Sponsored by American Panel Corporation
UNITED KINGDOM AND NATO
25 Apr 19. Type 26 Frigate tech ‘could be compromised’ if moved to France. Concern has been expressed regarding news that engine production could be taken away from GE Power in Rugby and given to a French firm in Nancy. Earlier in the year this website also reported that a letter was sent from Defence Committee Chairman Julian Lewis to Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson, in relation to concerns over the build location for future components of the Type 26 frigate. You can read that here.
During a recent debate in Westminster Hall on defence procurement, further concerns were expressed in national security terms.
Steve Kerr, a worker General Electric for 25 and a union convenor for the union, said in the committee session: “I would point out that the Rugby site is on the Government’s List X, which, as you know, is for buildings with defence manufacturing capabilities of national strategic importance. Overall, the Type 26 work we do is officially rated as “sensitive”, and there are elements of it that are classified as “NNPPI—UK eyes only”; I am not sure what the abbreviation stands for, but I am sure that you gentlemen will. To give you an idea of how sensitive it is, we have had foreign nationals who have been the site leader for manufacturing but who were not allowed on the shop floor until they gave notice, so that the equipment could be covered up with tarpaulins. They were also excluded from technical meetings at which secret and top-secret information was shared. It is very sensitive, and all the employees have to be security-cleared to work on site.
John Spellar, Member of Parliament for Warley, asked: “If it is UK eyes only, it would, of its essence, be compromised if that work were moved to France?”
Kerr responded: “Yes. This is why we cannot understand GE’s philosophy. They said, “It’s only the total package that is UK eyes only—if we cut it up into small work packages, it is not top-secret,” but they are going to put the whole lot of the equipment together, and it becomes a top-secret piece of equipment.”
Spellar probed further: “What is your understanding of the security classification of the Nancy site?”
“Nancy has no UK security classification whatsoever. There was recently a visit by the Ministry of Defence and by British Aerospace, which is the lead partner in the Type 26 programme. When they went round, they were surprised to see Russian contracts on the shop floor. They asked whether that meant that there were Russian nationals there, and they were told, ‘Oh yes, we regularly have Russian engineers on the shop floor’”, Kerr replied.
He also added: “There is also a concern that in 2011 two Chinese nationals, who were employees of the company, were detained and subsequently deported from France for having civil nuclear sensitive material on their computers. That involved a raid by the French intelligence services—it was a very serious matter. This is a constant threat. Late last year, at another General Electric facility in Belgium, there were some more Chinese nationals who had obtained information on the latest generation of fighter aircraft engines; I believe that at least one gentleman has been extradited to America to stand trial.
There is also the threat to the infrastructure. The naval facility in Rugby has a completely separate, stand-alone computer IT network, which has to be approved by the Ministry of Defence as cyber-secure, but there is nothing of that ilk in France. One of the IT personnel at work told me that it would take at least 18 months, and potentially two and a half years, to procure, install and test a secure IT infrastructure.”
The chair then asked about responses from key people in Government and the civil service: “You fired off a salvo of letters to key people, including the CDS and the First Sea Lord, and you had this reply from Michael Gwyther, assistant head, DE&S Policy Secretariat (Ships), dated 14 November 2018. He says at one point: “The concerns that you raise about the loss of sovereign capability and security are matters the MoD takes very seriously and I can assure you they are being carefully considered.”
In the next but one sentence he says: “You will understand, however, that the future of the facility is ultimately a decision for the company.” Towards the end, he says: “No matter what the company’s final decision on the Rugby facility the MoD will continue to work closely with GE to ensure that key programmes can continue to be supplied and supported with the equipment they need to support the Royal Navy.”
Is there any way that GE could continue in the UK to supply the secret and top secret elements of their services that they are supplying at Rugby at the moment? Is there any other facility they could use to supply?”
Kerr responded: “If the Rugby facility closes, no, there is no alternative place in the UK. We have the largest VPI tank in the world, which is key. The height of the building is another prerequisite.”
The propulsion system of the RN ships will have a gas turbine and four high speed diesel generators driving two electric motors in a ‘CODLOG’ arrangement, ‘CODLOG’ simply stands for Combined diesel-electric or gas.
In 2012 Rolls Royce redesigned the well known MT30 used in the Queen Elizabeth class aircraft carriers t enable its usage in smaller ships, such as Type 26. It is now known that the vessels will use the MT30. From what I learned at a RINA presentation, BAE believe that some potential customers would prefer to lose a few knots by opting to use cheaper engines.
Eight Type 26 Frigates are to be built in total with three in the first batch, the contract for the second batch will be negotiated in the early 2020s.
Ordering in batches is common for projects of this size around the world and was last seen with the Royal Navy for the Type 45 Destroyers and recent Offshore Patrol Vessels. The Type 45s first batch order was for three vessels for example.
The Type 26 Frigates will be named Glasgow, Cardiff, Belfast, Birmingham, Sheffield, Newcastle, Edinburgh and London. (Source: News Now/https://ukdefencejournal.org.uk)
18 Apr 19. Britain wants a large submarine drone, and it already has jobs lined up for the vessel. The British government has launched a competition to test a large, unmanned submarine’s ability to gather intelligence and perform other roles. In an April 16 announcement, the Ministry of Defence said it will provide £2.5m (U.S. $3.3m) for the winning bidder to design, refit an existing platform and trial the utility of extra-large unmanned underwater vehicles, otherwise known as XLUUVs. A further £2m could go toward the trials if the cash-strapped MoD can find the required funds — something the announcement concedes is unlikely. The three-year effort includes a yearlong research, design and vehicle refit as the first stage, followed by a two-year program to test a large unmanned submarine’s ability to undertake a series of roles. The announcement specifically mentions covert intelligence gathering, the deployment and recovery of sensors, and anti-submarine warfare, but the MoD was it clear it is seeking a modular payload design to cover a range of additional capabilities. The British decision to explore the use of XLUUVS comes weeks after the U.S. Navy awarded Boeing a deal to fabricate, test and deliver four unmanned submarines. Based on Boeing’s Echo Voyager demonstrator vehicle, the U.S. company beat rival Lockheed Martin to a $43m deal to deliver the platform, known as the Orca, by 2022.
A Lockheed Martin spokesman in the U.K. said the company was aware of the British program but didn’t commit to bidding at this stage.
“We are determining how our experience and technologies could pair with the MoD requirements,” the spokesman said.
Boeing UK did not return a call from Defense News.
Orca’s specifications are unknown. To get some idea of what the British are looking at for, consider Echo Voyager’s specs, which include a length of 51 feet, a weight of 50 tons “in the air,” and an ability to operate at a maximum depth of 11,000 feet. It also touts a maximum speed of 8 knots.
What we know about Britain’s trial-vessel requirement is that the successful bid will aim to autonomously pilot an underwater vehicle capable of 3,000 miles and three months’ deployment by the end of the first stage (the design and platform refit phase).
“The system must be capable of piloting a[n] unmanned vehicle” and have a 2-metric-ton capability to house payloads, sensors and operational equipment, the ministry said.
“The tests aim to determine capability limits of an unmanned underwater vehicle, to assist in the development of future requirements and the design of future capabilities,” the MoD said in its announcement.
An existing large underwater vehicle will be used for the sea trials and is not designed to produce a commercial prototype, the ministry noted.
The three-year effort is part of the cross-government Defence and Security Accelerator program, which aims to quickly find and fund exploitable innovations while supporting U.K. prosperity.
Bids for the work are due by June 11, and the MoD hopes to have the winner being work in August.
The competition is part of the Royal Navy’s effort to shape cutting-edge capabilities in the sector of maritime autonomous systems for future operations.
Last month, Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson announced a £75m injection of funds for future capabilities of the Royal Navy, including funds for two new autonomous mine-hunter vessels.
Williamson also revealed the formation of a new joint military and industry high-tech accelerator organization known as NavyX (Source: Defense News Early Bird/Defense News)
22 Apr 19. UK MoD launches autonomous UUV competition. The UK government’s Defence and Security Accelerator (DASA) mechanism has launched a new multi-year themed competition, seeking proposals to develop an autonomous version of an existing large underwater vehicle.
The Ministry of Defence (MoD) aims to address the Royal Navy’s need to understand the advantages and operational boundaries of an autonomously operating unmanned underwater vehicle (UUV) system.
“Defence has an enduring requirement for an increased presence within the underwater battlespace and is looking to address the lack of current options in order to increase the number of delivery ready platforms,” the MoD said in a press release. “To shape the understanding of current cutting edge capabilities, a strategy of exploration and analysis has been adopted to better inform capacity and requirements of ‘Maritime Autonomous System’ use for future Royal Navy operations.” (Source: IHS Jane’s)
23 Apr 19. Navantia Signs the Contract for the Construction of F110 Frigates with the Ministry of Defense. Navantia and the Spanish Ministry of Defense have signed today the contract for the construction of five F-110 frigates for the Spanish Navy. The contract was signed by the Deputy Director of Acquisitions of Weapons and Material, Alfonso Torán; by the Director of Operations and Business of Navantia, Gonzalo Mateo and by the Commercial and Business Development Director of Navantia, Sofia Honrubia.
In addition, the signing, held at the headquarters of the Ministry, was attended by the Secretary of State for Defense, Angel Olivares; the Director General of the DGAM, Santiago Ramón González and the President of Navantia, Susana de Sarriá. This new generation of F-110 frigates, whose construction will begin shortly in Ferrol, stands out for having its own Spanish design and a high degree of industrial and technological sovereignty. About 80% of purchases and supplies will be made from Spanish companies.
The design of this new frigate will incorporate remarkable technological advances, such as the new integrated mast configured with different solutions of sensors and antennas, the incorporation of a multi-space mission that expands the capabilities of the ship in all the segments of defense and a new hybrid propellant plant more efficient and silent endowing the ship with great versatility. In addition, it will integrate unmanned vehicles on board and will have the capacity for the future installation of directed energy weapons.
The frigates will be equipped with a Spanish combat system, SCOMBA, developed by Navantia. This system acts as the vessel’s brain and integrates all the frigate’s sensors and weapons, such as surface sensors, EW and IFF supplied by Indra, Band S radar and Lockheed Martin vertical launcher, AAW – SM-2 from Raytheon, the antisubmarine warfare systems and SAES sonars and the navigation and communications systems from Navantia Sistemas.
It should be noted that the frigate F-110 will be the first major Spanish naval program developed within the framework of Astillero 4.0 which will involve the most advanced integrated control and simulation systems, with the digital twin, which will be complemented by an intelligent management and communication nervous system “without cables”, which will permanently connect the crew to each other, and the crew to the ship’s systems.
In addition, it will incorporate processes and components with additive fabrication or 3D printing and will be the first ships in the fleet to have an integrated cybersecurity system that shields ships against increasing threats. This makes it possible for the ship to have reduced crew for its operation and high standards of habitability.
This program will benefit all the shipyards of Navantia with an impact on the employment of approximately 7.000 jobs annually for almost a decade, between direct and induced jobs. In addition to the workload for the Ferrol Shipyard, it will also generate activity in the Bay of Cadiz, through Navantia Sistemas with the development of the frigate’s combat system. (Source: defense-aerospace.com/Navantia)
23 Apr 19. US Army picks 5 teams to design new attack recon helicopter. AVX Aircraft Co. partnered with L-3 Communications Integrated Systems, Bell Helicopter, Boeing, Karem Aircraft and Lockheed Martin-owned Sikorsky have won awards to design a new Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft (FARA) for the U.S. Army over the next year, the service announced April 23. Only two teams will move forward, at the end of the design phase, to build flyable prototypes of the future helicopter in a head-to-head competition. The Army laid out a handful of mandatory requirements that the vendors had to meet and also a list of desired requirements for initial designs, Col. Craig Alia, the Future Vertical Lift Cross Functional Team chief of staff, told a select group of reporters just ahead of the contract awards.
The service also looked at the vendors’ execution plans and evaluated timing as well as funding profile requirements. “The ones that were selected were clearly meeting the mandatory requirements and were in the acceptable risk level of the execution plan and the desired requirements,” Dan Bailey, who is the FARA competitive prototype program manager, added.
AVX and L3 unveiled its design for the FARA competition at the Army Aviation Association of America’s annual summit in Nashville, Tennessee, earlier this month. The design uses AVX’s compound coaxial and ducted fans technology. The companies said its single-engine design meets 100 percent of the Army’s mandatory requirements and 70 percent of its desired attributes.
The CEO of Textron, Bell’s parent company, said during a recent earnings call, that its FARA design will be based on its 525 technology rather than its tiltrotor technology. Bell has built and flown a tiltrotor prototype — the V-280 Valor — for the Army’s Future Vertical Lift program.
Karem has been working to develop technology under a small contract to help build requirements for FVL aircraft focused on a medium-lift helicopter.
Sikorsky’s offering will be based off of its X2 coaxial technology seen in its S-97 Raider and the Sikorsky-Boeing developed SB-1 Defiant, which are now both flying.
“This is the culmination of years of investment in the X2 Technology Demonstrator and the S-97 RAIDER aircraft that have proven the advanced technology and shown its ability to change the future battlefield,” Tim Malia, Sikorsky’s director of Future Vertical Lift Light, told Defense News in an emailed statement shortly after the announcement.
“We continue to fly the S-97 RAIDER to inform the design for FARA, which provides significant risk reduction to the program schedule and technical objectives. We are eager to continue to support the US Army, and we are excited that the Sikorsky FARA X2 will be ready for this critical mission,” he said.
A total of eight teams submitted data and potential designs for FARA, but upon evaluation, three of those did not meet mandatory requirements, according to Bailey.
It is not publicly stated who the losing teams were, but MD Helicopters had previously protested the Army’s decision to not enter into a first phase agreement with the company to develop a FARA prototype, arguing to the Government Accountability Office (GAO) that the Army “unreasonably” evaluated its proposal and failed to promote small business participation.
The GAO denied the protest earlier this month on the grounds it did not have authority to review protests of contracting mechanisms like Other Transaction Authorities (OTA) which the Army used in this case.
The awards were made two months ahead of an already ambitious schedule to get FARA prototypes flying by 2023. A production decision could happen in 2028, but the service is looking at any way possible to speed up that timeline.
The Army has to move quickly, Alia said. Echoing his boss, Brig. Gen. Wally Rugen, the FVL CFT director, he said the Army is “at an inflection point. We can’t afford not to modernize. We know the current fleet is fantastic, but we can’t indefinitely continue to incrementally improve 1970s to 1980s technology.”
FARA is intended to fill a critical capability gap currently being filled by AH-64E Apache attack helicopters teamed with Shadow unmanned aircraft following the retirement of the OH-58D Kiowa Warrior helicopters.
The service has tried and failed three times to fill the gap with an aircraft.
The Army is also planning to procure another helicopter to fill the long-range assault mission, replacing some UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters in the fleet, simultaneously.
With the advent of the new Army Futures Command — that is focused on six major modernization priorities of which FVL is third — the service is moving faster on prototyping capability to ultimately procure major weapon systems at a somewhat unprecedented speed. Through the AFC and the use of contracting mechanisms like OTAs, the Army has found a way to compress parts of the acquisition process that previously took three to five years into periods of time often amounting to less than a year.
“What is exciting about the new process the Army has put in place,” Bailey said, “in basically a year’s period of time, we’ve gone through concept, through an approved set of requirements, to developing an innovative approach to contracting, to building industry partnerships to have industry propose to us a plan and a solution.”
And the Army rigorously evaluated those FARA proposals, Bailey said, all within that year.
The teams have until January or February next year to provide design plans and an approach to executing the build of the prototypes followed by potential larger-scale manufacturing, Bailey said.
The second phase of the program will be to build prototypes, and “only two will make it into phase 2 and they all know that now,” Bailey added.
According to Rugen, when the request for proposals was released, the Army did not want to get locked into keeping inflexible requirements, but the request did state that the aircraft should have a maximum 40-foot rotor diameter and the fuselage should not exceed 40 feet in width.
The Army also asked for the aircraft to be able to accept some government furnished equipment including an engine, a gun and a rocket launcher, Alia said.
When it comes to some of the desirable attributes for a new aircraft, the Army is considering speed, range and payload possibilities, Alia said, but the service “wanted to encourage innovation by industry to come to us with their ideas and unique ways of meeting both mandatory and desirable characteristics and that is where we got some great feedback from industry and some innovative designs.” (Source: Defense News)
22 Apr 19. US Air Force seeks A-10C central interface control unit redesign. The US Air Force (USAF) is seeking a redesigned central interface control unit (CICU) for the Fairchild-Republic A-10C Thunderbolt II close air support (CAS) aircraft and hopes to have it integrated onto the aircraft by the mid-2020s. The CICU is the brains of the A-10, managing, among other processes, graphics and communications for the pilot. The USAF is looking to manage these functions with increased avionics. The USAF wants more capability out of random access memory (RAM), processing power, non-volatile memory, and environmental ruggedness, specifically, vibration and heat. The air force also wants a modular solution to be able to grow with the weapon system. The USAF could procure 281 units plus spares. This includes Air National Guard (ANG) and Air Force Reserve aircraft. The air force has had increasing problems with the current unit and is looking for increased maintainability and reliability to decrease CICU fails, according to documents posted on the Federal Business Opportunities (FBO) website. The service is concerned with ensuring the electronics on the redesigned CICU will be rugged enough to withstand vibrations from the A-10’s General Electric GAU-8/A Avenger 30 mm seven-barrel cannon gun. As the aircraft was not designed to be an avionics platform, the CICU box has a tight, uncooled location on the outside of the gun, which vibrates when shooting. The air force is pursuing re-procuring circuit cards, among others, as a temporary fix for problematic CICU units.
The USAF desires no A-10-unique support equipment as part of the CICU redesign. It wants to use common support equipment already in the service’s inventory. The service is considering releasing a request for information (RFI) for the CICU redesign effort. The USAF is considering a few ways to fund the CICU redesign and said it has Air Combat Command (ACC) backing but that it did not have a timeline. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
22 Apr 19. US Army seeks industry support to develop vehicle-mounted UAS detectors. The U.S. Army Contracting Command (ACC) – New Jersey 07806-5000, in support of the Combat Capabilities Development Command (CCDC) Armaments Center, is issuing a request for information for market research purposes only to understand industry capability to provide a vehicle-based cueing sensor capable of providing real-time alerts to an existing on-board precision fire control radar (PFCR). The cueing sensor (including but not limited to radar, EO/IR, active/passive) would be vehicle mounted (configurable to be mounted onto Army Ground Combat vehicles including HMMWV, Bradley, Stryker, Abrams, Joint Light Tactical Vehicle [JLTV], and next generation combat vehicles), small, lightweight, affordable, and be suitable for stationary and on-the-move operations.
As a result of issuing this Request for Information (RFI), the Government expects to receive white papers describing proposed concepts and technologies. The RFI responses should identify sensor designs that will support the Armaments Center system concept and include a credible development path, with rough order magnitude estimates provided on costs and timeline.
This information will be used to:
(1) Determine the ability of current and near-term emerging technology to support this mission;
(2) Identify feasible system concept alternatives;
(3) Determine the approximate/relative cost information for each proposed concept via a rough order of magnitude; and
(4) Determine the technical approach, physical and estimated performance characteristics, and achievable goals associated with each proposed concept.
The responder/responder teams must possess the necessary skill, facilities, and expertise to produce a prototype system capable of being demonstrated in both a stationary and on-the-move configuration against a variety threats, primarily small Radar Cross Section (RCS) aerial targets.
Potential candidates should have expertise in sensor design and development. The subject matter may be considered to be a “critical technology” and therefore subject to International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) restrictions. Subject to approval, competition is limited to U.S. sources.
No award is intended as a result of this request for information.
The NAICS Code for this effort is 541715 Research and Development in the Physical, Engineering, and Life Sciences.
- Ability to detect Group 1 UAS in 360 degrees of coverage from a stationary vehicle.
- Group 1 UAS defined as:
- < 20lbs takeoff weight
- < 1,200ft AGL operating altitude
- < 100kts
- Detections must be processed to declare a formal Cue to BLADE PFCR. Cues will have the following features:
- Localize the target in both Az and El to not more than +/- 7.5 degrees.
- Declared at a range of not less than 3 km, with a range accuracy of 100m.
- Cues must be updated at no less than a 1Hz rate.
iii. Day/night all weather capable.
- Cues must be provided/updated on no less than 5 simultaneous targets.
- Cues must not be provided on nuisance targets (birds for example), and stationary or wind-blown natural clutter. No more than five (5) false cues can be declared for every 100 nuisance targets detected.
- SWAP requirements
- Power 1KW integrated onto M-ATV.
- Mast height limitation?
- Environmental conditions: “clear-air environment”.
- Ruggedization to Industrial quality standards.
- Expect to be able to provide data to external system through standard communication channel.
- Ability to detect Group 1 UAS in 360 degrees of coverage from a moving vehicle.
- Detections must be processed to declare a formal cue to BLADE PFCR. Cues will have the following features:
- Localize the target in both Az and El to not more than +/- 2.5 degrees.
- Declared at a range of not less than 5 km.
- Cues must be updated at no less than a 5 Hz rate.
- Cues must provide an estimate of target range-rate.
iii. Day/night all weather capable.
- Cues must be provided/updated on no less than 10 simultaneous targets. No more than one (1) false cue can be declared for every 100 nuisance targets detected.
- Ruggedization to military specifications (MIL SPEC)
- Response Scope:
Responses shall be provided in whitepaper format, limited to 30 pages in length. Responses should include a 1 page executive summary and limit any general company information, past performance, and history to 2 pages. Responses should include an assessment with some justification of the Technology Readiness Level for proposed solutions. Responses may also include a discussion of development paths to improve sensor capability in future upgrades.
Responses should present the technical approach to proposed designs, and include sensor performance predictions with an assessment of technical risks. Projections for developmental schedule and cost through a live demonstration should be included. Production cost Rough Order of Magnitude (ROM) (quantity 100 units) should also be included, and any opportunities for cost reduction in development and/or production should be identified.
Additional information to enhance the credibility of performance and cost projections should be included. This information could be in the form of: previous design results, past test performance, modeling and simulation, live fire test data results, laboratory data and existing cost data on programs or production systems.
Responses should also note available prototype hardware/software systems that are ready for near-term testing to verify performance and collect data for system development and improvement.
Requirements that are major hurdles should be identified, with recommendations for technical mitigations where appropriate.
In addition, please provide the firm’s name and address, point of contact with telephone number and email address, and size of business (small/large) per the listed North American Industry Classification System (NAICS).
- Response Instructions
This market survey is for information and planning purposes only; it does not constitute a Request for Proposal (RFP), and is not to be construed as a commitment by the U.S. Government. The U.S. Government implies no intention or opportunity to acquire funding to support current or future efforts. If a formal solicitation is generated at a later date, a solicitation notice will be published. No award will be made as a result of this market survey. All information is to be submitted at no cost or obligation to the Government. The Government reserves the right to reject, in whole or in part, any private sector input as a result of this market survey. The Government is not obligated to notify respondents of the results of this survey.
Solicitation number W15QKN19X05YK
Deadline: 10 May 2019
Issuing authority: Department of the US Army (Source: www.unmannedairspace.info)
18 Apr 19. The Army has a plan for China, and it’s bad news for JLTV and the Chinook. Legacy programs built for the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq are looking less like vital capabilities and more like bill-payers for the Army, as the service transitions towards a focus on conflict with Russia and China. In a small Tuesday roundtable with reporters, Army Secretary Mark Esper fielded a number of questions about the future of the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle and the CH-47 Block II Chinook, a line of inquiry he tied into a recent meeting between Army leadership and officials at U.S. Indo-Pacific Command.
According to Esper, the Army reached out to INDOPACOM leadership to request a meeting, which eventually happened in Hawaii, in order to discuss how the service is developing capabilities to match up with China.
The idea, Esper said, is to make sure that as INDOPACOM head Adm. Phil Davidson is developing war plans, he “takes into consideration what the Army anticipates bringing to the table.”
Asked which capabilities he sees as vital to the Pacific, Esper identified long range precision fires as “front and center,” which would be used to “hold at bay” Chinese ships. He then added future vertical lift, air and missile defense, and modernized networks as other key areas they briefed INDOPACOM on.
Those capabilities are “something that he needs to know about and he needs to know our thinking where that is in the modernization timeline and everything. So as he thinks about his war plans for the out years, he can calculate those in. and by the same token, it’s an exchange — he can tell us ‘here’s what I’m looking for, here’s what I think I would need,’ and we can adjust our plans as well.”
That discussion happens as the service intends to cut the planned JLTV buy and end procurement of the CH-47 Block II for conventional forces, something Esper said was a direct result of the Army leaning into the National Defense Strategy.
Those two vehicles were designed and procured in “the context of Afghanistan and Iraq,” and hence just not as relevant anymore, Esper said.
“Why the [CH-47s]? Got to carry a heavier payload and fly higher in a hotter climate. What was the heavier payload? JLTV. What drove JLTV? IEDs in Afghanistan and Iraq,” Esper argued. “In many ways they were designed for a different conflict. Doesn’t mean we won’t use them in future conflicts, but now my emphasis has to be on rebuilding my armor, rebuilding my fighting vehicles, having aircraft that can penetrate Russian and Chinese air defenses, that can shoot down Russian and Chinese drones and missiles and helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft.
“We’re in this transition period and some folks are caught in that transition, and that’s what we’re up against.”
More specifically, Esper said there were “no” plans to re-look at the CH-47 decision, and acknowledged that the JLTV total figure is a bit of a moving target.
“We are certainly cutting the total number” of JLTV procurement, which had previously been set at 49,000, Esper said. “I know that much. But whether it settles out, finals out right here, today, I can’t tell you. In five years, I could maybe have a different number for you.” (Source: Defense News Early Bird/Defense News)
18 Apr 19. US Army postpones demo plans for next-gen unmanned aircraft. The U.S. Army’s plans to design, build and fly technology demonstrators for a next-generation unmanned aircraft system is not moving forward. The decision was made so the service can concentrate on future vertical lift efforts for two future manned helicopter procurement programs, according to the Army’s aviation development director at Combat Capabilities Development Command.
The Army wanted to design a program, much like it did with its Joint Multi-Role Technology Demonstrator (JMR-TD) program, to get after a next-generation UAS, but the service “has decided we are not going to pursue that,” Layne Merritt told Defense News in an interview at the Army Aviation Association of America’s annual summit on April 16.
With major efforts underway to build and field a future attack reconnaissance aircraft and a future long-range assault aircraft, “another major acquisition is probably too much for the Army at one time,” he said.
The plan now is to focus on war-gaming efforts to flesh out concepts of advanced teaming between manned and unmanned aircraft, which, Merritt said, will “call out the need for more advanced, high-performance unmanned systems.”
The Army will wrap up the first phase of the next-generation UAS technology demonstrator program already underway, which is meant to produce conceptual designs.
“That is going to really enable us in modeling tools for conceptual design to help answer the questions that we will find out during the war gaming for advanced teaming,” Merritt said, “what kind of actual performance attributes are required. And then, when the Army decides, we will move forward.”
All of the FVL efforts will take place within Army Futures Command, which is tasked with modernization efforts focused on complementing its newly formed doctrine — Multidomain Operations — and the National Defense Strategy.
Meanwhile, the Army is pursuing a future tactical UAS (FTUAS) to replace its Shadow systems that are serving in a manned-unmanned teaming role with AH-64E Apache attack helicopters.
The Army selected a Martin UAV-Northrop Grumman team as well as AAI Corporation, a unit of Textron, to provide UAS for platoons to test as candidates for a Shadow replacement.
The service’s original plan for a next-gen UAS was to analyze conceptual designs and make decisions in 2019 about what it would like built and flown. The hope was to fund several efforts, giving companies a chance to build a UAS over an 18- to 24-month period followed by a flight program for FTUAS.
In 2017, when the Army was gearing up for a next-gen UAS technology demonstration, Merritt told Defense News that the service wanted something very different from the current fleet of Shadows and Gray Eagles to perform tactical reconnaissance missions.
The Army has said it wants a runway-independent UAS, for starters. But now the service is thinking even bigger when it comes to advanced teaming, and it sees missions for UAS far beyond tactical reconnaissance, Merritt said. (Source: Defense News Early Bird/Defense News)
12 Apr 19. Presidential helicopter replacement cost to fall by $230m. Projected total costs for 23 new Sikorsky VH-92As, aircraft for the Presidential Helicopter Replacement programme, have declined $230m from a previous estimate.
Sikorsky attributes the savings to several factors, including stable requirements, a low number of design changes, and programme efficiencies, says the Government Accountability Office (GAO). The projected total cost of the US Navy (USN) programme fell from $5.18bn to $4.95bn.
Initial delivery of VH-92A presidential helicopters is scheduled to begin in FY2020 with production ending in FY2023. The presidential helicopters are based on the commercial Sikorsky S-92A, a twin-engined, medium-lift helicopter. The new helicopters will replace the current US Marine Corps (USMC) fleet of VH-3D and VH-60N aircraft.
There are a few snags, however, as the USN delayed some programme milestones, such as its low-rate production decision, by five months from its original baseline goal.
“Although this remains within the approved schedule, the program will have less time than planned between the end of development testing and start of operational assessment,” says the GAO.
Programme officials told the GAO they anticipate having enough information from the government-led integrated testing and the operational assessment to inform their final low-rate production decision. Sikorsky reported to the agency that it had finished about 83.3% of development work, with the rest anticipated to complete by October 2020. Lingering development issues include a problem with VH-92A aircraft’s start procedures. The S-92A’s propulsion system, two General Electric CT7-8A turboshaft engines, did not meet an undisclosed performance requirement, says the GAO.
The programme has also yet to come up with a way to land the VH-92A on the White House South Lawn without damaging the grass. The GAO does not disclose what the causes this problem, though the commercial S-92A has a maximum takeoff weight that is at least 2,041kg (4,500lb) more than its predecessors. Sikorsky reportedly had a successful test landing of the helicopter on the White House lawn in September 2018, though the GAO’s report seems to indicate there are unresolved issues.
Lastly, the VH-92A programme has experienced problems connecting the aircraft’s communication system to secure networks, due to changes in network security requirements. Nonetheless, the USN anticipates having a fix by January 2020, says the GAO. (Source: Defense News Early Bird/Flightglobal)
18 Apr 19. Bell Helicopter, a Textron Inc. (NYSE: TXT) company, announced today that, should the Bell 407GXi be selected for the US Navy Advanced Helicopter Trainer program, the company plans to conduct final assembly of the aircraft in Ozark, Alabama. Bell submitted its proposal to the Navy on April 2. The Navy is seeking to acquire 130 aircraft.
“Bell is proud to be the only U.S.-based manufacturer to participate in the Navy Advanced Helicopter Trainer competition,” said Mitch Snyder, President and CEO. “Our Ozark team has proven their capabilities delivering Bell 407s to the Navy through the Fire Scout program. We look forward to providing a safe, technologically advanced aircraft for the next generation of Naval aviators.”
The Bell 407GXi is outfitted with the new Rolls-Royce M250-C47E/4 dual channel FADEC turbine engine, delivering exceptional hot and high performance, fuel efficiency and the ability to cruise at 133 kts/246 km/h.
The aircraft also features Garmin’s G1000H NXi Integrated Flight Deck, which delivers enhanced situational awareness and reduces pilot workload by delivering information at a glance, such as Helicopter Synthetic Vision TechnologyTM with Terrain and Obstacle Warning, improving safety for the future of naval flight training.
16 Apr 19. Will Army Uncancel CH-47F Chinook Upgrade? The fate of the CH-47F Chinook — the latest model of the iconic heavy lift helicopter that first saw service in Vietnam — depends on three facts:
- The Army cut the planned Block II upgrade of the CH-47 from its 2020-2024 budget plan, transferring the funds to programs higher in its Big Six priorities to wage multi-domain warfare against Russia or China. Army Secretary Mark Esper sounds pretty committed to that decision.
- But generals now say they might buy Block II after all, eventually. The decision depends in part on how the new Future Vertical Lift aircraft progress over the next “two or three years,” said Vice Chief of Staff James McConville.
- But the manufacturer, Boeing, says it can’t keep its Philadelphia factory or its 300-plus suppliers in limbo indefinitely. The longer the Army takes to make up its mind, the more difficult and expensive it will be to build the CH-47F Block II.
The decision to upgrade the CH-47 to carry heavier cargo, Army Secretary Mark Esper said today, was directly linked to the decision to replace the Humvee with the heavier and better protected Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV). But both those decisions, he said, were driven by the demands of counterinsurgency, especially in Afghanistan, and were made before the Pentagon refocused on Russia and China.
“These decisions were made before the National Defense Strategy came out, before Secretary Mattis issued his guidance,” Esper told reporters at the Pentagon. “Why the Block IIs? Gotta carry a heavier payload, gotta fly higher and hotter [i.e. over Afghan mountains in the summer]. What was the payload? JLTV. What drove the JLTV? IEDs in Afghanistan and Iraq.”
“They were in many ways designed for a different conflict,” Esper said. “[That] doesn’t mean we won’t use them in future conflicts, but now my emphasis has to be on rebuilding my armor, rebuilding my fighting vehicles, having aircraft that can penetrate Russian and Chinese air defenses [i.e. Future Vertical Lift]. We’re in this transition period and some folks are caught in that transition.”
Secretary Esper sounds like his mind is made up. Army aviators are more ambivalent — and Boeing is making its case to Congress.
“We have discussed it with Boeing, [and] we want to work closely with industry to maintain the industrial base so we can keep those options open,” the Army’s senior aviator, Gen. McConville, told reporters this morning at the Army Aviation Association of America conference here. “I think in two or three years we’ll have a better idea of where we are as far as developing the two [Future Vertical Lift] aircraft,” particularly the Future Long-Range Assault Aircraft.
FLRAA is primarily a replacement for the UH-60 Black Hawk, but “it may replace some of the CH-47s,” McConville said. For some missions the Chinook does today, he said, “maybe we don’t need as big of an aircraft to do that.”
McConville didn’t specify which missions he meant, but my best guess is he’s referring to so-called “high/hot” missions. In certain conditions, especially over Afghan mountains during summer, the air gets so thin that the UH-60 simply can’t go high enough. That forces the Army to use the much larger and more powerful Chinook for missions that would normally be done by smaller aircraft. The FLRAA should have better high altitude performance than the UH-60, so it could take on some of these Chinook missions.
That said, the Future Long-Range Assault Aircraft can’t replace Chinook in its core competency as a heavy lift transport. That’s because FLRAA will carry 12 fully loaded infantry or up to five tons of cargo, while a Chinook can carry dozens of troops or 10-plus tons of cargo, depending on the configuration.
“It’s an incredible aircraft,” Gen. McConville said of the CH-47 in his address to the Army aviation conference. “It’s also one of the youngest aircraft in the fleet.”
That’s because the current force is made up of CH-47F Block I aircraft: The first was built in 2004 and the last is scheduled for delivery in 2020. Now, even if the Army doesn’t upgrade these aircraft to Block II, it’ll still have to overhaul them at some point, to some degree, to keep them in service. (At one point, the Army was going to keep CH-47s for a century). But that’s a lot less urgent than the Army’s other aviation shortfalls, like the complete lack of a dedicated scout aircraft.
So the Army is moving rapidly on Future Vertical Lift — both the FLRAA transport and the FARA scout — while deferring a decision on CH-47F Block II, explained the Army’s Program Executive Officer for Aviation, Brig. Gen. Thomas Todd. “Hopefully,” Todd told the conference, “the Army will see fit at some point down the road have us continue with the F model.”
The problem is that “some point” can’t be too far down the road, or the option to build the new aircraft will be gone.
The Army does want to buy the Block II upgrade for the Special Operations version of the Chinook, the MH-47G. It still plans to purchase 69 of those aircraft, with the first to be delivered next year. There are also international orders for Chinooks — most recently 17 aircraft for Spain — and the company is pursuing more contracts in Germany, Israel, and elsewhere. Combined, Boeing officials said, these US and foreign orders would sustain production through the trough when CH-47F Block Iproduction ramped down (ending next year) and CH-47F Block II ramped up.
But for now, at least, the Army has cut production of CH-47F Block II aircraft to just three test aircraft. The plan had been to build 473. There’s no way foreign customers or special operators can make up for a cut that deep.
“This is a production line that depends heavily on US Army production,” Boeing exec Randy Rotte told reporters this morning. The company is currently finishing up the last order of CH-47F Block I, and if Block II doesn’t follow on schedule, Boeing and its suppliers will lose efficiencies of scale. That could drive up the cost of both the special ops MH-47Gs and of spare parts for all CH-47 models.
So what does Boeing want? First, there’s the $28m in 2020 funding originally planned to buy long-lead items to prepare for CH-47F Block II production, funding the Army cut in its latest budget plan. “We’re hoping that gets restored,” said Chuck Dabundo, Boeing’s program manager, “and we’re hoping that the budget will ramp up for Block II F” in the outyears. “We have told our story on Capitol Hill,” Dabundo added.
Finding $28m in the Army’s 2020 budget of $182bn doesn’t sound too hard. But, of course, that’s a tiny fraction of the money at stake over multiple years. If Congress restored the $28m long-lead funding in ’20, would it then feel locked in to funding actual production later, a much larger expense? Or would legislators see the $28m as the cost of keeping their options open one more year — keeping Boeing on retainer, as it were — and be willing to write it off if the Army decided it really can’t afford the CH-47F Block II?
That’s what the Hill will have to decide over the next few months.(Source: Defense News Early Bird/Breaking Defense)
REST OF THE WORLD
25 Apr 19. J-11D and J-20 programmes vying for supremacy, Chinese sources indicate. Key Points:
- China’s J-11D fighter programme appears to be intact and making progress
- The J-11D may now effectively be in a fight for funding with the J-20 programme
Two major Chinese fighters, the J-11D and the J-20, appear to be competing for prioritised funding, despite the two platforms appearing to have distinctly differentiated missions, according to recent information provided to Jane’s by Chinese sources.
Some of the details of these programmes have come to light via a special documentary produced by the China Flight Test Establishment (CFTE) at Xi’an Yanliang airbase. The film was released to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the facility’s founding. The documentary showed close-up shots of the Shenyang J-11D still in factory primer and described it as “one of the latest aircraft to successfully pass through the programme of state flight testing”. Prominently displaying the J-11D in this manner is a clear signal that the programme has not been cancelled, as previously rumoured, and that production of this comprehensively modernised version of the J-11 will go ahead, according to Chinese industry sources.
The same sources had earlier stated that the combined costs of continued testing and finalising both the J-11D design and the configuration of the J-20 stealth fighter, which is designed and built by Shenyang’s rivals at Chengdu Aerospace in Sichuan Province, was partly why the advanced J-11 was believed to be on the cancellation list.
Another reason the J-11D was thought to be in jeopardy was the notion that the Shenyang design team appeared to have another more pressing assignment: the development of a carrier variant of the FC-31 fifth-generation multirole fighter. Several previous reports have stated that the need for a carrier-capable fighter to replace one of Shenyang’s older products, the J-15, is becoming more pronounced. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
25 Apr 19. Egypt Orders 20 Leonardo AW149 Helicopters. Italy’s Leonardo may have finally found a launch customer for its AW149 military helicopter by landing an order from the Egyptian Navy, according to unconfirmed press reports. This would be especially significant as it would allow the company to expand its military product range with a heavier variant of its successful AW139 design, but built to military specifications and capable of higher payloads, longer ranges and a much heavier weapons fit. The initial contract, which has not been officially announced, was first revealed by the Paris news website La Tribune, and FlightGlobal subsequently reported that it covers about 20 helicopters. Leonardo did not respond to several requests for comment.
Egypt last week officially notified France, which was hoping to sell more complex and costly NH Industries NH90s, that it had chosen to award the contract to Leonardo, ending what looked like a procurement honeymoon during which Egypt bought 24 Rafale fighters, two Mistral-class LHDs and four Gowind-class corvettes from France since 2014.
Unveiled in 2006, the AW149 successively competed in official tenders in Turkey and Poland, and successively marketed elsewhere, but had so far not found a launch customer, as it is undercut by the less costly AW139 stablemate and, on the heavier side, by the Airbus H215M and the NH90 sold by NH Industries, of which Leonardo is a major stockholder.
The Italian Air Force had also stated it would buy some AW149s, but subsequently bought militarized AW139s for Search And Rescue and AW101s for Combat SAR missions, obviating for the time being the need for new AW149s.
However, the number of AW149s helicopters ordered by Egypt will probably increase, as it originally planned to buy about 30 NH90s for the same mix of amphibious assault, utility and SAR missions. (Source: defense-aerospace.com)
18 Apr 19. Turkey positions Type 209, 214 submarines for Indonesia’s third Nagapasa batch. Key Points:
- Turkey’s STM has made a presentation on its Type 209 and Type 214 boats to the Indonesian Navy
- The service has further requirements for at least four more submarines beyond 2024
Turkish naval shipbuilder Savunma Teknolojileri Mühendislik ve Ticaret (STM) has made a formal presentation on its Type 214 and Type 209 submarine designs to senior Indonesian Navy (Tentara Nasional Indonesia – Angkatan Laut: TNI-AL) officials, with the intention of eventually offering the boats for Jakarta’s further submarine requirements.
The presentation was made at the Neptunus Building within the TNI-AL’s headquarters in Cilangkap, East Jakarta, on 12 February 2019, according to de-classified meeting documents that have been provided to Jane’s . Also present during the meeting were STM’s local representative in Indonesia, PT Cipta Citra Perkasa, and the crew of Indonesia’s second Nagapasa-class submarine, KRI Ardadedali (404).
Indonesia signed a contract for its first batch of three Type 209/1400 Nagapasa-class submarines with South Korea’s Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering (DSME) in 2011. Two of the vessels acquired under this batch, KRI Nagapasa (403), and Ardadedali , have been commissioned, while a third boat, Alugoro (405), was launched on 11 April 2019.
A day later Jakarta signed a contract for a second batch of Type 209/1400 submarines with DSME. This batch will bring Indonesia’s fleet of submarines to eight by 2024, when including its pair of German-built Cakra-class boats that were commissioned in the early 1980s. This fleet strength is line with the revised objectives found in the Indonesian Armed Forces’ modernisation blueprint known as Minimum Essential Force (MEF). However, beyond 2024 Indonesian naval planners maintain the requirement for a total submarine fleet strength of 12 to adequately defend its vast archipelago. This means Jakarta could eventually acquire up to four vessels under its third submarine acquisition programme. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
19 Apr 19. Malaysia negotiating to buy military equipment through barter – Mohamad Sabu. The Malaysian Ministry of Defence (MoD) is negotiating with several countries, including Pakistan, Russia and China, to acquire military assets through barter trade. Minister Mohamad Sabu said these countries have shown their readiness to accept palm oil in exchange for military equipment.
“We have been working towards a barter system and have received a positive response,” he told reporters at a press conference here today.
Mohamad said the acquisition of defence assets through barter could be a way to reduce the country’s financial burden. The minister said he will be leaving for Russia tomorrow for a bilateral meeting with the Russian Defence Minister and barter trade would be among the issues to be discussed, adding that if successful, the barter trade could potentially increase the price of palm oil.
Commenting on Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s statement last month on the possibility of Malaysia selecting non-European nations to procure military jets, Mohamad said the decision was not set in stone.
“We are disappointed with the European Union, especially France because Malaysia has purchased a lot of planes from the country such as AirAsia’s fleet of aircraft and military assets such as the Scorpene submarines. However, if they continue their anti-palm oil campaign, Malaysia can buy from other countries but this not final,” he said.
The European Parliament is in the process of banning the use of palm oil in biofuels while a retail chain in the United Kingdom called Iceland had announced they would stop using the commodity in its products. Malaysia is the top producer of palm oil in the world. Malaysia and Indonesia produce almost 90 per cent of the world’s palm oil. Anti-palm oil lobbyists are claiming that oil palm cultivation is causing deforestation and contributing to the haze problem when in fact Malaysia practises sustainable oil palm cultivation. (Source: News Now/http://www.bernama.com)
18 Apr 19. Coalition confirms $30m for Launceston Defence Innovation Precinct. Prime Minister Scott Morrison has announced a $30m phase one investment in the Tasmanian Defence Innovation and Design Precinct at the University of Tasmania’s Australian Maritime College (AMC).
The new Precinct will help drive Defence-related resea:05rch and development projects, creating more jobs in Launceston and a world-class research precinct.
The AMC and University of Tasmania are already supporting the Australian Defence Force and defence industry, providing innovative research and development to support Defence capability.
The AMC’s Cavitation Research Laboratory is a crucial capability enabler for the Royal Australian Navy and the AMC is a key part of the National Shipbuilding College.
By supporting phase one of the Research and Design Precinct, a re-elected Morrison government would support the high value testing and evaluation needs of the RAN; increasing opportunities for greater collaboration between Defence, academia and industry to deliver cutting-edge defence capability; and build the AMC’s ability to support the National Shipbuilding College as it builds the workforce of the future to deliver on the national Naval Shipbuilding Plan.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said it is estimated that over 150 additional jobs in the region will be created each year, with up to 58 additional jobs in the region during the construction program.
“Our focus is on delivering more jobs for Tasmanians. By contrast, Labor will tax Tasmanians more and not build a single naval ship – that was their record in their six years of government,” the Prime Minister said.
By creating a Tasmanian Defence Innovation and Design Precinct at the AMC, the Morrison government would bring together Tasmanian industry to create more jobs.
The 2016 Defence White Paper committed $1.6bn to Defence-related innovation over a decade, supporting Australian science, technology and innovation to provide advanced home-grown Defence capabilities.
Tasmania is home to a growing defence industry, providing niche capabilities for the ADF, and exporting world-class technology around the globe.
Prime Minister Morrison said the government, along with the University of Tasmania and Tasmanian Liberal government, has been working on this since the release of the 2016 Defence White Paper and the joint $500,000 investment in the development of a business case for the precinct in 2017.
“Our plan for strong economy means we’re backing Tasmania’s defence industries and naval capability with a $30 investment,” he added. (Source: Defence Connect)
22 Apr 19. Inside South Korea’s military wish list, as it seeks greater control over its forces. When South Korean President Moon Jae-in visited the White House this month, U.S. President Donald Trump used the meeting to tout that the Asian nation plans to buy of a large amount of American weapons systems in the years ahead.
“President Moon [Jae-in] and South Korea have agreed to purchase a tremendous amount of our military equipment, from jet fighters to missiles, to lots of other things,” Trump said at the April 11 meeting, where North Korea’s stalled denuclearization topped the agenda. “And we make the finest equipment in the world by far, and we appreciate the purchase. It’s a very large purchase.”
South Korea’s presidential office and military procurement authorities have since been tight-lipped about what might be in that “very large purchase.” But local defense experts and industry sources tell Defense News that acquisition decisions will focus on airborne systems with a price tag reaching 10trn won (U.S. $8.8bn) over the next five to six years.
“A key motive for U.S. weapons purchase is the planned transfer of wartime operational control from the U.S. military to the South Korean armed forces,” said Shin Jong-woo, a senior analyst at the Seoul-based Korea Defense and Security Forum think tank. “What we need now to lead wartime operations in the years ahead is to get more and better airborne weapons systems, which would be preferential purchasing items.”
The South Korean government is accelerating efforts to take back authority to control its armed forces during wartime by 2022. An American four-star general currently is responsible for the maneuvers of both U.S. and South Korean troops on the Korean Peninsula in the event of war, and South Korean forces are heavily dependent on American airborne equipment for wartime deterrence.
Of the items considered for purchase, stealth fighter jets are at the top of the list, according to procurement and industry sources.
The Defense Acquisition Program Administration, or DAPA, has completed preliminary research on the purchase of 20 more F-35As from the U.S. government, according to South Korean Air Force and industry sources. In 2014, Seoul ordered 40 F-35As, built by Lockheed Martin, through the Pentagon’s Foreign Military Sales program.
“The procurement agency has launched a feasibility study on the additional purchase of F-35As, and the request for proposal, or RFI, is to be issued early next year,” a military source involved in the preliminary research told Defense News on condition of anonymity. “The Air Force wants the first delivery of the second batch to start in 2021, but the schedule could be slipped a little bit.”
Funding for this effort will be about $3bn, according to the source.
Airborne systems for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance are also on the purchase list as part of midterm force improvement plans from 2019 to 2023, according to South Korean procurement sources.
The Defense Agency for Technology and Quality, an affiliate of DAPA, launched studies last year for a Joint Surveillance and Target Attack Radar System, or JSTARS. The 2019-2023 budget for midterm force improvement, which was released in January, detailed plans to acquire at least four JSTARS aircraft.
The budget for that acquisition is estimated at $1.7 bn, a DAPA source told Defense News. “The agency issued a request for information, and a couple of foreign potential bidders responded to the request,” the source said.
Among the bidders are Boeing, Raytheon and Israel Aerospace Industries’ Elta Systems. Boeing offered a P-8 Poseidon-based aircraft fitted with Raytheon’s Advanced Airborne Sensor radar capable of wide-range ground surveillance operations.
Raytheon proposed its Sentinel design, based on the Bombardier Global Express business jet. The aircraft is equipped with a dual-mode, synthetic aperture radar and moving target indication radar, and is currently flown by the British Royal Air Force.
Elta is known to be marketing its multimission airborne reconnaissance and surveillance system, dubbed “Mars2,” based on the Gulfstream G550 business jet.
“JSTARS is a key asset required for the transfer of wartime operational control, as the South Korean military for itself seeks to expand it operational capabilities,” said Kim Dae-young, an analyst at the Korea Research Institute for National Strategy. “A key criterion is expected to be how much the system has been proven in the battlefield, and export control issues could be an agenda item.”
Along with the JSTARS, the South Korean Air Force plans to buy two more airborne early warning and control systems. The service now operates four Boeing-built 737 AEW&C aircraft equipped with Northrop Grumman’s multirole electronically scanned array radar.
Sweden’s Saab has thrown its hat into the ring to challenge Boeing by proposing its GlobalEye AEW&C based on a modified Bombardier Global 6000 aircraft. Elta is also known to be a competitor.
In addition, the Air Force is considering buying six to eight electronic warfare aircraft similar to the Boeing-built EA-18G Growler. (Source: Defense News)
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