Sponsored by American Panel Corporation
UNITED KINGDOM AND NATO
28 Jan 19. Ministry of Defence prepares defences against bids for work from EU. Draft law takes away automatic right of European contractors to chase UK orders. Defence ministry said the legislative move was purely technical to cover the circumstances of a no-deal Brexit, and did not represent a significant shift in policy.
The UK is stepping up preparations for a no-deal Brexit by proposing a change in the law under which EU-based companies would no longer have the automatic right to bid for British defence and security contracts worth billions of pounds. Under the current EU regime, companies from the bloc, as well as Norway and Iceland, are entitled to bid for Ministry of Defence orders such as warships, missiles or ammunition. But with the possibility of Britain crashing out of the EU without a deal on March 29 looming large because parliament is deadlocked over Brexit, the MoD has tabled draft legislation that would mean only companies based in the UK and Gibraltar had the automatic right to bid. The move is part of a wider push across Whitehall departments to prepare for a no-deal Brexit. Totis Kotsonis, partner at Eversheds Sutherland and an expert in European procurement law, said he believed the defence ministry’s draft legislation was aimed at ensuring that UK companies would be able to bid for EU defence contracts in the bloc after Brexit. “My reading is it would operate as a ‘carrot and stick’ policy in the context of the future trade negotiations with the EU,” he added. “In other words, a policy of ‘We will amend our post-Brexit legislation and keep our defence markets open to your bidders if you agree to reciprocate.’” If the draft MoD legislation took effect under a no-deal Brexit, it would treat EU contractors in the same way as those from other countries such as the US. This would mean international companies would be invited by the UK government to bid for British defence contracts on an ad hoc basis. The defence ministry said the legislative move was purely technical to cover the circumstances of a no-deal Brexit, and did not represent a significant shift in policy. The department added it intended to invite EU companies to bid for UK defence contracts even if Britain left the bloc without an agreement. “Competition remains at the heart of our approach in defence procurement and the government is accelerating no-deal preparations to ensure the country is prepared for every eventuality,” said a government spokesperson. “It is the responsible thing to do.” Paul Everitt, chief executive of ADS, the UK aerospace and defence trade body, said he did not think the defence ministry was trying to limit competition for contracts. “We do not assume there would be a significant change in practice,” he added. The defence ministry’s legislative move comes after a report by the former Conservative minister Philip Dunne last year recommended giving the UK the freedom to exclude EU companies from British defence contracts after Brexit, to provide a boost to the domestic economy. The ministry was criticised last year by Labour after it announced a contract to build three support ships for Britain’s new £6bn aircraft carriers would be opened up to international companies. In November Spain’s Navantia and Italy’s Fincantieri were among five consortiums invited to tender for the contract, together with groups from Japan and South Korea. As an EU member state, the UK has been required to advertise all government contracts in the Official Journal for the European Union. But after Brexit, British government contracts are due to be advertised on a dedicated UK online portal. (Source: FT.com)
28 Jan 19. UK prison services seeks C-UAS equipment. HM Prison and Probation Service (HMPPS) wishes to procure a Detect, Track and Identify (DTI) Counter-Unmanned Air System service for the protection of prison sites. The contract will be awarded without publication of a further call for competition. Estimated total value of the contract, excluding VAT is UKP7m.
The contract is broken down into lots:
A solution that detects and tracks a number of drones simultaneously and continuously communicates positions to the user within a specified location accuracy in the prison.
Further information on the accuracy required will be provided following the signature of a non-disclosure agreement.
Reference number: 2019/S 009-016759
Deadline for responses: 11 February 2019
Responsible authority: HM Prison and Probation Service, Ministry of Justice
31 Jan 19. Romania calls halt to corvette competition. Romania’s long-delayed plan to acquire new multi-mission corvettes has been plunged into doubt after the three-way competition was stopped amid allegations of irregularities in the procurement process. Damen Schelde Naval Shipbuilding of the Netherlands, Italy’s Fincantieri, and France’s Naval Group submitted bids in October 2018 for the supply of four corvettes, plus the combat system modernisation of the Romanian Navy’s two ex-UK Royal Navy Type 22 frigates Regina Maria and Regele Ferdinand. In line with Romanian stipulations for local industry participation, all three contenders proposed build and in-service support in conjunction with subsidiaries or partners based in-country. Damen Schelde Naval Shipbuilding has proposed a variant of its SIGMA 10514 design with sister yard Damen Shipyards Galati, while Naval Group, teamed with the Santierul Naval Constanta S.A. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
30 Jan 19. Saab Offers Gripen to Finland. Supported by Sweden, Saab has today submitted its proposal for the Finnish HX fighter procurement to the Finnish defence procurement agency, the Logistics Command of the Finnish Defence Forces. The proposal comprises 64 Gripen aircraft, both single-seat Gripen E and dual-seat Gripen F, and is the formal response to the customer’s Request for Quotation (RFQ) issued in April 2018. Saab’s offered solution features the latest available technology for a continuously changing and very challenging operational environment.
“The outstanding capabilities of Gripen are an excellent match for the Finnish needs and requirements. With Gripen, Finland can renew its fighter fleet without compromising on the number of fighters owing to a truly competitive life-cycle cost. Our offer constitutes a substantial contribution to the operational capability of the Finnish Defence Forces”, says Jonas Hjelm, Senior Vice President and head of Saab business area Aeronautics.
As part of the proposal, Saab offers a substantial weapon and sensor package as well as the necessary equipment and associated services needed for operating the system, including an industrial co-operation programme with the aim to build extensive national capabilities in Finland for Security of Supply. It also includes transfer of maintenance, repair and overhaul capabilities to local industry, production of aircraft and an establishment of a Gripen sustainment and development centre in Finland. According to the customer’s planning, a procurement decision is anticipated in 2021. The Gripen E programme is progressing according to plan, with production on-going and customer deliveries starting this year. Five nations are currently operating Gripen; Sweden, South Africa, Czech Republic, Hungary and Thailand. Sweden and Brazil have ordered Gripen E and Brazil has also ordered Gripen F. Additionally, the UK Empire Test Pilots School (ETPS) uses Gripen for test pilot training. Saab serves the global market with world-leading products, services and solutions within military defence and civil security. Saab has operations and employees on all continents around the world. Through innovative, collaborative and pragmatic thinking, Saab develops, adopts and improves new technology to meet customers’ changing needs. (Source: defense-aerospace.com/Saab)
25 Jan 19. Air2030 – Five Candidates Submit Offers for the Next Combat Aircraft. On 25 January 2019, five candidates submitted to armasuisse their offers for the next fighter jets, as required by the procedure published on March 23, 2018 by the Federal Department of Defence, Civil Protection and Sport. The bids are for the following aircraft: Eurofighter (Airbus, Germany), F / A-18 Super Hornet (Boeing, USA), Rafale (Dassault, France), F-35A (Lockheed-Martin, USA) and Gripen E (Saab, Sweden).
Kick-off of the analysis and testing phase
The submission of these initial offers marks the beginning of the analysis and testing phase. From February to March 2019, specialists from armasuisse and the Swiss Air Force will test the aircraft in the corresponding simulators. These activities will take place at the candidates’ facilities, and will run in parallel to the product support audits. During these audits, the air forces of the manufacturing countries will present the operation and maintenance procedures for each aircraft and their training course.
The audits will be followed by the analysis of the answers to the questionnaire that the manufacturers had to fill in their initial offers. At the same time, between April and July 2019, combat aircraft will be subjected to flight and ground tests at Payerne. Interested persons can visit the airplanes in Payerne: visiting days for the media and aircraft spotters will be provided upon registration for each aircraft model. All information concerning visiting days will be available at the beginning of April 2019 on the DDPS website.
Next steps of the project Next combat aircraft
Armasuisse, in cooperation with the Defence Staff, the Air Force, the Defence Logistics Base and the Command Support Base, will produce expert reports on the information gathered during the analysis and testing of each candidate aircraft. These reports will form the basis of the systematic and comprehensive comparison between the candidates, which will be carried out during the second half of 2020. They will also serve to determine the size of the required fleet for each model of aircraft.
On this basis, the current timetable calls for armasuisse to prepare a second request for proposals tenders that will be sent to the five candidates. Based on the knowledge gained from the second offer, armasuisse will then compare the candidates with each other on the basis of the expert reports, and determine the overall usefulness of each candidate.
The evaluation report comparing overall utility with acquisition costs and operating costs for a period of 30 years will then be developed.
The Federal Council will then select the preferred model.
(Unofficial translation by Defense-Aerospace.com)
(Source: (Source: defense-aerospace.com/Swiss Federal Armaments Office, armasuisse)
25 Jan 19. Poland acquires Black Hawks after canceled helo deal. Polish Defence Minister Mariusz Blaszczak has signed a deal to acquire four S-70i Black Hawk helos from Lockheed Martin’s offshoot Sikorsky. Under the plan, the copters will be supplied to Poland’s special forces.
The aircraft will be produced by the group’s Polish subsidiary PZL Mielec, with deliveries scheduled to be completed by the end of 2019.
“Together, we achieved success, because the Polish Armed Forces will operate these helicopters. We acquired them at a good price,” Blaszczak said Jan. 25 at the official signing ceremony.
The contract for aircraft with related logistics, equipment and training packages is worth a total of 683.4m zloty (US $180.7m), the ministry said in a statement. The helos were acquired outside of a tender procedure. In 2015, the then-Polish Cabinet decided to order 50 H225M Caracal copters from Airbus, but the deal was scrapped the following year after a change in government. The canceled contract was estimated to be worth about 13.5bn zloty. Other forerunners in the tender included the Black Hawk and Leonardo’s offshoot PZL Swidnik, which makes the AW149. In 2017, the ministry launched a new tender to acquire eight copters for the special forces.
“This is the first phase of the cooperation between the Polish Armed Forces and PZL Mielec,” Blaszczak said. (Source: Defense News)
31 Jan 19. US Navy signs mammoth contract with Huntington Ingalls for two aircraft carriers. The U.S. Navy has signed a $14.9bn contract with shipbuilder Huntington Ingalls for two Ford-class aircraft carriers, the Navy announced Thursday evening. By buying two carriers simultaneously, the Navy expects to save $4bn, according to a Navy release.
Navy Secretary Richard Spencer hailed the deal as a team effort and said the contract will create stability for the skilled workforce and create savings as a result.
“Focusing on optimizing construction activities and material procurement, the team was able to achieve significant savings as compared to individual procurement contracts,” Spencer said in the release. “One contract for construction of the two ships will enable the shipbuilder flexibility to best employ its skilled workforce to design once and build twice for unprecedented labor reductions while providing stability and opportunities for further efficiencies within the nuclear industrial base.”
The carriers were previously reported to cost about $24bn, and the the Navy projected it would save about $4 bn by contracting for two Ford-class carriers.
A release from the office Rep. Rob Wittman, R-Va., the ranking member of the House Armed Services Committee Seapower subcommittee congratulated the Navy for closing the deal.
“This dual buy means even larger savings than projected for taxpayers and the certainty that our industrial base needs to retain and hire the employees who create the highest quality products for our sailors,” Wittman said. “For Virginia it means thousands of reliable jobs and community development for the next decade and beyond. As one of the largest Navy shipbuilding contracts ever, I am proud to have led this effort and look forward to its success.”
The Navy notified Congress in December of its intention to proceed with the two-carrier buy. (Source: Defense News)
30 Jan 19. The US Navy is planning for its new frigate to be a workhorse. The U.S. Navy is looking to get a lot of underway time out of its new frigate and is eyeing a crewing model that swaps out teams of sailors to maximize the operational time for each hull. The so-called blue-gold crewing model effectively creates two crews for each ship of the class. The blue crew and gold crew switch out to keep the ships at sea for as long as possible without breaking the sailors and their families.
It’s the model the Navy has used for years on the ballistic missile submarines and is employing on the littoral combat ships, but now the model is likely to extend to the LCS successor, said Rear Adm. Ron Boxall, the Chief of Naval Operations’ surface warfare director.
“We’re looking at the blue-gold construct on FFG(X). We’re planning on it, which gives us a larger operational availability – it should double it,” Boxall told Defense News in an interview late last year.
The use of blue-gold crewing hints at how the Navy is viewing its new frigate: as a ship that can carry out a broad range of tasks that have consumed the operational time of larger combatants. That includes exercises with allies and freedom of navigation operations to counter-piracy and routine presence missions that don’t require an Arleigh Burke destroyer to be successful but are time-intensive. The Navy has bemoaned the lack of a small surface combatant that can hold down low-end missions but still contribute in a high-end fight, which has been the impetus behind the whole FFG(X) program.
Even though the crews will catch a break in the blue-gold construct, off-hull crews won’t be kicking back during their shore rotation, Boxall said. The surface force has been investing in higher-end training facilities in fleet concentration areas in an effort to increase the proficiency of its watch teams.
Crews on shore will be going through those trainers, he said.
“So, these ships are going to be out there half the time while the [off-hull] crews are back training in higher-fidelity training environments,” Boxall explained. “And what [commanding officers] will tell you is that as we get to higher and higher fidelity training, time to train becomes equally as valuable.
“So, in an increasingly complex environment, it’s just intuitive that that you have to have time to train. We think Blue-Gold makes sense for those reasons on the frigate.”
Lessons from LCS
Getting more simulator time for surface sailors has been an initiative championed by the Navy’s top surface warfare officer Vice Adm. Rich Brown. It’s an off-shoot from lessons-learned from FFG(X)’s predecessor, the LCS, which has extremely high-fidelity simulator trainers for its crews before they take over their assigned hulls.
One thing the surface force has been intrigued to see has been the high quality of the officers that come up through the LCS program, something the Navy in part attributes to the trainers, Boxall said, and the SWOs want to replicate that for the FFG(X).
“One really interesting side-note with LCS has been the quality of the training,” Boxall said. “As we went back and looked at the lessons learned from McCain and Fitzgerald, we’re trying to apply some of the good things about LCS to that.
“Those officers, because they are smaller ships they get a lot more water under the keel. And they’re faster ships so they are getting that water under the keel in a faster-moving environment. So we’re creating a generation of officers who are getting tougher navigation environments thrown at them more quickly, and we’re also getting the quality and fidelity of their trainers.”
This has meant that LCS officers more-than stack up to their peers from larger, more advanced ships, he added.
“What we’re seeing is they are doing very, very well against their contemporaries coming off the bigger ships,” Boxall said. “Why is that happening? It’s fairly logical: More stick time, better fidelity trainers and more time in the trainers.”
The littoral combat ship adopted the Blue-Gold crewing model after a series of high-profile breakdowns, some caused by crew errors. The original model was to have three crews for two hulls, a rotational model that the Navy worried was taking away from the sense of ownership for a single, specific hull that permanently attached crews might have to a greater degree.
The program was reorganized to a Blue-Gold model, which required hundreds of new billets for the LCS program, under then-head of Naval Surface Forces Pacific, Rear Adm. Thomas Rowden. Expanding Blue-Gold to the FFG(X) would further spread the model inside the surface warfare community.
Both minesweepers and patrol craft, two other workhorse platforms in the surface community, operate under a Blue-Gold crewing model as well.
However, it may not be a model that the Navy will pursue on the large surface combatant now in development. That ship may be better with a lower operational tempo, Boxall said.
“We’ll look and see if that makes sense on the large surface combatant or not,” he said. “Maybe those are better ships to keep as a surge force, maybe they’re fine operating on a lower rotational model.”
30 Jan 19. US Air Force’s light-attack experiment could mix in drones and helos. The U.S. Air Force’s light-attack experiment is set to get a lot bigger, with the service considering adding drones, helicopters and more sophisticated aircraft to the mix in the future, the service’s top general told Defense News.
“What is the right mix of fixed wing, rotary wing, manned and unmanned that can do the business of light attack?” Goldfein said in an exclusive Jan. 26 interview. “What is the right mix and how do we bring allies and partners in right now with us — not just periodically parachute in — but how do we expand this experiment to bring them into the tent with us?”
While the Air Force is still finalizing its strategy on light attack, Goldfein’s comments hint that a lack of interest by partner nations may have shaped the decision not to press aheadwith a program of record late last year.
The Air Force was set to issue a request for proposals in December for a light-attack platform. The competition would been open to only the Embraer-Sierra Nevada Corp. A-29 Super Tucano and the Textron AT-6 Wolverine, two fixed-wing turboprops that the service said were best suited to meet the needs of the program.
But now, other aircraft could be joining them.
Goldfein said the Air Force chose not to release that RFP for two reasons: ongoing budget uncertainty and the desire to expand the parameters of what the service is seeking.
“For us to issue an RFP when we didn’t [know] what the budget was … and setting an expectation that we’re ready to go into source selection when we’re still working our way through the strategy, in my mind, would have been irresponsible,” Goldfein said. “I’ve talked to both of the CEOs involved, and we want to make sure we strengthen the partnership and build it as we go forward.”
Goldfein added that light attack was not something that was central to what the Air Force needed, saying that it would only be funded if the money is available in upcoming budgets. Increasing interoperability has been a longtime goal of the light-attack experiments, but it appears to have taken on new importance as the experiment potentially moves forward.
Goldfein and other Air Force officials have spoken at length about the potential benefit of a common, off-the-shelf attack aircraft that could be purchased by countries that can’t afford the F-16, but still want to deepen ties with the U.S Air Force. Over the course of the effort, foreign delegations have been invited to observe flight demonstrations of the A-29, AT-6 and other previous contenders at Holloman Air Force Base, New Mexico. However, not all nations could want a turboprop aircraft like the A-29 or AT-6.
“Some countries, it actually would be better to have an unmanned option. Some countries, [it] would be better to have a rotary-wing option,” Goldfein said. “Some countries would do fixed wing, but [only with a] turbojet [engine]” instead of a turboprop. (Source: Defense News)
30 Jan 19. US Navy to develop China Lake to support CPS weapon testing. The US Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) issued a sources sought notification on 22 January to solicit potential tenders for the upgrade of the Launch Test Complex (LTC) at Naval Air Weapons Station (NAWS) China Lake, California, to support the Conventional Prompt Strike (CPS) weapon programme. CPS is the US Navy (USN) segment of a US Department of Defense (DoD) defence-wide initiative to advance research and development of technologies for conventionally armed hypersonic long-range strike weapon systems to support its Prompt Global Strike mission, which is essentially the capability to strike targets anywhere globally in short time, without relying on forward-based forces.(Source: IHS Jane’s)
29 Jan 19. The Marine Corps wants three types of amphib vehicles ― including one with a 30mm cannon. The Marine Corps is looking to plus up the firepower aboard its new amphibious combat vehicle with a 30mm cannon. Officials with Marine Corps Systems Command posted a request for information on the government website FedBizOpps on Monday. The ACV will replace the aging assault amphibious vehicle, which entered service in the early 1970s. The Marines want three variants of the ACV ― a command and control configuration, a recovery and maintenance setup and ACVs with 30mm medium-caliber cannons. The older AAV had space for a 40mm grenade launcher, but in direct vehicle-on-vehicle fighting the 30mm cannon offers fast, high-volume direct fire.
BAE Systems was selected in 2018 to produce the ACV, which is expected to reach initial operational capability by fiscal year 2020. The company has built amphib vehicles for the military since 1941.
The ACV is a chief “connector” from ship to shore for Marine amphibious operations. it will include mine resistant ambush protected-level armor, and able to “negotiate two-foot significant wave height and four-foot plunging surf,” according to Program Executive Office-Land Systems.
The 30mm-cannon arming follows suit with making existing and future ground combat vehicles more lethal. The Army began upgunning its Stryker vehicles with a 30mm cannon, replacing its twin .50-caliber machine guns. In 2018, the Army also put in place the common remotely operated weapon station for the Javelin missile on the Stryker, keeping soldiers inside the vehicle when firing the missile. Those upgrades began first in Germany as a counter to increased capabilities in the Russian ground formations. The Marines have also started upgrading their light armored vehicle, also a decades-old platform, to include a better powerpack, drive train and digitized instrument panels. Late last year the Corps was still only looking at two ACV variants, according to official postings: the turreted assault vehicle and the command and control version.
At the annual Modern Day Marine Military Expo at Quantico, Virginia, John Swift, program director for BAE’s amphibious vehicles, told Marine Corps Times that they expect to have 30 vehicles built by the end of summer 2019 to go through testing and modifications as the Corps decides the composition of the ACV fleet. Those will be basic testing platforms.
This most recent posting gives some indications of what the Corps needs.
Most recently the Corps was asking for 704 ACVs when full production begins in 2022. Those are expected to be done within six years.
And a previously ongoing contract with another company to perform survivability upgrades on an estimated 392 AAVs was cancelled last year in a move of funding from that program to more rapid modernization priorities. The legacy AAV is a tracked vehicle, while its replacement will be an eight-wheel vehicle. (Source: Defense News Early Bird/Defense News)
29 Jan 19. US Navy issues TH-XX training helo RFP. The US Navy (USN) has issued a request for proposals (RFP) for up to 130 new training helicopters to replace its ageing Bell TH-57B/C SeaRanger platforms. Issued on 28 January, the RFP covers the procurement of 130 helicopters for the service’s TH-XX programme for the advanced training of USN, US Marine Corps (USMC), and US Coast Guard (USCG) undergraduate helicopter pilots. Responses to the RFP are due no later than 1630 h US Eastern Standard Time on 2 April. A contract award is anticipated in the first quarter of fiscal year 2020, with the TH-57 fleet set to be fully retired by 2023. To date, three companies have declared their intention to bid for the TH-XX requirement: Airbus Helicopters is to offer its twin-engined H135; Bell is offering both the single-engined 407GXi and twin-engined 429 GlobalRanger; and Leonardo is offering its single-engined AgustaWestland TH-119. In promoting its offering, Airbus Helicopters has noted that 130 H135s are currently training military pilots in 13 countries and more than 300,000 military training hours have been flown to date. The company is also looking to leverage the success that the H135s larger EC145 stablemate has experienced with the US Army: more than 430 UH-72A Lakota helicopters have been delivered since contract award in 2006 and the USN uses the platform at its Advanced Test Pilot School in Patuxent River, Maryland. Bell is hedging its bets with both a single- and twin-engined offering as neither the request for information (RFI) nor the draft RFP stipulated a preference from the USN. The 407GXi is the latest variant of the 407, which is itself an advanced variant of the Bell 206 JetRanger on which the TH-57 SeaRanger is based. The twin-engined 429 GlobalRanger is already in military service with Australia and Oman, and Slovakia has also shown interest. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
29 Jan 19. Lockheed CEO: Boeing’s F-15X won’t disrupt F-35 program. Lockheed Martin has been given assurances by top Pentagon leaders that the F-35 program will not be negatively impacted by a potential U.S. Air Force buy of Boeing’s F-15X, Lockheed CEO Marillyn Hewson said Tuesday.
“If they choose to have an order of the F-15, it won’t be at the expense of F-35 quantities,” she told investors during an earnings call.
“I’m hearing that directly from leadership in the Pentagon, and I think that’s an important point for me to make. It’s not just our suspicion, but I’ve been told that directly.”
The U.S. Air Force is expected to roll out a plan to begin buying new F-15s in its upcoming fiscal 2020 budget release. In December, Bloomberg reported the service intends to purchase 12 new F-15X aircraft in 2020 for $1.2bn.
On Friday, Gen. Dave Goldfein, the Air Force’s chief of staff, confirmed to Defense News that the service will procure new F-15s if the budget grows enough to allow it, but that the F-35 program of record would remain the same with no slowdown to the buy rate.
“I’m not backing an inch off of the F-35” Goldfein said. “The F-35 buy that we’re on continues to remain on track. And I’m not interested in taking a nickel out of it when it comes to buying anything else in the fighter portfolio.”
Goldfein added that the Air Force wants to increase fighter procurement to 72 aircraft a year.
The Air Force has about 230 F-15 “C” and “D” models currently in service, and the F-15X will replace the portion of the fleet owned by the Air National Guard, according to Bloomberg. The new F-15 model will have new radar and electronic warfare equipment, the ability to carry more weapons, and include other improvements originally designed for Saudi Arabia’s and Qatar’s F-15s.
If the service maintained a rate of one F-15X a month, it would be free to boost its F-35 production rate to 60 aircraft a year — a number that Air Force officials had cited as key for production ramp up. However, the FY19 budget forecast showed that the service would likely be unable to procure the F-35 in those quantities before FY23.
“If we had the money, those would be 72 F-35s. But we’ve gotta look at this from a cost/business case.” Goldfein said. “An F-15 will never be an F-35. Never. But I need capacity.”
Hewson’s statement indicates that support for the F-35 continues to be strong both within the Air Force and among Pentagon leaders. However, earlier on Tuesday, acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan told reporters he wants to see “more performance” from the F-35, although he did not specify particular areas of improvement.
“I am biased towards giving the taxpayer their moneys’ worth. And the F-35, unequivocally, I can say has a lot of opportunity for more performance,” said Shanahan, a former Boeing executive.
When investors asked Hewson to respond to Shanahan’s critique, the Lockheed CEO said the company remains on the same page with the Pentagon on the need to reduce the cost per plane.
“We’re on a path to drive it to an $80m [unit cost] for the F-35A by full-rate production,” which is projected to begin in Lot 15 with deliveries starting in 2023, Hewson said.
“So as long as we stay on our procurement rate plan — which by all accounts we’re going to continue to ramp up at the rate that we envisioned — then we’re going to continue to drive the price down.”(Source: Defense News)
27 Jan 19. If the money is there, new and improved F-15s could be coming soon to the Air Force. The U.S. Air Force could buy a new version of the F-15, known as the F-15X, as long as there is enough money in future defense budgets, Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein told Defense News Saturday. And regardless of whether the service does buy the new jets this year, Goldfein said the new aircraft won’t be taking money from the Lockheed Martin F-35.
“I’m not backing an inch off of the F-35” Goldfein said. “The F-35 buy that we’re on continues to remain on track. And I’m not interested in taking a nickel out of it when it comes to buying anything else in the fighter portfolio.”
The FY2020 defense budget has been the focus of speculation for months, and the Pentagon has still not released a final topline figure.
Original planning had called for a $733bn topline, which dwindled down to $700 bn after calls from President Donald Trump to slash federal spending and then ballooned up to $750bn after the intervention of then-Defense Secretary Jim Mattis.
In December 2018, Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson told Defense News that “all options are on the table,” and on Saturday Goldfein acknowledged that the service had built multiple budgets as different figures were proposed.
“We built the [$]730[bn] budget, and we went in and did a drill said what if we only get [$]700[bn] and what do we subtract, and what if there was a [$]750[bn] budget?” he said.
Goldfein would not directly confirm that the Air Force has the money in the budget for the new planes. But he hinted strongly that the service would pull the trigger on acquiring them.
The F-15X is an improved model from Boeing, teaming a new airframe with an improved radar, cockpit, electronic warfare suite and the ability to carry more missiles, bringing in upgrades that have been developed for the F-15s sold to Qatar and Saudi Arabia.
Late last year, Bloomberg reported that the Air Force was planning to request $1.2 bn for 12 of the fourth-generation jets in the 2020 budget request. The report said the aircraft would go to the Air National Guard to replace the olders F-15Cs, which date to the 1980s.
And that age is why the Air Force is looking at a new variant. The service currently has about 230 F-15C and D model aircraft in service. However, Goldfein acknowledged those aircraft don’t have the lifespan to make it to 2030 like other current fourth-generation aircraft, such as the F-15E, the F-16 and A-10.
“It [has] performed brilliantly, but the cost growth runs to a point to where you’re spending too much money,” Goldfein said.
The Air Force’s decision to buy new F-15s came as a surprise late last year, as Air Force leadership had previously pushed back on the Boeing sales pitch. As recently as September 2018, Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson said that the Air Force needed to prioritize buying fifth-generation aircraft.
“We are currently 80 percent fourth-gen aircraft and 20 percent fifth-generation aircraft,” she said at the time. “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 means not buying new fourth-gen aircraft, it means continuing to increase the fifth generation.”
But, Goldfein said Saturday that the decision to possibly refresh the F-15 fleet comes down to the need for more fighters in service, regardless of generation.
“They complement each other,” he said. “They each make each other better.”
When asked if that meant compromising for quantity over quality, he said that would not be the case.
“We’ve got to refresh the F-15C fleet because I can’t afford to not have that capacity to do the job and the missions.” Goldfein explained. “That’s what this is all about. If we’re refreshing the F-15C fleet, as we’re building up the F-35 fleet, this is not about any kind of a trade.”
He added that Air Force needs to buy 72 fighters a year to get to the amount they need in the future — and to drive average aircraft age down from 28 years to 15 years. And while Goldfein might want all 72 to be fifth generation F-35s, budgetary concerns likely won’t let that happen.
“If we had the money, those would be 72 F-35s. But we’ve gotta look at this from a cost/business case.” he explained. “An F-15 will never be an F-35. Never. But I need capacity.” (Source: Defense News Early Bird/Defense News)
25 Jan 19. Boeing in talks with US Air Force over KC-46A technology improvement roadmap.
- Boeing and the USAF are discussing plans for a KC-46A technology improvement roadmap
- This could include upgrades such as enhanced communications and more protective systems
The US Air Force (USAF) and Boeing are discussing plans for a KC-46A Pegasus aerial refuelling tanker technology improvement roadmap that could bring the new aircraft upgrades such as enhanced communications, more protective systems, and increased autonomy.
Mike Hafer, Boeing KC-46A global sales and marketing manager, told reporters on 24 January that another upgrade could be an autonomous refuelling boom that would remove the operator. He said that enhanced communications, such as cryptographic keys, could be included down the KC-46A production line in aircraft numbers 65-70. Hafer said it was too early to tell when the autonomous boom could be inserted into the production line.
Hafer said that this technology improvement roadmap is the genesis of Air Mobility Command (AMC), which he said has a long-range vision for the KC-46A. Boeing on 24 January marked the official delivery of the first two KC-46A aircraft with a delivery ceremony. The USAF accepted its first aircraft on 10 January. The first delivery was a major accomplishment for Boeing as it was originally contracted to deliver 18 aircraft with nine pairs of wing aerial refuelling pods (WARPs) by August 2017 as part of the USAF’s required assets available (RAA) goal. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
REST OF THE WORLD
01 Feb 19. G’Day USA 2019 promises Sea-Air-Space opportunities for TDA. Team Defence Australia is seeking expressions of interest for export-ready Australian companies to showcase their products and services at the Sea-Air-Space expo in the US. Sea-Air-Space is the largest maritime and naval aviation exposition in the US. Each year, it attracts over 12,000 attendees, including senior officers, US Department of Defense, international delegations and over 20 military commands from the US Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard and US flag Merchant Marine.
The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has partnered with the Australian Department of Defence to host the sixth annual G’Day USA US-Australian Dialogue on Defence Industries on 9 May 2019 in Washington DC.
Sea-Air-Space is the premier venue for the maritime branches of the US Armed Forces to interact and collaborate with industry. The event provides exhibitors from around the world with the opportunity to showcase their latest innovations, products and services, and provides a range of educational sessions, demonstrations and networking opportunities across the maritime and naval aviation communities.
Australian companies with capabilities and expertise in the following areas are encouraged to apply:
- intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance (ISR)
- C4I systems
- aviation RTD&E
- integrated maritime detection and monitoring
- long-range weaponry and alternate weapon systems
- unmanned systems with air, surface, undersea or land based applications training modernisation
- innovative energy capabilities and power generation systems
- interoperable and adaptable platforms and maritime systems
Team Defence Australia (TDA) will provide support to the delegation of defence industry companies attending Sea-Air-Space, including:
- pre-event support and advice
- senior military level support and advocacy at the trade show
- a space on the custom built TDA pavilion
- access to facilities and meeting rooms at the event
- participation in the full TDA program, including briefings, networking and B2B activities
- exhibitor passes
- provision of on-site support from TDA representatives at the show
Exhibiting on the TDA stand is free of charge. However, successful companies will be responsible for flights, accommodation, freight and other related costs. Interested companies may approach their respective state or territory government to enquire if any support is available for this event. (Source: Defence Connect)
28 Jan 19. Malaysia Issues RFI for KAI’s FA-50 Light Fighter. Malaysia has issued a preliminary request for information (RFI) to Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) in support of a potential acquisition of the company’s FA-50 light attack aircraft, it has been confirmed to Jane’s. A spokesperson for KAI said on 28 January that the RFI was received earlier this month and that an additional RFI is expected once Malaysia refines its air combat requirements. A spokesperson from the Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) could not be reached for comment. Under the country’s proposed Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) procurement programme Malaysia is thought to be seeking to acquire an initial 12 aircraft with an option for another 24 units in future years. A KAI spokesperson said, “KAI received the request for information from Malaysia on 5 January, and we expect a more detailed RFI to be issued in the near future.” (Source: defense-aerospace.com/Jane’s Defence Weekly)
29 Jan 19. Plan ‘B’ for the Australian F-35. The Australian Defence Force’s equipment is good and getting better. But the ADF’s current and planned force structures have some significant limitations in their ability to deliver some crucial military effects. In an era of strategic uncertainty, both in the threats we will face and in the capacity of our allies to help us face them, it’s useful to think about ways to address those limitations sooner rather than later. As always, the perfect (particularly when delivered sometime off in the never-never) is the enemy of the good. Also, given the strategic uncertainty, a future government will need to increase defence spending, or at least realise that its current investment plan needs some serious reviewing.
So what are those limitations? First, we are acquiring the conventional ‘A’ variant of the best tactical aircraft in the world, the F-35 joint strike fighter. But its range is limited even with air-to-air refuelling, particularly if we want a sustained presence in an area, rather than one that involves flying out, launching munitions and flying home. Once a naval or amphibious taskforce is more than 1,000 nautical miles (1,852 kilometres) away from our air bases, it’s pretty much on its own. A thousand nautical miles isn’t very far in the Indo-Pacific, or even in our patch of it in the South Pacific.
Second, our amphibious taskforce has only limited ability to provide fire support to lodged land forces. The short range of naval gunfire means that ships have to get close to enemy defences, leaving them vulnerable to the land-based anti-ship missiles we ourselves are interested in acquiring. The navy’s landing helicopter docks, Canberra and Adelaide, can carry the armed Tiger helicopter, but experience in Afghanistan and the Middle East shows that even relatively unsophisticated adversaries can make life very difficult for helicopters.
Third, our fleet has a very limited long-range land-strike capability. The Harpoon missile has some ability to strike land targets, but even our air warfare destroyers can carry only eight of them. We could put a true long-range strike weapon on one of the AWDs, but it will always be competing with air defence missiles for a home in the ship’s vertical launch cells. The future frigate will have more cells, but the first ship won’t be operational until at least 2030 and then they’re scheduled to come only every two years. The future submarine is not being optimised for strategic strike.
Fourth, our fleet has some ability to strike surface maritime targets. But Russian and Chinese anti-ship missiles have longer ranges than the Harpoon. The integrated investment program contains a project to acquire a more modern missile, but the number of vertical launch cells will always be a limitation, and ships can reload only back in Australia. Plus, if our missile can reach them, theirs can probably reach us. Submarines certainly have a serious anti-surface capability, but we’ve only got six of them and won’t get more for at least 15 years.
Fifth, adversary aircraft armed with long-range anti-ship missiles can launch them from outside the range of our defensive missiles. Our fleet can try to shoot down missiles coming at it, but it can’t stop enemy aircraft from repeatedly launching, returning to base and rearming.
All of this may not really matter if we’re confident that all we’ll need to do is plug into a US-led taskforce and rely on it to provide all of those missing elements. But if the challenge we’re now facing is that we may not be able to always and absolutely rely on the US to provide that support when we need it, then our force structure has a problem.
All the effects outlined above can be delivered by the F-35: close air support; defensive and offensive counter-air; and maritime and (with the right missile) long-range land strike. The problem is we can’t necessarily deliver the F-35 to where we need it.
How do we get the F-35, with its sensor suite, its data-sharing capability and its weapons load, into the fight—and, by doing so, allow the rest of the ADF to fight where we need it to?
One approach would be to get access to more airbases. But there aren’t many airbases capable of supporting the F-35 in our immediate region, and we’d always be reliant on host-nation support. Operating from an established land base also means the adversary knows where you are and, with the help of a spotter with a mobile phone sitting by the airbase, when you’re coming.
You know where this is going. Put the F-35 on a ship. But that’s only part of it. The suggestion is to acquire a squadron of the short take-off and vertical landing variant of the JSF, the F-35B, and a third LHD optimised to support air operations. What does that give the ADF? The bottom line is, a lot more options that the adversary has to deal with. Even in an age of space surveillance and electronic warfare, it’s harder to deal with an enemy airbase that’s moving.
Moreover, the F-35B doesn’t need to operate from a ship and can use a lot more airfields than the conventional JSF. It will be interesting to see where the resourceful US Marine Corps takes its F-35B as it learns to operate it. Is a Swedish approach, of operating from highways, on the cards?
I’m well aware of the threats posed by Chinese anti-access capabilities, and I’m not suggesting that having F-35Bs will mean that the ADF can go up against the Chinese fleet alone in the South China Sea. But I can’t see how a maritime or amphibious taskforce that includes an LHD with an F-35B is somehow more vulnerable than one without it. And if it’s too dangerous to send an F-35B–equipped LHD to sea, then it’s certainly too dangerous to send an LHD without the F-35B but with over 1,000 troops on it to sea. Moreover, the F-35B, whether operating from land or from an LHD, gives a lot of capability in scenarios short of full-scale war against China. A dozen F-35Bs flying two sorties a day, each with 24 guided 250-pound bombs on board, would provide a lot of close air support in an insurgency situation like that which unfolded in the Philippine city of Marawi, for example.
And in terms of options, if we’re in a scenario where we’re mainly concerned with a submarine threat, the third LHD could operate as an anti-submarine helicopter carrier and at the same time retain much of its original amphibious capability.
There are certainly other options Australia could consider, but it’s hard to think of alternatives that are available now. The new US bomber, the B-21 Raider, will provide a lot of the effects described above when it enters service, but it’s likely to cost around A$1bn per aircraft. Unmanned combat aerial vehicles are coming, but they can’t do the whole job yet. A third Spanish-built LHD and F-35B squadron could be delivered in around five years (even with the modifications that allow it to carry all of those munitions and aviation fuel), well before the navy’s new frigates and submarines arrive.
Yes, the F-35B has a shorter range and a lower payload than the conventional variant the RAAF is already getting. But it has exactly the same sensor suite, sensor fusion and data-sharing ability. These make every asset in a taskforce better. When you really get down to it, the question is, would we prefer to have an F-35 with slightly less capability in the fight, or no F-35 and potentially no ADF in the fight at all? (Source: News Now/www.aspistrategist.org.au)
29 Jan 19. Enhancing the capabilities of Australia’s Super Hornets with Block III upgrades. Boeing’s Block III upgrades for the Super Hornet platform will enhance the interoperablity of 4th and 5th generation strike and air combat capabilities of many air forces, with the RAAF’s Super Hornets prime candidates for the modernisation program. Increasing the interoperability and lethality of 4th and 5th generation combat aircraft is dramatically shifting the way contemporary air forces operate in the 21st century battlespace.
Boeing’s Block III Super Hornet upgrades recognise the growing importance and role operating legacy platforms, like the 4.5 generation Super Hornet platform with 5th generation fighter aircraft like the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. In light of this, both Boeing and the US Navy, the primary operator of the Super Hornet platform, established the Block III Super Hornet concept to work as an effective partner for the US Navy’s fleet of carrier-capable, low-observable F-35Cs.
This concept is similar to the emerging “high-low” capability concept being developed by the US Air Force, which seeks to operate 4th, 4.5 and 5th generation aircraft in complementary roles, leveraging the unique strengths of the various platforms. Defence Connect first introduced the high-low combination of aircraft in late 2018 following an announcement by the Pentagon introducing the F-15X, a heavily modified and modernised variant of the F-15E Strike Eagle variant, which would see the F-15X, “seamlessly plug[ing] into their existing air combat infrastructure as part of better-defined high-low capability mix strategy”.
To serve in this role, the Block III upgrades to the Super Hornets incorporate a range of capability upgrades, including:
- The Lockheed Martin Mobile User Objective System (MUOS) satellite communications (SATCOM) link to share targeting data with friendly forces operating outside the range of line-of-sight radio communications.
- A specialised Tactical Targeting Network Technology (TTNT) network, developed by Rockwell Collins, currently operating on the EA-18G Growler and the E-2G Hawkeye airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) aircraft, allowing for the rapid transfer of large volumes of data even in contested environments. The TTNT system also enables the Super Hornet to act as part of an integrated Naval Integrated Fire Control – Counter-Air system, enhancing the lethality and survivability of surface combatants.
- A specialised Infrared Search and Track (IRST) sensor, which would provide Block III Super Hornets with an air-to-air combat advantage through specialised tracking capabilities, allowing a single aircraft to locate the direction of an enemy combatant beyond visual range (BVR) with two Super Hornets able to triangulate the precise location of the enemy aircraft.
- An Advanced Cockpit System (ACS) enabling a form of data fusion, drawing together sensor information to be displayed to the pilot in a clear and intuitive picture.
- Conformal Fuel Tanks (CFT) developed by Boeing in partnership with Northrop Grumman, enabling an increased range of approximately 120 nautical miles (222km) without impacting aerodynamic performance.
Additionally, the Block III Super Hornets will receive a 10 per cent in radar cross section (RCS), enabling high rates of survivability and low-observability in contested and heavily defended, integrated air defence (IAD) networks. However, these RCS improvements would be negated by increased under-wing armament capacity.
The Block III upgrades also include an upgrade to the existing F414 engine, providing a 20 per cent increase in thrust with improved fuel economy, complimenting the introduction of the conformal fuel tanks, while the life of the airframe will be increased from 6,000 flight hours to approximately 9,000 flight hours.
Australia currently operates a fleet of 24 F-18 E/F Super Hornet and 11 E/A-18G Growler aircraft, originally acquired to prevent a capability gap between the retirement of the RAAF’s legacy F-18 A/B Hornets and the introduction of the F-35A Joint Strike Fighter. Australia’s fleet of Super Hornets and Growlers have established themselves as a world-leading capability following deployments in support of allied air operations in the Middle East and APEC 2018.
The enhancements designed as part of the Block III new build/modernisation plan would enable Australian Super Hornets to serve in conjunction with RAAF F-35s and broader coalition operations utilising a combination of 4th, 4.5 and 5th generation combat aircraft to overcome the evolving threat environments currently developing around the world, but critically, Indo-Pacific Asia. (Source: Defence Connect)
28 Jan 19. South Korean officials arrive in Jakarta to renegotiate KFX/IFX fighter aircraft programme.
- Indonesia and South Korea have begun renegotiating the former’s involvement in the KFX/IFX fighter aircraft programme
- Jakarta aims to acquire an initial batch of 16 airframes, while lessening the programme’s financial burden on Indonesia’s state budget
A delegation comprising officials from Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) has arrived in Jakarta to renegotiate Indonesia’s participation in a programme to jointly develop and build the Korean Fighter Xperiment/Indonesia Fighter Xperiment (KFX/IFX) aircraft.
According to information and documents supplied to Jane’s on 23 January by a source from the Indonesian House of Representatives’ commission on defence, intelligence, and foreign affairs (Komisi I), a meeting to discuss the programme was held over two days from 24 January.
Attending the meeting on behalf of Jakarta were a team of representatives from state-owned aerospace company PT Dirgantara Indonesia (PTDI); the Indonesian Ministry of Defence; and the Co-ordinating Ministry for Political, Legal, and Security Affairs (POLHUKAM).
The document that was provided to Jane’s, which gives details of the points of discussion that were raised at the meeting, also indicates that Indonesia was expected to propose an extension to its payment obligations under the programme to 2031.
To further lessen the burden on its national defence budget, Indonesia was also expected to propose making payments for the programme via counter-trade deals instead of cash; similar to the strategy it is pursuing in the acquisition of Su-35 fighter aircraft from Russia.
Additionally, Jakarta pushed for greater intellectual property rights over technologies developed in the programme with a view to commercialise them in the future. Under the original KFX/IFX finance agreement signed between the two countries in 2015, Indonesia is obliged to pay for 20% of the programme’s total development costs, which is estimated to be about USD8bn. (Source: Google/IHS Jane’s)
24 Jan 19. A Sole International Market for China’s J-10 Fighter Jets is Taking Shape. When it comes to China’s exporting of high-end military equipment, the exporting of J-10 fighter jets to Pakistan is an inevitable topic. Although Pakistan already offered an olive branch to China’s J-10 fighter jets and its Chief of Army Staff Qamar Javed Bajwa even personally mounted on a J-10C during the “Shaheen-VII” China-Pakistan joint air exercise at the end of 2018, it remains hard for the country to make up its mind to sign the official contract to purchase J-10 aircraft.
It is recently reported that two other countries are likely to purchase China’s J-10 fighter jets before Pakistan. A sole international market for China’sJ-10 fighter jets is taking shape.
Laos is one of the aforesaid two countries. On January 14th, the Royal Lao Air Force completed a test flight of the Yakovlev Yak-130 advanced jet trainer imported from Russia. In the past, a dominant view was that Laos would make the Yakovlev Yak-130 the main fighter jets in its air force.
However, Laos’ domestic media recently conjectured that importing the Yakovlev Yak-130 was just a move to prepare for the purchase of new main fighter jets, which is likely to be China’s J-10C. Moreover, Laos’ netizens posted many photoshopped images of J-10C fighter jets in the digital painting of the Royal Lao Air Force. Upon analyzing the demand of the Royal Lao Air Force, it isn’t totally a rumor that Laos will purchase J-10 fighter jets.
From both historical and geographical perspectives, Laos is a country lacking a sense of security. It borders comparatively powerful Thailand in the west and ambitious Vietnam in the east. The Royal Thai Air Force has long been equipped with US F-16 fighter jets and Swedish JAS 39 Gripen fighter jets. The Vietnamese Air Force is equipped with Su-27 and Su-30 fighter jets from Russia and is reported to purchase the latest Su-57 fighter jets.
However, the main fighter jets of the Royal Lao Air Force remain the outdated MiG-21 fighters. Facing air threat in both west and east directions, Laos is in urgent need to introduce the advanced 4th-generation fighter jets to reinforce its air force. Indeed, China’s J-10 is the best choice due to its reliable performance and stable supply.
The other country is Bangladesh. In 2018, the Bangladeshi Air Force sent a delegation to conduct a field survey of the performance of the J-10C. Then, Bangladesh became the first country to express the intention to purchase the aircraft. Of all international clients of Chinese military equipment, Bangladesh is an important but easily neglected country. In 2018, the Bangladeshi Army announced to cancel the contract of purchasing Russia’s T-72B3 tanks, but imported 300 heavily upgraded Type 59 tanks from China. the Bangladeshi Navy imported in 2018 two Type 053 H3 frigates from China to establish a main fleet, including five Chinese-made frigates as backbone vessels.
The Bangladeshi Air Force has realistic demand for J-10 fighters. The first batch of 36 Rafale fighter jets that India purchased will form two squadrons to be deployed near India’s borders with Pakistan and Bangladesh, respectively.
Compared with that of Pakistan, the Bangladeshi Air Force is comparatively weak and lacks strong support from any third country. Facing the abruptly mounting pressure from the Indian Air Force, Bangladesh finds it necessary to commission the 4th-generation fighter jets with equal performance to the Rafale.
Considering the long-standing cooperation in arms between China and Bangladesh and the maturity and outstanding performance of the J-10 series, it is necessary for Bangladesh to choose the J-10C—the most advanced type of the J-10 series—to reinforce its air force.
Even if Laos and Bangladesh sign contracts to purchase China’s J-10 fighter jets, their purchased volumes will be enough to equip only 1-2 squadrons (namely, 12-24 units of aircraft) considering the limited sizes of their air forces.
Moreover, it is unlikely for the two countries to build assembly lines or major overhauling facilities. Nevertheless, the export orders for J-10 fighter jets from the two countries are still very significant, which are worth seizing for China through certain compromises over price and technology.
Both Laos and Bangladesh are weaker than their neighboring countries in terms of air force. The fighters equipped by their rivals are not only more advanced, but also major competitors for the J-10 in the international arms market. Therefore, the performance of the J-10 in the two countries will be crucial for the Chinese fighter jets to expand exports to foreign countries including Pakistan.
From the perspective of the overall development of the international warplane market, the 4th-generation aircraft remains the most popular before the 5th-generation stealth fighters are shelved.
Europe’s Typhoon and Rafale fighters are notorious for their extremely high prices and maintenance costs (with a unit price of nearly US$100m). Russian fighters lag behind in performance, and US fighter jets face high export barriers.
Although those early aircraft models have grabbed large volumes of orders, they are considered “would-be foes” by latecomers, which makes it hard for them to win new clients. In this context, the J-10C fighter jets, which was born in a time when China’s overall jet fighter R&D capacity sees exponential growth, emits unimaginable attraction and even becomes the only choice for a big proportion of customers in the international market.
Against the backdrop of counter-terrorism worldwide, the US and Europe loosened restrictions on arms export, and China’s fighter jets had yet to be mature in performance. But now the situation has changed. The contradiction between emerging demand and traditional supply in the international military aircraft market is becoming increasingly prominent, and the J-10 series has gradually become a jet fighter with global competitiveness after continuous improvements.
In the future, if China’s J-10 can be exported to Laos, Bangladesh, and Pakistan, it will be only a matter of time for the fighter to win more international orders. (Source: defense-aerospace.com/China Military Online)
25 Jan 19. Indonesia completes technical evaluation for aerial refuelling requirements.
- Indonesia has completed a study to finalise requirements for new aerial refuelling platforms
- Aircraft must support both the probe-and-drogue and flying boom methods
The Indonesian Air Force (Tentara Nasional Indonesia – Angkatan Udara: TNI-AU) has completed a study on the country’s aerial refuelling requirements, and has proposed the acquisition of two new airframes for the service.
The study, which has been completed in consultation with state-affiliated company GMF AeroAsia, was carried out to finalise programme parameters with a view to launching a formal acquisition programme and funding request from the Indonesian Ministry of Defence (MoD).
Conclusions from the study include requirements for the airframes to support both the probe-and-drogue and flying boom aerial refuelling methods. The TNI-AU has outlined a budget requirement of about USD500m for the programme, and has proposed that the funds be drawn down from foreign defence export credit loans, according to information provided to Jane’s on 24 January by a TNI-AU source.
Jane’s first reported in January 2018 that the TNI-AU had begun a preliminary study to compare the A330 multirole tanker-transport (MRTT) from Airbus and the KC-46A Pegasus from Boeing. Russia’s four-engine Ilyushin Il-78 was also later included in the study.
Should the TNI-AU’s proposals receive the MoD’s assent, a formal acquisition process is expected to begin in 2020. The service also expects the A330 and the KC-46A to be front-runners once requests for tenders are issued. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
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.
APC manufactures the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter Large Area Display (LAD) display (20 inch by 8 inch) with dual pixel fields, power and video interfaces to provide complete display redundancy. At DSEI 2017 we are exhibiting the LAD with a more advanced design, dual display on single substrate with redundant characteristics and a bespoke purpose 8 inch by 6 inch armoured vehicle display.
In order to fully meet the demanding environmental and optical requirements without sacrificing critical tradeoffs in performance, APC designs, develops and manufactures these highly specialized displays in multiple sizes and configurations, controlling all AMLCD optical panel, mechanical and electrical design aspects. APC provides both ITAR and non-ITAR displays across the globe to OEM Prime and tiered vetronics and avionics integrators.