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31 Jul 19. Bulgaria Gives Final Green Light to Biggest Military Acquisition Since Fall of Communism. Bulgaria has given the final green light to a $1.67bn package deal to purchase eight F-16 fighter multirole jets from the United States — the country’s biggest military procurement since the fall of communism in the early 1990s. The contracts linked to the deal and amendments to Bulgaria’s 2019 Budget Act were published in the State Gazette on July 30, allowing the purchase to go ahead.
“We salute [Bulgarian] Prime Minister Boyko Borisov and the Bulgarian government on its commitment to modernize its military through the acquisition of these highly capable, NATO interoperable aircraft,” State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said.
On July 23, Bulgarian President Rumen Radev vetoed the deal, which also includes ammunition, training, and support, saying there had been insufficient debate before parliament approved it.
However, lawmakers later voted to override the veto.
The eight F-16 jets are expected to be delivered to Bulgaria in 2023 and 2024 to replace the Bulgarian Air Force’s fleet of Soviet-built MiG-29s.
Bulgaria, a NATO and European Union member state, currently relies on the United States and Britain to participate in joint air policing. Earlier this month, a massive hacking attack in Bulgaria via a Russian website was thought to be linked to Sofia’s decision to buy the military jets from the United States. Bulgaria’s National Revenue Agency’s (NRA) systems suffered the attack on July 15, with the personal financial data of some 5 million Bulgarians and foreign expatriates residing in the country being released via a Russian-based e-mail domain. The timing of the hack, immediately after the deal was reached with the United States for the jets, prompted speculation that the two events were related.
“Organized criminal groups involved in cyberattacks usually seek financial profits, but [in this case] political motives are possible. The government decided yesterday to buy F-16 jets, and the e-mails calling for Goranov’s resignation came from Russia. One can make a guess here,” Bulgaria’s Interior Ministet Mladen Marinov said at the time. (Source: defense-aerospace.com/Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty)
01 Aug 19. Department of Defense Selected Acquisition Reports (SARs) – December 2018. The Department of Defense (DoD) has released details on major defense acquisition program cost, schedule, and performance changes since the December 2018 reporting period. This information is based on the comprehensive annual Selected Acquisition Reports (SARs) for the first quarter of FY 2019, as updated by the President’s Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 budget submitted to Congress on March 11, 2019.
SARs summarize the latest estimates of cost, schedule, and performance status. These reports are prepared annually in conjunction with submission of the President’s Budget. Subsequent quarterly exception reports are required only for those programs experiencing unit cost increases of at least 15 percent or schedule delays of at least six months. Quarterly SARs are also submitted for initial reports, final reports, and for programs that are rebaselined at major milestone decisions.
The total program acquisition cost estimates provided in the SARs include research and development, procurement, military construction, and acquisition-related operations and maintenance. These totals reflect actual costs to date as well as future anticipated costs. All estimates are shown in fully inflated then-year dollars.
The prior current estimate of program acquisition costs for programs covered by SARs for the reporting period for December 2017 (83 programs) was $1,917,840m. The current estimate for December 2018 (87 programs) is $2,018,684m. Quantity changes account for the majority of the $101,000 m increase (+$51,000 m), in addition to scope changes (+$18,000m) and revised indices (+$11,500 m). 16 of the 20 programs with quantity changes are either equal to or underrunning their current baseline costs, as well as 60 of the 84* SARs reporting Unit Cost this SAR cycle overall.
To view the full news release and SAR Summary Tables, https://media.defense.gov/2019/Aug/01/2002165676/-1/-1/1/DEPARTMENT-OF-DEFENSE-SELECTED-ACQUISITION-REPORTS-(SARS)-DECEMBER-2018.PDF?source=GovDelivery
01 Aug 19. Northrop Grumman, Raytheon compete to build 50 kW-class laser for US Army Strykers. Northrop Grumman and Raytheon are vying to build four 50 kilowatt (kW)-class lasers for US Army Stryker vehicles after the service picked Kord Technologies as the prime contractor for an effort that could top USD490m.
In July, the service awarded Kord Technologies with a USD203m contract to deliver 50 kW-class lasers on a platoon of four Stryker vehicles in fiscal year 2022 (FY 2022) as part of its Maneuver-Short Range Air Defense (M-SHORAD) mission. Kord Technologies is currently working with two subcontractors, Northrop Grumman and Raytheon, who will each develop one prototype laser. “Under the terms of the contract, the two laser vendors have approximately one year to produce the required laser subsystems, integrate them onto the Stryker platform, and complete a competitive performance checkout leading into a range demonstration against various threats,” the service said. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
26 Jul 19. Four Companies Now Will Compete to Replace Army Shadow Drones. Four companies now will compete to build a replacement for the U.S. Army’s RQ-7 Shadow drone after the service added another two challengers to the $100m program. The Army announced July 24 that Arcturus UAV of Rohnert Park, Calif., and Ashburn, Va. based L3Harris Technologies [LHX] would join Textron [TXT] subsidiary AAI Corp. and Martin UAV to compete for each order of the firm-fixed-price procurement contract running through 2022, with a $99.5m ceiling cap for the award. Eleven total bids were received for the work, according to a government contract award announcement. The Shadow replacement, dubbed “Future Tactical UAS” or FTUAS under the Army’s Future Vertical Lift modernization program, seeks to procure non-developmental scout drones that are quieter, smaller and easier to transport and deploy than the Shadow. The Army also wants its new scout drone to employ “Air Launched Effects,” or ALE, meaning it should be deployable from a helicopter mid-air. The Army has budgeted $132m for FTUAS through fiscal 2024, and a competitive fly-off is planned for fiscal 2020. In March, the Army selected Martin UAV and Textron’s AAI Corp., which builds the Shadow to compete for orders under the program. Martin UAV has teamed with Northrop Grumman’s [NOC] Technology Services segment to develop its V-BAT system, a tail-landing VTOL drone with a ducted fan. The V-BAT takes up a 9foot by 8-foot space, can fly for up to 8 hours at a time and can dash at up to 90 knots. Incumbent manufacturer AAI put out a statement acknowledging the award, stating its Shadow drone “continues to deliver thousands of monthly flight hours” for the Army.
The company plans to offer an updated version of the Shadow it calls Block III enhancements. L3Harris builds a small, electric, rail-launched UAV called Apex with a seven-hour endurance and 100km range. Arcturus makes both catapult-launch and vertical takeoff and landing drones. The VTOL variants sport quad vertical rotors, two in front and two behind conventional fixed wings that provide lift in forward flight. The Army has requested $12.1m for procurement of 12 Shadow replacement drones at a unit cost of $632,500, plus training and project management support, according to the Army’s fiscal 2020 budget justification documents. The service is also requesting $18m to test the new aircraft in its Multi-Domain Task Force and an additional $20m to support “ALE Early Systems Analysis.” The future scout UAS will “employ teaming and swarming effects to detect, decoy, jam RADAR and communications, conduct cyber-attack, spoof and jam GPS, and kinetic engagement,” according to the Army. (Source: Defense Daily)
26 Jul 19. Geurts Warns Window For Acquisition Innovation Closing. The Navy’s top acquisition official said on Wednesday that the window for innovating in Defense Department acquisition is “closing,” so officials should push to change the culture and value those who try new ideas. Speaking at a Strategic Institute conference on Other Transaction Authorities (OTAs), Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Research, Development, and Acquisition James Geurts said while some acquisition executives are comfortable moving in a more innovative way that decentralizes responsibilities, “that has not always been the case, not any fault of any individual, just the timing wasn’t right.” “But the window’s closing,” he warned. Geurts said this is not an administrative window and not due to the Trump administration. “It’s these things have about a four or five-year pattern and the window is open, it’s been open for about two and a half years,” he said. “We’ve been slow to capitalize on it, and that window will start closing down for a bunch of different reasons.” After the conference, Geurts further clarified to Defense Daily that he was referring to business cycles where there is a tightening of reporting and oversight phases followed by a loosening phase with opportunities to accelerate and decentralize. Geurts said his message to the audience was to get bold and challenge leadership to do things differently while the window was still open. He admitted “the Navy’s very prideful of its expertise, contracting community’s very prideful of its expertise, legal community’s very prideful of its expertise.” However, “valuing somebody who found an idea from somebody else and implemented it fast is better than the person who invented it. But that’s not the way our culture kind of gets. So we’re trying to get after that,” Geurts said. Geurts underscored he does not see Congress as a barrier to these changes.
“I would contend 95 percent of our barriers are self-inflicted and culturally reinforced. There’s almost nothing, in fact, I can’t think of anything right now where I’ve got legislation preventing me from executing.” He argued that at the leadership level officials need to “be thoughtful and be able to rationalize how you’re using the authorities under what kind of intent.” Guerts provided an example of how information sharing and getting past hardened cultures has already yielded results. Virginia-class submarine acquisition personnel were conducting a big multi-year contract for more submarines. “They had an idea of, we know how much a Virginia submarine costs, we’ve built a bunch of them. It’s a sole source kind of thing, let’s just make an offer of what we think the right price is, and we’ll get away from the standard RFP (request for proposals) proposal to the same person.”
They “tried and failed miserably,” he said. “Culture wasn’t right.” However, F-18 fighter aircraft acquisition personnel heard about it “and they adopted that on an F-18 and we saved 17 months and a bunch of money.” Geurts explained the F-18 officials know what an F-18 costs going into Lot 42, “so why should I spend six months to write an RFP to ask you to give me the data back that I already have so I could use my data to evaluate what I already know. To come to the same place, why don’t I just say the data says I’m willing to pay X price, because that’s a fair price.” He said this was commercial thinking in a Federal Acquisition Regulation-based model, showing you can mix the two models. It took a commercial model that says as the customer I am willing to pay X because I know that is a fair and reasonable price. “They saved $5m of overhead, which we pay for by the way, we saved 17 months, and everybody was great with it. Celebrating those learning moments is probably the biggest thin, whether they succeed or not,” Geurts said. Navy spokesperson Capt. Danny Hernandez told Defense Daily Geurts was referring to the March 2019 $4bn contract modification to Boeing [BA] for production and delivery of 78 Block III F/A-18 Super Hornets in a multi-year procurement contract. The contract covers six aircraft from fiscal year 2018 and 72 from fiscal years 2019 to 2021 .
Given 20 years of production cost history data on the Super Hornet, “our contracts team can very accurately estimate the cost of building the aircraft. We did the legwork of developing our own cost position to submit to Boeing, and with concurrence from senior Navy leadership, saved ourselves six to eight months of process time,” Hernandez said. This is a fixed-price incentive firm target contract type, wherein a target price is identified and both the government and contractors share in any monetary overruns or underruns, Hernandez explained. Using this method, the Navy acquired a capability “faster and cheaper than we otherwise would have because we did not have to wait for a proposal from Boeing,” he added. (Source: Defense Daily)
26 Jul 19. Shipbuilding Act. Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) reintroduced the Energizing American Shipbuilding Act while Rep. John Garamendi (D-Calif.) introduced it in the House. The bill aims to support U.S. shipbuilding by requiring 15 percent of liquefied natural gas (LNG) and 10 percent of crude oil exports to be transported on U.S.-built, U.S.-crewed vessels by 2041 and 2033, respectively. They expect the legislation to spur the construction of dozens of ships, supporting many jobs as well as domestic manufacturing and maritime industries. Wicker said this would also “ensure the United States has enough American-flagged, crewed, and built ships to transport its growing oil and natural gas exports in times of conflict.” Garamendi noted their bill “counters other export countries’ similar requirements, including the Russian-flagged vessel requirement for Arctic oil and natural gas exports announced by the Kremlin in December 2018.” (Source: Defense Daily)
26 Jul 19. Future Amphib Fleet. Gen. David Berger, the newly appointed Marine Corps Commandant, is looking to move away from his force’s long-held requirement for a fleet of 38 amphibious ships. Berger included the decision in his recently released planning guide and said an ongoing force structure assessment will inform a future ship requirement. “I do not believe joint forcible entry operations are irrelevant or an operational anachronism; however, we must acknowledge that different approaches are required given the proliferation of anti-access/area-denial threat capabilities in mutually contested spaces,” Berger wrote. “Visions of a massed naval armada nine nautical miles off-shore in the South China Sea preparing to launch the landing force in swarms of ACVs, LCUs, and LCACs are impractical and unreasonable.” Berger said the Marine Corps will study the integration of proliferation long-range precision fires and unmanned system capabilities to justify its force structure requirements. (Source: Defense Daily)
31 Jul 19. US Army to Procure Hugin Gen 2 Quadrotor from Solute. The US Army Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC) – Vicksburg, MS intends to issue a sole source award utilizing Simplified Acquisition Procedures to Solute San Diego, CA for the Purchase of twenty four (24) Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV). The applicable North American Industrial Classification System Code (NAICS) code for this procurement is 336411- Aircraft Manufacturing with a size standard of 1500 employees.
The specific UAV required is the Hugin Gen 2 UAS. Specific characteristics of the instrument that limit the availability to a sole source is military grade encryption, interchangeable arms for additional thrust for heavy payloads up to 22 pounds with extended flight times of up to 30 minutes and collision avoidance, and specific operating parameters. These UAS systems have the capability of limited space take off capabilities, environmental operation conditions of up to 120°, are NIST SP 800 compliant. (Source: UAS VISION/DoD)
REST OF THE WORLD
31 Jul 19. Russia still using imported defence products. The Russian defence industrial complex is still using imported parts from foreign manufacturers despite a ban on the practice, according to a statement made by Russian Prosecutor-General Yuri Chaika that was reported by TASS.
“Import substitution in the defence industry remains a problem,” said Chaika at a board meeting of the Prosecutor-General’s office that is designed to review its performance so far in 2019. “Instances of non-compliance with the ban to purchase foreign equipment whose counterparts are manufactured in Russia continue to be revealed,” he added.
In April Chaika’s office reported that it had conducted efforts to refocus Russian defence contractors on domestic developments with the help of the Ministry of Industry and Trade. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
30 Jul 19. India in advanced talks to supply ‘Kilo’-class submarine to Myanmar. New Delhi is in advanced talks with Naypyitaw to arrange the transfer of a refurbished Indian Navy (IN) ‘Kilo’-class diesel-electric attack submarine (SSK) to the Myanmar Navy (MN): a move aimed at enhancing strategic and defence co-operation between the neighbouring countries. Official sources told Jane’s that the transfer of the Soviet-era, Sindhughosh (‘Kilo’)-class submarine INS Sindhuvir is believed to have featured in talks held on 29 July in New Delhi between Indian defence and security officials and the chief of the Myanmar Armed Forces (Tatmadaw), Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, who is visiting India together with a military delegation until 2 August. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
American Panel Corporation
American Panel Corporation (APC) since 1998, specializes in display products installed in defence land systems, as well as military and commercial aerospace platforms, having delivered well over 100,000 displays worldwide. Military aviators worldwide operate their aircraft and perform their missions using APC displays, including F-22, F-18, F-16, F-15, Euro-fighter Typhoon, Mirage 2000, C-130, C-17, P-3, S-3, U-2, AH-64 Apache Helicopter, V-22 tilt-rotor, as well as numerous other military and commercial aviation aircraft including Boeing 717 – 787 aircraft and several Airbus aircraft. APC panels are found in nearly every tactical aircraft in the US and around the world.
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