Sponsored by American Panel Corporation
UNITED KINGDOM AND NATO
04 Aug 19. UK begins search for future EW countermeasures. The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) is canvassing industry for electronic warfare countermeasures (EWCM) systems and technologies that could address the Royal Navy’s (RN’s) needs for future soft-kill anti-ship missile defence.
Forming the second component of the overarching Maritime Electronic Warfare Programme (MEWP), the EWCM activity is considering trainable launcher systems, delivery vehicles, and electronic payloads.
In a request for information (RFI) released in early July, the Defence Equipment and Support (DE&S) organisation’s Maritime Combat Systems team advised that it was conducting market research “to gain a better understanding of the current marketplace and level of technology maturity,” adding, “This RFI encompasses Technology Readiness Levels (TRLs) of TRL 5 and above and is primarily interested in commercial and military off-the-shelf (COTS/MOTS) trainable decoy launchers available now or in the very near future.” (Source: IHS Jane’s)
07 Aug 19. Czech MoD launches RFP for tracked IFV procurement. The Czech Ministry of Defence (MoD) announced on its website on 6 August that it had made a request for proposals (RFP) to four companies for the procurement of 210 tracked infantry fighting vehicles to replace its BMP-2s. The four potential bidders are BAE Systems Hägglunds with the CV90, General Dynamics European Land Systems (GDELS) with the ASCOD, Rheinmetall with the Lynx, and Rheinmetall-Krauss-Maffei Wegmann 50:50 joint venture Projekt System Management (PSM) with the Puma. The Czech MoD said it expected the potential suppliers to show how the vehicles they are offering meet its requirements and delivery schedule; provide the price of the vehicles, training, life-cycle, and spare parts; and propose how to involve Czech industry. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
06 Aug 19. Bulgarian MoD sends RfPs for procurement of wheeled armoured vehicles. The Bulgarian Ministry of Defence (MoD) announced on its website on 5 August that it had sent requests for proposals (RfPs) to four companies for the procurement of 150 wheeled armoured vehicles to equip battalion-size battlegroups for a mechanised brigade. The four companies – Rheinmetall-Krauss-Maffei Wegmann joint venture ARTEC, Patria, Nexter, and General Dynamics European Land Systems-Mowag – have until 31 October to submit their bids. An interdepartmental task force has until 20 December to complete its analysis and evaluation of the bids.
The Bulgarian MoD said on 19 July that the task force would submit a report to Defence Minister Krasimir Karakachanov, after which a winner would be selected. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
08 Aug 19. US Air Force seeks information on T-38A virtual reality flight simulator. The US Air Force (USAF) seeks information from industry on the possibility of a Northrop T-38A Talon advanced jet trainer virtual reality (VR) flight simulator with full cockpit integration. The USAF has four line items for this effort, according to a 5 August request for information (RFI) posted on the Federal Business Opportunities (FBO) website: cockpit tub, including all functional hardware; VR system; computer hardware; and T-38A model licence. The USAF did not return a request for comment prior to publication. The T-38A is the original variant of the T-38 Talon family and became operational on 17 March 1961, according to Jane’s Aircraft Upgrades. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
07 Aug 19. Small business cuts coming amid NBIB merger. The Defense Counterintelligence and Security Agency is going to be doing significantly less small business contracts after the National Background Investigations Bureau moves from the Office of Personnel Management to DOD. DCSA — formerly the Defense Security Service — plans to shrink it’s small businesses goal from 65 percent to under 10 percent after the merger with NBIB, Elizabeth Mudd, small business program manager for the agency, said during an AFCEA NOVA event Aug. 6.
“That doesn’t mean that all the opportunities that are out here that small businesses are doing aren’t going to be there,” Mudd said. “They’re all still going to be there; in fact, I think you will have even more subcontractor opportunities in that area than we have now.”
Mudd said the intent is to get more subcontractors to supplement the four primes that handle the background investigation services. NBIB is bringing over about $804m in small business eligible dollars, compared to DCSA’s $73.4m for fiscal 2019.
“It’s going to take an evolution of contracts to come up for recompete, to do more market research, to go more into what the exact process is” to increase the small business representation, she said.
DCSA will also field two additional training centers — one from the National Center for Credibility Assessment, which does polygraph training, and another from NBIB (previously under the Office of Personnel Management) as the merger completes. DCSA is scheduled to absorb NBIB and its functions by Oct. 1.
“What you’re going to see in the future is end-to-end vetting on the personnel side and on the facility clearance side. And what that offers is a ton of synergy,” Mudd said.
Fiscal year 2020 is the start of DSCA fully taking over the background mission, Mudd said, while continuing its existing ones. Mudd also said that OPM will continue to provide DSCA with IT services following the merger.
NBIB’s contracting office is also merging with DCSA, meaning that existing contracts stay in place and contracting officers will keep their assignments. Mudd said “all the current employees are coming over to us so if you have a contract with NBIB right now, you’ll most likely be dealing with the same contracting folks you are today.”
Mudd said DCSA also issued its first two other transaction authorities for small businesses this year.
“I don’t know if it was fast,” she said with a laugh, “We’re kind of getting our feet wet with it…Mostly it’s been for the background investigation mission that we’re trying to innovate and see where we can go with it.” (Source: Defense Systems)
07 Aug 19. ONR outlines vision for autonomous, distributed airborne EW. The US Office of Naval Research (ONR) is planning to develop advanced algorithms and software to enable autonomous, distributed airborne electronic warfare (EW) operations.
ONR’s Electromagnetic Maneuver Warfare Resource Allocation Management (EMW RAM), under the Future Naval Capabilities (FNC) programme, is seeking software technologies for next-generation EW systems to enable adaptive resource and task management for optimising electronic support (ES) and electronic attack (EA) functions, based on tactical needs for on-board single (own) platform systems and between multiple platforms.
According to ONR’s Information, Cyber and Spectrum Superiority Department, it is envisaged that algorithms and real-time prototype code will incorporate an EW Battle Management (EWBM) framework for own-platform co-ordination and multi-platform collaborative engagements; an advanced EW Adaptive System Management (ASM) framework for ES and EA resource and task management; and an own-platform human-machine interface (HMI) with artificial intelligence decision aids. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
07 Aug 19. US Army interested in iPad-sized satellite terminals. The US Army is interested in a new commercial satellite service with a focus on small, mobile terminals. According to a July 2 request for information, the Army wants to expand beyond line-of-sight communications capabilities for tactical users with a new commercial satellite service. The proposed network would put small terminals, slightly bigger than the larger iPad Pro, in the hands of soldiers in the field, allowing them to communicate via a low earth orbit or medium earth orbit constellation.
John Swart, the director of the Army’s Technology Applications Office, said that the Army was simply interested in learning more from industry. He declined to provide further comment.
The Army currently relies on a combination of military and commercial satellites for beyond line-of-sight communications, but satellite coverage and the size of terminals can limit their availability. The suggested satellite service would provide the Army with global coverage, excluding the polar regions.
Part of the benefit of using LEO or even MEO satellites is that they reduce the need for larger, bulkier terminals. Since they are closer to Earth, users need less powerful terminals to communicate with the satellites. That means the terminals can be physically smaller, and that’s a key focus of the request.
The Army wants the commercial satellite service provider to supply troops with so-called “ultra sat terminals” ― basically small terminals 12 inches by 12 inches. Ideally, the Army wants terminals for aircraft, vehicles and dismounts that are small enough to fit in a rucksack, although airborne terminals can be larger. These terminals would preferably be able to switch between satellites as they move from coverage area to coverage area, allowing for uninterrupted service.
Broadly, Department of Defense leaders have said that as they develop new satellite architectures they will have face a significant expense in replacing legacy terminals that are not compatible with modern satellites.
While the service said it is willing to obtain the satellite services and terminals from different suppliers, they would prefer to go with one provider. It’s not clear from the request how many terminals the Army would be interested in acquiring. Responses to the request were due July 31. (Source: Defense News)
05 Aug 19. Federal plan for one award schedule gets industry thumbs up. Government contractors see promise in the General Services Administration’s plan to consolidate the current 24 multiple award schedules into a single schedule over the next couple years, according to preliminary results from the agency’s request for information on the plan, released Aug. 1. The current system requires agencies using the program to purchase certain goods and services from pre-negotiated contracts that have been separated by topic areas, such as human capital, information technology and professional services. GSA announced in late 2018 that they would begin the process of consolidating the schedules, citing problems with the current system that sometimes require agencies to purchase multiple services off of different schedules to complete a single project.
For example, an agency looking to reform its call center might have to make purchases off of an IT schedule for new technology, the professional services schedule for a consulting solution and the office management schedule for the call center’s furniture and carpeting. The agency would then have to cobble together the purchases from those separate schedules into a single project.
According to the RFI’s preliminary results, approximately 88 percent of those that responded to the request agreed that the proposed format would benefit both industry and federal agency customers, while 94 percent agreed that the proposed format was clear to understand.
Meanwhile, 78 percent of those that responded to the RFI said that they agree with the agency’s planned mapping of their current special item numbers from the divided schedules into the consolidated schedule.
But according to Alan Chvotkin, executive vice president and counsel of the Professional Services Council, a positive reaction now in the planning stage does not guarantee that GSA and contractors will experience a completely smooth transition in the future.
“I think the numbers are way too high, given what I’ve been hearing from companies … about where they fit in the consolidation. I’m pleased to see the results, but it will be the deep dive yet to come in what the actual solicitation looks like,” said Chvotkin in an interview with Federal Times.
“Until you see what you have to comply with, there’s always going to be a tension to [contractors]. Notwithstanding the overwhelmingly positive results, how they adjudicate those comments and ultimately select which terms and conditions go into the consolidated solicitation, that’s when we’ll see what the reactions are going to be.”
Most especially, Chvotkin pointed to the 78 percent of respondents who agreed with the planned mapping of special item numbers, which, while still positive, was the lowest percentage of all the questions asked.
“I think that reflects at least people paying a lot of attention and worry about what’s going to happen with their specific single or multiple special item numbers,” said Chvotkin.
GSA’s hardest phase of consolidating the multiple award schedules is also yet to come, as coordinating the contractors that have multiple awards across different schedules will likely require the most work and logistics.
But Chvotkin said that these concerns should not detract from the successes that GSA has so far had with the process.
“They’ve done a very open process, they’ve talked regularly to industry, they respond to a lot … they’ve been very transparent about their information collection,” Chvotkin. “I’m pleased to see the preliminary findings, but the devil is in the details here.” GSA plans to release its final solicitation based on the RFI by Oct. 1. (Source: Defense News Early Bird/https://www.federaltimes.com)
07 Aug 19. U.S. government contractors get first look at Huawei ban. The U.S. agency responsible for government contracts on Wednesday released an interim rule for a ban on federal purchases of telecommunications equipment from five Chinese companies, including Huawei.
The ban is part of a broad U.S. push against Huawei Technologies Co Ltd, the world’s largest telecommunications network gear maker, which Washington accuses of espionage and stealing intellectual property.
Huawei has repeatedly denied it is controlled by the Chinese government, military or intelligence services. It has filed a lawsuit against the U.S. government over the restrictions in the defense policy bill.
The ban was included in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) passed last year, and restricted the use of federal money to purchase telecommunications equipment and services and video surveillance equipment from “covered” telecommunications companies, citing national security concerns.
Huawei said in a statement that it “continues to challenge the constitutionality of the ban in federal court.”
A spokesman for Hikvision (002415.SZ), another of the five banned companies, said it is committed to complying with laws and regulations in countries where it operates. Hikvision “has made efforts to ensure the security of our products adhere to what is mandated by the U.S. government,” the spokesman said.
Huawei and two of the other companies – ZTE Corp (000063.SZ) and Hytera (002583.SZ) – did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Wednesday. The fifth company, Dahua (002236.SZ), could not immediately be reached for comment.
Government contractors have said they were confused about the scope of the ban and what it will mean for their businesses.
The first rule bit.ly/33iTbiT implementing the ban was posted on a website for contractors called Acquisition.gov run by the General Services Administration, the government agency responsible for contracting. The interim rule is slated to take effect on Aug. 13.
The government will accept comments on the rule for 60 days before it comes to a final version. It will allow agencies some ability to grant waivers through Aug. 13, 2021, for contractors where security is not at issue. The broader ban, which will apply to contracts with any company that uses equipment from the companies, will take effect in August 2020.
In June, the White House Office of Management and Budget had asked Congress for two additional years to phase in the ban – a request that was quickly rebuffed by Republican national security hawks.
“The administration has a strong commitment to defending our nation from foreign adversaries, and will fully comply with Congress on the implementation of the prohibition of Chinese telecom and video surveillance equipment, including Huawei equipment,” said Jacob Wood, a spokesman for the OMB. (Source: glstrade.com/Reuters)
REST OF THE WORLD
08 Aug 19. R&D solutions sought for Future Submarine Program combat system. Lockheed Martin has released a call for stage one of an R&D program for the combat system of Australia’s Future Submarine Program. Lockheed Martin has been chosen as the combat system integrator for Australia’s Future Submarine Program, partnering with the Department of Defence and Naval Group to design and integrate the combat system for the future fleet.
“The Future Submarine Combat System Program presents an opportunity for Australian Industry and Academics to participate in an exciting and strategically important program to build and maintain an enduring and regionally superior Australian submarine capability,” a release on the Defence Innovation Network’s website reads.
“This is a long program and the technological solutions potentially sought may not necessarily have been invented yet. Therefore, research and development (R&D) will play an integral function in the successful delivery of the program.”
For stage one, white papers on scientific or technical merit on ideas or technology are being sought, with up to $75,000 being offered for successful projects that are scoped for six months, with the potential to receive additional funding for up to $1m for stage two. Proposals are due on 2 September 2019. (Source: Defence Connect)
07 Aug 19. US approves sale of MH-60R helicopters to South Korean navy. Key Points:
- Washington has approved the potential sale of 12 MH-60R helicopters to South Korea
- The aircraft will strengthen the service’s anti-submarine and anti-surface capabilities
The US State Department has approved a potential foreign military sale of 12 MH-60R multi-mission helicopters to the South Korean navy.
According to details released by the Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) on 7 August, the potential sale has an estimated contract value of USD800m and includes combat systems and a support package for all 12 airframes. South Korea has requested for 12 examples of the aircraft type. The airframes will each be installed with the APS-153(V) multi-mode radar, T-700-GE-401C engines, airborne low frequency sonar system, AN/AAS-44C(V) multi-spectral targeting system, and embedded global positioning and inertial navigation systems. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
07 Aug 19. Malaysia commits to LMS technology transfers. The Malaysian Ministry of Defence (MoD) has outlined the scope of some of the offsets it will secure through its contract with China to procure four Keris-class Littoral Mission Ships (LMSs) for the Royal Malaysian Navy (RMN).
The MoD said in a statement in early August that local shipbuilder Boustead Naval Shipyard (BNS) will receive technologies from China to support localised maintenance, repair, and overhaul (MRO) services for the ships. BNS was initially positioned to construct two of the 68 m LMS vessels, but the MoD announced earlier this year that all four ships would be constructed in China to cut costs.
In its press release the MoD clarified that despite its decision to build all vessels in China, BNS would still benefit through the programme. “This decision will not negatively affect ongoing agreements with regards to the transfer of technology and knowledge and will not cause Malaysia to be dependent on China,” said the MoD.
It added, “The Chinese side has agreed to carry out technology and knowledge transfer programmes … and these will be done via BNS and other identified vendors. This also applies in the area of maintenance, repair, and overhaul and logistics support.”
The MoD added that despite all four ships being built in China, the programme will consider the RMN’s future MRO requirements and will help Malaysia reduce dependency on foreign support. The MoD indicated that Malaysian workers will also have future opportunities to expand capabilities through technology transfer programmes and job placements in China.
At a cost of MYR1.17bn (USD279m), the four-ship contract was signed in 2017 between the Malaysian government and China Shipbuilding Industry Corporation (CSIC). Under a revised deal announced in March 2019 – with all vessels built by CSIC – the value of the contract was reduced to MYR1.05bn. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
01 Aug 19. Morocco requests Apache helos. Morocco has requested from the United States the procurement of several Boeing AH-64E Apache Guardian attack helicopters, the US government revealed in its Country Commercial Guide listings. The North African nation requested 24 of the latest-variant Apaches for USD1.5bn as part of a wider equipment procurement programme for Morocco, which is looking to expand its defence budget to USD3.9bn by 2022. Prospective Foreign Military Sale (FMS) notifications of this nature are usually listed by the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA), although this particular request from Morocco has not been disclosed by the agency. The Royal Moroccan Air Force (RMAF), which operates all the military’s aviation assets, does not currently field a dedicated attack helicopter. (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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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.