Sponsored by American Panel Corporation
UNITED KINGDOM AND NATO
21 Feb 19. Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the science and technology sectors could benefit from an additional £40m to £45m of external investment opportunities from the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl). The organisation is seeking supply chain partners for a series of research projects across the defence spectrum due to start this year.
Representatives from Dstl will be available to meet potential SME partners at Venturefest South at the Ageas Bowl on 29 March. Venturefest South brings together top talent from the region to demonstrate technologies and innovations, allow start-ups to pitch for investment, and match entrepreneurs with the right organisations to take their businesses to the next level.
Dstl works with a range of start-up and SMEs, providing funding and guidance to develop new and innovative ideas to help protect the UK’s armed forces; helping companies grow and boosting the regional economy. Defence is a hugely important sector in the South East, employing more than 39,000 people, with a further 18,000 in aerospace and space.
By working with investors Dstl also helps companies to commercialise the impact and bring new technologies to market. Licensing agreements have been signed for 125 technologies across defence and security, biometrics, life sciences, and diagnostics which have created 580 jobs.
Gary Aitkenhead, Dstl Chief Executive commented: “Venturefest is a terrific opportunity to meet potential suppliers and explore ways we can work together. We’re especially interested in companies who have not traditionally worked in defence but have specialist expertise and fresh ideas. SMEs need rapid decisions and it can take as little as a week for a new supplier to be approved.”
Venturefest South is a not for-profit initiative that has been created and developed by a group of partners within the regional innovation economy including: Carswell Gould, Solent LEP, Innovate UK, the Knowledge Transfer Network, University of Portsmouth, Southampton City Council, Solent University, The University of Southampton, Portsmouth City Council, and Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council.
The fast-growing innovation network in the south is supported by a number of corporate sponsors including BDO, Natwest and Dstl. All the money raised from sponsorship and ticket sales will go towards creating opportunities for early-stage business start-ups to exhibit for free at the conference.
Venturefest South is part of the wider Venturefest network, which works nationally to draw local innovation eco-systems together through a number of local events around the country, working closely with the Knowledge Transfer Network, Innovate UK and other national partners.
To find out more and to apply to take part in any of the pitching sessions, showcase an innovation in the exhibition or sponsor Venturefest South 2019, visit: www.venturefestsouth.co.uk
20 Feb 19. BGTI Support Contract. The UK MoD is close to issuing the BGTI (Battlegroup Therma Imaging) support contract covering Scimitar and Warrior vehicles at the end of February. The contract is currently held by Thales, other bidders are expected to include Qioptiq.
18 Feb 19. U.S. Government Approves Release of Boeing EA-18G Growler to Finland. Boeing [NYSE: BA] and the U.S. Navy have received U.S. Department of Defense approval to offer the EA-18G Growler to Finland. Previously only Australia had been authorized to purchase the airborne electronic attack (AEA) aircraft.
Boeing and the Navy have offered the Growler and F/A-18 Super Hornet in a response to query issued by the Finnish Ministry of Defense as part of their HX fighter program procurement.
“All strike fighter aircraft rely on Growler escort to increase survivability during high-threat missions,” said Dan Gillian, Boeing vice president, F/A-18 and EA-18G programs. “The combination of the Super Hornet Block III and Growler would provide Finland with superior technological capability particularly suited to Finland’s HX mission requirements.”
An F/A-18 variant, the Growler is the world’s most advanced AEA platform and the only one in production today. It’s capable of disrupting, deceiving or denying a broad range of military electronic systems including radar and communication systems.
In addition to the U.S. Navy, the Growler is flown by the Royal Australian Air Force. (Source: https://www.unmannedairspace.info)
14 Feb 19. Airbus confident of A400M exports but says numbers may be modest. Airbus remains confident that it can secure export customers for its A400M airlifter, but has cautioned that sales are likely to be relatively modest given the aircraft’s cost and sophistication.
Speaking at the company’s annual press conference in Toulouse, CEO Tom Enders said that efforts continue to secure the first export customer for the type since Malaysia joined the programme in 2005, but that the aircraft’s superior capabilities and associated price-tag make it a challenging prospect compared to Airbus’ popular portfolio of smaller transport aircraft.
“Exporting the A400M is a very different game from the smaller transports built [at the same location] in Spain. The A400M is a product of the requirements of six [partner] nations who are very sophisticated, and you just don’t find those kind of customers around every corner,” Enders said on 14 February, adding, “I am optimistic that there will be exports, but it won’t be in the hundreds [of aircraft].”
To secure exports Airbus needs clear government support from the governments of France and the UK as the lead operators of the aircraft, Enders explained. “I believe we have a level of maturity now that makes it clear to potential export customers that we have an excellent aircraft with excellent supporting data,” he said.
Airbus has a 174-aircraft order book that comprises 53 for Germany, 50 for France, 27 for Spain, 22 for the UK, 10 for Turkey, eight for Belgium(including one to be operated on behalf of Luxembourg), and four for Malaysia. Of these, 72 have been delivered to date. In March 2018 Indonesia confirmed its intention to procure two A400Ms, and the country is the Airbus’ strongest near-term prospect for a new export sale. Separately, South Korea is reported to be in talks with Spain to receive a number of its surplus aircraft.(Source: IHS Jane’s)
19 Feb 19. Honeywell-Pratt venture protests GE’s Army helicopter contract. A joint venture of Honeywell International Inc and Pratt & Whitney on Tuesday protested the U.S. Army’s decision to award General Electric Co a $517m contract for new Black Hawk and Apache helicopter engines. The Advanced Turbine Engine Co (ATEC) joint venture filed the protest with the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO), ATEC said in a statement.
“In our review of the evaluation, we clearly offered the best value through a combination of a highly rated and technically superior engine that was judged to be much lower risk, and believe we did so significantly under the government’s budget,” ATEC President Craig Madden said.
The U.S. Department of Defense said on Feb. 1 it had awarded GE a six-year contract to engineer and manufacture the new engines, known as T901, covering thousands of helicopters. GE said the Army had “conducted a comprehensive and well-organized (bidding) process with clearly defined requirements and a level playing field for both competitors.”
The company added that it was “very confident the Army’s very thorough review and evaluation of the competing bids will be upheld and that the T901 will prevail.” Pratt & Whitney is owned by United Technologies Corp. (Source: Reuters)
18 Feb 19. US National Guard seeks drone detection system. February 18, 2019 Philip Butterworth-Hayes Counter UAS systems tenders. The National Guard has issued a request for information (RFI) to conduct market research to determine if available technology solutions can address the C-sUAS requirement. The intent of the designed system is to provide detection, identification, and mitigation of small unmanned aircraft systems. At a minimum, C-sUAS system must detect the RF-signature of the sUAS and immediately apply a Unique Identification (UID) number for the each detected sUAS so that C-sUAS operator has the ability to “whitelist” friendly force’s sUAS and “blacklist” all other sUAS. The C-sUAS operator must have the ability to select then mitigate any number of threat sUAS without affecting friendly Force sUAS operation in the same airspace at the same time
Solicitation number: W912J219Q5009
Deadline for responses: 8 March 2019
Responsible agency: US National Guard
21 Feb 19. USN releases RFI for Unmanned Maritime Autonomy Architecture. The US Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) issued a request for information (RFI) on 15 February for the service’s proposed Unmanned Maritime Autonomy Architecture (UMAA). NAVSEA’s Program Executive Office (PEO) Unmanned and Small Combatants (USC), Unmanned Maritime Systems (UMS) Program Office is looking for government organisations and industry to participate in the development of the UMAA, which is being established to enable autonomy commonality and reduce acquisition costs across both surface and undersea unmanned vehicles. An initial industry day has been scheduled for 4 March in Washington, DC. The UMS Program Office chartered a cross-organisational team in 2018 to develop the UMAA to standardise “autonomy interfaces across its growing portfolio of unmanned vehicles”, the navy noted in its RFI. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
REST OF THE WORLD
21 Feb 19. How does Pakistan’s Thunder fare against contenders in Malaysia’s aircraft competition? Pakistan hopes to sell its JF-17 Thunder aircraft to Malaysia, now that the cash-strapped country is officially looking for such a fighter. Malaysia was eyeing larger fighters like the Rafale and Typhoon, but that plan was shelved due to budgetary woes, and the country instead turned to fulfill a light combat aircraft requirement. An LCA fleet would support Malaysia’s F/A-18 and Su-30 fighters. The JF-17 is under consideration alongside the Tejas, produced by India’s Hindustan Aeronautics Limited, and the FA-50 Golden Eagle, made by South Korea’s Korea Aerospace Industries. Pakistan’s offering is the most affordable of the three. Defense News reported in 2015 that Malaysia was considering the JF-17 as an option for its Air Force modernization program, as signaled by its high commissioner to Pakistan, according to the Associated Press of Pakistan. But Malaysia’s defense minister at the time denied the report.
Pakistan renewed efforts last year, most notably at April’s DSA defense expo in Malaysia and November’s IDEAS defense conference in Pakistan. Pakistan is offering the latest Block III variant.
The 2021-2022 LCA program delivery time frame means a Malaysian order could include some of the first fighters off the production line, with potential industrial offsets.
Analyst and former Pakistan Air Force pilot Kaiser Tufail says the Block III “is quite promising” with an active electronically scanned array radar, helmet-mounted display and sight, electronic countermeasures, and an additional underbelly intake sensor station.
Tufail noted the JF-17 has been operational for the past 12 years and serves in six squadrons at full operational capability, whereas the Tejas was inducted just days ago “and has to go through the usual teething troubles.”
“On cost grounds, the JF-17 has a square chance,” he said.
Ben Ho, an air power analyst with the Military Studies Programme at Singapore’s S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, said the contenders have “fairly similar” performance, with individual advantages “marginal” or “negated in other areas.”
The JF-17 costs $25m per unit, and the Tejas and the FA-50 cost approximately $28m and $30m respectively. An order of 36 JF-17 fighters would mean “a very substantial amount will be saved,” Ho said.
However, the JF-17’s Russian engine may be problematic, as due to serviceability issues with the related engine of Malaysia’s MiG-29s, potentially requiring “significant after-sales support and maintenance,” Ho added.
The Tejas is powered by the same General Electric F404 engine used in Malaysia’s F/A-18s, and shares weaponry with the Su-30s. However, the Tejas’ Israeli avionics would likely need replaced, which “invariably means additional costs,” he noted.
While the FA-50 is the “costliest prima facie,” it is also powered by the F404, shares weaponry used by the F/A-18, may have “lower downstream costs” and is in service regionally, allowing “interoperability between its major regional counterparts during exercises and operations,” he added. (Source: Defense News)
21 Feb 19. South Korea accelerates airborne sensor and EW acquisition programmes. The Republic of Korea (RoK) is advancing efforts to introduce new long-range airborne sensor and electronic warfare (EW) capabilities. Jane’s understands from RoK military and foreign defence company sources that the Defense Agency for Technology and Quality (DTaQ) commenced detailed studies of the Joint Surveillance and Target Attack Radar System (JSTARS) requirement at the end of 2018. The effort seeks to acquire between four and eight aircraft worth up to KRW2trn (USD1.7bn), according to the Ministry of National Defense’s (MND’s) defence white paper for 2019-23, announced in January. The first aircraft is expected to be delivered in 2023 to facilitate wartime operational control transfer from the US military. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
21 Feb 19. Collins-class submarine upgrades may be needed, says RAN chief. Royal Australian Navy chief vice-admiral Mike Noonan has stated that Collins-class submarine upgrades on the entire six-strong fleet may be needed to extend their life until the French-designed replacements arrive. In a Senate estimates hearing, Noonan said that the Department of Defence (DoD) as carrying out an assessment of how many Collins-class submarine upgrades would be needed to keep them in service until the mid-2030s.
The Australian Government recently awarded an A$50bn ($35.81bn) contract to France’s Naval Group to build 12 new Attack-class submarines to replace the Collins-class boats, which were originally expected to retire around 2026. The French firm is anticipated to deliver the first submarine, to be named HMAS Attack, in 2032.
Noonan was quoted by ABC News as saying: “We are yet to fully determine how many of the boats we will upgrade.
“We’re expecting that we will upgrade at least five, and the work around determining the scope of the upgrade has begun but has not yet been fully decided.”
The government has not disclosed the cost of enhancements and upgrades to the Collins-class submarines.
According to the report, the Senate also inquired about the extent of Australian content that would be included in the future submarine project.
DoD submarines general manager Stephen Johnson was quoted as saying: “It’s a sequential event so it’s a flawed strategy to set a percent before you have enough information.”
Last year, Defence Minister Christopher Pyne announced that the percentage would be more than 60%. (Source: naval-technology.com)
20 Feb 19. Indonesia, DSME Set to Strike Deal for Submarines. Korean shipbuilder Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering (DSME) is in the final stages of negotiations for a massive deal to export submarines to Indonesia, company sources told the JoongAng Ilbo on Wednesday. According to the sources, the Indonesian Navy is planning to purchase three new submarines from DSME for $1.2bn. Jane’s 360, an online defense media channel, also reported last week that Indonesia and DSME are close to signing an order for the three 1,400-ton submarines, a modified version of the South Korean Navy’s Chang Bogo-class diesel-electric attack submarines. If the contract is awarded to DSME, the shipbuilder will have won two consecutive submarine deals with Indonesia. In 2011, Korea won a $1.1bn contract for three 1,400-ton submarines as part of Indonesia’s 2024 Defense Strategic Plan. The three new submarines are to be built by DSME in cooperation with the Indonesian state-owned shipbuilder PT PAL.
“During the final negotiation stage, discussions will take place on how to split the work,” said a defense industry source. “Component production and final assembly will be done at the Okpo Shipyard in Korea and a shipyard in Surabaya, Indonesia.”
According to the sources, the contract is expected to be signed next month as the two sides have no major disagreements. The contract was supposed to be signed last year, but Indonesia requested more time for review and the deadline was postponed to March this year.
DSME opened a technology cooperation center at the PT PAL Shipyard in October last year as part of its efforts to secure the contract. One month later, it signed an agreement with the shipyard to form a consortium.
Sources said DSME also had an advantage because Indonesia is already operating Korean-built submarines. DSME’s deal with Indonesia in 2011 was Korea’s largest defense export project at that time. With the contract, Korea became the fifth submarine exporter in the world. Of the three submarines purchased by Indonesia, two were built in Korea and delivered later, and the last one is currently being built at the PT PAL Shipyard. If DSME secures the follow-on order, Korea will supply six out of the 12 new submarines that the Indonesian Navy plans to introduce. (Source: defense-aerospace.com/Korea Joongang Daily)
19 Feb 19. Lockheed unveils new F-21 fighter jet configured for India. Lockheed Martin offered India on Wednesday a new combat jet to be made locally, the F-21, in an attempt to win a large military order worth more than $15bn. The U.S. defense firm had previously offered its F-16 fighter used by countries around the world for the Indian air force’s ongoing competition for 114 planes to be made in India. But Lockheed, unveiling the plan at an air show in the southern city of Bengaluru, said it was offering India a new plane configured for its needs. It would carry technologies from its fifth generation planes, the F-22 and the F-35, the firm said.
“The F-21 is different, inside and out,” Vivek Lall, vice president of Strategy and Business Development for Lockheed Martin Aeronautics, said in a statement. The company will build the plane in collaboration with India’s Tata Advanced Systems, the firm said.
Lockheed is competing with Boeing’s F/A-18, Saab’s Gripen, Dassault Aviation’s Rafale, the Eurofighter Typhoon and a Russian aircraft for the air force order.
The deal to replace the Indian Air Force’s ageing fleet of Soviet-era fighter jets is one of the biggest contracts for such planes in play.
India has a lengthy procurement process, and no decision is expected until well after a national election due by May.
Lockheed has offered to move its F-16 production plant at Fort Worth, Texas, to India, if it wins the order in a boost for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Make-in-India plan to build a domestic military industrial base and create jobs.
It said it expected to export planes from the proposed plant in India on top of the Indian requirements for an overseas market that it estimated at $20bn.
But the Indian military has had concerns over the F-16 as an old plane and in an earlier competition it lost out to the eventual winner, the Rafale built by Dassault.
But Lockheed said the F-21 could be India’s pathway to the stealth F-35 fighter, which has entered U.S. service in one of the world’s most expensive defense programs.
“The F-21 has common components and learning from Lockheed Martin’s 5th Generation F-22 and F-35 and will share a common supply chain on a variety of components,” the company said.
It said production in India would create thousands of jobs for Indian industry as well as support hundreds of U.S.-based Lockheed Martin engineering, program management and customer support positions.(Source: Defense News Early Bird/Reuters)
19 Feb 19. India plans to buy 21 MiG-29 jet fighters from Russia: RIA. India plans to buy 21 MiG-29 jet fighters and possibly more from Russia, the RIA news agency cited the deputy director of Russia’s federal service for military-technical cooperation as saying on Wednesday. The report did not offer a possible time frame for the procurement plans. New Delhi last year agreed a deal with Russia to buy S-400 surface-to-air missile systems despite a warning from the United States that such a purchase could trigger sanctions under U.S. law. (Source: Defense News Early Bird/Reuters)
17 Feb 19. Paramount Group in talks to develop Africa’s defense industry. South African defense company Paramount Group expects to sign agreements with four African governments this year to set up production facilities in their countries, its chairman said on Sunday. Paramount, Africa’s largest privately owned defense firm, has established manufacturing capabilities to meet demand from specific domestic markets before, including in India, Jordan, and Kazakhstan.
It is in talks with four countries in west and east Africa over deals that it expects to sign this year. A further three agreements could be signed in southern Africa in two years’ time.
“Africa really is innovative,” Ivor Ichikowitz told Reuters at the IDEX military exhibition in Abu Dhabi.
“There is a huge amount of skill. There is a huge amount of human capital on the African continent that makes what we are planning to do very achievable.”
Paramount, which has maintenance and overhaul operations in Africa, has started to implement some agreements, he said, declining to disclose further details.
The company manufactures military vehicles, aircraft, ships, and weapons systems. It is also interested in working with governments on software, cyber security, and artificial intelligence, Ichikowitz said.
Commenting on the potential shape of any deals, the company prefers to be a majority shareholder in a government joint venture with concessions to build domestic capabilities, he said.
“We would implement long-term training, long-term capacity creation programs which would ultimately put us in a position where we are building a domestic defense industry in that country.”
Paramount has previously held talks with Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, two Middle East countries heavily investing in domestic defense industries.
Ichikowitz declined to comment specifically on those talks but said that in the Middle East “there are substantial agreements close to finality”.
Paramount on Saturday launched a 4×4 version of its Mbombe armored personnel vehicle, which Ichikowitz said had been designed for the operational requirements of Middle East countries.
He said he expected there would be regional demand for 4,000-5,000 of the vehicles over the next ten years. (Source: Reuters)
10 Feb 19. SANNI pitching LPD to Saudi navy. SAMI Navantia Naval Industries (SANNI) has proposed building landing platform dock (LPD) amphibious assault ships for the Royal Saudi Naval Forces (RSNF), the company’s CEO said during the IDEX show held in Abu Dhabi, UAE, from 17 to 21 February. SANNI was formed as a joint venture between the Saudi Arabian Military Industries (SAMI) and Spain’s Navantia shipyard to build five corvettes for the RSNF.
CEO Antonio Barbera said the LPD “is one of the proposals we have on the table for the future, knowing the long-term needs of the [Saudi] navy. This is an example that we are not limiting the joint venture to the mission systems and the corvettes, we are here to provide solutions from Saudi Arabia to the Saudi navy”.(Source: IHS Jane’s)
19 Feb 19. Brazilian Army eyes fixed-wing aircraft. The Brazilian Army is considering two fixed-wing tactical transport aircraft to increase its personnel and cargo airlift capabilities in remote land border areas of the country. The Sikorsky/PZL Mielec M28 and Viking Air DHC-6T Twin Otter Series 400 aircraft were the two aircraft presented, an army aviation source told Jane’s. Requirements and authorisation for aircraft testing are pending clearance by the Army High-Staff. The project, ‘Expansion of Logistic Support Capacity’ (part of Army Aviation Program [Prg EE Av Ex]) run by Army Projects Office (EPEx), is aimed at enabling the army to achieve tactical prompt response, command-and-control, logistical support missions, and provide support to special border platoons deployed in remote areas where access is difficult. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
14 Feb 19. Lockheed Martin reports growing demand for F-16 thanks to new upgrades and variant. Key Points:
- Lockheed Martin has reported growing demand for F-16 aircraft
- The company has rolled out new block upgrades and a F-16V variant
The demand for F-16 Fighting Falcons is accelerating around the world due to new production models and upgrades, according to a company official.
Victor Torla, Lockheed Martin rotary and mission systems business development director, told Jane’s in a February interview that the company found new customers for the F-16 platform with the block 60 and 70 upgrades as well as the F-16V configuration. He said these new customers come from countries that previously flew older variants of the aircraft such as Romania and Jordan as well as new customers looking at the Block 70 upgrades. Lockheed Martin has also received interest from the Middle East, Asia, and Europe.
The Block 70 upgrades include improved radar systems, advanced weapons capabilities, and enhanced battlespace awareness. These include a new Northrop Grumman APG-83 active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar with a new avionics architecture and structural upgrades to extend airframe life.
A new Center Pedestal Display (CPD) on the Block 70 provides critical tactical imagery to pilots on a high-resolution 300 cm 2 screen. Bahrain and Slovakia recently became Lockheed Martin’s first Block 70 customers. Parsley said the United States and Bulgaria are currently negotiating Bulgaria’s planned acquisition of new Block 70 aircraft.
The Block 60 upgrades feature a Northrop Grumman AN/APG-80 agile beam radar with AESA antenna, a new core avionics suite based on an advanced mission computer utilising commercial hardware and software, and a digital fuel system. The Block 60 was designed for the United Arab Emirates (UAE). F-16V upgrades include a Link 16 theatre datalink, the Sniper advanced targeting pod (ATP), advanced weapons, precision Global Positioning System (GPS) navigation and the Auto Ground Collision Avoidance System (Auto GCAS). (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.