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13 Sep 19. New Land Rover Wolf seats. David Parkman of Tek Military Seating told BATTLESPACE that the MoD had now obtained funds to solve the Land Rover Wolf rear seating problems which occurred due to EU Laws on seating. The current Wolf rear seating side-by-side configuration is unlawful and thus soldiers cannot sit on the move in the back. Asa number of Land Rover Wolfs have a Bowman fit, this has meant that soldiers cannot operate on the move and have to stop to transmit. The Tek solution proposed to the MoD will allow the operator to sit on a newly designed seat whilst on the move. This may also prompt the MoD to relook at the ROPS solution proposed by Tek for the troop carrying variants of Wolf. Ford and Ricardo showed a militarised Ford Ranger at DSEI which points to the fact that the MoD is looking at alternatives to the Wolf, which can no longer operate outside the wire in war scenarios. The MoD is reported to be leasing Ford rangers through the White Fleet deal and may look at extending this. Given spares issues we have discussed at length in BATTLESPACE following the demise of Defender, the wish to retain the Wolf fleet through to 2030 looks like a desire rather than reality. In other developments the MoD is also believed to be looking at a new lightweight vehicle to replace the Pinzgauers operated by airborne and troops and the Royal Marines.
13 Sep 19. RAF puts BAe 146s up for sale. Four VIP and light transport aircraft used by the United Kingdom’s command support squadron have been put up for sale by UK’s Defence Equipment Sales Authority (DESA).
Details of the aircraft were included in a DESA brochure distributed at the 2019 DSEI event in London. The brochure stated that both variants of BAe 146 – two CC.2 VIP variants and two CC.3 quick change cargo variants – are up for sale. The aircraft are currently used by 32 (The Royal) Squadron based at UK Royal Air Force (RAF) Northolt in West London to fly members of the Royal Family, government leaders, and senior military officers around the world. The two BAe 146 CC.2s were purchased in the 1980s and the two CC.3s were acquired second hand in 2012. A Ministry of Defence (MoD) source close to the project told Jane’s it was “too early in the process to be discussing out-of-service dates and replacements [of the BAe 146s]”. He said putting BAe 146 in the brochure was about “testing the market’s appetite for a potential sale in the future”. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
10 Sep 19. Team iMAST sets out to provide a step-change for UK Royal Navy and Royal Marines Training. Three of the UK’s leading Maritime Defence companies – Babcock, QinetiQ and Thales – along with academic and industry partners have joined forces to create Team iMAST: intelligent Maritime Adaptive Synthetics and Training to bid to support the modernisation of the UK Royal Navy’s individual maritime training.
Down selected to bid earlier this year, the bespoke Team iMAST collaboration – led by Babcock and comprising, QinetiQ and Centerprise International along with the Universities of Portsmouth and Strathclyde – has recently been joined by Thales and Learning Technologies Group to further bolster its highly-experienced offering. And boasting its Innovation Ecosystem of more than 50 Small to Medium sized Enterprises (SMEs), Team iMAST is ready to deliver training to the Royal Navy when and where it is required, if selected.
Team iMAST and the Innovation Ecosystem will enable critical technology integration, backed by proven naval training resources, to drive future-ready training solutions for all elements of the Royal Navy. To launch this Ecosystem, two successful events have already been held with the most recent hosted by Team iMAST at the Digital Catapult, the UK’s leading agency for the early adoption of advanced digital technologies.
With its wealth of proven expertise, Team iMAST is uniquely placed to support this training outsource programme through its unrivalled industry know-how. The programme will provide an opportunity to help shape the future of Royal Navy training as a strategic partner and drive efficiencies and new technology.
Mark Graves, Managing Director, Babcock Marine Training said: “We have an opportunity to help shape the future for Royal Navy training and this excites every member of the iMAST team. We’ve brought together an agile and experienced collective for this bid that can meet the challenges from day one – and already understand how to support the Royal Navy to deliver successfully.
“Our mission is to transform education and training for the Royal Navy and Royal Marines and to do this at a pace that can exceed the customers’ requirements.”
In addition to the provision of training, the winning bidder of the outsourcing project will be responsible for designing, procuring and managing the maintenance and repair of all associated training equipment. It will also support the delivery and procurement of the interior design, fit out and relocation to a new purpose built facility for submarine training based on the Clyde.
Team iMAST takes its inspiration from Babcock’s iSupport 360 concept which brings total insight to projects creating powerful new ways of optimising digital technology to uniquely deliver the complete picture of customer’s programmes.
Providing intelligent, connected insights and evaluation, iSupport 360 interprets and integrates technology and information to support the management of critical assets such as ships and submarines as well as facilities, infrastructure and training.
10 Sep 19. Update on Finnish Fighter Competition. After a busy summer, the autumn will be full of events. Much is happening with both strategic projects, and hopefully in the coming weeks. I get a lot of questions about the fall schedules and I found it best to open them up in the form of a small blog post. Squadron 2020 project, I am hopeful that the entire decision can be finalized in the coming weeks. Since the whole deal – the shipbuilding agreement and the battle system agreement – is decided by the Council of State, it is not my job to reveal or anticipate its future decision.
The negotiations have taken place and the next task for the defense administration is to bring a feasible proposal to the Council of State, and we will. I believe that the solution we are proposing is good from the point of view of national defense, military security of supply and industrial policy. The HX project is proceeding as planned. The first phase of the call for tenders has been ongoing since January and is now in its third and final round with each bidder. The rounds of negotiations will be completed in September.
The request for further details will be issued before the end of the year. I believe that we will be able to provide a more precise date in October. The call for tender will be specific to each bidder and will aim to optimize the HX system solution presented by each candidate. The requirements are still the same for everyone.
There is scope for refinement for each provider across all decision areas – security of supply, cost, industrial collaboration, and performance. Although the call for tenders is specific to the bidder, candidates are still treated equally. If the HX project finds that the requirements set out in the invitation to tender need to be clarified or modified, they will be applied uniformly to each candidate.
There are no big surprises, either side or otherwise, as the providers are pretty much aware of what’s coming up with the invitation to tender. The call for clarification is a continuation of the negotiations already underway, meaning that it is not new information to the recipient as it was in the April 2018 invitation to tender. Negotiations will continue in the second stage, which will commence after the invitation to submit a specific invitation to tender.
In addition to the call for tenders, the Defense Administration is preparing a test and verification event called “HX Challenge” to be held in Finland in January and-February 2020. The event is hosted by Satakunta Airport in Pirkkala.
We will tell you more about the arrangements for the HX Challenge in October, but I want to highlight two points already.
Firstly; although the interest in the event will be high, the HX Challenge is not a flying show but a test event. That’s why we need to think carefully about the event’s arrangements and publicity, in order to keep test weeks quiet while serving those interested.
Secondly, I would like to remind you that HX Challenge is only a technical focus part of the evaluation and does not determine the ranking of the candidates.
HX Challenge’s key objective is to verify what the candidates have said and promised in their answers. Candidates’ skills can be verified in many ways, and beyond Pirkkala. In the final evaluation of the candidates’ rankings, the performance evaluation of the HX project will play a major role in the simulated war game.
(defense-aerospace.com EDITOR’S NOTE: This statement is the translation of a blog post by Maj. Gen. (Retd.) Lauri Puranen, the Director of Strategic Projects at the Finnish Ministry of Defense since the beginning of 2016. He is also director of the H-X Hornet replacement program.
Prior to that, Puranen chaired the Hornet Performance Replacement Preliminary Study Group. He served as commander of the Finnish Air Force from 2012 to 2014.) (Unofficial translation by Defense-Aerspace.com)
(Source: defense-aerospace.com/Finnish Ministry of Defence; issued Sept. 09, 2019)
09 Sep 19. Romania, Bulgaria boost defense buys amid fear of Russia. As Russia becomes increasingly determined to project its military power over the Black Sea, Romania and Bulgaria are accelerating programs to modernize their armed forces and replace Soviet-designed gear with Western-made weapons and equipment.
With the largest defense contracts in both countries’ history underway, Bucharest and Sofia face the challenge to boost military expenditure after years of underinvestment.
“The year 2014 was a turning point for the security of the Black Sea region,” George Scutaru, a member of Parliament for Romania’s National Liberal Party and the director for development at the Bucharest-based New Strategy Center think tank, told Defense News.
“Russia’s annexation of the Crimea, the war in eastern Ukraine, the rapid increase of Russia’s A2/AD capabilities in the region, prompted Romania to take concrete measures to increase its deterrence and defense capabilities,” he added. “Increasing naval capabilities is another major objective for Romania.”
The acronym A2/A2 is short for “anti-access, aerial denial.” It describes defensive military measures aimed at keeping enemy forces as far away as possible from locations so tactically important that their occupation could decide the outcome of a battle.
As part of its efforts to counter such moves by would-be adversary Russia, the Romanian government in July announced it will purchase four new Gowind corvettes from a consortium of France’s Naval Group and its Romanian partner, local shipbuilder Santierul Naval Constanta.
Under the €1.2bn (U.S. $1.3bn) deal, the companies will also upgrade the Romanian Navy’s two Type 22 frigates — the F-221 Regina Maria and the F-222 Regele Ferdinand — as well as build a maintenance facility and a training center.
“Romania also wants to buy anti-ship missile launchers,” Scutaru said. “Another objective of Romania will be to strengthen the [intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance] capabilities in the Black Sea. In this way, Romania wants to show determination in the process of increasing its own defense capabilities, thus contributing to NATO’s effort to discourage Russian actions in the Black Sea region.”
Romania’s defense wish list is topped by its acquisition of Raytheon-made Patriot air and missile defense systems under a deal worth as much as $3.9 bn, and its purchase of the High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) and Guided Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (GMLRS) from Lockheed Martin for $1.25bn.
Scutaru said that Bucharest has also requested 54 Lockheed Martin-made HIMARS launchers for three systems and 81 unitary variants of the GMLRS. The lawmaker added that the government “continues to pursue the acquisition of F-16 [fighter jets] to complement its existing air-retaliatory capability.”
Bulgaria eyes fighters, armored vehicles
Russian activity in Ukraine has also impacted Bulgaria’s defense policy, boosting military acquisitions higher on the political agenda, local analysts say.
“Bulgaria considers that the destabilization of the region and the illegal annexation of the Crimea lead to a permanent violation of the geostrategic and military balance in the Black Sea region,” Tsvetan Tsvetkov, an associate professor at the department of national and regional security of the University of National and World Economy in Sofia, told Defense News.
Bulgaria is also determined to upgrade its air force, with plans to replace outdated Soviet-designed Mikoyan MiG-29 fighter jets with Western aircraft, most likely Lockheed Martin’s F-16 Block 70 fighter jets. The planned acquisition of eight aircraft was approved by both the Council of Ministers and the Bulgarian Parliament’s Defence Committee, a deal estimated to be worth about $1.3 bn, paving the way for the largest foreign defense contract since the country regained its independence in 1989.
The planned purchase has been a source of discord among the country’s decision-makers. In late July, Bulgarian President Rumen Radev vetoed the deal, claiming a broader debate was necessary on the acquisition terms.
The president said Bulgarian lawmakers should discuss and evaluate the terms of the proposed contract, including the price, delivery schedule, and unspecified logistics and training fees. The country’s parliament overturned the veto on July 26 by a majority of 128 votes, with 73 lawmakers against and three abstentions.
Meanwhile, the Bulgarian Defence Ministry has requested offers for the supply of 150 armored vehicles from four Europe-based manufacturers under a deal worth about $840m. These include Germany’s ARTEC, Finland’s Patria, France’s Nexter Group and Swiss-based General Dynamics Land Systems-MOWAG.
Bids are to be submitted by Oct. 31, and an interdepartmental task force is expected to select the tender’s winner by Dec. 20, the ministry said in a statement. (Source: Defense News)
09 Sep 19. Finland announces HX Challenge event for bidders. Finland has revealed that bidders for its Boeing F/A-18 Hornet fighter replacement, in a programme known as HX, will take part in a test and evaluation event early in 2020 called the “HX Challenge”.
Writing in his blog for the Finnish Ministry of Defence on 9 September, Programme Director Lauri Puranen said that the event would take place between January and February 2020 at the Satakunta Airport in Pirkkala, near the city of Tampere.
The purpose of the event would be to further evaluate the bidders’ platforms and validate performance claims made during the bidding and negotiation periods.
Negotiations with the bidders have been ongoing since January this year, according to Puranen, and are expected to be completed in September following three rounds of discussions with each bidder. A more defined request for quotations is expected in October, with clarifications and modifications to the original requirements to be applied equally to all candidates.
Launched in 2014, the HX programme involves the overhaul of Finland’s air combat capability with new aircraft, weapons, and sensors to completely replace its current fleet of Boeing F/A-18C/D Hornets.
Bidders for the programme include the Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter, Eurofighter Typhoon, Dassault Rafale, Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet and E/A-18G Growler, and Saab Gripen E. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
12 Sep 19. Spain selects industrial coordinator for FCAS. Indra has been appointed by the Spanish government as the national industrial coordinator of the European Future Combat Air System (FCAS) programme, the company announced on 6 September.
Indra will work with the industrial leaders designated by France and Germany (Dassault and Airbus respectively), and the Spanish Ministry of Defense.
Within the framework of the programme’s industrial development plan Indra will work to ensure that Spanish industry participates as actively as possible and facilitate its access to opportunities for knowledge generation, business development, export capacity, and the creation of technologies that can also be used in the civil field and high-value employment generation.
The FCAS will generate high levels of knowledge and added value for Spanish companies and provide them with opportunities to develop exportable products beyond the programme. For Indra, its designation as the national coordinator represents a significant boost, as it enhances its credibility and increases its competitive capacity and its access to major international programmes. (Source: Shephard)
12 Sep 19. Boeing Helicopters Gain as Lawmakers Reject Army’s Planned Cut. Protecting paychecks in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware. Boeing Co. is poised for a major victory in Congress as committees that draft military spending legislation moved to fund an advanced version of its Chinook helicopters, rejecting the Army’s proposal to stop purchasing the aircraft.
The Senate Appropriations panel added $28m in advance procurement funds for continued production of the Chinook CH-47 Block II, and asked the secretary of the Army to assess increased costs and production issues that could delay a “successful program” before submitting budget request for fiscal 2021.
Chicago-based Boeing benefited from the backing of a bipartisan group of lawmakers from Pennsylvania, Delaware and New Jersey, where the helicopter is built or where most workers live. The members had lobbied heavily against the Army’s proposal. Among them was Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.), who worked to blunt the Army’s plan to stop buying the model for at least five years. A U.S. military Chinook helicopter lands on a field outside the governor’s palace during a visit by the commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan.
Booker was one of nine senators with home-state interests who signed an April 1 letter urging their chamber’s defense policy and appropriations committees to block the Army’s plan. A similar March 28 letter from House lawmakers from affected locales went to leaders of that chamber’s defense panels.
The House also added back the $28m in procurement funds as part of its Pentagon spending measure tucked into a broader appropriations measure (H.R. 2740). Lawmakers there also directed the service to restore more than $900m that would have been shifted through 2024.
The Army’s budget called for saving $962m through 2024 by cutting 28 of 68 previously planned Chinook heavy lift helicopters—all 22 of an upgraded standard model plus six of a version for special operations. The Chinook proposal is the most controversial part of the Army’s plan to shift as much as $31bn through 2024—by trimming 186 existing programs and lowering troop levels—into new projects intended to position the service for a potential conventional conflict with Russia or China.
Overseas Sales Prospects
The Senate panel’s decision represents a defeat, at least temporarily, for the Army. Defense Secretary Mark Esper, in his previous role as Army secretary, had been vocal about the need to curtail the Chinook purchase.
“We’ve got to free up the money” for the Army’s future helicopter needs, Esper said in a Bloomberg News interview in May while he was Army secretary. The service’s five-year request for a program to develop new vertical-lift aircraft is now $5.38bn, up from $690m.
“Boeing leadership expressed support for our modernization strategy, and said they would support our budget,” Esper said. “So it’s not entirely clear now why they are taking this position.”
Acting Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy said this year in his explanation of the proposal that Boeing has robust foreign military sales prospects, possibly in the U.K., to sell the Chinook model the Army doesn’t plan to purchase.
The Senate must still approve the 2020 Pentagon spending bill before it can start negotiations with the House over a final measure to be sent to the president. (Source: Defense News Early Bird/Bloomberg)
13 Sep 19. DoD requests proposal for missionised Airlander 10. Vertex Aerospace and Hybrid Air Vehicles have signed a memorandum of understanding with the US Department of Defense (DoD) to present a missionised Airlander 10 hybrid air vehicle (HAV).
UK hybrid airship manufacturer Hybrid Air Vehicles said the Airlander could be effective as a ‘persistent multi-domain intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance, computing and communication capabilities’ to the DoD.
US engineering services company Vertex Aerospace senior vice president of aircraft integration and sustainment Brian Anderson, said: “Airlander has the ability to deliver truly powerful multi-domain capability to defence customers. We look forward to working with HAV to integrate, field and support this revolutionary aircraft to serve the US war fighter.”
The Airlander 10 was based on the Long Endurance Multi-Intelligence Vehicle (LEMV) that was originally developed for the US Army by Hybrid Air Vehicles under a partnership with Northrop Grumman.
The US army cancelled the LEMV project in 2013 due to ongoing technical delays and budget cuts. Originally the army had planned to deploy the system in Afghanistan.
Hybrid Air Vehicles chief executive Tom Grundy said: “This partnership will enable us to offer a fully configured, missionised and supported Airlander 10 aircraft to the US DoD as an airborne solution to many of the challenges posed by multi-domain operations.
“Vertex and HAV share a joint ethos of delivering affordable capabilities that meet the needs of modern operations. This MoU is a strong foundation for us to achieve our shared goals.”
Hybrid Air Vehicles tout the Airlander 10 as an effective solution for missions like border patrol, surveillance, and search and rescue where a long flight-time and persistent location is key.
The Airlander system uses lighter-than-air technology for lift, allowing the craft to stay in the air for up to five days at a time carrying a 10 tonne payload. The airship has a range of 4,000 miles and can travel at altitudes as high as 20,000 feet (6km).
Last year Airlander participated in trials held by NATO which assessed the ISR (intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance) capabilities of the airship. (Source: naval-technology.com)
09 Sep 19. US Special Ops May Get Army Future Vertical Lift Helo to Replace MH-6 Little Bird. The head of US Army special-ops aviation hopes the service’s Future Vertical Lift (FVL) effort will produce a specialized attack helicopter capable of inserting small teams on strategic missions.
Currently, the Army is developing Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft (FARA) and the Future Long Range Assault Aircraft (FLRAA), along with other airframes in the FVL effort, to give aviators greater range and speed over legacy aircraft such as the UH-60 Black Hawk beginning in 2030.
But Army Special Operations Aviation Command leaders are working with FVL program officials to see if the Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft could be modified to carry a small number of operators and serve as a possible replacement for the MH-6 Little Bird, Brig. Gen. Allan Pepin, commander of Army Special Operations Aviation Command, recently told an audience at an Association of the United States Army aviation symposium.
“So right now, if you look at … the attack version [of FVL] we are pursuing, if we could actually mod that to have that assault capability, it would drive down the costs and we wouldn’t have duplicate efforts in [Special Operations Command],” he said.
Related: Here’s Why the Army’s Not Afraid to Send its Future Helos Against Russian Air Defenses
“We know, for the most part, that SOCOM will be asked to do things for strategic reasons for our nation and for the Future Vertical Lift capability that SOCOM will most likely get in the future; we want to be nested up front, so we don’t increase the modernization efforts after we get an Army common system.”
SOCOM has dedicated future funding to FVL to build in options for specific modifications, so it doesn’t have to “cut holes in aircraft” after they are delivered, said Brig. Gen. Walter Rugen, director of the Army’s Future Vertical Lift Cross Functional Team.
“The work is going to be done on the front end so … SOCOM doesn’t have to modify aircraft,” he said.
The Army expects to receive industry prototypes of the Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft in January from the five prototyping contracts the service awarded in April, Rugen said, adding that the service plans to down-select to two companies in March for competitive prototypes of FARA.
A competitive fly-off is planned for 2023, according to Rugen.
Pepin said that SOCOM may have to pursue a longer-term effort to replace the MH-6 if “it turns out that we cannot adjust or modify” the Future Attack Reconnaissance to carry operators into battle.
“If they need a critical capability to do a small assault force infil capability into a defined small space, whether that is doing shipboard operations or in an urban environment, then we will maintain that platform and that will be a long-term build that SOCOM will continue with,” he said.
Other proposed special-ops modifications to the FVL aircraft are likely to be far less challenging, Pepin added.
“We know SOF will have to have an air-refueling requirement,” he said.
Even though the aircraft will go faster and further, special operations aviators in some cases “will have to go through multiple countries to get to a target set,” Pepin said.
“They are going to [configure] that aircraft so all we have to do is open a pre-designed hole and add a refueling probe,” he explained.
Chris Van Buiten, vice president for Sikorsky innovations Lockheed Martin Corporation, said it will be relatively simple to add an in-flight refueling capability to either FVL aircraft design.
Sikorsky, part of Lockheed Martin Corp., and Boeing Co. built the SB>1 Defiant demonstrator for the FVL effort, based on Sikorsky’s X2 coaxial design.
“It offers, I think, a tremendous opportunity for beyond special operations,” Van Buiten said, adding that the capability will enable mission durations that aren’t currently possible.
Maj. Gen. Dave Francis, commander of the service’s Aviation Center of Excellence at Fort Rucker, Alabama, said the conventional Army has not determined whether the FVL aircraft will feature an in-flight refueling capability.
“The goal … is to design the aircraft so you can plug and play those capabilities as required,” he said. “What I think you are going to find in the future is that not everybody is going to get everything. We can’t gold-plate everything.
“As a unit with a specific mission set has a requirement, we will identify those and make sure we have the capacity in the aircraft that is designed to plug that in as required,” Francis said. (Source: Military.com)
06 Sep 19. Pentagon Issues Classified RFP For New Missile Interceptor. DoD goes back to the drawing board to replace its missile interceptors. Can they make it work this time? The Missile Defense Agency has developed a classified draft request for proposals as it tries to rapidly restart a stalled ballistic missile interceptor program designed to knock down North Korean missiles in space.
Dubbed the Next Generation Interceptor, the program will replace the Redesigned Kill Vehicle which was cancelled last month after Pentagon leadership came to the conclusion that the multi-billion dollar program just wouldn’t work.
The draft RFP was handed out to defense industry reps — on CDs — at an industry day on August 29, about two weeks after the RKV was terminated by Mike Griffin, the Pentagon’s research and engineering chief.
The RKV program was part of an ambitious technology effort helmed by Boeing — though Raytheon was building the Kill Vehicles — to replace the current Exo-Atmospheric Kill Vehicle. Both are ground-based interceptors designed to defend the US mainland against long-range ballistic missile attacks.
The cancellation came as North Korea is in the midst of a series of short-range ballistic missile tests, which experts have said is likely assisting the country in its quest to build new, more reliable longer range missiles.
While the cancellation of the RKV was a surprise, issues had been mounting for the program for years. The Missile Defense Agency said back in 2016 it expected the first RKV flight test by 2019, with fielding in 2020. The latest estimate, released earlier this year with the fiscal 2020 budget request, pushed the fielding date back to 2025.
But the program, Griffin insisted earlier this week at the annual Defense News conference, still provided the Pentagon with a return on its investment. “The money, which was spent, did not go toward hardware which will be mothballed somewhere. It went towards the acquisition of knowledge, which will inform our future,” he said.
Boeing and Raytheon also won’t have to pay back any of the billion-plus dollars the government awarded them to do the work. “We terminated for convenience, not default,” Griffin added. “There are no paybacks due, and we learned quite a lot that we’ll carry forward into the next-generation interceptor.”
The scrapping of the RKV will cost the department several years as it replaces the older interceptor, but it remains unclear just how long it will be before the Next Generation Interceptor effort kicks off, and evaluation and testing begin.
The cancellation comes as part of an overall Pentagon effort to unsentimentally scrap underperforming programs. The Army has pushed the idea further than most, holding a series of Night Court sessions which have saved more than $30bn over the past two years. Likewise, Griffin said this week that he is deferring some work on space-based lasers because there’s no path to fielding them in the short-term, which is his priority.
“We’re looking at high-powered microwaves,” Griffin said. “We’re deferring work on neutral particle beams indefinitely. It’s just not near-enough term.” He added that he is looking to pump money into directed energy capabilities that can be ready in the next several years. “We’re focusing on nearer-term uses of directed energy, particularly lasers of higher power than we currently have,” Griffin said. (Source: Defense News Early Bird/https://breakingdefense.com)
REST OF THE WORLD
12 Sep 19. NZ issues RfI to advance its networked army. New Zealand has initiated Tranche 2 of its Network Enabled Army (NEA) programme following governmental approval in July. The project is digitising the New Zealand Defence Force’s (NZDF) command-and-communications technology, BMS and secure satellite communications.
Investment in Tranche 2 totals NZ$106m ($68.2m) till 2022. Defence Minister Ron Mark told Shephard the funding enables the C4 project, which was established under the first tranche of the NEA in 2015, to continue building capability.
‘Tranche 1 has laid the foundations and delivered capability to the highest-priority personnel initially. Trialling and evaluation has taken place ahead of expanding the reach of the capability. The focus of Tranche 2 is the digital communications and other systems for equipping dispersed command elements, such as medial and logistics headquarters,’ Mark said.
It will extend the capabilities across a 250-man light task group.
Tranche 2 funding also initiates an ISR project to deliver improved situation awareness to support deployed commanders with new sensors and intelligence gathering and processing.
‘As this project is in its definition phase, confirming requirements and engaging with industry will be a focus of its work. Future delivery will involve a progressive rollout of capabilities,’ Mark said. ‘This project’s priorities have included establishing the network – a combination of hardware and software to enable the functionality required – and setting up the facilities and systems for testing, research and evaluation of hardware and software. This will ensure that any future introduction of capability is compatible and can be integrated with existing systems.’
An RfI for the NEA’s ISR and EW capabilities was released in August to gather details about possible solutions. The intention is to fill the capability gap in ISR, EW and processing, exploitation and dissemination with new systems for a combined-arms battalion group. The RfI said it wants to ensure land and special operations forces can collect information and intelligence (I2) using ISR/EW sensors, and that a deployable sensitive compartmented information facility can allow them to access and process the intelligence.
It also wants to upgrade existing EW capabilities and integrate collection sensors into the Land Tactical Information Network and BMS, and integrate with multinational partners.
The new ISR/EW systems must be compatible with the existing Sitaware BMS from Systematic, and Harris radios for the Mobile Tactical Command System, already selected under Tranche 1.
ISR/EW is divided into three work streams: I2, reconnaissance and surveillance, and EW.
The I2 capability will be delivered though a deployable all-source cell (ASC) to support the land commander. The ASC must be able to analyse information from organic assets. To do this, the ASC needs to access large databases, software that allows personnel to conduct analysis, fusion software to process information from multiple single sources into fused intelligence products, a collection and management system, and software to support mission planning and tasking.
Reconnaissance/surveillance systems include new sensors for a variety of platforms eg soldier-, UAS- and vehicle-mounted systems. These include night vision systems, acoustic sensors, ground surveillance radar, unattended ground sensors, laser surveillance and warning systems.
The RfI said the EW work-stream will deliver ‘tactical modular and scalable EW capability, for the interception, geolocation and disruption of an adversary communications network’. It will allow the formation of light EW teams with a command post to manage collection elements such as electronic support/attack and processing.
Open-architecture collection elements need an ‘on-the-march man-pack solution, semi-static dismounted man-portable solution, and mobile mounted solution, possibly supported by aerial sensors’. Tranche 3, expanding capabilities across a larger deployable force and refreshing earlier systems, should begin in 2021. (Source: Shephard)
11 Sep 19. Defence export grants help Aussie small businesses think globally. Minister for Defence Industry Melissa Price has announced $1.85m worth of grants to support Australia’s small defence businesses to expand overseas, as part of a strategic approach to support the development of Australia’s defence exports.
Minister Price announced the 13 grant recipients at the Defence Industry and Innovation Day held at Australia House in London on Monday ahead of the major defence trade show, Defence Security and Equipment International (DSEI).
“The Defence Global Competitiveness Grants help Australian small businesses to build their export capability, which presents new opportunities in overseas markets. Importantly, helping small businesses become ‘export-ready’ means they can take up opportunities to help them grow and create more Australian jobs,” Minister Price explained.
Gold Coast company Craig International Ballistics – one of the companies in London attending DSEI – will use its grant to adapt its composite body armour systems to meet the needs of international markets and customers, and is already enjoying success in the UK.
The recipients of the Defence Global Competitiveness Grants include:
Grant amount Details State
Australian Performance Vehicles $150,000
Invest in advanced manufacturing facilities for the production of military restraints for land and amphibious vehicles. VIC
Levett Engineering $150,000 Purchase precision machining for the manufacture of component parts for the aerospace industry, enabling them to manufacture complex avionics assemblies for military aircraft and grow sales into military supply chains in the United States. SA
Defendtex $150,000 Purchase specialised equipment to scale up its Victorian facility for the manufacture of commercial quantities of explosives and propellant. VIC
Quality Production Engineers $150,000 Increase technical capacity for manufacturing large, complex, highly precise jobs. SA
Craig International Ballistics $145,686 Invest in manufacturing equipment for product accreditation, and enhanced networks and software implementation to improve data protection. QLD
Athinian Valley $150,000 Purchase equipment to manufacture complex shaped components for frigates and other vessels being built in the United Kingdom. SA
Nupress Tools $150,000 Undertake a Quality Improvement Program that will enhance the company’s manufacturing of hot engine components and support access to global defence supply chains. NSW
Carbonicboats $150,000 Build in-house facilities to test and measure performance and reliability of its Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems. NSW
PMB Defence Engineering $82,262 Procure and commission a versatile testing facility for new technology batteries. SA
Dobbie Dico Meter Company $148,507 Improve its capability to manufacture high quality small precision parts as components of operational maritime pumps. WA
Ruslyn Holdings $17,100 Purchase tooling to manufacture a plastic lightweight rugged hook and line reel. NSW
Nupress Tools $112,817 Purchase wire cutting machinery to enhance their manufacturing capabilities and increase the company’s eligibility an access to international defence export programs. NSW
QPE Fabrications $150,000 Acquire, install and train personnel for capital equipment necessary for Defence related programs SA
HeliMods $150,000 Purchase plant equipment to manufacture large machined components used in the assembly of military and paramilitary helicopters QLD
Another member of the Team Defence Australia delegation, Defendtex, will use the grant to purchase specialised equipment that will enable it to scale up production at its Melbourne facility.
“This is a great example of the Morrison government providing real assistance to help Australian businesses grow by accessing new export markets,” Minister Price added. (Source: Defence Connect)
09 Sep 19. Airbus claims $2bn in savings if Australia sticks with Tiger helo amid replacement bids. Australian taxpayers will save AU$3bn (U.S. $2bn) out to 2040 by incrementally upgrading the Australian Army’s 22 Tiger helicopters, rather than replacing the fleet, according to an Airbus official.
Australia is seeking to replace its Airbus-made Tiger armed reconnaissance helicopters with up to 29 proven, mature, off-the-shelf armed helos under Project Land 4503 following a request for information on July 10. The country’s requirement is for up to 24 helicopters to equip two operational squadrons, with five further airframes for training. The RFI specifies an initial operational capability (IOC) in the 2026 time frame and a final operational capability (FOC) to follow around 2028.
Airbus Australia Pacific Managing Director Andrew Mathewson said Aug. 30 that the company’s offering will leverage technology from the European Tiger Mark III program. He added that upgrading the Tiger from the mid-2020s will save compared to acquiring a new type, which itself would need future upgrades if it is to serve until 2040, by which time he said the Australian government hopes to leverage the U.S. military’s Future Vertical Lift program, or FVL.
“Defense has been very plain that they’re focusing on FVL. To replace Tiger in the time frame outlined, acquire a new capability in the early 2030s and have it replaced in the early 2040s I think would be a waste of money,” he said.
The upgrade would take place at Airbus Australia Pacific’s Brisbane facility, which previously assembled 18 of the 22 Tigers.
Boeing on Aug. 30 also publicly announced its proposal for the helo competition. The company would combine the U.S. Defense Department’s Foreign Military Sales and Direct Commercial Sales programs and the Australian Industry Capability process to provide the AH-64E Apache to Australia.
On Sept. 5, Darren Edwards, the managing director of Boeing Defence Australia, said the proposal includes 29 AH-64E Version 6 Apache helicopters, which is the latest production standard delivered to the U.S. Army. The helo features the upgraded Northrop Grumman APG-78 Longbow fire Ccontrol radar with enhanced maritime and air-to-air modes.
“There are elements of the Apache acquisition that must be sold as FMS, [but] there are also elements which can be a DCS,” he said. “There are cost benefits to FMS [and] there are regulatory [U.S.] State Department requirements where we don’t have [a] choice. But where we can move things into a DCS, it will give us the opportunity to bolster local industry content here in Australia.”
Bell also submitted a response to the RFI. Global military business manager for the Asia-Pacific region, Javier Ball, confirmed to Defense News on Sept. 5 that the company proposed 29 AH-1Z Viper helicopters. “The RFI stated up to 29 helicopters, and that’s what our response was,” Ball said. “We can easily make the IOC and FOC deadlines.”
Bell signed a partnering agreement at the 2016 Singapore Airshow with BAE Systems Australia, whereby the latter company will provide in-country support for a future AH-1Z bid.
“We’re looking at the maintenance, training and sustainment being done in Australia, and we’ve teamed with BAE Australia to perform the AIC,” Ball said. “In the future, there’s potential for a regional maintenance center in Australia. I think there’s potential for partners in the region to bring their aircraft down here.” (Source: Defense News)
American Panel Corporation
American Panel Corporation (APC) since 1998, specializes in display products installed in defence land systems, as well as military and commercial aerospace platforms, having delivered well over 100,000 displays worldwide. Military aviators worldwide operate their aircraft and perform their missions using APC displays, including F-22, F-18, F-16, F-15, Euro-fighter Typhoon, Mirage 2000, C-130, C-17, P-3, S-3, U-2, AH-64 Apache Helicopter, V-22 tilt-rotor, as well as numerous other military and commercial aviation aircraft including Boeing 717 – 787 aircraft and several Airbus aircraft. APC panels are found in nearly every tactical aircraft in the US and around the world.
APC manufactures the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter Large Area Display (LAD) display (20 inch by 8 inch) with dual pixel fields, power and video interfaces to provide complete display redundancy. At DSEI 2017 we are exhibiting the LAD with a more advanced design, dual display on single substrate with redundant characteristics and a bespoke purpose 8 inch by 6 inch armoured vehicle display.
In order to fully meet the demanding environmental and optical requirements without sacrificing critical tradeoffs in performance, APC designs, develops and manufactures these highly specialized displays in multiple sizes and configurations, controlling all AMLCD optical panel, mechanical and electrical design aspects. APC provides both ITAR and non-ITAR displays across the globe to OEM Prime and tiered vetronics and avionics integrators.