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UNITED KINGDOM AND NATO
11 Mar 20. UK MoD seeks replacement for vehicle-based Land Environment Air Picture Provision. The UK Ministry of Defence has issued an initial Invitation to Tender (ITT) for a replacement for the British Army’s vehicle-based Land Environment Air Picture Provision (LEAPP) capability, which was published on the Defence Contracts Online website on 5 March. The value of the contract is up to GBP10m (USD12m). LEAPP provides air situational awareness to land formation headquarters. Integrated with the Saab Giraffe Agile Multi-Beam (G-AMB) 3D surveillance radar, it fuses the local air picture and the recognised air picture (RAP) utilising Link 16 and other tactical datalinks (TDLs), and provides integrated weapon engagement management. The existing solution is based on Lockheed Martin UK’s (LMUK’s) SkyKeeper system and is truck-mounted. (Source: Jane’s)
10 Mar 20. UK now has all 50 AH-64E Apaches under contract. The United Kingdom now has under contract all 50 of the Boeing AH-64E Apache Guardian attack helicopters it had previously committed to, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) confirmed to Jane’s on 10 March.
The confirmation came after a contract notification was posted by the US Department of Defense (DoD) for support and training “for the United Kingdom AH-64E Apache helicopter fleet of 50 aircraft”.
Prior to this DoD announcement and the subsequent MoD confirmation, it had only been announced that 38 of the British Army’s WAH-64D Apache Longbow AH1 attack helicopters were under contract for remanufacture to the latest AH-64E standard. In May 2017 the DoD said that Boeing had been awarded a USD488.1m Foreign Military Sales (FMS) contract to remanufacture the UK’s Apaches to the latest standard as part of a wider Lot 7-11 production run for the US Army and other FMS customers. These aircraft would be delivered back to the UK by 31 May 2024.
While the MoD had always maintained that it remained committed to the 50 number, the delay in issuing a contract for the outstanding helicopters coupled with the increasing prospect of a cut in defence procurement at the upcoming Strategic Defence and Security review in 2020 led many to question whether the remaining 12 Apaches might be offered up as a cost-saving measure.
Unlike the public announcement in 2017 for the remanufacture of the first 38 Apaches for the UK, the contract for the remaining 12 helicopters appears to have been buried in a Boeing announcement made on 26 December 2019 for 47 remanufactured AH-64Es for three unnamed international customers. In the absence of any other official notification, it appears that one of these customers was the UK. No date beyond “the early 2020s” was given by Boeing for when these latest helicopters would be delivered. (Source: Jane’s)
05 Mar 20. DASA seeks system to mitigate wind farm effects on air defence. The UK Defence and Security Accelerator (DASA) has launched a £2m competition to ‘reduce and remove’ the impact of wind farms on air defence systems. New technology developed as part of the competition will ensure the UK can expand green energy growth while ensuring future wind farms do not affect the UK’s air defence radar system. As part of the competition, DASA and the Ministry of Defence (MOD) will seek proposals for innovative solutions and advances in technology that alleviates the impact off-shore wind turbines have on both civilian and military radar.
The competition is being led by DASA with the support of the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), the Royal Air Force (RAF), and the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl).
Defence Minister Jeremy Quin said: “Defence technologies have a huge amount to offer the demands of the 21st-century UK – including addressing the challenge of climate change. We have an incredible skills base in the UK and this initiative will harness the power of wind turbines whilst ensuring our air defence standards.”
RAF Air Command air capability development group engineer Wing Commander Helena Ramsden said: “We are investing in cutting-edge innovation and harnessing the best technology from the brightest minds in the country.”
Ramsden added that the technology would help the RAF keep the skies above the UK safe while accelerating crucial work in combatting climate change.
The competition is part of a wider cross-government push to generate 30GW – around 30% of the UK’s electricity requirements – from offshore wind by the year 2030
DASA delivery manager Adam Moore said: “Crucial innovation like this is vital if we are to meet our renewable energy targets.
“This competition will not only help us meet our green energy needs but it will help boost UK prosperity, entrepreneurs and innovators, by investing in their game-changing technology.”
Wind turbines affect radar systems through reflections from the static and moving components. Although filters can remove the static components, the spinning blades cause a Doppler shift on the radar making the reflections hard to remove. This Doppler shift on ground radar mimics the signal of fast-moving, low flying threats making it harder for the RAF to discern between possible threats.
The competition involved four challenges, one to look at alternatives to radar, two for technology that can be applied to the wind turbine itself, three for systems that are applied to the radar itself. The fourth challenge is for systems that achieve the same goals but do not fit the above requirements. Contracts resulting from the competition will be awarded in March 2021. (Source: airforce-technology.com)
06 Mar 20. UK reveals XLUUV award for MSubs. The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) has disclosed the award of a Defence and Security Accelerator (DASA) contract to MSubs for the test of an extra-large unmanned underwater vehicle (XLUUV). Valued at GBP1m (USD1.3m), the 12-month Stage 1 contract was placed in September 2019 but not announced until early March. Plymouth-based MSubs is recertifying and upgrading its existing S201 manned submersible to serve as the XLUUV testbed.
Managed by the MoD’s Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl), the DASA innovation fund provides for the accelerated derisking and demonstration of novel techniques and technologies offering potentially transformational military advantage. DASA’s Developing the Royal Navy’s Autonomous Underwater Capability programme – run jointly with the RN and Dstl – is intended to enable the service to better understand the future utility of XLUUV vehicles.
Admiral Tony Radakin, Chief of Naval Staff and First Sea Lord, announced the DASA XLUUV contract on 5 March at the Underwater Defence & Security Symposium in Southampton. “I am really excited by the possibilities that this offers to increase our reach and lethality, improve our efficiency, and reduce the number of people we have to put in harm’s way,” Adm Radakin said.
The 9 m S201 XLUUV, also known by the name Manta, is an 8.9 tonne vehicle originally developed for manned operation. Under Phase 1 of the programme, MSubs will refit S201 with an autonomous control system to enable unmanned operation and perform a short seaworthiness/autonomy test. The vehicle modifications will also facilitate the insertion and test of various technologies and payloads
If initial testing is successful, up to GBP1.5m Phase 2 funding will be made available to support follow-on test and experimentation activities, lasting up to 24 months, to understand the future utility and concept of operations. It is anticipated that Phase 2 testing will explore the contribution of an XLUUV to anti-submarine warfare barrier operations and to flexible, accurate, and timely covert intelligence gathering. (Source: Jane’s)
10 Mar 20. France looking to lease EC225 helicopters. The French ministry for the armed forces has issued a request-for-tender to lease 20 Airbus Helicopters EC225 rotorcraft. The request was published in late February, and indicates that the total number of helicopters may vary. The contract would include adapting the EC225s to search and rescue (SAR) and security and intervention missions.
The request-for-tender also states that the helicopters will be sold at the end of the leasing contract which also includes initial maintenance and training. The use of the previous EC225 designation rather than the current H225 name used by Airbus Helicopters suggest that the modified platforms might be second-hand aircraft.
Jane’s understands that these helicopters will be used by the French Air Force as a replacement for the current fleet of 20 Pumas. According to a recent report by l’Institut Français des Relations Internationales think-tank, these helicopters are 40 years old in average and their availability rate is under 50%. The French Air Force Pumas are based in Corsica, French Guyana, New Caledonia, and Djibouti. They are used for SAR missions and to carry troops and cargo. In Guyana, the Pumas are used in support for the anti-illegal gold-mining Operation ‘Harpie’.
The French Air Force already operates the military variant of the EC225, the H225M Caracal. Equipped with a refuelling probe these 10 helicopters are used by 1/67 “Pyrénées” squadron that specialises in combat SAR and special operations. The French Air Force did not respond to a Jane’s request for further information. (Source: Jane’s)
09 Mar 20. Germany invests in Luftwaffe. The budget committee of the Bundestag, the German parliament, approved another EUR500m (USD565.5m) on 4 March to improve the capabilities of the Bundeswehr, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) announced on its website on 6 March. Over EUR300m of this amount has been earmarked for the Luftwaffe. Around EUR240m was approved for the digitalisation of the head-up displays (HUDs) of Luftwaffe Tornados. The computer being developed to control the displays will also replace the aircraft’s main computer. This is necessary to avoid obsolescence so Tornado capabilities continue to be available until the aircraft is replaced starting in 2030, according to the MoD, which recalled that it is the only Luftwaffe aerial platform used for NATO nuclear burdensharing, suppression of enemy air defences, and in the naval strike role. (Source: Jane’s)
12 Mar 20. The US Army roughs out its $1bn cyber training contract. The US Army released its draft proposal March 10 for a contract that could worth as much as $1bn to provide cyber training for the Department of Defense.
The Cyber Training, Readiness, Integration, Delivery and Enterprise Technology (TRIDENT) is a contract vehicle to offer a more streamlined approach for procuring the military’s cyber training capabilities.
The largest part of that contact will be the Persistent Cyber Training Environment (PCTE). PCTE is an online client in which members of U.S. Cyber Command’s cyber mission force can log on from anywhere in the world for training and to rehearse missions. Cyber Command leaders have said the component is one of the organization’s most critical needs. Currently, no integrated or robust cyber training environment exists.
The procurement is being organized by the Army on behalf of the Defense Department.
According to slides from a December industry day, a final solicitation is slated for the end of second quarter 2020 with an award expected at the beginning of 2021.
“The objective of Cyber TRIDENT is to provide for the managed evolution of the PCTE Platform and to provide support across all facets of the Acquisition Life Cycle for PCTE,” the documents read. “The goal of Cyber TRIDENT is to continue development operations with the integration of software and hardware enhancements from third party vendors as technology insertion occurs while conducting testing, providing periodic system updates, and fielding technology upgrades of PCTE to the Cyber Mission Forces (CMF) through an agile cadence. The vision is to leverage the existing PCTE baseline and investment in cyber training software and related infrastructure through Associate Contractor Agreements (ACAs) or subcontracts with current platform vendors.”
The notice also describes how the program manager envisions management, maintenance, and evolution of the PCTE platform. This includes platform architecture and product management, agile development and delivery systems engineering processes, development and automation, hardware and software infrastructure management, user event support, development operations (DevOps) environment management, PCTE infrastructure tool management, help desk support and onsite and remote support.
Using what are known as Cyber Innovation Challenges to award smaller companies a piece of the program, the program office is already incrementally building a platform, which is in use and is helping to prove out the concept for PCTE, refine requirements for the final contract, and reduce risk.
Officials and members of industry have indicated that the awardee of TRIDENT will inherit the final prototype version of PCTE, dubbed Version C, and advance that forward.
Industry officials noted that the draft document doesn’t include many surprises and that DoD leaders have been receptive to feedback, through the prototyping process and industry engagements. (Source: Fifth Domain)
10 Mar 20. US DoD awards USD525m contract modification for Black Hawk production. The US Department of Defense (DoD) has awarded Sikorsky a USD525.4m contract modification to manufacture 40 UH-60M Black Hawk helicopters for the US Army and international customers, it announced on 10 March. The modification to the DoD’s Multi-Year 9 (MY9) contract covers 38 helicopters for the US Army and two for one-or-more unnamed Foreign Military Sales (FMS) customer(s). The original MY9 award made in July 2017 covered USD3.8bn worth of helicopters for the US and Saudi Arabia. It could be that this modification covers this particular FMS nation as well or it could be for another nation, such as Croatia which has recently been cleared by the US government to buy two UH-60Ms.
This MY9, Program Year 4, Lot 44 award adds to the 142 UH-60M utility helicopters for the US Army, as well as the 40 UH-60M and 75 HH-60M medical evacuation Black Hawks for the Saudi Arabia National Guard that made-up the original MY9 contract that is set to run through to 30 June 2022.
As well as programme system management, engineering, technical data, and publications, the MY9 contract included options for a further 103 helicopters and would be worth USD5.2bn should all of the options be exercised. With this latest modification, options for a further 60 helicopters remain.
The UH-60M is the newest Black Hawk variant in service and incorporates more powerful and reliable General Electric T700-GE-701D engines, enhanced rotor blades, and a fully digital ‘glass’ cockpit. According to Jane’s World Armies, the US Army currently fields close to 2,000 Black Hawk helicopters of all variants. (Source: Jane’s)
11 Mar 20. Acting US navy secretary wants ‘clean sheet’ carrier study. US Acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly is looking for his Future Carrier Task Force Study to provide a “clean sheet” of alternative aircraft carrier choices after Ford-class ships to include smaller and even conventionally powered vessels.
Acknowledging the current Ford-class carriers provide greater capabilities than the predecessor Nimitz-class vessels – and will be plying the seas for another half century or more – Modly wants the six-month study launched this week to determine to best carrier design and force makeup for the succeeding decades, he said on 10 March during a media briefing.
“Do we continue to build those (next-generation large-deck carriers), or something different?” Modly said. (Source: Jane’s)
09 Mar 20. US Navy to can older DDGs in attempt to focus limited resources. They are the workhorse of the US Navy, but in light of increasingly tight budgets, the older Arleigh Burke Class destroyers are headed for the chopping block as the US Navy aims to focus its limited resources to better meet the needs of the future fleet and future fight.
Hailing from relatively modest roots in terms of warship design and role, modern destroyers have evolved to become the undisputed multipurpose surface combatants of major navies around the world.
Large hulls, long-ranges and high speeds support a wide variety of mission profiles, from convoy and battle-group escort for high-profile assets like aircraft carriers and amphibious warfare ships, to maritime security, land attack, anti-air and anti-submarine defence, destroyers are the core of the navy.
Meanwhile, the advent of increasingly powerful combat systems and advanced weapons systems including ship-mounted lasers are driving the role evolution of destroyers to include things like ballistic missile defence (BMD), while enhancing the already formidable capabilities of these key platforms.
Throughout Indo-Pacific Asia, destroyers are rapidly being commissioned or transferred to the region to beef up navies and secure key strategic assets, lines of communication and support power projection platforms.
The US Navy currently operates about 32 Arleigh Burke Class destroyers in or around the Indo-Pacific, ranging from forward deployed destroyer squadrons based in Yokosuka, Japan, to destroyers based with carrier and amphibious strike groups on deployment away from home ports at Pearl Harbor, San Diego and Everret in Washington state.
First commissioned in the early 1990s, the Arleigh Burke Class of destroyers serve as the workhorse of the US Navy. The Arleigh Burke Class currently has four ‘flight’ (Flight I, II, IIA and III) variants providing various technology and capability enhancements.
The class ranges from 8,184-9,800 tonnes with a top speed in excess of 30 knots to keep pace with nuclear aircraft carriers.
US Navy Arleigh Burke’s are also armed Harpoon anti-ship missiles, Evolved Sea Sparrow Missiles, SM-3 (BMD) missiles, Phalanx close-in weapons systems, various large calibre, small arms installations, Mk-46 or Mk-50 heavy weight torpedoes, and MH-60 series Seahawk helicopter(s) for anti-submarine warfare.
The Arleigh Burkes also serve as the backbone of the US Navy’s afloat BMD network, with a number of the vessels based in the Pacific operating with the new Baseline 9 of the Aegis system and conducting frequent testing of the BMD software and evolved SM-3 missiles in conjunction with Japanese Aegis destroyers to perfect the at-sea BMD capability.
However, despite the prominent role the Arleigh Burke Class play in the US Navy and President Donald Trump’s commitments to achieving a 355-ship fleet, capable of guaranteeing global maritime security, freedom of navigation and stability in the face of increased peer and near-peer competitors – the funding question remains an important one for consideration.
Budget limitations, even for the US Navy
Indeed recently, Defense Secretary Mark Esper explained the importance of balancing readiness with force and platform modernisation to the Senate Armed Services Committee:
“This need to balance current readiness with modernisation is the department’s central challenge and will require strong leadership, open and continuous dialogue with others, and the courage to make tough decisions.”
In spite of these factors, the President has sought to capitalise on a surging US economy to pass yet another increase for the US defence budget – expected to see the Pentagon receiving US$738bn for FY2020-21.
While the figure is less than the US$750bn President Trump called for earlier this year, the US$738bn figure will still see a major ramp up in the modernisation, recapitalisation and expansion of the US military at a time of increasing great power rivalry.
Despite the concerns regarding the potential for a ‘hollow force’, Secretary Esper speaking to DefenseNews articulated his commitment and ambitions to getting the US Navy to a 355-ship fleet by 2030, with an aim to achieve a much higher number in response to the mounting global challenges.
“To me that’s where we need to push. We need to push much more aggressively. That would allow us to get our numbers up quickly, and I believe that we can get to 355, if not higher, by 2030,” Secretary Esper said.
This statement echoes the statements made by acting US Navy Secretary, Thomas Modly, who stated, “It was also the President’s goal during the election. We have a goal of 355, we don’t have a plan for 355. We need to have a plan, and if it’s not 355, what’s it going to be and what’s it going to look like?”
Discussing the composition of this future force, Secretary Esper posited some interesting ideas for consideration, leveraging advances in unmanned and autonomous/semi-autonomous ships to ensure the US Navy meets its force structure obligations.
“What we have to tease out is, what does that future fleet look like? I think one of the ways you get there quickly is moving toward lightly manned [ships], which over time can be unmanned,” he added.
“We can go with lightly manned ships, get them out there. You can build them so they’re optionally manned and then, depending on the scenario or the technology, at some point in time they can go unmanned.”
Shrinking surface combatant numbers over the mid-to-long term and the value-for-money proposition
Despite these commitments, the US appears to be targeting its older Arleigh Burke Class destroyers to save costs and better utilise the limited funds and better prepare the US surface fleet for future obligations and challenges.
US Navy Assistant Secretary for Research, Development and Acquisition James Geurts said, “Service life extensions can be targeted, physical changes to specific hulls to gain a few more years, or a class-wide extension based on engineering analysis. The Navy has evaluated the most effective balance between costs and capability to be removing the service life extension on the DDG 51 class.”
It is revealed by DefenseNews that these cuts to service life extensions will see the US Navy lose some 27 destroyers from the fleet in the years between 2026 and 2034 – these cuts would further compound the planned cuts to shipbuilding over the next five years of Flight III Arleigh Burkes.
This brings the cuts to approximately a 37 hull reduction in the US Navy’s surface fleet at a time when the US Navy will face an increasing Chinese fleet, particularly in the Indo-Pacific.
Speaking to the US Naval Institute News, Vice Admiral Bill Merz explained that modernisation and hull life extensions don’t deliver the same result as new-build hulls: “You cannot use [the life extension] as a surrogate for building the new ones, or when those things tap out then we go off a cliff, and we’ll never get there.”
Despite these comments, Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) Commander, Vice Admiral Tom Moore explained that the future of the US Navy’s workhorses remained of paramount importance for US lawmakers and the Navy hierarchy.
“Both the secretary of the Navy and the [chief of naval operations] are very interested in a program that would extend the service life of the DDGs in particular. It has great interest from the Hill as well. I think we’ve come through the technical hurdles and it’s just at this point, like everything else, it’s balancing everything else we want to get done in the budget,” VADM Moore explained.
“It’s got to be part of our overall strategy to get to 355. It’s the only way you can get there – instead of getting there in 30 years, it’s the only way you can get there in say maybe 10 to 15 years. So I think that’s something we really want to go look at.”
It appears to be a long and rocky path forward for the US Navy and its goal of achieving a 355-ship fleet, and the Arleigh Burke Class will play a critical role in the future structure of the fleet – however, numbers and availability will continue to remain in question, placing increased pressure on Australian and allied assets in the Indo-Pacific. (Source: Defence Connect)
06 Mar 20. US Navy seeks advanced multi-domain sensor payload technologies for unmanned systems. Navy research and engineering officials are casting a wide net among industry to help the service develop a new generation of multi-domain sensor payload technologies for manned and unmanned systems.
A broad agency announcement (BAA) issued by Naval Air Warfare Command on 28 February is soliciting technical details and associated cost proposals for a raft of new sensor and communications technologies. “The purpose of these sensors and surveillance systems is to support a variety of Aviation missions including Air-Undersea Warfare (USW), Airborne Strike, Air Warfare, Counter-Air, Close-Air Support and Interdiction, Defense Suppression, Electronic Attack, Naval Warfare and Amphibious Strike, and Anti-Surface Warfare,” the solicitation stated. (Source: Jane’s)
REST OF THE WORLD
12 Mar 20. UK still in the game for Japan fighter partnership. Tokyo has yet to decide on its future international partner for the country’s ambitious FX Future Fighter programme to replace the Mitsubishi F-2.
“The [Japanese Ministry of Defense] is in discussion with the U.S. and the UK from the viewpoint of ensuring interoperability, cost effectiveness and technical reliability,” says Japan’s Acquisition, Technology & Logistics Agency (ATLA). We have been exploring the possibility of cooperation with these two countries.”
It adds that there is no decision on “specific policies including partner countries.”
ATLA confirms, however, that Tokyo will not develop a derivative of an existing fighter, but plans to develop an all new aircraft.
ATLA was responding to a query from FlightGlobal following a recent Nikkei Asian Review report that Tokyo is leaning towards working with the USA on the project.
According the Nikkei report, the UK offer would give Tokyo more options to update the aircraft – tentatively designated F-3 – as needed, and that this freedom has been an issue with the F-2, which is based on the Lockheed Martin F-16. As such, the report added that Tokyo will also foot most of the bill for research and development for the project.
The UK Tempest future combat air system (FCAS) programme involves BAE Systems, Leonardo’s UK Arm, MBDA, Rolls-Royce, DE&S, Saab, and the Royal Air Force’s Rapid Capabilities Office.
US firms such as Lockheed Martin and Boeing have discussed the project with Tokyo. Media reports from Japan suggested that Lockheed pitched a hybrid of the F-35A and F-22, while Boeing’s offer was based on the F-15.
Some reports suggested that Northrop Grumman even pitched technology derived from its YF-23, which lost out to the F-22 in the USA’s Advanced Tactical Fighter competition.
Although Tokyo has yet to decide on its ultimate partner, its strong defence alliance with the Washington DC is bound to influence its thinking.
In a February interview, Kelli Seybolt, deputy under secretary of the Air Force for international affairs, told FlightGlobal that the US government’s main hope for the new fighter is interoperability.
”Japan has approached us regarding their FX programme to replace the F-2 and the United States government’s position is that we want to work with Japan to help them create an interoperable capability,” she said.
“And our desire is that the fighter they want to develop will be interoperable with our capabilities…we’re open to Japan working with industry to formulate some partnerships, so that Japan can gain the benefit of some of what our industry has learned.” (Source: News Now/FlightGlobal)
10 Mar 20. Australian C-27J sustainment under the spotlight. Australia has moved the Leonardo C-27J Spartan twin-turboprop transport aircraft onto its Products of Interest list because of concern over the sustainment of the platform, under project CAF34.
In a heavily redacted copy of the Australian Department of Defence’s Capability Acquisition and Sustainment Group’s (CASG’s) Quarterly Performance Report from September, released to the public in mid-February, details about the plans to mitigate the risk of cost escalation for sustainment began to take shape.
The report noted that the issue of C-27J sustainment remained in a cost-exploration phase, with actual short-term expenditure “not fully indicative of longer-term sustainment costs, which are expected to stabilise as the capability matures and [there is] completion of contractor reform activities”.
Strategies already adopted by the CASG have included developing a C-27J Enterprise Maturity Plan in conjunction with the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) and Northrop Grumman, as well as the establishment of an Integrated Support Cell to introduce maintenance-planning disciplines and Bill of Materials for deeper-level servicings.
A Defence spokesperson told Jane’s that, “The Integrated Support Cell has facilitated improved awareness and responsiveness across the multiple organisations and disciplines, providing the planning, spares and engineering to support 35 Squadron maintenance activities. This cell, in conjunction with existing contractor reform activities, forms a number of initiatives currently in work to improve supply chain and engineering responsiveness.”
Other proposed strategies for the medium term from September included “the consolidation of maintenance-planning disciplines and lead ordering of spares ahead of induction, the receipt of residual spares and supply chain improvement initiatives to significantly remediate supply-related issues, and end-to-end process improvements to supply and engineering performance.”
Beyond the 12-month period, the CASG is aiming to establish an enterprise single management framework, the potential establishment of additional in-country repair venues, the creation of a manageable engineering demand and reduced engineering backlog, and enabling the RAAF’s 35 Squadron to meet the maintenance demand through an optimised Aircraft Maintenance Program. (Source: Jane’s)
10 Mar 20. BAE calls for Hunter Class supplier expressions of interest. BAE Systems Australia is calling on Australian industry to register their interest to participate in key supplier roles to support the Royal Australian Navy’s $35bn Hunter Class frigate program.
BAE Systems has a number of opportunities open to Australian suppliers through the Industry Capability Network (ICN). The program is currently in design and productionisation (D&P) phase.
There are a number of opportunities for Australian industry to participate in the SEA 5000 program, including:
- Fin stabiliser and steering gear assembly and test;
- Fin stabiliser and steering gear castings;
- Fin stabiliser and steering gear forgings;
- Fin stabiliser and steering gear major fabrications;
- Fin stabiliser/steering gear hydraulic power units;
- Supply of fixed bolted propellers; and
- Replenishment at sea (RAS) sliding high points.
The above opportunities will close on Tuesday, 31 March 2020 and an additional opportunity to provide cyber security services closes on 3 April 2020.
The Hunter program is the largest surface combatant acquisition program in Australia’s history. ASC Shipbuilding predicts it will create and sustain more than 4,000 jobs across their business and the wider Australian defence supply chain over the life of the program.
In June 2018, the Commonwealth government announced BAE Systems Australia as the successful tender for the $35bn SEA 5000 Future Frigate program.
The nine Hunter Class frigates will be based on the BAE Systems Type 26 Global Combat Ship currently under construction for the Royal Navy and will replace the eight Anzac Class frigates when they enter service beginning in the late 2020s.
The Hunter Class is billed as an anti-submarine warfare (ASW) centric vessel delivering an advanced ASW capability to the RAN at a time when 50 per cent of the world’s submarines will be operating in the Indo-Pacific region.
BAE Systems Australia announced that it had selected Lockheed Martin Australia and Saab Australia as combat systems integration industry partners, responsible for delivering the Australian designed CEAFAR 2 Active Phased Array Radar, Lockheed Martin designed Aegis combat management system and Saab Australia 9LV tactical interface.
The $35bn program sees ASC Shipbuilding become a subsidiary of BAE Systems throughout the build process beginning in 2020 at the Osborne Shipyard in South Australia, creating more than 4,000 jobs.
BAE Systems expects the Australian industry content for the Hunter Class build will be 65-70 per cent, which will create and secure thousands of jobs for decades.
At the end of the program the Commonwealth will resume complete ownership of ASC Shipbuilding, thereby ensuring the retention in Australia of intellectual property, a highly skilled workforce and the associated equipment.
SEA 5000 is expected to support over 500 Australian businesses who have been pre-qualified to be part of the Hunter Class supply chain, with the Australian steel industry in particular benefiting from the 48,000 tonnes of steel required to build the ships. (Source: Defence Connect)
09 Mar 20. Aussie SME kicks-off Attack Class supply chain qualification program. Sydney-based H.I. Fraser and its joint venture partner Issartel have launched a sovereign supply chain qualification program, targeting highly qualified Australian companies for high precision machining, boiler making, welding, surface and heat treatment services for the SEA 1000 Attack Class submarine program.
Issartel and H.I. Fraser aims to build its Australian sovereign supply chain for hydraulic, pneumatic and mechanical systems and services in the framework of the Attack Class submarine program.
To reach this ambitious goal, the company is launching its Sovereign Supply Chain Qualification Program, targeting highly qualified Australian companies for high precision machining, boiler making, welding, surface and heat treatment services.
Chris Williams, managing director of H.I. Fraser, said, “Considering the manufacturing and through-life support activities, we are potentially talking about more than 50 years of business opportunities.”
Through the Attack Class submarine program, Issartel – H.I. Fraser is bringing an opportunity to the Australian supply chain to be involved in a technically unique program. (Source: Defence Connect)
Vincent Carrié, chief executive of international subsidiaries at Issartel, reinforced Williams’ statement, stating, “Together Issartel – H.I. Fraser has more than 60 years’ experience in manufacturing and through-life support services for SSK, SSN and SSBN Submarines. The scope of services to be provided to us is very wide and interesting for the companies that are willing to develop specific skills in a high-tech sector. We’re talking about the opportunity for tens of thousands of items to be manufactured in Australia.”
The sovereign supply chain qualification process will take place in three steps that will be carried out from March to September 2020.
The three steps are as follows:
- Prequalification desktop review of capability;
- Qualification of the quality management system; and
- Technical and industrial capability qualification audit.
The Attack Class submarines will be delivered as part of the $50bn SEA 1000 Future Submarine program. Naval Group will build 12 regionally-superior submarines for 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 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.
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.