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UNITED KINGDOM AND NATO
12 May 19. US defence groups in running to take over Royal Navy training. Raytheon and Lockheed Martin up against Babcock for £2bn contract. American companies are in the running to take over the training of UK Royal Navy recruits after the Ministry of Defence chose two US groups to compete for the lucrative contract. Raytheon and Lockheed Martin, two of the world’s biggest defence companies, are pitted against the British defence group Babcock International for the programme, which is estimated to be worth up to £2bn over the next 12 years. The three companies were selected this year and negotiations are now ongoing. The wide-ranging project, nicknamed Selborne, will bring together a number of existing contracts with the aim of delivering all levels of naval personnel training, according to a contract note for prospective bidders. This includes all operational sea training, and training and simulation in military electronic systems. The contract is due to start from 2021.
Both Lockheed Martin and Raytheon already provide training and logistics support for the US military. Raytheon trains the US Army under multiple contracts. Richard Daniel, chief executive of Raytheon UK, said the company’s experience of commercial training for car companies was beneficial for its bid. “We are going to take the transformational techniques that we have learnt for commercial training such as General Motors and Honda and combine that with our logistics [expertise],” he told the Financial Times. Recommended UK defence spending Drones plan stokes fears of UK defence on the cheap “You can’t train navy officers and people in the Royal Navy the same way as they have always been trained,” he added. The company is working on the bid with British outsourcer Capita, which has come under fire for a number of high-profile contract failures in recent years. Mr Daniel said the criticism was something “we have been monitoring quite closely” but insisted that he had been “comfortable about what they [Capita] have been doing”.
Raytheon, which is best known for its Patriot missile defence system, is among a number of US defence companies looking to expand its UK presence. It has invested more than $200m in the UK since 2015 and its British subsidiary has an annual turnover of about $600m. Given the MoD’s tight budget, Mr Daniel said one of the challenges for companies such as Raytheon was “how do you provide sovereign capability with a relatively small demand at an affordable price”. Babcock, which currently provides large parts of the Royal Navy’s training programme, confirmed it had been selected to bid. The FTSE 250 group is working with defence group Qinetiq, IT company Centerprise International and the Universities of Portsmouth and Strathclyde. Lockheed Martin, which builds the F35 fighter jet, also confirmed that it was in the running for the MoD contract but gave no further comment. (Source: FT.com)
16 May 19. Bulgaria reveals why it might stop talks to buy F-16 fighter jets. Bulgaria may walk away from negotiations with the U.S. for the purchase of Lockheed Martin’s F-16 Block 70 fighter jets, according to Bulgaria’s defense minister, instead turning to Sweden or Italy for new combat aircraft.
As part of Bulgaria’s tender to acquire eight new fighter jets for its military, Italy offered the Eurofighter Typhoon and Sweden offered the Saab JAS 39 Gripen.
The Bulgarian Air Force aims to replace its outdated Soviet-era Mikoyan MiG-29 fighter jets with Western-made aircraft.
Krasimir Karakachanov told local broadcaster Bulgarian National Radio that government authorities were not expecting to receive “anything for free [from the U.S.], but [to be offered aircraft] at normal prices, taking into account the prices offered to other countries, for example, Slovakia.”
Last year, the Slovak Cabinet signed a contract worth about €1.59bn (U.S. $1.78bn) to acquire 14 F-16 Block 70/72 fighters from the United States.
The minister did not disclose the value of the offer made by the American side. However, Bulgarian officials noted the acquisition is expected to be worth about 1.5bn leva (U.S. $859m). (Source: Defense News)
16 May 19. Switzerland re-scopes fighter procurement, moots referendum. Key Points:
- Switzerland has split its aircraft procurement from the ground-based air-defence acquisition, with a cap of USD5.95bn on the programme
- The acquisition may now be subject to a referendum, which could delay the programme
Switzerland has redefined the budget for its procurement of a new fighter aircraft under its Air2030 acquisition programme, the Federal Council announced on 16 May. The budget for the aircraft acquisition has now been set at a maximum of CHF6bn (USD5.95bn), with the fighter procurement being split away from the BODLUV ground-based airdefence acquisition. Previously, the combined BODLUV and Air2030 acquisition had a value of CHF8bn. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
13 May 19. US, Poland to Discuss Potential F-35 Sale, Air Force Secretary Says. Warsaw’s eagerness to buy the Joint Strike Fighter came up during Heather Wilson’s April visit to Poland. A U.S. delegation is scheduled to brief Polish defense officials eager to buy the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter later this month, U.S. Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson said Monday. The American team is expected to discuss the costs of buying the Lockheed Martin-made jet as well as the warfighting capabilities it would bring to the Polish military.
“They want to deepen their relationship with the United States of America in part by interoperability of advanced equipment,” Wilson said after a Meridian International Center event in Washington. “Those discussions are continuing. We’re providing the information that might be needed for them to make a decision.”
Poland has been looking to replace its Soviet-era MiG-29 Fulcrum and Su-22 Fitter fighters for several years. Its air force has 31 MiG-29s and and 18 Su-22s, according to the International Institute for Strategic Studies’ 2019 Military Balance. In recent weeks, Polish officials said they would buy 32 F-35s.
“The Polish government has decided that they want the F-35 and they’re in discussions with the United States,” Wilson said Monday.
U.S. officials heading to Poland is a sign that the potential deal is going through the standard foreign military sale process.
The F-35’s design and electronic equipment make it difficult to track for advanced surface-to-air missiles — like the long-range S-300 SAMs that Russia deploys in its Kaliningrad exclave north of Poland.
When the U.S. Air Force deployed F-15 fighters from the 104th Fighter Wing to Estonia in 2016, the jets flew close to those Russian surface-to-air missiles.
“When you take off [in Estonia] you were either in or very close to being in a Russian [surface-to-air-missile] system out of Kaliningrad,” Col. Tom Bladen, operations officer with the 104th Fighter Wing, told Defense One in October 2016.
Earlier this year, the U.S. Marine Corps flew its F-35B jump jets in Syria, where Russia has also deployed the S-300.
Last month, the F-35 program director listed Poland as a potential purchaser along with Greece, Singapore, Spain, and Romania. Vice Adm. Mat Winer submitted his written testimony to the House Armed Services tactical air and land forces subcommittee.
Later in April, Poland Defense Minister Mariusz Blaszczak told local media that a F-35 deal was “not far away.”
While the sale has not been approved by the U.S. State Department, Wilson said it came up when she visited Poland in April.
“[T]hey want to be allied with the United States,” the secretary said. “If there’s one thing that’s really clear, is they fear and detest the Russians.”
Wilson touted Warsaw’s defense spending, which has been increasing for nearly three decades. Poland is one of seven NATOmembers who spends above 2 percent of its annual gross domestic product on defense.
Buying a fifth-generation fighter is expensive and includes an abundance of training, infrastructure, and maintenance costs beyond the aircraft themselves. Right now, an F-35A, the Air Force version of the Joint Strike Fighter, costs just under $90m each. For comparison purposes, in January 2018, the Pentagon estimated the sale of 34 F-35s to Belgium at $6.53bn when all associated costs are factored in. Poland already flies 48 Lockheed-made F-16 fighters. (Source: Defense One)
13 May 19. Nineteen Belgium-based companies will present their ideas and cutting-edge capabilities to a panel of technical experts from GA-ASI with the goal of selection to support the development of MQ-9B SkyGuardian Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) for Belgium. This outreach event, called “Blue Magic Belgium,” follows the Government of Belgium’s approval for Belgian Defense to negotiate acquisition of GA-ASI’s SkyGuardian to meet the nation’s RPA requirements. The 19 companies will be broken into two groups with one group presenting on May 15th in Liège and the second group on May 16th in Sint-Truiden. The goal of the events is to increase the number of Belgian technology companies that can provide research and development (R&D) and innovation to support GA-ASI.
“We look forward to the opportunity to meet face-to-face with some of Belgium’s most innovative companies,” said Linden Blue, CEO, GA-ASI. “We’re committed to providing the best RPA to Belgian Defense and all NATO countries. To support that effort, we’re identifying and establishing relationships with companies across Belgium that can assist us.”
The companies participating in Blue Magic Belgium on May 15th and 16th will be Aerosimulators, Airobot, Altran, ALX Systems, Any Shape, Arcadia Industries, Capual, Coexpair, Feronyl, Hexagon, KuLeuven, Mockel, MSC Software, Simtech, Sirris, Spacebel, Unifly, (UN)MANNED and VeroTech.
16 May 19. DARPA Competition for AI-Powered Aircraft Dogfighting. The Pentagon’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) plans to launch a competition to teach artificial intelligence (AI) software programmes how to control aircraft and their weapons in dogfights.
The research agency sees the competition as the first step in developing software that would automate air-to-air combat. AI-controlled fighter aircraft could react faster in combat and free up pilots to spend more time managing a larger air battle, says DARPA. Ultimately, the Air Combat Evolution (ACE) programme aims to develop AI dogfighting software programs that are reliable and trusted enough by pilots to take over air-to-air combat.
“Being able to trust autonomy is critical as we move toward a future of warfare involving manned platforms fighting alongside unmanned systems,” says US Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Dan Javorsek, ACE programme manager. “We envision a future in which AI handles the split-second manoeuvring during within-visual-range dogfights, keeping pilots safer and more effective as they orchestrate large numbers of unmanned systems into a web of overwhelming combat effects.”
DARPA says it will hold a “proposers day” for researchers interested in pitching their ideas on 17 May in Arlington, Virginia.
The ACE programme intends to train AI programmes in the rules of aerial dogfighting in a similar way to how new fighter pilots are taught. It will start with basic fighter manoeuvres in simple, one-on-one combat scenarios, before moving on to more complex and fast-changing situations.
DARPA believes that dogfighting is a good test case for AI combat programmes because it has a clearly defined objective, measurable outcome and aircraft have inherent physical limitations. The expansion of the AI performance envelope will be monitored by human pilots riding within the autonomously controlled aircraft.
“Only after human pilots are confident that the AI algorithms are trustworthy in handling bounded, transparent and predictable behaviours will the aerial engagement scenarios increase in difficulty and realism,” Javorsek says. “Following virtual testing, we plan to demonstrate the dogfighting algorithms on sub-scale aircraft, leading ultimately to live, full-scale manned-unmanned team dogfighting with operationally representative aircraft.”
ACE is part of a larger DARPA air combat research effort, called “mosaic warfare.” The agency is looking at ways to shift air combat away from being the exclusive domain of manned aircraft towards a future where a mix of manned and less-expensive unmanned air vehicles (UAV) fly together. The belief is that the UAVs could counter changing threats more effectively because they would be developed, fielded, and upgraded with the latest technology faster and cheaper than a manned aircraft.
“Linking together manned aircraft with significantly cheaper unmanned systems creates a mosaic where the individual pieces can easily be recomposed to create different effects or quickly replaced if destroyed, resulting in a more resilient warfighting capability,” says DARPA.
The Loyal Wingman UAV, the XQ-58A Valkyrie, which is supposed to fly alongside manned fourth and fifth-generation fighters, is an example of such a concept being separately developed by the USAF Research Laboratory. (Source: UAS VISION/Flightglobal)
13 May 19. Pentagon to transfer $1.5bn from defence programmes for border wall. Acting US Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan has granted approval for transfer of $1.5bn by the Pentagon for the construction of more than 130km of a wall along the border with Mexico.
US President Donald Trump said that $5.7bn will be required to fund the wall, aimed at preventing people from crossing into the US and stopping the flow of drugs from Mexico.
The money transfer includes shifting around $604m from funds for the Afghan security forces, the next nuclear intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) programme Minuteman III, and from the Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) programme.
In 2019, the US has appropriated $4.9bn in support for those forces, and an official said that the money was taken from the account because of savings from contracts.
The US Air Force said that the ballistic missile programme is needed to upgrade its ageing ground infrastructure.
However, plans to upgrade its control centre have been delayed and the Pentagon has decided to shift some money for the wall, a US Department of Defense (DoD) document stated.
In 2018, the airforce decided to end a $76m AWACS contract with Boeing reportedly due to delays in hardware and software development. In a statement, Shanahan said: “The funds were drawn from a variety of sources, including cost savings, programmatic changes and revised requirements, and therefore will have minimal impact on force readiness.”
The remainder of the money will be from a chemical demilitarisation programme, the Pentagon’s new Blended Retirement System, which was launched in January 2018, funds for Pakistan and airforce programmes.
DoD officials have not so far provided a breakdown of money taken from each programme.
Another official said that this was not the first time money had been transferred from the account. In March, $1bn in military money was transferred to fund the border wall.
Administration officials had previously stated that reallocated money also could be used for other unfunded military projects.
The document stated that the department will also transfer money originally meant for a space test experiment involving the military’s Defense Advanced Projects Research Agency (DARPA). Money from savings that the department negotiated on air-launch cruise and Hellfire missiles will also be used to fund the wall. (Source: army-technology.com)
REST OF THE WORLD
16 May 19. Tokyo resumes plans to replace JGSDF’s Type 96 armoured vehicles. The Japan Ministry of Defense’s (MoD’s) Acquisition, Technology, & Logistics Agency (ATLA) has resumed plans to acquire a new wheeled armoured vehicle to replace the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force’s (JGSDF’s) ageing fleet of Komatsu Type 96 8×8 armoured personnel carriers (APCs). The agency held an explanatory meeting on 14 May for companies looking into possible proposals to develop a prototype vehicle. When contacted by Jane’s an ATLA spokesperson refused to disclose details of the meeting citing “the fairness of the selection procedures”, but revealed that the new vehicle is expected to be armoured, armed, and capable of rapidly deploying JGSDF troops in a wide range of situations, including “for the defence of remote islands in the face of the enemy’s armed threats”. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
16 May 19. Contract cancellation fee and questions about the future of SEA 1000. Following the revelation of a $404m cancellation fee and opposition promises of a review for the $50bn SEA 1000 Attack Class submarine program, it appears that Australia’s future submarine capability is once again entering uncharted waters – raising questions about the program future and available options.
It is the largest defence acquisition project in the history of the nation, but the $50bn project to replace the ageing Collins Class submarines with 12 regionally-superior submarines is in deep water as growing concerns about cost, capability and delivery time frame are further exacerbated with the leaking of information about a $404m contract break fee.
When then prime minister Malcolm Turnbull announced the DCNS, now Naval Group, Shortfin Barracuda as the successful design for the hotly contested SEA 1000 Future Submarine program in April 2016, it seemed as if the disastrous procurement of the Collins Class would be put aside.
As the prime minister assured both defence and the Australian public: “The competitive evaluation process (CEP) has provided the government with the detailed information required to select DCNS as the most suitable international partner to develop a regionally-superior future submarine to meet our unique national security requirements.”
The successful Naval Group-designed Shortfin Barracuda, to be designated the Attack Class, is expected to deliver a quantum leap in the capability delivered to the Royal Australian Navy and its submarine service by leveraging technology and capabilities developed for nuclear submarines but implemented on a conventional submarine platform, modified to address Australia’s unique operating requirements.
With growing public and parliamentary concerns about the cost of the mega-project, combined with a commitment by opposition defence spokesperson Richard Marles to conduct an extensive review into SEA 1000, and exacerbated by the recent leak of contract information following the successful signing of the Strategic Partnership Agreement (SPA) the signing of the Framework Agreement between Naval Group and ASC, and the successful completion of the Submarine Design Contract, questions have been raised about the viability and options that remain open should the program fail.
It is important to reinforce that we are not advocating for the cancellation or any modification to the SEA 1000 program, however, we recognise the importance of presenting the alternative options should the program fail to proceed despite the contractual, design and industrial progress made in the past 12 months.
Return of the Soryu
The early front runner for the SEA 1000 program, Japan’s Soryu Class submarines represent one of the leading examples of a modern, highly-capable and future-proofed conventional attack submarine. Soryu serves as Japan’s first air-independent propulsion (AIP) capable submarine class – with the latest vessel, the Oryu, incorporating lithium-ion battery packs to enhance the AIP capabilities of the platform.
Designed as the successor to the Oyashio Class submarines, the Soryu provide a capability leap on the older vessels. The vessels have a submerged weight of approximately 4,200 tonnes, an estimated top submerged speed of 20 knots and estimated AIP endurance of 11,297 kilometres, and can be armed with 30 Type 89 533mm torpedoes, which are similar to the Mk 48 heavyweight torpedoes used by the US and Australian navies, Harpoon anti-ship missiles and mines.
Japan’s offering was also supported by the US Navy, recognising the tactical and strategic benefits of two major regional allies operating similar highly-capable platforms.
Das Boot – an Aussie U-boat?
Germany’s ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems’ (TKMS) history of designing and building highly-capable, advanced conventionally powered submarines positioned the German offering the Type-216 submarine as a front runner in the original SEA 1000 program – designed specifically to meet the “larger conventional submarine” needs of countries like Australia, India and Canada.
Like its Japanese counterpart, the Type-216 is equipped with a lithium-ion supported AIP system enabling near-nuclear submarine levels of performance, persistence and endurance. The Type-216 incorporates a range of next-generation capabilities including the ability to launch cruise missiles, deploy special forces with an underwater delivery vehicle and unmanned underwater vehicles (UUV).
The Type-216 has an estimated submerged displacement of 4,000 tonnes, an estimated range of 19,260 kilometres and AIP endurance of a month, with a mission endurance up to eight days and is armed with six 533mm torpedo tubes (capable of accommodating heavy-weight torpedoes, anti-ship missiles or mines). The design also incorporates a specialised vertical-launch lock system capable of supporting cruise missiles, special forces and UUV capabilities.
Son of Collins – Saab’s next-generation submarine
Despite a challenging relationship between Saab, Navy and Defence – Saab embarked on a design development process for the A26 vessels, which are broken down into two variants, the specialised Pelagic and Oceanic variants.
- Pelagic: Adapted for long-range missions in narrow or littoral environments. Highly manoeuvrable with high speed and a large weapon load, Pelagic submarines have a lower acquisition price and operating cost, and can also be offered with the Stirling AIP technology for superior submerged endurance.
- Oceanic ER: Submarines in the Oceanic Extended Range (ER) segment are the largest in the series, designed for much longer missions, greater crew size and increased weapon payload capability. Oceanic ER submarines enable long-distance operations, suitable for any navy using forward deployment of their submarines on extended missions.
The increased range, endurance and long-range strike capabilities provided by technologies developed for the larger, long-range Oceanic ER variant of the A26 is aimed at delivering a suite for key technology insertions for possible introduction in the Collins Class as part of a mid-life upgrade, including:
- The introduction of vertical launching systems to deliver precision land strikes through land-attack cruise missile systems;
- Special operations multi-purpose lock systems; and
- Improved combat system performance supporting enhanced intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities through the digitisation of key optronics and mast systems.
As an island nation, Australia is defined by its relationship and access to the ocean, with strategic sea-lines-of-communication support over 90 per cent of global trade, a result of the cost effective and reliable nature of sea transport. Indo-Pacific Asia is at the epicentre of the global maritime trade, with about US$5 trillion worth of trade flowing through the South China Sea (SCS) and the strategic waterways and choke points of south-east Asia annually.
The Indian Ocean and its critical global sea-lines-of-communication are responsible for more than 80 per cent of the world’s seaborne trade in critical energy supplies, namely oil and natural gas, which serve as the lifeblood of any advanced economy.
Submarines are critical to the nation’s ability to protect these strategically vital waterways and key naval assets, as well as providing a viable tactical and strategic deterrent and ensure the nation’s enduring national and economic security – recognising this, the previously posed questions will serve as conversation starting points. (Source: Defence Connect)
15 May 19. Lockheed Martin reportedly offers India F-21 exclusivity. Lockheed Martin has reportedly promised that the F-21 will be exclusively operated by the Indian Air Force should the nation select it for its USD18bn, 114-aircraft requirement. The aircraft was revealed in February as the company’s offer for the programme, an F-16 Fighting Falcon derivative that has been tailored to include Indian-specific technologies. The aircraft is being offered in conjunction with Indian manufacturer Tata Advanced Systems.
The F-21 is being pitched against rival systems, including the Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, Dassault Rafale, Eurofighter Typhoon, Saab Gripen, and Mikoyan MiG-35, and the Indian press has reported that Lockheed Martin is offering exclusivity to India if it selects the F-21, guaranteeing that it would not be sold to any other nation. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
15 May 19. Global wrap-up: Two new destroyers for Chinese Navy; New Apaches for Qatar. This global wrap-up provides updates of industry developments across the globe, including new procurement deals, capability introductions and key announcements.
- The People’s Liberation Army – Navy (PLAN) has commissioned two Type 052D guided missile destroyers – the two vessels are the 19th and 20th ships of the class. The domestically developed Type 052D destroyer saw significant upgrades on its predecessor, the Type 052C. It is equipped with weapons and equipment, including advanced active electronically scanned array radar systems and 64 vertical launch missile cell.
- China’s pursuit of a competitive aircraft carrier fleet is one-step closer to reality, with satellite imagery revealing extensive progress on the next-generation Type 002 conventional aircraft carrier at the Jiangnan Shipyard at the mouth of the Yangtze River. The Type 002 carrier, expected to be commissioned in 2023, will be a traditional, CATOBAR-based vessel, weighing in at 80-85,000 tonnes.
- The Republic of Korea Air Force (ROKAF) has successfully completed a series of new test flights for its Lockheed Martin F-35A Joint Strike Fighter from an air base in Cheongju, North Chungcheong Province.
- The Royal Thai Army has signed a deal with US$80m to acquire 37 refurbished Stryker armoured vehicles from the United States. The deal also includes a donation of 23 more vehicles bringing the total number to 60 – additionally the package includes communication systems as well as weapons, the hangar, practice field development, auto-parts and maintenance.
- The Indonesian Army signed a US$80m contract with PT Pindad to provide the first 22 Pandur II 8×8 infantry fighting vehicles – the deal requires the vehicles to be delivered to the Army within three years. The vehicles will reportedly be equipped with the Israeli remote-controlled uninhabited combat module Elbit Systems U30MK.II, which Ares will supply with a Northrop Grumman Bushmaster Mk.44 30mm automatic gun and two 7.62mm machine guns.
- The Indian Air Force has officially taken delivery of the first of 22 Boeing AH-64E (I) Apache Guardian attack helicopters at a ceremony in Arizona. The IAF ordered the Apache rotorcraft in September 2015 in a deal worth US$2.02bn.
- The Indian Navy has successfully launched its fourth P75 Scorpene Class submarine from the state-owned Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders, which entered into a contract for the construction and technology transfer for six vessels with Naval Group. The P75 program is the key element of the strategic partnership built in the domain of submarine building over the last decades between India and France.
- Qatar has secured a foreign military sale (FMS) worth US$3bn for 24 Boeing AH-64E Apache attack helicopters – Qatar previously reached a deal to procure 24 of these helicopters for use by the Qatar Emiri Air Force (QEAF). The first of the initial batch of 24 helicopters was delivered in March.
- The Israeli Air Force is preparing to induct its second F-35I ‘Adir’ squadron – called the ‘Defenders of the South’ – 14 F-35I stealth aircraft have already been delivered. A total of 50 ‘Adir’ aircraft will be delivered by the end of 2024 to equip two full squadrons.
- The Egyptian Navy has launched the second domestically-built Gowind Class Corvette. The corvette frigate is part of a deal worth US$1.12bn to provide four naval frigates for the Egyptian naval forces.
- Bahrain has been cleared for a FMS worth US$2.5bn to supply 60 Patriot Advanced Capability-3 Missile Segment Enhancement missiles, 36 Patriot MIM-104E Guidance Enhanced Missiles with canisters, nine M903 launchers, two AN/MPQ-65 radar sets, control stations and other associated equipment.
- The Turkish Air Force is continuing its operational test and evaluation (OT&E) work on the new Turkish Aerospace Hurkus B trainer aircraft. The TAF is expected to fund a light-attack Hurkus C variant.
- The Czech Republic has secured a FMS worth US$1 bn to provide a fleet of 12 UH-60M Black Hawk Helicopters – the deal includes 12 M261 Rocket Launchers, 114 Advanced Precision Kill Weapon System (APKWS) rocket guidance systems, 24 M240H machine guns and other equipment, weapons and ammunition, along with training, spares, and support. The FMS also includes the acquisition of four AH-1Z attack helicopters and includes 14 AGM-114 Hellfire missiles, M197 20mm machine guns and other equipment, along with training, spares, and support.
- The German Air Force has successfully modified its A400M tactical airlift aircraft to into an air ambulance that enables the evacuation of seriously wounded service members from war zones while receiving a high level of critical care.
- Russia is set to export the Sukhoi Su-57E an export variant of the Su-57 to India. The Indian Air Force is looking to procure over 100 new fighter aircraft and is expected to issue a request for proposals (RFP) in the coming months. Lockheed Martin and Boeing, in addition to Swedish aircraft maker Saab, French defence firm Dassault Aviation, the Eurofighter consortium, and Russia’s United Aircraft Cooperation are expected to participate in the tender.
- Saab has launched a new signals intelligence (SIGINT) vessel for the Royal Swedish Navy – Saab was awarded the contract to design and build the vessel by the Swedish Material Defence Administration (FMV) in 2017. The new ship is 74 metres long with a displacement of 2,200 tonnes.
- Fincantieri has delivered the latest FREMM Class frigate Antonio Marceglia to the Italian Navy – the vessel is the eighth in a series of 10 vessels in the FREMM program. FREMM frigates measure 144 metres in length, with a displacement at full load of approximately 6,700 tonnes. These vessels have been designed to reach a maximum speed of 27 knots and to provide accommodation for 200 people.
- Northrop Grumman was awarded a US$13.5 m contract modification to expand the analysis and design of the Next Generation Jammer Low Band (NGJ LB) controller, receiver, exciter, and power generation subsystems. In addition, this modification provides for NGJ LB technique development, incorporation of updated goals documents, and environmental testing of the transmitter group.
- Raytheon Missile Systems was awarded a US$101.3m contract modification to procure Tactically-Launched Optically-Tracked Wireless-Guided missiles for the US Army.
- Boeing Defense has secured a US$11.2 m contract modification to support the sustainment and engineering services for F-15. This contract provides for post-production support tasks/services unique to the original equipment manufacturer as required to maintain an adequate level of continuous sustaining engineering and logistics support for the Air Force and FMS F-15 fleets.
- QinetiQ has been awarded a C$51 m contract to deliver unmanned aircraft systems that will drive enhanced situational awareness for the Canadian Armed Forces.
- Australia quietly opened a trade and defence office in West Jerusalem in March, with no official government announcement and no officials attending the opening.
- In a major milestone for the development of a fifth-generation Royal Australian Air Force, 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 $1bn in Western Australia’s naval shipbuilding capabilities with the commitment to build three new naval vessels for the Royal Australian Navy.
- The head of the Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) Alastair MacGibbon has announced his resignation for 28 May to return to the private sector.
- Northrop Grumman has been selected by the RAAF to continue providing through-life support to the Commonwealth’s VIP special purpose aircraft fleet.
- No. 3 Squadron F-35 Joint Strike Fighters based at RAAF Base Williamtown will conduct the first round of training for the fifth-generation aircraft over the Salt Ash Air Weapons Range (SAAWR). (Source: Defence Connect)
14 May 19. Terma to supply Indonesia’s KCR-60M class with C-Series Combat Suite. Key Points:
- Indonesia has awarded Terma a contract to supply the C-Series Combat Suite for the KCR-60M fast attack craft
- Procurement marks a further evolution of combat systems found on the vessel type
Terma has received a contract to supply the Indonesian Navy’s (Tentara Nasional Indonesia – Angkatan Laut: TNI-AL) KCR-60M fast attack craft with the C-Series Combat Suite.
Each vessel in the class will be equipped with Terma’s C-Flex combat management system (CMS), the SCANTER 4603 X-band radar, the C-Guard decoy launching system, and the C-Fire electro-optical fire control system.
In addition to the three vessels already in fleet, and another awaiting commissioning, the system will also be installed on a further two KCR-60M vessels that will be delivered to the TNI-AL in the next few years. One of these is currently under construction at PT PAL’s premises in Surabaya.
The contract represents Terma’s first-ever sale of a complete combat system to Indonesia, a Terma representative told Jane’s at the IMDEX 2019 defence and maritime exhibition in Singapore. The company is due to hold further meetings with a team of senior leaders at the event, with a view to expanding the collaboration further on other ship classes, the representative added.
The company has also downplayed concerns of compatibility with Chinese systems that have gone onboard lead vessel KRI Sampari (628), and second-of-class KRI Tombak (629), adding that the C-Series Combat Suite is agnostic towards weapons and sensors from other manufacturers.
Both vessels have undergone several modifications in recent years, and each have been equipped with a Chinese-made Type 630 close-in weapon system (CIWS) turret in the aft section. The weapon has been installed on a pedestal at the stern where a rigid-hull inflatable boat (RHIB) was previously positioned. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
09 May 19. Japan, US deepen fighter technology talks. The Japanese Ministry of Defense (MoD) and the US government are deepening discussions in support of Japan’s programme to develop a platform to replace its Mitsubishi F-2 fighter aircraft, Jane’s understands.
Discussions between the two sides are focused on the fighter aircraft technologies that the US would transfer to Japan to support the next-generation fighter programme, which Japan wants to make a decision on in the near future.
A key consideration in the talks is technologies related to the Lockheed Martin F-35, which Japan has recently committed to procuring in large numbers.
A spokesperson for the MoD told Jane’s, “The Japanese MoD and the US government have been making contacts at various levels regarding the development of a future fighter to replace the F-2.”
The MoD said it would not disclose details of the bilateral talks but stressed that there has been no proposal from the US to disclose secret source code information about the F-35 in a bid to secure partnership status on the programme.
Japan is considering several F-2 replacement options. These include the joint development of a new aircraft with an international contractor; licensed production of an existing foreign design through government-to-government channels; the development of an indigenous platform; or a programme to upgrade and refurbish the F-2, which Mitsubishi stopped producing in 2011.
The MoD spokesperson told Jane’s that a schedule for a decision on these options has not yet been decided. However, she also said that the MoD is committed to making a decision soon so that the fighter development programme can commence “in the near future”.
The spokesperson said that the MoD expects the F-2 to remain in service for at least 15 years and that it is required by Japan’s defence policy – the 2019-2023 Mid-Term Defense Program – to undertake research in future fighter aircraft and “launch a Japan-led development project at an early timing, with the possibility of international collaboration”. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
09 May 19. US clears $3bn Apache sale for Qatar. The U.S. State Department has cleared a potential foreign military sale deal of 24 AH-64E Apache attack helicopters, in a deal that could be worth up to $3bn. The proposed sale would double Qatar’s previous procurement of AH-64Es, which are used for “close air support, armed reconnaissance, and anti-tank warfare missions,” according to a notice posted on the Defense Security Cooperation Agency’s website Thursday. “The helicopters will provide a long-term defensive and offensive capability to the Qatar peninsula as well as enhance the protection of key oil and gas infrastructure and platforms.”
The notification is not a guarantee of a final sale. Congress can still weigh in, and once cleared by the Hill, negotiations between customer and supplier often lead to different prices or quantities.
Included in the sale are the 24 helicopter bodies, 52 T700-GE-701D engines; 26 AN/ASQ-170 Modernized Target Acquisition and Designation Sight (MTADS); 26 AN/AAQ-11 Modernized Pilot Night Vision Sensors; 2,500 AGM-114R Hellfire missiles; 28 M230 30mm automatic chain guns, as well as other equipment and training.
Primary work will be done at Boeing’s Mesa, Ariz., facility, Lockheed Martin’s Orlando, Fla, location and General Electric’s Cincinnati, OH facility, as well as other locations. There are no known industrial offsets in the deal. (Source: Defense News Early Bird/Defense News)
09 May 19. Brazil offers its Tupi-class SSKs to Argentina and Peru. Brazil has started to look for potential buyers for its four Tupi-class (German Type 209-1400) diesel-electric submarines (SSKs), which will soon become surplus to requirements, military and civilian sources in Rio de Janeiro and Brasilia have confirmed to Jane’s. Both Argentina and Peru have been approached with offers, according to sources in Buenos Aires and Lima. The move aims to free up financial resources currently focused on maintaining and operating the Tupi-class submarines, as well as generating revenue by selling the boats, according to the Brazilian sources. The Brazilian Navy also has a need to re-assign its submarine crews to retrain for the operation of the four Riachuelo-class (French Scorpene type) boats on order, which will be completed and commissioned in the next few years. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
American Panel Corporation
American Panel Corporation (APC) since 1998, specializes in display products installed in defence land systems, as well as military and commercial aerospace platforms, having delivered well over 100,000 displays worldwide. Military aviators worldwide operate their aircraft and perform their missions using APC displays, including F-22, F-18, F-16, F-15, Euro-fighter Typhoon, Mirage 2000, C-130, C-17, P-3, S-3, U-2, AH-64 Apache Helicopter, V-22 tilt-rotor, as well as numerous other military and commercial aviation aircraft including Boeing 717 – 787 aircraft and several Airbus aircraft. APC panels are found in nearly every tactical aircraft in the US and around the world.
APC manufactures the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter Large Area Display (LAD) display (20 inch by 8 inch) with dual pixel fields, power and video interfaces to provide complete display redundancy. At DSEI 2017 we are exhibiting the LAD with a more advanced design, dual display on single substrate with redundant characteristics and a bespoke purpose 8 inch by 6 inch armoured vehicle display.
In order to fully meet the demanding environmental and optical requirements without sacrificing critical tradeoffs in performance, APC designs, develops and manufactures these highly specialized displays in multiple sizes and configurations, controlling all AMLCD optical panel, mechanical and electrical design aspects. APC provides both ITAR and non-ITAR displays across the globe to OEM Prime and tiered vetronics and avionics integrators.