Sponsored by American Panel Corporation
02 May 19. Dutch keep Walrus submarine race going for a bit longer. The Dutch government has postponed a supplier decision to replace its four Walrus submarines, telling parliament that further study of the issue is needed until the summer. The development, announced in a letter late last month by State Secretary for Defence Barbara Visser, comes as some expected a decision this spring. Government officials now say they need more time to study the competitors’ latest offers related to domestic industry participation in their proposals.
The companies vying for the multibillion-dollar Walrus contract are Naval Group of France, Navantia of Spain, Saab’s Kockums of Sweden, and ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems of Germany.
The additional study follows attempts by competitors to tweak their proposals in light of a new Dutch defense industry strategy released in November. That document prescribes that the production of maritime platforms remain mostly a national affair, with roughly 25 percent of projects sourced from international collaborations.
“The Netherlands has the ambition to design and produce certain military capabilities itself,” reads a summary of the strategy document. “In doing so, we will take into account the industries that are already present in the Netherlands as well as the country’s capacity and possible limitations. What does this mean in concrete terms? We want to preserve and strengthen our naval shipbuilding industry, for example.”
Saab’s Kockums team, which includes Dutch shipyard Damen, has touted its emphasis on domestic industry work share, though competitor TKMS made a last-ditch effort earlier this year to trumpet a proposed Dutch production footprint if chosen.
According to local media, that strategy appeared to fall on deaf ears, with one newspaper reporting in February how one TKMS executive was led to believe his company was out of the running. Visser’s letter, however, makes clear that all four competitors are still in the field and subject to the additional industrial analysis. The vendor decision, known as the B-letter in Dutch defense procurement circles, is expected “around” the summer, she wrote. Also expected then are decisions on the number of boats and the budget, she added. (Source: Defense News)
30 Apr 19. Dutch army acquires new mortars. The Dutch Ministry of Defence (MoD) published a request for information (RFI) for the procurement of 81mm mortars on 23 April. A long-term framework agreement is to be signed covering the entire operational life of the weapon system for about 20 years. The initial requirement is for 122 mortars, several types of 81 mm ammunition, initial spare parts, documentation, training, and sighting equipment, including 39 automatic aiming systems for armoured infantry.
The deadline for bids is 24 May, to be followed by the invitation to be sent to the selected candidates on 21 June. The evaluation criteria for bids are weighted as follows: 60% fulfilment of requirements, 30% component certification, and 10% price. The RFI for 81mm mortars followed the Dutch MoD’s signature of a framework contract with Hirtenberger Defence Systems of Austria on 17 April for 60 mm mortar ammunition. The new mortar rounds are scheduled to be delivered in May, and the contract covers the next five to seven years. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
30 Apr 19. Polish defense minister: F-35 acquisition ‘not far away.’ Polish Defence Minister Mariusz Blaszczak said April 29 that the Polish government aimed to sign a deal to station U.S. troops in Poland this year, and a contract to purchase F-35 fighter jets was “not far away” from being signed. Blaszczak’s announcement in an interview with local broadcaster TVP indicates that Warsaw could aim to negotiate on the potential troop deployment in parallel with the aircraft acquisition. Poland has pitched for the United States to build a permanent military base in the country, offering to pay at least $2bn toward the project, dubbed “Fort Trump.”
On April 25, during her visit to Warsaw, Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson said that a U.S. Air Force team was to be sent to Poland in May to demonstrate the capabilities of the F-35 to Polish defence ministry officials, as reported by local news agency PAP.
Last February, Blaszczak said the planned acquisition of 32 fifth-generation aircraft would be carried out as part of the country’s military modernization program. Under the initiative, Warsaw aims to spend 185bn zloty ($48.5bn) on new weapons and equipment by 2026. The envisioned procurement is part of Poland’s efforts to to replace its outdated Soviet-designed Sukhoi Su-22 and Mikoyan MiG-29 fighter jets. (Source: Defense News)
30 Apr 19. German, Norwegian officials huddle over joint submarine program. Senior German and Norwegian defense officials met in Munich on Monday to plot a path for the two countries’ multibillion-dollar joint submarine program. Officials said the meeting by the naval chiefs and defense-acquisition leaders was meant to push toward an agreement on the timing, cost and performance characteristics of the 212-CD program. The plan, these officials said, is to have the program on contract with lead vendor ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems in 2020, with the first vessel delivered to Norway in late 2026. A deal with the German shipyard was previously envisioned for this year.
The design of the new boats has yet to be locked down, which may reflect a last glimmer of hope in Berlin and Oslo that other countries in the market for submarines — namely Italy, the Netherlands or Poland — could join the effort.
Germany and Norway inked a strategic cooperation agreement on submarines in 2017. The idea is for TKMS to produce six identical boats — two for Germany and four for Norway. Norwegian missile-maker Kongsberg, in turn, will outfit German Navy ships with an upgraded variant of its Naval Strike Missile.
The stakes are high for the program, as any delays in fielding the submarines would throw off military plans in either country. The German Navy has seen years of delays in its F-125 frigate program. According to the service, an industry consortium led by TKMS is to blame.
The German military, which is seeking a budget boost beyond what is on the books so far, is under pressure to field equipment on time and on budget. The idea is to prove that the defense-acquisition apparatus can convert additional money into additional capability. As a result, officials are increasingly tight-lipped about details surrounding big-ticket projects beyond rosy statements.
“After a successful meeting: We are convinced that we want to make #U212CD a success story,” German Navy chief Vice Adm. Andreas Krause wrote on Twitter late Monday. “We will act and speak as if we were ONE Navy. Both navies need the new submarines delivered in time, cost and quality. Everyone involved in this project should never forget its relevance.”
Sebastian Bruns, a naval analyst with the University of Kiel in northern Germany, said the interplay between the German and Norwegian defense bureaucracies will be crucial as the program progresses.
“This type of integrated process is new for Germany,” Bruns told Defense News. That is because everything from spare parts to training and operational aspects is designed to be bilateral from the start, possibly tying the two sea services together for decades.
“We are talking about a time frame through the 2060s,” he said.
Bruns added that questions remain about Germany’s future defense budget and whether the submarine program will have to compete with other national priorities.
According to a Navy spokesman, the program is reflected in the Defence Ministry’s broad budget outlines. Lawmakers are expected to get details for debate next year. (Source: Defense News)
29 Apr 19. Poland acquires AW101 helos for Navy under $430m deal. As part of efforts to replace Soviet-designed copters with new aircraft, the Polish Ministry of Defence has signed a deal to acquire four AW101 helos from Leonardo for the country’s Navy. The deal is worth some 1.65bn zloty (US $430m), and the aircraft are scheduled to be delivered to Poland by the end of 2022, the ministry said in a statement. The contract was inked April 26 at the European group’s Polish subsidiary PZL Swidnik. Leonardo was the only bidder in the tender to supply the copters after Airbus Helicopters decided to pull out of the contest last December.
The “offset requirements defined by the Polish [Ministry of Defence] made it impossible for Airbus Helicopters to submit a competitive offer,” the manufacturer said in a statement sent to local news agency PAP.
The new copters, fitted with anti-submarine warfare (ASW) and search-and-rescue (SAR) capabilities, are to replace the Navy’s Kaman SH-2G Super Seasprite copters, according to First Deputy Defence Minister Wojciech Skurkiewicz. Local observers have also said the helos could replace the Polish Navy’s Soviet-designed Mil Mi-14 copters. (Source: Defense News)
30 Apr 19. Trump administration reverses course on decision to decommission carrier Truman. The White House has canceled plans to decommission an aircraft carrier25 years early as a cost savings measure, a plan that was largely opposed on Capitol Hill.
Vice President Mike Pence made the announcement to sailors on board the carrier Harry S. Truman, which was to be decommissioned instead of going into its midlife refueling, according to video posted by a Hampton Roads local news reporter on Twitter. The proposal was met with a wave of skepticism from lawmakers. The proposal also came before the Navy had completed a force-structure assessment due out by the end of the year as well as an ongoing needs assessment from the geographic combatant commanders, leading to questions as to why the service would propose the move without the benefit of those studies.
The decision also coincides with news that Robert Daigle, the head of the Pentagon’s powerful Cost Assessment and Program Evaluation office, will step down in mid-May. Daigle played a key role in the decision to decommission Truman in favor of investments in long-range fires and unmanned technologies.
The proposal to decommission Truman kicked off a public debate about the utility of aircraft carriers, which took center stage in Tuesday’s confirmation hearing for the incoming chief of naval operations, Adm. Bill Moran.
Faced with questions about the aircraft carrier’s relevance in light of Chinese and Russian long-range anti-ship missiles, Moran gave a forceful defense of the platform.
Moran responded to a question from Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., saying the Navy is conducting a force structure assessment to identify the right capabilities to field. But he notably added that the carrier is still relevant.
“We have for years evaluated the threats to our aircraft carriers and the other ships in the strike group to be able to deal with those [threats],” Moran said. “The aircraft carrier is the most survivable airfield that we have today — anywhere. And we project it will remain that way well into the future.”
Later during the hearing, Moran offered a “highly classified” briefing to congressional staffers to discuss the Navy’s investments in the carrier to make it more survivable.
But Blumenthal’s was just one of several questions from senators regarding the aircraft carrier, a conversation spurred by the Navy’s now-defunct decision to propose decommissioning the Truman to avoid paying for its midlife refueling.
“As a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, I have pushed hard against the Administration’s plans to mothball the Truman at the midpoint of its working life,” Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., said in a statement praising the decision. “I am gratified that the Administration listened and is now committed to the refueling. This is the right call for our national security.”
Moran defended the Truman proposal as necessary to free up money for investments in new technologies and experimentation. Later, he said he is comfortable with an air wing of E-2Ds, Growlers, Hornets and F-35s, but that the weapons needed to be addressed.
“The combat lethality of the air wing extends from the air wing,” Moran said. “Where we are trying to regain our superiority is in the weapons that are carried by that air wing: longer range, more networked, all the things that will make us more effective against a tough adversary at the high end.”
Moran is expected to sail through confirmation. He will be the first naval aviator to serve as CNO since Adm. Jay Johnson retired in 2000. (Source: Defense News)
26 Apr 19. ONR lays down markers for long-endurance soft-kill decoy. The Office of Naval Research (ONR) is launching a concept design effort intended to address US Navy (USN) needs for a next-generation expendable offboard decoy system able to stay airborne on station for at least one hour. Known as the Long Endurance Advanced Off-board Electronic Warfare (AOEW) Platform (LEAP), the programme seeks a carrier flight vehicle and compatible countermeasure payload(s). Forming part of a multi-layered defence against anti-ship cruise missiles (ASCMs), the AOEW programme is intended to introduce a new generation of offboard electronic warfare (EW) decoys to provide enhanced soft-kill defence. The AOEW programme is currently developing the AN/ALQ-248 Active Mission Payload (AMP) for integration with MH-60R/MH-60S helicopters. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
25 Apr 19. Troubled Lockheed Helicopter Needs New Review, Inhofe Tells Pentagon. The Pentagon needs to undertake another review of Lockheed Martin Corp.’s $31bn CH-53K heavy lift helicopter program amid continuing technical problems and delays, according to the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee.
Republican Senator James Inhofe said the importance of the CH-53K King Stallion to the Marine Corps means that a “comprehensive, independent update” on the long-delayed program is overdue. Inhofe’s role leading the committee that authorizes defense spending means his request will almost certainly be heeded.
“We need to get it right, and this report should give us a current assessment and reestablish a baseline for the program to ensure taxpayer dollars are spent wisely,” Inhofe said in a statement to Bloomberg News. The senator cited concern that the chopper “is more than a year behind schedule and has over 100 outstanding deficiencies that still require resolution.”
Inhofe’s request comes as the Navy plans to award a production contract for as many as 14 new King Stallions next month, though so far only two of a planned 200 helicopters are under contract. The Navy program office and Lockheed’s Sikorsky Aircraft unit are still working to address 126 technical deficiencies, according to the Pentagon’s latest report on the system. The Oklahoma senator stopped short of suggesting the contract not be signed.
Missing a Deadline
The Navy acknowledged in the Pentagon’s latest Selected Acquisition Report to Congress that the helicopter designed to carry heavy cargo won’t meet its December target date for initial combat capability. The new tentative date is September 2021, according to the document obtained by Bloomberg News.
“Resolution of remaining technical issues and completion of airworthiness certification testing remain top priorities” to solve, according to the report.
The Navy and Lockheed plan to resolve these technical issues by June 2020, “with the majority of the designs completed” by December of this year, it said. There are no significant software-related issues with this program at this time, it said.
Sikorsky’s performance on the contract for the first two production-model aircraft has been marred by “part shortages and purchase orders for suppliers late to award or not yet on contract,” according to the report.
The Navy “is working with the contractor on solutions for issues identified” in the report, according to Captain Danny Hernandez, a spokesman for the Navy’s assistant secretary for acquisition. The department is in the final stages of awarding the production contract in the next few weeks, and the fixed-price contract will contain provisions intended to “address the outstanding issues,” he said. “The Navy is confident with the design” and the now-restructured program “will address these issues and verify them in testing.”
The King Stallion will be the same size as its predecessor, the Super Stallion, but will be able to haul almost triple the cargo, lifting 27,000 pounds (12,200 kilograms), according to Lockheed. The Navy’s plans to buy 200 copters for the Marines was a prime motivation for Lockheed’s $9bn acquisition of Sikorsky Aircraft from United Technologies Corp. in 2015.
Bill Falk, the King Stallion program manager for Bethesda, Maryland-based Lockheed, said in a statement that “the team has identified technical issues over the course of flight testing, corrected many, and have approved plans in place for the remaining items. The remaining technical design items are not new, and are agreed upon with the government for closure.”
“Sikorsky anticipates we will soon reach an agreement with the government” for the next low-rate production contracts, Falk said.
The two helicopters currently under contract were awarded in April 2016 under a $286m fixed-priced contract with incentive payments.
Company officials said they understand the chopper’s most pressing problem — exhaust gas sucked back into the second of the helicopters’ three engines — “and have found fixes,” according to Loren Thompson, chief operating officer of the Lexington Institute, a defense research organization that receives funding from Lockheed.
Still, citing concerns about the exhaust issue, House Armed Services Committee Representative Adam Smith this month agreed to shift only half of the $158m the Navy requested to increase testing. Smith, a Democrat from Washington state, said he’d approve the remaining $79m only after the Marines and the Pentagon’s test office provide a report about progress the Navy was making solving the exhaust problem. (Source: Defense News Early Bird/Bloomberg)
REST OF THE WORLD
02 May 19. South Korea to build 3 more Aegis destroyers able to thwart ballistic missiles. In a critical step toward developing its naval capabilities, South Korea plans to construct three more 7,600-ton destroyers equipped with American-made Aegis combat systems and sophisticated ballistic missile interceptors. Presided over by Defense Minister Jeong Kyung-doo, a top executive committee of the Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) endorsed April 30 the $3.3bn effort to acquire the additional destroyers by 2028.
The batch 2 ships of the KDX-III Sejong the Great-class are expected to be fitted with the Raytheon-built RIM-161 Standard Missile 3, or SM-3, according to DAPA officials.
“The construction [of more Aegis destroyers] will help the South Korean Navy respond to potential maritime disputes more effectively as well as carry out peacekeeping mission more successfully, as the ships are supposed to have upgraded ship-to-air and underwater operational capability,” DAPA spokesman Park Jung-eun told reporters.
The new batch of Aegis destroyers, in particular, would have an up-to-date software suite for destroying incoming ballistic missiles, the spokesman added. The three batch 1 ships are equipped with the SM-2 interceptor designed to engage anti-ship cruise missiles during the terminal intercept phase.
The purchase of ballistic missile interceptors was included in South Korea’s five-year midterm force improvement plan, according to DAPA and Navy sources.
The ship-based interceptor is a key part of the country’s own missile shield, dubbed the Korea Air and Missile Defense, or KAMD — a network that includes Patriot Advanced Capability-2 and -3 interceptors, ship-based SM-2 missiles, and locally developed medium-range surface-to-air missiles.
The U.S. Army’s Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system was deployed in the southern part of South Korea in 2007 to augment the low-tier, terminal-phase KAMD.
“The Joint Chiefs of Staff set an operational requirement of intercepting an incoming ballistic missile at an altitude over 100 kilometers,” a source with the Joint Chiefs of Staff told Defense News on condition of anonymity. “The SM-3 certainly meets the requirement. It’s a shoo-in.”
The hit-to-kill SM-3 is known to be capable of taking down targets at altitudes of 150-500 kilometers. The newest variant, the SM-3 IIA, can hit targets at an altitude of up to 1,000 kilometers.
Hyundai Heavy Industries is scheduled to sign a contract with DAPA on the construction and integration of batch 2 Aegis destroyer systems in June, according to DAPA officials, while the arms agency signed a contract with Lockheed Martin earlier this year to buy an upgraded Aegis ballistic missile defense system, the Baseline 9.C2, for the Sejong the Great-class Aegis destroyers.
The DAPA also approved a plan to develop three more heavy-attack submarines by 2028. Under the plan code-named KSS-III, three 3,450-ton submarines are to be constructed for $2.9bn. The newer submarines are to be designed 450 tons heavier and 6 meters longer than batch 1, and they will be fitted with 10 vertical launch cells, according to the DAPA.
The batch 2 subs will also be equipped with lithium-ion batteries that can double the operational hours compared to those with lead-acid batteries. The systems development contract for the KSS-III batch 2 program is to be signed in June with local company Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering. (Source: Defense News)
29 Apr 19. BAE Systems withdraws from Canadian military. aircrew training competition. BAE Systems is no longer in the running to bid on a new program to provide Canada with military aircrew training services.
BAE Systems was on the list of qualified suppliers for the Future Aircrew Training (FAcT) program when it was established in December 2018. But on April 2, BAE Systems informed Canada of its decision to officially withdraw from the solicitation process, Public Services and Procurement Canada announced Monday. “BAE Systems is therefore no longer a qualified supplier in the competitive process and will not be invited to submit a proposal to Canada for the FAcT program,” Procurement Canada noted in a statement.
The Royal Canadian Air Force has a need for ongoing pilot training, as well as training for air combat systems officers and airborne electronic sensor operators and the FAcT program will provide that training, according to the Department of National Defence.
BAE Systems has not yet provided comment on its reasons for withdrawing from the competition.
Here is the list of qualified suppliers (in alphabetical order) that the federal government originally published:
- Airbus Defence and Space
- Babcock Canada Inc.
- Leonardo Canada
- Lockheed Martin Canada Inc.
- SkyAlyne Canada Limited Partnership (Source: News Now/https://ottawacitizen.com)
29 Apr 19. Australian government pledges naval projects. The Liberal–National Coalition government in Australia has pledged to spend up to AUD1bn (USD705m) on building three new naval vessels at the Australian Marine Complex (AMC) at Henderson, Western Australia, if it wins the country’s federal election scheduled for mid-May.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on 29 April during a visit to a Henderson facility operated by shipbuilder Civmec that the building of the three ships – two additional mine warfare support vessels and one hydrographic vessel – will be accelerated to spur regional economic development.
“This will ensure we maintain the 1,000 new jobs created to support continuous naval shipbuilding in Western Australia and boost the state’s economy,” he said. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
26 Apr 19. Top defence companies from South Korea looking for ventures in India. At a one day seminar in New Delhi eleven South Korean companies including Hanwha Defense, Hyundai Rotem, Korea Aerospace Industries Ltd., LIG Nex1, DACC Carbon Company converged in New Delhi. Following the successful induction of the K-9 Vajra-T 155 mm, 52 calibre gun in the Indian Army, built jointly by L&T and Hanwha Techwin, several defence and aerospace companies from South Korea are seeking joint ventures in the defence sector to participate in ‘Make in India’ initiative.
At a one day seminar in New Delhi eleven South Korean companies including Hanwha Defense, Hyundai Rotem, Korea Aerospace Industries Ltd., LIG Nex1, DACC Carbon Company converged in New Delhi. And outlined the programmes where they are already in discussions with the Indian Armed forces and offered their expertise for future programmes.
They also expressed their keenness to establish a presence in the defence corridors in Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh, after establishing a contract relationship in a weapon system Indian forces are interested in.
Hyundai Rotem which has responded to an RFI for the FRVC said that “We are ready to supply semi-knocked down components for the vehicle, and are looking forward to working with an Indian company and building the vehicle under Make in India initiative.”
Top company executive of Korean Aircraft Industries (KAI) maker of the trainee aircraft ‘KT-1’ offered its Utility Helicopter to the Indian Air Force. The company has earlier offered to work with the Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) and is willing to share technology for building the trainers here in India, as in South Korea there’s no law that would stop the transfer of technology. It is also interested in working with Indian Space and Research Organisation (ISRO).
Korean companies are also looking at opportunities in naval shipbuilding and port infrastructure. Some of them are expected to responding to the RfP for 12 mine counter measure vessels (MCMVs) as the Indian Navy needs to swiftly scale up its mine warfare capability. These MCMVs are expected to be produced in India.
Hyundai Industries too was in talks with one of the state owned shipyards for joint construction of fleet support ships with state of the art technologies. Unfortunately due to technical issues the deal fell flat.
There exists a strategic partnership between South Korean defence major LIG Nex1 and Reliance Defence to manufacture military hardware for India’s armed forces. LIG Nex1 is an expert in smart heavy weapons in categories of anti—ship missiles, anti—tank—guided missiles (ATGM), and guided rockets. And has also responded to RFI for Self Propelled Air Defence –Gun and missile system programme here in India. (Source: Google/https://www.financialexpress.com)
25 Apr 19. Brazil negotiates main corvette contract. selected by Brazil as the basis for the Tamandaré-class acquisition effort. With the signing of the declaration of best offer between the Brazilian Navy and consortium Águas Azuis on 2 April – formally confirming the selection of the contracting group to build four advanced multi-purpose combat corvettes – negotiations for the main contract have begun.
The contract between Brazilian state-owned company Empresa Gerencial de Projetos Navais (EMGEPRON) and Águas Azuis will cover the transfer of technology (ToT), integrated logistics support (ILS), and offsets contracts and is expected to be signed before the end of 2019.
Worth an estimated BRL6.4bn (USD1.6bn), the corvette project is part of the service’s strategic construction of the Naval Power Core programme, which also includes the development and acquisition of submarines, frigates, a logistics support ship, patrol ships, and aircraft carriers.
Águas Azuis, which is formed by ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems (TKMS) and Brazilian firms Embraer Defesa & Segurança and Atech Negócios em Tecnologias, was selected to supply the Brazilian Navy with four Tamandaré-class ships on 28 March, after best-and-final offers (BAFOs) were submitted by four consortiums on 8 March. The navy had issued the request for proposals in December 2017. Brazil seeks to commission Tamandaré (V35), Jerônimo de Albuquerque (V36), Cunha Moreira (V37) and Mariz e Barros (V38) between 2024 and 2028.
EMGEPRON and the Navy Program Management Directorate (DGePM) previously signed a technical co-operation agreement for mutual co-operation and reciprocal support with the purpose of acquiring ships with 4,000-tonne maximum displacement. The contracting of the life-cycle management structure of the ships, including after sale maintenance, will be separately negotiated by the navy.
The modernised future fleet is expected to play a major role in protecting Brazil’s 3.5 million sq km Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).
Brazil is seeking to achieve 41% of local content for the corvette project. The consortium and its sub-contractors – Atlas Elektronik, Estaleiro Oceana, and L-3 MAPPS – identified 53 Brazilian companies to work with. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
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