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16 Jan 20. Germany’s $6.7bn frigate deal with Dutch shipbuilder Damen may be the last of its kind. Following the pick of Dutch shipbuilder Damen this week to build at least four new frigates for the German Navy, officials in Germany are finalizing a new policy meant to steer similar contracts to local shipyards in the future.
As drafted, the multi-ministry policy would establish the construction of surface ships as a key technology area in Germany’s security-industry fabric. The designation means Berlin may seek an exception from certain European Union acquisition regulations. Chief among those is a requirement to compete national programs across the bloc, which was the case with the large-frigate-style MKS 180 ships.
German Naval Yards, which teamed with ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems, also had been vying for the deal, portraying their offer as the most German of the proposals, with the promise of jobs and technology kept in the country. Damen, in turn, said this week it would build the ships at the plants of its bid partner Lürssen Group, most notably Blohm+Voss in Hamburg.
New rules on Germany’s key strategic industries have been in the works since the governing parties CDU and SPD agreed on a coalition agreement in 2018. That pact said surface shipbuilding would get the designation as a key technology area, but it didn’t say when or how.
For the Defence Ministry, the upcoming revision of the 2015 “Strategy Paper of the Federal Government on Strengthening the Defence Industry in Germany,” as the document is titled, is the vehicle that would make it so.
The document is still stuck in the interagency review process, which is more comprehensive this time around because the new version combines defense and civilian aspects for the first time, a spokeswoman for the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy told Defense News.
A Cabinet decision on the text is expected within weeks, the spokeswoman said.
Without Cabinet approval, however, the Defence Ministry doesn’t feel tied to the kind of protectionist bent that some lawmakers have previously urged for the MKS 180 competition.
“As the process is not yet completed, surface shipbuilding is currently not a key technology area,” a spokeswoman for the Defence Ministry told Defense News. “Once the Cabinet has approved the document, a purely national competition can unfold.”
The German Navy wants the ships as quickly as possible, and some service officials still harbor hard feelings toward ThyssenKrupp for what they consider a botched F125 frigate program caused by years of delays.
German Naval Yards is still weighing its options to challenge the Damen selection, a possibility that Thomas Silberhorn, a parliamentary deputy defense secretary, noted in a Jan. 13 letter to lawmakers. Ministry officials plan to submit a detailed contract proposal for parliamentary debate in the spring, he wrote.
Tobias Lindner, the point man on defense issues for the Green Party in the Bundestag, said he would await details of the proposed contract before making a judgment on the Damen pick.
“It’s good that the long competition process has come to an end,” he said in a statement. “I hope that the selection has legal standing.”
As for the merits of going through an EU-wide project solicitation for the new ships, “we’ll probably know only after the last ship has been delivered,” he added.
Even after losing the MKS 180 program, there should be plenty of business for German Naval Yards and the other domestic shipbuilders, according to Sebastian Bruns, who heads the Center for Maritime Strategy and Security at the University of Kiel in northern Germany.
“The military should now quickly move to explain what other naval new-build programs are in the pipeline,” he said, citing corvettes, oilers, reconnaissance ships, mine hunters and support vessels that are expected to be on the table. (Source: Defense News)
14 Jan 20. Award Procedure MKS Multi-Purpose Combat Ship 180: Tender Winner Determined. The first phase of the award procedure for the MKS 180 multipurpose combat ship: the tender has been announced. The award procedure for the MKS 180 Multi-Purpose Combat Ship has taken another big step forward. After the evaluation of the offers by the BAAINBw awarding office (Federal Office for Equipment, Information Technology and Use of the Bundeswehr), the Damen Schelde Naval Shipbuilding B.V. emerged as the winner of the tender.
Transparent evaluation process
On April 12, 2019, the remaining bidders in the MKS 180 tender were asked to submit a Best And Final Offer (BAFO). The deadline for the submission of offers ended on July 18, 2019. The offers received from the bidders have since been evaluated by the awarding authority. In order to understand the evaluation process in a comprehensible manner, extensive documentation was required, which is also completed. From this evaluation, the Damen Schelde Naval Shipbuilding B.V. emerged as the winner of the tender.
Evaluation result not yet legally effective
The result of the evaluation is not yet legally effective. The losing track is open to the judge. The decision of the awarding authority is still subject to parliamentary approval within the framework of the € 25m bill, which is aimed for in spring 2020. (Unofficial translation by Defense-Aerospace.com) (Source: defense-aerospace.com/German Ministry of Defence)
14 Jan 20. Damen Shipyards Wins Tender for Germany’s Multi-Purpose Combat Ship 180. The German Navy’s new MGS 180 multi-purpose combat ship will be built by the Dutch Damen shipyard, the German blog Augen Geradeaus reported Monday. The information was subsequently confirmed by Reuters, which added that the German government is expected to announce its decision on Tuesday. The Germany Ministry of Defense on Monday informed the relevant Bundestag committees that the Dutch company had won the tendering process, at the end of which only Damen and the German shipyard German Naval Yards (GNY) had submitted offers.
In a letter to members of Parliament, Parliamentary State Secretary Peter Tauber to (today) Monday MPs: “The bidders remaining in the MKS 180 tendering procedure were requested on April 12, 2019 to submit a “Best and Final Offer,” and in July 2019 duly submitted these final offers. The Damen Schelde Naval Shipbuilding B.V. emerged as the winner of the tender from the evaluation of the offers made by the awarding authority. The decision of the awarding authority is still subject to a possible complaint or judicial review procedure before it is awarded. Our intention is to submit a parliamentary referral in the spring 2020.”
The MKS 180-class frigate should be usable worldwide, from the tropics to ice-bearing waters, (partly) modularly and can remain in use for two years before it is serviced in the Shipyard must. Four of these ships are currently planned for just under EUR 5.3bn but the German Navy has already advocated for two more. The minister’s letter, however, leaves the door open to a protest by the losing company before the Federal Cartel Office’s procurement chamber, given that the winning company is not German.
And a political controversy is foreseeable – among other things about the question of whether this will end the construction of surface warships in Germany. For this offer, GNY had teamed up with numerous other German defense companies that would have been responsible for various parts. On the other hand, Damen wants to use the Blöhm und Voss shipyard belonging to the Lürssen company to build the ships. The decision that has now been announced could only be a further step. (Source: defense-aerospace.com)
14 Jan 20. Sikorsky and Rheinmetall bid to produce and operate CH-53K helicopter. Sikorsky and Rheinmetall have submitted a bid to the German Air Force to produce and operate the Sikorsky CH-53K King Stallion heavy-lift transport helicopter for its Schwerer Transporthubschrauber (STH) programme. An STH project team of more than ten German companies formed by Sikorsky and Rheinmetall includes MTU Aero Engines, Autoflug GmbH and Hydro Systems.
The team, which will benefit from a significant workshare, will offer Germany reliability in maintaining and using the platform.
CH-53K International business development director Beth Parcella said: “Our entire team is pleased to offer the CH-53K: the most efficient, capable and intelligent helicopter that will deliver the best long-term value to the Bundeswehr through the 21st century.”
The CH-53K’s avionics and digitised flight control systems have been designed to accommodate future software upgrades. Its internal payload capability can be substantially increased through simple modifications.
The helicopter features an integrated sensor system that enables the aircraft to predict and prevent problems at an early stage, as well as fly-by-wire flight controls.
It is equipped with air-to-air refueling fully interoperable with Lockheed Martin’s KC-130J tanker aircraft.
In addition, the CH-53K can accommodate the same air transport pallets and can be used for the tactical transport of personnel and material for other missions.
Rheinmetall Aviation Services managing director Mike Schmidt said: “German companies will play a significant role in the success of the CH-53K programme.
“Sikorsky and Rheinmetall prepared the application together over a long period of time; this has strengthened the bonds within our team. We have developed into a highly effective unit.”
The companies propose to establish a logistics hub and an STH fleet support centre at Leipzig / Halle Airport if the bid becomes successful.
In April 2018, Sikorsky confirmed its German industrialisation plan to compete in the STH heavy-lift helicopter programme with its CH-53K King Stallion aircraft. (Source: airforce-technology.com)
14 Jan 20. Boeing [NYSA: BA] has submitted its response to the STH invitation to tender for Germany’s New Heavy Lift Helicopter program, also known as Schwerer Transporthubschrauber (STH). The response was submitted yesterday, 13 January. The STH invitation to tender was issued on 24 June 2019 by the German procurement authority, specifically, the Federal Office of Equipment, Information Technology and In-Service Support of the Bundeswehr (BAAINBw). A contract award is expected in 2021 for the acquisition of 44 to 60 aircraft, including sustainment and training.
“We’re pleased to have submitted our response and look forward to working with the BAAINBw and German industry to bring the best value proposition to the German Bundeswehr,” said Michael Hostetter, vice president of Boeing Defense, Space & Security in Germany. “The H-47 Chinook is a one of a kind platform capable of performing missions that other helicopters cannot. It is a proven multi-mission heavy lift helicopter with advanced technology that meets the German requirements.”
Today, there are more than 950 Chinook aircraft operating in 20 countries, including eight NATO member countries (the Netherlands, Italy, Greece, Spain, Turkey, UK, Canada, and the United States). The Chinook will provide immediate interoperability to Germany while meeting a wide range of mission needs. As the world’s most proven heavy lift helicopter, the Chinook has a track record of on-time delivery and first time quality, with the lowest operating and acquisition costs and a technology roadmap that will keep it relevant for decades to come.
“We are committed to having the sustainment and training as well as parts of the production done in Germany,” said Dr. Michael Haidinger, president of Boeing Germany. “We will continue to build on and expand our Germany Industry Team for the H-47 Chinook Schwerer Transporthubschrauber competition. In addition, we are committed to bringing high end engineering and production opportunities from across the Boeing enterprise to German industry.”
13 Jan 20. Turkey invites Malaysia to join its TF-X future fighter jet program. A state-owned Turkish company as invited Malaysia to join the country’s indigenous fighter program, the TF-X, following Ankara’s suspension from the U.S.-led F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program.
Temel Kotil, CEO of Turkish Aerospace Industries, said he is now awaiting Malaysia’s reply. Last year, TAI signed a memorandum of understanding with the Asian nation for the co-production of TF-X composites.
TAI is also considering Indonesia, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Kazakhstan as potential partners or buyers of the future fighter jet.
“[TF-X] will be the first big fighter jet of the Muslims,” Kotil said. “Building the aircraft first and then selling it is a modality. But we think it’s better if we take in partners at this stage.”
The company also invited Malaysia to partner on its Hurkus, a trainer and light attack aircraft.
Meanwhile, the Turkish government is keen to revive talks with British company Rolls-Royce for the design and production of the TF-X. Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said in December that the government wants to move forward with its planned cooperation with Britain for the production of the aircraft. But Turkey must first select an engine for the TF-X and then finalize the aircraft’s full design — a process that has lagged behind schedule.
A £100m (U.S. $131m) deal between Rolls-Royce and Turkish manufacturer Kale Group was effectively put on hold amid uncertainties over technology transfer.
In October 2016, Rolls-Royce offered a joint production partnership to Turkey to power the country’s planned platforms. The offer involved potential sales to third parties and a production unit in Turkey to manufacture engines for the TF-X as well as helicopters, tanks and missiles. A year before that, in October 2015, a memorandum of understanding was signed between Turkey and Rolls-Royce for technological know-how and a production unit. Under the plan, Rolls-Royce would launch an advanced manufacturing and technology center in Turkey ― the company’s eighth such unit worldwide.
Also in 2017, BAE Systems and TAI signed a $125m heads of agreement to collaborate on the first development phase of the TF-X.
Turkey’s aerospace and procurement officials now aim to fly the TF-X in the 2025-2026 time frame, despite an original target of 2023. (Source: Defense News)
13 Jan 20. Finland to bolster Navy’s surface fleet with new ships, more missiles. Finland plans to increase its naval modernization budget in 2020 as part of a broad and ambitious effort to deepen its overall presence and surface capability in the Baltic Sea and the Gulf of Bothnia.
The Finnish Navy’s $1.5bn Squadron 2020 Program is taking shape against the backdrop of a Baltic Sea that could one day host a military conflict between Russia and NATO. The Finnish military’s planned purchase of a new surface-to-air system is also linked to the Squadron 2020 Program.
A key part of the program features the acquisition of four multirole, ice-breaking Pohjanmaa-class corvettes with the ability to hunt submarines and equipped with requisite weapons and control systems. The project carries added significance for the Navy, as it means Finland’s maritime defense will be based on the Pohjanmaa-class ships.
In September, Finland’s Ministry of Defence named Rauma Marine Constructions and Saab as the two primary contract partners to build and deliver the Pohjanmaa-class ships under the Squadron 2020 Program. RMC and its subsidiary RMC Defence Oy are to build the ships in Finland. The total contract value of the ship-building portion is $720m.
Saab will supply ship combat systems to the Pohjanmaa-class corvettes under a contract valued at $460m.
“Aside from reaching an industrial cooperation deal with Saab, we have now also signed agreements covering the construction of vessels, the supply and integration of the combat system, and the supply of propellers and propeller shafts for the Pohjanmaa-class ships,” Finnish Defence Minister Antti Kaikkonen said.
Aker Arctic Technology Oy, based in Helsinki, secured a $30m contract to deliver propellers and propeller shafts to the Pohjanmaa-class build.
Construction of the ships is slated to begin in 2022. The four ships are expected to be fully operational by 2028.
For its part, Saab will deliver four integrated combat systems to the four Pohjanmaa-class corvettes. The onboard installations will include sensors, weapons and command systems.
The Squadron 2020 Program envisages that the four Pohjanmaa-class corvettes, along with the Finnish Navy’s Hamina-class missile boats, will form the backbone of the service from the mid-2020s onward.
The new Pohjanmaa-class corvettes are intended, within the strategic Baltic Sea area of operations, to contribute to Finland’s entire defense system, given that the ship’s systems will be fully interoperable with those of the Finnish Army and Air Force.
“The acquisition of the Pohjanmaa-class ships will not alone strengthen Finland’s naval defense, but it provides an added value to the country’s overall defense capability in the Baltic Sea. We will get a squadron that will meet both Finland’s peacetime and wartime needs,” said Rear Adm. Jori Harju, commander of the Finnish Navy.
Finland’s Defence Forces Logistics Command, under direction from the MoD, is working to procure a surface-to-air missile system for the Pohjanmaa-class corvettes under the Squadron 2020 Program. The new system, which will cost about $100m, is expected to include Raytheon RIM-162 Evolved Seasparrow Missiles, launcher units, spare parts and a customized software package. (Source: Defense News)
10 Jan 20. Air2030: Second Request For Proposals Has Been Issued. The second request for proposal for new fighter aircraft and new extended-range ground-based air defence systems has been issued to the government authorities of the manufacturer countries. armasuisse is expecting proposals by August 2020. On 10 January 2020, armasuisse has issued the second request for proposal for new fighter aircraft to the government authorities where the four potential suppliers are located: Germany (Airbus Eurofighter), France (Dassault Rafale) and the USA (Boeing F/A-18 Super Hornet and Lockheed-Martin F-35A).
The second request for proposal is based on the analysis of the first proposal and on findings from flight, simulator and ground tests as well as audits with armed forces operating the evaluated fighter aircraft. In the second request for proposal, the companies contacted via the government authorities are requested to submit the most advantageous offer for Switzerland.
The proposal should include the following elements:
— prices for 36 and 40 aircraft, including defined logistics and weapons, as a binding starting point for the detailed negotiations with the selected candidate after the type selection
— offers for cooperation between the armed forces and the procurement authorities of Switzerland and those of the supplier country
— envisaged or already initiated offset projects
The starting point for determining the number of fighter aircraft are the requirements to cope with a situation of increased tension. In such a situation, the Swiss Air Force must be able to permanently conduct air patrols with at least four aircraft for at least four weeks in order to preserve air sovereignty, prevent unauthorised use and violations of Swiss air space and thus contribute to keep Switzerland out of armed conflict. In addition, the Swiss Air Force will use the new fighter aircraft for air policing around the clock, and, in case of armed attack, defend the air space for a limited period of time and support the ground forces.
New extended-range ground-based air defence system
On 10 January 2020, armasuisse has also issued the second request for proposal to the government authorities where the two potential suppliers of new extended-range ground-based air defence systems are located: France (Eurosam SAMP/T) and the United States of America (Raytheon Patriot). As with the fighter aircraft, the second request for proposal is based on the analysis of the first proposal, on the findings of sensor tests in Switzerland and audits of armed forces operating the evaluated systems. In the second request for proposal, the manufacturers contacted via the government authorities are requested to submit the most advantageous proposal for Switzerland.
The proposal should include the following elements:
— price for extended-range ground-based defence systems capable of covering at least 15,000 km2, including defined logistics and weapons, as a binding starting point for the detailed negotiations with the selected candidate after the type selection
— offers for cooperation between the armed forces and the procurement authorities of Switzerland and those of the supplier country
— envisaged or already initiated offset projects
Next steps in the Air2030 programme
The document “Requirements for the procurement of a new combat aircraft and a new extended-range ground-based air defence system” of 23 March 2018 has been updated. The adjustments concern mainly the offset obligations and the allocation of the financial volume.
Concerning Bodluv GR, RUAG MRO Switzerland is designated as the centre for maintenance, overhaul and repair; and the candidates’ capabilities to counter ballistic missiles are to be clarified.
The overall utility of each system will be determined using the information from the second proposal and the findings from the various testing activities. A comparison of overall utility with the costs and the risks will take place only after an expected referendum has taken place. The results, together with a comprehensive risk analysis, will feed into the evaluation report, where the overall utility of the new fighter aircraft and the new extended-range ground-based air defence system will be set against the costs of procurement and 30 years of operation. Based on the evaluation report, the Head of the DDPS (the Swiss Minister of Defence) will be presented with a recommendation for the most suitable fighter aircraft and extended-range ground-based air defence system for Switzerland. The final type selection will be taken by the Federal Council. (Source: defense-aerospace.com/Swiss Ministry of Defence, Civil Protection and Sports)
13 Jan 20. Dutch Navy confirms three corner fight for future sub program. The Dutch Ministry of Defence has confirmed Naval Group, Saab and ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems (TKMS) as the successful candidates for the next-stage of the Royal Netherlands Navy’s Walrus Class submarine replacement program. The RNLN intends to acquire a long-range, conventionally propelled submarine that can operate for a long time abroad, independently or as part of a Dutch or allied task group.
A Dutch Ministry of Defence media release stated, “In the next phase, the requirements, award criteria and weighting factors are determined, based on factors such as best boat for the best price, risk management and the elaboration of national security interests and strategic autonomy.”
The Dutch government hopes the program will deliver significant opportunities for the Dutch industry in the design, construction and maintenance phases – with each of the three contenders responsible for presenting local industry participation plans as part of their respective tenders. The RNLN has four diesel-electric submarines. They were designed by the Navy in collaboration with Nevesbu and built by the Rotterdamsche Droogdok Maatschappij (RDM). Construction started in the late 1970s, with the first commissioned in 1989.
That delay was partly due to a major fire aboard the Walrus during its construction, but was mainly caused by delays due to the high degree of automation and changing demands of the Navy.
The RNLN has been using the Walrus Class boats since the 1990s. The existing submarines are expected to reach the end of their service life in 10 years.
The contract award to the winning bidder is expected in 2022. All four submarines are expected to enter service with the Navy by 2031.
Failed contender Navantia offered a modified air independent propulsion (AIP) version of its S-80 submarine currently under development for the Spanish Navy, but was unsuccessful in proceeding to the next stage of the competition.
Collaborating with Norway, Germany-based TKMS is currently developing the Type 212CD for the German and Norwegian navies.
The Type 212CD followed the Type 212NG (Next Generation), a design by TKMS for the German Navy. In turn, the NG was derived from the Type 212A and the Type 214. When Norway joined the program, the requirements were merged into a new design: Type 212 Common Design.
Little has been disclosed about these submarines, except that their displacement is 2,400 tons and their hulls are made of amagnetic steel.
However, the Type 212CD does not meet the maximum requirements and TKMS said it is prepared to enlarge the design so there is more room for fuel and crew members, for example. It is known that the Dutch Submarine Service prefers a submarine with at least two compartments and sufficient comfort for crew members during long deployments.
The Dutch Navy also wants to take additional crew onboard, like special forces and personnel from the operational branch, to analyse information on board.
Saab-Damen has to enlarge an existing design as well. The basis is formed by the A26 submarine, of which Saab Kockums is currently building two for Sweden. The concept submarine from Saab-Damen has a displacement of 2,900 tons and a length of 73 metres, with room for 34 to 42 crew members.
The A26 submarines will serve as successors to Gotland Class subs for the Swedish Navy, with deliveries to begin in 2022 and continue through to 2024. A26’s capabilities include maritime security, covert mine countermeasure, intelligence and reconnaissance, anti-submarine/surface warfare, mine-laying and other operations.
The A26 vessels have two distinct variants designed to conduct a variety of missions:
- Pelagic: Adapted for long-range missions in narrow or littoral environments. Highly manoeuvrable with high speed and a large weapon load, Pelagic submarines have a lower acquisition price and operating cost and can also be offered with the Stirling AIP technology for superior submerged endurance.
- Oceanic ER: Submarines in the Oceanic Extended Range (ER) segment are the largest in the series, designed for much longer missions, greater crew size and increased weapon payload capability. Oceanic ER submarines enable long-distance operations, suitable for any navy using forward deployment of their submarines on extended missions.
Naval Group wants to build a submarine-based on the new French nuclear submarines of the Barracuda Class, similar to the Royal Australian Navy’s own future submarines, the Attack Class, which are a conventionally powered variant of the French Navy’s own boats – designated the Shortfin Barracuda. (Source: Defence Connect)
17 Jan 20. USN to start search for new Medium Unmanned Underwater Vehicle. The US Navy (USN) is set to kick off a competition to acquire a new Medium Unmanned Underwater Vehicle (MUUV) designed to support both mine countermeasures and oceanographic/environmental data gathering missions. To be deployed from both surface ships and submarines, the MUUV will be the de facto successor to the existing Razorback and Mk 18 Mod 2 Kingfish unmanned underwater vehicles, both of which are adaptations of the Kongsberg Hydroid REMUS 600 vehicle. Razorback is derived from the USN’s Littoral Battlespace Sensing Autonomous Undersea Vehicle (Submarine) (LBS-AUV(S)) effort. According to information released by the Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA), the MUUV will be “a modular, open system, and open architecture [UUV that] will provide persistent surface launched and recovered [MCM] and submarine-based autonomous oceanographic sensing/data collection in support of Intelligence Preparation of the Operational Environment [IPOE] and MCM”. (Source: Jane’s)
15 Jan 20. Space Force will host its own pitch day. The Space Force may be less than a month old, but it’s already scheduled its first pitch day, following in the footsteps of a new Air Force acquisition setup intended to find innovative solutions from small, nontraditional companies.
Modeled on the popular network show “Shark Tank,” the Air Force’s pitch days see commercial vendors present proposals for technologies or procedures to Air Force personnel, who are authorized to award Small Business Innovation Research contracts on the spot. The biggest attraction of the event is the possibility of forgoing the usual lengthy Department of Defense contracting period. For example, at the first pitch day held March 2019, the Air Force boasted that they were able to award one contract within three minutes of the business’ presentation.
“We have to do this across the country, across all places that do Air Force acquisition,” said Will Roper, assistant secretary of the Air Force for acquisition, technology and logistics, following the initial event. “Now that we’ve wrung all the lessons out of the process, we’re ready to box it up as a tool that can be executed by the work force out in the field.”
The Air Force has held a number of pitch days since then, including one dedicated to space in November, but the upcoming March 4 pitch day will be the first space-focused pitch day since Air Force Space Command was officially re-branded as Space Force, a separate service within the Department of the Air Force.
The Space Force pitch day was set up to find cutting edge solutions to a range of needs for the 45th Space Wing, whose mission is to assure U.S. access to space, primarily through launch. The Space Force has specified 20 challenges to be solved by commercial vendors, divided broadly between space operations support and installation support. The Air Force wants solutions to include areas such as collecting weather data from multiple sources and integrating it into one display or monitor, artificial intelligence that can identify abnormalities such as a loss of power at the base, and a way to deliver lightning warnings to personnel based on their GPS location. The full wish list can be viewed on the federal government’s contracting website.
The pitch day materials also noted that businesses do not need to submit new technologies, they just need to be new to the Space Force. Additionally, the new branch is open to considering innovative technology proposals that don’t necessarily fit into the problem sets outlined by the service.
Submissions are due Feb. 5. Once Space Force personnel have reviewed the proposals, they will invite select vendors to pitch their ideas at Patrick Air Force Base in Florida March 4. (Source: C4ISR & Networks)
14 Jan 20. USAF Wants Multi-Platform Jammers To Support MDO. The RFI is one of the first industry solicitations since the Air Force announced in April 2019 an overhaul of its EW operations to counter Russian and Chinese advances, and to enable multi-domain operations.
The Air Force wants to revamp its electronic warfare (EW) force structure and move beyond platform-centric systems to software-based defensive and offensive capabilities that allow coordination across multiple platforms.
In a request for information (RFI) released yesterday by the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, the service said it is looking to “assess industry capability to design, build, and demonstrate a rapidly configurable EW system to include both Electronic Attack (EA) and Electronic Support (ES) capabilities postured for responding to software-defined, highly agile 21st century EW enemy systems while still addressing all legacy threats.”
“The USAF future strategy for EW systems is for advanced, wideband EW systems incorporating a flexible architecture to enable multiple platform EW coordination for prosecuting diverse mission sets,” the RFI explains.
The idea is to move to a system-of-systems, rather than the myriad platform-centric EW systems the Air Force now operates. These include, among others, the Compass Call aircraft now being upgraded to be carried on a EC-37B jet by BAE Systems; the Eagle Passive/Active Warning and Survivability System (EPAWSS) EW suite for the F-15E (currently being upgraded by Boeing through 2021 under an on-again/off again program as cogently explained by colleague John Tirpak back in October); the ALQ-131 jamming pod; and the highly classified EW systems embedded in the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.
“Current EW systems can and do work together, but many are federated and not integrated,” Glenn “Powder” Carlson, president elect of the Association of Old Crows (AOC), told Breaking D today. The AOC is the venerable industry organization that brings together EW operators and companies.
The RFI is one of the first industry solicitations since the Air Force announced in April 2019 an overhaul of its organizational structure for EW operations to to fight back against Russian and Chinese information warfare, and to enable multi-domain operations.
As Breaking D readers know, the reorganization consolidated the 24th Air Force, which provided the Air Force’s contribution to Cyber Command (CYBERCOM) and the 25 Air Force, which provided mobile integrated intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance to all of the component commands, under a single commander. The new organization, called the 16th Air Force, is headquartered in San Antonio and is led by Lt. Gen. Timothy Haugh, who was confirmed in his new position by the Senate in late September. Haugh previously lead the 25th Air Force.
The changes were the result of two years of study by the EW Enterprise Capability Collaboration Team (ECCT, designed to make recommendations for how the Air Force can “ensure electromagnetic spectrum superiority” in the future, according to the Air Force. The team was led by Brig. Gen. David Gaedecke, director, Cyberspace Operations and Warfighter Communications, Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance and Cyber Effects Operations.
Meanwhile, at the insistence of Congress in the 2019 National Defense Authorization Act, the Pentagon has stood up an Electromagnetic Spectrum Operations Cross Functional Team led by Joint Chiefs Vice Chair Gen. John Hyten, that includes all four services; the Joint Staff; the Pentagon’s Chief Information Officer; the undersecretariats for acquisition, research, and intelligence; Cyber Command; and Strategic Command.
The planned prototype demonstration “will consist of 6 notion signals with 3 generic (unclassified) jamming techniques. The participants systems being demonstrated shall be able to correctly identify the threat and provide the correct jamming technique,” according to the RFI. It is tentatively slated to take place sometime in June, with industry responses to the RFI due on Feb. 28.
In particular, the Air Force is seeking capabilities based on open standards so it can modify or update the hardware and software to meet future requirements.
The service “is looking at adaptable, scalable, government-owned, modular system architecture with common interfaces. Incorporation of the latest Sensor Open System Architecture (SOSA), Open Mission Systems (OMS), Universal Command and Control Interface (UCI) standards is a must. Implementation of these standards permits multi-domain coordinated non-platform specific capabilities with an adaptable hardware and software upgrade path,” the RFI states.
“Open architecture should enable more efficient and faster upgrades, and the opportunity to insert ‘best of breed’ capability into systems after they are fielded, to adapt to the changing EMS and ensuring effective Electromagnetic Spectrum Operations (EMSO),” Carlson explained. (Source: Breaking Defense.com)
13 Jan 20. Pentagon initiates review of Pratt & Whitney’s F-35 engine programme. The Pentagon’s auditors have initiated a review of United Technologies’ unit Pratt & Whitney’s $66bn F-35 engine programme in order to determine why the company is failing to gain more savings from subcontractors on its share of the US weapons programme.
The review was started after Pratt & Whitney claimed cost savings of around 3% in its prices for the 12th through 14th F-35 production batches over the previous contract.
As a result, the Defense Contract Audit Agency is reviewing whether subcontractor prices are falling.
Bloomberg reported that Pratt & Whitney is the sole provider of engines for the F-35. The company and its subcontractors are expected to receive as much as $66bn of an estimated $428bn in acquisition costs for building more than 3,000 F-35 fighter jets for the US and its allies.
Defense Department F-35 programme office spokesman Greg Kuntz said that the review covering parts such as castings and forgings includes 15 to 20 suppliers.
Kuntz added that with these types of supplier audits, the programme office will be able to determine pricing accurately ahead of the next production negotiations for the 15th through 17th contracts.
In addition, the audits, which include information from subcontractors, will help in establishing a fair and reasonable price for the propulsion system.
Pratt & Whitney military engines president Matthew Bromberg told Bloomberg that the company has achieved 55% in cost reductions per engine from the beginning of production to the end of Lot 14.
Bromberg added that, over the next two years, the company aims to secure a more aggressive cost-reduction strategy that it will negotiate with the Pentagon. (Source: airforce-technology.com)
REST OF THE WORLD
17 Jan 20. Defence leadership responds to troubling ANAO sub report. Greg Moriarty, Secretary of the Department of Defence; Chief of Defence, General Angus Campbell, AO, DSC; Chief of Navy, Vice Admiral Mike Noonan, AO; and Tony Dalton, Deputy Secretary National Naval Shipbuilding have responded to the latest ANAO report into the SEA 1000 program.
It is the largest defence acquisition project in the history of the nation, but the apparently $50bn project to replace the ageing Collins Class submarines with 12 regionally-superior submarines is in deep water.
Concerns about cost, capability and delivery time frame are again making headlines following the release of a troubling report from the Australian National Audit Office (ANAO) titled Future Submarine – Transition to design, building on the fallout from a fiery exchange at Senate estimates in late-2019.
To this end, Greg Moriarty, Secretary of the Department of Defence; Chief of Defence, General Angus Campbell, AO, DSC; Chief of Navy, Vice Admiral Mike Noonan, AO; and Tony Dalton, Deputy Secretary National Naval Shipbuilding have issued a rebuke to statements made in the media.
“Australia is fully committed to working with France and Naval Group to deliver the Attack Class Submarine fleet, which remains a strategically vital capability for our Defence Force into the future,” the joint media statement articulates.
“The ANAO has previously reported that Defence effectively designed and implemented the process to select an international partner for the Attack Class Submarine Program (ANAO Report No.48 2016-17).
“Through a robust and comprehensive selection process, Defence determined that Naval Group was the most suitable partner to design and deliver a regionally superior submarine that will best meet our demanding capability requirements. Nothing has altered this assessment. Defence stands by this judgement.”
Addressing concerns about Defence’s requirements of “high levels of design maturity” for the successful design, Naval Group’s Shortfin Barracuda, a conventionally powered variant of the nuclear-powered Barracuda Class submarines, the joint media statement said:
“Defence has continued to ensure that design of the Attack Class has progressed to the required high levels of design maturity, providing greater certainty that our capability requirements will be met, and avoiding costly and lengthy delays that would otherwise eventuate during the construction phase of the program.
“While the first scheduled major milestone under the Submarine Design Contract was reached five weeks later than planned, Defence and Naval Group are working towards the recovery of this delay by the next contracted major milestone in January 2021. Importantly, the delivery of the Attack Class submarine has not been delayed.”
Remaining upbeat about the circumstances, the joint media release added, “Acknowledging the scale of this program, we remain confident that our work on the Attack Class Submarine Program with Naval Group and Lockheed Martin Australia is progressing thoroughly and will result in the delivery of a regionally superior submarine capability for Australia from the early 2030s, establishing a truly sovereign capability as we maximise the involvement of Australian industry.”
The joint media release also stressed the importance of maintaining a transparent relationship regarding the SEA 1000 program and emphasised that this will remain throughout the program, stating:
“Defence has remained open in reporting the high risks that accompany the Attack Class Submarine Program, and has been diligent in working with its industry partner to manage pressures. As many lessons from major projects clearly indicate, taking the time required to establish strong foundations at the earliest stages of the Attack Class Program will underpin our longer-term ability to deliver the Attack Class fleet to schedule.”
The Attack Class submarines will be delivered as part of the $50bn SEA 1000 Future Submarine program.
Naval Group will deliver 12 regionally-superior submarines to the Royal Australian Navy. Naval Group’s successful Shortfin Barracuda design, which serves as the basis for the new Attack Class, is a conventionally-powered variant of the nuclear-powered Barracuda fast attack submarine currently under construction for the French Navy.
Lockheed Martin will provide the AN/BYG-1 combat control system, which provides an open-architecture submarine combat control system for analysing and tracking submarine and surface-ship contacts, providing situational awareness as well as the capability to target and employ torpedoes and missiles.
The 12 vessels will be built by Naval Group at a specialist submarine shipyard at Osborne, South Australia.
The Commonwealth government’s Australian Naval Infrastructure (ANI) program will support the development of the future submarine shipyards.
The Commonwealth government formally signed the strategic partnering agreement (SPA) with Naval Group in February 2019 ahead of confirming the final design specifications and requirements for the Attack Class submarines.
The Attack Class will enter service with the Royal Australian Navy at a time when 50 per cent of the world’s submarines will be operating in the Indo-Pacific region.
15 Jan 20. Indian Navy pruning procurements due to budget cuts. Faced with a continuing financial resource crunch, the Indian Navy (IN) is cutting back on some of its procurement plans: a move that, according to senior officers, will adversely affect the service’s long-delayed modernisation and operational efficiency.
Official sources told Jane’s on 15 January that in recent months the IN has reduced its long-standing requirement for 12 mine countermeasures vessels (MCMVs) to eight and for 10 Russian-made Kamov Ka-31 Helix early warning and control (AEW&C) helicopters to just six platforms.
The Indian Ministry of Defence (MoD) had approved the acquisition of the MCMVs and Ka-31s in February 2015 and May 2019, respectively, but a steadily declining monetary outlay has resulted in the service procuring fewer platforms than expected. (Source: Jane’s)
15 Jan 20. Malaysia looking into joint production of defence equipment with Turkey. Turkey has officially offered Malaysia the opportunity to collaborate in the development and production of both a next-generation fighter and an advanced jet trainer/light attack aircraft following Ankara’s removal from the US-led F-35 Joint Strike Fighter programme.
The proposals are related to state-owned Turkish Aerospace’s indigenous fighter and jet trainer programmes, the TF-X and Hürjet respectively, according to Malaysian government officials.
The TF-X could address the Royal Malaysian Air Force’s (RMAF’s) future requirement for replacement fighters: an effort that will begin in 2030, with a procurement decision expected to be made in 2035. The selected fighter is expected to gradually replace the service’s current fleets of Sukhoi Su-30MKM and Boeing F/A-18D Hornet aircraft. (Source: Jane’s)
14 Jan 20. Pakistan extends Turkey’s deadline to deliver T129 helos. Pakistan has extended the deadline for Turkish Aerospace Industries to deliver 30 T129 helicopter gunships on order, amid U.S. reluctance to grant Turkey technology export licenses.
With the American move now seriously jeopardizing the sale, the Turkish government has tasked Tusas Engine Industries, TAI’s sister company, with developing an indigenous engine for the T129.
“Pakistan has agreed to give us another year [to resolve the problem]. We hope we will be able to develop our indigenous engine soon to power the T129,” Ismail Demir, the head of Turkey’s top procurement agency, said Jan. 6. “After one year, Pakistan may be satisfied with the level of progress in our engine program, or the U.S. may grant us the export license.”
In 2018, TAI signed a $1.5bn agreement to sell a batch of 30 T129 helos to Pakistan. However, the company needs to secure U.S. export licenses for any export deal with a third country. TAI produces the 5-ton attack helicopter, which is based on its predecessor, the A129 Mangusta.
The T129 is a twin-engine multirole attack helicopter produced under license from the Italian-British company AgustaWestland. It’s powered by two LHTEC T800-4A turboshaft engines. Each engine can produce 1,014 kilowatts of output power. The T800-4A is an export version of the CTS800 engine. LHTEC, the maker of the engine, is a joint venture between the American firm Honeywell and the British company Rolls-Royce.
A procurement source told Defense News on Jan. 10 that Pakistan is also lobbying the U.S. to support the deal.
But U.S. diplomatic sources in Ankara said it’s unlikely Washington will issue the license given the cold nature of U.S.-Turkish defense procurement ties. The U.S. last year suspended Turkey’s membership in the multinational Joint Strike Fighter program in response to Turkey’s acquisition of the Russian-made S-400 air defense system.
But industry sources warn that any successful engine development program would take at least five to 10 years.
TAI recently delivered its 56th helicopter gunship to the Turkish military. (Source: Defense News Early Bird/Defense News)
14 Jan 20. Amid Western arms embargoes on Saudi Arabia, SAMI has a backup plan. Saudi Arabian Military Industries is prepared to move forward with product development and weapon system projects should Western embargoes limit those efforts, the CEO told Defense News.
“We have signed more than 25 agreements with foreign partners, so we have multiple opportunities to acquire alternative technologies from other partners where there are no limitations. There is no risk that any limitation of a single country or government can block Saudi Arabia from getting a full localized portfolio of products,” Andreas Schwer said during the Dubai Airshow in November.
In June 2019, a British court of appeals ruled that the country’s arms sales to Saudi Arabia were unlawful, citing human rights concerns amid the kingdom’s participation in the Yemen conflict. Additionally, Germany froze arms deliveries to Saudi Arabia after journalist Jamal Khashoggi was killed in October 2019. The West has blamed Saudi Arabia for the death, but the kingdom has denied involvement.
And in July 2019, the U.S. House of Representatives approved three resolutions to block President Donald Trump’s planned sale of guided missiles and other weapons to Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Jordan.
“If the U.S. blocks us, we still have the opportunity for almost any of the products and any of the weapon systems to get it localized through our partnerships. Opportunities can be European, Asian, South African and Far East sources,” Schwer said.
When asked about possible cooperation with Russian or Chinese firms, Schwer said his state-owned defense firm “respects any international embargo, so currently we are not in a position to cooperate with any Russian entity or company because of the existing regulations. As such, Russia is not a partner of SAMI, but business with China is possible for SAMI. That is one of our potential sources of partnerships.”
Saudi Arabia agreed to buy Russian S-400 air defense systems during King Salman’s visit to Moscow in October 2017. The kingdom also signed a memorandum of understanding to locally develop Russian equipment.
Schwer noted that SAMI will not be part of the S-400 because it is a Russian product.
Aram Nerguizian, a senior adviser on civil-military relations in Arab States at the Carnegie Middle East Center, didn’t doubt the kingdom has options for reducing the effect of sanctions.
“Every country that seeks to acquire or gain access to top-tier U.S. defense technologies will eventually do some combination of government-to-government engagement and active lobbying tied to the legislative branch. None of this is new, and a host of countries will and do engage in these kinds of activities; KSA is no different,” he said, using an acronym for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
Nerguizian said that in almost all cases — even among the most trusted of allies — there is some form of barrier to technological access.
“KSA can and will work to reduce the effect of arms export controls tied to sensitive or leading-edge technologies. It will also, undoubtedly, not achieve all the objectives it hopes to achieve, or secure the kind of access [it] feels are critical. It is just the nature of the U.S. arms control regime writ large, and the reality that the U.S. — like any country — will seek to preserve its technological edge,” he added.
As for SAMI’s potential cooperation with China?
“China, much like Russia, also presents the challenge of destabilizing the U.S.-KSA relationship at a time when U.S. strategic competition is clearly focused on those two countries,” Nerguizian said.
SAMI also plans to collaborate with the UAE to build complementary systems and avoid redundant projects.
“We’ve had in the past lots of good talks with strategic partners in the UAE, which are most notably EDIC, Tawazun and Mubadala. We will include Edge in future talks and are keen to future collaboration … to hopefully finalize this in the course of 2020,” Schwer said. Edge is a government-owned company in the UAE formed to address the threat of hybrid warfare and streamline the local defense industry.
In accordance with the economic plan Saudi Vision 2030, the kingdom continues to consolidate companies within SAMI to achieve a 50 percent technology transfer target. On June 26, SAMI announced it would take full control of Advanced Electronics Company and buy all its shares.
SAMI’s business plan involves three phases. “Phase 1 of two years’ length is the setup and definition phase, and is about to conclude by the end of 2019. Phase 2 is the rollout of production lines, which is expected to take three years and finish by the end of 2023. The last phase we planned is a stable growth phase,” Schwer explained.
The executive expects dramatic growth in the second phase. (Source: Defense News Early Bird/Defense News)
15 Jan 20. Indonesian Navy requests anti-submarine, surface kits for five more Panthers. Key Points:
- The Indonesian Navy has submitted requests to equip five more Panther helicopters with anti-submarine, surface warfare capabilities
- The service has thus far received 10 of the 11 helicopters it ordered in 2014
The Indonesian Navy (Tentara Nasional Indonesia: TNI-AL) has submitted a formal request to refit five more of its Airbus Helicopters AS 565MBe Panther helicopters with initial anti-submarine and anti-surface capabilities.
The request has been submitted by the TNI-AL’s office of planning and budget allocation to the country’s Ministry of Defence for consideration.
According to a copy of the request that has been forwarded to Jane’s , the service is requesting IDR384m (USD30,000) to upgrade two airframes with anti-submarine warfare (ASW) fittings and IDR216m to install anti-surface equipment on three helicopters.(Source: Jane’s)
14 Jan 20. Malaysian Army issues tenders for special forces vehicles. The Malaysian Army has issued requests for bids from locally registered companies for the supply of vehicles for its special forces regiment.
The two tenders, which were issued on 9 January, are for 16 special operations vehicles (SOVs) and four rapid intervention vehicles (RIVs) for the service’s Grup Gerak Khas (GGK) or Special Forces Group. According to the documents, the SOVs must enable the GGK to conduct special operations deep in enemy-held territory, and also to “manoeuvre in hostile terrain with great emphasis towards stealth, speed, and fire power”. The vehicles will need to be delivered to the 11th Special Forces Regiment camp in Malacca: the counter-terrorism unit of the GGK. (Source: Jane’s)
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