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21 Nov 18. The Future Intermediate Frigates: Performance and Innovation. The first intermediate-size frigate will be delivered in 2023 to the French Navy. Never before has a French frigate of this tonnage been so powerfully equipped or endowed with so many technological innovations. The Intermediate Frigate Program (Frégates de Taille Intermédiaire, FTI), led by the Directorate General of Armament (DGA) in close collaboration with the Navy and Naval Group, Thales and MBDA, is helping to renew and strengthen our surface combatant fleet in accordance with the 2019-2025 Military Programming Law. By 2030, the five FTIs will constitute one-third of France’s first-rank frigates; the first two will be delivered by 2025. FTIs are ocean-going ships displacing 4,000 to 4,500 tons; they are designed to be versatile, enduring and capable of operating, alone or as part of a naval task force, in all areas of naval combat: anti-ship, anti-aircraft, anti-submarine and special forces deployment. With a powerful weapons fit, including Exocet MM40 B3C anti-ship missiles, Aster 15/30 air-defense missiles, MU 90 anti-submarine torpedoes, and remotely-operated guns, the FTIs can simultaneously embark a helicopter and a drone, and embark a detachment of special forces with their two commando boats. On the sensor side, they have some of the most advanced sonars available, and their air and surface defenses are enabled by some of the most modern sensors, including a multifunction radar with active antenna and fixed panels. For the first time, a French frigate will have a single mast which will carry all the radar sensors, allowing a permanent 360-degree surveillance. The FTI will also be the first French frigates to be natively protected against the cyber threat, with a Data Center hosting a large part of the ship’s applications and allowing e-maintenance. Finally, in terms of operational innovation, FTI inaugurates the concept of a center dedicated to the fight against asymmetric threats. Distinct from the Central Operations (CO) and located behind the bridge, this center will lead the fight against terrorist threats from the air and the surface, including mini-drones and boat swarms. Bringing together on a compact platform the best of French naval technologies, the FTI is a powerful and innovative frigate, designed to cope with the evolution of threats. (Unofficial English translation by Defense-Aerospace.com) (Source: (Source: defense-aerospace.com/French Ministry of Defense)
21 Nov 18. Joint German-French Press Release. Following Chancellor Angela Merkel and President Emmanuel Macron’s joint statement in the summer of 2017, expressing the political will to strengthen European defence by jointly developing future-oriented capabilities – such as the future combat air system (FCAS) and future combat ground system (MGCS) approved at the Berlin Airshow in April 2018 – two ministerial letters of intent were issued at the June 19th Franco-German Ministerial Seminar in Meseberg. In light of this cooperation, the French and German defence ministers met again last Monday, November 19th, and noted the significant progress of the work carried out jointly by the two Nations. With regards to the future combat air system (FCAS), under French lead, French and German industry worked together in a very effective way, and presented French and German authorities with their ambition for a future combat aviation system. The Ministers together validated the first phase of the project, as well as the industrial organization supporting the work to be done. The two Ministers agreed on a Dassault-Airbus co-lead on a common concept and architectures (including connectivity) study for the FCAS as laid out in the Statement of Requirements. The contract will be signed by both countries in early 2019. On this basis the Ministers aim for launching of R&D studies and demonstrations relating to the fighter aircraft and its engine at the next Paris Air Show 2019. With regards to the future combat land system (MGCS), under German lead, the ministers welcomed the progress made on the concept and architecture studies and tasked their two Ministries to share the results. On this basis, a Statement of Requirements for the conceptual studies as well as R&D activities will be agreed by the end of 2018, and Rheinmetall, and KNDS-owned KMW and NEXTER will be asked to provide an industrial proposal to successfully master respective studies and the R&D activities starting mid-2019. This is a decisive step for European Defence, which shows that France and Germany can unite for future projects, and that Europe can take its destiny in hand and build a strong and defence. (defense-aerospace.com EDITOR’S NOTE: Germany is also the lead nation for the European MALE unmanned aircraft, for which Airbus D&S has the industrial lead. The Czech Republic has now joined this program.) (Source: defense-aerospace.com/French and German Ministries of Defence)
21 Nov 18. Germany, France see initial contract for new fighter jet in early 2019. Germany and France said they will sign an initial contract with Airbus and France’s Dassault Aviation <for initial work on a next-generation fighter jet in early 2019, and expect next steps on a joint tank programme by the end of 2018. The two countries cited what they called “significant progress” on a programme to develop a new fighter to go into service in 2040, following a meeting by their defence ministers in Brussels on Monday. The ministers agreed that the two companies would co-lead a study on “a common concept and architectures (including connectivity)” for the new Future Combat Air System (FCAS), following a contract signing in early 2019. Additional studies and contracts for work on prototypes of the aircraft and an engine would be launched at the Paris Air Show in June, the statement said. (Source: Reuters)
19 Nov 18. Romania pursues replacement MBT. Romania is seeking a replacement for its existing TR-85 M1 main battle tank (MBT), Lieutenant Colonel Valentin Torcica, chief of the Romanian Ministry of Defence’s Armoured Office, announced on the last day of the Future Armoured Vehicles Survivability conference in London on 13-15 November. The TR-85 M1 has been service in 1997. The main requirements for the future Romanian MBT is to have a day/night all-weather hunter-killer capability, a 120mm smoothbore main gun, and modern command, control, communications, computers, and intelligence mission systems. Other requirements include three or four crew members, a secondary armament with an elevation up to 70°, high survivability, and good sustainability. (Source: Defense News Early Bird/IHS Jane’s)
19 Nov 18. Czech MoD seeks light 4×4 vehicles for airborne battalion. The Czech Ministry of Defence (MoD) plans to procure a fleet of 4×4 lightweight vehicles to fulfil an urgent requirement for the Army of the Czech Republic (ACR) to equip an airborne battalion planned for activation in 2020. The ACR is considering the Gepard, a new 4×4 vehicle based on the Toyota Land Cruiser Model 70 being offered in a rapid-deployment version and long-range patrol version by a Czech consortium of indigenous vehicle suppliers Dajbych, Tatra Defence Vehicles, and Optokon. The criteria for the platform include that it can accommodate six fully equipped personnel and can be fitted with modular ballistic protection. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
15 Nov 18. France launches definition study on new maritime surveillance aircraft. The Direction Générale de l’Armement (DGA) announced on 9 November that it had launched a one-year definition study on the future maritime surveillance and reaction aircraft (AVSIMAR). The DGA said this was part of an effort to streamline the acquisition and support of specialised military aircraft based on the design of Dassault Aviation’s Falcon business jet. The first phase of the AVSIMAR programme already identified the Falcon 2000 LXS business jet as the best solution, which is faster and has greater endurance, according to the DGA. The study aims to define the modifications that have to be made to the Falcon 2000 LXS and will prepare for the procurement, planned to be launched in 2020. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
15 Nov 18. Serbia expects more MiG-29s in March. President Aleksandar Vučić announced during Exercise ‘Vek Pobednika 2018’ (‘Century of the Vanquisher 2018’) on 10 November that Serbia would increase its MiG-29 fleet from 10 to 14 by the end of March. Belarus will supply four additional fighters. Vučić also provided details on the procurement of Wing Loong II medium-altitude, long-endurance unmanned combat aerial vehicles (UCAVs) from China. He said two “batteries” of three UCAVs each were ordered for EUR30m (USD34m). (Source: IHS Jane’s)
14 Nov 18. Key JEDI protest denied. A bid to freeze the Pentagon’s $10bn, 10-year cloud deal stalled as the Government Accountability Office denied a protest from Oracle that claimed the procurement was stacked in favor of a particular vendor and flawed on other competitive grounds.
The Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure, designed as a single-cloud solution to support warfighters across the globe, has proved controversial among vendors, many of whom argue that its classification requirements and other details appear to be designed to favor Amazon Web Services. GAO decided that the Department of Defense is within its rights in conducting a single-award procurement. Ralph O. White, GAO’s managing associate general counsel for procurement law, said DOD reasonably decided “a single-award approach is in the government’s best interests for various reasons, including national security concerns.”
GAO also said that allegations of conflicts of interest among participants in the design of the procurement “do not provide a basis for sustaining Oracle’s protest.”
A second protest, filed by IBM, is due to be decided on Jan. 18, 2019.
Opposition to JEDI has been stoked by vendors, industry groups and lobbyists looking replace the single-cloud procurement with a multicloud deal that would allow for multiple contract winners.
DOD officials have staunchly backed the single-award approach throughout the process. Even Defense Secretary Jim Matthis was grilled by members of Congress about the deal in April.
Two senior Republican members of the House Appropriations committee want the Defense Department’s Office of Inspector General to probe the development of the JEDI requirements.
Bids on the deal were due last month. Microsoft, IBM, Oracle and Amazon all submitted bids. Google, another big player in government cloud, opted not to participate.
IBM’s protest focuses on competition issues but also pushes on the risks and technical limitations of a single-cloud environment.”
“No business in the world would build a cloud the way JEDI would and then lock in to it for a decade,” said Sam Gordy, head of IBM U.S. Federal, in a recent blog post.
Separately, DOD announced it was shifting gears on its planned $8bn back-office cloud procurement. Rather than have the Defense Information Systems Agency lead the cloud buy, it is moving to the Schedule 70 vehicle at the General Services Administration. DISA will handle the integration.
14 Nov 18. USMC readies for Ultra-Light Tactical Vehicle competition. US Marine Corps (USMC) officials are interested in buying a new Ultra-Light Tactical Vehicle (ULTV) for a host of activities, including electronic warfare, and are moving ahead with plans to host a competition.
In a 9 November request for information posted on the Federal Business Opportunities website, the USMC’s Program Executive Officer Land Systems (PEO LS) asked potential sources to step forward with prospective commercial off-the-shelf, modular, and off-road utility vehicles transportable on MV-22 Osprey tiltrotor aircraft, as well as CH-53E and CH-53K King Stallion aircraft. Marines will use the ULTVs for casualty evacuation, command and control, electronic warfare, logistics support to infantry units, and to carry crew-served weapons. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
REST OF THE WORLD
23 Nov 18. Global wrap-up: Russia secures $1.5bn air defence missile deal, Korea accepts first KC-30A tanker. This global wrap-up provides key updates of industry developments across the globe, including new procurement deals, capability introductions and key announcements.
- India and Vietnam have agreed to further strengthen bilateral co-operation across sectors, including Defence, after Indian President Ram Nath Kovind’s visit to Hanoi.
- Japan will purchase 32 AIM-120C-7 Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missiles (AMRAAM) for an estimated cost of US$63m from the United States. Also included are containers, weapon support and support equipment, spare and repair parts, US government and contractor engineering, technical and logistical support services, and other related elements of logistical and program support.
- Japan will also purchase eight Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) Block 1B missiles and 13 Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) Block 2A missiles for an estimated cost of US$561 m from the US.
- The first Airbus KC-30A Multi Role Tanker Transport for the Republic of Korea Air Force has landed in South Korea, making the country the seventh nation to operate the platform.
- Northrop Grumman has been awarded a US$490 m contract to support Japan’s procurement of the company’s RQ-4 Global Hawk high-altitude, long-endurance (HALE) UAS. The contract covers three aircraft and is part of the larger US$1.2 bn deal inked between the two countries.
- Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu will take on the Defence Minister role, rejecting calls to dissolve his government even as early elections appear increasingly likely.
- Israel has announced that it will supplement its fleet of F-35I aircraft with a fleet of upgraded F-15IA variants of the F-15E Strike Eagle.
- Saudi Arabia will no longer have its aircraft refuelled by the US when it is fighting Houthi Rebels in Yemen.
- The US Senate has rejected efforts to stop Bahrain purchasing US$300m worth of rocket launchers.
- NATO has signed off on a US$320.5m deal with the US to supply precision guided munitions kits to support a range of ordnance, including 2,000-pound bombs, computer control groups, adapter units and Paveway avionics kits.
- Russia has bagged a $1.5bn deal to provide the S-400 anti-aircraft missile system to the Indian Army, undercutting France and Sweden.
- Rheinmetall has signed a major contract with the German Army to supply 13,000 rounds of 120mm tank munitions worth €21.4m.
- Turkey has signed a multibn-dollar contract to produce the country’s first indigenous, new generation main battle tank.
- NATO military committee chairman, UK Air Marshal Stuart Peach, has warned that a European Union army concept would be ‘duplicative’ and ‘unwise’.
- Slovakia is set to purchase 14 Lockheed Martin F-16V fighters to replace its MiG-29 jets as the country looks to reduce Russian influence.
- Ukraine is in discussions with the US to purchase more lethal weapons for Kiev’s fight in the east of the country.
- Elbit Systems has delivered the M-346 series full mission simulators and flight training devices to the Polish Air Force to support the Polish integration of the F-16 platform and improve air-to-air and air-to-ground mission training.
- Thales has launched a new facility in Denmark as part of the company’s service provision to the Danish Armed Forces’ Sotas vehicle communication system.
- US President Donald Trump has released a lengthy statement justifying the US alliance with Saudi Arabia, saying he doesn’t know whether Saudi’s crown prince knew about the plot to murder journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
- A report by Auditor General Michael Ferguson has said Canada’s purchase of used F-18 aircraft from Australia will “pose a risk to Canada’s ability to contribute to NORAD and NATO operations”.
- Raytheon has secured a US$34m deal with the US Navy to support the Cooperative Engagement Capability on the Navy’s guided missile destroyers.
- Raytheon has won a US$75m deal to support qualification, test and integration services for the US Navy’s SM- Block IIA missile, with an expected completion date in September 2020 and a total contract value (including modification) to US$1.19bn.
- Lockheed Martin has secured a US$350m deal to conduct lab work across a number of sites for the US Air Force.
- The US Navy’s Attack Submarine fleet is facing increasing scrutiny following revelations that the US government spent US$1.5bn in FY2018 for submarines that provided no operational capability.
- The US Air Force has identified the first two bases that will support the B-21 Raider strategic bomber as Tinker AFB and Edwards AFB.
- General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc. has been selected to supply one of the company’s Reaper variants to serve as part Australia’s first armed remotely piloted aerial system (RPAS).
- UK defence electronics specialist SEA has signed an MoU with Australian owned Daronmont Technologies to support the SEA 1000 and SEA 5000 programs.
- Ground was broken at the Military Vehicle Centre of Excellence (MILVEHCOE) in Ipswich, which will support the $5.2bn LAND 400 Phase 2 delivery.
- Construction kicked off on the Royal Australian Navy’s future Arafura Class Offshore Patrol Vessels as part of the SEA 1180 Phase 1 program.
- TAE Aerospace began construction of its state-of-the-art F-135 engine maintenance facility at Bundamba to support Australia’s F-35A and regional F-35 variants.
- Australian designed Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile (ESSM) components marked a major milestone, with more than 3,000 units produced from BAE Systems’ manufacturing facility in South Australia. (Source: Defence Connect)
23 Nov 18. SEA 5000 combat system partners confirmed. Defence Connect can today confirm that BAE Systems Australia has selected its industrial partners to deliver the combat system integration for the nation’s $35bn Hunter Class frigate project. BAE Systems Australia has selected Lockheed Martin Australia and Saab Australia to partner with the company to deliver combat system integration on the Royal Australian Navy’s new Hunter Class frigates. The decision further supports the development of an Australian combat systems industry that will underpin the Australian government’s continuous Naval Shipbuilding Plan.
BAE Systems Australia Hunter Class frigate program managing director Nigel Stewart said, “The Hunter Class combat system is a vital piece of the frigate’s infrastructure, which will give the men and women who operate these ships the capability to protect the nation against airborne, surface and under-sea threats.”
The Hunter Class combat system is the eyes and ears of the warship, able to detect and identify aircraft, submarines and ships at great distance to offer the frigate’s command team maximum situational awareness and the capability to defend itself against or engage with an enemy.
Minister for Defence, Christopher Pyne welcomed the announcement, saying the $35 billion frigate program would provide the Navy the highest levels of lethality and deterrence that our major surface combatants need in periods of global uncertainty.
“I would like to congratulate Lockheed Martin Australia and Saab Australia for being named the preferred tenderers to partner with BAE Systems Australia to deliver the Combat System Integration on the Hunter class frigates,” Minister Pyne said.
The decision is expected to create up to 200 jobs and supports the development of an Australian industry which will underpin the Government’s continuous Naval Shipbuilding Plan.
“I would like to congratulate Lockheed Martin Australia and Saab Australia for being named the preferred tenderers to partner with BAE Systems Australia to deliver the Combat System Integration on the Hunter class frigates. The Combat Management System for the new Hunter class frigate fleet will be the Aegis System, together with an Australian tactical interface to be developed by Saab Australia,” Minister Pyne explained.
In 2017, the government announced that it would equip Australia’s navy with the world’s best technology. The combat management system (CMS) for the new Hunter Class frigate fleet will be the Aegis Combat System, together with an Australian tactical interface to be developed by Saab Australia.
Lockheed Martin Australia and New Zealand, Chief Executive, Vince Di Pietro welcomed the announcement, saying “Lockheed Martin is delighted to partner with BAE Systems and Saab Australia to integrate the Hunter class combat system into Australia’s future frigates.”
Aegis is the world’s most advanced maritime warfighting capability and the world’s only maritime ballistic missile defence system. Aegis is currently successfully integrated across 107 ships and nine classes for six nations, including the US, Japan, Australia, the Republic of Korea, Spain and Norway, proving the system is a truly global force in ensuring maritime capability.
“Lockheed Martin has more than 40 years of experience in the production and integration of Aegis combat systems around the world. We look forward to partnering with the Commonwealth, the United States Navy, BAE Systems and Saab Australia to integrate, operate, and maintain the system right here in Australia, by Australians,” Di Pietro added.
Centred around the AN/SPY-1 radar, Aegis is a fully integrated combat system, providing full 360-degree, 3D tracking capacity. Aegis is capable of simultaneously defending against attack from land targets, submarines and surface ships while automatically protecting the fleet against aircraft cruise missiles and ballistic missiles.
Integrating the eyes and ears
Integrating Aegis into the Future Frigates ensures immediate integration into coalition task forces from the first arrival at an area of operations and provides growth to capabilities like IAMD and BMD roles. Aegis serves as the US Navy’s maritime command and control hub for the joint, integrated and networked battlespace and is the key maritime component of the US’ BMD umbrella.
“This is a fantastic result for Saab Australia and the result of many years of hard and diligent work by our staff. It is the culmination of over 30 years of collaborating with BAE Systems Australia in integrating complex combat systems for the Royal Australian Navy,” said Andy Keogh CSC, Managing Director, Saab Australia.
BAE Systems was named in June this year as the preferred contractor for the $35bn Hunter Class Frigate Program. Nine of the most advanced anti-submarine warships will be built in South Australia, creating and sustaining 5,000 jobs across the nation.
As part of a competitive tender process and following a rigorous evaluation, Lockheed Martin Australia and Saab Australia were selected because they each offered strengths and technical expertise that will best complement BAE Systems’ capability.
“We can be proud that this capability is being created in Australia and that the Hunter Class program will sustain the existing skills and experience of the engineers already delivering capability to the Navy,” Stewart said.
Supporting Australian industry
In October, BAE Systems Australia announced that it had signed an Advanced Work Arrangement (AWA) with the Australian government for the Hunter Class Frigate Program. The AWA allows BAE Systems to continue to mobilise the program, including maturing design and engineering plans, establishing a skilled work force and setting up the required infrastructure necessary to commence prototyping in 2020.
Minister Pyne said, “The frigates will not only help secure Australia’s interests through enhanced capability but the program will also be delivered by Australian workers, with unprecedented levels of Australian industry opportunities in the global supply chain.”
The Australian government mandated the US Navy’s Aegis Combat Management System and the Australian CEAFAR radar as part of the design of the new frigates, with an Australian interface to be developed by Saab Australia to incorporate all other attack and defence systems, including the Nulka decoy, and sonar systems from Thales and Ultra. Construction of the Hunter class frigates will begin at Adelaide’s Osborne Shipyard in 2020 and the program will employ around 4000 workers. (Source: Defence Connect)
22 Nov 18. IDF: No decision on advanced F-15s as yet. Israel has not made a final decision on acquiring a more advanced version of the Boeing F-15 multirole fighter, the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) told Jane’s.
“All possibilities regarding this issue are under IDF, IAF [Israeli Air Force], and the defence establishment’s examination, and their position has yet to be decided,” the IDF said in a statement on 20 November.
The Ynet news website reported on 19 November that there had been an official announcement that the IAF would acquire a more advanced version of the fighter called the F-15IA in addition to more Lockheed Martin F-35s, 50 of which have already been ordered.
It indicated that the F-15IA is the Israeli designation for the F-15 Advanced Eagle. A Saudi version called the F-15SA is already in production and Qatar has ordered one called the F-15QA, the main difference between the two being the Qataris have opted for the Large Area Display cockpit made by the Israeli company Elbit.
Ynet said there was initially US opposition to Israel’s acquisition of the F-15IA if it resulted in a reduction of Israel’s F-35 order. It cited a document approved by Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman shortly before he resigned on 14 November as saying that the IAF still intends to field three F-35 squadrons, each with 25 aircraft. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
21 Nov 18. Government launches grants to support Aussie defence SMEs. Under a new government scheme, SME businesses in the defence industry could receive a $1m grant to invest in projects built for Defence’s stated Sovereign Industrial Capability Priorities. The Sovereign Industrial Capability Priority Grants aim to ensure Australian business have the capacity to support Defence’s most critical capabilities.
The program will provide up to $17m per year to help grow a deeper industrial base for the Australian Defence Force.
The initiative supports the 10 Sovereign Industrial Capability Priorities that are critical to the ADF’s operational requirements, which concluded that the majority of its industrial base are SMEs.
Minister for Defence Industry Steven Ciobo said the grants were important for improving defence capability moving forward.
“Government is delivering the largest modernisation of the ADF since the Second World War, investing more than $200bn in defence capability over the next decade. Involving Australia’s SMEs in this major renewal of Australia’s defence capability will grow our industry and economy, helping create new jobs,” Minister Ciobo said.
Only small-to-medium sized companies (less than 200 employees) are eligible for the grant, and can use the funding towards capital equipment, design and engineering, or workforce training and accreditations. Grants range from $50,000 to $1m and are provided on a 50:50 matched funding basis.
Decisions about investment will be driven by Defence capability needs.
Minister Ciobo explained the growing importance of Australia’s defence industry SMEs, saying, “The plan concluded Australia’s defence industrial base is mostly composed of SMEs. This grants program aims to ensure Australian businesses have the capacity and resilience to support Defence’s most critical capabilities.”
The initial Sovereign Industrial Capability Priorities are:
- Collins Class submarine maintenance and technology upgrade;
- Continuous shipbuilding program (including rolling submarine acquisition);
- Land combat vehicle and technology upgrade;
- Enhanced active and passive phased array radar capability;
- Combat clothing survivability and signature reduction technologies;
- Advanced signal processing capability in electronic warfare, cyber and information security, and signature management technologies and operations;
- Surveillance and intelligence data collection, analysis dissemination and complex systems integration;
- Test, evaluation, certification and systems assurance;
- Munitions and small arms research, design, development and manufacture; and
- Aerospace platform deep maintenance.
“The grants will help SMEs meet up to 50 per cent of eligible project costs including capital equipment, specialist software and security infrastructure, non-recurring engineering costs, design activities or enhancing workforce training and accreditation,” he explained further.
The grants program will be delivered through the Centre for Defence Industry Capability.
“Involving Australia’s SMEs in this major renewal of Australia’s defence capability will grow our industry and economy, helping create new jobs,” Minister Ciobo said. (Source: Defence Connect)
21 Nov 18. Australian and Swiss governments to cooperate on defence materiel. The Government of the Commonwealth of Australia has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Swiss Government to bolster and enhance defence materiel and industry cooperation. A Statement of Acknowledgement was jointly signed by Australian Defence Minister Christopher Pyne and Switzerland to Australia Ambassador Pedro Zwahlen. The MoU established a new agreement and support cooperation between the defence industries of Australia and Switzerland. In addition, the agreement will help recognise the fundamental significance of a sovereign defence industry that would help develop and sustain defence capabilities in both countries.
According to Pyne, the current agreement will serve as a primary element of a defence materiel and industry relationship between the countries and would deliver long-term tangible benefits to their defence capabilities.
Pyne said: “The MoU will allow us to identify opportunities for collaboration, support defence equipment transfers and sharing of information. “The joint declaration reflects the mutual commitment of Australia and Switzerland to deepen our friendship, as well as our dedication to increased bilateral defence materiel and industry cooperation to the benefit of both countries.
“Australia and Switzerland already share a long and productive history, and I look forward to strengthening our relationship in relation to defence materiel cooperation, sustainment and capability development.”
In October 2010, Australia and Vietnam signed a MoU on defence cooperation to strengthen the bilateral relationship between the nations. (Source: army-technology.com)
21 Nov 18. AusTrade, in partnership with AustCyber, is seeking applicants from cyber security firms to join a targeted mission to the US in February and March 2019. Firms will participate in an exclusive program of events, briefings and introductions to cyber security firms, investors and customers, and will have the opportunity to pitch, network and engage with local and international industry. The mission in San Francisco, running from Sunday, 3 – Friday, 8 March, has been designed to coincide with the RSA Conference, a leading information security conference and exposition. In 2018, RSA attracted over 42,000 attendees to San Francisco. The four-day event consists of the conference, which hosts speakers on a variety of industry relevant topics, and a vender expo with more than 600 vendors. Australian companies and/or research institutions with capabilities across the following areas should apply to attend:
- Cyber security;
- Information security;
- Data analytics;
- Cloud security; and
- Mobile and IoT security.
Starting in the week prior to RSA, there will be two mission extension options in addition to the San Francisco program. On 25 and 26 February, a select group of delegates will have the opportunity to travel to New York and learn about the cyber security needs of the region’s financial services, healthcare, e-commerce and technology-driven sectors.
The program will provide Australian cyber security firms and academics with a variety of opportunities, including:
- Build relationships with leading cyber security, information security, technology stakeholders and government agencies;
- Showcase capabilities and technologies at dedicated events co-ordinated by Austrade;
- Participate in meetings with leading multinational corporations, universities and accelerators;
- Join exclusive networking functions, as a member of the official Australian delegation;
- Leverage Austrade’s networks and on-ground support in the US;
- Get to know a broad cross-section of Australia’s cyber security community; and
- Make arrangements to meet potential partners and customers in the ‘Australia House’ pop-up, located only two blocks from the conference centre.
From 27 February – 1 March, a small group will visit the Washington, DC, Maryland and Virginia (DMV) area to meet with a range of defence and national security-focused companies and government agencies with cyber security interests. Places for the New York and Washington DMV programs will be strictly limited. Applications close 23 November 2018. (Source: Defence Connect)
20 Nov 18. Canadian watchdog sounds alarm over F-18 purchase, military priorities. Canada’s purchase of used F-18 aircraft from Australia will do nothing to boost the combat capability of its fighter jet fleet, as it would still lack pilots and technicians, and the current fleet of planes have not seen improvements for years, according to a Canadian watchdog report. Canada currently operates a fleet of CF-18 fighters but is lacking in a plan to modernize those aircraft for modern warfare, reads the report released Tuesday by Auditor General Michael Ferguson.
“Flying the CF-18 until 2032 without a plan to upgrade combat capability will result in less important roles for the fighter force and will pose a risk to Canada’s ability to contribute to NORAD and NATO operations,” the report says, using an acronym for the North American Aerospace Defense Command. “Without combat upgrades, the CF-18 will be less effective against adversaries in domestic and international operations.”
Canada is also in the process of buying used F-18s from Australia to supplement the existing fleet of CF-18s, but Ferguson’s report notes that acquisition will not fix the fundamental weaknesses with the CF-18 fleet, mainly the aircraft’s declining combat capability and the shortage of personnel to fly and maintain those planes.
Canadian Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan said Tuesday the federal government will look at the possibility of adding new weapons and defensive systems for the CF-18s, but he did not provide specific details. He also said the used F-18 fighter jets to be purchased from Australia will be modernized, but again he did not provide specific details.
Sajjan said the federal government gave direction in 2016 to the Canadian military to recruit more pilots and improve retention of aircrews and maintainers, but such a process takes time. Canada expects to accept bids in May 2019 for a new fleet of 88 fighter jets that will eventually replace the CF-18s and the used Australian aircraft. Potential aircraft in the competition include Lockheed Martin’s F-35, the Eurofighter Typhoon, Saab’s Gripen and the Boeing Super Hornet. (Source: Defense News)
21 Nov 18. Asia’s simmering fighter race. As Australia and other regional allies prepares to receive their first F-35s, regional air forces have been modernising and expanding their own fighter fleets to bolster the combat capability of their fighter force. Fighter aircraft, like every facet of military technology, are rapidly evolving. The current global and regional transition from fourth to fifth-generation fighter aircraft, like the F-22 Raptor and F-35 Joint Strike Fighter platforms, is reshaping the role of fighter fleets and the balance of power in Australia’s region. Designed to establish and maintain air superiority or air dominance, fighter aircraft have evolved from relatively simple, wood and canvas air frames during the First World War, to the highly manoeuvrable, long-range aircraft that dominated the skies of Europe and the Pacific during the Second World War; the latest two generations of fighters are the pinnacle of these earlier designs.
Indo-Pacific Asia’s fighter fleets are made up of fighter aircraft ranging from third to fifth-generation aircraft, each with unique capabilities and roles within the regional balance of power.
Before we dive into the regional fighter fleets, let’s take a closer look at the differences between the generations of aircraft operating in our region:
- Third-generation fighter: Designed and developed between the early 1960s and the 1970s, these aircraft placed renewed focus on manoeuvrability and traditional ground attack capabilities. Third-generation aircraft also saw the increased use of guided missiles in combat, the introduction of analogue avionics systems and improved aerodynamic performance. Examples of third-generation fighter aircraft include the US F-4 Phantom II, the French Mirage F1, the Russian MiG 25 Foxbat and Chinese Shenyang J-8.
- Fourth-generation fighter: Developed and in service from about 1980 until the present, fourth-generation fighter aircraft placed renewed emphasis on manoeuvrability and air-to-air combat capability, supported by improved fly-by-wire flight control systems, improved avionics, the introduction of digital computers, aerodynamic air frames and on board radar systems to leverage advances made in long-range air-to-air missiles. Fourth-generation combat aircraft also marked the the introduction of multi-role fighter aircraft. Examples of fourth-generation fighter aircraft include the US F-15 Eagle, F-14 Tomcat, F/A-18 Hornet, Russian MiG-29 and Su-27, French Rafale, Eurofighter Typhoon and Chinese Shenyang J-10 and J-11.
- 4.5 generation fighter: Evolved variants of the fourth-generation, incorporating advances in microchip and semiconductor technology to improve avionics, radar, data links and network-centric warfare. Additionally, these aircraft incorporate advances in radar cross section reducing design and materials, advanced GPS guided weapons and in some cases thrust vectoring. Examples of 4.5 generation aircraft include the US F-15E Strike Eagle and F/A-18 E/F Super Hornet, the Russian Su-30MKI and MKK variants, Eurofighter Typhoon and Rafale variants.
- Fifth-generation fighter: The pinnacle of fighter aircraft, incorporating all-aspect stealth even when armed, low-probability-of-intercept radar, high-performance air frames, advanced avionics and highly integrated computer systems, these aircraft provide unrivalled air dominance, situational awareness, networking, interdiction and strike capabilities for commanders. Examples of fifth-generation aircraft include the US F-22 Raptor and F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, Russian Su-57 and Chinese J-20 and FC-31.
In the first instalment, we will take a closer look at the operational fighter fleets of China, Russia and India.
People’s Liberation Army Air Force: China’s Air Force has undergone a period of modernisation and expansion in line with the country’s growing ambitions in Indo-Pacific Asia. Part of this program has seen an expansion in the PLAAF’s fourth-generation aircraft fleets and increased investment and development of domestically designed fifth-generation platforms.
As the largest air force in Asia, the PLAAF operates about 3,000 aircraft of various roles, with a diverse fleet of multi-generation fighter aircraft, including:
- Xian JH-7: Similar in role to the retired F-111, the JH-7 is a fighter-bomber in operation with both the Chinese Air Force and Chinese Naval Air Force. The fourth-generation aircraft has a combat radius of about 1,760 kilometres, max speed of Mach 1.75 and capable of carrying a variety of Chinese made air-to-air, air-to-ground and air-to-surface munitions, including ‘dumb’ and ‘smart’ bombs with a maximum load capacity of about 20,000 pounds.
- Shenyang J-8: A Chinese developed interceptor, in operation with both the Chinese Air Force and Chinese Naval Air Force. The specialised fighter aircraft has a combat radius of 1,000 kilometres, max speed of Mach 2.4 and never exceed speed of Mach 2.2, and is armed with a variety of weapons, with a central 23mm cannon and under-wing hardpoints for fuel, bombs, rockets or missiles.
- Chengdu J-10: China’s fourth-generation multi-role combat fighter, comparable to the US F-16 series of fighters. The J-10 is currently operated by both the Chinese Air Force and Chinese Naval Air Force. The aircraft has a combat radius of 550 kilometres and max speed of Mach 1.8. J-10 is armed with a single 23mm cannon and has 11 under-wing hard points with capacity for 7,000 kilograms worth of external fuel stores and Chinese made air-to-air, air-to-ground and air-to-surface munitions, including ‘dumb’ and ‘smart’ bombs.
- Chengdu J-11: A Chinese variant of the Soviet Su-27SK air superiority fighter. The J-11 and its variants (from J-11B on) includes the J-15 carrier-based variant have a combat radius of about 1,500 kilometres and a max speed of Mach 2.35. The fighter is armed with a single 30mm cannon and has 10 hardpoints capable of carrying a variety of Chinese made air-to-air, air-to-ground and air-to-surface munitions, including ‘dumb’ and ‘smart’ bombs.
- Shenyang J-16: A Chinese produced variant of the Russian Su-30MKK series and the Chinese produced J-11B. The aircraft has a range of about 3,900 kilometres and max speed of Mach 2.5. The aircraft is armed with a single 30mm cannon and incorporates 12 hardpoints capable of carrying a variety of Chinese made air-to-air, air-to-ground and air-to-surface munitions, including ‘dumb’ and ‘smart’ bombs.
- Sukhoi Su-30: Both the Chinese Air Force and Naval Air Force operate the Soviet designed Su-30 series aircraft. Su-30 has a max speed of Mach 2 and range of about 3,000 kilometres. The aircraft is armed with a single 30mm cannon and 12 hardpoints capable of carrying a variety of Russian and Chinese made air-to-air, air-to-ground and air-to-surface munitions, including ‘dumb’ and ‘smart’ bombs with a maximum load capacity of about 18,000 pounds.
- Sukhoi Su-35: An evolution of the Su-30 series, the Su-35 provides the Chinese Air Force with a 4.5 generation fighter aircraft, incorporating thrust vectoring engines, with a max speed of Mach 2.25 and combat range of about 1,580 kilometres. The aircraft are armed with a single 30mm cannon and are equipped with 12 hardpoints capable of carrying a variety of Russian and Chinese made air-to-air, air-to-ground and air-to-surface munitions, including ‘dumb’ and ‘smart’ bombs with a maximum load capacity of about 18,000 pounds.
- Chengdu J-20: China’s first fifth-generation fighter aircraft, and the world’s third such aircraft, incorporates radar reducing cross sections and materials, high-capacity sensor integration and advanced engines. While little is known about the specifics of the fifth-generation air superiority fighter, designed to counter the American F-22 Raptor, it has a max speed of Mach 2.5+ and incorporates a variety of advanced Chinese designed precision-guided bombs, and air-to-air missiles in internal weapons bays and advanced electro-optical targeting systems and active electronically scanned array (AESA) radars.
Russian Air Force: Russia’s Air Force has inherited a variety of Soviet-era fighter aircraft designs, which has up until recently placed the Air Force at a disadvantage as regional nations introduce more advanced aircraft into their own fleets.
However, the growing modernisation and rearmament of the Russian armed forces as a whole, has seen a rapid modernisation of the Russian fighter fleet, to incorporate a range of highly advanced and capable fourth- and 4.5 generation aircraft, with research and development and low-rate, initial production of a domestically designed fifth-generation platform, including:
- Sukhoi Su-27: A twin-engine, super-manoeuvrable fighter aircraft designed to counter American fourth-generation fighters like the US F-14 and F-15 aircraft. The Russian Air Force operates a variety of the Su-27 variants across its 37 fighter squadrons. The Su-27SK variant, which serves as the base model for the Russian operated variants, has a range of between 1,340 kilometres (at sea level) and 3,530 kilometres (at altitude) and a max speed of Mach 2.35. The aircraft is armed with a single 30mm cannon and has 10 hardpoints capable of carrying a range of Russian made air-to-air, air-to-ground and air-to-surface munitions, including ‘dumb’ and ‘smart’ bombs with a maximum load capacity of about 10,000 pounds.
- Sukhoi Su-34: A Soviet answer to the F-111 fighter-bomber, the Su-34 provides the Russian Air Force with a credible, high-capability, long-range fighter-bomber. The Su-34 has a combat range of about 1,100 kilometres, a top speed of Mach 1.8+ and is armed with a single 30mm cannon. As a fighter-bomber, the Su-34 has 12 hardpoints capable of carrying a range of Russian made air-to-air, air-to-ground and air-to-surface munitions, including ‘dumb’ and ‘smart’ bombs with a maximum load capacity of about 17,600-26,500 pounds.
- Sukhoi Su-35: An evolution of the Su-30 series, the Su-35, like the capability delivered to the Chinese Air Force, provides the Russian Air Force with a 4.5 generation fighter aircraft, incorporating thrust vectoring engines with a max speed of Mach 2.25 and combat range of about 1,580 kilometres. The aircraft are armed with a single 30mm cannon and are equipped with 12 hardpoints capable of carrying a variety of Russian made air-to-air, air-to-ground and air-to-surface munitions, including ‘dumb’ and ‘smart’ bombs with a maximum load capacity of about 18,000 pounds.
- Mikoyan MiG-29: Designed in the mid-1980s, the MiG-29 aircraft provides the Russian Air Force with an early-fourth-generation multi-role fighter aircraft similar to the American F-16 and F/A-18 series fighter aircraft. The MiG-29 has a range of about 2,100 kilometres and max speed of Mach 1.13 (at sea level) and 2.25 (at high altitude) and is armed with a single 30mm cannon and nine hardpoints for carrying a variety of Russian made air-to-air, air-to-ground and air-to-surface munitions, including ‘dumb’ and ‘smart’ bombs with a maximum load capacity of about 12,000 pounds.
- Mikoyan MiG-31: Designed at the height of the Cold War as a high-altitude, high-speed fighter interceptor to counter high-altitude US strategic bombers, the MiG-31 has a combat range of 1,450 kilometres with a max speed of Mach 2.83 and can be armed with a variety of Russian made air-to-air and air-to-surface munitions.
- Sukhoi Su-57: Russia’s answer to the American F-22 Raptor and the Chinese J-20, the Su-57 is intended to succeed the MiG-29 and Su-27 series fighters in Russian service. The twin-engine, multi-role air superiority fighter aircraft is the first Russian aircraft to incorporate radar reducing cross sections and materials, high-capacity sensor integration and advanced engines. Su-57 has a supersonic range of about 1,500 kilometres and subsonic range of 3,500 kilometres and max speed of Mach 2. The aircraft is armed with a single 30mm cannon and between 12 and 16 hardpoints, including internal weapons bays capable of Russian made air-to-air, air-to-ground and air-to-surface munitions, including ‘dumb’ and ‘smart’ bombs.
Despite modernisation efforts made by the Russian government, significant recapitalisation programs for Soviet-era platforms like the MiG-31 and Su-27 series fighter aircraft will see a series of advanced 4.5 and fifth-generation combat fighter aircraft, including the Su-57; the 4.5 generation MiG-35, an evolution of the MiG-29; and the MiG-41 a fifth-generation, high-altitude, high-speed interceptor replacement for the MiG-31 expected to be introduced into service 2025.
This expansion is planned to be supported by expanding the export success of Russia’s fighter aircraft, with the Su-57 and modernised variants of the Su-27 and Su-30/35 series fighter aircraft enabling the Russian Air Force to lower the research and development and corresponding unit costs for advanced platforms moving forward.
Indian Air Force: The Indian Air Force, like its Russian and Chinese counterparts, is undergoing a series of modernisation and recapitalisation programs to phase out older generation fighter aircraft with foreign designed and manufactured fighter aircraft. India’s pursuit for a modern fighter force also aims to help develop the country’s own aerospace manufacturing industry.
India’s Air Force incorporates a variety of fighter aircraft designed by French, Russian and domestic manufacturers, including:
- Mikoyan MiG-29: Designed in the mid-1980s, the MiG-29 aircraft serves the Indian Air Force with an early-fourth-generation multi-role fighter aircraft similar to the American F-16 and F/A-18 series fighter aircraft. The MiG-29 has a range of about 2,100 kilometres and max speed of Mach 1.13 (at sea level) and 2.25 (at high altitude) and is armed with a single 30mm cannon and nine hardpoints for carrying a variety of Russian and Indian made air-to-air, air-to-ground and air-to-surface munitions, including ‘dumb’ and ‘smart’ bombs with a maximum load capacity of about 12,000 pounds.
- Sukhoi Su-30MKI: Expected to form the backbone of India’s modern air force, with 272 currently on order and 233 in operation, the Soviet designed Su-30MKI variant has a max speed of Mach 2 and features thrust vectoring control and canards for super-manoeuvrability and range of about 3,000 kilometres. The aircraft is armed with a single 30mm cannon and 12 hardpoints capable of carrying a variety of Russian and Indian made air-to-air, air-to-ground and air-to-surface munitions, including ‘dumb’ and ‘smart’ bombs with a maximum load capacity of about 18,000 pounds.
- Mirage 2000: The French designed multi-role third-generation multi-role fighter aircraft has been in service with the Indian Air Force since the 1980s. The Mirage has a range of about 1,550 kilometres and a max speed of Mach 2.2 at high altitude. The nimble fighters are armed with twin 30mm cannons and have nine hardpoints for integrating a range of French, Russian and Indian made air-to-air, air-to-ground and air-to-surface munitions, including ‘dumb’ and ‘smart’ bombs with a total capacity of 13,900 pounds.
- Dassault Rafale: Another French designed combat aircraft, the Rafale provides the Indian Air Force with a fourth-generation combat fighter, with a combat range of about 1,852 kilometres and max speed of Mach 1.8. The Rafale is armed with a single 30mm cannon and 14 hardpoints for integrating French and US made air-to-air, air-to-ground and air-to-surface munitions, including ‘dumb’ and ‘smart’ bombs with a total capacity of 20,900 pounds.
- HAL Tejas: The Indian designed and manufactured multi-role, light fighter is India’s first attempt to develop a fourth-generation fighter aircraft and builds on the experiences learnt from participating in the the manufacturing and operation of foreign designed aircraft. The Tejas has a combat radius of 500 kilometres and max speed of Mach 1.8 (full-rate production model), and is armed with a single 23mm cannon and eight hardpoints for integrating a range of Russian and Indian air-to-air, air-to-ground and air-to-surface munitions, including ‘dumb’ and ‘smart’ bombs.
India’s Air Force modernisation program will see a number of continuing transformations, including the introduction of a fifth-generation fighter aircraft. Designated the Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft, it is designed to complement fourth- and 4.5 generation fighter aircraft and replace the ageing Mirage 2000 aircraft. Additionally, the Indian Air Force is looking to introduce 200 new, single-seat, single-engine fighter aircraft, with the Lockheed Martin F-16 Block 70 and Saab Gripen fighter aircraft. It is expected that the procurement will also see increased Indian industry involvement as part of the Indian government’s goal of developing a capable domestic aerospace and advanced manufacturing industry. In the second edition, we will take a look at the growing and evolving fighter fleets of Vietnam, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand. (Source: Defence Connect)
20 Nov 18. Vietnam and Belarus sign technology deal. Vietnam and Belarus have signed a new agreement to collaborate on military technologies to boost defence industrial capability in the Southeast Asian country. According to a statement by the Vietnamese government on 16 November, the military-technical accord outlines areas of co-operation in the next 12 months and beyond. The agreement builds on a similar pact signed by the two countries in 2015. The new agreement – announced following talks in Hanoi between Vietnam’s defence minister General Ngo Xuan Lich and his visiting counterpart Andrei Ravkov – also prioritises technology transfers from Belarus to Vietnam in support of the latter’s production of weapons and equipment. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
19 Nov 18. Canadian Coast Guard icebreaker costs rise. The Canadian government has acknowledged that the cost of three medium icebreakers for the Canadian Coast Guard (CCG) has increased by CAD217m (USD165m). Budgetary documents released in the House of Commons show that the government now plans to spend CAD827m on the three vessels, compared with the CAD610m announced in the August 2018 contract. Ottawa opted to procure the three vessels to fill an urgent capability gap in the CCG’s ageing fleet of icebreakers, agreeing to a proposal from Quebec-based Chantier Davie shipyard. Davie sourced three icebreakers in Norway that were originally built for the oil and gas industry and is in the process of converting them for the CCG. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
19 Nov 18. Team Reaper Aus welcomes ADF UAS announcement and industrial opportunities. In securing AIR 7003, General Atomics and Team Reaper Australia will bring a leading-edge armed UAS capability to the ADF with a focus on sovereign industrial capability and development at the heart of the program. As reported by Defence Connect on Friday, US aerospace giant General Atomics Aeronautical Systems (GA-ASI) and the MQ-9 Reaper series of medium-altitude long-endurance (MALE) aircraft has been pre-selected as the basis for Australia’s future armed unmanned aerial system (UAS) fleet.
Linden Blue, CEO of GA-ASI, said, “We’ll work closely with Team Reaper Australia partners to provide a highly capable and affordable remote pilot aircraft system (RPAS) to the ADF, while creating meaningful and enduring Australian jobs.”
GA-ASI said the ADF joins other top-tier military forces in choosing an MQ-9 variant because of its proven multi-role combat performance. Known as the ‘operators’ choice, the MQ-9 is part of GA-ASI’s Predator series of RPAS, which hails from a family of RPAS that recently surpassed 5 million flight hours.
Defence Minister Christoper Pyne said, “Medium-altitude, long-endurance, remotely piloted aircraft have a far greater range than smaller remotely piloted aircraft and can continuously observe an area of interest for much longer than manned reconnaissance aircraft.”
The Reaper variants available for Australia to choose from include:
- Predator B/Reaper: An evolution of the original General Atomics MQ-1 Predator, the enlarged MQ-9 has a number of operation improvements over the older system. According to the US Air Force, MQ-9 is capable of carrying 15 times the payload of the original MQ-1 Predator and is is designed to go after time-sensitive targets with persistence and precision, and destroy or disable those targets with 500-pound (226-kilogram) bombs and Hellfire missiles.
- Gray Eagle: Another evolution of the combat-proven Predator, the Gray Eagle offers a reliable, affordable, low-risk, and compelling next-generation tactical UAS solution to meet challenging service requirements for persistent reconnaissance, surveillance, and target acquisition (RSTA) and attack operations. Gray Eagle has an endurance of 25 hours, speeds up to 167 knots, can operate up to 29,000 feet, and carries 488 kilograms of internal and external payload.
- Gray Eagle – Extended Ranger (ER): An advanced variant of the Gray Eagle, the ER design delivers long-endurance UAS surveillance, communications relay, and weapons delivery missions in support of the war-fighter. The ER variant is designed to carry an additional 204 kilograms of fuel over the standard Gray Eagle variant, allowing for a maximum endurance of 42 hours. Use of this extra fuel supports persistent RSTA missions.
- Predator C/Avenger: The most advanced variant of the Predator/Reaper family of armed UAS, the Avenger provides a number of capability improvements over the preceding variants, including a high-speed jet engine designed by Pratt & Whitney, while the aircraft’s significant wing hardpoint payload mounting capacity enables it to carry multiple sensors, while its internal weapons bay can house 1,360 kilograms of precision munitions or larger sensor payloads.
Each of the Reaper variants are operated from a common ground control station and are air-transportable by RAAF C-130 Hercules and C-17 Globemaster airlifters, or independently deployable, providing Australian expeditionary forces with a highly capable, reliable and persistent close-air-support, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance asset, no matter the variant chosen.
“General Atomics, as the original equipment manufacturer of the Reaper, has partnered with a large number of Australian companies who provide a range of innovative sensor, communication, manufacturing and life cycle support capabilities,” Blue said.
A core component of GA-ASI’s offer is the focus on developing Team Reaper Australia (TRA) and the nation’s industrial contribution to the Armed Remotely Piloted Aircraft System program.
Andrew Sanderson, chief executive and managing director of TAE Aerospace said, “The announcement of the selection of the General Atomics MQ9B platform for the Air 7003 project represents a significant opportunity for our Adelaide-based turboprop engine MRO business.”
The TRA team currently consists of 10 Australian companies providing a range of innovative sensor, communication, manufacturing and life cycle support capabilities that includes Cobham, CAE, Raytheon, Flight Data Systems, TAE Aerospace, Quickstep, AirSpeed, Rockwell Collins Australia, Ultra, and SentientVision.
“The MQ9B is powered by the Honeywell TPE331 turboprop engine and we are the leading Honeywell approved MRO provider for the TPE331 engine in the Southern hemisphere. We have full capability for the engine today in our Adelaide Airport facility and we look forward to working with General Atomics to expand our world-class support solution for the engines that will power Australia’s MQ9B fleet, ” Sanderson said.
Defence Industry Minister Steven Ciobo said the project provides opportunities for Australian industry with associated infrastructure development and sustainment activities.
“General Atomics, as the original equipment manufacturer of the Reaper, has partnered with a large number of Australian companies who provide a range of innovative sensor, communication, manufacturing and life cycle support capabilities,” Minister Ciobo explained.
The government will now request pricing and availability data from the US on Reaper variants to support future decision-making on the acquisition.
This announcement follows the recent government decision to purchase MQ-4C Triton high-altitude long-endurance (HALE) surveillance and reconnaissance systems, which will provide long-range, high-endurance intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities for the ADF. (Source: Defence Connect)
16 Nov 18. India fast-tracks purchase of MH-60R helicopters. India’s Ministry of Defence (MoD) has issued a letter of request (LOR) to the US government on 15 November regarding the intended purchase of 24 Sikorsky MH-60R Seahawk multirole naval helicopters for the Indian Navy (IN). IN officials told Jane’s that the long-delayed request to acquire the platforms for an estimated INR135bn (USD1.88bn) – under the US Foreign Military Sales programme – is likely to be signed within a year. The IN anticipates the delivery of the MH-60Rs, which are intended to replace the service’s fleet of Sea King Mk 42B/C and Ka-28 helicopters, to begin around 2020 and be completed 48 months later. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
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