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UNITED KINGDOM AND NATO
25 Jan 21. NATO publishes study into integration of civil-military UAS to support safe, risk-based RPAS operations. North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) has released the results of study AVT-78: Considerations for Harmonisation of UAS Regulations for Common NATO Operating Approvals. The work focused on identifying and analysing the multitude of different processes used by NATO to achieve UAS operations. These UAS operations were not constrained by type, e.g., Visual Line of Sight, Beyond Visual Line of Sight, weight, operating altitude, range or speed.
To derive benefit from the work AVT-278 had started, JCG-UAS asked the technical panel to answer a specific question: Recommend a process for harmonization of RPAS regulation to achieve operational (and civil acceptance) of NATO RPAS operations. By documenting Member States processes, and good/poor practice, themes of related processes started to emerge.
It became clear that following safety and airworthiness principles, defined in current regulations (ICAO/EASA/FAA/CASA) for manned aviation, as well as guidance material issued for general commercial UAS operations, Member States were delivering operations by following processes aligned to airworthiness functional pillars. AVT-278, therefore identified common elements to achieving safe operations, and created a ‘9 Item Framework’, which, if followed by Member States, would provide methodology to gain assurance of safe and airworthy, risk based, RPAS operations.
The 9 Item Framework, if adopted, could provide a method for Member States to assure their operations for NATO operational theatres and could also provide the method by which Theatre Commanders/Administrators can assess the robustness of a Member States UAS operation.
Publication Reference: STO-TR-AVT-278
For more information visit: NATO AVT-78 (Source: www.unmannedairspace.info)
25 Jan 21. Here’s what we know about Turkey’s newly launched homemade frigate. Turkey on Jan. 23 launched its first locally built frigate, the I-class TCG Istanbul, advancing a program that involves the production of four corvettes and four frigates. Under the MILGEM program, Turkey manufactured and delivered four Ada-class corvettes to the Navy. The Istanbul is the first of the four I-class frigates.
The Istanbul was built under a 2019 contract awarded by the government procurement agency SSB to STM, a government-controlled defense company. The warship will be used in advanced air defense, naval warfare and patrolling missions, and it will support underwater warfare missions. It will be delivered to the Navy in 2023.
“The MILGEM program dates back to early 2000s. But it is delivering critical platforms just when needed, i.e., when Turkey needs hard power to support its assertive foreign policy in the eastern Mediterranean,” defense analyst Ozgur Eksi said.
Turkey and its traditional Aegean rival Greece came close to military conflict several times during 2020 due to their disputes over continental shelf, airspace, territorial waters, demilitarization of Greek islands and islets, air traffic centers, and exclusive economic zones in addition to the broader territorial disputes around Cyprus.
The I-class frigates will feature weapons systems including a locally made 16-cell MDAS vertical launching system (a total of 64 surface-to-air missiles yet to be specified); four-by-four SSM launch canisters for the Atmaca weapon; an Aselsan-made 76mm Gokdeniz close-in weapon system; two Aselsan-made 25mm machine guns; and a HIZIR torpedo countermeasures system.
The ship class’ specifications are:
- Dimensions: Length: 113.2 meters; Beam: 14.4 meters; Draught: 4.05 meters
- Displacement: 3,000 tons
- Speed: Max: 29-plus knots; Economic: 14 knots
- Range with economic speed: About 5,700 nautical miles
- Main Propulsion: CODAG, two MTU 20V 4000 M93L diesel engines (driving two shafts) and a LM2500 gas turbine (in CODAG configuration)
- Power generation: Four diesel generators
- Platforms: Capacity to carry two S70 Seahawk helicopters (one in the hangar and one on the platform); Two rigid hull inflatable boats
- Endurance: Minimum 15 days of operational capability without replenishments (Source: Defense News)
22 Jan 21. Airbus touts European alignment on NATO Next Generation Rotorcraft Capability. Airbus has touted a European alignment of effort in the development of a next-generation military medium-lift helicopter as a means of ensuring continued continental leadership in the global helicopter export market. Speaking at the virtual Royal Aeronautical Society Next-Generation Rotorcraft Conference on 21 January, Jerome Combe, Portfolio Policy & Strategy at Airbus Helicopters France, said that the NATO Next Generation Rotorcraft Capability (NGRC) programme announced last year provides an opportunity for Airbus and Leonardo to come together to consolidate and cement Europe’s place at the top of the global helicopter market.
“It is important to bear in mind that European industry – Airbus and Leonardo – is leading the civilian part of the helicopter world. Between us, we have up to 80% of the market share. This did not happen by itself but through major military programmes in the 1980s and 1990s that we were then able to onboard onto our civilian range of helicopters. If we do not have a major programme for the 2030 horizon, then we would clearly be at risk of losing this leadership,” Combe said. “[With the NGRC] we think that there is a real opportunity for Europe to align and to think about what really should be a European next-generation rotorcraft, adapted to European needs, using European know-how, and [that delivers] sovereignty for European industry. (Source: Jane’s)
27 Jan 21. With Columbia revving up, General Dynamics expects submarines to be a cash cow. General Dynamics’ marine business expects its work in building submarines to drive hundreds of millions of dollars in annual revenue growth over the coming years, company head Phebe Novakovic told investors in a call Wednesday.
The company is expecting a $300m increase in revenue in 2021, with a rough estimate of between $400-500m of growth a year, Novakovic said, citing submarines as a significant driver. The next-generation ballistic missile submarine Columbia will account for much of that growth, she said.
General Dynamics Electric Boat and Huntington Ingalls Industries’ Newport News shipyard are the nation’s only two submarine builders. With China now operating the world’s largest naval force, the U.S. is likely to look to submarines as its ace in the hole against an increasingly sophisticated competitor.
“If you look at the U.S. Navy, submarines are its top priority and the Columbia in particular,” Novakovic said. “And why is that? It’s because submarines remain a singular competitive advantage, a critical competitive advantage for the United States with near-peer competitors and peer competitors.
“I am quite confident that given my belief that the defense budget is driven by the threats that are key elements of our marine group, growth will be nicely supported.”
The company last year inked more than $10bn in contracts for the first two Columbia-class boats. The Navy has consistently said fielding Columbia is its top acquisition priority. Electric Boat is also building the Virginia-class Block V submarine, along with HII Newport News. The Navy is expected to buy the Virginia class at a rate of two subs per year.
General Dynamics, which also owns Arleigh Burke-class destroyer-builder Bath Iron Works, believes that platform will continue to be important to the Navy, Novakovic said.
The Navy has been waffling about how many of its new Flight III Burkes it intends to buy. The service’s 2021 budget proposal cut four destroyers from its five-year plan, proposing eight down from 2020′s proposal of 12.
But General Dynamics continues to be bullish on submarines and is investing in its infrastructure at Electric Boat. The company spent nearly $1bn on its facilities there in 2020, including $345m in the fourth quarter alone.
The investments are “in support of the unprecedented growth on the horizon,” Novakovic said. (Source: Defense News Early Bird/Defense News)
27 Jan 21. US Army nearing end of FTUAS assessment period. The US Army, nearing the end of its Future Tactical Unmanned Aerial System (FTUAS) assessment period, will soon conduct a capstone rodeo flight demonstration before seeking approved requirements.
Colonel Scott Anderson, the project manager for unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), said on 26 January that the US Army is entering its last of five brigade combat team (BCT) demonstrations. Jim Thomson, Future Vertical Lift (FVL) Cross-Functional Team (CFT) acting deputy and senior advisor, said on 26 January that the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, is getting ready to bring the Arcturus Jump 20 small UAS to the Joint Readiness Training Center (JRTC) at Fort Polk, Louisiana, in February 2021 to wrap up its assessment. The service has been conducting the FTUAS assessments through 2020.
The last of five brigade combat teams assessing aircraft for the US Army’s Future Tactical Unmanned Aerial System (FTUAS) programme will work with the Arcturus Jump 20. (US Future Vertical Lift Cross-Functional Team) A capstone rodeo, where each of the four FTUAS aircraft participating in the assessment will conduct a flight demonstration, will take place at the end of February, or the beginning of March, at Leyte West Airfield in Fort Benning, Georgia. Soldiers from the five participating BCTs will be on hand with static displays to provide feedback. The four FTUAS aircraft being assessed are the Martin UAV-Northrop Grumman Technology Services (NGTS) V-Bat vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) surveillance UAS; the Arcturus Jump 20; the Textron Systems Unmanned Systems Aerosonde Hybrid Quadrotor (HQ) small UAS; and the L3Harris FVR-90 hybrid quadcopter UAS. (Source: Jane’s)
25 Jan 21. Sikorsky-Boeing Team Reveals Advanced Assault Helicopter Designed to Revolutionize U.S. Army Capabilities;
DEFIANT X™ to compete for the Future Long-Range Assault Aircraft contract, a top modernization priority for the Army.
Sikorsky, a Lockheed Martin Company (NYSE: LMT), and Boeing (NYSE: BA) today released details of its advanced helicopter for the U.S. Army’s Future Long-Range Assault Aircraft competition, known as FLRAA. The aircraft, named DEFIANT X, will be the fastest, most maneuverable and most survivable assault helicopter in history. Combined with the team’s unsurpassed experience in mission systems, training and sustainment, it will revolutionize the way the Army meets threats in 2035 and beyond.
DEFIANT X is a complete weapon system that builds on the handling qualities and transformational capabilities proven by the team’s technology demonstrator, SB>1 DEFIANT®. With unmatched range and survivability, DEFIANT X will change the way the Army fights – enabling crews to fly low and fast through complex terrain, land quickly, deliver Soldiers and equipment to the objective area (referred to as “the X”) and get out.
DEFIANT X flies twice as far and fast as the venerable Black Hawk® helicopter it is designed to replace. Currently undergoing testing in a digital combat environment, the aircraft continues to prove itself the most survivable platform for mission requirements.
“We are ready to deliver unparalleled capabilities backed by proven technologies that will truly transform the Army’s mission today, with room to grow and adapt to the missions of tomorrow,” said Andy Adams, Sikorsky vice president of Future Vertical Lift. “DEFIANT X not only includes the transformational aircraft – a maneuverable, survivable, lethal weapon system – it also leverages Sikorsky’s and Boeing’s advanced manufacturing capabilities.”
With its rigid coaxial rotor system and pusher propeller, DEFIANT X incorporates Sikorsky X2 Technology™ to operate at high speeds while maintaining low-speed handling qualities. This critical capability provides Soldiers with increased maneuverability and survivability in high-threat air defense environments, allowing them to penetrate enemy defenses while reducing exposure to enemy fire. Compared to SB>1 DEFIANT, the DEFIANT X airframe has enhancements to improve aerodynamics and reduce the thermal signature.
“DEFIANT X is purpose-built for a modernized Army that requires expanded reach, survivability and lethality,” said Steve Parker, vice president and general manager of Boeing Vertical Lift. “This weapon system will give Soldiers unequaled technological advantage and connectivity over adversaries in a multi-domain battle space.”
DEFIANT X will revolutionize the Army’s air assault capability with limited changes in tactics, techniques, procedures, training and infrastructure while maintaining the Black Hawk helicopter footprint and tight formation capability flown today.
The Army is expected to release a request for proposal on FLRAA later this year, with a contract award expected in 2022.
22 Jan 21. Next F-35 Contracts Under Negotiation, Deal Expected by Late September. The F-35 Joint Program Office, Lockheed Martin, and Pratt & Whitney are negotiating prices for the 15th through 17th lots of Lightning II fighters and engines, aiming for a deal by the end of September.
The contracting strategy is to negotiate a “base year” contract for Lot 15, with “two single-year options (Lots 16 and 17),” a JPO spokeswoman said. While the air vehicles are under negotiation, the “propulsion Lot 15-17 proposal is currently in technical evaluation,” the spokeswoman said. Although Lockheed quotes prices publicly for F-35s with engines included, the government negotiates with the engine maker separately. The Lightning II is powered by Pratt’s F135 turbofan.
The strategy likely buys time for the F-35 to finally exit engineering and manufacturing development and be declared ready for full-rate production, a milestone postponed last month for the third time by former Pentagon acquisition and sustainment chief Ellen Lord.
The Lot 15-17 contracts will also mark the first major deals for the F135 engine conducted with Pratt under the ownership of Raytheon Technologies, which formally took over the engine maker in April 2020. Pratt was previously owned by United Technologies.
The program office expects to conclude both the air vehicle and propulsion talks within fiscal 2021, the spokeswoman said. Lot 15 air vehicles “are planned to be fully funded and awarded in FY’21,” but the Lot 16 and 17 options would be exercised in fiscal year 2022 and 2023, respectively, “when funding becomes available.”
The Lots 15-17 contracts were originally expected to include a multi-year “block buy” agreement including the U.S. However, by law, the U.S. cannot enter into a multiyear procurement arrangement for a weapon system until it has passed Milestone C, or full-rate production. The F-35 most recently was supposed to clear Milestone C in March, but Lord postponed that declaration until further notice, due to ongoing challenges integrating the F-35 with the Pentagon’s Joint Simulation Environment—a wargaming system that helps Pentagon leaders decide on optimum force sizes for various weapon platforms. Lord’s move leaves it up to the Biden administration to declare whether and when the F-35 is ready for full-rate production.
When the Lot 12-14 contract was announced in October 2019, Lord said the F-35 had completed 90 percent of the tasks necessary to pass Milestone C.
U.S. partners in the F-35 program are already participating in a “block buy” arrangement with Lockheed Martin.
The $34bn October 2019 contract, which covered Lots 12-14, achieved Lockheed and the JPO’s longstanding goal of getting the unit cost of the F-35A below $80m a copy. That contract, the largest yet for the fighter, included 478 aircraft; 291 for U.S. military services and 127 for foreign users. It also marked a 12.8 percent drop in the price of the Air Force version of the Lightning II over Lot 11. Engine costs had only declined 3.5 percent versus the previous lot.
Lots 15-17 will likely involve a slightly larger number of aircraft.
Industry officials said they expect smaller cost reductions in the F-35 from now on, as the production line is nearly at capacity and peak efficiency. The 2019 contract was the “big bang” deal, said one, in which Lockheed “pushed it” to get the unit cost below $80m. At that price, the fifth-generation F-35 costs less than fourth-generation types like the F-15EX, but its operating cost remains significantly higher.
Lockheed missed its delivery quota of F-35s in 2020 by about 20 airplanes, due to delays incurred by the COVID-19 pandemic. Michele Evans, former Lockheed aeronautics vice president, said in the fall the company expects to gradually make up those missed deliveries by around 2023, noting it did not want to disrupt the production enterprise for a brief surge to get back to par. (Source: Defense News Early Bird/https://www.airforcemag.com/)
REST OF THE WORLD
28 Jan 21. Boeing gets U.S. approval to offer F-15EX to India. Boeing has received a licence from the U.S. government to offer its F-15EX fighter jet to the Indian air force, a senior executive said on Thursday.
Boeing will compete with Sweden’s Gripen and France’s Rafale among others for the Indian air force’s plan to buy 114 multi-role aircraft to replace its Soviet-era fleet.
Ankur Kanaglekar, director, India Fighters Lead, Boeing Defense, Space & Security, told reporters discussions on the F-15EX had taken place earlier between the two governments.
“Now that we have the marketing licence it allows us to talk to the Indian Air Force directly about the capability of the fighter. We have started doing that in a small way,” he said, adding conversations were expected to gather pace during the Aero India show next week.
India and the United States have built close defence ties, with the Indian military buying over $20bn worth of weapons in the last 15 years.
Lockheed Martin is also pitching its F-21 fighter to the Indian air force, offering to build the plane in the country to win the deal estimated to be worth more than $18bn.
Boeing is bullish on India for both its defence and commercial aviation businesses, even as the COVID-19 pandemic has hit demand for air travel, forcing airlines to first get their finances in order before ordering new planes.
Boeing expects domestic passenger traffic to return to 2019 levels by the end of this year, Salil Gupte, the company’s India head said, adding international traffic would return to pre-COVID levels only by 2023.
One of the planemaker’s biggest customers is Indian low-cost carrier SpiceJet Ltd, which has a large order for its narrowbody 737 MAX planes.
Boeing on Wednesday got the green light from the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) to return its 737 MAX planes to service after a 22-month ban and Gupte said it was working to get approvals from the Indian regulator. (Source: Reuters)
26 Jan 21. Australia invests in advanced maritime weapons, minehunters. Australia’s defense minister announced initiatives Monday that will fund early development work on a range of advanced guided weapons and new mine countermeasures/hydrographic ships for the Royal Australian Navy.
The guided weapons program, to be developed under Project Sea 1300, is part of a 20-year, AU$24 bn (U.S. $19 bn) investment in maritime weapons that will deliver long-range anti-ship missiles, extended-range surface-to-air missiles, advanced lightweight torpedoes and maritime land-strike capabilities to the Navy.
Under Project Sea 1300, the Australian government will continue to invest in the international development program for the Evolved Seasparrow Block 2 surface-to-air missile. Funds will also be used to further develop the SM-2 Block IIIC and SM-6 Block I missiles.
The weapons upgrades will be integrated into the Navy’s current and future major surface combatant fleet, beginning with the eight Anzac-class frigates, which are undergoing a series of upgrades via a midlife capability assurance program.
“All of these new weapons will enhance the protection of our maritime resources and also our nation’s border. They will also hold potential adversaries out to much greater distances — up to 1,500 kilometers [932 miles],” Defence Minister Linda Reynolds said.
Reynolds added that the investment is in line with the recent Defence Strategic Update, which noted that “a number of nations” in the Asia-Pacific region are developing maritime capabilities, including sophisticated long-range strike weapons.
“These announcements are not about any one nation in particular. They are about ensuring Australia has the sovereign capability in the maritime, land and air domains to protect our nation from any potential threats,” she said.
Reynolds also announced that the government will acquire eight new, role-adaptable ships for mine countermeasures and hydrographic missions under Project Sea 1905. The new ships will be a variant of the Arafura-class offshore patrol vessels currently under construction for the Navy and will be built at Henderson in Western Australia.
The government previously promised to build three vessels for the mine countermeasure and hydrographic roles; the new commitment for five more ships will attract an additional investment of AU$5 bn.
“[The Department of] Defence has also released an invitation for Australian industry to provide us with a toolbox of robotic and autonomous systems for these eight new vessels,” the minister said. “And I would encourage all Australian companies — and we have many companies who are at the leading edge of autonomous systems, vehicles and vessels — to have a look at this and to work with Navy to develop options,” she said. (Source: Defense News Early Bird/Defense News)
27 Jan 21. Australia issues new wave of grants to local SMEs. Eight Australian SMEs have been awarded grants totalling over $3.4m as part of the federal government’s ongoing commitment to enhancing sovereign capability.
Minister for Defence Industry Melissa Price has announced the recipients of the latest round of Sovereign Industrial Capability Priority grants.
The grants, totalling over $3.4m, have been awarded to eight SMEs from across the country.
The largest grant ($1m) was awarded to Victoria-based firm Amiga Engineering, to help fund its delivery of 3D printed Defence products.
The eight grant recipients include:
Company Grant amount Grant funding purpose
Purchase of capital equipment and funding of direct labour costs to develop a 100 per cent Australian sovereign cyber-worthiness system.
Purchase, integration and commission of specialised machinery required to establish sovereign capabilities for current shipbuilding programs and future sustainment needs.
Purchase and commission of new capital equipment that will enable additional switchboard manufacturing work to be completed in-house and more efficiently.
Fund factory improvements and purchase new capital equipment to continue the delivery of 3D printed Defence products.
Undertaking of the necessary training and activities to become qualified and accredited to deliver DIN2303 certification to the fusion welding of metallic materials.
Construction of a secure facility fitted with supporting information communications technology (ICT) infrastructure.
Australian Performance Vehicles
Expansion of current commercial testing services to support Australia’s defence industry with specialist engineering, and test and evaluation services.
Gilmour Space Technologies
Development of a large-scale composite and metal alloy structural testing facility, with testing capabilities beyond the scope of existing facilities in Australia.
“It is bringing a welding accreditation to Australia, developing Australian supply chains for the LAND 400 Phase 2 project and beyond, and ensuring we have the skills in Australia to deliver and sustain critical defence capabilities.”
Minister Price made particular reference to the grants awarded to Penten, Australian Performance Vehicles, and Gilmour Space Technologies, which would help fund infrastructure upgrades.
“Gilmour Space Technologies’ testing facility will ensure the safety and reliability of Defence platforms and vehicles across a range of domains, and enhance Australia’s sovereign ability to gain maximum benefit from our capability,” Minister Price said.
“Penten’s grant will support the construction of a secure facility fitted with information communications technology infrastructure.
“I was fortunate enough to visit Penten in Canberra in November and witness first-hand the important work it is doing to help ensure the ADF maintains its capability edge well into the future.”
The grants program is part of a broader government strategy aimed at fostering innovation to improve industry’s competitiveness and secure local supply chains.
SMEs are invited to submit grant applications at any time through the Centre for Defence Industry Capability. (Source: Defence Connect)
25 Jan 21. Defence to invest $1bn in new long-range missile capability. Royal Australian Navy vessels are set to be fitted with new advanced anti-ship missiles as part of a $1bn investment announced by Defence Minister Linda Reynolds.
The Commonwealth Government has committed to investing $1bn in the early development of long-range anti-ship missiles, extended range surface-to-air missiles, advanced lightweight torpedoes and land strike capabilities, in a bid to bolster the naval fleet’s defences amid growing regional instability.
The nation’s current and future submarine and surface fleets are set to be fitted with anti-ship and surface-to-air missiles with a range of approximately 370 kilometres, and maritime land strike missiles with a range of approximately 1,500 kilometres.
“These new capabilities will provide a strong, credible deterrent that will ensure stability and security in the region,” Minister for Defence Linda Reynolds said.
“The planned acquisitions – when aligned with the ongoing state-of-the-art combat system development and National shipbuilding programs – represent an investment of up to $24bn, which will build a lethal and highly responsive Navy for decades to come.”
Minister Reynolds added that as part of the project, Defence would also seek opportunities to “broaden Australia’s weapons manufacturing base”, which she said would help reinforce the government’s long-term commitment to Australian industry and delivering sovereign industrial capabilities.
“This investment is part of the Morrison government’s $183bn Naval shipbuilding plan, which will see up to 23 classes of vessels built here in Australia, creating thousands of jobs and significant opportunities for Australian industry,” Minister Reynolds said.
Defence also noted that as part of SEA 1300, it would continue its long-term investment and key contribution to the Evolved SEASPARROW Block 2 missile program, and commence investment in developing the Standard Missile 2 Block IIIC and the Standard Missile 6 Block 1, to meet Australia’s surface-to-air missile capability requirements.
This latest announcement comes just months after Defence confirmed it would conduct joint development and testing of hypersonic cruise missile prototypes in conjunction with the US, ahead of the rapid introduction to service.
The collaborative agreement will take place under the Southern Cross Integrated Flight Research Experiment (SCIFiRE) to support co-operative flight testing of full-sized prototype hypersonic missiles. (Source: Defence Connect)
22 Jan 21. Canada issues CASSAR request for proposal. Canada’s Department of National Defence (DND) issued a request for proposal (RFP) for its Cellular Airborne Sensor for Search and Rescue (CASSAR) programme on 8 January.
Canada seeks a mobile phone detection system for its Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) search-and-rescue (SAR) rotary- and fixed-wing platforms. The system will allow it to locate and communicate with operational mobile phones on persons in distress during missions. The device is intended for use on the Lockheed Martin CC-130H Hercules fixed-wing transport aircraft, Airbus Defence and Space C295W (CC-295 in Canadian service) Kingfisher fixed-wing platform, and the Leonardo AW101 (CH-149 Cormorant in national service) medium multirole helicopter, the DND said in a 14 January amendment.
The DND has a requirement to procure between five and eight operational CASSAR systems, which must be commercial off-the-shelf (COTS).
The CASSAR system must be capable of detecting and locating a fully functional mobile phone when the device is not in contact with a commercial cellular network. It must be able to do this at a minimum line of sight range of 20 km from the aircraft when the platform is at an altitude of 3,000–10,000 ft.
Proposed systems must be fully functioning at airspeeds between 75–130 kt. This is because the standard operating SAR speed for RCAF rotary-wing aircraft is 75 kt, while the service’s fixed-wing aircraft have a nominal speed of 130 kt.
The system must also be capable of transmitting on a specific cellular frequency, which can be selected by the operator. It must be able to restrict the search to only mobile phones of interest while rejecting phones that attempt to connect to the CASSAR system. (Source: Jane’s)
22 Jan 21. Australian DOD cancels submarine rescue system contract with Phoenix. The Australian Department of Defence (DOD) has terminated a contract with Phoenix International Australia for the supply of a deployable submarine rescue system (SRS).
The Australian Department of Defence (DOD) has terminated a contract with Phoenix International Australia for the supply of a deployable submarine rescue system (SRS).
The SRS contract, valued in excess of $255m, was awarded to the company in December 2018.
The company was to play a lead role in delivering the new submarine rescue system along with several small and medium Australian companies.
The SRS, which would have been one of only four air transportable systems in the world, was intended to support the capability requirements of the Royal Australian Navy (RAN).
It was being procured for both the Collins Class submarine force and the Attack Class submarines.
The system can be quickly deployed in support of a distressed submarine anywhere in Australia’s area of operation.
The DOD noted a series of delays to be the reason behind the decision to cancel the contract.
It is based on the outcomes and recommendations of an independent review of the project initiated by the department in August last year.
The parties will now work to conclude the contract termination settlement, including dealing with the arrangements with Phoenix and its subcontractors. (Source: naval-technology.com)
25 Jan 21. Russia launches PAK DP development to replace MiG-31. Russia has officially launched the development of a replacement for the MiG-31 ‘Foxhound’ interceptor under the PAK DP (Predpolagayemyy vozdukha Kompleks dlya Dal’ney Perekhvat: Prospective Air Complex for Long-Range Interception) programme.
A MiG-31 interceptor departs on a sortie. The VKS aims to field a replacement being developed under the PAK DP programme by the late 2020s. (VKS)
Rostec announced on 22 January that PAK DA, which was touted as far back as 2015, has now commenced, saying, “Development of the next generation of interceptor fighters has already begun. The project of the PAK DP under the designation ‘MiG-41’ is at the stage of development work.”
News of the work comes some five-and-a-half years after the then commander-in-chief of the Russian Aerospace Forces (VKS), Colonel-General Viktor Bondarev, said in August 2015 that the effort would be launched in 2019, with the goal of fielding a replacement for the 1970s era MiG-31 in the 2028 timeframe.
The VKS is currently upgrading 130 of its approximately 200 ‘Foxhound’ aircraft to the latest MiG-31BM standard. This upgrade encompasses the aircraft’s avionics, cockpit displays, datalinks, radar, and fire-control systems, and will also see the refurbishment of the fuselage and landing gear.
By the time this process is complete, the MiG-31BM will be fit to serve through to the 2030s. Even so, the VKS has said that it is looking to field a replacement in about the 2028 timeframe. Specific details, such as performance specifications, pertaining to this PAK DP replacement have not yet been released. (Source: Jane’s)
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