerised multipurpose rocket-propelled grenade (RPG).
The MM-60 seen in its new vehicle-mounted, four-barrelled rocket launcher configuration. (Nikolai Novichkov)
The DSS features modern optoelectronics – including a laser rangefinder, a ballistic computer, and an inertial measurement unit – and proprietary targeting software which is designed to increase accuracy. The sight also incorporates an airburst function, enabling the user to engage troops behind cover. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
20 May 18. Australia selects Spike LR2. Rafael Advanced Defense Systems has been selected by the Australian Department of Defence (DoD) to supply its Spike LR2 anti-tank guided missile (ATGM) for the Australian Army.
Australia becomes the second export customer for Spike LR2, after Latvia ordered an undisclosed quantity earlier this year. Beating out the MMP (Missile Moyenne Portée or medium range missile) from MBDA in what was a mini-contest inside the competition to supply an 8×8 Combat Reconnaissance Vehicle (CRV) under the Land 400 Phase 2 programme, Spike LR2 will arm the Rheinmetall Boxer CRV, itself selected ahead of the BAE Systems AMV35 on 13 March this year under a AUD5.2bn (USD3.91bn) acquisition.
Whilst both Spike LR2 and MMP met the Land 400 Phase 2 requirement for a missile able to engage main battle tanks at 4,000m, Jane’s understands that the Spike LR2’s more streamlined integration into the Army’s existing Elbit-sourced battle management system and the technical maturity of the Spike-launcher combination on the Boxer CRV were decisive in the selection. Rheinmetall, in addition, did not include the MMP in its Boxer CRV proposal.
Spike LR2 will be fired from the twin-round ATGM launcher installed on the left side of the Boxer CRV’s two-man Lance turret, with the launcher being almost identical to that on the German Army’s Puma infantry fighting vehicle (IFV). Earlier this year, the German Army successfully completed qualification of the in-service Spike LR ATGM for Puma. Supplied by EuroSpike, the Spike LR is known as MELLS (German acronym for ‘multi-role lightweight guided missile system’) in German service.
The final qualification trials of Spike LR on Puma were undertaken by the German Army and Rheinmetall at the company’s Unterlüss facility and included the live firing of several Spike LR missiles out to ranges between 2,000 and 4,000 m, in both the fire-and-forget and fire-and-observe modes. (Source: Defense News Early Bird/IHS Jane’s)
20 May 18. Konstrukta Defence unveils new 8×8 Eva self-propelled gun system. Slovakia’s Joint-Stock Company Konstrukta Defence has showcased the new 8×8 variant of its Eva 155/52mm calibre self-propelled gun-howitzer, which is also known by its export designation of Truck Mounted Gun (TMG). The latest 8×8 TMG – which is jointly developed by Konstrukta Defence and Czech firms Czechoslovak Group (CSG) and Tatra Trucks from 2017 – is a redesign of the previous 6×6 TMG which was unveiled in 2015.
The vehicle measures 11.5 m long, 2.7m wide, and 3.28m tall with the ordnance stowed for transport. The 28-tonne vehicle, which is air-transportable by large tactical airlifters such as the Airbus A400M and Ilyushin IL-76, is operated by a crew of three. It preserves the gun assembly and ordnance fitted to the 6×6 TMG, but adopts a longer 8×8 chassis which is equipped with an auxiliary power unit (APU) as well as a newly designed armoured cab. The new variant is based on the four-axle Tatra T815-7 8×8.1R and powered by the Euro 3-compliant Tatra T3C-928.90 turbo-charged air-cooled diesel engine with a maximum power output 300 kW at 1,800 rpm, which the company claims to offer improved mobility in challenging terrain. Field endurance has been improved with a 30 kW APU unit based on the Lombardini 11LD626-3 engine. Half of the power generated by the APU is used for hydraulic system while the remainder powers the ordnance charges the vehicle’s accumulator batteries. The 155/52mm calibre ordnance has a 23-litre chamber and can be elevated from -3.5° to +75° and traversed ±60° in the azimuth. The ordnance generates a muzzle velocity of 935 m/s and can achieve a maximum firing range of 41.4km with high-explosive extended range base-bleed (HE ER-BB) ammunition. It can also fire most NATO-standard 155 mm ammunition that are up to 1,000mm long. (Source: Defense News Early Bird/IHS Jane’s)
19 May 18. Russia hints at a nuclear armed drone submarine for 2027. Poseidon is an unsubtle name for a robot. So when a country decides to name a category of vessel after the god of the ocean, it suggests a gravitas, a significance that no lesser name would convey. This week, Russian media floated a new machine, an underwater uninhabited robot program, tentatively aimed at a 2027 release, which earns its divine moniker in the least subtle of ways: it’s built to carry and use nukes.
We first saw a glimpse of Poseidon or a Poseidon-like craft in the draft of the Pentagon’s nuclear posture review released this January, though it didn’t have that moniker then. That document referred to an “autonomous underwater vehicle” dubbed Kanyon by the Pentagon and formally labeled Ocean Multipurpose System Status-6. This vehicle would operate from another submarine, though it’s own speed and depth ranges fall within the capabilities listed this week for the Poseidon drone.
As reported by Russian state-owned media agency TASS, Poseidon is designed to be armed with a “two megatonne warhead,” primarily aimed at destroying hardened naval bases accessible from the sea. To get to those targets, the Poseidon will travel at depths of over 3,000 feet below the surface and with a top speed of around 80 mph. In addition to potentially carrying a nuclear warhead, the Poseidon will run on a nuclear powerplant.
That is a lot of hurt and danger to put inside a robot. Fascinating still, this isn’t the first time a Russian government has floated the idea.
“A similar concept was under development in the USSR in the 1950s-1960s but was ultimately shelved”, says Samuel Bendett, a research analyst at the Center for Naval Analyses. “So this particular UUV is unique.”
The Cold War was full of strange ideas for unmanned nuclear weapon systems, like the U.S. Navy’s experiments with the Gyrodyne DASH remotely piloted helicopter built to carry B57 nuclear depth charges, or the plans to use uncrewed but remotely controlled B-47 bombers as one-way nuclear dive bombers. While putting a nuke on a remote controlled craft carried plenty of its own risks, in light of autonomous systems those risks seem almost quaint, as remote control leaves a human in control for the entire operation. And while the United States is committed to its new B-21 bomber being “optionally manned”, Pentagon officials are still skeptical that this optionally manned version will ever be used with nuclear weapons on board.
Operating underwater, for a vessel like Poseidon, means operating autonomously, as the signals that enable remote control simply cannot penetrate water in a meaningful way. We have seen such autonomous operations before, notably in unarmed systems like the Echo Seeker scout, but putting weapons on an autonomous system is a categorically more dangerous problem, and that danger scales up drastically when the weapon’s destructive potential is measured in megatons.
“Details about the actual technology that would give this weapon autonomy are scarce, at best,” says Bendett, “though we can suppose that it would travel along pre-programmed routes to reach the target. Russians are experimenting with small ISR UUVs such as ‘Galtel’ ― Russians recently announced it was mapping the sea bed near Syrian coast in autonomous mode that was assisted by on board AI. Perhaps similar technology, once perfected via numerous trials, can guide the Poseidon UUV.”
This is the better context for understanding Poseidon: as a capstone program for an expansive program of underwater robots, rather than an immediate threat to start planning for tomorrow. After all, the oceans of the world already have nuclear-armed submarines operated by multiple nations, ready for a war everyone hopes never comes. Poseidon would be one way for Russia to continue this capability, with fewer human labor requirements.
“In their official statements, Russian position their unmanned underwater vehicles as extensions of their military capabilities in the ‘World Ocean,’” says Bendett, “Russians view the global maritime commons as a single entity where they earlier had difficulties “seeing and hearing” — that changes dramatically with the development, testing and fielding of various unmanned/semi-autonomous underwater systems with ISR or combat capabilities.”
There is a vast gulf between concept art and aspirational concept and viable, real-world threat. And not all vessels named Poseidon live up to their great and terrible namesakes. Still, we should look at Poseidon as a herald of what the future might contain, one where 2-megaton warheads are somehow condensed into a drone-sized body, where robots lurk below the surface waiting for the end of the world, where other robot ships track those submarines from the surface, and where the hypotheticals posed by science fiction spill into reality.
“Poseidon fits into the Russian plans for a breakthrough technology capable of greatly extending the nation’s military reach far from shore,” says Bendett. “That is, of course, if it works as planned and there are no technical issues with its operation.” (Source: C4ISR & Networks)
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UNMANNED SYSTEMS UPDATE
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24 May 18. Unmanned aerial systems rolled out by Australian Army. Following the completion of the Black Hornet Nano UAS program, unmanned aerial systems will soon be rolled out to Australian Army soldiers in Brisbane. Commander of the 6th Brigade and the Army’s only UAS unit, the 20th Surveillance Target Acquisition Regiment, Brigadier Susan Coyle said that the Black Hornet Nano UAS rollout was a significant achievement for the Army.
“UAS are a game-changer for the Army, providing enhanced situational awareness for better mission execution for Australian soldiers,” BRIG Coyle said.
“The issue of the Black Hornet Nano UAS to our soldiers is an exciting example of adopting tactical robotic technology.”
The Australian Army is the largest operator of UAS in the country and is one of the largest users of Nano UAS across the globe.
“The Australian Army is now the biggest user of Nano UAS in the world. It is also the first in the world to proliferate this technology to the conventional forces down to combat platoon level,” BRIG Coyle said.
“Experience of UAS operations overseas and in Australia have provided [the] Army with unique expertise that is in high demand.
“UAS represent a defining opportunity for the Australian Army and the Australian Defence Force.”
The Black Hornet Nano UAS rollout and sustainment is an $18m project and is a key capability milestone for the Army as it continues to be a technologically advanced force.
The Army operates several UAS, ranging from the nano-sized reconnaissance Black Hornet to large, nine-hour endurance surveillance systems such as the Shadow 200. (Source: Defence Connect)
24 May 18. AeroVironment’s introduces Shrike 2 VTOL/fixed-wing platform. AeroVironment introduced a new version of its Shrike vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) Shrike unmanned aerial vehicle during the Special Operations Forces Industry Conference (SOFIC) in Tampa, Florida. According to AeroVironment’s vice president for tactical unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), Dave Sharpin, the ‘Shrike 2’ is an evolution of the Shrike VTOL airframe. First unveiled to the market in 2011, the Shrike is a quadcopter design capable of supporting ‘over the hill’ reconnaissance requirements for dismounted personnel. Sharpin told Jane’s that AeroVironment had re-configured the Shrike into a modular ‘Hybrid VTOL’ capability featuring a pair of detachable fixed wings and a tri-rotor solution. Shrike 2 weighs less than 2kg and can carry up to 400g payload. According to Sharpin, Shrike 2’s fixed wings can be detached so it can operate as a pure VTOL system. Alternatively, wings can be re-attached in ‘seconds’ to provide a combined fixed-wing/VTOL capability for more enduring missions. The Shrike 2 also features a modular payload capable of carrying a single electro-optical/infrared camera or LiDAR sensor. Sharpin told Jane’s the Shrike 2 could provide small unit teams with an organic reconnaissance capability that could be both runway and launcher independent. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
22 May 18. AACUS Makes First Operational Cargo Delivery to US Marines.
Aurora’s Autonomous Aerial Cargo Utility System (AACUS) achieved a major milestone last week when it successfully delivered cargo to US Marines in the Integrated Training Exercise at the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms in California.
AACUS completed its first closed loop mission from takeoff to landing for its intended purpose: actual cargo resupply to Marines. The AACUS enabled UH-1H helicopter successfully completed an autonomous cargo sustainment flight delivering 520 pounds of water, gasoline, MREs, and replacement communications gear including a packed cooler to represent urgently required cargo such as blood. This was the first ever autonomous point-to-point cargo resupply mission providing critical logistics support to Marines in need.
Developed under Office of Naval Research’s (ONR) Innovative Naval Prototype program, the AACUS enabled UH-1 helicopter is capable of flying completely autonomously, using only its onboard sensors, advanced computers and intelligent algorithms to plan its trajectory and to select its own landing sites in unmapped and hazardous environments. “The AACUS program exceeded all of our expectations,” said Dennis Baker, AACUS PM, “The team delivered on each of the ambitious technical performance goals, on schedule and under budget.”
“Aurora is building autonomous systems that will enable tomorrow’s intelligent aircraft,” said John Langford, Aurora’s founder and CEO. “Whether it’s protecting Marines in combat or providing accessible urban transportation, autonomy is the key to the future of aerospace.”
Aurora’s AACUS program was recently selected by the American Helicopter Society (AHS) for its Howard Hughes Award in recognition of an outstanding improvement in fundamental helicopter technology brought to fruition in the previous 18 months. The AACUS team was recognized at the Grand Awards Banquet on May 16th during AHS’s 74th Annual Forum & Technology Display in Phoenix, Arizona. (Source: ASD Network)
24 May 18. Lockheed Martin Stalker XE Upgraded with VTOL Capability. At SOFIC 2018, the International Special Operations Forces Industry Exhibition Conference currently taking place in Tampa, Lockheed Martin announced that Stalker eXtended Endurance (XE) unmanned aerial system (UAS) has been upgraded with a vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) capability.
This new option gives users greater mission flexibility allowing them to operate the system in more austere locations.
The new VTOL option features a reduced logistics footprint and expands how and where the Stalker XE UAS may operate. Other launch alternatives include a pneumatic rail or a standard bungee launch system.
“By offering three unique launch options, we will support day or night flight operations in a variety of environments, expanding Stalker XE’s ability to do more with less,” said Russell Coons, Stalker XE program manager. “We continue to evolve the system to bring more capability to our system operators.”
Stalker XE is an operationally proven, small, silent UAS that provides unprecedented long-endurance imaging capability through image stabilized pan, tilt, zoom on electro-optical, infrared, low-light and high-def imagers, along with an image tracker. It features a digital backbone that allows for rapid plug and play of the latest technology, meaning better pictures and more capabilities.
Stalker XE is an all-weather system with a 12-foot wingspan, weighing 24 pounds with standard payloads. Depending on payloads and launch option, Stalker XE can fly up to eight hours with a propane fuel cell or up to four hours with a battery option at a cruise speed of 35 mph. (Source: UAS VISION/Army Recognition
22 May 18. Autonomous Flight Technologies Signus 35V – Multirole UAS. The Signus 35V is an advanced, long-endurance VTOL Small Tactical Unmanned Aerial System (STUAS) designed and manufactured by the Romanian company Autonomous Flight Technologies.
It comprises three to five aircraft in a system, installed on a one ground vehicle or platform, be it a shelter or not. It can be operated by a team of three people with fixed or portable terminals.
Autonomous Flight Technologies (AFT) has over ten years of experience in the unmanned aerial systemss (UAS) field. AFT has developed the UAS Hirrus family (Hirrus L and Hirrus XL) and the UAS Signus family (Signus 150 and Signus 35V). Of these, the Hirrus system has been tested and hologated with the Romanian ministry of Defense, and demonstrated by successfully participating to NATO Unified Vision 2014 and 2016 interoperability exercises organized in Norway.
The Hirrus and Signus families use the same command and control application, ground control terminal, autopilot, etc., which provide 100% interoperability between these systems, also in other NATO countries that require intel standardized data provided by UAS. AFT developed the autopilot, C2, EO/IR sensors, etc. and can produce the entire UAS system in its own factory.
The drone, motorized by an electronic fuel injection engine, has a take-off weight 25 and 45 kg following the payload that cannot exceed 4 to 6 kg for long-endurance missions. Precisely, the endurance varies from 12 hours (VTOL) to 24 hours (CLPAL). The range is around 80 km at a cruising speed between 90 and 120 k/h, and the operational ceiling 4,500 meters. (Source: UAS VISION/Army Recognition)
21 May 18. FAA Modifies Restrictions on Drones over DoD Facilities.
At the request of the Department of Defense, and Federal security and law enforcement agencies, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has been using its existing authority under Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations § 99.7 – “Special Security Instructions” – to address the potential threat posed by malicious drone operations by establishing Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) specific airspace restrictions over select, national security sensitive locations.
Information on the FAA Notice to Airmen (NOTAM), which defines these restrictions, and all of the currently covered locations, can be found on our website. This linked FAA website provides an interactive map, downloadable geospatial data, and other important information.
A link to these restrictions is also included in the FAA’s B4UFLY mobile app. Additional information, including frequently asked questions, is available on the FAA’s UAS website.
In response to recent requests by Federal agencies, the FAA is establishing new or modifying existing restrictions on drone flights up to 400 feet within the lateral boundaries of the following four sites:
- Naval Support Activity Monterey, Monterey, CA (new)
- Naval Air Station Kingsville, Kingsville, TX (new)
- Naval Support Activity Orlando, Orlando, FL (new)
- Naval Support Activity South Potomac, Indian Head, MD (boundary change)
These changes, which have been highlighted by FAA NOTAM FDC 8/9176, are pending until they become effective on June 1.
FDC 8/9176–SECURITY SPECIAL SECURITY INSTRUCTIONS (SSI) PERTAINING TO UNMANNED ACFT SYSTEM (UAS) OPS OVER MULTIPLE LOCATIONS NATIONWIDE. THIS NOTAM SUPPLEMENTS FDC 7/7282, AND DESCRIBES THE CHANGES MADE TO THE UAS-SPECIFIC SSI AIRSPACE DEFINED BY FDC 7/7282 AND IMPLEMENTED PURSUANT TO 14 C.F.R. 99.7 FOR NATIONAL SECURITY SENSITIVE LOCATIONS. THESE CHANGES INCLUDE THE ADDITION OF NEW COVERED LOCATIONS AND THE REVISION OF SOME PRE-EXISTING INDIVIDUAL SSI AIRSPACE. THE UPDATED LIST OF AFFECTED AIRSPACE AND ASSOCIATED PROTECTED LOCATIONS, AND OTHER IMPORTANT INFORMATION ARE PROVIDED AT THIS FAA WEBSITE
SEE FDC 7/7282 FOR COMPLETE INFORMATION ON THESE SPECIAL SECURITY INSTRUCTIONS.
Note that there are only a few exceptions that permit drone flights within these restrictions, and they must be coordinated with the individual facility and/or the FAA.
Operators who violate the airspace restrictions may be subject to enforcement action, including potential civil penalties and criminal charges.
The FAA is continuing to consider additional requests by federal agencies for UAS-specific airspace restrictions using the FAA’s § 99.7 authority as they are received. Additional changes to these restrictions will be announced by the FAA as appropriate. (Source: UAS VISION)
21 May 18. Russia’s Altius MALE UAV Development on Track. The work on the Altius heavy unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) with a combat load of up to two tons is planned to be completed within a year, Russian Deputy Defense Minister Yuri Borisov said. The Russian Defense Ministry confirmed the information through its Facebook page. Borisov made this statement in an interview available on the Zvezda TV channel’s website.
“I believe that we will complete the work on the Altius heavy unmanned aerial vehicle with a combat load of up to two tons within a year,” Borisov said.
According to him, the Russian Armed Forces “have unmanned aerial vehicles being at different stages, as a rule, at final ones, which will make up the mainstay of the UAV fleet in the imminent future.”
“I mean reconnaissance, attack and electronic warfare systems with a payload ranging between several kilograms and two tons,” he added.
A test model of the Altius long-endurance reconnaissance UAV was unveiled at the Army 2015 international military and technical forum. (Source: UAS VISION/Air Recognition)
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C2, TACTICAL COMMUNICATIONS, AI, CYBER, EW, CLOUD COMPUTING AND HOMELAND SECURITY UPDATE
Sponsored by Spectra Group
24 May 18. SEAL Teams Need Better Communications, Battery Tech. Special Operations Command is looking for a slew of new maritime technologies that will give operators — including SEALs — a tactical edge during dangerous missions, officials said May 23.
“Power and energy is the one [area] that I think is probably the biggest need common across all the platforms,” John Bailey, chief engineer at Special Operations Command’s program executive office for maritime, told National Defense.
The office — which oversees the procurement of Navy SEAL equipment and special operator watercraft among other maritime platforms — is engaged and committed to finding a safe, high-energy battery or other technology solution that can effectively power up many of the devices and equipment under its portfolio, he said at the National Defense Industrial Association’s Special Operations Forces Industry Conference in Tampa, Florida. Lithium-ion batteries, which can sometimes present safety challenges, are usually not allowed on submarines. Special ops divers are often transported on such vessels, requiring alternative power sources, he said during remarks at the conference.
“The reality is that for us to put something into a submarine or … even onto a surface craft or into an aircraft, they all have to meet Navy or Air Force standards,” he said. “Lithium-ion batteries are a challenge.”
PEO Maritime has been working with SOCOM’s science and technology directorate to test out a variety of safe lithium-ion battery technologies, and has embarked on a few “game-changing” efforts, he added. The office is now looking to engage with industry to find options that will work, he added.
PEO Maritime is also interested in new communication technology, Bailey said. “Nobody else in SOCOM does underwater comms, so that is an area that SOCOM will be having to invest” in, he said. Radio frequency is unavailable underwater, so alternative options must be found to connect SOF divers with operators above the water, he said. “Really when you think about where we’re trying to go with maritime communications, it’s the whole network,” he said.
The office is working with SOCOM’s program executive office for command, control, communications and computers on this issue, he added. PEO Maritime will then take items developed and marinize them for use on its platforms, he said. The office is reaching out to a variety of organizations to get at the technology and will put out a series of requests for information and requests for proposals over the next few years, Bailey said.
“We’re really looking to build a community of academia, industry as well as service labs that are all interested in figuring out how their individual technologies can talk to each other,” he said. PEO Maritime is also looking to invest new signature management, unmanned and navigation technologies, Bailey added.
Enhancing communications for SOF divers is one way the office plans to get at SOCOM’s new “hyper-enabled operator” concept, he said. The effort, which was announced at the 2018 SOFIC, aims to give special operators enhanced capabilities and is focused on communication, computing, data and human-machine interfaces technology.
Overall, PEO Maritime executes about $1.5bn over the future years defense program, said Program Executive Officer Capt. Kate Dolloff.
“Procurement continues to increase as we’re recapitalizing our fleet both on the undersea side and on the surface side,” she said.
The program office is currently enjoying widespread support in Congress, she noted. “We have got quite a bit of support on the Hill right now,” she said. “Anytime we’ve gone to Congress and asked for anything they’ve helped us out.” That’s a marked turn over the past five years, where the office had not received as much support, she noted. The change, she said, is a “credit to the folks that we do business with.”
Bailey noted that the office is open to working with anyone and is interested in utilizing a variety of contracting options, he said. “If you have a technology that we want, we will work with you and figure out how we can get there,” he said. (Source: glstrade.com/National Defense)
24 May 18. New Reconnaissance Tools Needed to Assist Special Operators, Partners. Special Operations Command requires new tools to help commandos sift through the vast amount of information they come across in the field, officials said May 24.
“We are getting so much information that we can’t go through it all,” said Glen Cullen, program manager for sensitive site exploitation within the program executive office for special reconnaissance, surveillance and exploitation. That includes everything from physical documents to digital media.
“We need to have it triaged. … We need to be able to identify what’s important from massive volumes of information,” he said during a session at the National Defense Industrial Association’s annual Special Operations Forces Industry Conference in Tampa, Florida.
Capability needs include artificial intelligence, data analytics, machine learning and systems that can help operators “get the gist” of a document without having to conduct a full translation, he said.
“Our guys are operating worldwide, working in a country [where they] may not know the language,” Cullen said. “You get a document, … it’s got some key words in it and you’re wondering, ‘Hey, is this some high school kid’s chemistry homework, or is it a formula to make a bomb?’”
The sensitive site exploitation team is seeking new remote facial recognition and iris capture tools to help commandos identify individuals from standoff distances, he said.
The command is looking to move away from systems with lots of proprietary software or outputs. Nicholas D. Anderson, engineer and technical support for PM-SSE, said operators are frustrated by platforms that gather information but then are incompatible with analysis tools made by another company.
“I understand … you don’t want to share your secrets,” he told industry. “But whenever you put software on a proprietary output … I can’t share it with this other company that has an awesome analysis tool.”
The sensitive site exploitation program management office is gearing up for a technology event in fiscal year 2020 that will focus on “anti-forensics” detection, Cullen said.
More and more adversaries are beginning to use tools such as device configuration overlays or host-protected areas that hide certain information or data on a hard drive, Anderson said.
“There are a lot of guys now that are setting up hard drives where as soon as you go to try and exploit it, it wipes the hard drive,” he said. “If I’ve got one opportunity to search an iPhone or search a hard drive and I’m done, I might want to know what I’m up against before I actually go in and start messing something up.”
As Special Operations Command moves to counter peer adversaries such as China and Russia, it is looking for space technologies such as small satellites, payloads and responsive launch capabilities that can enable intelligence collection in areas where “you would not put a low and slow-moving airplane overhead,” said David Breede, program executive officer for special reconnaissance, surveillance and exploitation.
SOCOM has been investing in CubeSats placed in low-Earth orbit, and it is determining what types of advanced payloads make sense to put on those systems, Breede told National Defense.
“Right now, we are just really testing the satellite bus, and so it’s really just a comms package that allows us to talk to it, to control it, to see how it would be tactically relevant,” he said.
The program executive office is open to industry proposals for SOF-relevant payloads, which could include inter-satellite communication equipment, propulsion systems to move the satellites around, ISR tools and other communications packages, he noted.
“If you look at the mission space that SOF plays in, you can run the gamut of interesting payloads that you could put on satellites,” he said.
Additionally, the command is looking for alternative position, navigation and timing capabilities, to include an improved ability to receive GPS signals, or completely novel methods to navigate when GPS is not available, Breede said. Data management, analytics and visualization tools are also desired.
Capabilities relevant to multiple programs are highly coveted. “We historically operate in silos” such as signals intelligence, biometrics or forensics, he noted. “But technology is at an inflection point right now where you can have a common piece of technology be relevant to all of those programs.
“I can be much more efficient with the money that we’re spending and much more efficient in how we’re executing and procuring a hardware kit by providing it not only to a [signals intelligence] collection-type capability but also maybe a closed-access reconnaissance-style capability,” he added.
Interoperable systems are also on SOCOM’s wish list. The command already provides a variety of kits to partners such as Afghan forces, vetted Syrian opposition groups and Iraqi military units, Breede said. Those kits are typically used for situational awareness and friendly-force tracking to help prevent potential conflicts among partners, he noted.
The program executive office needs equipment that can help operators communicate remotely with partners on the ground in overseas locations such as Eastern Europe, he noted. They would need to be operated by allies that are not from the Five Eyes cooperation countries — Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand and the United States — to include some non-state groups.
“Come up with a kit that’s releasable, that’s affordable, that will really enable us to remotely advise and assist our partners in any place of the world,” he said. (Source: glstrade.com/National Defense)
24 May 18. Czech Army showcases MKEB II mobile EW system. The Czech Army took the opportunity at the IDEB 2018 exhibition in Bratislava to showcase the latest iteration of its MKEB (Mobilni komplet elektronického boje) mobile electronic warfare (EW) suite. The second-generation MKEB, known as MKEB II, was demonstrated by personnel from the 532 Electronic Warfare Battalion of the 53rd Regiment of Reconnaissance and Electronic Warfare, and includes a containerised suite called the PrTA (Pracoviste Technicke Analyzy- Technical Analysis Workplace), which performs signals analysis and classification as well as EW operations. The modular PrTA comprises of three workstations – serving a commander and two operators – built into a standard ISO 1C container with a laden weight of 14 tonnes, and is specially designed to operate as a stationary unit co-located with the command post of a force that is being supported by the unit.
It operates in the 20 MHz to 6 GHz range with a diverse range of antennas, including the Rohde & Schwarz ADD253 VHF/UHF wideband direction finding (DF) antenna, Alaris Antennas LPDA A0036 (20-3000 MHz) directional antenna and U-DIPL-A0035 (20-3600 MHz) wideband omnidirectional antenna, U-OMNI-A0098 (20-6000 MHz) active monitoring antenna, and the MONO-A0076 (1-30 MHz) HF passive monopole antenna.
A Harris Falcon III RF7800 series radio and three GPS antennas – from DAGR, Harris, and Garmin – have also been incorporated. Taken together, the various signals analysis and communications devices enable the operators to analyse and develop a threat library and formulate the appropriate responses. Other components of the MKEB II suite include the manpack C-MOB and OS EB jammers. The 20kg C-MOB system is designed to counter remote-controlled improvised explosive devices (RCIED) as well as stymie communications. It is equipped with three omnidirectional antennas that cover the GSM 880-960 MHz, DCS 1710-1880 MHz, UMTS 1920-2170 MHz, LTE 2500-2700 MHz spectrum. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
24 May 18. Lasers are helping the Afghan Air Force strike the Taliban. The Afghan Air Force has introduced laser-guided precision munitions to its arsenal. Since the May 22 induction, the number of laser-guided bombs has steadily increased as Afghan forces continue to target the Taliban in southern Afghanistan.
“The recent addition of laser-guided bomb strike capability is huge for the Afghan Air Force,” said Lt. Col. Justin Williams, 438th Air Expeditionary Advisor Squadron commander. “Afghanistan did not have it last fighting season, and we are already seeing the crippling psychological effect it is having on the enemies of Afghanistan this season.”
Shifting security responsibility to local forces, Williams emphasized all the bombs are being built by Afghans. “The bombs are built by Afghan ammunitions specialists and loaded onto Afghan planes by Afghan maintainers,” he said. “This is one example of how the Afghan Air Force is assuming ownership across the board.”
In terms of limiting civilian casualties, laser-guided bombs deployed from the Afghan Air Force’s A-29 Super Tucanos do enable more precise targeting.
“The Taliban like to hide in towns and places where civilians are,” said an Afghan Air Force A-29 pilot. “The laser-guided bomb lets me strike those places without hurting the local people.”
The A-29 is a turboprop plane designed to operate in austere combat environments and land without needing a paved runway.
But are these advanced munitions actually making a difference in a war that has raged for nearly 17 years?
According to data from U.S. Air Forces Central Command, the U.S. Air Force dropped more bombs in the first quarter of 2018 than was used in the same time period in 2011, often considered the height of the war.
The command also says 1,186 munitions were expended by aircraft in January, February and March of this year. In 2011, during those same months, the military documented 1,083 weapons released. Those weapons releases are from both manned and unmanned aircraft.
As of May 11, 2018, Afghan A-29s have supported roughly 30 Afghan ground missions using precision munitions, dropping more than 50 laser-guided bombs on Taliban targets.
Despite an approximate 85 percent reduction to U.S. troop levels in Afghanistan since 2011, Army Col. Lisa Garcia, a spokeswoman for U.S. efforts in the country, insists that U.S. advisers “are seeing successes on the battlefield as a result of tactical air coordinators.”
Since switching to the laser-guided bomb, nearly 96 percent of strikes have been successful and have led to a 30 percent increase in ground force commanders’ desired effects on the battlefield, according to the U.S. Air Force (Source: Defense News)
22 May 18. SOCOM Looks To Field New Drones, Upgrade Comms — Fast.
The head of the Special Operations Command is concerned that even the most advanced tech his troops use in the field today is being aged out, given rapid advances in commercial technologies that have overtaken military-grade gear. The head of the Special Operations Command is concerned that even the most advanced tech his troops use in the field today is being aged out, given rapid advances in commercial technologies that have overtaken military-grade gear.
“The equipment that SOF have should already be considered ‘legacy gear,’” Gen. Tony Thomas told the conference here today. He called for a wholesale change in how equipment is developed and modernized: “Incremental improvements are no longer enough.”
The entire three-day event here — which once focused in large part on operations around the globe — has been reborn around the theme of rapid acquisition and finding small, non-traditional companies which which to do business. The push to rapidly identify and buy new technologies mirrors a similar effort across the Pentagon, which is rushing to modernize after years of flat budgets while spending tens of billions a year on wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
During those wars, Russia and China sought gaps in U.S. and NATO capabilities, and have emerged with a new generation of drones, hypersonic weapons, what they call fifth-generation fighter planes, sophisticated stand-off munitions, and electronic warfare capabilities.
In any future fight with a peer enemy or an insurgent group, “we can’t assume that we’re going to have access to our equipment, our satellites, and our communications” said Capt. Anthony Baker, the deputy commander of U.S. special operations in Europe.
The new National Security Strategy released earlier this year that shifted the Pentagon away from the counterterrorism focus of the past 17 years to a renewed effort to confront powerful states with sophisticated weaponry. That change, Thomas said, doesn’t impact what his priorities are, since “our adversaries — not necessarily nation states — but the small startup violent organizations, now have the ability to close the gap because of technology market trends,” Thomas said.
Appearing on a separate panel Tuesday, Brig. Gen. Chris Burns, commander of Special Operations Command-North, mused that “when you look at the capabilities gap that we used to see, which gave us a five to 10 year advantage; it’s now down to a year or less.”
Burns said that organizations like SOFWERX, a rapid innovation cell staffed by civilians inside SOCOM, are on the right path in destroying the old way of doing business. “What we need to create is a incubator startup mindset within our organizations,” he said. “We need to change how we think because the speed of change is moving faster than our procurement cycle.”
That lesson was driven home for American forces in Syria last summer, when an Iranian drone dropped munitions near a patrol of U.S. special operations forces and our Syrian allies. Within the span of a week, American F-15s shot down two Iranian drones near U.S. troops. In January, a swarm of about 10 insurgent drones attacked the Russian Hmeimim Air Base in Syria, while three others targeted the Russian naval base in Tartus. The Russian military claims to have shot down seven drones using Pantsir-S anti-aircraft missile system, but some aircraft were damaged.
The attacks were a wakeup call for the relative ease with which advanced militaries can fall victim to DIY drones. To meet that threat, SOFWERX is setting up camp in the Nevada desert next month to run a group of drones through their paces in an effort to find and field counter-drone technologies.
The competition between competing designs is part of the ThunderDrone competition — a key effort in pushing small companies to begin working with the military on small, rapid-fire projects.
The competition kicked off last year with about 450 submissions, which have been cycled through at a series of small events to whittle down to next month’s trials.
The effort at Nellis Air Force Base, and the SOFWERX effort in general, in many ways represents a new “normal” for special operations forces, which leaders say will have to operate in environments where their communications can be interrupted or hacked, which would be a first for American forces.
Operating in Iraq and Afghanistan, “we enjoyed a fairly clean comms environment,” said Jim Smith, SOCOM’s acquisition chief. But given the commercial technologies now available to anyone with the ability to harness them, “it’s going to be a dirty comms environment in the very near future.”
Not only do special operators need to improve their ability to communicate with one another but “operators also need to have the confidence that the data they’re receiving is legitimate, and hasn’t been spoofed or hacked in any way.”
A recent request from the command looking for idea from the defense industry said that forces in the future will need to be able to operate “in satellite denied/disrupted environments, under threat of targeting by high-end military capabilities, including Weapons of Mass Destruction, where the cyber and Electronic Warfare domains are contested and increased scrutiny is routine.” (Source: Breaking Defense.com)
23 May 18. GRIMM Launches Michigan Cybersecurity Research Lab for Automobility and Aerospace Industries
Grand Rapids-Based Facility Will Encourage Regional Workforce Growth and Enhance Company’s Ability to Provide Embedded Systems Research and Engineering. GRIMM (SMFS, Inc.), a leading cybersecurity research and engineering firm, announced the opening of its new Grand Rapids, MI-based cybersecurity research lab. GRIMM’s new facility will enable the company to work more closely on cybersecurity initiatives within the advanced manufacturing, aerospace, automobility and defense industries based in the region.
GRIMM provides a wide range of security consulting, engineering and research services, including vulnerability research/testing and security training, to both government agencies and private sector enterprises. Through this new Michigan-based lab, the company will offer dedicated resources focused on engaging with companies specifically in the automobility and aerospace sectors, including Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs), suppliers, and other stakeholders to improve the holistic security of automotive, aviation, and industrial control systems. GRIMM is also creating a classroom training space where its experts will teach hands-on advanced coursework for automotive and ICS security.
“Practically every new vehicle has connected or autonomous components and smart city technologies are being deployed into urban infrastructure on a regular basis. The realities of the Internet of Everything means that distributed systems, from industrial control systems to aerospace manufacturing operations and everything in between, must have security measures embedded or run the risk of exposing countless enterprises, systems and users to vulnerabilities,” said Brian DeMuth, GRIMM CEO. “GRIMM’s Michigan lab will enable our team of researchers and security experts to become more deeply embedded into the critical industries – automobility, aerospace, defense and manufacturing – that support these advanced technologies.”
GRIMM worked with The Right Place, Inc., a regional nonprofit economic development organization focused on helping companies identify possible sites and connect them with workforce development resources in West Michigan, and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) to secure funding and space for the facility, which will be located in the village of Sparta, MI. The opening of the facility is being supported by a $216,000 performance-based grant from the Michigan Business Development Program. GRIMM also plans to invest $621,000 over the next three years to grow its presence in the region while it creates 27 new high tech jobs in the same period.
“West Michigan has emerged as a major tech destination. Our location provides proximity to a number of critical industries that call Michigan home – advanced manufacturing, aerospace, defense and mobility,” said Jennifer Wangler, Business Development Manager, The Right Place, Inc. “We are thrilled that GRIMM, a company dedicated to solving these immense cybersecurity challenges, has chosen to put its roots down in the greater Grand Rapids region – we have infrastructure, talent, a robust industrial base and a business-friendly climate that will help enable GRIMM’s success.”
GRIMM initially looked at opening its first Michigan-based facility for access to the state’s talented pool of technology workers as well as the region’s historic leadership in advanced manufacturing. GRIMM’s research lab will serve as a regional hub for its automobility and embedded systems research practices given its proximity to Detroit and the greater Michigan business community – home to a large number of automotive industry Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs), suppliers, and other industry stakeholders as well as hundreds of aerospace-related companies.
(Source: BUSINESS WIRE)
23 May 18. ‘North Korea Is A Cyber Super Power:’ Former ROK Commander. More than 3.5 million Americans and South Koreans could be casualties should North Korea attack Camp Humphrey, the huge American military base.
The camp, thought to be the most likely target for a North Korean nuclear weapon should war occur, is south of the South Korean capital, Seoul, but if Kim Jong Un used the most powerful nuclear weapon likely in his possession, RAND expert Bruce Bennett estimates 715,000 South Koreans and Americans would die in the blast. To add some perspective to his analysis, Bennett estimated causalities from a two-kilogram biological weapon — up to 85,000. deaths — and up to 110,000 deaths from a one-ton chemical weapon. Yes, up to 85,000 deaths from two little kilograms of a biological agent.
There was much more grim news on the same day that President Trump appeared to prepare the world for delay or cancellation of the planned June 12 summit with Kim. Reviewing the challenges of war against North Korea — whom he described as the equals of the Israelis as innovators — a former senior South Korean commander characterized North Korea as a “cyber superpower.” Just to make sure everyone of the roughly 1,400 people here at the Lanpac conference put on by the Association of the US Army, got his point, retired Lt. Gen. In-Bum Chun, said: “I repeat– North Korea is a cyber power.”
He also noted that just about all North Korean armored vehicles carry MANPAD missiles so he thinks it unlikely helicopters would be able to fly against Kim’s forces except at night. Apache helicopters are, of course, a key tool against armored vehicles.
Bennett, the RAND expert, added that South Korea also faces a very serious national security problem as its population ages. As that happens, the South will no longer be able to field an active Army of more than 300,000, which he estimates is not enough to “convince China to withdraw” from the peninsula in the event of war. He said reserves could help, but South Korean reservists train a paltry three days a year so that’s not much of an option right now.
Add to all this an even more fundamental obstacle to military success against Kim: the North Korean people. “The biggest problem I see is the North Korean people,” retired Lt. Gen. In-Bum told the conference. The country is beset and bound by a network of surveillance “that would put East Germans to shame.”
But there is some hope in all this. The general thinks information operations are “the way ahead,” saying the US and South Korea are not putting enough emphasis on this: “We have the greatest ideas on earth — of democracy and freedom.” He didn’t say it, but, after all, East Germany split open, the Soviet Union fell and hundreds of millions of humans no longer live in totalitarian nightmares. (Source: Breaking Defense.com)
23 May 18. UK launches new artificial intelligence lab at Dstl. UK Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson has launched the new artificial intelligence (AI) hub at the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) in Porton Down, Salisbury.
The launch was announced at the joint US-UK Defence Innovation Board meeting conducted to explore major areas of co-operation between the nations and ensure military capabilities into the future.
Williamson said: “The relationship we have with our US partners is indispensable to both our nations. In the face of evolving global threats, we must harness new technologies and approaches to stay ahead of our adversaries and keep us safe.
“Today’s meeting of military and scientific minds from both sides of the Atlantic encourages our best and brightest to develop new capabilities in everything from AI and autonomous vehicles to advanced cyber and robotics.”
To support the UK Ministry of Defence’s (MoD) commitment to deliver future military capabilities, Dstl’s new facility will focus on AI, machine learning, and data science in the field of defence.
Built to carry out high-level research on areas ranging from autonomous vehicles to intelligent systems, the new AI hub will help improve the country’s capabilities in the application of AI-related technologies in order to meet defence and security-related challenges.
The hub will also engage in countering fake news, use data to deter and de-escalate conflicts, and provide increased computer network defences and improved decision aids for commanders. It will provide the UK MoD with opportunities to help keep people safe from different future defence and security threats. (Source: army-technology.com)
21 May 18. Syncsort Advances Security Strategy with Acquisition of Townsend Security’s IBM i Data Privacy Products. Acquired Products and New Reseller Agreement with Townsend Security Strengthen Syncsort’s IBM i Security Offering to Meet Customers’ Critical Compliance and Data Protection Requirements.
Syncsort, the global leader in Big Iron to Big Data software, today announced it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire IBM i encryption, tokenization, authentication, FTP and SIEM integration products from Townsend Security, a Washington-state based provider of data privacy software. Additionally, the companies are announcing a partnership agreement for Syncsort to resell Townsend Security’s Alliance Key Manager product. The acquired products handle key use cases for encryption of data at rest, encryption of data in motion, SIEM integration, secure FTP and two-factor authentications for IBM i. These products and the new partnership further extend Syncsort’s leadership in IBM i security and high availability products, and address the encryption key management needs of their enterprise customers. The two companies will work together on new innovations in cross-platform encryption.
Townsend Security’s Alliance Key Manager enterprise key management solution for IBM i, IBM z, Windows and Linux supports key database and cloud management platforms and complements the IBM i encryption and authentication offerings Syncsort has acquired. Townsend Security serves over 3,000 companies worldwide with NIST-validated and FIPS 140-2 compliant solutions to meet encryption and key management requirements in PCI DSS, HIPAA, FISMA, GDPR and other regulations.
“The increased focus on data privacy, including new regulations like GDPR, is raising pressure on IT to meet growing compliance requirements. The addition of Townsend Security’s IBM i products extends our unique capabilities to help IBM i users tackle these challenges. The technical and product direction of Townsend’s security software is a natural fit with Syncsort’s IBM i security strategy, making the acquired solutions a great fit for our Syncsort Assure product portfolio,” said Josh Rogers, CEO, Syncsort. “Additionally, encryption and key management have become a critical aspect of security and compliance management. Our partnership with Townsend Security addresses these needs by helping enterprises reduce risk, support business continuity and demonstrate compliance with regulations like PCI DSS, HIPAA and GDPR.”
Townsend Security’s Alliance Key Manager provides encryption key management and encryption services to a wide set of relational database solutions, big data solutions and blockchain platforms. With out of the box integrations for the IBM i, Microsoft SQL Server, MongoDB, and a wide variety of SDKs and client-side applications, enterprises can easily protect private information.
“Today’s business environments require data be sent outside the organization to partners, vendors and customers. This complicates compliance strategies, and makes it increasingly difficult to prevent the data getting into the wrong hands because of employee error or malicious attacks,” said Patrick Townsend, Founder and CEO, Townsend Security. “Syncsort, with their global market presence and channel and direct sales organizations, will be a great partner in extending the success of the IBM i security products, as well as our Alliance Key Manager. Their focus on optimizing, assuring and integrating data, provides a rich environment for innovation.”
The acquisition and partnership help Syncsort deliver on its ongoing commitment to strengthening the IBM i platform and to companies that rely on its performance and resilience to drive their businesses forward. An additional delivery on this strategy, also announced today, is new, internally-developed software that formats and forwards IBM i machine log data to Splunk for advanced analytics to support SIEM and ITOA initiatives. Koley Jessen served as legal advisor to Syncsort. (Source: BUSINESS WIRE)
18 May 18. With electronic warfare, the Army needs to move fast, even with broken things. If knowing is half the battle, operating without any immediate awareness of the electromagnetic spectrum risks starting every fight half-beaten. Such is the nature of this mostly invisible domain, where signals and sensors roam but human eyes are limited to the aptly named visible part of the spectrum. To operate on the modern battlefield, soldiers need some way to see the otherwise-invisible spectrums around them, and at the 17th Annual C4ISRNET conference, attendees got a peek into what goes into getting a meaningful capability in the hands of those that need it.
It doesn’t even require getting it right the first time.
“If we have the wrong piece of equipment out there, but we have a piece of equipment out there, we can learn from that,” said Col. Mark Dotson, the Army Training and Doctrine Command Capability Manager for electronic warfare and spectrum management operations at the U.S. Army Cyber Center of Excellence. Dotson was speaking to the perpetual challenge of the Pentagon specifically and acquisitions more generally. In the time it takes to formulate a perfect tool, iterate that tool in a lab, and then field it, the situation has changed and the tool has at best diminished utility.
While Dotson doesn’t work specifically in acquisitions, he works adjacent to acquisitions, and that means figuring out what soldiers need, what soldiers need right now, and what soldiers will need in the future. To get to that future, the world where the full electromagnetic spectrum is rendered visible and intelligible to those who need it, means defining capabilities broadly, iterating design in the field as much as possible, and making meaningful updates to the tools troops have with them. In other words, it means treating weapons, especially non-kinetic ones, like software.
Asked for a specific example, Dotson cited the Electronic Warfare Planning and Management Tool (EWPMT), which lets commanders see what is happening in the spectrum, make sure no signals are interfering with each other, and track attacks like jamming that happen invisibly but create tangible outcomes. EWMPT rolled out in 2016, and is designed to be upgraded in stages, allowing people in the field to have something while future parts are crafted to meet new needs. Yet even the planned iteration schedule wasn’t enough, so the team rolled out a real wizard solution.
“If you look at our electronic warfare planning and management tool, it was designed to come out in four sets, four capability drops,” Dotson said. “But it was not meeting what the warfighter needed downrange, so we sent out advanced versions called ‘Raven Claw’ and we’re learning from that. It’s the same basic tool but with more capability, and it’s providing feedback, injected into the program of record for next capability drop.”
As is the nature of war, this need for new capabilities was driven by encounters with changes made by adversaries. Raven Claw came about because of new Russian jamming techniques encountered in Europe, and the limitations of EWMPT as received. By adding a feature that lets the tool share data, Raven Claw makes it easier for soldiers to collaborate against whatever threats against them slither into the electromagnetic domain. Even more importantly, if the connection between units is lost, the Raven Claw can still retain the last portrait of electromagnetic threats around them. Capabilities in this space evolve fast, but they don’t evolve that fast, so the unit will likely still have some form of useful intelligence until it can link up again for a more complete picture.
Beyond the specific case of EWMPT, a focus more on open-ended needs from commanders and units in theater will shift acquisitions to allow both acquisitions and industry to more readily build the tools actually needed, when they’re needed.
“Frankly what happens is if you overspecify,” said Paul Bristow, chief network architect at General Dynamics Mission Systems, you’ve “stifled innovation by being too precise, and maybe put down something difficult to meet, with an end result is a lot of time and money getting to something that wasn’t what they needed.”
In order to keep pace with the future of war, the Army might have to accept fielding initially subpar capabilities, and then wait for the software that powers them to get updates and patches that deliver on the initial promise. Which is to say, to thrive in electronic warfare, the Army will have to come around to the way everyone already operates in electronic civilian life. (Source: C4ISR & Networks)
19 May 18. How a new cyber cell is protecting DoD networks. In the world of defensive cyber operations, it’s well known that support from intelligence is critical, yet difficult. Many officials in the national security realm have noted that the Department of Defense’s main defensive cyber teams ― the cyber protection teams that serve as SWAT teams during network incidents ― need more intelligence.
The same is true for Cyber Command’s global defensive arm Joint Force Headquarters-DoD Information Networks, which last year went as far as to set up an intel/ops fusion cell, now known as the J34. Officials have noted that this cell has made great progress.
“We discovered about a year ago that we were missing that ops/intel fusion so we dedicated some of our best and brightest people … to really look at specific things the adversary was doing and our countermeasures to mitigate our adversary’s capabilities,” Ignatius Liberto, JFHQ-DoDIN chief of staff, told Fifth Domain at the AFCEA Defensive Cyber Operations Symposium May 16 in Baltimore, Maryland.
The key is providing context of what is collected from the sensors on that exist on the network.
“The sensor data is just the ‘what’ of what’s going on and the intel tells us the so what, the why, the who and putting that together is of great value as we give that to combatant commands, to service and to agencies,” Col. Paul Craft, director of operations, J3 at JFHQ-DoDIN told Fifth Domain. “We will lay down what we see off every sensor, what’s going on. That goes in the daily report, then we do a deep dive on Thursdays and our larger commander update brief on what exactly is going down and where, down to who is being spearphished, who’s being whaled, what tunnels are opening up in what counties, what our concerns are.”
Liberto said the initial capability of the cell was recognized immediately by Cyber Command and “within their battle rhythm we briefed them specifically on those countermeasures and internal defensive measures to protect the DoDIN.” The cell, he added, is still maturing a year in. (Source: Fifth Domain)
18 May 18. BAE Systems and Dell EMC develop a scalable and secure cloud solution. BAE Systems and Dell EMC have partnered to create a federated secure cloud that is flexible enough to power agency-level IT modernisation or support smaller, forward-operating units.
The BAE Systems, Dell EMC solution arrives mission-ready and pre-engineered embedded with customisable Dell EMC and VMware technologies. This enables the companies to shorten the typical lead-time required to deliver and stand-up a federated cloud solution, Dell EMC’s Steve Harris, senior vice-president and general manager, said in a statement.
Additionally, the security credentials required to operate in a secure government environment are included. The two companies realised that people needed a ubiquitous design, Peder Jungck, vice-president and general manager of intelligent solutions within BAE Systems, told Jane’s. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
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21 May 18. UK nuclear defence programme to cost £51bn over 10 years. National Audit Office assesses total outlay for the first time. The cost of building and maintaining the UK’s nuclear defence programme will add up to £50.8bn over the next 10 years, the UK’s public spending watchdog has said. The National Audit Office predicted a £2.9bn shortfall on the programme in that period, assuming the Ministry of Defence delivers the cost-cutting it has promised. The assessment is the first time the NAO has looked at the cost of the entire network of programmes, equipment and people needed for the UK’s nuclear deterrent between 2018 and 2028. As well as itemising completion of the current Astute submarines, the report looks at the costs of building the new Dreadnought class that will eventually replace the four Vanguard nuclear-armed boats from the early 2030s. The report showed that the top four suppliers — Rolls-Royce, BAE Systems, Babcock International and AWE Management — have won 97 per cent of contracts for nuclear defence. AWE, a grouping of Lockheed Martin, Jacobs Engineering and Serco, which manages sites and delivers the nuclear weapons capability, holds contracts worth a total of £25bn running over 25 years to 2024. BAE Systems, which designs and builds the submarines, has 27 per cent of defence nuclear related contracts worth a total of £12.9bn over 28 years to 2025. Rolls-Royce, which provides the propulsion systems for the nuclear-powered subs, has contracts worth £4.7bn over 16 years to 2023. Finally, Babcock International, which provides maintenance, overhaul and support services, has contracts worth £4.2bn over eight years. The MoD has struggled in the past to get its huge suppliers to deliver on time and to cost, the report warned. Recommended UK defence spending May pledges £600m boost for nuclear submarines On the Dreadnought programme “commercial arrangements did not provide incentives for contractors to complete work on schedule and within budget”, it said, though it added that recent contracts had been changed. The NAO said recent efforts to reorganise management of the defence nuclear capability — including the creation of a Defence Nuclear Organisation and a submarine delivery body — were promising. The government was attempting to replicate the successful elements of the aircraft carrier programme, when main contractors worked together in an alliance that co-ordinated production, delivery and cost targets. “The department has now made some positive changes as to how it manages the nuclear enterprise and has agreed commercial arrangements designed to improve cost and performance,” said Amyas Morse, the head of the NAO.
24 May 18. Is the US out as Turkey’s top Western arms dealer? Britain may replace the U.S. as Turkey’s major Western weapons supplier, as the two European nations are set to take a “strategic” turn in an already growing defense relationship.
Turkey and Britain have been negotiating a comprehensive trade agreement in anticipation for the latter’s exit from the European Union.
According to a British diplomat in Ankara, the two NATO allies agree on the importance of “doing the maximum in their capacity in the field of defense.”
“Both partners have a long-term, strategic view of their cooperation on defense technologies,” he said.
A Turkish presidential aide said both countries agree “a significant part of the [post-Brexit] trade deal will involve defense technologies and cooperation on several systems.”
Defense cooperation was a major part of government-to-government talks during Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s state visit to London on May 15. Turkey’s top procurement officer, Ismail Demir, was, among other senior officials, in Erdogan’s delegation.
“There were several rounds of discussions between officials and company executives,” said one Turkish procurement official who was in Erdogan’s delegation. “There will be follow-on meetings before new programs and their partnership modalities mature.”
Britain is the only European heavyweight with no occasional rifts with Turkey’s Islamist strongman, Erdogan, over Ankara’s increasingly visible democratic deficit. Instead, according to a London-based Turkey specialist, Britain is focused on trade and transactional relations with the country. “That keeps the Turks happy and trade ties prosper,” he said.
A senior Turkish diplomat noted that “Turkey is one of Britain’s most strategic post-Brexit trade partners. In turn, we view the kingdom as a reliable partner in sensitive defense technologies.”
Industry gets involved
During Erdogan’s London visit, three Turkish companies signed a deal with Mira, a British specialist in vehicle test systems and autonomous vehicles. The Turkish companies in the new venture are Katmerciler, a privately owned armored and anti-riot vehicles manufacturer, and electronic systems producers Savronik and Delta. Katmerciler says it wants to specialize in unmanned land vehicles.
The four-company agreement aims to bolster cooperation in the field of unmanned technologies. It involves co-development programs, production in Turkey, and sales to Turkey, Britain and other countries.
Katmerciler most recently produced and tested its remote-controlled UKAP firing platform, mounted with the SARP remote-controlled stabilized gun system that features satellite communications. The SARP was developed by military electronics specialist Aselsan, Turkey’s largest defense company.
Mira, based in Midlands, Britain, provides various testing, product design and development research services, including next-generation transportation technology to the automotive, aerospace, railway and other industrial sectors. In July 2015, HORIBA acquired Mira to expand its vehicle development and testing business, as well as contribute to the development of next-generation mobility such as autonomous vehicles. The HORIBA Group, made up of 48 companies in 27 countries, provides analytical and measurement systems.
Turkish and British officials also have agreed to give pace to a joint landmark program. “The TF-X program will soon gain remarkable pace,” said the Turkish procurement official from Erdogan’s delegation, referring to the effort to develop and produce Turkey’s first indigenous fighter jet.
Under a $125m agreement, BAE Systems is providing know-how for the program’s conceptual design phase. On April 26, two Turkey-based contractors of the TF-X program, Aselsan and Turkish Aerospace Industries, signed a memorandum of understanding to share work on the planned aircraft, including a national radar, electro-optical systems, mission-control systems and integration of these systems to the future aircraft.
Earlier this year, the Turkish government earmarked an initial investment of 4.817bn liras (U.S. $1.016bn) on the conceptual design phase. The investment plan has been taken under a government incentive scheme.
Congress gets involved
The deepening of defense cooperation in general and the co-production effort for TF-X comes in the wake of a U.S. Congress bipartisan bill would prevent the transfer of F-35 fighter jets to Turkey and keep the country from establishing a maintenance depot for the stealth fighters.
Turkey is one of six prime F-35 partner nations and has ordered 116 stealth fighters.
The bill is in retaliation to a Turkish decision to acquire the Russian-made S-400 long-range air and anti-missile defense system. This would be the first S-400 system ever deployed on a NATO member country’s soil.
“In a way, what we see here is Britain emerging as Turkey’s new major Western weapons supplier, moving ahead to replace the historic U.S. role,” a London-based Turkey specialist said. “I can see that the Turks are giving a message to the U.S.: ‘You no longer are a sole-source supplier, and we can easily replace you with other Western suppliers.’ ”
Potentially further bolstering co-production efforts for TF-X, Rolls-Royce has offered Turkey its EJ2000 engine to power the aircraft in the making. The EJ200 is a collaborative engine between Rolls-Royce, MTU, Avio and ITP.
The consortium established EUROJET Turbo GmbH in the late 1980s. Rolls-Royce says the technology of EJ200 makes it both smaller and simpler in layout than current engines of a similar thrust class, while giving it lower fuel consumption and an unprecedented power-to-weight ratio.
In 2015, Rolls-Royce signed a memorandum of understanding with Turkey’s state scientific research institute to open an “advanced manufacturing technology center” in Turkey.
But a Turkish firm, state-controlled Tusas Engine Industries, also wants to design and build an engine for the TF-X. In addition to TEI, most recently, a Russian defense company executive said his firm, Rostec, would propose an engine co-production plan to Turkey. (Source: glstrade.com/Defense News)
22 May 18. Airbus withdraws arbitration demand over $3.7bn helicopter deal. The Polish General Counsel has announced that Airbus Helicopters has withdrawn its application for international arbitration over its dispute with Poland.
“Airbus Helicopters S.A.S. and Airbus S.E. have withdrawn their application for arbitration against the Republic of Poland submitted on the basis of the Polish-Dutch investment protection agreement,” the state office said in a statement.
However, the institution admits the European group did not waive its claims against Poland, which means that Airbus could still demand financial compensation for the canceled deal that was estimated to be worth about 13.5bn zloty (U.S. $3.7bn).
In 2015, the Polish government selected the group’s offer to supply 50 H225M Caracal helos. Other contenders in the competition included Lockheed Martin’s subsidiary PZL Mielec, which makes the Black Hawk, and Leonardo offshoot PZL Swidnik, which produces the AW149.
Airbus Helicopters filed for arbitration after the deal was scrapped by the new Cabinet, and in October 2016, the Polish Ministry of Economic Development ended its negotiations on an offset deal with the producer.
In 2017, the Defence Ministry relaunched the helo tender and modified its scope to acquire combat search and rescue helicopters. Last September, the ministry said it obtained offers from Lockheed Martin’s Sikorsky and PZL Mielec, Airbus Helicopters, and Leonardo’s PZL Swidnik. (Source: Defense News)
23 May 18. Pentagon Moving to Expedite Weapons Exports to Allied Nations. The Defense Department is implementing a series of initiatives aimed at expediting weapons sales to foreign partners, said the undersecretary of defense for acquisition and sustainment May 23. One of the Pentagon’s top priorities is to better streamline the foreign military sales process, said Ellen Lord during remarks at the National Defense Industrial Association’s Special Operations Forces Industry Conference in Tampa, Florida. Lord’s office wants to “promote allied readiness by enhancing military capacity through targeting improvements in foreign military sales,” she said.
The effort aligns with Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis’ push to strengthen alliances and partnerships, she said.
“History is very clear — nations with strong allies thrive while those without them decline,” Lord said. “Interoperability underpins this line of effort as it is a priority for operational concepts, modular force elements, communications, information sharing and weapon systems.”
One way to get at the issue is through streamlining the FMS process that is often bogged down with unnecessary red tape, she said.
“This is something that hits pretty close to home with me having been in industry for 33 years and going to international air shows, talking with international partners and allies who wanted U.S. technology,” she said. “They believed it was the premier technology, but we could not sell it to them because it was taking so long.”
Some of those nations eventually chose to purchase weapons from other countries. Foreign officials would say, “We’re going to go with the Russian alternative, we’re going to go with the Chinese alternative because we know we can get it quickly. We know that it might fail 80 to 90 percent of the time, but we will have something,” Lord said. “That’s a missed opportunity for the U.S. and we’re going to make sure we do everything possible to improve upon that.”
Lord’s office is encouraging exportability to be baked into defense industry products from the start. It is also embarking on an effort to better catalog common FMS customizations that countries often request.
“We’re cataloging and pricing the most common features that are used to customize a system, whether that be a helicopter or anything else,” Lord said. Doing so could speed up awards to around 30 days in some cases, she added.
The effort is expected to be completed by the end of this year, she said. One of the first programs being reviewed under this initiative is the UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter, she noted.
The Pentagon is also looking at other ways to take down roadblocks to successful international sales, Lord said. The fiscal year 2017 National Defense Authorization Act included language that required all FMS contracts to be firm-fixed price, she noted.
“This is significantly slowing a process that we want to speed up,” she said. “We need to have the flexibility to use the right contract type for the right effort.”
President Donald Trump’s national security presidential memorandum regarding U.S. conventional arms transfer policy, which was released in April, is intended to facilitate exports, she noted.
This is “something that many of us have been working on for many years,” Lord said. “The policy calls for an overhaul of U.S. arms export rules meant to better align policy with national and economic security interests and to make the export process more streamlined and predictable.”
If federal agencies can collectively and effectively implement these initiatives, it will increase the number of international sales agreements and, “just as importantly, quickly get those customers on contract so that we are competitive in the global marketspace,” Lord said.
Trump directed federal agencies to develop an implementation plan for his new arms sales policies within 60 days of the release of his memorandum.
(Source: glstrade.com/National Defense)
23 May 18. GAO rules against Sikorsky in UH-1N replacement predecisional bid protest. Key Points:
- GAO rules against Sikorsky in its UH-1N replacement predecisional bid protest
- This paves the way for the USAF to award a long-awaited UH-1N replacement contract
The US Government Accountability Office (GAO) on 22 May denied in part and dismissed in part Sikorsky’s predecisional bid protest of the US Air Force’s (USAF’s) UH-1N replacement solicitation.
The decision paves the way for a long-awaited contract award from the USAF to replace its ageing Bell Helicopter UH-1N Huey helicopters. These aircraft perform tasks such as missile silo security and VIP transport in the Washington area, among others.
USAF spokesperson Major Emily Grabowski in February anticipated a contract award between April and June. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
21 May 18. Airbus proposes H135 for US Navy helicopter trainer replacement. Airbus Helicopters has announced plans to offer its H135 aircraft for the US Navy’s planned helicopter trainer replacement programme. The H135 helicopter features enhanced manoeuvrability, high visibility and low vibration levels, making it well-suited for use as a rotorcraft for military pilot training applications. The helicopter is equipped with advanced technologies and would provide instructor pilots with an optimised platform for US Navy training missions.
Airbus Helicopters president and North America Region head Chris Emerson said: “The H135 is a market-leading twin-engine, multi-mission helicopter performing the primary training mission for some of the finest militaries in the world.”
The helicopter is noted to have accumulated more than 4.5 million flight hours and its operational training readiness has consistently averaged greater than 90%, which demonstrates the aircraft’s viability for US Navy pilot-training exercises.
The 39.7ft-long H135 helicopter can reach fast cruise speeds of up to 136k.
In addition, it is able to perform a wide range of operations and can land almost anywhere, while carrying an increased payload over longer distances than other rotorcraft of the same class.
Emerson added: “When paired with Airbus’ unrivalled support for the lifetime of the airframe, the H135 is the right solution, both technically and economically, for the US Navy.
“As a twin-engine helicopter, the H135 provides a training environment most similar to the navy’s warfighting rotorcraft fleet, creating opportunities for cost and operational synergies compared to a single-engine trainer.”
The aircraft is integrated with the company’s Helionix technologies and includes an advanced glass cockpit featuring a modern human machine interface (HMI), which is among the most advanced systems of its kind available for the light multi-purpose helicopter class.
The H135 is also a fitted with a crash-resistant fuel system and energy absorbing seats, as well as fuselage and landing gear. (Source: naval-technology.com)
18 May 18. Boeing cleared to begin preparatory work on Apache multiyear contract. Boeing has been authorised to begin preparatory work on a USD3.4bn multiyear contract to supply newbuild and remanufactured AH-64E Apache Guardian attack helicopters to the US Army and Saudi Arabia, a company official told Jane’s on 17 May.
The authorisation to begin work on lots 7-11 production comprising 268 Apaches came in the form of a USD43.5m contract modification issued by the Department of Defense on 16 May. “With this action, the US Army is authorising Boeing to begin work prior to definitisation on scope and pricing,” the company official said. The USD3.4bn deal awarded in March 2017 is the first multiyear contract for the Apache, and includes crew trainers, ground support equipment, spares, logistics, and engineering technical services. Including another contract modification for USD184.9m, this deal now stands at approximately USD3.6bn. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
18 May 18. Warthog replacement anyone? Former Air Force officers say to think beyond light attack aircraft. As the Air Force contemplates whether to buy a new fleet of light attack aircraft, a duo of former Air Force officers are pressing for an even wider revival of the attack aircraft inventory that could include a light reconnaissance plane or even a purpose-built replacement to the A-10 Warthog. Fielding a light attack aircraft, or OA-X, should only be the Air Force’s first step, wrote retired Lt. Col. Michael Buck and retired Maj. Gen. Lawrence Stutzriem, both of the Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies, in a paper on light combat aircraft released May 18. The service could also benefit from pursuing follow-on aircraft that could fill roles that continue to be in high demand by Central Command, such as a light ISR aircraft or R/A-X; a replacement to the venerable A-10 Warthog close air support plane or A/X-2; or an attack version of the future T-X training jet called A/T-X.
“If we develop a long-term program of continuous development, this I think will pay off in spades, with the revitalization of the attack enterprise that allows the fourth and fifth-gen high-end assets to work more on near-peer threats,” Buck said during a Friday roll out of the paper.
Embarking on an attack aircraft renaissance would be a huge change for the Air Force, which has largely backed away from attack plane procurement in the last 35 years.
During the Vietnam War, the United States built up a fleet of attack aircraft, which it largely maintained into the 1980s even as numbers of bombers and fighter jets decreased, wrote Mike Benitez, an Air Force major, in a 2017 essay for War on the Rocks.
That all changed when the Cold War and the Gulf Wars ended. In 1991, the Air Force retired the A-7 and A-37 and cut its A-10 Warthog inventory, leaving the remaining Warthogs as the only purpose-built attack planes left in the service.
However, there are signs that the Air Force could warm to the idea of building the attack aircraft inventory back up.
Jim Dunn, Air Combat Command’s deputy director of plans, programs and requirements, stressed on Friday that the service is focused on the light attack experiment, and that there are currently no plans to proceed with future demonstrations of a light ISR plane or the other concepts floated by Buck and Stutzriem.
“But a good idea is a good idea, and [ACC commander] General [Mike] Holmes clearly supports the idea of moving forward with light attack; he’s been on the record [that] there’s also interest in a light ISR platform that’s out there,” Dunn said during the rollout.
“So I don’t think there’s anything that’s off the table — we will continue to look at [it]. But right now we have no programs of record that are doing this.”
Holmes first pitched the idea of testing a light ISR plane last year, but so far the Air Force has not moved forward with the concept.
Buck envisions a light ISR aircraft, or R/A-X, as a “somewhat developmental” plane exemplified by the Scorpion jet produced by Textron. He pointed to Scorpion’s fuel efficiency, speed and large payload bay as key characteristics for an R/A-X.
An R/A-X will help the Air Force satisfy its reconnaissance requirements — currently only 30 percent of combatant commander demands for ISR are being met — and “give us the ability to scale our intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance as necessary,” Buck said.
“And if we can get to this in four to five years and produce them in sufficient quantities, and continue along the model of continuous improvement and development, particularly with open mission systems architecture allowing rapid upgrades and responsive changes to avionics capabilities, that would be greatly beneficial.”
The service could also modify its future training jet, the T-X, and use it as a future attack plane called A/T-X, Buck said. The Air Force is set to select a T-X design this summer from a pool of competitors that include a Lockheed Martin-Korea Aerospace Industries team, a Boeing-Saab team and Leonardo.
And eventually, when the Air Force gets ready to sunset the A-10, it can field a direct replacement or A/X-2, he said.
One of the competitors in the light attack experiment has already pushed back on the idea that multiple lines of effort need to exist.
Taco Gilbert, Sierra Nevada Corp.’s vice president of integrated tactical solutions, was asked about the light ISR opportunity during a phone call Monday with reporters. Sierra Nevada Corp and Embraer are currently engaged in the light attack experiment with the A-29 Super Tucano.
“You don’t have to add [ISR], it’s inherent in the [A-29] platform,” he said. “The aircraft will accept any 15-inch sensor that is out there, and certainly we have swapped sensors around between experiments and different customers, tailoring whenever it is required. … Certainly, that points to another mission set that the aircraft has.” (Source: Defense News)
REST OF THE WORLD
24 May 18. Canadian award to Leonardo undercuts Sikorsky’s helo offer.
The Canadian government will begin negotiations with Leonardo for a modernization program for search and rescue helicopters, undercutting a competing effort by Sikorsky.
Leonardo will be awarded a sole-source contract to upgrade 14 CH-149 Cormorant helicopters, which will cost the government more than $1bn, Canada announced Thursday.
The aircraft have been operated by the Royal Canadian Air Force for search and rescue missions since the year 2000. AgustaWestland, a subsidiary of Leonardo, originally built the helicopters.
“The Cormorant Mid-Life Upgrade project will extend rotary-wing SAR services to at least 2040 by upgrading the existing CH-149 Cormorants and augmenting the fleet size,” Department of National Defence spokeswoman Ashley Lemire said.
Up to seven additional AW101 helos, of which the Cormorant is a variant, will be acquired, she added.
The move undercuts recent efforts by Sikorsky to convince Canada to buy its civilian S-92 helicopters for search and rescue, instead of embarking on the modernization plan.
The Air Force is now studying whether to buy AW101s, lease them or put into service the former U.S. presidential helicopters that Canada purchased in 2011 for spare parts. Those VH-71 helicopters are also a variant of the AW101.
The Canadian military acquired nine VH-71s plus spare parts from the U.S. after then-President Barack Obama pulled the plug on the expensive project and the White House decided not to use the helicopters at all.
Lemire said the Cormorant helicopter upgrade project also includes the purchase of a CH-149 simulator, updated training devices, publications and infrastructure to support the training of aircrew and maintainers for the modernized aircraft. Specific costs are still to be worked out, but the project is estimated to be more than $1bn.
“Capability enhancements will include replacement and modernization of avionic, communication and sensor system components,” Lemire explained. “Other upgrades including replacement of older systems and new systems that improve operational effectiveness may be considered following further industry consultation.”
Lemire said acquiring a simulator will also cut down on training costs since Air Force crews are currently sent to the United Kingdom for helicopter training involving simulators. (Source: Defense News)
24 May 18. Australian and US universities partner on defence research. Four Australian universities have been selected to conduct joint research with US universities on priority defence projects under the US Department of Defense Multidisciplinary University Research Initiative (MURI).
Griffith University, University of New South Wales and University of Technology Sydney will work with Duke University, the University of Oregon and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology on integrated quantum sensing and control for high fidelity qubit operations.
Sydney University and the University of New South Wales will partner with the University of Tennessee, Ohio State University and Virginia Polytechnic Institute on a project in material sciences.
Minister for Defence Industry Christopher Pyne congratulated the universities, saying the success was thanks to the Next Generation Technologies Fund, and was the first time Defence had funded Australian universities to work with their US counterparts.
While Australian universities could bid for MURI projects in the past, they were not eligible for grants from the US Department of Defense.
“The government is investing $25m in the Australian version of the MURI program, called AUSMURI, to facilitate joint research with the American universities,” Minister Pyne said.
“As these universities were chosen from a pool of over 400 proposals, this is a great outcome, one which shows that Australian researchers are world class.”
The Australian universities will each receive a grant of up to $1m per year for three years to support their research in Australia.
Defence and the US DoD have also selected the next topic eligible for funding under AUSMURI 2019 – active perception and knowledge exploitation in navigation and spatial awareness.
“Research in this area will enhance the manoeuvrability of people and autonomous platforms in environments where traditional navigation systems are ineffective,” the minister said.
“The AUSMURI program enables Defence to access the best research expertise from Australia and the US to develop game-changing military capabilities.” (Source: Defence Connect)
24 May 18. Australian Naval shipbuilding hearing rescheduled for June. The next hearing into the future of Australia’s naval shipbuilding industry will take place next month, after the previous hearing was cancelled when Defence refused to have the Naval Shipbuilding Advisory Board appear before the inquiry.
The next hearing will take place on 7 June in Canberra, with at least one member of the Naval Shipbuilding Advisory Board due to appear.
The upcoming hearing comes after the previously scheduled hearing for 2 May was cancelled when no members from the Naval Shipbuilding Advisory Board agreed to attend, a move that some senators labelled as a deliberate obstruction of the Senate.
Correspondence between the Senate economics committee and Defence was due to be released on 1 May, showing the refusal and ignored requests, but in the lead-up to the committee releasing this correspondence, Defence agreed to have one member appear before the committee at the next hearing.
The correspondence shows Defence rejected the invitation for the board to appear before the hearing scheduled for 2 May, which has now been postponed.
The correspondence also shows that on 28 March 2018, the committee invited the board to appear at a hearing in May 2018. Defence declined the request on 11 April.
On 16 April the committee responded to Defence insisting they attend and that they respond to the committee by 23 April. Defence did not respond to the request.
The board, which is chaired by Professor Donald Winter, was heralded by Minister for Defence Industry Christopher Pyne as “an important milestone in the government’s naval shipbuilding strategy” in 2016.
“The advisory board is representative of Australian and international expertise and will be a valuable asset in supporting the government’s plans for a secure, sustainable, long-term future for the Australian naval shipbuilding industry,” Minister Pyne said in December 2016.
Labor senator Kim Carr slammed the delay from the government and has questioned why the board, which has received over $2.8m in payments from the taxpayer, has continuously avoided the inquiry.
“It is a significant cause for concern that the hearing tomorrow has now been postponed due to the government’s repeated refusal to let the Naval Shipbuilding Advisory Board attend the Senate inquiry,” Senator Carr told Defence Connect.
“These are experienced consultants who are being paid extremely well to provide advice to various levels of government, but who have sought to avoid the scrutiny of the Senate on three occasions. What have they got to hide?
Centre Alliance senator Rex Patrick, a former submariner and defence contractor, at the time warned the Secretary of Defence and First Assistant Secretary may be referred to the privileges committee for contempt.
“The attendance of members of the board is obviously relevant to the Senate inquiry into the future of naval shipbuilding. It is extraordinary, and unacceptable, that Defence should wish to deny the committee the benefit of its advice and insights,” said Senator Patrick.
“In the hours leading up to the correspondence being published, Defence has blinked and verbally advised the committee that at least one member of the board will appear at the next hearing.
“Nonetheless, I am giving strong consideration to referring Secretary of Defence Greg Moriarty and First Assistant Secretary John Geering to the privileges committee for contempt. Causing a committee to postpone its work comes very close to the textbook definition of improper interference with the free exercise by the Senate of its inquiry power.”
This is not the first time such an issue has happened within Defence.
In February 2016, Defence refused the attendance of a departmental economist, Dr Robert Bourke, at senate estimates. After a summons was issued by the Senate on 11 February, a spillover hearing of the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade (FADT) legislation committee was held on 3 March 2016 with Dr Bourke in attendance.
In May 2017, Defence again refused to allow an officer from the Department to appear before the FADT committee at estimates. The officer had signed off on a one-month consultancy contract for $75,000 and was to be questioned on the value-for-money considerations made prior to authorising the contract. Defence backed down after a motion to summons was lodged in the Senate on 10 May 2017.
“This is the third time in as many years that Defence has deliberately obstructed the Senate in its duties and the matter needs to be brought to a head and resolved,” the Centre Alliance senator said.
“Enough is enough. While I appreciate that the Senate must exercise its powers with care and responsibility, there are circumstances when not exercising a power is irresponsible.”
The board is made up of strategic cyber security adviser and consultant Mike Burgess, former US assistant secretary of labor for employment and training Emily DeRocco, former chief engineer of US Naval Sea Systems Command and program manager for both Seawolf and Virginia Class programs Rear Admiral Thomas Eccles, former president of Ingalls Shipbuilding Irwin Edenzon, chief executive of Finlay Consulting Ronald Finlay, former US Naval Sea Systems Commander Vice Admiral William Hilarides, former Department of Education and Training secretary Lisa Paul, former vice president of submarines and fleet support at Newport News Shipbuilding Becky Stewart, and former Naval Sea Systems Commander Vice Admiral Paul Sullivan. ASC and its shareholder, Finance Minister Mathias Cormann, may also appear at the June hearing, along with representatives from Naval Group. (Source: Defence Connect)
23 May 18. Philippines to receive Cobra helicopter gunships from Jordan. The Philippines has confirmed it is to receive used U.S.-built Cobra helicopter gunships donated by Jordan, marking the first time the country will operate dedicated attack helicopters.
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte confirmed the donation of the helicopters in remarks reported by the official Philippine government news wire service. Duterte was speaking at an event marking the 120th anniversary of the Philippine Navy.
The helicopters are Bell AH-1F Cobra gunships currently used by the Royal Jordanian Air Force and were offered to the Philippines sometime in 2017. According to sources in the Philippines, officials from the Department of National Defense inspected the helicopters in Jordan in June last year.
The sources also told Defense News that Jordan had initially offered to donate four helicopters to the southeast Asian country, although this was later reduced to two. Jordan had earlier donated at least three Cobra helicopter gunships to Kenya from its fleet of almost 50 Cobras, which include ex-U.S. Army helicopters acquired in 2001 and 15 more from neighboring Israel in 2015.
The AH-1F Cobras being donated to the Philippines are capable of utilizing guided anti-tank missiles. The country has already taken delivery of the Israeli Rafael Spike Extended Range missile for its Navy’s fast-attack craft and selected the Spike Non Line Of Sight for its Leonardo AW159 Wildcat naval helicopters,
As such, integrating the Spike, which is already being used on Israel’s Cobra helicopters, would appear to be the likely route for the Philippines when funding is available.
The Philippines has been battling insurgencies on several fronts, including a five-month-long battle with Islamic State-linked militants who seized control of the city of Marawi in the southern Philippine island of Mindanao in May 2017.
The military took back the city after a protracted urban battle with the help of manned and unmanned surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft from the U.S. and Australia, although large parts of the city remain in ruin and is uninhabitable. During the battle, the Philippine Air Force conducted airstrikes using fixed-wing aircraft along with Leonardo A109E utility and Hughes MD-520MG light-attack helicopters, although the use of unguided bombs, rockets and gunfire resulted in several instances of friendly fire casualties when troops were accidentally hit by airstrikes while in close contact with the militants. (Source: Defense News)
24 May 18. Finally, IAF’s Jaguars to get upgrade. After a decade-long wait, the IAF will transform 80 ageing Jaguar fighters into highly capable, multi-role, combat aircraft, reports Ajai Shukla.
The Indian Air Force, after being criticised for spending $9.2bn on 36 Rafale fighter aircraft, is closing in on a far more prudent deal — the rejuvenation of 80 ageing Jaguar fighters into highly capable, multi-role, combat aircraft for a mere $1.5bn or so.
This long-delayed project, which was resurrected last month, involves replacing the Jaguar’s underpowered engines.
Separately, the updated fighter will get state-of-the-art avionics for striking ground targets more accurately, hitting maritime targets far out at sea, and winning aerial dogfights with enemy fighters.
For a decade, the Jaguar upgrade proposal has remained stalled on the issue of cost.
Honeywell was made responsible for ‘re-engining’ the Jaguar, and the United States firm quoted an unacceptable $2.5bn to $3bn for taking full responsibility to instal its new F-125IN engines in 80 Jaguars. Now, breaking that logjam, Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd has been nominated the lead integrator, while Honeywell has stepped back to the more restricted role of engine supplier.
HAL will buy F-125IN engines from Honeywell and install them in the Jaguars, replacing the current Rolls-Royce Adour 811 engines.
HAL chief, T Suvarna Raju, says his company can do the job more easily, and cheaply, than Honeywell, having built more than 145 Jaguars under license over the years.
“Installing the F-125IN requires 10-12 relatively minor modifications. HAL can handle this easily,” Raju says.
“The earlier tender stands withdrawn. In its place, HAL will take a quote from Honeywell for its engines and, after adding its own expenses, submit a ‘total project cost’. Based on that figure, the defence ministry will sanction the project. The contract will now be between the IAF and HAL,” said Raju.
The HAL chief says there will be no time-consuming competitive tendering, since Honeywell is the only vendor.
Rolls-Royce has declined to participate since they do not have an engine that meets the IAF’s specifications for the Jaguar.
Honeywell will require 36 months for the F-125IN engines to start rolling off the production line, but HAL wants to go ahead with engine integration, using two engines that Honeywell had built earlier when it was to have the lead role.
Raju says he recently travelled to Honeywell’s facility in Phoenix, Arizona, to ensure that they benefit from several years of work they have already done on integrating the F-125IN onto the Jaguar.
“We need to cut down on time and expense, and avoid re-inventing the wheel,” he points out.
Besides building two F-125 engines, Honeywell also bought a Jaguar airframe from the United Kingdom.
It remains to be seen whether the US firm will cooperate with HAL for mutual benefit, or demand financial compensation for the work it did earlier.
The first indicator, say defence ministry sources, will be the terms that Honeywell demands for supplying two engines to HAL — sale, rent, lease or gratis.
Of the 145 Jaguars that HAL built for the IAF, only 119 currently fly, comprising six IAF squadrons of about 20 fighters each.
Since 39 of these would complete their airframe lives by 2025 to 2030, the IAF considers it uneconomical to re-engine these.
That leaves 80 Jaguars, whose service lives would be extended to 2035 to 2040 with new engines.
With each of those fighters requiring two engines, and an additional maintenance reserve of 40 engines, HAL would require 200 F-125IN engines from Honeywell.
Aerospace industry experts estimate a price of $5m to $6m per engine, which would place Honeywell’s bill at a little over a billion dollars.
The remaining cost would be incurred in integrating the engines onto the fleet.
With engine supply starting only three years from the contract date, substantial numbers of re-engined Jaguars would probably materialise only after five years, around 2024.
IAF pilots joke that the Jaguar’s current engines are so underpowered that the fighter only gets airborne because the earth is round — and its curvature makes the ground drop away beneath the moving aircraft.
With the Rolls-Royce Adour 811 engines output (25 kiloNewtons of dry thrust and 37.5 kN with afterburners) being replaced by the F-125IN (27.7kN of dry thrust and 43.8kN with afterburners), Jaguar pilots believe they would have the last laugh. (Source: News Now/http://www.rediff.com)
22 May 18. Dutch Firm’s Report Clears Waters for Taiwan Submarine Upgrade. The navy is to modernize the two Hai Lung-class submarines in its fleet as part of a four-year program as planned, after Netherlands-based RH Marine green-lit the program’s technical feasibility, a Ministry of National Defense official said.
Modified from the Dutch Zwaardvis-class, the Hai Lung-class subs have been in service for more than 30 years of their 35-year life span, the official told the Chinese-language Liberty Times (sister paper of the Taipei Times) on condition of anonymity.
To enhance combat capabilities and to address a shortage of parts, the navy has planned numerous improvements, including equipping the pair with long-range heavy torpedoes from the US, and upgrading their electronic warfare and combat systems, he said.
The US last year approved the sale of Mark 48 torpedoes; the Chung Shan Institute of Science and Technology would be responsible for upgrading the electronic warfare and combat systems and RH Marine is to help with systems integration, the official said.
Given the subs’ small interiors and difficulty of integrating new systems with older ones, in April last year the navy sought assistance from RH Marine, he said.
The firm conducted a year-long evaluation and has completed the initial report on implementing the upgrades, the source said.
The institute is to start contracting and licensing procedures this year, while combat systems software design, equipment purchases and interface integration would begin next year, he said.
The submarines will be refitted from 2020 to 2022 to take advantage of their refurbishment cycles, he said.
The institute will furnish what equipment and components it can manufacture, while the remainder would be sourced from private companies, he said.
Ministry and institute officials approached representatives from an unnamed US defense manufacturer at the Taiwan-US Defense Business Forum held in Kaohsiung on May 10, he said.
The firm’s representatives tentatively agreed to sell the needed equipment and parts, he said. (Source: defense-aerospace.com/Taipei Times)
22 May 18. India’s LCA Mk 1A programme faces delays as IAF insists on additional requirements. Serial production of India’s indigenously developed Tejas Mk 1A Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) could face further delays as the Indian Air Force (IAF) demands the incorporation of new and upgraded systems.
Sources from within manufacturer Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) told Jane’s on 22 May that the IAF recently informed the state-owned aerospace company that the Mk 1A model needs to feature advanced ‘smart cockpit’ multi-function displays and identification friend-or-foe (IFF) systems.
Moreover, the service demands that digital map generators and upgraded radio altimeters be fitted onto the aircraft before it is approved for serial production.
Industry sources said that although some of these systems can be commercially sourced, integrating them with the software currently installed on the fighter’s mission computer would be “time-consuming” and could defer the fighter’s production schedule by about two years. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
22 May 18. Brazil launches Tucano modernisation programme. The Brazilian government is analysing proposals for the modernisation of 50 Embraer T-27 Tucano trainer aircraft flown by the air force’s Academia da Força Aérea military aviation school. The modernisation will be focused on the cockpit, replacing the analogue instruments with multifunctional displays and new avionics under a programme called Projeto T-27M. The intention is to install one 10-inch or two 6-inch displays plus two smaller displays for each of the two crewmembers. The new systems must not require structural modifications to the aircraft, which were delivered more than 30 years ago. The plan is to have two prototypes ahead of the main 48 production standard refits, with all 50 aircraft to be back in service within two years. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
21 May 18. Four major discriminators for Future Frigates decision. Independent think tank the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) has delivered a report examining the bids for the $35bn SEA 5000 project ahead of the government’s decision, which is expected to be announced this week. The report, by Andrew Davies, Michael Shoebridge and James Mugg, examines the strengths and weaknesses of each vessel in the competition, and identifies the four major factors that will decided the winning vessel and ultimately the future of Australia’s naval warship building industry.
The report argues the Navantia vessel is “almost certainly” the least risky of the three contenders from a project risk perspective, given Navantia would be able to start work relatively quickly as the Air Warfare Destroyer project winds down, a vessel designed by the Spanish company. The report also suggests the design would offer commonality with the Royal Australian Navy’s existing fleet, but says its downside is that the design has not been produced with ASW as its main mission.
“Its baseline design has more missile cells than either of the other contenders, and the Hobart Class AWD starting point brings with it the Aegis combat system and US Navy weapons from the start, unlike the other designs,” the report said.
“The Hobart Class pedigree means it’s a multipurpose combatant with ASW capabilities, rather than a design optimised from the start for ASW as its primary mission. Navantia Australia already has some 150 employees working in the shipbuilding and design domain, so winning the SEA 5000 contract would build on that foundation. There would be greater commonality with the RAN’s existing fleet than with the other options, and the potential for Australian industry to feed into Navantia’s global supply chain.”
The bid from Italian company Fincantieri will be looked upon favourably for its hangar capacity, ASW design and its Australian industry plan, and there is the added benefit that it is already a proven vessel since it is already in service with European navies. But there is a project risk in working with a new designer that has yet to play a role in the Australian shipbuilding industry, the report found.
“In terms of project risk, there’s the potential difficulty of working with a new designer that’s unfamiliar with the Australian shipbuilding environment. And the benefits of a vessel already in service are partially offset by the fact that practically none of the Italian FREMM’s major sensor and weapon systems – VLS, radar, CMS and possibly sonar – would be preferred for an Australian design,” the report said.
“The net result is that the main attractions of the Fincantieri design are its hangar capacity, its relatively new design and its ASW-specific systems. On balance, it’s well suited to the ASW-specialist role promulgated in the Defence White Paper. There’s considerable scope on the industrial side from Fincantieri’s substantial global fleet of both military and commercial vessels, opening up the possibility of Australian firms contributing to a broad global supply chain.”
The bid from the UK’s BAE Systems is considered to be the most modern design, with multiple ASW features on offer. The bid also offers an opportunity for Australian industry to enter a broad global supply chain, given variants of the vessel are on offer to Canada and Australia, and are currently being produced in the UK. Australian businesses are already supplying components for Batch 1 of the UK Type 26 program, and more are expected to support construction and equipment manufacture for Batch 2.
However, the obvious disadvantage is that the vessel is yet to hit the water and the Type 26 has no commonality with the AWD design, the most recent vessel to be built in Australia, meaning that there would be a substantial learning curve for production engineering and construction compared with the Navantia design, the report argued.
“The skills needed to build many of the advanced features incorporated in its design will take time to acquire in the Adelaide yards,” the report said.
“There’s a lot to like about the capability promised by the Type 26, and it’s the most modern design in the competition. It has several attractive ASW features as well as a multipurpose mission bay that will enable rapid configuration for other tasks. The downside is that its capabilities aren’t yet proven. The supply chain opportunities with the BAE Systems bid relate closely to its success in further Type 26 sales as well as to additional successful negotiations to gain access for Australian suppliers into the UK’s Type 26 program.”
Each bid has pros and cons and different risks, but ASPI has determined the four discriminators it believes will define the decision:
- ASW performance: It remains to be seen exactly how important ASW specialisation is, but both the Fincantieri and the BAE Systems designs seem to have an edge over Navantia’s. BAE has the advantage of the most modern design with advanced quietening techniques designed in, while Fincantieri also offers acoustic reduction measures and can provide for hangars for two ASW helicopters from its baseline design. (In the case of BAE, the judgement on capability relies on confidence in the design, not measured performance of a ship in the water).
- Project risk: Navantia has the advantages of workforce experience from the Hobart Class AWD program and having lived the lessons from that program, as well as already having integrated the Aegis combat system into the design. The shipyard advantages are lessened, however, by the fact that the future frigates will be built in a new facility and by the recent rundown of the AWD workforce.
- Industrial strategy: Fincantieri has the broadest market and supply chains because it builds both commercial and military ships for the global market, but the extent of Australian access to that global supply chain will depend on the details of the tender and the government’s ability to negotiate. Navantia’s military supply chain has commonality with the RAN’s Hobart Class, amphibious and at-sea replenishment ships. The scale of BAE’s program is still being defined. (It’s possible, of course, that either of these firms could be offering better intellectual property rights and more compelling supply chain involvement in their bids, which would change the assessment.)
- Cost: The Navantia design will probably be the most efficient to implement in Australia’s shipyards due to commonality with the AWD and is likely to be the least expensive option, unless significant design changes to achieve high-performance ASW requirements are imposed. The advanced capabilities and design of the Type 26 probably make it the most risky to start on here, and possibly the most expensive.
Regardless of which company wins the project, the nine vessels will be built in Adelaide, South Australia at the Osborne shipyard, however, whether ASC will play a large role in the build process remains to be determined. (Source: Defence Connect)
21 May 18. SEA 5000 Aegis integration an ‘orthodox activity’: Lockheed Martin Australia. In its review of the government’s $89bn Naval Shipbuilding Plan, the Australian National Audit Office (ANAO) highlighted the integration of the Aegis Combat Management System (CMS) on Australia’s Future Frigates as posing a risk level of “medium/high”. Defence Connect spoke with Lockheed Martin Australia, original equipment manufacturer (OEM) of Aegis, to take a deep dive on the complexity of the task and why the system is the best choice for Australia’s Future Frigates.
The Aegis CMS is an advanced system designed to deal with both air and surface and subsurface threats, and can include a ballistic missile defence capability, although the Australian government has not acquired it with this capability (yet).
“Government made the call to have an Aegis Combat Management System that maintains an option for government to include a BMD [ballistic missile defence] capability,” Defence told the ANAO.
While Australia’s Hobart Class Air Warfare Destroyers have the Aegis Weapon System, the Future Frigates Aegis CMS will include a tactical interface designed by Saab Australia, adding to the complexity of the task.
“The selection of the Aegis combat system for the Future Frigate allows Defence to draw upon its experience with the Hobart Class Destroyer, which also operates the Aegis combat system. The potential addition of the Aegis ballistic missile defence capability into this system … would be a new capability for the designers and shipbuilders to incorporate, while working to meet a compressed schedule,” the ANAO said.
While Lockheed Martin agrees with the ANAO’s assessment that combat system integration is a complex business, director of business development for Lockheed Martin Neale Prescott said it’s business as usual for the well-practised combat systems integrator, which has been integrating Aegis into naval ships around the world for more than 40 years.
“I think the key things are Aegis is deployed around the world. It’s deployed on a number of navies,” Prescott explained. “The United State Navy obviously, and Norway, Spain, South Korea, Japan and Australia. That covers about 107 ships and nine different classes of ship.
“The key thing there is yes, it’s a complex system, and yes, the integration is a complex activity, but we’ve had enormous experience with not only the design, but also the integration of it.
“In the context of SEA 5000, we see this as an orthodox activity.”
Prescott said the commonality between the Air Warfare Destroyers and the Future Frigates will be important for the Australian Navy as they look to operate the vessels as a task group, but also important for Australian industry, including Saab Australia and CEA Technologies, which has been selected to fit its CEAFAR radar on the Future Frigates. Saab Australia, CEA Technologies and Lockheed Martin have been working together for over three years on the Future Frigates, while Saab Australia and Lockheed martin are working on the Future Submarines’ combat systems integration, and have collaborated for over 12 years on surface combat system programs in Canada.
“What we have is commonality between the combat management systems of the Air Warfare Destroyers and the SEA 5000 frigates,” Prescott said. “That’s important because these ships are now going to operate as a task group, and they are going to not only protect themselves but they are going to have to protect ships within the task group like the LHD, and some of the other minor warfare ships.
“The benefit of Aegis is that it’s designed to have a growth path. The CMS in the Future Frigates is Baseline 9. The importance of that is that will enable the support costs associated with the two to be managed between them. It introduces a lot of capability, in particular a thing called common sourced library. I think the key thing there is that’s an enabler for SEA 5000.
“The inclusion of CEA and Saab in an integration sense, and a software development sense, Baseline 9 has been designed specifically to deal with the inclusion of products from a range of vendors. Then key amongst this also, our team’s done a lot of work looking at the Australian industrial piece, and now the percentage of Australian content is over 90 per cent. Quite an extraordinary effort I think, that we were very proud of that. We’ve got a team that’s already supporting the DDGs. That same team is growing now to support the frigates.”
Rob Milligan, program manager surface maritime Australia for Lockheed Martin, also dismissed the concerns of fitting Aegis to a frigate, explaining the integration activities remain the same whether the vessel is classed as a destroyer or a frigate.
“The Norwegian Fridtjof Nansen Class frigate, fitted with Aegis, is five and a half thousand tonnes, the Australian Navy’s DDG originates from the same root, it’s about six tonnes,” explained Milligan.
“It really doesn’t adjust the margins. All of the integration activities undertaken by Lockheed Martin, as the US Navy’s Combat System Engineering Agent (CSEA) for Aegis, are the same activities that have been undertaken for integration of Aegis into ships no matter what the navy; Australian, Japan, Korean, Norway and Spain. It’s the same series of activities.”
Milligan also made the case for the successful Future Frigates designer – whether that be BAE Systems, Fincantieri or Navantia – to have Lockheed Martin lead the charge on the integration of the CMS.
“Traditionally Australian shipbuilding, if you look at all the programs – Anzac frigates, the Adelaide class Frigates, the LHDs – by having the shipbuilder and the OEMs of the products responsible for integration in the build, which is essentially what’s highlighted in the ANAO report, it’s ensuring a well integrated designer, builder and supplier team, that absolutely maximises your chance of success in a shipbuilding program in Australia,” Milligan said.
“We have spent a lot of money training our people, almost a million dollars training Australians, we have Australians in the United States being trained on Aegis.
“For the last few years we’ve been sending people over. We are building a team of trained engineers and integrators who absolutely stand ready to support the endeavour that is the Future Frigate Program.” (Source: Defence Connect)
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
18 May 18. Bittium to develop tactical communications systems for Finland. Engineering company Bittium has secured a purchase order from the Finnish Defence Forces for the maintenance and further development of tactical communications systems and related products.
Under the €2.3m deal, the company will deliver Bittium’s Tactical Wireless Internet Protocol (IP) Network (TAC WIN) and Tough Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) systems for tactical IP calls and data transfer.
The project also includes delivery of technical support of the systems and the equipment, software support, system support maintenance and management, and new features development. (Source: army-technology.com)
23 May 18. Saab has received an order from the Swedish Defence Materiel Administration (FMV) concerning the upgrade of the Gripen C/D system. The order is valued at approximately SEK 224m. The order mainly involves improvements to and modifications of existing capabilities in the so-called MS20 upgrade, which was introduced across the Swedish Air Force Gripen fleet in 2016. The ordered upgrades concern central capabilities such as target acquisition, self-protection, communication and human-machine interaction, as well as a number of key support and training systems. The work will be carried out at Saab’s facilities in Gothenburg, Järfälla, Linköping and Arboga. Deliveries will take place between 2018 and 2020. (Source: defense-aerospace.com/Saab)
22 May 18. General Dynamics Ordnance and Tactical Systems, St. Petersburg, Florida, was awarded a $33,813,837 modification (BR01) to contract H92222-13-D-0013 for procurement of Army ground mobility vehicles 1.1 and associated kits. Work will be performed in St. Petersburg, Florida, with an estimated completion date of March 29, 2019. Fiscal 2017 and 2018 other procurement (Army) funds in the amount of $33,813,837 were obligated at the time of the award. U.S. Army Contracting Command, Warren, Michigan, is the contracting activity.
18 May 18. Lockheed Martin Missile and Fire Control, Dallas, Texas, was awarded a $20,078,000 modification (P00028) to contract W31P4Q-16-C-0102 to develop and qualify a modular rocket pod and launch tubes for Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System that will be adaptable to future missions. Work will be performed in Camden, Arizona, with an estimated completion date of Oct. 31, 2019. Fiscal 2018 research, development, test and evaluation funds in the amount of $7,954,994 were obligated at the time of the award. U.S. Army Contracting Command, Redstone Arsenal, Alabama, is the contracting activity.
22 May 18. Lockheed Martin Corp., Dallas, Texas, was awarded a $46,607,974 modification (0003) to contract W31P4Q-17-G-0001 for post-deployment build-8.1 Phased Array Tracking to Intercept Of Target Advanced Capability-3 system ground and flight test support. Work will be performed in Dallas, Texas, with an estimated completion date of April 30, 2022. Fiscal 2018 research, development, test and evaluation funds in the amount of $1,710,000 were obligated at the time of the award. U.S. Army Contracting Command, Red Stone Arsenal, Alabama, is the contracting activity.
22 May 18. Oshkosh Defense LLC, Oshkosh, Wisconsin, was awarded a $52,768,224 modification (0028) to contract W56HZV-15-D-0031 for recapitalized Heavy Expanded Mobility Tactical trucks, palletized load system (PLS) trucks, PLS trailers, and container transfer enhancement upgrade of M1076A0 PLSTs on the family of heavy tactical vehicles. Work will be performed in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, with an estimated completion date of Oct. 31, 2019. Fiscal 2018 other procurement (Army) funds in the amount of $52,768,224 were obligated at the time of the award. U.S. Army Contracting Command, Warren, Michigan, is the contracting activity.
22 May 18. Oshkosh Defense LLC, Oshkosh, Wisconsin, was awarded an $182,433,471 modification (0029) to contract W56HZV-15-D-0031 for recapitalized Heavy Expanded Mobility Tactical trucks, palletized load system (PLS) trucks, PLS trailers, and container transfer enhancement upgrade of M1076A0 PLSTs on the family of heavy tactical vehicles. Work will be performed in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, with an estimated completion date of Dec. 31, 2019. Fiscal 2016, 2017 and 2018 other procurement (Army) funds in the amount of $182,433,471 were obligated at the time of the award. U.S. Army Contracting Command, Warren, Michigan, is the contracting activity.
18 May 18. Lockheed Martin Rotary and Mission Systems, Manassas, Virginia, is awarded a $15,602,224 cost-plus-incentive-fee and cost-only modification to a previously awarded contract (N00024-13-C-5225) to exercise an option and provide incremental funding in support of the continued development, integration and production of the Navy’s AN/SQQ-89A(V)15 Surface Ship Undersea Warfare System. The AN/SQQ-89A(V)15 is the Surface Ship Undersea Warfare (USW) combat system with the capabilities to search, detect, classify, localize and track undersea contacts and to engage and evade submarines, mine-like small objects and torpedo threats. The contract is for development, integration and production of future advanced-capability build and technical insertion baselines of the AN/SQQ-89A(V)15 USW systems. Work will be performed in Lemont Furnace, Pennsylvania (37 percent); Syracuse, New York (24 percent); Manassas, Virginia (17 percent); Clearwater, Florida (9 percent); Oswego, New York (5 percent); Hauppauge, New York (5 percent); and Tewksbury, Massachusetts (3 percent), and is expected to be completed by May 2019. Foreign military sales; fiscal 2012, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018 shipbuilding and conversion (Navy); fiscal 2017 and 2018 research, development, test and evaluation (Navy); fiscal 2018 operations and maintenance (Navy); and fiscal 2018 other procurement (Navy) funding the amount of $15,602,224 will be obligated at time of award, and funds in the amount of $144,976 will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Sea Systems Command, Washington, District of Columbia, is the contracting activity.
22 May 18. AeroVironment, Inc. (NASDAQ: AVAV), a global leader in unmanned aircraft systems for both military and commercial applications, today announced the receipt of contract awards in April 2018 from the United States Army for procurement of the company’s Switchblade® Lethal Miniature Aerial Missile System (LMAMS) and Contractor Logistics Support (CLS) that bring the total value of Switchblade awards to $111,054,202 since August 2017. The contract awards were funded through Urgent Need Statements and include the first Switchblade order from the United States Marine Corps. The U.S. Army Contracting Command, Redstone Arsenal will manage the contracts, for which $78,095,737 has been funded.
The total value of Switchblade hardware awards is $67,763,386. Hardware deliveries under initial awards began in December 2017 and are expected to continue through September 2018. The total value of Switchblade CLS awards is $43,290,816, covering three years of services.
24 May 18. The Boeing Co., Seattle, Washington, is being awarded a $416,438,385 modification to a previously awarded firm-fixed-price contract (N00019-14-C-0067) for the manufacture and delivery of three Lot 9 full-rate production P-8A multi-mission maritime aircraft for the Navy. Work will be performed in Seattle, Washington (82.5 percent); Baltimore, Maryland (2.7 percent); Greenlawn, New York (2.4percent); Cambridge, United Kingdom (1.6 percent); North Amityville, New York (0.9 percent); Rockford, Illinois (0.7 percent); Rancho Santa Margarita, California (0.6 percent); Dickinson, North Dakota (0.6 percent); and various other locations within the U.S. (8 percent); and is expected to be completed in October 2020. Fiscal 2018 aircraft procurement (Navy), funds in the amount of $416,438,385 will be obligated at time of award, none of which will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Maryland, is the contracting activity.
22 May 18. Lockheed Martin awarded the first F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) performance-based logistics (PBL) contract to BAE Systems to provide the advanced fighter aircraft with electronic warfare (EW) systems. Under the five-year contract, BAE Systems will support the entire global fleet of F-35s to ensure parts availability of line replaceable unit (LRU) modules. The more-than-USD100m contract award issued in August 2017, and recently approved for public release by the F-35 JSF Joint Program Office, requires BAE Systems to meet two metrics: one for the average on-hand inventory and the second for customer wait time if a part is not readily available.
(Source: IHS Jane’s)
23 May 18. Charles River Analytics Inc., developer of intelligent systems solutions, has been selected as a prime contractor under DARPA’s Warfighter Analytics using Smartphones for Health (WASH) program, performing under both technical areas.
Early detection of illness and injury often yields a better prognosis. For example, if left undetected, infectious diseases can spread quickly through a population, endangering Warfighters and their missions, as well as the general population. Earlier diagnoses of injury (e.g., traumatic brain injury) can prevent inappropriate return-to-duty of Warfighters who may put themselves and others at risk.
Under the WASH program, DARPA seeks “to develop algorithms that enable continuous and real-time assessment of the Warfighter by leveraging data that is passively and unobtrusively captured by cellphone sensors.”
As part of the WASH program, Charles River is leading a team that includes Assured Information Security; Tozny, LLC; and the University of Washington to develop a Health and Injury Prediction and Prevention using Complex Reasoning and Analytic Techniques Integrated on a Cellphone App (HIPPOCRATIC App). With all options exercised, the four-year contract for HIPPOCRATIC App is valued over $15.5m. The HIPPOCRATIC App system is designed to detect indicators of an injury. For example, if it senses a large jolt that may indicate a fall, the system begins monitoring for associated symptoms, such as a change in gait, using integrated smartphone sensors. (Source: ASD Network)
REST OF THE WORLD
24 May 18. Lockheed Martin Corp., Grand Prairie, Texas, was awarded a $282,002,333 modification (P00012) to domestic and foreign military sales (Netherlands; Germany; Japan; Saudi Arabia; Kuwait; Qatar; Taiwan; United Arab Emirates; and Republic of Korea) contract W31P4Q-17-D-0026 for Phased Array Tracking on Radar to Intercept Advanced Capability-3 Missile Support Center post-production support. Work locations and funding will be determined with each order, with an estimated completion date of May 19, 2019. U.S. Army Contracting Command, Redstone Arsenal, Alabama, is the contracting activity.
24 May 18. Paramount Group, the African-based global defence and aerospace company, and its joint venture in Kazakhstan, Kazakhstan Paramount Engineering (KPE), has announced a new and substantial order from the Government of Kazakhstan for its advanced 4×4 mine-protected armoured personnel carrier, the Arlan. The announcement was made during the Kazakhstan Defence Expo (KADEX 2018) held in the capital, Astana from 23-26 May. This follows the recent announcement that KPE has delivered a large batch of Arlans, the localised version of Paramount’s Marauder, to the Kazakhstan Special Forces as the company’s local manufacturing facilities continues to accelerate production. The Arlans are in operation with the Ministry of Defence, Special Forces and other law enforcement agencies. The company has started production on the new order with further deliveries expected during 2018-2019. The Arlan armoured vehicle is showcasing next-generation, customized features including however not limited to enhanced winterisation technologies and full anti-nuclear blast capabilities.
24 May 18. Raytheon IDS, Andover, Massachusetts, was awarded a $395,847,480 modification (P00026) to foreign military sales (Romania) contract W31P4Q-15-C-0022 for Phased Array Tracking on Radar to Intercept Option Fire Unit. Work will be performed in Andover, Massachusetts; Pelham, New Hampshire; Tewksbury, Massachusetts; Marlborough, Massachusetts; Burlington, Massachusetts; McKinney, Texas; Portsmouth, Rhode Island; and Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, with an estimated completion date of April 30, 2020. Fiscal 2018 foreign military sales funds in the amount of $289,649,493 were obligated at the time of the award. U.S. Army Contracting Command, Redstone Arsenal, Alabama, is the contracting activity.
24 May 18. The Japan Maritime Self Defence Force (JMSDF) has selected Rolls-Royce for the delivery of MT30 gas turbines to power the fleet of 30 new FFM-class frigates. Japan is set to become the fifth country to use Rolls-Royce’s MT30 gas turbine for a major naval shipbuilding programme as a result of the selection. Construction work on the first of the 30 planned frigates is slated to commence next year and the vessel is expected to enter service with the JMSDF around 2022. (Source: naval-technology.com)
21 May 18. Saab will supply the Sea Giraffe AMB naval radar system to the US Navy (USN) for a Foreign Military Sales (FMS) deal between the US and the Philippines. The Sea Giraffe AMB (designated as AN/SPS-77 by the USN) will be installed on two Philippine Navy frigates: BRP Gregorio del Pilar (FF-15) and BRP Ramon Alcaraz (FF-16), both former US Coast Guard Hamilton-class cutters. The sale also includes Saab’s 9LV for radar control and display for enhanced situational awareness.
18 May 18. The U.S. Department of Defense’s Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) has notified the Congress that the Government of Bahrain has requested three thousand two hundred (3,200) General Purpose (GP) and Penetrator Warhead bomb bodies to include: one thousand five hundred (1,500) MK-82 (500lbs) GP bomb bodies, six hundred (600) MK-83 (1,000lbs) GP bomb bodies, six hundred (600) MK-84 (2,000lbs) GP bomb bodies, and five hundred (500) BLU-109 (2,000lbs) Penetrator Warhead bomb bodies. Also included are spares and repair parts, support equipment, personnel training and training equipment, shipping and logistics services, publications and technical documentation, U.S. Government and contractor technical support services, containers, munitions components, test equipment, and other related elements of logistics and program support. The estimated total cost is $45m. There is no prime contractor planned for this effort; the munitions will be provided by the U.S. Government out of stock. There are no offset agreements proposed in connection with this potential sale. (Source: glstrade.com)
24 May 18. Chemring Group announced that its US based subsidiary, Chemring Countermeasures USA (“CCM USA”), has been awarded contracts totalling $27.5m for the production of M211 and MJU-64/B flares for the US Army, US Navy and Foreign Military Sales customers. These flares are a key component of aircraft survivability systems that protect fighters, helicopters and transport aircraft against infrared guided missile threats. Deliveries under these contracts will be made between 2018 and 2019, with all work being performed at CCM USA’s facility at Chester Township, Pennsylvania.
18 May 18. Deimos Imaging Wins $2.6m U.S. Contract and Salutes the Brazilian Ministry of Defence. UrtheCast Corp. (TSX: UR) (“UrtheCast” or the “Company”) and its subsidiary, the Earth Observation company Deimos Imaging SLU (“Deimos Imaging”), will be supplying Earth Observation products and services from the Deimos-2 satellite, during an initial period of three years that could be extended up to five years per a contract with the Brazilian Ministry of Defence’s Aeronautics Command (COMAER) that exceeds $2.6m U.S. dollars (the “Contract”).
Payments are expected to be spread equally over the initial three-year period. Under the Contract, Deimos Imaging will collect new satellite imagery and provide access to the catalogue of archived imagery. The data will feed the geo-information needs of the Brazilian Government and Institutions, accelerating and improving actionable decision making in a wide range of applications and its its multi-resolution virtual constellation of over 30 satellites guarantees exceptional revisit capabilities worldwide. (Source: Satnews)
21 May 18. The Ecuador Army has signed an agreement with Lockheed Martin company Sikorsky/PZL Mielec for the delivery of an M28 short take-off and landing (STOL) aircraft. Ecuador is the first Latin American nation to purchase an M28 twin turboprop aircraft, which is expected to significantly improve the multi-role transport capabilities of the country’s army. Last year, the jet carried out a two-month demonstration tour of seven Caribbean and Latin America countries. (Source: army-technology.com)
24 May 18. Russia’s state conglomerate Rostec will supply China with 10 Su-35 fighter jets this year, Interfax news agency reported on Thursday, citing Rostec. The corporation said China would buy 24 fighter jets in total in a deal worth around $2.5bn, according to Interfax. It had already supplied China with 14 Su-35 fighter jets in 2016 and 2017, the agency said. (Source: Reuters)
24 May 18. On 24 May 2018, Republic State Enterprise Kazspetsexport of Ministry of Defense and Aerospace Industry of the Republic of Kazakhstan and Irkut Corporation (an affiliate of UAC) signed the contract for delivery of another batch of Su-30SM multirole fighters. The contract was signed by the General Director of Kazspetsexport, Arman Ramazanov and the First Vice-President and General Designer of Irkut Corporation, Oleg Demchenko. According to the contract, Irkut Corporation will deliver a batch of Su-30SM fighters to the Republic of Kazakhstan. The contract will be completed in 2020. These aircraft will be added to the fleet of the same combat aircraft, which are successfully operated by Air Force of the Republic of Kazakhstan. (Source: defense-aerospace.com/Irkut Corporation)
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 – Technical Authority – Marine in Egham
Location: Egham, UK
Salary: £40000 – £54000 Per year
Job type: Permanent
Category: Electronic Engineering
Job Reference: KKB11088/8
Posted on: 6 Apr 2018
About the Role:
Technical Authority – Marine based in Surrey required to join one of the world leaders in their high defence industry. As a Technical Authority – Marine you have the opportunity to make a huge difference in our customer’s experience. The successful Technical Authority – Marine is excellent at finding ways to say yes to customer requests and then delivering on our commitments. As a Technical Authority – Marine you will be responsible for overall program execution as you lead a cross functional team to exceed our customer’s expectations and present recurring program updates to internal and customer executives.
Main responsibilities for the Technical Authority – Marine Job are:
*Ensuring all customer deliverables are on spec and on time
*Responsibility for program cost and billing management
*Identifying potential resource gaps and works with business leadership to address
*Key Process Owner for major customer reviews, customer communications and change control in assigned programs.
Skills and Competencies for the Technical Authority – Marine will include:
*Bachelor’s degree from an accredited university or college or demonstrable industry experience
*Thorough understanding of project/program management within a defence or aerospace sector.
*Willingness and ability to travel
*Knowledge of Microsoft Project
*Strong facilitation, presentation, and communication skills
*Previous marine officer experience is highly desirable
This is a fantastic opportunity to join a market leader in complex technologies.
23 May 18. Bell Helicopter, a Textron Inc. (NYSE: TXT) company, opened its new Advanced Vertical Lift Center (AVLC) today in the Washington, D.C. metro area. This office provides a unique setting for Bell’s military customers, partners and policy makers to interact with technology that is defining the future of vertical lift (FVL). Bell is increasing its presence in the region to offer opportunities for leaders to understand how advanced aviation technology such as the V-280 Valor can meet the urgent needs of the warfighter.
“We have a long-standing history of forward thinking, and we are committed to delivering overmatch capabilities to our military,” said Mitch Snyder, CEO at Bell. “The AVLC was designed so we can demonstrate innovative and breakthrough technologies to those involved with national security interests.”
The new AVLC provides a customer-focused experience that explores Bell’s latest manned and unmanned solutions that build on the company’s long history of partnership with the government. The interactive demonstration and event space incorporates several options to discover the benefits of Bell’s advancements in aviation, including:
- Flight Simulator where users take control of the V-280 Valor and experience the agility and speed of the world’s latest tiltrotor technologies;
- Mission Table that delivers an interactive and visual representation of how complex operational requirements can be met with the revolutionary speed, range and lethality the V-280 delivers as a solution for the government’s FVL program;
- Augmented Reality demonstration that shows how the use of Bell’s digital thread technology impacts design, build, and sustainment by bringing hands-on training and maintenance support to the most remote locations; and
- Virtual Reality experience focused on giving operators and decision makers an immersive look at how the V-280 is designed to deliver tactical overmatch.
“We are committed to helping our customers regain dominance in vertical lift, and the AVLC is an opportunity for our team to show real solutions for pressing challenges using the power of flight,” said Jeff Schloesser, executive vice president for Strategic Pursuits at Bell. “We have to create and sustainably deliver new capabilities, such as the V-280, for warfighters to have operational overmatch. We intend for this office to support our nation’s military modernization.”
The Bell AVLC serves as a hub for aviation and policy decision makers to experience how Bell’s innovative solutions can solve critical real-world challenges.
22 May 18. UK DIO selects three contractors for £750m Clyde commercial framework. The UK Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO) has contracted VolkerStevin, Kier Graham Defence and Morgan Sindall for the £750m Clyde commercial framework (CCF).
The new ten-year construction framework supports the UK Ministry of Defence’s (MoD) £1.3bn Clyde naval base programme.
It was awarded on behalf of the UK MoD and is intended to ensure that the personnel tasked with delivering the country’s continuous at-sea nuclear deterrent will be provided with safe and advanced facilities for living, working and training.
The three companies will be responsible for providing advisory and cost-effective construction services, as well as other infrastructure solutions to HMNB Clyde under the deal. The arrangement is expected to enable the British Royal Navy’s naval base to continue to function effectively in its new role as the service’s single integrated operating facility.
HMNB Clyde naval base commander commodore Mark Gayfer said: “I am delighted that today we have put in place the framework to deliver the right infrastructure to ensure that we are able to continue to provide high-quality support to our submarines, and also our sailors and their families for the foreseeable future.”
All three companies were primarily selected as a result of their relationship with the Clyde team and their ability to work efficiently in close collaboration.
The Clyde team partnered with behavioural experts in order to set out the selection criteria for the successful bidders.
The team subsequently observed, scored and helped to assess the behaviours of each company’s personnel as they took part in a series of practical exercises with members of the Clyde project’s staff.
DIO Commercial Services assistant head Ian Arbuckle said: “We are incredibly pleased to launch our new framework for the Clyde.
“We have successfully selected three reputable industry partners who have demonstrated a commitment to delivering better value for Defence.”
The new construction framework will help support the Modernising Defence Programme, as well as ensure that the UK Armed Forces’ capability and affordability requirements are fulfilled. It is also anticipated to deliver a variety of sustainable social and economic benefits for the local region. (Source: naval-technology.com)
24 May 18. US Navy Commissions Littoral Combat Ship Manchester. The US Navy commissioned its newest Independence-variant littoral combat ship (LCS), the future USS Manchester (LCS 14), during a 10 a.m. EDT ceremony Saturday, May 26, at the State Pier in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.
Adm. William Moran, Vice Chief of Naval Operations, delivered the ceremony’s principal address. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, senior United States Senator from New Hampshire, will serve 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!”
“The future USS Manchester is a modern marvel and an example of the increased capability that comes from a true partnership with the American industry,” said Secretary of the Navy Richard V. Spencer. “The ship honors the city of Manchester and the patriotic citizens of New Hampshire for their support to our military, and I cannot wait to see the amazing things the crew will accomplish.”
The future USS Manchester, designated LCS 14, is the twelfth littoral combat ship to enter the fleet and the seventh of the Independence-variant design. The ship is the second naval vessel to honor New Hampshire’s largest city. The first, a light cruiser, was commissioned Oct. 29, 1946. During nearly ten years of commissioned service, the ship completed numerous deployments, including three combat deployments in support of operations in the Korean conflict during which she earned nine battle stars. The ship was decommissioned June 27, 1956 and stricken from the Navy list April 1, 1960.
LCS is a modular, reconfigurable ship, designed to meet validated fleet requirements for Surface Warfare (SUW), Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW), and Mine Countermeasures (MCM) missions in the littoral region. An interchangeable mission package is embarked on each LCS and provides the primary mission systems in one of these warfare areas. Using an open architecture design, modular weapons, sensor systems, and a variety of manned and unmanned vehicles to gain, sustain, and exploit littoral maritime supremacy, LCS provides U.S. joint force access to critical areas in multiple theaters. The LCS-class consists of the Freedom-variant and Independence-variant, designed and built by two industry teams. The Freedom-variant team is led by Lockheed Martin (for the odd-numbered ships). The Independence-variant team is led by Austal USA (for LCS 6 and follow-on even-numbered ships). Twenty-nine LCS ships have been awarded to date: 13 have been delivered to the Navy, another 13 are in various stages of construction and testing, and three are in pre-production states. (Source: US DoD)
21 May 18. Libyan National Army takes delivery of ex-Irish OPV. The Libyan National Army (LNA), which controls much of eastern Libya, welcomed a new flagship for its naval forces on 17 May when the ex-Irish offshore patrol vessel (OPV) Aisling arrived in the port of Benghazi.
The LNA released a video showing the vessel is now named Al-Karama (Dignity) after the operation that was launched to secure Benghazi four years earlier. The LNA said the ship was a Libyan vessel that had been retrieved from an unidentified foreign country after seven years and that its arrival was a “qualitative leap for our naval fleet”. It added that the vessel would protect Libya’s territorial waters as well as counter terrorism and human trafficking.
The 65 m-long, 1,000 tonne P 21-class patrol vessel Aisling was commissioned in 1980 and armed with a 40 mm main gun, two 20 mm cannons, and two 7.62 mm machine guns. It was decommissioned in 2016 and sold for EUR110,000 at auction to the Dutch shipbroker Dick van der Kamp in March 2017. It was put up for sale again two months later with an asking price of USD750,000.
IHS Markit Maritime data shows that it was re-registered by Universal Satcom Services FZE, a company based in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), in April. Its AIS transponder began transmitting on 10 May when it was off southern Portugal sailing towards the Strait of Gibraltar.
(Source: Defense News Early Bird/IHS Jane’s)
21 May 18. Japan orders third Hibiki-class ocean surveillance ship. Japan’s Mitsui E&S Shipbuilding has received an order from the Ministry of Defense (MoD) in Tokyo to build a third Hibiki-class ocean surveillance ship for the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF), an MoD spokesperson told Jane’s on 21 May. The SWATH (small waterplane area twin hull) vessel, which is expected to have pennant number AOS 5203, is set to be built at the Mitsui facility in the Japanese city of Tamano, Okayama Prefecture, for JPY18.3bn (USD164m). According to the MoD, the acoustic surveillance ship, which is set to be launched in autumn 2019 and commissioned in March 2021, will feature a more advanced Surveillance Towed Array Sensor System (SURTASS) than that fitted onto the first two ships of the class – JS Hibiki (AOS 5201) and JS Harima (AOS 5202) – which entered service in 1991 and 1992, respectively. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
20 May 18. US strengthens capacity building efforts across Asia Pacific with expeditionary fast transport ships. Key Points:
- The US Navy has expanded on the scope and involvement of its Spearhead-class fast transport ships in a series of humanitarian and capacity building missions
- Vessel type is proving out to be an instrumental component of the service’s effort to strengthen relationships with partners across the Asia-Pacific region
The US Navy’s (USN’s) increased involvement of its expeditionary fast transport ship (EPF) vessel type in the 2018 iteration of Exercise ‘Pacific Partnership’ has enabled the service to better service ports in regions that are otherwise unreachable by other vessel types.
This has in turn strengthened the USN’s ability to enhance co-operative engagements with partners across the Asia-Pacific region, said officials from the service who spoke to Jane’s during a visit to USNS Brunswick (T-EPF 6). The ship made a port call at RSS Singapura – Changi Naval Base over several days in May 2018, in preparation for further phases of the multilateral series of exercises.
‘Pacific Partnership’ 2018 is a series of US-led humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HADR) preparedness drills that began in 2004 in response to the Indian Ocean tsunami. Since then, it has grown to involve more than 22 partner countries, and provided care to more than 300,000 patients across the Asia-Pacific region. The 2018 iteration is the largest yet in terms of scope and naval assets featured, and is currently involving more than 800 personnel form the US military, militaries of partner countries, and officials from international non-governmental organisations (NGOs). It began in March 2018 in Yap Islands in the Federated States of Micronesia, and has since then conducted missions in Palau, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, East Malaysia, Vietnam, and Thailand. Besides, Brunswick, other USN vessels involved in the exercise are namely the 270m hospital ship USNS Mercy (T-AH-19), and another EPF, USNS Millinocket (T-EPF 3). (Source: IHS Jane’s)
24 May 18. UK clears A400M for MEDEVAC role. The UK Royal Air Force (RAF) has cleared the Airbus Defence and Space (DS) A400M Atlas transport aircraft to conduct the full range of aero medical evacuation (MEDEVAC) duties.
The milestone, which was announced by the service on 23 May, sees the A400M granted its full aeromedical evacuation capability for high dependency and highly infectious patients.
As noted by the RAF, the A400M will now be able to carry up to 66 low- to medium-dependency stretcher patients or four high dependency stretcher patients. The Critical Care Air Support Team (CCAST), based at RAF Brize Norton, provides care equivalent to that found in an NHS Intensive Care Unit, including intubation and ventilation.
The aircraft also supports the Air Transportable Isolator (ATI), which is a secure plastic bubble that allows patients with highly infectious diseases to be transported safely. Once landed, the ATI patient is transported to the hospital (usually the Royal Free Hospital in London) by ambulance. The RAF maintains this particular capability on behalf of the British Government, given its experience of transporting patients with infectious diseases back to the United Kingdom. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
24 May 18. Russian Helicopters (part of Rostec State Corporation) presented for the first time the light multirole VRT500 helicopter developed by the VR-Technologies design office in cooperation with the international engineer team at HeliRussia-2018, the International Helicopter Industry Exhibition.
The VRT500 will become the first holding’s helicopter in the segment of light helicopters with takeoff weight up to 2 tons. Now, aircraft of this type amounts to 18% of the world helicopter fleet.
“We see the interest in the project both from Russian and foreign operators. Agreements on strategic partnership have already been signed as part of the program on promotion of the helicopter on international markets. We estimate that by 2035 we will sell about 1000 helicopters, which will allow us to take up to 15% share of the world segment of light helicopters with weight up to 2 tons. Market analysis shows it is this helicopter class that will be the most large-scale,” said Andrey Boginsky, CEO, Russian Helicopters.
These days, specialists from the holding company conduct structural tests of the carrying system. Aerodynamic tests are planned in the short term.
“We enter the market of light helicopters with weight up to 2 tons for the first time in many years. This market is very competitive, which forces to increase requirements for quality, reliability and capabilities. The VRT500 has excellent performance which with the keen price should lead to success of the helicopter both on domestic, and foreign markets,” said Anatoly Serdyukov, Industrial Director, Avaition Cluster of Rostec State Corporation.
The VRT500 is a light single-engine helicopter with coaxial propellers and 1,600 kg of takeoff weight. The aircraft will have the largest passenger and cargo cabin with total capacity of 5 people and will be equipped with a modern interactive avionics complex. The performance of the helicopter will allow it to speed up to 250 km/h and have up to 860 km of range and up to 730 kg of useful load.
The helicopter is planned to be supplied in passenger, multirole, cargo, training, VIP and HEMS configurations. The VRT500 will be the first HEMS up to 2 tons helicopter in the world, which enables to load and offload a standardized gurney through rear cabin doors. It facilitates the whole process and allows to save time.
PLANT CLOSURES, JOB LOSSES AND STRIKES
24 May 18. Labor blasts government for ASC job cuts. With 223 jobs set to go at ASC by June ahead of the Offshore Patrol Vessel project commencing later this year, the government has come under fire for the job losses during Senate estimates. ASC and its shareholder, Finance Minister Mathias Cormann, confirmed at Senate estimates that while ASC was awarded nearly $30 million over three years for training scholarships, no money has been used as ASC has not yet received the funds. ASC representatives said the company is currently working with the Department of Defence on the implementation of the scholarships program and Minister Cormann reiterated the money will be available when the scholarship program commences.
While under questioning from Labor shadow minister for innovation, industry, science and research senator Kim Carr as to why these funds could not be used to help keep workers at the company, Minister Cormann said there was no value in keeping workers on when there are no projects underway.
“As further work comes on stream … obviously people will be recruited but in the meantime you can’t keep people sitting in a position painting rocks,” the Finance Minister said.
Opposition defence spokesman Richard Marles, Senator Carr and shadow assistant minister for defence industry and support Mike Kelly later accused the government of choosing not to save the 223 jobs slated to go at ASC by June this year.
“No workers have been offered retraining or redeployment,” a joint statement from Marles, Carr and Kelly said.
“The Liberals also admitted that no cost benefit analysis has been done on the impact of keeping the workers employed compared to letting them go.”
The job losses come after the government said last December that the ‘valley of death’ was over and ASC workers would be saved as the Air Warfare Destroyer project winds down.
“Just last December the Liberals promised that the valley of death was over and that the upturn in shipbuilding employment would continue with 200 jobs secured,” Marles, Carr and Kelly said in their joint statement.
“A competent government would have seen this coming. A caring government would have stepped up and prevented the loss of a fifth of ASC’s shipbuilding workforce.”
An ASC spokesperson confirmed that it has successfully redeployed at least 55 people from its shipbuilding branch to its submarines branch, reducing the number of people to leave the business.
ASC’s Jim Cuthill also told Senate estimates they are working on minimising job losses through a mixture of redeployment, voluntary redundancies and forced redundancies. (Source: Defence Connect)
23 May 18. UK parliamentarian proposes putting retired Type 23 frigates in ASW reserve. A UK member of parliament, Mark Francois, has proposed that the Royal Navy’s Type 23 anti-submarine warfare (ASW) frigates be placed in a war reserve when they are retired, instead of being sold or scrapped. The proposal was made to Secretary of Defence Gavin Williamson during a 22 May defence committee inquiry on US, NATO, and UK defence relations. While describing the new Type 26 ASW frigate as “a highly capable ship” and “world class”, Francois said that “there will only be eight, and no one ship, however capable, can be in more than one place at one time”. He added that the Type 31 would be a light frigate without an ASW capability as it would not have a sonar in its currently envisaged configuration. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
18 May 18. Denel CEO steps down. The board of directors of South African defence supplier Denel has accepted the resignation of the company’s CEO Zwelakhe Ntshepe, it was announced on 15 May. Ntshepe, who has served as CEO and previously acting-CEO for two and a half years, said he was leaving the position for personal reasons. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
MILITARY AND GOVERNMENT
21 May 18. USAF ACC to test new experimental wing organisational structure. The US Air Force’s (USAF) Air Combat Command (ACC) 366th Fighter Wing is set to test a new experimental wing organisational structure that will evaluate possible ways to enhance squadron readiness, develop unit leaders and support innovation. Organisational structure has been initiated by ACC commander general Mike Holmes and changes at the 366th Fighter Wing are expected to begin this month. It is stationed at Mountain Home Air Force Base (AFB), Idaho, US.
Holmes said: “This experiment is about our desire to improve lethality and create an environment where leaders are empowered to lead and squadron personnel can focus on their core missions.
“This concept should flatten the decision-making structure within wings to encourage faster, decentralised decision-making and to remove some duties from our frontline units.”
“This experiment is aimed at revitalising our squadrons by allowing them to focus on the mission while pushing administrative duties to a wing staff.”
The current experiment will help the USAF to assess whether a new structure at home stations is capable of increasing the lethality and readiness of a combat wing to enable it to fight across the entire spectrum of combat.
Under the experiment, the ACC and the 366th Fighter Wing created working groups of major stakeholders and designed a detailed plan regarding the way ACC will test the new structure over the next two years.
The experiment will be evaluated through both internal and external assessments of the 366th Fighter Wing compared to similar units using the current wing-group-squadron structure, conducted in and outside the USAF.
366th Fighter Wing commander colonel Joseph Kunkel said: “This experiment is aimed at revitalising our squadrons by allowing them to focus on the mission while pushing administrative duties to a wing staff.
“This puts decision-making authority and accountability for the mission at the squadron level. That’s where we need it to be to build the squadrons and leaders we need for tomorrow’s challenges.”
The new organisational structure will change the rank and positions of unit personnel but will not add to or remove from the total number of airmen assigned to Mountain Home AFB. (Source: airforce-technology.com)
19 May 18. MG Lori Reynolds has been nominated for a third star and to serve as the recently established deputy commandant for information, according to a May 18 announcement from the Department of Defense.
Reynolds, who currently heads Marine Corps Forces Cyberspace Command, will succeed Lt. Gen. Daniel O’Donohue, who is moving to the joint staff. The Defense Department has not yet announced a replacement for Reynolds at Marine Corps Forces Cyberspace Command. The Marines established this new position, the deputy commandant for information, in summer 2017 to better compete in a 21st century world, aligning all information-related capability under a single entity. This includes cyber, signals intelligence and electronic warfare, among others. (Source: C4ISR & Networks)
18 May 18. Defense Secretary James N. Mattis today swore in John H. Gibson II as the department’s chief management officer, hailing him as the right person to lead the effort in reforming the department for improved efficiency. The chief management officer is third for authority at the Defense Department. The position was created in the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act. Mattis explained Gibson will spearhead efforts to support the third line of effort in the National Defense Strategy: reforming the department for efficiency, capability and affordability. (Source: US DoD)
18 May 18. MG Christopher F. Bentley, senior advisor to the Ministry of Defense, U.S. Forces-Afghanistan, Operation Freedom’s Sentinel, Afghanistan, to director, Joint Improvised-Threat Defeat Organization, Defense Threat Reduction Agency, Fort Belvoir, Virginia.
18 May 18. MG James J. Mingus, director, Mission Command Center of Excellence, U.S. Army Combined Arms Center, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, to commanding general, 82d Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, North Carolina.
18 May 18. BG Jonathan P. Braga, director, CJ3, Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve, Operation Inherent Resolve, Iraq, to commander, Special Operations Command Pacific, U.S. Special Operations Command, Camp Smith, Hawaii.
18 May 18. BG Antonio M. Fletcher, director, J-5, U.S. Southern Command, Doral, Florida, to commander, Special Operations Command South, U.S. Special Operations Command, Homestead Air Reserve Base, Florida.
18 May 18. BG Garrick M. Harmon, deputy director, strategy, plans and policy, Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff, G-3/5/7, U.S. Army, Washington, District of Columbia, to senior defense official and defense attaché, U.S. Defense Attaché Office, Russia.
18 May 18. BG Johnnie L. Johnson Jr., deputy director, program analysis and evaluation, Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff, G-8, U.S. Army, Washington, District of Columbia, to deputy director for operations, U.S. Central Command, MacDill Air Force Base, Florida.
18 May 18. BG John S. Laskodi, commander, Defense Logistics Agency-Distribution, Defense Logistics Agency, New Cumberland, Pennsylvania, to director, joint and integration, Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff, G-8, U.S. Army, Washington, District of Columbia.
18 May 18. BG John C. Ulrich, commanding general, U.S. Army Operational Test Command, Fort Hood, Texas, to director, force development, Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff, G-8, U.S. Army, Washington, District of Columbia.
18 May 18. Navy Capt. Christopher C. French for appointment to the rank of rear admiral (lower half), and assignment as the legal counsel to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. French is currently serving as staff judge advocate, U.S. European Command.
18 May 18. USMC MG Carl E. Mundy III, for appointment to the rank of lieutenant general, and assignment as commander, Marine Corps Forces Central Command. Mundy is currently serving as commander, Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command, Jacksonville, North Carolina.
18 May 18. USMC MG Loretta E. Reynolds for appointment to the rank of lieutenant general, and assignment as deputy commandant for information, Headquarters, U.S. Marine Corps; and commander, U.S. Marine Corps Forces Strategic Command. Reynolds is currently serving as commander, U.S. Marine Corps Forces Cyber Command, Washington, District of Columbia.
REST OF THE WORLD APPOINTMENTS
23 May 18. The Indonesian Navy (Tentera Nasional Indonesia – Angkatan Laut: TNI-AL) is now being led by a new chief of naval staff, who has been appointed amid a major fleet re-organisation. The new chief, Admiral Siwi Sukma Adji, was formally sworn in by President Joko Widodo at the presidential palace in Jakarta on 23 May. He replaces Admiral Ade Supandi, who was at the service’s helm since January 2015. Prior to his appointment as navy chief, Adm Siwi was head of the Indonesian Armed Forces Academy. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
24 May 18. Turkish Aerospace Industries, Inc. (TAI) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Kazakhstan Aviation Industry (KAI) regarding to bilateral cooperation of “ANKA” UAV System and “HÜRKUŞ” New Generation Advanced Trainer at the KADEX 2018 (International Exhibition of Weapon Systems and Military Equipment) which is being held on May 23-26, 2018 at Astana. While strengthening its global market presence with the industrial collaboration in the field of aviation and defense industry, TAI has taken an important step towards meeting the specific requirements of Central Asian countries.
22 May 18. Rolls-Royce to leverage Kawasaki partnership in new Japanese programme. Rolls-Royce will look to continue its industrial partnership with Japan’s Kawasaki Heavy Industries (KHI) in supplying its MT30 gas turbine engine for the Japan Maritime Self Defense Force’s (JMSDF) new surface combatants.
Rolls-Royce said on 21 May that through its partnership with KHI the two companies have collaborated on the production in Japan of more than 200 gas turbine engines and that it “looks forward to the next chapter in this successful relationship” on the new class of JMSDF vessels.
Through the long-standing partnership, licence-produced Rolls-Royce engines power a wide range of JMSDF surface combatants including its Asagiri-, Hatakaze-, Murasame-, and Takanami-class destroyers, and its Abukuma-class frigates. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
21 May 18. Aeronautics signs agreement with Romaero. Israeli unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) manufacturer Aeronautics has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Romaero that will facilitate the two companies carrying out maintenance and training on the aircraft in Romania.
According to Israeli media, the companies will jointly maintain systems in Romania, co-operating on training and instruction of operations of the UAVs, in addition to system maintenance.
“Aeronautics Group presents highly efficient and cost-effective aerial solutions. We are pleased about the new co-operation with Romaero that will lead to increased security for Romania and the entire European Union,” Dany Eshchar, chief marketing officer at Aeronautics, told Israeli business news outlet Globes. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
21 May 18. Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT) announced Michele Evans has been named Deputy Executive Vice President for its Aeronautics business area, effective June 4. Evans will report to the business area’s Executive Vice President, Orlando Carvalho, and will be based at the Aeronautics headquarters in Fort Worth, Texas. Evans will be responsible for all programs, including F-35, F-16, C-130 and Advanced Development Programs, and will partner with Carvalho to ensure Lockheed Martin Aeronautics continues to meet customer commitments and grow the business. Evans was most recently Vice President and General Manager for Integrated Warfare Systems and Sensors in Lockheed Martin’s Rotary and Mission Systems business area. In this role, she oversaw the strategy and execution of the Littoral Combat Ship program, Aegis Combat Systems and sea-based missile defense, as well as a host of other systems. The programs she led in this role supported all branches of the U.S. Armed Forces, and more than 40 countries. She also was Vice President of Modernization and Sustainment, where she was responsible for the A-10 weapons system, and avionics programs on the C-130 and F-35.
15 May 18. New President and Country Manager of RUAG Space USA … He Sees Huge Growth for U.S. A newly appointed President as well as Country Manager who will be responsible for all USA sites and the expansion of the company in the U.S. is quite a task, yet this person is up for the call. He comes with more than 25 years of management experience, and as an example, at his previous job within four years he grew his division from $75M to more than $200m. RUAG Space, supplier of products to the space industry, announced that Mike Morningstar will assume the role of President and Country Manager of RUAG Space USA. Starting today, Morningstar will be responsible for the operations of all RUAG Space USA sites, and will represent the organization as it expands its presence in the U.S. This new appointment comes on the heels of significant growth for RUAG Space: about one-third of the company’s revenue (more than $370M) is generated in the U.S. market, and the team sees opportunity for growth. RUAG Space USA currently has nearly 100 staff members in sites across four states and is poised to continue growing to become the leading independent space product supplier in the United States. The announcement of Morningstar’s appointment reinforces the commitments that RUAG Space made earlier this year to further strengthen its presence in the U.S. market, in anticipation of more business, and supplying its products to U.S. rocket and satellite manufacturers. (Source: Satnews)
23 May 18. SIG SAUER, Inc. is pleased to announce the promotion of Hana Bilodeau to the position of Director, Training and Special Events. In her new role Bilodeau will serve as a liaison between sales, marketing, and product management to ensure alignment of product information and messaging throughout the retail experience. She will focus on extending the reach of SIG SAUER’s product training program, providing guidance on specialized event participation, and maintaining consistency in approach and messaging across SIG SAUER retail channels.
18 May 18. SIG SAUER, Inc. announced that Brad Criner has joined SIG SAUER as Senior Director, Brand Management and Business Development of ammunition. In this position Criner will be responsible for the management and development of marketing and sales initiatives for SIG SAUER Ammunition.
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24 May 18. “Dangerously exposed” Afghan interpreters should come to UK, says Defence Committee. The Government’s scheme to safeguard Afghan interpreters threatened with reprisals for working with the British Army “has dismally failed to give any meaningful assurance of protection” from the Taliban, according to the Defence Committee. Its report, Lost in Translation? Afghan Interpreters and Other Locally Employed Civilians, published today, calls for a more sympathetic approach to Afghan personnel seeking relocation to the UK after serving in frontline roles. During the United Kingdom’s involvement in Afghanistan, British forces were supported by some 7,000 locally employed civilians (LECs), about half of whom fulfilled vital roles as interpreters. Serving alongside – and for – the British military, Afghan interpreters and other LECs were often exposed to extremely dangerous situations. The Government has stated that the UK owes these individuals a ‘debt of gratitude’.
Two Contrasting Schemes
Two Schemes were set up for LECs who served with the UK NATO contingents in Afghanistan. The ‘Redundancy Scheme’ – while not without its critics – has been relatively generous: as well as providing financial support within Afghanistan for former employees who lost their jobs, this Scheme has enabled some 1,150 LECs and dependents to settle in the UK. By contrast, the ‘Intimidation Scheme’ has, in its current form, failed to bring even one person into this country. Indeed, it “appears to go to considerable lengths to preclude the relocation to the UK of interpreters and other locally employed civilians who have reported threats and intimidation”.
The Committee concludes that it is “impossible to reconcile the generous [relocation] provisions of the Redundancy Scheme … with an Intimidation Scheme that has not admitted anyone at all” to the United Kingdom:
“Given our Government’s own stark assessment of the perilous Afghan security situation, the idea that no interpreters or other former LECs have faced threats and intimidation warranting their relocation to the UK is totally implausible.”
This incompatibility of outcomes leads the Committee to question whether the Afghan Government – which has played an important role in shaping the Scheme – is simply unwilling to admit that the country is too dangerous to guarantee the safety of former interpreters and other locally employed civilians.
New Approach Required
The Committee recommends a more sympathetic approach and a looser application of the Intimidation Scheme. This should include the Government abandoning its “relocation only in extremis” policy, in favour of a more needs-based approach to those facing intimidation for sharing frontline dangers with British troops between 2001 and the 2014 drawdown.
Chairman of the Defence Committee, Dr Julian Lewis MP, commented, “This is not only a matter of honour. How we treat our former interpreters and local employees, many of whom served with great bravery, will send a message to the people we would want to employ in future military campaigns – about whether we can be trusted to protect them from revenge and reprisals at the hands of our enemies.”
23 May 18. Defence Committee. Joint Inquiry Launched With French Defence Committee: Future Anti-Ship Missile Systems. For the first time, two committees of the French National Assembly and the British House of Commons have decided to launch a joint inquiry. Following the proposal of Dr. Julian Lewis, chairman of the House of Common Defence Committee, and Jean-Jacques Bridey, chairman of the National Defence and Armed Forces Committee of the French National Assembly, both committees have agreed to deepen their collaboration. The 2010 Lancaster House Treaties and the Franco-British Summit that took place in Amiens on 3 March 2016 have strengthened the defence cooperation between France and the United Kingdom and Defence committees of both chambers regularly meet in order to follow-up this cooperation. It is in this context that the two committees have decided to hold a join inquiry to demonstrate, and reinforce, the bilateral defence relations. The joint inquiry into Future anti-ship missile system, launched today, will review the future cruise/anti-ship weapon (FC/ASW) programme that was launched by a bilateral agreement signed on 28 March 2017. The new generation of missiles that the two countries hope to develop by 2030 will be replacing the existing Exocet, Harpoon, SCALP and Storm Shadow missiles.
Other issues to be considered by the inquiry will be:
- the two Navies’ requirements for the next generation of anti-ship missiles, including range, speed, stealth and terminal guidance;
- the capability of the UK and French defence industries to meet these requirements, whether separately or jointly; and
- the availability of suitable missiles from other suppliers.
The two committees will take oral and written evidence, with evidence sessions planned to take place in London and in Paris. Their work will lead to the publication of a report in September 2018.
House of Commons and House of Lords Hansard Written Answers
Asked by Tonia Antoniazzi
Asked on: 15 May 2018
Department for International Trade
Exports: Arms Trade
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, if he will rescind all export licences allowing the export of arms to Israel.
Answered by: Graham Stuart
Answered on: 23 May 2018
The Government takes its defence export responsibilities extremely seriously and operates one of the most robust export control regimes in the world.
Export licence applications for all countries, including Israel, are assessed carefully against the Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria. We will not grant a licence if to do so would be inconsistent with these Consolidated Criteria.
We are keeping the situation in Israel and Gaza under close review and consider the latest circumstances when assessing licence applications. The Government will not grant a licence if there is a clear risk that exports might be used for internal repression or in the commission of a serious violation of international humanitarian law.
Extant licences will be revoked if the exports are no longer consistent with the Consolidated Criteria.
Asked by Lesley Laird
(Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath)
Asked on: 18 May 2018
Royal Fleet Auxiliary
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland, what discussions he has had with Cabinet colleagues on the tendering process for the new solid support ships for the Royal Fleet Auxiliary.
Answered by: David Mundell
Answered on: 24 May 2018
Holding answer received on 23 May 2018
I have regular discussions with the Defence Secretary and other Cabinet colleagues on a number of matters.
The National Shipbuilding Strategy stated that all non-warships, including the Fleet Solid Support ships (FSS) will be competed internationally, confirming the pre-existing procurement strategy for the FSS. The Strategy had collective Government agreement prior to publication. The MOD is required by law to procure FSS through competition in accordance with its obligations under the Defence and Security Public Contracts Regulations (DSPCR) 2011 where there is no lawful exemption which can be applied. The MOD has actively encouraged UK shipyards to take part in the competition and we anticipate strong bids from UK shipyards.
Asked by Lord Jopling
Asked on: 15 May 2018
Ministry of Defence
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their latest public expectation of the percentage of GDP to be devoted to defence spending in 2024 for each member of the NATO Alliance, in pursuit of their unanimous commitment, made at the Wales Summit in 2014, to move towards two per cent.
Answered by: Earl Howe
Answered on: 23 May 2018
The UK continues to encourage all Allies to work towards meeting the 2014 Defence Investment Pledge, under which they are committed to spending at least 2% of their GDP on Defence by 2024. The UK Government has committed to meeting that target and to ensuring that the Defence budget continues to rise by at least 0.5% above inflation for every year of this Parliament. The UK does not make its own assessment of other Allies’ defence spend; it is for NATO to assess that against its own metrics, and it publishes regular reports on Allies’ Defence spending.