UNITED KINGDOM AND NATO
23 Feb 21. UK reveals Puma replacement plan. The United Kingdom is set to replace its Westland-Aerospatiale SA 330E Puma HC2 rotorcraft with a new aircraft type via its New Medium Helicopter (NMH) requirement.
Speaking at the Defence IQ virtual International Military Helicopter conference on 23 February, a senior military officer gave the first official indication that a replacement for the Puma is being sought.
The Royal Air Force (RAF) currently fields 23 Puma helicopters that were upgraded to the HC2 standard in the mid-2010s. With the airframes themselves dating back to the early 1970s, these helicopters are slated for retirement in 2025.
While no replacement for these helicopters has officially been touted before (options have previously included extending the type out of 2030 or losing the capability altogether), Colonel Paul Morris, Assistant Head Plans, Capability Air Manoeuvre, noted that the NMH requirement is being drawn up. The colonel did not disclose details but did say that the UK Rotary Wing Strategy is scoping potential options. (Source: Jane’s)
22 Feb 21. NASA to release LandSat Next Earth-observation satellite imaging sensors solicitation by about 8 March 2021. Industry will develop imaging sensors concepts for Landsat Next, which will be either a single-satellite or a constellation of small satellites.
U.S. space experts are making plans to ask industry to narrow-down choices for space sensor systems for a next-generation Landsat Earth-observation imaging satellite in the late 2020s with enhanced sensor capabilities.
Officials of the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., announced plans Thursday to issue an industry request for proposal (RFP) for instrument studies to support the Landsat Next project, which by late this decade is expected to offer sensors for superspectral land observations with high-spectral and high-resolution imagery of the Earth’s surface.
Landsat Next, which is to operate under supervision of NASA and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) in Reston, Va., is to be the follow-on mission to Landsat 8 and 9, and will continue a spaceborne land-imaging system to collect and process land-imaging data.
Instrument studies will develop and assess instrument concepts for Landsat Next, which will be either a single-satellite solution or a constellation of relatively small Earth-observation satellites.
Landsat Next instruments will provide Earth spectral coverage in the visible-to-shortwave-infrared (VSWIR) and thermal-infrared (TIR) spectral bands. Instruments may provide either full-swath or narrow-swath coverage for single-satellite approaches.
NASA experts particularly are interested in instrument size, weight and power (SWaP); technical maturity; long-lead items; and cost and schedule information. NASA will award several six-month study contracts.
Landsat Next is to provide improved Earth images for agricultural monitoring, ecological monitoring, urban studies, water resources management, and related applications.
In addition to enhanced imaging capability, the Landsat Next project also is expected to offer users more frequent satellite coverage — at least once every eight days, NASA officials say.
For the past 48 years, Landsat satellites and ground sites have made available global multispectral Earth images of 15-to-120-meter resolution for research on land use change, forest health, carbon inventories, and changes to Earth’s environment, climate, and natural resources.
Researchers in government, academia, and industry use Landsat data for resource issues like water resource management, wildfires, agricultural productivity, rangeland management, and understanding impacts of climate variability on ecosystems.
The USGS today operates two spacecraft, Landsat 7 and 8, which NASA developed. Landsat 9, a near copy of Landsat 8, is under development, and is expected to begin operations in 2021. Together these satellites can cover the entire Earth’s surface every 16 days.
Landsat 8 and 9 each host two instruments: the Operational Land Imager (OLI) that provides multispectral imaging in the visible-light to shortwave infrared spectral; and the Thermal Infrared Sensor (TIRS) that gathers long-wave infrared imagery.
Landsat Next also should enable new applications like monitoring surface water quality, cryospheric science, geology, agricultural crop water consumption, and improved estimation of surface temperatures.
Landsat Next may use just one spacecraft, or a constellation of three to five satellites with relatively narrow fields of view. Using a constellation of satellites, instead of just one spacecraft, would improve system resiliency, enable use of on-orbit spares, increase revisit frequency, save costs of Earth-observation sensors, and enable quick technology infusion.
Enabling technologies envisioned for Landsat Next include a new generation of focal planes and free-form optics to help acquire more spectral bands with relatively small instruments. Experts predict that each Landsat Next satellite will have either a single instrument that acquires all visible-through-shortwave infrared and thermal infrared spectral bands, or two instruments that acquire these spectral bands separately.
The Landsat Next spacecraft is expected to operate in a polar, frozen, sun-synchronous orbit with repeating ground track by using propulsive maneuvers for orbit maintenance. The Landsat Next ground station may continue using the existing Landsat Multi-mission Operations Center at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., or may pursue a commercial service-based mission operations center. The future satellite also may use increased machine autonomy decrease the frequency of command and fault-management uplinks.
Companies interested should email their intent to submit an offer to NASA’s Colin Bornmann no later than 26 Feb. 2021 at email@example.com. An RFP should be issued for the Landsat Next instrument studies is expected by about 8 March 2021.
More information is online at https://beta.sam.gov/opp/6b3bcaa7311c419c863d9b6936107fe9/view.
23 Feb 21. Key deadline approaches for Pentagon’s Mi2 UAV Technology Demonstration. An important deadline is nearing for the Pentagon’s Mi2 Technology Demonstration unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) effort.
US Navy (USN) spokesperson Brittany Dickerson said on 17 February that the service expects to determine the next steps for the programme on or before 31 March. Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division (NAWCAD) sponsored and held a Phase 2 live demonstration event from 30 November to 18 December 2020 at Yuma Proving Ground, Arizona, to evaluate innovative expeditionary UAVs.
Participation in Phase 2 of this multiphased, merit-based selection process may lead to the award of an other transaction (OT) prototype project. L3Harris, which was selected along with Martin UAV to participate in the live demonstration, said in a 1 December 2020 statement that these OT awards for prototyping have the potential to become a future programme of record estimated to be worth up to USD1bn.
NAWCAD AIRWorks, in collaboration with Innovation and Modernization Patuxent River (IMPAX), which is NAWCAD’s partnership intermediary for experimentation, technology demonstrations, and prototyping, intends to accelerate the identification and evaluation of UAVs that can operate in austere deployed environments without ancillary support systems. AIRWorks is especially interested in systems that do not require dedicated launch or recovery equipment.
AIRWorks received 13 responses from industry for this effort. L3Harris participated in the live demonstration with its FVR-90 vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) hybrid quadcopter, company spokesperson Sandra Phanourath said on 22 February. (Source: Jane’s)
REST OF THE WORLD
23 Feb 21. Babcock banks on ‘vendor agnostic’ approach to LAND 125 bid. The defence company is backing its independent, “vendor agnostic” strategy in its push to secure the LAND 125 Phase 4 contract.
Last May, Defence announced that it was seeking an industry partner to provide prime vendor services for product acquisition, integration and support to help deliver an Integrated Soldier System (ISS) as part of the LAND 125 project.
The ISS is expected to embed all elements and subsystems used, worn or carried by soldiers in any operational context or environment for up to 72 hours without resupply.
LAND 125 Phase 4 aims to maintain a modern, well-equipped, dismounted combat capability with an advantage over current and emerging threats.
Through the project, the government seeks to further its commitment to advancing Australian Industry Capability (AIC) by supporting local SMEs via a strategic industry partner, reinforcing implementation of its Sovereign Industry Capability Policy.
Thus far, two competitors have emerged in the race to secure the contract, Safran’s ‘Team SABRE’ and Babcock Australia.
Speaking to Defence Connect, Babcock’s executive director of strategy and future business, Graeme Nayler, and head of business development, Mick Burgess, made their case for the LAND 125 bid.
Burgess outlined the key components which he believes set Babcock’s bid apart from its competitors, beginning with the firm’s past experiences supporting Commonwealth projects.
“We already support critical equipment and manage a whole range of complex supply chains for other programs, we’re involved in similar programs in other countries, and we’re able to draw on this knowledge to integrate a tailored, best-of-breed solution,” he said.
Burgess went on to emphasise the benefits of Babcock’s “vendor agnostic” approach to the project, noting that the firm is “not tied to any specific suppliers”.
“[We] enable a level playing field for all product suppliers, whether they’re large or small, so they’re able to compete as equals,” he said.
“[We don’t] have any products of our own at the table, or any close relationships with particular suppliers.”
Nayler echoed Burgess’ sentiment, adding: “Our behaviours and the way we operate, from both a conflict of interest [perspective] and being supplier agnostic, is incredibly important to the supply chain.
“We’ve spoken to pretty much all those in the space, technology primes, SMEs and a lot of the consulting firms. For this program to be genuinely valued by the Commonwealth and to be able to manage the conflicts of interest across the suppliers, being independent is very important.”
According to Burgess, Babcock has already identified over 140 suppliers that could potentially support the project, many of which are local firms.
Nayler added that the firm is confident local industry would deliver ‘best in breed’ products for the ISS.
“There is that undertone of AIC being a sacrifice to capability. For this program, we see the opposite,” he said.
“We’ve done technology surveys, we understand the market well and to be frank, a lot of what can be offered to this program, not just sustainment services but technology through the acquisition phase, can be met by the Australian market.
“Part of our value proposition is not saying we’re doing AIC because it meets the Minister’s intent, we actually believe the industry base at the moment will ideally support this program.”
Babcock has reportedly identified more than 50 per cent of the requirements that can be designed and manufactured in Australia, either through offshore companies willing to support local production or through Australian companies with the capability.
“We could have taken that approach of bringing together big brands, we have good relationships with some of the big US technology primes, but this project is not about [that],” Nayler continued.
“There isn’t a single OEM that has even close to 100 per cent solution; the Commonwealth wants this to be an evolving design and solution over life-of-type, and for us it isn’t about picking one or two big brands, for us it’s about the answering the exam question, which was an independent vendor manager for defence.”
Babcock is expected to unveil its next steps over the coming months, with the downselection for the project to take place in May.
A request for tender is also expected to be announced later this year, with new competitors likely to emerge. (Source: Defence Connect)
22 Feb 21. Indonesian MoD reveals aircraft procurement plans. Indonesia’s Ministry of Defence (MoD) has published a seemingly ambitious list of big-ticket items that it is proposing to acquire for its air force over the next four years.
These include Dassault Rafale and Boeing F-15EX Advanced Eagle multirole fighters, Lockheed Martin C-130J Super Hercules transports, and Airbus A330 Multi-Role Tanker Transport (MRTT) aircraft.
The list was disclosed in the 2021 edition of a yearly publication for Indonesian Armed Forces (Tentara Nasional Indonesia: TNI) and MoD staff known as the ‘Leadership Assembly’. The publication, which featured opening remarks from TNI Chief Air Vice Marshal Hadi Tjahjanto and Defence Minister Prabowo Subianto, was released in mid-February.
“For the Indonesian Air Force, we will refurbish our entire fleet of fighter aircraft and we have secured the funds for this except for the replacement of the Hawks,” said Prabowo in his remarks, in reference to the country’s fleet of BAE Hawk 109/209s.
“[There will be] 36 units of the Rafale multirole combat aircraft from France and 36 units of the F-15EX, of which an eight initial units are being expected and six of these should arrive before 2022,” said the minister. In addition to the fighter aircraft, the ministry also included 15 C-130Js, two A330 MRTTs, 30 ground-controlled interception radar stations, and three unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) into a procurement wish list known as the ‘Blue Book’. (Source: Jane’s)
19 Feb 21. Canadian defence department seeks proposals for fixed and mobile counter UAS capability. Canada’s Department of National Defence (DND) has issued a Request for Information (RFI) for technology solutions including Counter Unmanned Aerial Systems (C-UAS) capability.
According to the RFI issued by Canada’s Public Works department, DND and the Canadian Armed Forces are looking for innovative science and technology solutions to address Canada’s classified defence and security challenges through a classified call for proposals process.
The C-UAS capability includes: ‘Approaches and systems for countering UAS that are capable of detecting, tracking, identifying, and/or neutralizing the UAS from as far away from the device as possible, and able to perform these functions from either fixed installations or in a moving vehicle. The Canadian Armed Forces needs systems which can deploy easily and readily, and automate these tasks to the extent possible (to minimize training, user input and level of effort in performing these functions)’
C-UAS is one of seven areas currently included in the RFI:
Anti-drone systems (C-UAS); combating the Threat of Explosives (LME); defeat Radio-Controlled Improvised Explosive Devices (DEI-RC); fusion and automation of data in the cloud; integration of soldier’s systems; space sensor payloads; and underwater warfare.
Public Works and Government Services Canada
Services and Technology Acquisition Management Sector
Innovation Procurement Directorate
Solicitation No: W7714-217834/A
GETS ref No: PW-21-00945859
The Innovation for Defence Excellence and Security (IDEaS) programme was announced in Canada’s defence policy, Strong, Secure, Engaged and launched in 2018 to invest CAD1.6bn over the next 20 years to access the expertise and solutions from the Canadian innovation ecosystem. The program provides Canadian innovators (from small to large enterprises, academia, not-for profit organisation, Universities, etc.) with a structure and support to encourage solutions for Canada’s toughest defence and security challenges.
IDEaS supports the development of solutions from their conceptual stage, through prototype testing and capability development. The program’s goal is to access new defence and security solutions from Canadian innovators for the benefit of the Department of National Defence (DND) and the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF). To date, more than CAS140m have been invested in solutions through the programme.
For more information visit:
21 Feb 21. US Border Patrol issues RFI for nationwide C-UAS concept whitepaper. The United States Border Patrol (USBP), as part of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and on behalf of all of CBP, is conducting market research through a Request for Information (RFI) on the current availability and technological capabilities of a Counter Unmanned Aircraft System (C-UAS) to address current and future threats and gaps regarding unmanned aircraft systems.
According to the RFI:
“THE GOVERNMENT DOES NOT INTEND TO AWARD A CONTRACT ON THE BASIS OF THIS RFI OR OTHERWISE PAY FOR INFORMATION RECEIVED. This RFI is issued solely for information, planning purposes, and market research only; it does not constitute a Request for Proposal (RFP) or a promise to issue an RFP….CBP is interested in learning about the availability of systems to counter the threat of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), commonly referred to as drones, which includes the capability to detect, identify, classify, track, and/or mitigate these threats. CBP has an operational need for rapidly deployable, mobile and agent-portable, and fixed assets to provide situational awareness for CBP personnel in the field. Current surveillance capabilities lack the ability to adjust to counter surveillance efforts. As advanced UAS technology has become available to the public, Transnational Criminal Organizations now use UASs for smuggling activities and for monitoring CBP operations. In addition, UASs pose security threats due to the potential for an attack. C-UAS detection and mitigation technology will provide CBP with better situational and air domain awareness, improve agent safety, and increase national security.
“C-UASs will be responsible for countering the threat of UASs. Each C-UAS will be responsible for monitoring its Area of Coverage. The number of C-UAS deployed across CBP locations will vary based on geography, availability of equipment and trained operators, and operational need. When deployed, the system will provide the C-UAS operator with information regarding detection, tracking/classifying/identifying, and mitigation of UAS threats. These UASs typically consist of a UAV (drone), a ground-based controller, and a system of communications between the two. The drones can be of varying sizes and weights, as well as varying configurations such as fixed-wing, vertical takeoff and landing, and hybrid. In addition, the sensor and payload capabilities vary between drones, as well do the data collection and transmission capabilities.
“One example of an operational scenario includes a fixed C-UAS deployed to a CBP operating area of interest. Upon detecting drone threats, the system logs the information and notifies the operator of a threat (either locally on the system interface, or remotely via connection to an information network). Next, the system begins to track the drone (determines location and flight path) and attempts to classify and identify drones in terms of known characteristics (e.g., model, weight, payload, frequency, and launch location). In addition, the information collected in real-time will allow operators to take appropriate action given the drones known location. If deemed necessary and in accordance with policy, the system will enable operators to disrupt or deny further operation of the drone. Throughout the scenario, the system data and intelligence are logged in order to increase awareness to the current and future drone threat.
Notice ID: CBP_C-UAS_RFI
Responsible agency: Department of Homeland Security
Deadline: 5 March 2021
For more information
22 Feb 21. DIN calls for proposals in Cyber security and Undersea Surveillance. The NSW Defence Innovation Network (DIN) is calling for collaborative proposals in the field of Cyber security and Undersea surveillance. Through its Strategic Investment Initiative, DIN will invest $1m of research funding in developing cutting-edge prototypes for defence use.
With the recent announcement that Cyber Security and Undersea Surveillance are priority areas for Defence investment, the DIN has established the Strategic Investment Initiative (SII).
The purpose of the SII is to enable multi-disciplinary teams to produce two prototypes, to create lasting links to the defence industry, to catalyse commercialisation and additional investment in research and development in NSW.
A key objective is to build capability in the State by funding collaborative research that will enable a prototype to be made within a 12-18 month timeframe, suitable for a ‘demonstration’ of the new capability of the integrated system.
The Initiative is funded by the NSW Government and the Department of Defence through the Next Generation Technologies Fund.
Completed proposals must be submitted electronically by 5 pm, 5 March2021 to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Download DIN SII_Guidelines_amended_02_02_2021