UNITED KINGDOM AND NATO
24 Feb 22. £2.8m available for advanced Radio Frequency (RF) Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) innovations. DASA is supporting MOD’s Bright Corvus Project to deliver distributed RF-based ISR and Effects for future Defence Electromagnetic Spectrum landscapes. The Defence and Security Accelerator (DASA), on behalf of the Bright Corvus Project, is pleased to launch a new themed competition called Advanced Radio Frequency Sensing Integrated Effects and PNT. This competition seeks to find disruptive innovations that enhance our approach to delivering pervasive, resilient Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) and agile effects, supported by Position, Navigation and Timing (PNT) as a Service (PNTaaS), into future Defence & Security Electromagnetic Spectrum (EMS) landscapes.
Key Dates and funding
Up to £2.8m is available for this competition and DASA expects to fund 15-20 proposals.
Submission deadline: Midday on Tuesday 26th April 2022
Next generation ISR capabilities
One of the most significant, enduring capability challenges MOD faces is pervasive, full spectrum, multi domain ISR. In an increasingly congested and complex Electromagnetic Spectrum (EMS), it is essential to develop capabilities for situational awareness and affecting the adversary systems that are reliant on the EMS. As a result, a move away from large monolithic RF sensors, towards spatially distributed solutions that exploit autonomy and integrate with RF effectors will be part of delivering a step change in capabilities.
This competition is funded by the Bright Corvus project, under MOD’s Future Sensing and Situational Awareness (FSSA) Science & Technology (S&T) Programme. The Bright Corvus project seeks to all deliver change compared to current ISR capabilities by developing:
- advanced, distributed RF sensing
- integrated RF effects
- provision of PNTaaS
Do you have a solution? Read the full competition document to learn more and submit a proposal
What innovations are DASA looking for?
The focus of this competition is multi-function, distributed RF Sensing (including RADAR and Electronic Surveillance (ES) of both communications and radar bands) to support ISR and the targeting, delivery and post-action assessment of integrated RF effects. Multi-modal aspects within or between platforms are welcomed.
Solutions should demonstrate their relevance to Bright Corvus through contextualised use of platforms or scenarios.
This competition will consider platforms ranging from dismountable (into buildings of opportunity) or man-portable systems through Unmanned Vehicles and elements that could be mounted onto manned platforms (including pods).
Solutions should show how innovations could mature post-project to deliver benefit in a deployed context. For example:
- Dense urban environment with congested EM Environment (EME)
- Contested or disrupted EM environments
- Littoral coastal defences
- Operating at significant range from mission base
- Operating across mountainous/valley systems
Challenge 1: Distributed RF Sensing
This challenge area seeks innovations that detect, recognise and identify entities of interest as well as locate and track them in complex physical and EM environments. Solutions should focus on novel technology and techniques distributed across numerous sensors that collectively provide better overall performance than current monolithic counterparts and at lower individual costs.
Challenge 2: Integrated Sensing & Effects
This challenge area seeks innovations that advance integration of sensing with RF effect delivery at range or within challenging environments. For example, increasing automation, intelligent application of resources and understanding and orchestrating Electronic Warfare missions across distributed resources.
Challenge 3 – Integrated Sensing & Effects Enablers
This challenge area seeks enablers to core systems, including antennas, power and modularity. Proposals should demonstrate potential to unlock a step change in how we operate and deploy a variety of different future systems. For example:
- antenna and front end circuitry developments
- modular system design approaches
- new power technologies to enable small multi-function, sensor/effector systems
Challenge 4: PNT as a Service
In this challenge area, proposals should include evidence of how they enable distributed RF sensing and effector concepts through novel PNT technologies, PNT fusion and dissemination techniques, and resilience to or detection of disruptors.
Challenge 5 – Novel Concepts and Architectures for advanced RF Sensing and Effectors
This challenge area seeks proposals that inform development of secure, autonomous coordination of sensor/ effector units across multiple platforms to maintain continuous sensing, tracking or effect delivery in a deployed scenario.
Learn more about the challenge areas in the full competition document.
Have questions? Join our upcoming webinars
Briefings & Dial-in sessions for Competition Launch
Date: Thursday 03 March 2022
Join this session for further detail on the competition, the challenge areas and potential solutions. You will also have a chance to ask questions in an open forum.
A series of 15 minute one-to-one teleconferences
Date: Tuesday 8 and Thursday 10 March 2022 Sign up for a one-to-one conversation with a competition organiser to ask any questions you have about the competition and submitting a proposal.
08 March. Register here.
10 March. Register here.
Submit a proposal
Do you have a solution or novel approach that may help us move towards spatially distributed, pervasive, sensor systems?
Submit an idea and help inform DASA and the MOD’s Bright Corvus Project on developing enhanced ISR into future defence EMS landscapes.
Read the full competition document to learn more and submit a proposal.: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/advanced-radio-frequency-sensing-integrated-effects-and-pnt (Source: https://www.gov.uk/)
22 Feb 22. During the International Military Helicopter conference, staged over three days from 15-17 February, in London, UK and managed by DefenceIQ, the theme of the future of military rotorcraft was at the fore. The conference was well attended by a good international audience and backed by a good range of industry sponsors. Prior to the conference, on Monday 14 February, UK Minister of the Armed Forces James Heappey and US Secretary of the Army Ryan McCarthy signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MoU) to collaborate on the modernisation of a number of Army capabilities, not least the US Army’s next generation rotorcraft covered by the Future Vertical Lift development. The FVL Co-operative Program Feasibility Assessment agreement is more of a ‘hanging onto the coat-tails’ of two programmes that have long been in motion to produce the US Army’s next generation of Future Long-Range Assault Aircraft (FLRAA) and the Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft (FARA). The underlining requirements are for speed, range and open system architecture so that through-life systems upgrades are not proprietary and that the cost of ownership should be reduced over time. The UK is also a member of the the NATO Next Generation Rotorcraft Capability (NGRC). In November 2020 the UK four other NATO member nations – France, Germany, Greece and Italy – in signing a Letter of Intent (LoI) to develop a new helicopter capability. Incidentally, the UK also needs a New Medium Helicopter (NMH) to replace its fleet of 24 AS 330 Puma HC2s, upgraded and delivered by Airbus Helicopter from 2012 to 2015. Upgrades included two Turbomeca Makila 1A1 turboshaft engines and a new digital cockpit among other improvements. However, the fleet is due for retirement in 2025, with replacements also being sought for six AS365 Dauphan IIs, the three Bell 412 Griffin HAR2 helicopters operated in Cyprus, five Bell 212s operated in Brunei and Kenya, as well as filling a light attack helicopter role now vacant following the retirement of the Lynx AH Mk9. There are already a number of potential contenders for the NMH including the Leonardo AW149, Airbus H160M or H175M, Sikorsky’s S-70I or even the Bell 525 Relentless. But this is not a replacement for a next generation helicopter requirement, be it of the FVL or NGRC type. One comment made during a coffee break to this writer by a serving European officer was along the lines of – “why is so much being made of the US FVL strategy – the US may have to fly ‘far and fast’ if it operates in the Indo Pacific, but that rule does not have to apply to Europe.” However, with the ever present demands from military pilots for more speed, range and power – it is unlikely that next generation designs will be overlooked. (Source: Armada)
22 Feb 22. Japan approves JNAAM co-development. As part of its fiscal year (FY) 2022 budget, the cabinet of Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has approved plans to proceed with the co-development of a Joint New Air-to-Air Missile (JNAAM) with the United Kingdom. Specifically, Japan’s Ministry of Defense (MoD) has secured JPY350m (USD3m) to fund preparation costs related to air-launch tests of a prototype of the JNAAM for FY 2022, starting in April, an official at the MoD’s Acquisition, Technology & Logistics Agency (ATLA) confirmed to Janes on 21 February. The official said the joint programme transitioned to a prototype stage in FY 2018 and was expected to finish trial production of the prototype during FY 2022.
However, scheduling of the joint programme with the UK will be amended due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, the official said. Following the trial production of the prototype, the two countries will evaluate the performance of the missile and then decide whether to put the weapon into mass production. (Source: Janes)
21 Feb 22. UK confirms intent to acquire additional A400M airlifters. The United Kingdom has firmed up its intent to acquire additional Airbus A400M Atlas airlifters, with the procurement featuring in the latest Defence Equipment Plan 2021–2031. In the plan published on 21 February, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) made several references to its decision to acquire further A400M aircraft to add to the 22 currently on order, although the proposed additional aircraft numbers, budgets, and timelines were not disclosed. “In later years of the plan, [there will be] planned equipment investments worth GBP2.3bn [USD3.13bn], including […] further A400M aircraft,” the plan noted. It added that the top-level budget for this and other longer-term items has not yet been delegated, “and doing so will be dependent on the affordability of the programme as a whole”. (Source: Janes)
23 Feb 22. Italian lawmakers tee up military shopping spree for destroyers, armored vehicles. Italian politicians are working hard this month to sign off on a stream of new procurement plans including naval destroyers and amphibious vehicles as Italy’s booming defense budget fuels a military shopping spree. Top of the list are two 10,000 tonne DDX destroyers with a total price tag of 2.7bn euros ($3bn), followed by 64 new amphibious vehicles and 347 VTMM 2 armored vehicles for the army. The rush of approvals being given by the defense committees of the lower house and senate of the Italian parliament follow a series of bumper defense budgets culminating in last year’s 6.76bn euros ($7.66bn) procurement spend, up 24 percent on the previous year. At the end of last year, the committees signed off on a 1.4 billion euro ($1.59) spend on upgrades for Italy’s four B767 tankers as well as the purchase of two extra aircraft, taking the Air Force’s tanker-transport fleet to six. Money was also freed up for the conversion of six already purchased, basic Gulfstream G550 aircraft for early warning or signals intelligence missions, while €80m ($90m) is to be spent over five years on the special forces “Praetorian” version of the C-27J tactical transport aircraft. Nearly €4m ($4.5m) was also approved to supply Italy’s special forces with loitering munitions, while the army will receive more VTLM 2 vehicles, among other programs. The approvals handed down by parliament do not mean the total costs of the procurements will be freed up immediately – it merely allows the defense ministry to start allocated tranches of payments for new programs that may be paid off over years. But the numerous requests for approvals from parliament does reflect confidence by ministry planners that budgets will remain buoyant. What is driving the rise in spending drew various explanations from analysts.
“The rise reflects the growing competition in the Mediterranean and the reduced presence of the U.S. in the region,” said Germano Dottori, a scientific advisor to Limes, an Italian geopolitical publication.
He added that a watershed moment came in October when Gen. Enzo Vecciarelli, the outgoing military chief of staff, addressed the Italian parliament.
“He said Italy needed to be ready to carry out autonomous operations as well as joint operations with other nations, and that was a new thing for Italy,” said Dottori.
“But the rise is also due to the growing attention paid to the profile of Italy’s domestic defense industry and to Italy’s technological autonomy,” he added.
Alessandro Marrone, the head of defense programs at Rome think tank IAI, said it had helped having the same defense minister in office for three years.
Lorenzo Guerini was appointed in 2019 by then-prime minister Giuseppe Conte, but was reappointed by Mario Draghi, who formed a new government at the start of last year.
“Guerini has had time to articulate and implement a vision which recognizes international tensions and he has pushed the military to invest in systems for high end scenarios,” he said.
Rising budgets had proved resistant to two years of increased health care spending during Covid, he added. “That allowed procurement officials to launch programs with mid and long term horizons,” he said.
A note of caution was sounded by Michele Nones, vice president at IAI, who pointed out that the bulk of the defense cash was being spent on domestic programs.
“There is a push throughout Europe towards domestic programs to help boost home economies and to respond quickly to requirements that have been held up for too long,” he said.
“That has led to a drop in joint European programs, which could harm interoperability,” he added. (Source: Defense News)
REST OF THE WORLD
24 Feb 22. General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA-ASI) has become the world leader in Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems – with an important assist from Canadian industry. GA-ASI has advanced the performance and sustainment of long-range, long-endurance Remotely Piloted Aircraft by partnering with Canadian companies, including CAE and L3Harris Technologies’ Canadian subsidiary WESCAM, for more than a decade.
“Our partnerships with Canadian industry have not only helped GA-ASI revolutionize global security and defense and strengthen the capabilities of allied nations but have also created opportunities for Canadian companies to expand their exports by including products on GA-ASI platforms delivered to customers throughout the world,” said GA-ASI President David R. Alexander. “We appreciate the contributions of Canadian companies like CAE and L3Harris, and we look forward to working with MDA who we have teamed with on RPAS, as we further build and strengthen business alliances in Canada.”
In addition to CAE, L3Harris and MDA, GA-ASI is actively working with multiple Canadian businesses, big and small, for its Team SkyGuardian® Canada initiative. GA-ASI continues to recruit Canadian businesses and their RPA-related innovations. More information can be found at www.ga-asi.com/teamskyguardiancanada/
GA-ASI looks forward to responding to the Request for Proposals released by the Canadian government for RPAS. Together, we look forward to advancing the security of Canada today and into the future.
23 Feb 22. Here are the competitors for Malaysia’s jet trainer contract. One of the aircraft competing for a Malaysian trainer contract made its debut at the Singapore Airshow last week, taking part in static and flying displays. While the other competitors opted to maintain a lower profile, three of India’s Hindustan Aeronautics Limited-made Tejas showed off their capabilities, courtesy of the No. 18 “Flying Bullets” Squadron based in Sulur. Two of the aircraft participated in aerial displays during the air show, which took place Feb. 15-18 at the Changi Exhibition Centre. Malaysia is seeking 18 jets to replace its fleet of BAE Systems-made Hawk 108 trainers and Hawk 208 light-attack jets, which were introduced in 1994 and have suffered from increasing attrition.
Korean Aerospace Industries is also competing for Malaysia’s Fighter Lead In Trainer-Light Combat Aircraft program, pitching its FA-50 Golden Eagle multirole jet. The South Korean company’s booth at the air show included models of the FA-50, the KF-21 Boramae fighter, the Surion helicopter and the Light Armed Helicopter. Its KT-1B turboprop trainers were flown by Indonesia’s Jupiter aerobatics team during an aerial display. The FA-50 and its predecessor, the T-50 trainer, are regional export success stories, with Indonesia, the Philippines and Thailand joining South Korea in operating the type. Outside of the region, Iraq operates the Golden Eagle. A possible sticking point for the FA-50 could be its Israeli-origin Elta Systems ELM-2032 multimode radar, as Malaysia is adamant in refusing to use Israeli systems over the country’s treatment of Palestinians. However, KAI’s regional manager, Lee Chang Jae, told Defense News that the FA-50 could be fitted with several other radars based on customer requirements, including an active electronically scanned array set under development by Hanwha for the KF-21 Boramae.
Turkish Aerospace Industries, which also hosted a booth at the air show, is proposing its Hurjet aircraft for Malaysia’s FLIT-LCA program. TAI is offering a strategic partnership with Malaysia to build a supersonic jet trainer for the Royal Malaysian Air Force, in which three would be produced in Turkey and 15 made in Malaysia under license, the company’s CEO, Temel Kotil, said during a Feb. 12 television interview.
“Within the scope of [the] FLIT-LCA program, Turkish Aerospace is making [a] 100% offset commitment through localization and technology transfer. After establishing a strong partnership and collaboration with local Malaysian partners, Turkish Aerospace will present a production process plan including [an] aircraft final assembly line in Malaysia,” the company told Defense News.
If it won the competition, TAI said, the first three aircraft would undergo final assembly in Turkey while the company trains Malaysian engineers and technicians. TAI would also transfer to local partners high-tech aerospace components such as wings, horizontal and vertical stabilizers, and rudders, as well as metallic and composite detail-parts manufacturing, component-level structural assembly, and system integration activities. The firm would also carry out weapon systems integration in Malaysia.
“It would be very useful for the program if the local partner [acquiring] these activities should have prior capabilities and capacity in similar areas,” TAI said.
The other FLIT-LCA contenders who also had booths at the air show were Italian firm Leonardo and the Aviation Industry Corporation of China, who are offering the M-346 Master and Hongdu L-15 Falcon, respectively. Media reports have also said Russia’s Rosoboronexport is offering the MiG-35 for the Malaysian tender. (Source: Defense News)
22 Feb 22. China to promote FC-31 for export. State-owned Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC) has established an office to actively promote foreign sales of the Shenyang Aircraft Corporation (SAC) FC-31 fifth-generation multirole fighter aircraft, the company said. AVIC said in a report published in mid-February that, with resources from SAC, Chinese research institute, and China National Aero-Technology Import & Export Corporation, the new SAC deputy general manager, Zhan Qiang, has established an office that will pursue a ‘self-oriented active promoting’ tactic to achieve FC-31 exports to targeted countries as well as domestic sales. The report says that Zhan has made significant progress in assessing the export market for the low-observable FC-31, a scale model of which was on display at Airshow China 2021 held from 28 September to 3 October 2021 in Zhuhai. (Source: Janes)
22 Feb 22. RAN’s RMC plan in Darwin progresses with tender release. The Regional Maintenance Centre North is expected to commence operations next year. A tender has been released to look for an industry partner to manage the RMC. This new regional maintenance centre will offer new capabilities, such as the evolved Cape-class patrol boats and Arafura-class offshore patrol vessels. These boats and ships are projected to arrive in Darwin in the upcoming years. Regional Maintenance Centre North is slated to commence operations next year. This facility is expected to generate nearly $115.20m (A$160m) into the Northern Territory’s economy. The Australian Government has plans to establish four RMCs around the four major naval homeports or support facilities in Cairns, Darwin, Henderson and Sydney. The centres will support the ongoing naval shipbuilding programme. HMAS Coonawarra commanding officer captain Moses Raudino said: “HMAS Coonawarra–Larrakeyah Defence Precinct has a tremendous amount of construction activity underway across the base and the changes over the next few years will add significant enhancements and additions to capability to the navy in the Top End. (Source: naval-technology.com)