UNITED KINGDOM AND NATO
16 Feb 22. UK confirms cancellation of I-SSGW programme. The UK Royal Navy (RN) faces an extended gap in its heavyweight over-the-horizon anti-surface warfare (ASuW) capability after plans for a limited buy of ship-launched anti-ship missile systems was abandoned. Industry was formally notified by the Ministry of Defence (MoD) earlier this month that the Interim Surface-to-Surface Guided Weapon (I-SSGW) programme had been cancelled. This decision came despite a commitment in the March 2021 Defence Command Paper to procure a replacement for the RN’s legacy ship-launched Boeing Harpoon Block 1C missile. Harpoon Block 1C and its associated GWS 60 ship system are fitted to a number of Type 23 frigates. However, warstock obsolescence means that Harpoon will retired from RN service at the end of 2023. (Source: Janes)
15 Feb 22. Poland shortlists Babcock, Thyssenkrupp for $2bn frigate program. The Polish Ministry of National Defence has shortlisted two offers for the Miecznik (Swordfish) frigate acquisition program, submitted by UK Babcock International with its Arrowhead 140 vessel, and German Thyssenkrupp Marine Systems’ Meko-A300 warship.
“The vessels will begin to be built in 2023, and the first unit is to be ready by June 2028,” the ministry’s Armament Agency, which is responsible for acquisitions of weapons and military gear, said in a statement. “Deliveries of further units are scheduled to take place until 2034.”
Under the program, which is valued at about PLN 8bn ($2bn), three new coastal defense frigates are designed to boost Poland’s naval capabilities in the Baltic Sea. The planned procurement is to allow the country’s Navy to replace its two Oliver Hazard Perry-class frigates, according to the ministry.
The latest announcement indicates that Warsaw has discarded the bid submitted by Spanish Navantia which offered its F-100 frigate. The next phase of the program will involve negotiations between a consortium formed by the state-run defense group Polish Defence Group (PGZ) and two local shipyards, Remontowa Shipbuilding and PGZ Naval Shipyard, and the two bidders. The Polish consortium is to ensure shipbuilding capacities for the Miecznik program, and the vessels’ technology will be supplied by a selected foreign company. (Source: Defense News Early Bird/Defense News)
15 Feb 22. Greek parliament considers major arms deals with France. Greece’s government is seeking parliamentary approval Tuesday for a 3bn euro ($3.4bn) agreement for three new French-made frigates that defense officials say are vital for addressing ongoing tensions with neighboring Turkey. Lawmakers are also debating whether to add six new Rafale fighter jets to an existing order for 18 planes ‒ six of them newly built and 12 that were previously in service in the French air force. NATO members Greece and Turkey remain at odds over maritime boundaries and mineral exploitation rights in the Aegean Sea and the eastern Mediterranean. A Turkish oil and gas survey in 2020 resulted in a tense naval standoff between the two countries.
Defense Minister Nikos Panagiotopoulos said the Greek military needs to modernize following repeated funding cuts during the country’s acute 2010-18 financial crisis.
“There is no armament program that is ‘slightly necessary’ or ‘somewhat necessary’,” Panagiotopoulos told lawmakers Monday during a committee-level debate in parliament. “All of the armament programs that we have submitted for approval, in one way or another, are absolutely necessary for the armed forces ‒ extremely necessary, urgently necessary.”
Greece’s center-right government has 157 lawmakers in the 300-seat parliament, and the proposed purchases are expected to be approved without dissent within the ruling party. The left-wing main-opposition party opposes the additional purchase of French fighter jets.
Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and French President Emmanuel Macron finalized the frigate deal last year along with an enhanced defense cooperation agreement between their countries. Mitsotakis denied claims by political opponents that the purchases could rattle the Greek economy, which is already saddled with high deficits due to pandemic spending and a huge national debt worth more than twice the country’s annual output. “The program addresses the needs of the armed forces, it helps maintain our strong alliances, it’s being implemented at a fast pace and it mobilizes forces in our national economy, but it will not upset the necessary fiscal balance,” he told lawmakers.
Made by France’s Naval Group, two warships are due to be delivered in 2025 and the third the following year, with an option to add a fourth frigate to be ready in 2027. (Source: Defense News)
10 Feb 22. Greece explores counter drone technology in response to Turkish flights over navy ships. A report by the Athens news source Hurriyet Daily News says the Greek government is looking for ways to counter Turkish drones. The country is concerned about Turkey’s unmanned aerial vehicles and armed drones, according to Greek media outlets. Bayraktar TB2 drones are capable of executing three to four flights a day at low, medium and high altitudes, observing the movements of the Greek navy ships and defenses on the Greek Islands, according to retired general Evangelos Yeorgusis. The Greek Defense Minister Nikos Panagiotopoulos visited Israel in January to explore options to acquire anti-drone technologies from this country, according to the Greek daily To Vima. It said the government is also looking at exerting diplomatic pressure on Germany to stop selling some parts which are used in the production of Turkish drones. For more information visit: www.hurriyetdailynews.com (Source: www.unmannedairspace.info)
17 Feb 22. US Army notes new and renewed interest in MD 530 helos for allied nations. The US Army has received new and renewed interest from allied partner nations in the MD Helicopters, Inc. (MDHI) MD 530 light attack rotorcraft, a service spokesperson told Janes on 17 February. With the US Army Non-Standard Rotary-Wing Aircraft Project Office (NSRWA PO) currently providing MD 530s to allied nations under a five-year indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity (IDIQ) procurement contract awarded to the original equipment manufacturer (OEM), the service said that it has lately received interest from several countries to procure new ‘Little Bird’ type helicopters.
“We have interest from several countries to procure new MD 530s, including India, Kenya, and Lebanon,” the army said, adding, “We have two MD 530s on the production line that were originally procured for Afghanistan, but which are currently under a Stop Work order. We are working towards resuming production for Kenya as part of their next aircraft procurement”. (Source: Janes)
16 Feb 22. Bell Receives Market Research Investment to Advance U.S. DoD High-Speed VTOL Capabilities. Bell Textron Inc., a Textron Inc. (NYSE: TXT) company, today announced its advancement to the next phase of the AFWERX High-Speed Vertical Take-Off and Landing (HSVTOL) Concept Challenge, a crowdsourcing effort for the United States Air Force (USAF) and United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM). Bell is one of 11 companies from more than 200 challenge entrants selected to receive market research investments aimed at advancing solutions that enable optimal agility in austere environments.
“Bell is thrilled that our HSVTOL concepts have been selected for the next phase of the U.S. Air Force’s AFWERX Challenge,” said Jason Hurst, Bell’s vice president of Innovation. “In entering this next phase, Bell’s teams will continue to lay the groundwork for the production of another revolutionary military aircraft and provide USSOCOM and the U.S. Air Force with conceptual designs and development roadmaps to accelerate this capability to the warfighter.”
Bell’s HSVTOL vehicles blend the hover capability of a helicopter with the speed, range and survivability features of fighter aircraft. This family of scalable aircraft concepts is designed to support a range of missions, including personnel recovery, autonomous ISR/Strike, and tactical mobility, with low downwash hover capability and jet-like speeds of more than 400 kts. Bell’s concepts are envisioned as part of a broader HSVTOL mission system framework that provides the next generation of speed, range, and survivability. These concepts provide the flexibility to carry out USAF and USSOCOM missions across the full spectrum of conflict and political scenarios. It emerged as a top-tier entrant in the HSVTOL Concept Challenge by meeting or exceeding rigorous evaluation criteria focused on technical merit, reliability, scalability, and other factors.
“The HSVTOL Concept Challenge has surfaced an impressive range and caliber of solutions to help us understand how to build a new class of air vehicles,” said Dr. Reid Melville, chief innovation officer, Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) Transformational Capabilities Office. “We believe the organizations selected to receive market research investments at this stage have the potential to deliver truly groundbreaking innovation.”
Over the next six months, Bell will further develop its HSVTOL solution, working closely with the USAF, USSOCOM, and Collaboration.Ai, the prime contractor facilitating the HSVTOL Concept Challenge.
15 Feb 22. NASA Offers Up to $200m to Help Push New Technologies to Market. Companies with technologies that may advance exploration but need a little extra push to finalize development have two new opportunities to partner with NASA to make it over the finish line.
Through Tipping Point, NASA seeks to support space technologies that can foster the growth of commercial space capabilities and benefit future agency missions. NASA is also offering businesses a chance to work with agency experts or use facilities to complete their work through a separate Announcement of Collaboration Opportunity.
“NASA’s investment and support at this pivotal stage in development can be the key to ultimately bringing new technologies to market,” said NASA Administrator Bill Nelson. “Public-private partnerships established through these opportunities will combine agency resources with industry contributions, a benefit that will unlock new ideas to advance how we live and work in space while providing greater value to the American people.”
These opportunities focus on technology development for space infrastructure and capabilities for the Moon and near-Earth space. Selected proposals for working on and near the Moon could include infrastructure for power distribution on the lunar surface, solutions for using lunar resources, or autonomous construction – key components for long-term lunar exploration under Artemis. NASA will also consider proposals for infrastructure and capabilities in Earth orbit – which could range from climate research tools to in-space manufacturing and advanced propulsion.
“Forging strong partnerships with the commercial space economy is critical for driving our nation’s space exploration further and faster,” said Jim Reuter, associate administrator for the Space Technology Mission Directorate (STMD) at NASA’s Headquarters in Washington, which manages the new opportunities. “I look forward to the new slate of public-private partnerships that will come from these new opportunities.”
Under the Tipping Point opportunity, NASA will award a total of up to $200m to multiple companies using funded Space Act Agreements. The opportunity also includes incentives for small businesses, allowing companies with fewer than 500 employees to contribute less to the cost of the technology development.
“A funded Space Act Agreement provides more flexibility for commercial partners in intellectual property, private sector contribution, and accounting requirements,” said LK Kubendran, STMD lead on Tipping Point and Announcement of Collaboration Opportunity.
More than half a billion dollars have been awarded to 50 projects since NASA announced the first Tipping Point opportunity in 2015. Space technologies advanced through this funding are now part of current and future mission plans. They include:
- Maxar’s Space Infrastructure Dexterous Robot aboard NASA’s On-orbit Servicing, Assembly and Manufacturing Mission-1 mission will demonstrate in-space assembly to form a communications antenna following OSAM-1’s launch
- Tethers Unlimited’s Hydros thruster flew on NASA’s first Pathfinder Technology Demonstrator CubeSat mission to demonstrate the use of liquid water as fuel in space
- Two technologies will be aboard the second Intuitive Machines flight to the Moon under the Commercial Lunar Payload Services initiative: Nokia of America Corporation’s lunar LTE/4G communications system and Intuitive Machines’ hopper robot
The Announcement of Collaboration Opportunity allows companies to use NASA facilities and expertise to aid in technology development without a monetary award.
More information about NASA’s technology investments is available online.
The deadline to submit initial proposals is March 31, 2022. Companies interested in submitting proposals can also attend an industry information session on Feb. 28. Details on the event are available online. Learn more and submit to the new opportunities at:
https://go.nasa.gov/3oIqzvJ (Source: PR Newswire)
14 Feb 22. Silent Arrow® Awarded Department of Defense Contract from Warfighting Lab Incentive Fund.
$2.2m Program Includes 5 Silent Arrow® GD-2000 Autonomous Cargo Delivery Aircraft Systems for Operational Evaluation and CONOPs Development.
Silent Arrow today announced that the company’s GD-2000 UAS platform was selected for a U.S. Department of Defense (DoD), Warfighter Lab Incentive Fund (WLIF) contract with a 12-month period of performance beginning in Q1 2022.
At the conclusion of the WLIF contract, Silent Arrow will have completed all necessary safety and operational milestones required to become a DoD Program of Record, will be compatible with JADC2 systems and fully integrated with the end user’s equipment. An unmarked GD-2000 is seen here being loaded into a C-130 for deployment over an unspecified military test range. The Silent Arrow® GD-2000 will be subjected to an operational and utility assessment to include integration with military aircraft platforms and force structures. An unmarked GD-2000 is seen here rigged and ready for C-130 deployment over an unspecified military test range. The $2.2m contract win resulted from the Pentagon-based Joint Staff (J7 Joint Force Development Directorate) partnering with U.S. Indo-Pacific Command (USINDOPACOM), Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) and one of its theater components, in order to fund a series of advanced operational demonstrations and Concept of Operations (CONOPs) development activities for Silent Arrow’s flagship product, the GD-2000.
The timing of the contract award aligns with the DoD’s need to supplement or replace tactical and operational overland logistics in future conflicts. As the battlefield becomes more accessible to all adversaries, Combatant Commands have identified the need to establish and sustain logistical operations in contested and denied operating environments.
Under the contract, Silent Arrow will deliver and support:
- Operational demonstrations for concept development (CONOPs, CONEMPs and TTPs) to include:
o Delivering two GD-2000s to Exercise Emerald Warrior at Hurlburt Field
o Delivering two GD-2000s to an undisclosed location for further demonstration
o Delivering one GD-2000 for non-flying purposes to include training and educating the joint special operations warfighter
- Radar signature assessment and management
- Android Tactical Assault Kit (ATAK) integration
- Water landing and resupply at sea logistics
- An operational and technical utility assessment to include integration of the GD-2000 with military aircraft platforms & force structures
- Transition plan based on the outcome of the operational demonstrations
At the conclusion of this effort, Silent Arrow will have completed all necessary safety and operational milestones required to become a DoD Program of Record, will be compatible with Joint All Domain Command and Control (JADC2) systems, and fully integrated with the end user’s equipment and force structure.
Coupled with the recent contract awarded by the U.S. Air Force to procure an initial lot of fifteen scaled-down Silent Arrows, the company now has a full suite of UAS capabilities to provide a variety of tactical and operational level, on-demand autonomous logistics support for nearly every airborne Special Operations platform as well as in overseas operations. Additionally, the Special Operations warfighter will have tested these cargo delivery drones on special purpose aircraft, standard cargo aircraft, and helicopters, both overland and in maritime environments.
“We’d like to thank the Joint Chiefs and J7 for their confidence in awarding this seminal program,” said Chip Yates, Silent Arrow’s Founder and CEO. “We are looking forward to leaning in with our mission partners and delivering these disruptive capabilities to the warfighter to create a logistical advantage while reducing physical threats to those operating in harm’s way.”
About Silent Arrow®: Silent Arrow® is a DBA of Yates Electrospace Corporation, founded in 2012 to produce the Silent Arrow® and AVIUS Air Delivery™ autonomous cargo drone product lines, which were highlighted as an “Unmanned Cargo Aircraft to Watch” by Aviation Week & Space Technology magazine. Silent Arrow’s engineering team has been awarded more than 20 patents, 6 Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI) aircraft world records and 2 FAI Louis Bleriot medals for disruptive contributions to the aerospace industry. In 2021 Silent Arrow® was selected as a finalist for the Robert J. Collier Trophy as the “Greatest Achievement in Aeronautics or Astronautics in America.” For more information visit www.Silent-Arrow.com. (Source: PR Newswire)
09 Feb 22. US Army fires starting gun on $7.3bn JLTV competition. Current maker of the infantry vehicle, Oshkosh Defense, must face competitors to be Army/Marine supplier. The US Army today announced the solicitation for the long-awaited recompete of its Joint Light Tactical Vehicle, with the new contract estimated to be worth $7.3bn. The new request for proposals for the single-award contract will allow other vehicle makers to bid to unseat Oshkosh Defense as the current vendor. The joint program office plans to buy 15,425 JLTVs and 7,644 JLTV trailers under the new contract, according to Michael Sprang, project manager for the JLTV joint program office at Program Executive Office Combat Support and Combat Service Support.
The JLTV is a light armored vehicle designed to carry troops and cargo during military operations. The program is run by the Army and supplies JLTVs to both the Marines and Army units. The vehicle is replacing portions of the service’s High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV) fleet.
“This follow-on contract focuses on a best value determination that includes retaining the capability of the JLTV today, and looks to the future, namely a vehicle possibly featuring hybridization or electrification to reduce fuel consumption in line with the Army’s new climate strategy,” Sprang said. “It also highlights manufacturing quality, addresses the commercial engine update, and incentivizes specific technology enhancements within cost and schedule targets.”
The Army climate strategy, released Tuesday, stated the service plans to field purpose-built hybrid-drive tactical vehicles by 2035. In late January, Oshkosh Defense announced that they had developed a hybrid-electric JLTV, though no orders had come in yet.
Oshkosh Defense executives have previously told Breaking Defense that they are confident they will retain the contract after building thousands of JLTVs in the last five years. But competitors will be aided by technical data on the JLTV that’s owned by the Army and will be shared with potential bidders.
“Having the access to the technical data is of course helpful — you couldn’t build it without it,” Oshkosh Defense president John Bryant told Breaking Defense in April. But he added that it’ll be difficult for rivals to compete with “the knowledge gained from having built over 10,000 of the vehicles.”
Oshkosh Defense has now delivered over 15,000 vehicles under its current contract, which was worth some $6.7bn at award time in 2015.
Whatever happens with the recompete, Oshkosh Corp. leadership previously warned that they expect their defense revenue to fall due to reductions in JLTV orders by the military. Fiscal 2022 budget documents show that the serviced plans to purchase 2,744 JLTV trucks, down from 3,398 the year prior. (Source: glstrade.com/Breaking Defense.com)
REST OF THE WORLD
17 Feb 22. Upgrades and support sought for SAAF nav aid systems. Just weeks after Armscor issued a tender for maintenance and repair work on SA Air Force (SAAF) “launching and landing systems”, the defence and security procurement agency is looking for bidders to supply, maintain, repair and support navigational aid systems and support equipment for the ailing airborne service of the SA National Defence Force (SANDF).
Tender ECAC/2021/143, as with EARO/2021/135, relates to air force bases and ancillary equipment for flying safety. The tenders come at a time when Armscor informed a parliamentary defence oversight committee the SAAF can put less than a quarter of its total fleet of 217 aircraft into the air.
The navigation aids tender closes on 9 March. It does not specify which SAAF bases are to benefit from the tender, if awarded.
Another just issued Armscor tender is for repair and overhaul of C-130BZ LRUs (line replaceable units) and spares procurement as per EARO/2021/141. The closing date is 9 March and at least one retired air force officer “hopes” the tender will assist “in some small way” in bringing back into service the five currently unserviceable 28 Squadron transports. The Air Force Base (AFB) Waterkloof squadron is the SAAF’s main transport unit and has seven ageing C-130BZs on its inventory. One is, according to an Armscor presentation to Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Defence and Military Veterans (PCDMV), “beyond economical repair”. (Source: Google/ https://www.defenceweb.co.za/)
18 Feb 22. Kenya interested in acquiring more MD 530 helicopters. Two recently delivered MD 530F helicopters of the Kenya Defence Forces. Kenya has expressed interest in acquiring additional MD 530 helicopters from the United States, the US Army has revealed. A US Army spokesman told Janes that India, Kenya, and Lebanon have shown interest in procuring new MD 530s. “We are working towards resuming production for Kenya as part of their next aircraft procurement”.
There are two MD 530s on the production line that were originally destined for Afghanistan, but are currently under a Stop Work order.
The US Army Non-Standard Rotary-Wing Aircraft Project Office (NSRWA PO) is currently providing MD 530s to allied nations under a five-year indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity (IDIQ) procurement contract awarded to MD Helicopters.
The Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) commissioned six new MD 530F helicopters in January 2020 after they were delivered in December 2019. The Kenya Defence Forces originally requested 12 MD 530Fs valued at $253 million in May 2017 and on 27 September 2018 MD Helicopters was awarded a contract to deliver six MD530Fs to Kenya under a $1.4 billion award that also covers the supply of up to 150 armed MD530Fs/MD530Gs to US and partner nation military forces (MD 530Fs have been ordered and/or delivered to Afghanistan, Kenya, Lebanon, and Saudi Arabia while Malaysia has received MD 530Gs).
Powered by the Rolls-Royce 250-C30 650shp turbine engine, the MD 530F aircraft feature an all-digital glass cockpit with tinted windows, ballistically tolerant crashworthy fuel system, FN Herstal Weapons Management System, DillonAero Mission Configurable Armament System (MCAS), 62 mm ballistic armour protection, FN Herstal .50 caliber HMP 400 Machine Gun Pods and M260 7-shot rocket pods. (Source: https://www.defenceweb.co.za/)
18 Feb 22. Singapore Airshow 2022: PT Dirgantara to sweeten deal for Philippine patrol aircraft requirement. Indonesian state-owned aircraft manufacturer PT Dirgantara (PTDI) is sweetening its offer for the Philippine Air Force’s (PAF’s) requirement for two maritime patrol aircraft (MPA) platforms by offering to work with local industry players on the project. A PTDI representative told Janes at Singapore Airshow 2022 that the company has been unsuccessful in making a bid in the programme multiple times since 2014, but will now change its strategy to a more direct approach instead. Given that the bidding process has failed multiple times because of technical reasons, PTDI expects the Philippine Department of Defense (DND) to begin approaching selected vendors directly. In anticipation of this, PTDI has begun arranging proposals that can be taken with Philippine companies should it be selected for the programme. Details of these proposals cannot be revealed because of confidentiality concerns, said the representative. However, the aircraft that will be offered for the Long Range Patrol Aircraft (LRPA)programme is still the maritime patrol aircraft (MPA) variant of the CN235, which is the same aircraft type that has been submitted to the DND during past bidding attempts. (Source: Janes)
17 Feb 22. Singapore Airshow 2022: KAI confirms bid for Malaysia’s light combat aircraft programme.
Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) has confirmed its participation in Malaysia’s Light Combat Aircraft/Fighter Lead-In Trainer (LCA/FLIT) programme.
This in turn is based on KAI’s T-50 advanced jet trainer platform.
Malaysia‘s Ministry of Defence issued a tender for the Royal Malaysian Air Force‘s (RMAF‘s) LCA/FLIT programme in June 2021 as part of the service‘s modernisation blueprint known as the Capability Development Plan 2055 (CAP55).
As part of this plan, the country seeks 18 airframes to replace its grounded fleet of seven Aermacchi MB-339CM jet trainers and 18 BAE Systems Hawk Mk 108 twin-seat and Mk 208 single-seat LCAs.
Speaking to Janes at Singapore Airshow 2022, a KAI official described the FA-50 as a proven platform that has been in service with the Republic of Korea Air Force (RoKAF) since 2013.
The aircraft type can also be configured quickly between the light fighter and lead-in trainer mission roles with minimal down times, is relatively low-cost per flying hour when compared with other aircraft in its class, and is proven to feature high levels of availability while serving the RoKAF. (Source: Janes)
16 Feb 22. MBDA Deutschland pitches Enforcer for Australia’s Project Land 159 Tranche 2. MBDA Deutschland is proposing the 89 mm Enforcer shoulder-launched land combat guided missile system for the Australian Department of Defence’s (DoD) Lethality System Project (Land 159) Tranche 2/Short Range Direct Fire Support Weapon requirement.
Confirming the offer, a company spokesperson told Janes that Enforcer is fully compliant with the objectives of the country’s Sovereign Guided Weapons and Explosive Ordnance Enterprise and, if selected, it will be built, maintained, and evolved in partnership with Australian industry.
Enforcer will enter service with the Special Forces Command of the German armed forces – it’s inaugural user – in 2024 under the provisions of a EUR76m (USD86m) contract awarded to MBDA Deutschland by the Federal Office of Bundeswehr Equipment, Information Technology and In-Service Support (BAAINBw) in December 2019 for the German Federal Ministry of Defence’s ‘Leichtes Wirkmittel 1800+’ requirement. Germany is the only publicly disclosed customer for the weapon system, although the MBDA spokesperson confirmed that the company “has received interest in Enforcer from multiple international customers”. (Source: Janes)
14 Feb 22. Russia’s defense aircraft sales prosper, but is it losing its biggest regional customer? Indonesia has admitted defeat in its attempt to buy Russian Sukhoi Su-35 fighter jets, and will now decide between two Western designs, the Southeast Asian nation’s Air Force chief announced in December.
Nevertheless, Russia’s aerospace industry is thriving through a lucrative export market in the Indo-Pacific region, selling multirole fighters, light-attack aircraft and helicopters to traditional customers and making inroads into new ones.
The Yakovlev Yak-130 advanced trainer/light-attack aircraft is a popular choice among regional air forces seeking to recapitalize fleets of legacy Russian or Soviet bloc trainer aircraft or to acquire light-attack and air defense capabilities.
The aircraft offers advanced avionics, including a fly-by-wire flight control system and a digital glass cockpit. It can carry a range of rockets and guided and unguided bombs as well as air-to-air and air-to-ground missiles.
Russia’s state-owned arms export agency Rosoboronexport says the Yak-130 “training (combat-training) aircraft is intended for flight and operational training of flying personnel as well as for performing combat missions.” It adds that the aircraft “can be effective as a light attack aircraft in engaging air and ground (surface) targets.”
The type is in use with the air forces of Bangladesh, Laos and Myanmar, which operate 11, 10 and 18 of the aircraft, respectively. Vietnam has also begun accepting deliveries of a dozen it has on order.
Through its purchase of the Yak-130, the small Air Force of the landlocked Southeast Asian nation Laos has gained an air defense capability for the first time since the late 1990s.
In contrast, Vietnam will likely use its Yak-130s mostly as trainers, replacing its aging Czech-built Aero Vodochody L-39 Albatros trainers and providing its future pilots with a modern platform able to replicate the newer aircraft in its fleet, including Sukhoi Su-27 and Su-30 jets.
Myanmar is a relatively new market for Russia, having previously been reliant on China as its source of arms and other military equipment. The Southeast Asian country is also an operator of the Russian Mil Mi-35P attack helicopter and has six Sukhoi Su-30MKE multirole fighter jets on order, the latter following a 2018 contract.
Russia said in July 2021 it is committed to delivering on the aircraft deal despite the February 2021 coup that saw Myanmar’s military take over the government. Myanmar’s Air Force has used its Yak-130s and Mi-35Ps in combat against the insurgency that sprung up after the coup.
The largest Indo-Pacific market for Russia’s aerospace industry remains China, although technological advancements by Chinese businesses have led to a downward trend in Beijing’s interest in Russian platforms.
China’s reliance on Russian aircraft engines, a long-reported Achilles’ heel of Beijing’s military modernization drive, is also likely to wane as local aerospace engine developments continue apace, said Andreas Rupprecht, who has written several books on Chinese military aviation.
Some Chengdu J-10 fighters are in operational service with the WS-10 engine in lieu of the Russian AL-31s. Recent months have also seen the Chinese WS-10 fitted on several of China’s Chengdu J-20 stealth fighters.
Additionally, satellite imagery of the Xi’an Aircraft Company’s production facility at Yanliang airfield in Xi’an show at least four Y-20 strategic airlifters and Y-20U tankers fitted with the WS-20 high-bypass turbofan.
Rupprecht told Defense News he would be surprised if any future indigenous fixed-wing aircraft design meant for China’s military uses Russian engines. He noted that China’s Xi’an H-6K bomber is also believed to be earmarked for re-engine work using domestic technology, which is currently undergoing flight tests and would replace the Russian D-30KP turbofan.
China’s latest aircraft purchase from Russia was an order for an unknown number of Mil Mi-171Sh transport helicopters, placed sometime in the second half of 2020. Initial rumors of the sale spread in September that year, and a news segment broadcast on China’s Phoenix TV showed a helicopter with Chinese markings at Russian Helicopters’ Ulan-Ude Aviation Plant. The acquisition followed the purchase of a small fleet of Su-35s from Russia in 2015, with deliveries starting two years later.
Crew members aboard a Vietnamese Air Force Mi-171 helicopter search off the Vietnamese island Phu Quoc on March 11, 2014, for traces of the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370. (Hoang Dinh Nam/AFP via Getty Images)
It was reported that the Mil Mi-171Sh helicopters are configured for combat search and rescue missions, and feature a “complete self-protection package.” Deliveries of these began sometime in 2021 and are reported to serve with an as-yet-unknown brigade in the Eastern Theater Command.
The acquisition caught observers by surprise, given China’s indigenous helicopter program that has led to the development of several medium and heavy transport helicopters as well as attack helicopter designs. But the purchase is part of a continuing trend in which China buys niche capabilities that it has yet to produce itself — in this case, for combat search and rescue. (Source: Defense News)
14 Feb 22. Singapore boosts Chinook fleet with deliveries of CH-47F. Singapore will retire its Boeing CH-47D Chinook heavy-lift helicopters as it continues to take deliveries of new CH-47Fs from the United States, the Republic of Singapore Air Force chief has confirmed. The retirement effort suggests the service will retain its newer CH-47SD helicopters to serve alongside the CH-47Fs, increasing its fleet of Chinooks to 26.
Responding to the media in writing in the lead-up to the Singapore Airshow, Maj. Gen. Kelvin Khong said Singapore’s five CH-47Ds, which were used to train Air Force personnel while the aircraft were based in the United States and Australia, “will be progressively drawn down.”
The CH-47Ds are the survivors of six helicopters acquired by Singapore’s Air Force in 1994. These were assigned to the Peace Prairie detachment at Grand Prairie, Texas, with the state’s National Guard before they were moved to the Oakey Army Aviation Centre in Queensland, Australia, in 2018.
Singapore then bolstered its fleet of Chinooks in 1998 with 10 CH-47SD helicopters, which were equipped digital engine controls and glass cockpits. All of the Air Force’s Chinooks are fitted with fuel tanks larger than comes standard as well as a radar in the nose, with the CH-47SD versions serving with 127 Squadron at Sembawang Air Base.
In 2015, Singapore announced it had ordered the CH-47F to replace its “older Chinooks” under a Direct Commercial Sale contract with Boeing. The government did not disclose the number of helicopters ordered, although civil registration data from the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration indicated Singapore ordered 16.
Deliveries of the CH-47Fs started in May 2021, with the first helicopters going to the Oakey training detachment. Ten of these will eventually be based in Australia, with the remaining six bound for Singapore.
The first CH-47Fs have already arrived in Singapore, with a chartered Ukrainian civilian freighter aircraft bringing two helicopters from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to Singapore last month.
Singapore’s CH-47Fs are also fitted with the larger fuel tanks and a radar in the nose, as well as an integrated electronic warfare system and a satellite communications dome. The EW system includes laser and radar warning receivers, a missile approach warning system, and decoy dispensers for self-protection. Singapore’s Air Force also upgraded its fleet of CH-47SDs with similar equipment, although they differ slightly in appearance to that of the CH-47Fs. Defense News previously identified the self-protection system on the older helicopters as the All-in-Small defensive suite by Israeli company Elbit Systems, although the provenance of the CH-47F’s equivalent systems is unknown. (Source: Defense News)
14 Feb 22. Philippine Air Force modernizes fleet following financial troubles, historical inaction. The Philippines’ defense secretary late last year ordered 32 Black Hawk helicopters for the country — part of an ongoing defense modernization effort driven by territorial disputes and a need for several aerial capabilities. An archipelago of more than 7,000 islands in a seismically active zone and in the path of typhoons sweeping west toward East Asia from the expanses of the Pacific, the Philippines is regularly beset by natural disasters. Transport aircraft and helicopters provide vital capabilities during humanitarian assistance and disaster relief missions.
Coupled with surveillance capabilities, these air assets have proven critical to the Philippine military’s efforts to fight a domestic communist insurgency as well as separatist movements in the south, adding another layer to the security outlook for the U.S. ally.
Territorial disputes in the South China Sea also add to the complex situation, with China claiming the Spratly and Paracel islands within its self-proclaimed nine-dash line — claims wholly or partly disputed by the Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia, Vietnam and Taiwan.
Nevertheless, the Philippines is left scrambling to catch up amid a tight budget and following a decade of inaction to replace aging defense capabilities. Collin Koh, a research fellow at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies within Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University, said the Philippines’ debt has ballooned during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Koh told Defense News modernizing the Philippines’ fleet of transport aircraft and helicopters is a primary area of concern for the country, as it has an “outstanding need to carry out modernization of multiple categories of aircraft.”
This is largely a result of a decade, beginning at the turn of the millennium, during which little was done to address the regressing capability of the military. It was then-President Benigno Aquino III who kick-started the country’s modernization effort around 2013.
More recently, the country’s economy experienced a 9.5% contraction in real gross domestic product in 2020, but the defense budget was held steady at 2019 levels, according to two experts with the International Institute for Strategic Studies.
“The disruption of the pandemic to defense procurement has been relatively limited,” Tom Waldwyn and Fenella McGerty wrote in May 2021. “However, some modernization funding was ‘repurposed’ to deal with COVID-19, and although the Department of National Defense is getting most of this back in 2021, some projects, such as the Navy’s corvette program, have now been pushed back to the 2023-2028 time frame.
Tactical air power
The Philippine Air Force ended a 10-year span without a fast-jet combat capability in 2015, when deliveries of 12 Korean Aerospace Industries-made FA-50 trainers/light-attack jets began. The service had retired in 2005 its last Northrop Grumman-made F-5A Freedom Fighters.
The FA-50, developed using KAI’s T-50 Golden Eagle trainer, is equipped with radar technology, air-to-air missiles, and precision-strike capabilities via guided bombs and air-to-ground missiles. The Philippines has used the aircraft in counterinsurgency operations since 2017.
Now, the country is considering Lockheed Martin’s F-16 Fighting Falcon and Saab’s JAS 39 Gripen for its multirole fighter program.
The U.S. State Department in June cleared a potential foreign military sales package for 12 F-16 Block 70/72 aircraft valued at as much as $2.43bn. The package for the Philippines includes 10 single-seat F-16C and two dual-seat F-16D fighters fitted with active electronically scanned array radars, joint helmet mounted cueing systems, AIM-120 medium-range air-to-air missiles and targeting pods.
The department also approved separate weapons packages involving other missiles to equip the F-16s: a small number of AIM-9X Sidewinder short-range air-to-air missiles and AGM-84L-1 Harpoon anti-ship missiles.
However, Philippine National Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said the F-16 price tag is too expensive, leading to speculation that the Gripen will be the front-runner for the contract. Lorenzana also said he hopes the decision will be made sometime this year.
The Philippines’ urgent need for a front-line fighter jet stems from ongoing territorial disputes in the South China Sea as well as China’s regional dominance. The Philippine Air Force’s modernization initiative, Flight Plan 2028, calls for an ability to “intercept and neutralize” intruders into both its air defense identification zone and the South China Sea by the end of 2022. However, that target appears unachievable given the Philippines has not put pen to paper for any combat aircraft since deliveries of the first batch of FA-50s.
Going beyond the high-end air combat arena, the Philippines has also carried out a refresh of its counterinsurgency capabilities. In 2020, it took delivery of six EMB 314/A-29B Super Tucanos from Brazilian manufacturer Embraer.
There are hopes to grow that fleet to 24 aircraft by 2024; however, no further contracts have been signed.
Transports, helos and surveillance
The Philippines’ geography and geopolitical circumstances mean fixed- and rotary-wing transport platforms are critical to its force structure and heavily committed to moving personnel and cargo in support of counterinsurgency and disaster relief operations.
Like many Western-aligned nations, the Lockheed-made C-130 Hercules is part of the Philippine Air Force’s transport fleet. The service received in early 2021 two refurbished former U.S. Air Force C-130Hs to bolster the small handful of aircraft it operates. But it lost one about six months later in a landing accident during a troop transport run to Jolo Airport in the south, killing 50 of 104 people onboard as well as three people on the ground.
The country has since approved funding to acquire five new-build C-130J Super Hercules as part of its budget appropriations for 2022. The C-130Js will join four Airbus C295M twin-turboprop tactical airlifters as well as three newer C295W variants the country has had on order since 2020. The first of the C295Ws were seen by plane spotters at Spanish Airbus facilities around October 2021. They were slated for delivery in December, but that didn’t happen.
Philippine Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, third from right, receives a brief on the ScanEagle drone received by the country in March 2018 at Villamor Air Base, southeast of Manila. (Bullit Marquez/AP)
Likewise, transport helicopters have also been high on the Philippines’ procurement agenda. The venerable Bell UH-1H utility helicopter continues to soldier on in the Air Force, but the service has made its replacement a priority.
The Philippines recently took delivery of 16 S-70i Black Hawk helicopters built under license by Poland’s PZL Mielec, although one was lost in a June crash. The country is already proceeding with the purchase of more Black Hawks, with Lorenzana issuing a notice of award to PZL Mielec in late December for 32 more.
This is in addition to T129B attack helicopters from Turkish Aerospace Industries. The Philippines has six helicopters on order under a $269m government-to-government contract with Turkey. The Philippine Air Force posted photos of two of the helicopters on its social media pages. Their delivery date was from November to December 2021, although deliveries have yet to occur by press time.
Enhancing the Air Force’s surveillance capability is a key plank of the Philippines’ modernization drive, with a variety of manned and unmanned platforms introduced in recent years to cover everything from basic maritime domain awareness to overland intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance.
The manned platforms include a pair of Beechcraft TC-90 King Air planes donated to the Philippine Navy for maritime surveillance, and a pair of Cessna 208 Caravans modified for the Air Force.
Unmanned platforms include the Insitu ScanEagle used by both the Air Force and the Navy, with the former having also acquired the Hermes 450 and 900 medium- and high-altitude unmanned aircraft systems, respectively, with four and nine in service. (Source: Defense News)
16 Feb 22. Thailand purchase of F-35 stealth jets depends on U.S. government, says Lockheed Martin exec. Thailand’s interest in Lockheed Martin’s (LMT.N) F-35 stealth fighters is genuine, but clearance to buy the jets is a matter for the U.S. government, a senior executive from the defence giant said on Wednesday. Speaking on the sidelines of the Singapore Airshow, Tim Cahill, Lockheed Martin’s senior vice president for Global Business, confirmed Thailand had expressed interest, but said there was “nothing official that I am aware of that has come relative to that.”
In January, the Southeast Asian country’s air force set aside about $413m for procuring four of the jets. Earlier, the country’s Air Chief Marshal Napadej Dhupatemiya said Thailand would be interested in buying as many as eight F-35s.
“This will be a U.S. government policy decision,” Cahill said. “I think there is some promise there, but I honestly don’t know where the U.S. government will come down on that.”
The F-35, one of the world’s most advanced fighter aircraft, is considered a highly sensitive export, sold only to the United States’ closest allies. In the Indo-Pacific region, only Australia, Japan, South Korea and Singapore fly the jet.
The U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Political Military Affairs’ Office of Congressional and Public Affairs did not immediately respond to a request for comment outside business hours. (Source: Reuters)
14 Feb 22. Lebanon’s Navy to receive multipurpose boats from Italy, patrol boats from United States. Lebanon’s Navy is expected to receive this year multi-purpose boats from Italy and Protector-class coastal patrol boats from the United States, but the country still hopes to revive frigate negotiations with Italy.
Last month, the Lebanese Navy received a donation from Italy of a 12-meter-long multi-purpose boat known as a Rigid Inflatable Boat, an 8000-liter fuel tanker and two 20-passenger vans.
“A similar donation is expected to be received during July 2022. The Navy also expects to receive a donation [of] 100,000 Euros worth from the Italian side for the maintenance of the Multi Beam Echo Sounder and the updating of the software used in the production of nautical charts,” Navy Commander Senior Capt. Haissam Dannaoui told Defense News.
However, Dannoui said no agreement has been reached with the Italian government about a potential donation of frigates.
“The project of frigates provided as an Italian donation has not yet taken shape, and the detailed specifications of these frigates have not been discussed,” he said. “If the situation in the country improves, the Navy aspires to re-launch this project and to set the detailed specifications for such boats.”
Members of the Lebanese Naval Forces conducted training on two U.S. Coast Guard ships at the Beirut Naval Base earlier this month, according to the Lebanese Army official website. The website said this was “training members of the Naval Forces to use boats that will be a donation to the navy during 2022.”
Dannoui told Defense News the Navy is set to receive from the United States “three Protector-class boats, 27 meters long each, with a total weight of 93 tons. These boats are considered as coastal patrol boats that contribute to enhancing the ability of the navy to carry out the tasks assigned to it.”
He said the exercises taking place with the two U.S. ships included those focused on sharing experiences in the field of damage control on board boats, exchanging experiences in the field of search and rescue and a workshop on boats donated by the American side.
Dannoui said the Protector-class vessels are expected in late 2022 or early 2023. In May 2021, the U.S. Defense Department notified Lebanon of planned delivery in 2022 of the three Protector-class patrol boats. The ships will help counter regional threats and keep maritime passages open, the U.S. State Department said in a statement after the first Defense Resourcing Conference to discuss deepening the two countries’ security collaboration.
Additionally, “the Navy will receive [eight] US interceptor boats Safe 44 variant, and we are in the process of continuously developing our capabilities in order to establish total control over our national waters,” Dannoui told Defense News. (Source: Defense News)
11 Feb 22. Ottawa launches long-awaited competition for armed military drones. The federal government has officially launched a competition for the purchase of armed drones after nearly two decades of delays and discussion around whether Canada should buy the controversial weapons.
A formal request for proposals was released Friday to the two companies shortlisted to bid on the $5bn contract, which could see the Canadian Armed Forces launch a fleet of unmanned aerial vehicles in the next few years.
A formal contract is not expected for another year or two, while the first drone isn’t scheduled for delivery until at least 2025, with the last to arrive in the early 2030s.
The request does not say how many vehicles the government plans to buy, and instead leaves it up to the two companies to say how their bids will satisfy the military’s needs while benefiting the Canadian economy.
It does reveal the aircraft will be based at 14 Wing Greenwood in Nova Scotia and 19 Wing Comox in British Columbia, while the main control centre will be in the Ottawa area. Yellowknife is also identified as a forward operating location.
The drone force will include around 240 air force members, with 55 in Greenwood, 25 in Comox and 160 in Ottawa.
While delivery is still years away, the fact the military has reached even this point represents a major step forward after almost 20 years of work to identify and buy a fleet of UAVs to conduct surveillance over Canadian territory and support missions abroad.
Aside from purchasing a small number of temporary, unarmed drones for the war in Afghanistan — all of which have since been retired — the military has never been able to make much progress on a permanent fleet.
That was despite drones taking on an increasingly important role in militaries around the world. A report in the Royal Canadian Air Force Journal in late 2015 said 76 foreign militaries were using drones and another 50 were developing them.
One major reason: no federal government had authorized adding drones as a permanent fixture within the military in the same vein as fighter-jet or helicopter squadrons until the Liberal government included them in its 2017 defence policy.
The government and military say the unmanned aircraft will be used for surveillance and intelligence gathering as well as delivering pinpoint strikes from the air on enemy forces in places where the use of force has been approved.
Some have previously criticized the decision to buy armed drones given concerns about their potential use in Canada and numerous reports of airstrikes by other nations, particularly the United States and Russia, causing unintended damage and civilian casualties.
The government has also said little about the scenarios in which force might be used, including whether drones could be deployed for assassinations. Officials have suggested they would be used in the same way as conventional weapons such as fighter jets and artillery.
“While the (drones) will be a medium-altitude long-endurance system with a precision strike capability, it will only be armed when necessary for the assigned task,” the Defence Department said Friday.
“At all times, employment of precision strike capability will adhere to the Law of Armed Conflict, as well as any other applicable domestic or international laws. Use of force will be applied following rules of engagement applicable to the CAF.” (Source: https://www.ctvnews.ca/)
14 Feb 22. DITRDC Emerging Aviation Technology Partnerships Program open for applications. The Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications’ aviation technology partnerships program is open for applications. Applications close on 31 March.
The Emerging Aviation Technology Partnerships Program will support strategic partnerships with industry, using emerging aviation technology to address community needs, particularly in regional Australia. Its objective is to encourage and enable the development and deployment of emerging aviation technologies to enhance the competitiveness, efficiency and reliability of Australian aviation, including by expanding employment in the aviation sector; improving supply chain and market efficiency and improving connections with regional and remote, including Indigenous, communities. The Program will also contribute to the digital transformation of Australian businesses, increased business efficiency, and reduced carbon emissions through new technology.
Under the Program, the Department will partner with industry to test emerging aviation technology through pilot projects across five focus areas:
- Digital farming
- Connecting regional communities
- Boosting regional supply chains
- Improving health outcomes for remote indigenous communities
- Manufacturing in emerging aviation technology
Funding under the Program will be used flexibly to support a range of activities that contribute to project delivery including direct payments to industry partners and, where agreed between the government and industry partners, provision of a range of other funding for procurement related activities to support the delivery of projects.
All information required is contained within the Program Guidelines PDF: 311 KB. While the Department will be limited in what can be discussed now the grant opportunity has been released, questions or queries can be made to (Source: http://rumourcontrol.com.au/)
11 Feb 22. Naval Group and PT PAL Indonesia sign MoU for submarine cooperation. Indonesia announced intention to buy two Scorpene submarines from Naval Group. France-based Naval Group has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with PT PAL Indonesia for submarines research and development cooperation. The strategic partnership between the companies is expected to boost the maritime defence of Indonesia. It will also see both the companies use their expertise and capabilities to fulfil the increasing defence needs of the Southeast Asian country.
The signing took place at the Office of the Ministry of Defense of the Republic of Indonesia. It was witnessed directly by Indonesian Defence Minister general Prabowo Subianto and French Armed Forces Minister Florence Parly.
Naval Group CEO Pierre Eric Pommellet said: “We welcome the declarations of the Minister of Defence of Indonesia to engage cooperation in the submarine domain between PT Pal and Naval Group.
“We have signed a Memorandum of Understanding for that purpose and are looking forward to working together on the submarine programme to meet the needs of the Indonesian Navy and to strengthen the Indonesian naval and defence industry.”
Further, Indonesian Defence Minister Prabowo Subianto expressed intention to procure two Scorpene submarines for the Indonesian Navy from Naval Group.
The vessels will feature air-independent propulsion technology and be equipped with complete armaments.
PT Pal CEO Dr Kaharuddin Djenod said: “It is an important history for the two countries. The French Government is very serious in supporting Indonesia’s capabilities development of defence equipment. And we, PT PAL are proud to be an important part of this historic moment.” (Source: naval-technology.com)
13 Feb 22. Canada invites C-UAS companies to join national technology assessment trials later this year. Counter-UAS (C-UAS) companies from around the world have been invited to apply to join the Canadian Joint Operations Command (CJOC)-led “CUAS” sandbox trials taking place in Suffield, Alberta between 12 September and 7 October 2022.
“Applications are open to individuals, academia, not for profit organizations, and industry of any size, as well as provincial, territorial, and municipal organizations…. Foreign companies can apply. Sandboxes are not exclusively restricted to made in Canada products/solutions; however, the level of Canadian content within each application will be given consideration during the evaluation process…”
The Canadian Joint Operations Command (CJOC) is leading the CUAS effort, coordinating with the Canadian Army, Royal Canadian Navy (RCN), Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF), and Canadian Special Operations Forces Command (CANSOFCOM). The information presented in this sandbox represents a blending of requirements and characteristics of interest to one or more of the services, as well as the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP).
“At a minimum, at the time of application your solution must have already successfully completed the work and validation testing associated with refining the integration of the solution’s components (Solution Readiness Level 5 or higher). This ensures that solutions are ready for the near-end state demonstrations and testing in a simulated environment that DND/CAF expects in a Sandbox.”
Interested companies have until 13 April 2022 to apply.
For more information