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05 Jan 21. Italy, UK and Sweden sign MoU on development of Tempest. Italian Defence Minister Lorenzo Guerini, UK Secretary of State for Defence Ben Wallace, and Swedish Defence Minister Peter Hultqvist signed a trilateral memorandum of understanding (MoU) on 21 December on the development of the Tempest future fighter, the Italian Ministry of Defence (MoD) announced in a press release on 3 January.

Describing the Future Combat Air System Cooperation (FCASC) MoU as “crucial for the balance of military and industrial capabilities at the European and global level”, the ministry said the agreement defines “the general principles for co-operation on an equal basis between the three countries comprising all activities including research, development and joint concepting necessary for governments to acquire an advanced air system to replace Eurofighter”. The MoD added, “The agreement will be followed by the project arrangements and the full development phase, currently scheduled to begin in 2025.”

As underlined by Guerini during the presentation of the Documento Programmatico Pluriennale (Multiyear Planning Document, DPP) 2020–2022 to the Italian parliament in November, “The Tempest programme is among the defence priority programmes,” according to the MoD press release, which said “a first important budget line for Italian participation in Tempest was clearly identified within the Eurofighter programme to allow for the concrete start of activities through the so-called ‘Typhoon to Tempest’ [technological] transition”. (Source: Jane’s)


05 Jan 21. European Defence Agency to support PESCO’s EPC project. The European Defence Agency’s (EDA) Steering Board has agreed to support the development of a ‘European Patrol Corvette’ (EPC).

The European Defence Agency’s (EDA) Steering Board has agreed to support the development of a ‘European Patrol Corvette’ (EPC).

The corvette will be developed as part of the Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO) programme.

Italy, France, Spain and Greece are the four PESCO participating countries involved in the EPC project.

EDA chief executive Jiří Šedivý said: “EDA is delighted to support this ambitious and innovative PESCO project.

“As the European hub for collaborative capability development, the agency has the expertise to help member states in the implementation of their PESCO projects.

“The European Patrol Corvette project responds directly to an existing gap in Europe’s capability landscape acknowledged by member states during the revision of the Capability Development Plan (CDP) in 2018, namely that of naval manoeuvrability and the need for improved maritime situational awareness, surface superiority and power projection.”

The EPC project, which is part of the third batch of PESCO projects, was approved in November last year.

It is aimed at designing and developing a new class of military ship for conducting various missions. Equipped with a range of systems and payloads, the EPC will primarily be tasked with maritime situational awareness, surface superiority as well as power projection.

The participating member states in the project aim to produce the first corvette prototype between 2026 and 2027.

Italy Capability Director general Giovanni Iannucci said: “The EPC will be characterised by a multi-purpose and modular approach by design that will also allow to perform dual-use missions, such as anti-pollution activities, humanitarian assistance operations and interventions in support of populations in case of natural disasters.

“Italy is very proud of the coordinating role and will continue to conduct all necessary activities for the EPC’s success.”

In February 2017, EDA completed corrosion control for navy ships (CCNS) programme to test and identify solutions to help mitigate surface deterioration. (Source: naval-technology.com)


07 Jan 21. Altamira Announces Lead Role on Contractor Teaming Arrangement (CTA) on MEGASTAR Contract For NASIC. Altamira Technologies announced today that the Company has been selected as the new the Team Lead on its existing Contractor Teaming Arrangement (CTA) for the U.S. General Services Administration’s MEGASTAR Blanket Purchase Agreement (BPA).

MEGASTAR provides scientific and technical intelligence support services to the National Air and Space Intelligence Center (NASIC). The agreement has a five-year base period that originally began on October 1, 2019 and runs through September 30, 2024, and option periods that extend through September 30, 2029. The competitive BPA has a total ceiling of $997m, with most of the work to be performed at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.

Altamira will be the Team Leader of the CTA throughout the entire remaining period of performance and will serve as the official point of contact with the customer concerning the MEGASTAR program. ManTech Advanced Systems International Inc. is also a CTA team member.

“We are excited to take on this Team Lead role on MEGASTAR which provides us with greater opportunities to support NASIC’s critical mission,” said Blaine Worthington, Altamira’s Chief Operating Officer. “MEGASTAR is highly complementary to our ongoing work on NASIC’s ATEP II contract and extends our longstanding partnership with this important customer.”

Altamira has supported NASIC on the Advanced Technical Exploitation Program (ATEP) and ATEPII contracts since 2007, providing Geospatial Intelligence (GEOINT) and non-nuclear Measurement and Signature Intelligence (MASINT) Tasking, Collection, Processing, Exploitation and Dissemination (TCPED) activities to NASIC and its mission partners. (Source: BUSINESS WIRE)

04 Jan 21. US Army Seeks Robots to Transport Wounded Troops. The Army is examining ways to use autonomous vehicles to bring injured soldiers off the battlefield. In September, Pennsylvania-based company RE2 Robotics received $1.1m in Small Business Innovation Research funding from the Army Telemedicine and Advanced Technology Research Center to work on a dexterous two-arm system called the Autonomous Casualty Extraction, or ACE.

“This would be a system that would go out to the casualty wherever that person is, … recognize where the person is autonomously, figure out how they’re laying [and] figure out how to safely maneuver that casualty onto this transport device that we’re developing,” Jorgen Pedersen, the company’s president and CEO, said in an interview.

The arms are mounted onto FLIR Systems’ Kobra unmanned ground vehicle that will be able to transport casualties away from the battlefield to safety. ACE will be equipped with artificial intelligence and perception software to detect the soldier’s location and figure out how to evacuate him, Pedersen noted.

Kobra has a height of 11.5 feet and can lift 330 pounds, according to FLIR.

“A medic can remotely view a casualty through this system,” Pedersen said. “A medic can also be dialed into this system … and be looking at the patient assessing what needs to be done.”

ACE is the second phase of an ongoing effort. In the first phase, the company worked on a mechanism dubbed “Lifeline” that helps medics lift injured soldiers onto a squad multipurpose equipment transport for medical evaluation, he said. SMET is a program of record to develop a so-called “robotic mule” that can transport gear and other items for the Army.

“That’s what Lifeline is, it’s really just a lifting assist device that allows only one person to do it, instead of having to have two or three people that do it,” he said. “One person can do that whole operation on their own.”

The idea is to have the soldier retrieved by ACE, be led to Lifeline and transported out on a robotic mule.

If the Army decides to continue with the work, phase 3 is slated for about two years from now, Pedersen said.

“Once we’ve demonstrated that this is functional and is safe, then we would look to work with the Army to move into a phase 3 effort to ensure that it gets added on to the SMET program of record or other programs that could benefit from this technology,” he said. (Source: Defense News Early Bird/NDIA.org)


06 Jan 21. RoKN unveils revised conceptual design for future light aircraft carrier. The Republic of Korea Navy (RoKN) unveiled on 3 January a revised conceptual design for its future next-generation light aircraft carrier. The latest design, which confirms that the vessel will not feature a ski-jump, features a twin-island arrangement. The computer-generated imagery (CGI) also appears to confirm that the service plans to operate Lockheed Martin F-35B short take-off and vertical landing (STOVL) Joint Strike Fighters from the vessel. Naval helicopters, somewhat similar in appearance to the Sikorsky/Lockheed Martin MH-60R Seahawk, can also be seen on the carrier.

The RoKN pointed out, however, that the latest conceptual design can be further revised during the basic and detailed designed stages.

A second image provided by the service shows the vessel, which is being acquired under the LPX-II Project, operating as part of a carrier group alongside what appear to be KSS-III-class submarines as well as KDX-2-, KDX-3 Batch II-, and KDDX-class destroyers, and a Soyang (AOE-II)-class logistics support ship.

The latest developments come after South Korean officials and defence researchers held their first meeting in late October 2020 to discuss the development of “core technologies” for the carrier. The country’s Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) announced at the time that a total of seven institutions and companies, including the Agency for Defense Development, Pusan National University, and LIG Nex1, would take part in the development process, which is expected to be completed by 2024.

As an example of core technologies, DAPA cited the planned development of coating materials to protect the flight deck of the 40,000-tonne carrier. (Source: Jane’s)

06 Jan 21. Round two QLD Defence and Aerospace Industry Development Fund now open. The Queensland government has announced the second round of the Defence and Aerospace Industry Development Fund is open for small-to-medium enterprises (SMEs) to expand their opportunities

As part of the Queensland government’s expanded support to the small-to-medium enterprises (SMEs) by supporting them to enhance their prospects for securing participation in defence, aerospace and space industry supply chains have launched round two of the Defence and Aerospace Industry Development (DAID) Fund.

An important action under the Roadmaps was the establishment of the Defence and Aerospace Industry Development Fund (DAID Fund).

The DAID Fund develops Queensland SMEs by supporting the promotion of SME capabilities to the global defence, aerospace and space industries and compliance with international industry certification requirements.

The DAID Fund is administered by the Department of State Development, Infrastructure, Local Government and Planning, and provides targeted financial assistance to eligible small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) operating in the defence and aerospace sectors, and those with a focus on the space industry.

Regional businesses are particularly encouraged to apply.

The DAID Fund supports fulfilment of a key objective of Advancing Queensland’s Priorities, which is to create jobs in a strong economy, and aligns with the department’s strategic direction by:

  • Enabling Queensland SMEs to develop their capabilities and compete for defence, aerospace and space industry contracts;
  • Increasing Queensland SMEs’ exposure and access to defence, aerospace and space industry supply chains; and
  • Facilitating the adoption of contemporary ‘lean’ processes and acquiring internationally recognised industry certification.

Financial assistance is available to support SMEs to obtain certification of their business operations, goods or services to international industry-specific requirements in accordance with the guidelines.

Grants from $5,000 to $30,000 (excluding GST) in matched funding will be awarded to approved applicants.

More information is available here: DefencDefence and Aerospace Industry Development Fund 2020-2021e and Aerospace Industry Development Fund 2020-2021.

Applications are now open for funding to support international and industry certification, this round will close at 5 pm on Friday, 19 February 2021. (Source: Defence Connect)

04 Jan 21. Israel’s defence minister said on Monday that he wants the country to buy a third squadron of stealth F-35 warplanes from the United States, and that he hoped a deal could be clinched before President Donald Trump steps down on Jan. 20.

Israel has been in talks with Washington on how to preserve its military advantage after the Trump administration approved a possible F-35 sale to the United Arab Emirates last year. The plane was previously available only to Israel in the region.

“Without doubt, we need to expand the F-35 array. Right now we have two squadrons. I reckon we will expand that. That is what I requested of the Americans,” Defence Minister Benny Gantz told Ynet TV.

“I would buy another F-35 squadron and then examine what to do with the balance – continuing to expand the F-35 (procurement), going for F-15s?”

Gantz did not specify the number of F-35s in the proposed new squadron. Defence officials have said the two squadrons already ordered by Israel consist of 50 planes.

Gantz’s coalition government with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu fell apart last month, triggering a March 23 ballot. Both men remain in their posts until a new government is formed after the ballot.

Asked if Israel might complete a defence procurement deal with the United States before Trump steps down, he said: “I hope so. I think the defence budget needs to be handled properly, to be safeguarded. It is a kind of active insurance policy.”

The F-35 is made by Lockheed Martin Corp and the F-15 by Boeing Co. (Source: Reuters)

04 Jan 21. BAE Systems Australia’s shipbuilding business has selected four Australian companies to help fast track world leading manufacturing processes following the first ‘innovation challenge’ to support the Hunter Class Frigate Program. BAE Systems Maritime Australia (formerly ASC Shipbuilding) is running progressive ‘innovation challenges’ as the Hunter Program ramps up so that the best Australian technologies will support and deliver efficiencies to the program.

The winners from the first challenge are:

  • Datanet (SA)
  • Lamson Concepts (NSW)
  • Cohda Wireless (SA) and
  • Dematec Automation (SA)

Over the course of the projects’ life-span, each of the selected Australian companies will showcase their logistics Track & Trace technologies at the Tonsley Innovation District in Adelaide.  Through Hunter, BAE Systems Maritime Australia will build nine advanced submarine-hunting frigates at the state-of-the-art Osborne shipyard for the Royal Australian Navy. At Tonsley, BAE Systems Maritime Australia has partnered with Flinders University to establish Line Zero – Pilot Factory of the Future, to collaborate with researchers, academics and technologists to test and trial advanced manufacturing technologies and techniques in a factory environment, before adapting them to the shipyard.

BAE Systems Maritime Australia Managing Director, Craig Lockhart, said: “The immense size of the Hunter Class Frigate Program provides a great focus on the ships that will be manufactured at Osborne and not necessarily the smarts that will go into them. Through these Innovation Challenges we have the potential to revolutionise the way the ships are constructed from the ground up, significantly improving efficiency and productivity. It’s the development of local technologies for this program that will underpin the development of sovereign capabilities needed for an enduring Australian shipbuilding industry.”

Businesses are invited to lodge expressions of interest for the second Innovation Challenge – Digital Safety Technologies. Details are on the Industry Capability Network (ICN).

Company details:

Datanet will install its Track and Trace solution at Pilot Line Zero to demonstrate a 3D enabled Real Time Location System (RTLS) to track assets moving around large metal structures. Aimed at demonstrating workflow automation, advanced productivity initiatives, enhanced staff safety and real time asset visibility the solution also aims to provide direction of travel and 3D location capabilities.

Lamson Concepts will configure stocktake automatic guided vehicles (AGVs) at Pilot Line Zero whereby offering Track and Trace of geo-locations using robotic scanners. This allows tracking of items efficiently across the facility.

Cohda Wireless will install and demonstrate its Real Time Location Services (RTLS) system to track assets and improve worker safety by enabling the sub-metre accurate 3D location of people and tools, through Wi-Fi tags, in the complex shipyard environment.

Dematec Automation will demonstrate a connecting platform that acts as the enabler for digital integration into manufacturing systems (connecting people, machines, instructions, performance) at the shipyard. Dematec will create examples of integrations for part identification and tracking, assets tracking and condition monitoring (including IoT sensors), and digital work instructions. (Source: News Now/https://asiapacificdefencereporter.com/)


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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