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UNITED KINGDOM AND NATO
04 Dec 18. UK shortlists five bidders for building Fleet Solid Support ships. UK Defence Procurement Minister Stuart Andrew has announced that five bidders have been selected for the British Royal Navy’s Fleet Solid Support ships contract. A total of eight shipbuilding companies submitted their proposals for the competition. Selected bidders include four international shipbuilding companies in Italian firm Fincantieri, Spanish company Navantia, Japan Marine United Corporation, and Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering of South Korea. The fifth contender is a British consortium comprising Babcock, BAE Systems, Cammell Laird and Rolls-Royce.
The 2015 Strategic Defence & Security Review (SDSR) confirmed the need for the three Military Afloat Reach & Sustainability (MARS) Fleet Solid Support capability.
Fleet Solid Support vessels will be required to service the Royal Navy’s Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carriers and their new F-35 Lightning II joint strike fighter jets.
These vessels will serve as a key part of the UK Maritime Task Group and will deliver ammunition, food, and supplies to British forces deployed throughout the world.
Andrew said: “The widespread interest in this competition shows that our Royal Navy and Royal Fleet Auxiliary remain among the most prestigious in the world.
“These support ships will be vital for supporting our formidable Queen Elizabeth-class carriers and will ensure our warships can deploy in a range of challenging environments and across huge distances, wherever they are in the world.”
Three Fleet Solid Support ships will be equipped with ‘specialist and classified equipment’. These civilian-manned vessels will be armed with weapons that will be used only for self-defence purposes.
These ships will be acquired through international competition and will commence service with the Royal Fleet Auxiliary from 2026.
The final decision about the winning bidder will be made in 2020. (Source: naval-technology.com)
06 Dec 18. Greek government plans crowdfunding for new warships. Greece’s defense minister is appealing to his austerity-battered countryfolk for a crowdfunding effort to raise money for new warships, promising to donate part of his own salary.
Panos Kammenos says he will open a bank account on Jan. 1 where members of the public can make donations “for new frigates and a flagship.”
He addressed his appeal to Greece’s wealthy shipowning industry, as well as ordinary Greeks.
“I will be the first to deposit my salary in this effort,” he said, speaking to navy personnel on the occasion of Thursday’s feast day of St. Nicholas, patron saint of Greek seamen and the navy.
Kammenos said 2019 will see a general drive to upgrade the fleet, which faces strong competition from neighboring Turkey, a NATO ally and historic regional rival. (Source: Defense News Early Bird/Navy Times)
06 Dec 18. Spain to Clear €4.3bn Order for Five F-110 Frigates By Year-End. The Spanish Ministry of Finance is currently reviewing the final draft of the contract to order five F-110 frigates for the Spanish Navy, and the entire package should be submitted to the government’s Cabinet for approval in the coming weeks. The most likely date is Dec. 28, according to Spanish media, when the Cabinet will meet for the final time of the year. After meeting last week with Minister of Defense Margarita Robles, Spanish media report that the General Secretary of the Galician Socialists, Gonzalo Caballero, welcomed the effort made by the new Socialist government to launch the new program, and criticized the previous Government of the Popular Party which he accused of having sat on the order since 2014.
Last summer, Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez promised that the program would be approved before the end of the year. The construction of the F-110 frigates is of fundamental importance for the future of the Spanish public shipyards, and mainly for those of the Ferrol estuary, which will build the new ships. They are budgeted to cost 4,326 euros, and will generate employment for 7,000 workers over the next ten years. About 40% of the contract’s value will go to the state-owned Navantia shipbuilding group over the next five years, or about 600m euros each year. If the program is approved by year-end, the preliminary design review will follow by the end of 2019, leading to construction launch of the lead ship, F-111, by mid-2020, with the other ships following at the rate of one per year. The F-110 frigates are multi-mission escorts intended to operate in high-intensity combat environments, and will have significant capabilities in air defense, surface combat and anti-submarine warfare along with secondary capabilities for humanitarian assistance and maritime security in peacetime. They will displace 6,100 tonnes and will be fitted with v-cell vertical launchers. The Spanish Navy has stated its preference for an air-defense package comprising Raytheon’s SM-2 and MBDA’s SeaCeptor, with Raytheon’s Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile (ESSM) Block 2 as a fallback solution. (Source: defense-aerospace.com)
04 Dec 18. Airbus pulls out of Polish helo tender due to offset requirements. Airbus Helicopters has decided to pull out of the Polish Defence Ministry’s tender to acquire new copters for the country’s Navy. The “offset requirements defined by the Polish MoD made it impossible for Airbus Helicopters to submit a competitive offer,” the company said in a statement sent to the state-owned news agency PAP.
“Airbus Helicopters continues to be interested in supporting the process of the modernization of the Polish Armed Forces in the field of helicopter fleet replacement,” the vendor said with respect to Poland’s other helo procurement plans.
Earlier this year, Airbus Helicopters and Leonardo placed their offers in the ministry’s tender to purchase four helicopters. Leonardo, which is now the only active participant of the tender, owns Polish aircraft plant PZL Swidnik which makes the AW101 copter, among others.
The new helos, enabled with anti-submarine warfare (ASW) and search-and-rescue (SAR) capabilities, are designed to replace the Polish Navy’s Kaman SH-2G Super Seasprite copters, according to First Deputy Defence Minister Wojciech Skurkiewicz. Local observers have also said the new helos could replace the Navy’s Soviet-designed Mil Mi-14 copters. (Source: Defense News)
30 Nov 18. Slovak MOD Signs Technical Arrangements for Procurement of U.S. F-16 Fighter Jets. Based on the SVK Government’s decision, the Slovak Ministry of Defence, represented by National Armaments DirectorCol Vladimír Kavický, has today (30 November) signed respective Technical Arrangements for launching the SVK Air Forceʼs fighter jet fleet replacement process. This includes three separate Letters of Offer and Acceptance (LOAs), which are instrumental in effecting the performance of the agreement via the U.S. Governmentʼs Foreign Military Sales (FMS) programme, and covers the procurement of 14 U.S. F-16 aircraft, aerial munitions, logistics support, and flying and ground personnel training. All fighter jets are due to be delivered by the end of 2023.
(defense-aerospace.com EDITOR’S NOTE: Hours after the above statement was released, Slovak Prime Minister Peter Pellegrini issued a statement saying that the contracts were invalid because they had not been approved by the finance ministry, AFP reported from Bratislava late on Nov. 30.
The issue is apparently tied to squabbling between two parties of Slovakia’s governing coalition. The defense ministry is run by Peter Gajdos from the hard-right Slovak National Party (SNS), a junior coalition partner to Pellegrini’s populist left SD-Smer Social Democracy. However, these differences are expected to be resolved without affecting the LOAs.
According to AFP, the value of the purchase is 1.58 bn euros, substantially less than the original plan notified to the US Congress in April. (Source: defense-aerospace.com/Slovak Ministry of Defence)
29 Nov 18. Polish Ministry of Defence: New Fighter Aircraft Programme Accelerates. The head of the Polish MoD, Mariusz Błaszczak, issued a recommendation addressed to the Chief of General Staff to accelerate the new generation fighter aircraft programme. This is to lead towards speeded-up introduction of a successor of the MiG-29 and Su-22 fast jets in the Polish Air Force.
In a short press release, the Polish MoD announced the following: “Minister Mariusz Błaszczak recommended that the Chief of the General Staff of the Polish Armed Forces accelerate the implementation of programme, the result of which would come in a form of acquisition of a new generation fighter aircraft that would create a new quality in air and support operations. The fighter aircraft is going to operate in A2/AD and net-centric setting, it is going to work together with the component of the allied aviation assets.”
The Polish Ministry of Defence probably referred to the Harpia [Harpy Eagle] new fighter aircraft programme. The analytical work concerning the multi-role new generation aircraft began towards the end of last year. Two tasks have been defined, within the framework of the Harpia programme. The market analysis concerning a multi-role combat aircraft is going to involve the following entities:
— Saab AB;
— Lockheed Martin;
— Boeing Company;
— Leonardo S.p.A.;
— Fights-On Logistics.
Four of the listed companies – Saab, Lockheed Martin, Leonardo and Boeing – are international companies manufacturing multi-role fighter aircraft. Fights-On Logistics, on the other hand, was working in the area of introducing the F-16 jets in Poland, when they have been acquired. Now it offers services that are related to introduction and support of operations of the fighter aircraft.
Details of the offer have not been disclosed now. We know that Saab may offer Gripens (in the NG variant), Lockheed Martin may propose the F-16 and/or F-35 platforms, while Boeing may offer its F-15 or F/A-18 designs, and Leonardo is primarily offering the Eurofighter Typhoon. M-346FA Masters have also been promoted as a potential Su-22 replacement.
Meanwhile, market analysis with regards to the “Capability of carrying out electronic jamming from the air” involves the following entities: Saab AB, Elbit Systems EW and SIGINT – Elisra Ltd., Griffin along with Elta Systems Ltd.
The MoD’s declaration related to acceleration of the Harpia programme has been issued in parallel with information concerning the Armed Forces’ Development Programme, concerning the period until the year 2026. This is the last step preceding the issuance of the Technical Modernization Plan covering the very same period and making it possible to conclude agreements, with payments scheduled to happen within that period. Thus, it may be assumed that Harpia platform [Harpy Eagle] is going to be introduced during this programme’s period of validity.
The Ministry also referred to the information concerning the investigation regarding the causes of the MiG-29 crash that happened back in July. There are some reports being circulated, concerning possible ejection seat malfunction during that event. Let us recall that, following the July crash, the flying operations of both the Su-22 as well as the MiG-29 have been suspended. Fitters went back in the air in late September, and Fulcrums got back flying in early-November.
The Ministry of Defence assured that the head of the KBWLLP military aircraft incident investigation body works closely together with the Warsaw District Prosecutor and with the General Commander of the Armed Forces.
Furthermore, the Commission ordered execution of numerous analytical works to be carried out. The work was delegated, for instance, to the Military Institute of Armament Technology with regards to the ejection seat explosive charges, or to the Air Force Institute of Technology, with regards to operation of the fuel system. During the investigation, the Commission asked the WZL No. 2 and No. 4 plants (Military Aviation Works) to share information. Collaboration with the listed bodies has been going on without any interruption.
As a result of the research carried out, the Commission handed off recommendations concerning the initial diagnostics concerning the ejection seat in August this year; also, in October this year, information was provided concerning the operation of the fuel system, on the basis of which the General Commander made a decision to bring the MiG-29 and Su-22 aircraft back to flying.
Polish Ministry of Defence
The MoD admitted that it will only be possible to define the reasons for the MiG-29 crash after the investigation is finalized. “Any statements suggesting that the information on the crash is being hidden or artificially made confidential are unjustified. Only after the work made by the Commission and by the Prosecutor comes to an end will it be possible to definitively come to a conclusion, with regards to the causes of the MiG-29 crash”.
MiG-29’s (30 in service) and Su-22’s (18 in service) are to be replaced by the new aircraft. To replace them one-for-one, it would be required to procure around 48 jets. We know, however, that the Air Force is willing to acquire up to 64 Harpia platforms. It is not a secret that operational use of the legacy fighter aircraft is becoming increasingly more difficult. On the other hand, as stated during the “Polish Aviation Centenary. Prospects of Development” conference, by Brig. General Jacek Pszczoła, Air Force Inspector of the General Command of the Armed Forces, no sudden withdrawal shall take place, before the Harpia system is introduced, to maintain the flying proficiency.
“The situation, when it comes to the post-Soviet hardware, is not optimistic. Voices can be heard that following the Malbork crash it may be a good time to resign from those jets and think about Harpia. […] My stance is that as long as those jets are available, I want to maintain the bases in Malbork, Świdwin and Minsk Mazowiecki in operation. If I resign from those aircraft and from that personnel, recovery of that potential would take a decade or even more,” said Brig. general. pil. Jacek Pszczoła, Air Force Inspector, General Command of the Armed Forces.
In his recent response to a parliamentary question, Deputy Head of the Polish Ministry of Defence, Wojciech Skurkiewicz, said that financing of the Harpia programme is scheduled to start from 2020 which means that an agreement shall be signed by then, with delivery of new platforms to begin as of 2024. This schedule is quite ambitious, considering the convoluted nature of the programme. This would mean that starting from finalization of the analytical-conceptual phase, until the moment when the contract is signed, less than 2 years should elapse. Considering the other programmes, and the way progress is made within them, this will be hard to be achieved. For the sake of comparison, in case of the Wisła programme, the conceptual analyses have been finalized in 2014, with contracts being signed in March this year. Partial introduction of the existing platforms already operated by the Air Force (F-16V or M-346FA) could be a potential means accelerating the introduction of a new aircraft. Introduction of such jets would be somewhat easier from the point of view of training and creation of operational support system that has been, at least partially, embedded in the structure of the Armed Forces as for now.
The MoD also stresses the fact that the new aircraft shall be capable of working in a A2/AD and net-centric setting, and it shall also elevate the quality in air/battle support operations to a whole different level. Thus, the aircraft should be capable of SEAD tasks and of working in area-denial conditions. It should also be able to work directly with the allies, within the framework of the joint, new generation command systems. The new generation MRCA programme has been one of the priorities of the Strategic Defence Review and its public version, Poland’s Defence Concept. (Source: defense-aerospace.com/Defence24.com Poland)
30 Nov 18. Modification of the Execution of the Construction of Four S80 Submarines. The Council of Ministers on Nov. 30 authorized the modification of the execution order awarded by the Ministry of Defense to Navantia for the construction of four S-80 submarines, for an estimated value of 1,771,703,930.42 euros, as the basic conditions were altered essential aspects of the contract, both in terms of the technical characteristics and in terms of compliance and price. This order of execution, which derives from the collaboration agreement signed between the company Izar Construcciones Navales S.A. (Navantia) and the Ministry of Defense, is a legal business excluded from the Consolidated Text of the Contracts Law of Public Administrations. It subsequently suffered various modifications and vicissitudes in the execution, in such a way that the Navantia company in November 2012 communicated to the Navy the non-viability of the design due to a critical deviation in the weight control of the ship. This situation forced us to focus all our efforts on finding the technical solution that would solve this problem and allow us to return the project to viability. This solution has already been reached, so it is necessary to implement it, and the modification of the Order of Execution of March 25, 2004 is required for this purpose. The change is due to reasons of public interest, such as the interest of national defense, reaching strategic independence in an essential weapon, the technological and industrial development in Spain of the air-independent propulsion system (AIP), as well as economic and social reasons in the area of influence of the Navantia shipyard in the Region of Murcia. The modification which has now been authorized has as precedent the agreement of the Council of Ministers of July 27, 2018, that modifies the limits of the acquisition expenditure commitments charged to future years and authorizes the increase of the Special Program of Modernization of the Armed Forces corresponding to the S-80 submarines. (Unofficial translation by Defense-Aerospace.com) (Source: defense-aerospace.com/Spanish Prime Minister)
05 Dec 18. US Navy’s littoral combat ship program inches closer to fielding new capabilities. The U.S. Navy took delivery of the last piece of the littoral combat ship’s anti-submarine warfare mission module Nov. 30, according to a release from Naval Sea Systems Command, pushing the service closer to declaring the well-delayed capability operational despite continued headwinds. With the delivery of Raytheon’s Dual-mode Array Transmitter (DART) Mission System — which joins the MH-60R helicopter, the Multi-Function Towed Array and the SQQ-89 acoustic processing — the Navy now has the complete anti-submarine warfare mission package and is ready to start integrating it. The package “will provide revolutionary capabilities to the fleet,” Capt. Ted Zobel, LCS Mission Module program manager, said in the release.
The Navy will now send the DART system to a “vessel of opportunity” and put it to work at the Atlantic Undersea Test and Evaluation Center, prior to former developmental testing on the LCS Fort Worth, the release said.
And while the immediate future of the system is known, the future for the mission module more broadly is uncertain. Congress has slashed all funding to the anti-submarine warfare mission module for 2019, saying it was ahead of need, meaning that testing delays will surely follow, sources familiar with the impact of funding cuts told Defense News in September.
An analysis of appropriations bills dating back to 2015 shows that Congress has slashed funding to the mission modules every year. Sources familiar with the situation said the cuts have led to a merry-go-round of delays, which Congress cites the next year as a reason for more cuts.
But Congress continues to buy ships every year, even buying a 33rd, 34th and 35th LCS above the 32-ship requirement set by the Navy. Earlier in 2018, surface warfare head Vice Adm. Richard Brown told Defense News that the anti-submarine warfare module should be ready to deploy in 2019, but that future seems in doubt with Congress’ cuts to the modules. (Source: Defense News)
04 Dec 18. US Army seeks technical support services for OSRVT. The US Army has issued a request for information (RFI) for a two-year follow-on requirement for the One System Remote Video Terminal (OSRVT) system to the existing fiscal year 2018 Contractor Logistics Support (CLS) requirement. OSRVT, which the army began fielding in October 2014, is a remote video, radio frequency-based, line-of-sight (LOS) multiband system that allows for multiple configurations for integration into specific platforms and soldier systems, the army said in its 30 November solicitation.
“Hardware and services applicable to this RFI are OSRVT systems (the Remotely Operated Video Enhanced Receiver radio and antenna subcomponents will be provided as Government Furnished Equipment and integrated in a fielded OSRVT system); the Mobile Directional Antenna Systems (MDAS), which is an Additional Authorized List (AAL) item to the OSRVT that can automatically track the UAS [unmanned aerial system] in flight and receive the radio frequency (RF) signals over a greater distance than the standard non-tracking antennae that are part of the base OSRVT system; CLS Services within the contiguous United States and outside contiguous United States; and the Technical Support Services for the above products,” the army said. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
04 Dec 18. USAF seeks GPS hardening for MC/EC-130J special mission aircraft. The US Air Force (USAF) is looking to protect its special mission Lockheed Martin C-130 Hercules aircraft against GPS jamming, with a request for information (RFI) issued to industry on 3 December. Issued by the Air Force Life Cycle Management Cycle, Special Operations Forces and Personnel Recovery Division (AFLCMC/WIS), the RFI concerns interim GPS hardening capabilities for the MC-130J Commando II and EC-130J Commando Solo platforms. The MC-130J serves as a covert and low-level aerial refuelling platform for special operations helicopters and tiltrotors, with the EC-130J performing psychological operations missions. The RFI for an interim solution has been issued because of delays in developing a full solution until after the original 2021 timeframe mandated under the fiscal year 2011 National Defense Authorization Act.
“Due to the non-availability of Military Code (M-Code) hardware until after the calendar year 2021 timeframe, the Air Force Special Operations Command [AFSOC] requires an interim upgraded system to improve GPS performance in a GPS degraded/denied threat environment. This GPS Hardening Anti-Jamming solution is intended to mitigate and offset these threats until the mandated M-Code solution becomes available,” the RFI stated, adding, “For the interim solution, the US government is pursuing the acquisition of two digital GPS hardening technologies to replace the existing GAS-1 antenna electronics with digital nulling (the ability of the antenna to remove threat signals from GPS interference) and digital beam steering (the ability to improve extra gain toward GPS satellite). Integrating these improved GPS nulling and beam steering capabilities onboard the MC/EC-130J aircraft will require procuring the Digital Antenna Electronics (DAE) equipment, upgrading the GPS receiver and making the software updates or upgrades to the Dash (-) 5 Embedded GPS/Inertial Navigation System (EGI) without incurring research and development costs.” (Source: IHS Jane’s)
REST OF THE WORLD
07 Dec 18. Malaysian navy outlines domestic shipbuilding target. Key Points:
- The Royal Malaysian Navy wants to support local capability development to ease the challenges of diversification
- However, near-term opportunities remain unlikely given Malaysia’s continuing economic constraints
The Royal Malaysian Navy (RMN) has outlined a requirement to support the development of the country’s naval shipbuilding sector as the service looks to modernise through its ’15-to-5′ transformation programme. A document published by the RMN to mark the retirement of Admiral Kamarulzaman Ahmad Badaruddin as the navy’s chief in late November called for a “strategic shift” in how it engages with the Malaysian naval shipbuilding industry in line with its future development, which is aimed at reducing its ageing fleets of 15 classes of vessels to five. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
06 Dec 18. SEA 1000 prime keen to partner with Aussie industry leaders. Lockheed Martin Australia has used the Future Submarine Program Briefing in Adelaide to outline key project milestones and put the call out to Australian industry and universities seeking to participate in the $50 bn Future Submarine program. When then prime minister Malcolm Turnbull announced the DCNS, now Naval Group, Shortfin Barracuda as the successful design for the hotly contested SEA 1000 Future Submarine program in April 2016, it seemed as if the disastrous procurement of the Collins Class would be put aside.
Lockheed Martin has used the Future Submarine Program Industry Briefing as a platform to not only highlight and outline some of the company’s key milestones, but to also outline the path forward and encourage increasing Australian industrial and academic participation to support the Commonwealth government’s sovereign shipbuilding and $95 bn naval shipbuilding plan.
Meanwhile, despite continuing concerns about the cost, delivery time frame and operational capability of Australia’s $50 bn fleet of Future Submarines, combat systems integrator Lockheed Martin remains committed to delivering certainty for government, Navy and broader industry partners supporting the project.
Mike Oliver, program director, future submarine combat systems integration, Lockheed Martin, reinforced this, saying, “For Lockheed Martin, this process is all about developing a sovereign capability in Australia. We currently have 175 people currently working on the program and we expect that to grow to about 205 by February of 2019 and it is important to remember that all of these people are Australians.”
The Australian Future Submarine will incorporate the AN/BYG-1 Combat Control System, which provides an open-architecture submarine combat control system for analysing and tracking submarine and surface, ship contacts, providing situational awareness, as well as the capability to target and employ torpedoes and missiles, and become the ‘eyes and ears’ of the vessels.
“The combat system is the eyes and ears of the submarine, it enables the vessel to gather data above and below the waves, it allows them to gather intelligence, conduct surveillance and guide offensive combat operations if needed,” Oliver explained.
Meeting targets, supporting industry
Recently, Lockheed Martin has delivered on a number of key milestones, across the company’s involvement with the Future Submarine program. Namely, the company announced the first solicitation for key components for the combat system in April 2018 and, according to Oliver, expects to announce preferred tenders in first quarter, 2019.
“At this stage, we are tracking well throughout the design phase of the combat system program,” Oliver said.
Australian industry and academia has played a critical role in helping Lockheed Martin continue to deliver on key milestones, while leveraging the expertise, experience and willingness of Lockheed Martin to support Australian industry to develop closer supply chain relationships with the prime.
Oliver expanded on this, praising Australian industry, while recognising the importance of key government policy in supporting industry primes and SMEs to develop the sovereign capability mandated by government.
“The is a lot of great capability within Australian industry, the submarine program, the sovereign shipbuilding plan will really provide Australian industry with certainty and incentive to nurture a sovereign industrial capability,” he said.
Further to this, Oliver remained bullish on Lockheed Martin’s own delivery timeline, saying that while the current contract decisions focused around design activity for the actual combat system and its subsequent configuration, they were on track for manufacturing of the combat system components to “kick off in the ’22-’23 time frame”.
“If you look at the Australian government’s expected sea trials for the first of class, which is in the early 2030s, the team is well on track to make sure that the physical components which make up the combat system will be ready for installation by 2027,” Oliver said.
Delivering certainty and developing sovereign capability
Oliver reinforced Lockheed Martin’s commitment to supporting Australian industry through two key ways. First, through program certainty, and second, through nurturing the growth of Australian sovereign capability.
Industry collaboration, technology and skills transfer is a core component of Lockheed Martin’s plan for delivering a sovereign Australian capability and supports this through collaboration, industry briefings (like the Future Submarine Program Briefing in Adelaide) and working with the Australian supply chain.
“From Lockheed Martin Australia’s perspective, we offer certainty across the board, from the design phase, which we are currently undertaking, through to the manufacturing and ultimately the delivery of the components to the shipyard for installation and integration. We have our project time frames well established into the 2020s, so Lockheed Martin is committed to certainty,” Oliver said.
“We have already awarded some contracts to Australian industry and we are looking forward to making future contract announcements early in Q1 of 2019.”
As part of a broad industry team delivering the project, Lockheed Martin has maintained a commitment to ensuring full technology and skills transfer to Australian industry partners, echoing the comments made by Adam Waldie of Thales Australia: “It needs to operationally be Australianised. But then there’s that supply chain piece. It’s got to stay in Australia and be sovereignly sustained. It’s just not good enough to send something 20,000 kilometres back to get fixed in a shed somewhere in Europe. It’s got to be done here. So, that Australianisation of the support chain is what’s key.”
Reinforcing this, Oliver said, “We have ensured that our industry partners know there is an obligation to transfer the skills and technology to Australian industry, it’s not only a contractual obligation, it is both an operational and a personal obligation to support the nation’s strategic requirements.”
Always looking for more partners
Oliver stressed Lockheed Martin Australia’s desire to not only engage with Australian industry and academia, but to nurture the relationships and encouraged any Australian business, academic or university to more directly engage with the prime.
“It gives us the opportunity to really help test and build Australia’s sovereign industrial capability,” Oliver said.
The Future Submarine Combat System Program presents an opportunity for Australian industry to participate in an exciting and strategically important program to build and maintain an enduring and regionally superior Australian submarine capability.
Lockheed Martin Australia is the combat system integrator for Australia’s Future Submarine program, partnering with the Department of Defence and Naval Group to design and integrate the combat system for the future fleet.
For any Australian businesses, academics or educational institutions seeking to engage with Lockheed Martin and its industry partners on the SEA 1000 program, more information is available here, while expressions of interest can be made here.
The $50bn SEA 1000 program will deliver 12 regionally superior submarines to replace the Royal Australian Navy’s ageing Collins Class vessels. The successful Shortfin Barracuda design is a conventionally powered variant of the nuclear powered Barracuda fast attack submarine currently under construction in France for the French Navy. (Source: Defence Connect)
03 Dec 18. BAE Welcomes Industry to Adelaide for Collaboration on the Hunter Class Frigate Program. BAE Systems Australia is this week hosting the country’s leading Defence companies and some of the biggest names in the global Defence industry to collaborate on opportunities for the $35 bn Hunter Class Frigate Program. The Hunter Class and Global Access Program event is being held at the Adelaide Convention Centre on December 3-4, and brings together around 100 Australian businesses and 30 Original Equipment Manufacturers who are partners on the program, including Saab, Rolls-Royce, Raytheon Anschutz, Ultra, MTU, Penske Power Systems, Naval Group and Thales.
Over two days, the Australian companies will be given the opportunity to pitch business ideas to supplier representatives visiting from the United Kingdom, United States, Germany, France and Denmark, some of whom will showcase equipment that has been shipped to Adelaide.
Major international suppliers can then choose to engage further with Australian companies, which will result in the transfer of technology, further strengthening an enduring shipbuilding industry in Australia.
As well as engaging with global suppliers, Australian companies can use the event as an opportunity to network with each other, potentially leading to further local collaboration.
BAE Systems Australia Hunter Class Frigate Program Managing Director Nigel Stewart said:
“Under the Hunter Class Frigate Program we will deliver nine of the world’s most advanced anti-submarine warships to the Royal Australian Navy, providing a generational opportunity for the Australian shipbuilding industry.
“Industry engagement plays an essential role in Defence capability, which is why this two-day networking event is a fantastic opportunity for Australian businesses to engage with our global suppliers, who are already doing great things with us on the program.
“We are committed to working with our major suppliers and ensuring local businesses understand the opportunities available in the program, and we hope this event leads to new opportunities for Australian industry, both on Hunter and for future exports.
“The Hunter program is making significant progress and we are proud of the strong collaborative relationships already formed with Defence, the Navy and our industry partners.
“This event, which will be attended by more than 300 people, is the next step on to ensuring we deliver world class capability to the Royal Australian Navy and build strong sovereign capability for decades to come.” (Source: ASD Network)
05 Dec 18. Japan plans to replace 99 ageing F-15s with F-35A and F-35B fighters. Tokyo plans to replace 99 of the Japan Air Self-Defense Force’s (JASDF’s) 201 Boeing (Mitsubishi) F-15J/DJ Eagle multirole combat aircraft with F-35A and F-35B Lightning II Joint Strike Fighters, Jane’s has learned. The aircraft set to be replaced are of the variant known locally as the F-15SJ, which is unsuitable for upgrades, according to a draft of the Japanese government’s new National Defense Program Guidelines (NDPG) obtained by Jane’s. The plan was confirmed by former defence minister Itsunori Onodera, who said during a 5 December meeting of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) in Tokyo, “We concluded that it is preferable to replace 99 F-15 fighters [pre-MSIP], which cannot be modernised, with F35s.” (Source: IHS Jane’s)
03 Dec 18. India’s MoD approves procurements worth USD427m. India’s Ministry of Defence (MoD) approved INR30 bn (USD427m) worth of procurements of locally made equipment for the Indian Navy (IN) and Indian Army (IA) on 1 December. The Defence Acquisition Council (DAC), headed by Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, sanctioned the acquisition of an undisclosed number of BrahMos supersonic cruise missiles to arm two Admiral Grigorovich (Project 11356M)-class stealth frigates that are under construction in Russia, according to a statement by the Indian government’s Press Information Bureau (PIB). Being procured for USD950m, the two frigates, which are scheduled for delivery to the IN in 36 and 48 months, will be supplemented by two similar platforms set to be built by the state-owned Goa Shipyard Limited (GSL) under a transfer of technology agreement. (Source: Defense News Early Bird/IHS Jane’s)
01 Dec 18. US government, Boeing to help Japan upgrade missile, electronic warfare capabilities for F-15 jets. Japan’s planned upgrade of its Boeing F-15 Eagle fighter jets will involve support from the United States and Boeing, the Japanese Defense Ministry has confirmed.
Shigeyuki Uno, the principal deputy director of the defense planning and programming division of Japan’s Ministry of Defense, told Defense News during an interview at the ministry’s headquarters that the U.S. government and Boeing will provide support for the upgrade through the Foreign Military Sales process, adding that the Japanese defense and aircraft industry will also be involved.
The Defense Ministry requested $89m to upgrade two of its F-15J/DJ interceptors in its latest budget request for its next fiscal year, presumably to serve as prototypes for the upgrade program. A further $386.7m was requested for nonrecurring costs for the program.
The upgrades will cover what the budget request describes as “new electronic warfare equipment with the ability to respond to increased capabilities of neighboring countries’ air forces.” The upgrades are also expected to increase the number of missiles Japan’s F-15s can carry, as well as integrate standoff missiles such as the AGM-158 Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile.
Boeing displayed a model of its Advanced F-15 Eagle concept carrying 18 air-to-air missiles at the Japan International Aerospace Exhibition in Tokyo that ended Nov. 30, a significant increase from the maximum of eight carried by the F-15 in its current air defense configuration.
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Uno also confirmed that the F-15J’s radar would be part of the upgrade, although the budget request document did not specifically mention that an improved radar will be part of the program.
While Uno did not say so, the new radar will almost certainly be an active electronically scanned array, as Boeing has a clear pathway integrating such radars on the F-15, with U.S. Air Force F-15C/Ds, Singapore’s F-15SGs and Saudi Arabia’s F-15SAs using the Raytheon AN/APG-63(V)3 radar, while American F-15E Strike Eagles are being fitted with the AN/APG-63(V)1 by the same company. Uno added that Japan’s newer F-15J/DJs, which were originally built to Multi-Stage Improvement Program standards — of which about 88 were further upgraded in the past decade to incorporate additional improvements like Link 16 — will be the first to receive this latest round of improvements. Japan’s midterm defense program guidelines, set to be released by the end of 2018, are expected to provide more details on this program, including the number of F-15s Japan plans to upgrade. Mitsubishi built 213 F-15s under license for Japan between 1981 and 1999, of which some 200 remain in service with seven combat squadrons based throughout Japan, and one more acting as a dedicated aggressor unit. (Source: Defense News)
01 Dec 18. Japanese acquisition officials reveal next steps in search for advanced fighter jet. Japan is pushing ahead with research and development into advanced fighter jet technology, despite uncertainty over its acquisition strategy for a next-generation fighter and questions about the degree to which Japanese industry will be involved in the program. These technologies include a new fighter engine, thrust vectoring control, stealth shaping for low observability as well as the weapons carriage and release mechanism for internal weapons bays, according to representatives from Japan’s Acquisition, Technical and Logistics Agency, or ATLA, who spoke at the Japan International Aerospace Exhibition in Tokyo, which ended Nov. 30.
Several of these technologies were fitted on the Mitsubishi X-2, a technology demonstrator built by the Japanese and used to test and validate several of these features.
Since then Japan has continued development work on the 15-ton thrust XF-9 afterburning turbofan. That turbofan displayed an improvement up to 70 percent during the time it took to spool up to full thrust from idle, when compared to the earlier XF-5 used by the X-2, said Lt. Gen. Hiroaki Uchimura, director general of aerial systems at ATLA.
Japan is also working on an advanced active electronically scanned array radar, as well as manufacturing techniques to reduce or eliminate the need for fasteners in aircraft structures. Neither feature found its way to the X-2, but work continues on both fronts, with the radar having been tested in the laboratory and slated for flight tests onboard a Mitsubishi F-2 fighter jet test bed.
The continuing R&D effort is reflected in the budget requests the Ministry of Defense made for next fiscal year, which begins in April 2019. This includes $194.6m for research into fighter “mission system integration studies and manned-unmanned aircraft teaming technology,” and is on top of the $1.7bn Japan has invested in fighter research since 2009. That first figure is also more than 10 times the amount spent on R&D for Japan’s Mitsubishi F-2 fighter, according to Uchimura.
Japan’s next-generation fighter will replace the F-2 around the mid-2030s, and both Uchimura and ATLA Commissioner Nobuaki Miyama, who spoke at different conference sessions at the aerospace exhibition, touched on five critical attributes for Japan’s next fighter program.
These include its ability to secure air superiority over potential adversaries; the ease of upgrading as new technologies emerge; the latitude to domestically perform upgrades and sustainment without requiring overseas approval; the level of involvement of local industries in performing those upgrades and sustainment; and the need for the fighter and program as a whole to have a “realistic and feasible” cost.
Japan is currently studying several different procurement strategies for its next-generation fighter, including a wholly domestically developed and manufactured design, an international collaboration, or what it calls a “spinoff” development of an existing design.
Japan and the United Kingdom have agreed to exchange information with each other for their respective fighter programs. Reuters previously reported that both Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman responded to Japan’s request for information on potential fighter offerings, with the former said to have an “F-22/F-35 hybrid” in mind. (Source: Defense News)
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