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08 Apr 20. Portugal seeks JLTVs. The Portuguese Army is seeking to acquire 4×4 Joint Light Tactical Vehicles (JLTVs) through the US Foreign Military Sales (FMS) programme starting in 2020, Lieutenant Colonel Ricardo Manuel dos Santos Camilo, head of the capabilities branch of the army general staff’s force planning division, told Jane’s on 3 April. The JLTV acquisition effort, which is currently in its initial phase, is for 250 air-transportable multi-role vehicles in troop transport and ambulance configurations. EUR79m (USD86m) was allocated in 2019 to the revised Portuguese Military Programming Law for the acquisition of JLTVs by 2030 for further army modernisation. However, the total number of vehicles to be procured is currently under review and a final figure is to be set up by June, with other vehicle configurations being considered, Lt Col Camilo said. Portugal has already received price and availability information concerning a potential JLTV buy. The JLTV is intended to gradually replace unprotected tactical 4x4s, such as the Land Rover Defender series and the Toyota Land Cruiser HZJ73LV. (Source: Jane’s)
07 Apr 20. SDA seeks new intel fusion software for small-satellite networks. The Pentagon’s Space Development Agency (SDA) is soliciting industry proposals for advanced multi-intelligence (multi-int) fusion software capable of being integrated into and operating on miniaturised satellite systems (Smallsat) within the next three to four years.
The SDA is specifically seeking intel fusion technology to collect and synthesise data from disparate information streams “that will be utilized to obtain targeting solutions of time sensitive surface mobile missile launchers in support of targeting by US advanced weapons systems”, the 24 March request for information (RFI) stated.
The fusion algorithms proposed by industry for the RFI should focus on creating actionable intelligence products “that could be used to prosecute both ground and maritime mobile launchers ‘left of launch’”, SDA officials said. (Source: Jane’s)
01 Apr 20. DoD Presses Industry For 5G Spectrum Sharing Prototype Ideas. DoD hopes that sharing spectrum will help lower costs and create a sustainable 5G industrial base as it battles to keep up with China. DoD issued its eagerly awaited request to industry today for prototypes that could allow private companies and the military to share the radio-frequency spectrum needed to underpin 5G cellular communications.
Industry anticipates that spectrum-sharing will allow expansion of their 5G operations and markets; DoD hopes that sharing spectrum will help lower costs and create a sustainable 5G industrial base as it battles to keep up with China.
The Request for Prototype Proposal (RPP) calls for industry input into technology development related to “dynamic spectrum sharing testbed, enhancement and applications at Hill Air Force Base (Hill AFB) and Utah Test and Training Range (UTTR) in Utah,” explains the National Spectrum Consortium in a press release today.
The consortium serves as a contracting agent between DoD and its member companies. The consortium is currently under a Section 815 Prototype Other Transaction Agreement with the Army Contracting Command at Picatinny Arsenal, on behalf of the deputy assistant secretary for emerging capabilities’ prototyping office.
This is the fourth in a series of DoD RPPs related to 5G development issued over the past month. It is perhaps, as Sydney reported in October, the most highly anticipated of the lot because it is focused on high-value mid-band frequencies now dedicated solely to military uses. These frequencies provide high enough bandwidth to transmit lots of information fairly quickly, and they use wavelengths long enough to penetrate most obstacles.
“The DOD today released the latest in a series of 5G-related request for prototype proposals, this one focused on expanding mid-band spectrum sharing. This effort will demonstrate mid-band spectrum sharing critical to our national 5G plan. Sharing technology can bring spectrum to market while protecting and enhancing future military capabilities.” retired Vice Adm. Joseph Dyer, chief strategy officer at the consortium, said.
In mid-March, the Pentagon issued two 5G “Smart Warehouse” RPPs for technology development at the Marine Corps Logistics Base in Albany, Ga. and Naval Base San Diego. Smart warehouses would use 5G networks to create an automated network able to track supplies and shipments via radio-frequency identification (RFID) tags.
A third RPP also was issued in March for Augmented Reality/Virtual Reality prototypes at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington state. AR/VR systems currently are being explored by all the services for enhancing training, as well as mission planning.
Drones An “Immediate Threat” – DoD Plans Rapid Acquisition of Counter-UAS Systems
According to the consortium, DoD is looking to fulfill the following requirements with the spectrum-sharing effort:
- NSC-20-2070 – 5G Prototype Testbed to design, construct and operate a localized, private full scale 5G mobile cellular network in order to evaluate the impact of the 5G network on airborne radio systems.
- NSC-20-2080 – 5G Prototype Enhancements specifically to enhance dynamic spectrum sharing and spectrum co-existence capabilities.
- NSC-20-2090 – 5G Prototype Applications to design, construct and deploy a Spectrum Coexistence and Sharing (SCS) system to identify and demonstrate deployable SCS.
Full proposals are due May 15. (Source: Breaking Defense.com)
06 Apr 20. DARPA seeks enhanced low-light navigation performance for unmanned systems. A new programme from the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) aims to address a key weakness of autonomous and semi-autonomous land systems: the need for active illumination to navigate in low-light conditions.
Unmanned systems rely on active illumination – anything that emits light or electromagnetic radiation, such as light detection and ranging (LIDAR) systems – to navigate at night or underground.
However, according to Joe Altepeter, programme manager in DARPA’s Defense Sciences Office, this approach creates significant security concerns, as such emissions could be detected by potential adversaries.
The Invisible Headlights programme aims to address this challenge by exploiting ambient thermal emissions, Altepeter explained, noting that “infrared light is emitted by everything in the world around us, whether animate or inanimate”.
The programme aims to discover what type of information can be captured from even an extremely small amount of thermal radiation, and develop passive sensors and algorithms that can build this information into 3D maps that unmanned systems could then exploit, rather than having to emit active illumination.
If the programme is successful, it could create benefits beyond the obvious security advantages, Altepeter told Jane’s. He pointed out that if an unmanned ground vehicle (UGV) or similar platform is effectively relying on a kind of light-based sonar to receive a very specific type of information if it employs LIDAR.
“The platform uses information on the distance from objects around it to build a kind of pixelated view of the world,” said Altepeter.
However, the use of ambient thermal emissions would enable the systems to build much more complex pictures of their environment – images that would be in colour, as opposed to the black-and-white pictures the system can create using LIDAR and other forms of active illumination. (Source: Jane’s)
06 Apr 20. US Army Contracting Command seeks market information on C-UAS infantry protection. The US Army Contracting Command-Detroit Arsenal, in conjunction with Product Manager (PdM), Appliqué and Large Unmanned Ground Systems (ALUGS) are issuing a Market Questionnaire for the Counter-Unmanned Air System (C-UAS) Modular Mission Payload (MMP) (C-UAS MMP) for use by the U.S. Army. According to the request for information:
“The objective of the Market Questionnaire is to better understand the availability and capabilities of commercial products and the potential of the associated equipment manufacturers. The information gathered by the Army through this Market Questionnaire, along with other market investigation data, is solely intended for use by the U.S. Army and will not be shared with any commercial entity. Participation in this Market Questionnaire provides an important opportunity to influence the Army’s approach to procuring the C-UAS MMP.
“This questionnaire is a Request for Information (RFI) ONLY and is not a solicitation for proposals; therefore, no questions will be taken at this time. A prototype project will not be awarded in response to this announcement.
“The Government is seeking a Counter Unmanned Air System (C-UAS) modular mission payload prototype to mitigate the threat of Class I and II UAS and enhance force protection for dismounted infantry. Class 1 and 2 UAS threats are defined as tactical low end, lethal, small, miniature, and micro systems. Prototype systems will primarily focus on detection and tracking of UAS, but may also support other phases of the kill chain. C-UAS system will consist of low size, weight, and power (SWaP) technologies. The capabilities sought through this acquisition shall allow the dismounted infantry to avoid detection over a 60 mile movement, 72 hour duration mission through militarily significant environments including all terrain conditions (desert, wooded, wetlands, etc.) and urban environments. The Government will integrate and conduct safety/user evaluation of the C-UAS capability on the Small Multipurpose Equipment Transport (S-MET) platform. These evaluations will inform the production of the C-UAS MMP requirements document, and also inform performance specifications for this MMP for the S-MET Program of Record.”
To respond to the RFI, membership in the National Advanced Mobility Consortium (NAMC) is required.
For more information
02 Apr 20. Missile Defense Agency to inject competition into homeland missile defense contract. The U.S. Missile Defense Agency plans to hold a competition that could split up the work among contractors to modernize and sustain America’s missile defense system, which is designed to destroy intercontinental ballistic missile threats.
Boeing has held the development and sustainment contract for the Ground-based Midcourse Defense systems in place at Fort Greely, Alaska, and Vandenberg Air Force Base, California. Boeing’s contract is set to expire in 2023.
The GMD system is made up of more than 44 Ground-Based Interceptors buried in silos in the ground along with ground control stations, detection and fire control systems, and other support infrastructure.
Boeing received a sole-source $6.6bn award in 2018 to build a new silo and 20 more GBIs, as well as to sustain the system.
But Vice Adm. Jon Hill, the MDA’s director, told an audience in March at an Association of the U.S. Army event that “we know that contract is not giving us everything that we need for the future, so we are going to compete that contract downstream.”
The agency is working to develop a Next-Generation Interceptor that would replace the current GBIs with more capable interceptors. Its plan to upgrade the GBI’s exoatmospheric kill vehicle with a redesigned version was canceled in 2019 due to technical problems. Rather than rework that program, the agency decided to design an entirely new interceptor and stop building new GBIs.
A request for proposals for the NGI is due imminently.
But along with a new NGI, “we are going to make sure that ground systems, sensors and fire control, all the rest of the system, we have the opportunity to inject that competition because I think that is very important,” Hill said.
The MDA previously considered splitting up the contract several times, believing that would reduce cost and create efficiency in the program, but nothing materialized toward that goal.
This time, the MDA has released two requests for information with the possibility of splitting up the contract. The most recent RFI was posted on Beta.Sam.Gov in March.
“I will tell you that our lead system integrator does a great job today and the partnerships with industry within that construct do a great job, but we think that it’s so large and complex we should be doing everybody a favor by being able to split that up without losing the integration among all those pieces,” Hill said, “so our intent is to move in that direction.”
The agency “is exploring different approaches for fulfilling the GMD Program Element requirements. Acquisition approaches under consideration range from an award of multiple contracts to execute segments/missions of the program scope to a single contract to execute the entirety of the program scope,” the RFI states. “Essential to all of the acquisition approaches under consideration is the establishment of an enduring arrangement strategy for the execution of the [Weapon Systems Integration (WSI)] functions across the program lifecycle, either under a single prime contract, or as one of the multiple contracts.”
The RFI lays out a possible plan to split up the contract into five pieces. One contractor would provide the NGI, which is being addressed through a separate request for proposals. Another would be responsible for legacy and future ground systems, and another for sustaining the existing GBIs.
And a company would operate the weapon system along with military operators and would run fleet maintenance scheduling and deconfliction, site operations, test support, and depot and parts management, the RFI lays out. Lastly, a contractor would serve as the weapon systems integrator, making it responsible for overall GMD integration “including physical and logical integration of the GMD components, GMD system and MDA enterprise level integration, planning and execution of all necessary testing to verify and validate overall requirements compliance,” the RFI states. Responses to the RFI are due April 10. (Source: Defense News Early Bird/Defense News)
03 Apr 20. NAVSEA surveys industry for Special Mission ships. The US Navy has begun talks with shipbuilders over plans to replace its 36-year-old cable laying and repair ship USNS Zeus (T-ARC 7). Officials at Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) have also started discussing possible options for the construction of a new class of oceanographic survey vessel. An industry day for the two programmes, which are known respectively as T-ARC(X) and T-AGS(X), is planned for 8 April. Both types will be operated by the Military Sealift Command as part of its civilian-manned Special Mission fleet. According to an announcement issued by NAVSEA on behalf of its Support Ships, Boats and Craft Program Office (PMS 325), notional characteristics for the cable-laying T-ARC(X) include an overall length of 149m, displacement of 16,600 tonnes, beam of 21.5m and draught of 8m. (Source: Jane’s)
REST OF THE WORLD
07 Apr 20. Leidos Australia adds Aeronautics to LAND 129 project bid. Leidos Australia has confirmed it has added the Aeronautics Ltd to its bid for the replacement of the Australian Army’s Tactical Unmanned Aerial System (TUAS) through Project Land 129 Phase 3. Leidos Australia was recently named as one of four companies shortlisted to compete for the conceptual system integration design phase of the project.
The strategic partnership will bring together Leidos’ global leadership in intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) integration, and Aeronautics’ deep experience as a leading supplier of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), to deliver a next-generation, tactical solution for the Australian Army.
Acting Leidos Australia chief executive Paul Chase said, “Leidos conducted an exhaustive search to identify capable platforms in class that can provide optimum capabilities to the Australian Army.”
Leidos Australia recently called for expressions of interest (EOI) from Australian suppliers and small to medium enterprises (SME) to join their team. (Source: Defence Connect)
06 Apr 20. Virus Halts KAI’s Fighter Jet Exports to Argentina. Korea Aerospace Industries said Monday its plan to sell light fighter jets to Argentina has been put on hold as the coronavirus outbreak is dealing a huge blow. South Korea’s sole aircraft manufacture said its plan to export several FA-50 light fighter jets — a combat variant of its advanced supersonic trainer jet T-50 — to Argentina has been delayed indefinitely.
“It must have been difficult for Argentina to spend its defense budget for fighter jets when it is experiencing difficulties due to the virus spread,” a KAI official said.
Regarding previous media reports that KAI’s FA-50 had been designated as a preferred option of Argentine Air Force, KAI said it cannot comment on military contracts that are not finalized. Argentina, which aims to modernize its military, hasn’t made an official announcement yet. (Source: defense-aerospace.com/Korea Herald)
06 Apr 20. South Korea planning to upgrade RoKA’s K1A2 MBTs. The South Korean Ministry of National Defense (MND) is planning to improve the overall performance of the Republic of Korea Army’s (RoKA’s) K1A2 main battle tanks (MBTs) as part of an upgrade programme.
The Defense Agency for Technology and Quality (DATQ) announced in March that it will conduct “advanced research” between June and October 2020 to determine how best to enhance the platform’s performance in a number of areas.
Among the upgrades the agency is looking into is the instalment of a situational awareness system to allow the crew to better monitor the battlefield situation from inside the vehicle. In addition, a thermal periscope for the driver is expected to be installed.
The agency is also looking to increase the platform’s protection against anti-tank missiles by removing the existing armour and installing a new high-performance special armour. Moreover, the DATQ is considering equipping the tank with an active defence system capable of intercepting such missiles.
To improve manoeuverability, the tank’s existing hydro-pneumatic suspension will likely be replaced with an in-arm suspension unit (ISU) similar to that used by the RoKA’s K2 MBT. Moreover, an auxiliary generator will be installed, and the engine’s output is expected to be increased, although it is undecided as to whether this will happen by upgrading the existing engine or installing a more powerful one.
The crew’s protection against chemical, biological, and radiological (CBR) threats is set to be enhanced through a combined environmental control system that will moderate the temperature within the vehicle.
The DATQ is also examining the feasibility of a remote weapon station. If integrated into the commander’s sight, this would not only further enhance situational awareness but also provide the commander with the ability to engage some targets independently of the gunner. (Source: Jane’s)
American Panel Corporation
American Panel Corporation (APC) since 1998, specializes in display products installed in defence land systems, as well as military and commercial aerospace platforms, having delivered well over 100,000 displays worldwide. Military aviators worldwide operate their aircraft and perform their missions using APC displays, including F-22, F-18, F-16, F-15, Euro-fighter Typhoon, Mirage 2000, C-130, C-17, P-3, S-3, U-2, AH-64 Apache Helicopter, V-22 tilt-rotor, as well as numerous other military and commercial aviation aircraft including Boeing 717 – 787 aircraft and several Airbus aircraft. APC panels are found in nearly every tactical aircraft in the US and around the world.
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