UNITED KINGDOM AND NATO
08 Mar 21. Royal Navy to get ‘new frigates and surveillance vessels.’ The Sunday Times has reported that the Royal Navy is to receive new vessels as part of the defence review. An excerpt from this article states: “The Royal Navy gets new frigates, supply ships and underwater surveillance vessels.”
The new frigates are likely to be the Type 32s. The Type 32 was first announced by Boris Johnson in November 2020 as part of a defence investment pledge ahead of the Integrated Review.
The review’s first conclusions are reportedly related to the restoration of the United Kingdom as “the foremost naval power in Europe” through the construction of new ships.
Defence Secretary Ben Wallace subsequently stated that the Type 32 frigate would come “further along from the Type 31”, adding that the Royal Navy “requested another class of ship” in order to increase its numbers of surface fighting ships, destroyers and frigates.
The Ministry of Defence have stated that the concept phase for the vessel had not yet been launched but added that the ship is currently envisioned as a “platform for autonomous systems”, used in roles such as anti-submarine warfare and mine countermeasures. Like the Type 31 frigate, the ship will be general-purpose in its design It might also be the case that the underwater surveillance vessels are related to this project. (Source: News Now/https://ukdefencejournal.org.uk/)
10 Mar 21. Botched military helo tender shall remain kaput, German court rules. Germany’s go-to court for federal procurement disputes has ruled that the German ministry of defense cannot be forced to resume a tender for the acquisition of heavy transport helicopters that officials suddenly nixed last fall over cost worries.
The decision by a court of the Federal Cartel Office follows Lockheed Martin-Sikorsky’s protest against the cancellation. Executives had said the legal pressure was meant to test the waters in an unusual federal procurement situation involving billions of dollars.
Lockheed Martin and Boeing were the only bidders in an effort to replace Germany’s CH-53G helicopters when the government here walked away from the procurement process, offering the CH-53K King Stallion and the CH-47 Chinook, respectively.
While court upheld the government’s decision to abandon the tender, its March 5 ruling still found the move to be unlawful, according to a statement published Tuesday on the Federal Cartel Office website. That’s because the defense ministry failed to properly document its argument that the cost of the two offers was unacceptably high, the statement read.
The last point amounts to a crucial dig at the Bundeswehr’s procurement authorities, calling into question a fundamental awareness of pricing in major acquisition programs.
“Cost estimates for public procurements should always be demonstrably documented,” Andreas Mundt, president of the Federal Cartel Office said.
The court essentially made a judgment about the case without interfering in the process, explained Christian Scherer, a public procurement expert with the law firm CMS Germany in Cologne. Still, getting such a ruling will be important for companies in the future, as they decide on any potential compensation claims against the government incurred in the course of the now-defunct tender, he added.
Lockheed’s willingness to litigate further is questionable, however, because the company still wants to sell its King Stallion to Germany through whatever avenue defense leaders here may decide next. Executives have two weeks to decide if they want to appeal the decision with a different court.
Late last year, defense ministry officials requested information for Boeing’s and Lockheed’s aircraft types from the Defense Security Cooperation Agency. Buying off-the-shelf aircraft, without Teutonic extras, through the U.S. foreign military sales process would cost less and do the job of hauling battlefield cargo just as well, the thinking goes.
The no-frills tack of the new acquisition approach emboldens competitor Boeing, executives there said recently. The company’s previous marketing strategy had rested on the promise of a proven workhorse that wouldn’t break the bank.
“Buying off the shelf gets most our customers what they want,” said Michael Hostetter, who spearheads Boeing’s campaign for the Schwerer Transporthubschrauber (STH) helo program in Germany.
Lockheed, on the other hand, hopes that a recent King Stallion order from Israel will serve as an advertisement for Berlin.
Meanwhile, the U.S. Government Accountability Office recommended last week that the Marine Corps limit the procurement speed of its King Stallions so that the testing schedule for the new aircraft can catch up. The move would help avert further cost increases later on, according to auditors. (Source: Defense News Early Bird/Defense News)
08 Mar 21. USAF seeks Next Gen Multirole UAS capabilities. The US Air Force (USAF) has issued a request for information (RFI) for its Next-Generation Multirole Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) Family of Systems (FoS) requirement. Posted on the beta.sam.gov US government procurement website on 5 March, the ‘Next Gen Multirole UAS FoS’ RFI is in support of a USAF effort to field a family of attritable but reusable unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) on behalf of the Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance/Special Operations Forces (ISR/SOF) Directorate.
“The Air Force Materiel Command, Air Force Life Cycle Management Center (AFLCMC) in support of the ISR/SOF Directorate is seeking information to inform the establishment of a new capability development pipeline for integration on current and Next-Gen Multirole UAS FoS with reduced operating costs and greater persistence, survivability, and range. These Next-Gen Multirole UAS FoS may be comprised of attritable, expendable, survivable and reusable attributes, which can attain desired effects in various operating environments,” the RFI stated.
In the RFI, the USAF sets out three key focus areas for the required capabilities, namely Air Domain Awareness to provide early warning and fire control quality track/identification of enemy air operations in highly contested and contested environments; High Value Airborne Asset Protection (HVAAP) to protect high value airborne assets, such as tankers and airborne early warning and control platforms, from long-range enemy fighters and other kinetic and non-kinetic threats; and Platform Multi-Role UAS FoS solutions to include attritable, expendable, survivable, and reusable concepts. (Source: Jane’s)
08 Mar 21. Contract notice hints US could field a new fighter by 2029.
A US Department of Defense (DoD) contract notification has offered a hint that the US could field a new fighter aircraft by FY 2029.
A US Department of Defense (DoD) contract notification has offered a hint that the US could field a new fighter aircraft by FY 2029.
The $74m contract notice with Raytheon for the AIM-120 Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missile (AMRAAM) aircraft integration mentions a number of existing airframes but leaves the option open for future integration on to current or next-generation fighters before the close of fiscal year 2029. The contract notice reads: “This contract will provide the necessary aircraft lab, flight test, flight clearance and simulation support during all integration requirements in AMRAAM for F-15, F-16, FA-18, F-22, F-35 and other current inventory or next-generation platforms that may join the Air Force or Navy inventory before the end of fiscal 2029.”
Currently, the US Air Force is engaged in an effort to develop a sixth-generation fighter jet under its next-generation air dominance programme (NGAD). If the contract notice does reference NGAD, it would see the US field a next-generation aircraft far quicker than comparative European development projects for future fighters.
The contract award could also potentially point to the future integration of AMRAAM onto the Skyborg future ‘Loyal Wingman’ uncrewed aerial vehicle (UAV) also currently being explored by the US Air Force.
As reported by The War Zone, past videos demonstrating the Skyborg programme have included rendered footage of the future drone launching an AMRAAM.
Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) research fellow and editor of RUSI Defence Systems Justin Bronk told Air Force Technology that the possibility existed that the US Air Force of uncrewed combat aerial vehicle (UCAV) capabilities that could be equipped with AMRAAM.
However, he added that the notification may also be legalese in order to not limit future integration opportunities.
Bronk said: “it’s also the case that this may simply be smart contractual language to avoid being caught by limitations on a supply tender in the event that the USAF decides to integrate AMRAAM on more platforms in some unforeseen context; rather than an indicator that they have something definite that they are thinking of at this moment in time.”
Last September, former Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics Will Roper told the Air Force Association’s Air, Space and Cyber Conference that the service had already built and flown a prototype NGAD fighter.
At the time, Roper said: “NGAD has come so far, that the full-scale flight demonstrator has already flown in the physical world and it’s broken a lot of records in the doing.”
Before this in 2019, Defense News reported that Roper believed a new fighter jet could be designed and built from scratch in five years.
NGAD has been described as a family of platforms, likely to include a crewed fighter jet as well as accompanying UAVs designed to support it.
Defense News also recently reported that Air Combat Command head General Mark Kelly was concerned that China could field a sixth-generation ahead of the US.
Kelly said: “I am confident that the technology and the test points have developed to where NGAD technology will get fielded,
“And I’m confident that the adversaries on the other end of this technology will suffer a very tough day and tough week and tough war. What I don’t know — and we’re working with our great partners — is if our nation will have the courage and the focus to field this capability before someone like the Chinese fields it and uses it against us.” (Source: airforce-technology.com)
08 Mar 21. GAO recommends US Navy cap CH-53K production at six aircraft per year until end of testing. The US Government Accountability Office (GAO) recommends the US Navy (USN) production limit of six Sikorsky CH-53K King Stallion heavy lift helicopters per year, fewer than planned, for the next few years until initial operational test and evaluation (IOT&E) is completed.
In a report released on 4 March, the GAO said that increasing production beyond the current level of six per year, in the face of unresolved technical challenges and still-to-be completed testing, could prove costly and delay delivery of suitable aircraft. The GAO said that the extension of the schedule for the completion of testing in the context of a planned increase in production raises the risk that costs will rise to pay for retrofitting aircraft produced before testing is completed.
The GAO said that the CH-53K effort was at risk of increased costs due to the concurrency, or the overlap of testing and production in the programme. The effort will have been producing aircraft for nearly six years before the scheduled completion of operational testing, expected for the end of fiscal year 2022, an increase of concurrency of nearly three years. As a result, the effort now plans to procure a total of 38 helicopters in LRIP over six years. (Source: Jane’s)
REST OF THE WORLD
12 Mar 21. Thales, Austal sign shipbuilding MOU. The primes have agreed to collaborate alongside the Tropical Reef Shipyard to support the Royal Australian Navy’s shipbuilding and sustainment program. Thales Australia, Austal and Tropical Reef Shipyard have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) in Cairns, agreeing to work collaboratively in support of the Commonwealth government’s National Naval Shipbuilding and Sustainment Enterprise.
The MOU aims to prioritises the development of local professional, technical and trade skills in far north Queensland, focusing on the capability assurance of the Royal Australian Navy’s assets through the delivery of project management, and ship repair and defect rectification services.
Thales Australia vice president, above water systems, Max Kufner, said the MOU would help ensure Navy and the Capability Acquisition and Sustainment Group (CASG) can achieve and sustain mission capability.
“As Navy transforms its sustainment model, this MOU helps cement the close collaborative relationships that are key to ensuring we help deliver an integrated regional sustainment environment,” he said.
“I am delighted to be working closely with Austal and Tropical Reef Shipyard and many other local businesses to ensure Navy gets the best support and sustainment outcomes, whilst maximising opportunities for local companies.
“Local Cairns businesses have played an essential role in delivering the sustainment of the Armidale Class patrol boats for the Royal Australian Navy.
Kufner added, “These activities have seen more than $10m invested in the local economy in 2020 as a direct result of Thales’s policy of maximising the work flowing to local small and medium-sized businesses.”
Federal member for Leichardt Warren Entsch welcomed the collaboration agreement.
“This MoU signing is a great example of how capable our local defence industry is building upon this region being a regional maintenance and sustainment hub,” he said. (Source: Defence Connect)
11 Mar 21. Australia requests EoIs for forward operating base on Cocos Islands for MC-55A Peregrine EW aircraft.
Australia’s Department of Defence (DoD) has requested expressions of interest (EoIs) for the construction of a new airborne electronic warfare (EW)/intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) forward operating base on the Cocos (Keeling) Islands to host MC-55A Peregrine EW aircraft.
Although the request does not explicitly state which aircraft the base will support, the project is part of the Air 555 Phase 1 programme for infrastructure relating to the introduction of the MC-55A Peregrine, a heavily modified version of the Gulfstream G550 business jet, at Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Base Edinburgh in South Australia.
The DoD had told a parliamentary committee in August 2020 that the operating concept for the Peregrine fleet involves a main operating base at RAAF Edinburgh and three forward operating bases in Townsville, Darwin, and the Cocos (Keeling) Islands.
The islands are Australian territory some 2,750 km northwest of Perth and approximately halfway between the Australian mainland and Sri Lanka.
Canberra announced in March 2019 that it would acquire four MC-55As for AUD2.46bn (USD1.91bn) under Project Air 555, describing the Peregrine as a new airborne EW capability that would provide a critical link between Australian Defence Force (ADF) platforms. These include the F-35A Joint Strike Fighter, the E-7A Wedgetail airborne early warning and control aircraft, EA-18G Growler electronic attack aircraft, naval surface combatants, amphibious ships, and ground assets. (Source: Jane’s)
11 Mar 21. South Korean army seeks additional attack helicopters. South Korea plans to procure up to 36 additional attack helicopters to further boost the capabilities of the Republic of Korea Army (RoKA), defence officials told Janes on 3 March.
The revelation comes about a year after Boeing officials said during the 2020 Singapore Air Show that South Korea was interested in acquiring up to 48 additional AH-64E Apache Guardian attack helicopters. At the time, Boeing stated that “the RoK seems to be putting together an attack regiment that would support a new operational concept for their military. The [South] Koreans are looking at some version of the ‘deep attack doctrine’ that was part of the US-NATO battle plan in Europe during the Cold War”. The new helicopters would supplement the RoKA’s current fleet of 36 AH-64E helicopters, which were ordered in 2013 as part of a USD1.6bn Foreign Military Sales programme, and complete the replacement of the Bell AH-1S attack helicopters. The acquisition of additional attack helicopters is motivated by the need for greater air attack capabilities to compensate for the reduction in manpower and for the transition of wartime operational command from the United States to South Korea, said RoKA sources, adding that the 36 additional helicopters would cover the extended operational range of ground operations. (Source: Jane’s)
01 Mar 21. Cybersecurity Support Services Sought By DCSA. The Defense Counterintelligence and Security Agency (DCSA) has released a Sources Sought Notice to ascertain both the availability and the technical capability of Certified 8(a) companies who can provide Cybersecurity Support Services. The overall objective is to provide comprehensive cybersecurity support to the current enterprise and transformational cybersecurity support for the future DCSA organizational enterprise. The specific functions required to carry out these objectives are listed below:
- Provide continued cybersecurity development for the agency, to include cloud environments
- Provide continued development of the Enterprise Data Management (EDM) for the agency
- Provide assistance with the DCSA Authorization & Assessment (A&A) process to ensure the Risk Management Framework is implemented on DCSA systems
- Provide assistance with DCSA systems to ensure the cybersecurity framework is implemented for identifying, protecting, detecting, responding, and recovering from cyber threats & vulnerabilities
- Conduct approved product analysis, to recommend products being considered for inclusion on the DCSA networks ensuring they are properly and uniformly analyzed for compliance with DoD and DCSA security requirements and best practices
- Provide support with issuance and technical assistance with Non-Classified Internet Protocol Router Network (NIPRNet), Secret Internet Protocol Router Network (SIPRNet) and Joint Worldwide Intelligence Communications System (JWICS) tokens and Unclassified – Top Secret media destruction of various types of media and guidance to DCSA personnel
- Review Cyber Workforce Improvement program reports/artifacts to ensure validation of requirements to obtain/maintain network access
- Provide and perform incident response, forensics, threat hunt, and cyber operations test and evaluation for the agency
- Use tools to detect, analyze, counter, and mitigate cyber threats and vulnerabilities; as well as to maximize user accessibility and functionality
- Provide configuration and change management practices to establish and maintain consistency of a product or system’s attributes with its requirements and evolving technical baseline over its life
- Conduct assessment to ensure supply chain risk management is supported from a risk based approach.
- Provide support for securely onboarding and off-boarding personnel.
The anticipated North American Industry Classification System Code (NAICS) for this requirement is 541513- Computer Facilities Management Services, with the corresponding size standard of $30m dollars. This Sources Sought Notice is requesting responses only from certified 8(a) companies that can provide the required services under the NAICS Code.
To assist DCSA in making a determination regarding the level of participation by 8(a) business in any subsequent procurement that may result from this Sources Sought Notice, companies are encouraged to provide information regarding plans to use joint venturing (JV) or partnering to meet each of the requirements areas contained in the announcement, such as how the firm would envision their areas of expertise and those of any proposed JV/partner that would be combined to meet the specific, listed requirements.
To learn more, select this direct infolink…https://beta.sam.gov/opp/b12063bfdea14503bab08a1fb6b0074e/view?keywords=intelligence&sort=-modifiedDate&index=opp&is_active=true&page=2
At the bottom of this page are listed both the primary and secondary contacts for responses to this invitation from the DCSA. All submissions must be received no later than March 12, 2021, 1300 hours. (Source: Satnews)