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02 Jan 20. Netherlands seeks designated marksman rifle. The Dutch Defence Materiel Organisation announced a contract notice on 24 December for semi-automatic designated marksman rifles chambered in .260 Remington/6.5 x 51 mm, plus ammunition, additional rifle equipment, spare parts, training, and documentation. The deadline for requests to participate is 21 February, followed by evaluation, with the award phase to be started in April 2020 with selected suppliers. The US Special Operations Command (SOCOM) adopted the 6.5 mm Creedmoor/6.5 x 49 mm calibre in March 2018 to replace existing 7.62 x 51 mm/.308 Winchester semi-automatic sniper rifles. SOCOM in October 2019 announced plans to upgrade existing M110 semi-automatic sniper rifles to the M110K1 variant chambered to the round. (Source: Jane’s)
31 Dec 19. Estonia, Finland, Latvia initiate joint AFV development. Estonian Defence Minister Jüri Luik, Latvian Defence Minister Artis Pabriks, and Finnish Permanent Defence Secretary Jukka Juusti signed a letter of intent (LOI) in Tallinn on 17 December in relation to joint AFV research and development.
“The letter of intent signed today is the beginning of the joint undertaking between Estonia, Latvia, and Finland in acquiring new armoured vehicles. We have agreed to carry out joint research and development,” Luik told local media.
“We have a very positive long-term relationship with Finland in procurement and have bought self-propelled artillery and radar systems together. We want to extend this co-operation to Latvia,” he explained. (Source: Jane’s)
27 Dec 19. Greece deal with Lockheed seals major air force upgrade. Greece says it has signed an agreement with U.S. defense contractor Lockheed Martin that will allow a major upgrade of its F-16 fighter jet fleet over the next seven years as the country emerges from a financial crisis and faces renewed tension with neighbor and fellow NATO member Turkey. The defense ministry procurement agency announced Friday that the deal was signed Tuesday finalizing details of Lockheed’s use of a Greek subcontractor.
The defense minister, Nikos Panagiotopoulos, told parliament earlier this month that 84 F-16 jets would be upgraded by 2027 to the advanced-tech Viper class in a program estimated at $1.5bn.
He said the speed of the upgrade would be determined by how many aircraft are required to remain in active service.
The U.S. State Department approved the potential deal in 2017, saying it advanced U.S. objectives “by helping to improve the security of a NATO ally which is an important partner for political stability and economic progress in Europe.”
Greece faced years of defense funding cuts during a financial crisis that required three international bailouts between 2010 and 2018 to save the euro zone member from bankruptcy.
The country has expanded defense ties with the United States in recent years, wary of Turkey’s military expansion. Disputes between the neighbors over airspace and maritime boundaries, as well as drilling rights for oil and gas in the East Mediterranean, remain unresolved.
That tension has escalated in recent months after Turkey sent drilling vessels off the northern coast of war-divided Cyprus and reached a maritime pact with Libya seen as challenging agreements between Greece, Israel, Cyprus and Egypt.
On a visit to Athens in October, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo signed a revised defense cooperation pact with Greece expanding U.S. military activities at three Greek bases and increasing operations at an American naval base at Souda Bay, on the island of Crete.
The agreement was submitted to Greece’s parliament this week for ratification. A senior U.S. official in October asserted that bolstering military ties with Greece was unrelated to events in Turkey. The official spoke on condition of anonymity given that the agreement had not yet been formally ratified.
“It wasn’t the logic when we started this project. It was much more from the perspective of the United States has a national security interest in ensuring that Turkey remains anchored in the West,” the official said. “We believe that Greece has the same interest.” (Source: News Now/Daily Mail)
31 Dec 19. What the US Army wants in a multidomain system. The Army wants to know if industry can provide a series of sensors for the service’s largest unmanned platform as a way to help see past enemy defenses.
As the Army prepares for multidomain operations and to modernize its forces to fight more sophisticated enemies, service leaders are looking for new solutions, according to a Dec. 27 request for information.
The request, formally known as multidomain operations support equipment, is made up of payloads and sensors that will detect, identify and geolocate enemy threat radar and communication systems that are part of integrated air defense systems.
The notice lists three sensors the Army is interested in, all of which should be interoperable with each other and could be mounted aboard a MQ-1C Gray Eagle.
The first is a radar warning receiver/electronic support measure payload. Such a payload will be able to detect and identify certain emissions from radars that are more stealthy and harder to detect. It should also be able to detect radar threats that frequently hop frequencies.
The second is an electronic intelligence payload that can detect, analyze and record radiations from low probability of detection radar systems as well as electronic warfare systems. The Army’s first brigade-organic electronic attack system – Multi Functional Electronic Warfare-Air Large pod – has already demonstrated promise on the electronic intelligence front.
“The air pod solutions are very important, especially when you start going against a near peer competitor. The main reason why is because you start now dealing with more of an [electronic intelligence] ELINT threat than with a strictly commercial threat,” Col. Kevin Finch, program manager for electronic warfare and cyber within Program Executive Office Intelligence, Electronic Warfare and Sensors, told C4ISRNET in October. “The ability to see radar systems … or artillery type radar systems, we need to be able to see that. Obviously, EW, you have to have some height to the antennas to be able to see a lot of that. If it’s on a pod solution, that’s a lot easier.”
Third, the notice lists a synthetic aperture radar/moving target indicator that will provide increased situational awareness through wide area surveillance, imaging of still targets and moving targets. This capability should be able to conduct on-board processing and transmission of near real time imagery and moving target detection to battlefield commanders, the notice states. (Source: Defense News)
31 Dec 19. US Army soliciting FHTV protection kit proposals. The US Army wants to outfit its Family of Heavy Tactical Vehicles (FHTVs) with protection kits to better protect soldiers inside.
In an 18 December solicitation, the service announced it is moving ahead with the Department of Defense’s Long-Term Armor Strategy (LTAS) objectives with plans to acquire “enhanced tactical vehicle ballistic protection with armor integrated protection” for its FHTV line.
“Ballistic and integrated armor protection is paramount for troop protection during wartime and in civil disaster environments,” the army wrote. “The concept and use of applique armor packages has been studied and advanced as a method of improving crew protection across the spectrum of combat and tactical support vehicles.” (Source: Jane’s)
20 Mar 19. America’s Fighter Jet Makers Are Thriving, Thanks to Trump and Putin. Orders of older warplanes surge as U.S. military spending rises and Russia rattles its sabers. American-made fighter jets, once facing extinction, have seen a resurgence in sales, thanks largely to Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin. Add to that Middle Eastern nations arming for potential war with Iran and there may be more than $80 bn in new or potential sales for F-15s, F-16s, and F/A-18s worldwide. Trump’s Pentagon budgets over the past two years have enabled the U.S. Navy to keep buying new F/A-18 Super Hornets. His fiscal 2020 budget plan calls for purchasing even more of those warplanes, plus a new variant of the F-15 for the Air Force, which has not purchased Eagles since 2001. Meanwhile, eastern European nations spooked by Russia’s 2014 annexation of Crimea are looking at the affordable F-16.
Three years ago, just one U.S. fighter jet was expected to still be in production next year: Lockheed Martin’s F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, a warplane being built for the U.S. military and a growing number of its allies.
“[W]e basically thought the [F-16] line was finished,” Lockheed CFO Ken Possenriede said March 7 at a JP Morgan investors conference in New York.
But then new orders started coming in for the venerable jet, which first flew in 1974. Last year, Bahrain ordered 16 planes. Lockheed is negotiating with Slovakia for 14 jets, Possenriede said. Bulgaria is in talks to buy eight jets and Romania is considering buying three dozen used F-16s.
“There are other countries out there that are interested,” Possenriede said. “Indonesia. Morocco. Taiwan is interested.”
While some western European governments are buying new F-35 Joint Strike Fighters, smaller countries in eastern Europe are eyeing new and used F-16s. The single-engine jets are seen as an affordable way to beef up their militaries against Russian aggression, and to phase out aging Soviet-made warplanes.
“F-16 international opportunity may be under-appreciated, though equally, if [Defense Department] orders Boeing’s F-15X, we don’t see that as a benign development for the F-35,” Byron Callan, an analyst with Capital Alpha Partners, wrote in a Feb. 10 note to investors.
With F-16 orders dwindling and F-35 orders on the rise, Lockheed moved its F-16 factory from Fort Worth, Texas, to Greenville, South Carolina. Bahrain will receive its first F-16 — from that production line — in 2021, Possenriede said.
“Then … in the foreseeable future you’ll see us deliver about eight aircraft a year,” he said. “I think we’re in good shape for awhile.”
The Greenville F-16 production line has a capacity to build about four planes per month, according to John Losinger, a Lockheed spokesman.
There’s a similar story in St. Louis, where Boeing makes the F-15 and F/A-18. In 2015, the F/A-18 production line slowed to two planes a month while the Pentagon decided whether to place new orders. The answer was yes, and the line has remained open at that pace ever since.
In fiscal 2018 and 2019, the Navy received a total of $3.7bn to buy 24 Super Hornets. The 2020 budget request, sent to Congress last week, asks for $1.8 bn for 24 more jets. The future-years budget plan predicts even more purchases, though more slowly: 60 F/A-18s between 2021 and 2024, according to Pentagon spending documents.
But these orders, coupled with Navy contracts to extend the lives of its Super Hornets, will keep Boeing’s production line flowing through 2034, company spokesman Justin Gibson said.
There’s also the international market. Last year, Kuwait ordered 28 Super Hornets, the first of which are to arrive by December. Finland is considering new Super Hornets (as well as the F-35 and other European-made aircraft) to replace its older Hornets in a deal that could be worth $13bn. Germany is considering the Super Hornet to replace its fleet of 90 Tornado jets.
Then there’s the F-15. Last week’s Pentagon budget request includes $1.1 bn to buy eight of the new F-15EX variant. If lawmakers approve, it would be the first U.S. Air Force order of an F-15 in nearly two decades. And the budget plan calls for buying 72 more F-15EXs between 2021 and 2024 for $6.8bn.
The Eagle has drawn interest overseas as well. Beside the Saudi order, Qatar agreed in 2017 to order 36 F-15s, the first of which is expected to arrive in 2021. Israel is also reportedly considering an order of new F-15s.Then there’s India’s long-awaited, long-delayed plan to buy 114 new jets for around $15bn. Among the contenders are Boeing’s Super Hornet and Lockheed’s updated, rebranded F-16 called the F-21. (Source: Defense One)
27 Dec 19. A new $5m competition to help the Pentagon detect deepfakes. Congress hopes a $5m prize competition will unlock the secret to automatically detecting deepfakes. The annual defense policy bill, which the president signed into law Dec. 20, called on the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity to start the competition as a way to stimulate the research, development, or commercialization of technologies that can automatically detect deepfakes. Congress authorized up to $5m in cash prizes for the competition.
Deepfakes are machine-manipulated media that depict events that never happened. For example, many deepfakes commonly superimpose one individual’s face onto another’s person’s head as a way to deceive viewers into thinking the first individual said or did things that they never did. But the government’s broader of deepfakes includes any digitally altered video, audio or image that depicts something that does not exist or did not happen.
With the technology becoming more advanced and widespread, the Pentagon now views machine-manipulated media to be a national security issue. Military leaders imagine a digitally altered video that shows a national security leader giving orders they never gave or behaving unprofessionally could cause significant problems and confusion.
In addition to the competition, the new law requires the Director of National Intelligence to produce a report on the potential national security implications of deepfakes as well as the capabilities of foreign governments to produce and disseminate that media. Lawmakers are particularly concerned about the threat posed by Russia and China and in the law specifically required information on those countries’ capabilities and intentions.
Furthermore, the law calls on the Director of National Intelligence to notify Congress whenever there is a credible attempt by a foreign entity to deploy machine-manipulated media or machine-generated text aimed at interfering with U.S. elections.
The United States has undertaken multiple efforts to develop technology that can automatically detect deepfakes — such as DARPA’s Media Forensics (MediFor) program — and the legislation requires the director to produce a report on those efforts. (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.
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