UNITED KINGDOM AND NATO
16 June 21. Finding next-gen space tech: DASA launches the Space to Innovate Campaign. Over the next year, DASA will release a series of challenge “drops” to find and fund solutions to major space hurdles, with up to £2m in funding available
The space domain, which includes satellites and space-based services, is vital to modern life, enabling a range of civilian and military activities. Any form of disturbance to UK space capabilities, whether that is natural or intentional, can cause a severe disruption to UK prosperity.
To promote space resilience and operational effectiveness, the Defence and Security Accelerator (DASA) is pleased to announce that we have teamed up with the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) Space Programme to launch the Space to Innovate Campaign.
The Space to Innovate Campaign seeks proposals that can maintain the UK’s freedom of action in the space domain by developing future space technologies that enhance and protect space military and civil potential.
The campaign format is unique from other DASA competitions, and comprises of space-related challenges that will be released in “drops” throughout 2021 and 2022. These challenge drops follow the output of previous DASA space themed completions including Space to Innovate Phase 1 and the International Space Pitch Day.
The first challenge drop, called the “Alpha challenge drop” in the Space to Innovate Campaign is now open for proposals! This challenge drop focuses on two challenges:
- Challenge 1: Visualisation tools to enable space operators to exploit information gathered from multiple data sources
- Challenge 2: Novel methods for characterising objects in space and their intent Think you have the solution? Check out the full competition document and submit your idea.
When does the Alpha challenge drop begin and how much funding is available?
The Alpha challenge drop is now open and closes for proposals on 4 August 2021. The value of individual contracts offered throughout the entire Space to Innovate Campaign will be from £125k to £400k, with durations of the contracts expected to be from 6 months to 18 months. The amount of funding available for the entire Space to Innovate Campaign is expected to be £2m, with the campaign ending on 31 March 2023.
The second Bravo challenge drop will address challenges focusing on ISR (Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance) and SSA (Space Situational Awareness).
What are the benefits of the DASA campaign and challenge drop format?
This campaign approach enables greater variation of contract values and durations to be issued by DASA, which provides larger and longer contracts for more mature technologies, whilst also enabling less mature innovations to be explored.
Overall, the benefit of the campaign and drop concept is that it enables a cycle of new innovative ideas to be contracted as well as maturing existing technologies to a higher level.
Alpha drop challenges
Challenge 1: Visualisation tools to enable space operators to exploit information gathered from multiple data sources
For challenge 1, DASA is looking for novel solutions that could help to address issues such as:
- enhancing the situational awareness around a target
- understanding and monitoring manoeuvres and changes of objects in orbit
- streamlining ingestion issues with multiple data sources and different naming conventions
- using machine learning to enhance our understanding and interrogation of the data presented & make sense of results
- visualising uncertainty in data
Challenge 2: Novel methods for characterising objects in space and their intent
For challenge 2, DASA is looking for novel solutions that could help to address issues such as:
- detecting changes of state and predicting future changes
- exploiting non-traditional sensor configurations including bi- or multi-static configurations and the repurposing of existing facilities
- technologies that allow resolution of individual features on an observed satellite, inferring information regarding payloads
- observing the interaction and cooperation between satellites in formation in low Earth orbit (LEO) or geostationary Earth orbit (GEO)
- satellite overflight warning of Earth observation missions primarily in LEO
- asset protection for high value satellites operating in GEO For more information, read the full competition document.
Have the solution? Submit a proposal now!
The closing date for proposals for the Alpha challenge drop is 4 August 2021. Click here for the full document and submit your idea!
14 June 21. NATO helicopter program could be next battleground between US, European defense industries. A NATO-led effort to field a new multirole helicopter by 2035 is setting the stage for a competition between U.S.- and European-based rotorcraft industries.
Multiple allies want to add a new medium-lift, multirole helicopter to their fleets, and are launching a joint effort to develop a common set of requirements as well as hash out a timeline to design, develop and field a new platform around 2035.
Over the next year, observers will monitor whether the allies that eventually sign onto the program will push for a European-developed rotorcraft — or buy American.
Last fall, France, Germany, the United Kingdom, Italy and Greece signed letters of intent to work together on requirements for the Next-Generation Rotorcraft Capability, or NGRC. Since then, several other allies have signaled interest in joining the program, ahead of an expected signing ceremony for a memorandum of understanding in 2022.
While the effort is still in the drawing-board phase, the alliance will host an industry day for the NGRC program in mid-September, at the NATO Support and Procurement Agency headquarters in Luxembourg. Per the industry day documents, the event is intended solely as a means to gather information, rather than solicit bids, but the agency has already outlined several required attributes.
The team imagines the NGRC as an optionally unmanned and remotely piloted vehicle, with a modular, open-systems approach, which allows for seamless and cost-efficient digital upgrades.
The aircraft must have an unrefueled range of more than 1,650 kilometers, with a target of eight hours endurance and the ability to achieve various missions, including deck landings, special operations, search-and-rescue, and medical evacuation. The helicopter should be capable of carrying between 10,000 and 17,000 kilograms (22,000 and 37,400 pounds, respectively).
The goal is also to develop a common airframe for both land, air and maritime variants, although the agency allows for the possibility of separate platforms if a common airframe proves too contentious.
While NATO said development costs will be released at a later date, the industry day documents noted an ideal fly-away cost of no greater than €35m (U.S. $43m) and a cost-per-flight-hour of about €5,000, but no greater than €10,000.
The extent of NATO members participating in the program remains to be seen. Besides the five nations who have already signed a letter of intent to participate in late 2020, the Netherlands and Spain have also expressed interest in joining the NGRC program, a NATO official told Defense News.
The industry day background document also noted that the United States is interested in joining the program amid its own development program for a new multirole medium-lift helicopter.
The U.S. Army is close to launching a formal program to build the future long-range assault aircraft, or FLRAA, after awarding risk-reduction phase contracts in March to a Boeing-Sikorsky team and to Bell. The service intends to select a winner in 2022 at the start of the official program, with plans to field the aircraft by 2035.
“The United States is closely associated with the NGRC effort, to ensure maximum compatibility between NGRC and the FLRAA” programs, the NATO official said. No further letters of intent or other documents have emerged since the original letters were signed in October 2020, the official added.
Should the United States sign on as a formal partner, it will likely look to use the NGRC as another sale for the eventual FLRAA aircraft, observers said. While the two efforts are, so far, independent of each other, they seek to fill the same requirement, said Ray Jaworowski, a senior analyst at Forecast International, a U.S.-based market intelligence firm.
“It’s an interesting situation because you have two programs [with] very similar time frames, essentially looking at almost the exact same requirement: a utility helicopter in the Black Hawk or NH90 class,” he said.
Whichever design wins the FLRAA contract will be a leading contender for the NATO program, Jaworowski said. But the nations that have already signed onto NGRC will undoubtedly push for their hometown industries to play significant roles in the effort.
France and Germany will likely vie for Airbus to lead any new helicopter development, while Leonardo would be the favorite for Italy and the United Kingdom, said Dan Darling, a senior analyst at Forecast International. Turf wars between the allies’ domestic industrial priorities are expected, and the question on analysts’ minds is whether local industry concerns will trump the alliance’s ambition to ensure commonality and economies of scale, Darling noted.
European nations are “trying to reconstitute an atrophying domestic defense-industrial base,” he said. “COVID-19 drove home to a lot of these governments that you can no longer offshore work and supply chains, and outsource your military procurement.”
Airbus is pushing strongly for a European-built system, an industry source told Defense News. Leonardo has also advocated for that option, but also indicated it wants to participate in the U.S. Army’s Future Vertical Lift program, Jaworowski noted. FVL is the service’s major overhaul of its rotorcraft fleet and includes the FLRAA effort along with four other aircraft designs of varying sizes.
The list of participating countries is not yet set in stone, and analysts see scenarios where nations such as the United Kingdom and Italy break off, choosing to develop a Leonardo-based design or procure the FLRAA aircraft, while Germany, France and perhaps Spain go with an Airbus option. “Or you can see Airbus and Leonardo get together for a European design, which would certainly be the favorite for the NATO program, considering industrial concerns,” Jaworowski said.
If the FLRAA design were ultimately selected, observers can expect some sort of requirement for considerable European industrial participation such as a final assembly facility included in the contract, he added. And if the American design is not selected, he added, having the United States participate in the NGRC program in some capacity could help ensure interoperability between the two eventual systems.
The outcome of the NGRC program could set up the eventual contractor for long-term sales. A Fortune Business Insights report published in August 2020 predicts the global helicopter market size will exceed $68bn by 2027, up from $48bn in 2019. While military helicopters only took up one-third of overall sales in 2019, the report’s authors see opportunities ahead, as nations around the world are boosting their defense budgets amid rising transnational disputes and efforts to modernize capabilities.
(Source: glstrade.com/Defense News)
14 June 21. DASA launches new Open Call: Security Rapid Impact Innovations. Have an innovative idea that tackles security challenges in the UK? Submit your innovation to our new security-themed Open Call!
The Defence and Security Accelerator (DASA) is pleased to launch a new open call that focuses on tackling security challenges in the UK. The Security Rapid Impact Innovations is now open, and seeks ideas that could enhance UK security and is related to one or more of the following government departments;
- Home Office
- Department of Transport (DfT)
- other Government Security Departments
How much funding is available?
There is no funding limit for Security Rapid Impact Innovations, however we expect to fund bids between £100K – £350K.
Don’t miss out! The closing date for Cycle 1 of Security Rapid Impact Innovations is 8 July 2021. Click here for more information.
What innovations are we seeking?
Providing security for the UK and its citizens is one of the most important and challenging responsibilities of government and is growing increasingly diverse and complex. To maintain a strategic advantage, we need to ensure the UK has capabilities to ensure public safety and deal with a broad range of challenges that disrupt our way of life.
We are open to ideas that will seek to enhance understanding of threats to UK security and safety, enable threat prevention, or enhance the threat response.
DASA expects that some proposals will be relevant to both defence and security.
What Technology Readiness Level is expected?
Security Rapid Impact Innovations are expected to deliver a technology model or prototype demonstration at around Technology Readiness Level (TRL) 6 or 7, at the end of the contract. This demonstration should be at a limited scale and in the context or environment in which it is expected that the solution would be used.
What does my Security Rapid Impact Innovations proposal need to include?
- your project should have a realistic prospect of achieving an impact within a 3 year frame from the completion of the project and must complete by March 2024
- we will only fund proposals if there is a strong security user requirement and capability need for the idea
- your project can include a further priced option for a Testing and Trialling phase
Next step? Submit an innovation outline to an Innovation Partner
Please note, for this Security Rapid Impact Innovations Open call a submitted innovation outline is required prior to full proposal submission. To do this, visit the contact a DASA Innovation Partner page and go through the easy to follow steps.
The Innovation Partner will contact you within 10 working days of your Innovation Outline submission. Once the Innovation Partner has considered your outline, they will advise you whether your idea is suitable for DASA funding and provide you with guidance on the bidding process.
The closing date for proposals is 8 July 2021.
16 June 21. Lockheed Martin Outlines Pitch for Hellenic Navy Frigate Competition. The Hellenic Navy is considering a variant of the Freedom-class Littoral Combat Ship as part of a program to refresh its surface combatants, a Lockheed Martin official told USNI News this week.
Greece, a NATO member, is considering buying four of the multi-mission surface combatants based on the version of the Freedom-class initially developed for Saudi Arabia, Lockheed Martin vice president for international strategy and business development Tom Rowden told USNI News on Tuesday.
“Very high on their priority list is the modernization of their navy. They’re currently operating four MEKO-class frigates and various other patrol craft that are working pretty hard. It’s pretty busy in the Eastern Mediterranean right now,” Rowden said.
The request from the Greek government came to the U.S. Navy in March and outlined four main components: build four new frigates, upgrade the existing Hydra-class frigates in service, find an interim naval capability while the ships are being upgraded and participate in the Constellation-class (FFG-62) program, USNI News understands. The Greeks asked specifically for information about the Lockheed combatant and the potential for a Foreign Military Sales case.
The Hellenic Navy is built around a quartet of German-designed MEKO 200 frigates that entered service in Greece in the early 1990s.
The 4,000-ton multi-mission frigates will be upgraded as part of an overall modernization package, Rowden said.
In late May, Greek Defense Minister Nikolaos Panagiotopoulos and Chief of Hellenic Navy Vice Adm. Stylianos Petrakis met with the U.S. Navy’s head of international programs, Rear Adm. Frank Morley, and U.S. Ambassador to Greece Geoffrey Pyatt to talk about future defense cooperation.
“Greece has invested over $1 billion in U.S. Navy equipment and capabilities, including upgraded P-3Bs and the MH-60R. The U.S. Navy’s proposal for the Hellenic Future Frigate, which is backed by a government-to-government agreement, will capitalize on Greece’s current defense investments, and ensure the most advanced maritime capability in the region,” said Navy Capt. Tim Ketter, a senior defense official for the U.S. in Greece, in a Tuesday statement.
“Our commitment to domestic production will result in substantial and significant investments in the Greek shipbuilding industry.”
Lockheed’s pitch calls for building the initial frigate in Italy and the follow-ons in Greece.
The Lockheed frigate would be built around the same propulsion system used on the Freedom and the Saudi frigates – two Rolls Royce MT-30 gas turbines and two Colt-Pielstick diesel engines.
Rowden said the new ships would include a Lockheed-derived fix to the combining gear that links the gas turbines and the diesels. Naval Sea Systems Command and Lockheed are working to fix the fault tin the gearing system hat has limited the operations of the U.S. fleet of Freedom-class LCS.
“That fix is being tested right now and it will be backfilled obviously on the Navy’s Littoral Combat Ships and forward-fit on these,” he said.
Lockheed is also proposing upgrades to the Hellenic Navy Hydra-class frigates with a combat system derived from the Aegis Combat System.
“The combat management system for both the MEKOs and the frigates would be COMBATSS 21, a derivative of the Aegis weapons system,” Rowden said.
“I think it makes them much more compatible operating with U.S. Navy ships.”
Greece has already purchased Lockheed MH-60R multi-mission helicopters, which would be easily compatible with the Component-Based Total-Ship System – 21st Century (COMBATSS-21) combat system.
The Saudi Frigates, currently under construction at Fincantieri Marinette Marine in Wisconsin, are outfitted with an eight-cell Mk-41 vertical launch system and a 4D air search radar. The ship will also field eight RGM-84 Harpoon Block II anti-ship missiles (ASM), anti-submarine warfare (ASW) sonar suites and torpedoes.
Specific sensors and weapons are still to be determined for the Hellenic Navy’s frigates, Rowden said.
Lockheed Martin will be entering a competitive contest for the frigate program.
Several European shipbuilders specialize in ships in the 4,000-ton size range.
According to Naval News, other competitors include:
- Naval Group, Thales, MBDA teamed to offer the 4,500-ton FDI/Belharra frigate;
- Dutch shipbuilder Damen with the a new frigate design called the SIGMA 11515;
- British shipbuilder Babcock with the Type 31/Arrowhead design being built for the U.K. Royal Navy;
- German ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems with an updated MEKO frigate; and
- Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri with an unspecified design.
(Source: Defense News Early Bird/USNI)
16 June 21. USAF exploring options for next batch of midair refueling tankers. The U.S. Air Force said on Wednesday it is surveying the aircraft industry to learn if another manufacturer has the capacity or interest to make the next tranche of midair refueling tankers similar to the recently purchased KC-46. The Air Force’s newest refueling tankers, the KC-46 Pegasus made by Boeing Co (BA.N), have been plagued by performance challenges including defects with an on-board video system and the boom that connects the tanker to aircraft seeking refueling.
Despite the challenges the KC-46 aircraft faces, during Congressional testimony on Wednesday the Acting Secretary of the Air Force John Roth said “at this point we don’t see the economic or business sense of recompeting the contract.”
Mike Hafer, Boeing’s lead for sales for the KC-46, said the company is ready for the competition for the next tranche.
“We are proud of the KC-46 and it’s accomplishments,” he said. “Boeing is poised to provide advanced capabilities going forward. There in no other refueling tanker in the world that meets the Air Force’s requirements.”
The Air Force’s survey is the first step in the process of buying the next batch of refueling tankers. The Air Force said the tranche of 140 to 160 jets would follow Boeing’s current contract to produce 179 KC-46’s as the Pentagon replaces hundreds of Eisenhower-era KC-135’s still in service.
Wednesday’s “sources sought” document was released as part of its market research, the Air Force said.
The Air Force has sought to replace its tankers in three lots. Wednesday’s announcement is the beginning of the formal process to buy the second batch.
The Air Force hopes to “determine if there exists an adequate number of qualified interested contractors capable of providing solutions to meet the requirement.”
The survey comes days after the United States and the European Union agreed to a truce in their near 17-year conflict over aircraft subsidies. read more
The two sides have been battling since 2004 in parallel cases at the World Trade Organization over subsidies for U.S. planemaker Boeing (BA.N) and European rival Airbus (AIR.PA), which each argued exposed the other to unfair competition. Airbus, won a $35bn contract in 2008 to build tankers for the U.S. Air Force. But the deal was overturned amid political pressure and the Air Force re-ran the competition which Boeing ultimately won for 179 of its 767-based tankers. (Source: Reuters)
REST OF THE WORLD
16 Jun 21. Saudi Arabia seeks foreign contractor to run Air National Guard. Saudi Arabia is to contract out the training and support of its Air National Guard (SANG), with a request for information (RFI) issued by the US government on 9 June.
Posted on the sam.gov US government procurement website, the Office of Program Management – Saudi Arabian National Guard (OPM-SANG) Aviation Training and Support Services (ATSS) RFI seeks to issue a Foreign Military Sales (FMS) contract for all SANG rotary-wing training and support functions in July 2022, with operations commencing from October 2022.
“This effort is an integral part of the modernisation process, which covers all elements, missions, and functions of the Saudi Arabian Ministry of National Guard (MNG), as well as those requirements needed to support the activities of the OPM-SANG. The ultimate programme goal is the development within MNG of the capability to unilaterally initiate and sustain modern military organisations and systems,” the RFI said.
The Saudi government anticipates awarding a single contract. It is believed that the resulting contract will have a period of performance of one base year, with four one-year option periods.
14 Jun 21. Airbus goes on offensive over ‘too Chinese’ H175 offering for UK. Airbus has hit out over claims that the H175 platform is ‘too Chinese’ for the UK’s New Medium Helicopter (NMH) requirement, releasing an image of the first airframe to be wholly built in Europe from European-sourced components.
The image released on 14 June shows the main fuselage of an H175 partway through assembly at a facility in France that has been built “entirely free of any elements sourced from China”, according to Airbus The company went on to note that this has been achieved “as the result of a project that has been underway for the past five years capitalising on European aerostructures capability”.
“Contrary to the misleading implications from our competitor, the H175M is, as you can see, most certainly not a ‘paper aircraft’. We have built the first airframe using a supply base completely compliant with Western military requirements and we have identified multiple supplier sources who can provide the last two components of the complete helicopter which need to be replaced,” UK managing director for Airbus Helicopters Colin James said. “The H175M is […] fully capable of fulfilling the UK’s NMH needs, and of becoming a sustainable UK export product with the potential to resurrect the capacity and capability of the country’s helicopter industry,” he added. As James noted, there are currently 26 civil variant H175s employed in the North Sea offshore oil and gas business.
14 Jun 21. Brazil to launch tender for modernising Leopard 1A5BR MBTs. The Brazilian Army is seeking to upgrade its Krauss-Maffei Wegmann (KMW) Leopard 1A5BR main battle tank (MBT) through a competition for local modernisation. The request for information (RFI) and request for proposals (RFPs) are scheduled to be issued by the Directorate of Materiel, part of the Logistics Command, in 2022 to modernise 116 of the existing 220 MBTs, the army told Janes.
The upgrade is part of the 2020–39 Armoured Forces Sub-program of the Army Strategic Program for Obtaining Full Operational Capability. It is meant to address the tank’s obsolescence and extend its lifespan by more than 15 years.
Requirements were formally approved on 12 February 2020 and formal clearance to proceed with the effort was given on 17 December 2020.
The vehicles will principally receive a fully electric turret drive system, commander’s independent sight, modernised EMES 18 fire-control system, driver’s thermal imager, climate control unit, and automatic fire suppression system for the engine compartment.
A government furnished command-and-control suite consisting of an L3Harris Falcon III RF-7800V-V51x VHF radio, Thales SOTAS IP intercom, Centro de Desenvolvimento de Sistemas GCB battle management system, and AEL Sistemas CTM rugged tactical computer will be added to the MBTs.
The requirement also includes provisions to add a combat dozer blade, full-width surface clearance device, remote weapon station, and add-on armor protection kit.
Options could add an inertial navigation system, 360° laser warning system, active or passive protection system, auxiliary power unit, situational awareness system, and CBRN defence kit. (Source: Jane’s)