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UNITED KINGDOM AND NATO

19 Mar 20. Hope for British firms over £1bn Royal Navy contract. A £1bn naval contract could be handed to UK shipyards after ministers hinted at a shift towards a ‘buy British’ policy. The Ministry of Defence had been heavily criticised for its controversial decision to put a contract for three Royal Navy support ships out to international tender.

Now hopes have been raised that the contract will be reserved for UK shipyards, after Defence Secretary Ben Wallace branded the previous tendering process “delinquent”.

The competition was halted by the MoD last November over concerns that the contract to build up to three 40,000-tonne Fleet Solid Support ships could not be met.

John Spellar, the Labour MP for Warley, has called for the process to be limited to UK-based companies in a bid to support the British shipbuilding industry.

Speaking in the Commons, Mr Spellar, who last year launched a Build them in Britain campaign, told MPs that British firms desperately need orders in order to “keep going”.

He added: “Once again, I ask, can we start behaving like every other country? With the fleet solid support vessels, will the Minister now come to the dispatch box, tell us when he’s going to actually start the programme again and that these ships are going to be built in British yards?”

In response Mr Wallace said the Government had ceased all bidding on the contract “because it was delinquent the first-time round”.

“I have re-examined many of the terms and conditions of that contract, and I would therefore say he should watch this space.”

Mr Spellar told the E&S: “”It is important, not only for the shipyards but also for the people who supply them, such as British Steel and the many engineering companies in the West Midlands.

“We will be pressing the Government on what hopefully represents a change in direction where the Ministry of Defence and the whole of Whitehall start putting British industry first.”

The competition to build the ships was initially thrown open to international tender after the MoD decided not to classify them as warships, meaning they could be built abroad.

It was put on hold after the MoD published Sir John Parker’s review of the National Shipbuilding Strategy, where he raised concerns that the ships may be built abroad. (Source: News Now/https://www.expressandstar.com/)

14 Mar 20. Raytheon UK to Fund New Research Projects With Small to Medium-Sized Enterprises. Raytheon UK will fund two new projects – from Nottingham Scientific Limited and Visual Management Systems – as part of its SpaRk, or small-to medium-sized enterprise partnerships advancing Raytheon knowledge, initiative. Now in its sixth year, SpaRk supports innovative technology ideas from small and medium-sized enterprises, known as SMEs, and academic institutions.

“SMEs and academia are vital to the country’s economy and key to extending Raytheon UK’s research and development supply chain,” said Alex Rose-Parfitt, Engineering Director, Raytheon UK. “Through SpaRk, we offer financial assistance and mentoring, as well as access to our customers and markets, engineering expertise and networking opportunities.”

Nottingham Scientific Limited will receive funding to produce a feasibility study on a satellite-based system design to monitor Radio Frequency signals in the Global Navigation Satellite System, or GNSS. This could be used to protect critical infrastructure, assets and vital operations from cyber-attacks like spoofing and jamming.

Visual Management Systems, a leading provider of face recognition technology, will explore the feasibility of using machine learning technology on unmanned airborne platforms to monitor, detect and recognise vehicles and other assets in remote areas. It also seeks to improve the quality of currently available information and the cost of data transmission. Since 2015 Raytheon UK has invested more than £1.5m in SMEs and universities to further research and development projects across the country. (Source: ASD Network)

EUROPE

18 Mar 20. Special US fund to replace Russian equipment in Europe is shifting its strategy. A U.S. State Department fund to help European nations replace Russian-made weapons with American equipment has expanded to eight countries, but will be eschewing a second wave of funding in favor of targeted investments. In 2018, the State Department quietly launched a new effort known as the European Recapitalization Incentive Program, or ERIP, a new tool developed alongside U.S. European Command to speed up the process of getting allied nations off Russian gear. The U.S. benefits both strategically — getting partners and allies off Russian equipment to improve interoperability and deny Moscow funds for maintenance — and financially, thanks to the sale of American weapons abroad.

ERIP funds, reprogrammed from unused dollars such as regional Foreign Military Financing, come in one-time bursts to help a country buy American-made alternatives to Russian kit. To get the money, the European nation must pledge to not buy Russian equipment in the future, while also at least matching the dollar value of the ERIP grant with domestic funding.

The initial funding round consisted of six countries, totaling $190 m in reprogrammed fiscal 2017 dollars. As of last May, the State Department was considering a second round of ERIP grants and was at least in early discussions with Latvia about the funding.

But in the time since, the department decided there won’t be a second round, but rather ERIP will become a tool best used on a rolling basis. (Discussions with Latvia turned to different pots of money other than ERIP, according to a source.)

“There was a lot of discussions about a second round, but the way it’s kind of evolving is, rather than look at it as rounds is, look at it as opportunities,” a senior State Department official told Defense News on condition of anonymity. “It’s a tool that we can use when opportunities arise for us to work with a partner to make a difference.”

All told, the department has given out roughly $277m in ERIP grants in the last two years — but, the official said, those relatively small dollars helped lock in roughly $2.5bn in U.S. weapons sales. That’s a win in “pure economic terms,” the official said, even before getting into the hard-to-quantify policy and political benefits.

“It was a pretty bold decision in trying to help some of these countries acquire a pretty high capability capital intensive, and for some of them it’s their first major [Foreign Military Sales] case, period.”

Going forward, there may be tie-in money from EUCOM, which could kick in $1-3m in small grants to nations that received ERIP dollars in order to help nations with maintenance costs on the newly bought American equipment. That money would likely come from DoD’s Section 333 authority.

Asked about that potential. DoD spokesman Lt. Col. Uriah Orland said the department “continues to work closely with the Department of State in the planning of security assistance with our European partner nations that enables them to reduce their dependencies on Russia’s defense industry and build and/or sustain their own defense capabilities.”

Targeted, ongoing funding

Bulgaria presents a notable example for how the thinking on ERIP is evolving. The country spent several years debating what fighter jet to purchase, with the finalists coming down to new F-16s from Lockheed Martin, secondhand F-16s from Portugal, Eurofighter Typhoons from Italy and Saab Gripens from Sweden.

As ERIP was envisioned, it would be used only for rotorcraft or ground vehicles. But with the government in Sofia teetering on the edge of rejecting the Lockheed deal, the U.S. State Department stepped in and used $56 m in ERIP dollars to push the F-16s over the edge and finalize a deal that could exceed $1.6 bn in costs.

“For countries where it’s a politically contentious issue, whether for economic or political reasons” the fund can help make a deal happen, the official said. “We were able to close that gap with an ERIP grant that enabled them to make the purchase and acquire the capability.”

The second nation to get a targeted ERIP grant has been Lithuania, which in October announced plans to buy six UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters to replace its Soviet-made Mi-8 fleet. The State Department kicked in $30m of ERIP funding to help complete that deal.

In fact, no one piece of equipment has benefited from ERIP as much as the UH-60, of which three of the eight ERIP grants has helped procure. The eight projects to date are:

  • Albania: $30m for UH-60 procurement. The UH-60 is produced by Sikorsky, a Lockheed Martin subsidiary.
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina: $30.7 m for the Bell Huey II.
  • Croatia: $25m for Bradley fighting vehicles, manufactured by BAE Systems. Croatia is also working to stand up local maintenance for the equipment.
  • North Macedonia: $30m for Stryker vehicles, produced by General Dynamics.
  • Slovakia: $50m for UH-60 procurement.
  • Greece: $25m earmarked, but the government is still debating what to buy. Likely to either be Bradley vehicles or the M1117 Armored Security Vehicle from Textron. Greece stands out because, as a higher-income nation, they are technically ineligible for Foreign Military Financing dollars, but a political decision was made to support them with ERIP anyway, the official said.
  • Lithuania: $30m for UH-60 procurement.
  • Bulgaria: $56m for eight Lockheed-produced F-16s.

All of those deals except Greece and Lithuania are under contract, with a letter of request from Lithuania expected in the next few weeks.

As to future opportunities, “we always kind of have our eye open, and we rely on the country teams out in the field to bring us these opportunities and think about them,” the official said. Although at the moment there are no potential ERIP projects in the works.

“We continue to look at the Baltics, we look at the Balkans,” the official said, adding that “countries within Eastern Europe, the Baltics, the Balkans moving towards a new ground mobility or rotorwing systems with something to divest would be our top candidates.”

Because of the piecemeal nature of ERIP use, the State Department has declined to go for a permanent budget line, instead preferring to draw from regional Foreign Military Financing dollars.

“The last thing we want is Congress to basically micromanage the dispensation of ERIP funding. Because it discounts the reality of this Venn diagram — a country has to be politically comfortable with making that kind of investment on a U.S. platform, in a certain time frame,” the official said. (Source: Defense News)

16 Mar 20. Polish Army to buy 4×4 vehicles. The Polish Army is to replace its outdated all-terrain vehicles with 485 Nissan Navara pickup trucks, Defence Minister Mariusz Błaszczak has announced. Poland’s Inspectorate for Armed Forces Support has selected the Nisan Navara pickup to replace the outdated domestically produced Honker all-terrain tactical vehicle developed in the 1980s to replace the Soviet-built UAZ-469 in the Polish Armed Forces, Błaszczak tweeted on 13 March. Under the PLN98.6m (USD24.8m) contract, 485 Nissan Navara pickup trucks will be delivered starting in 2020. There is an option for an additional 150 vehicles. The vehicles will be delivered by Glomex MS Poland (leader), teamed with Glomex MS Czechia. (Source: Jane’s)

USA

19 Mar 20. DIU Seeks Prototype Sat Terminal For Army All-Domain Ops. The mobile TITAN satellite ground station is a critical node in Army plans for all-domain operations. The Defense Innovation Unit (DIU) wants commercial vendors to submit prototypes for the Army’s planned mobile ground station that can fuse sensor data from multiple ISR satellites — including both national security and commercial — into a common operational picture for battlefield commanders.

While this solicitation, released late yesterday, focuses on space-based sensors, ultimately the Tactical Intelligence Targeting Access Node (TITAN) is envisioned as a “unified” ground station that can take data not just from satellites, but also from high-altitude, aerial and terrestrial ISR sensors to provide targeting data directly to Army Long-Range Precision Fires (LRPF) networks.

The Army describes TITAN as a “scalable and expeditionary intelligence ground station.” It is envisioned as a critical enabler of Army all-domain operations command and control.

The satellite terminal is the first step in what will be a modular development of the TITAN terminal’s capabilities over time — with a goal to deploy and initial operating capability early in fiscal 2022, as Brig. Gen. Rob Collins, Army program executive officer for intelligence, electronic warfare and sensors, explained at the giant Association of the United States Army (AUSA) show in October,

DIU’s Space Portfolio Director Steve Butow explained in an email that the prototype ground stations should be “capable of rapidly and semi-autonomously tasking, receiving, processing, exploiting, fusing, and disseminating space based sensor data to provide networked situational awareness and direct tactical support to Army commanders at echelon.”

One of the key goals is “to reduce sensor to shooter latency.” Latency is the term of art to describe the time it takes to send information from the satellite to the user on the ground.

The prototype ground stations — which as with all DIU projects are envisioned to be rapidly fielded  — must be capable of “rapid deployment to diverse operational environments via strategic lift and once deployed, be capable of rapid setup, tear down, movement, and assembly to meet operational commander’s needs.” They also must be able to function “for a reasonable period of time” through “any loss of non-local communications or networks.”

American contractors have until April 3 to put forward a proposal. Proposed prototypes “should include everything required to operate during a designated exercise(s) and demonstration(s) as well during real world operations, including the vehicle/trailers, power generation/conditioning, antennae, communications/network hardware/software (to include line of sight and beyond line of sight), processing hardware/software, and analytical hardware/software,” the solicitation states.

DIU is asking that the TITAN prototype support a number of technical capabilities:

  • automated wideband data signal processing
  • autonomous cross-cueing and tasking between satellites
  • hybrid cloud based processing and analytics
  • machine-learning and/or artificial intelligence algorithms.

The prototypes also should enable the processing/exploitation of satellite data and derived analytics from a wide array of sensors, including:

  • electro-optical data products (including motion imagery),
  • multi- and hyper-spectral data,
  • thermal and overhead persistent (OPIR) data,
  • synthetic aperture radar (SAR) data,
  • emitter location data,
  • light detection and ranging (LIDAR) data
  • mapping data, and
  • ALT NAV / Assured PNT data. (‘ALT NAV’ refers to navigation data that does not come from positioning, navigation and timing (PNT) satellites such as GPS; ‘assured PNT’ data usually means being able to tap non-GPS satellites such as the Europe’s Galileo or China’s Beidou.)

Further, prototypes should be able to store and process data from multiple commercial providers. This means that the “access node should be a modular, open systems architecture, making it easy to upgrade software/firmware, analytics/algorithms, and ingest additional data streams as commercial vendors and national data become available.” This includes being able to store and process both classified and unclassified data.

The project will run for 24 to 30 months, and will include the delivery of at least two and as many as six working prototypes. They must be ready for immediate testing and evaluation in a theater exercise.

DUI is looking at two phases. Phase 1 includes the “development, integration, testing, accreditation and delivery” of two prototypes by January 2022. Phase 2 “includes the testing, assessment, and refinement of the prototype systems based upon participation in and feedback from several exercises and evaluations,” both in the US and theaters abroad.  Phase 2 also includes the option of delivering up to four additional prototype systems.

DIU generally uses Other Transaction Authorities as a contracting vehicle, as will this program.

The solicitation notes that DoD is “also pursuing a separate parallel effort for the objective TITAN ground station design to accommodate Aerial and Terrestrial sensors as well.” Thus, the contractor(s) chosen will need to work ensure designs for the satellite terminal can be integrated with, and that all the software is transportable to, that design via agreements with the other companies involved.

The Army issued a Request for Information on Dec. 4 about technologies to enable the “objective” TITAN terminal that can integrate all types of ISR sensors. That RFI was updated on Dec. 18.

The RFI explains that TITAN eventually will replace the Army’s current Tactical-Intelligence Ground Station, Operational-Intelligence Ground Station, Advanced Miniaturized Data Acquisition System Dissemination Vehicle and Remote Ground Terminal. It also must be “to operate at Brigade, Division, Corps, and Field Army echelons, in vehicles and shelters organic to the formation,” the solicitation said.

According to a Q&A transcript of the Army’s Dec. 4 industry day on TITAN, the service currently sees potential deployment platforms: a larger version for integration with on one variant of the Family of Medium Tactical Vehicles (FMTV) with a shelter; and a smaller one to be integrated on “a four-seater tactical vehicle — either a Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV) or a Humvee.

What is unclear is how this DIU effort relates to the earlier sole-source award to Peraton for the Satellite Ground Terminal (SGT) Prototype, that on the face of it is being designed to do exactly the same thing. Under that Nov. 19 award, which supports the Army’s Tactical Exploitation of National Capabilities (TENCAP) program, Peraton was to develop a fully-tested prototype to the Army within 20 months. SGT is expected to transfer up to 1,000 times more satellite data to operators than currently possible, according to Peraton.

Queries to the Army, DIU and Peraton about this were not answered at press time. (Source: Breaking Defense.com)

20 Mar 20. USAF Announces AFVentures with $1bn in Small Business Contracts. Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition Will Roper recently announced the creation of AFVentures, which will serve as an “umbrella organization for the Air Force’s efforts to work with small businesses to fund critical technologies for the warfighter,” according to a release.

“I’m here today to tell you that launching AFVentures and making this successful is the most important thing we’re going to do,” he said during the 2020 Spark Collider and Pitch Bowl.

The event, which was originally supposed to span three days, was converted into a single-day, online event in an effort to halt the spread of the new coronavirus virus.

Small-business investment is key to widening the nation’s industrial base and maintaining its competitive edge, Roper said.

“If we’re not working with the best innovators in the world, then we will lose the technology advantage that we have,” he said. “Getting this right is not just innovation, it is imperative.”

The organization is a joint endeavour between the service’s Small Business Innovation Research/Small Business Technology Transfer (SBIR/STTR) Program, USAF’s in-house innovation incubator AFWERX, and Air Force Acquisitions, the release stated. AFVentures’ organization chart is being developed, but retired USAF Maj. Gen. David O’Brien, director of acquisition venture strategy and initiatives, will lead the initiative, AFWERX Marketing Manager Jordyn Fetter told Air Force Magazine via email. He will report to Roper.

During this year’s event, Roper also said the service intends to divvy up almost $1bn in contracts among “more than 550 small businesses.”

Part of that total will tentatively go to companies who pitched their groundbreaking ideas as part of the March 12 event. A total of 88 phase I SBIR companies pitched a follow-on phase II project.

“Final numbers on selects and contracts are not available yet, but will be coming soon,” Fetter said

About half of those funds are expected to go to 21 “big bet” organizations in the form of four-year, fixed-price contracts awarded via AFVentures’ Strategic Financing Program (or STRATFI), the release said. These recipients were chosen ahead of time and had their ideas showcased at the March 12 event, Fetter explained.

According to the release, the “combined $550-plus million” in financial backing will be composed of “$100-plus million in SBIR funds,” more than $100 million from USAF, and over $350 million from private investors, the release explained, adding that Roper anticipates “future rounds of funding will be bigger.”

Elroy Air, Inc., a manufacturer of Vertical Take off and Landing (VTOL) Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) was one of the 20 big-bets that have been named so far. (Source: UAS VISION/Air Force Magazine)

16 Mar 20. Army selects companies to continue in long-range assault aircraft competition. The Army has selected Bell and Sikorsky to enter into a competitive demonstration and risk reduction effort ahead of the start of the Future Long-Range Assault Aircraft, or FLRAA, program of record. The service is on a tight timeline to field a new long-range assault aircraft by 2030. The CDRR will consist of two phases that will last roughly one year each. The companies will deliver initial conceptual designs, an assessment of the feasibility of requirements and trade studies using model-based systems engineering. The competition for the program of record will begin in 2022 with a plan to field the first unit equipped in 2030.

Congress added $76m in funding to the aircraft program’s top line in fiscal 2020 to drive down technical risk and speed up delivery. The money, which Congress approved as part of its FY20 appropriations bill signed into law in December, will fund the CDRR effort.

The Army completed its Joint Multi-Role Technology Demonstration, or JMR TD, for which Bell and the Sikorsky-Boeing team each built aircraft to help the service understand what is possible for a future aircraft — mainly to replace the UH-60 Black Hawk.

“These agreements are an important milestone for FLRAA,” Patrick Mason, the Army’s aviation program executive officer, said in a statement issued March 16. “The CD&RR continues to transition technologies from the JMR-TD effort to the FLRAA weapons system design. We will be conducting analysis to refine the requirements, conceptual designs, and acquisition approach. Ultimately, this information and industry feedback are vital to understanding the performance, cost, affordability, schedule risks and trades needed to successfully execute the FLRAA program.”

Bell has flown its V-280 Valor tilt-rotor demonstrator for two years in the JMR-TD and has logged more than 160 hours of flight time on the experimental aircraft.

Sikorsky and Boeing’s SB-1 Defiant coaxial demonstrator had a more difficult time getting off the ground due to issues in manufacturing its rotor blades. Its first flight was in March 2019.

Even though Defiant has flown for a significantly reduced amount of time, the Army has determined it has enough data to move forward on its FLRAA program rather than extend the JMR TD to wait for the Sikorsky-Boeing team to log flight time.

Brig. Gen. Wally Rugen, who is in charge of the service’s future vertical lift modernization efforts, said last spring that because of the data collected through the JMR TD process as a well as additional studies and modeling, the service now thinks it has enough information to move more quickly into a full and open competition for FLRAA.

Lt. Gen. Paul Ostrowski, the military deputy to the acquisition chief, said in a Senate Armed Services Airland Subcommittee hearing around the same time that the Army is presenting an acquisition strategy to the Pentagon’s acquisition chief focusing on a nondevelopmental item approach to procuring FLRAA. That route, Ostrowski said, could lead to a competitive downselect by FY22.

The extra funding provided by Congress will give the service the ability to continue to fly and burn down that inherent risk in developing a new helicopter.

“What [that] may do as we hit those gates, is allow us to take what was going to be a primary budget, really a starting budget for the Army in ‘23 and ‘24, and potentially move that selection back to ‘23,” Rugen said recently. “We are not going to go to selection if, number one, we don’t have requirements stable, we don’t have resources stable, and, number two, the technology is not there.”

The Army already has had a robust technology demonstrator program, including an extension, Rugen said, but that type of effort doesn’t garner the same data as a prototype demonstration or a full-up weapon system.

“In the CDRR [competitive demonstration and risk reduction], we’re really trying to develop a weapons system, not the tech demonstrator,” Rugen said. “So we’re trying to take it to the next level.”

The CDRR will assess a laundry list of technologies identified through an Office of the Secretary of Defense-conducted independent technology readiness assessment, which would require additional evaluation to reduce risk, according to Rugen.

Some of these technologies include the powertrain, drivetrain and control laws of the aircraft. “When we look at the software involved in flight controls, we have to really reduce risk there,” Rugen noted.

The CDRR will also allow the Army to work on the integration of its mission systems. (Source: Defense News Early Bird/Defense News)

REST OF THE WORLD

20 Mar 20. Finalists shortlisted for Army’s LAND 129 Phase 3 program revealed. The Department of Defence has confirmed that the replacement of the Army’s Shadow 200 Tactical Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) through project LAND 129 Phase 3 has progressed to the tendering process. Four companies have been selected through an abbreviated invitation to register process and will be provided a detailed request for tender, to further explore plans and conceptual integration designs.

Deputy Director Army UAS Projects Andrew McKinnon said there are a number of local companies already involved in the Australian Defence Force’s unmanned systems space.

“These companies are encouraged to continue their engagement with the LAND 129 Phase 3 down-selected tenderers in order to deliver a world-class capability,” McKinnon said.

The four down-selected companies are:

  • Insitu Pacific;
  • Leidos Australia;
  • Raytheon Australia; and
  • Textron Systems Australia.

McKinnon thanked Australian small businesses in the defence industry and participants in the invitation to register for their continued support of project LAND 129 Phase 3.

McKinnon added, “Unmanned aerial systems are a key component of Army’s Surveillance and Reconnaissance capability, with some smaller unmanned systems recently being used on Operation Bushfire Assist.”

As part of the LAND 129 Phase 3 program, Defence is looking for a capability to replace the SHADOW 200’s current capability set, which includes EO/IR stabilised imagery, communications relay payload, laser designation, electronic line-of-sight communications and advanced simulation.

As part of its efforts to expand its TUAS capabilities, Defence is looking for the new capability to include more advanced modular payloads, encrypted communications, a reduced equipment footprint, runway independent operations, quieter operations, operations in more classes of airspace (apart from military restricted airspace), increased environmental operating envelope and increased connectivity and networking in the battlespace.

The new TUAS requirements must also meet the following:

  • TUAS – an air vehicle with a GTOW of more than 25 kilograms and less than 250 kilograms;
  • System – a TUAS consisting of, at a minimum, an air vehicle and a ground control station (GCS);
  • Subsystem – a subsystem of a TUAS, e.g. propulsion, avionics, autopilot, GCS, data link;
  • Component – a component of an TUAS, e.g. a battery, antenna, servo motor; and
  • Services – services related to TUAS, e.g. operations, engineering, maintenance, training.

Defence is looking to hear from Australian suppliers operating in the TUAS space in terms of systems, subsystems, payloads and components.

The next phase of the project will focus on a competitive evaluation of more comprehensive tendered solutions from the four primes, prior to progressing the project to government consideration in 2021. (Source: Defence Connect)

19 Mar 20. Indian Army awaiting responses to RFI for 198 8×8 armoured fighting vehicles. The Indian Army (IA) is preparing to evaluate responses from indigenous and foreign vendors to its request for information (RFI) on the intended procurement of 198 8×8 armoured fighting reconnaissance and support vehicles for deployment along India’s border with Pakistan. The RFI, which was issued in late November 2019 and ends on 1 April 2020, envisages the acquisition of the vehicles under the ‘Buy Indian (IDDM-Indigenously Designed, Developed and Manufactured)’ category of the Ministry of Defence’s (MoD’s) Defence Procurement Procedure-2016 (DPP-2016). This classification entails shortlisting Indian companies as principal potential vendors to execute the tender by entering into collaborative agreements with select foreign original equipment manufacturers (OEMs). (Source: Jane’s)

17 Mar 20. Damen Completes Combat Systems Installation and Trials on Second Indonesian Guided Missile Frigate. Damen Shipyards Group and its partner PT PAL recently completed installation and testing of combat systems to the second of the Indonesian Ministry of Defence’s SIGMA 10514 Perusak Kawal Rudal (PKR) guided missile frigates, the KRI Gusti Ngurah Rai (332). The PKR frigates are constructed via a modular process operating simultaneously at Damen Schelde Naval Shipbuilding (DSNS) in the Netherlands and the PT PAL shipyard in Indonesia. In this manner, Damen is able to build high quality vessels anywhere in the world. This method also enables Damen to fulfil its commitment to the Indonesian Ministry of Defence to deliver an extensive knowledge and transfer of technology (ToT) programme. A significant part of this transfer programme is the installation of combat systems along with provision of training to the crew in their usage and maintenance.

Hein van Ameijden, managing director of DSNS, said, “From the outset of this project DSNS and our partner Thales Netherlands have been fully committed to the development of the Indonesian defence industry and its supporting sectors. This commitment is demonstrated with a series of ToT and local content programmes starting in 2013 when project execution commenced.

“For example, DSNS has trained and educated more than 328 yard personnel, including welders, planners and engineers, during the project. Thales Netherlands has contributed by subcontracting local industry for software development, providing support, ultimately, for Indonesia to develop an indigenous combat management system.”

Damen Shipyards Group and its partner PT PAL recently completed installation and testing of combat systems to the second of the Indonesian Ministry of Defence’s SIGMA 10514 Perusak Kawal Rudal (PKR) guided missile frigates, the KRI Gusti Ngurah Rai (332). (Damen video)

The combat systems installed and tested include the following:

–VL MICA for defence from airborne threats

–Exocet for defence from offensive targets at greater distance

–Torpedo system for protection against submarine threat

–35mm rapid-fire cannon to respond to threats from both air and sea

–Electronic detection system to divert enemy attacks with electromagnetic redirection

–Modification of the computer operated operational system in order to operate the above

The final phase prior to handover was successfully completed on February 21st with sea-going trials – the sea acceptance test (SAT). The purpose of this was to demonstrate that installations throughout the entire chain of weapons systems meet desired efficiency and accuracy.

“All our prior efforts paid off. Already at the start of the tests it was clear that installation had been carried out with great precision during construction and that preparatory alignment activities and agreements had been carefully followed. The second PKR vessel achieved similar results to the first one. This demonstrates that the complete concept implemented in the SIGMA PKR Class can be considered reliable and robust”, concluded Mr Van Ameijden.

Damen Shipyards Group operates 36 shipbuilding and repair yards, employing 12,000 people worldwide. Damen has delivered more than 6,500 vessels in more than 100 countries and delivers around 175 vessels annually to customers worldwide. Based on its unique, standardised ship-design concept Damen is able to guarantee consistent quality. (Source: defense-aerospace.com/Damen Shipyards Group)

17 Mar 20. Navantia looks to export market again now AIP finalised for S 80. With its first S 80 submarine on course for handing over to the Spanish Navy in 2022, Navantia says it will be pressing ahead with presenting a similar design for the Indian Navy. In a statement released on 16 March, the engineering director for Navantia’s Cartagena shipyard said the submarine is “a unique product in the international market for its size and capacity, thanks to its AIP [air-independent propulsion] system”. Currently, the first submarine in the series has passed the hull closure milestone, he said, and is scheduled to be floated out at the end of 2020, tested during 2021, and delivered to the Spanish Navy in 2022. (Source: Jane’s)

16 Mar 20. Pakistan aiming to procure radomes for its AN/TPS-77 and YLC-18A radar systems. The Directorate of Procurement (Air) for the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) has issued invitations for tenders to procure an undisclosed number of radomes for the service’s Lockheed Martin AN/TPS-77 and China Electronics Technology Group Corporation (CETC) YLC-18A ground-based air-defence radar systems. The move, which was announced on 11 March, comes after Pakistan’s Ministry of Defence Production (MoDP) revealed in its yearbook for 2017-18, which was released in September 2019, that the PAF had placed an order worth USD24.9m for five of the Chinese-made YLC-18A radars. The PAF has invited responses to the radome tender by 1 April. No further details were provided. (Source: Jane’s)

16 Mar 20. Russia rebuts claims that Indonesia has dropped Su-35 fighter procurement plans. The Indonesian Air Force’s (Tentara Nasional Indonesia-Angkatan Udara: TNI-AU’s) planned procurement of Sukhoi Su-35 ‘Flanker-E’ multirole combat aircraft from Russia is still “active”, Dmitry Shugayev, the director of Russia’s Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation (FSVTS), said on 16 March, denying media reports that Jakarta, under US pressure, has dropped a deal to buy 11 of the Russian-made fighters.

“There is no official cancellation of the [Indonesian] order [for the Su-35s],” Shugayev told the Russia 24 news channel. “We haven’t received any papers regarding the issue and haven’t been told about it.”

Shugayev said Indonesia is still interested in acquiring the Su-35s, adding, “We hope that the contract will be implemented.” No further details were provided.

Bloomberg had quoted an unnamed official “familiar with the matter” on 12 March as saying that Jakarta had recently decided against moving ahead with the plan to procure the 11 fighter aircraft for about USD1.1bn.

The official was also quoted as saying that, as recently as February, Washington had also pressured Indonesia into walking away from talks with China to procure several naval patrol vessels for about USD200m, adding that the moves “illustrate how the US is having some success – at times by using financial and economic levers – in deterring countries from dealing with Russia and China, which the [Donald] Trump administration has identified as the biggest threats to US national security”.

Jane’s reported in November 2019 that Indonesia’s procurement of the Su-35s had stalled due to several factors, including the Indonesian presidential election held in April of that year, funding and countertrade issues, and concerns in Jakarta about US legislation – notably the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) – under which Washington seeks to penalise defence customers of Russia. (Source: Jane’s)

15 Mar 20. Indian MoD issues global RFI for 100 loitering munition systems. India’s Ministry of Defence (MoD) has invited responses by 7 April from foreign original equipment manufacturers and assorted vendors to its request for information (RFI) on the intended procurement of 100 man-portable loitering munition systems for the Indian Army (IA).

The MoD’s 6 March global RFI states that these “ruggedised” systems, weighing less than 20 kg each, must have a minimum flight endurance of 30 minutes, a line-of-sight operational range of 15 km, and also be capable of operating at altitudes of between 300 m and 4,500m.

Fitted with a warhead capable of destroying “soft skinned” or relatively less protected targets, the systems will also be required to operate day and night and in all-weather conditions and be operated by no more than two people. (Source: Jane’s)

13 Mar 20. Hyundai receives USD325m contract for first Ulsan-class Batch III frigate. Key Points:

  • Hyundai Heavy Industries has received a contract to refine the design for and build South Korea’s first Ulsan-class Batch III frigate
  • The warship will likely be equipped with a locally developed multifunction radar and a vertical launching system

Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) has received a KRW400 (USD325m) contract to design and build the first Ulsan-class Batch III frigate for the Republic of Korea Navy (RoKN).

The contract, which has been signed with South Korea’s Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA), was announced on 16 March.

The vessel is the first of six 3,500-tonne frigates planned for the batch. The contract covers detailed designed work and construction of the first-of-class. HHI received the contract to carry out basic design work for the batch in 2916.

The vessel will have an overall length of 129m and a width of 15m. It will feature a hybrid electric and gas propulsion system, and can attain a maximum speed of 30kt.

The frigate can utilise its electric propulsion systems during anti-submarine operations to minimise its acoustic signatures. Accordingly, the vessel will rely on gas turbine propulsion when it needs to operate at high speeds, said HHI.

HHI also noted that the warship will be equipped with a four-sided fixed multifunction phased array radar “capable of 360-degrees omni-directional detection, tracking, and engagement”. (Source: Jane’s)

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American Panel Corporation

American Panel Corporation (APC) since 1998, specializes in display products installed in defence land systems, as well as military and commercial aerospace platforms, having delivered well over 100,000 displays worldwide. Military aviators worldwide operate their aircraft and perform their missions using APC displays, including F-22, F-18, F-16, F-15, Euro-fighter Typhoon, Mirage 2000, C-130, C-17, P-3, S-3, U-2, AH-64 Apache Helicopter, V-22 tilt-rotor, as well as numerous other military and commercial aviation aircraft including Boeing 717 – 787 aircraft and several Airbus aircraft. APC panels are found in nearly every tactical aircraft in the US and around the world.

APC manufactures the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter Large Area Display (LAD) display (20 inch by 8 inch) with dual pixel fields, power and video interfaces to provide complete display redundancy. At DSEI 2017 we are exhibiting the LAD with a more advanced design, dual display on single substrate with redundant characteristics and a bespoke purpose 8 inch by 6 inch armoured vehicle display.

In order to fully meet the demanding environmental and optical requirements without sacrificing critical tradeoffs in performance, APC designs, develops and manufactures these highly specialized displays in multiple sizes and configurations, controlling all AMLCD optical panel, mechanical and electrical design aspects. APC provides both ITAR and non-ITAR displays across the globe to OEM Prime and tiered vetronics and avionics integrators.

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