UNITED KINGDOM AND NATO
10 June 21. UK second-generation search and rescue aviation programme invitation to tender. Invitation to tender for second-generation search and rescue aviation programme issued to shortlisted companies.
The Maritime and Coastguard Agency plays a vital role in saving lives, and the government’s second-generation search and rescue aviation programme called UKSAR2G has now reached a pivotal point. The Maritime and Coastguard Agency announces today (10 June 2021) the shortlisted companies that will be invited to tender for the provision of the next decade of coastguard aviation.
The UKSAR2G programme will procure services that will provide the next generation of coastguard search and rescue helicopters, planes and remotely piloted drones. New technology will enable the coastguard to find people who need help even more quickly.
Data has been used extensively to enable aviation operators and manufacturers to put forward innovative solutions that meet the complex demands of all the emergency services and the other government departments that benefit from coastguard aviation long into the future. The programme will build upon the success of the current contracts which provide search and rescue helicopters and reconnaissance planes.
Like the arrangements it replaces, UKSAR2G will be a pan-government aviation service that supports not just Her Majesty’s Coastguard, but also UK policing in the search for lost and missing people as well as the health services in the transfer of critically ill people between NHS hospitals. This will also continue to support the work of our colleagues in other law enforcement bodies in an even more collaborative fashion than today. The scale of this collaboration is seldom seen in government procurement. The MCA should be commended for thinking beyond requirements to maximise the value form its investment in aviation services.
The UKSAR2G invitation to tender will be issued today to shortlisted bidders to provide their responses by the end of August 2021. Following negotiation, the MCA expects to award the contract in mid-2022. This will allow time for the successful bidder or bidders to establish operations before commencing service from 2024 for at least 10 years.
Since 2013, the UK search and rescue helicopter service has been delivered by Bristow Helicopters Ltd, with planes being provided by 2Excel. All existing aviation services currently under contract to the MCA will be replaced once the new contract commences.
The transition out from the current contracts will start 30 September 2024 and runs through to 31 December 2026, to guarantee a smooth transition of aviation services. (Source: https://www.gov.uk/)
CHC and Rafael bid statement. Tim McMillan, CHC SAR Bid Director said: “EEA Helicopters Operations B.V (CHC) with Rafael are pleased to be invited by the MCA, as a shortlisted bidder, to tender for the UK Second Generation Search and Rescue contract. CHC and Rafael are working together to answer the Government’s brief for a next generation service that will build on the MCA’s renowned heritage and excellence in SAR. Our partnership brings together one of the largest civil and SAR rotary wing operators in the world with more than half a century of experience, and a world-leading technology company with 70 years of experience developing products and solutions for aerial, maritime and land based reconnaissance. Both companies have teamed to create an operationally and financially robust foundation, enabling a solution combining efficient and effective technological excellence with proven SAR expertise. The team has the capabilities to deliver today’s SAR requirements, as well as the agility to improve and adapt to future demands.” *EEA Helicopters Operations BV is the entity under which the European Helicopter subsidiaries hold their Air Operating Certificates.
08 June 21. Dassault Rafale in good position to win Switzerland tender? As the decision on the next fighter jet to fly with the colors of the Swiss Air Force is about to be made, local media reports that the scales might be tilted in favor of the Dassault Rafale.
The Air 2030 tender was launched in 2020 following the positive outcome of a referendum on whether Switzerland should acquire or not new fighter jets. 50.1% of voters have voted “yes” to the procurement of new aircraft for the Swiss Air Force.
On September 27, 2020, Switzerland held a referendum on whether it should acquire or not new fighter jets. 50.1% of voters have voted “yes” to the procurement of new aircraft for the Swiss Air Force.
Estimated at 6bn Swiss francs (roughly 7bn dollars), the acquisition would concern 30 to 40 aircraft to be delivered by 2025. The order aims to replace the McDonnell Douglas F/A-18C/D Hornets and the few remaining Northrop F-5E/F Tiger II antiques that are still assigned to secondary tasks. The main purpose of the upcoming multi-role fighter jet will be to carry out air policing missions.
Four contenders are currently in the race: the Dassault Rafale, the Lockheed Martin F-35, the Boeing F/A-18 Super Hornet, and the Eurofighter Typhoon. The Saab Gripen E/F was excluded as it will not be operational before 2023.
The odds could be in favor of the French offer, according to the local media Le Matin.
The first clue is that a US-based solution would be politically unwise. The Swiss politicians who had initially campaigned against the procurement later voiced their opposition to the Boeing F-18, and even more so to the Lockheed Martin F-35. “Buying the American F-35s, which are the most expensive, is excluded,” said Roger Nordmann, the leader of the Socialist group in the Federal Assembly.
The U.S. government and Lockheed Martin submitted the F-35 stealth fighter jet to the New Fighter Aircraft (NFA) competition organized by the Swiss government.
The threat of another “popular initiative” (the Swiss referendum system) being launched would delay the acquisition of much-needed aircraft. As a reminder, in 2014, 53% of the Swiss electors rejected the funding to acquire 22 Saab Gripen E fighters, though they had been selected two years before by the Federal Council.
The second element presented by Le Matin is that the Federal Office of Armaments (Amasuisse) recently acquired from the French manufacturer Thales the aerial surveillance system SkyView. “Even if it is not compulsory, there would be consistency between a surveillance system of French origin and French planes,” the daily states.
The final argument, though slightly more anecdotal, is that the Rafale was the only aircraft used as an example by Priska Seiler Graf, a member of the Security Policy Commission which will decide on the fighter jet, in a question regarding the operational range of the Swiss Armed Forces.
The choice of the model of the new combat aircraft by the Federal Council could be made before the end of June 2021. If Switzerland was to pick the Rafale, it would mark yet another success for the French fighter jet.
After a dry spell that lasted for several years, Dassault’s aircraft was recently picked by Greece and Croatia to modernize their air forces. Egypt also ordered another batch of 30 Rafales in May 2021. The Rafale is still competing in Finland, India, and could also be considered by Ukraine and Indonesia. (Source: News Now/https://www.aerotime.aero/)
08 June 21. Naval Group submits offer Hellenic Navy frigate requirement. French shipbuilder Naval Group has offered four Frégate de défense et d’intervention (FDI) vessels, three of which will be built in Greece, and a gap filler solution of two current frigates available in early 2022 for the Hellenic Navy’s frigate acquisition programme. The offer also includes plans for the modernisation of the Greek MEKO frigates.
The FDI HN vessels will be equipped with up to 32 Aster missiles or a combination of Aster and MICA NG missiles, as well as 21 RAM and eight Exocet missiles, MU 90 lightweight torpedoes and a 76mm main gun.
The first new frigate would be delivered in 2025 with the following three built in Greek shipyards.
The French offer includes a gap-filler of two 2 anti-air warfare (AAW) and anti-submarine Warfare (ASW) frigates that are currently serving with the French Marine Nationale that would be delivered by 2022.
Naval Group said construction of the first Frigate in France would ensure operation by Greece within ‘the shortest timeframe’ and secure the transfer of technology allowing for the construction of the next three ships in Greece.
Naval Group’s industry team includes MBDA and Thales, and the company has identified 70 Greek companies that could provide industrial participation.
Thales and Naval Group if successful would work together to upgrade Greece’s MEKO Frigates in country.
Naval Group said: “Over the last decades, Naval Group has developed a robust expertise and conducted successful programs with extensive transfers of production of surface ships or submarines within its international partners’ facilities, such as in Singapore, India, Brazil or Egypt.
“Based on this unmatched and risk-free Transfer of Technology approach, Naval Group offers a secure co-production of three (3) FDI HN frigates in Greece, by a major Greek shipyard and with a large involvement of the Hellenic Industrial ecosystem.” (Source: naval-technology.com)
04 Jun 21. Luxembourg approves draft law on command, liaison, and reconnaissance vehicle procurement. The government of Luxembourg approved a draft law on the procurement of 80 new command, liaison, and reconnaissance vehicles (CLRVs), plus 15–20 years of logistic support, for up to EUR367m (USD445m) on 2 June, the Foreign Ministry announced on its website later the same day. The vehicles will replace the Luxembourg Army’s mixed fleet of 42 up-armoured Humvees and 48 protected reconnaissance vehicles (PRVs) from 2024–25 onwards. The CLRV requirement was borne out of a study conducted by the NATO Support and Procurement Agency (NSPA) that examined Luxembourg’s options for modernising its ground vehicle fleet. Acquired in 1996, the Humvees were deemed too old and worn out to merit any further modernisation, with the draft law noting that the vehicles lacked adequate protection against current improvised explosive device (IED) threats. The unprotected gunner station was also noted as an undesirable feature. Acquired in 2010, the PRVs, based on Krauss-Maffei Wegmann’s Dingo II platform, are in better shape, but the study noted significant obsolescence of the vehicle’s onboard electronics and jamming and radio equipment. Furthermore, the study highlighted that the electronics onboard the Kongsberg M151 remote operated weapon station (ROWS) were obsolete and no longer supported. The NSPA study found that modernisation of the 48 PRVs would cost EUR240m to extend their service life until 2032. Finally, the study noted that the costly modernisation of the PRVs would not solve the issue of a lack of interoperability between the Humvees and PRVs due to their different radio systems. (Source: Jane’s)
07 June 21. MC-208 Guardian™ Down Selected for Phase 3 of USSOCOM Armed Overwatch Program. The MC-208 Guardian boasts an impressive set of capabilities built on the well-established Cessna Caravan, offering the reliability of a pre-existing global supply chain and true multi-mission capability. The MC-208 Guardian is capable of performing aerial surveillance, close air support, casualty and medical evacuations, air mobility, and precision strike, all in one mission without the need to be reconfigured. The Guardian effectively eliminates the need to deploy and operate multiple aircraft types, conserving precious resources.
“Today’s warfighter is constantly being asked to do more with less and will continue to operate in budget constrained environments that demand resource prioritization. This was the problem we wanted the MC-208 Guardian to address,” said Joe Fluet, MAG Aerospace CEO. “We created an aircraft that is readily available with an open architecture specifically designed to minimize the strain on maintainer and pilot pipelines all while being affordable, versatile, and deployable.”
The MC-208 Guardian is a production-ready solution for the Armed Overwatch effort. It is a proven platform that excels in austere environments offering the flexibility required to perform multiple missions in a single sortie. The aircraft boasts a remarkable 98 percent availability rate, very low cost-per-flight-hour, robust communications, world leading ISR capabilities, fully integrated and proven weapons systems, endurance, mobility, and survivability.
Variants of the MC-208 Guardian’s multi-role platform have been delivered and are in operation worldwide. Given MAG’s expertise and experience, the company is well positioned to continue supporting the DoD across a variety of mission sets.
Learn more about the MC-208 Guardian. Visit https://mc208guardian.com/.
About MAG Aerospace
Fairfax, VA-based MAG Aerospace is a leader in providing and enabling real-time situational awareness to help its customers make the world smaller and safer. MAG delivers full spectrum C5ISR Services (integration, operations, training, and technical services) and other specialty aviation to federal, international, civilian, and commercial customers around the world. (Source: PR Newswire)
REST OF THE WORLD
11 June 21. Collins Class fleet to receive $6bn service life extension. Defence has committed $6bn to refit all six Collins Class submarines amid ongoing concerns over the FOC timeline for the future Attack Class fleet.
Minister for Defence Peter Dutton has confirmed that approximately $6 billion would be invested in a life-of-type extension (LOTE) for all six of the Royal Australian Navy’s Collins Class submarines.
Defence had initially planned to upgrade just three of the platforms ahead of the delivery of the 12 Naval Group-built Attack Class submarines, promised under the SEA 1000 program.
However, given that the Future Submarines are not scheduled to achieve final operational capability (FOC) until 2054, a decision has been made to ensure at least six vessels are combat-ready throughout the delivery period.
“We need to be realistic about what lies ahead by way of threat in our own region and the submarine capacity is a significant part of how we mitigate that risk and it’s important we get the program right,” Minister Dutton told the media.
“There is no doubt in my mind that we need to pursue a life-of-type extension and we are working on that program now. All six would be on the schedule.”
The Collins LOTE program is expected to involve rebuilding each submarine once it achieves 30 years of service, with each upgrade scheduled to take approximately two years.
The submarines will reportedly be rebuilt by ASC in Adelaide, with the work to be supported by Saab, the original prime contractor for the development of the fleet.
Contracts for the full suite of work to be undertaken are yet to be finalised.
“Saab is a trusted partner and they will form some part of the picture in LOTE and the extent of that is something we are contemplating at the moment,” Minister Dutton added.
“It is a tight timeline, no question about that.
“That’s why we need to make sure that Defence gets the contracting right, that our partners know that their undertakings and their commitments in the contract must be honoured and it’s important for us to get not only the timeline right but the costings right as well.”
Minister Dutton went on to acknowledge the disruptions associated with the SEA 1000 project, adding that Defence would continue to liaise with Naval Group and industry stakeholders to address challenges.
“Clearly there have been problems with the arrangements with Naval Group,” he said.
“There has been concern on both sides in relation to the program and I need to make sure that we have the best capacity available to us and that contractual arrangements are being met.”
Naval Group has sought to address operational challenges by overhauling its leadership team.
Last month, the France-based shipbuilding company appointed Lilian Brayle as the permanent replacement for Jean-Michel Billig as executive vice president of its Future Submarines program, effective from 31 May.
Brayle has taken over from Laurent Espinasse, who served as interim EVP.
Brayle is responsible for managing the teams in France and in Australia to deliver the 12 Attack Class submarines “on cost and on schedule”.
Reflecting on Naval Group’s recent engagement with the Commonwealth, Minister Dutton commented, “There has been a stronger engagement in the last six months than there has been before that, so there are some positive signs in that regard.” (Source: Defence Connect)
09 June 21. MADEX 2021: DSME, HHI display competing carrier designs for RoKN’s CVX project. South Korean companies Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering (DSME) and Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) displayed competing designs for the Republic of Korea Navy’s (RoKN’s) light aircraft carrier programme during the 9–12 June International Maritime Defense Industry Exhibition 2021 (MADEX 2021) in Busan.
DSME showcased a 1:125 scale model of its proposal for the RoKN’s ‘CV eXperimental’ (CVX) project that features a twin-island arrangement but no ‘ski jump’ ramp. The model displayed reflects the design that has been seen in promotional material released by the RoKN since January.
According to the company, the proposed carrier would be 263 m long, 46.6 m wide, and have a displacement of 45,000 tons and a top speed of 27 kt. It would be capable of carrying up to 16 short take-off and vertical landing (STOVL) fighter aircraft, such as the Lockheed Martin F-35B Joint Strike Fighter, on its flight deck and 12 more in its hangar.
Meanwhile, HHI displayed a 1:400 scale model of its proposed carrier, which would be 270 m long and 60 m wide. The design also features a twin-island arrangement but comes with an optional ‘ski-jump’ configuration. The model, which is also configured with a well deck, features an area at the stern, below the level of the flight deck, for operating rotary unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).
According to HHI, the carrier would have a full-load displacement of 45,000 tons and be capable of carrying a maximum of 16 F-35Bs on its flight deck and a further eight in its hangar. (Source: Jane’s)
09 June 21. Hobart Class destroyers to receive tech upgrade. The fleet is set to be integrated with new technologies designed to support data-driven decision making. BAE Systems Australia has unveiled plans to install its Integrated Asset Management System (IAMS) on the Royal Australian Navy’s Hobart Class destroyers — HMAS Brisbane, HMAS Sydney and HMAS Hobart — from Fleet Base East, Garden Island, NSW.
The new technology is expected to enable strategic data-driven decision making in real time across the fleet, consolidating people, processes and technology under a sustainment delivery enterprise.
IIAMS, which has already been installed on the Navy’s hydrographic fleet, is scheduled to enter production for the destroyer fleet in 2022.
BAE Systems is the managing contractor of the Destroyer Enterprise, which includes Navantia Australia, Raytheon, Thales, CASG and the Royal Australian Navy, and recently secured a one-year extension to its Hobart Class Destroyer Transition Support Period Contract.
“This has been an incredibly complex program and I am pleased that the enterprise is working as one team to support the Royal Australian Navy, which was reflected with the recent award of the one-year extension,” BAE Systems Australia managing director defence delivery Andrew Gresham said.
“Ultimately, our aim is for the enterprise to be able to make strategic data-driven decisions that improve processes and workflows to make the team even more efficient and optimise sea-worthiness and performance of the destroyers in line with Plan Galileo.
“We’re seeing great results using our IAMS system to drive towards supporting data driven decision making on the hydrographic fleet and expect similar gains to be made across the Destroyer Enterprise.”
BAE Systems’ integration of IAMS forms part of a broader suite of sustainment projects undertaken by the prime to support the Royal Australian Navy.
Earlier this month, the company partnered with Lloyd’s Register for the delivery of naval classification and certification services.
This is expected to support engagement with Australian SMEs for the Hunter Class Frigate Program. (Source: Defence Connect)
07 June 21. Indian navy to float $6bn tender for six submarines. India’s government has approved the launch of a $6.14bn program for the construction of six conventional submarines under Project 75-I.
The approval was granted by the defense ministry’s procurement body, the Defence Acquisition Council, on June 4. It permits the Indian navy to publish a tender for six submarines, with a target audience of domestic shipbuilders.
Officials cleared the issue of a Request for Proposals (RfP), which “envisages indigenous construction of six conventional submarines equipped with the state-of-the-art Air Independent Propulsion (AIP) system,” the ministry of defense said in a press statement.
“This is a landmark approval, being the first case processed under the strategic partnership model,” the statement reads. India’s strategic partner’s policy, introduced by the MoD in June 2017, allows the selection of private-sector companies to produce major weapons and platforms, including submarines, in partnership with overseas original equipment manufacturers (OEMs).
A senior Indian navy official said the MoD has already shortlisted two domestic companies – state-owned Mazagon Dockyard Limited (MDL) and private firm Larsen & Toubro Ltd, and five foreign vendors: Rubin Design Bureau of Russia, Naval Group of France, Navantia of Spain, ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems (TKMS) of Germany, and Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering of South Korea.
The official said a formal tender will be issued to two domestic shipyards within the next two months, with the expectation that those companies will then team up with one of the five foreign vendors.
A senior MoD official said the foreign contractors have to clearly define the scope of technology transfer in specific areas, meet requirements for the extent of indigenous work, propose an economic framework for Indian prime partners and other Indian suppliers, and present a training program for the local workforce.
The foreign companies are free to set up joint ventures or equity partnerships or make royalty arrangements with Indian prime partners and other Indian suppliers, MoD officials added.
Defense officials are expected to take at least two years before making a final selection and signing a contract with the winner. The first submarine is not expected to roll out before 2030, the second navy official remarked. (Source: Defense News)