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UNITED KINGDOM AND NATO

19 Nov 20. The new Type 32 Frigate will be built in addition to the Type 26 and Type 31 Frigates in the hopes of bringing the escort fleet up to 24 vessels from its current 19. This comes after Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced what the Ministry of Defence have called “the biggest investment in the UK’s Armed Forces since the end of the Cold War”, confirming an injection of £16.5bn over four years.

Referring to his promise to “restore Britain’s position as the foremost naval power in Europe”, the Prime Minister added:

“If there was one policy which strengthens the UK in every possible sense, it is building more ships for the Royal Navy.”

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said today, “We’re going to commit to the next generation of frigate the Type 32. We’re going to commit to bringing online the Type 31 and Type 26 Frigates in Scotland.”

According to a press release from the Government: “The £16.5bn investment confirms our order of 8 Type 26 and 5 Type 31 frigates, commits us to the next generation Type 32, and supports the future solid support ships that will supply our Carrier Strike Group.

Whilst this is reassuring news for the defence industry, Defence will not overlook the challenges that are ahead, to continue addressing the savings still required and the efficiencies we need to make.”

Discussing this news, respected defence journalist Xavier Vavasseur at NavalNews said, “While the 8 Type 26 frigates (also known as the City-class) and 5 Type 31 frigates were already planned to be procured, the real surprise in today’s announcement is the mention for the first time of the “Type 32”. Early rumors associated the term with an export variant of Type 31, T4X (Type 45 destroyer replacement), the Littoral Strike Ship project (which appears to be abandoned) or even a typo.

Naval News learned from a reliable UK source that this is in fact some sort of ‘pre program’ put in place for budgetary reasons in anticipation of a future potential ‘Type 31 Batch 2’. The source added that this potential ‘Type 31 Batch 2’ may not necessarily be based on the Type 31 design.”

Additionally, outlining how the cash would be spent, Johnson said that the funding would help “spur a renaissance of British shipbuilding across the UK – in Glasgow and Rosyth, Belfast, Appledore and Birkenhead”. (Source: News Now/https://ukdefencejournal.org.uk/)

EUROPE

20 Nov 20. Five European allies sign on to build NATO’s next medium-lift helicopter. Five NATO member nations have signed on to build the alliance’s next-generation helicopter, planned to replace existing fleets starting in 2035.

France, Germany, the United Kingdom, Italy and Greece each signed letters of intent to participate in the program, dubbed “Next-Generation Rotorcraft Capability,” or NGRC, per a Nov. 19 statement issued by NATO.

Over the coming years, these partners will work together to develop “an entirely new helicopter capability” that would replace a variety of medium multi-role rotorcraft fleets that are expected to retire between 2035 and 2040. The program was launched on the margins of the virtually held defense ministerial meeting in October, the alliance said.

“By investing our resources and channeling our development initiatives through a multinational framework, we are making sure allies are equipped with the best available capabilities, which helps to maintain NATO’s technological edge,” NATO Deputy Secretary-General Mircea Geoană was quoted as saying in the release.

The letters of intent are non-binding documents, and the initial cooperation effort is in principle open to other NATO allies and partners, subject to the approval of the existing participants, a NATO official said in an email to Defense News.

Details including cost, work share between the five nations and specific timelines have not yet been released. NATO envisions defense ministers from participating countries will sign a legally binding memorandum of understanding for the initial concept phase around 2022.

In the meantime, the allies will develop a statement of requirements to inform that concept phase, and hash out a cooperation plan to define, develop and field the next-generation helicopter. The NATO official noted that it will be critical to “get the intellectual foundation for NGRC right,” and that 2021 discussions to establish an initial common statement of requirements will not require “substantial” capital expenditures.

Next year’s efforts will provide “a robust starting point for the participants to discuss and design the subsequent concept phase and agree on the associated funding requirements for the following years,” the official said.

As a medium multi-role rotorcraft, this new capability would assist NATO allies in missions including insertion and extraction of special operations forces, and transporting small- and medium-sized cargo and troops within operational theaters. It would also be used in medical evacuation, search and rescue, and anti-submarine warfare.

NATO is launching this effort just as the U.S. Army is firming up requirements for its own new medium multi-role rotorcraft, via the Future Long-Range Assault Aircraft (FLRAA) competition. A draft request for proposals for this capability – part of the service’s next-generation Future Vertical Lift family of systems – is expected by the end of 2020. Bell and a Boeing-Sikorsky team have each already built a technology demonstrator, and are expected to compete for the contract award, with plans to field the new aircraft by 2030.(Source: Defense News)

20 Nov 20. European MALE RPAS Programme Successfully Completes Negotiation Phase Between Industry and OCCAR. After several months of intensive negotiations between Airbus Defence and Space and OCCAR, the European Medium Altitude Long Endurance Remotely Piloted Aircraft System (MALE RPAS) Programme has taken a decisive step forward with the completion of the negotiation phase for the Stage 2 Contract. This major breakthrough has been achieved thanks to the continued dedication and unwavering drive of everyone involved.

The four Programme Participating States (PPS) confirmed at the 7th Programme Board on 19 November 2020 that the necessary contract conditions, prices and performance have been met to allow the launch of the final PPS’s national staffing processes shortly.

Over the last four years, the MALE RPAS Programme has successfully passed a number of significant milestones. A Definition Study was launched in 2016 to define common requirements between Germany, France, Italy and Spain and was successfully concluded in 2018 with the System Preliminary Design Review (SPDR).

The subsequent two years were fully devoted to negotiating and refining the industry offer with comprehensive and long-lasting discussions to ensure that the contract would meet PPS’ expectations in terms of performance, affordability and value for money. This has been achieved with the last BAFO for the Stage 2 Contract prepared by Airbus Defence and Space GmbH and its major sub-contractors (Leonardo, Dassault Aviation, Airbus Defence and Space SAU).

It was received on 18 November 2020 and encompasses the development, the production and the initial in-service support (5 years) of 20 systems for a total contract duration lasting just over 13 years. Assuming a contract signature in early 2021, the first flight is expected in 2025 and the first delivery of serial items to PPS is targeted for 2028.

The MALE RPAS is an indispensable capability to facilitate international conflict prevention and crisis management during all phases of operation – especially in the field of Intelligence, Surveillance, Target Acquisition and Reconnaissance (ISTAR).

The development of a European MALE RPAS will ensure sovereignty in this area and will foster the European Defence Technological and Industrial Base (EDTIB).

The MALE RPAS will be designed to become one of the main pillars of any future combat air system and will offer European industries the opportunity to participate in a large Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) programme designed to integrate into civil air traffic and operate in non-segregated airspace. (Source: defense-aerospace.com/OCCAR)

19 Nov 20. Switzerland receives second offers for Air2030 fighter and GBAD. Armasuisse, the Swiss Federal Office for Defence Procurement on 18 November announced that it has received the second set of proposals for the country’s Air2030 Neues Kampfflugzeug (New Fighter Aircraft, NKF) and ground-based air defence (GBAD) system (Bodluv GR), the Federal Department of Defence, Civil Protection and Sport (DDPS) announced later the same day. The offers to replace the Swiss Air Force’s F-5E/F Tiger II and F/A-18 Hornet fleets were made by Germany for Airbus Eurofighter, France for the Dassault Rafale, and the United States for the Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet and Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightning Joint Strike Fighter. The DDPS said the proposals included the prices for 36 and 40 aircraft, including logistics and weapons, as a binding starting point for negotiations with the winning offer after type selection. Also on 18 November, Armasuisse received the second set of proposals for the extended-range GBAD from France for the Eurosam SAMP/T and from the US for the Raytheon Patriot. The DDPS said the offers included the price for extended-range GBAD systems capable of covering an area of at least 15,000 km2, including logistics and weapons, again acting as a binding starting point for negotiations with the winning offer after the selection of a system. (Source: Jane’s)

19 Nov 20. F-35 Proposal Submitted to Swiss Government. The 5th Generation F-35 provides unmatched capabilities, autonomy and industrial opportunities for Switzerland. On Nov. 18, the U.S. government and Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT) submitted an F-35 proposal to the Swiss government in support of Switzerland’s New Fighter Aircraft (NFA) competition. The F-35 proposal is a total package offering that includes up to 40 F-35A aircraft, a sustainment solution tailored to Swiss autonomy requirements, and a comprehensive training program.  The offering includes an industrial package providing Swiss industry substantial F-35 work opportunities. Should the F-35 be selected as the new fighter for Switzerland, this industrial work would take place in all Swiss regions. Swiss industry has the opportunity to compete for direct production of components for use on all F-35s produced, sustainment projects focused on supporting the Swiss Air Force and enhancing Swiss autonomy, and cyber security projects directly related to the F-35. The offer uses the F-35 Global Support Solution for sustainment to ensure Switzerland benefits from the European F-35 economies of scale to realize lower sustainment costs for the Swiss Air Force. It also includes a six-month spares package to ensure the Swiss Air Force has the ability to conduct autonomous operations, if needed. Lockheed Martin is also offering an option for the assembly of four aircraft in Switzerland to ensure the Swiss Air Force and Swiss industry gain an understanding of how to maintain the F-35 airframe and its advanced capabilities for the life of the program.

“We are confident that our F-35 offer is the best and most affordable solution for the Swiss NFA competition,” said Greg Ulmer, F-35 Program vice president and general manager. “We are offering the only 5th generation fighter at the cost of 4th generation aircraft while offering Switzerland an aircraft that will protect Swiss sovereignty for decades to come.”

To date, the F-35 has been selected by 13 nations and operates from 26 bases worldwide, with nine nations operating F-35s on their home soil. There are more than 585 F-35s in service today, with more than 1,190 pilots and 9,750 maintainers trained on the aircraft.

18 Nov 20. Airbus and Germany submit Eurofighter offer to Switzerland. Airbus and the Federal Republic of Germany today submitted their official offer to the Swiss Federal Office of Armaments armasuisse for the sale of Eurofighter aircraft to Switzerland. The offer has been prepared in cooperation with the other Eurofighter nations as well as the industrial partners Leonardo and BAE Systems, and meets the requirements of the so called new combat aircraft (Neues Kampfflugzeug – NKF) procurement process implemented by Switzerland to replace its currently used F-5 and F/A-18 fleet with a more modern model.

With the acquisition of the Eurofighter, the Federal Republic of Germany is offering Switzerland the opportunity to deepen its existing military partnership, particularly with regard to the joint training of the two air forces. With the Eurofighter, Switzerland will gain full autonomy in the use, maintenance and application of the data from its aircraft. With more than 660 orders, the Eurofighter is by far the most widely used aircraft for securing airspace over Europe. It is operated jointly by the four partner nations Germany, the United Kingdom, Italy and Spain and is undergoing continuous development. Only a few days ago, Germany itself signed the contract for the procurement of 38 Eurofighters from the latest Tranche 4 and is offering Switzerland the opportunity to lay the foundations for even closer political, economic and security cooperation by procuring the same type of aircraft.

Michael Flügger, Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany to Switzerland, said: “With this offer, we are inviting Switzerland as our neighbor and reliable partner in security policy and economic matters to protect its airspace with the Eurofighter and to close cooperation between our air forces. For Germany, Switzerland is not just a customer, but a strategic ally with whom we would like to further intensify our already close cooperation. The Eurofighter is the only platform jointly developed and operated by several European nations and would therefore be an ideal solution for Switzerland”.

Dirk Hoke, CEO of Airbus Defence and Space, said: “With the offer submitted today, we want to show that the Eurofighter is the best overall package for Switzerland. It is the most modern fighter aircraft currently built in Europe and meets all the requirements demanded by Switzerland. By providing construction data and other important information, Switzerland will be given complete and independent control of the Eurofighter, guaranteeing full transparency. With over 200 suppliers in the Confederation, Airbus is already a strong partner for Switzerland, and we look forward to expanding this cooperation even further”.

18 Nov 20. Damen and Thales to build the German MKS 180 frigate of the future.

  • Damen Schelde Naval Shipbuilding and Thales signed a €1.5bn contract for the delivery and full integration of Thales’s Mission and Combat System for the four MKS 180 class frigates.
  • A key milestone for the development of European defence industry, strengthening Thales’ leading position in naval integration worldwide.
  • One of the largest ever in Thales’s history, this contract includes the comprehensive Tacticos Combat Management System and the AWWS (Above Water Warfare System) Fire Control Cluster.

Damen Schelde Naval Shipbuilding and Thales signed on November 17, 2020,the contract for the delivery and full integration of Thales’s Mission and Combat System for the four MKS 180 class frigates contracted by the German Navy. The system will be designed by Damen and completely built by German shipyards, under Damen’s project management.

Valued at  €1.5B, the contract illustrates Thales’s leading position in global naval integration. It will be executed by Thales’s naval Centers of Excellence in Hengelo (the Netherlands), Kiel and Wilhelmshaven (Germany) in cooperation with a substantial number of German subcontractors.

Underpinning this contract is the proven cooperation of German and Dutch naval industries, including numerous joint opportunities for Damen and Thales in the Netherlands to innovate within naval shipbuilding projects, often with the participation of the Netherlands’ Ministry of Defence. The project underscores Damen’s and Thales’s ambition to build further cooperation with shipyards and partnering industries in high-end European naval programmes.

Thales’s Mission and Combat System includes the comprehensive Tacticos Combat Management System and the AWWS (Above Water Warfare System) Fire Control Cluster. The contract includes four ship systems, logistic services and multiple land-based test and training sites, as well as the option for one or two additional ships.

AWWS is a cutting-edge warfare suite that helps the ship crews to counter and neutralise complex saturation attacks by continuously analysing and optimising the tactical environment and deployment of resources. AWWS will be combined with APAR* Bl2, the evolved version of Thales’s proven AESA* multifunction radar. In 2019, Thales signed an AWWS development contract for the new M-frigates for the Belgian and Dutch Navies.

In the past years, Thales has been awarded several large contracts by European NATO navies, thanks to innovative solutions and its proven reliability as an industrial partner. These contracts have made Thales the de facto naval combat system partner of NATO.

The first ship of the MKS 180 class will be operational in 2028. The entire programme will run for over ten years.

“Winning such a substantial contract within the strict framework of an objective scoring system reinforces our global leading position in high-end naval integration. Thanks to our innovative capabilities, the German Navy will be able to execute both current and future tasks whilst substantially contributing to stability in the operational theatres all over the world.” Gerben Edelijn, CEO of Thales Netherlands.

“As a partner in the MKS 180 programme, Thales Deutschland not only contributes to a high German value-added share, but also brings many years of experience in European cooperation and proven systems expertise. This programme will create new, high-quality jobs in Germany, within an exemplary framework of European defence cooperation. We will also contribute to maintaining the German Navy’s operational capability at the highest level within the alliance,” Dr. Christoph Hoppe, CEO of Thales Deutschland.

“We are very honoured by this notification which further solidifies our long-standing cooperation with the German Navy and Damen. We sincerely thank our customers for their continued trust.  This huge contract anchors our position as global leader in high-end naval systems integration. The German Navy will benefit from cutting-edge technological systems thanks to the diversity of talents at Thales”.Patrice Caine, Chairman and CEO of Thales.

12 Nov 20. Bulgarian Minister of Defence Krasimir Karakachanov: “With the Contract for the Ships We Took the Second Step Towards the Modernization of the Bulgarian Army.”

“Today is an important day for the Navy. With this project, we took the second step towards the modernization of the Bulgarian Army, after signing the contract for new fighter aircraft. I hope it is not the last one.”

This was what the Minister of Defense Krassimir Karakachanov said at the ceremony on signing the contract for the project “Acquisition of Multipurpose Modular Patrol Vessels for the Navy” with the company Fr. Lürssen Werft GmbH & Co. KG today, 12 November 2020.

The contract, endorsed by the Council of Ministers, the company will manufacture and deliver two multipurpose modular patrol vessels (MMPVs) within a budget of 984,000,000 leva (€503m) inclusive of VAT.

The ships are going to be built on Bulgarian territory, at the MTG Dolphin shipyard. The vessels are expected to be delivered in 2025 and 2026 respectively. The contract provides for training of both the crews and the engineers.

The MMPVs will be capable of participating in a vast range of NATO and EU maritime operations. The implementation of this project will help the Bulgarian Navy acquire modern capabilities for surface warfare, submarine warfare, and air warfare.

“We signed a contract that is important not only for the Bulgarian Armed Forces, particularly for the Bulgarian Navy, but also for the company Lurssen. It shows that the relations, including the economic ones, between the two friendly countries, the Republic of Bulgaria and the Federal Republic of Germany, are developing well,” added Minister Karakachanov.

“Our relations with Lurssen do not end with this contract, on the contrary, this contract is only the beginning. We still have a lot of work to do on the industrial cooperation. I hope that the two sides will be able to build trust and good relations which, for many years to come, will be beneficial both for the German company and for the Bulgarian Navy,” said the Minister of Defence.

“The deal is especially important because the two ships will be fully built in Bulgaria, in Varna. We plan to build more ships in the future that will be used both in the Black Sea and in other seas.”

This was what Dirk Malgowski, Managing Director of the company Fr. Lürssen Werft “GmbH & Co. KG said at the signing ceremony.

He thanked the Bulgarian team for the constructive atmosphere and hard work and effort put in the negotiations process and pointed out that the real hard work is actually ahead of us as the building of the vessels will take several years.

“It is a great day for Bulgaria and the Bulgarian Navy, stressed Dirk Malgowski, and it is an important day for my company, for Lürssen, as well, because we have been able to sign this deal with a European partner country and NATO member, which is of special importance to us. Thanks to this deal, the excellent ties between our two countries will deepen even further.”

In compliance with all anti-epidemic measures, the ceremony was attended by the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Federal Republic of Germany to Bulgaria H.E. Christoph Eichhorn, the Chief of Defence Admiral Emil Eftimov, the Commander of the Bulgarian Navy Rear Admiral Kiril Mihaylov, and representatives of the contractor. (Edited by Defense-Aerospace.com)(Source: defense-aerospace.com/Bulgarian Ministry of Defence)

16 Nov 20. Austria, Italy to co-operate on helicopter procurement. Austria and Italy are to co-operate on the procurement of military rotorcraft, with both European nations looking to work together to satisfy separate requirements.

The Italian Ministry of Defence (MoD) announced on 12 November that it had signed a letter of intent (LOI) with its Austrian counterpart to launch a bilateral co-operation programme on the future procurement of military rotorcraft following the recent decision by the Bundesheer to select the Italian-built Leonardo AW169M light utility helicopter (LUH).

“[Italian] Defence Minister Lorenzo Guerini and Austrian Defence Minister Klaudia Tanner have signed an LOI on the start of a co-operation programme in the sector of helicopter procurement,” the MoD said. “Austria’s decision to procure LUHs, a requirement they share with the Italian Armed Forces, allows for the development of significant international co-operation opportunities at the European level.”  (Source: Jane’s)

12 Nov 20. Airbus hopes its $6.5bn German Eurofighter sale will shine for Switzerland, Finland. Airbus is trying to make hay out of its $6.5bn sale of 38 Eurofighter aircraft to Germany for other procurement competitions in Switzerland and Finland.

The European defense giant inked a deal with the German air force this week after the country’s parliament, the Bundestag, approved the budget earlier this month. The Luftwaffe stands to get 30 single-seater and 8 twin-seater planes, Airbus said in a statement.

Four of those aircraft will serve as test beds for future technology, as the company positions the Eurofighter as the bridge to the next-generation Future Combat Air System, a German-French-Spanish collaboration, according to the service.

“The renewed order from Germany secures production until 2030 and comes at a strategically important time for the program,” the company statement reads. “In addition to an expected Eurofighter order from Spain to replace its legacy F-18s, procurement decisions in Switzerland and Finland are imminent in 2021.”

Switzerland wants to buy up to 40 aircraft for a maximum of $6.5bn, and the Eurofighter is one of the aircraft in the running. Similarly, Finland is considering the plane as a replacement for its F-18 fleet.

“The variant offered in Switzerland corresponds to the configuration of the German Quadriga order,” Airbus officials wrote in the statement, referring to the name of new tranche of aircraft, number 4. The new batch, to be delivered by 2030, will replace the first tranche, bought between 2003 and 2008, which can only do air-to-air combat and boasts an obsolete radar, according to the German defense department.

Voters in Switzerland approved a new air-defense package in September, including a ground-based weapon system and a fleet of combat aircraft. A second offer from the four competing companies is expected this month. Besides the Eurofighter, Dassault’s Rafale, Boeing’s F-18 Super Hornet and Lockheed Martin’s F-35 also are under consideration.

The Finnish government over the summer upped the budget for its “HX” fighter program to $5.8bn, eyeing a procurement decision in 2021.

“The new Tranche 4 Eurofighter is currently the most modern European-built combat aircraft with a service life well beyond 2060,” Airbus Defence and Space CEO Dirk Hoke said in a statement following the contract signature with the German government. “Its technical capabilities will allow full integration into the European Future Combat Air System, FCAS.” (Source: Defense News Early Bird/Defense News)

USA

18 Nov 20. Army tactical network acquisition office releases $850m solicitation for encryption device. The U.S. Army’s tactical network acquisition office released a solicitation Nov. 16 for an $850m contract for its new encryption device to protect the joint network.

The Army expects the 10-year contract for the Next Generation Load Device-Medium (NGLD-M) will be awarded to multiple vendors and will delivery the strongest NSA-certified cryptographic keys on the tactical, strategic, and enterprise network systems from the Secret level and higher. The RFP was release by the Army’s Program Executive Office Command, Control, Communications-Tactical.

According to the PEO C3T news release, modern cryptographic algorithms will be transferred using the NGLD-M device to counter cyber and electronic warfare threats.

The release was delayed in June after the service adjusted the acquisition strategy competition.

“Based on market research conducted earlier this year, the program adjusted some aspects of the strategy to help increase multi-vendor competition, enable rapid software integration options, leverage mature Non-Developmental Item (NDI) potential solutions, and accelerate NSA certification,” said Paul Mehney, director of communications for PEO C3T, in a news release.

“The NGLD-M replaces the fleet of legacy fill devices including the aging Simple Key Loader (SKL), which the Army began procuring fifteen years ago,” said Mike Badger product manager for the NGLD-M effort. “The NGLD-M will be an NSA Type 1 certified, ruggedized, battery-powered, hand-held device used to manage and transfer cryptographic key material and mission planning data.”

The NGLD-M device allows network managers “to reconfigure cryptographic products, perform Over-The-Network-Keying, conduct remote software downloads, and improve operational environment awareness,” according to a PEO C3T news release. The device will be used by all command echelons, other government agencies and foreign military partners, the release said. (Source: C4ISR & Networks)

REST OF THE WORLD

20 Nov 20. Taiwan to start building submarine fleet next week. Taiwan will start work next week to build the first of eight new domestically-developed submarines, it said on Friday, a long-mooted project to strengthen the island’s defences in the face of the mainland’s rapidly modernising military. Taiwan now has four submarines, two dating to World War Two, and no match for the PLA’s fleet, which includes vessels able to launch nuclear weapons. The first of the submarines is expected to enter service in late 2024.

In a statement, Presidential Office spokesman Xavier Chang said the programme was a major part of President Tsai Ing-wen’s military modernisation and self-sufficiency plan.

“This represents a new milestone in the national submarine manufacturing plan,” said Chang, adding that Tsai was set to attend a ceremony next Tuesday to kick off the work.

Taiwan has come under increasing pressure from PLA forces which have ramped up their activities near the island, on occasion flying fighter jets across the unofficial buffer median line of the sensitive Taiwan Strait. (Source: News Now/https://news.rthk.hk/Reuters)

17 Nov 20. Brazilian Marines pursue additional modernisation capabilities. The Brazilian Navy is exploring ways to modernise the Marine Corps (Corpo de Fuzileiros Navais) and has unveiled a plan to merge three previous modernisation programmes into a new single effort called Programa de Meios de Fuzileiros Navais (PROADSUMUS).

In October the navy began the PROADSUMUS design with the goal of increasing the Fleet Marine Force’s, Riverine Operations Battalions’ and the district’s Marines Groups capabilities by 2040. One goal is to enable the marines to execute a larger spectrum of military operations to better protect the nation’s jurisdictional waters, riverine waters, naval and port facilities, and island, and archipelagos. At the same time, these forces will also be used in support of civil defence roles, as well as peacekeeping and humanitarian relief missions. This push will require the creation of new organisations, infrastructure modernisation, and the acquisition of new equipment, the Marine Corps General-Command recently told Janes. On the materiel side, the service will need to acquire light tanks, 4×4 wheeled armoured vehicles, field towed howitzers, 120 mm mortars, Mercedes-Benz UNIMOG U5000 4×4 trucks, new lightweight non-armoured 4×4s, air defence radar and missile systems, anti-armour, and anti-tank systems. (Source: Jane’s)

17 Nov 20. Aussie industry rallies to support $900m sub supply program. Defence Minister Linda Reynolds and Defence Industry Minister Melissa Price have announced over 100 Australian companies have applied to Naval Group to manufacture 23 specialised items of submarine equipment for the Australian government’s Attack Class Submarine Program.

Naval Group last month called for expressions of interest from local companies to make more than 20 separate items of equipment for the program, including the steering gear system, weapons handling system and the main shaft line.

This follows the call for expressions of interest from Australian industry for hundreds of millions of dollars in work packages for the program.

Minister for Defence Linda Reynolds said the work packages will support hundreds of Australian jobs and create new opportunities for Australian businesses.

“These Australian companies will compete for work that has been assessed by Naval Group as being worth up to $900m. They have formally lodged interest to become part of the Attack Class Submarine Program as tier one suppliers for equipment, ranging from the submarine’s main shaft line to the weapons handling system,” Minister Reynolds explained.

“Already, almost 2,000 Australian businesses have registered their interest in broader supply chain opportunities through the Industry Capability Network portal.”

Minister for Defence Industry Melissa Price said the level of interest expressed by Australian businesses confirmed Australian industry was ready to play a vital role in the delivery of Australia’s world class submarines.

“Australian industry is ready to be part of the Attack Class program and the Morrison government is looking for more opportunities right across the program to maximise industry involvement,” Minister Price said.

“We are securing opportunities for Australian companies to manufacture equipment designed by Naval Group which is generally manufactured overseas.”

Minister Price added, “As design of the Attack Class submarine progresses, there will be more opportunities for Australian industry to register interest for the supply of major equipment throughout the program.

“We will continue to see opportunities for Australian industry to be involved in the delivery of this core capability, which underpins the Morrison government’s goal of a truly sovereign defence industry.”

Naval Group Australia chief executive John Davis said there had been an impressive response from Australian businesses seeking to become part of the Attack Class Submarine Program.

“Our local manufacturing package sent a clear message to Australian industry that we mean business. Australian manufacturers have shown in this response that they stand ready to step up and play their part in building submarines that will be critical for Australia’s defence,” Davis said.

Jean-Michel Billig, Naval Group EVP Australia Future Submarine Program, explained, “We will continue working closely with local industry on the significant work that is required to deliver this specialised equipment. We will help by transferring the skills and expertise which have been gathered over 100 years of submarine construction in France to our Australian partners.

“These partnerships will also deliver the transfer of cutting-edge technology and skills from France to Australia, while increasing domestic manufacturing capability at a time when a premium has been placed on sovereign capability and self-reliance.”

Naval Group Australia already employs almost 300 people in South Australia and the company expects that to grow to about 1,700 direct jobs by 2028 with hundreds more jobs created through the supply chain.

The Attack Class submarines will be delivered as part of the $50bn SEA 1000 Future Submarine program. Naval Group will build 12 regionally-superior submarines to the Royal Australian Navy.

Naval Group’s successful Shortfin Barracuda design, which serves as the basis for the new Attack Class, is a conventionally-powered variant of the nuclear-powered Barracuda fast attack submarine currently under construction for the French Navy.

The 12 vessels will be built by Naval Group at a specialist submarine shipyard at Osborne, SA. The Commonwealth government’s Australian Naval Infrastructure (ANI) program will support the development of the future submarine shipyards.

The Commonwealth government formally signed the strategic partnering agreement (SPA) with Naval Group in February 2019 ahead of confirming the final design specifications and requirements for the Attack Class submarines.

The Attack Class will enter service with the Royal Australian Navy at a time when 50 per cent of the world’s submarines will be operating in the Indo-Pacific region. (Source: Defence Connect)

12 Nov 20. South Korea’s KAI looks to enter military transport market. Korea Aerospace Industries is considering adding military transport planes to its product line with the goal of partnering with foreign aircraft manufacturers, Defense News has learned.

This would be an “unexplored business field” for the South Korean company, according to a source with KAI, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

“For KAI, the transport aircraft market is an unexplored field, which has high potential for localization,” the source said. “The technology intensity of transport aircraft is lower than that of fighter jets, while the market of maintenance, repair and overhaul of transport planes remains profitable.”

Founded in 1999, KAI has developed a successful portfolio of indigenous aerospace products including trainer jets, helicopters, fighter aircraft and satellites. The development of an indigenous fighter aircraft, codenamed KF-X, is underway with a goal of unveiling a prototype in the first half of 2021.

KAI’s internal analysis of the domestic transport aircraft market suggested about 100 transport aircraft would be in demand over the next three decades given the life span of aircraft flown by the military, the source told Defense News.

In addition, the company believes there will be a chance to sell about 100 airlift planes overseas, the source explained.

“To keep up with the demand for addressing increasing nonmilitary threats, such as national disaster, infectious disease and humanitarian aid, the needs for military transport airplanes are likely to grow,” the source added.

The South Korean military operates about 60 transport aircraft built by foreign firms. The Air Force operates C-130s and CN-235s, mainly for airlift operations, while the Navy has P-3Cs and P-8As for maritime patrol missions. The oldest planes among the P-3C fleet were adopted 25 years ago.

In line with efforts to take back wartime control of its forces from the U.S. military, South Korean military authorities want to acquire more aerial assets for independent intelligence, reconnaissance and surveillance missions.

KAI expects it will be able to build its own transport aircraft in seven years with an investment of about $2.7bn, according to the source. Following the development of a military version, the company envisages it could modify it into a commercial plane with a seat capacity of 100.

To that end, KAI is eyeing international partnerships, the source said, specifically European company Airbus Defence and Space, Ukraine’s Antonov, and Brazil’s Embraer. (Source: Defense News Early Bird/Defense News)

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American Panel Corporation (APC), a wholly owned subsidiary of Mercury Systems, Mission Division, Mission Displays is a custom display manufacturer, providing purpose-built optical display components installed in military defense avionics and vetronics systems and commercial aerospace platforms.  Our customers include: Astronautics, Collins Aerospace, Elbit Systems, Korry Electronics, CMC Electronics, Scioteq, General Dynamics Land Systems, Honeywell, Industrial Electrical Engineering (IEE), Intellisense, Kent Modular Electronics (KME), SAAB, TECNOBIT, and others. We supply optical display components for the following platforms: M1A2 and M1A2 SEPV3/4 Abrams, M2 / M3 Bradley, and M1128 Stryker vehicles, Spanish Dragon 8×8 Armored Personnel Carrier (APC); Military and commercial aircrew worldwide use APC displays, including F-35, F-22, F-18, F-16, F-15, EF-1000 Typhoon, Mirage 2000, C-130, C-17, P-3, S-3, U-2, AH-64 Apache, V-22, as well as numerous other military and commercial aviation aircraft including all Boeing 717 through 787 aircraft and several Airbus aircraft. Mercury Systems, Mission Displays offers a wide range of panel size and configuration offerings, applying both legacy and developing new technologies to meet customer requirements.

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