UNITED KINGDOM AND NATO
11 May 21. Look out! DASA competition seeks to enhance Royal Navy early warning capabilities. Getting the full picture: £1.25m for innovations that improve situational awareness for Royal Navy Carrier and Littoral Strike Groups. Royal Navy Carrier and Littoral Strike Groups need a clear picture of the battlespace to ensure surface and airborne threats can be responded to within appropriate timescales.
So, in partnership with the Royal Navy, the Defence and Security Accelerator (DASA) is pleased to launch the Look out! Maritime Early Warning Innovations competition, which aims to develop alternative future concepts for the Early Warning systems currently deployed in Maritime Task Groups.
How much funding is available?
£1.25m is available for Phase 1 of the competition, with a maximum of £250k for each funded proposal. The closing date for proposals is midday BST on Tuesday 6 July 2021.
Seeking an alternative solution to traditional airborne sensor-mounted platforms
Royal Navy Carrier and Littoral Strike Groups need a capability that provides air and surface surveillance that enables over-the-horizon situational awareness. This capability ensures Commanders can detect, track and recognise surface and airborne objects, and respond to them efficiently.
Current early warning maritime capabilities are delivered by sensors mounted aboard airborne platforms, with the current assumption for a follow-on for Crowsnest (an AEW fitted to the Merlin Mk2 helicopter) being a singular large radar sensor mounted on an uncrewed air platform.
Have an alternative solution?
DASA welcomes alternatives that are not based on this approach and match or exceed current airborne capabilities. We are seeking a potential successor to Crowsnest, which has a planned out-of-service date of 2029. Submit a proposal If you have an innovative idea that can enhance:
* horizon surveillance and/or target detection capability
* operational effectiveness through timely processing and dissemination of information
* operational efficiency through optimisation of system functionality
What early warning maritime challenges do we want you to overcome?
* improving threat detection and situational awareness, including detecting, tracking, recognising and identifying hostile and non-hostile contacts, on the surface of the water and in the air
* enhancing information processing and dissemination, including integrating the data from sensors and other air and surface platforms within the Maritime Task Group into a composite picture of activity to enable timely decision making
* optimising efficiency by minimising workforce requirement through a reduced operator and support burden
* novel or innovative methods of combining system functionality will also be considered, alongside solutions to enhance decision-making efficiency
Thinking of submitting a proposal?
The closing date for proposals is Tuesday 6 July 2021 at midday BST. (Source: https://www.gov.uk/)
10 May 21. Pentagon wants a cheap, ground-launched and hand-held counter-drone capability. The Pentagon wants industry to bring cheap, ground-launched capabilities as well as hand-held options to destroy small drones to its next demonstration in an effort to acquire new technology to combat the unmanned threat, according to a request for information posted May 7 to the federal contracting website beta.sam.gov.
The Joint Counter-Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems Office and the Army’s Rapid Capabilities and Critical Technologies Office are running the September 2021 demonstration. The JCO and RCCTO want whitepapers to help them choose participants who have possible solutions that fit either in the cheap, ground-launched counter-UAS capability or the hand-held systems categories.
“Ground-Based Aerial Denial is defined as solutions that are ground-launched with no inflight terminal guidance, providing denial or defeat of single or multiple sUAS,” the request explained. The solution should not include ground emitted cyber or electronic attack through radio frequency waves capabilities, the RFI added. Systems should cost less than $15,000 per drone engaged, the JCO laid out.
For a hand-held capability, the office wants something that can be held, attached to a weapon or user while conducting dismounted operations, and weighs less than 24 pounds. Systems should cost less than $37,000 per unit.
The JCO may award prototype projects following the demonstration and a review of capabilities, the request noted. The office plans to complete demonstration evaluations within 30 days following the event and will notify companies if they are chosen for a possible prototype award.
If a prototype effort is successful, companies may be selected for follow-on production contracts without further competition, the RFI stated.
An industry day is planned for May 12, with submissions due May 28.
The September demonstration will be the second effort in a campaign to bring the best c-sUAS technology into an enduring solution.
The JCO was established in late 2019, and the defense secretary at the time delegated the Army in November 2019 to lead the effort to take a petting zoo of c-sUAS, many of which were rooted in urgent Middle East conflicts, and consolidate capabilities into a select group of interim systems.
Pentagon leaders in late September 2020 approved a set of requirements to help counter small drones, laying a path for how industry can develop technology to plug into a single command-and-control system.
The JCO has already chosen an interim set of capabilities to counter small UAS from a poll of 40-plus systems, but it is rapidly working to stay ahead of the threat curve through the development of its future c-sUAS system architecture.
The first demonstration at Yuma Proving Ground, Arizona, this spring looked for low-collateral effects interceptors. Three teams were evaluated during that effort.
The demonstrations are expected to take place twice a year, during which the joint force will examine the most impactful solutions that fill current capability gaps and are ready for a transition into fielded systems. (Source: Defense News)
REST OF THE WORLD
10 May 21. Hanwha to Propose K21 Based Tank for Indian Army. The Republic of Korea’s Hanwha Defense appears ready to propose a candidate to address the Indian Army’s requirement for a light tank. India’s Defense Ministry issued a Request for Information dated 22 April 2021 describing its intent to acquire 350 light tanks.
The RFI described a new generation combat platform of less than 25 tonnes “along with performance-based logistics, niche technologies, engineering support package, and other maintenance and training requirements.”
This would be produced in India. The initiative is viewed as a response to the tensions in Eastern Ladakh of the northern mountainous regions and the China’s People’s Liberation Army fielding of its ZTQ-15 light tank. An RFI reflecting a similar need had been issued in 2009 but did not proceed.
Hanwha Defense has a developed a version of its successful K-21 Infantry fighting Vehicle, the K21-105, which mounts a 105mm tank gun turret on the K-21 tracked chassis. This was offered as a candidate for the US Army Mobile Protected Firepower vehicle requirement in a collaboration with the US firm SAIC.
The design incorporated a CMI Defense 105mm stabilized gun turret with automatic loading providing 8 rounds per minute firing rate. Equipped with advanced day/thermal sights, digital fire controls, and able to incorporate a panoramic sight it can precisely engage targets to 4 km. The gun uses standard NATO ammunitions, as well as the Ukrainian-designed cannon launched laser-guided Falarick 105 ATGM. With a crew of three the vehicle offers tank level firepower in a compact, highly mobile configuration well suited for operations in restricted terrain.
The Indian Army RFI further states “the main armament should feature a modular and upgradable weapon system with capability to destroy varied threats and feature multiple weapons for anti-aircraft and ground role with a remote control weapon station. The tank should employ modern advance multipurpose ‘smart munitions’ including gun tube launched anti-tank guided missiles and auxiliary power unit, preheater, environment control unit and anti-drone capability, UAV jammers, and be net enabled.
Responses are due 18 June 2021. (Source: AMR)
13 May 21. KAI proposes developing indigenous military transport aircraft. Korea Aerospace Industry (KAI) has released a promotional video showing computer-generated imagery (CGI) of the multirole military transport aircraft the company is proposing to develop for the South Korean military as well as for export.
The video, which was unveiled during the Aerospace Conference 2021 held on 11–13 May at the Air Force Hotel in Seoul, shows a rendering of the proposed design for the future multirole aircraft.
The images reveal that the company aims to develop a medium-size, twin-engined platform with capabilities that include troop/cargo transport, support of special forces operations, and the launch of small satellite-carrying rockets into space.
A screengrab from a KAI promotional video released on 11 May showing CGI of the medium-size, twin-engine, multirole military transport aircraft the company is proposing to develop for the South Korean military and export markets. (KAI)
The company also envisions developing a maritime patrol variant capable of conducting anti-submarine warfare operations, of an armed gunship version capable of carrying air-to-surface missiles, and of an aerial tanker variant capable of refuelling, among other things, the new KAI KF-21 fighter aircraft and possibly large unmanned aerial vehicles.
The move comes after KAI chief executive officer Ahn Hyun-ho said during a first-quarter results presentation on 2 April that the company is in the process of making proposals to the South Korean military about the aircraft, development of which could begin in late 2025 and be completed by 2031 should the South Korean government and national assembly grant their approval. (Source: Jane’s)
11 May 21. A NEW French-Australian team for SEA 1905: ECA GROUP and TMT sign an MoU for the Mine Countermeasures program of the Royal Australian Navy. Australian company Total Marine Technology (TMT) and the French company ECA GROUP have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to combine their expertise in the domain of unmanned technologies in order to partner for the SEA 1905 Phase 1 – Tranche 1 Program of the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) for their future Maritime Mine Countermeasures and Military Survey Capability. Both companies are highly skilled in robotics equipment for harsh maritime environments and have been serving customers in the Defence and Security domain for many years. Today, ECA GROUP and TMT announce their partnership and a common commitment to supply the Commonwealth of Australia with the most competitive and technologically advanced solution for SEA 1905. TMT and ECA GROUP are already in discussions with other possible Australian partners to further enhance their offer.
The Royal Australian Navy’s SEA 1905 Maritime Mine Countermeasures (MCM) Program was announced in April 2019 to replace the RAN’s four remaining Huon-class Minehunter Coastal (MHC) ships. In January 2021, Australia’s Minister for Defence also stated that the new ships would be based on the Arafura-class offshore patrol vessel. The vessels will deploy modular unmanned autonomous systems that will provide them with mine-hunting and military survey capabilities. The request for tender SEA 1905 Phase 1 – Tranche 1 is expected for the fourth quarter of 2021. According to Admiral Michael Noonan for Australiandefence.com.au, the program schedule of SEA 1905 Phase 1 is well on the track: “first pass approval has occurred, second pass approval will be in the third or fourth quarter 2022 with the introduction of capability in 2023/2024 and IOC (initial operational capability) in the backend of 2024”. Admiral Noonan also shared a figure of A$3.3 –A$5bn (€2.1 – €3.2bn) for the future mine warfare and hydrographic vessels.
ECA GROUP over 50 years experience in Mine Countermeasures for over 30 navies
ECA GROUP has over 50 years’ experience in the design, manufacturing and support of complete and integrated unmanned systems based on autonomous and remotely operated technologies for mine clearance at sea, while constantly keeping crews and the ship out of the danger zone. UMIS – ECA GROUP’s integrated drone systems for Mine Detection, Classification, Identification and Neutralization benefit from its many years of experience in engineering and solutions development offering compact, interoperable, modular and scalable systems. They can be operated from dedicated mine hunters as an integrated solution, but also from a ship of opportunity or from the shore as an air/road transportable configuration. This solution being comprehensive, as well as sea proven, ECA GROUP has a unique offer on the market of maritime unmanned technologies.
In addition, ECA GROUP also offers deep and ultra-deep unmanned underwater vehicles down to 6000m for hydrography and oceanography.
ECA GROUP systems support over 30 navies including the Royal Australian Navy. In the past, ECA GROUP provided and supported the RAN with its mine disposal PAP robots which were in operation on the Bay Class minehunters until 2001. In the late 90’s, ECA GROUP delivered and installed onboard the RAN Leeuwinn class ship an integrated platform management system OPSYS which was upgraded in 2010. Currently, ECA GROUP is participating in the SEA1778 project by supplying and integrating two “remote control kits” on two boats to transform them into Unmanned Surface Vehicles (USV) to tow the AMASS (Australian Minesweeping and Support System) influence sweep. In addition, in 2008/2009 ECA GROUP also delivered the software suite (now integrated in UMISOFT software suite) to the Australian Hydrographic Service, for acquiring and processing the hydrographic data collected by the four Paluma-class motor launch vessels.
TOTAL MARINE TECHNOLOGY for over 20 years experience in remote internvention systems for harsh subsea environments
Total Marine Technology was founded in Australia and now has over 20 years’ experience in building and operating remote intervention systems in harsh subsea environments, Total Marine Technology has cultivated skilled personnel and robust technologies to operate in ocean depths exceeding 6000 metre sea water. It is currently the largest provider of ROV and intervention tooling in Australia and has a significant presence in South East Asia, Brazil, and other parts of the world.
TMT grew from a vision that challenged the international conventions regarding ROV technology. Previously the centres of excellence had been Europe and America. The founders of TMT believed a world-class ROV design, manufacture, and operations facility could be established in Perth, Western Australia, and be successful. It holds a number of patents and continues to be active in R&D to further push the boundaries of possibility in remote technology for harsh and dangerous environments.
TMT has been proudly supporting defence since 2014, with defence ready tooling and through life subsea asset equipment management. TMT’s Sovereign capabilities include reliable through life subsea asset equipment management.
” We are extremely happy to team with TMT, to strengthen our position in the southern hemisphere and specifically Australia, and to contribute to a sustainable Australian SEA 1905 Tranche 1 program. Our aim is to share and implement our expertise together with TMT in order to provide the Royal Australian Navy with sea proven, state of the art technologies tailored to their operational needs and to adapt the system over time to take into account the evolving threat as well as new technologies as they become available.” states Daniel Scourzic, VP for Strategic Programs at ECA GROUP.
“We believe the linking with ECA Group is a significant event which will unlock opportunities in the defence sector, through the provision of focussed and well implemented new technologies. The strengths of both companies are well suited to providing an integrated solution to address the rapidly developing area of undersea capability. To work collaboratively with the ECA GROUP is a real win for TMT. Their world leading technology in this sector will further enhance our ability to generate new skills and jobs as we seek to strengthen and diversify our core capability for future growth.” states Paul Colley, CEO of TMT.
Total Marine Technology (TMT) has been in the marine industry since 1999, manufacturing robust and reliable ROV’s and subsea intervention tooling. Its patented designs have stood the test of time. Its diversity continues to push the envelope in delivering results for remote technology in harsh environments. TMT believes the combination of great design; engineering excellence and offshore intervention experience allows us to partner with clients to develop innovative systems and products that deliver success.
TMT has an extensive array of engineers and technicians working at our manufacturing facility in Bibra Lake. Their industry backgrounds ranging from aeronautical to motorsport, long term experienced engineers to young apprentices taking their first steps into the industry. At TMT, only industry accepted guidelines and processes are used during the design phase, which includes both Australian and International Standards.
As a manufacturer and operator, TMT has the unique ability to seamlessly flow people from the design and build process into the offshore operating environment. Our track record of proven designs and capability in an integrated workshop environment has delivered numerous design awards. During the 2014 Australian Oil and Gas Expo TMT launched the world’s lightest underwater Class 1 to 4 Torque Tool system, which will enable smaller ROVs to deliver functionality not previously available. https://www.tmtrov.com.au