Sponsored by American Panel Corporation
UNITED KINGDOM AND NATO
14 Jan 19. Sole outsource bidders win more public sector contracts. Fewer competitive tenders raises concerns over corruption and value for taxpayers. Government outsourcing has become markedly less competitive over the past three years, with close to one quarter of public sector contracts ranging from security to welfare services awarded to sole bidders in 2018. The proportion of public sector contracts awarded without a competitive tender rose from 15 per cent in 2016 to 22 per cent in 2017 and then 23 per cent in 2018, according to research by the Financial Times and OpenOpps, a consultancy that advises on government outsourcing. The increase in sole bidders highlights the government’s difficulties in fostering competition in the outsourcing of public services while also adding to concerns about poor value for taxpayers and potential cronyism. Ian Makgill, director of OpenOpps, said the increase seems to “have been driven by a focus on letting large, unwieldy contracts, which reduces the number of companies with the range of skills and the financial muscle to bid for them”. Concerns have been heightened in the wake of the controversy over the government awarding a £14m contract to Seaborne Freight— without a competitive tender — to provide ferry services in the event of a no-deal Brexit. The Department for Transport justified the decision on the grounds it was an “emergency”, but the deal has since become mired in controversy after it emerged that Seaborne has no ships and some of its directors ran businesses that were liquidated, owing money to the UK tax authority. Another procurement expert said that government bodies often argued “that there was no time to carry out a fully competitive tender process” although “this was rarely justified”, he added. Key contracts awarded during 2018 without a competitive tender included a £4.2m agreement for the security company G4S to supply pre-deportation accommodation for families. Interserve, the government contractor that is in rescue financing talks with its banks, won a £31m contract to provide the Metropolitan Police with services including crime scene tents. Martin Blaiklock, a public services finance expert, said the increase in sole bidders for government contracts was “concerning and inconsistent with the principle of achieving optimal value for money for the taxpayer”. Recommended Jonathan Ford Britain’s outsourcing crisis shows markets are working “Single bid contracts, furthermore, prevent potentially more efficient and innovative businesses entering the market, with longer term effects on the competitiveness of our economy,” he added.
Government departments are also extending contracts without a competitive tender as they struggle to cope with austerity-driven budget cuts and a deluge of work related to Brexit. This includes Capita’s contract assessing welfare claimants, which was extended last year until 2021. Under the law, contracts awarded by public bodies including central and local government and valued above a certain amount need to be published in the Official Journal of the EU to encourage bidders from across the bloc. The research by the FT and OpenOpps was based on data published in the journal because the government’s own public procurement database, Contracts Finder, does not include the number of bids received. There were 36,307 public sector contracts awarded in 2018, of which 8,377 went to sole bidders. The lowest value at which contracts were required to be reported last year to the Official Journal of the EU was £65,630. A 2017 study by academics at Cambridge university found that contracts which only receive one bid were on average almost 10 per cent more expensive than those with two or more offers. The same study also found single bids to be a reliable indicator of corruption. (Source: FT.com)
15 Jan 19. Croatia backtracks on decision to buy Israeli jets. What went wrong? The Croatian government has canceled its decision to purchase used F-16C/D Barak fighters from Israel, the Defence Ministry said in a Jan. 14 statement. The move follows a recommendation by the Croatian Defence Council that authorities relaunch the procurement step of its fighter jet acquisition program, set up to replace the country’s outdated Mikoyan MiG-21 fighters. The council is comprised of President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic, Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic, and a number of senior government, parliamentary and military officials.
After a thorough analysis of the canceled procurement, Plenkovic’s cabinet will “define a new model” of acquiring fighter jets for the Croatian Air Force, the prime minister said.
Prior to the cancellation, Croatian Defence Minister Damir Krstičević said in a statement that “Israel has … unfortunately officially informed the Ministry of Defence that it is unable to receive the adequate [third-party transfer] approval for the delivery of Israeli F-16 Barak aircraft to the Republic of Croatia.”
Earlier this month, the Croatian government said it had given “Israel a deadline on its capability to deliver the aircraft offered at the international tender” and that Israel was “responsible for obtaining the approval from the United States for the supply of the aircraft.”
Croatian officials have told local media the U.S. government accused its Israeli counterpart of unfair competition in the tender, in which the U.S. had offered Croatia secondhand F-16s. Other bidders included Greece, which offered used F-16s, and Sweden, which offered JAS 39 Gripen fighters. (Source: glstrade.com/Defense News)
16 Jan 19. Romania – Decision On Corvette Construction Suspended. The decision to award the contract to build four corvettes, expected on January 12, was suspended the previous day (January 11) to the surprise of the three bidders, France‘s Naval Group, the Dutch Damen and Fincantieri, Italy. Backgrounds were commented on differently in English and French media. The latter assess an intended disadvantage of Naval Group, whose Romanian partner, “Santierul Naval Constanta”, had already initiated legal proceedings against the tender procedure. Damen holds 49% of “Damen Shipyards Galati”, 51% are held by the Romanian state. Observers assumed that the French offer based on the GOWIND 2500 design could have been the cheapest with a slight advantage over SIGMA. According to the official press release of the Ministry of Defence of January 11 ((as of January 14) so far only) available in Romanian, the state secretary responsible for armaments has now brought in the (military) jurisdiction to clarify the facts of the case. The postponement complicates the overdue renewal of the Romanian Navy. (Source: ESD Spotlight)
16 Jan 19. Czech IFV Competition. The Czech Ministry of Defence has announced that it will invite four bidders to submit a bid for a new Infantry Fighting Vehicle (IFV). BAE Systems will be competing with the CV90 Mk IV, General Dynamics European Land Systems (GDELS) with the Ascod, PSM with the Puma and Rheinmetall Landsysteme with the Lynx KF 41. These four IFVs had already been tested by the Czech armed forces in advance. On the basis of the offers, a development and supply contract is to be concluded in August 2019, under which the delivery of 210 vehicles in the period 2020 to 2025 is to be agreed. The service life is estimated at thirty years. (Source: ESD Spotlight)
15 Jan 19. General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA-ASI), the leading manufacturer of Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) systems, radars, electro-optic and related mission systems, announced today that it has teamed with five Belgium-based businesses as part of an industrial collaboration effort with the Belgian aerospace and defense industry. Team SkyGuardian Belgium includes GA-ASI, SABCA, Thales Belgium, Esterline, DronePort, and satellite communication technology company Newtec.
The Government of Belgium recently announced the selection of MQ-9B SkyGuardianTM to meet the RPA requirements of Belgian Defense. GA-ASI’s MQ-9B has also been selected by the Royal Air Force for its PROTECTOR RG Mk1 program.
“GA-ASI looks forward to working with our Belgian teammates to make the MQ-9B procurement a success,” said Linden Blue, CEO, GA-ASI. “We are very pleased to be joined in this endeavor by SABCA, Thales, Esterline, DronePort, and Newtec.”
GA-ASI and SABCA signed an MOU that outlines their cooperation for production and Maintenance Repair Operations (MRO) activities, including initial in-country entry into service and support for SkyGuardian. The MOU also covers production of the lightning-protected SATCOM radome for all MQ-9B SkyGuardian and SeaGuardianTM systems at SABCA Limburg. The parties intend to develop the first Europe-based MRO facility for MQ-9B actuators at SABCA in Brussels.
“SABCA’s focus on MRO and upgrade of platforms and equipment positions our company as a strong industrial partner to GA-ASI for this endeavor,” said Thibauld Jongen, CEO, SABCA. “We look forward to transferring our proven expertise in manned aircraft system integration, testing, qualification, and certification to ensure the success of Belgium’s new RPA program.”
GA‑ASI and Thales Belgium S.A. have signed an MOU to collaborate on RPA surveillance sensor data processing, exploitation, and dissemination (PED) solutions, including the integration of MQ-9B into Belgian military data networks. Thales Belgium has extensive experience providing intelligence, infrastructure, and PED capabilities to Belgian forces.
“RPA technology is critical to protecting the national security interests of countries around the globe,” said Alain Quevrin, CEO, Thales Belgium S.A. “We look forward to sharing our technical and in-country expertise with GA-ASI as it seeks to support Belgium’s current Medium-altitude, Long-range (MALE) RPA requirement.”
As part of its European supply chain, the company procures Ground Control Station displays from Esterline in Flanders. “As a trusted and long-time partner of GA-ASI, Esterline is looking forward to equipping the SkyGuardian Ground Control Stations, thus supporting both GA-ASI and the Belgian Air Force,” said Michel Potvin, president of Esterline Avionics Systems. “We are proud to be part of this new RPA program and are keen to further develop a joint roadmap together with GA-ASI, capitalizing on the ruggedized visualization expertise of our Kortrijk facility.”
DronePort Incubator is the home for startups and research teams involved in the new, unmanned aviation market. The test facilities provide segregated airspace and the opportunity to test and demonstrate new UAV applications. DronePort will facilitate the identification of UAS-technology seed funding opportunities within Belgium.
“DronePort sees in this partnership with GA-ASI and the other partners a huge opportunity for the numerous start-ups and scale-ups in Belgium. The transfer of knowledge in this collaboration offers many new possibilities and strengthens the ecosystem around DronePort,” said Mark Vanlook, CEO, DronePort. The total economic value of Team SkyGuardian’s efforts to Belgian industry is estimated to be in excess of €100m over the life of the program.
14 Jan 19. Finland to procure counter-battery radars. The Finnish Defence Forces’ Logistics Command has received a mandate from the Finnish Ministry of Defence for the procurement of counter-battery radars following an international tender process. The radar systems, training support and spare parts will be procured from ELTA Systems. The new systems will enhance the army’s target acquisition capabilities for counter-battery operations. They will also be used for fire observation and air surveillance. The selected system was tested in Finland in spring 2018. Millog and Telva will be in charge of systems maintenance services. Millog is the Finnish Defence Forces strategic partner in maintenance and Telva represents ELTA Systems in Finland. Deliveries are scheduled for 2021. (Source: Shephard)
14 Jan 19. Rafale “F4” Standard Launched. Eric Trappier, Chairman and CEO of Dassault Aviation, received the F4-standard development contract for the Rafale combat aircraft today during the visit of the Dassault Aviation Mérignac plant by Florence Parly, French Minister of the Armed Forces. The F4 standard is part of the ongoing process to continuously improve the Rafale in line with technological progress and operating experience feedback. The F4 standard marks a new step coming in the wake of the standards F1 (specific to the first aircraft of the French Navy), F2 (air-to-ground and air-to-air capabilities), F3 and F3R (extended versatility). In our role as industrial architect, we will be responsible for implementing innovative connectivity solutions to optimize the effectiveness of our aircraft in networked combat (new satellite and intra-patrol links, communication server, software defined radio). New functions will also be developed to improve the aircraft’s capabilities (upgrades to the radar sensors and front sector optronics, helmet-mounted display capabilities), and new weapons will be integrated (Mica NG air-to-air missile and 1,000-kg AASM Air-to-Ground Modular Weapon). Lastly, with regard to availability, we are working under a through-life support contract which will become more “top-down” under the authority of the aircraft manufacturer. F4 will include a new Prognosis and Diagnostic Aid System introducing predictive maintenance capabilities. Other maintenance optimization features are scheduled, particularly with solutions based on Big Data and artificial intelligence. Lastly, the Rafale will be equipped with a new engine control unit.
“The F4 standard guarantees that Rafale will remain at world-class level so that our combat air forces can carry out all their missions with optimum efficiency, whether in coalition operations or completely independently, as required by the French nuclear deterrent,” stated Eric Trappier. “This new standard also guarantees that Rafale will remain a credible reference on the export market. Lastly, it confirms the continuous improvement approach and helps develop the manufacturers’ skills.”
Validation of the F4 standard is planned for 2024, with some functions becoming available as of 2022. Dassault Aviation and the 500 French firms associated with the Rafale program thank the Ministry of the Armed Forces, the Defense procurement agency (DGA), the French Air Force and the French Navy for their confidence.
About the Rafale:
The only totally “omnirole” aircraft in the world, able to operate from a land base or an aircraft carrier, capable of carrying 1.5 times its weight in weapons and fuel, the Rafale has been designed to perform the full spectrum of combat aircraft missions:
— Interception and air-to-air combat using a 30-mm gun, Mica IR/EM missiles and Meteor missiles.
— Close air support using a 30-mm gun, GBU laser-guided bombs and AASM GPS-guided bombs.
— Deep strike using Scalp-Storm Shadow cruise missiles.
— Maritime strike using the Exocet AM39 Block 2 missile and other air-to-surface weapons.
— Real-time tactical and strategic reconnaissance using the Areos pod.
— Buddy-buddy in-flight refueling
— Nuclear deterrence using the ASMP-A missile.
The Rafale entered service with the French Navy in 2004 and with the French Air Force in 2006, gradually replacing the seven types of previous-generation combat aircraft. It has proven itself in external operations in various theatres: Afghanistan, Libya, Mali, Iraq and Syria. Of the 180 aircraft ordered by France to date, 152 have been delivered. The Rafale fleet currently totals almost 270,000 flight hours, including 40,000 in operations. A total of 96 Rafale aircraft have been ordered by Egypt, Qatar and India. With over 10,000 military and civil aircraft delivered in more than 90 countries over the last century, Dassault Aviation has built up expertise recognized worldwide in the design, development, sale and support of all types of aircraft, ranging from the Rafale fighter, to the high-end Falcon family of business jets and military drones. In 2017, Dassault Aviation reported revenues of €4.8bn. The company has 11,400 employees.
(defense-aerospace.com EDITOR’S NOTE/ Although this is not mentioned in Dassault’s announcement, the F4 contract is valued at about 2bn euros. While this contract does not include any aircraft production, the final 30 Rafales – due to be ordered in 2023 for delivery in 2027-2030 — will be delivered in this F4 version. All Rafales in French service will be gradually upgraded to the same F4 standard. Dassault is currently delivering Rafale F3-Rs to the French air force and navy, with the first three out of a total of 28 being delivered last year, Armed Forces Minister said in an interview to the Sud-Ouest daily newspaper published today.) (Source: (Source: defense-aerospace.com/Dassault Aviation)
16 Jan 19. Initial source selection in progress for US Army’s Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft and new UAS. The US Army is on track to move out with contract awards for the Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft competitive prototype (FARA CP), as well as the Future Tactical Unmanned Aircraft System (FTUAS). Future Vertical Lift (FVL) Cross Functional Team Director Brigadier General Walter Rugen laid out the army’s evolving plans to build the next-generation of helicopters and unmanned systems for Jane’s on 4 January, and noted that key decisions for FARA CP and FTUAS are forthcoming. In October 2018 the army released a FARA CP solicitation that anticipates a production quantity of up to 500 aircraft. Although the bidding window closed in late December, Brig Gen Rugen declined to disclose how many proposals had been submitted, citing the sensitivity source section. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
16 Jan 19. Facing a sealift capacity collapse, the Navy seeks strategy for new auxiliary ships. The U.S. Navy is moving toward settling on an approach for recapitalizing the nation’s aged sealift fleet, moving away from a single common hull for five missions. The sealift fleet, which is facing the prospect of an imminent collapse in capacity due to the ships all reaching or exceeding their hull life according to the U.S. Army, is what the U.S. would use to transport up to 90 percent of Army and U.S. Marine Corps gear in the event of a major conflict overseas. The program, known as the Common Hull Auxiliary Multi-Mission Platform, was envisioned as we way to recapitalize the country’s surge sealift force and replace other auxiliary ships such as hospital ships and submarine tenders with a common hull form.
But the Navy found after studies last year that one hull simply wasn’t going to work for all the disparate functions the Navy was looking to fulfill with the platform. Now, the Navy thinks it has a better answer: Two platforms.
“We started out thinking it was going to be one hull … but what we found from our own examination and from industry feedback is that these missions fall into two basic categories,” said Capt. Scot Searles, the strategic and theater sealift program manager, in a brief at the annual Surface Navy Association’s national symposium.
“One is a very volume-intensive category where you need large volume inside the ship – that’s the sealift mission where you are trying to carry a lot of Marine and Army cargo. The other bucket it falls into is the people-intensive mission. When you talk about a hospital ship or a submarine tender, those are people-intensive, and we found we didn’t need as much internal volume. It could be a smaller ship but needed more berthing capability.”
The Navy released a request for information this week for industry studies that they hope to award in March that will validate the approach, Searles said.
“We believe it’s going to be two hulls, but that’s still a great savings over designing five hulls,” he said.
Congress wants the Navy to start ordering hulls by 2023 to deliver by 2026, something the Navy told Congress in a report last year could be done if it ponies up the cash.
The most urgent need in the surge sealift fleet is the ready reserve force, a fleet of ships run by the Maritime Administration that are in reduced operating status and spend most of their time in port on standby waiting to be activated in case of a national emergency.
Searles said the plan would be to bring the newly constructed auxiliary sealift ships online and use them as maritime prepositioning ships, then take the current prepositioning ships – which still have plenty of life left in the hull – and move them into the ready reserve force. Prepositioning ships are operated by Military Sealift Command and deploy forward with logistics and equipment that can be used in a crisis on short notice.
Developing the new ships will take anywhere from three-to-five years, Searles said, and in the meantime the Navy plans to buy used ships off the open market and modify them for DoD use. They will also extend the lives of the current ships in the sealift force to the best of their ability.
In February, the Army sent a letter to Congress saying that the country’s organic sealift capacity would fall below the level required to move the Army’s equipment by 2024 if the Navy did not act fast.
“Without proactive recapitalization of the Organic Surge Sealift Fleet, the Army will face unacceptable risk in force projection capability beginning in 2024,” the document said, adding that the advanced age of the current fleet adds further risk to the equation.
“By 2034, 70% of the organic fleet will be over 60 years old — well past its economic useful life; further degrading the Army’s ability to deploy forces,” the document reads.
The Army’s G-4 also alluded to then-Defense Secretary Jim Mattis’ readiness push, adding that even the most prepared forces wouldn’t matter if they can’t reach the front line.
“Shortfalls in sealift capacity undermine the effectiveness of US conventional deterrence as even a fully-resourced and trained force has limited deterrent value if an adversary believes they can achieve their strategic objective in the window of opportunity before American land forces arrive,” the paper reads. “The Army’s ability to project military power influences adversaries’ risk calculations.”
The document reflects the Army’s growing impatience with the Navy’s efforts to recapitalize its surge sealift ships, which are composed of a series of roll-on/roll-off ships and other special-purpose vessels operated by Military Sealift Command and the Maritime Administration.
And Capitol Hill shares the Army’s view, according to two HASC staffers, who spoke to Defense News last year on condition of anonymity.
The Navy, which is responsible for recapitalizing the surge sealift force, put forward a budget in 2019 that called for about $242m over the next five years, the bulk of which would go toward designing and developing a new platform that will replace the current vessels.
HASC lawmakers considered that amount of funding not enough to make any serious inroads on recapitalization, and certainly not enough to forestall the critical shortfall identified in the information paper, the staffers said. (Source: Defense News)
15 Jan 19. Navy Aiming to Award Contract for Large Surface Combatant in 2023. The Navy is beginning to shape its ideas for a next-generation large surface combatant, a service official said Jan. 15.
Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson has challenged the service to award a contract for the effort in fiscal year 2023, said Rear Adm. Ronald Boxall, director of surface warfare.
“That’s going to be tough,” Boxall said. “Will we get there? I don’t know.” However, the service is moving “aggressively” on the timeline, he said during remarks at the Surface Navy Association’s annual conference in Arlington, Virginia.
The large surface combatant is planned to be part of a future surface combatant family of vessels, which is expected to have an integrated combat system that establishes commonality among the ships. The effort will be part of an overall push from the service to modernize and grow to a 355-ship fleet in the coming decades. The Navy is looking for ways to counter high-tech adversaries such as Russia and China, which the Pentagon has identified as peer competitors.
The Navy is still defining what features it wants for the platform, Boxall said, but the service plans to pursue the effort with an “iterative process” akin to that of the future frigate, or FFG(X), program. During the frigate acquisition process, the service started by examining its predecessor program, the littoral combat ship, and then continued determining its requirements over time, he said. After the Navy begins to develop draft capability development document requirements, it will start releasing formal requests for information, he noted.
For now, Boxall said he is focusing on identifying “trade space” with industry to see what capabilities can realistically be integrated into the future system.
“It’s more important to me to get to the discussion quickly and say, ‘No, that’s off the charts, you’re never going to get that,’ and find out — from what we know already — what we can get better at and then also talk about technological maturity of things we need,” he said.
Whatever design the Navy decides on for the next large surface combatant, it must allow for future improvements in space, weight and power, he noted.
“We know there’s going to be a need for space to grow,” he said. “Do we get more or less value by extending the ship’s life at design, at birth? We’ll see how that goes.” (Source: glstrade.com/NDIA)
15 Jan 19. US Navy moving out on new FVL light- to medium-helicopter fleet. Although the US Navy (USN) is moving out on requirements to develop a new, light- to medium-helicopter fleet, currently the army says it is tracking progress but will not be investing in the effort. Speaking with Jane’s on 4 January, Future Vertical Lift (FVL) Cross Functional Team director Brigadier General Walter Rugen laid out the army’s progress and plans to develop the Pentagon’s next-generation helicopters and unmanned aircraft systems outfitted with next-generation avionics, engine, sensors, and countermeasures. The one-star general confirmed that the service is tracking navy efforts to field a light to medium helicopter.
“It was exciting to hear of the navy’s effort,” Brig Gen Rugen said. “I’ve read their requirements document, and as part of our integration with [the Office of the Secretary of Defense] we are able to watch their progress. We’re excited to see where they go with that. But it’s really just us observing and watching them.”
Under FVL, there are five capability sets, which include a smaller, more agile capability set 1 (CS1) scout aircraft to replace the OH-58 Kiowa Warrior fleet; a CS2 light to medium helicopter; a CS3 medium-sized aircraft to replace the UH-60 Black Hawk fleet; a CS4 cargo aircraft to eventually replace the CH-47 Chinook; and a CS5 ultra-sized vertical lift aircraft that is envisioned to take shape down the road.
The army has been leading the charge on the CS1 and CS3 front, while the navy is now moving out on a CS2 aircraft that previous Pentagon documents say will reach speeds between 170 and 270 kt with a 300-437n mile radius and carry up to 10 passengers. While the navy did not respond to Jane’s questions about its CS2 efforts, industry says it is closely tracking the service’s progress. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
15 Jan 19. FAA Issues RFI on Drone ID. In a request for information quietly issued late December, the FAA said it wants to find partners to help develop a practical approach to the data sharing required to remotely identify small drones in controlled airspace. The data collected would include a unique identifier for the UAS, tracking information and drone owner and remote pilot identification, according to the FAA’s 2017 report on the remote ID program. The FAA is seeking remote ID UAS service suppliers (USS) who, at no cost to the government, will participate in workshops; develop position papers, technical requirements, prototype technology demonstrations; and conduct demonstrations with the FAA and with other partners. The goal, according to the RFI, is to field initial capabilities across one or more private-sector platforms to gain experience, which will then be applied to “enhancing and scaling future capabilities as well as to broadening the user base of the demonstrations.” Eight participants are expected be selected, and they will develop a technical and legal framework for initial prototyping and testing that will inform a national capability. (Source: UAS VISION/GCN)
14 Jan 19. US Navy seeks industry partners for counter UAS research. The Naval Surface Warfare Center, Crane Division (NSWC Crane) is interested in joint research and development in the characterization, test, and evaluation of Counter UAS threat libraries on multiple host platform sensors. NSWC Crane seeks Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) partners that possess the expertise, capabilities, facilities for the manufacturing and prototyping of Electro-Optic, and Infrared Sensors. CRADA partners must have experience in the following areas to explore R&D opportunities with the Electro-Optic Technology Division:
- Evaluation of video processor algorithm’s ability to detect, identify, and track small commercial UAS. Must be able to provide full formal descriptions of objective function(s) that meet formal criteria for a metric
- Ability to fuse sensor data from radar and electro-optic sensors to detect, identify, and track small commercial UAS.
- Validate modular open systems architecture (MOSA) for integration into a Government Command and Control software suite according to evaluation criteria.
This synopsis serves as a sources sought for CRADA participants and seeks information from companies capable of providing expertise, capabilities, facilities and experience in any of these fields and applications with respect to a CRADA effort. Any group that believes it has the ability to perform collaboration with NSWC Crane in these areas can identify its capabilities by submitting the information to Naval Surface Warfare Center, Crane Division, Chief Technology Office (Code 00T), Attn: Mrs. Jenna Dix, Bldg 2036, 300 Hwy 361, Crane, IN 47522 or .
Responses are requested by close of business January 30, 2019. After reviewing the responses, NSWC Crane may request a meeting or teleconference with responding parties to gain further insight into their capabilities.
Solicitation Number: N0016419SNB34
Deadline for submissions: Department of the Navy
Responsible Agency: 30 January 2019
13 Jan 19. Space Force, F-15X, Light Attack: What Will the Air Force Seek in Latest Budget? The U.S. Air Force is currently coordinating its budget for fiscal 2020 as the Defense Department has solidified a top-line figure. Acting Deputy Defense Secretary David Norquist said Wednesday that the Pentagon has negotiated its figure but did not disclose the amount, according to Defense News. Estimates have fluctuated in recent months on how much the DoD needs in its total budget — from $700bn to $750bn — to cover future defense spending.
A year after the National Defense Strategy trickled down through the ranks, the services each have had the opportunity to flesh out their most important priorities for the pending budget cycle, experts tell Military.com. The Air Force’s outline shows how the service sees its mission going forward.
“The balance in different airframes are going to reveal a little something about what missions and capabilities the Air Force is prioritizing,” said Susanna Blume, a senior fellow in the defense program at the Center for a New American Security. She served previously as deputy chief of staff for programs and plans for Deputy Defense Secretary Robert Work.
“I think the announcement to pursue 386 squadrons was interesting, but [their initial] analysis didn’t tell you where the rubber meets the road — which of these mission sets, which of these capabilities, are more important — so I think that the budget may be very revealing there,” Blume said, referring to the service’s goal of increasing its capabilities with 74 additional squadrons over the next decade.
Retired Air Force Lt. Gen. Dave Deptula, dean of the Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies, said existing programs need to be seen through, which calls for more spending.
“Accordingly, Air Force priorities should be long-range stealthy sensor-shooters (B-21); stealthy air dominance (F-35); modern tankers to sustain multiple operations in multiple locations (KC-46); Space Force enhancement of all types; and improving readiness to conduct major regional conflict against peer adversaries,” Deptula said in an email.
“Bureaucratic politics always comes into play in the Pentagon, and there are those always in search of ways to gain budget efficiencies regardless of warfighting effectiveness,” said Deptula, who served as the Air Force’s first deputy chief of staff for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance.
He said Congress also needs to back these critical programs so they don’t fall by the wayside.
“Hopefully, informed wisdom from Congress will shift monies for those false efficiencies into systems that will actually make a difference in future conflicts,” Deptula said.
But it may not go smoothly, especially in the era of Space Force, Blume added, saying, “Everything that’s going on in terms of Space Force, it’s a fairly tough environment.”
In December, news surfaced that the Pentagon is weighing inserting the Trump administration’s proposed Space Force under the Department of the Air Force. Whether that could take a chunk out of the service’s next budget has not been clarified.
Blume said what the Air Force puts money toward in terms of new potential programs — such as F-15X — will show whether the service is serious about taking on new strategies.
Speaking on background, an Air Force spokeswoman described the Air Force’s pending fiscal 2020 budget as “National Defense Strategy-driven.”
“The budget will align to meet that strategy,” she said.
The following is a list of ideas service officials are weighing and their progress:
The service was supposed to publish a final request for proposal (RFP) last month for a light attack aircraft, but it never happened.
A draft RFP was issued in August: The service began alerting defense firms hoping to compete for the light attack aircraft program that it would start soliciting bids in December.
But an Air Force spokeswoman on Wednesday said results from last year’s experiment to produce more concrete findings on how a light attack airframe fit into the service’s mission plan are still being analyzed.
The service held a series of light attack experimental fly-offs and maneuvers at Holloman Air Force Base, New Mexico. The Air Force in 2016 announced plans to hold the flight demonstrations with a handful of aircraft to test whether lighter, inexpensive and off-the-shelf aircraft might be suitable in ongoing wars such as Afghanistan.
In November 2017, key lawmakers agreed to provide the Air Force $400m to continue experimenting with the planes. The Senate Armed Services Committee, in its fiscal 2019 proposal, then added $350m to procure a future light attack aircraft.
The second phase of the experiment was canceled in July following a fatal crash.
Air Force officials have said the most viable aircraft for the mission are the Textron Aviation AT-6 Wolverine and Sierra Nevada/Embraer A-29 Super Tucano.
The Pentagon is considering an advanced “F-15X” fourth-plus generation fighter, for its inventory. Bloomberg Government reported last month that top leadership will ask for more than $1bn to buy roughly a dozen aircraft. The request would mark the inclusion of a new F-15 in the Air Force inventory for the first time in more than 20 years. If purchased, the new aircraft would replace the F-15C/D models.
Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson said in September she would rather see more fifth-generation planes, such as an increased buy of F-35 Joint Strike Fighters, before the service considered another fourth-generation model.
“In any of the fights that we have been asked to plan for, more fifth-gen aircraft make a huge difference, and we think that getting to 50-50 [fourth- and fifth-gen aircraft] means not buying new fourth-gen aircraft. It means continuing to increase the fifth generation,” she told Defense News.
But according to Bloomberg, the Air Force isn’t pushing the F-15X concept.
Before he became acting Defense Secretary, then-Deputy Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan and other top leaders floated the new F-15X proposal.
Others have touted the proposal, which would produce a fighter equipped with better avionics and radars and would carry more than two dozen air-to-air missiles.
“If I was king for a day, I would buy some of those new, fourth-gen-plus airplanes, and I think they would be great for air defense alert,” retired Gen. Herbert “Hawk” Carlisle told Military.com in September.
“I think they’d be great for surge capacity to go if we had a [larger-scale operation], and they would certainly be more than capable to rotate through the current missions that we have downrange,” said Carlisle, the former Air Combat Command commander.
The Air Force in recent months has switched from talking about a single platform concept — of any kind of weapon, equipment or aircraft — that could be a game changer in future wars.
The service’s strategy speaks more broadly to how it is developing its next best weapon: In this case, a “family of systems” that link, connect and share with one another to read the battlespace in real time.
And it wants more.
In June, the service announced it would house its next-generation Advanced Battle Management System at Robins Air Force Base, Georgia.
The network, which fuses the data from hundreds of sensors to provide situational awareness for combatant commanders across the globe, will function “as [a] decentralized system that draws on all domains,” Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein said last summer.
It’s one example for how the service is looking for more networked solutions. Another is incorporating automation and artificial intelligence into these types of networks.
“What all the services are heavily leveraging — and looking at industry as well for support — is how do I take that very human-centric methodology that we have today and use artificial intelligence that uses automation, that uses some of the tools that are available, to be able to do that kind of analysis?” Goldfein said during an Air Force Association breakfast in 2017.
Air Force Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Stephen “Seve” Wilson agreed.
“How can we do things where I can take advantage of autonomous systems that can sense and report back,” he said last spring. “We’re now looking at how we do that, how do we rapidly experiment and prototype with capabilities using those attributes moving forward.” (Source: Military.com)
11 Jan 19. US Army to award first Chinook Block 2 LRIP contract. The US Army is to shortly award its first low-rate initial production (LRIP) contract for the Block 2 Boeing CH-47F Chinook helicopter. A pre-solicitation notice posted by the Army Contracting Command-Redstone on 10 January says that the service is to award Boeing an indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity (IDIQ) contract for between four and 14 helicopters to be delivered from fiscal year (FY) 2021 until FY 2022. No contract value was disclosed, and the army did not say when it is to be awarded. News of the imminent award of the first LRIP contract for the Block 2 Chinook comes some six months after Boeing began final assembly of the first prototype ahead of its maiden flight in the coming months, and some 18 months after the company was contracted to begin Block 2 development work at its production facility in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
11 Jan 19. US Army seeks high-altitude ISR aircraft. The US Army has extended the deadline for responses to a request for information (RFI) for a high-altitude airborne intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance (AISR) capability that was issued in late 2018. The RFI was first issued by the Special Electronic Mission Aircraft (SEMA) Product Directorate of the Fixed Wing Project Office (FWPO) on 28 November 2018, and extended on 10 January. As noted in the RFI, the army is looking for an aircraft that can operate above 35,000 ft above mean sea level (ASL); can operate in an anti-access/area-denial (A2/AD) environment; has an endurance of eight hours or greater; can carry communications intelligence (COMINT) and electronic intelligence (ELINT) payloads; is equipped with tactical communications; features novel and advanced threat detection and avoidance techniques/systems; is Global Air Traffic Management (GATM) compliant; carries aircraft survivability equipment (ASE); and features aviation mission equipment/assured positioning navigation and timing (AME/A-PNT). The US Army fields a medium-altitude AISR capability with the Beechcraft King Air 350ER aircraft, which has been modified under the Enhanced Medium Altitude Reconnaissance and Surveillance System (EMARSS) programme. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
REST OF THE WORLD
17 Jan 19. Afghan MD 530F helos to receive safety, range, and endurance upgrades. The MD Helicopters Inc. (MDHI) MD 530F Cayuse Warrior light attack and reconnaissance rotorcraft operated by Afghanistan are to be upgraded to improve their safety, range, and endurance. The US Army disclosed on 16 January that it is seeking vendors to supply and install crashworthy and auxiliary fuel tanks in 25 of the ‘Little Bird’-derivative helicopters delivered so far to the Afghan Air Force (AAF).
“The US Army Contracting Command – Redstone is issuing this sources-sought notice as a means of conducting market research to identify parties having an interest in and the resources to provide up to 25 MD 530F Robertson Crashworthy Fuel System (CWFS) and Little Bird Auxiliary Tank System (LBATS) kits, and three support equipment packages for the Afghanistan Air Force”, the solicitation said. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
17 Jan 19. KAI announces Korean aerospace development strategy. Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) has proposed to support the development of South Korea’s national aerospace sector over the coming decade and beyond. KAI said its ‘aerospace industry development strategy’ is intended to support the growth of small and medium-sized (SMEs) enterprises in South Korea and to increase the size of the country’s aerospace market to KRW20trn (USD18bn) by 2030. In 2015 the reported size of the market was about USD5bn. The plan was announced by senior KAI officials in Seoul on 17 January and confirmed to Jane’s by KAI on the same day. According to KAI the strategy hinges on greater levels of collaboration across South Korea’s aerospace industry. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
16 Jan 19. India’s MoD reissues RFI for carbines and LMGs. India’s Ministry of Defence (MoD) has invited responses by 4 February to its supplementary request for information (RFI) regarding the planned acquisition of 360,000 5.56×45mm close quarter battle (CQB) carbines and 40,000 7.62×51mm light machine guns (LMGs) for the country’s armed forces. The RFI, which is addressed to local manufacturers, was issued on 4 January and follows similar RFIs released in October 2017 and August 2018 for both weapon types. “Any vendor who did not respond to the RFI earlier may express interest for seeking the request for proposal (RFP),” the document stated. Both weapon types are being acquired under the ‘Buy and Make’ category of the MoD’s Defence Procurement Procedure-2016. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
16 Jan 19. Contract for 13 Su-57 Fifth-Generation Fighter Jets to Be Signed In 2020 — Source. The second contract to manufacture 13 Su-57 fighter jets for the Russian Aerospace Forces is to be signed next year, a source in Russia’s aircraft-making industry told TASS on Wednesday.
“In 2020, we plan to sign the second contract to manufacture and deliver 13 Su-57 fighter jets, some of them equipped with the second-stage engines,” he said. “The preliminary timeframe for the new contract is five years.”
The first contract envisages the delivery of two fifth-generation aircraft in 2019-2020.
“In line with the contract signed in 2018, one serial Su-57 jet with first-stage engines will be delivered to the Aerospace Forces this year, the other aircraft featuring the same type of engine in 2020.”
The aircraft’s manufacturer, the United Aircraft Corporation, refrained from commenting on the report. The Su-57 is a fifth-generation multirole fighter designed to destroy all types of air targets at long and short ranges and hit enemy ground and naval targets, overcoming its air defense capabilities. The Su-57 took to the skies for the first time on January 29, 2010. Compared to its predecessors, the Su-57 combines the functions of an attack plane and a fighter jet while the use of composite materials and innovation technologies and the fighter’s aerodynamic configuration ensure the low level of radar and infrared signature. The aircraft has been successfully tested in Syria. (Source: defense-aerospace.com/TASS)
15 Jan 19. India’s Tejas LCA production affected as IAF demands modifications. Series production of the Mk 1 variant of India’s indigenously developed Tejas Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) faces disruption following frequent modifications demanded by the Indian Air Force (IAF) to enhance the fighter’s capabilities. The Tejas LCA has been jointly designed and developed by the Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) and Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL). Sources within state-owned HAL told Jane’s that “the IAF’s inability to conclusively finalise air staff requirements [ASRs] for the fighter”, particularly the twin-seat trainer variant, has caused “extended delays” in the LCA’s assembly line, and led to increased production costs.
“Much of the delay is due to [the IAF] changing Tejas’ specifications,” HAL Chairman R Madhavan told the Business Standard newspaper on 11 January. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
15 Jan 19. Japan to develop electronic warfare aircraft. The Japanese Ministry of Defense (MoD) is looking to develop electronic warfare (EW) aircraft capable of jamming enemy radar and communications at stand-off range. An MoD spokesperson told Jane’s on 15 January that the move is based on Japan’s new Mid-Term Defense Plan (MTDP) for the next five years, which states that the MoD and the Japan Self-Defense Forces (JSDF) are to “swiftly promote the research and development of stand-off electronic warfare aircraft, high-power electronic warfare equipment, high-power microwave devices as well as electromagnetic pulses (EMPs)”. Moreover, Japan’s National Defense Program Guidelines (NDPGs), which were also approved by the Japanese Cabinet in December 2018, emphasise the need to reinforce the country’s capabilities to “neutralise radar, communications, and other means of counterparts intending to invade [Japan]”. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
15 Jan 19. China Opposes Foreign Participation in Taiwan Submarine Production. China on Monday expressed stern opposition to participation by the United States and other countries in Taiwan’s submarine production project. Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying made the remarks when responding to media reports saying the United States has permitted some of its military enterprises to export technology to help Taiwan build submarines. Enterprises from the United States, Europe, Japan and India have reportedly demonstrated their interest to take part in the project. China’s firm opposition to any countries’ arms sales and military relations with Taiwan in any forms is consistent and clear-cut, Hua stressed at a regular press briefing.
“We urge the United States and other relevant countries to fully understand how sensitive and harmful this matter is,” Hua added.
She urged these countries to adhere to the one-China principle and not to allow their enterprises to take part in Taiwan’s submarine manufacture project in any forms. They must stop any forms of military ties with Taiwan, deal with Taiwan-related issues properly and cautiously to avoid severely jeopardizing relations with China as well as peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait, she said. (Source: defense-aerospace.com/Xinhua)
10 Jan 19. Indonesia moves forward with talks for three more Type 209 submarines. Key Points:
- Indonesia is edging closer towards acquiring three more diesel-electric submarines from South Korea
- The country has been studying several vessel types for the requirement, but considerations of commonality and maintenance costs have led to the current frontrunner
Officials from the Indonesian Ministry of Defence are currently in negotiations with state-owned shipbuilder PT PAL and South Korean company Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering (DSME) for a follow-on order of three Type 209/1400 diesel-electric submarines.
A series of verifications carried out by Jane’s since early January 2019 with multiple industry and government sources has confirmed that the negotiations pertain to workshare arrangements that can be undertaken for each vessel and South Korean defence credit programmes that can be utilised to fund the acquisition.
Should it materialise, the contract, which includes a support and training package across all three submarines, is expected to be worth approximately USD1.2bn. Indonesia signed a USD1.1bn deal for three Type 209/1400 submarines with DSME in December 2011. Two boats under the contract have been delivered, while a third vessel is currently awaiting launch at PT PAL’s premises in Surabaya. The first submarine was commissioned in August 2017 as KRI Nagapasa (403). As indicated in initial points of discussion seen by Jane’s, the first boat that will be in the follow-on contract, which will be the fourth vessel in Indonesia’s Nagapasa class overall, will be assembled at DSME’s facilities in Okpo, South Korea. However, PT PAL will construct two of the boat’s six modules in Surabaya, while DSME will build the remaining four in South Korea. Once ready the Indonesian-built modules will be shipped to Okpo for assembly. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
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