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06 May 19. Czech Republic cleared to procure AH-1Z or UH-60M helos to replace Mi-24s. The US State Department has approved the sale of four Bell AH-1Z Viper or 12 Sikorsky UH-60M Black Hawk utility and assault helicopters to the Czech Republic, the Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) announced on 3 May. The proposed sale of the AH-1Z or UH-60M would be in support of efforts by the Armed Forces of the Czech Republic (Vzdušné síly Armády České Republiky – VzS AČR) to replace its Warsaw Pact-era Mil Mi-24 ‘Hind’ assault helicopters. The AH-1Z procurement would include a complementary buy of Bell UH-1Y Venom attack helicopters. Valued at USD205m, the AH-1Z deal includes weapons, training, spares, and support, while the UH-60M deal would be worth USD800m and would also include the same. Specific items listed in the proposed AH-1Z sale include 14 Lockheed Martin AGM-114 Hellfire air-to-surface missiles and the standard under-nose mounted M197 20 mm Gatling guns, while the UH-60M deal includes BAE Systems Advanced Precision Kill Weapon Systems (APKWS) guided rockets, M240H 7.62mm machine guns, M134D 7.62mm Miniguns, GP-19 12.7mm machine gun pods, GAU-19B 12.7mm Gatling guns, and M261 70mm rocket launchers. Both potential deals must be approved by Congress before either can be finalised. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
08 May 19. Air Force to give Sierra Nevada Corp. a sole-source contract for light-attack planes, but Textron will also get an award. The U.S. Air Force on Wednesday stated its intent to sole source A-29 Super Tucanos from Sierra Nevada Corp. and Embraer. But a similar solicitation for Textron’s AT-6 Wolverine will be forthcoming, an Air Force spokeswoman confirmed.
The Air Force intends to put out a final solicitation to the SNC-Embraer team this month and will award a contract by the end of the fiscal year, according to a May 8 notice on FedBizOpps.
“We expect a separate procurement action for the AT-6,” Air Force spokeswoman Ann Stefanek told Defense News. Stefanek added that the service still intends to buy two to three of each aircraft for more experiments at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, and with the special operations community at Hurlburt Field, Florida.
Earlier this year, the Air Force acknowledged it was unprepared to move its light-attack experimentation effort into a full-fledged program of record. Instead, the service kept both options — Textron’s AT-6 and the SNC-Embraer A-29 — on the table and requested $35m to continue testing the jets in fiscal 2020.
Some analysts and lawmakers have accused the Air Force of slow-rolling the program in an attempt to see it quietly canceled, despite congressional enthusiasm for buying new attack planes.
However, Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Dave Goldfein maintains that future experiments will help the Air Force narrow down light-attack capabilities that the service and foreign nations need. He has also said the service will be ready to make procurement decisions around the FY22-FY24 time frame.
“The United States Marine Corps has already said they’re joining us,” Goldfein said in March. “We’re going to invite allies and partners, and with the authorities you’ve given us now that we own those prototypes, we will continue to experiment to build the interoperable network that we’ve already advanced.”
According to the pre-solicitation, the light-attack aircraft “will provide an affordable, non-developmental aircraft intended to operate globally in the types of Irregular Warfare environments that have characterized combat operations over the past 25 years. Additionally, it will support Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC) with the ability to accomplish its mission of Close Combat Air support to partner nations.”
The Air Force has said that funding for the initial AT-6 and A-29 buys will come out of the estimated $160m in unspent funds that Congress appropriated for the effort in previous budgets. Congress has appropriated $200m in total for the effort since it was announced in late 2016. (Source: Defense News)
07 May 19. Plans to Surge Submarine Spending to $5bn by 2024.
- Service to request $2bn more in fiscal 2021 procurement
- General Dynamics design progress ‘slightly behind,’ Navy says
The U.S. Navy plans to boost spending for its next-generation nuclear missile submarine program by $2bn in fiscal year 2021 and continue pushing toward $5bn in 2024, according to the service’s latest annual report to Congress.
The surge begins next year, when the Navy will seek $4.3bn in funding for the Columbia-class submarine program, up from $2.3bn in the 2020 fiscal year that begins in October. The funding increase includes $3.9bn in procurement, according to the service’s new Selected Acquisition Report sent to Congress last month.
The previously undisclosed “For Official Use Only” document projects budget requests of $4.46bn in fiscal 2022, $4.13bn in fiscal 2023 and $5bn in 2024. The document indicates estimated spending beyond 2024 of $92bn to complete the estimated $128bn program.
The Columbia-class program is an effort to build 12 new ballistic missile submarines, which would replace an older force of 14 Ohio-class subs first built in the 1970s. The submarines are part of a trillion-dollar effort to modernize the U.S.’s sea-air-land nuclear triad over the next 30 years, including maintenance and support. The Columbia-class program was initially approved during the Obama administration, though President Donald Trump has asked the Pentagon to accelerate efforts to bolster the size of the naval fleet.
Earlier: U.S. Nuclear-Armed Sub May Cost More Than Navy Says, GAO Warns
The planned cost figures outline the enormous financial stakes General Dynamics Corp. and top subcontractors Huntington Ingalls Industries Inc. and BWX Technologies Inc. have in keeping the Pentagon’s fourth-largest program on track and meeting program schedules. The figures give analysts and investors a current snapshot of planned funding that will be competing with the F-35 jet, Navy surface ship purchases and accelerated spending on space systems.
The Government Accountability Office, in a report last month, said the Pentagon’s cost estimate for the program is “not accurate because it relies on overly optimistic” reductions in labor costs, the audit found. The watchdog called on the Pentagon to update its estimate.
The Navy report generally gives an upbeat assessment of a program that remains in the planning and design phase. The initial sub remains on track to start construction in October 2020 even though “design progress is slightly behind schedule with improving trends.” Program management is executing “vigilant oversight to continue progress toward” completing 83 percent of the overall design by construction start, according to the document. Overall, the industrial base “remains a top program risk” of delivering components on time, on cost and with the required quality, the report said.
The program has 324 critical suppliers who “will be continually visited to insure we can manage what they’re doing,” said Captain Jon Rucker, the Navy’s Columbia program manager. “This is not just a quality thing, this is capability, capacity — do they have the people, do they have the schedule, do they have the machines” to perform, he added.
To date, General Dynamics on its way to the overall goal has completed 95 percent of “arrangement” designs for the steel structure and electrical or piping systems throughout the submarine versus 96 percent planned.
The company has also completed 40 percent of design work for the lowest-level items of the submarine that need to be completed before General Dynamics can begin ordering material and hard-to-make “long-lead” items for the submarine. It should be at 43 percent, according to plans.
A General Dynamics spokesman referred to the April 24 remarks of Chief Executive Officer and Chairman Phebe Novakovic during an analyst call to discuss first quarter earnings. “We continue to invest in each of our yards with particular emphasis at” the Electric Boat unit “to prepare for the higher production associated with” not only the Columbia but also the latest version of the Virginia-class submarine, Novakovic said then.
Both programs, she added “represent a significant increase in size and performance by acquiring additional manufacturing capacity and different logistics infrastructure.” (Source: Defense News Early Bird/Bloomberg)
06 May 19. Pentagon Review Pits Boeing vs. Lockheed for Marine Helicopters. The Pentagon is assessing whether Boeing Co.’s heavy-lift helicopter for the Army, the CH-47 Chinook, could replace Lockheed Martin Corp.’s troubled King Stallion chopper for some or all Marine Corps missions, according to officials.
Boeing has provided the Defense Department information on how the Chinook might be adapted for Marine Corps missions, according to two officials, both of whom asked not to be identified because the information isn’t public. Analysts from the Pentagon’s independent cost analysis and program assessment group met at Boeing’s Philadelphia facility April 25 to review the data, the officials said.
A Pentagon decision to direct the Navy to buy maritime versions of the CH-47 — assuming the chopper can be converted for the rugged, corrosive environment of aircraft carriers and amphibious warfare ships — would be a blow to Bethesda, Maryland-based Lockheed. The Navy’s plans to buy 200 King Stallions, known as the CH-53K, were a prime motivation for the company’s $9bn acquisition of Sikorsky Aircraft from United Technologies Corp. in 2015.
Bill Falk, the King Stallion’s program director, said he was aware of the review and was confident his company’s helicopter remains the Navy’s best choice.
“There is simply no other helicopter that comes close to the performance of the CH-53K or that can meet Marine Corps requirements,” he said.
That view was echoed by Marine Corps Lieutenant General Steven Rudder, the service’s deputy commandant for aviation, who said the King Stallion is the only aircraft with the heavy-lift capability “to meet future operational requirements.”
But Boeing’s Philadelphia plant and its 4,580 workers would receive a major boost if the Pentagon shifted direction given that the Army, in its new five-year budget plan, proposed halting procurement of 28 CH-47 Chinooks and shifting an estimated $962m into a separate program.
The Pentagon assessment was begun after an April 4 request from Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman James Inhofe who cited continuing technical problems and delays with the $31bn King Stallion program.
Inhofe’s request called for an assessment of the CH-53K’s cost, schedule and performance and “an assessment of alternatives for other platforms that might meet the mission,” Robert Daigle, director of the cost analysis office, said in an interview last week. The Chinook “is one of those alternatives,” he added.
The Pentagon review also comes just before the Navy plans to award a production contract for as many as 14 new King Stallions this month; so far only two of the planned 200 helicopters are under contract.
No Easy Fix
“We have a limited amount of time to try and inform that decision as much as possible — so we have a very short window in which to do the best job we can on this analysis,” Daigle said. He added that he wants to complete it in “a handful of weeks.”
Still, converting the CH-47 for Marine missions would “absolutely not” involve simple modifications, Daigle said. “The analysis we’ve have done so far doesn’t suggest that the ’47 is actually going to meet the lift that the ’53K will provide so if you were going to go down the ’47 route, our current estimate says there will be an operational impact.” Pentagon officials, the Navy and Marines will have to determine whether that trade off is worthwhile, he added.
Todd Blecher, a spokesman for Chicago-based Boeing, said in statement that the Chinook already “conducts ship-based operations for U.S. Special Forces and international operators, and enjoys a strong reputation among all the U.S. services. We appreciate this opportunity to discuss how it could affordably address missions and requirements beyond those for which it is normally considered.”
The Navy acknowledged in the Pentagon’s latest Selected Acquisition Report to Congress that the King Stallion 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.
The Navy program office and Lockheed’s Sikorsky Aircraft unit are working in the current development phase to address 126 technical deficiencies in the chopper, according to the SAR report.
“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. (Source: Defense News Early Bird/Bloomberg)
REST OF THE WORLD
09 May 19. Chile to replace T-35 training aircraft. The Chilean Air Force has received authorisation to start the selection of a new primary and basic training aircraft, Defence Undersecretary Cristian de la Maza confirmed last week. 40 new trainers, fitted with digital instruments and a ‘glass’ cockpit, will be ordered. The new trainers will start replacing around 30 ENAER T-35 Pillans between 2024 and 2025, military sources in Santiago told Jane’s. Introduced in 1985, the piston-driven T-35s are approaching the end of their service lives and will be retired between 2020 and 2028. Undersecretary de la Maza said that the state-owned aerospace firm ENAER is expected to play a central role in the project. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
07 May 19. Global wrap-up: South Korea to build new Aegis destroyers; UAE to acquire upgraded Patriot missiles. This global wrap-up provides updates of industry developments across the globe, including new procurement deals, capability introductions and key announcements.
- Japan has ended years of speculation over its multi-billion F-3 air superiority fighter replacement program – with the Ministry of Defense identifying that the nation would shift the focus away from acquiring additional Lockheed Martin F-35s and another foreign stealth aircraft to focus on developing a sixth generation air superiority fighter aircraft.
- The US State Department has approved the foreign military sales (FMS) of up to 56 Raytheon Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) Block IB missiles in a deal worth an estimated US$1.15bn. This proposed sale will support the foreign policy and national security of the US by improving the security of a major ally that is a force for political stability and economic progress in the Asia-Pacific region. It is vital to US national interests to assist Japan in developing and maintaining a strong and effective self-defence capability.
- Taiwan has been approved for a FMS worth US$500m by the US State Department to provide the continuation of a pilot training program and maintenance/logistics support for F-16 aircraft currently at Luke Air Force Base, Arizona. The deal will include the continuation of a pilot training program and maintenance/logistics, participation in approved training exercises; inert/dummy training munitions; supply and maintenance support; spares and repair parts; support equipment; program management; publications; documentation; personnel training and training equipment; fuel and fuelling services.
- South Korea has approved a US$6bn acquisition of an additional three Sejong the Great Class Aegis destroyers armed with ballistic missile interceptors, three Dosan Ahn Chang-Ho Class submarines with talks about the acquisition of a fleet of F-35B Joint Strike Fighters to be deployed onboard the Dokdo and Marado amphibious warfare ships.
- BAE Systems has offered the Indian Navy the option to buy detailed plans for the 65,000-ton Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carriers – as India looks to replace its ageing aircraft carrier fleet. The Queen Elizabeth design features a short take-off, vertical landing (STOVL) design to compliment the F-35B variant.
- Russia’s Yantar Shipyard has commenced construction on two modified Admiral Grigorovich Class guided missile frigates to be operated by the Indian Navy as part of a deal signed in October 2018. The Admiral Grigorovich Class surface combatants are an upgraded variant of the six Talwar Class frigates that Russia built for the Indian Navy between 2003 and 2013. Displacing 3,620 tons, the frigates are reportedly capable of reaching top speeds of 30 knots and reportedly have an endurance of around 30 days.
- The US State Department has approved a possible US$2.78bn FMS to the United Arab Emirates to provide 452 Patriot Advanced Capability 3 (PAC-3) Missiles Segment Enhanced (MSE) and related equipment. Also included are tools and test equipment, support equipment, publications and technical documentation, personnel training and training equipment, spare and repair parts, facility design, US government and contractor technical, engineering, and logistics support services, and other related elements of logistics, sustainment and program support.
- Bahrain has secured a US$750 m FMS deal to support the acquisition of various weapons to support the F-16 Block 70/F-16V Viper fleet. The request included 32 AIM-120C-7 AMRAAM missiles, 32 AIM-9X missiles, 20 AGM-84 Block II Harpoon missiles, 40 AGM-154 Joint Standoff Weapon (JSOW) All-Up-Rounds, 100 GBU-39 250 lb Small Diameter Bomb (SDB-1) and 462 MK-82 or BLU-111 500lb Bomb Bodies (Supporting GBU-12, GBU-38, GBU-49, GBU-54).
- The US Department has approved a US$2.5 bn FMS to Bahrain to provide various Patriot missile systems and related support and equipment. The deal includes 60 Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3) Missile Segment Enhancement (MSE) missiles, 36 Patriot MIM-104E Guidance Enhanced Missiles (GEM-T) missiles with canisters, nine M903 Launching Stations (LS) and communications equipment, tools and test equipment, range and test programs, support equipment, prime movers, generators, publications and technical documentation, training equipment, spare and repair parts, personnel training, Technical Assistance Field Team (TAFT), US government and contractor technical, engineering, and logistics support services.
- The Egyptian Navy has taken delivery of its third Type 209 submarines built by German company ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems (TKMS) as part of a deal for four submarines signed in December 2017. TKMS has handed over to Egypt the second out of four submarines, contracted to be obtained from Germany in April 2018 in the city of Kiel.
- German and Norwegian defence officials met in Munich to discuss a path forward for the development of a joint Type 212-CD submarine program – the design of the new boats has yet to be confirmed. 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 French Air Force has taken delivery of its 15th A400M Atlas tactical air lifter – the ‘tactical standard’ aircraft includes the capability to land and take off from unprepared terrain and the capacity to make landing approaches under auto-pilot in all weather. Three previously delivered aircraft have been upgraded to this new standard. Two new capabilities will be added in autumn: the ejection of heavy loads up to 16 tonnes from the rear ramp, and refuelling by the central point. The 11 other Atlas aircraft currently in the French inventory will be upgraded to this tactical standard by 2020.
- The UK Royal Navy has unveiled its next-generation Dragonfire laser gun to mounted on board ships and to be deployed with other UK Armed Forces to protect against missile threats, drone attacks and artillery bombardment.
- British Defence Secretary Penny Mordaunt announced that the Royal Navy’s fourth Dreanought Class ballistic missile submarine will be named HMS King George IV on the 50th anniversary of the formation of the UK’s continuous at sea deterrent (CASD) capability.
- The US Air Force has successfully tested its Self-Protect High Energy Laser Demonstrator (SHiELD) to shoot down “multiple air launched missiles in flight”. The system is intended to eventually be mounted on an aircraft, where it could be used to shoot down incoming surface-to-air or air-to-air launched missiles. It includes three major components: the laser system, a control system to aim said laser, and a pod that would power everything, which would be mounted onto an aircraft.
- The US Army is planning to outfit three of its six brigades with Double V-Hull A1 Stryker Infantry Carrier Vehicles with 30mm Medium Caliber Weapon System (MCWS) capability after reviewing lessons learned from the 2nd Cavalry Regiment in Europe as part of a US$300 m emergency approval from US Congress approved in 2015.
- The US Army has selected five companies to design a new Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft (FARA) – the companies include AVX Aircraft Co, L-3 Communications Integrated Systems, Bell Helicopter, Boeing, Karem Aircraft and Lockheed Martin-owned Sikorsky. 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.
- Raytheon has been awarded a US$149m fixed-price-incentive-firm contract for Lot 19 AIM-9X Block II and II+ all up round tactical missiles, captive air training missiles, captive test missiles, special air training missiles, advanced optical target detectors, guidance units (live battery), captive air and spares for the US Navy, US Air Force, and the governments of Australia, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Indonesia, Israel, Japan, Kuwait, Malaysia, Morocco, Oman, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Qatar, Romania, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Slovakia, South Korea, Switzerland, Taiwan, Turkey, and the United Arab Emirates.
- Lockheed Martin has transitioned additional F-35 suppliers to longer-term performance based logistics (PBL) contracts and master repair agreements (MRA) in order to “enhance supply availability and reduce sustainment costs”.
- Harris Corp Government Communications Systems has been awarded a US$27.6m indefinite-delivery requirements contract for production and repair services for the AN/PLM-4 Radar Signal Simulator System.
- OSI Maritime Systems announced the contract signing with Lockheed Martin Canada to design the integrated bridge and navigation bridge for the Royal Canadian Navy’s Type 26-based Canadian Surface Combatant vessels.
- The first of the Royal Australian Air Force’s new Dassault Falcon 7X Special Purpose Aircraft have landed in Canberra ahead of tasking as part of No. 34 Squadron.
- Shadow defence minister Richard Marles and Opposition Leader Bill Shorten have announced a plan that would see regional Australian defence suppliers have greater access to business opportunities as the election race heats up
- Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced a $30m phase one investment in the Tasmanian Defence Innovation and Design Precinct at the University of Tasmania’s Australian Maritime College (AMC).
- In a major milestone for the development of a fifth-generation RAAF, Australia’s fleet of EA-18G Growler electronic attack aircraft have successfully achieved IOC.
- Prime Minister Scott Morrison has announced a plan to invest up to $1 bn in Western Australia’s naval shipbuilding capabilities with the commitment to build three new naval vessels for the Royal Australian Navy.
- Opposition Leader Bill Shorten and opposition defence spokesman Richard Marles have announced a series of commitments to support Australia’s defence industry and broader force structure. (Source: Defence Connect)
03 May 19. HAL pitches for Indian naval helicopters. India’s state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) is participating in the procurement of 111 Naval Utility Helicopters (NHUs) for the Indian Navy (IN) for INR217.38bn (USD3.13bn), in a programme that is intended exclusively for private indigenous manufacturers. Official sources said HAL submitted two responses on 26 April – alongside six others from private Indian companies – to a February Request for Expression of Interest (REOI) for the importation of 16 NUHs and licence-building the remaining 95. One HAL response was as a DPSU, while the other was from the HAL-led Indo-Russian Helicopters Limited (IRHL) joint venture (JV) with Russian Helicopters. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
American Panel Corporation
American Panel Corporation (APC) since 1998, specializes in display products installed in defence land systems, as well as military and commercial aerospace platforms, having delivered well over 100,000 displays worldwide. Military aviators worldwide operate their aircraft and perform their missions using APC displays, including F-22, F-18, F-16, F-15, Euro-fighter Typhoon, Mirage 2000, C-130, C-17, P-3, S-3, U-2, AH-64 Apache Helicopter, V-22 tilt-rotor, as well as numerous other military and commercial aviation aircraft including Boeing 717 – 787 aircraft and several Airbus aircraft. APC panels are found in nearly every tactical aircraft in the US and around the world.
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