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UNITED KINGDOM AND NATO
22 Jul 20. UK, Italy and Sweden launch trilateral industrial discussion on FCAS. The three nations so far signed up to partner on the Future Combat Air System Technology Initiative (FCAS TI) have begun industrial discussions on developing a “world-leading” combat aviation capability.
The prime companies from each of the nations – BAE Systems from the UK, Leonardo from Italy and Saab from Sweden – issued a joint statement on 22 July in which they noted that the framework would see the partners combine their expertise to collaborate in the development of the cutting-edge technologies required.
“Today’s announcement builds on bilateral discussions which have taken place between the UK and Swedish and Italian industries and establishes a trilateral industry group. Together, the companies will assess common routes to future combat air capability using their know-how, expertise and technology development activities across current and future combat air systems,” the statement, which was released during the virtual Farnborough International Airshow, said. (Source: Jane’s)
23 Jul 20. BAE Systems has awarded a further five contracts to suppliers worth more than £100m, as progress on the Type 26 frigate programme continues apace at the company’s shipyards in Glasgow.
The new contracts will support 250 jobs, with the Type 26 programme sustaining more than 4,000 jobs in total across the UK, helping to support the nation’s economic recovery by maintaining much-needed skills and capabilities. More than £1bn has been invested across the programme’s supply chain to date, with more than 100 suppliers globally.
The contract awards come as construction on the final unit of the first Type 26 frigate, HMS Glasgow, begins. All 57 units of the anti-submarine warfare ship are now under construction.
The suppliers awarded each of the five new contracts will contribute essential work to the programme as HMS Glasgow moves to the outfit phase in readiness to enter the water for the first time.
The contracts have been awarded to:
- Denholm Industrial Services (Glasgow) – surface preparation and painting
- Malin Group (Glasgow) – Vessel load out and float off
- CBL (Hartlepool) – cable and associated works
- Kaefer (Nottingham) – insulation products and installation services
- SCA (Dorset) – access and containment
Rt Hon Secretary of State for Defence, Ben Wallace MP said:
“The Type 26 programme has proven itself in terms of cutting-edge design, international defence exports and creating and sustaining British jobs. This latest round of contract awards will see companies from the south coast of England to the banks of the Clyde benefit from over 250 highly-skilled jobs and multi-million pound investment.”
BAE Systems Naval Ships Managing Director, Steve Timms, said:
“Each of our new suppliers brings a unique capability that is essential to ensure the safe and continued progress of this nationally important programme. It’s fantastic to see the first of class, HMS Glasgow, taking shape at our facilities here on the Clyde. She is a source of great pride for our workforce who have worked with real energy, commitment and innovation in recent months to ensure we meet our customer commitments.”
The Type 26 programme makes a significant contribution to the UK economy by providing a solid platform for the UK’s industrial skills base and an important foundation for work on the Clyde into the next decade.
Designed and built by BAE Systems in Glasgow, the Type 26 frigate is an advanced anti-submarine warship, which will deliver critical protection of the Royal Navy’s Continuous At Sea Deterrent and Carrier Strike Group. The Type 26 builds on the pedigree of the Royal Navy’s current Type 23 anti-submarine warfare frigates which continue to serve the Nation.
Each Type 26 will be equipped with a range of world-class capabilities including the Sea Ceptor missile defence system, a 5-inch medium calibre gun, flexible mission bay, Artisan 997 Medium Range Radar, powerful bow and towed array sonars.
The Type 26 is the original variant of BAE Systems’ Global Combat Ship, which supports a close partnership between the Royal Navy, Royal Canadian Navy and the Royal Australian Navy. Australia and Canada both selected a variant of the Type 26 design for their anti-submarine frigate programmes, supporting greater operational, training and intelligence ties between the three nations.
15 Jul 20. UK government provides extra funding for countering drones competition. The UK Home Office and Department for Transport (DFT) is adding an additional GBP1.5m funding to the Defence and Security Accelerator’s (DASA) Countering Drones competition. Putting in this additional funding brings the new total to at least GPB3m and should more than double the number of proposals that the government will be able to award for the competition according to the Home Office.
DASA is looking for solutions aimed at addressing the threat of unmanned air systems. It seeks proposals that can develop the technology needed to counter Unmanned Air Systems (C-UAS) and demonstrate how these can be integrated together to form a capable system. This is the second phase in a multi-phase competition. Proposals need to meet one or more of the following criteria: Provide fixed site protection; mobile protection; and/or maritime protection.
In light of this additional funding, the deadline for the competition has been extended by 10 days. Proposals for funding to meet these challenges must be submitted by Friday 31st July 2020.
The Home Office Counter-Drones Unit owns domestic counter-drones policy for the government, working closely across the government and operational partners to understand risk and operational requirements. The government priority is to help industry and academia to deliver world-leading counter-drone solutions to support the safe and responsible use of drones in the UK. This DASA competition provides an immediate opportunity to help us further develop the critical counter-drone technical capabilities we need at pace, and to support counter-drone exploitation routes in the future.
the Home Office and the DfT are working closely with the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) in support of Phase 2 of this DASA competition.
For this new funding, the UK government is particularly keen to hear from industry and academia who have innovative solutions to respond to domestic security needs. A scenario could include numerous drones being used at an important installation, major event or demonstration over a wide, complex geographic area, and over a prolonged period of time. The small UAVs (sUAVs) could be a mix of commercially available, high performance multirotor types, being operated directly in a planned and sophisticated manner. They could also include legitimate drones. The intent of the sUAVs could range from surveillance to malicious disruption or attack. There may be electronically sensitive infrastructure in the area.
The Home Office is interested in C-sUAS solutions that can be static, mobile, portable or temporarily deployable on vehicle(s), to:
- Detect presence of sUAVs
- Determine location, intent and assess the risk posed
- Locate operator
- Enforce a ‘no-drone’ zone
Despite the challenge of COVID-19 the Government is dedicated to continuing to collaborate closely with the drone and counter-drone industries. This work will therefore be in lieu of a separate Home Office Counter-Drone Unit Grand Challenge this financial year, to reduce the burden on industry that different competitions bring. The outputs from this enhanced DASA competition will still allow the Home Office and DfT to scope the focus for any potential future investment in developing counter-drone technologies.
For more information visit:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/countering-drones-finding-and-neutralising-small-uas-threats-phase-2 (Source: www.unmannedairspace.info)
22 Jul 20. Naviris, the 50/50 owned joint venture by Fincantieri and Naval Group, signed a contract with OCCAR (Organisation for Joint Armament Co-operation) for a feasibility study on the mid-life upgrade (MLU) of the four Horizon frigates. Naviris will work in close relationship with its industrial partners Fincantieri, Naval Group, Leonardo, Thales, Eurosam, MBDA and Sigen. Since its launching in January 2020, this contract is the second one Naviris has signed – after a R&T contract signed in June.
Giuseppe Bono and Claude Centofanti, Naviris’ Chairman and CEO respectively, declared: “We are very proud of the contract signature and would like to thank not only Naviris’ client – the OCCAR – but also Segredifesa and the French General Procurement Agency for the close Italo-French collaboration which made it possible to achieve this result in a reasonably short period of time, during an extraordinarily difficult period for organizing exchanges and collective work. The strength of the alliance between Fincantieri and Naval Group was also upholded by the Defense Ministers of the two countries in their recent words of appreciation and we are very satisfied about this”.
The Feasibility Study, to be developed over the next twelve months, will be the first stage of the project and it will be focused mainly on the Anti Air Warfare capability of the four vessels. The project will be carried out by Naviris with the support of Fincantieri and Naval Group and the major Combat System suppliers (EUROSAM, THALES, LEONARDO, MBDA and SIGEN). It aims at identifying and analyzing the modifications to be implemented on the French and Italian Horizon class destroyers to increase their capabilities until the end of their life cycle. The aim of this project is to offer to the Nations configurations able to guarantee an appropriate response to the threat scenarios set out by the clients. The study will involve high-qualified engineers and technicians from Naviris, Naval Group and Fincantieri, in close collaboration with working teams set up by the Combat System
Suppliers – all based in Italy and France. The Horizon frigates were originally built between 2000 and 2010 in a joint program between
Fincantieri and Naval Group, providing the Italian and French Navies with two first-class antiair frigates each. Within this context, the coordinated work, led by Naviris, of the Horizon Frigates seven industrial partners will answer to the need of the rationalization of the frigates’ performance, availability and maintenance. Indeed, the peculiarity of this highly complex study is that it will involve foremost experts from various companies aiming to be completed
in one year only. Naviris, in its role of leader, will be able to guarantee a synergic and focused coordination of the different companies skills’, with the objective to reach the final
result on time and through a very efficient teamwork.
Main characteristics of the four Horizon frigates
- Length / beam overall: 153m / 20.3m
- Displacement / full load: 6,500 tonnes / 7,300 tonnes
- Accommodation: 210 (complement of 190 + 20 passengers)
- Range: 7,000 nm at 18 knots
- Maximum speed: 29 knots
The vessel is designed for a range of missions, including high-intensity operations, all with reduced crewing. Horizon frigates are front-line fighting ships with one highly specialized mission: anti-air warfare, also known as air defence. The ships’ chief capabilities are thus
airspace control over areas of operations, air defence command and control and anti-air cover for carrier groups and convoys. Horizon frigates provide protection against high intensity threats and attacks by anti-ship missiles. They also contribute to air/sea control during military operations by providing air defence command and control of allied forces. They can also participate in public service missions.
Naviris is a 50/50 owned joint venture by Fincantieri and Naval Group, officially launched in January 2020. With this alliance bringing new opportunities to the surface ship market, Fincantieri and Naval Group have cemented their joint desire to build a future of excellence
for the shipbuilding industry and navies. The two European leaders with complementary offers, supported by a large ecosystem, came together to better serve the world’s navies and mutually increase their competitive edge. They are materialising their shared worldwide ambition: the alliance is based on a mutual understanding of the challenges and realities of naval defence in the world of today. Naviris is dedicated to opening the doors to the international markets of tomorrow.
23 Jul 20. The price of the F-35 has been falling, but it could hit a wall soon. As defense spending flattens, it may be difficult for the Defense Department to further push down the unit cost of the F-35 joint strike fighter, the head of the Pentagon’s joint program office said Wednesday.
“Overall, as you’re looking to the service budgets and as you look into the service spend plans, you see that the numbers of aircraft in those years are not rising as they did in lots 10 through 14, but they’re a little bit more flat,” said F-35 program head Lt. Gen. Eric Fick during a House Oversight and Reform Committee hearing.
“Some of the flatness in the profile in those years is going to challenge our ability to continue to drive price down by tail. But we are committed to continuing to work hard with the department to establish the best value for our taxpayers and warfighters,” he said.
Since 2016, the Defense Department had pushed Lockheed Martin to lower the unit cost for an F-35A conventional takeoff and landing model — which is being purchased by the U.S. Air Force and most international customers — to $80m per plane by Lot 14.
When the department finalized a deal for Lots 12-14 in October, it announced that it would reach its unit cost goal a year early in Lot 13, with those jets set to roll off the production line in 2021. The price per F-35A is set to lower from $82.4m in Lot 12 to $79.2m in Lot 13 down to $77.9m in Lot 14.
“We’re currently entering negotiations for the Lots 15 through 17 contracts,” Fick said during the hearing Wednesday.
Over the course of the program, the number of F-35s produced per year has steadily risen, allowing for economies of scale that drive down the cost of each aircraft. Lockheed delivered 61 F-35s in 2017, 91 in 2018 and 134 in 2019. The company was on track to deliver 141 F-35s this year, but the COVID-19 pandemic forced it to scale back its delivery projection by about 24 jets.
Lockheed plans to continue ramping production of the jet over the next several years and will hit a high of about 165 F-35s manufactured in a single year, said Greg Ulmer, Lockheed’s vice president and general manager for the F-35 program. After that, he told lawmakers, there will be “a slight decline” in the next three lots, which will average about 155 aircraft per batch.
Taken together, Fick and Ulmer’s comments could portend that the services never actually reach the previously projected procurement goals. In 2016, the U.S. Air Force dropped its planned buy rate from 80 to 60 jets per year. And although the service procured 62 F-35As in fiscal year 2020 thanks to additional funds from Congress, it has never requested 60 F-35s in its budget and has no plans to do so through FY25.
Meanwhile, the Marine Corps has signaled that it could cut its planned F-35 program of record, which currently stands at 353 F-35B short takeoff and vertical landing models and 67 F-35C carrier variants.
“Right now, the program of record plows ahead as it is,” Marine Corps Commandant Gen. David Berger said in April. “But I’m signaling to the industry, we have to be prepared to adjust as the operating environment adjusts.”
Financial analysts have raised concerns that economic pressures caused by the pandemic and the possibility of former Vice President Joe Biden winning the presidency could portend flat or even decreased defense budgets. But during an earnings call on Tuesday, Lockheed chief executive James Taiclet said that the company remains “incredibly well positioned” even if there is a downturn in spending.
“I think the breadth of the company’s portfolio of products, services, and domains that we operate in is going to position us well even at a downturn, frankly,” Taiclet said. “The threats aren’t going away. Defense is going to have to be supported, I think in any reasonable person’s view going forward, especially if those people are in positions of responsibility, no matter what party they may come from.” (Source: Defense News)
21 Jul 20. USAF to map future Eagle capability upgrades. The US Air Force (USAF) has issued a request for information (RFI) to chart a course for future capability upgrades to its fleet of Boeing F-15 Eagle-series combat aircraft.
The F-15 Roadmap Candidate Collection RFI, announced by the Fighters and Advanced Aircraft Directorate, F-15 Division (AFLCMC/WAQ) on 21 July, seeks information regarding potential technology and capability improvements to be included in future F-15EX Advanced Eagle production and/or for incorporation into the legacy F-15E Strike Eagle fleet.
“The F-15 Division, in collaboration with Air Combat Command, hosted a warfighter (operator and maintainer) workshop to identify and prioritise current and future capability gaps. The workshop resulted in the creation of a single, prioritised list of gaps that generically fell into six categories,” the service said.
These six categories comprised: Prosecute – the ability to engage and eliminate targets; Survive – the ability to live through engagements with enemy systems; Persist – the ability to extend operations in the required environments; Interoperability – the ability to effectively communicate with other weapon systems; Maintain – the ability to sustain the F-15E/EX fleets; Train – the ability to support operator and maintainer training.
While the USAF published the six categories, it noted that the deficiencies identified in each of those categories were classified. (Source: Jane’s)
21 Jul 20. DARPA issues solicitation for moving-target recognition project. The U.S. Defense Department’s advanced research arm issued a broad agency announcement July 15 for technology that would use algorithms to identify moving military ground vehicles.
The Moving Target Recognition program from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s Strategic Technology Office is a “vital part” of DARPA’s “Mosaic Warfare” vision, in which each weapon system is one “tile” in a large force package that overwhelms the adversary.
For the program, DARPA is interested in algorithms and collection techniques that allow synthetic aperture radar, or SAR, sensors to “detect, geolocate, and image moving ground targets,” the announcement read. If the goals of the project are met, the MTR program will then work to develop automatic target recognition algorithms for the moving target images.
“Emphasis is on military vehicle targets, including slow moving vehicles whose SAR signatures are superimposed on clutter,” the announcement noted.
Test for moving target recognition will include airborne data collection experiments to test and evaluate the effectiveness of algorithms. Under the contract, performers will be required to provide the airborne radar sensors and flight services, while the government team will design experiments with moving ground vehicles. DARPA anticipates handing out multiple awards.
The MTR program has two phases. Phase one will focus on SAR moving target detection, geolocation and imaging, according to the announcement. It has a performance period of two years and a six-month option. Phase two, which is solicited through the July 15 notice, will center on automatic target recognition. Second phase instructions will be provided to the phase one performers before the end of the phase one base period. No award amount was provided.
The U.S. Army is also working through the challenges associated with advanced target recognition capabilities, such as ensuring that algorithms receive adequate and sufficient data to mature and learn.
“If you’re training an algorithm to recognize cats, you can get on the internet and pull up hundreds of thousands of pictures of cats,” Gen. Mike Murray, commander of Army Futures Command, said in June. “You can’t do that for a T-72 [Russian tank]. You can get a bunch of pictures, but are they at the right angles, lighting conditions, vehicle sitting camouflaged to vehicle sitting open desert?”
DARPA’s mosaic warfare effort includes several other projects under the Strategic Technology Office, including one that would automate aerial dogfighting. The office is also developing two complementary systems that would identify combat systems in an area available for support missions and quickly plan their route to an area. (Source: Defense News)
21 Jul 20. Industry set to weigh in on US Army’s latest OMFV plan. The US Army is asking industry to provide feedback on its updated Optionally Manned Fighting Vehicle (OMFV) programme before it finalises a solicitation for its fourth and latest attempt at fielding a new infantry fighting vehicle (IFV) to replace its M2 Bradley Fighting Vehicle fleet. On 17 July, the service released its OMFV draft request for proposal (RFP) and tasked industry with weighing in by 28 August.
As we continue to progress through the first phase of our five-phased approach for the OMFV programme, communication, inclusive feedback and innovative thinking from industry remains key, Major General Brian Cummings, the army’s programme executive officer for Ground Combat Systems, said in a statement. We are looking forward to receiving feedback and learning from industry what’s in the realm of the possible as we continue to develop this truly transformational vehicle for our soldiers.
This time around, the army said it wants to provide industry with the space and freedom to innovatively design a vehicle. Therefore, the service said it was avoiding “quantifying or prescribing critical levels of performance wherever possible” and that items derived from updated OMFV characteristics are non-mandatory.
“Accurately defining the desired set of capabilities without over-constraining the design is critically important, Brigadier General Ross Coffman, director of the Next Generation Combat Vehicles Cross Functional Team, wrote in the announcement. The army is committed to open communication with industry to ensure the characteristics and eventual requirements of the OMFV are informed by technological advances.
Earlier this year, the service unveiled nine OMFV ‘characteristics’ starting with the most critical – survivability, mobility, growth, lethality, weight, logistics, transportability, manning, and training.
“Survivability is more important than mobility which is significantly more important than lethality,” the army wrote in the draft document. (Source: Jane’s)
20 Jul 20. BAE Submits Proposal for US Army’s CATV Program. BAE Systems has submitted a proposal to the U.S. Army for the delivery of two prototype vehicles for the Cold Weather All-Terrain Vehicle (CATV) program. BAE Systems is offering its Beowulf platform as a production ready vehicle capable of operating in arctic environments and in all types of terrain for the movement of personnel and cargo under the most remote and harshest conditions.
Beowulf is an unarmored, highly versatile articulated tracked vehicle for carrying cargo and personnel in either of its two compartments. Its modular design allows it to be reconfigured for multiple missions, including logistical support, disaster and humanitarian relief, search and rescue, and a number of other scenarios.
“The Beowulf and its armored sister vehicle, the BvS10, represent the most advanced vehicles in the world when it comes to operating in any terrain, whether it’s snow, ice, rock, sand, mud, swamp, or steep mountainous climbs, and its amphibious capability allows it to swim in flooded areas or in coastal water environments,” said Keith Klemmer, director of business development at BAE Systems. “Beowulf’s versatility and adaptability are truly remarkable and it’s ready to meet the Army and Army National Guard’s mission.”
The Beowulf is based on the BvS10, which is currently in production and already operational in multiple variants with five countries, first going into service with the U.K. Royal Marines in 2005. Leveraging the BvS10 means the Beowulf design is already mature and ready for production. Beowulf also benefits from efficient lifecycle management and routine maintenance and sustainment costs by leveraging common components in the BvS10.
Built by BAE Systems Hägglunds in Örnsköldsvik, Sweden, the Beowulf and BvS10 include several key components from U.S. suppliers, including its engine, transmission and hydraulic system. The CATV Request for Prototypes Proposals was issued by the Army in June through the National Advanced Mobility Consortium.
The CATV program is designed to replace the Small Unit Support Vehicles (SUSVs) that have been in service since the early 1980s. Those vehicles are known internationally as the BV206. (Source: ASD Network)
21 Jul 20. US Army seeks to compete as OMFV prime, industry unnerved. Industry is concerned about a potential US Army plan to bid on, judge, and select its own M2 Bradley Fighting Vehicle replacement, and is likening such a measure to a metaphorical self-licking ice cream cone.
During the past few weeks, defence companies have been eagerly awaiting the release of a draft request for proposal (RFP) for the army’s latest attempt to design and field an Optionally Manned Fighting Vehicle (OMFV). Although they were interested in learning more about what the army is seeking this time around, they were also keen to see if a provision was included that enabled the service’s Ground Vehicle Systems Center (GVSC) to also compete as a prime contractor. As several sources suspected, the draft RFP publicly released on 17 July included such provision.
“Potential offerors are notified that a US government entity may submit a proposal as a prime offeror,” the army wrote.
Ashley John, the public affairs director for the army’s Program Executive Office for Ground Combat Systems, confirmed to Janes on 19 July that the service is exploring options to “leverage its core competencies and compete with industry in the design of a future combat vehicle”. More specifically, she said that the service wanted to use its science and technology community and engineers to “potentially develop” a Bradley replacement vehicle.
As a result, interested vendors now have a flurry of questions over the ethics and legality of such a measure. One industry source that closely collaborates with the service and GVSC told Janes. (Source: Jane’s)
15 Jul 20. US Army seeks information for ground-based sense and avoid support services. The US Department of Defense (DoD) has issued a Request For Information (RFI) to identify interested parties to undertake the operation of Ground Based Detect And Avoid (GBDAA) systems at various air bases. The roles include trainers, operators and maintenance technicians. The US Army will review white papers submitted in response to the RFI.
Additionally, the contractor shall provide courseware updates, training, and logistical support to include inventory control and spares management at the sites. The contractor shall arrange for and provide training on the LSTAR(V)3 radar system maintenance with the original equipment manufacturer, SRC, Inc. for any new personnel who have not previously received training on this system.
According to the RFI: The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) establishes rules on aircraft flight operations to fly within the National Airspace System (NAS). The FAA regulations require that the aircraft pilot must be able to “see and avoid” other aircraft to provide safe clearance distance with other traffic. Unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) cannot comply with these regulations without additional mitigations. To mitigate the risk of not being able to “see and avoid”, the Army Program Manager Unmanned Aircraft Systems (PM UAS) developed and fielded a Ground Based Sense and Avoid (GBSAA) system. The GBSAA system was developed by PM UAS and uses the Lightweight Surveillance and Target Acquisition Radar (LSTAR(V)3) system which provides safer airspace for aircraft and UAS to operate. The Air National Guard has purchased the system for use as a Ground Based Detect And Avoid (GBDAA) system at various air bases. GBSAA and GBDAA are fundamentally the same system with support requirements and CONOPS being the only differences. PM UAS has the requirement to provide operations, training, maintenance, and logistics support for the GBSAA systems at select Army and Air Force Air National Guard (AF ANG) sites. The intent of PM UAS is to meet this requirement through contracted support.
Concepts provided should explain plans to provide GBSAA operators (GBO), System Maintenance Technicians (SMT), and Senior Trainers (ST) to support operations at GBSAA Sites. Currently, there are 5 Army GBSAA sites – Ft. Hood, Texas; Ft. Riley, Kansas; Ft Campbell, KY; Ft Bragg, NC; and Ft Stewart, GA. All 5 Army sites currently have 2 GBOs and 1 SMT. Senior Trainers are located at Ft Hood and Ft Campbell. Contract should also provide SMT support for the Air National Guard (ANG) GBDAA System located at Syracuse, NY. Future support to be covered in this effort will include additional ANG sites at Fargo, ND; March ARB, CA; Davis-Monthan AFB, AZ; and Ellington AFB, TX.
The GBOs and STs serve as electronic visual observers and UAS crew members who are required to ensure safe operation of the UAS aircraft operation under GBSAA. The GBO/ST shall have similar duties and requirements as the ground observer in accordance with (IAW) Army Regulation (AR) 95-1. GBOs and STs are considered crew members as defined IAW the FAA Gray Eagle Certification of Waiver or Authorization (COA).
Funding is not available at this time.
Notice ID: W58RGZ20R0302
Published date: 13 July 2020
Response date: 28 July 2020
Point of contact: anthony.l.jones295@email@example.com.
For more information visit:
REST OF THE WORLD
24 Jul 20. Program milestone for RAN’s new patrol boats. The National Shipbuilding Program has reached a milestone in the $350m Cape Class patrol boat project with the laying of the keel on the first of six new vessels purpose-built for the RAN.
An important shipyard and naval tradition, the keel laying ceremony marks a key step in construction works.
Minister for Defence Industry Melissa Price, however, pointed out that the stage takes on additional significance given the current economic climate.
“The laying of the keel not only initiates the formal construction phase of the build, it also means job creation here in Perth is well underway,” she said.
“This is welcome relief for the local and national economy during a period of economic uncertainty brought on by COVID-19.”
The project is slated to create work for some 400 commercial shipbuilders based in WA, as well as over 1,200 workers across the wider Australian supply chain.
With the keel-laying ceremony carried out, construction works will continue at Austal’s Henderson premises, eventually seeing the patrol boat fleet swell to 16 vessels.
The Cape Class boats will replace the ageing Armidale Class as an interim patrol platform until the Arafura Class offshore patrol vessels are formally commissioned into service.
The first of these new vessels are scheduled for acceptance and handover to Navy in September 2021, with subsequent vessels being delivered through to March 2023.
Austal was first awarded the contract for design, construction and through-life support of eight Cape Class patrol boats for the Australian Border Force in August 2011. The 58-metre aluminium monohulls were delivered between March 2013 and September 2015.
However, six more of the model were ordered by the RAN in May 2020. (Source: Defence Connect)
23 Jul 20. Hip swings into trials for Russian SF. Flight tests have begun in Russia of the Mi-8AMTSh-VN Hip helicopter to determine its aerodynamic and flight performance characteristics.
Tests will also assess the maneuverability, stability and manageability of the rotorcraft, as well as the reliability and efficiency of its weapon systems and defensive equipment.
After the first phase of the trials finishes in November 2020, ‘the helicopter will be assessed by specialised state institutes and flight centres’, said Andrey Boginsky, general director of manufacturer Russian Helicopters.
The helicopter is designed for transport and fire support roles with Russian SF, as a protected all-weather aircraft capable of performing night missions.
Based on the experience of combat operations in Syria, significant improvements include modernised engines, avionics and armour protection; enhanced armament; and additional anti-aircraft missile defence equipment.
The new-look Hip also has an improved main rotor with all-composite blades and a more efficient X-shaped tail rotor. In combination with more powerful VK-2500PS-03 engines, this enabled a higher thrust-to-weight ratio and better manoeuvrability.
According to industry sources, the flight speed is increased by 10% – even in high mountains and hot conditions – in comparison with the Mi-8AMTSh model.
Russian Helicopters has paid particular attention to enhancing combat survivability in comparison with other helicopters in the Mi-8/17 family. As a result, the Mi-8AMTSh-VN is equipped with the LSZ-8VN self-protection system with missile approach warners; laser jammers; and countermeasure dispensers with automatic control.
The cockpit is covered with titanium alloy armour, affording ballistic protection against small arms fire. The floor and sides of the troop compartment are protected with lightweight removable Kevlar armour. Mi-8AMTSh-VN can carry 20 troops with equipment plus a light vehicle or a quad bike.
Mi-8AMTSh-VN is armed with six weapon pods and two 12.7mm Kord machine guns for close fire support. The helicopter can be armed flexibly armed according to its mission.
In the most heavily armed configuration, it can carry up to four new Hermes-A missiles with a range of up to 20km plus up to eight 9M120 Ataka ATGMs with different warheads including tandem charge, high-explosive and thermobaric. In fact, the offensive capability is very close to that of an attack helicopter.
Importantly for the Russian MoD, it regards the Mi-8AMTSh-VN as an affordable and readily available solution. At the same time, the new helicopter represents a major modernisation of the veteran Mi-8/Mi-17 families. Taking into account the rapid progress of the military technology and the changing nature of warfare, it is easy to see why Russian SF wanted a new platform. (Source: Shephard)
23 Jul 20. India accelerates AMCA fighter development. The Indian Air Force (IAF) is working feverishly with Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) and the Aeronautical Development Agency to develop the indigenous Advanced Multirole Combat Aircraft (AMCA).
The modular design of the fifth-generation twin-engine single-seat aircraft is said to be finalised.
‘That is what we are putting our energies into,’ ACM Rakesh Kumar Singh Bhadauria said recently. More than most of his predecessors, Bhadauria has supported the need to focus on indigenous design and manufacturing.
Six squadrons of AMCAs are planned initially. The first flight is expected in 2024-25, followed by trials and tests. It will be in full production by 2029, to be followed by the Mk2 version by 2036.
Amid the ‘Make in India’ mantra, HAL could soon announce a JV along with the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and a private company to progress the AMCA programme. Once signed, it will be the first time the private sector has worked on the same platform as HAL rather than just being a tier supplier.
Raman Sopory, founding president of the Aerospace & Defense Consultants Society of India, said: ‘HAL has to constantly evolve and there must be an export angle to this.’
Plans to work with Russia on joint development of a Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft (FGFA) were set aside by early 2017. ‘We have no plans to import any FGFA, nor will we enter into any joint agreement with a foreign country,’ said Bhadauria.
The twin-engine AMCA, which is to have an indigenous AESA radar, has been a long time coming. In 2018, $60m was allotted for prototype design and R&D. The project will face similar technology and knowledge transfer challenges as FGFA, because ‘no nation is willing to share its stealth technology’, a senior official admitted.
However, an agreement is on the cards between the UK and India to co-create a new 110kN jet engine for which India will get IP. The new engine core will not be based on the Eurojet EJ200 due to the complex IP ownership within the EuroJet Turbo consortium.
Anil Gupta, military head of Airbus India, said: ‘Getting ToT [transfer of technology] for a new engine design is good progress from the technology infusion point of view.’
The initial contract with Rolls-Royce is likely to be for 140 engines over a nine-year period. Before then, the 25t-class AMCA will be powered by the General Electric F414 delivering more than 90kN of thrust. South Korea’s KF-X also uses the F414.
Stealthy aircraft carry weapons in internal weapon bays to avoid detection. However, the Indian-made Astra beyond-visual-range air-to-air missile is 3.6m long. ‘Since it doesn’t fit into the bay, its length will have to be reduced,’ said an official.
An unmanned version of the AMCA will have to wait. ‘Any system needs proper control and guidance. The pilot-in-the-loop system has to be replaced. Challenges remain on where they will test it…It isn’t easy and, at the moment, it is wishful thinking,’ a senior IAF engineer told Shephard on condition of anonymity.
The Future of Air Warfare Special Report forms part of Shephard Media’s drive to provide readers with free-to-view content previously served by cancelled or postponed events.
Focusing on and promoted to specific markets, our Special Reports include a dedicated microsite with a range of editorial features, video production, email marketing, social media exposure and branding opportunities. (Source: Shephard)
24 Jul 20. Raytheon Australia announces partnership for LAND 129 Phase 3. Raytheon Australia has announced it is teaming with Schiebel Pacific to lodge a tender response for the LAND 129 Phase 3 Tactical Unmanned Aerial System project for the Australian Army.
Offering the Australian Army a fully integrated solution featuring an operationally superior rotary wing UAS that is optimised for future growth, Raytheon Australia confirmed that it has teamed with Schiebel Pacific.
This teaming couples Raytheon Australia’s 20-year pedigree as a trusted, prime systems integrator across multiple domains with Schiebel’s S-100 UAV platform to deliver a highly capable, low-risk offering that is intended to establish an enduring sovereign UAS capability.
Michael Ward, Raytheon Australia managing director, expressed his commitment to fulfil the requirements of LAND 129 Phase 3 in the interests of Defence and a sovereign Australian industry.
“Our solution is backed by Raytheon Australia’s 20 years of investment in sovereign complex systems integration and allows us to offer a world-class system to meet Army’s future tactical UAS requirements,” Ward explained.
The Raytheon Australia team aims to deliver a solution that includes:
- Offers an operationally superior rotary wing UAS that is highly flexible and provides both a small footprint, no dedicated launch and recovery equipment and a high payload capacity;
- Provides real capability that has operated with the Australian military that’s ready now;
- Draws on Raytheon Australia’s strong reputation as an experienced, multi-domain systems integrator with proven processes and tools as well as highly experienced and capable people;
- Is low risk, including technology-wise because the platform is already fielded with the Royal Australian Navy, and low commercial, schedule and integration risks;
- Engages a team of Australian SMEs to provide a genuine Australian capability for Army and build a sovereign and enduring UAS industry to meet the Australian Defence Force’s future capability requirements; and
- Creates export opportunities for Australian industry.
Ward added, “Our team will deliver a highly capable, flexible and scalable solution that offers the lowest risk and the greatest opportunity for a sovereign UAS capability for Australia.”
Schiebel’s S-100 unmanned air system (UAS) is a proven capability for military and civilian applications – the vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) UAS needs no prepared area or supporting launch or recovery equipment. It operates day and night, under adverse weather conditions, with a range out to 200 kilometres, both on land and at sea.
The S-100 navigates automatically via pre-programmed GPS waypoints or can be operated directly with a pilot control unit. Missions are planned and controlled via a simple point-and-click graphical user interface.
S-100 incorporates high-definition payload imagery is transmitted to the control station in real time – using “fly-by-wire” technology controlled by redundant flight computers, the UAV can complete its mission automatically in the most complex of electromagnetic environments.
S-100’s carbon fibre and titanium fuselage provides capacity for a wide range of payload/endurance combinations.
Ward stated, “Numerous local SMEs will take part in the development of Raytheon Australia’s solution and emphasised his team’s strong AIC solution that prioritises Defence’s operational needs whilst maximising Australian industrial sovereignty.”
Raytheon Australia provides state-of-the-art electronics, mission systems integration and other capabilities in the areas of sensing; effects; and command, control, communications and intelligence systems; as well as a broad range of mission support services. (Source: Defence Connect)
22 Jul 20. Navantia Australia completes LHD design upgrade. Navantia Australia has successfully completed a major design update for the Royal Australian Navy’s Canberra Class LHDs, installing an Advanced Stabilised Glide Slope Indicator (ASGSI).
A consortium of Navy, CASG, Naval Ship Management, Owen International, AGI and Navantia Australia collaboratively worked through an engineering change to install the new Advanced SGSI system in a very tight timeline, which has restored the capability reliability. Navantia Australia performed all of the platform integration design necessary to integrate the ASGSI into the into the Canberra Class LHD design.
The team began working on the project in September 2019 and delivered revisions to 27 LHD baseline-engineering drawings, three Installation Work Packs as well as alignment documentation, test procedures, a detailed design report, Designer’s Certificate, Validation and Verification artefacts, PDR and DDR design reviews, and all the ILS deliverables required for Navy to operate and maintain this system.
Navantia Australia’s managing director, Alfonso Garcia-Valdes, said, “This integrated effort has been a real credit to Navantia and a good indication to Navy of how well our team is working together. The close working relationships, flexibility, and collaboration achieved a significant engineering change in under six months where routine changes occur in around 24 months.
The Forward ASGSI system is now fully installed on both HMA Ships Canberra and Adelaide and was recently used to support the First of Class Flight Trials for the MH-60R helicopters.
“The ASGSI system had emerging obsolescence issues that were making supportability very difficult and causing concern for the LHD Aviation capability. Navantia Australia’s engineering design team were integral to achieving the change, readily accepted the challenge, but were agile in approach as problems such as material availability during COVID-19 threatened restoration of the SGSI capability,” Garcia-Valdes added.
The Forward ASGSI system is now fully installed on both HMA Ships Canberra and Adelaide and was recently used to support the First of Class Flight Trials for the MH60R helicopters.
The Canberra Class LHDs, also known as amphibious assault ships, were designed by Navantia and constructed at Navantia’s Fene and Ferrol shipyards in Spain.
The vessels were built up to the flight deck, launched and then transported to Australia where installation of the island superstructure and internal fitout was completed by BAE Systems Australia in Williamstown, Victoria.
The LHDs provide the Australian Defence Force with one of the most capable and sophisticated air-land-sea amphibious deployment systems in the world. These 27,000-tonne ships are able to land a force of over 1,000 personnel by helicopter and water craft, along with all their weapons, ammunition, vehicles and stores.
In June 2020, the Department of Defence recognised Navantia Australia as a design authority for four classes of Royal Australian Navy ships under a strategic agreement principles document.
The Strategic Agreement strengthens the relationship between the Commonwealth of Australia and Navantia Australia and provides a framework to ensure that all current and future Navantia designed vessels in service with the RAN are adequately supported for their life of type.
Under the agreement, Navantia Australia will provide platform system design and integration services, ensuring that the design integrity, configuration control, upgrades and modernisation of Navantia designed ships and supplied systems and equipment is fully supported in Australia.
Navantia’s productive partnership with the RAN began in Australia with the contracts to design the Hobart Class guided missile destroyers (DDG) and continued with the design and co-manufacture of the Canberra Class LHDs, the design and construction of 12 LHD landing craft (LLC), and the recent contract to design, build and maintain two Supply Class auxiliary oiler replenishment ships (AOR).
Navantia Australia was established in 2012 to provide platform systems design and integration services to all four classes of ships. (Source: Defence Connect)
22 Jul 20. BAE partners with UniSA, IMCRC for Hunter Class frigate program. BAE Systems Australia has announced a $4m research and development partnership with the University of South Australia and Innovative Manufacturing Cooperative Research Centre to support the delivery of the Royal Australian Navy’s $35bn Hunter Class frigates.
Australia’s Innovative Manufacturing Cooperative Research Centre (IMCRC), the University of South Australia (UniSA) and BAE Australia’s shipbuilding business, ASC Shipbuilding, are joining forces to fund data visualisation research that will prepare Australian industry for a future driven by digital innovation.
The research, which will be spearheaded by UniSA, will shape the development of digital manufacturing (Industry 4.0), improve shipyard planning and add unique data analytics and problem-solving capacity to the Hunter program, which will deliver nine world-leading anti-submarine frigates to the Royal Australian Navy.
IMCRC CEO and managing director David Chuter said the partnership will ensure the Hunter Class frigates are built using some of the most sophisticated innovations in manufacturing while developing extraordinary capabilities and ongoing capacity for Australian shipbuilding and manufacturing.
“This partnership will provide enduring and uniquely Australian sovereign industrial capability and advance and mobilise local manufacturers, particularly small and medium enterprises (SMEs), to support Australia’s naval shipbuilding strategy for generations to come,” Chuter explained.
Federal Minister for Industry Science and Technology Karen Andrews said the project represents innovation at its most powerful – embracing technology and a new way of doing things to improve production.“Not only will harnessing data visualisation research help the Hunter program itself, it will also assist critical local supply chains and future projects across the manufacturing landscape,” Minister Andrews said.
The Hunter Class frigates will be the world’s first bow-to-stern digitally designed anti-submarine warfare frigate, and each ship involves highly complex supply chains.
ASC Shipbuilding’s continuous naval shipbuilding strategy director, Sharon Wilson, welcomes the opportunity to partner with UniSA and draw on the expertise of local researchers to drive innovation in digital manufacturing and find innovative solutions to production challenges.
“Digital shipbuilding is all about connectivity – not just within the physical and digital shipyard but with our supply chain and customer – and the research will support everyone and every single part and product on the Hunter program to be connected,” Wilson explained.
Wilson added, “Together we’re creating a first-of-its-kind digital environment through the entire ship design and construction to improve productivity, quality and safety outcomes in the shipyard, and underpin growth and longevity in the naval shipbuilding industry in Australia.”
UniSA chief collaborator, Professor Bruce Thomas, from the Australian Research Centre for Interactive and Virtual Environments, said the research will focus on how narrative visualisation and big data processing can deliver, reshape and refine the highly complex manufacturing environment across the time frame required for each frigate build.
Professor Thomas explained, “Fundamentally, the research project will be changing the way processes are carried out internally and externally to the shipyard. Through data fusion, machine learning and artificial intelligence data analytics, and visualisation technologies, we will be bringing intelligent planning systems and smart ‘human in the loop’ decision making to the project.
“What we learn by adapting, trialling and testing to suit the Hunter Class frigate’s design will support the prototyping later this year, but will also build significant knowledge for wider application in Australian manufacturing,” Professor Thomas added.
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 Royal Australian Navy at a time when 50 percent 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 benefitting from the 48,000 tonnes of steel required to build the ships. (Source: Defence Connect)
21 Jul 20. General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Announces Team SkyGuardian Australia. General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA‑ASI), the world’s leading manufacturer of Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS), announces that the industry team, made up of Australian partner businesses assembled for the development and delivery of MQ-9B SkyGuardian® RPAS for Australia, will now be called “Team SkyGuardian Australia” (TSGA). This replaces the previous team name, “Team Reaper Australia.”
GA-ASI announced its intention to offer a Medium-altitude, Long-endurance (MALE) RPAS to the ADF during AVALON 2017 with the launch of Team Reaper Australia. Under Project Air 7003, GA-ASI was selected to provide MQ-9B SkyGuardian for the Armed RPAS capability for the Australian Defence Force (ADF).
Now known as Team SkyGuardian Australia, this group of robust Australian industry partners consists of 10 world-class Australian companies providing a range of innovative sensor, communication, manufacturing and life-cycle support capabilities. The 10 TSGA members – Cobham (TSGA lead industry partner), CAE, Raytheon Australia, Flight Data Systems, TAE Aerospace, Quickstep, Airspeed, Collins Aerospace, Ultra, and Sentient Vision Systems – are well positioned to provide a cohesive approach for meaningful and sustainable Australian industry content.
The change to the Australian industry team name was made in consultation with the ADF to better reflect the RPAS capability that will be delivered.
“GA-ASI is working closely with the ADF and our TSGA partners to deliver a robust Armed RPAS capability to Australia that meets the operational and industry capability requirements,” said Linden Blue, CEO. GA-ASI.
MQ-9B is GA-ASI’s most advanced RPAS. In addition to Australia, the UK Royal Air Force recently announced its MQ-9B production contract through UK Ministry of Defence and the Government of Belgium has approved Belgian Defense to negotiate the acquisition of MQ-9B. There has been significant interest from customers throughout the world.
The MQ-9B SkyGuardian will provide much-needed protection and support to Australian Land Forces, while having considerable potential to expand support into Multi-Domain Operations through GA-ASI’s development of advanced capabilities, including Anti-Submarine Warfare, Electronic Warfare, self-protection and Detect and Avoid systems, along with a range of advanced networking solutions. These roles suit the MQ-9B ideally for ADF future operations envisaged through the recently released 2020 Defence Strategic Update. (Source: Google/https://uasweekly.com/)
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.