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UNITED KINGDOM AND NATO
10 Dec 18. UK eyes new digital radios as Morpheus advances. The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) has published a new request for information (RFI) seeking industry input on next-generation software-defined radios, kick-starting efforts to eventually replace legacy multi-mode radios (MMRs) as part of a wide-ranging Morpheus communications upgrade. The RFI was released to industry in late November to assess what is currently available on the market. The MoD is considering a future MMR “that shall be a software-defined combat net radio capable of operating across a broad range of frequencies, from 30 MHz to 2,000 MHz, to deliver point to point, networked, or mobile ad hoc network [MANET] communications”, the RFI said.
It added: “It shall make use of differing waveforms and cryptographic standards and cyphers to achieve secure communication effect, enabling simultaneous voice and data transmission in both line-of-sight [LOS] and beyond line-of-sight [BLOS] roles.”
The UK MoD said it is seeking dismounted and vehicle-mounted solutions that can be deployed across a “broad spectrum” of operational and climatic conditions. According to documentation viewed by Jane’s, the future MMR is considered a “discrete” element of the Morpheus sub-programme, which falls under the wider Land Environment Tactical Communication Information Systems (LE TacCIS) modernisation. The UK uses the Bowman family of tactical radios to provide secure high frequency (HF), very HF (VHF), and ultra HF (UHF) voice and data communications. Bowman is now going through its final major upgrade – known as Bowman ComBAT Infrastructure P-BISA (BCIP) 5.6 – before a ‘Main Gate’ decision on Morpheus is expected in the early 2020s. During this transition phase, General Dynamics Mission Systems UK has been contracted to develop a new open architecture standard known as Evolve-to-Open (EvO). (Source: IHS Jane’s)
10 Dec 18. Overseas Prime Contract (OPC) Procurement Project.
- the Overseas Prime Contract (OPC) Procurement Project to provide Facilities Management for the Permanent Joint Operating Bases (PJOBs)1, Germany and wider Europe.
- Following our earlier industry engagement and analysis, the recommendation is for the OPC Project to proceed based on five individual contracts2:
- Gibraltar – combined Hard and Soft FM services
- South Atlantic Islands – combined Hard and Soft FM services
- Cyprus – Hard FM services only
- Cyprus – Soft FM services only
- Germany & wider Europe – combined Hard and Soft FM services
- Additionally, it is the intention to procure contracts with the following durations:
- combined Hard and Soft FM services and Cyprus Hard FM contracts – 7 years with performance incentivised options to extend the contract by up to 3 years
- Cyprus Soft FM Contract – 5 years with performance incentives options to extend the contract by up to 2 years
- A Review Note seeking approval to proceed with the new OPC procurement on the above basis has been submitted with the expectation that the project should have the approval to proceed by the end of 2018 or early 2019.
- It is our intention to hold a general industry day, possibly in parallel with issue of the first OJEU Notice. Further details on this will be distributed as soon as arrangements are confirmed, however, for planning purposes this looks likely to be mid-late Jan 19.
- Should you any questions, please direct them through our multi-user account at
10 Dec 18. MoD announces shortlist for new frigate contract. Three teams progress to design stage of competition for next generation ships. Three teams led by defence companies BAE Systems, Babcock International and Atlas Electronik UK have been shortlisted to build Britain’s newest frigate, the Type 31e. The Ministry of Defence will on Monday announce the awarding of contracts worth up to £5m to each of the groups to fund the design stage of the competition. The Type 31e programme is a key part of the UK’s national shipbuilding strategy. The cut-price ships, which are intended to carry out maritime security, interdiction and other tasks, will replace the Type 23s. They will make up the next generation of the navy’s fleet, along with eight Type 26 warships. “This is the first frigate competition the UK has run in a generation, and today we are funding three shipbuilding teams with extremely exciting concepts to continue developing their plans,” Stuart Andrew, Defence Minister, will say on Monday. The preferred bidder will be announced by the end of next year. The MoD wants the first of the five frigates to be delivered in 2023. The awards mark a key milestone in the competition, which is being run for the second time after the first tendering round was unexpectedly cancelled in the summer. The MoD said at the time it had not received enough “compliant” bids. The competition was restarted at the end of August and companies submitted proposals for the design phase in October. There is concern in the industry over the programme’s modest budget of £1.25bn for all five warships and the short timescale for delivery. BAE, Britain’s largest defence contractor, has taken the lead role in the bid from its partner Cammell Laird, the shipbuilder. One of the aspirations of the shipbuilding strategy was to increase competition among British shipyards for naval contracts. Cammell Laird was originally the prime contractor in the consortium, with BAE taking the position of sub-contractor. It is understood that the two companies swapped their roles when the competition was re-started in August. Despite the new structure, the workshare on the programme will stay the same. Cammell Laird’s Birkenhead yard is still due to build the ships if the team wins. BAE’s yards are already running at full capacity building the Type 26 warships. The company will provide warship design, engineering capability and combat systems expertise for the Type 31e. The ‘e’ stands for export as the government is hoping to secure international orders. BAE confirmed it would now lead the joint bid following “clarification regarding the revised commercial arrangements set down by the Ministry of Defence in relation to the bid”. The MoD said “how companies choose to structure their bid is a commercial matter”. Babcock’s team includes Thales, the defence group. (Source: FT.com)
06 Dec 18. USA Refuses to Approve Israeli Sale of F-16’s to Croatia. Israeli media reported on Thursday night that US Secretary of Defence James Mattis has not allowed Israel to sell 12 F-16 combat aircraft to Croatia. Namely, the US government must approve the sale of any of its planes that it sold to one country, if they are to be sold to a third country. Israel requested the said approval but did not get it. The article claims that people close to the Trump administration were angry because Israel modified the planes and thus attracted Croatia to choose their offer instead of the American offer. The Americans claim that Israel does not have the right to sell the planes, especially if the USA also made an offer in response to the tender. Meanwhile the US embassy in Croatia has issued a statement. They said that the USA strongly supports Croatia in its desire to modernize its air force and to be interoperable with allies in NATO.
“For more than a year we have been working with Israel on the details of the proposed F-16 aircraft purchase. During these talks we were consistent and clear regarding technical conditions under which we can approve the sale,” said the embassy, adding that they are currently working actively with Israel and Croatia in order to find an acceptable solution that is suitable to Croatia’s needs within the given deadline.
The news has caused a stir in Croatian political circles.
“From their statement, which I only saw briefly, it is clear that they are very interested in resolving this problem, if it exists to that degree,” said Prime Minister Andrej Plenković adding that he doesn’t believe the deal will fall through.
Croatian Minister of Defence Damir Krstičević also displayed a calm composure. “It is a fact that the government of the United States of America gave the state of Israel approval to offer the Israeli F-16 to Croatia and we have that document. The second fact is that the state of Israel has taken on the obligation in their offer to deliver a NATO compatible aircraft to Croatia and that the prolonging of its life span will be done with the approval of the original producer, Lockheed Martin. And third, the approval for delivering the planes to Croatia is the responsibility of the state of Israel,” said Minister Krstičević in a statement to the press.
(defense-aerospace.com EDITOR’S NOTE: US opposition to the sale is mainly due to the fact that the aircraft have been modified without its permission with unspecified Israeli-manufactured electronic systems.
This equipment made them more attractive to Croatia than the F-16s that Washington was offering in competition. The US considers this was an unfair advantage, and is now insisting that they should be returned to the previous standard.
Croatian Defence Minister Damir Krstičević said Dec 9 that Croatia will not pay any additional costs to modify the aircraft to the technical criteria set by Washington, which is insisting they be retrofitted to their original configuration.
Croatia is reportedly furious about the holdup of the sale and recently told Israel to work out the matter with the US, the Times of Israel reported Friday, adding that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu raised the matter during his meeting with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Brussels on Dec. 3.) (Source: defense-aerospace.com/Voice of Croatia)
12 Dec 18. Second JEDI protest dismissed. The Government Accountability Office dismissed a pre-award protest from IBM against the Defense Department’s Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure procurement in deference to a federal court that is hearing a lawsuit on a related case. GAO said in its decision that Oracle’s lawsuit in the Court of Federal Claims against DOD over the $10bn, single-source JEDI procurement involved “arguments that are the same or similar to assertions presented in IBM’s protest to our Office.” In such cases, GAO routinely defers to the court. IBM did not have any comment about the dismissal or whether it intends to join Oracle’s lawsuit.
In its complaint, released with redactions Dec. 10, Oracle argued that the Department of Defense push to mandate a single-award process in its cloud procurement is in violation of federal acquisition law. Oracle also alleged that the requirements were developed to favor Amazon Web Services and that two individuals formerly working on the JEDI project at DOD were tainted by ties to AWS.
On Dec. 12, AWS moved to intervene in the case as a defendant, citing the conflict-of-interest allegations in its filing.
“AWS has direct and substantial economic interests at stake in this case, and its disposition clearly could impair those interests,” the filing stated. The company also noted that it has “separate interests that the Government has no incentive to defend, such as AWS’s proprietary and financial interests in its proposal and AWS’s reputational interest in defending against Oracle’s meritless conflict of interest allegations.”
Oracle can object to the intervention by AWS, but it has yet to do so, according to the docket. An email to an Oracle public affairs representative was not immediately returned. (Source: Defense Systems)
12 Dec 18. US Army seeking APS technology for Bradley vehicles. Once again the US army is looking for new active protection systems (APSs) to equip on its family of M2 Bradley infantry fighting vehicles. Whether this is a positive or negative for IMI Systems’ Iron Fist remains unclear. On 11 December, the service issued a draft request for proposal in the form of a “market survey” for APSs with a technology readiness level (TRL) 6.
“This APS shall have been proven and characterised on the Bradley Family of Vehicles [FOV],” the service wrote in a short notice. “This will be accomplished through the procurement of a B-Kit, consisting of the system and countermeasures.”
Industry has until 18 December to respond.
Recently, the service has been evaluating three APSs: Rafael’s Trophy on the Abrams main battle tank (MBT), IMI Systems’ Iron Fist on the M2 Bradley, and Artis’ Iron Curtain on the Stryker infantry combat vehicle.
In June Leonardo DRS (Rafael’s US-based partner) was awarded USD193 m to integrate the capability on Abrams MBTs. Artis’ Iron Curtain system, however, was cut due to a lack of maturity.
IMI Systems’ Iron Fist is now uncertain, and the company and an army spokeswoman did not immediately respond to Jane’s request for information.
Colonel Glenn Dean, project manager for Stryker Brigade Combat Team and APS acquisition, told reporters in August that IMI’s Iron Fist technology was still participating in Phase I live-fire and automotive characterisation testing due to an eight-month delay caused by funding gaps, inclement weather, and integration challenges. At the time, he noted that the findings would be turned over to the Army Requirements Oversight Council in the first quarter of fiscal year 2019 for a decision on how to proceed. He also explained that the M2 Bradley is a “very difficult platform to install on”. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
13 Dec 18. USMC begins the search for updated MADIS weapon systems. In response to the US military’s increasing concern with adversary unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), the US Marine Corps (USMC) is moving forward with its Marine Air Defense Integrated System (MADIS) initiative and soliciting industry’s help to rush near-term, counter-UAS into the field. The programme includes a UAS equipped with a kinetic capability to shoot down other UAS.
To defend forward operating areas, manoeuvre forces, and vital areas, the USMC’s Low Altitude Air Defense (LAAD) battalion employs Ground-Based Air Defense (GBAD) equipment including legacy Advanced Man Portable Air Defense System (A-MANPADS) and the Stinger missile system. The service also has a “requirement” for the GBAD Future Weapons Systems (FWS) to shoot down UAS, as well as fixed-wing (FW) and rotary-wing (RW) aircraft threats, the corps said in a 3 December solicitation. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
12 Dec 18. US seeks parts for Uruguay helos supporting UN mission in DRC. The US is seeking helicopter parts to sustain Uruguay’s contribution to the United Nation’s (UN) mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). The US Army said on 11 December that it is seeking parts to maintain a pair of Bell 212 utility helicopters that the Uruguayan Air Force (Fuerza Aérea Uruguaya: FAU) flies out of Kavumu Airport, Bukavu. These helicopters are part of the Uruguayan Aviation Unit (URUAVU) deployed to support the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the DRC (MONUSCO). These helicopters, procured in 1981, have been in the DRC since 2010 (a third helicopter arrived in 2012, but later in 2015 the force was downsized back to two). The 410th Contracting Support Brigade (CSB), Regional Contracting Center (RCC) located at Joint Base San Antonio – Fort Sam Houston in Texas is looking for the parts to be delivered to Canelones in Uruguay within 45 days of a contract award. A formal solicitation will be released “on or about” 14 December, the army said, with an anticipated quote due date of 2 January 2019. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
12 Dec 18. First flight for Defiant delayed to 2019. The Sikorsky-Boeing Defiant design will not have its first flight in 2018, following a technical issue discovered during ground tests.
Rich Koucheravy, Sikorsky director of business development for future vertical lift, and Randy Rotte, Boeing director of global sales and marketing for cargo helicopters and FVL, revealed the delay in a call with reporters Wednesday.
“We are going to slip our first flight into early 2019. While it’s not necessarily, I’m sure, what a lot of folks would have liked — it’s not necessarily what we would have liked — we continue to build confidence in our configuration,” Koucheravy said.
The team initially planned for the system to fly in 2017, but that was delayed following an issue with the manufacturing of the system’s blades. (The executives said that issue has now been resolved.)
For months, the expectation had been that first flight would then come before the end of the year. But while running the power-train systems test bed — essentially, a full-scale design of the system that is bolted to the ground — engineers discovered a series of issues that caused them to hit pause on testing the program.
“We have had a couple of small things. I won’t get into the exact pieces, but it required some repairs, just some kind of mechanical repairs,” Rotte said when asked for specifics on the issue that caused the delay. “The latest ones required about two to three weeks of going back in, fixing those pieces, putting them back on the aircraft.”
“It’s nothing that requires a redesign of major components or any of those pieces. it was just, candidly, some interactions that the models perhaps didn’t all capture,” Rotte said, adding that the ground tests should restart sometime in the next week.
The Sikorsky-Boeing team wants to get 15 hours of flawless test results from the ground-based system before that first flight, and the executives indicated the first flight should happen fairly early in 2019.
The Defiant is one of two designs competing for the Joint Multi-Role Technology Demonstrator effort, which will inform requirements for the U.S. Army’s FVL family of systems, which will come online in the 2030s. Competitor Bell’s V-280 Valor tilt-rotor aircraft has been flying since December 2017. (Source: Defense News)
07 Dec 18. JEDI acquisition challenged in Court of Federal Claims. After losing out in a Government Accountability Office bid protest, Oracle is taking its case against the Pentagon’s proposed $10 bn, 10-year cloud infrastructure deal to federal court.
Oracle is suing in the Court of Federal Claims. The case was filed under seal on Dec. 6 and a judge has not been assigned so a docket report is not available for review online.
“The technology industry is innovating around next generation cloud at an unprecedented pace and JEDI as currently envisioned virtually assures DOD will be locked into legacy cloud for a decade or more,” said Ken Glueck, Oracle’s senior vice president. “The single-award approach is contrary to well established procurement requirements and is out of sync with industry’s multi-cloud strategy, which promotes constant competition, fosters rapid innovation and lowers prices.”
Oracle has long been vocal about objections to the structure and requirements of the ongoing Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure contract, including plans to proceed with a single award and a demand for vendors to meet security classification level only held currently by a single vendor — Amazon Web Services. (Microsoft announced in October that it would meet similar requirements in time to take on the work of the JEDI contract, should it win.)
Oracle also objected to potential conflicts of interest regarding the former employment of several DOD personnel by AWS.
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.”
IBM has a JEDI protest pending at GAO, which is recently supplemented. A decision is due Jan. 18, but according to FCW’s sibling publication Washington Technology, GAO will likely dismiss IBM’s protest. That’s because the Court of Federal Claims trumps GAO’s bid protest adjudication authority, and if Oracle is litigating issues similar to the IBM, the court’s ruling will determine the outcome of IBM’s protest. (Source: Defense Systems)
07 Dec 18. Blink and you’ll miss it: The B-21 bomber accomplishes another big review. The Air Force’s super-secret new bomber recently completed its critical design review, an Air Force official confirmed Dec. 6.
The official, who was not authorized to speak on the record on the program, offered no further details about the status of the B-21 Raider. However, Air Force officials had stated that the milestone was slated to occur by the end of 2018 — putting the program on paceto begin fielding aircraft around 2025. During the Reagan National Defense Forum on Dec. 1, Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson told reporters that the program had recently accomplished a key review, although it was not immediately clear whether it was the critical design review.
She said that the program continued to move forward on budget and on schedule, and praised its steady progress, according to Military.com.
“It’s a good example of how to run a major acquisition program well and why delegation of authority back to the services … works to get high quality and to do so quickly,” Wilson said.
The Air Force has only sparsely released information about the Northrop Grumman-produced bomber, and details about the exact status of the plane’s development — such as whether a prototype exists or has been flown — continue to be shrouded in mystery. The service plans on buying at least 100 B-21s, but airpower advocates are hopeful that the requirement will grow in light of the Air Force’s stated desire to grow its number of bomber squadrons from 9 to 14 by 2030.
The program is managed by the service’s Rapid Capabilities Office, a small shop separated from the Air Force’s larger acquisition apparatus that is able to use special authorities to more quickly develop and field new technologies.
Earlier this year, RCO head Randall Walden acknowledged that office has begun component testing and put a subscale model of the bomber through wind tunnel tests.
“From my perspective, this is about producing 100 bombers, not about just getting through development,” he added. “Development is a phase that leads into the fielding of this critical need. So my focus is getting the production started, but I can’t do that until we understand what the design looks like.”
In November, the service announced that it had picked Edwards Air Force Base in California to handle testing and evaluation of the advanced long-range strike bomber and Tinker Air Force Base in Oklahoma for depot maintenance of the B-21. Robins Air Force Base in Georgia and Hill Air Force Base in Utah will also play a role in sustaining the aircraft. (Source: Defense News)
10 Dec 18. US Navy Cargo UAS Experiment. The United States Navy desires the capability to autonomously deliver cargo with an unmanned aerial system (UAS) between shore-to-ship, ship-to-ship, and ship-to-shore. During the week of 25 March 2019, the Navy will hold a limited objective experiment to identify and evaluate solutions to address this need.
The objective of this experiment is to autonomously transport a 20 pound payload with an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV). UAV shall autonomously launch from a fixed shore base, navigate through two waypoints to a vessel in open water making bare steerageway at 3-5 knots (kts) no less than 25 nautical miles (NM) away, loiter for 10 minutes, then autonomously land aboard the vessel. The UAV will then be required to autonomously launch from the vessel with the same 20 pound payload and return to the initial shore-based launch site.
The air vehicle must make the round trip without refuelling (refuelling or recharging will not be permitted aboard the vessel). Participants must provide a refuelling/recharging demonstration at the shore site after landing.
The UAV must transit at an airspeed no less than 40 knots and an altitude no greater than 2000 feet above ground level (AGL). The UAV must be capable of launching and recovering without a catapult, arresting net or cable, or other mechanical launching or recovery equipment.
Participants will provide data that validates the maximum theoretical range of their air vehicle with a 20 pound payload. Participants shall ensure that the UAV is equipped with a transponder with a minimum of a Mode-3/C capability.
The Participant will be required to provide the Government with flight termination procedures to support range safety.
Participation in this experiment will be on an invitation-only basis, based on the Government’s review of each application submitted. Only U. S. citizens or permanent residents are eligible to participate. Only U.S. companies, or companies with U.S.-based offices are eligible to participate. Applications for participation will be accepted until 2359 EST on 4 January 2019. Invitations to participate in the experiment will be issued via e-mail no later than 2359 EST on 16 January 2019. Responses to invitations will be due no later than 2359 EST on 23 January 2019.
Successful participation in this experiment may result in the award of an other transaction agreement (under 10 U.S. Code, Section 2371 or 2371b) or award of a procurement contract for experimental purposes (10 U. S. Code, Section 2373) or a combination of these authorities. In the case of an award under 10 U. S. Code, Section 2371b, a successful prototype project may result in the further award of a follow-on production agreement or contract without additional competition. In the case of an award under any of the authorities mentioned significant quantities may be needed for field testing. Some or all of the field tested units may be retained as a residual operational capability. The Government may make an award, even if all performance goals aren’t fully met.
Participation in this experiment will be at participant expense. The Government will not be responsible for any costs, to include submission costs, travel costs, technology demonstration costs or any associated costs.
The Government will coordinate exercise environment set-up and provide coordination assistance for airworthiness certification and frequency allocation as required. Contracted support personnel supporting Department of Defense functions may be used to facilitate the experiment. Participants are advised that contracted support personnel will assist the Government in reviewing application submissions. However, the Government will be solely responsible for determining which applicants will be extended an invitation to participate in the limited objective experiment in March 2019.
Participants will be granted access to the experiment site and to the recovery barge prior to the experiment to facilitate the installation of equipment required to support autonomous operations. Installation and use of Participant equipment will be at the Participant’s risk. The Government will bear no responsibility for damages to equipment during the experiment.
The evaluation criteria listed below represent the minimum required performance expected from participating systems during the experiment. These minimum criteria will be used to evaluate applicants and select those who will receive invitations to participate. During the experiment, the Government will evaluate the extent to which participant systems meet or exceed these minimum criteria; systems that exceed the minimum requirements in a way that provides value to the Government will be evaluated more favourably.
UAV shall autonomously launch from a fixed shore base, navigate through two waypoints to a vessel in open water making bare steerageway at 3-5 knots (kts) no less than 25 nautical miles (NM) away, loiter for 10 minutes, then autonomously land aboard the vessel. The UAV will then be required to autonomously launch from the vessel and return to the initial shore-based launch site.
The UAV shall be capable of carrying at the minimum a 20 pound payload; however, the Government’s desired payload capability is 50 pounds. The payload will be carried to and from the vessel. The Participant shall be required to provide the payload and the Government will verify the weight. The UAV must be capable of carrying this payload without the use of a cable or traditional external sling mechanism, such that the vehicle can land with the payload. The payload may be carried internal to the air vehicle or enclosed in a pod or other external container that is water-tight and rigidly connected to the air vehicle.
LAUNCH AND LANDING
The UAV must be capable of launching and recovering without a catapult, arresting net or cable, or other mechanical launching or recovery equipment.
Autonomous. While the Navy’s preference is for navigation systems that do not rely on Global Positioning System (GPS), GPS enabled systems will be permitted during this experiment. Specialized navigation and approach systems may be installed by the participant aboard the vessel and at the shore site to support autonomous launch and recovery. The Government preference is for systems with a low probability of intercept (LPI).
Must be able to operate in a daytime visual flight rules environment and land aboard the vessel in conditions up to Sea State 2 (according to the Wilbur Marks Wind and Wave Scale Used for Combatant Craft).
Must be capable of landing onboard the vessel used for the experiment (vessel specifications below). It is the Government’s desire that the air vehicle dimension does not exceed 13.0 feet. Therefore, smaller air vehicles will be evaluated more favourably.
The ship is an ABS Certified 145-ft Offshore Support Vessel [OSV] modified to accommodate open ocean Test and Evaluation, Fleet Training, and target launch and recovery operations. Principal features include a deck crane, 2,600-sq feet of clear deck space and a NATO grid pattern on the main deck, which will expedite onload and offload of Project equipment. Vessel dimensions are: Length 145-ft; Beam 36-ft; Draft :11-ft; 3-ft of freeboard on the main deck. Deck Space: 88ft X 30ft.
At or below 2,000 feet above ground level (AGL).
No less than 40kts.
Capable of recovery aboard a vessel moving at 3-5kts.
The Participant must provide a demonstration of the refuelling/recharging at the shore site after the vehicle lands. Shorter refuelling/recharging times will be evaluated more favourably.
Participants shall provide data that validates the maximum theoretical range of their air vehicle with a 20 pound payload and with its maximum payload.
POINT OF CONTACT
For technical questions related to the experiment, contact Mr. Bill Macchione, , telephone (301) 247-4008.
For website application questions, contact Mr. Jerry Stokes, , telephone (240) 577-5491. (Source: UAS VISION/IMPAX)
REST OF THE WORLD
13 Dec 18. Japan’s ruling coalition approves modification of Izumo-class helicopter carriers for F-35B ops. Japan’s ruling coalition has approved a new defence policy outline that includes the conversion of the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force’s (JMSDF’s) two Izumo-class helicopter carriers into multirole aircraft carriers from which short take-off and vertical landing (STOVL) aircraft, such as the Lockheed Martin F-35B Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter, can be operated. The ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and its coalition partner Komeito approved on 11 December the draft outline for the new National Defense Program Guidelines (NDPG) and the associated Mid-Term Defense Plan (MTDP). The NDPG draft, which was presented by the government to the ruling coalition, said that “by establishing our [new] fighter jet system, including [STOVL] aircraft, we will strengthen [our] aerial defence capabilities” in areas such as the Pacific side of the Japanese archipelago. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
12 Dec 18. Cost and scheduling of Australia’s Future Submarine programme prompt calls for alternative. Four retired Australian naval officers of flag rank, all with substantial submarine experience, have taken the unusual step of writing directly to Prime Minister Scott Morrison seeking an urgent study into the option of a cheaper, more quickly available alternative to the design already selected for Australia’s AUD50bn (USD36bn) Future Submarine programme.
The group, headed by Rear Admiral Peter Briggs (rtd), a former submarine force commander and one-time head of Systems Acquisitions (Submarines) in the Department of Defence (DoD), referred to its “profound” concern about a lack of submarine capability in the 2030s and beyond, as well as what it termed the excessive costs and risks of the current programme. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
12 Dec 18. Rust Problem Causes Delivery Delays for Taiwan’s F-16V Jets. The delivery of the first four fighter jets upgraded to the F-16V version will have to be postponed until March 2019 due to a rust problem, Taiwan’s Air Force said Wednesday. The country has 143 F-16A/B jets which should be modernized and upgraded to F-16V fighters by Lockheed Martin at a total cost of NT$129.6bn (US$4.2bn). The first four finished products should have been delivered to Taiwan by the end of this year, but because rust was discovered on the aircraft, their delivery will have to be delayed until March, the Apple Daily reported Wednesday. Seven of the 150 F-16 jets Taiwan procured from the United States in 1992, during the administration of the late President George H.W. Bush, crashed, with the 143 remaining aircraft having reached middle age. The U.S. agreed in 2011 to upgrade all of Taiwan’s F-16 jets. Despite the delay over the rust issue, 2023 remained the deadline for the work on all the planes to be completed, Air Force Chief of Staff Liu Jen-yuan told lawmakers Wednesday. The upgrade included the installation of sophisticated radar equipment used by the U.S. Air Force on its F-22 and F-35 jets, reports said. (Source: defense-aerospace.com/Taiwan News)
11 Dec 18. Agreement close on SPA for Australia’s Future Submarine programme. Agreement in principle between Australia’s Department of Defence (DoD) and French submarine builder Naval Group on a vital Strategic Partnering Agreement (SPA) for Australia’s Future Submarine programme is anticipated by 21 December, according to sources close to the protracted negotiations. The overarching SPA is intended to set out terms and conditions that will endure for the entire AUD50 bn (USD36 bn) Sea 1000 construction programme, avoiding the need to renegotiate a known set of provisions as work transitions from phase to phase. The negotiations began in early 2017 and since then have alternated between France and Australia, although the four sessions since October have all taken place in Canberra. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
12 Dec 18. Global Wrap Up. This global wrap-up provides key updates of industry developments across the globe, including new procurement deals, capability introductions and key announcements.
- DSME has been awarded a US$397 m contract to deliver a new auxiliary submarine rescue ship (ASR-II) to the Republic of Korea Navy (ROKN). The ASR-II, which is expected to feature a helicopter deck and reach speeds of up to 20 knots, will have a ‘centre well’ (moon pool) through which a deep-sea rescue vessel (DSRV) will be deployed to rescue the crews of distressed submarines at depths of up to 500 metres amid waves as tall as four metres.
- Korea has allegedly kicked off a series of studies to determine the feasibility of modifying the Dokdo Class Landing Helicopter Dock (LHD) ships to accommodate a fleet of F-35B aircraft, this follows a recent announcement that Japan would proceed with the procurement of its own F-35B fleet for the Izumo and Hyuga Class vessels.
- China has issued a stern warning to both the US and Taiwan as tensions in the Taiwan Strait continue to heat up. A People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) colonel issued the warning, stating that China should be prepared to ram US Navy warships and “be ready to take over Taiwan”.
- The Philippine Air Force (PAF) has selected the UH-60 Black Hawk and the Turkish made T129 ATAK attack helicopter to bolster the air mobility and close air support capabilities of the PAF.
- The Philippine Navy (PN) has successfully integrated the Rafael Advanced Defense made Spike-ER surface-to-surface missile system into the fleet. The weapons were installed and fired by the PN’s three Mark III multi-purpose assault craft (MPAC).
- India has successfully tested the Agni-V nuclear tipped ballistic missile, which will see India become the eighth nation in the world to incorporate ICBM capabilities into their arsenal.
- Boeing has been awarded a US$158 firm-fixed-price modification to a contract to provide a KC-46A tanker to Japan. This contract modification will allow for the addition of another KC-46. The total contract is worth US$449.4m.
- Morocco has secured a deal worth US$1.26bn to deliver enhancements to 162 M1 Abrams Main Battle Tanks (MBT). This proposed sale of M1A1 tank enhancements will contribute to the modernisation of Morocco’s tank fleet, enhancing its ability to meet current and future threats.
- The Iraqi Air Force has taken delivery of six more KAI T-50 Golden Eagle combat aircraft. The T-50 is designed and manufactured in South Korea. The delivery is part of a US$2bn deal inked between the two nations, which will see 24 T-50s in Iraqi service.
- Egypt and Naval Group have signed a five-year deal that will see the European company provide maintenance, sustainment and upgrade support for the Egyptian Navy’s two Mistral Class LHDs, FREMM Class guided missile frigate and the four Gowind Class corvettes.
- The Egyptian Air Force is currently reviewing the joint Pakistani/Chinese designed and manufactured JF-17 Thunder multi-role fighter aircraft.
- Poland has inched closer to securing a US$655 m deal with the US to provide 20 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) M142 Launchers and related equipment. Poland has requested to buy 20 HIMARS M142 Launchers, 36 Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System (GMLRS) M31 Unitary, nine Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System (GMLRS) alternative warheads, 24 Advanced Field Artillery Tactical Data Systems (AFATDS), 24 M1151A1 High Mobility Multi-purpose Wheeled Vehicles (HMMWVs). Also included are 20 Low Cost Reduced Range (LCRR) practice rockets, support equipment, communications equipment, spare and repair parts, test sets, batteries, laptop computers, publications and technical data, facility design, personnel training and equipment and elated elements of logistics support, training, sensors, and other related elements of logistics and program support.
- The UK has shortlisted BAE Systems, Thales and Babcock International as the preferred designers as part of a competitive evaluation process to determine the best design to build give Type 31e Frigates as part of a US$1.6 bn program to complement the larger Type 26 Global Combat Ships to be used by the Royal Navy.
- The German Army has officially formed a sixth tank battalion, which will operate the Leopard 2 A6 variant and will be headquartered at the Hardheim military base south of Frankfurt, with units also based in Bavaria and Thuringia.
- The Italian Air Force became the first European nation to declare initial operation capability (IOC) for their fleet of F-35A aircraft.
- The Italian Navy’s eighth FREMM frigate has successfully completed sea trials, deliveries of the ninth and 10th vessels for the Italian Navy are scheduled to take place after 2020.
- Royal Air Force Eurofighter Typhoons have successfully launched the Meteor air-to-air missile in defence of UK airspace during a Quick Reaction Alert (QRA) mission. This event represents the culmination of many years of research, development and testing to bring this advanced weapon into service on front-line aircraft.
- BAE Systems has been awarded a US$140 m contract modification to build another 30 Amphibious Combat Vehicles (ACV) for the US Marines. The company won the Marine Corps’ ACV competition in June, and was awarded a US$198m contract to deliver an initial 30 vehicles. The deal could be worth up to $1.2bn if all options are exercised, the Marines acquisition objective is to buy 204 platforms.
- The US Navy has officially launched the third and final Zumwalt Class guided missile destroyer, the USS Lyndon B. Johnson (DDG 1002). The Navy had planned to build 32 of the class but gradually slashed the number to three, which sent the Navy looking for a new mission for the ship.
- Lockheed Martin remains the world’s largest arms producer, with a 2017 profit of US$44.92bn. The company was followed by Boeing Defense and Space with a profit of US$26.93bn and Raytheon bringing in third place, with a profit of US$23.87bn.
- General Dynamics Land Systems was awarded a US$58m firm-fixed-price contract for the procurement of expedited active protection systems mounting kits and ballast kits to support the Abrams M1A2 battle tank.
- The Royal Canadian Navy will spend US$21.7m to purchase new radar antennas. Saab Microwave Canada will provide the new antenna sets, bringing the total investment to US$97.5m. Delivery is expected to take place in early 2021.
- The Royal Australian Air Force has officially taken delivery of its first two F-35A Joint Strike Fighters at a ceremony at RAAF Base Williamtown.
- BAE Systems Australia opened a $5m ship-side support tower at the company’s Henderson, Western Australia facility, which will support the mid-life upgrade of the Royal Australian Navy’s Anzac Class frigates.
- Austal and the Commonwealth government delivered the first Guardian Class patrol boat to Papua New Guinea as part of the Pacific Patrol Boat program to enhance the security of the region.
- Airbus Defence and Space announced the launch of the world’s first high-altitude pseudo-satellite (HAPS) flight base in Wyndham, WA.
(Source: Defence Connect)
10 Dec 18. F-35 countdown: JSF Joint Program Office kicks of mission capability test. The F-35 program has reached another milestone with the start of formal initial operational test and evaluation (IOT&E) to measure the effectiveness, suitability, lethality, survivability and overall mission capability of the F-35 weapons system, as Australia’s first two jets are hours away from landing at their new home, RAAF Base Williamtown. The Joint Strike Fighter Operational Test Team (JOTT), under the oversight of the independent director of operational test and evaluation (DOT&E), will execute formal IOT&E with international partner participation. The JOTT began some Pre-IOT&E events such as cold weather operations, weapons demonstrations, suitability deployments and lower threat missions earlier in 2018. Formal IOT&E will test the system and identify areas for improvement in the most stressing operationally representative environments and is expected to be complete late summer of 2019.
Vice Admiral Mat Winter, F-35 Program Executive Officer, said, “The start of formal operational testing is a milestone more than 18 years in the making. It is the culmination of years of hard work and dedication from the joint government and industry team who completed the most comprehensive, rigorous and safest developmental flight test program in aviation history.”
DOT&E will analyse the data from the testing and prepare a report for Congress and the Secretary of Defense evaluating the results and the adequacy of the test. The F-35 enterprise will work together to understand and holistically address any findings.
Following the evaluation and the DOT&E report provided to Congress, the US government will have data to inform its ‘Milestone C’ decision, leading to formal entry into full-rate production for the F-35 and its variants.
“While aircraft are in operational test, the F-35 Joint Program Office will continue to support the delivery of phased capability improvements and modernisation of the air system,” VADM Winter explained.
A spokesperson for F-35 original equipment manufacturer Lockheed Martin welcomed the news out of the Joint Project Office, saying, “The approval to formally begin initial operational test and evaluation demonstrates the confidence our customers have in the maturity of the F-35’s design and performance.
“With more than 340 F-35s operating from 15 bases around the world and delivering exceptional capabilities to the warfighter, we are confident in the F-35 weapon systems’ operational performance, capability and suitability today and for decades to come. The Department of Defense serves as the lead for the formal F-35 initial operational test and evaluation, and we look forward to providing our full support.”
Over the coming years, Australia will purchase 72 of the advanced fifth-generation fighter aircraft as part of the $17 bn AIR 6000 Phase 2A/B program, aimed at replacing the aging F/A-18A/B classic Hornets, with a potential expansion of the contract to 100 aircraft.
In addition to acquiring 72 aircraft, Australia’s involvement with the F-35 project will also deliver facilities, weapons and new support systems to meet fifth-generation requirements, supporting the development of key industry partners, including prime contractors and specialist, leading-edge Australian SMEs. (Source: Defence Connect)
10 Dec 18. Proposals sought for Intelligent Decision Superiority Research Network. The Next-Generation Technologies Fund (NGTF) is encouraging Australian universities and industry to participate in a new Intelligent Decision Superiority Research Network.
Intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) is a priority theme of the NGTF aimed at achieving integrated ISR in near real-time to support decision-making at the tactical and strategic levels.
Supporting this, the NGTF is inviting Australian universities and industry to participate in a new Intelligent Decision Superiority Research Network. This research network is aimed at developing automated systems to analyse, fuse and understand large volumes of data and free up Defence personnel to respond much faster to potential threats.
Masses of information are being communicated faster than ever before and Defence personnel need to identify credible material as quickly as possible to make better decisions to protect soldiers and the country.
Intelligent Decision Superiority seeks to leverage the wider science, technology and innovation capability in academia, industry and government research agencies to develop and demonstrate automated systems to analyse, fuse and understand large volumes of data and information to support decision superiority.
Research proposals are sought in the key areas of autonomous processing and reasoning, with a specific focus on:
- Multi-intelligence content analytics: Advances in content analytic techniques are required in order to better extract meaning from text, speech, image and video content, allowing for uncertainties and ambiguities, and express that meaning in a form amenable to automated reasoning. Advances in computer vision techniques leveraging machine learning, deep learning, and convolutional neural networks have brought a step-change in automated object detection and classification performance. The application of these techniques is increasing, however, reliable and automated object classification requires substantial and often prohibitive amounts of labelled training data.
- Cognitive information fusion: A deluge of data from multiple sources overwhelms the capacity of analysts and warfighters to extract useful information from the data. These sources include “physics-based” sensors, such as radars and imagery, and human intelligence sources, such as text from social media and web pages. Information derived using information fusion techniques can potentially include:
o Object assessments: the locations and kinematics of vehicles or aircraft; the beliefs, intents and desires of an individual; or abnormal behaviours of individual entities.
o Situational assessments: spatial relationships between entities; more abstract relationships between individuals such as social influence; models of normality and the detection of situations that are out of the ordinary.
o Impact assessments: predictions of likely adversary courses of action and their potential impact; predicting the outbreak of civil unrest.
Additionally, research proposals should include the following:
- A plan for a 2.5-year research program in autonomous processing and reasoning:
o Successful proposals will be initially funded for six months, with milestone reporting at three and six months, which will include the delivery of a literature review and scoping study exploring the intended 2.5-year work package. The research should represent novel and forward looking approaches to multi-intelligence content analytics and/or cognitive information fusion at a low to moderate technology readiness level (TRL).
o Outputs will be assessed at the six-month milestone and the Commonwealth may choose to extend the research agreement by up to an additional two years (to a total of 2.5 years) based on the literature review and the scoping study.
o Successful proposals are expected to be funded up to $100,000 in the first six months, and up to $500,000 per year in subsequent years, depending on scale, complexity and risk. Funding limits expressed here are provided as guidance for responses and may not represent the final funding position of the Commonwealth.
o Outputs are expected to include regular milestone reporting (every three months), including software for demonstrating developed technologies. Applications close 21 December 2018. (Source: Defence Connect)
08 Dec 18. Iraq receives new batch of KAI T-50 jets from South Korea.
Iraq received on Saturday the third batch of the T-50 jet fighters coming from South Korea, according to a statement issued by the Iraqi Air Force.
The new shipment, composed of six KAI T-50 Golden Eagle supersonic advanced trainers and light combat aircraft, arrived safely at Martyr Mohamed Alaa Airbase near Baghdad International Airport, the statement read, without giving further details.
The newly-imported warplanes are expected to be used in the country’s fight against Islamic State remnants, who scattered across Iraq following the group’s crushing defeat at its main havens last year.
In December 2013, Iraq signed a contract for 24 South Korean T-50 fighter jets, plus additional equipment and pilot training over the next 20 years. The contract was initially estimated at $1.1 bn, but the manufacturing Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) said supporting the aircraft over 20 years will achieve total revenues beyond $2 bn.
The KAI T-50 Golden Eagle is a family of South Korean supersonic advanced trainers and light combat aircraft, developed by Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) with Lockheed Martin. The T-50 is South Korea’s first indigenous supersonic aircraft and one of the world’s few supersonic trainers.
Iraqi air forces, assisted by jets from a US-led international coalition, have been actively bombarding Islamic State militants’ locations in several Iraqi provinces as part of a major operation that seeks to completely eliminate the group after former prime minister Haidar al-Abadi announced last December the full liberation of Iraqi lands.
(Source: News Now/IraqiNews.com)
American Panel Corporation
American Panel Corporation (APC) since 1998, specializes in display products installed in defence land systems, as well as military and commercial aerospace platforms, having delivered well over 100,000 displays worldwide. Military aviators worldwide operate their aircraft and perform their missions using APC displays, including F-22, F-18, F-16, F-15, Euro-fighter Typhoon, Mirage 2000, C-130, C-17, P-3, S-3, U-2, AH-64 Apache Helicopter, V-22 tilt-rotor, as well as numerous other military and commercial aviation aircraft including Boeing 717 – 787 aircraft and several Airbus aircraft. APC panels are found in nearly every tactical aircraft in the US and around the world.
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