UNITED KINGDOM AND NATO
03 Mar 21. Significant proportion’ of support ships must be UK built. The government have again confirmed that the new Fleet Solid Support Ship will see “a significant proportion” of the build and assembly work carried out in the UK.
Stephen Morgan, Shadow Defence Minister, asked via a written Parliamentary question: “To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what the timetable is for the Government to make a decision on where new Fleet Solid Support ships will be maintained.”
Jeremy Quin, Minister of State for the Ministry of Defence, responded:
“The Fleet Solid Support (FSS) ship competition will be launched in the spring. It is anticipated that the competition will require that the winning bidder must be a UK registered company or consortia and a significant proportion of the build and assembly work must be carried out in the UK. We will seek to deliver UK social value in recognition of the opportunities for prosperity and levelling-up that the programme presents.
No decisions have yet been taken as to how or where the FSS ships will be maintained. Such decisions will be made at an appropriate time before the ships enter service.”
We recently reported that the Fleet Solid Support ship competition is to resume in Spring.
The ‘Spring 2021’ restart date was reconfirmed this week.
Stephen Morgan, Shadow Defence Minister, asked via an earlier Parliamentary written question.
“To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, pursuant to the Answer of 30 November 2020 to Question 120779 on Fleet Solid Support Ships, what recent assessment he has made of whether that target will be met.”
Jeremy Quin, Minister of State for the Ministry of Defence, responded:
“It remains our intention to commence the Fleet Solid Support ship competition during spring 2021.”
Fore more on the programme, bidders etc I recommend heading over to NavyLookout for an in-depth look. Just click here: https://www.navylookout.com/fleet-solid-support-ships-for-the-royal-navy-to-be-built-in-britain/ (Source: News Now/https://ukdefencejournal.org.uk/
01 Mar 21. MoD looking at ‘cats and traps’ to launch aircraft at sea. The Ministry of Defence is currently seeking information on the potential for industry provide assisted launch and arrested recover systems for a range of air vehicles, which would be suitable to fit to a vessel within 3 – 5 years.
The Ministry of Defence say that this request for information is to support the development of the Royal Navy’s Future Maritime Aviation Force with potential for use with both crewed and un-crewed air vehicles.
The Ministry of Defence add that it is looking to assess the availability of electromagnetic catapult, and arrestor wire systems for the launch and recovery of air vehicles.
“Potential supplier and interested parties are invited to provide information in relation to potential solutions which are sufficiently technically mature to be fitted to a suitable ship from 2023.”
According to the Request for Information, the Ministry of Defence have set out the following requirements.
“Potential arrestor solutions ideally should offer:
- Max trap 47000lbs / 21318Kg
- Min trap 11000lbs / 5000Kg
- Energy damping method
- Potential for energy reclamation
Potential catapult solutions ideally should offer:
- Max launch weight 55000lbs / 24949Kg
- Electrical power input required against launch cycle time.”
According to the Ministry of Defence, the intended outcomes of the Request for Information are as follows:
“a. Develop further MoD understanding of the different technologies and capabilities available in the market, both current and emerging.
- Alignment of potential future MoD requirements with industry standards and processes for procurement of maritime un-crewed and autonomous capabilities; and,
- Enable the Authority to develop a procurement strategy that will deliver best value for money for Defence.”
The Royal Navy say that the DEVELOP Directorate leads the development of the Royal Navy’s future warfighting capability and “acts as the platform for the through-life capability for all maritime capabilities in order to achieve the optimum mix of present and future warfighting technologies for a modern, global and ready Royal Navy”.
The Royal Navy is driving hard to introduce a range of un-crewed air vehicles and to “give wider options for the use of different air vehicles types within the Fleet”. (Source: News Now/https://ukdefencejournal.org.uk/)
26 Feb 21. Fincantieri to build two new German-design submarines for the Italian navy. Italian state shipyard Fincantieri has signed a 1.35bn euro ($1.63bn) contract to build the first two of four planned U212 NFS submarines for the Italian navy. Standing for Near Future Submarines, the NFS platforms are an upgrade on the four U212 subs Fincantieri has previously built for Italy using German technology thanks to a partnership with Thyssenkrupp Marine Systems. The new subs will mix German technology with more Italian content than the first batch, starting with a combat management system supplied by Italy’s Leonardo – marking a first foray into the field for Leonardo.
Fincantieri’s Feb. 26 deal with the European defense-acquisition organization OCCAR follows a Dec. 23, 2020, agreement with Thyssenkrupp Marine Systems for the licensing of the submarine design, the German company said in a statement.
The U-212′s reputation for quiet propulsion and long range is based on its Air Independent Propulsion system (AIP) powered by hydrogen and oxygen fuel cells.
The NFS versions will use Italian-developed new Lithium-Ion rather than lead-acid based batteries.
Some components, including the boats’ bow sections and fuel cell units, will be produced by Thyssenkrupp Marine Systems in Kiel, Germany, the company said.
In a statement released on Friday, Leonardo said it has signed a 150m euro contract with Fincantieri to provide combat management systems for the two submarines, as well as a simulation and training center at Italy’s Taranto naval base.
By entering the underwater CMS business, Leonardo said it was expecting synergies with its work on surface vessel systems, “with investment in innovation benefitting both product lines.”
Fincantieri CEO Giuseppe Bono said, “We are going to take a real technological leap forward compared to the submarines of the previous class, starting with the design and the combat system developed along with Leonardo, which we are in charge of integrating on-board. This will allow Italy to continue being a main actor among the limited group of countries that can build such advanced units.”
Italian planners have also introduced a new fluoropolymer coating for the hulls of the new subs, which reduces encrustation to cut down on drag, while the hydrodynamics of the vessels have been improved through adjustments to the design of the bow.
An extra antenna to provide electronic-warfare capability has been planned, while defense sources told Defense News in 2019 the new subs would be designed to be able to fire missiles from their torpedo tubes.
“The program will see major use of Italian technology and the participation of large, medium and small national firms,” the Italian Navy said in a statement.
Italy’s first batch of four U-212′s were delivered between 2006 and 2017, in parallel with Germany’s procurement of the platform.
The the next two NFS versions for Italy will be delivered between 2027 and 2029. Italy aims to buy four NFS subs in total for an overall cost of 2.68bn euros, according to current spending plans. An option for two additional U212-type boats built under TKMS licensing in Italy is already agreed, according to the German company. The new subs will replace its four older, Sauro-class subs which are still in service, thus maintaining Italy’s national requirement for a fleet of eight submarines. Fincantieri announced Thursday a 245m euro loss in 2020, prompted by a 20 percent slow down in production due to Covid, but said it expected to rebound in 2021. Business has been boosted by the sale of two FREMM frigates to Egypt. The two vessels sold to Egypt were originally destined for the Italian navy but diverted for a faster sale to Cairo. Fincantieri is now building two more vessels in a general-purpose format to complete Italy’s order. Thyssenkrupp Marine Systems, meanwhile, has sold its U212 design as the centerpiece of a German-Norwegian cooperation, finalized in 2017, that’s meant to yield six new boats. The company is also in the running to sell the design to the Netherlands. (Source: Defense News)
25 Feb 21. ‘Too early to say’ when B-52 engine contract will be awarded. This summer, the U.S. Air Force expects to have all the data it needs from the three defense companies competing to replace the B-52 bomber’s engines, but it is still “too early to say” when a contract will be awarded, a top general said Feb. 25.
The service is waiting for the three competitors— General Electric, Rolls-Royce, and Pratt & Whitney — to provide more information about proposals each company submitted last year, according to Gen. Timothy Ray, who leads Air Force Global Strike Command.
“The request for proposals is out,” he told reporters during a roundtable hosted during the Air Force Association’s virtual Aerospace Warfare Symposium. “We should have this summer the answers back from the competitors to be considered. And so then, from that process, we’ll go from there.”
The Air Force operates 76 B-52s, each outfitted with eight TF33 engines. The service plans to order 608 new engines, plus spares and support, from the winner of the B-52 Commercial Engine Replacement Program.
It released a solicitation to industry in May 2020 that initially projected a contract award to occur in June 2021. However, Ray acknowledged he is unsure when the Air Force will complete source selection, although he bristled at the suggestion that the program was delayed.
“This is not being [dragged] out. It is on time. In fact, it is several years early,” he said, pointing to work each of the companies have done on digital prototype engines, which the service believes has shaved more than a year off the development process.
Each of the competitors is offering modified versions of off-the-shelf engine designs. Pratt & Whitney, which manufactured the TF33 currently onboard the B-52, proposed its PW800. GE Aviation offered the CF34-10 and Passport engines, and Rolls-Royce put forward its F130 engine.
The B-52 is expected to remain in service through 2050. (Source: Defense News Early Bird/Defense News)
REST OF THE WORLD
04 Mar 21. TKMS representatives arrive in Jakarta to discuss Type 214 submarines. A delegation of representatives from German shipbuilder Thyssen-Krupp Marine Systems (TKMS) has arrived in Jakarta to discuss the potential acquisition of Type 214 diesel-electric submarines (SSKs) for the Indonesian Navy (Tentera Nasional Indonesia – Angkatan Laut: TNI-AL).
The delegation, which is headed by a TKMS Senior Vice President that is responsible for the eastern region, completed their last day of quarantine procedures on 2 March, and began discussions with representatives from the Indonesian Ministry of State Owned Enterprises and the Ministry of Defence (MoD) a day later, a source close to the ongoing discussions has confirmed with Janes.
Among matters that are being discussed include the TNI-AL’s operational requirements, work-share arrangements that can be offered by TKMS to the local shipbuilding industry, infrastructure support, and financing terms should a procurement programme for the boats materialise.
Besides Jakarta, the TKMS delegation will also be visiting PT PAL’s submarine production facilities in Surabaya.
The Type 214 SSK from TKMS is one of several programmes that have been recently included in the MoD’s ‘Blue Book’– a list of proposed procurements that either have, or are being escalated to the Indonesian Ministry of National Development Planning (Kementerian Perencanaan Pembangunan Nasional: BAPPENAS) for funding approval.
The escalation, which outlines a requirement for up to four Type 214 boats, 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 features opening remarks from TNI Chief Air Vice Marshal Hadi Tjahjanto and Defence Minister Prabowo Subianto. (Source: Jane’s)
03 Mar 21. Serco partners with Sayres to bolster naval offering. The firms have partnered to enhance their maritime training offering, aimed at bolstering the Royal Australian Navy’s warfare capability.
Serco Australia and Sayres Australia signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU), agreeing to collaborate to enhance their respective naval training offerings.
Serco Defence managing director Clint Thomas AM, CSC, said the firms’ respective offerings were complementary, adding that their experiences support ‘at sea’ and ‘shore-based’ training to help better prepare Navy personnel.
“Serco has been providing high-quality simulator-based maritime warfare training and training support services on behalf of the Royal Australian Navy at HMAS Watson, Sydney, since 2003,” Thomas said.
“We have a deep understanding of Navy’s training requirements, program challenges and future training developments, and our alliance with Sayres will allow us to design further improved solutions that will deliver the best possible outcomes for Navy personnel well into the future.”
Sayres Australia CEO Craig Powell said the agreement would ensure Australia’s Navy Officers and Sailors can “unlock the full spectrum of operational capabilities” that future systems offer.
“Together, Serco and Sayres aim to reimagine how, when, where, and why training is delivered and the technologies we can bring to Navy’s training requirements for optimal effectiveness, positioning Navy to remain ahead of changing technology solutions associated with the government’s continuous shipbuilding strategy,” he said. (Source: Defence Connect)
22 Feb 21. Austria awaits US approval of three UH-60L helicopters from Jordan. Austria is awaiting US approval of the transfer of three former Royal Jordanian Air Force (RJAF) UH-60L helicopters purchased in 2020 for EUR60m (USD72.8m). After they are received, the helicopters will be sent to Ace Aeronautics, which is upgrading the cockpits of Austria’s original nine Black Hawk helicopters, which are very similar to the UH-60L, bringing the fleet up to 12 aircraft. (Source: Jane’s)
02 Mar 21. Australian DISER opens Round 3 of Global Innovation Linkages program. Round 3 of the Global Innovation Linkages Program is now open. Launched by the Department of Industry Science Energy and Resources, it provides dollar-matched funding to help Australian businesses and researchers collaborate with global partners. Grants worth from $500,000.00 to $1m are available to cover 50% of eligible project expenditure. Australian organisations collaborating with another Australian entity and at least one global partner are eligible to apply. Priority areas include advanced manufacturing, medical technologies and pharmaceuticals and cyber security. Submissions close on Wednesday 7 April (Source: http://rumourcontrol.com.au/)
02 Mar 21. Australian Defence ORnet calls for collaboration. DST Group and the State-based innovation networks are launching a call to academia to collaborate on a number of Defence Operations Research (OR) topics through the Operations Research Network, or ORnet.
Interested Australian universities are encouraged to identify relevant fields of endeavour or expertise where they’d be willing to engage and partner with DSTG and are requested to submit proposals in response to ten OR topics of interest, comprised of two key components:
- Philosophy of OR
- General Defence OR topics
Universities are welcome to submit proposals to any/all topics contained in this call – click on the link below for the full lost.
The projects are intended to run for up to 12 months, commencing in July 2021. Individual project proposals can indicate work up to $100,000.00
Closing date for submissions is Friday, 26 March. (Source: http://rumourcontrol.com.au/)
25 Feb 21. Israel chooses to buy Lockheed’s CH-53K over Boeing’s CH-47. Israel has decided to purchase Lockheed Martin’s CH-53K helicopter over the Boeing-made CH-47, the Defense Ministry announced Feb. 25.
The move is seen as essential for Israel, as its older CH-53 Sea Stallion “Yasur” helicopters have been in use since the 1960s.
Defense Minister Benny Gantz said the decision to purchase new heavy-lift helicopters for the Air Force is a significant step in further building up the Israel Defense Force’s capabilities. “It is also essential to the IDF’s ability to carry out a wide range of operational activities. The new helicopter is adapted to the [Air Force’s] operational requirements and to the challenges of the changing battlefield,” he added.
In a statement, his ministry said: “The decision was made following a professional assessment that included test flights in all the proposed aircraft, as well as a thorough examination of the various alternatives in terms of engineering, technology, maintenance and other considerations. All details, including the number of helicopters requested, will be brought to the approval of the Ministerial Committee for Procurement as soon as possible.”
Israel has lost several of its CH-53s to crashes. Two crashed in 1997 during a midair collision, and a November 2019 crash was blamed on a defect reportedly identified by Lockheed subsidiary Sikorsky but allegedly not relayed to the IDF. Grounded in 2019 due to the technical concerns, the aircraft were cleared to fly again in January 2020. In separate events, other helicopters made emergency landings in January and April that year. And Israel once procured five U.S. Navy CH-53s through the U.S. Defense Department for spare parts.
The Yasur fleet received upgrades over the years with an electronic warfare suite, according to The Drive. Israel also trained with the fleet for aerial refueling with the C-130 Karnaf planes used by the country. Israel’s 118th and 114th squadrons operate the CH-53, as does is search and rescue Unit 669. Israel has 23 of the helicopters and is thought to be purchasing between 20 and 25, according to previous reports.
In 2017, when Israel was weighing the purchase of a heavy-lift helicopter, the cost of the CH-53K was given as $87m, compared to $38m for the Chinook. In 2018, reports indicated Israel was leaning toward the Chinook. A final decision was expected when a new government formed in the spring of 2020.
Israel has not said when the CH-53K helos will be delivered or the current cost of the procurement. Recently, a CH-53 has cost up to $131m.
Now Israel faces fresh elections, and Gantz has been in touch with his U.S. counterparts since last year about a series of purchases worth billions of dollars for KC-46 tankers and potentially more F-35 fighter jets to add to the 50 F-35s Israel has already ordered.
After budget disputes, Gantz accepted the recommendations presented by IDF Chief of the General Staff Lt. Gen. Aviv Kochavi and Defense Ministry Director General Amir Eshel to select the Lockheed helicopter, ministry said.
Eshel had previously warned about the desperate need for heavy-lift helicopters in the past, telling reporters last year that “flying 50-year-old helicopters with 50 people onboard during wartime and 30 people on board in peacetime — that’s not safe.”
The ministry said the new helicopters are part of its multiyear Momentum plan announced in 2020 that will see the creation of multidomain units and a new 7th Wing in the Air Force, which may benefit from the new helicopters. (Source: Defense News Early Bird/Defense News)