UNITED KINGDOM AND NATO
29 Jul 21. The UK MoD has announced a requirement for an Alternative Individual Weapon (AIW) system for the Army Special Operations Brigade. Contract Notice, Whitehall, 26 July 2021, amended 29 July 2021: [Extract from] Contract notice for contracts in the field of defence and security.
701577419 – Army Special Operations Brigade Rifle
Procurement and Support of an Armalite Rifle (AR) platform Alternative Individual Weapon (AIW) System.
The Authority requires an Alternative Individual Weapon (AIW).
- Economic Operators may submit only one AIW System consisting of a Rifle System from one OEM and an Optic System from one OEM. The Rifle and Optic do not have to be the same OEM.
- Where an Agent represents an OEM, the agent is deemed to be the Economic Operator under the Framework agreement and therefore can only submit one AIW System.
- Anticipated delivery of the trial AIW Systems to a UK MOD Location is required by December 2021 or March 2022 at the latest.
The AIW system must be optimised to be used with a suppressor fitted as its primary configuration. The AIW system will consist of:
- A Rifle System (comprising of a Rifle and Signature Reduction System); and
- An Optic System
The AIW system will be a 5.56mm Armalite Rifle (AR) platform, optimised for use with L15A2, a 62gr 5.56×45 NATO ball round, equivalent to SS109.
An AR platform is defined as being gas operated with a rotating, locking bolt.
The rifle should have a non-reciprocating charging handle.
The rifle’s controls are to include: a magazine release, working parts release and a rotating selector lever that incorporates a safe setting.
The rifle is to have a standard configuration, not bullpup, with the magwell in-front of the trigger housing.
The rifles upper and lower are to be mated using industry standard pivot / takedown pins located at the front and rear of the lower receiver.
Signature Reduction System: The Signature Reduction System is to be detachable, to enable the operator to configure the Rifle System to meet operational requirements.
Optic System: The Optic system is to complement the Rifle and should be ballistically matched to the stated ammunition nature and supplied barrel length.
Alternative Individual Weapon System: As a complete system, the AIW system is expected to perform consistently regardless of its configuration, i.e. with or without a Signature Reduction Device fitted, across all operational scenarios.
Most Royal Marines have already traded in their SA80A2 assault rifles for the L119A1 version of the 5.56mm Colt Canada C8 [© Bob Morrison]
This Procurement is subject to the following Staged approached:
Stage 1 – DPQQ Down Select of economic operators to be issued the ITT to be invited to tender AIW Systems (Rifle System and Optic System) for a place on the framework agreement.
Stage 2 – Up to a maximum of six (6) AIW Systems (Rifle Systems and Optic Systems) will be selected for which the economic operators shall be awarded tasks under the framework to supply and support the trial AIW systems.
All economic operators that have successfully passed the DPQQ stage will be invited to submit bids under the framework agreement for the provision of a minimum quantity of 88 AIW systems up to a maximum quantity of 528 AIW systems depending on the number of acceptable AIW system variants offered to the Authority. The economic operators will be reimbursed for the cost of the Supply and support of the trial systems.
Following the outcome of the competition at Stage 3, it is envisaged that those Trials weapons supplied under stage 2 will be utilised by Army HQ to inform the 24-Hr Digital Lethality Project that is in the Concept Stage, therefore offering long-term Value for Money (VFM) to the Authority.
Stage 3 – All Economic operators that were awarded Tasking forms under the Framework agreement for the Authority to procure AIW systems under Stage 2 will be invited to participate in two mini competitions under the framework for the Supply and Support of AIW Systems (One mini competition for the Rifle system and one mini competition for the Optic System) for a period of ten (10) years.
The mini competitions will include: pricing to procure the AIW system, option pricing for additional systems, technical through life support (TTLS) requirements, full evaluation methodology (commercial & technical), and will outline the Safe & Suitable for Service (S3) and User.
Following the evaluation at Stage 3:-
One successful economic operator will be awarded a contract for the Rifle and One successful economic operator will be awarded a contract for the Optic. This could be the same economic operator being awarded the contracts for the Rifle system and Optic system to enable the Authority to procure the Full Operational Capability (FOC) circa 3,000 systems with options for the Total Fleet Requirement circa 10,000 Systems. (Source: www.joint-forcescom)
02 Aug 21. I-SSGW delay vexes bidders, puts pressure on delivery. More than two years after first advertising its requirement for a stopgap anti-ship missile to replace the soon-to-retire Harpoon Block 1C, the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) has still to formally invite bids from industry. The delay in kicking off the GBP200m (USD278m) Interim Surface-to-Surface Guided Weapon (I-SSGW) competition has caused frustration among the potential candidates, while at the same time narrowing the window for delivery of the new long-range anti-surface warfare (ASuW) capability ahead of the December 2023 out-of-service date (OSD) for Harpoon and the associated GWS60 ship system. Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), Raytheon, and Saab are all expected to vie for the contract. Failure to procure a new missile in time would leave the Royal Navy (RN) without a heavyweight ASuW weapon. Harpoon is nominally fitted to the RN’s 13 Type 23 frigates and three out of its six Type 45 destroyers: however, no Type 45 has recently deployed with Harpoon and not all Type 23s are currently deploying with the system. In March 2019 the MoD’s Defence Equipment and Support (DE&S) organisation released a prior information notice (PIN) stating its intention to acquire a ship-launched over-the-horizon precision anti-ship capability with an additional terrain-following precision maritime land attack capability. It added that the I-SSGW capability would be fitted to five Type 23 (towed array) frigates capable of concurrent anti-submarine warfare and ASuW operations as part of the UK’s Maritime Task Group. (Source: Jane’s)
02 Aug 21. LM Announces Greek Industry Team to Support Hellenic Navy Modernization. In support of the Hellenic Navy Modernization program, Lockheed Martin has entered into teaming agreements with key Greek industrial partners. These agreements include specific areas of collaboration matched to partner capabilities and will enable the Greek – U.S. industry team led by Lockheed Martin to quickly begin work on this important program. At the same time, the agreements will expand Greek employment opportunities into the future in a number of maritime industry specialties and support efforts to re-capitalize Greek shipyards. This work will include combat systems integration, test, maintenance, and shipboard modernization.
At a working event last week, partner companies met with Lockheed Martin to begin developing more specific plans for industrial participation to meet the schedule set for the MEKO-200 upgrades and the Hellenic Future Frigate program. Companies that have joined onto the Lockheed Martin-led team include:
- Oceanking Technical and Trading
- Intracom Defense Electronics – IDE
- Endeavor Integrated Solutions
- Akmon S.A.
- METKA S.A.
- Aeroservices S.A.
- ALS Naval Ship Design
“Lockheed Martin has partnered all around the world with ship builders to deliver capability inclusive of local industrial participation, said Tom Rowden, vice president, international business development, Lockheed Martin. “With Greek industry as strategic partners, we are convinced that together we not only provide incredible capability to the Hellenic Navy but help to re-build a proud and historic shipbuilding industry here in Greece”.
“The U.S. government is 100% committed to the U.S. Navy proposal for the Hellenic Navy’s Frigate Modernization Program, which represents a generational opportunity to expand and deepen our outstanding U.S.-Greece naval partnership. Our proposal is backed by a government-to-government agreement, offering a real and highly capable ship, not just an idea on paper, with an unmatched plan for building in Greece, said U.S. Ambassador to Greece Geoffrey R. Pyatt. “It will boost the revival of the Greek shipbuilding industry and create over a thousand direct shipbuilding jobs, and over a thousand indirect ship-related jobs across the Greek maritime sector, spurring further the revival of Greece’s long maritime traditions. I know that Lockheed Martin is eager to participate in the renaissance of Greek shipbuilding, and they are also very committed to partnering with George Prokopiou, a great friend of the United States, who has just acquired the Skaramangas shipyards.”
Lockheed Martin will work with our Greek industry partners including the Shipyards as appropriate completely focused on successful program execution in coordination with U.S. Navy and Hellenic Navy. Lockheed Martin will look to introduce more Greek teammates in the weeks to come. The team will leverage and build upon the deep knowledge and expertise of the Greek defense industry expanding capabilities in ship design, logistics, training, and sustainment.
Lockheed Martin’s partnership with Greece spans more than 75 years including numerous successful programs, such as the F-16, C-130 and P-3. In 2020, Greece added the MH-60R to their fleet. In parallel with this acquisition, the Hellenic Navy, U.S. Navy and Lockheed Martin are working together with local industry for the sustainment and modernization of the existing S-70B fleet. Lockheed Martin highly values its enduring relationship with Greece, the Hellenic Armed Forces and Greek industry and looks forward to building upon that successful heritage. (Source: ASD Network/Lockheed Martin Corporation)
03 Aug 21. US Navy Questions Future Viability of Super Hornets; Recommends Against New Buy. If Congress mandates the Navy keep buying the current F/A-18E/F Super Hornets, the airframes will be in the fleet into the 2050s. But by then, the fourth-generation fighters likely couldn’t stand up to future threats, a service official said Tuesday.
Rear Adm. Andrew Loiselle, who leads the chief of naval operation’s air warfare directorate (OPNAV N98), today provided the rationale for why the Navy wants to stop buying the Boeing-built aircraft.
Super Hornets are, “a 30-year airframe at 10,000 hours. So that takes us out to about 2055. And there isn’t a lot of analysis out there that supports fourth-generation viability against any threat in that timeframe,” Loiselle said at the Navy League’s annual Sea Air Space 2021 conference.
Loiselle argued that investing in Service Life Modification upgrades for aircraft already in service provides the capability and flight hours the Navy needs, noting the service can pay for three upgrades for the same amount of money it would cost to buy one new fighter. If the Navy does need more Super Hornets in the future, Loiselle said he can add more aircraft into the SLM update program. The number of aircraft is not the highest priority for the Navy, which is more concerned with readiness and lethality, he said.
Loiselle was expanding on comments made by Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Mike Gilday, who on Monday criticized defense lobbyists for pushing Congress to purchase Navy platforms that the service does not want to buy.
“It’s not the 90s anymore. If you go to the tri-service strategy, we really try to punctuate the sense of urgency that we feel everyday against China to move, to move the needle in a bureaucracy that’s really not designed to move very fast,” Gilday said. “And so although it’s in industry’s best interest . . . building the ships that you want to build, lagging on repairs to ships and submarines, lobbying Congress to buy aircraft that we don’t need that are excess to need, it’s not helpful. It really isn’t in a budget-constrained environment.”
Service officials have repeatedly emphasized that they foresee flat or declining defense budgets, meaning the Navy must plan accordingly and make difficult spending decisions. In describing the Navy’s approach to spending, Loiselle said the service has four priorities, with building the Columbia-class ballistic missile submarine program at the top of the list.
“Columbia is priority number one. Then we’re going into readiness, then we’re going into capability and then we’re going into capacity – in that order,” he said.
The Navy announced in its Fiscal Year 2021 budget submission that it would stop buying Super Hornets after that budget year, despite prior plans to buy more of the fighters in a multi-year procurement from FY 2022 to FY 2024. At the time, the service said it would use the money to invest in its Next Generation Air Dominance (NGAD) program, which is early in development, and “and other key aviation wholeness investments.”
Loiselle said the Navy’s choice to pursue the Service Life Modifications for the Super Hornets as opposed to buying new airframes gives him the flexibility to update more of the fourth generation aircraft if the service needs them.
“Given a limited funding environment, the choice was made to put that money against increases of lethality in the weapons and [research, development, test and evaluation] needed to ensure that the viability of the fourth/fifth generation mix and the weapons needed to be fully capable as a fifth-generation, moving into sixth-generation capabilities,” Loiselle said. “That also allows me some number of F/A18 Block IIs that are not currently scheduled to go through the SLM process. And I can then add to that line as necessary should my capacity numbers change in the future.” (Source: Defense News Early Bird/USNI)
02 Aug 21. USAF seeks contractors to support high power microwave C-UAS development programme. The Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) (Directed Energy Directorate (RD), High Power Electromagnetics (HPEM) Division (RDH), Kirtland AFB New Mexico, the US Air Force’s Center of Excellence for research in HPEM technology) is seeking industry support for its MJÖLNIR programme. The objective of MJÖLNIR is to procure a single, near-production representative, cost-effective counter-unmanned aerial system (cUAS) that is suited to operational environments and performs at levels equal to or greater than AFRL’s existing Tactical High-Power Microwave Operational Responder (THOR) cUAS prototype. This prototype development intends to capitalize on earlier high-power microwave (HPM) systems and enable future transition to a program of record.
Access to MJÖNLIR Bidder’s Library may be requested and approved/provided by the Government.
Tender number: FA945121S0001Call0006
Deadline: 13 September 2021
For more information: https://sam.gov/opp/2c558c4b0b3e40fdb7362553fc6d64f1/view (Source: www.unmannedairspace.info)
REST OF THE WORLD
05 Aug 21. Local Australian industry invited to deliver bespoke support for SEA 1000. New supply opportunities are being offered to local firms interested in supporting the development of Navy’s future Attack Class submarines.
Naval Group Australia has announced that a further $1m in new supply opportunities for local industry are being offered via its Industry Capability Network portal, including 27 separate work packages comprising of 39 specific items required to develop Australia’s next-generation Attack Class submarines.
The prime has requested both ready-made and bespoke components designed specifically for the SEA 1000 project, including technologies for electrical and fluidic systems, valves, filters and rupture discs, and skilled services such as welding and machining.
Naval Group Australia is now expected to undergo a sourcing process, after which interested stakeholders may be invited to supply samples to be submitted for a qualification and testing process.
Prospective suppliers have been encouraged to join the shipbuilding company’s network of approximately 2,000 local businesses already registered with the Industry Capability Network’s Naval Group portal.
“The Attack Class submarines will provide an advanced and regionally-superior capability for the Royal Australian Navy, and are already delivering major opportunities for local industry,” Naval Group executive vice president for the Australian Future Submarine Program Lilian Brayle said.
“With this new $1m suite of work packages, we are seeking to build business relationships in the growing national supply chain which can be sustained over our long-term project.
“These investments are creating local jobs, as well as enhancing Australia’s sovereign capability by working together to build new things that the construction of advanced submarines requires.”
This new $1m pipeline is in addition to over $1bn in support activities offered to Australian businesses.
This includes a $900m local manufacturing package for the delivery of 23 complex items of submarine machinery and a $100m expression of interest to supply tools and equipment to fit-out the new submarine construction yard at Osborne.
“The Attack Class project is making significant progress as we continue preparations for the construction of 12 new and advanced submarines,” Naval Group Australia CEO John Davis said.
“The multi-decade build will include many more opportunities for great Australian businesses to participate in our program.
“This is a great national endeavour, which is creating jobs and will transform our industry.” (Source: Defence Connect)
03 Aug 21. Australia explores options for Space Electronic Warfare. Minister for Defence Peter Dutton announced on 29 July the Australian Government has established Defence Project 9358 to explore options for the acquisition of a ground-based Space Electronic Warfare capability.
The 2020 Defence Strategic Update highlighted the critical importance to the ADF’s warfighting effectiveness of assured access to the space domain. A Space Electronic Warfare capability, as part of the ADF’s approach to space control, aims to detect and deter attempts to interfere with, or attack, Australia’s use of the space domain.
The 2020 Force Structure Plan called for the development of options to enhance ADF space control through capabilities to counter emerging space threats to Australia’s free use of the space domain. Defence will explore options for a Space Electronic Warfare capability and provide recommendations for a decision by the Government. This capability would help assure Australia’s continued access to space-based communications, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance.
The FSP allocates $7bn to Australia’s space capabilities over the decade. The FSP identifies two separate projects which could be vehicles for this investment, Satellite Communications Assurance, worth $1.7-$2.5bn, and Terrestrial Operations in Contested Space, worth $1.4-$2bn.
Space Electronic Warfare is a capability that does not create debris or damage the space environment. Defence supports efforts to promote international norms, transparency and cooperation in upholding responsible behaviour in space. (Source: Rumour Control)
03 Aug 21. BAE Systems seeks Hunter-class frigate innovation partners.
BAE Systems Maritime Australia’s Innovation team has announced it is seeking Expressions of Interest from industry to support the Hunter Class Frigate Program (HCFP) to:
- investigate manufacturing technologies, materials, coatings, and processes with the potential to improve the sail away performance of the nine Hunter class frigates;
- investigate infrastructure, the workforce, and shipyard capabilities to ensure the Osborne Naval Shipyard maintains high levels of productivity, quality and safety; and
- investigate ongoing maintenance or future capability upgrades that may immediately influence the design and delivery of the nine Hunter Frigates to be built at the Osborne Naval Shipyard in South Australia.
The team will evaluate submissions quarterly – with feedback – until June 2022.
Each EOI reviewed by the Hunter Innovation Team may be considered for future steps including a Request for Information (RFI) and/or Request for Proposal (RFP). This may lead to an agreement for a scope of work which could be in the form of a Research Task; Case Study; Feasibility Studies; Proof of Concept; Prototyping; or other agreed scope of work.
Run by BAE Systems Maritime Australia, these activities support the company’s continued commitment to growing Australian Industry Capability, driving technological innovation and contributing to the Australian Government’s long-term objective to deliver Continuous Naval Shipbuilding for Australia.
For more information visit the Industry Capability Network: https://gateway.icn.org.au/project/3848/bae-systems-hunter-class-frigate-program (Source: Rumour Control)
02 Aug 21. India’s border security force considers counter drone technology to protect western region. The Times of India reports the India’s Director General of the border security force western command, SS Panwar, told reporters that the force is planning to acquire anti-drone technology as part of multiple techniques required to guard the borders. Panwar visited border outposts in Shahgarh bulge area of 108 battalion and took stock of operational readiness, effectiveness and other security arrangements. Battalion commandant Satyanand Pandey, sector north DIG Arun Kumar Singh and other company commanders briefed him about the entire border area. Addressing a soldier’s meet at Veerhill BOP, he warned them about the threat of drones and advised them to remain alert, says the report.
For more information visit:
30 Jul 21. United States stalling on AH-1 Cobra sale to Nigeria. Nigeria is attempting to acquire a dozen AH-1 Cobra attack helicopters from the United States, but the sale is being held back by US lawmakers over Nigeria’s human rights record. US officials and congressional aides told Foreign Policy that Nigeria is seeking to acquire 12 Bell AH-1 Cobra helicopters and associated equipment in a deal worth around $875m, but the Senate Foreign Relations Committee has delayed approving the sale. It is not known if the requested sale covers new-built AH-1Z Vipers or second-hand AH-1W Super Cobras.
With foreign military sales, the US State Department notifies Congress through the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and House Foreign Affairs Committee in advance of a formal notification. If committee members raise concerns about the proposed sale, the committees can freeze the sale until their concerns are addressed by the State Department.
According to Foreign Policy, the top Republican in the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Michael McCaul, has signed off on the Cobra sale, but Senator Bob Menendez, chairperson of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and Senator Jim Risch, the top Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, have apparently placed a hold on the proposed sale over concerns with Nigeria’s human rights record.
Quoting anonymous officials, Foreign Policy reported that the US State Department informed Congress of the intended sale in January. The deal involves 28 GE Aviation engines, 14 Honeywell navigation systems and 2 000 Advanced Precision Kill Weapon Systems laser-guided rockets.
In June this year Menendez told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that “coups in Mali and Chad have undermined international counterterrorism and development efforts, and Nigeria requires a fundamental rethink of the framework of our overall engagement.”
In October last year he condemned the Nigerian government’s crackdown on protestors calling for an end to police brutality, saying, “I condemn the shooting of innocent civilians in Nigeria, and call for an immediate transparent investigation into the alleged actions of the military. I stand in solidarity with Nigerians who are peacefully calling for police reforms and an end to government corruption, and call on President Buhari to ensure security forces cease their violent crackdown on demonstrators. Civilian control of the military is a hallmark of a true democracy and the eyes of the world are now on Nigeria and President Buhari.”
Thousands of Nigerians protested nationwide for nearly two weeks last October, demanding an end to a police unit called the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), which they said was responsible for extortion and human rights abuses. The police disbanded SARS, but denied most accusations.
Nigeria has had a sometimes rocky road in acquiring military hardware from the United States. In 2014, the United States blocked any sale by Israel of surplus American-made weapon systems to Nigeria, nixing the proposed sale of ex-Israeli AH-1 Cobras after citing human rights concerns, saying Nigeria was not doing enough to avoid civilian casualties in the fight against Boko Haram. In 2014 the Nigerian Air Force expressed interest in acquiring a dozen Scorpion jets from Textron AirLand to fight Boko Haram insurgents, but nothing came of this.
Under former President Barack Obama’s administration, arms sales to Nigeria were cut back, but when Donald Trump assumed power in 2016, his administration agreed to sell Nigeria 12 A-29 Super Tucano turboprops manufactured in the United States by Sierra Nevada Corporation. The first six arrived in Nigeria this month.
Nigeria continues to acquire military hardware, including from Russia, Pakistan and China, to fight the Islamic State-allied group Boko Haram in the northeast and armed bandits in the northwest of the country. Nigeria is also battling rising armed robberies and kidnappings for ransom where thinly deployed security forces have struggled to contain the influence of armed gangs. (Source: PR Newswire)
Recent Nigerian Air Force acquisitions have come from Pakistan (three JF-17 Thunder fighter jets and ten MFI-17 trainers), Italy (six armed AW109M light helicopters), Russia (a dozen Mi-35M attack helicopters), and China (CH-3, CH-4 and Wing Loong II unmanned aerial vehicles). The Air Force is also overhauling its existing fleet and bringing grounded aircraft, such as Alpha Jets and L-39s, back into service. (Source: DefenceWeb)