UNITED KINGDOM AND NATO
09 Sep 21. UK MoD Has Just Published a Sales Brochure With The First RAF Aircraft Up For Grabs Following Defence Review.
E-3D, C-130J and BAE 146 among the aircraft axed in latest Integrated Defence Review are about to be put on sale.
In March 2021, the UK’s Government published an Integrated Defence Review that introduced several significant changes to the British military. For what concerns the Royal Air Force, in order to achieve its goals, both in the short, mid and long term, the service was “forced” to make some cuts, retiring equipment that has increasingly limited utility as well as rationalising older fleets to improve efficiency.
The first aircraft to be retired will be the E-3D Sentry AEW Mk1, which will be completely retired this year ahead of its replacement with the E-7 Wedgetail in 2023. One Sentry was retired in August this year, after flying its final operational sortie as part of the counter-Daesh Op Shader in July. Its return to RAF Waddington, home of the 8 Squadron, from RAF Akrotiri, Cyprus, was the latest and last deployment since 2015.
Other aircraft to be retired are the BAe146 operated by the No. 32 (The Royal) Squadron for VIP and transport flights and planned for Mar. 31, 2022, and the C-130 Hercules whose retirement is scheduled for 2023.
Dealing with the helicopters, among the types that will be retired, there are the Puma, the Gazelle as well as the CH-47 Chinook heavy-lift helicopters currently in the fleet.
To prepare the sale of these aircraft and a bunch of other equipment (including some frigates, fast patrol vessels and tactical vehicles), on Sept. 6, 2021, the Defence Equipment Sales Authority (DESA), the organisation within the UK Ministry of Defence that is responsible for managing the sale and transfer of surplus Armed Forces military equipment, has published an interesting brochure that some key details about the weapons system that is going to be retired and put on the market for those customers interested in “high quality, combat proven military capability direct from the UK defence inventory as a cost effective alternative to buying new.
You can find the brochure here. chrome-extension://efaidnbmnnnibpcajpcglclefindmkaj/viewer.html?pdfurl=https%3A%2F%2Fassets.publishing.service.gov.uk%2Fgovernment%2Fuploads%2Fsystem%2Fuploads%2Fattachment_data%2Ffile%2F1015447%2FDESA_Sales_Brochure_2021.pdf&clen=8334535&chunk=true
By the way, the brochure doesn’t list the older Tranche 1 Typhoons, which according to the Defence Review will leave the RAF by 2025, and the Hawk T1 trainers, that are going to be retired (and possibly sold) in the near future. Maybe they will be included in a next edition of the sales brochure.
David Cenciotti is a freelance journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written four books. (Source: News Now/https://theaviationist.com/)
06 Sep 21. Airbus touts further near-term A400M sales on back of Kazakh deal. Airbus expects to announce further near-term sales of its A400M Atlas transport aircraft following Kazakhstan’s recent signature for two of the airlifters.
Speaking to Janes and other defence media on 6 September, Jean-Brice Dumont, Head of Military Aircraft at Airbus, said that the company is currently engaged in a number of sales campaigns for the A400M, and that it expects to announce an increase to its current 176-aircraft order book very shortly.
“The sale of two A400Ms to Kazakhstan was very positive for us [and] sends a strong signal to others. We are in various campaigns and some of these are not far from conclusion,” Dumont said.
Dumont did not identify these prospective customers, but the A400M has recently been identified as a target acquisition for Indonesia and South Korea, and has previously been demonstrated to Mexico, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates, among others. Airbus will be targeting those nations with older model Lockheed Martin C-130 Hercules in their inventories, as well as nations such as Kazakhstan that have ageing Soviet-era platforms they wish to replace.
In signing up Kazakhstan on 1 September, Airbus secured its first export customer for the A400M since Malaysia joined the multinational programme in 2005. As noted in the announcement, the Kazakhstan Air Defence Forces (KADF) will be the first operator to field the A400M without an inflight aerial probe fitted when it receives its first aircraft in 2024. (Source: Jane’s)
09 Sep 21. US Army to kick off mobile communications pilot for armored brigades. The Army is gearing up for a pilot effort to figure out how its armored brigades will communicate on the move as part of its modernized tactical network.
To date, the Army has focused on infantry and Stryker brigades for its modernized integrated tactical network, using what it calls capability sets to incrementally add new technologies to formations. The Army plans to outfit armored brigades with the new gear beginning in 2025, but to do that, it needs to run experiments to inform some of the specific requirements and technology needs for the heavy vehicles that are additive to the baseline network established in 2021.
“What we’ve been tasked with is what level of capability, what systems or what platforms within the heavies would need what level of tactical network capability,” Col. Shane Taylor, project manager for tactical network within the Army’s program executive office for command, control, communications-tactical, told C4ISRNET in an interview.
The pilot, which is taking place at Fort Stewart early next year with 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, will look at three courses of action, Taylor said, ranging from line of sight communications — both from vehicle to vehicle and vehicle to command post ― and heavy satellite communications for beyond line of sight.
On the multidomain battlefield, U.S. military leaders expect forces to have to move constantly. This means they’ll need to be able to communicate while moving as opposed to communicating at the halt or stopping to set up a network.
The pilot is the first formal effort taking aim at the heavier units for capability set 25. It will serve as a way to evaluate the concepts behind various methods of on-the-move network capabilities to the armored formations while also allowing soldiers to drive requirements prior to the 2025 fielding of units.
However, Taylor pointed out that while this is the first effort focused on armored units, the service is looking at some existing technologies being used as part of the lighter units fielded and set to be fielded from capability sets 21 and 23.
“We do have some systems that are out there that are very mature, that could be fielded tomorrow, but we also have some solutions that are a little more immature that may help us identify areas where there’s opportunity as we move forward,” he said. 2025 is “not a very long time when we talk about the formations and the scale that we’re talking, but it is a long time when it comes to technology maturation. We’re looking at a variety of both, and a lot of the new things that we’re talking about would definitely have play in a [capability set 25] construct.”
Other goals for the pilot include network simplification, seamless failover between line of sight and beyond line of sight, software simplification and allowing network architecture updates, among others.
The pilot will also help inform what systems can be outfitted on these larger vehicles to not overburden soldiers.
“We want to do anything that we can to minimize the amount of work that they have to do to deal with their communications while they’re trying to fight,” Taylor said. “Probably the biggest challenge in my mind is ensuring they have the necessary network capabilities that they need, but also doing it at a level that minimizes impact on their ability to fight. … That’s what we hope the pilot will help inform is what is that level of balance that we need and what are they comfortable with and what the [concept of operation] will be going forward from that.”
The pilot is also a good opportunity for industry to better understand the Army’s needs and how best to support the efforts going forward, he added.
Taylor reiterated that the capability set and overall integrated tactical network approach is a paradigm shift from the past, in which requirements were created, they were delivered to industry, a contract was awarded and the Army would field that system to soldiers.
The process is much more collaborative now, taking into account soldier feedback along the way to ensure the end system is easy to use with multiple levels of experimentation.
“This is going into it a different approach where we focus on interoperability and integration up front from a design perspective and then we march to that,” Taylor said. (Source: Defense News)
08 Sep 21. Sikorsky-Boeing submits proposal for US Army’s FLRAA programme. The FLRAA programme is aimed at developing a successor to the UH-60 Black Hawk. A Sikorsky-Boeing team has submitted the DEFIANT X proposal for the US Army’s Future Long-Range Assault Aircraft (FLRAA) programme. FLRAA is one of the Future Vertical Lift efforts underway by the US Army. The programme is aimed at developing a platform that will replace the US Army’s fleet of Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters.
Prototype FLRAA candidates include the Sikorsky-Boeing SB-1 Defiant and Bell V-280 Valor. The team’s Defiant X proposal to the US Army included data gathered from the SB-1’s flight testing process. The Sikorsky-Boeing team noted that they will continue to conduct flight tests and expand SB>1 DEFIANT’s flight envelope.
In a joint statement, Sikorsky president Paul Lemmo and Boeing Defense, Space and Security Vertical Lift vice-president and general manager Mark Cherry said: “Continuing a 75-year partnership with the US Army, providing and sustaining the iconic Black Hawk, Chinook and Apache, the Sikorsky-Boeing team looks to the future with the Future Long-Range Assault Aircraft – DEFIANT X.
“Today, Team DEFIANT completed and submitted the proposal for the US Army’s FLRAA competition, offering low-risk, transformational capability that delivers on an army critical modernisation priority and advances the future of army aviation.
“DEFIANT X delivers speed where it matters, survivability, unsurpassed power, manoeuvrability, superior handling in any environment and lower lifecycle costs while operating in the same footprint as the Black Hawk.”
With operational features almost like the Black Hawk, DEFIANT X delivers capabilities such as efficient sustainment, advanced manufacturing techniques and reduced training time and costs.
In addition, the helicopter’s open system approach allows the US Army to easily upgrade DEFIANT X in the future.
In March this year, Bell Textron said it is executing the Competitive Demonstration and Risk Reduction (CD&RR) contract phase two for the FLRAA programme. In 2019, Sikorsky and Boeing performed the first flight of SB>1 DEFIANT helicopter in Florida, US. (Source: army-technology.com)
08 Sep 21. The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) has released the Cloud Security Technical Reference Architecture (TRA) and Zero Trust Maturity Model for public consultation.
The TRA aims to guide agencies looking to securely migrate data to the cloud by explaining considerations for shared services, cloud migration, and cloud security posture management.
Meanwhile, the Zero Trust Maturity Model has been designed to support the development of zero-trust strategies and implementation plans.
The TRA — authorised under Executive Order 14028 — was developed in partnership with the United States Digital Service (USDS) and the Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (FedRAMP).
“President Biden’s Cyber Executive Order outlined crucial steps needed to secure the federal government’s networks and CISA is focused on completing the required tasks and more,” Eric Goldstein, executive assistant director of cyber security, CISA, said.
“To meet agencies’ needs, we drafted the Zero Trust Maturity Model and Cloud Security TRA in coordination with USDS and FedRAMP.
“We are now requesting public comment to ensure our recommended cloud technology modernisation and zero trust efforts, respectively, enable the best visibility, flexibility, and security.”
The model is expected to be redeveloped following the consultation period, in a bid to incorporate stakeholder feedback.
The consultation period is scheduled to conclude on 1 October 2021. (Source: https://www.cybersecurityconnect.com.au/)
07 Sep 21. Small Sats at DoD: Let Hundreds Of Programs Bloom. DoD investments in small satellites to date are mostly in the realm of communications and remote sensing, says OUSDR&E’s Doug Schroeder.
The Defense Department has formed a new group to coordinate small satellite efforts across the department and services, according to Doug Schroeder, who oversees prototyping of command, control and communications networks at the Pentagon’s Research & Engineering office.
The group, which includes representative form the Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Research & Engineering (R&E) and from the Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment (A&S), has completed an initial report based on a review of who is doing what, where, Schroeder explained at the SATELLITE 2021 conference today. SDA on Aug. 30 released a request for proposals (RFP) to industry for its initial operational set of communications and data relay satellites, which will make up what the agency calls Tranche 1 of its planned National Defense Space Architecture. The plan is to is a contract in Jan. 2022 for up to 144 satellites.
Within the R&E office, Schroeder explained, work on exploring how satellite networks in Low Earth Orbit (LEO) and Medium Earth Orbit (MEO) might rapidly be exploited by military commanders and operators is primarily being run by two of the principal directors for two of DoD’s 11 modernization priorities: Michael Zatman, for Fully Networked C3 (FNC3), and Lindsay Millard for space. Zatman is assessing the technology roadmap for DoD SATCOM, Schroeder explained, and has already issued some solicitations to industry. Schroeder himself is responsible for taking that roadmap and ensuring that it is implemented.
Zatman “has put together a vision that calls out something that many of us thought was
JCTDs can be granted for research, development, test and evaluation programs that fall below the $525m (in constant 2020 dollars) threshold for a Major Acquisition Program, according to AcqNotes.
Schroeder also urged interested SATCOM and ISR vendors to send in proposals under the new Rapid Defense Experimentation Reserve (RDER) fund launched by DoD Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen Hicks. DoD, he said, has already collected more than 200 industry proposals from the services and the Combatant Commands. (Source: Breaking Defense.com)
REST OF THE WORLD
09 Sep 21. Indonesian Air Force to Buy New Hercules Aircraft. The Indonesian Air Force Chief of Staff Marshal Fadjar Prasetyo said his side planned to procure the latest series of C-130J Hercules aircraft being produced by Lockheed Martin. He argued that the jet procurement program will significantly improve the capabilities of the national air force.
“With the C-130 J type aircraft, I believe the Air Force will be able to significantly increase its capabilities, especially in air transport operations,” said Fadjar in a press release on Thursday, September 9.
Fadjar made the statement during his visit to the aircraft manufacturer Lockheed Martin in Bethesda, Maryland, United States.
The C-130 Hercules jet, he added, had become the backbone of the country’s Air Force and had been involved in almost every military operation, humanitarian aid, and disaster mitigation.
“Moreover, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Air Force’s C-130 has an important role particularly in distributing vaccines and various medical equipment throughout Indonesia,” said Fadjar.
During the visit on Tuesday local time, Fadjar along with the Indonesian Air Force officials were informed about the development of the C-130J Hercules aircraft and witnessed the production line, as well as its simulator and training facilities. (Source: News Now/https://en.tempo.co/)
08 Sep 21. Mali attempts to lift US sanctions blocking import of C295. The Malian government has asked the United States to lift restrictions preventing the arrival of a new C295 military transport aircraft.
The Malian Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Abdoulaye Diop, attempted to lift sanctions preventing the import the aircraft from its manufacturer Airbus.
The aircraft apparently only needs a transponder, to be provided by the US, to be delivered. It was supposed to have arrived by the end of June this year.
The attempt was part of Diop’s recent mission to the US to strengthen political dialogue between the two countries as Mali continues its political transition. During his stay in the US from 16 to 20 August, Diop met with, among others, the Director of African Affairs at the White House, David Diaz, and Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, Robert Godec.
“I have requested the support of these personalities for the lifting of the blockade in order to allow the delivery of the CASA C-295 aircraft acquired with Mali’s own funds,” Diop said in a statement upon his return to the capital of Mali, Bamako.
The sanctions are an apparent response to allegations of the Malian army recruiting child soldiers, something the Malian government has denied. Diop, acknowledging that there are child soldiers in the country, said they were recruited by other armed groups (specifically the Imghad Tuareg Self-Defense Group and Allies) that later merged with the Malian army.
“In reality, it is not the government that is involved. It is about recruitment into certain armed groups that have joined the government,” said Diop.
US ambassador in Mali, Dennis Hankins, said Mali was under two US sanctions that prohibited it from benefiting from some kinds of security assistance. Hankins added that full cooperation between the two countries will resume once the political transition in Mali is completed with democratic elections in February 2022.
Mali recently underwent a coup in May this year, with now interim president Assimi Goita. The country has overthrown two presidents in the past year. Mali is also battling a decade-old Islamist insurgency in the north and central regions. The inability of the former government to end the insurgency was a leading factor that led to the recent coup and ousting of former president Ibrahim Boubacar Keita.
The new C295 is the second for Mali. The first has been in operation since December 2016, having already accumulated more than 1 770 flight hours and transported more than 38 000 passengers and 900 tonnes of cargo in less than four years of operations.
Mali’s Air Force has grown over the last several years, with fixed and rotary wing acquisitions. In October 2017, Keita welcomed new aircraft into the Air Force’s inventory, including a C295W transport, two Y-12E light utility aircraft and a Super Puma transport helicopter (out of two ordered). In July 2018 Mali received four Embraer Super Tucano light attack and trainer aircraft from Brazil after ordering them in 2015. In April 2019 Mali’s Air Force received a Cessna 208 Caravan configured for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) that was donated by the European Union to combat terrorism and insecurity. In 2017, Mali received the first of four Mi-35M attack helicopters from Russia.
Mali’s Air Force previously only had two An-26 aircraft in their fixed-wing transport fleet, in an unknown condition. A large reliance on France (Operation Barkhane) to fight Mali’s insurgency could also become an issue as the French government indicated intentions to pull out of Mali due to disagreements with the recent coup. (Source: https://www.defenceweb.co.za/)