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04 Dec 20. Tyro goes sole source to WFEL? Sources close to BATTLESPACE suggest that RBSL has withdrawn from project Tyro the requirement to replace the British Army’s tactical bridging systems. WFEL is partnered with KMW with their Leguan system and the WFEL Close Support Bridge (CSB).  The armoured truck carrier is a MAN armoured chassis. The contract requires supply of a number of bridging systems plus upgrades to the existing Titan tracked vehicle and an armoured MAN truck version.

Project TYRO — Close Support Bridge


  • mobile bridges
  • close support bridge
  • close support bridging
  • provision of close support bridge
  • service support
  • close support launch vehicle
  • service support element of the contract
  • titan armoured vehicle bridge launcher
  • support solution


Bristol, City of

2 buyers

  • MOD Land Equipment Operational Infrastructure, Bristol


Mobile bridges. Operational Infrastructure team has identified a possible future requirement to procure and support a Heavy Forces Close Support Bridging (CSB) capability for use by UK Armed Forces until at least 2040. The CSB system is used within the direct fire zone and must provide a minimum Military Load Classification (MLC) of 100 (Tracked).

Total Quantity or Scope

Provision of Close Support Bridge sets with a Military Load Classification of at least MLC100(T) which can be rapidly launched and recovered by the TITAN Armoured Vehicle Bridge Launcher. Any modifications to the TITAN Launch Mechanism to meet the detailed technical requirement is also included in the CSB scope. Provision of a suitable Wheeled Close Support Launch Vehicle (CLV) and Wheeled Support Vehicles/Trailers to transport bridging components. Initial equipment quantities: finalised fleet numbers are subject to the potential providers equipment proposals and affordability. However, the information below provides an expected range for each major sub-system: (a) 29-49 Short Bridges capable of spanning a gap of at least 11,5 m; (b) 19-34 Medium Bridges capable of spanning a gap of at least 24,5 m and, with the use of additional supplied equipment, scalable to achieve a 60 m gap crossing; (c) 14-36 Wheeled Close Support Launch Vehicles; (d) 11-17 Wheeled Support Vehicles. Support solution: the potential provider is expected to supply a full Integrated Logistic Support package for the offered equipment. The extent of the in-service support is subject to value for money decisions but may range from a Traditional Support solution (i.e. repairs, Post Design Services) through to Contracting for Availability. Coherence with the Army’s Whole Force Approach initiative is sought. Contract: it is the Department’s intent to award a single contract for this requirement, covering the Demonstration, Manufacture and initial In-Service Support activity for the CSB system. Demonstration of the proposed CSB system is expected to take place no later than approximately 40 months after contract award and manufacture to be completed circa 75 months after contract award. The in-service support element of the contract should be in place to support the first delivered system and is anticipated to operate for a further 60 months after delivery of the final system. The contract will include options to both procure additional components or complete bridging systems and extend the support element of the contract potentially to its planned out of service date. Contract rationalisation: it is the Department’s intention to run this competition simultaneously with the requirement for a General Support Bridging capability (GSB). It should be noted that a single contract may be awarded to encompass both the CSB and GSB requirement if the same potential provider wins both competitions.

Renewal Options

1) Potential additional optional years for In Service Support out to 2040. 2) Potential options to provide additional bridge sets and vehicles.

CPV Codes

  • 34144300 – Mobile bridges


  • Published under EU Directive 2009/81/EC.
  • An E-Auction will not be used.

(Source: http://bidstats.uk/)

03 Dec 20. Confirmation a few weeks ago that the proposed three Fleet Solid Support ships to be built for the Royal Navy and for which a competition will be launched by DE&S in the spring of 2021 . The fact that tehy would be built in UK shipyards was universally welcomed across the UK shipbuilding industry and, after a long and protracted battle following the original intention by the MOD was to build these vessels overseas, rightly so.

But in reading the current edition of ‘desider’ – the monthly magazine published by DE&S I note that in an interesting article highlighting the announcement last month by Secretary of State for Defence Ben Wallace, the headline that they have chosen to use say ‘Fleet Solid Support Ships Will Be Built with British Involvement’. I may well be reading too much into this but my view of such a headline is that it casts doubts in relation to real underlying intention.  I am no believer in conspiracy theories and I may live in hope that the headline for the ‘desider’ article is just one of being badly worded. But then again, long experience of how things are sometimes done inside the MOD brings back bad memories and of how promises seemingly made are often broken. There is of course a long running debate over the difference between manufacturing and assembly.  On one hand the article makes plain that the eventual awarding of contracts “will help revitalise British shipbuilding by requiring a significant proportion of the build and assembly work to be carried out in the UK.  But on the other the article suggests that “international companies will be invited to work in collaboration with UK firms to feed in their skills and expertise, but the successful manufacturing team must be led by a British company”.  The article goes on to say that “this will have a huge impact on the local economies across the UK where shipbuilding is a prominent feature and that hundreds of highly skilled jobs will be created as a direct result along with many more in small and medium sized enterprises throughout the supply chain for the new builds to follow over the next few years”.

There is of course no doubt that we are seeing a very active re-invigoration of the UK shipbuilding industry and it was very pleasing to hear last week from the Prime Minister that that no adverse changes are envisaged to numbers of planned Type 26, Type 31 and sub-surface vessels planned for the Royal Navy or already under construction.  We also heard about the proposed longer term development of a Type 32 frigate and in the House of Commons this week, that there are no plans to cut the numbers of amphibious assault ships (HMS Albion and HMS Bulwark) and that the UK and French governments are to work together developing a next generation of mine sweeping vessels. All of that is good news as is the enormous work going on developing and building the first third generation Dreadnought class nuclear submarines that will eventually replace the four existing Vanguard class SSBN’s (Ship Submersible Ballistic Nuclear) submarines taking over the vital CASD role (continuous-at-sea nuclear deterrent) that the Royal Navy has been performing for the past fifty one years’ since 1969.

In these more troubled times, it is essential that we ensure full maintenance of UK sovereign build capability across the whole of the maritime sector. Of course, many of the specialist components will come from foreign based companies many of whom have significant investments here in the UK and that play a very significant role in developing technology we need, maintaining our national skills and exporting equipment developed here. We are fortunate to have highly invested companies such as Thales, Leonardo and Lockheed Martin here in the UK and who all play a very important part in supporting the needs of the Royal Navy as well as maintaining a very important skills base here in the UK. Equally, we are very fortunate to have major UK defence companies such as BAE Systems, Rolls-Royce, Babcock International, QinetiQ, MBDA, Raytheon, Cobham, Meggitt, Marshalls and many smaller yet very specialist companies such as CAM LOCK and others who play not only a very significant role maintain UK sovereign manufacturing and design capability in both air, maritime and land equipment but are also large exporters in their own right just as they all play a very significant role in maintaining engineering, design and manufacturing skills, training the next generation of people we require and that are also large exporters. There are of course many more companies that I could mention here and my apologies for not including all.  But I am sure that you get my point here – a headline says many things and I may well be reading too much into this one. Much better would have been to see ‘Fleet Solid Support Ships will all be designed, developed and built in Britain with some foreign company participation.’ (Source: Howard Wheeldon, FRAeS, Wheeldon Strategic Advisory Ltd.)


29 Nov 20. Aircraft makers sweeten their offers in high-stakes Swiss warplane race. Four aircraft makers have submitted final offers for Switzerland’s $6.5bn aircraft program, with Airbus and Lockheed Martin touting different approaches to assembling their planes locally.

Nov. 18 was the deadline for the quartet of hopeful vendors, which also includes Boeing and Dassault, to deliver their vision — and price — for one of the largest procurement programs in Europe.

Switzerland is looking for somewhere between 36 and 40 new aircraft to police the country’s airspace. The degree of local industry participation is shaping up to be a major factor for the famously independence-minded Swiss.

Airbus got an assist from four Eurofighter operators — Germany, Spain, Italy and the U.K. — who sent their ambassadors in Switzerland to a Nov. 19 news conference to talk up the prospect of a grander industrial and political partnership that would follow a Eurofighter pick.

The Swiss are expected to make a decision in early summer 2021, following a referendum vote this September that narrowly greenlighted the budget.

The Airbus offer includes final assembly of all aircraft by way of a partner company in Switzerland, the details of which the company plans to announce in December.

Michael Flügger, Germany’s ambassador in Switzerland, touted the possibility of Eurofighter-based airspace-patrol cooperation along the Italy-Switzerland-Germany axis. In addition, he said, Switzerland joining the airplane’s user club would mean the country can “export” training flight noise to remote areas in the other partner countries.

Franz Posch, who heads the Airbus campaign in Switzerland, told reporters that the company’s plan to locally assemble all 40 of the notional aircraft would “more than fulfill” the offset requirements established by the Swiss government.

Lockheed Martin, with its F-35, also has high hopes for the Swiss competition, hoping to broaden the plane’s user base in Europe. The company’s offer includes a basic program of 36 jets, with options for an additional four aircraft, Mike Kelley, who leads the company’s F-35 efforts in Switzerland, said during a Nov. 19 roundtable with reporters.

While Switzerland would be able to purchase parts through the spares pool shared by all F-35 operators, the offer also contains a six-month deployed spares package — a separate pot of parts that would be managed by the Swiss government, which was necessary to meet Swiss autonomy requirements.

To meet requirements for industrial participation, Switzerland would have the opportunity to domestically produce about 400 canopies and transparencies for F-35 aircraft, and Lockheed would establish a European hub for the maintenance, repair and overhaul of F 35 canopies and transparencies in Switzerland. In addition, the country would take on certain F-35 engine and airframe sustainment projects focused on maintaining the Swiss Air Force’s operational autonomy, Kelley said.

Lockheed also plans to partner with Swiss industry to create a cyber center of excellence, which would prototype a unique data network for Switzerland and build a test bed that would allow Swiss companies to test cyber capabilities in a secure environment.

On top of those efforts, Lockheed is offering one last industrial participation opportunity to Switzerland. For an additional cost, Switzerland will be able to conduct the final assembly of four F-35 aircraft at existing RUAG facilities in Emmen, allowing the Swiss technicians that currently work on the country’s aging Hornet fleet to build a deeper knowledge of the aircraft’s design.

That option would add a “significant cost” to the total program, Kelley said, but could allow for overall savings throughout the life cycle of the program.

Boeing, meanwhile, has positioned its offer of an F-18 Super Hornet fleet as a logical extension of Switzerland’s existing F-18 infrastructure. “As an F/A-18 operator, Switzerland will have the option to reuse up to 60 percent of existing physical and intellectual infrastructure, making the transition to a Super Hornet easier and more cost effective over the life of the aircraft,” the company said in a statement.

The aircraft offer, the statement added, would “easily fit” within Switzerland’s current F-18 operating budget.

The reference to cost comes after Swiss officials stressed that the fighter portion of the Air 2030 air defense modernization program includes a cost ceiling of 6bn Swiss francs (U.S. $6.6bn), with with an eye on potential price reductions along the way.

“Currently, Boeing is working with more than 100 current and new partners across Switzerland to identify the right opportunities for its New Fighter Aircraft industry plan,” the company said.

France’s Dassault, with its offer of the Rafale, is the only vendor keeping its cards close to its chest. Citing a commitment to confidentiality, a spokeswoman told Defense News the company had no plans to characterize its offer nor the “nature of the relationship” between the Swiss and French governments to that end. (Source: Defense News Early Bird/Defense News)

30 Nov 20. NH90 helicopter sale to Germany strengthens GKN Aerospace’s defence portfolio.

  • GKN Aerospace’s involvement in NH90 helicopter ranges from tail to landing gear and after-market
  • Long-term partnership in NHIndustries consortium, which has 430 NH90 helicopters in service in 13 countries

NHIndustries and NAHEMA, acting as the Contracting Authority on behalf of the German Bundeswehr, have signed the contract for the procurement of 31 NH90 helicopters for shipborne operations. The contract brings the total order book to 597 rotorcraft. The purchase of the helicopters strengthens GKN Aerospace’s leadership position in the defence industry today and reinforces its strategic focus on the market for the future. The contract also means the continuation of hundreds of high skilled jobs in the Netherlands.

GKN Aerospace’s Fokker business began participating in the very successful NH90 programme in the 1990s as one of the founding partners of NHIndustries, together with Airbus Helicopters and Leonardo. GKN Aerospace designed and manufactures the following state-of-the-art lightweight composite solutions for every NH90 helicopter in the world.

  • Empennage
  • Cabin door
  • Landing Gear
  • Intermediate gearbox
  • Standard parts

Michiel van der Maat, Vice President Countries and Campaigns for GKN Aerospace’s Defence business said: “We are proud of our continued involvement in the successful NH90 programme. Our participation in NHIndustries allows us to strengthen key relationships with our partners and enables the exchange of expertise and know-how in advanced rotorcraft. GKN Aerospace has been a leader in aerostructures and lightweight technologies for many years and these advanced technologies have made us a great fit within this long-term collaboration, and at the forefront of the defence industry.“


03 Dec 20. Army taps industry for Gray Eagle payloads for joint ops against high-end threats. The Army wants its Joint All Domain Operations (JADO) Gray Eagles to have synthetic aperture radars, moving target indicators, electronic intelligence and communications intelligence capability as well as air-launched effects and radar warning receivers, according to a new market survey.

Now, the Army wants help from industry with those payloads for its Gray Eagle unmanned aircraft systems. Specifically, the service is looking for systems that are capable of helping with joint operations across all warfighting domains against high-end threats from adversaries such as China and Russia, according to a solicitation published Dec. 2 to a government contracting website.

The service’s Aerial Enhanced Radar, Optics and Sensors (AEROS) product manager wants industry to “identify potential existing sources capable of providing Aerial Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (AISR) payloads for the MQ-1C Gray Eagle Unmanned Aircraft System platform that meet the JADO environment,” the solicitation posted to Beta.Sam.Gov states.

These Gray Eagles payloads must be capable of increased ranges and resolutions “to support target location and Long-Range Precision Fires (LRPF) without the use of traditional line of site visual equipment to include Electro Optical, Infrared (EO/IR) and Full Motion Video (FMV) required for today’s Counter Insurgency (COIN) mission,” the request for information stresses.

Traditional COIN payloads won’t hold up against peer and near-peer adversaries, the Army noted, as they will “employ anti-access, area denial strategies, posing a significant challenge to the current AISR fleet,” the solicitation states.

Gray Eagles must survive against an “Integrated Air Defense System (IADS)-rich environment,” the request notes. This means the Gray Eagle would fly “racetrack patterns tangential to the IADS threat at 80 km distance” and would be capable of deploying Air-Launched Effects (ALE) forward into enemy territory to detect, identify and locate targets and take out or disrupt threats, according to the request.

The Gray Eagle would also have payloads that could detect IADS threats, locate them and transfer the information to other sensor systems capable of recognizing targets and coordinating long-range fires, the solicitation describes.

The Army is conducting the survey ahead of a Gray Eagle sensor payload JADO demonstration that could potentially take place in fiscal 2022 where systems will be “quantitatively compared” to find the highest performing and best value payloads based on technology readiness and production cost, the request lays out.

The solicitation for more advanced payloads for Gray Eagle comes at a time when the Army is trying to design a complex architecture of helicopters and unmanned aircraft systems that would be part of tight-knit kill chain to include space and ground assets underpinned by an advanced network.

The Army experimented with the kill chain to include air assets at Project Convergence at Yuma Proving Ground, Arizona, over the summer. The effort brings together future weapons and capabilities envisioned for a 2030s battlefield against near-peer adversaries such as Russia and China. It includes using a machine learning and artificial intelligence-enabled battle management system that is in development.

Gray Eagle represented a Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft (FARA) surrogate.

During the first mission thread at Project Convergence, which focused on the penetration phase laid out in the Army’s Multidomain Operations warfighting concept, Gray Eagles and ALE partnered with space-based assets, APNT, and LRPF capabilities to locate, then degrade and destroy enemy assets modeled after the Russian Pantsir air defense systems and other weapons.

The ALE pushed ingested data forward through the network to get it to the right shooters, whether that would be an Extended Range Cannon Artillery (ERCA) system on the ground or a Gray Eagle or another ALE. The Army was able to extend the ALE capability out to almost 62 kilometers, which would provide deep standoff for manned aircraft like FARA. The ALEs performed both the reconnaissance, surveillance and targeting acquisition mission and worked as a mesh network to extend the battlefield. Two ALEs were truck launched and four were air launched.

Also during the final shot of the entire campaign at Project Convergence, a soldier on the ground took control of a LRPF munition surrogate (a Hellfire missile in this case) on a Gray Eagle and fired on the target.

The Gray Eagle at Convergence was able to route around and avoid threat weapon systems and also fired a live Dynetics-made GBU-69 small glide munition.

Previewing the future, the Army also used an open system architecture that was flexible enough for payloads and capabilities to be swapped in out of its Gray Eagles without having to rely on the original equipment manufacturer to do it.  (Source: Defense News)

03 Dec 20. The USAF wants to buy a big robot to help with bomb disposal. A year after the U.S. Army awarded a contract to build a heavy-duty robot able to dispose of bombs and other explosives, the Air Force is looking for its own system — and it wants to see what’s on the market before committing to purchasing what the Army buys.

The Air Force in October released a solicitation for a large explosive ordnance disposal robot, a commercial off-the-shelf system equipped with a maneuverable arm and a camera system that can function in all terrain types, environments and weather conditions.

An Air Force spokesman declined to confirm how many companies submitted bids for the program, which were due Nov. 20.

One competitor has already come forward: FLIR, which is set to rake in as much as $109m building its Kobra robot for the Army’s Common Robotic System-Heavy program. The company began full-rate production of Kobra last month and is confident the Air Force will follow the Army’s example by choosing the same system.

“As the chosen provider for the Army’s Common Robotic System-Heavy (CRS-H) program, FLIR believes its extensively tested and proven unmanned ground system meets the Air Force needs in the large EOD robot category, while enabling commonality of equipment with other services’ EOD forces,” said Tom Frost, who runs FLIR’s unmanned ground systems business.

QinetiQ, which lost out to FLIR in the CRS-H competition, did not respond to a query about whether it had bid on the Air Force program.

At times, the Air Force has joined Army robot programs without needing to hold a competition. But in the case of larger EOD robots, the two services have differing requirements that have led the Air Force to seek out its own system instead of jumping into the CRS-H program, said S. Chase Cooper, a contracting officer who is managing the EOD robot solicitation on behalf of the Air Force’s 772nd Enterprise Sourcing Squadron.

“The major difference is that the Army’s mission is primarily to operate ‘outside the wire’ ” — that is, outside of a secure military installation — “where the Air Force’s mission is primarily ‘inside the wire.’ These are two entirely different environments,” he said in a statement to Defense News.

Cooper also pointed to additional considerations such as the size and weight of the system.

Most Air Force EOD missions occur after bombs or other improvised explosive devices are found at a base or installation. When that happens, teams load robots and other gear into a Base Response Vehicle or Bomb Squad Emergency Response Vehicle, drive out to the location of the explosive device, and safely dispose of the explosive. Whatever robot the Air Force chooses must be small enough to fit inside those vehicles, Cooper said. That includes passing through a 32-inch-wide door opening and parking into a space 91 inches long and 63 inches high.

The Air Force’s requirement for weight, which is set at a maximum of 1,000 pounds, is less stringent than the Army’s 700-pound limit. The Air Force also called for a system with a minimum 800-meter, line-of-sight radio range, and a 3-hour runtime that will allow it complete the majority of EOD missions.

Cooper noted that the Air Force’s decision to pursue an open competition does not preclude the FLIR robot from being chosen by the service.

“It is unknown at this time if that system would meet our requirements,” Cooper said. “Through our contracting process, we are evaluating all of the proposed large robot systems against the Air Force’s requirement so we can make sure the system we purchase is the best one for our airmen.”

The Air Force has a history of both collaborating with the Army on EOD robots and going its own way. For its medium-sized unmanned ground vehicle, the Air Force opted to use the Army’s existing contract under the Man Transportable Robotic System Increment II program for FLIR’s Centaur UGV, which is also being purchased by the Navy and Marine Corps.

But while QinetiQ beat out FLIR in the Army’s competition for CRS-Individual — a man-packable robot that is less than 25 pounds — the Air Force ended up pursuing a separate contract to meet its own unique needs for small unmanned ground vehicles. (Source: Defense News)

02 Dec 20. Air Force Plans First Digital Engineering Pitch Day.

“We’re learning from industry as we go,” said Eileene Vidrine, Air Force chief data officer.

The Air Force will be holding its first Digital Engineering Pitch Day early next year, seeking industry innovations to improve software, tools and the fidelity of models used to virtually develop new weapon systems, says Rich Tempalski, the service’s chief modeling and simulations officer.

“We really fully believe our partnership with industry is key to delivering our better capability to perform at a more efficient pace,” he told the National Training and Simulation Association’s 2020 Virtual Interservice, Industry, Training, Simulation, and Education Conference today.

Chosen vendors, who had until Nov. 5 to apply to participate, will be eligible for a Phase II Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant for up to $1m each over a 27 month period.

“Digital Engineering depends on the creation of nearly perfect virtual and digital models and environments, harnessing their full power to learn and experiment so the actual, physical systems are fully integrated and tested before production,” the Pitch Day solicitation provided to industry explains. The goal is to provide the Air Force the ability to much more rapidly move from design to fielding of new weapon systems — on a near continuous basis as cutting-edge technology becomes available to integrate in follow-ons.

Air Force Secretary Barbara Barrett, speaking yesterday to the US Chamber of Commerce, stressed the service’s commitment to digital engineering as a foundational element of how the service will be doing business from now on. “Digital engineering isn’t an option … it’s essential. It’s faster, it’s cheaper, it’s better,” she said.

Pitch Days are a key tool in the Air Force’s efforts to use novel acquisition methods to speed development and procurement. Working through AFWERX, the service’s innovation hub, Pitch Days are aimed at enticing non-traditional commercial companies and startups to bring their ideas to the Air Force, noted Eileene Vidrine, Air Force chief data officer.

“I would just say to industry, you know, keep bringing it keep coming to us keep participating and keep bringing your new methods and ideas,” she said. “We’re learning from industry as we go.”

The Air Force has articulated three key principles for achieving its digital engineering goals, according to the Pitch Day solicitation:

  1. Own the Tech Stack – The tech stack consists of all data, models, software, and associated infrastructure needed to create and optimize a system’s lifecycle digitally. Owning, sharing, and furnishing the tech stack allows the Air Force to operate on common infrastructure and achieve almost complete information transparency with the vendor performing the work. Each tech stack layer should be a manageable portfolio of competing offerings, certified to integrate while preserving digital threads.
  2. Warp from Tech Stack to Edge – Deployment of software technologies to the edge, an operational system in near real-time speed is the ultimate goal. Owning the tech stack provides assurance what works in development can be precisely replicated on AF weapon systems without requiring extensive software regression testing or serial verification and validation.
  3. eCreate Before You Aviate (Kudos to clever person who came up with that one!)– The opportunity to design, build, and test countless designs before building the physical system. Rather than “fly before you buy,” digital engineering and management allows the AF to reduce the real-world learning curve, the need for physical prototyping, and modifications between production blocks.

Vendors are being asked to bring ideas for the following technologies and processes related to digital engineering: “virtual work environments, rapid prototyping and demonstration, infrastructure operability, big data management, analysis, and visualization, linking disparate data sources and systems, digital thread and digital twin, 3D printing/additive manufacturing, advanced architecture tools, advanced logistics tools, 2D to 3D conversion/validation, augmented/virtual reality, cyber security, decision analysis, model based systems engineering, model based engineering, software visualization, and cloud/high performance computing (HPC) cost effective infrastructure.” (Source: Breaking Defense.com)

26 Nov 20. US Army is looking for updates to its electronic warfare planning tool. In a new request for information, the Army is looking for additional capability for its EWPMT system. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Armando R. Limon, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division)

WASHINGTON — The Army is looking for potentially more vendors and capabilities for its Electronic Warfare Planning and Management Tool.

EWMPT, which provides for mission planning and management within the electromagnetic spectrum, has been developed thus far by Raytheon and has taken advantage of what it calls software capability drops to add incremental capabilities. The system is also thought to be the front runner for the joint force to manage the electromagnetic spectrum.

A new request for information published Nov. 24 is looking to add to what’s been already been developed. The notice states that the software for the program is entering sustainment and the request is to continue development of capability drop 4.

The request lists six specific needs:

  • Electronic warfare mission planning, which will provide data to identify particular signals.
  • Electronic warfare effectiveness, which will identify friendly vulnerabilities in areas of operations exploited by enemy actions, provide damage assessments of electromagnetic attacks to determine if desired effects were achieved and display current and post mission analysis for battle damage assessment purposes.
  • Reprogramming of electronic warfare assets such as the forthcoming Multi-Function Electronic Warfare (MFEW) system the Army’s first organic brigade electronic attack asset mounted on an MQ-1C Gray Eagle drone – the Army’s first organic brigade electronic attack asset mounted on an MQ-1C Gray Eagle drone – and the Terrestrial Layer System (TLS) – the Army’s first integrated electronic warfare, signals intelligence and cyber platform. This function would allow the capability to remotely control these and other assets over the network.
  • Provide electronic warfare alert to warn of impending threats or attacks.
  • Support the targeting process from electronic warfare assets such as MFEW and TLS.
  • Provide electromagnetic spectrum management information for the ability to assess a unit’s emission of electromagnetic, acoustic or other emitters to optimize friendly operations and capabilities while minimizing detection by enemy sensors and friendly interference. (Source: C4ISR & Networks)


03 Dec 20. Indonesia in talks with Naval Group for variant of Riachuelo-class submarine. Officials from Indonesia’s defence ministry are in discussions with a consortium led by French shipbuilder Naval Group for a possible order of the Riachuelo (Modified Scorpene)-class submarine, separate industry sources close to the talks have confirmed with Janes.

The discussion is the latest development in what has been a series of sporadic talks between Indonesian defence planners and Naval Group since 2016, when Jakarta first indicated its interest in the Scorpene 1000 vessel type for its naval requirements.

Due diligence specifically for the Riachuelo class began after a variant of the submarine type was suggested by Naval Group as being suitable for Indonesia’s requirements, said one of the industry sources.

Besides technical discussions, the talks with Naval Group and its consortium also touched upon financing options and opportunities for technology transfer agreements between French and Indonesian defence companies, the source added.

The Riachuelo class is a 1,800-tonne submarine type, four of which were ordered for the Brazilian Navy in 2009. The first-of-class was launched by Naval Group in December 2018, while the final boat is scheduled to enter the water in 2022.

The submarine has an overall length of 75m, an overall beam of 6.2m, and can accommodate a crew of 31, including six officers. It is capable of deploying F21 heavyweight torpedoes and MBDA Exocet SM39 Block 2 Mod 2 missiles via 533mm tubes, and is capable of diving up to 350m. (Source: Jane’s)

03 Dec 20. Indonesia eager to clinch French Rafale fighter jets deal soon – La Tribune. Negotiations between France and Indonesia for the purchase of 48 French Rafale fighter jets are advancing at a fast pace and a deal could be inked soon, French website La Tribune.fr said on Thursday, citing several sources. Indonesia would like to seal a deal before the end of the year but French negotiators want to take the time necessary to fine-tune the details, it said. (Source: Reuters)

01 Dec 20. Australia opens tender for Navy sustainment program. Defence has commenced a search for an industry partner to provide innovative sustainment support to the Navy’s fleet at its first Regional Maintenance Centre. A tender has opened for a regional maintenance provider at Defence’s first Regional Maintenance Centre (North East) in Cairns.

Defence is searching for an industry partner to deliver a “new, innovative approach” to the sustainment of the Royal Australian Navy’s fleet, in a bid to boost industry capability in the regions.

The successful candidate will be tasked with ensuring sustainment capability in strategic Navy homeports and would be expected to conduct maintenance on a range of vessels over time.

The RAN’s head of maritime systems, Rear Admiral Wendy Malcolm, said the new approach would facilitate the delivery of complex naval capability, while also increasing opportunities for local small and medium businesses.

“The new approach, as outlined in Defence’s Plan Galileo, is part of the Australian government’s investment of over $170bn in naval shipbuilding announced in the 2020 Force Structure Plan,” RADM Malcolm said.

“This will result in the fleet doubling in tonnage and significantly increasing in complexity.”

RADM Malcolm continued, “Regional maintenance providers will coordinate the delivery of maintenance and build resilient local and regional supply chains on behalf of the Commonwealth.

“This will provide more stable work packages and remove barriers to entry for local small and medium businesses, enabling the opportunity for increased participation.”

Regional Maintenance Centre North East, which is the first of four to be set up, is expected to be in place by the end of 2021, and will initially sustain Navy’s new Evolved Cape Class patrol boats.

This program will be supported by the Australian government’s Skilling Australia’s Defence Industry Grants program, which aims to provide businesses servicing the defence sector with upskilling and training opportunities

According to Defence, the program also aligns with the government’s recently announced $1.5bn Modern Manufacturing Strategy, which also aims to build resilient supply chains.  The tender opened on 27 November 2020 and is set to close on 12 March 2021. (Source: Defence Connect)

03 Dec 20. Lockheed Martin Australia’s economic growth, resilience and SME opportunities. Lockheed Martin Australia’s ongoing commitment to enabling a resilient Australian sovereign defence capability has been demonstrated with the release of an independent report into the company’s positive impact on the Australian economy.

Lockheed Martin Australia (LMA), in collaboration with advisory firm AlphaBeta, now part of Accenture, has conducted a review into the full scale of the company’s economic impact across the Australian economy.

Joe North, Lockheed Martin Australia chief executive, told Defence Connect, “The modelling isn’t only focused on high-level economic impacts, it takes a very close look at the real and direct engagement between Lockheed Martin Australia and its local supply chain.

“Working with AlphaBeta enabled us to trace spending throughout our Australian supply chain, from our primary suppliers, through to the suppliers of our suppliers and all through the SME base giving Lockheed Martin Australia a true picture of its economic impact.”

The findings of the AlphaBeta report demonstrates the critical role of large defence primes to grow and further a vital, vibrant and sustainable sovereign defence industrial capability and a highly-skilled, high value Australian workforce – supporting Australia’s economy and future prosperity. One of the major catalysts for evolving Australia’s robust and resilient defence industry capability has been the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program.

Australia’s participation in the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program is a primary example of the growing capability of Australia’s sovereign industrial base, which saw Lockheed Martin inject $409m in the F-35 global supply chain for production and sustainment.

Highlights from the report include:

* In 2019, Lockheed Martin contributed $542m to Australian gross domestic product (GDP);

* Lockheed Martin Australia’s supply chain spending has doubled to $697m since 2017 supporting over 675 local suppliers, of which 70 per cent are small- and medium-sized enterprises; and

* Lockheed Martin’s economic impact is significant as every $1 of output generated by generates an additional $1.70 of indirect and induced impact to the economy.

As the Australian F-35 fleet continues to arrive and sustainment ramps up, analysis suggests that this figure will also continue to grow, both in metropolitan and regional Australia.

Dr Andrew Charlton, managing director at AlphaBeta, highlighted the importance of Lockheed Martin Australia’s economic activity in building resilience in Australia’s economy, particularly through the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Our analysis shows that Lockheed Martin Australia’s operations have generated significant support for Australian industry and workers, including sovereign capability development, high-value job creation and workforce skilling, as well as investment in research and development,” Dr Charlton explained.

AlphaBeta’s report revealed LMA generated $542m in total economic impact and supported 6,318 employees around the nation in 2019 – with 1,164 people directly employed by LMA, and an additional 5,154 jobs through supply chain and employee spending.

NSW and Victoria each benefited from $160m of LMA’s economic impact, and account for 4,023 of the jobs supported by LMA.

The impact in Victoria is predominantly driven by large supplier spend — it captured 45 per cent or $316 m of total supplier spend in 2019, and therefore generated significant indirect impact.

North added, “We have about 1,164 actual LMA Australian employees, based on the contracts that go out, we have another 5,136 jobs around the nation in the high-technology, advanced manufacturing and next-generation technologies transforming the Australian economy.

“These jobs are across every domain, from maritime and the in-country Aegis capability, and Australia’s involvement and operating and sustaining of the F-35, C-130J and MH-60R helicopter operations also playing a key role in supporting the industrial capacity.”

Dr Charlton expanded on North’s comments, adding, “Not only is this support high value, high capability jobs, with a big impact for regional Australia, the Shoalhaven region in particular has benefitted from LMA’s investment in the whole Australian industrial base.”

South Australia benefited from $103m of total impact and 20 per cent (1,232) of the total jobs supported.

The majority of this impact is directly contributed by LMA’s employment, with over a third of employees supporting the Future Submarine Combat System and Aegis programs.

North added, “Lockheed Martin Australia’s role as the combat systems integrator (CSI) has seen the workforce grow to over 220 people, including 36 graduates and undergraduates, they’re currently working on the coding and design of the future combat system for the Attack Class.

“This isn’t a work force that will be going anywhere, it is a truly sovereign workforce capability developing the combat system that will support the Attack class through life.”

Queensland generated $93m worth of economic impact and 12 per cent (743) of the total jobs supported. The remainder of the economic impact is distributed between the ACT, Western Australia and the Northern Territory.

The report details the employment impact of Lockheed Martin Australia, including:

* In 2019, Lockheed Martin supported over 6,300 Australian jobs. These jobs included direct employees and workers employed by suppliers engaged to deliver Lockheed Martin products and programs in Australia;

* Lockheed Martin Australia has grown its workforce by 28 per cent between 2017 and 2020, with 1,164 employees across every mainland state and territory delivering a wide breadth of capabilities from air superiority, sustainment to space and research and development;

* Lockheed Martin Australia is creating opportunities for high-skilled, entry level roles and offers seven early career pathways in Australia, including apprenticeships, internships, trainee programs, and the award-winning Graduate Development program; and

* Collectively, these programs employ 133 Early Career employees, or over 10 per cent of LMA’s workforce.

North added, “While the Report highlights Lockheed Martin’s economic contribution to Australia’s economy, we understand our nation, like the rest of the world, faces significant economic challenges in the wake of COVID-19.

“As Australia looks to defence as a sector key to realising a national economic recovery post-COVID, Lockheed Martin Australia is already working with its local partners to help deliver an industry-led recovery and a stronger, sustainable economic outlook for Australia.”

Headquartered in Canberra, Lockheed Martin Australia is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Lockheed Martin Corporation. The company employs more than 1,000 people in Australia working on a wide range of major programs spanning the aerospace, defence and civil sectors.

AlphaBeta’s economic impact study was conducted by measuring the direct, indirect, and induced economic impacts of Lockheed Martin Australia’s operations and supply chain.

Lockheed Martin Australia’s financial and employment data was used to capture the companies direct contribution to the economy. Using detailed supply chain procurement data, AlphaBeta had been able to examine the degree of impact Lockheed Martin Australia has on each of its suppliers and measure Lockheed Martin Australia’s indirect economic contribution. (Source: Defence Connect)

03 Dec 20. Attack Class sub milestone for Aussie industry participation. Defence Minister Linda Reynolds has announced the signing of a contract for the design of the primary underwater sensor of the Royal Australian Navy’s future Attack Class submarine fleet in a major milestone for Australian industry engagement.

The contract has been signed with Thales UK, through Lockheed Martin Australia, for the design of the outboard flank array and partnering arrangements with Australian industry.

The outboard flank array forms part of the sonar subsystem, which is used when the submarine is submerged, this vital piece of equipment acts as the submarine’s eyes and ears, providing situational awareness for the crew.

Minister for Defence Linda Reynolds said the design of the outboard flank array is vital to the operational effectiveness of the Attack Class submarine and its regional superiority.

“Thales is a global leader in underwater systems and the world’s top exporter of sonars and related systems for naval forces. This contract builds on the work Defence already has with Thales to upgrade the sonar suite of the Collins fleet,” Minister Reynolds explained.

Thales will support and promote Australian industry capability through a number of initiatives, including:

* Conducting a proportion of the design phase in Australia by engaging one of three Australia-based companies – Thales Australia, Babcock Australia, and BMT Group, through a competitive process;

* Leveraging existing in-country capabilities that support other Australian Defence Force assets, including the Collins Class submarine, for the assembly, integration and sustainment phases; and

* An industry development package for the transfer of industrial capability to Australia to enable the provision of critical sub-assemblies and line replaceable units for both initial supply and sustainment.

Minister Reynolds added, “This is a significant step in the right direction to build up Australian capability for the Future Submarine Program. By bringing together the best underwater sensing technology with local industry, it will ensure we deliver a sovereign regionally superior submarine.”

Following the successful completion of the design phase, further work will be contracted for the manufacture of the subsystem from 2023.

The Attack Class submarines will be delivered as part of the multi-billion dollar 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, South Australia.

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.

30 Nov 20. Australia commits to Edinburgh infrastructure upgrades. Defence Minister Linda Reynolds and Defence Industry Minister Melissa Price have announced a $220m investment in infrastructure upgrades for RAAF Base Edinburgh in South Australia to support the MC-55A Peregrine capability.

The $220m in major infrastructure upgrades at RAAF Base Edinburgh will include the construction of a hangar, maintenance facilities, and operational accommodation to support the intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance and electronic warfare MC-55A Peregrine capability.

Defence Minister Linda Reynolds said the upgraded facilities would strengthen Australia’s ability to support to naval, air and land forces.

“The Peregrine will be integrated real-time into Defence’s warfighting networks alongside other Defence capabilities to enhance Australia’s situational awareness during both peacetime and conflict. The Peregrine integrates with other latest generation air, sea and land capabilities to achieve improved survivability and decision superiority,” Minister Reynolds explained.

The MC-55A Peregrine is an airborne intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance and electronic warfare (AISREW) mission systems aircraft that will be based at RAAF Base Edinburgh in South Australia – yet another piece in a broader ISR precinct being developed at the Super Base, which is already home to the Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft.

Minister Reynolds added, “Today’s announcement builds on this government’s $2.5bn investment in South Australia on Defence facilities and infrastructure over the coming decade, including at Edinburgh Defence Precinct, Woomera Prohibited Area, Keswick Barracks, and the Cultana Training Area.”

Italy, Israel and Singapore operate Gulfstream G550s modified by IAI with large conformal antennas and other enhancements in the AEW&C role, and the US Navy has also ordered a similarly configured aircraft for range-control work. Various other special-mission G550s serve with the US government and other countries.

Defence Industry Minister Melissa Price congratulated Lendlease as the managing contractor to deliver the works to the base, saying, “The project’s construction workforce is expected to peak at about 200 people. It once again shows how South Australia is benefiting so strongly from the Morrison government’s commitment to building a robust and resilient defence industry.”

Australia requested the possible sale of up to five Gulfstream G550 with AISREW mission systems, GPS capability, secure communications, aircraft defensive systems; spares, including whole-life costs of airborne and ground segments; aircraft modification and integration; ground systems for data processing and crew training; ground support equipment; publications and technical data; US government and contractor engineering, technical and logistics support services; flight test and certification; and other related elements of logistical and program support.

Minister Price added, “Lendlease has committed to achieving a local participation rate of about 80 per cent, which is an outstanding result for the local defence industry.”

Lendlease will shortly commence site establishment activities, with construction anticipated to commence in late 2020 and be completed by 2025.

Requests for tenders for local participation will be released into the market in mid-2021. (Source: Defence Connect)


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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