UNITED KINGDOM AND NATO
10 Feb 22. Exploring GNSS alternatives for weapon systems. DASA is exploring innovative solutions for military navigation. The Defence and Security Accelerator (DASA) is pleased to launch a new Market Exploration called Alternative Navigation for Weapon Systems, which aims to explore alternatives to Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNNS) for military navigation. This Market Exploration is being run on behalf of Defence Equipment and Support (DE&S) and seeks to understand the range of technologies used for commercial positioning and navigation systems.
Do you have an innovative solution? Read the full Market Exploration now and submit your idea: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/market-exploration-alternative-navigation-for-weapon-systems
What alternatives are there for military grade navigation?
GNNS such as Global Positioning Systems (GPS) and Galileo are widely used for commercial and military positioning and navigation, but these systems are vulnerable to jamming and spoofing.
In this market exploration, we want to explore alternative navigation technologies that could be developed and trailed within the next 3 years.
The potential system should:
- be developed to an operational level in either a civilian or on military application
- currently be at a Technology Readiness Level of 4 or above
- not be solely reliant reliance on GNSS
- have the potential to be further developed to meet military specifications
- have sufficient accuracy to monitor position during deployment to within 5 metres.
We would be particularly interested in innovations from non-traditional defence suppliers and have a dedicated team of DASA Innovation Partners who can discuss your innovations and the Defence sector with you.
The market exploration is currently open. The deadline to submit proposals is April 7 2022.
Submit your innovation
Do you have an in-depth understanding of emerging capabilities, technologies, initiatives and novel approaches that may help reduce our reliance on GNNS? Let us know about your technology and help inform DE&S in potential methods for alternative military navigation.
09 Feb 22. Norway threatens cancellation of NH90. helicopter contract over upgrade delays. Norway is again threatening to cancel its contract with NH Industries (NHI) after further delays to deliveries of NH90 maritime helicopters.
Addressing the country’s parliament on 9 February, Norwegian defence minister Odd Roger Enoksen expressed his dissatisfaction with the manufacturer.
“We do not yet have the maritime helicopter capacity we need, and I am not happy with this,” he says.
Deliveries of new-build helicopters to Norway have consistently run behind schedule since Oslo signed for 14 NFH-variant NH90s in 2001; the full complement of helicopters was due to have arrived by 2008, but shipments did not begin until 2011.
Back in 2012, then deputy defence minister Roger Ingebrigtsen said Norway was prepared to walk away from the contract if NHI’s performance did not improve, with the Sikorsky SH-60 Seahawk reportedly under consideration as an alternative.
But the latest outbreak of hostilities is caused by the length of time taken to upgrade already delivered examples. Of the 13 NH90s received by Norway, six are in an initial operating configuration and were due to be raised to the full operating standard by the end of 2023.
However, Enoksen says the latest forecasts from NHI indicate that the upgrade has been postponed to 2024. “The supplier has not given us reason to have confidence in these plans,” he says.
As such, the defence ministry will now consider its options, which include the potential termination of the contract.
“I know that there is no quick and easy solution to this problem, but the goal is to get a justifiable solution for the future,” says Enoksen.
08 Feb 22. USAF officially looking for vendors to potentially replace E-3 AWACs. In a new solicitation, the Air Force states it could put a company under contract in fiscal 2023 to make the first two prototype E-3 replacement airplanes. The US Air Force could buy the first two aircraft to replace the E-3 Sentry airborne warning and control fleet as early as fiscal 2023, the service announced today. The service is now seeking information from industry about whether companies can deliver “at least two production representative prototype aircraft, including ground support and training systems, within five years starting in FY23,” when a contract is expected to be awarded, an Air Force solicitation states. Although the request for information doesn’t constitute a promise from the government to start a program of record, the move shows that the Air Force may be inching closer towards replacing the aging AWACS. But a big question remains: Will the Air Force choose to sole source Boeing’s E-7 Wedgetail — an aircraft that has garnered support from top service leaders such as Air Combat Command head Gen. Mark Kelly and Air Force Pacific Command head Gen. Kenneth Wilsbach — or does the new solicitation signal a more open competition for the aircraft?
The RFI provides little information about how the Air Force could structure a new program, if it chooses to pursue one.
Instead, the services calls on companies to submit information on proposed E-3 replacement aircraft, including on key systems such as: its advanced air moving target indication radar, battle management command and control (BMC2) system, self-defense capabilities and key communications systems like Link 16 and Mobile User Objective System.
The aircraft should be able to conduct at least six missions simultaneously, such as offensive counter air, defensive counter air, air traffic control, close air support, suppression of enemy air defenses, aerial refueling or combat search and rescue. The solicitation also asks whether the proposed offer is capable of conducting maritime surveillance.
The E-7A Wedgetail is the likely forerunner for the E-3 replacement, given the fact that it’s made by American aerospace giant Boeing and operated by close US allies such as Australia and the United Kingdom.
During the US Air Force’s Red Flag air combat exercise held last month, an Australian Wedgetail flew alongside US F-22s and F-35s. That experience could help ease the way for the US to incorporate the E-7 in future operations should it ultimately chose to buy it, said Maj. Gen. Case Cunningham, commander of the Air Warfare Center, during an Air Force Association event in January.
However, the Air Force announced plans in October to put Boeing on contract to provide further technical information about the Wedgetail and provide analysis on how it could meet US requirements and standards. This additional RFI could signify that the service intends to widen its aperture before committing to the E-7.
Mike Manazir, Boeing’s vice president for defense business development, told reporters in November that he was “very confident” that the Air Force would chose the Wedgetail to replace its E-3 fleet.
“I believe they’ll be announcing sometime in 2022 that they’re going to move forward on the E-7,” Manazir said. “I think we’re going to be able to capitalize with all of our allies and bring that great capability to the United States Air Force.”
If the Air Force decides to compete the contract, other aerospace companies could step in with additional options.
During Dubai Airshow in November, Saab CEO Micael Johansson told Breaking Defense that the company is ready to offer its GlobalEye airborne early warning and control plane to the United States.
“I don’t know whether it’s really political, that they have to select US companies for that [opportunity],” said Johansson. “We will be willing to discuss [industrial] partnerships, of course around that as well. But I think we have a very competitive solution.” (Source: Breaking Defense.com)
07 Feb 22. USAF commits millions to demonstrate ‘Space Internet.’ The Air Force plans to enable and demonstrate a space internet that the military can use to connect and communicate via constellations of commercial spacecraft operating in various orbits.
In a presolicitation the Air Force Research Laboratory released this week, officials confirmed intent to award two to five contracts worth up to $40m each for “multi-band, multi-orbit communication experiments.”
The work would span a couple years, and AFRL already has sights set on some use cases of interest.
“Satellite communications in the Arctic region, above 55-degrees latitude, are currently extremely limited,” officials wrote in the announcement. “Emerging commercial space internet constellations may offer an opportunity to rapidly and affordably provide unprecedented communications capacity to this region, on par with that available in lower latitudes.”
Another application the lab is exploring is for airborne communications.
These experiments mark the latest component of the lab’s Defense Experimentation Using Commercial Space Internet, or DEUCSI program, which originally launched in 2017. Specifically, the service aims to connect military platforms through multiple commercial space internet constellations in different orbit regimes—such as low-, medium-, and geosynchronous earth orbits using the emerging “common user terminal” capabilities. Ideally, military users would be able to tap into services from different providers or orbits, depending on their needs.
“Future military operations will be multi-domain and will be conducted with unprecedented speed,” officials wrote. “Establishing and maintaining dominance in such a scenario requires the ability to distribute information from, to, and through all domains and make decisions at a speed our adversaries cannot match.” The deadline for proposals from those interested in participating in this effort is set for Dec. 15, 2023. (Source: Defense Systems)
REST OF THE WORLD
10 Feb 22. Boeing to Offer the P-8A Poseidon for Canada’s Multi-Mission Aircraft Project. Boeing [NYSE: BA] today announced its intent to offer the P-8A Poseidon in response to Canada’s Request for Information (RFI) for long-range maritime patrol aircraft. The Canadian Multi-Mission Aircraft (CMMA) project will replace the Royal Canadian Air Force fleet of CP-140 Aurora aircraft and enhance its anti-submarine warfare (ASW) and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities. With more than 140 aircraft in service, the P-8 has executed more than 400,000 mishap free flight-hours around the globe. Militaries that operate or have selected the P-8 include the U.S. Navy, the United Kingdom’s Royal Air Force, Royal Australian Air Force, Royal New Zealand Air Force, Indian Navy, Royal Norwegian Air Force, Republic of Korea Navy and German Navy.
“The P-8A Poseidon has demonstrated that it is the world’s most capable multi-mission aircraft currently in production and offers a complete solution for Canada’s CMMA requirements,” said Tim Flood, International Business Development director, Europe and Americas. “The range, speed, and endurance of the P-8 makes it the perfect platform to monitor Canada’s northern and maritime approaches and the P-8 will ensure allied interoperability to meet Canada’s security commitments. Coupled with a robust industrial partnership plan, Boeing’s offer will build on its successful record of contributing to Canada’s economic growth throughout the life of the CMMA program.”
The P-8A’s multi-mission capability has delivered mission success in ASW, ISR, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief and search and rescue missions. These multi-mission capabilities are enhanced through secure, interoperable, net-ready systems that will provide Canada with the ability to engage/control and to fully integrate with other ASW and ISR assets. In addition, the P-8 shares extensive commonality with Boeing’s 737NG, which has support infrastructure around the globe. Commonality in spares and training for aircrews and maintainers reduces costs substantially and enables military operators to leverage support throughout the world. This proven aircraft and support infrastructure is the basis for delivering a rapid, low risk, low cost capability for Canada.
10 Feb 22. RAN’s Hunter-class frigate programme completes systems definition review. The review means a functional baseline for the ship has been successfully established. The Royal Australian Navy’s (RAN) Hunter-class frigate programme has successfully concluded a year-long system definition review (SDR). SDR establishes the functional baseline of the Hunter-class frigate. It is the second major assessment of the vessel’s design. The review assesses the major design changes, associated with the integration of the Australian Combat System, from the Global Combat Ship reference vessel. It showcases how it accommodates numerous capabilities that are needed by the Australian Government. The capability requirements include the Aegis and Australian Interface Combat Management Systems, the CEAFAR2 phased array radar, as well as the Seahawk Romeo Maritime Combat Helicopter integration. BAE Systems’ engineering teams in Australia and the UK were involved in this review. Recently, BAE Systems handed over more than two million digital artefacts from the UK to Australia. In addition, the first prototyping unit for the Hunter-class frigate programme has also been finished at the Osborne shipyard.
BAE Systems Maritime Australia managing director Craig Lockhart said: “The selection of the Global Combat Ship for Australia’s Hunter class frigates was based on its digital pedigree, its submarine-hunting capability and its ability to accommodate the changes the Australian customer requires.
“In complex naval shipbuilding terms, a successful systems definition review means that you’ve successfully established a functional baseline from which you can further develop and integrate the design against the mission system specification set by the customer, and we’ve done just that.”
The programme will now move on to preliminary design review (PDR) following the closure of actions identified in SDR.
PDR is a technical evaluation that ensures the design is ‘operationally effective’ and sets the pace for detailed design and planning phases.
In January 2021, BAE provided progress updated on the prototyping stage of the Hunter-class frigate programme at the Osborne shipyard. (Source: naval-technology.com)
09 Feb 22. L&T ready to partner with Hanwha Defense on light tank offer to India. India’s Larsen & Toubro (L&T) has said it is prepared to produce light tanks with South Korea’s Hanwha Defense for the Indian Army. An L&T spokesperson told Janes on 7 February that the company plans to partner with Hanwha Defense on manufacturing light tanks for the Indian Army. The two companies have already partnered to produce the K9 Vajra-T self-propelled howitzer (SPH), a variant of the K9 Thunder SPH, for the Indian Army
However, the spokesperson added that the Indian Ministry of Defence (MoD) has only released the request for information (RFI) for the light tanks and not the tender. The joint production of light tanks is uncertain at this stage since the tender’s categorisation will decide what direction the programme will take, the spokesperson added. This categorisation will determine whether and to what degree a foreign vendor will be involved in manufacturing the light tanks.
“Given this situation, I believe it is far too early for any global player to offer their product to India,” said the L&T spokesperson. (Source: Janes)
07 Feb 22. Boeing’s F/A-18 E/F Super Hornet has emerged as the top contender to supply Indian Navy with 26 Multirole Carrier Borne Fighters (MRCBF) aircraft. The deal involves the delivery of a squadron of 18 single-seat aircraft along with eight twin-seat variants that is collectively estimated to be valued at $4.5bn to US$6bn. Boeing’s F/A-18 E/F Super Hornet complies with most of the critical mission-specific requirements, says GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company. According to GlobalData, ideally, Dassault Aviation’s Rafale-M would have been the natural choice after the deal to acquire 36 Rafale fighters for the Indian Air Force due to the commonality of systems and ease of logistics. However, the lack of a foldable wing is a major limitation with respect to the French offering as it significantly limits the net volume of underdeck stowage available.
Abhijit Apsingikar, Defence Analyst at GlobalData, said “While the deal to acquire 26 aircraft is seen as a stopgap measure until the Indian indigenous Twin Engine Deck Based Fighter (TEDBF) takes fight sometime in 2032, Boeing enjoys a distinct advantage of being able to incorporate the uprated F414 enhanced engines, rated at 116-120KN. As the Indian Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) has already selected GE to deliver 99 F414 engines for its upcoming Indian LCA MK-2, logistics to support the engines are further simplified.”
Additionally, on technical parameters alone, Boeing’s F/A-18 E/F Super Hornet’s powerful engines enable it to offset the payload limitations inherent in STOBAR carriers and edges past its competitor Rafale-M. However, as history has shown, political considerations and the reliability of defence partners can make or break Indian defence deals.
Although India has successfully acquired P-8I Poseidon and MH-60R Romeo helicopters from the US, there still exist certain reservations. Therefore, the US administration’s ability to assuage Indian concerns along with Boeing’s ability to effectively support platforms as with P-8I Poseidon’s and AH-64 Apache helicopters will be the deciding factor.
Apsingikar added that “While the FY2022-23 budget has earmarked a record US$20.38bn for acquisitions, it has also reserved about 68 percent of the funding for financing domestic procurements, with just US$6.52bn available to finance foreign acquisitions. Despite this, the Multirole Carrier-Based Fighter (MRCBF) is likely to be shielded by the funding constraints owing to the critical nature of procurement. The need to equip the upcoming carrier with an airwing takes precedence and therefore is likely to be pursued on a priority basis.” (Source: https://asiapacificdefencereporter.com/)