Sponsored by American Panel Corporation
UNITED KINGDOM AND NATO
20 Nov 19. Navantia continues FSS bid despite stopped competition. Spanish shipbuilder Navantia has reaffirmed its pursuit of the UK’s Fleet Solid Support (FSS) ship programme despite the Ministry of Defence’s (MoD’s) recent decision to halt the current competition. The company told Jane’s that it is continuing to refine manufacture and supply aspects of its bid in anticipation of a competition restart, and it remains committed to placing more than GBP400m (USD517m) of work with the UK supply chain – a figure representing just over a quarter of the total project budget. Valued at approximately GBP1.5bin, the FSS programme is intended to deliver up to three new ships from 2026 to replace RFA Fort Austin, RFA Fort Rosalie, and RFA Fort Victoria. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
20 Nov 19. State Department OKs $6.9bn in arms sales in one day. The U.S. State Department on Wednesday cleared four potential foreign military sales packages, which combine for an estimated price tag of over $6.9bn.
The four packages, if approved by Congress, would involve AH-64E Apache helicopters for Morocco ($4.25bn), C-130J aircraft for New Zealand ($1.4bn), naval guns for India ($1.02bn), and jammers for improvised explosive devices to Australia ($245m). The notifications were posted on the website of the Defense Security Cooperation Agency. DSCA notifications are not final sales; once cleared by Congress, the sales enter negotiations, during which quantities and costs can shift.
The largest package, Morocco’s Apache request, is the first from that country for fiscal 2020 after dropping six FMS requests in FY19, to the tune of $7.27bn.
New Zealand’s request would cover five C-130J transport aircraft, manufactured by Lockheed Martin. That nation currently operates the older C-130H aircraft, so it’s familiar with the airframe.
“This proposed sale will provide the capability to support national, United Nations, and other coalition operations,” the DSCA notification reads. “This purchase also includes sensors and performance improvements that will assist New Zealand during extensive maritime surveillance and reconnaissance as well as improve its search and rescue capability. Additionally, the extra cargo capacity and aircraft performance will greatly increase New Zealand’s Antarctic mission capabilities while simultaneously increasing safety margins.”
India’s request covers as many as 13 MK 45 5-inch/62-caliber (MOD 4) naval guns, along with 3,500 rounds of D349 Projectile ammunition. Those weapons will be used for “antisurface warfare and anti-air defense missions,” according to DSCA. The program will be managed by BAE Systems, with some sort of industrial offset to be arranged later.
Australia, meanwhile, wants up to 850 Joint Counter Radio-Controlled Improvised Explosive Device Electronic Warfare Increment 1 Block 1 systems, or JCREW I1B1 for short. These are anti-IED jammer systems; the DSCA announcement says Australia is “interested in procuring the dismounted and mounted variants that have a modular, open architecture and are upgradeable in order to maintain capability against evolving global threats.” Those systems are produced by Northrop Grumman.
The start of FY20 has been good for FMS requests. Since the fiscal year started on Oct. 1, there have been 13 requests cleared by the State Department, with a total estimated value of $13.439bn in potential sales. The head of the DSCA, Lt. Gen. Charles Hooper, has said he hopes a series of reforms will help keep sales strong. (Source: Defense News)
18 Nov 19. US Navy eyes cost-effective F-5 upgrades. In October, the US Air Force (USAF) awarded four companies indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity (IDIQ) contracts worth ISD6.4bn to provide contracted adversary air (AdAir) support over the next five years. The US Navy (USN), having pioneered the use of contractor owned/contractor operated (COCO) adversaries in the 1990s, is looking at a number of ways to enhance its own ‘red air’ support to front line forces.
The USN and US Marine Corps (USMC) currently operates three reserve command squadrons of ex-Swiss Northrop F-5N Tiger IIs, plus three F-5F ‘Frankentiger’ two-seaters, which mated existing F-5F front fuselages with ex-Swiss rear fuselages. Despite plans to ‘sundown’ the F-5 in 2015, it is now looking at ways to keep them relevant for modern training, and to extend them out past 2030.
The US Department of Defense USD718bn Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 budget included USD39.7m to acquire a further 22 F-5E/Fs from Switzerland, to supplement and in some cases replace the 43 aircraft currently in service. The Tiger II is ideal for the role; cheap to operate, simple to maintain with no complex systems. However, the aircraft in its current state only realistically offers MiG-21 ‘Fishbed’ threat replication and desperately needs to be modernised to offer credible modern-day opposition.
Tactical Air Support Inc (TacAir) of Reno, Nevada, acquired a fleet of 21 F-5E/Fs from the Royal Jordanian Air Force in 2017 and immediately began developing a bespoke upgrade for the aircraft at its maintenance and logistics facility in St Augustine, Florida. The company was rewarded when in late 2018 it was awarded a five-year USD107m contract from the navy to provide adversary services in addition to training for air and ship crews to counter electronic threats. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
REST OF THE WORLD
20 Nov 19. Israel Still Considering Boeing F-15IA Purchase. Boeing is still in talks with Israel on a potential F-15IA buy, according to a company official. Israel has been mulling over a decision to acquire the fighter jet using military assistance funding from the United States. However, the government may need to decide between acquiring additional F-35s from Lockheed Martin or the modernized variant of the F-15, as reported by Israeli media. Boeing’s F-15IA is similar to the soup-ed F-15EX — which Boeing plans to sell to the U.S. military — but also includes several Israeli subsystems, according to the company.
Thom Breckenridge, vice president of international sales for strike, surveillance and mobility at Boeing’s defense, space and security business, said in a Nov. 19 interview that the Israelis are continuing to show interest in purchasing the company’s fighter jet. An F-15 simulator was brought to Israel the previous week, he noted.
“The payload that it brings, the range, the persistence, those are all characteristics that are certainly unique,” Breckenridge said at the Dubai Air Show.
The Israeli government has not announced when it will make an acquisition decision, but Boeing is “hopeful that there’ll be a decision in the near future,” he said.
The company has recently made big investments in the F-15 fleet by spending about $5bn on upgrades such as a new fly-by-wire capability and core processor, Breckenridge noted. There has been “a lot of very advanced new capabilities as part of the F-15 that we had a lot of interest in internationally,” he said.
The U.S. Air Force has been moving forward with plans to purchase the F-15EX, sparking conversations about the platform with international partners, he noted. The aircraft are slated to replace the service’s aging fleet of F-15C jets, although the Air Force has stated that development and production of the jet could be delayed if the current continuing resolution is extended to six months.
Additionally, Boeing has had talks with potential Middle Eastern customers at the air show regarding its F/A-18, he said.
“Without getting into the specifics of the countries, we have had some conversations this week about the platform in this region,” he said. “We’ll see what happens. And we have conversations all over the world about our capabilities.”
Kuwait is already a Super Hornet buyer, he noted. In 2018, the company signed a contract with the country for 28 F/A-18E/F jets. The Super Hornet is also in the running in a competition to replace Canada’s 35-year-old CF-18 fighters. Breckenridge touted the affordability of the system, saying the platform has “the lowest cost per flight hour of any fighter in the U.S. government’s inventory.” (Source: glstrade.com/NDIA)
21 Nov 19. New Zealand C-130J procurement approved by US government. New Zealand has been cleared to buy five Lockheed Martin C-130J Hercules transport aircraft for an estimated USD1.4bn. The potential sale, which was approved by the US State Department on 20 November, covers five of the latest-variant Hercules airlifters, as well as spares, related equipment including Wescam MX-20HD electro-optical/infrared (EO/IR) sensor turrets, defensive aids, training and support. (Source: News Now/IHS Jane’s)
21 Nov 19. WA government announces inaugural defence research grants. The Western Australia government has announced its first ever defence research grants, which will see $700,000 shared between five WA university researchers and collaborators. The researches that will benefit from the Defence Science Centre’s inaugural defence research grants range between teaming people with artificial intelligence in warfare strategies, addressing biological warfare and communication with autonomous underwater vehicles.
The grant recipients are as follows:
- Interactive Evolutionary Computation for the Discovery of Warfighting Strategies (led by Edith Cowan University in collaboration with Curtin University, Defence Science and Technology Group (DST) and Thales.)
- Preclinical testing of novel compounds against multi-drug resistant bacteria of biological warfare concern (led by the University of Western Australia (UWA) in collaboration with Monash University, Murdoch University and Defence Materials Technology Centre)
- High Speed Multimodal Underwater Wireless Communications (led by Curtin University in collaboration with Edith Cowan University. It is also supported by DST offering facilities and L3 Harris offering supply of equipment)
- Optimising team development and performance via team reflection protocols (led by Curtin University in collaboration with Macquarie University, DST, Army and UWA. It is also supported by staff at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital and Thales)
- Cognitive Biosecurity: Assessment and training perceptual expertise for defence biosecurity threats (led by Murdoch University in collaboration with UWA, Michigan State University and DST)
The announcement was made by WA Premier Mark McGowan during his opening address at the Submarine Science, Technology and Engineering Conference 2019 (SubTEC5) in Fremantle.
“The research grants will bring some of the leading defence industry stakeholders together in Western Australia to find solutions or new ways to tackle defence and national security issues. It’s part of a bigger program of works to benefit the industry through cross-industry innovation and strengthens our state’s defence capabilities,” Premier McGowan said.
“We have a highly capable defence industry and world-class industrial facilities, and are ready to take on the maintenance and sustainment of our naval fleet.”
The announcements were made with an eye on the soon-to-be-made decision over the transfer of all Collins Class submarine maintenance to Western Australia.
“Moving Full Cycle Docking to Western Australia is in the national interest, it will result in a significant job boost and will generate millions of dollars for the state and independent studies show WA is ready and able to deliver on the country’s strategic defence needs,” Premier McGowan said during his address at SubTEC5.
“Playing host to SubSTEC5 allows Western Australia to show its outstanding capabilities to leading industry figures and remain at the forefront of industry technology and advancements.”
Defence Issues Minister Paul Papalia said the conference was timely as the Commonwealth weighs up the monumental decision.
“The McGowan government has put forward a comprehensive case that it’s in the national interest to bring Collins Class submarine Full Cycle Docking to Henderson,” Minister Papalia said.
“Not only do we have a highly skilled workforce, we already perform Collins Class Mid Cycle Docking in the West.
“Supporting a strong and enduring defence presence is a key strategy
19 Nov 19. 16 Deals Worth AED7bn Signed on Dubai Air Show’s Second Day. The UAE’s Ministry of Defence signed 16 deals at a total value of AED 6,977,245,952 ($1.9bn—Ed.) on the second day of Dubai Air Show 2019, a senior official said on Tuesday.
The deals involved enhancement, maintenance and purchase of parts and ammunition for the UAE’s Armed Forces and Air Force, Major-General Pilot Abdullah Al Sayyed Al Hashemi, Assistant Under-Secretary of the Ministry of Defence for Support Services, said on Day Two of the Dubai Airshow 2019, now running the Dubai World Central.
Here is the list of the signed agreements released by the GHQ of the UAE Armed Forces:
– A contract with Halcon Company to purchase various ammunitions for a value of AED3,600,000,000 ($980m—Ed).
– A contract with Raytheon Company to purchase ammunitions for Patriot System for Air Forces and Sir Defense for a value of AED1,307,220,700. ($350m—Ed.)
– A contract with Denel Dynamics to purchase reconnaissance systems for the Armed Forces for a value of AED183,650,000.
– A contract with International Golden Group to purchase a joint fire training simulator for a value of AED16,200,000.
– A contract with Aquila Aerospace to purchase reconnaissance systems including training services for a value of AED734,000,000.
– A contract with Thales Six GTS France to provide spare parts and maintenance works for the air communication system Gater for a value of AED30,100,000
– A contract with Global Aerospace Logistics to provide maintenance services for aircraft for a value of AED749,245,368.
– A contract with Lima Aviation to purchase and install thermal cameras and infrared system for a value of AED149,204,624.
– A contract with Al Tuff Company to purchase air equipment systems for a value of AED45,758,000.
– A contract with Leonardo S.P.A. to provide technical support for Aermacchi aircraft for a value of AED7,308,000.
– A contract with Rockwell Company to provide technical support for Target Detection System for a value of AED3,434,255.
– A contract with Safran Helicopter Engines to provide technical support and technical amendments in aircraft for a value of AED22,356,824.
– A contract with Advance Navigation & Positioning Corporation to provide technical support and technical amendments in aircraft for Joint Flight Command for a value of AED11,669,073.
– A contract with Rheinmetall Air Defence Company to provide maintenance of Sky Guard System for a value of AED5,072,608.
– A contract with Poly Technologies Company to purchase Radar Detection Systems for a value of AED78,969,500.
– A contract with Global Industrial & Defence Solutions Company to purchase ammunitions system (fuses) for a value of AED33,057,000.
(Source: defense-aerospace.com/Emirates News Agency, WAM)
19 Nov 19. Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE: NOC) is seeking expressions of interest from Australian industry to join them in their efforts to support the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) with Project AIR6500. Under AIR6500, the RAAF will develop a 5th generation multi-domain joint battle management system (JBMS) to enable coordination of air battle management, joint weapons employment, and ground-based air defence in operational theatres.
“Northrop Grumman aims to lead industry support to the RAAF as it fields a survivable, scalable and modern, next-generation JBMS under AIR6500. We’re committed to a sovereign capability that’s designed and developed through close collaboration with other Australian industry members,” said Chris Deeble, chief executive, Northrop Grumman Australia. “We recognize that a program of this size, scope and complexity will demand the most innovative, best-of-breed capabilities and a prime systems integrator partnering with Australian industry who can deliver world class capabilities to the Australian Defence Force.”
Northrop Grumman is engaging with a range of industry members, including small businesses, with the goal of creating an Australian AIR6500 solution that brings the best capability for the best value. The ICN Gateway Portal will serve as the primary vehicle for potential suppliers to register expressions of interest and share information about their competencies and skills.
Northrop Grumman delivers agile, modular open systems network architectures and complex, system-of-systems integration that enable joint and coalition interoperability. Our approach increases situational awareness, facilitates rapid and cost effective technology insertion and modernization, and reduces cost per engagement to deliver affordable solutions and accommodate changing environments.
19 Nov 19. KAI seeks new orders from Thai air force. Korea Aerospace Industries, South Korea’s sole aircraft manufacturer, is participating in a four-day exhibition in Bangkok to promote its technological competitiveness and to pursue new contracts from the Southeast Asian country, ranked 26th in military strength.
At the Defense and Security 2019, KAI will introduce three major products that have already won international recognition for their advanced technological features and competitive prices. The list includes KT-1, a single engine turboprop for basic training, FA-50 Fight Eagle light fighters and Surion, a twin-engine transport utility helicopter.
To encourage KAI’s overseas sales effort, South Korean Defense Minister Jeong Kyeong-doo said during his visit to the firm’s exhibition booth that the government will help domestic defense companies make inroads into overseas markets. He was in Bangkok to participate in a ministerial meeting between Korea and Southeast Asian countries.
KAI has so far exported 12 units of T-50 to Thailand since 2015. It is seeking additional orders from the Thai air force to strengthen its military power and to provide effective pilot training, the company said. (Source: News Now/http://www.koreaherald.com/)
18 Nov 19. Chilean parliament confirms decision to procure Australian frigates. Chile moved closer to procuring two Adelaide-class frigates from Australia with the recent inclusion of crew-training funding for the ships in the Chilean parliament’s budget bill for fiscal year 2020 (FY 2020) and other further official government confirmation that it still intends to buy the ships. The parliament included USD3.7m to cover the training of crews and associated services in Australia in its FY 2020 budget for the frigates – former HMAS Newcastle and HMAS Melbourne – which were decommissioned by the Royal Australian Navy in April and October, respectively, this year. The Chilean government also reported the acquisition to parliament to fulfil requirements under the new law for military hardware buys starting for 2020 procurements. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
19 Nov 19. Malaysia has shown an interest in the Tejas in the past too, but now its air force is likely to issue a request for proposal, soliciting competing bids for a new contract next year. The Malaysian Air Force has reportedly shortlisted India’s Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas as one of the contenders for supplying 36 new aircraft in this category. If New Delhi and Kuala Lumpur agree to sign the deal, it will be the first foreign sale undertaken by the Indian government-owned aerospace and defence company Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), headquartered in the city of Bengaluru.
Apart from India’s Tejas, the other proposed aircraft being considered are China’s JF-17, South Korea’s T-50 Golden Eagle, the Russian YAK-130, BAE Systems’ armed Hawk and Sweden’s Gripen, defence sources said on Monday while requesting anonymity.
HAL will respond to the Request for Proposal (RFP) when it is received and will try to make an offer that matches Malaysian Air Force requirements, the sources stated.
There is a concern, however, that the proposed deal may not take off due to diplomatic and trade ties between both the countries currently being strained.
Bilateral ties between Kuala Lumpur and New Delhi experienced a setback in September this year after Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohammad told members of the UN General Assembly that India had “invaded and occupied” the then-state of Jammu and Kashmir, which is the subject of an ongoing dispute with Pakistan.
In August, India had abrogated the special quasi-autonomous status of Jammu and Kashmir and followed it up by creating two separate central government-administered union territories – Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh – on 31 October.
Pakistan was joined by Malaysia as well as China and Turkey in objecting to India’s recent changes in Kashmir. New Delhi, however, has consistently rejected criticism over the development from foreign countries, insisting it is an internal affair.
HAL’s Tejas LCA is said to have better avionics and weapons systems than the other fighter jets vying for the Malaysian Air Force contract, defence sources said. They claimed that the LCA has the capacity to be integrated with both Russian and Western weaponry.
The annual production rate of Tejas LCA is a mere eight aircraft per year and there is a proposal to double it to 16 aircraft per year, sources stated. (Source: News Now/https://sputniknews.com/)
18 Nov 19. Malaysia to formally launch LCA/FLIT procurement shortly. Malaysia expects to formally launch a procurement effort for a light combat aircraft/fighter lead-in trainer (LCA/FLIT) to replace a number of its current platform types in the near future. Speaking under the Chatham House Rule on 14 November, an official said that the Royal Malaysian Air Force’s (RMAF’s) plan to procure up to 36 LCAs with options for 26 more had been cleared at service level, and that governmental approval is now expected in the first quarter of 2020.
A briefing slide presented by the official showed eight candidate airframes to replace the RMAF’s fleet of BAE Systems Hawk, MiG-29, and Aermacchi MB339 platforms, and to augment the current Boeing F/A-18 Hornet and Sukhoi Su-30 before those are eventually replaced by a different type also.
For the LCA requirement, the types under consideration are the Korean Aerospace Industries (KAI) FA-50 Fighting Eagle; the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) Tejas; the Leonardo M-346; the Aero Vodochody L-39NG; the CAC L-15A/B; the CAC/PAC JF-17; the Saab Gripen; and the Yakovlev Yak-130.
In terms of the LCA requirement, the official noted that the selected platform must be able to conduct air-to-air and air-to-ground missions effectively, with a future maritime strike capability; that it must be able to conduct counterinsurgency operations; that it be “economically viable”; and that enough be bought to be able to conduct operations in two theatres simultaneously, and at very short notice. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
18 Nov 19. US puts F-35 talks with the UAE on the backburner to focus on F-16 upgrades. The United States is not currently engaged in discussions with the United Arab Emirates on a potential sale of Lockheed Martin’s F-35 joint strike fighter, the Pentagon’s head of acquisition said Saturday.
Two years ago at Dubai Air Show, U.S. Air Force Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Stephen Wilson confirmed that the United States was preparing to open up talks with the UAE on the F-35, paving the way for the first Gulf nation to acquire the U.S. military’s newest fighter jet.
But now, the focus of talks with the Emiratis is on upgrades to the country’s existing F-16s, said Ellen Lord, undersecretary of defense for acquisition and sustainment, during a roundtable with reporters.
“There have not been any classified briefings [with the UAE on the F-35]. There will not be any discussions [on the F-35] this week,” she said. “We do not have ongoing with the Emiratis right now. We are, within the U.S., discussing how we might end up in those.”
Lord did not specify if talks on the F-35 with the UAE had ever got off the ground. Nor did she characterize the Defense Department’s current thinking on a potential F-35 sale to the UAE or other Gulf nations, such as whether the U.S. retains concerns about the security of exporting the fighter jet to the region. Rather, Lord seemed to indicate talks were curtailed by the UAE’s decision to focus on near-term upgrades to the F-35.
“The Emiratis right now are pursuing F-16s, so we’re talking about upgrading the F-16 fleet,” she said.
Just days after news broke about US-UAE talks on the F-35 at the 2017 Dubai Airshow, the UAE announced it would pay $1.6bn for a slew of unspecified updates to its fleet of 80 F-16E/F Block 60 jets. However, at the time it appeared that the country maintained interest in a near-term by of F-35s, with UAE military sources telling Defense News then that it could buy about 24 aircraft in an initial buy. (Source: Defense News)
17 Nov 19. UAE highlights technology transfer priorities. The UAE is looking to use a technology transfer policy to help Emirati companies catch up and position themselves in areas that are seen by many as the future of the aerospace defence industry. In particular, the country wants to become self sufficient in space, artificial intelligence (AI), 3D printing and information technologies, said Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum at the Dubai International Air Chiefs conference on 16 November. Al Maktoum is the chairman of Dubai Civil Aviation Authority and chairman and chief executive of the Emirates Group. As part of that push, the UAE unveiled a new defence conglomerate called Edge on 5 November. The company was formed by bringing together 25 of the nation’s defence firms.
“More Emirati defence and security companies were integrated over the past couple of years, and more will also soon be born in the near future to make the UAE a player in the development and utilisation of home-grown security and defence capabilities,” says Al Maktoum. “The UAE welcomes partnerships with international companies that are willing to share technology and penetrate markets in the Middle East, Africa and Asia.”
This year, the conference brought together several top air force bosses from NATO, including generals from the US Air Force, Royal Air Force and French air force, with their counterparts in Middle Eastern countries.
Many of the technologies that Al Maktoum highlighted in his speech, including space, AI and information technologies, were noted by Western air chiefs as enabling the future of air warfare. (Source: Google/FlightGlobal)
18 Nov 19. Russia receives first applications for Su-34 deliveries from foreign customers. According to the developer, several partners even flew aboard these aircraft. Russia received the first applications for export version of Sukhoi Su-34 fighter-bomber aircraft, Head of Rosoboronexport (part of Rostec) Alexander Mikheev told reporters at the Dubai Airshow 2019 on Monday.
“We are working on it. Several partners even flew these aircraft [Su-34]. So we are waiting for decisions, we are working on marketing. There are applications,” Mikheev said.
Sukhoi Su-34 multirole supersonic fighter-bomber is designated to strike enemy ground and air targets day and night in any weather conditions. The Su-34 carries long-range air-to-surface and air-to-air missile armament with the multi-channel employment capability. The Su-34 has an operating range of 4,000 km, can develop a maximum speed of 1,900 km/h and is capable of carrying a weapon payload of up to 8 tonnes. The Su-34 is half as noisy as earlier models. (Source: News Now/Tass)
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.