07 Mar 19. Poland seeks new tank destroyers. On 27 February Poland’s Armament Inspectorate announced a technical dialogue (a request for information) regarding the procurement of an anti-tank ‘battalion module’ to replace the Polish land forces’ 9K14P Malyutka-P self-propelled anti-tank systems. The battalion module is to consist of self-propelled tracked platforms armed with an anti-tank guided missile (ATGM) capable of destroying medium and heavy armoured vehicles equipped with both soft- and hard-kill active protection systems. Applications to participate were due to be submitted by 11 March, with technical dialogues to be carried out in April-June this year. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
05 Mar 19. Turkey localises 65% of defence supply needs: vice president. Turkish vice president Fuat Oktay has revealed that the country’s defence industry is now fulfilling 65% of domestic military equipment needs. Speaking at a conference held by Turkish Aerospace on 2 March, Turkey’s Hurriyet Daily quoted the vice president as saying that “it is essential that we use our own resources in an effective and productive way to make progress in the defence industry field.”
Oktay pointed to a number of projects in the aviation sector that the country has been involved in, notably the Turkish Aerospace T129 ATAK attack helicopter, and future programmes such as the Turkish Aerospace Turkish Fighter (TF) future multirole fighter aircraft (Source: Google/IHS Jane’s)
01 Mar 19. Germany issues tender docs for heavy-lift helo. The German government has released its tender documents for the Bundeswehr’s Schwerer Transporthubschrauber (STH) heavy-lift helicopter requirement. Issued by the Federal Office of Bundeswehr Equipment, Information Technology and In-Service Support on 28 February, the documents set out the performance and programmatic details for the STH requirement to procure 44-60 helicopters for the German Air Force (Luftwaffe) over an eight-year delivery period. In approving the STH programme in November 2018, the German government said a newly developed helicopter to replace the 70 incumbent Sikorsky CH-53G/GS/GA/GEs is “out of the question”, with the Boeing CH-47E and Sikorsky CH-53K King Stallion “appearing to be appropriate”. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
07 Mar 19. Retired US Air Force pilots criticise potential fourth-generation aircraft buy. USAF pilots criticised a possible fourth-generation aircraft.
- A pair of retired USAF pilots criticised the service’s potential four-generation aircraft purchase as not conforming with the Pentagon’s National Defense Strategy
- They said these aircraft would only be effective for the next 10 years
A pair of retired US Air Force (USAF) pilots on 6 March criticised the service’s potential buy of fourth-generation aircraft, saying it does not conform with the Pentagon’s National Defense Strategy (NDS).
JV Venable, senior research fellow for defence policy at the Heritage Foundation, said that any fourth-generation platform such as a variant of the Boeing F-15 Eagle would be in service for 30–35 years, but it would only be effective for the next decade. The NDS has called for the US to move from combat in lightly-contested environments such as Afghanistan or Syria to preparing for potential conflict against peers such as China or Russia.
Venable said, in addition, a fourth-generation aircraft buy would be two generations behind cutting-edge fighter aircraft being piloted by adversaries for the next 20–30 years.
“This is where the F-15X, I think, falls short,” Venable said at an Air Force Association (AFA) Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies event. “It’s not just the F-15X, it’s any fourth-generation platform right now.”
The USAF fiscal year 2020 (FY 2020) budget, set to be released on 12 March, will likely request new fourth-generation fighter aircraft to help the service reduce the average age of its fleet. The service believes this would also help with sustainability management.
USAF Chief of Staff General David Goldfein said on 28 February that he would prefer to buy additional Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightning II Joint Strike Fighters (JSFs). Service Secretary Heather Wilson said on 28 February that higher-ranking Pentagon leadership pushed the USAF to buy fourth-generation aircraft. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
07 Mar 19. The Air Force awarded a contract after just 3 minutes. In the so-called great power competition with Russia and China, defense experts have worried that the United States is at a disadvantage because those countries are not subjected to the same contractual and legal hurdles as the Pentagon when it comes to adding new tools and weapons. But the Air Force wants to change that and their solution plays off the popular television show “Shark Tank,” where aspiring entrepreneurs pitch solutions and win contracts in minutes, not months or years.
The Air Force’s pitch days, powered by the Small Business Innovation Research Program, looked to solve problems within the portfolios of Program Executive Offices Command, Control, Communications, Intelligence and Networks, Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance and Special Operations Forces and Digital.
The first of such events took place in New York City March 6 and 7. The Air Force awarded 51 proposals in 15 minutes or less, David Shahady, Air Force SBIR/STTR Program Director, said March 7. In one day, the Air Force awarded $3.5 million, including one contract in just three minutes.
“What’s most exciting is that we’re also doing things faster. That’s what pitch day was really all about,” he said. “It was about pushing the limits and trying to make the process of working with the government easier. Simplifying our contracting was the number one thing associated with that.”
Will Roper, assistant secretary of the Air Force for acquisition, technology and logistics, said one contract was awarded in three minutes. “We believe the best we’re aware of before was around three months,” he said. “If three months was okay before today … what does that say about our thinking about this kind of venture endeavor?”
Air Force officials did not say which company won the award in the record time. Similarly, Gen. Stephen Wilson, Air Force vice chief of staff, noted that the 51 contracts awarded March 6 are just the first signs of change.
Shahady optimistically posited that some company in the United States right now is developing an answer to every problem the Air Force has. “So the question is how do we reach you? How do we change the paradigm,” he said.
At its core, pitch day is about getting contracts faster to compete with rival nations. To do that, the DoD has to change its approach and foster new relationships with new companies in new regions, like New York City.
“As we look around the world today, we’re in competition. We’re in competition with folks that are doing things differently, they want to change, they do have different values. They’re well resourced, they’re well funded, they’ve got speed, they’ve got ability to do things sometimes that we can’t,” Wilson said.
Maj. Gen. Cameron Holt, deputy assistant secretary for contracting, told the audience that the great power competition is real and while the last conflict was ground-centric, the Air Force has to dominate in the air and cyberspace.
“It’s about creating an environment where we can start doing manufacturing, prototypes and scalable things and most importantly … that we actually will build a robust industry base … the kind of robust industry base that we saw back in World War II to support the entire nation,” Shahady, said. “It’s not all about everything going to the military. It’s about what is the best way for the military to get that item? Is it the commercial market? In many cases maybe it is.”
Companies awarded included CrowdAI, which turns satellite data into useful insights, Securisyn Medical, which specializes in creating an incubation tube that does not come out thus preventing unnecessary casualties on the battlefield and Consul Systems, which secures IoT devices. (Source: C4ISR & Networks)
06 Mar 19. U.S. Navy Releases Draft RFP for FFG(X) Frigate. The U.S. Navy has issued a draft request for proposals for a new guided missile frigate, being acquired through the FFG(X) competition. The service plans to buy a total of 20 ships, and the draft solicitation outlines the construction schedule for the first 10 ships in the class. The lead ship would be delivered 72 months after a contract is awarded. The contract will include an option for an additional nine ships. A final RFP will be released later this year, with a contract award planned in 2020. The Navy hopes the ships will cost around $800m each, though the lead ship will be more expensive. Huntington Ingalls Industries, Austal USA, Lockheed Martin, Fincantieri Marine and General Dynamics Bath Iron Works are working on designs for the competition. (Source: defense-aerospace.com/Forecast International)
04 Mar 19. Pentagon Wants 78 Lockheed F-35s in 2020, Six Fewer Than Planned. The Pentagon will request 78 F-35 jets built by Lockheed Martin Corp., six fewer than previously planned, in the budget expected to be sent to Congress next week, according to defense officials. The cutback from the 84 fighters projected a year ago for fiscal 2020 is a setback for Lockheed, the No. 1 defense contractor, even as interest in the plane from foreign buyers increases. The officials asked not to be identified in advance of the budget release. It’s likely to raise questions from skeptical lawmakers about why the Defense Department, which has spent years saying it needs the more advanced F-35, cut back the planned purchases even as the Air Force is seeking money to buy eight new, upgraded F-15 jets from rival Boeing Co. They would be the first F-15s the Pentagon bought since 2001. Among the likely questions is whether Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan, a former Boeing official, played any part in the decision to buy fewer planes from Lockheed and more from Chicago-based Boeing. However, Shanahan has recused himself from participation in all Boeing matters.
The Air Force still plans to buy all 48 jets in fiscal 2020 that it had originally sought, according to a person familiar with the budget who asked not to be identified. That means the quantity sought by the Navy or Marine Corps was cut.
If recent history is a guide, Congress will increase the F-35 request in the final version of the fiscal 2020 budget. Despite a history of performance setbacks, the F-35 has drawn praise for its flying qualities as the Air Force, the Marine Corps and now the Navy have declared that the aircraft has an initial combat capability. It also retains strong support in Congress as a job creator. Bethesda, Maryland-based Lockheed boasts that it uses 1,500 suppliers in 46 states and more internationally.
For the current year, Congress appropriated $9.34bn for 93 F-35s, 16 more than requested. For fiscal 2018, lawmakers added 20 F-35s to the 70 requested.
Republican Senator James Inhofe of Oklahoma, chairman of the Armed Services Committee, has said he wants to triple F-35s purchased by 2024, making it the most ambitious procurement request on his agenda for next year.
While Shanahan has pledged to stay out of Boeing decisions, he isn’t hesitant to praise the F-35 built by its rival. In an interview last Thursday with Bloomberg News, he sought to make clear he’s a fan.
“What’s really important for people to always take away is I’ve found the aircraft — the F-35 as a product, its capability and performance — to be eye-watering. It is high, high-performing — no ambiguity — no ifs, ands or buts.”
But Shanahan said he’s focusing on “program execution,” which includes driving down the long-term costs of maintaining and operating the fleet of 2,456 F-35s that the U.S. plans to acquire.
“This is the largest program in DoD history and the cost of sustainment is about the same cost as nuclear modernization,” he said, referring to an estimated price tag of more than $1trn over at least several decades, according to the Congressional Budget Office.
Because the F-35 is just entering its decades-long expected service life, he said, “if you were ever going to fix” the sustainment cost and “if you were ever going to realize high performance — you would do it on the front end. We have a small window.”
Shanahan said he has “decades of experience” in managing the costs of operating aircraft, and that his concern about the high costs of operating and maintaining multibillion-dollar weapons systems isn’t limited to Lockheed.
“People write about like it’s” just Lockheed, Shanahan said. “It’s Lockheed, it’s BAE, it’s Northrop,” he said. “There’s a lot of opportunity to achieve higher levels of performance. There’s a big opportunity.”
While that sounds like a long-term agenda, Shanahan hasn’t commented on whether he expects President Donald Trump to nominate him for defense secretary, a job that’s been vacant since Jim Mattis stepped down at the end of last year in protest of the president’s vow to withdraw U.S. troops from Syria.
Compared with the taciturn Mattis, Shanahan has been vocal in supporting Trump’s initiatives, from reducing troops in Syria to using the military to bolster security at the Mexico border. He says his acronym is GSD, for “get stuff done.”
“Let’s not worry about whether he’s a ‘yes man’ or a ‘no man’ but whether he’s a ‘can-do’ man,” Shanahan said of himself in the interview. “I just spend all my time getting stuff done.” (Source: Defense News Early Bird/Bloomberg)
01 Mar 19. Rumoured US Air Force F-15 buy could be other fourth-generation aircraft. Key Points:
- The US Air Force (USAF) could buy fourth-generation aircraft other than F-15s to help grow its fighter capacity
- USAF leadership wants to reduce the average age of its fighter aircraft
The rumoured US Air Force (USAF) purchase of new Boeing F-15 Eagle fighters could instead be other fourth-generation aircraft, as long as the service is buying 72 fighters per year, according to USAF leadership.
USAF Chief of Staff General David Goldfein said that the service must grow its fighter capacity to be able to execute the Pentagon’s National Defense Strategy with moderate risk. He said the USAF must also drive down its average fighter aircraft age to 15 years, which would help with sustainability management.
Gen Goldfein said if it were up to him, he would buy more Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighters (JSFs), but he said that money was not available for this.
“In a perfect world where we would have the resources available to us, the 72 fighters a year would be F-35s because a F-15 or any variant would never be a F-35,” Gen Goldfein told reporters on 28 February at the Air Force Association’s Air Warfare Symposium. “This is about capacity.”
Boeing did offer the USAF F-15s, but it offered two different models, a source familiar with the discussions told Jane’s on 1 March. These were a single-seat CX variant and a dual-seat EX model, and the only difference between the two variants was the number of seats.
The source said the service approached Boeing about 18 months ago on how it could refresh its F-15C Eagle fleet and what the company could deliver that was low cost, without a 10-year development programme. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
02 Mar 19. US Air Force suspends KC-46 tanker deliveries. Boeing’s deliveries of its KC-46 tanker to the U.S. Air Force have been suspended as the service investigates a series of problems with foreign object debris, its top acquisition official confirmed Friday.
Will Roper, the service’s assistant secretary for acquisition, technology and logistics, told reporters that it will likely be “some time” before the service begins accepting new tankers from Boeing.
“I was able to get some data from our team on the foreign object debris that’s being experienced on the KC-46 line. It’s still to be determined how extensive and how far into the production line it goes,” he said.
“It boils down to process, culture and leadership in making systems. A trip to Boeing is almost certainly going to be necessary for me to approve DD250s again,” he added, using the Defense Department’s term for accepting an aircraft.
During a Thursday afternoon roundtable with reporters, Roper said that the Air Force had grounded planes for about a week due to concerns about tools and other foreign object debris left in the aircraft — a potential safety hazard. The issue was first reported by The Seattle Times.
Roper said then that early feedback from the Air Force’s on-site team seemed positive, and that the approval of two tanker deliveries was expected Thursday evening.
On Friday, Roper clarified that at that point he hadn’t talked to the Defense Contract Management Agency, Air Mobility Command or other stakeholders about the way forward, but after those discussions took place the Air Force opted to delay aircraft deliveries.
A memo obtained to The Seattle Times pointed to a series of foreign object debris, or FOD, incidents caused by workers leaving tools inside the aircraft, with eight incidents documented on planes moving through production and two occurrences in KC-46s delivered to the Air Force.
Roper didn’t say whether there were other signs that FOD control at Boeing’s Everett, Washington, production plant had degraded, but offered that the Air Force was still whittling down a root cause and wanted to more fully understand the scope of the problem.
“Drawing from history and past programs with FOD, sometimes it’s a major issue. Sometimes is a minor issue,” he said. “In this case it’s not clear how extensive the root causes are. And if you’re uncertain, in the case of safety issues, you play it conservative. So, no reason for us to accept airplanes until we’re confident.
“I can’t be very specific on the remediation, but I just have enough reason for concern not to go forward accepting the aircraft.”
The Air Force and DCMA have identified 13 process improvements that it is directing Boeing to put in place, and they will finalize that corrective action plan later in the day, he said Friday. Boeing will be responsible for paying for any fixes that are put in place, and the company has also offered to inspect the aircraft already delivered to the Air Force.
Boeing delivered the first KC-46 to the Air Force in January, and so far six tankers have been accepted by McConnell Air Force Base, Kansas, and Altus Air Force Base, Oklahoma. However, various technical problems delayed the program, and the delivery of the first tanker occurred almost two years later than expected.
“The real downside is not a cost issue. This isn’t costing us anything. It’s the lack of training. We need aircraft for pilots and operators to train,” Roper said.
A spokesman for Boeing said the company continues to work with the Air Force on the tanker delivery schedule. (Source: Defense News)
01 Mar 19. USAF issues draft RFP for new Open Skies aircraft. The US Air Force (USAF) has issued a draft request for proposals (RFP) for its Open Skies Treaty Aircraft Recapitalization (OSTAR) requirement. The draft RFP, released on 28 February, sets out the preliminary requirements for two aircraft to replace the USAF’s current pair of Boeing OC-135B platforms that have performed the role since 1996. As noted in the solicitation, the aircraft will be a new-build platform that will be equipped with a Digital Visual Imaging System (DVIS), Mobile Digital Ground Processing System (MDGPS), and other mission kit.
According to the draft RFP, the OSTAR programme will be delivered in three phases: the first phase covering aircraft production and modification, the second covering delivery of the aircraft and operational testing, and the third covering the aircraft’s entry into service. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
REST OF THE WORLD
08 Mar 19. Global wrap-up: US clamps down on Turkish F-35 order, Japan launches new destroyer. This global wrap-up provides updates of industry developments across the globe, including new procurement deals, capability introductions and key announcements.
- The Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) officially commissioned the second Aegis-based Asahi Class guided missile destroyer, the JS Shiranui.
- The US State Department approved the foreign military sales (FMS) of two Aegis weapon systems to Japan in a deal worth an estimated US$2.15bn.
- India secured a US$190m deal to purchase two 777 Large Aircraft Infrared Countermeasures (LAIRCM) Self-Protection Suites (SPS). The deal also includes initial spares, consumables, repair and return support, support equipment, SPS engineering design, integration, hardware integration, flight test and certification, selective availability anti-spoofing modules (SAASM), warranties, publications and technical documentation, training and training equipment, field service representatives; US government and contractor engineering, technical and logistics support services, and other related elements of logistical and program support.
- Lockheed Martin has offered an evolved variant of the F-16V ‘Viper’ as the F-21, which would be built in partnership with Tata in India as part of the Indian Air Force’s (IAF) modernisation program to acquire approximately 114 tactical fighter aircraft.
- China’s annual defence expenditure has risen by 7.5 per cent or US$177.6bn for FY2019.
- Ukrspecexport, the Ukranian military import/export agency, has signed a joint venture with Myanmar to develop an armoured vehicle assembly plant to produce the BTR-4U 8×8 armoured personnel carrier and 2S1U self-propelled howitzer. Production at the new facility is expected in the second half of 2020.
- Indonesia and South Korea are reportedly close to signing a follow-on order for three Type 209/1400 Chang Bogo Class diesel-electric attack submarines to be built by South Korean defence contractor Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering (DSME). This deal follows a US$1.1bn deal signed between the two countries in 2011.
- Singapore has officially taken delivery of the first Invincible Class submarines, based on the ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems (TKMS) Type 218SG Class submarine following a ceremony at Kiel in Germany. The vessel is the first of four new submarines, with all four vessels to be delivered from 2022.
- Israel has been tentatively approved for an FMS worth US$238 m for Namer Armoured Personnel Carrier power packs, less transmission and related equipment. Also included is an Integrated Logistics Support package that includes: special tools for C-Level maintenance; oil spray nozzle test bench; preservation and packaging; containers; configuration management; technical manuals, spare parts catalogs, other documentation and publications, and other related elements of logistics and program support.
- Lockheed Martin has been awarded a nine-figure down payment on a US$15bn missile defence system for Saudi Arabia to deliver 44 Terminal High Altitude Area Defence (THAAD) system long-lead items, testing and training, and initial system engineering and development. It’s the first step in a larger deal struck in 2018 between the US and Saudi Arabia that will eventually see the kingdom receive THAAD launchers, missiles, and affiliated equipment.
- Saudi Arabia has signed a joint venture with France’s Naval Group to build warships for the middle east kingdom, with broader export opportunities in the Middle East.
- The US is placing increased pressure to cancel Turkey’s planned acquisition of the Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighter over the country’s plan to purchase the Russian designed S-400 air defence system, over concerns about the integrity of the fifth-generation fighter’s secret capabilities.
- Mark Lancaster, UK Minister of State for the Armed Forces, has clearly defined the role of the future Type 31e guided missile frigates to be built for the Royal Navy, saying that: “The Type 31e frigates will be tailored toward maritime security and defence engagement, including the fleet ready escort role at home, our commitments in the south Atlantic, the Caribbean and the Gulf, and to NATO.”
- The Royal Air Force has finally retired the last eight Panavia Tornado strike aircraft following 40 years of active service, with the aircraft’s role to be taken over by the Eurofighter Typhoon and Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.
- Airbus, Naval Group and Rohde & Schwarz have received a contract with the French Navy worth about US$169.5m to develop and deliver a secure data network for the French Navy.
- Naval Group and Chantiers de l’Atlantique have signed a US$1.9bn contract for the construction of four logistic support ships for the French Navy, with the first two vessels to be delivered by 2025.
- European aerospace companies Airbus, Dassault, Safran and MTU Aero Engines have partnered to initiate a series of joint concept study (JCS) agreements to begin the development phase of the sixth-generation Future Combat Air System (FCAS).
- The German Navy is looking to source a high-energy laser weapon system (HELWS) for integration into a future corvette in the 2020-21 time frame.
- The Russian Air Force is expecting to take delivery of its first Su-57 fifth-generation fighter aircraft in 2019 despite rumours that the aircraft would never officially enter service.
- Thales was awarded a US$37 m deal with the US Army to provide the new rapidly deployable security force assistance brigades (SFAB) with the AN/PRC-148C Improved Multiband Inter-Intra Team Radio (IMBITR), establishing it as the first dual-channel, certified networking radio to enhance communications at the tactical edge and providing joint and coalition forces interoperability.
- The US Navy’s fleet of F-35C variant aircraft have reached initial operating capability (IOC), paving the way for increased deployment aboard the US Navy’s fleet of super carriers.
- The US Navy’s Columbia Class ballistic missile submarine program is getting a new head and program office as the project gathers momentum.
- Huntington Ingalls Industries was awarded a US$118m firm-fixed-price contract for the execution of USS Rushmore (LSD 47) fiscal 2019 drydock selected restricted availability.
- Raytheon Missile Systems was awarded a US$91.8m firm-fixed-price option for fiscal 2019 for Navy procurements of Rolling Airframe Missile (RAM) Block 2 guided missile round pack and spare replacement components.
- Lockheed Martin was awarded a US$14.1m cost-plus-incentive-fee order for the development of the F-35 Automatic Ground Collision Avoidance System (AGCAS).
- The Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) officially took delivery of its first two RAAF classic F/A-18 Hornet aircraft as part of a US$500m sale commitment signed between the governments of Australia and Canada.
- The Canadian government has confirmed that BAE Systems has been awarded the contract to provide 15 Canadian Surface Combatant (CSC) vessels based on the BAE Type 26 Global Combat Ship.
- Western Australia-based Austal has enjoyed strong financial results on the back of a US$5. bn order book, driven by continued growth in the US market.
- The Australian government and Naval Group have successfully signed the Strategic Partnering Agreement (SPA) for the delivery of the Attack Class submarines.
- ASC and Naval Group Australia confirmed the signing of Framework Agreement, which would identify the ways Naval Group Australia and ASC would collaborate for the provision of supplies and services to each other to support Australia’s through-life, sovereign submarine capability.
- Naval Group Australia and the Australian government have officially signed the design contract for the Attack Class submarines, kicking off the design phase of the $50 bn contract.
- Northrop Grumman Australia and fellow Australian companies – BAE Systems, MOOG, RUAG, NIOA,Survitec, and GE Aviation – will provide the capabilities underpinning 13 of 17 MRO&U component repair technology groups for all F-35 Joint Strike Fighters assigned to the Asia-Pacific region.
- Northrop Grumman has officially announced the delivery of the 500th centre fuselage for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. The centre fuselage piece for AU-18 will eventually be delivered to the Royal Australian Air Force as an F-35A.
- Boeing Defence Australia and Defence Science and Technology Group used the 2019 Avalon Aerospace Expo and Airshow to unveil the Boeing Airpower Teaming System and the Loyal Wingman unmanned aerial combat system demonstrator. (Source: Defence Connect)
06 Mar 19. Australian Government, Naval Group call for industry partner EOI. Defence Minister Christopher Pyne and Defence Industry Minister Linda Reynolds have announced expressions of interest (EOI) are now open to support the development of the SEA 1000 Attack Class submarine construction yard. EOIs have been released for the supply and installation of 18 major items of equipment for the submarine construction yard at Osborne Naval Shipyard in South Australia.
Defence Minister Christopher Pyne said the yard will be a purpose designed facility responsible for building the future submarine fleet.
“Naval Group has released expressions of interest on the Commonwealth’s Industry Capability Network website for the supply of 18 pieces of equipment to be installed within the yard,” he said.
As part of the program ramp up, Naval Group Australia has commenced planning activities for the procurement of capital equipment related to the submarine construction yard (SCY) to be built as part of the Future Submarines Program (FSP).
“This includes pipe bending, milling, boring, shearing and guillotining machines, as well as automated storage systems which will be installed by Naval Group on completion of the procurement process,” Minister Pyne added.
Newly appointed Minister for Defence Industry Linda Reynolds said Naval Group was also expected to open EOIs for an engineering company to project manage the detailed design, procurement installation and commissioning of the Platform Land Based Test Facility to be constructed as part of the future SCY.
“The Platform Land Based Test Facility is critical for testing the main propulsion systems, prior to the first submarine being built,” Minister Reynolds said.
The SCY is part of the Australian Naval Infrastructure (ANI), which will be responsible for the delivery of of a state-of-the-art construction yard where the fleet of 12 Attack Class submarines will be built. The new infrastructure will support the continuous build programs for warships and submarines.
Minister Reynolds added, “These expressions of interest mark another step in the development of Australia’s continuous naval shipbuilding capability, which will create thousands of jobs over the coming years.”
Infrastructure development at the Osborne Naval Shipyard will modernise ship construction systems and processes in Australia to improve shipyard productivity and reduce the cost of Australian build programs. The government established ANI in March 2017, which will facilitate the development and construction of new infrastructure at the Osborne shipbuilding facility, as outlined in the Naval Shipbuilding Plan released on 16 May 2017.
ANI is a nation-building commitment by the government of Australia and sees the establishment of state-of-the-art infrastructure for the domestic manufacture of world-class naval vessels.
Naval Group has been identified as the prime contractor for the $50bn SEA 1000 Future Submarine program to build 12 regionally-superior submarines for the Royal Australian Navy. Naval Group’s successful Shortfin Barracuda design, which serves as the basis for the new Attack Class, is a conventionally-powered variant of the nuclear-powered Barracuda fast attack submarine currently under construction for the French Navy.
The 12 vessels will be built by Naval Group at a specialist submarine shipyard at Osborne, South Australia. The Commonwealth government’s ANI program will support the development of the future submarine shipyards.
The Commonwealth government formally signed the strategic partnering agreement (SPA) with Naval Group in February 2019 ahead of confirming the final design specifications and requirements for the Attack Class submarines.
The Attack Class will enter service with RAN at a time when 50 per cent of the world’s submarines will be operating in the Indo-Pacific region
To date Naval Group has engaged with over 1,100 Australian suppliers through EOIs, requests for information, supplier visits and industry events to develop an in depth understanding of Australian industry capability. Register your interest or to receive further information is available at the Industry Capability Network gateway and register for the Future Submarine Project here. (Source: Defence Connect)
05 Mar 19. Canada’s acquisition of used F-18s to cost higher than DND estimate. The total lifecycle cost of the 18 used F-18 fighter jets being acquired by Canada from Australia is higher than the figure estimated by the Canadian Department of National Defence (DND). In a fiscal analysis of the Interim F-18 aircraft, the Parliamentary Budget Officer (PBO) has estimated the total lifecycle cost of the fighter jets at C$1.09bn ($819.52m), which is 22% higher than the DND’s estimate. The difference is largely due to costs in the operations and sustainment phase. According to the PBO, costs required to undertake life extension and upgrade are about C$120m ($90.22m) higher than DND’s estimate.
Canada signed a deal in November to purchase 18 second-hand legacy F/A-18 Hornets from Australia. The cost estimate of the operations and sustainment phase is related to three categories, including maintenance and munitions, upgrades, and fuel usage. In response to the assessment of the PBO, the DND explained that the difference in the cost estimate was due to the non-inclusion of its contingency in the calculations made by the PBO.
The DND further stated: “The PBO figures for upgrades of the interim fighter fleet include estimates for CF-18 combat upgrades; we are still producing options for these upgrades.
“While we are confident that our methodology is sound, we will continue to work with the PBO, the auditor general of Canada, and other outside entities as part of our commitment to responsible use of taxpayer dollars.”
According to the DND, the F-18s being purchased are very similar to those currently in service with the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF). The acquisition is expected to augment the existing CF-18 fleet.
The RCAF will use the F-18s to complement its existing fleet until the procurement of a new generation of fighter jets is completed.
Last month, Canada received the first two interim aircraft in Cold Lake. Work is underway to modify these aircraft to meet the requirements of the Canadian Armed Forces. The Australian Air Force plans to phase out its F/A-18 fleet and fully transition to its F-35 Joint Strike Fighter capability by 2023. (Source: airforce-technology.com)
05 Mar 19. Contract signing for Future Submarine program. Momentum continues to build for the $50bn SEA 1000 Attack Class submarine program following the announcement of another successful contract signing.
The signing of the design contract for the Royal Australian Navy’s future Attack Class submarines comes less than a month after the Strategic Partnering Agreement (SPA) was signed, and just days after the signing of the Framework Agreement between Naval Group Australia and ASC.
Minister for Defence Christopher Pyne said the signing of the contract between the Commonwealth and Naval Group is the first contract inked under the SPA: “The detailed architecture for the hull, including the placement of main systems, will be developed under this key contract.”
“It’s great to see our Attack Class submarines well and truly taking shape,” Minister Pyne added.
The Submarine Design Contract is the first contract workscope to be fully executed under the Strategic Partnering Agreement. The Submarine Design Contract also includes ongoing preparations for the build of the Attack Class in the Osborne shipyard in South Australia, including ongoing support to Australian Naval Infrastructure (ANI) for the design and build of the Submarine Construction Yard and the ICT systems that will be employed in there.
The Minister for Defence Industry, Linda Reynolds, said the submarine design contract is worth $605m and will see design work progress through to 2021.
“The time frame for the submarine design contract takes into account the detailed design work required, ensuring we have a mature design which avoids costly rework,” Minister Reynolds added.
The new vessels will officially be known as the Attack Class and will be delivered as part of the $50bn SEA 1000 program, which will see Naval Group deliver 12 regionally superior submarines to the Royal Australian Navy.
“This will help deliver a sovereign, regionally superior submarine capability, which will be built, operated and sustained in Australia,” Minister Reynolds said.
Jean-Michel Billig, Executive Vice President Future Submarine Program, Naval Group said, “The signing of the Submarine Design Contract is another significant milestone in the journey of the Future Submarine Program. Through the execution of this Program, the Naval Group teams in both Australia and France will deliver a sovereign, regionally superior submarine capability to Australia.”
“In doing so, we will also help build a stronger Australian industrial capability, which will be supported by a skilled and experienced Australian workforce, providing jobs and other economic benefits for decades to come,” said Mr Billig.
The Attack Class vessels will begin replacing the ageing Collins Class vessels at a time when 50 per cent of the world’s submarines will be operating in the Indo-Pacific region.
Naval Group’s successful Shortfin Barracuda design, which serves as the basis for the new Attack Class, is a conventionally powered variant of the nuclear powered Barracuda fast attack submarine currently under construction in France for the French Navy. Naval Group Australia (formerly DCNS) – a subsidiary of French shipbuilding company Naval Group – is Australia’s international design and build partner for the Future Submarine Program.
Naval Group Australia’s involvement in this $50bn project, supporting an annual average of about 2,800 jobs, amounts to more than just the design and construction of 12 submarines for the Australian Navy – and will also bolster local industry, create thousands of jobs and transfer world-class technology, knowledge and expertise to Australia. (Source: Defence Connect)
04 Mar 19. Eyes on the sea: companies compete for Australian maritime surveillance contract. Major global defense contractors want to sell Australia on cutting-edge technology such as high-altitude, solar-electric powered drones and optionally manned aircraft to keep an eye on the oceans. Airbus SE, Italy’s Leonardo SpA, Northrop Grumman Corp and Lockheed Martin Corp are among the companies that have expressed interest in providing Australia’s Department of Home Affairs with such equipment, showcased at the Australian International Airshow last week.
The four companies said they have responded to a request for information issued late last year; the next step, after the government responds, would be to submit proposals.
The final contracts could be worth several hundred millions dollars depending on the scope, according to two industry sources who declined to be named because they were not authorized to speak to the media.
The country is looking to replace 10 Bombardier Inc Dash 8 maritime patrol turboprops that began service more than a decade ago.
Australia has the world’s third-largest economic exclusion zone behind France and the United States, and the world’s largest maritime search and rescue region, covering about 10 percent of the Earth’s surface.
Australia faces smuggling of people, drugs and weapons; illegal fishing; and search and rescue at sea, making it an ideal market for sophisticated aerial surveillance technology.
“What works for large merchant ships or naval formations may not work for a tiny wooden vessel moving at slow speed with no electronic signature,” said James Goldrick, a retired rear admiral in the Royal Australian Navy and former border protection commander.
The government aims to have all of the new equipment operating by 2024, the department said when it announced the request for information in late October.
A Home Affairs spokesman said on Friday that the government got 67 responses from industry by the end of November, and that no decision had been made on next steps.
Minister for Home Affairs Peter Dutton, who oversees the Australian Border Force, said in October the contract would be a “very significant investment” without providing further details.
An election is due to be held by May and the opposition Labor Party is favored in polls, but Goldrick said he expected any incoming government would issue requests for proposals.
RANGE OF OPTIONS
The Home Affairs contract would build on Australia’s military capabilities, including seven Boeing Co P-8A Poseidon submarine-hunting jets. Five more P-8As have been ordered.
Last year, Australia ordered six Northrop Grumman Triton maritime surveillance drones, which will cost A$6.9bn ($4.90bn) in total, according to a person familiar with the transaction.
Northrop Grumman is marketing its medium altitude, long-endurance, optionally manned Firebird aircraft as a way to compliment the larger and costlier Triton for the border security contract.
“(Firebird) could be tasked to go to very specific things if you want to keep an eye on a certain target of interest for a long period of time while Triton goes off and goes after the broader surveillance,” Doug Shaffer, the manager of the Triton program, told Reuters.
Airbus and Leonardo are both marketing solutions based on the large amount of maritime surveillance equipment each company already has operating in their home markets of France and Italy.
At the air show last week, Airbus’ showed off its Zephyr, a solar-electric pseudo-satellite drone designed to linger at an altitude of around 70,000 feet (21 kilometers) for months at a time to track ships or even provide a temporary boost to communications.
Airbus has built its first Zephyr global operations site in a remote part of Australia’s northwest that has ideal launch weather. The first launch is expected within the next month, Airbus executives told reporters at a briefing.
“Zephyr can provide persistent surveillance and can cover wide areas because it flies very high. That is definitely one element of future solutions on maritime,” said Airbus Defense and Space Head of Marketing Ioannis Papachristofilou.
He added his company would propose a network of many technologies – vessel traffic systems, sensors, helicopters, fixed-wing planes and satellites connected to a local operations center – for a country like Australia.
Leonardo already supplies Australia with maritime surveillance radar and mission systems, and is looking to provide a wide range of products such as helicopters, turboprops and drones fitted with its own sensors, said Michael Lenton, the head of Leonardo Australia. (Source: Reuters)
03 Mar 19. UAE’s Edic in talks with Saudi Arabia for defence sales as it boosts exports. Abu Dhabi defence company is bidding for a number of international contracts, an executive says
“There is a possibility to export to other countries in the North Africa in the future, but for now the focus is on Algeria’s requirements,” said Fahad Al Mheiri, EDIC Director of Business Development. Victor Besa/The National
Emirates Defence Industries Company, which counts Mubadala Investment Company and Tawazun Holding as shareholders, is in talks with state-owned Saudi Arabian Military Industries to sell them products as it continues to seek international deals, an executive said.
Edic, which was formed in 2014, could also explore the possibility of having local content with Saudi Arabia at a later stage, Fahad AlMheiri, director of business development at Edic, told The National. Barij Dynamics, a unit of Edic, wants to sell its precision guidance kit product to Sami.
“This [guidance kit] is a product we have been producing for over three years and supplying to the UAE Air Force. We are keen to start exporting this production,” said Mr AlMheiri. “We hope our brothers in Saudi Arabia will be the first to receive this product. It would be the first export to Saudi Arabia by Edic/Barij Dynamics.”
The talks come after Sami and Abu Dhabi’s investment company Mubadala agreed on an aero and defence partnership last month, the first tie-up of its kind between the two countries in this sector.
Sami, which is owned by Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund, the Public Investment Fund, is tasked with localising at least 50 per cent of the kingdom’s military spending by 2030 from about 2 per cent currently.
Mubadala’s defence and aerospace portfolio includes plane parts maker Strata Manufacturing, Turbine Services & Solutions and Edic.
“A joint facility between the two countries could be discussed if it suits the need,” said Mr AlMheiri. “We have capabilities in the country today and what would make sense to me is for there not to be duplication [in Saudi Arabia].”
The two Edic companies that export products are defence vehicle manufacturer Nimr Automotive, its biggest unit in terms of a product portfolio for exports, and small arms manufacturer Edic Caracal International.
Edic exports to more than 15 countries.
Nimr, which has a joint venture facility in Algeria, is keen to expand its production in the North African country. “There is a possibility to export to other countries in North Africa in the future, but for now the focus is on Algeria’s requirements,” he said.
Edic is also in discussions to sell more Nimr products globally, Mr AlMheiri said, without disclosing further details.
Edic Caracal, which also has a facility in Algeria, has opened an office in the United States to tap that market. “It is interesting for us to have a market over there and to use UAE IP-based product to be sold in the US,” he said.
Edic, which bought French company Manurhin, is not planning any acquisitions for the time being as it focuses on expanding its portfolio. Among Edic’s assets is German rifle maker Merkel.
“We were not planning to acquire this company [Manurhin],” said Mr AlMheiri. “It came organically through a need as we were looking to upgrade our small arms production capability.”
Despite its export ambitions, Edic Caracal expects to remain a major supplier to the UAE Armed Forces, which accounts for at least 95 per cent of its business.
“We understand the limitations of the [export] market. We understand the political limitations we have to make our way around them,” said Mr AlMheiri.
“Export is the cherry on top but the real focus is to support the local armed forces.” (Source: Google/https://www.thenational.ae)
04 Mar 19. Minister unveils Australian Defence Industry Skilling and STEM Strategy. Defence Industry Minister Steven Ciobo and Defence Minister Christopher Pyne have officially announced a plan detailing how new jobs will be created to help deliver the government’s $200bn investment in the nation’s defence capabilities.
The strategy outlines how the Commonwealth government will help Australian defence industry meet its workforce skills requirements with an initial investment of $32m over the next three years.
Minister Ciobo welcomed the announcement and the opportunities it would present Australia’s defence industry, saying, “Australia’s defence industry is about to enter a new era of growth, thanks to our record $200bn investment in defence capability, with opportunities in trades, advanced manufacturing, engineering, ICT, cyber security and other fields across Australia.”
Highlights of the Defence Industry Skilling and STEM Strategy include:
- $4m for a new model of skilling support grants, administered through the Centre for Defence Industry Capability, that will help reduce the financial barriers SMEs face when up-skilling their workforce
- $2.6m for the 2019-20 continuation of the Schools Pathways Program;
- An additional 20 places in the Defence Industry Internship Program. There will now be 50 internship opportunities in defence industry SMEs to facilitate pathways into the sector.
- Defence will establish the National Defence Industry Skills Office to improve collaboration and co-ordination between industry stakeholders. The office will help facilitate information sharing, put defence industry’s skills concerns in a national context and leverage opportunities for collective action to meet the sector’s workforce needs.
Minister Ciobo said, “The strategy is part of the government’s plan to grow a robust, resilient and internationally competitive Australian defence industrial base that is better able to help meet defence capability requirements.”
“There is a long-lead time to developing many of the skills needed by defence industry, which is why we’ve developed this strategy.”
Minister Pyne said building a strong defence industry will help Australia secure its interests at home, in the region and across the world, “The Defence and industry partnership is very important to this endeavour; Australia’s defence industry is vital to our national security.”
The Commonwealth government has announced a $200bn investment in the modernisation of the nation’s defence capabilities. There will be more opportunities for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to join over 3,000 business already working in the defence industry. Many of the opportunities will not be directly with Defence, but in the supply chains of the ‘prime’ companies that deliver many of the major Defence projects in Australia.
Over the next decade and beyond, the demand will increase for Australian workers with trade, technical and science and technology skills to build and maintain fleets of new ships, submarines, armoured vehicles, infrastructure and facilities, and contribute to intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, cyber and other electronic and information based capabilities. Australian design, construction, integration, sustainment, services and support capabilities will all be critical.
A national defence industry skilling and STEM summit will be held in in the second half of 2019 to facilitate targeted engagement between key stakeholders and the office. Further information on the Defence Industry Skilling and STEM Strategy be found at: www.defenceindustry.gov.au. (Source: Defence Connect)
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