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28 Aug 19. DE&S looks to place new contract for Land Rover Wolf spares.  The current contract held by TVS has expired and a competition for future support is due to begin imminently. TVS has held this contract supplying Babcock with Land Rover spares at a difficult time when JLR ceased production of the Defender and GKN ceased production of the Wolf chassis.

BATTLESPACE understands that Hobson Industries, the Louth, UK based Land Rover part specialist, is about to sign an interim contract to  rationalise and improve over 800 line items in the Land Rover Wolf supply chain due to concerns over the quality of some current parts which are reported to have caused a large percentage of the fleet to be off the road, even with the report of a possible fatality. TVS is reported to have encountered a problem earlier this year in sourcing swivel housings from a new supplier which did not match the specification of its previous supplier.

Hobson Industries is a major supplier to TVS under the old contract and is likely to remain key to this contract in the next bidding process which is expected to include, Leidos, TVS, BAE Systems, Thales and KBR. On wider issues, the MoD us finding it harder to keep the fleet of over 6000 ageing Wolf vehicles on the road and is reported to be leasing Ford F350 vehicles and painting them green. The current fleet is slated to leave service in 2024 (some say 2030) at which time sourcing spares after the required Defender cancellation period of 10years in 2026. Will the MoD bite the bullet and scrap the existing fleet and buy or lease a new fleet from Mercedes, Ford or Toyota. The current usage of the Land Rover Wolfs for some roles, does not require a 4×4 vehicle, a standard pick up would suffice. There is little news on the Pinzgauer refurbishment which was slated to start some four years ago. Existing vehicles have already been cannibalised to keep the fleet on the road and again, the age of the vehicles and the fact that production has ceased and the complication of IP and ownership, again leaves DE&S with a headache to support these vehicles. DE&S is understood to be conducting a fleet review of all light and medium 4×4 vehicles and the decision may be made to scrap both Land Rover Wolf and Pinzgauers with JLTV and other vehicles replacing the fleet. As the Pinzgauer has a light role with the Paras, DE&S may well look at the winner of the US Infantry Squad Vehicle Program, currently being bid by Oshkosh/Flyer, General Motors and SAIC to replace these vehicles.

28 Aug 19. Innovate UK, as part of the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund (ISCF), has up to £12m to invest in innovative projects exploiting new quantum technologies and is seeking private investment partners to join it. New quantum technologies could transform products and services in many business sectors including automotive, healthcare, infrastructure, telecommunications, cyber security and defence. Quantum physics is at the heart of the electronics, media, computing and infrastructure systems we use in everyday life. A second generation of quantum technologies based on new quantum effects could lead to more secure digital communication, improved construction and radical increases in computing power.

The UK government’s Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund (ISCF) Commercialising Quantum Technologies Challenge is a £153m investment in projects that will help the UK to lead the world in development of these new technologies.

Innovate UK, as part of UK Research and Innovation, has up to £12m from the fund to invest in innovative research and development projects in the field. It is seeking investors willing to partner it by helping to find suitable businesses, managing the grant allocation and investing their own private equity capital.

The aim is to improve access to financial and commercial support for SMEs developing innovative quantum technologies.

Aim is to invest in quantum technologies with clear potential

The aim of the partnership is to invest in quantum technologies that would not otherwise be supported within an investor’s risk strategy and to support innovations that have clear potential to be adopted at scale. Innovate UK is seeking investors that:

  • demonstrate the interest, capability and capacity needed to invest in early-stage companies, including university spin-outs and businesses looking for their first investment opportunities
  • demonstrate the ability to add value beyond their investment
  • commit to helping the company grow and scale
  • have access to relevant sector and technology-specific expertise

Phase 2 of the competition will see successful investors work with Innovate UK the ISCF to fund a broad range of SMEs working on promising projects that exploit the new generation of quantum technologies including:

  • connectivity: techniques for securing data in storage and in flight
  • situational awareness: this includes autonomous systems, sensors and detectors for the built environment, transport and infrastructure, and imaging and sensing to “see things currently invisible”
  • computing: transformational computers for solving currently intractable problems

Funded business projects are expected to range in size between £250,000 and £2m.

Competition information

  • the competition opens on 19 August 2019, and the deadline for registration is at midday on 25 September 2019
  • it is open to equity providers holding a full UK registration at Companies House including charities and trusts with the power to make investments
  • investors can apply for a grant allocation of between £2m and £12m and must demonstrate they can invest at least an equal sum into companies
  • a briefing event takes place on 27 August 2019

Find out more about this competition and apply. (Source: Defence Online)

27 Aug 19. Tender for the British Morpheus Programme. November 1, 2019, is the tender deadline for those companies that wish to candidate for Systems Integrator (SI) of the British Morpheus programme. Under Morpheus, the UK is investing £3.2bn in military communication to establish a single information environment through a fully integrated operational information system which is seamless from the barracks, headquarters to the individual soldier. The system shall be based on an open, delaminated architecture. The British MoD will be the design authority with the ability to procure system elements in a modular fashion via a disaggregated supply chain. “This will give the authority greater flexibility to evolve the system in line with changes in technology, policy and the operational environment,” the MoD writes in their tender notice.

The full SI requirement statement will be released at the Invitation to Tender/Negotiate (ITN) stage. Within the Morpheus Future Operating Model (FOM), the SI is expected to work collaboratively. “Within the FOM the Morpheus SI will interact with the authority and several MSPs in a multivendor environment. The Morpheus SI will manage the system on behalf of the authority but be dependent upon the MSPs for the provision of system components, with the authority providing overarching strategic direction and governance to system development.”

In the future the Morpheus operating model is intended to enable system change through a incremental development cycle. Once fielded, Morpheus will be integrated onto approx. 8,000 platforms with over 40,000 users. The SI will not be responsible for managing any hardware or system components, even though it may own or manage products as Managed Service Provider (MSP) or Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM).

“A key area of change which is anticipated for Morpheus will be the replacement of the bearer elements in the Morpheus system during the mid/late-2020s,” the British MoD added. “Change will also take place in the applications domain, with the potential consolidation or change in products such as Battlefield Information System Applications (BISA) over the contract term. Change will also take place in the network and infrastructure domain over the contract term to replace components in the system such as user data terminals. Change will feature as part of delivery under the contract. The contract will also feature the ability to then increase the capacity for change through a tasking mechanism.”  (Source: ESD Spotlight)


28 Aug 19. Swiss seek package deal of ground-based weapons, combat aircraft. The Swiss government plans to make the integration of combat aircraft and ground-based air defense assets a key benchmark in its planned $8bn Air 2030 program, according to officials.

Program leaders disclosed the desire for a high degree of interplay between the two competing missile-defense offers and four possible aircraft types during a news conference in the capital Bern earlier this month. The comments reveal a new front in the selection criteria for one of Europe’s most prized defense acquisitions, where the air and ground portions had always existed as separate tracks.

Fear of fratricide in Switzerland’s small and crowded airspace is one of two key factors driving the need for close integration between ground and aerial assets, said Swiss Air Force Col. Marco Forrer. Given the country’s alpine terrain and the requirement to hit targets more than 50 kilometers away and over 12 kilometers high, official are concerned about erroneously downing civilian planes, he said.

“That’s why BodLuv has to be integrated into the Air Force operational picture and command-and-control network,” Forrer said, referring to the German-language acronym for the ground-based program Bodengestützte Luftverteidigung.

Forrer added that a high level of integration also is crucial to keeping costs down, enabling air defenders to engage targets with greater precision and — hopefully — fewer misses.

Of the total Air 2030 program, $6bn is slated for a new fleet of aircraft, while $2bn is budgeted for ground-based defenses.

In the aerial segment, the planes in play are the Airbus Eurofighter Typhoon, the Lockheed Martin F-35, Dassault’s Rafale and Boeing’s F-18 Super Hornet.In the ground segment, Swiss officials are left with choosing between Raytheon’s Patriot and the SAMP-T system, which is made by an MBDA-Thales consortium called Eurosam. Israel’s Rafael, which was also invited to bid with its David’s Sling system, never responded to the invitation, presumably following pressure by the Israeli or American governments to stay out of the race.

Swiss officials have complained that they never got a straight answer explaining Rafael’s abstention, and the company’s non-response has left them worried about the losing an element of competition in the race that could make for lower costs.

“It can have a negative impact on the competitive situation,” said Christian Catrina, who oversees Air 2030 at Switzerland’s defense ministry. “We will never know if so and how strongly. We would have appreciated having three contenders.”

Following a similar wave of aircraft tests in Switzerland over the spring and early summer, evaluations of the two ground-based systems, namely regarding their radar sensors, began this month. First up is the Patriot system with a two-week test, which will end Aug. 30; SAMP-T is next, beginning Sept. 16.

The tests will take place at an army range near Menzingen, central Switzerland, where the Swiss operated the Bloodhound weapon system until its retirement in the late 1990s. (Source: Defense News)

28 Aug 19. US funds North Macedonian replacement of Soviet-era armour. The Army of the Republic of North Macedonia (ARNM) will retire most of its Soviet-era armoured vehicles under the US European Recapitalization Incentive Program (ERIP), the Ministry of Defence (MoD) in Skopje told Jane’s on 21 August. The vehicles to be retired are BTR-70/80 wheeled armoured personnel carriers, BMP-2 tracked infantry fighting vehicles (IFVs), and MT-LB tracked carriers. The aim is to improve ARNM interoperability with NATO, and to that end the highest priority for North Macedonia is to equip and modernise its army in accordance with the Long Term Defence Capability Development Plan (LTDCP) 2019-28 adopted by the government on 23 July, the MoD said. (Source: IHS Jane’s)

27 Aug 19. Latvia Makes Another Attempt to Tactical Vehicle Acquisition. The Latvian Ministry of Defence (MoD) has launched the procedure for the procurement of a series of new high-mobility armoured 4×4 tactical vehicles. This is another attempt of the Baltic State to acquire such platforms, as the initial tender had to be cancelled due to a number of procedural irregularities and legal obstacles.

The head of the Latvian MoD, Artis Pabriks, has recently admitted, that his resort had sent out inquiries to a number of countries, which could participate in the highly awaited procurement of a series of new high-mobility armoured 4×4 tactical vehicles. The minister expects a dozen of replies to be submitted by early September. The next stage of the acquisition programme will most likely focus on evaluation of particular vehicle platforms, which are available on the market.

“Adequate military mobility is vital for enhancing National Armed Force combat capabilities,” stated the Latvian MoD. It is expected that new tactical vehicles will not only enhance operational capabilities of the Latvian Armed Forces, but will also allow finalisation of a number of other strategic procurement programmes, some of which are focused on modernisation of artillery and air-defence weapon systems.

This time, the Latvian MoD intends to take a different approach to the procurement of new tactical vehicles than during the first attempt, which failed to secure the acquisition of a number of Finnish-built Sisu Auto GTP 4×4, which the country declared as the preferred platform.

Authorities in Riga are now determined to push for a government-to-government agreement, which would allow for the procurement of new tactical vehicles, instead of dealing directly with manufacturers.

The initial acquisition programme was launched in 2017. Evaluation of submitted bids, which included testing of proposed platforms, was conducted in two stages. A dozen of manufacturers took part in the first phase of the competition, after which only 6 of them got qualified for the final stage.

However, eventually only four companies decided to submit final bids. These were: Oy Sisu Auto from Finland with its GTP 4×4, the U.S. AM General offering the HMMWV 4×4, South African Paramount Group with the Marauder LAV 4×4 and Otokar from Turkey proposing the Cobra 4×4 platform.

Shortly after GTP 4×4 was declared as the preferred platform, two of the bidders, AM General and Paramount Group, decided to protest the outcome of the competition and lodge a complaint. This resulted in the launch of an in-depth investigation, which identified a number of procedural irregularities and legal obstacles in the procurement and evaluation procedure. Early 2019, the country’s Procurement Monitoring Bureau ordered the MoD to withhold final contract negotiations with Oy Sisu Auto. Shortly after the Procurement Committee of the MoD decided to terminate the whole procurement procedure. (Source: ESD Spotlight)

27 Aug 19. Slovakia Prolongs Procurement of Armoured Vehicles. The Slovak Ministry of Defence (MoD) has so far failed to secure the contract for procurement of 81 Vydra 8×8 wheeled armoured vehicles, which were designed by the local defence industry and Finnish Patria. The planned acquisition has stalled due to a number of difficulties, resulting in harsh criticism of the programme coming from the political oppo-sition.

The Slovak MoD was expected to finalise the procurement of a series of wheeled, armoured 8×8 vehicles in the first half of 2019. The ministry’s decision was expected shortly after conclusion of all tests and trials of a prototype Vydra 8×8, which were to evaluate the platform’s operational capabilities in different terrain and climate conditions. Tests of the vehicle were conducted over the past months on different sites in Slovakia and Finland.

The programme, with a budget of approx. €417m, has been withheld due to harsh criticism from the country’s political opposition. The opposition questions the cost of the acquisition as well as unilateral decision to select the Patria AMV platform for the future wheeled, armoured vehicles of the Slovak Army.

Furthermore, it has already been noted by local media, that the Office for Public Procurement (UVO), which controls the execution of public tenders in Slovakia, and verifies if they are carried out in accordance with the country’s law, monitors the planned acquisition and does not exclude taking appropriate actions if it finds any irregularities in the procurement procedure.

At this moment it seems unlikely that the Slovak MoD will make the decision about procurement of Vydra 8×8 vehicles anytime soon. Due to the general elections, which are to take place in early 2020 and might shift the balance of power in the country’s parliament leading to the creation of a new government.

New authorities might wish to evaluate all procurement programmes launched by the current MoD’s leadership, and might eventually even cancel or re-launch the ones, which it currently objects. Therefore, signing of a contract for Vydra 8×8 at this moment seems pointless from the political point of view.

The planned procurement of new armoured 8×8 vehicles is part of a larger modernisation plan of the Slovak Army, which also includes the acquisition of 424 multirole tactical 4×4 vehicles at a cost of €321m. However, also this programme faces legal and political challenges, mostly due to accusations made by the country’s opposition parties, which suggest that tender requirements had been set in favour of a specific manufacturer. (Source: ESD Spotlight)

23 Aug 19. New buys set to end pain of Polish fighter troubles. A series of past accidents, resulting in the loss of several MiG-29 fighter jets, have led the Polish MoD to conclude that further use of legacy, Soviet-era platforms, like MiGs and Su-22 bombers is risky and likely to lead to a gradual decrease of Polish Air Force operational capability.

Under that cloud, the decision has been taken to accelerate the launch of the long awaited Harpiaprogramme, which calls for the procurement of a number of modern, fifth generation multirole fighter jets.

Initially announced in 2018 by Mariusz Blaszczak, head of the Polish MoD, Harpia includes the procurement of 32 new fighters, for its first phase. From the outset, the programme was to be based on an international open tender, allowing for the MoD to evaluate and compare a number of different combat platforms and lead to the selection of the most favourable one.

However, in Q1 2019 the MoD publicly announced its intention to procure Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightning II fighters, arguing that the jets are the only fifth generation platforms currently available on the market – adding that Poland, as a NATO member, has to limit its acquisition options to Western made solutions only.

Confirmation of Poland’s intentions to buy F-35s was made clear in May with the sending of an official Letter of Request to the US DoD in relation to the anticipated acquisition, though negotiations to consolidate the business are unlikely to commence until after general election results are announced in October.

According to the current Technical Modernization Plan of the Polish Armed Forces, which was announced in February, the MoD expects that all 32 F-35 fighters will be acquired by 2026.

However, Wojciech Skurkiewicz Secretary of State at the Polish MoD, has already suggested that at a later date Poland could acquire another batch of 16 F-35s, which would bring the total number to 48, the same as the currently operated F-16C/D Block 52+ jets, which were procured over a decade ago. In any case, until the F-35s achieve IOC, Poland’s airspace will be defended by a fleet of F-16s, with continued reliance on the legacy Su-22 and MiG-29 models unlikely.  (Source: Shephard)


28 Aug 19. Three teams competing for US Army’s ISV programme. The US Army has selected three teams to develop infantry squad vehicle (ISV) prototypes to transport soldiers and their heavy loads across the battlefield. The service announced on 23 August that it was awarding General Motors Defense, Oshkosh Defense, and Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) each with USD1m contracts to produce two ISV prototypes. Each team is slated to deliver their offerings to the service in November for continued soldier assessment, testing, and evaluation ahead of a final contract award in March 2020. If all goes as planned, the army will then purchase a total of 651 vehicles by the end of 2024.

For its ISV bid, SAIC has teamed up with Polaris Government and Defense, with a proposal based off the latter’s deployable advanced ground off-road (DAGOR) combat vehicle. DAGOR is a small family of vehicles designed to provide forces with mobility and off-road capabilities. The standard DAGOR vehicle is equipped for small teams, is armed, and provides the space for the team’s personal equipment. Under the plan, SAIC is tasked with systems engineering and integration work. (Source: IHS Jane’s)

27 Aug 19. Uncle Sam Wants YOU To Compete For Army Network Upgrade: CS 21. Gone are the days of a stately, deliberate, laborious acquisition process in which the Army would plan out the future in detail before going to industry. “We’d almost always guess wrong,” said Maj. Gen. David Bassett. “Eventually we’d deliver yesterday’s technology tomorrow.”

No incumbent contractor should feel safe, and all comers should consider taking a shot, Army network modernization officials told me here. Even for its upgrade coming in the next few months– Capability Set 2021, aimed at infantry brigades — the service is still thrashing out which technologies to include, let alone who gets paid to build them.

Subsequent biennial upgrades — Capability Set 23, CS 25, CS 27, and beyond — are even more in flux, by design, to leave room to add the latest tech. In fact, even an upgrade already being fielded to specialized communications units, the Expeditionary Signal Battalion – Enhanced (ESB-E) kit, is open to change.

On the flipside, if the Army decides your product isn’t ready for the upcoming upgrade cycle, or it just doesn’t fit the available budget, you should still aim for the next upgrade, or the one after that. And you should take that shot ASAP, because the early work on those later upgrades has already begun.

Gone are the days of a stately, deliberate, laborious acquisition process in which the Army would plan out the future in detail before going to industry. “We’d almost always guess wrong,” said Maj. Gen. David Bassett, the Program Executive Officer for Command , Control, & Communications – Tactical (PEO C3T). “Eventually we’d deliver yesterday’s technology tomorrow.”

That said, Bassett doesn’t want to overcorrect by delivering tomorrow’s technology today, before it’s ready for the harsh conditions and high demands of erecting a wide-area wireless network in a war zone.

“I know y’all won’t believe this, but some of the things that vendors show me as mature, it turns out they’re not,” Bassett snarked at the TechNet Augusta conference last week. “What we’re not doing is holding up a Capability Set for any given technology. If it’s ready, bring it to us. … If it’s not ready yet, look to a future Capability Set.”

For any given product, he said, “we need you to help us understand … whether you see that as something that’s part of the network of ’23, part of the network of ’25, or whether it’s something we really ought to be trying to add in to the network of ’21 at the last minute.”

Bassett has held industry “outreach sessions” recently in Nashville and Baltimore, with another this November in Austin. These are forums for the Army to solicit white paper proposals to solve specific problems and then award small demonstration contracts using Other Transaction Authority (OTA).

Larger-scale procurement for Capability Set 21 should start in April, Bassett said. “The contracts, the logistics, the testing,” he said, “we’re in the midst of that right now, so we can buy the network in ’20, we can integrate and test it next summer, and we can deliver to brigades in ’21.”

Competition, Accelerated

To test new network concepts and designs as fast as possible, the Army is using a lot of “stand-in” technology — that is, whatever is available, from existing contracts or inventory, that works well enough to run the test. But those stand-ins aren’t necessarily, or even probably, the final products the Army plans to use, and their manufacturers don’t have any incumbent advantage over other contenders.

“Believe us when we say that we’re not vendor locked and that we’re going to open this up for a competitive environment in FY 20, after we decide what the final network architecture needs to be,” said Col. Garth Winterle, who works for Bassett as project manager for tactical radios. So the Army has two main messages for industry about Capability Set 2021, Winterle told me. “Be prepared for competitive procurement in FY 20,” he said, “[and] be open to providing information, including some stuff they may not share typically, like potential price points.”

It’s not just stand-in systems that are subject to competition and change, Winterle continued. It’s also formal Programs Of Record with incumbent vendors, established contracts, and painstakingly negotiated budget lines.

Even today, “all of my radio contracts are multi-vendor,” Winterle told me. That means one vendor on the contract may win the first lot of radios, but a different vendor may win the second — or the Army may bring in a new vendor that wasn’t even in the initial award, all without having to redo the POR.

“All Programs of Record are being compared to potential commercial systems as part of the experimentation, so if elements of [the existing] WIN-T architecture come up against new commercial that are more affordable or more affective…they have to participate in a run off,” Winterle said. “Gen. Bassett’s been clear: There’re no sacred cows.”

Yes, large chunks of the current Warfighter Information Network – Tactical will remain in Army service for years to come, despite former Army Chief of Staff Mark Milley calling WIN-T inadequate for highly mobile high-tech war and truncating the program back in 2017. For all the Army’s urgency about advancing, the service is just huge, so on any plausible budget it will take a decade to overhaul everything. The Army’s target date for total modernization is 2028.

But key pieces of WIN-T will be replaced much sooner, and some select units will be rid of it entirely in the near term. First up is the 50th Expeditionary Signal Battalion at Fort Bragg, which deploys teams worldwide to keep frontline units connected.

The 50th ESB started turning in all its WIN-T kit this past October. Not only are all three companies within the battalion now using a new kit called ESB-Enhanced: Each company got a different version of the new equipment, which it field-tested, modified, and tested again. A council of generals approved proposed changes “at least every month,” said Col. Mark Parker, until recently the Army’s capability manager for networks & services.

Now, after about a dozen revisions in less than 12 months, the Army has a radically new ESB-E. That means not just new kit, but new personnel, training, organization — even a reorganized motor pool. The streamlined formation needs 18 percent fewer soldiers and half as many vehicles. It can deploy on commercial aircraft instead of heavy-duty Air Force transport — the basic network kit actually fits in the overhead bin — but it can provide communications to 60 percent more command posts. (48, up from 30). The final ESB-E design is due before the new Army Chief of Staff, Gen. James McConville, in October — a year after the first new kit was fielded — so he can decide whether to reorganize the other Expeditionary Signal Battalions across the Army on the new model.

“Not all ESB-Es are going to look alike,” however, Parker told the conference. A battalion supporting the 18th Airborne Corps (as the 50th ESB-E does at Fort Bragg) might need parachute-qualified communications techs, while one supporting fast-moving armored divisions might need different ground vehicles to keep up. The Army also keeps hoping to add new technology to each ESB-E as it becomes available, Bassett told the conference.

To 2028 & Beyond

The way Army upgraded the Expeditionary Signal Battalion – Enhanced is preview of what it hopes to do across the force, Bassett said. That means streamlining or bypassing the traditional requirements process, and using existing contracts and authorities to get new tech to the troops fast — and then get their feedback to make it better in the next round.

“We’re a little late” with Capability Set 21, Bassett said frankly, because Congress didn’t approve an Army request to reprogram already-appropriated funds to speed field-testing.

But the Army was able to put the entire brigade architecture together in the laboratory — using stand-ins for the final product — and test it “end to end,” Winterle told me. That means sending realistic loads of both voice and data, based on real-world mission requirements, from tactical radios to satellite communications to US-based server farms.

The next big step is to take the hardware into the field, with a full brigade of the 82nd Airborne Division to be field tested next year. While Bassett and his procurement professionals focus on Capability Set 21, the Army-wide Cross Functional Team for network modernization is already working on CS 23. While ’21 is optimized for infantry units, ’23 will take on medium-weight brigades of 8×8 armored Strykers and heavy brigades of M1 tanks and M2 Bradleys. These vehicles can carry a lot more hardware than infantry on foot, so they can field more powerful transmitters and larger antennas. But they’ll really need that added power, because they can cover much more ground in a day and need to transmit signals over longer distances, without revealing their location to eavesdropping enemy electronic warfare units.

By Capability Set ’25, if not before, “we should be able to have constant communications where you can come up or drop off as required, depending on threat,” said the CFT’s unified network lead, Col. Curtis Nowak. This ability to connect, get essential data, and then go dark to avoid detection is central to the Army’s emerging concept of high-tech warfare, what’s called Multi-Domain Operations.

The Army’s goal is to modernize the entire force to wage multi-domain operations by 2028. That’s why the Army has already scheduled successive network upgrades in ’21, ’23, ’25, and ’27. But that’s not the end, officials have made clear.

“The reality is there will be a Capability Set ’29,” Nowak told me. “We’re no longer going to have a finish line.” (Source: Defense News Early Bird/Breaking Defense)

27 Aug 19. State clears $4.2bn in potential arms sales to Japan, S. Korea, Hungary, Lithuania and Denmark. The U.S. State Department on Tuesday cleared over $4.2 bn in potential weapon sales for Japan, South Korea, Hungary, Lithuania and Denmark. The sales, announced by State on the Defense Security Cooperation Agency website, would bring the total foreign military sales cases cleared by State to $51.9bn with roughly five weeks to go in fiscal year 2020.

The largest dollar value for the package comes from Japan’s purchase of 73 Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) Block IIA missiles, with an estimated price tag of $3.295bn. This marks the third purchase of SM-3s announced for Japan this fiscal year, following November ($561m) and April ($1.150 bn). The Block IIA is jointly developed by Japan and the United States, with Mitsubishi Heavy Industries in charge of some components of the missile.

Hungary is seeking to spend an estimate $500m on 180 AIM-120C-7 Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missiles. The prime contractor will be Raytheon. This marks the third AIM-120 announcement of the fiscal year, following two packages for Japan previously. The weapons will be used to support Hungary’s fleet of Gripen fighters.

Denmark wants to spend $200m on nine AN/AQS-22 Airborne Low Frequency Sonar (ALFS) systems and 600 AN/SSQ-36/53/62 sonobuoys, to improve its anti-submarine warfare capabilities. The announcement comes months after the Pentagon began seeking ways to fund sonobuoy production in light of increased need from both American and allied forces.

Lithuania has requested 500 Joint Light Tactical Vehicles with associated equipment, with an estimated price tag of $170.8m. The prime contractor will be Oshkosh Defense.

Finally, South Korea plans to buy 31 MK 54 All Up Round lightweight torpedoes for an estimated $72m. Raytheon is the primary contractor for the weapons, which also come with support equipment such as recoverable training torpedoes. The weapons are intended for its fleet of P-8 sub hunter aircraft.

The dual announcements of sales to Japan and South Korea notably come at a delicate time, as military relations between the two nations are becoming more strained.

As with all DSCA announcements, the sales must first be cleared by Congress before entering contract negotiations, during which quantities and dollar figures can change. (Source: Defense News Early Bird/Defense News)

27 Aug 19. After two years, the US Air Force is rethinking this space contract. The US Air Force is interested in new management for an organization aimed at accelerating contract awards for space-related prototypes and launched less than two years ago.

According to a request for information posted to the Federal Business Opportunities website Aug. 20, the Air Force’s Space and Missile Systems Center is looking to re-compete the Space Enterprise Consortium Other Transaction Agreement which was awarded in 2017.

The Space Enterprise Consortium is a new organization focused on space-related prototypes, such as a space vehicle capable of expanding the Link 16 network to Beyond Line of Sight communications, that can award contracts faster than the traditional Department of Defense acquisition process. Prototypes can range from space vehicles to payloads to ground control systems to launch capabilities to software. The program is meant to open up opportunities for small businesses and nontraditional vendors to work with the government on space-related projects and to address the Air Force’s desire to move faster on acquisition.

The Space Enterprise Consortium lists 52 awarded projects on its website, ranging from military GPS user equipment to a missile defense tracking system concept design.

In 2017, the SMC established the Space Enterprise Consortium by awarding the Advanced Technology Institute, based in North Charleston, S.C., a $100m contract to act as the consortium manager. That contract was set to run out in November 2022.

Now SMC is looking for responses from industry on how they would handle acquisitions and management of a space prototyping consortium as they seek to recompete the consortium management contract.

A major focus in the new competition is cybersecurity. According to the request, the Air Force wants the consortium manager to be aware of government cybersecurity requirements and promote cybersecurity best practices among consortium members.

In addition, the Air Force wants the next consortium manager to increase engagement with nontraditional venders, facilitate a smooth transition for existing member and improve the timeline from solicitation to award.

The Air Force is considering a $12bn ceiling for the award over a 10 year period. Responses are due September 6. (Source: C4ISR & Networks)

27 Aug 19. The Pentagon wants to solve a deep space problem with three vehicles. The Pentagon wants to know what its adversaries are up to in the area immediately beyond geosynchronous orbit, and the Space Development Agency has a plan to deliver.

Currently, that blueprint involves three rapid, semi-autonomous Advanced Maneuvering Vehicles operating in cislunar space, the area between geosynchronous orbit and the moon’s orbit.

The SDA was launched in March to develop a proliferated architecture to address several Department of Defense needs in space, from detecting and tracking hypersonic weapons to providing alternative position, navigation and timing data. One part of the agency’s notional architecture is a so-called deterrence layer focused on activities in cislunar space.


That layer is meant to discourage bad behavior in deep space by other nations, said Jerry Krassner at the agency’s industry day July 23. Krassner heads up the SDA’s deterrence layer project. It does this by providing two types of information: Who owns the objects in space, and what those objects are up to. By providing that information, the deterrence layer will allow the military to respond in a way that it hopes will makes those missions too costly for adversaries to continue.

The SDA’s notional architecture proposes a four part deterrence layer. The first part, located in low earth orbit, would be made up of outward facing space situational awareness sensors capable of providing data on deep space objects located immediately beyond geosynchronous orbit. The second part would be two satellites operating in highly elliptical orbits providing other angles for detecting objects in deep space. The third part would include sensors operating in lunar orbit, and the fourth and final part would have them operating three Advanced Maneuvering Vehicles.

The AMVs appear to be a deep space counterpart to the Geosynchronous Space Situational Awareness Program satellites. Operating in near-geosynchronous orbit, the GSSAP satellites are capable of rendezvousing with space vehicles in geosynchronous orbit to provide more data on them. While information on the proposed AMVs is limited, SDA leaders explained how they see the vehicles operating.

“The notional AMVs fit with the deterrence layer of the National Defense Space Architecture in that by flying to rendezvous with a suspect object returning from deep space (e.g. the region of the moon), the U.S. could communicate to a threatening nation that we know the location of their vehicle and, if we consider it an object of concern, the information provided from the AMV could support diplomatic demarches or similar responses that could deter the ultimate use of a weapon by the enemy,” an SDA official told C4ISRNET. The agency is considering “equipping them with a camera or similar payload to demonstrate to the operator that ‘we know where it came from.’”

Furthermore, the agency insists the vehicles are not offensive weapons. An agency official said there was no plan to arm the vehicles or have them come into physical contact with any satellites while in operation.

The proposed vehicles would likely operate semi-autonomously in terms of execution with a man-in-the-loop for decision making and monitoring.

The SDA proposed three vehicles at their industry day July 23, but in a follow up email the agency clarified that the concept is still being defined and that officials weren’t wed to a specific number or size of the vehicles. Responses to the notional architecture, including thoughts on the AMVs, were due Aug. 5.(Source: C4ISR & Networks)

26 Aug 19. US Army seeking new anti-jamming GPS antenna system. The US Army’s aviation directorate is seeking industry solutions to develop a new anti-jamming GPS antenna for its fleet of fixed-wing and rotary-wing aircraft. The new antenna must be capable of operating at a 55,000 ft altitude and be able to link up with the service’s existing arsenal of GPS receivers and Fixed Radiation Pattern Antennas (FRPAs), according to a 26 August request for information (RFI) posted by the Product Manager Assured Airspace Access Systems (PdM A3S) division of the US Army’s Program Executive Office-Aviation. Industry proposals are due to programme officials by 23 September, the RFI said.

Prospective industry proposals must be capable of countering “at least 4 or more jammers within each of the 24 MHz bandwidths centered on L1 and L2 [broadcast frequencies] under static conditions,” while “simultaneously canceling signals from spatially distributed sources of interference” within the L1 and L2 bands, the solicitation stated. (Source: IHS Jane’s)


30 Aug 19. Airbus Helicopters offers Australia cost-effective Tiger for operations beyond 2040. Proposal will generate over AUD3bn in savings to Australian Army and taxpayers. Airbus Helicopters is offering a cost-effective approach for taking the Tiger platform beyond 2040, in response to the Commonwealth of Australia’s (CoA) Request for Information (RFI) for the Project LAND4503 Armed Reconnaissance Capability. The RFI seeks solutions for the army’s future armed reconnaissance helicopter needs.  Airbus is the manufacturer of the tandem seat Tiger helicopters introduced to the Australian Army in 2004. Eighteen of the 22 units were assembled at the Airbus site in Brisbane, Australia.  The fleet has been supported in Australia for more than 15 years.  The Airbus Helicopters proposal will offer the Australian Army and taxpayer with more than AUD3bn in savings against the expected budget for LAND4503.

“Tiger is an extremely agile, effective, and digitally connected armed reconnaissance helicopter,” said Andrew Mathewson, Airbus Australia Pacific Managing Director. “Since delivery, the Australian Tiger has matured into a fully operational army capability, and is integrated into the combined arms team.  It continues to prove itself as an adaptable platform, and is now a key element of Australia’s amphibious capabilities on-board the Canberra Class Landing Helicopter Docks.”

Cost per flight hour of the Australian Tiger has reduced by more than 30 per cent, and the sortie success rate is currently sitting at above 95 per cent.  It is these measures that are acknowledged in Australia and internationally as unmatched, and place Tiger in a compelling position.

“Airbus proudly delivers a strong Australian industry capability, including more than 260 local staff supporting Tiger,” Mathewson added.

The Tiger fleet has proven itself in diverse and extreme environments around the world with 120,000 flights hours logged by international operators, including more than 30,000 in Australia. It has provided support to counter insurgency operations in Mali, security operations in Afghanistan, and amphibious strike in Libya, operating reliably in the harsh extremes of heat and cold of the desert and in the maritime domain. Globally, 181 Tigers have been delivered to Australia, France, Germany and Spain.  First deployed by the French Army in Afghanistan in 2009, Tiger continues to demonstrate its essential role in theatres of operation as a highly versatile, stealthy, and manoeuvrable attack helicopter.

28 Aug 19. New Zealand issues RFT for conversion work on dive tender. The New Zealand Ministry of Defence (MoD) has released a tender for conversion work on its new Diving and Hydrographic Vessel (DHV) to prepare it for operations. Following an initial outfit in Denmark, HMNZS Manawanui was commissioned in June 2019. The Royal New Zealand Navy (RNZN) wants the ship to be ready for military operations in 2020, and to achieve this it needs to complete a transformation from an oil and gas support vessel to naval DHV by the end of 2019. The request for tender (RFT) is for a Stage 2b Modifications Project for mechanical and electrical system upgrades that will be carried out from October to December at Devonport Naval Base in Auckland. (Source: IHS Jane’s)

27 Aug 19. Philippines prefers G2G approach to buy offshore patrol vessels. The Philippines is planning to procure six new offshore patrol vessels (OPV) through an inter-government agreement with the Australian Government. The Philippine News Agency (PNA) reported that the OPV project will be funded by a financing arrangement with Australia, citing Philippines Defence Secretary Delfin Lorenzana.

Lorenzana said: “We are availing of Australian Government financing (for the project).”

The inter-government approach is being pursued to ensure that the deal has ‘sovereign guarantee’ and the acquisition is completed in a time-bound manner.

It will also mean that the Philippines Government can do away with the requirement of a ‘large capital outlay’ for the project.

The Philippine Navy’s (PN) OPV project is expected to cost around PHP30bn ($571.24m). In July this year, Lorenzana visited Austal Philippines in April, Cebu. Austal has shown interest to construct the patrol vessels for the PN. The Australia-based company proposed a larger variant of the Cape-class patrol vessels. The 80m-long vessels are in service with the Royal Australian Navy and Australian Border Force.

Lorenzana said: “Government-to-government is (the procurement process being favoured) by the PN.”

The ships are being acquired under Horizon Two of the Armed Forces of the Philippines Modernization Program. The OPVs will replace the PN’s existing World War II-era corvettes and minesweeper vessels. Meanwhile, the South Korean Government is interested in funding the project to acquire corvettes for the PN. The Navy prefers awarding a deal to shipbuilder Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) to build two anti-submarine vessels, Lorenzana noted. HHI is already building two Jose Rizal-missile frigates under a PHP18bn ($342.74m) deal. The first and second vessels will be delivered by April and September 2020, respectively. (Source: naval-technology.com)


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