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07 Nov 19. British Army releases RFI for weapon locating radar. The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) released an initial request for information (RFI) on 31 October for new weapon locating radar systems being procured under the Project Serpens programme. Formerly the Next Generation Weapon Locating System (MGWLS), the new systems are to be introduced from 2026, with a main gate award in 2024. According to the RFI, which was seen by Jane’s on 5 November, the new system will provide a suite of networked sensor systems to detect, acquire, track, and assess adversary indirect fire threats, including mortars, artillery, and rockets at “vastly increased” ranges compared with currently fielded systems. (Source: News Now/IHS Jane’s)

05 Nov 19. The MOD has issued its Pre- Qualification Questionnaire today for the Skynet 6 Service Delivery Wrap (SDW) phase, which will ensure successful transition and continuous delivery of service for future Skynet operations. The contract is expected to commence in 2021 with a one year transition phase prior to the end of the current Private Finance Initiative arrangement in 2022, under which both the current satellites and the support services were procured.  MOD is also expected to facilitate future technology upgrades and satcom approaches for a longer-term contract, known as Skynet Enduring Capability (EC).


  1. Section (DIO only):

Section II: Identification Numbers

  1. MOD

Contract Notice Nr:700009125

Section III: Relevant Dates

  1. Deadline for Expression of Interest:20/12/2019
  2. Proposed/Estimated ITT Issue Date:02/03/2020
  3. Proposed/Estimated ITT Return Date:03/05/2021
  4. Proposed Issue Date of Contract:01/09/2021
  5. Proposed Completion Date of Contract:31/08/2027

Section IV: Issuing Branch / Organisation Details

  1. Notice Address

Ministry of Defence, Information Systems and Services, Networks Team

Building 405, Spur C2, MOD Corsham, Westwells Road, Corsham, SN13 9NR, United Kingdom

Tel. 0306 770 1009, Email: ISSDev-Net-FBLOS-SDW-GrpMailbox@mod.gov.uk

Contact:Gill Peacock, Attn: Gill Peacock

Section V: Product / Service Descriptor Code

  1. Industry Codes:

32531000 – Satellite communications equipment.

32533000 – Satellite earth stations.

32530000 – Satellite-related communications equipment.

Section VI: Summary of Requirements / Description of Work, Goods and Services

  1. Summary of Requirements / Description of Work: Satellite communications equipment. Satellite earth stations. Satellite-related communications equipment. SDW is a Category A procurement within the SKYNET 6 Project. It will replace the current Skynet 5 contract which currently delivers Beyond Line of Sight (BLOS) SATCOM services until its expiry in August 2022.

The SDW supplier is required to deliver an uninterrupted service from the perspective of the end user: this must include a seamless transition from the current contract to the new SDW contract.

The SDW is a complex requirement: the main elements are:

  • Space Operations: Operating and managing the SKYNET spacecraft.
  • Ground Operations: Managing the SATCOM and Ground Communication Network by delivering services and real time network operations that include service planning and configuration, asset management, facilities management, performance management, and customer support.
  • Refreshing end-of-life or obsolete ground assets transferred from the PFI through costed proposal, asset replacement, supply chain and procurement management, whilst demonstrating value for money.
  • Transition from the current Skynet 5 PFI contract to the new SKYNET SDW contract within the required timeframe whilst maintaining extant operational services.
  • Supporting international and commercial collaboration in delivering SATCOM services which helps the MOD build resilience into the SKYNET system.
  • The introduction of improved processes, cost saving opportunities, new technologies and services that provide benefit and value for money to the MOD.


06 Nov 19. Leonardo sees market opportunity for M-346 attack variant in Middle East. After the first order of its fighter attack variant of the M-346, Italian firm Leonardo is marketing the fighter jet in the Middle East, industry officials told Defense News, while noting that the training version was tested in the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait and Qatar.

“M-346 has been tested in Kuwait under hot conditions, passing all the tests successfully, and then it was also tested with the Italian Air Force in November 2018 in Qatar,” a Leonardo official said.

Defense News spoke to the official during a tour of the company’s facilities in Venegono Superiore, Italy. Leonardo would not identify the M-346FA customer or the contract value, despite inquiries by Defense News during and after the tour.

The deal comes in the wake of increased interest for trainer jets — both those solely used for training and those able to perform close-air support missions — from Mideast countries seeking to expand their respective fighter fleets.

“There is an increasing need for trainer jets in the MENA [Middle East and North Africa] region as countries there work to expand their fighter fleets. The MENA nations have requirements for trainers also able to perform close‐air support missions,” said Marco Buratti, Leonardo’s senior vice president of international marketing and strategic campaigns.

“Among the most notable examples that have chosen Leonardo’s training approach is the UAE’s national aerobatic team, Al Fursan — widely recognized as one of the best in the world and considered as a UAE national pride — which uses the Aermacchi MB‐339 aircraft,” he added. “The Emirati pilots were trained in Italy and the UAE under the supervision of the Frecce Tricolori pilots using Italian aircraft and training systems.”

Leonardo offers its trainer customers the opportunity to send personnel to its International Flight Training School, where it trains pilots in four phases: primary training/screening; basic-advanced training; lead-in to fighter training; and an operational conversion unit.

Leonardo is a member of the Eurofighter consortium, which builds the Typhoon fighter jet. Oman, Qatar, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia are among those in the Gulf region who have ordered the aircraft.

Meanwhile, in Europe, Italy has joined the United Kingdom’s Tempest program for a next-generation fighter. Will the M-346 be the chosen trainer for that effort?

“M-346 demonstrated its capability as [a] trainer for Eurofighter and F-35. It is early to speak about Tempest program because we don’t know yet how it will be inserted in the combat environment,” a Leonardo official told Defense News. “First, we need to understand [the] Tempest combat environment, and then we evaluate the M-346 as a trainer for the Tempest, or if in 10-15 years from now Leonardo will have to evolve the training system towards a new combat environment that require[s] new training skills.” (Source: Defense News)

05 Nov 19. Finland warns fighter contenders to keep their budget-busting offers real. Finland has issued a formal notification to industry candidates in its multibillion-dollar fighter program, urging them to keep their proposals within the prescribed budget constraints.

“We do not envisage that we will see withdrawals because of the revised request for quotations. We expect no change there,” said Lauri Puranen, who directs the Finnish Air Forces’ HX-fighter program. He said the move was meant simply to stress the need for all of the five international contenders to respect the program’s €10bn, or $11.1bn, limit.

Defense officials here have conceded that all five bidders, including Saab (Gripen), Dassault Rafale, the pan-European Eurofighter Typhoon, Boeing (F/A-18 Super Hornet), Lockheed Martin (F-35) have struggled with the project’s rigid budgetary ceiling.

“The budget set for the HX project has been an issue for all bidders and candidate aircraft,“ said Maj. Gen. Kari Renko, the deputy chief of the Finnish Defense Force’s Logistics Command.

Finland’s recently-elected, conservative-left coalition government has shown no willingness or flexibility to deviate from the bn budget cap. The defense ministry has been instructed to look for a fighter replacement solution within the budgetary range of €7bn to €10bn, or $7.7bn to $11.1bn.

Whatever flexibility exists in the HX project will impact the number of fighter aircraft purchased and weapons selected as part of the total acquisition program to replace the air force’s Boeing F/A-18C/D Hornets. The last of the service’s Hornets are expected to be retired by 2030.

The defense ministry is seeking responses to the reviews request for quotations to be submitted by the end of January 2020. This will be followed by a request for final offers during the second half of 2020, a process that will commence after stage-two negotiations.

The Finnish government plans to reach a decision on the HX fighter platform in 2021. The decision will cover the acquisition of a new aircraft, weapons, sensors, training, and spare parts. Bidders are expected to use their responses to the revised solicitation to clarify the industrial-cooperation elements of their respective offers. Finland is looking for a solution that will benefit the country’s defense industry, and where parts and systems connected to the eventual contract will be produced under collaborative partnership contracts and joint venture agreements in Finland. (Source: Defense News)


06 Nov 19. Delayed US Spending Bill Could Hurt F-15EX, Major Fighter Jet Upgrades. Many US Air Force programs — including the new F-15EX fighter, enhanced F-22 Raptor sensors, maintenance modifications to the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter and an effort to build a surplus of precision-guided missiles and bombs — are under immediate threat if Congress fails to pass a formal appropriations bill soon, according to the service’s top general.

If the temporary spending bill, known as a continuing resolution or CR, is prolonged by as little as six months, the impasse will negatively affect roughly 145 projects that are already in development or slated to be awarded soon, Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein said Wednesday.

“It’s truly damaging,” he said during an Air Force Association breakfast in Washington, D.C., providing a document to attendees. Air Force Magazine was first to report on the list of endangered projects last month.

The Air Force has crunched the numbers: If Congress freezes funding at last year’s levels for six months, programs like the F-15EX — currently estimated at $1.1bn for development and production — will take a hit.

Related: B-52 Bomber Upgrade on Track Despite Continuing Resolution, Air Force Says

This “may negatively impact Boeing’s aggressive pricing,” according to the document, citing the plane’s manufacturer. “[This] also means operating and sustaining aging F-15C [Eagle] fleet longer than planned, incurring added extensive maintenance actions due to structural health issues.”

The Air Force would also have to forgo buying an additional 1,000 Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) tail kits, 99 Sidewinder air-to-air missiles and 665 Small Diameter Bomb II munitions. And it would have to postpone correcting F-35A Lightning II blade seal composite parts, among other deficiencies, currently affecting 31% of the fleet and reducing readiness rates.

Should the CR extend for a year, concerns grow dire, Goldfein said.

According to the list, the Air Force would need to withhold $466m in sustainment and modernization funding for natural disaster recovery efforts at Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida, and Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska, as well as emergency funding the service expects to receive in the fiscal 2020 National Defense Authorization Act. And the service’s pilot shortage could grow if $123m is cut from undergraduate flight training, the document states.

“Reductions would cut contractor instructor pilots, keep the new maintenance training center from opening, and delay trainer fleet maintenance,” it says.

Many programs would eventually become untenable due to budget constraints, Goldfein said.

He explained that Air Force officials often give a stringent timetable for defense companies producing weapons and equipment and must be as transparent as possible with them, given that the CR could stifle an upcoming production or delivery.

“I have to go to them and say, ‘Hey, I don’t know exactly how many of these weapons I’m going to buy from you this year because I can’t do any new start [projects]. And I know if I ever get the money, I’m going to buy this amount of weapons, so I want you to keep this very sophisticated workforce with high-level security clearances … and I only have six months to get a year’s worth of munitions, so I need you to be ready,” Goldfein said.

It’s a daunting task that most companies turn away from. Or they might increase the price on the next batch of equipment to meet the demand, the general said.

Based on discussions he’s had with Pentagon leadership and lawmakers, Goldfein said fiscal 2021 may be one of the last budgets to give the military the funding surplus it needs to continue rebuilding after sequestration and plan for future operations.

Goldfein said he’s working with acquisition officials to set the “right foundation” for the future no matter what budget the service ends up with. It isn’t necessarily about buying more equipment for the sake of stocking up inventories, but making its use worthwhile, he said.

“[The budget] may go flat after that or it may start coming down,” Goldfein said. “So how do you achieve irreversible momentum if you have only one good year left? [We need] to set this foundation.” (Source: Defense News Early Bird/Military.com)

04 Nov 19. General Dynamics Gets a Multibillion-Dollar Navy Sub Deal. The U.S. Navy has reached an agreement with General Dynamics Corp. on a multibillion-dollar deal to buy the next batch of Virginia-class attack submarines, according to the service.

After protracted negotiations, the deal was cut from 11 submarines to 9, with options to buy a 10th and 11th vessel by 2023, because funding was running more than $1bn short, according to service documents and congressional correspondence. The value of the resulting agreement wasn’t immediately disclosed but it’s expected to be about $20bn, according to a person familiar with Navy budget documents.

“We have reached a multiyear” agreement “and are working to announce a contract” by Dec. 31, Navy spokesman Captain Danny Hernandez said in a statement. It “will achieve significant savings, will include important lethality enhancements,” and “provide critical stability to the industrial base. Further information will be available upon contract award,” he said.

Elizabeth Power, a spokeswoman with General Dynamics’ Electric Boat unit, which makes the Virginia-class sub with Huntington Ingalls Industries Inc., said “we have been working closely with the Navy and stand ready to support their needs. The contract being contemplated allows us to maintain a stable Virginia-class build rate.”

Documenting Savings

By law, the Pentagon must submit a detailed justification for proceeding with a multiyear contract, including outlining “significant savings” that would be realized over annual purchases that give Congress more oversight. Last week, the Defense Department submitted to congressional defense committees a proposal certifying savings of 6.8%, or $1.8bn, from a nine-ship contract.

Ellen Lord, the Pentagon’s acquisitions chief, said in letters to the four defense committees that “while there are sufficient funds” to execute the program through 2024, “there are shortfalls” in fiscal 2022 and 2023 that the Navy has committed to address in its next proposed budget.

Representative Joe Courtney of Connecticut and Rob Wittman of Virginia, the Democratic chairman and ranking Republican on the House Armed Services seapower panel, wrote Defense Secretary Mark Esper in September to “express our very serious concern” over the “reduced scope for the contract due to funding shortfalls.” They represent districts where the subs are built or workers live.

Courtney said in a statement Monday that the Navy’s announcement “shows real progress in terms of getting a stable workload for this critical program.”

Navy Secretary Richard Spencer acknowledged, in a Sept. 27 reply to lawmakers, the reduction to nine submarines with an option to add at least one. He said the Navy “has been in negotiations” to “achieve a balanced approach with full considerations of technical risk, the industrial base capability and fleet requirements.”

“There seem to be two issues at work here,” said Ron O’Rourke, naval analyst for the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service. “The first are the concerns about the capacity of the industrial base,” and the other is a funding shortfall, “the origin of which is unclear,” he said. “So it seems that something has happened on the Navy’s side regarding the cost of these submarines. It would be helpful for the Navy to explain what that is.” (Source: Defense News Early Bird/Bloomberg)

04 Nov 19. US Army looks to boost Hellfire Romeo, JAGM stocks. The US Army Contracting Command has released a sources sought notice for the production of air-to-ground missiles (AGMs) for the army’s fixed-wing, rotary-wing, and unmanned aircraft system (UAS) assets.

According to the notification, “The [US] Government requires the AGMS in Fiscal Year (FY) 22 through FY 25 with maximum quantities of 11,000 in FY 22, FY 23, FY 24 and FY 25. The Government also requires qualified test assets, test sets, support equipment, and initial spares to support the AGMS.” Issued on 22 October, the notice emphasised that this was not a request for proposals, but for “informational and planning purposes”. (Source: IHS Jane’s)


01 Nov 19. Queensland launches Defence and Aerospace Industry Development Fund. Queensland businesses will be in the box seat to win international defence and aerospace supply chain contracts with the State Government launching a $1.5m fund to assist small-to-medium enterprises to compete more strongly in the global marketplace.

Minister for State Development, Manufacturing, Infrastructure and Planning Cameron Dick said the Defence and Aerospace Industry Development (DAID) Fund will help boost the recognition of Queensland businesses.

“The first stream will give Queensland SMEs access of up to $30,000 in matched funding to attain globally recognised certification, so they can secure defence and aerospace supply chain contracts,” Mr Dick said.

“The next stream of the fund, proposed to open next year, will support SMEs to participate in targeted international trade shows to engage with national and international companies.

“We are committed to giving Queensland businesses the best opportunity to thrive so we can keep building an economy that is sustainable, diverse and inclusive.

“Through this fund, we’re delivering on our Queensland Defence and Aerospace Industries’ 10-Year Roadmaps and Action Plans.”

Mr Dick said Queensland is on the cusp of a defence jobs boost on the back of the historic LAND 400 Phase 2 project that was secured by Rheinmetall Defence Australia with the full backing of the Queensland Government.

“Winning the $5.2bn LAND 400 Phase 2 project was an incredibly hard-fought battle, and we want Queensland SMEs to benefit from new potential contracts,” he said.

“A project of this calibre is expected to create up to 450 jobs for Queenslanders at the MILVEHCOE and through the local supply chain, pumping more than $1bn into the economy over the life of the project.”

From Friday, Queensland SMEs can apply for certification funding by completing a DAID Fund Application Form, available at www.dsdmip.qld.gov.au up until 5pm on Thursday, 12 December 2019. (Source: Google/https://www.miragenews.com/)


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.


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