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UNITED KINGDOM AND NATO
09 Jul 19. UK MoD issues bid notice for directed energy weapons demonstration. The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) has issued a prior information notice (PIN) seeking three directed energy weapons (DEWs) to demonstrate, which will use laser or radio frequency energy to destroy targets. The government said it intends to purchase systems for the project under a GBP130m (USD162.8m) investment, covering the construction of the demonstrators, the establishment of a new Joint Programme Office to support the project, and the recruitment of personnel to work on it. Under the initiative the systems will be trialled on Royal Navy vessels and British Army vehicles in 2023, although it is expected that the systems will evolve to be utilised by the Royal Air Force as well. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
07 Jul 19. Croatian Government Initiates Procurement of Multirole Combat Aircraft. The Decision promulgating the establishment of an inter-ministerial committee for the procurement of multirole combat aircraft was adopted at the 164th session of the Croatian Government on Thursday, 4th July 2019.
Pursuant to the conclusions of the Defence Council (28th June 2019) and the Defence Committee of the Croatian Parliament (3rd July 2019), the decision by the Government of the Republic of Croatia determines that the Republic of Croatia ought to preserve the capability of protecting its airspace with its own combat aircraft. Therefore, the Government will initiate the procurement of multirole combat aircraft, bearing in mind the required capabilities and the Republic of Croatia’s available financial resources. The inter-ministerial committee’s task is to prepare and conduct the process of procuring multirole combat aircraft as well as suggest reaching relevant decisions to the Government of the Republic of Croatia and other authorities.
The inter-ministerial committee will consist of representatives from the Office of the President of the Republic of Croatia, Prime Minister’s Office, Ministry of Defence, Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs, Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Economy, Entrepreneurship and Crafts, Government General Secretariat, Security and Intelligence Agency, Military Security and Intelligence Agency and Office of the National Security Council as well as the chairperson and deputy chairperson of the Croatian Parliament’s Defence Committee. In his opening address, Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenković underlined: “We are turning over a new leaf and reinitiating the procurement of multirole combat aircraft.”
Plenković stressed that the Government would set up an inter-ministerial committee which would adequately, transparently and inclusively oversee the procurement, a process of strategic importance for the Croatian Air Force and the Croatian Armed Forces as a whole.
In his presentation at the Government’s session, Deputy Prime Minister and the Minister of Defence Damir Krstičević emphasized: “I am glad that the Defence Council and the Defence Committee of the Croatian Parliament have unanimously extended support to the Croatian Government for the procurement of multirole combat aircraft, which will be initiated once this decision enters into force. The procurement of multirole combat aircraft is a project of high financial value and strategic importance for the whole country. It must be transparent and lawful.”
“Only united and supported by all institutions of the Republic of Croatia can we realize this strategically important project,” Minister Krstičević underlined, concluding: ““Croatia and its armed forces are stronger with combat aviation.”
Furthermore, Minister Krstičević announced that, along with seeking for the best option for procuring multirole combat aircraft, the inter-ministerial committee would also look into options for the training of pilots on multirole combat aircraft and suggest reaching relevant decisions regarding that matter to the Government and other authorities.
(Source: defense-aerospace.com/Croatia Ministry of Defence)
10 Jul 19. EDA to launch four-country talks on Leopard 2 upgrade and procurement after industry feedback. The European Defence Agency (EDA) awaits a last round of market feedback from industry before launching final consultations with member states Cyprus, Greece, Romania, and Spain to launch a programme in 2020 to modernise or procure Leopard 2 main battle tank (MBT) fleets. The effort will aim at upgrading to Leopard 2A7 equivalents or acquiring them, according to the agency.
“We’re aiming for maximum commonality among them as they upgrade their MBTs,” an EDA source told Jane’s on 8 July, adding that the programme will involve approximately 200 Leopard tanks, plus a purchase of a new tank battalion by Romania, with all the upgrade work worth “several hundreds” of millions of euros. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
08 Jul 19. US Navy wants ‘see something, send something’ system. The Naval District Washington is looking for vendors that can make it easier for analysts to react to reports of suspicious activity in real time. The capability must integrate with a smartphone-based app that allows untrained users to collect and record suspicious activity and images, then easily and remotely upload the information to the Defense Department’s system of record for suspicious activity reporting. The vendor also must supply analytical tools, such as facial recognition and geo-mapping technologies, so security analysts can quickly identify threats, spot trends and share the information horizontally through the NDW area of operations, according to a sources sought notice.
The reported information would be housed in the eGuardian suspicious activity reporting system, which is a sensitive but unclassified threat tracking and management system. eGuardian, which was developed in 2007 and is managed by the FBI, is designed to collect terrorist threat information and suspicious activity so it can be shared with other federal, state, local and tribal law enforcement offices.
A number of state and local governments have developed similar smartphone-enabled “see something, send something” apps that make it easier for the public to report suspicious activity.
After the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., state officials announced the launch of Fortify Florida, an app that allows students and the community to relay information anonymously concerning unsafe, potentially harmful, dangerous, violent or criminal activities — or the threat of these activities — to appropriate public safety agencies and school officials.
Northern Virginia residents can use the iWatchNOVA app to report suspicious activity that may indicate terrorist or significant criminal activity. Information collected through the app is evaluated, analyzed and disseminated by the Northern Virginia Regional Intelligence Center, a Department of Homeland Security-recognized fusion center. (Source: Defense Systems)
05 Jul 19. The next generation of high-performance computers. Researchers for the intelligence community want ideas on how to improve modeling and simulation of high-performance computing architectures and applications.
As HPC systems advance, they are becoming more exotic, dynamic, complex and vast, potentially overwhelming traditional methods of designing, testing and optimizing them, according to a June 25 request for information posted by the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity. All that complexity — from many-core designs to burst buffers, novel networking and parallel computers — can lead to systems that can be made up of disparate computers, storage systems and other large-scale data sources, it said.
“This additional challenge of heterogeneous data sources make modeling the execution of an application an even more important, but complicated effort,” said the RFI.
IARPA is asking for help with modeling and simulation research that can eventually tackle large-scale computational and data-analytic applications that run on HPC systems. Those models, it said, should be able to act on dynamic information about hardware, power sources, performance, resiliency and other variables and respond accordingly with trade-offs as those variables change.
IARPA also wants input on using machine learning and artificial intelligence to help develop simulations, modeling of dynamic power and resiliency capabilities and other dynamic factors in systems.
Responses are due July 29. (Source: Defense Systems)
05 Jul 19. Fincantieri’s FREMM frigate design bulks up for the US FFG(X) competition. To meet the U.S. Navy’s famously high survivability standards, the FREMM frigate design has had to hit the gym and pack on hundreds of thousands of pounds of muscle in pursuit of wining the Navy’s FFG(X) competition. U.S. Navy ships are built like linebackers: able to take hit upon hit and stay in the game. But that comes at the cost of extra steel. And in the case of Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri’s FREMM, it meant adding hundreds of tons of steel, said retired Adm. Rick Hunt, a former head of Naval Surface Force Pacific who now works for the Italian company.
“We did, like all the competitors, monthly technical exchange meetings with the government to make sure we were as compliant as possible going into detailed design and construction,” he said. “One of the things that the Navy wasn’t going to budge on, and we agreed, was the toughness of the ship. So we added about 300 tons of steel on the design for the FREMM.”
Bringing the ship up to Naval Sea Systems Command’s high standards for toughness was always a foregone conclusion for this competition, but packing on all that steel drives choices into the design, especially when the Navy is trying its best to get a highly capable frigate for less than $1bn.
Fincantieri’s FREMM is competing alongside three other offerings: General Dynamics Bath Iron Works and Navantia’s F-100 variant, which is roughly equivalent to a small Arleigh Burke-class destroyer; a modified, up-gunned version of the National Security Cutter from Huntington Ingalls Industries; and Austal USA’s frigate version of its aluminum-hulled Independence-class littoral combat ship.
Lockheed Martin’s version of the FFG(X), an up-gunned, twin-screw variant of its Freedom-class LCS, was pulled from the competition in May.
As for the FREMM, the extra weight eats into some of the extra space on the ship — its spaciousness is one of the defining characteristics of the platform.
“[The extra steel is] going into scantling, ballistic and frag protection, the way the spaces are laid out: We’re as compliant as a DDG. That’s a lot of steel. The compartmentation, the toughness of the ship, the U.S. requirements that are different from the European ships — we moved around some of that extra space; it gets classified very quickly.”
What hasn’t been compromised has been the modularity of the ship that creates routes for major equipment to be brought in and out of the hull so that replacing, for example, major engine or computer components doesn’t require cutting a hole in the ship, Hunt said.
The berthing compartments are also the same: four- to six-person staterooms with private showers for each room.
“The most you’ll see in normal steaming is four, it’s officer quality,” Hunt said. “And that was a fight: That was a back-and-forth with big Navy and again an area that we came to an agreement on, and we’re holding do that.”
Overall, the design they are working on is perhaps less roomy than its European counterpart, but it does maintain a lot of extra space and capacity for upgrades to the power and propulsion system in future FFG(X) blocks or with retrofit upgrades, Hunt said.
For example, FREMM has the additional capacity to support an air warfare commander role, Hunt said, and could, with extra electrical power, support a larger 37-radar module assembly phased array instead of the nine-RMA array that’s in the FFG(X) requirements.
“Be flexible in what you do right now, surge to more capacity as soon as we get that [requirement] and be able to grow the ship in lot changes should you need something even greater in the future,” Hunt said. (Source: Defense News Early Bird/Defense News)
08 Jul 19. USAF Seeks Information on Non-Satcom BVLoS Communications. The US Air Force (USAF) seeks information from industry regarding non-satellite-based beyond line-of-sight (BLOS) communications. The request for information (RFI), reissued on 1 July on the Federal Business Opportunities (FBO) website, specifically seeks technical information on the current state-of-the-art and the future development potential for non-satellite communications high frequency global communications system (HFGCS) (satcom) BLOS technologies such as tropospheric scatter (troposcatter), high frequency (HF), unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) relays, passive reflector systems, and others. Further, it seeks information about current and planned development initiatives, technology maturity, fabrication methods, availability, schedule, and cost of such materials for potential use in anticipated military applications.
The USAF is interested in systems that would provide the best redundancy to satcom systems in performance characteristics. These systems may include well-known systems such as troposcatter and HF but also lesser-known systems including passive scatter systems such as aircraft and meteor burst scatter, or an entirely novel idea of achieving BLOS communications.
Troposcatter technology uses particles that make up the earth’s atmosphere as a reflector for microwave radio signals. Those signals are aimed just above the horizon in the direction of a receiver station. As they pass through the troposphere, some of the energy is scattered back toward earth, allowing the receiver station to pick up the signal, according to Raytheon.
Responses are due by 29 July. In responses, the USAF wants to learn more about new technologies that would decrease maintenance cost fivefold, have a 50% increase in average time between failure, a 100% increase in part failure prediction accuracy, and a 25% increase in re-use. (Source: UAS VISION/ Jane’s 360)
05 Jul 19. US Army to award second AH-64E Apache multi-year contract to Boeing. The US Army is set to award the second multi-year contract for the production and remanufacture of AH-64E Apache attack helicopters to Boeing. The Army Contracting Command has issued a solicitation notice for the procurement of up to 600 AH-64E Apache aircraft. Although the service intends the procurement to be solely sourced to Boeing, the award is open for any company interested in the bid to file a response by 17 July.
The contract will cover lots 12-16 of the Apache helicopter’s full-rate production. The proposed award is for a five-year multi-year contract or one year contract with options for production or remanufacturing of the aircraft from fiscal year (FY) 2022 to FY 2026. Following the contract award, Boeing will start the remanufacture and production of these 600 aircraft for the US Army and any potential international customers.
The first $3.4bn multi-year contract for the AH-64E Apache was awarded to Boeing in March 2017. Under the first contract, the army was supposed to receive 244 remanufactured Apaches while an undisclosed international customer was to acquire 24 new units. Boeing produces the Apache at its Mesa facility in Arizona, US. The company began deliveries of the ‘E’ model in October 2011. The ‘E’ model is an advanced version of the company’s Apache aircraft. The company delivered the first Apache, an AH-64A, to the US Army in January 1984. Since then, Boeing has made more than 2,200 AH-64 Apache attack helicopter deliveries to the US and other countries such as Egypt, Greece, India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Kuwait, the Netherlands, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, the UAE and the UK. In 2016, the firm agreed to deliver 50 AH-64Es to the British Army.(Source: army-technology.com)
REST OF THE WORLD
12 Jul 19. Global wrap-up: $2bn Abrams deal for Taiwan; German Navy commissions new frigate. This global wrap-up provides updates of industry developments across the globe, including new procurement deals, capability introductions and key announcements.
- Taiwan has successfully lobbied the United States for a US$2.2bn deal for more than 100 M1-A2 Abrams main battle tanks as part of the modernisation of the island nation’s ageing armoured fleet – the deal also includes 14 M-88A2 tank-recovery vehicles, 16 M-1070A1 Heavy Equipment Transporters plus 250 Stinger Block I-92F shoulder-fired anti-air missiles.
- The Republic of Korea Navy has received the latest of its upgraded Chang Bogo I Class diesel electric attack submarine – built by South Korean shipbuilder Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering (DSME).
- The Philippine Navy (PN) has decommissioned the PCE 827 Class corvette Sultan Kudarat (22) in preparation for the arrival of a Pohang Class vessel that has been donated by South Korea.
- The PN has commissioned two Leonardo AQ159 Lynx Wildcat helicopters and four South Korean Amphibious Assault Vehicles (KAAV) as part of a US$101 m contract signed between the Philippines and Leonardo, and the Philippines and a US$47.2 m contract with Korean giant Hanwha Techwin.
- Indonesia has inked a US$1.2bn deal with South Korean company Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering (DSME) to provide three additional Type 209-1400 submarines as part of the nation’s minimum essential force (MEF) program.
- The Indian Air Force (IAF) is pursuing the acquisition of an additional 18 Sukhoi Su-30MKI multi-role fighter aircraft from Russia. The additional platforms will supplement the 13 squadrons totalling 272 Su-30MKIs that the IAF intends to operate by 2020-21, thus taking to 14 the number of squadrons with this fighter type.
- The German Navy has officially commissioned the first of the new F125 Class frigates, the Baden-Wurttemberg – the German Navy can use the F125 Class ships for defence duties, conflict prevention, crisis management and intervention and stabilisation operations in the international arena.
- The German Air Force has successfully deployed a modified Airbus A400M Atlas tanker aircraft to support allied air operations against the Islamic State in the Middle East.
- The French Army has accepted the first of its Griffon multi-role vehicles (VBMR) – the standard Griffon will be an APC able to carry 11 personnel, while other variants will include ambulance, command post and artillery observation vehicles. The consortium had expected to build as many as 1,722 Griffons to replace the army’s wheeled VAB multi-role vehicle, however, in May 2018 French DGA procurement agency officials said that under the new Military Planning Law that covers 2019 to 2025 the requirement would be raised to 1,872.
- The Polish Army has taken delivery of KRAB 155mm self propelled howitzers – the KRAB is a 155mm self-propelled howitzer designed and manufactured in Poland by the defence company HSW (Huta Stalowa Wola) in co-operation with BAE Systems and Obrum.
- The UK Ministry of Defence has announced a US$160 m investment into the development of new directed energy weapons with a focus on naval systems including the new naval anti-drone laser system, dubbed Dragonfire, which will begin shipboard testing later this year. Dragonfire’s concept is comparable to LaWS, the US Navy’s 30 kW prototype laser weapon. But the MoD is now looking to the UK defence industry to develop additional weapons to be fitted to warships, aircraft, helicopters and armoured vehicles.
- The Royal Navy’s new flagship HMS Queen Elizabeth has returned to port at Portsmouth following the discovery of a leak during a series of live-fire weapons system testing ahead of planned maintenance – the HMS Queen Elizabeth has a length of 200 metres weighing 65,000 tonnes and a capacity to hold 60 aircraft.
- Commander-in-Chief of the Russian Navy, Admirial Nikolai Yevmenov, has announced that the resurgent power is in the planning stages for developing an 80,000-90,000 ton nuclear powered aircraft carrier – this would mark the first time Russia has built and operated a nuclear powered aircraft carrier.
- The Russian Navy is also expected to receive the upgraded nuclear-powered missile cruiser Admiral Nakhimov in 2022 following a range of repairs and upgrades at the Sevmash Shipyard.
- The US Army is asking Congress to shift US$24 m in FY2018 funding to help pay for a demonstration of a hit-to-kill munition critical to its long-range cannon program.
- The US Army has issued a full-material release for the new standard issue sidearm, the Sig Sauer M17 and M18 series handguns. The official approval came from the US Army’s Pitcatinny Arsenal – the US Marine Corps adopted the new pistol in June.
- Fincantieri, a major bidder in the US Navy’s FFG(X) program, has been required to up-armour the proposed FREMM design adding 300 tonnes of steel to the design to satisfy US Navy concerns about the survivability of the design.
- The US Navy has deployed the USS Ronald Regan, USS McCampbell and USS Chancellorsville in conjunction with a US Marine Corps forces and a US Air Force detachment including F-22 Raptors, B-52H Stratofortress and a number of other assets as part of the Talisman Sabre 2019 exercise in North Queensland.
- Defence Minister Linda Reynolds has welcomed news that a South Australian business is the latest Australian company selected to supply into the multibillion-dollar UK Type 26 program, currently building three Global Combat Ships in Glasgow, Scotland, for the UK Royal Navy.
- Capability Acquisition and Sustainment Group (CASG) has farewelled Air Vice-Marshal Cath Robertsfrom her position as Head Aerospace Systems Division, as she moves into her new role as Head of Air Force Capability in Air Force Headquarters.
- Beca has been awarded a contract for the continued management of Seaworthiness Materiel Assessments (SwMA) within the Royal Australian Navy’s Fleet Engineering Directorate (FED).
- Community members, leaders, organisational representatives and Defence community partners of the Hunter region had the chance to take an in-depth look at the F-35 program when RAAF Base Williamtownhosted an F-35A Community Day last week.
- WA Minister for Defence Issues Paul Papalia welcomed the news that master planning for the development of the Henderson shipbuilding precinct has kicked off, which would help boost defence investment in the state. (Source: Defence Connect)
12 Jul 19. BAE Systems is promoting the Type 26 frigate in a potential deal with New Zealand. No decision is likely to be made for a number of years for a ship not likely to hit the water towards the end of next decade, however. Steve Timms, BAE managing director for naval ships was reported as saying: “New Zealand is clearly interested”, adding that a deal could involve “two or three” vessels. New Zealand would join the UK, Australia and Canada in ordering the design. In addition, the Financial Times reported recently that Boris Johnson, former UK foreign secretary and a favourite to replace Theresa May as Prime Minister, told members of the Conservative party in Perth last week that he thought New Zealand would “come in” to the Type 26 programme. The Type 26 frigate represents the future backbone of the Royal Navy and a massive leap forward in terms of flexibility of surface vessels enjoyed by the service. The class will replace 8 of the 13 Type 23 frigates of the Royal Navy and export orders are being sought after by BAE. The programme has been underway since 1998, initially under the name ‘Future Surface Combatant’. The programme was brought forward in the 2008 budget at the expense of Type 45 destroyers 7 and 8. (Source: News Now/https://ukdefencejournal.org.uk)
11 Jul 19. MDHI offers single- and twin-engined helicopters for Australian SOF role. MD Helicopters Inc (MDHI) has confirmed to Jane’s that it is to bid for one single-engined and two twin-engined helicopter types for Australia’s special forces requirement. Responding to a request for information on 10 July, a company representative said that it has submitted its single-engined MD 530G light-attack and observation helicopter for Australia’s Land 2097 Phase 4 requirement, as well as its twin-engined MD 902 and MD 969 rotorcraft. Australia’s Land 2097 Phase 4 requirement is to airlift up to four special operations helicopters aboard a Boeing C-17 Globemaster III strategic transport aircraft for rapid forward deployment.
Developed from the Hughes Model 369 that was adapted into the military OH-6 Cayuse scout helicopter during the Vietnam War, the MD 530G is the latest variant of the venerable ‘Little Bird’ that MDHI has developed. It features a four-station weapons plank, external bench seating for four special forces soldiers, a ‘glass’ cockpit, and comes with a chin-mounted L-3 Wescam MX-10D electro-optic/infrared sensor and target designator. Weapons include 7.62mm and 12.7mm machine guns, 70 mm rockets, and AGM-114 Hellfire air-to-surface missiles.
Performance figures released by MDHI give the MD 530G a maximum cruise speed of 110kt; a maximum range of 574km (this can be increased with auxiliary tanks); a maximum gross weight of 1,700kg and a useful load of 780kg; a service ceiling of 16,000 ft; a hover in ground effect of 14,400ft; and a hover out of ground effect of 14,00 ft. The MD 530G has already been selected by the armed forces of both Lebanon and Malaysia. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
11 Jul 19. Fitting between OPV and Hunter: The need for a deployable, ocean going patrol frigate. As the Royal Australian Navy prepares for the arrival of the first Arafura and Hunter Class vessels in the early-to-mid 2020s, evolving regional and global dynamics are highlighting the need for a fleet of ocean going patrol frigates to ease the operational burden on both the OPV and frigates. Australia is dependent on unlimited access to the ocean – as the regional paradigm changes, placing greater strain on the Navy to protect the national interests, is the Navy large enough to execute the mission in a radically evolving geo-political and strategic order?
Indo-Pacific Asia’s evolving power paradigm is changing the way Australia views itself and its position in this changing world. The need for both continental and forward defence highlights the necessity for the nation to balance the strengths and weaknesses of Australia’s historic doctrines to form the basis of a reinvigorated Australian presence in the Indo-Pacific.
In 1890, American naval strategist Alfred Thayer Mahan in his work The Influence of Sea Power Upon Historyoutlined that “whether they will or not, Americans must now begin to look outward. The growing production of the country demands it”, establishing the basis of America’s foreign and strategic policy well into the 21st century despite periods of isolation.
Now, for the first time in the nation’s history, Australia’s prosperity, security and way of life is intrinsically linked to the ambition, stability and direction of its Indo-Pacific neighbours. Guaranteeing this requires the nation to find a balance between the expeditionary and interventionist focused ‘Forward Defence’ and the continental defence focused ‘Defence of Australia’ doctrines to counter the high and low intensity threats to the nation’s security and interests.
Australia’s focus on the Indo-Pacific region makes a great deal of sense, particularly given the positioning of key regional economic and strategic partners across what has been referred to as the ‘Arc of Instability’, which plays host to a range of traditional state and asymmetric economic and political challenges, however the growth of China and India and smaller nations surrounding them, combined with the importance of the Indo-Pacific as a pillar of the national, regional and global economy, now requires renewed Australian focus.
Additionally, rising tensions in the Persian Gulf and the growing need for an allied presence to ensure the stability and security of the global energy supplies in the event of conflict between the US and Iran will require a greater presence from major nations, including Australia placing greater operational pressure on existing platforms like the Anzac Class frigates, Hobart and eventually Hunter Class vessels.
Back to the future – convoy escort
Convoy escort operations figured as prominent operations during the First and Second World Wars and served as a constant challenge for strategic and operational commanders and planners in the US, UK and France during the Cold War – as convoys of materiel, manpower and resources from North America would prove pivotal in countering any Soviet invasion of western Europe.
Fast forward to the 21st century and increasingly congested and contested global sea-lines-of-communication requires renewed focus on developing escort capabilities to support increasingly vulnerable commercial tankers and commercial shipping. This increasing vulnerability is driven largely by the proliferation of advanced anti-ship ballistic and cruise missiles, increasingly powerful conventional submarine fleets and the cost-effectiveness of small arms, asymmetric threats and aircraft all compound the challenging environment.
Furthermore, the rising cost of high-end weapons platforms like the Royal Australian Navy’s Hobart and future Hunter Class vessels and the size limitations of the Arafura Class vessels and similar international contemporaries equates to a number of challenges, namely the overkill deploying a multibillion-dollar warship to conduct a constabulary operation and the glaring capability gap between ‘high’ and ‘low’ end capabilities.
Recognising these challenges, both the US and British Royal Navy have initiated the development and acquisition of multi-role patrol frigates to free up ‘high’ end capabilities like the Arleigh Burke, Type 45 and Type 26 Class vessels to support power projection, high-value task group escort and missile defence roles – while platforms like the Littoral Combat Ships, to be complemented by the FFG(X) program and the British Type 31 program are designed to support ‘high’ and ‘low’ intensity operations.
These vessels are designed to operate in contested environments – countering air, missile and submarine threats in a manner, beyond the limited capabilities of offshore patrol vessels like the Arafura, the British River and US Coast Guard’s National Security Cutter Class vessels. The utility of patrol frigates goes beyond the basis of convoy escort operations – an extents to supporting operations and personnel development.
Supporting Australia’s naval shipbuilding capacity
Furthermore, the acquisition of such platforms further supports the development of a local shipbuilding capability. Contemporary naval shipbuilding expands beyond the traditional manufacturing side of the process and requires extensive and costly research and development processes throughout the concept development and life of the platforms to enhance capability and sustainability over the life of service – something often overlooked in existing policy.
Accordingly, supporting Australia’s domestic ability to design warships, designed by both government and the private sector, with a focus on providing through-life support for both domestic and export customers in a manner similar to the model implemented by BAE Systems through the $35bn Hunter Class program is an existing model of success for Australian industry and government to use as a reference point for developing future policy.
Further supporting this is the requirement to begin developing and implementing a National Strategic Industry Act to support the development of the nation’s naval shipbuilding industry and broader reindustrialisation of the Australian economy using defence industry as a best-of-practice model to draw examples from.
Supporting the development of Australia’s naval shipbuilding industry also requires the legislative power of government to counter-balance industry development policies of allied, yet still competitor nations like South Korea – which leverages the industrial development policies of export oriented industrialisation (EOI) to develop its economy into a major economic and modern, advanced manufacturing powerhouse.
Korea’s industry development is driven by a range of government incentives for industry, including corporate tax incentives, employment incentives and payroll tax incentives. As a result, in order to develop Australia’s own naval shipbuilding industry, similar innovative and adaptive policy making is essential to developing a competitive domestic naval shipbuilding industry.
Diversifying Australia’s naval shipbuilding capabilities beyond focusing on Australia’s own shipbuilding requirements is a necessity should the broader naval shipbuilding plan be successful – targeting growing export demands in the region and Middle East, combined with international industry collaboration and partnerships, is central to this.
Australia is defined by its relationship and access to the ocean, with strategic sea-lines-of-communication supporting 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$5trn worth of trade flowing through the South China Sea 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. (Source: Defence Connect)
11 Jul 19. Aussie small businesses benefit from Global Combat Ship program. Defence Minister, Linda Reynolds has welcomed news that a South Australian business is the latest Australian company selected to supply into the multi-billion dollar UK Type 26 program, currently building three Global Combat Ships in Glasgow, Scotland, for the UK Royal Navy.
Airspeed, which specialises in ‘design and build’ applications of composite materials for aerospace, maritime and energy-related projects, has been awarded the contract to provide the replenishment at sea stump mast (RASSM) for the first batch of three Type 26 multi-mission warships.
The RASSM allows for the resupply of ammunition and small of amounts of stores while a ship is at sea.
Airspeed is the seventh Australian company – the second from SA – to supply into the Type 26 program as part of BAE Systems’ Global Access Program, joining Electro Optic Systems, Liferaft Systems Australia, Thales Australia, Mackay Consolidated Rubber, Rowlands Metalworks and CBG Systems (Moonraker).
Minister for Defence Linda Reynolds made the contract announcement as she toured BAE Systems’ Govan shipyard in Glasgow, where she witnessed first-hand the progress on Glasgow, the first Type 26 frigate.
BAE Systems Australia’s shipbuilding business, ASC Shipbuilding, will design and build nine anti-submarine warfare frigates for the Royal Australian Navy as part of the Hunter Class Frigate Program.
The Hunter Class frigates will be based on the Type 26 ship design and will be modified to meet Australian requirements, forming a formidable fleet of warships with essential next-generation capability that will be critical in helping protect the nation for decades to come.
Minister Reynolds said, “It was fantastic to be hosted by BAE Systems today at Govan shipyard where I witnessed the progress of the Glasgow, first in class Type 26.
“Airspeed is the latest Australian company to win an export opportunity to supply the UK’s Type 26 frigate program, and will design and build the replenishment at sea stump mast for the UK’s newest warships.”
Airspeed is the latest Australian company to win an export opportunity to supply the UK’s Type 26 frigate program, and will design and build the RASSM for the UK.
Managing director of ASC Shipbuilding Craig Lockhart said, “Airspeed’s engagement with the UK Type 26 program was facilitated through BAE Systems’ Global Access Program (GAP), which helps Australian small to medium enterprises access worldwide opportunities by providing them an entry point into the company’s global supply chains newest warships.”
“In the Hunter Program we are committed to engaging with the nation’s defence industry and discovering the world-class capability that Australian companies offer, and I am delighted seven local businesses are now supplying into the Type 26 program.
“Supplying into the Type 26 program provides the ASC Shipbuilding team with excellent awareness of the capability of local businesses and their potential suitability for other defence projects.”
Managing director of Airspeed Steve Barlow welcomed the announcement, saying, “In recent years, we have evolved our aerospace background to roll out lightweight structural composites for the Collins Class submarines and local warship programs.”
The Hunter Class frigate is the world’s first bow-to-stern digitally-designed anti-submarine warfare frigate, and the Hunter program is the biggest surface ship project in Australia’s defence history.
BAE Systems seeks to maximise Australian industry involvement in projects, spending around $330m with around 1,600 Australian suppliers annually.
Prototyping on the Hunter program will begin in 2020, which is where all the processes, systems, tools, facilities and workforce competencies will be tested and refined before construction on the first frigate commences at the Osborne Naval Shipyard in 2022.
The Hunter program will create and sustain more than 5,000 jobs across BAE Systems Australia and ASC Shipbuilding, and the wider Australian defence supply chain, over the life of the program. To date more than 800 Australian companies have pre-qualified to work on the Hunter program. (Source: Defence Connect)
10 Jul 19. Indian MoD scraps RFP for sniper rifles. India’s Ministry of Defence (MoD) has decided to scrap its September 2018 request for proposal (RFP) to foreign manufacturers for 5,719 8.6 mm sniper rifles and 10.2 million rounds of ammunition for the Indian Army (IA) and the Indian Air Force (IAF). Official sources told Jane’s on 10 July that the RFP was withdrawn in late June after bids submitted in February by four vendors had failed to meet the tender’s qualitative requirements concerning the supply of .338 Lapua Magnum ammunition rounds. The four bidders included Indonesia’s PT Pindad, Rosoboronexport from Russia and US firms Barrett and MSA Global.
Brigadier Rahul Bhonsle (retd), the director of Security Risks Asia – a New Delhi-based defence management consultancy – criticised the RFP, saying that it had been “badly conceived, particularly with regard to the ammunition component, leaving the MoD no choice but to withdraw it”. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
08 Jul 19. Ukraine seeks weapons through Pentagon foreign sales program for first time. Ukraine has asked for the first time to buy U.S. military equipment through the Pentagon’s weapons sales program, a request under consideration as Kiev continues its battle against Russian-backed separatists, America’s top diplomat in the country said.
“We are beginning the review process for that request,” said William Taylor, the U.S. chief of mission in Ukraine, in a statement Sunday. “The United States stands firmly with Ukraine in support of its sovereignty, territorial integrity, and defense sector reforms.”
On Monday, Taylor and Ukrainian military officials traveled to the administrative boundary line of Crimea, a territory that Russia annexed in 2014 and a major source of political tension between Moscow and the West.
“Crimea is Ukraine,” the U.S. Embassy in Kiev said in a tweet announcing Taylor’s visit to the boundary line.
For five years, the U.S. has called upon Russia to pull out of Ukraine and stop supporting separatists. However, fighting continues in Ukraine’s eastern provinces, where about 4,000 Ukrainian troops have been killed since 2014, according to the United Nations.
While the West has offered various forms of support to Ukraine’s military since 2014, the U.S. only recently began providing lethal military gear, which the Obama administration resisted over concerns it would escalate tensions.
U.S. lawmakers and military officials, however, have advocated stepping up support. Last year, the Trump administration began providing anti-tank Javelin missiles and other weaponry.
Last month, the Defense Department also said it will provide $250m in military aid to Ukraine, including more sniper rifles, grenade launchers and counter-artillery radars.
In September, the U.S. Coast Guard transferred two Island-class cutters, armed with .50-caliber machine guns and 25 mm deck guns, to Ukraine to bolster the country’s small navy.
While Ukraine now says it wants to make more purchases, it’s not clear what types of systems Kiev is seeking. Given the country’s weak economy, it’s also unclear clear how large of a deal is in the works.
For President Donald Trump, boosting weapon sales to allies and partners has been a top military priority. In 2018, U.S. foreign military sales for the year were up by 33%, according to the Defense Cooperation Agency. (Source: Defense News Early Bird/https://www.stripes.com)
08 Jul 19. Australia issues RfI for Tiger helicopter replacement. Key Points:
- The Australian government has begun its search for a new armed attack helicopter to replace the ARH Tiger fleet.
- The planned procurement will require capabilities in manned-unmanned teaming and amphibious operations.
The Australian government has issued a request for information (RfI) for a replacement of the Australian Army’s fleet of Airbus Helicopters ARH Tiger armed reconnaissance helicopters.
Under the Land 4503 programme, the Australian Department of Defence’s Capability Acquisition and Sustainment Group (CASG) is seeking information to acquire a total of 29 airframes. Of these 29, 24 are to be based at a single location, with a further five to be used for training operations.
The timelines for the programme anticipate an initial operating capability (IOC) of a squadron of 12 aircraft by 2026, with full operational capability (FOC) from 2028.
The concept of operations outlined in the RfI documentation include the ability to deploy a troop of four aircraft at the point of IOC, with the other eight aircraft split between continued force generation and build-up training. Once FOC is achieved, the Australian Army would be capable of “generating multiple concurrent deployed forces of up to Squadron [12 aircraft] size,” supported by a training system of up to five aircraft.
The procurement programme is targeting a reduced risk approach, with the cover letter for the RfI noting that the acquisition is aimed at a “proven and mature, off-the-shelf” system to “deliver armed reconnaissance efforts in close and deep contested battlespace”.
The RfI is also seeking information on a platform’s interoperability with unmanned systems, particularly as the country is replacing its fleet of Textron RQ-7 Shadow 200 under the Land 129 Phase 3 programme, and is acquiring the General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc’s (GA-ASI’s) MQ-9 Reaper under Air 7003 programme. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
09 Jul 19. Indian Air Force seeking to acquire 18 more Su-30MKI fighters from Russia. The Indian Air Force (IAF) is seeking to acquire an additional 18 Sukhoi Su-30MKI multirole fighter aircraft from Russia, according to Vladimir Drozhzhov, the deputy director of Russia’s Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation (FSMTC).
Briefing reporters in Moscow on 8 July, Drozhzhov said that the FSMTC is “processing” a request from New Delhi to procure 18 more of these fighters for the IAF in kit form for assembly in India.
The platforms will supplement the 13 squadrons totalling 272 Su-30MKIs that the IAF intends to operate by 2020-21, thus taking to 14 the number of squadrons with this fighter type.
Drozhzhov further stated that Russia has completed delivery of all components and sub-assemblies to India’s state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) to licence-build 222 Su-30MKIs agreed upon under various previous contracts from 2000 onwards.
Currently, the IAF operates about 250 Su-30MKIs, of which more than 200 have been licence-built.
Official sources told Jane’s that along with the powerpack, missile systems, and other major components, Russia has also provided HAL with 5,803 types of titanium blocks and forgings as well as aluminium and steel plates to assemble the aircraft. It has also provided HAL with about 7,100 ‘standard components’ that include nuts, bolts, and rivets.
That said, the indigenous content in the HAL-built Su-30MKIs is around 50%, according to HAL sources.
The IAF received its first 50 Su-30 fighters, which were later upgraded to MKI standard, in the late 1990s for USD1.5bn. This was followed by a deal to licence-build 140 at HAL’s plant in Nashik in western India. Thereafter, India signed two deals, one in 2007 and another in 2012, to build an additional 82 fighters under licence.
Meanwhile, Drozhzhov said that Moscow is also processing New Delhi’s requests to acquire 20 additional upgraded MiG-29UPG fighters. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
09 Jul 19. India to buy bulletproof jackets to meet shortage. The Indian Government is planning to procure 186,000 bulletproof jackets for its armed forces to address the shortage of these jackets. The jackets are set to be delivered by April next year. In a written reply to a question in Rajya Sabha, the Upper House of the Indian Parliament, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh stated that the procurement would cost around Rs6.39bn ($93.15m), the Press Trust of India (PTI) reported. Singh stated that the Ministry of Defence (MoD) did not place an embargo on the import of raw material from China for bulletproof jackets in the tender for procurement. However, the tender has a clause that mandates the supplier to procure 30% of the content from local sources.
Singh was quoted by the news agency as saying: “In 2009, there was a shortage of 353,755 bulletproof jackets in the country, but the procurement was not done for a long time. A request for proposal (RFP) for procurement of 186,138 bulletproof jackets has been issued in April 2016 and the tender in this regard was allotted on 9 April 2018 to an Indian buyer.”
The MoD has to date procured 10,000 bulletproof jackets following quality checks by the Directorate General of Quality Assurance (DGQA).
The ministry expects to receive a total of 37,000 jackets by October this year.
Singh added: “There is no decline in the quality of bulletproof jackets procured for the Indian Army.”
The DGQA performs detailed testing of every lot supplied by the vendor.
Meanwhile, the Indian Army is planning to purchase Excalibur guided long-range artillery rounds that can accurately hit targets more than 50km away, ANI reported. The ammunition is compatible with the new M-777 howitzers bought from the US. (Source: army-technology.com)
08 Jul 19. Israeli companies dominate defence offsets in India. The Indian Ministry of Defence (MoD) has revealed details about the scope of defence offsets that are under way in the country. The information shows defence companies from Israel are engaged in nearly half of all India’s offset deals. According to a list of “details of OEMs [original equipment manufacturers] having offset contracts”, which was recently published by the Defence Offsets Management Wing (DOMW) – a division of the MoD’s Department of Defence Production (DDP) – India has entered a total of 50 offset deals with 19 foreign defence contractors. Israeli companies Elbit Systems, Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, and Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) and its Elta Systems subsidiary are engaged in 22 of the Indian defence offset contracts, while companies from the United States – mainly Boeing – are undertaking nine. (Source: Google/IHS Jane’s)
05 Jul 19. Russia wants to show it innovated its way around sanctions. Beneath the rictus grin of the plastic owl-shaped robot, Russia’s military future can be seen in aggregate. The federation showcased a range of vehicles and robots over the course of the Army 2019 Expo in June, and the net effect is of a nation engineering its way back into military modernity. The components of that military are already on the showroom floor. The challenge will be one, now, of implementation.
“No doubt, the breakout ‘star’ was the UAV in the shape of an owl, made by ERA technopolis,” said Samuel Bendett, an adviser at the Center for Naval Analyses. “Its goal was to “fly mimicking the flight of birds, not in a line, but in a way that most closely approximates this predator” in order to get as close as possible to the target.”
The owl drone’s iconic experience lent it well to popularity on social media, but it’s worth noting the process that went into it. This year’s owl is an iteration on a much less realisticlooking owl drone, and its camouflage matches the imagined needs of the future: passing just enough to avoid casual detection, as they aid in hunting tanks in forests and plains where owls are common.
“Most of the UAVs on display were smaller in size, though many models presented had the capacity to deliver munitions,” said Bendett, a fellow in Russia studies at the American Foreign Policy Council. While the owls drones anticipate battles closer to the Russian interior, many of the ground robots on display showed design features that drew from recent battlefield experience. These experiences are also shaping the software that goes into robots.
“Russian developers displayed one finished product resulting from its years-long quest for swarming applications – small ‘Som’ UAV that can fly based on the ‘Staya’ (Flock) application,” said Bendett, noting the manufacturers claim that this swarm application could be used for “an unlimited number of drones.”
If that claim seems ambitious, it’s one common in talking about the potential of swarms across the nations and countries that are developing them. Intel, the microchip manufacturer, has a pattern of incrementally breaking its own drone swarm records, suggesting the scale problem is one that can be iterated around. (Though “unlimited” is still a staggering number to posit).
“But perhaps the most significant development was the admission by Defense Minister Shoigu that Russia’s military-industrial complex is almost done with the “import-substitution drive,” and that key parts of the defense industry no longer depend on imports,” said Bendett. “Shoigu stressed that many exhibitors started their presentation by stating that a given technology is made with domestic components, ‘We were forced to manufacture these components on our own, restarting or jump-starting industries there were either closed or under-invested.””
In Bendett’s reading of Russian analysis, Western sanctions delayed certain systems, but the Ministry of Defence is arguing that domestic industry was able to step up and replace the once-imported components. In this import-substitution drive, Shoigu claims that Russia was able to separate the wheat from the chaff in its defense companies, closing or consolidating the ones that were unable to deliver. The net effect is arguing that, while Russian drones may initially have relied on imported components, they no longer need to do so, or at least do so as heavily.
“Here is a perfect example of how this is supposed to work: ERA technopolis exhibited a micro-UAV – a small quadrocopter for tactical ISR, especially for the nation’s special forces,” saaid Bendett. “According to the designers, it is currently made from imported components, but ERA reps said this particular UAV is a proof of concept that could eventually be made from domestic parts. They also discussed developing an “intelligent swarm” program to direct groups of these UAVs.”
That there is an international commercial marketplace for drones and drone components no doubt helps this modernization drive. But the image Russia wanted to project, more than anything else, is one where that modern technology fuels domestic innovation. It remains to be seen if the software can live up to that promise, but the airframes are ready. (Source: C4ISR & Networks)
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