UNITED KINGDOM AND NATO
20 Jul 21. Lockheed Martin UK eyeing Black Hawk bid for Puma successor deal. Airbus and Leonardo are likely to face an additional rival in pursuit of the UK military’s New Medium Helicopter (NMH) requirement, with Lockheed Martin’s UK operation also eyeing an offer based on the Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk.
“The Black Hawk is a stunning, unparalleled capability,” Lockheed Martin UK chief executive Paul Livingston told FlightGlobal on 19 July. “The question is: could we find a way to market it in the UK that is acceptable to meet the challenges of the [nation’s] Defence Industrial Strategy? I think that is something we will look very carefully at – can we make the right kind of offer to bring that together?”
Black Hawk could be offered in pursuit of the UK’s New Medium Helicopter requirement
US airframer Sikorsky produces the UH-60M at its Stratford site in Connecticut, while its PZL-Mielec subsidiary manufactures the rotorcraft’s S-70i variant in Poland. With around 1,800 employees and a presence at more than 20 operating sites, Lockheed Martin UK would be likely to consider working in partnership with other companies to perform in-country completion work.
Livingston highlights the international competiveness of the UH-60, noting: “You have to struggle to beat the capability of a Black Hawk, particularly for its price point.”
Sikorsky offered the UK an acquisition of the type as part of a competition prior to a 2008 decision to have Airbus upgrade the Royal Air Force’s (RAF’s) Puma medium support helicopters to an HC2 standard.
Firm details of the NMH requirement – such as the number of rotorcraft sought and entry into service target – have yet to be released by the UK Ministry of Defence. However, it has outlined a broad need to from the middle of this decade field replacements for the RAF’s 23-strong Puma fleet, plus British Army-operated Bell 212/412s and Aerospatiale AS365 Dauphins.
Airbus Helicopters is pitching a proposed military development of its H175 featuring increased local content in place of originally Chinese-supplied components, while Leonardo Helicopters has pledged to produce the AW149 at its Yeovil site in Somerset if selected.
Published earlier this year, the UK’s Defence and Security Industrial Strategy places increased emphasis on a so-called prosperity agenda, with the creation and retention of skilled jobs to receive increased consideration when assessing potential future equipment orders.
(Source: News Now/Flight Global)
16 Jul 21. UK cuts GBP370m from Tempest programme. The UK government’s Infrastructure and Projects Authority (IPA) has revealed in its annual report published on 15 July a GBP370m (USD510m) cut in the budget to build the Tempest Future Combat Air System. In its first public assessment of the programme to build a replacement for the UK Royal Air Force’s (RAF’s) Typhoon combat aircraft, the IPA gave the project an amber/red risk rating, saying there are “major risks or issues apparent in a number of key areas”. For the first time, the scale of UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) funding for Tempest was revealed to be GBP9.46bn. The IPA said that the ministry had capped spending on the first four years of the Tempest programme at GBP12.8bn despite the UK’s Integrated Review of Security, Defence, Development, and Foreign Policy in March allocating some GBP1.65bn for the aircraft’s concept and assessment phase. “The level of investment was significantly less than required, however it preserves the feasibility of the programme within current parameters, but adds significant overall programme risk, particularly to the assumed date for initial operating capability,” the IPA said. “The concept and assessment phase will provide the evidence for programme viability, including level of additional investment and/or other options for the provision of combat air. Investments and milestones beyond this phase are subject to a margin of error in terms of time, cost, and performance that will be refined prior to the next decision gate.” (Source: Jane’s)
19 Jul 21. USMC details two pathways for future Advanced Reconnaissance Vehicle fleet. The US Marine Corps (USMC) is moving ahead with plans to design a new Advanced Reconnaissance Vehicle (ARV) and has awarded two companies with prototyping contracts, but has also tasked BAE Systems with studying if the Amphibious Combat Vehicle (ACV) could be modified for the requirement. The service announced this tentative roadmap on 16 July and said it will begin negotiating 22-month ‘other transaction agreement’ deals with General Dynamics Land Systems (GDLS) and Textron Systems for an ARV prototyping phase. Each company will then deliver its vehicles to the service in the first quarter of fiscal year (FY) 2023 and the USMC will spend six months evaluating them. The USMC officials envision developing a next-generation platform with a combination of capabilities that will enable Light Armored Reconnaissance (LAR) battalions to function as a battlefield manager.
“A key fleet marine force modernisation initiative, the ARV command, control, communications, and computers [C4]/unmanned aerial systems will host a suite of C4 equipment, sensors, and operate both tethered and untethered UAS,” the USMC wrote in an announcement. “The ARV C4/UAS will employ an effective mix of reconnaissance, surveillance, target acquisition, and C4 systems to sense and communicate.”
However, the service has not determined that a new platform must be used to provide the force with this capability. It has tasked BAE Systems with examining how it could incorporate the ARV C4/UAS payload onto one of its ACV variants. The service said it then intends to weigh this modified ACV option against the ARV prototypes in FY 2023 and determine which way to proceed. (Source: Jane’s)
REST OF THE WORLD
22 Jul 21. Boeing bullish on Asia-Pacific despite Covid challenges. Boeing sees strong opportunities for growth in Asia-Pacific defence markets despite current challenges related to Covid-19, a company official has said.
Maria Laine, vice-president of international sales and strategic partnerships at Boeing Defense, Space & Security (BDS), said in a media briefing on 21 July that the company has identified a “USD41bn” sales opportunity in the region over the next five years in new military platforms.
“We are working on over 50 different campaigns in the region,” she said, with opportunities for sales of Boeing platforms including fighter aircraft, vertical lift, attack helicopters, tankers, unmanned systems, and services.
“We are expecting that more than one-third of all newbuild military aircraft over the next decade [will be] purchased by countries in the Asia-Pacific region,” she said.
In addition to sales campaigns, Laine said Boeing had identified significant opportunities for an expansion in regional services contracts for activities including maintenance, repair, overhaul, and upgrades.
“The government support and services markets will grow between 2020–29 to be worth about USD1.4trn,” said Laine, referencing global opportunities. “Within the Asia-Pacific region, we are expecting that demand to be about USD210bn … and Northeast Asia is driving about half of that demand.”
According to data sourced from Janes Markets Forecast, India, Japan, and South Korea will be the largest spenders on military aircraft over the coming decade. Countries referenced by Laine as central to Boeing’s Asia-Pacific strategy include Australia, India, Indonesia, Japan, New Zealand, the Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, and Vietnam. (Source: Jane’s)
22 Jul 21. Israel, TKMS agree schedule for offset discharge. The Israeli Ministry of Economy and Industry (MoEI) announced on 20 July that it had reached an agreement with Germany’s Thyssenkrupp Marine Systems (TKMS) over the discharge of offset and counter-trade obligations related to the country’s acquisition of submarines and corvettes.
The new agreement will mean that the company will discharge EUR300m (USD353m) in offset and counter-trade projects over a five-year period. The MoEI said in a release that the agreement covered “extensive investments in projects, knowledge transfer, and business opportunities for the local industry and reciprocal procurement, which will benefit dozens of suppliers, businesses, and industries in Israel”.
Negotiations over TKMS’s non-compliance with Israel’s offset and counter-trade policies began in 2017 and led to extensive scouting work, visits by commercial delegations, and presentations of Israeli suppliers, capabilities, and technologies. As a result, TKMS will undertake direct procurement from Israeli suppliers for both German and Israeli programmes, as well as broader export projects. TKMS will also provide training, investment in equipment, and knowledge transfer to the Israeli Navy and Israeli defence industry to bolster domestic capabilities.
Some of the programmes undertaken by TKMS in Israel to date include the establishment of an office in the country, support for metal 3D printing/additive manufacturing through Tel Aviv-based Metal Point, and maritime venture capital firm theDOCK, which specialises in investment in companies working in ports, commercial shipping, underwater operations, cyber security, and offshore energy. (Source: Jane’s)
21 Jul 21. India issues RFP for six conventional submarines. The programme involves building six modern AIP fitted conventional submarines indigenously for the Indian Navy. The Government of India has issued a request of proposal (RFP) for Project 75 (India) [P-75(I)], which involves the construction of six air-independent propulsion (AIP) fitted conventional submarines. The RFP was issued to the Mazagaon Dock Shipbuilders Limited (MDL) and Larsen & Tubro (L&T). The Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) approved the issuance of RFP last month, kickstarting the project. This is the first project under the strategic partnership model that will enable local companies to deliver high-end military platforms in India in partnership with foreign firms.
Overall, the project is expected to cost around $5.36bn (Rs400bn).
Project-75(I) involves developing six modern conventional submarines indigenously with contemporary equipment, weapons and sensors, including Fuel-Cell based AIP, advanced torpedoes, modern missiles, and the latest countermeasure systems.
The acquisition will bolster the capabilities of the Indian Navy, while also providing a major boost to the indigenous design and construction capability of submarines in India.
The shortlisted strategic partners (SPs), MDL and L&T, can now collaborate with shortlisted foreign OEMs Naval Group-France, TKMS-Germany, JSC ROE-Russia, Daewoo Shipbuilding, Marine Engineering, and Navantia-Spain.
These foreign firms will be the technology partner in the SP Model, enabling the construction of submarines by transferring necessary technologies. They will also help in establishing dedicated manufacturing lines for these submarines.
The Indian Ministry of Defence said in a statement: “The project would not only aid in boosting the core submarine/ship building industry, but would also greatly enhance manufacturing/industrial sector, especially the MSME, (through the) development of an industrial eco-system for (the) manufacture of associated spares/systems/equipment related to submarines.
“In order to achieve these objectives, the RFP has key features like mandatory level of indigenous manufacture of platforms, transfer of technology (ToT) for design/ manufacture/maintenance of submarines, and a few critical equipment and systems, setting up of an eco-system in India for such indigenisation and incentivisation for other key technologies.”
19 Jul 21. Japan’s ATLA reveals more details about next-gen OPV plans. The Japanese Ministry of Defense’s (MoD’s) Acquisition, Technology, & Logistics Agency (ATLA) has confirmed that plans are under way to develop a next-generation offshore patrol vessel (OFV) for the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF).
In a video released on 1 July ATLA said that the new OPVs will be based on a modular system enabling customisation and will be more capable than the current in-service OPVs through a combination of automation, adaptability, modularity, and sustainability.
For instance, the agency said that the OPVs will require fewer personnel and feature autonomous navigation systems, as well as advanced equipment for intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) operations. They will be armed with both small- and medium-calibre guns, and have a multipurpose hangar and deck space for modular payloads and ISO containerisation for mission modules. The OPVs, which will feature a low radar cross-section (RCS) design, are also being designed to be easy to maintain and have a low fuel consumption, it added.
“Discussions are under way right this moment to realise these next-generation OPVs,” added ATLA in the video, which was released after Japanese companies Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) and Mitsui E&S Shipbuilding Co unveiled their respective concept models for the JMSDF’s next-generation OPV in 2019.
At the time MHI told Janes that this class would have a full-load displacement between 1,500 tonnes and 2,000 tonnes, and be 14 m wide and between 85 m and 100 m long. It is expected to be capable of attaining a maximum speed of more than 25 kt. Based on this OPV concept, MHI is also planning to offer a coast guard version exclusively for export. (Source: Jane’s)
21 Jul 21. Navantia Australia bows out of LAND 8710 race. The shipbuilding firm’s proposal to deliver a next generation amphibious vehicle to the Australian Army has fallen short. The Capability Acquisition and Sustainment Group (CASG) has informed Navantia Australia that it has not been down selected for the Commonwealth government’s LAND 8710 (Phase 1) Capability Element 2 (CE2) project — an $800m program to develop a new amphibious vehicle (AV) to replace the Army’s Lighter, Amphibious Resupply, Cargo – 5 tonne vehicle (LARC-V).
The shipbuilding company submitted a joint bid with Rheinmetall Defence Australia, announced in June at the annual Land Forces conference.
The companies had planned to combine their resources to develop a “fast, formidable and future-proof” amphibious vehicle design, leveraging Navantia’s naval shipbuilding experience and Rheinmetall’s logistics vehicle manufacturing capability.
“Navantia Australia received encouraging feedback from CASG but was not down selected for LAND 8710 Ph1 CE2,” a Navantia spokesperson told Defence Connect.
“We accept the decision and have offered our engineering capabilities to support the successful candidates.”
ASX-listed shipbuilding giant Austal remains in the running for LAND 8710 Phase 1 CE2. Austal launched its bid in June, offering to design, build and sustain the locally-developed fleet. Defence is yet to release the request for tender (RFT) for LAND 8710 Phase 1 CE1 — a second element of the project aimed at developing independent landing craft to replace the Army’s current Landing Craft Mechanised (LCM-8) vessels.
Navantia Australia has confirmed it would respond to the RFT, expected to be released later this year.
“We remain committed to supporting sovereign Australian defence capability and continuing to be an Australian industry partner to the Australian Defence Force,” the Navantia spokesperson added.
The two separate fleets to be procured under the program are expected to provide independent shore-to-shore, ship-to-shore, and over-the-shore capabilities to better manoeuvre and sustain the ADF in littoral and riverine environments. The project is expected to achieve initial operating capability by 2026. (Source: Defence Connect)