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12 Oct 20. Over 30 expressions of interest in Type 31: Babcock. A year after being awarded the £1.25bn contract to build five Type 31 Frigates for the UK Royal Navy, Babcock Marine chief executive John Howie said there had been over 30 expressions of interest from overseas in the ship.

The high-standing of the Royal Navy, coupled with the cost and quick-turnaround of the ships has garnered around 34 expressions of interest from overseas buyers interested in acquiring the vessels. Howie said the power of the ‘white ensign’ and the ships ‘sticker price’ made the vessel an attractive option on the export market.

The comments were made during a media briefing on the status of the programme which also revealed the ships were on schedule despite the effects of the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic. The briefing also countered earlier claims that the cost and price of the vessels had slipped.

Babcock is working with UK Defence and Security Exports on opportunities to either license the design to foreign countries that have an existing sovereign shipbuilding sector, or build ships in the UK for foreign navies, leveraging extra space on the production line.

Howie said that while the company was building five frigates for the UK, this would not max-out production facilities, thereby allowing ships for foreign navies to also be manufactured.

The Type 31 Frigate is based on the existing Danish Iver Huitfeldt-class of ships which were built for the Royal Danish Navy between 2008 and 2011. For Type 31, the design has been updated to meet new regulations and incorporate features sought by the Royal Navy.

Commenting on why he expected Type 31 to be a bigger export success than the Iver Huitfeldt-class, Howie said: “As soon as the Royal Navy declared the price that they were going to pay for a frigate they were inundated with requests. I think they had something like 34 expressions of interest from countries around the world who sat up and took notice at the idea the Royal Navy would pay that amount of money for a frigate.

“And that is because that white ensign on the back of a ship, that seal of approval from a navy that is not the biggest in the world, but is still one of the most respected because of the operational tempo it runs and the training it gives (to) its people.”

Babcock has a £1.25bn contract to deliver five frigates, bringing the cost per ship to £250m. There had been some reports that the cost per vessel had ballooned to £400m, however, Howie said this figure included the Ministry of Defence (MOD) and Royal Navy’s costs and the cost of government-furnished equipment (GFE). The price per vessel paid to Babcock has not changed.

In order to meet the ambitious schedule, Babcock is aiming to build as much of the ships undercover as possible to mitigate the productivity challenges posed by poor weather. It is also set to build the ships without using any scaffolding. The company aims to have its new frigate assembly hall at Rosyth handed over for production in Summer 2021.

Under the company’s schedule, manufacturing of the first in-class Type 31 will begin in 2021 with ship five being delivered in 2028. Two ships will be built at a time, with a new vessel being added to the production line after a prior ship is delivered.

In order to meet the ambitious schedule, the vessel’s contract limits the options for the Royal Navy to alter the contract or change the vessels while they are in development. The Royal Navy is also in charge of bringing the ships into service.

Despite staff having to work from home, the development of the vessel was on-schedule, with 73% of subcontracts tendered, including the vessel’s guns, main engines, diesel generators, and combat management system.

Babcock described Type 31 as a ‘pathfinder contract’ adding that it would deliver 1,250 direct jobs and an extra 1,250 additional jobs in the ships supply chain. (Source: naval-technology.com)


13 Oct 20. Accelerated Replacement of Hercules Transport Aircraft. Defense will replace the current four C-130H Hercules transport aircraft ahead of schedule. The project is now being implemented between 2021 and 2028, with the first planes arriving in 2026. State Secretary Barbara Visser wrote this to the House yesterday.

The current aircraft were bought in 1992 (two new) and in 2005 (two used). The oldest is from 1978. Its normal lifespan of 30 years has thus expired. As a result, the readiness of the aircraft is now also insufficient.

This fact, combined with the limited number of aircraft, ensures that availability lags behind the needs of Defense. If one of the aircraft fails, the already limited capacity will immediately come under further pressure. Therefore, the simultaneous execution of tasks is now limited.

Direct replacement cheaper

Defense has come to the conclusion that the planned maintenance does not provide the necessary improvement in deployability. Modernization of the current fleet would reduce availability even further over the next four years.

Their replacement is financially more beneficial and improves employability. That is why the previously-decided maintenance program is no longer carried out, and the current aircraft will be replaced immediately.

Requirements for new aircraft

The new aircraft must be able to be used all over the world, even under difficult conditions. The replacement must therefore be able to land on unpaved and short runways. The aircraft can transport (seriously) injured people and provide high-quality medical care during transport.

Defense needs at least 2,400 flight hours per year. An aircraft must be able to transport multiple types of equipment (including ammunition and vehicles) or a minimum of 60 paratroopers. This means that a distance of 2,000 nautical miles can be covered. The aircraft will be provided with self-protection equipment and communication and information facilities for participation in information-led operations.


The costs are between €250m and €1bn. So-called off-the-shelf devices are bought for this. These are existing aircraft that have already proven themselves. In the follow-up phases, it will be examined how Dutch industry can be involved. (Unofficial translation by Defense-Aerospace.com) (Source: defense-aerospace.com/Dutch Ministry of Defence)

15 Oct 20. Finland, Latvia and Patria signed a R&D agreement on developing common armoured vehicle system. Finland and Latvia together with Patria, have signed a research and development (R&D) agreement for a common armoured vehicle system. This agreement is a next step in this collaborative programme after the countries last spring signed a joint technical arrangement (TA). The purpose of the R&D agreement is to develop a common armoured vehicle system, based on the Patria 6×6 vehicle and developed to meet the common requirements of the countries. The agreement also allows for the development of other new vehicle variants and system features later. The joint Finnish-Latvian research and development organization will direct and supervise development work, in which Finland will act as the leading country.

“This is an excellent opportunity for us, and we are confident that this program will be beneficial for all parties. This is a unique multinational co-operation which is built on identified common benefits over the full lifetime of the system. Patria is proud of being able to provide our expertise in the joint development programs into use of this program. The participating countries will seek for a very cost-effective solution that will certainly be of interest to other countries as well who are keen on enhancing their army mobility”, states Jussi Järvinen, President of Patria’s Land business unit.

Patria launched its 6×6 vehicle at Eurosatory in 2018. The Patria 6×6 vehicle combines all the proven features of Patria’s XA and AMV vehicles. It is simplified, reliable and designed to meet the highest requirements of customers. Its state-of-the-art terrain mobility is guaranteed by an efficient power unit and the independent suspension familiar from the Patria’s AMV vehicle. Due to the spacious cabin and well-defined functions, the vehicle is easy to operate and to train. Reliability and low life cycle costs are underlined by the multitude of commercial components used in the vehicle.

The key areas of Patria’s Land business unit are armoured wheeled vehicles, mortar systems and related lifecycle support services. Business unit employs 230 people in Hämeenlinna and Tampere.

12 Oct 20. Opinion on the Replacement of the Dutch Submarines: The study phase examined. In 2016, the Minister of Defense started a new submarine procurement project. In December 2019, the minister informed parliament in a so-called B letter the choice she wanted to make.

This is the largest new investment project of the Ministry of Defense since the purchase of JSF fighter aircraft.

On October 12, 2020, the Court of Audit published a report in which we examined the study phase of the ministry’s process to procure new submarines. We conclude that the budget reserved by the Ministers of Defense for replacement and operation is not sufficient. At least €730m will have to be added.

In the report “Views on the replacement of submarines,” we note that at the end of 2019, the Ministry of Defense properly provided parliament with more insight into the total purchase, operation and maintenance of the submarine replacement project. But the reserved budget is not enough.

In addition, the Netherlands will not be able to meet its own target for the next 10 years: at most 2 of the current 4 boats of the Walrus class can be used simultaneously.

Financial risks

The research shows that since 2016 the Minister of Defense has already increased the budget by € 1.14bn extra for this large materiel project. The total budget has almost tripled since 2016, partly because the operating burden has been mapped out for 30 years.

Since not all foreseeable expenses for the new submarines and their operation have been included, we conclude that the budget is too low. In addition to price level adjustments, we identify financial risks. For example, the costs of the transition phase from the Walrus class to a new type of boat have not yet been calculated. Not all armament is included either.

Furthermore, experience in countries such as Canada and Australia shows that the use of modern submarines is more expensive than older generations. It is not clear whether international cooperation saves or increases costs. Unforeseen risks have not yet been included in this project.

Don’t buy a boat off the shelf

In the so-called B letter from the minister to parliament, she inquired about the choices she wants to make. The intended type of boat is a combination of various designs of yards, not one of which has proven itself in service. The Netherlands therefore probably cannot buy “off the shelf” to replace the current four Walrus class boats from the 90s with four new ones.

According to the minister, a better design that could handle all tasks with three units would be rejected due to excessive costs. The Ministry of Defense will not determine the final design choice until later.

The current submarines will be given a service life extension. That limited their efforts in 2016, 2018 and 2019. In those years, the Netherlands could not meet its own standard of two deployable boats, let alone the NATO target of three submarines. This will not be the case for the next 10 years either.


We indicate in the report that the House of Representatives and the Senate can better keep their finger on the pulse if they make further agreements about the provision of information with the Minister and State Secretary of Defense. The House of Representatives previously placed this investment project in the Large Projects Scheme. But that has not worked out yet. The Court of Audit gives points for attention in this regard, referring to the earlier publication on a major materiel project of Defense, Lessons from the JSF.

The Minister of Defense will not actually make a decision regarding the acquisition of new submarines until the so-called D phase of the Defense Materiel Process.

What methods did we use in our research?

In October 2016, we already sent parliament a letter with points for attention about the investment project for submarines of Defense.

For the “Views on the replacement of submarines” report, we examined the study phase of the Ministry of Defense (the so-called B phase of the Defense Materiel Process). The underlying documents have been studied. This includes the multi-criteria analysis that the ministry has used to investigate the capacities and possibilities of new types of submarines and to map the choices made by the Netherlands. In our research, we will further discuss the chosen boat type, the number of boats to be purchased and the required budget.

Why did we investigate this Ministry of Defense investment project?

The Court of Audit examines the expenditure, income and obligations of the central government. The proposed investment of the Ministry of Defense in new submarines is one of the largest projects for this Ministry. The choices that the minister and parliament must make in this regard may also influence other investment projects at this ministry.


The total expected expenditure for the purchase and operation of new submarines has been declared commercially confidential by the Ministry due to the ongoing tendering process. That is why the Court of Audit reports in a confidential annex to the House of Representatives on some aspects thereof.

The report Visor on the replacement of submarines was presented to the House of Representatives and the Senate on 12 October 2020 and made public. The State Secretary of Defense has responded to the findings and conclusions of the Court of Audit. We also published this information on October 12, 2020. The House of Representatives will be updated on the confidential information in a confidential consultation.

(Unofficial translation by Defense-Aerospace.com)

(Source: defense-aerospace.com/Rekenkamer – Dutch National Audit Office)

10 Oct 20. Serbia tests Chinese drones, Russian jets at major exercise. Russian-made jet fighters, helicopter gunships and tanks fired at ground targets while Chinese combat drones flew overhead on Saturday at the desolate Pester training ground in Serbia’s westernmost region in a show of revamped military power.

The training drill, dubbed Cooperation 2020 and attended by President Aleksandar Vucic and other dignitaries, underlined Serbia’s close military ties with Beijing and Moscow.

In recent years, Belgrade has accelerated defence spending as it seeks dominance in the Western Balkans.

Its military budget rose to around $1.14bn in 2020 and 2019 – 43% more than in 2018. This year’s military spending represented about 2.4 percent of gross domestic product.

“We are strengthening our army to deter any aggressor, we have no intention to wage any … conflicts,” Vucic told reporters after the exercise.

For the first time, Serbia demonstrated the use of CH-92A combat drones, the first such deployment of Chinese unmanned aerial vehicles in Europe. It received six such drones in June.

Beijing sees Serbia as part of its Belt and Road Initiative, aimed at opening new foreign trade links for Chinese companies that have invested billions of euros, mainly in soft loans for infrastructure and energy projects.

For Saturday’s exercise, the Serbian military deployed over 40 aircraft, around 150 vehicles including tanks and armoured personnel carriers, and some 2,800 troops.

The Serbian military is loosely based on former Soviet technology and in recent years Belgrade has procured MiG-29 fighter jets and other weapons from Russia, including the Mi-35 helicopter gunships and Pantsir air defence system shown on Saturday.

Serbia, which is a European Union membership candidate, declared military neutrality in 2006. It joined NATO’s Partnership for Peace program, though it does not seek full membership in the Western defence alliance. (Source: Reuters)

09 Oct 20. First Portuguese modernised Super Lynx delayed to 2021. The delivery of the first modernised Super Lynx Mk 95A helicopter to the Portuguese Navy has been pushed back to early January 2021. The helicopter was due to be received on 30 September but its delivery has been postponed due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Portuguese Navy told Janes. Leonardo was awarded a EUR69m (then USD76.45m) contract in July 2016 to modernise the Portuguese Navy’s five Super Lynx Mk 95 aircraft. Under current scheduling, delivery of all five is expected to be completed in 2021. The first modernised helicopter completed its maiden flight on 14 February at Leonardo Helicopters’ facility in Yeovil, United Kingdom. Evaluation of the helicopter is scheduled for December as part of the certification of the type. Pilots are due to finalise their training in early December. The modernisation package includes the replacement of the original Rolls-Royce Gem 42 engines with more powerful LHTEC CTS800-4N turboshafts. (Source: Jane’s)

07 Oct 20. EASA invites comments on proposals for BVLOS operations in an urban environment. The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) invites comments on the overall concept presented at the webinar hosted by the agency on 1 October on beyond line of visual sight (BVLOS) operations in an urban environment according to the current EASA timetable the Agency plans to:

  • Receive comments on this proposal by NAAs by 9 October
  • Review the changes proposed to EASA SORA with JARUS WG6 by end of October
  • Publish by the end of 2020 the Cert Memo/DOARI/GM or similar regulatory material to bridge time until adoption of new regulation
  • Publish by end of 2020/beginning 2021 a Decision with amendments to EASA SORA
  • Have a focused consultation with all affected stakeholders on the proposal of the new regulation on AW of certified UAS in medium risk in the specific category by Q1 2021
  • Publish the new regulation on AW of UAS in medium risk in the specific category by Q3 2021

A summary of the principal points raised and discussed during the webinar is available on the UVS International website, the association representing manufacturers and operators of remotely piloted systems. The main points are summarised as follows:

Population density

  • For the purpose of developing a map to identify the population density, EASA plans to launch a dedicated study;
  • Instead of static maps, EASA is looking to develop a technology to establish the real density on the exact moment. The study will define the most appropriate solution to achieve this objective. The study will also allow to develop a clear definition of ‘‘populated areas’’. The study will address the whole territory of Europe;
  • It has not yet been decided who will conduct the study, EASA is currently looking for resources to finance this activity.

EU (through EASA) is competent to assess the design of an aircraft (including drones)

  • EASA is the competent authority in the EU for the verification of the design of aircraft (including drones). EASA may in the future consider to use the support of other entities (e.g. Qualified Entity or NAA). However it is too early at this stage to discuss this;
  • NAAs are the competent authorities for assessing operational and pilot competency aspects. Also in this case, NAA may be supported by Qualified Entities (QE) or recognized entities (e.g. consulting companies).

High robustness for SAIL V and VI

  • EASA believes that there is an inconsistency between the level of robustness required for OSO 4 (design) and OSO 5 (reliability). For SAIL V OSO 4 is “M” and OSO 5 is “H”. The reliability cannot be verified without the verification of the design. EASA intends to modify the robustness of OSO 4 as described in the presentation; however it will introduce the flexibility to use standards for experimental operations. EASA will discuss this with JARUS WG 6;
  • UAS to be operated in high risk operations in the specific category will be required to be certified according to Part 21.

JARUS SORA developments

  • When addressing the risk of collision when more than one UAS are flying in the same airspace (e.g. urban), SORA currently considers only one operation of an UAS, the JARUS WG 6 is now working on Annex G to SORA to tackle that drone-to-drone collision risk. However, EASA considers that in the first phase, the number of UAS operations will not be too high;
  • JARUS is also working on cybersecurity issues. A new document on cybersecurity will shortly be out for consultation.

Light certification process for «medium assurance operations»

  • EASA offers the NAA the possibility to mandate (within the operational authorisations) that UAS operators use certified drones when conducting operations in the medium risk (SAIL III and IV). In that case, the liability (in case of technical failure) changes from the UAS operator to the manufacturer. In this case, the EASA certificate will cover all OSOs related to design [OSOs 2, 4, 5, 6, 10, 12, 18, 19 (limited to criteria 3), 20, 24], and the NAA will verify compliance only for the remaining OSOs;
  • Manufacturers may also apply directly to EASA for a certification. Some manufacturers will find it beneficiary to protect proprietary information;
  • In case a NAA does not want to require a certified UAS, the NAA will accept a declaration covering also the design related OSOs from the operator. The declaration will have to be signed by the UAS operator, who will declare the compliance to all OSOs and will bear the liability;
  • A regulation defining a simplified certification process (inspired by the light certification process defined in the new Part 21 Light, Part CAMO and Part ML with additional simplifications) will be developed.

CE marking: When is it mandatory?

To clarify this point, it is better to explain how the design of a drone will be assessed in the different categories.

  • In the certified category, and the specific category high risk, only drones with a (restricted) TC issued by EASA can be used;
  • In the specific category low/medium level of risk, there is some flexibility:
  • If the operation is covered by a standard scenario (STS), the CE class label marking is mandatory;
  • For all other operations the following 3 options are possible: – The operator includes in the application for authorisation to be sent to the NAA also the declaration of compliance of the drone with the design related OSOs; – The NAA mandates that for some operations only drones with a TC issued by EASA can be used; – Manufacturer voluntarily applies for a (R)TC and puts a drone with the (R)TC on the market. In that case, the UAS operator will not need to declare compliance to the design related OSOs.
  • With regards to PDRAs (predefined risk assessments), these still require an authorisation by the NAA. The PDRA already includes the package that a UAS operator needs to deliver to the NAA in order to get the authorisation; the purpose of PDRA is to facilitate the process for the UAS operator, so the authorisation process will again follow one of the 3 options above;
  • EASA is in the process to publish by the end of this year two new PDRAs mirroring the STSs (the only difference with STS will be that a drone with CE class mark will not be required) and an additional PDRA for BVLOS operations in sparsely populated area in reserved airspace.

Experimental flights under the Specific category

  • The authorisation process will be the same as per ‘normal’ operations: UAS operator will apply to the competent authority to show compliance with requirements and depending on the SAIL and the evidence provided by the operator;
  • It is foreseen that the vast majority of this kind of operations will be conducted in a controlled area where the ground risk and the air risk is very limited. A provision will be included to have the flexibility to not use any standard for design;
  • UAS operators are invited to develop PDRAs for the purpose of test flights.

JARUS SORA developments

  • JARUS WG 6 is already working to expand the scope of SORA to address the risk of collision when more UAS are flying in the same airspace (e.g. urban): for now SORA considers only one operation of an UAS; however, we consider that in the first phase, the number of UAS operations will not be too high;
  • JARUS is also working on cybersecurity issues – the new Annex on cybersecurity will be out for consultation in a few weeks;
  • Annex F was published in April for WG6 internal consultation. JARUS is also addressing ground to ground risk, swarm of drones. In few weeks some documents should be issued.

Discussing changes to SORA with JARUS

  • EASA will discuss with JARUS the proposed changes to SORA;
  • Even if discussed and agreed with JARUS, JARUS may not update and publish SORA by the end of this year. In EU it is more urgent and we have different timeline, as we included SORA in our regulatory framework.

Way forward to ensure a uniform & consistent implementation of medium risk operations in the specific category

  • EASA is conducting weekly meetings with NAAs to understand their needs. We also plan to establish a common repository to share the best practices and then to decide which ones are the most effective. Based on this, EASA may then later on be able to accommodate some changes in the regulation (if needed);
  • EASA will monitor and assure that the approach is consistent. With the new approach,
  • manufacturers will have a proportionate tool to make their product available on the market. With regards to reliability, it will be beneficial for both NAAs and manufacturers to follow the approach.

EASA invites comments on the overall concept presented and the points mentioned above. Comments are to be sent to Barbara Zygala (barbara.zygula@easa.europa.eu) and should be received prior to 14th of October 2020.

Link to the EASA presentation: https://rpas-regulations.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/EASA_Presentation_Operations-Medium-Risk-Specific-Category_201001_TR.pdf

For more information visit:

https://rpas-regulations.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/201004_EASA_BVLOS-Ops-in-Urban-Environments_TR.pdf (Source: www.unmannedairspace.info)


07 Oct 20. DISA touts SETI for small business contracts. The Defense Information Systems Agency wants to be the Defense Department’s go-to when it comes to innovative IT contracts and hopes its latest success with the $7.5bn Systems Engineering, Technology and Innovation contract vehicle for small businesses, wins them over.

DISA’s technology and innovation contracting team recently received the Verdure Award from the Defense Department’s Small Business Vanguard Awards Program, which aims to reward streamlined procurement with small businesses, for its work on the SETI contract.

SETI is part of DISA’s effort to consolidate its IT services and has a $7.5bn ceiling with separate tracks for large and small businesses. SETI has been billed as a more flexible option for commodity IT services like systems engineering, architecture, and test and evaluation.

Carlen Capenos, DISA’s director for small business programs, told reporters Oct. 9 the award leads to more DOD use of the SETI contracting vehicle. “I’m hoping the DOD will just use our contracts since it has a large capability, a large capacity, and a 10-year lifecycle at this point,” she said.

Christopher Gray, DISA’s head of defense IT contracting in the National Capital Region said he hopes to “prove out these innovative acquisition methodologies” used in the program the over the next six months.

“We want to show people that there is a more efficient manner to get these emerging technologies and innovative solutions on contracts” under SETI, Gray said. “We can’t continue to accept the status quo [of] six months plus to get a requirement under contract.”

Moreover, DISA is hoping the contracting mechanism can be ultimately used for system sustainment.

“Something that we’ve seen in the department for many, many years is developmental task orders that have a never ending lifespan” with multiple re-awards, said Christopher Riley, SETI’s program manager.

“When these engineering developmental life cycle task orders move successfully into integration, off of SETI into an operation and sustainment world, that means we’ve done it the right way.” (Source: Defense Systems)

13 Oct 20. The Cost of the Navy’s New Frigate Program. On April 30, 2020, the Navy awarded Fincantieri Marinette Marine a contract to build the Navy’s new surface combatant, a guided missile frigate long designated as FFG(X). The contract guarantees that Fincantieri will build the lead ship (the first ship designed for a class) and gives the Navy options to build as many as nine additional ships.

In this report, the Congressional Budget Office examines the potential costs if the Navy exercises all of those options.

— CBO estimates the cost of the 10 FFG(X) ships would be $12.3bn in 2020 (inflation-adjusted) dollars, about $1.2bn per ship, on the basis of its own weight-based cost model. That amount is 40 percent more than the Navy’s estimate.

— The Navy estimates that the 10 ships would cost $8.7bn in 2020 dollars, an average of $870m per ship.

— If the Navy’s estimate turns out to be accurate, the FFG(X) would be the least expensive surface combatant program of the past 50 years (measured in cost per thousand tons when the ship is mostly empty), even in comparison to much less capable ships.

Several factors support the Navy’s estimate:

— The FFG(X) is based on a design that has been in production for many years.

— Little if any new technology is being developed for it.

– The contractor is an experienced builder of small surface combatants.

— An independent estimate within the Department of Defense (DoD) was lower than the Navy’s estimate.

Other factors suggest the Navy’s estimate is too low:

— The costs of all surface combatants since 1970, as measured per thousand tons, were higher.

— Historically the Navy has almost always underestimated the cost of the lead ship, and a more expensive lead ship generally results in higher costs for the follow-on ships.

— even when major parts of the ship’s estimated cost are known, as they were for the Arleigh burke destroyer, costs have turned out to be higher than initially estimated.

— compared with the design on which it is based, the FFG(X) will be more densely built and will have somewhat more complex weapon systems.

In addition, although the Navy’s contract with Fincantieri is for a fixed price, which limits the government’s financial liability, that fixed-price contract does not guarantee that costs will not increase for three reasons:

— The terms of the Navy’s contract permit the ship’s contract price to be increased under certain circumstances.

— The Navy could make changes to the ship’s design during construction that would increase costs, as it did, for example, in the littoral combat ship (LCS) program.

— If costs rise enough to threaten the financial viability of the shipbuilder, the Navy may opt to cover some of those higher costs rather than experience a disruption in a shipbuilding program that it considers essential.

The Navy considers frigates to be small surface combatants, in contrast to its large surface combatants (cruisers and destroyers, of which the Navy currently has 91 in service).

Since the earliest days of the republic, the Navy has been composed of smaller and larger ships with different levels of armaments that are capable of performing a variety of missions. The last frigate the Navy operated was the FFG-7 Oliver Hazard Perry class. The Navy procured 51 Perry class ships for itself; another 20 were built for or by foreign countries. The Navy’s last Perry class ship was retired in 2015.

https://www.cbo.gov/system/files/2020-10/56669-New-Frigate-Program.pdf (Source: defense-aerospace.com/Congressional Budget Office)

15 Oct 20. US Navy CNO outlines next-generation destroyer and submarine specifications. The US Navy is looking to the Arleigh Burke-class destroyer for guidance as it moves forward with plans to develop a next-generation destroyer, the US Navy’s Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Admiral Mike Gilday said on Tuesday

Speaking at a Defense One event, Gilday said that the future Destroyer – dubbed DDG Next – would likely be smaller than the Zumwalt-class destroyer, but include a larger missile magazine than the US Navy’s current ships.

Gilday said: “When you talk about large surface combatants, people in their mind’s eye, they’re thinking battleship. That’s not where we’re going. We’re talking about a ship that’s going to be probably smaller than a Zumwalt, right? I don’t want to build a monstrosity. But I need deeper magazines on a manned ship, deeper than we have right now.”

Flight IIA variant Arleigh Burke-class destroyers have a displacement of 9,500 tonnes, and Zumwalt-class destroyers have a displacement of nearly 16,000 tonnes.

The CNO said the newest Flight III variant Arleigh Burke-class destroyers are limited in terms of additional ‘stuff’ that could be added onto the ships. Systems and technologies from those ships, however, would likely be put onto the new hulls to give the navy room to add new capabilities to a future destroyer over its service life.

Commenting on the ‘next destroyer’, Gilday added: “that would be a new hull, right? But what we would leverage is existing technologies to put on that hull, right, and then to update, modernise those capabilities over time.

“So think DDG-51 [Arleigh Burke]. That’s essentially what we did, right? We built a new hull, we put Aegis on it. We put known systems that were reliable and were already fielded [tested] out in the fleet. And that’s kind of the idea.”

Gilday added: “In my mind, based on the work we’ve done in the Pentagon, smaller than a Zumwalt, but packing some power.”

During the event, Gilday also added that a future destroyer would likely borrow the power generation capabilities of ship’s like the Zumwalt to ‘sustain weapons like directed energy’ that would make the ship and the wider navy fleet more ‘survivable’.USS

SSN(X) the future attack submarine

Commenting on the next-generation attack submarine or SSN(X), Gilday said that ‘significant and important R&D’ efforts were currently underway with ‘money’ already put against it.

Related Report

Gilday said the advantage the US has in the subsea domain was one that needs to be maintained but also something the navy needed to expand. Gilday added: “I want to own the undersea forever because I know that I can be really lethal from the undersea.

“I know in terms of sea control and sea denial that that’s a significant advantage that I can – that we can bring to bear for an operational commander and the rest of the joint force.”

The CNO added that the future attack submarine was not just about ‘a lot of missiles’ but also speed. Gilday said: “The inherent mobility of naval forces is really important. When you think attack boat, you’re thinking an asset that I can move around so that I can meet the timing and tempo of an operational commander’s need to deliver ordnance on a target in a timely fashion. And so it’s got to be a fast sub as well.”

The comments from Gilday come as the US Navy has wrapped a force structure assessment that will see the navy develop plans to build a 500-ship navy.

During a recent speech at Center for Strategic & Budgetary Assessments, Secretary of Defense Mark Esper said: “Battle Force 2045 calls for a more balanced Navy of over 500 manned and unmanned ships.

“Further, we will reach 355 traditional Battle Force ships prior to 2035, the time at which the PRC aims to fully modernise its military. And most importantly, we now have a credible path for reaching 355 plus ships in an era of fiscal constraint.”

Under the proposed force the US Navy is set to build a larger submarine fleet, begin building three Virginia-class submarines a year ‘as soon as possible’. Under the plans, the navy could also supplement nuclear-powered aircraft carriers with light carriers that use short takeoff or vertical landing aircraft (STVOL) like the F-35B.

During his speech, Esper said that the Pentagon was considering using vessels like the America-Class light carrier to provide ‘additional presence and capacity to carry out day-to-day missions and free up supercarriers for more critical high-end fights.’ (Source: naval-technology.com)

14 Oct 20. Lockheed, Bell begin forging prototypes to compete for Army’s future armed recon aircraft. Lockheed Martin’s Sikorsky and Bell have each begun to forge the aircraft that will compete to become the U.S. Army’s Future Armed Reconnaissance Aircraft (FARA) expected to be fielded by 2030.

“It’s become very real to me,” Brig. Gen. Wally Rugen, who leads the Army’s effort to develop future vertical lift aircraft, told Defense News in a recent interview. “We’re seeing forgings, castings, transmissions, gear boxes, blades, cockpits, airframes, real tangible things that are already built, already manufactured and going together,” he said.

Final designs on the aircraft are due from both Bell and Lockheed in November, according to Rugen. And despite complications across the defense industry due to the coronavirus pandemic, both vendors “see no problem” achieving that original schedule.

The Army will take about a month to review those final designs, Rugen said, and then the service will conduct a readiness review with Army senior leaders in mid-December, where the hope is the program will get the final go-ahead.

The service is pushing for the prototypes to fly for the first time in the first quarter of fiscal 2023.

One major factor in getting those prototypes airborne is whether the Army’s Improved Turbine Engine Program (ITEP) engine is ready to drop into the aircraft. The ITEP engine has been developed to replace the engines in UH-60 Black Hawk utility and AH-64 Apache attack helicopters, but will also be FARA’s first engine.

Key to progress with that is getting the first engine into testing starting in late 2021, Rugen said. “That is our engine and that is our critical path really through the engine,” he said.

General Electric, which is building the ITEP engine for the Army, “understands that,” Rugen said. “They’ve had a lot of friction to fight through and they’re fighting through it very well from what I can see,” he added, referring to the impact of the pandemic on the company’s progress.

While the ITEP engine schedule has not slipped, it has now essentially lost any padding and is aligned with the original schedule, Rugen said. General Electric and the Army had previously found some ways to accelerate the timeline.

In addition to ITEP, the Army is also planning on furnishing a gun and a modular effects launcher to both competitors.

The 20mm gun has begun firing live rounds and will fire 285,000 rounds “this year,” Rugen said.

The modular effects launcher is in the prototyping phase, but Rugen added that, like the 20mm gun, it will fly at Project Convergence 2021 on a FARA surrogate aircraft.

Sikorsky has pitched a design based off of its S-97 Raider that it is calling the Raider X. The S-97 has been flying for more than five years. “These flights have produced tremendous data that inform our flight program, help refine the design of Raider X … and reduce risk for the program,” Jay Macklin, Sikorsky’s business development director for FVL, told Defense News.

The company began building physical components last year in anticipation of a contract to build a prototype, he said. Sikorsky also has had key suppliers under contract for more than a year.

During the flight test period, Sikorsky plans to be “more focused on validation of design versus traditional methods of fly-fix-fly that have been used on many past aircraft across industry,” Macklin said.

Bell unveiled its design — the 360 Invictus — for FARA a year ago just ahead of the Association of the U.S. Army’s annual conference.

Bell has completed multiple design and risk reviews and reports it is on schedule for its build, according to Chris Gehler, vice president and program director of the Invictus program.

The company has completed critical design reviews for rotors and drive systems, and the team has been accepting parts at its Amarillo, Texas, facility where it will soon begin to build the aircraft, Gehler told Defense News. (Source: Defense News Early Bird/Defense News)

13 Oct 20. US Army tactical network office wants industry info on SATCOM as a service. The U.S. Army’s tactical network modernization office released a request for information Wednesday for commercial satellite communications as a service.

The RFI, released by Program Executive Office Command, Control, Communications-Tactical, will give the Army tactical network team an improved understanding of existing industry best practices, technological advancements and innovative business models for commercially managed satellites that could replace the operating design of its logistics network, known as the sustainment tactical network.

“We are looking to our industry partners to provide us with inventive approaches to meet our logistics transport capabilities needs,” said Col. Shane Taylor, the Army’s project manager for Tactical Network (PM TN), in a press release. “This includes both end item material solutions, as well as what corresponding leasing cost models could look like to enable the Army to maximize capabilities while balancing long-term affordability.”

Commercially managed SATCOM would be an improvement over the standard SATCOM capabilities because currently the Army must purchase all the hardware, software, maintenance and sustainment needs, along with other related capabilities, on independent, standalone contracts, the press release said. With SATCOM as a service, the PEO C3T will procure all the capabilities under a single contract, paying for each leased Very Small Aperture Terminal (VSAT) ground satellite terminal.

“We want to deliver the right STN SATCOM capability at the right price, while keeping current with technology and ahead of obsolescence,” said Lt. Col. Natashia Coleman, product lead for Unified Network Capabilities and Integration. “To do that we need to better understand how and what industry can provide, what their different managed services models would look like, how they could each best support our hardware and support services requirements, and then compare that to the more traditional way we are providing the capability now and determine which would work best.

“Whatever the outcome, taking the time upfront to review all of the options will enable us to deliver the best solution for the Army,” she sadded.

According to Paul Mehney, communications director for PEO C3T, the program office expects industry to demonstrate their SATCOM as a service capabilities for engineer and operational assessment. Mehney said that the office will consider the companies’ ability to provide and maintain terminals, obtain host nation agreements for use of bandwidth, provide a help desk to address network access issues, and technical support to users and VSAT systems.

Mehney also said that the logistics network modernization efforts aligns with increased capacity, resiliency and convergence goals of Capability Set ’23, the next iteration of new network tools set to be delivered in fiscal 2023.

“We are looking to incorporate STN design goals as part of CS23 and beyond; providing initial STN elements for CS23 (such as modernized VSAT and Local Transport capabilities) to support CS priorities over time,” Mehney said. Responses are due Nov. 6. (Source: C4ISR & Networks)

13 Oct 20. US Navy eyes new design for next-generation destroyer. The U.S. Navy is looking to build a new generation of destroyers from a clean-sheet design, following the model of one of its most successful ship classes, the Arleigh Burke-class DDG, the service’s top officer said Tuesday.

The idea, colloquially referred to in-house as DDG Next, is to build a new hull smaller than the nearly 16,000-ton Zumwalt-class destroyer but still big enough to accommodate a larger missile magazine, Adm. Michael Gilday told a virtual audience at Defense One’s State of the Navy event.

“I don’t want to build a monstrosity. But I need deeper magazines on ships than I have right now,” the chief of naval operations said. “I’m limited with respect to DDG Flight IIIs in terms of what additional stuff we could put on those ships. … So the idea is to come up with the next destroyer, and that would be a new hull. The idea would be to put existing technologies on that hull and update and modernize those capabilities over time.”

The Navy is supposed to start buying the new ship in 2025, according to the service’s 2020 30-year shipbuilding plan, though it’s unclear how its forthcoming force structure assessment will affect those plans. In his recent speech on the Defense Department’s plan for a 500-plus ship Navy, Defense Secretary Mark Esper made no mention of the future large surface combatant.

To avoid another costly failure, such as the canceled next-generation cruiser or severely truncated DDG-1000 program, the service is harkening back to its successful Arleigh Burke program, the mainstay of the Navy’s surface combatant program for the past 30 years, Gilday said. Much like on the forthcoming Constellation-class frigates, the service plans to install fielded systems on the new ship and upgrade them over time.

“So think DDG-51 (that’s exactly what we did): We had a new hull but we put Aegis on it,” Gilday said. “We put known systems that were reliable and were already fielded out in the fleet. That’s kind of the idea. I call it DDG Next to kind of right-size it. Smaller than a Zumwalt but packing some heat nonetheless.”

The Navy estimates it would need $22bn annually in constant year 2019 dollars to execute its old shipbuilding plan, though the Congressional Budget Office put the estimate more than 30 percent higher. A major driver in the difference between the CBO and Navy estimate was the cost of a future large surface combatant, according the Congressional Research Service. The emergence of hypersonic missiles has been a driving factor in the Navy’s desire to field a new large surface combatant since such weapons wont fit in the current vertical launch system cells on Burke-class destroyers and existing cruisers. They will, however, fit in the Virginia Payload Module being built into the Block V Virginia submarines awarded last year. (Source: Defense News)

13 Oct 20. US Army firms up requirements for future long-range assault aircraft ahead of competition. The U.S. Army’s Future Long-Range Assault Aircraft program passed through the Army Requirements Oversight Council’s gauntlet and received preliminary approval of its abbreviated capabilities development document, bringing the aircraft a step closer to a competitive procurement, according to the head of the service’s future vertical lift efforts.

The service is on a tight timeline to field a brand-new, long-range assault aircraft by 2030.

“The AROC went well,” Brig. Gen. Wally Rugen told Defense News in an Oct. 6 interview. “The aviation enterprise continues to impress me, just our ability to drive on these tough administrative and requirements tasks and get them done on time and do what we said we were going to do.”

At the time of the interview, not all of the paperwork was signed and the ink wasn’t dry. However, Rugen said, “it was probably one of the best AROCs I have attended in my career.”

He was hesitant to go into too much detail regarding the contents of the draft request for proposals — expected before the end of the year — but said: “We really are focused on our air assault mission configuration” and what that means for the number of troops that would need to be aboard and what requirements are needed to conduct that mission in darkness. Otherwise, the FLRAA program won’t have “a ton of mandatory attributes” in order to “leave a lot of space for innovation as long as we achieve that air assault mission configuration.”

The Army envisions FLRAA as less of an aircraft for the aerial movement of troops and more for complementing the air assault mission, according to Rugen.

While the Army wants a squad and enablers in the back of the aircraft, “when you think about an air assault mission, it’s far more integrated,” he said..

“And when it comes to joint, when it comes to fires, when it comes to the tactical objective, the air movement — which is a bit more administrative in nature and not as intense on the combat scale — when we talk about air assault, we want transformational reach,” he added, “that ability to exploit any penetration and disintegration that the Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft ecosystem, along with our joint partners has created.”

The Army wants the speed, range and endurance at range, which “we’ve really honed in over a year on the trades with that,” Rugen said.

“We are bounded also by what is achievable and affordable, and those inputs have come in and, again, really pleased with that balance between what we do on the requirements side and what the [program executive office] is doing in the competitive demonstration and risk-reduction phase on their side of the house to really get after those technologies.”

The Army has spent the good part of the last decade using a technology demonstration program to inform its requirements for FLRAA. Bell and a Sikorsky-Boeing team have each designed, built and flown technology demonstrators and are now both part of the ongoing risk-reduction phase. The companies are expected to compete head-to-head to build FLRAA for the Army.

Bell first flew its V-280 Valor tilt-rotor demonstrator in December 2017, and Sikorsky and Boeing flew their SB-1 Defiant coaxial helicopter in March 2019.

The Army plans to kick off the competition in the first half of next year with a request for proposals. The service was considering two different paths to build prototypes for FLRAA, but is pushing toward a contract award in fiscal 2022 for the winning team.

Prototypes would be delivered either in the spring or summer of 2026, depending on which path the Army decides to take. The Army is driving toward entering a production and deployment phase in 2028 ahead of the first unit receiving the aircraft in 2030.

At the same time the Army plans to procure a future attack reconnaissance aircraft along the same timeline. Bell and Lockheed Martin are locked into a head-to-head competition to build that aircraft for the service. (Source: Defense News)

05 Oct 20. NASA’s Small Spacecraft Technology Plan — Request for Information (RFI). NASA/Ames Research Center (ARC) on behalf of the Space Technology Mission Directorate’s (STMD) Small Spacecraft Technology (SST) Program, is hereby soliciting information from potential sources for inputs on the desired future states / mini design reference capabilities (called “Outcomes”) and the associated “Technology Gaps” that need to be closed to achieve those “Outcomes” that are listed in NASA STMD’s Small Spacecraft Technology Plan.

An overview in presentation format of this plan along with the “Outcomes” and “Technology Gaps” can be download from the attachment: .

NASA is pursuing rapid identification, development, and testing of capabilities that exploit agile spacecraft platforms and responsive launch capabilities to increase the pace of space exploration, scientific discovery, and the expansion of space commerce. These emerging capabilities have the potential to enable new mission architectures, enhance conventional missions, and promote development and deployment on faster timelines. This will, in turn, allow NASA to achieve its objectives at significantly lower programmatic risk and cost than traditional approaches.

NASA’s Small Spacecraft Technology Plan is largely focused on technology gaps for smallsats that use standardized form factors, interchangeable commercial components, and can be batch produced. Small spacecraft and responsive launch capabilities are proving to be disruptive innovations for exploration, discovery, and commercial applications. As these innovations move up market to larger platforms, further technology and capability investment will be needed to meet upcoming mission needs while keeping overall costs low, mission cadence high, and retaining the agile aerospace approach that has fueled what has been termed the “smallsat revolution.”

Requested Information

  • Are there capabilities or technologies that are missing or have not been adequately considered in the Technology Plan (aka “Outcomes” and “Technology Gaps”) that could significantly contribute to the development of small spacecraft to enable science and exploration missions for NASA?
  • Are the priorities in the Technology Plan appropriate for the goals stated?
  • If not, which should have higher priority and why? Provide examples of known technologies or technologies/systems in development that could contribute to the elimination of the “Technology Gaps” or accomplishment of the stated “Outcomes”. Do not include any proprietary or sensitive information.

NASA/ARC is seeking input statements from all interested parties, including all socioeconomic categories of Small Businesses and Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU)/Minority Institutions (MI), for the purposes of developing and implementing this Technology Plan.

Response to this RFI is voluntary. Each individual or institution is requested to submit only one response. Submission must be in 12 point or larger font and not exceed 5 pages, with a page number provided on each page. Responses should include the name of the person(s) or organization(s) filing the comment. Comments containing references, studies, research, and other empirical data that are not widely published should include copies or electronic links of the referenced materials.

All responses shall be submitted electronically via email to arc-smallsat-tech-plan@mail.nasa.gov no later than November 13 at 5:00 p.m., PST.

No business proprietary information, copyrighted information, or personally identifiable information should be submitted in response to this RFI.

In accordance with FAR 15.202(3), responses to this notice are not offers and cannot be accepted by the Federal Government to form a binding contract. Additionally, those submitting responses are solely responsible for all expenses associated with response preparation.

No solicitation exists; therefore, do not request a copy of the solicitation.

Vendors having the capabilities necessary to meet or exceed the stated requirements are invited to submit appropriate documentation, literature, brochures, and references.

This synopsis is for information and planning purposes only and is not to be construed as a commitment by the Government, nor will the Government pay for information solicited. Respondents will not be notified of the results of the evaluation. (Source: Satnews)


15 Oct 20. Hunter Class program expands Australian industry participation. Defence Minister Linda Reynolds and Defence Industry Minister Melissa Price have announced the release of the public Australian Industry Capability (AIC) Plan for the first phase of the $35bn Hunter Class Frigate Program.

ASC Shipbuilding has signed contracts with three more Australian companies on the Hunter Class Frigate Program as part of its approach to growing local industry capability.

The contracts follow the recent announcement by the Commonwealth Government that the Hunter program had received approval to begin prototyping in December this year as planned. The new contracts are a crucial part of ASC Shipbuilding’s strategy to maximise Australian industry involvement in the Hunter program, and beyond.

Two of the contracts are for the prototyping phase of the program and include South Australian-based Adelaide Profile Services, which will process and precision-cut around 250 13-metre lengths of steel that will be used in the five prototyping blocks, and Intertek’s Adelaide Inspection Services, which will conduct non‑destructive testing and mechanical testing to assure high quality fabrication welds on those blocks.

Minister for Defence Linda Reynolds said the release of the AIC Plan demonstrates the government’s commitment to maximising Australian industry involvement in the construction of Defence’s new anti-submarine warfare frigates.

“We can already see the progress that ASC Shipbuilding has made in promoting AIC with the contracts signed to procure Australian steel for the prototyping phase of the Hunter Class Frigate Program. We remain on track to begin the prototyping phase of the Hunter Class Frigate Program at the end of this year,” Minister Reynolds explained.

ASC Shipbuilding Managing Director, Craig Lockhart, said, “Placing contracts with Australian businesses is just one part of our strategy to build Australian industry capability.

“To support the creation a sovereign and continuous naval shipbuilding industry, we are also creating thousands of jobs for Australians and training the future shipbuilding workforce, investing in the transfer of knowledge and technology to Australia and undertaking research and technology projects to drive innovation in the advanced manufacturing sector,” Lockhart explained.

In June 2020, ASC Shipbuilding placed a contract worth around $2.5m with BlueScope Steel AIS to deliver more than 1,500 tonnes of steel plate that will be used for prototyping.

Earlier this month, ASC Shipbuilding engaged Infrabuild Steel Centre – a South Australian company – to supply around 120 tonnes of locally-made steel to make the jig wagons that will hold and support the movement of ship parts around the Osborne Naval Shipyard.

APS Adelaide Profile Services Operations Manager, Greg Mills, said, “It’s a great opportunity to partner with ASC Shipbuilding on the Hunter Class Frigate Program.

“The relationships we have with ASC Shipbuilding, combined with the agility of our workforce, has already produced successful collaborative results at the early stages of the project.”

Minister Reynolds added, “Australian businesses now on contract include: Sofraco, a New South Wales-based engineering company who will examine test facility requirements for skid based pumping solutions; APS Adelaide Profile Services of South Australia, who will process and precision-cut steel; and Adelaide Inspection Services of South Australia, who will conduct non destructive testing.

“I am proud to be part of a government which puts faith in growing our Hunter Class workforce to more than 2,200 Australians by the late 2020s, and more than a thousand Australian businesses already registered with ASC Shipbuilding to support and equip the Australian Defence Force.”

Intertek Industry Services Regional Director, Andrew Mansfield, added, “Intertek’s Adelaide-based NDT team is very pleased to be working with ASC Shipbuilding, providing quality and safety services which will help ensure asset reliability and design integrity.  We look forward to contributing to the success of such an important project within the region.”

Sofraco Engineering Systems Managing Director, David Lassau, said, “Defence Programs provide enormous opportunities for Australian industry and we are pleased to have been selected for this study.

“The long-term outcome expected as a result of this study is increased engagement between Defence and industry, and enhanced sovereign capability that contributes to the Commonwealth’s Naval Shipbuilding Program.”

There will also be additional contracts signed with Australian companies as part of the 33 work packages to be released during the prototyping phase, valued in excess of $20m.

The contracts will include work on specialised steel sections, non-destructive testing, blast and paint services, pipe couplings, cables and ship outfit and furnishing materials.

Defence Industry Minister Melissa Price said significant progress was also being made on other pillars of ASC Shipbuilding’s AIC Plan.

“I commend ASC Shipbuilding on their employee training and apprenticeship programs which are vital to training the growing workforce that will build the Navy’s nine Hunter class anti-submarine warfare frigates,” Minister Price said.

“It is also important that we continue to work with ASC Shipbuilding and engage our industry stakeholders as we have been doing throughout the year, including via a webinar in August with another planned for November.”

The Hunter Class Frigate Program will achieve a minimum of 58 per cent AIC over the life of the acquisition contract.

Minister Price added, “This engagement is critical to explaining to small and medium businesses what opportunities are out there on the Hunter Class Frigate Program and how to get in contact with original equipment manufacturers about becoming a part of supply chains.”

Businesses that would like to register their interest on the Hunter Class Frigate Program should do so through the Industry Capability Network.

In June 2018, the Commonwealth government announced BAE Systems Australia as the successful tender for the $35bn SEA 5000 Future Frigate program.

The nine Hunter Class frigates will be based on the BAE Systems Type 26 Global Combat Ship currently under construction for the Royal Navy and will replace the eight Anzac Class frigates when they enter service beginning in the late 2020s.

The Hunter class is billed as an anti-submarine warfare (ASW) centric vessel delivering an advanced ASW capability to the Royal Australian Navy at a time when 50 per cent of the world’s submarines will be operating in the Indo-Pacific region.

BAE Systems Australia announced that it had selected Lockheed Martin Australia and Saab Australia as combat systems integration industry partners, responsible for delivering the Australian designed CEAFAR 2 Active Phased Array Radar, Lockheed Martin designed Aegis combat management system and Saab Australia 9LV tactical interface.

The $35 billion 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 AIC 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)

13 Oct 20. Turkey-Ukraine work on missile engine could open the door to tech transfer. Looming engine technology cooperation between Black Sea neighbors Turkey and Ukraine could turn into a longer-term business deal involving aircraft production and technology transfer, Turkish officials and analysts agree.

“Ukraine has the [engine] technology Turkey needs to develop. Political relations are free from poisoning disputes. And there is an understanding at the official level to develop joint programs,” a senior Turkish procurement official told Defense News.

Ozgur Eksi, a defense expert with Istanbul-based media outlet C4Defence, anticipates engine cooperation would flourish as long as Ukraine is willing to share technology.

“Turkey wants to develop an indigenous engine technology for various aerial platforms it has developed and plans to develop in the future. Technology transfer is key to doing business with Ankara,” Eksi said.

Ukrainian engine-maker SE Ivchenko-Progress is producing the AI-35 engine to power Turkey’s new, indigenous Gezgin missile, according to a representative with a Turkish engine manufacturer with knowledge of the effort. Ukrainian media has reported SE Ivchenko-Progress is producing a batch of 12 AI-35s.

SE Ivchenko-Progress, a subsidiary of Ukraine’s Ukroboronprom defense giant, designs and manufactures engines that power 66 types of aircraft in more than 100 countries. The AI-35 engine family was built to power high-speed unmanned aircraft systems and advanced cruise missiles.

Analysts have described the Gezgin as similar to the American-made Tomahawk. The Gezgin program was designed to develop conventional, long-range strike capabilities for naval platforms. This new missile is thought to have a range of approximately 1,000 kilometers. (Source: Defense News)

13 Oct 20. Defence Innovation Hub awards nine new contracts. Nine Australian businesses have secured defence contracts totalling more than $28m, Minister for Defence Industry Melissa Price has revealed.

The Defence Innovation Hub has awarded nine contracts worth over $28m to businesses across Australia, as part of the federal government’s ongoing commitment to invest in local defence capability.

Contracts have been awarded to BlueZone Group ($7.1m), QinetiQ ($4.8m), Thales Australia ($3.8m), Silentium ($3.5m), Armor Composite Engineering ($3.2m), Defendtex Research Labs ($2.1m), Mission Systems ($2.1m), Prism Systems ($925,000), and Spiral Blue ($640,000).

Organisation State Contract value (GST incl.)

Description of innovation

BlueZone Group (UVS) NSW $7.1m

BlueZone group is developing an unmanned surface vehicle that can be integrated into Australia’s future frigates, accommodating a range of payloads that could broaden the capabilities of Royal Australian Navy ships by extending their situational awareness while deployed on operations.

QinetiQ ACT $4.8m

QinetiQ is developing a new system to help better regulate air quality inside submarines, with the potential to significantly reducing size, weight, and power requirements.

Thales Australia NSW $3.8m

Thales is developing its Blue Sentry autonomous sonar system that will seek to expand Australia’s surveillance capabilities in the maritime domain. This system will be integrated with the OCIUS autonomous Bluebottle technology being developed through the Hub.

Silentium SA $3.5m

Silentium is continuing to develop its space surveillance passive radar technology. This new contract will allow Silentium to demonstrate a more mature and capable sensor in support of Defence space domain awareness.

Armor Composite Engineering NSW $3.2m

ACE is continuing to develop its curved body armour that can be worn by both male and female soldiers. This material has the potential to greatly improve the safety of the wearer by reducing the likelihood of injury from ill-fitting body armour.

Defendtex Research Labs VIC $2.1m

Defendtex is developing an enhanced drone platform that can be used across a range of operating environments. This technology has the potential to improve the safety of ADF personnel deployed on operations.

Mission Systems NSW $2.1m

Mission Systems is developing its mine neutralisation technology that seeks to enhance the safety of ADF personnel in the maritime domain.

Prism Systems SA $925,000

Prism Systems is developing and demonstrating an integrated capability solution for the Royal Australian Navy, which seeks to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of ship and aviation system integration flight trials through automating processes, analysis, recording, and reporting of data.

Spiral Blue NSW $640,000

Spiral Blue is developing a satellite imagery processing system capable of monitoring large geographic areas. This system offers great potential for ADF border security and surveillance operations by integrating an artificial intelligence system capable of analysing large amounts of data.

Minister for Defence Industry Melissa Price said the investments would further support the local defence industry as it grapples with the economic impact of the COVID-19 crisis, particularly SMEs, which have secured approximately 84 per cent of contracts awarded by the Defence Innovation Hub.

“I’m delighted to see the Defence Innovation Hub continuing to provide Australian businesses with opportunities that could enhance Defence capability,” Minister Price said.

NSW-based manufacturer BlueZone Group and ACT-based business QinetiQ have secured contracts from the hub for the second time.

BlueZone’s $7.1m contract (the second largest contract awarded by the Hub) will be used for the continued development of the Wave Glider unmanned surface vehicle technology, which Minister Price said has the potential to “greatly improve” the Navy’s situational awareness when operating in marine environments.

The $4.8m in additional funding provided to QinetiQ will be invested in the development of a new system to better regulate air quality in submarines, helping reduce size, weight and power requirements.

“These contracts demonstrate the significant investment the government is making in game-changing maritime technologies for our Navy,” Minister Price added.

The Defence Innovation Hub has now awarded more than $270m in innovation contracts since launching in December 2016.

Last month, the federal government invested an additional $32m in the hub to provide further cash flow support to SMEs amid the ongoing COVID-19 crisis. (Source: Defence Connect)

12 Oct 20. US advances three arms sales packages to Taiwan. The Trump administration plans to sell three advanced weapons systems to Taiwan after notifying Congress of the deals on Friday, Defense News has confirmed. The administration sent Congress an informal notification that it plans to sell Taiwan the systems amid rising tensions between China and Taiwan, but also the United States. First reported by Reuters, the notification follows reports the Trump administration was pushing the sale of seven large packages of weapons to Taiwan.

The move is likely to further anger China, as the country claims Taiwan as its territory and has recently stepped up its threats to use force against the island if necessary. This week, in the wake of Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen’s calls for peaceful dialogue, China released new footage showing a large-scale military exercise simulating an invasion.

The U.S. sales involve the Lockheed Martin-made High Mobility Artillery Rocket System, a truck-mounted rocket launcher; the Boeing-made over-the-horizon, precision strike missile Standoff Land Attack Missile-Expanded Response; and external sensor pods for Taiwan’s F-16 jets.

In recent weeks, the Trump administration announced a deal to sell Taiwan 66 new F-16 fighter jets, a high-level visit from the U.S. State Department, and plans for a new economic dialogue with Taiwan focused on technology, health care, energy and other sectors.

Reuters reported that notifications for the sale of other weapons systems, including large, sophisticated aerial drones, land-based Harpoon anti-ship missiles, and underwater mines to deter amphibious landings have yet to reach Capitol Hill, but these were expected soon, the sources said. (Source: Defense News)

05 Oct 20. Philippines explores plans to buy South Korean UH-1H and MD500 helicopters. Philippine Secretary of National Defense Delfin Lorenzana has announced plans to purchase UH-1H and MD500 helicopters from the Republic of Korea. Philippine Secretary of National Defense Delfin Lorenzana has announced plans to purchase UH-1H and MD500 helicopters from the Republic of Korea.

The Philippine Information Agency added that Lorenzana also revealed plans to carry out Joint Visual Inspection (JVI) in the fourth quarter of this year.

It will be carried out by a team made of the Philippines’ Department of National Defense (DND) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ representatives.

The JVI will follow ‘strict biosafety protocols’ that are in place due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The acquisition of the UH-1H and MD500 helicopters is said to be in the exploratory phase. Details of the timeline and quantity have not been finalised.

In a separate development, the last two of the six new Embraer Defense and Security A-29 ‘Super Tucano’ close-air support aircraft landed at Clark Air Base near Manila.

Philippine News Agency (PNA) reported DND spokesperson Arsenio Andolong as saying: “The two remaining Super Tucanos arrived yesterday (Thursday).

“The first aircraft touched down at 1304H (1:04 pm) and followed by the other at 1327H (1:27 pm).”

The helicopters are expected to boost the 15th Strike Wing of the Philippines Air Force (PAF). (Source: airforce-technology.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.


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