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UNITED KINGDOM AND NATO
13 Jan 21. UK DASA launches competition for developing survey system for troops. The Defence and Security Accelerator (DASA) in the UK has launched the second phase of a competition that seeks to develop a survey system for armed troops. The Defence and Security Accelerator (DASA) in the UK has launched the second phase of a competition that seeks to develop a survey system for armed troops.
The Map the Gap Phase 2 competition builds on the achievements of Phase 1 and aims to further develop a surveying technology that will help the soldiers safely and stealthily advance over water.
The competition is run on behalf of the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl).
In Phase 1, the programme had indicated the feasibility of integrating existing sensors to delivery platforms to collect the physical gap measurements.
Phase 2 of the competition will assess submissions on how the technology can be further developed to achieve an in-service capability system.
Funding of £2m was also allocated to finance multiple proposals.
DASA delivery manager Robert Hammond-Smith said: “Current methods of surveying water crossings expose the soldier to danger at the forward edge of the battlefield, and risks compromising the potential crossing point by revealing our interest in that location.
“We are seeking collaborative technology solutions that reduce the burden on the soldier, enabling better decision making and reducing the incumbent risks.
“We aim to put those solutions into the hands of our soldiers more quickly by asking our friends in academia and industry to work together on ideas so that DASA can accelerate solutions to a higher level of readiness.”
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The completion is expected to close on 9 March 2021.
DASA is the innovation hub of the UK MoD and funds potential technologies that can provide the UK Armed Forces with a strategic advantage over adversaries. (Source: army-technology.com)
14 Jan 21. Boeing, Lockheed Martin respond to cancelled German heavy-lift helo tender. The two bidders for Germany’s heavy-lift helicopter requirement have responded to the country’s decision to cancel the Schwerer Transporthubschrauber (STH) tender without warning in late 2020. Both Boeing and Lockheed Martin told Janes on 13 January that they remain ready to support the Luftwaffe’s continued requirement to replace its 70 VFW-Sikorsky CH-53G-series Stallions with between 40 to 60 H-47 Chinook or CH-53K King Stallion helicopters respectively, although the latter added that it is seeking a review from the Federal Office of Bundeswehr Equipment, Information Technology, and In-Service Support (BAAINBw) into the reasons behind the cancellation.
“After careful evaluation, [Lockheed Martin subsidiary] Sikorsky has decided to move forward with a request for review from the BAAINBw on its decision to cancel the STH programme,” Lockheed Martin told Janes . “We believe we have a compelling case in this regard. We are confident that we offer the most valuable and capable solution to meet the needs of the German armed forces while providing robust opportunities for German industry. We remain committed to supporting the German armed forces with its transition from the legacy Sikorsky CH-53G helicopter fleet and look forward to continuing dialogue with the German government regarding the CH-53K helicopter as its next heavy-lift solution.” (Source: Jane’s)
11 Jan 21. Department of Defense and Department of Commerce Explore 5G Challenge to Develop Open 5G Systems. The Department of Defense, in coordination with the Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), announced a Notice of Inquiry (NOI) to explore a new 5G Challenge aimed at accelerating the development of an open 5G ecosystem that can support DoD missions.
NTIA‘s Institute for Telecommunication Sciences (ITS) issued the NOI to solicit public input to inform an upcoming Challenge. The 5G Challenge would leverage the innovative capabilities of the software development and telecommunications technology communities to enable more open implementations of 5G systems, including end-user equipment, the radio access network, and the core network, with a focus on the 5G protocol stack software.
“The Department of Defense recognizes that 5G technologies are foundational to strengthening our Nation’s warfighting capabilities as well as U.S. economic competitiveness. Open 5G systems would greatly bolster the Department’s ability to deliver on its missions, and we look forward to exploring new and innovative opportunities for their development,” said Michael Kratsios, Acting Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering.
The NOI asks how to design incentives within the challenge to ensure cooperation, collaboration, and interoperability among the participants, as well as how to define metrics for successful and innovative responses to the 5G Challenge. Comments are due on or before 5 p.m. Eastern Time on February 10, 2021, and may be submitted by email to 5GChallengeNOI@ntia.gov.
The DoD established 5G as a key modernization priority with the goal to advance U.S. and partner capabilities to fully leverage 5G technologies for military networking needs. The Department is accelerating 5G technologies and their use in DoD missions through cutting-edge testing and experimentation sites, developing the capability to secure 5G networks and operate through non-secure networks, and investing in innovative “beyond 5G” technologies. (Source: US DoD)
REST OF THE WORLD
15 Jan 21. Denel still seeing interest in Rooivalk. Denel Aeronautics is still receiving international interest in its Rooivalk attack helicopter, with consistent enquiries for a number of years. Since around 2015, Denel has been promoting the upgrade of the Rooivalk (primarily for the South African Air Force), and development of a next-generation Rooivalk Mk II for foreign clients. Interest in the locally manufactured helicopter soared after successful deployment with the United Nations Force Intervention Brigade in the Democratic Republic of Congo in late 2013. Support came from the South African government as the South African Air Force (SAAF) recognised a need for a midlife upgrade as a result of known obsolescence. Future Rooivalk upgrades would introduce new modern avionics, update the weapon system and increase reproducibility. The next generation Rooivalk would feature better sights, improved firepower, greater payload and better survivability, amongst other improvements.
Denel has been seeking partners and clients to proceed with the development of a new generation Rooivalk, which could be manufactured in client countries. Denel estimated that it would take only four years to put the Rooivalk Mk II into service, including the development of prototypes, establishment of production, and production and assembly for launch customers.
As part of the revitalised Rooivalk programme, Denel in 2016 fired several Mokopa anti-tank missiles from the aircraft as part of weapon type certification. However, further test firings are still required and would form part of the upgrade of the aircraft.
At the moment the Rooivalk is just fitted with 70 mm Forges Zeebrugge (FZ) rockets and a 20 mm cannon. However, in 2015 an FZ laser-guided rocket was test fired from the Rooivalk, giving accuracy of less than a metre from the target centre at 4-5 km. The Rooivalk’s 20 mm F2 cannon is undergoing reliability improvement in a joint effort between Denel, the SAAF and Armscor.
Mike Kgobe, the CEO of Denel Aeronautics, told defenceWeb that although the SAAF has very little money at the moment due to the small defence budget allocation, there are “pockets of activity” with the Rooivalk platform, including the Argos II sight installation (showcased in 2018 to demonstrate what is possible) and cannon reliability upgrade which would benefit an upgraded Rooivalk or life extension programme. “There isn’t a huge budget but we do see pockets of activity. Some funds have been allocated,” Kgobe said.
In terms of international interest, Kgobe told defenceWeb that “yes, there still is interest in the platform. Right through from 2016 we continue to have enquiries and interest in the platform, which is encouraging to us…there is still interest in the Rooivalk.” (Source: Google/DefenceWeb)
15 Jan 21. Australian Defence Minister Linda Reynolds has revealed the successful contender to replace the Australian Army’s beleaguered Tiger Armed Reconnaissance Helicopter capability, beginning in 2025.
The Australian Army’s armed reconnaissance capability will be strengthened following the selection of the Boeing Apache Guardian to replace Army’s Armed Reconnaissance Helicopter (ARH) from 2025.
Minister for Defence Linda Reynolds said the AH-64E Apache Guardian is equipped with improved sensors, communications suites, attack capabilities and improved survivability.
“This new ARH capability will strengthen Australia’s armed reconnaissance force to better shape our strategic environment and deter actions against our national interest. Defence considered a number of helicopters against key criteria of proven ability, maturity and an off-the-shelf operating system,” Minister Reynolds said.
Lessons learnt from issues with the ARH Tiger and other rotary wing projects had informed the strategy to seek a proven, mature ARH replacement capability.
Minister Reynolds added, “The Apache Guardian is the most lethal, most survivable and lowest risk option, meeting all of Defence’s capability, through-life support, security, and certification requirements.
“By pursuing a proven and low-risk system offered by the Apache, Defence will avoid the ongoing cost and schedule risk typically associated with developmental platforms,” Minister Reynolds said.
Minister Reynolds also detailed the potential for Australian industry engagement and support of the new ARH fleet, stating, “The project will deliver on the government’s vision to maximise Australian industry involvement in defence capability. There are potential opportunities for Australian industry in logistic support, warehousing services, training development, engineering services, and maintenance, repair and overhaul.
“Maximising these opportunities for Australian businesses will enable the future growth of our local rotary wing industry and will present opportunities for Australian industry involvement in the aircraft’s global supply chain.”
Detailed transition planning will be conducted to ensure effective management of the skilled workforce, across Defence and industry, as Defence transitions the Tiger to the Apache.
The AH-64E Apache stands as the world’s most advanced multi-role combat helicopter and represents the backbone of the US Army attack helicopter fleet, as well as a growing number of international defence forces.
A Boeing Defence Australia spokesperson told Defence Connect, “Boeing appreciates the Commonwealth of Australia’s confidence in selecting the AH-64E Apache’s proven, reliable and value-for-money capability.
“The AH-64E Apache provides Australia with a low-risk, fully-integrated, battle-proven capability which is interoperable with Australia’s key allies. It is supported by an active production line and a US Army modernisation plan through the late 2040s, thereby ensuring the platform remains the leading attack reconnaissance capability through 2050 and beyond.
“Boeing will continue to expand its industry capability and supply chain in Australia. At the same time, we remain committed to delivering a sovereign in-service support infrastructure as evidenced by our proven history with the CH-47 Chinook, F/A-18 Super Hornet, EA-18 Growler and P-8A Poseidon platforms,” the spokesperson added.
The US Army Apache fleet has accumulated more than 4.5 million flight hours. With more than 2,400 Apaches delivered to customers around the world, Boeing is committed to the continuous modernisation of the program to ensure that AH-64 capabilities outpace adversaries to maintain battlefield dominance today and for decades to come.
The Australian Army is planning to replace the current fleet of EC665 Tiger ARH from the mid-2020s, as identified in the 2016 Defence White Paper:
“The government will replace the 22 Tiger armed reconnaissance helicopters with a new armed reconnaissance capability from the mid-2020s.”
LAND 4503’s program of delivery aims to support the Australian Army and is designed to contribute to the creation of the modernisation and development of a ‘networked and hardened’ Army.
The acquisition is broken down into three delivery stages, beginning with projected IOC in 2026 and FOC in 2028, including:
- Up to 24 aircraft would be based at one primary location and another five are intended at a training location. The aircraft fleet may also be co-located in one primary location; however, this is yet to be determined;
- IOC for LAND 4503 is based on a squadron of up to 12 aircraft. This organisation would be capable of generating a deployable troop of four aircraft, continued force generation of four aircraft, and an initial build-up training element of four aircraft. IOC will be supported by trained personnel and support systems; and
- FOC for LAND 4503 is based on a regiment of up to 24 aircraft. This organisation would be capable of generating multiple concurrent deployed forces of up to squadron size. FOC will also be supported by a mature training system of up to five aircraft, with trained personnel and support systems.
The government has brought the LAND 4503 Armed Reconnaissance Helicopter Replacement program forward and aims to acquire a proven and mature, off-the-shelf manned armed helicopter to deliver armed reconnaissance effects in the close and deep contested battlespace in support of the Australian Defence Force. (Source: Defence Connect)
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