UNITED KINGDOM AND NATO
11 Apr 22. The future of Defence Armed Forces recruiting reaches a new milestone. Bidders are selected to participate in competitive dialogue. The Ministry of Defence has invited four bidders to compete in dialogue with the winning bidder set to deliver the tri-Service recruiting solution for the Royal Navy, British Army and Royal Air Force. The new recruiting solution will place the candidate at the heart of the recruitment process while ensuring the Armed Forces achieve the right quality and quantity of candidates to satisfy demand while remaining agile and responsive to change.
Last summer, the Armed Forces Recruiting Programme engaged with industry and issued a Contract Notice and Pre-Qualification Questionnaire (PQQ). Following PQQ evaluation, the Programme down-selected to four preferred bidders; these bidders will now embark on three rounds of Competitive Dialogue. Once Competitive Dialogue is complete, a winning bidder will be selected, with the contract awarded in 2024 and Service Commencement April 2025.
The final recruiting solution will develop and foster an engaging, vibrant and inclusive candidate experience that meets the needs of the Armed Forces. This will be achieved by transforming the traditional recruiting systems, using examples of industry best practice, whilst retaining the rich heritage of the single Services. Further information about this award can be found on the Defence Sourcing Portal: https://www.contractsfinder.service.gov.uk/notice/c0f1c4a2-24f6-428e-894a-af30cc290ec0?origin=SearchResults&p=1 (Source: https://www.gov.uk/)
12 Apr 22. BAE Systems brings HMS Dragon PIP conversion to Portsmouth. BAE Systems has switched the major power generation upgrade for the UK Royal Navy (RN) Type 45 air defence destroyer HMS Dragon from the Cammell Laird yard in Birkenhead to its own facilities in Portsmouth Naval Base. The move is intended to accelerate the delivery of the Power Improvement Project (PIP), under which each ship will receive three 3 MW-rated Rolls-Royce Power Systems MTU 20V 4000 M53B diesel alternators – replacing the two 2 MW Wärtsilä 12V200 generator sets fitted at build – to increase electrical generation capacity onboard. The WR-21 Gas Turbine Alternators (GTAs) will remain to provide boost power as necessary but will be used less often. The Type 45’s Integrated Electric Propulsion (IEP) system has been beset by problems since build. Operating experience has highlighted a lack of resilience and redundancy in the current power and propulsion arrangement, in large part attributed to the of the poor reliability of the Rolls-Royce WR-21 GTAs, two of which are fitted in each ship. (Source: Janes)
14 Apr 22. Bell Textron Inc., a Textron Inc. (NYSE: TXT) company, completed another step in the production of AH-1Z and UH-1Y helicopters for international customers. Czech Republic Chief of Defense (CHOD) Gen. Aleš Opata and delegates visited Bell’s Amarillo Assembly Center in a landmark meeting to observe the Czech Republic H-1 aircraft production line.
“Hosting Gen. Opata at our Amarillo Assembly Center allows us to showcase the significant progress Bell has made in aircraft production to support this vital international program and customer,” said Mike Deslatte, H-1 vice president and program director. “We are honored to continue our great relationship with the Czech Republic as we prepare to provide them with leading defense aircraft and continue the success of the H-1 program.”
During the visit, Gen. Opata signed the beams of the first AH-1Z and UH-1Y aircraft that will be delivered to the Czech Republic. Production continues on schedule with all 12 aircraft expected to be complete in 2023. “In military operations today, one of the key requirements is to be able to win in both aircraft capabilities and logistics support,” said Nate Green, H-1 program manager. “There is no better example of two complementary aircraft regularly operating from expeditionary locations and completing as many missions together as the AH-1Z and UH-1Y.”
The Bell AH-1Z and UH-1Y offer advanced capabilities for defense missions and decrease the maintenance and operational footprint due to their 85% commonality. Bell is actively producing AH-1Zs for the U.S. Marine Corps and expects to complete deliveries this year, followed by production for international operators. Bell recently completed the first delivery of four AH-1Z helicopters to the Bahrain Defence Force and expects to complete the first international delivery of the AH-1Z this year.
13 Apr 22. Leonardo CEO is bullish on Europe’s defense market. The head of Italy’s defense giant Leonardo has said there is a “great willingness” in Europe to bring countries together to launch joint defense programs as funding multiplies in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Leonardo CEO Alessandro Profumo predicted jointly planned and produced systems were increasingly in demand on the continent after years in which countries duplicated designs, leading to massive wastes of funding.
“It’s a process, it won’t happen immediately, but there is a deep willingness by political and defense players for big opportunities of this kind in Europe,” he told reporters in Rome.
Profumo’s optimism comes after some analysts argued that a rush to procure new weaponry in the face of the Russian threat will lead to hurried purchases of off-the-shelf kit, either domestically or from the United States.
European multi-national programs, they said, often evolve when budgets are tight and nations need to share resources, not when budgets are expanding as they are across Europe now.
While talking up the prospects of joint programs, Profumo said he did not believe they would immediately trigger cross border mergers between defense companies.
“I don’t think there will be full mergers, just many joint programs — but there could be the unification of business lines, like MBDA,” he said, citing the European missile consortium in which various companies, including Leonardo, have pooled their missile work.
“That could happen in other areas,” he said.
Meanwhile, he said he believed that Germany’s decision to spend an extra €100bn (U.S. $109bn) on defense would involve extra work for Leonardo, with the sale of Italy’s M-346 jet trainer to Germany a possibility.
He was also upbeat on the prospect of both Finland and Germany making use of Italy’s F-35 final assembly and maintenance line in northern Italy as they become F-35 customers.
Since the war started in February, Italy has also committed to raising its defense spending and hit the NATO spending target of 2% of gross domestic product by 2028, up from the current 1.4%, meaning it will add another €12bn to its budget within six years.
Speaking last week in Rome, defense undersecretary Giorgio Mulé listed priorities for the extra spending as drones as well as cyber security and satellites — two investments he said would have dual-use applications in both the military and civil sectors.
Another area for investment with dual uses would be helicopters, he said, starting with Lockheed Martin’s Future Vertical Lift offering on which Leonardo is now teaming.
“That will be used by Italy’s civil protection agency for emergencies and disasters. These are assets that are born military, then become civilian,” he said. (Source: Defense News Early Bird/Defense News)
14 Apr 22. Finnish Defence Forces to Spend $15m on Surveillance Drones. The Finnish Defence Forces (FDF) announced on Monday it is seeking suitable suppliers of unmanned aerial systems (UAS), also referred to as drones, to be used for intelligence gathering purposes. The FDF said plans to acquire 1,000 to 2,000 UAS, in a two-year acquisition at a cost of around 14m euros.
“We are looking for a system that operates in all weather conditions in different seasons in varying environments. Also, the system needs to be easy to train for all our persons liable for military service,” Lieutenant Colonel Riku Rantakari from the Army Command said in a statement.
The devices will be used on “intelligence, surveillance and target acquisition missions of different services’ units and service branches from the southern coast up to northernmost Lapland,” the FDF statement read.
Last week, the government announced plans to substantially increase the country’s defence budget. The FDF said it had already issued an announcement about the procurement effort in order to identify potential suppliers, and that it is accepting such applications until 9 May. The system and its supplier will be selected by the summer of 2023, while system training is expected to have started during the second half of that year, the FDF said. (Source: UAS VISION/yle news)
13 Apr 22. NATO inducts first E-3A into Final Lifetime Extension Programme. NATO has launched the Final Lifetime Extension Programme (FLEP) for its Boeing E-3A Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) fleet, inducting the first of 14 aircraft.
The aircraft N-1 left the main operating base of the NATO Airborne Early Warning & Control Force (NAEW&CF) at Geilenkirchen, Germany, on 11 April, bound for the Leonardo modification facility in Tessera, Italy.
“The ‘long climb’ towards the induction of the first FLEP aircraft [N-1] for modification of the mission system has come to a successful conclusion,” NATO said. “We should be proud of what we have accomplished during the past four years [of preparatory work], but the steep climb is now ahead of us.”
As noted by FLEP programme manager Dana Whaley, this “steep climb” comprises finishing the N-1 modification in the next 12 months, completing the mission system software development, installing the system integration laboratory and ground systems at Geilenkirchen, resolving hardware and software integration problems, validating and verifying the technical orders, and training the initial cadre of operators and maintainers. “Afterwards, we have 13 additional aircraft to modify,” Whaley said. (Source: Janes)
13 Apr 22. Slovakia considers Bayraktar buy from Turkey. Slovakia is discussing with Turkey a potential procurement of the Baykar Bayraktar TB2 unmanned combat aerial vehicle (UCAV), it was disclosed on 13 April.
The Minister of Defence of the Slovak Republic, Jaro Nad, made the announcement on his official Twitter account, saying that talks with the manufacturer Baykar, which he euphemistically referred to as ‘Mr Bayraktar’, were progressing as part of a wider plan to acquire international unmanned aircraft systems (UASs) for the Slovaki Armed Forces.
“Works on acquiring drones for the Slovak military [are] moving forward,” he said. “Good talk today with Mr Bayraktar from Turkey, and discussions with other drone producers [are] ongoing.” The tweet was illustrated with a model of the Bayraktar UCAV in Slovakian markings.
Slovakia does not field an unmanned aircraft capability, though this was a gap was identified by the Ministry of Defence (MoD) in its 2016 White Paper for Defence. Priorities laid out in this plan included new command-and-control systems for such air vehicles. (Source: Janes)
12 Apr 22. Serbia in talks to acquire 12 new Rafale jets. The potential procurement will help in modernising the Serbian Air Force. Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic has said that the country is holding talks to purchase at least 12 Rafale multipurpose fighter jets. According to a Reuters report, the country seeks to finalise the deal without ‘jeopardising’ its public finances. The potential procurement will help Serbia to modernise its air force which currently includes ageing Soviet-era jets and combat aircraft from erstwhile Yugoslavia.
President Vucic was quoted by Reuters as saying: “We have been negotiating this purchase of 12 new jets for a year, and we are also looking at buying another 12 used (Western) planes from another country.” He did not specify other details.
Serbia is also in talks with three countries to buy more ground attack planes.
Rafale is a twin-jet combat aircraft that can be used for ground and sea attacks, reconnaissance missions and other military operations.
The aircraft is manufactured by Dassault Aviation of France.
This February, the Indonesian Ministry of Defence signed an $8.1bn contract with Dassault Aviation to buy 42 Rafale jets.
Greece has also signed a deal this year to procure six additional Rafales. This will increase the Hellenic Air Force’s Rafale fleet size to 24 planes. Serbia’s neighbour Croatia also operates Rafale jets. Earlier this year, Serbian Ministry of Defence placed a $91m (€81m) order to procure two Airbus C-295 military transport aircraft. The deal also includes associated pilot equipment and training services. (Source: airforce-technology.com)
12 Apr 22. NAVSEA awards industry studies for new AS(X) submarine tender. The US Navy (USN) awarded three concept refinement and preliminary design contracts on 4 April for studies to support the acquisition of a new class of submarine tender (AS[X]) to L3Harris Technologies, General Dynamics National Steel and Shipbuilding Company (NASSCO), and Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII). The three contacts with options, awarded by the Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA), have a cumulative value of up to USD18m. The new AS(X)-class ships are planned to replace the USN’s two ageing Emory S. Land-class submarine tenders, both of which were commissioned in 1979. Based at Guam in the Pacific, USS Emory S. Land (AS 39) and USS Frank Cable (AS 40) provide expeditionary intermediate-level (I-level) maintenance and repairs. They also provide hotel service and logistics support to nuclear-powered guided missile and attack submarines (SSNs) deployed in the 5th Fleet and 7th Fleet areas of responsibility. (Source: Janes)
11 Apr 22. NORTHCOM wants millions more for AI and data handling. U.S. Northern Command has asked Congress for an additional $29.8m to buy information technology equipment and to optimize infrastructure for artificial intelligence and machine learning at its joint operations center with the North American Aerospace Defense Command. The upgrades would buttress efforts to ingest, process and aggregate data across the Department of Defense’s cloud-computing environment and share intel with forces across all domains, also known as the “information dominance enabling capability,” according to a fiscal year 2023 unfunded priority list obtained by Defense News.
Air Force Gen. Glen VanHerck, commander of NORTHCOM and NORAD, told lawmakers March 24 that “advanced capabilities” like AI will help give the U.S. an advantage over complex competitors.
“Incorporating artificial intelligence and machine learning into existing capabilities will allow users to pull needed information from existing data sets and share that data with leaders at all levels to expand their decision space and options necessary to achieve desirable outcomes,” VanHerck said in testimony submitted to the Senate Armed Services Committee.
Combatant commands and other leaders send wishlists to the Hill annually. The tradition highlights items that did not make it into the budget request but would be useful should money be available.
Artificial intelligence is an area of growing importance at the Defense Department. Its 2018 AI strategy described the tech as world-altering, poised “to change the character of the future battlefield and the pace of threats we must face.”
The latest NORTHCOM and NORAD wish list also included funding requests for a cruise missile defense homeland kill chain demonstration, $50.87m, and upgrades to the Cheyenne Mountain Complex, $49.3m.
Another ask from the pair — $5.05m to digitize Alaska Long Range Radar sites — also involves the integration of artificial intelligence and machine learning and the modernization of systems.
“As I testified last year, the technology already exists to apply artificial intelligence and machine learning to collect and rapidly distribute information gathered from sensors around the globe,” VanHerck said last month. “We will always need expert human analysts in the loop, but I need the ability to tap into that technology to dramatically speed the delivery of information to leaders at all levels who need it.”
Nearly $24bn of Defense Department unfunded priorities were identified in fiscal year 2022. Combatant commands accounted for a sliver, 10%, according to the Congressional Research Service. (Source: C4ISR & Networks)
07 Apr 22. Industry teams aim to fly prototypes of future attack recon aircraft by end of 2023. The two industry teams building prototypes in a competition for the U.S. Army’s future attack reconnaissance aircraft want to fly them by the end of 2023. The service plans to procure two future vertical lift aircraft — FARA and a future long-range assault aircraft — by 2030. The Army awarded two contracts to build prototypes for a competitive fly-off for the FARA program in 2020. Bell is building the 360 Invictus, while Lockheed Martin’s Sikorsky is offering up the Raider X, also a coaxial helicopter. Some minor delays assembling the first Improved Turbine Engine Program engine, which is to be installed on FARA, complicated the prototype builds for both Sikorsky and Bell. But both teams are more than 80% complete in building their respective aircraft.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the ITEP engine, originally meant to enter testing last year, did not begin that phase until last month. According to Brig. Gen. Robert Barrie, the Army’s program executive officer for aviation, the engine testing has gone smoothly so far.
“Over the course of the last week, they’ve earned about seven hours on the engine to include some portion of time at max power,” Barrie said at the Army Aviation Association of America’s annual conference.
The Army anticipates delivering ITEP engines to the two competitors in November this year. But in the meantime, the teams have used a 3D-printed model of the engine while building their aircraft around it.
The ITEP engine is to replace the current engines in both AH-64E Apache attack helicopters as well as UH-60M Black Hawk utility helicopters, in addition to FARA.
For Sikorsky’s Raider X, the build is “over 85% complete. We’ve got weight on the wheels now. The landing gear is down and the aircraft is on the landing gear,” the company’s president, Paul Lemmo, told Defense News in an interview at AAAA. “In fact, we actually then jacked up the aircraft and retracted the landing gear, just to prove that part of it, to make sure it works.”
While things are moving along, the team is now waiting for the ITEP engine so early next year it can be integrated. “We have a path to fly” in the fourth quarter of calendar year 2023, Lemmo said.
“It’s not without risk,” he said. “If everything stays on time, we will hopefully get there.”
Bell’s Invictus is also “a little over 80%” built as well, according to Chris Gehler, company vice president and program director of the Invictus program.
“We’ll continue to make some progress,” he told Defense News at AAAA, but “there’s going to be a point at which we kind of can’t make any more progress, and that will really be in the May/June time frame. We’ll be sitting at about 90%.”
Once Bell installs the ITEP engine, the final pieces of the aircraft can come together, Gehler said. “We probably will not put the main rotor on until the engine is in, just for ease. There are some things that just don’t make sense to do until you get there.”
After engine installation, Bell plans to conduct power-on checks and inspect all the functional subcomponents that interact with the engine. And then Bell expects to receive around March 2023 the ground release for the engine.
Gehler said if everything goes according to plan, “we anticipate that the Army would give us a clearance for flight in the third quarter of the calendar year.” (Source: Defense News Early Bird/Defense News)
REST OF THE WORLD
13 Apr 22. Italy Shows Interest in Joining Japan’s Fighter Development. Italian Defense Minister Lorenzo Guerini expressed interest in the possibility of his country joining the development of the successor to the Japanese Air Self-Defense Force’s F-2 fighter jets, during talks with his Japanese counterpart, Nobuo Kish. Meeting at the Japanese Defense Ministry in Tokyo on Tuesday, the two ministers agreed to promote defense cooperation between Japan and Italy. They also reaffirmed the importance of sending out messages together that they oppose to any unilateral attempts to change the status quo by coercion, apparently with China’s hegemonic actions in mind.
Furthermore, Kishi and Guerini shared the view that Russia’s aggression against Ukraine constitutes a serious violation of international law. They agreed that countries with common fundamental values should work together as one to tackle the Ukrainian crisis. (Source: https://www.nippon.com/en/news)
11 Apr 22. Israel outlines successes for offset in 2021. Israel’s Industrial Cooperation Authority (ICA) announced on 10 April that the organisation had facilitated USD926m in offset agreements in 2021 through 183 new agreements. The organisation made the announcement on its LinkedIn page, where it further revealed that the Israeli Ministry of Defense was the leading agency for offset agreements, securing USD231m in obligations from suppliers during the year. The Israeli Government Procurement Administration also secured a commitment of USD200m through the signing of the Project Nimbus cloud computing project with Google and Amazon Web Services. Overall, obligations for security projects represented around 60% of the total agreements signed in 2021.
Fulfilled obligations during 2021 reached a value of USD4.3bn, with the ICA noting that around 1,100 Israeli firms benefited from the industrial co-operation policies. Of these, around 437 were defined as small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), which received USD804m in reciprocal procurement. A total of 85 companies received USD727m in investments and acquisitions. (Source: Janes)
08 Apr 22. India’s DRDO details specifications for national C-UAS system to industry. Indian news services report that the Defence Minister Rajnath Singh has outlined to Indian defence companies the detailed requirements for a national counter-UAS capability defined by the Defence Research and Development Organisation. Companies such as Adani Defence Systems, Larsen & Toubro, and Astra Microwave, ICOMM Tele Ltd and Electronics Corporation of India Limited were among those to receive the specifications.
“Using various sensors, the Counter Drone System may detect, track, and identify aerial drones, send the information to linked systems, and enable counter tactics to prevent them from carrying out their intended mission (soft kill) and/or destroy them (hard kill),” according to Business Today. “Drone detection is accomplished using radars and an RF-based detecting technology. The Electro Optic sensor and COMINT are used to identify the object. Soft kills are carried out using RF jamming and anti-GNSS technology, while hard kills are carried out using Laser Directed Energy Weapons. Small Hybrid UAVs, Micro UAV/Multirotor, and Nano UAVs are among the drones that the system can detect, identify, and neutralise.”
For more information: ttps://www.businesstoday.in/latest/story/rajnath-hands-over-drdos-counter-drone-system-docs-to-firms-including-adani-defence-lt-328997-2022-04-07
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