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UNITED KINGDOM AND NATO
31 Dec 18. UK Dreadnought submarine programme within budget and on track, says latest MoD report. The delivery of the United Kingdomʼs first Dreadnought-class nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine (SSBN) remains within budget and on schedule, the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) has said in its annual report on the programme. The report, ʻThe United Kingdom’s Future Nuclear Deterrent: 2018 Update to Parliament’, adds that work will be undertaken over the next six months to “analyse in greater detail the programme risks, and identify opportunities to increase flexibility in the schedule and reduce programme costs”. In 2016 the UK parliament voted to retain the UK’s nuclear deterrent and replace the Royal Navy’s (RN’s) four Vanguard-class submarines with four new Dreadnought-class SSBNs. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
03 Jan 19. Bulgaria declares preference for F-16 as its new fighter. Key Points:
- The Bulgarian MoD has come out in favour of the F-16V for its future fighter requirement
- This is despite the Gripen C/D being evaluated as the top solution under ‘operational effectiveness’
The Bulgarian Ministry of Defence (MoD) declared its preference on 21 December for eight new-build Lockheed Martin F-16V Block 70 fighters to fulfil its fighter requirement.
The MoD is now set to propose to the Bulgarian government that negotiations are initiated with Washington regarding a government-to-government purchase, after which the proposal will have to be submitted for approval by the country’s Bulgarian parliament. In early October 2018 four offers were received in response to a Bulgarian MoD request for proposals issued on 29 June that year. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
02 Jan 19. Spain Orders 23 NH90 Helicopters in €1.4bn Deal. Spain has signed a 1.38bn-euro contract to buy a second batch of 23 NH90 helicopters, French media reported in late December, confirming the Spanish cabinet’s Nov. 16 decision to approve contract signature. The contract amount is before value-added tax. This is especially significant for Airbus Helicopters and Leonardo Helicopters, the main shareholders of the NH Industries joint venture company that is the program’s prime contractor. Spain’s 23 additional NH90s will be split between the three services, with ten going to the Army, six to the Air Force and seven to the Navy, which will use them to replace its oldest S-60B Skyhawks. The Air Force and Army will replace the Eurocopter AS-332 Super Pumas that are now in service.
This new purchase, following several procurement decisions announced in recent weeks and worth nearly 10bn euros for F-110 frigates, S-80 submarines, Piranha wheeled armored vehicles, Eurofighter upgrade, Chinook procurement and other smaller programs raises some questions about how Spain’s new government will be able to fund such a large and expensive range of new weapons in addition to its annual budgets.
Spain’s NH90 order follows a long-deferred order for 28 NH90s by Qatar, which was finally made effective in July when the down payment finally arrived. This means that a total of 51 new export NH90s were ordered in 2018, which will extend the production line and substantially improve the order book and cash flow position of the NH Industries shareholders, which in addition to Airbus and Leonardo also include Fokker.
This is our translation of the Spanish Cabinet’s Nov. 16 decision to authorize the NH90 contract:
Contract for the Supply of 23 NH-90 GSPA / MSPT (PHASE II) Helicopters
The Council of Ministers has authorized the conclusion of the manufacturing supply contract for 23 NH-90 GSPA / MSPT helicopters (phase II), for an estimated value of 1,381,073,714.86 euros.
The object of the authorized contract is the acquisition of 23 NH-90 GSPA/MSPT helicopters destined for the helicopter fleet of the Ministry of Defense, which will be operated by the Army, the Air Force and the Navy. The estimated value of the contract (excluding VAT) amounts to €1,381,073,714.86, and has a term of validity from the signing of the contract until November 30, 2028, including annuities from 2018 to 2027.
Conclusion of the authorized contract will avoid the excessive aging of helicopters in service if not renewed by 2022 (62 helicopters) which would cause a considerable increase in maintenance costs, operational attrition losses and an increase in unscheduled breakdowns that could eventually diminish flight safety. The helicopter fleet renewal program began in 2006 with the acquisition contract of 45 NH-90 helicopters, but due to budgetary restrictions at the time, this contract did not contemplate the acquisition of any type of logistic support, equipment of mission, price review, simulators, mission planner and automatic bank, which determined that finally only 22 units were acquired. Given the nature of the contract (helicopter manufacturing and supply) there are exceptional circumstances that allow extending the duration of this contract for a period exceeding five years, as was recognized by the Council of Ministers when authorizing the increase of limits to acquire commitments of expenses charged to future years on September 7. In this new acquisition of 23 helicopters, given the urgency of the renewal of the helicopter fleet of the Navy SH-3D Sea King, it is necessary to acquire a new naval configuration of NH90, so the helicopters to be supplied are distributed from the following way:
— 16 GSPA STD 3 helicopters (ground-based version).
— 7 MSPT STD 3 helicopters (naval version).
01 Jan 19. U.S. Navy pursuing block buy of two aircraft carriers – senator. The U.S. Navy has informed lawmakers of its intent to pursue a block purchase of two Ford-class aircraft carriers, Senator Tim Kaine’s office said on Monday, a step officials have said could save billions of dollars as the Trump administration tries to expand the size of the fleet. The decision comes nine months after the Navy expressed interest in a block buy and asked shipbuilder Huntington Ingalls Industries for detailed pricing on the cost of two aircraft carriers as it considered doubling its order for the most expensive ship in the U.S. fleet in a bid to save money. The Navy commissioned the first Ford-class aircraft carrier, the USS Gerald R. Ford, in July 2017, three years behind schedule and billions of dollars over budget. The Ford cost about $13bn.
The Navy has said it would spend about $43bn (33.8bn pounds) in total to build the first three ships in the Ford class. Huntington Ingalls Chief Executive Mike Petters has said multi-ship purchases are the best way to reduce costs.
Kaine, of Virginia and a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said a block buy would save billions and provide more stability to the Hampton Roads shipbuilding community in southeastern Virginia.
“This smart move will save taxpayer dollars and help ensure the shipyards can maintain a skilled workforce to get the job done,” he said in a statement.
The Navy released a force structure goal in 2016 that calls for a 355-ship fleet. Previously it had a goal of 308 ships, and the actual size of the Navy had generally been between 270 and 290 ships, according to the Congressional Research Service. A 355-ship fleet would include 12 aircraft carriers, one more than the previous goal. The United States currently operates 11 aircraft carriers, several times more than any other country. (Source: Reuters)
20 Dec 18. AVX Aircraft Company, L3 Technologies Submit Proposal for U.S. Army’s Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft. AVX Aircraft Company and L3 Technologies (NYSE:LLL) announced today the submission of a joint proposal for the U.S. Army’s Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft (FARA) Competitive Prototype program. The AVX/L3 solution combines AVX Aircraft’s rich history of coaxial rotor platforms and propulsion systems with L3’s proven products; systems engineering; weapons, sensor and communications systems integration; and full-rate production capabilities to provide the Army with an advanced modular armed reconnaissance and light attack platform.
“The L3/AVX FARA proposal demonstrates our commitment to provide innovative solutions for the Army’s modernization priorities,” said Christopher E. Kubasik, Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and President of L3 Technologies. “Our significant engineering, manufacturing, integration and test capabilities enable us to deliver a cost-efficient and highly capable FARA platform. AVX operates with the same agile and innovative culture as L3, which allows us to successfully collaborate in advancing this revolutionary design into the effective next-generation aircraft the Army seeks.”
“L3’s deep experience in providing cutting-edge capabilities to the U.S. Army and Special Operations communities fits very well with AVX Aircraft’s expertise in clean-sheet helicopter design,” said Troy Gaffey, AVX Aircraft Chairman and CEO. “We look forward to showing the Army that we are the non-traditional solution they are looking for to propel them into the future.”
Scheduled for a production program start in 2024, the FARA aircraft will be an advanced, survivable and lethal solution with unmatched growth potential. The Army has named the FARA as a top modernization priority supported under the service’s new Futures Command structure.
Founded in 2005, and headquartered in Benbrook, Texas, AVX Aircraft Company employs helicopter industry veterans and executives with deep experience across a spectrum of skill sets. AVX has developed and has patented a unique compound helicopter configuration with coaxial rotors and dual ducted fans that combine proven technologies to achieve greater aerodynamic efficiency, speed, range, fuel efficiency, Hover Out of Ground Effect (HOGE) and utility than conventional helicopters. (Source: BUSINESS WIRE)
REST OF THE WORLD
03 Jan 19. China could be developing carrier-borne variant of FC-31 fighter aircraft. Requests for proposals and tenders issued by the Shenyang Aircraft Design Institute on a range of equipment suitable for a stealth aircraft have heightened anticipation that a variant of the Shenyang Aircraft Corporation’s (SAC) FC-31 combat aircraft is to be developed as China’s next-generation carrier-borne aircraft. An invitation to tender was issued on 27 December for an electro-optical targeting system featuring stealth characteristics that is capable of target detection, localisation, and tracking. The document states that the system should provide long-rang laser ranging of land or maritime targets as well as laser guidance. Another invitation to tender, which was also issued on 27 December, relates to target identification equipment. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
27 Dec 18. Taiwan Indigenous Defense Submarine Project Nears Construction Phase. During a budget review session at the Legislative Yuan this week, the Committee of Foreign Affairs and National Defense discussed the indigenous defense submarine program with officials from the Ministry of National Defense (MND). The director of the Naval Shipbuilding Development Center, Rear Adm. Shao Wei-yang, revealed in his statements that the MND has already obtained the primary and secondary equipment marketing licenses which are necessary to begin construction on the indigenous Taiwan submarine program.
According to a report from Liberty Times, the MND is planning to present the results of a classified report on the project in March of next year, and will seek legislative approval to begin construction on a prototype model sub in cooperation with the Taiwan Shipbuilding Corporation (CSBC), the National Chung-Shan Institute of Science and Technology, and international partners.
Navy Chief of Staff, Lee Chung-hsiao, stated before the Legislative Yuan that nearly 15 European and North American manufacturers were interested in participating in the Taiwan’s domestic submarine manufacturing project. (Source: defense-aerospace.com/Taiwan News)
28 Dec 18. Indonesian Navy requests two hydrographic rescue vessels in 2020–24 defence spending plan. Key Points:
- The Indonesian Navy has proposed acquiring two hydrographic vessels that can be swiftly converted into submarine rescue ships
- The vessels are being requested amid a proliferation of submarines in the Asia-Pacific region
The Indonesian Navy (Tentara Nasional Indonesia – Angkatan Laut: TNI-AL) has submitted plans to acquire two ocean-going hydrographic ships that can be swiftly converted into vessels of opportunity (VOOs) for submarine rescue operations. The request has been submitted for inclusion under the third and final phase of the ‘Minimum Essential Force’ (MEF) plan, which runs from 2020 to 2024. MEF is a three-phase armed forces modernisation blueprint that began in 2010. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
21 Dec 18. Brazil’s oil revenue is set to fuel multibillion-dollar warship program. The incoming Brazilian government is poised to follow through on a plan to funnel oil and gas revenue toward new defense spending, leaving European shipbuilders hopeful that the country can afford its new corvette program. Directing 2 percent of royalties from offshore drilling to the military has been a national policy for some time, but previous governments have never fully applied it, according to Eric Berthelot, who heads the Brazilian subsidiary of French shipbuilder Naval Group. Officials under outgoing president Michel Temer first moved to tap the oil fund and have so far forwarded roughly $650m to state-owned Emgepron to manage new naval projects like the $1.5b Tamandaré frigate program. The government of President-elect Jair Bolsonaro, a far-right politician who will take office in January, is expected to further implement the policy, according to several industry officials in Europe. They said Brazil’s ability to pay for the program will be closely watched as the Bolsonaro government makes its first moves next year. Naval Group is competing against Germany’s ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems, Dutch shipbuilder Damen and Italy’s Fincantieri. The Brazilian Navy and the four bidders are in the final stages of coordination before the proposals are due on March 8. The Navy is expected to pick a winner later that month, though it is possible officials will await the LAAD defense expo here in early April to announce results. The Tamandaré program is for four ships and an initial eight-year maintenance package. The warships are meant to help protect Brazil’s resource-rich waters up and down its vast coastline, dubbed the Blue Amazon.
European vendors tussling for business in the same competitions worldwide has become a recurring theme, fueling calls for consolidation of the continent’s shipbuilding industry to retain a competitive edge.
“The Europeans are more divided than ever,” Naval Group Hervé Guillou told reporters at one of the company’s offices here. But, he cautioned, “you have to wait for the right moment to consolidate.”
Naval Group and Fincantieri already have decided to join their businesses to some extent, but so far nothing concrete has sprung from those aspirations. (Source: Defense News)
20 Dec 18. Damen-Saab consortium selects partners for Brazilian Navy bid. The consortium of Damen Shipyards Group and Saab has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with two companies to support the bid for construction of four corvettes for the Brazilian Navy. The MoU was signed with Brazilian company WEG Electric Equipment and Dutch company Praxis Automation Technology. Under the agreement, WEG and Praxis will jointly supply the complete integrated platform management system (IPMS) for the corvettes. In June, Damen and Saab formed a consortium to bid for the supply of four Tamandaré-class corvettes (CCT) for the Brazilian Navy. The consortium was selected as one of the three finalists for the project in October.
If the project is awarded to the consortium, Saab will contribute the complete combat system, including the Saab 9LV Combat Management System (CMS), while Damen will supply the ship Sigma 10514.
The agreement was signed at Damen Schelde Naval Shipbuilding in the Netherlands in the presence of staff from Damen, Saab and its strategic Brazilian partner Wilson Sons Estaleiros.
Praxis and WEG have previously cooperated on projects in Brazil. The companies jointly installed equipment on vessels designed by Damen.
Praxis specialises in the development and manufacturing of automation and navigation equipment, while WEG deals with industrial automation.
In a statement, Damen said: “With this MoU, the Damen Saab Tamandaré consortium is ensuring another strong partnership with two leading Brazilian companies, which will be part of the project to build four corvettes in Brazil.
“It proves the intention of the consortium to present a credible and reliable offer to the Brazilian Navy with a proven ship design (SIGMA 10514), a world-class combat management system and strong partnerships with Brazilian companies for the construction and ‘through life support’ of the future Tamandaré-class.” (Source: naval-technology.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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