16 June 22. Romanian govt approves plan to buy 32 F-16 fighter jets from Norway. Romania’s government on Thursday approved a bill to buy 32 second-hand F-16 fighter jets from Norway and logistical support and services for an estimated 454 m euros ($473 m) before tax, the defence ministry said. NATO member Romania has a small fleet of 17 F-16 fighter jets acquired from Portugal from 2016. The jets from Norway will give it an additional two air squadrons. The resources offered with the aircraft will ensure their operation for a minimum of 10 years as the country transitions to fifth-generation jets, the ministry said. (Source: Reuters)
16 June 22. Six NATO countries sign agreement to collaborate on next-gen helo. Six NATO countries signed a memorandum of understanding to jointly work on concepts for a next-generation helicopter on June 16 at a meeting of alliance defense ministers in Brussels.
France, Germany, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom are committing €26.7m, or roughly $28m, for the Next-Generation Rotorcraft Capability (NGRC) project, according to a NATO statement. Canada will likely be an observer nation.
“In cooperation with industry, the participants will start from a clean sheet to explore how to match their needs with the latest technology on the market, looking at options such as hybrid and electric propulsion, a systematic open system architecture and the delivery of radically improved flight characteristics,” the statement reads.
“Moving into the concepts phase is really going to define the requirements based against the threats that we’re going to be facing globally,“ Col. Alex Willman, capability sponsor of combat aviation within the U.K.’s futures directorate, said at the Eurosatory defense trade show here, just an hour after the countries inked the deal.
“What’s exciting for me is this is one of the first clean-sheet-design aircraft,” he said, adding: “NGRC to me is about transformation capability, delivering an aircraft or an airframe or a system that is an open system architecture based on digital backbones and is aimed for us as soldiers and airmen to be able to modify that aircraft to keep up with the pace of the threat.”
The countries will look at range and speed improvements for a medium-lift helicopter, the ability to operate in an electronic warfare scenario and a variety of other attributes that will be refined over the next two to three years. The envisioned missions include transportation, medical evacuation, search and rescue, and assault.
The Netherlands is the most recent nation to sign onto the NGRC program, as France, Germany, Greece, Italy, and the United Kingdom signed letters of intent to participate in the effort in late 2020. Many of the countries involved will see helicopters reaching the end of their expected service life, and the goal is to come up with aircraft to replace them by 2035.
The new aircraft must have an unrefueled range of more than 1,650 kilometers, with a target of eight hours endurance and a load capacity between 10,000 and 17,000 kilograms (22,000 and 37,400 pounds, respectively).
The goal is also to develop a common airframe for both land, air and maritime variants, although the agency allows for the possibility of separate platforms if a common airframe proves too contentious.
Working across several different nations is challenging, Cyril Heckel, NATO acquisition and development manager, said at the conference.
“You can talk about it and look at it in a theoretical abstract level, everybody gets it,” he said, but “it becomes a little bit more complicated and tricky when you’re trying to translate this theoretical appeal into actual practical action. Six sovereign nations together, they all have different ways how federal offices work, approach to the topic, different democratic biases, different funding mechanisms, different funding, different cycles, maybe also different thoughts about requirements.”
But European aviation stakeholders say the time is right for helicopter programs to rise again on the continent.
“We are at the start of a new era for rotary-wing or for vertical flight here in Europe,” said Roberto Garavaglia, Leonardo Helicopters senior vice president for strategy, during a June 15 panel at the Eurosatory exhibition.
Not only are helicopters proliferating in militaries around the world, but it’s the first time since the early 1980s, when the NH-90 program was established, that European nations are discussing new aircraft requirements, he noted.
He acknowledged that for any future helicopter program, industry partners will have to work hard to overcome the inevitable workshare disputes that have tripped up many a joint European program in the past.
“It’s easier to combine the capabilities that you can develop in Oklahoma and Michigan than those which you can develop between France and Italy, because we have hundreds of years of history, and … we are not a federal union,” he noted.
Jerome Combe, Airbus lead for product policy and strategy, called the NGRC program an opportunity to “reset better partnerships” and develop a more “linear” way to work together among industry partners.
The NATO-led effort to field a multirole helicopter could be setting the stage for a competition between U.S.- and European-based rotorcraft industries.
The U.S. Army plans to select a winner between Bell and a Sikorsky-Boeing team to build its Future Long-Range Assault Aircraft, or FLRAA, around September. The service plans to field the aircraft in 2030.
At the same time, the U.S. Army is pursuing a Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft (FARA) with plans to fly prototypes in 2023, and the service is developing Air-Launched Effects along with a modular open systems architecture.
But the NGRC program is expected to face pressure from European industry to select local companies to design and develop the future aircraft.
The U.S. and the U.K. signed a bilateral agreement earlier this year to explore the possibility of cooperation on future vertical lift (FVL) programs.
While the U.K. has signed the agreement to exchange information on FVL, it is not a commitment to buy into associated programs, Willman said. “This sits alongside the Next-Generation Rotorcraft.”
Range, speed and other performance improvements are aspects of the FVL program the U.K. is interested in, he added, but “we are absolutely committed to NGRC.”
The Italian military, while it does not have a similar agreement in place like the U.K. and the U.S., partnered in the U.S.-based aviation exercise Edge 2022 at Dugway Proving Ground, Utah, last month, to work on interoperability concepts for FVL.
Along with Italy, the Netherlands and Germany were active participants in the exercise while Australia, Canada, France and the U.K. were observers.
Italy’s participation was essential to understanding what the U.S. is doing for FVL, where timelines may match up and where there are interoperability opportunities, Col. Pier Luigi Verdecchia, of the Italian defense ministry, said. (Source: Defense News)
16 June 22. Romania Cancels Watchkeeper X Contract. Romania’s Defense Ministry has canceled its only tender for the acquisition of military drones, despite rising security risks in the region.
Since 2020, the Ministry of National Defense has obtained the approval in the Parliament for the acquisition of 7 tactical-operational UAS class II drone systems (a total of 21 unmanned aircraft, 3 per system), plus an initial logistical support package. The contract estimated by the Ministry of National Defense would be about $ 277 m plus VAT.
The only tender launched, where there was only one competitor proposing the production of unmanned aircraft in the country, has now been canceled by the Ministry of National Defense on the grounds that some specifications did not comply with the requirements of the specifications.
On the other hand, the drone manufacturer says that the offer had a higher configuration than the tender requirements.
The only drone left in the race during the MApN procurement procedure was the model Watchkeeper X, a drone modified according to the requirements of the British army based on the famous Hermes 450 drone from Elbit.
Watchkeeper X, a surveillance and reconnaissance drone, but also with attack possibilities, was proposed by the U-TacS joint venture, between Elbit and Thales. Elbit was in charge of promoting the drone in Romania, and the offer involved the drone being built in Romania, where Elbit is already building parts and components for its drones, including the Hermes 450.
MApN on the cancellation of the auction on drones: “non-conformities between the characteristics of the offered product and the technical requirements”
“The procurement procedure related to the endowment program” UAS Tactical-Operational System Class II “(UAS-TO) was canceled due to non-conformities between the characteristics of the product offered by the economic agent and the technical requirements contained in the specifications”,
said MApN at the request of HotNews.ro.
“At this moment, the concrete ways of resuming the procurement procedure are under analysis”,
the ministry headed by Vasile Dîncu also transmits.
Elbit about the drones offered: “Configuration equivalent and superior to the requirements”
On the other hand, the Elbit company, which owns the U-Tacs joint venture with Thales, stated for HotNews.ro through its representatives that the Watchkeeper X drone proposed to Romania came in a “configuration equivalent and superior to the requirements” of the Ministry of National Defense.
“As we have demonstrated during the entire competitive procedure, the advanced and updated solution we proposed for the UAS-TO program was the optimal one for Romania both in terms of military capabilities and economic and industrial benefits. We are confident in the capacity of the Ministry of National Defense to solve the remaining bureaucratic problem for the realization of this procurement program so important for Romania and for the local armament industry “, the Elbit representatives transmitted to HotNews.ro.
What STANAG asked MApN and what STANAG offered the manufacturer
According to HotNews.ro sources, the Ministry of National Defense decided to cancel the procedure, claiming that some components on the communications side of the drone did not comply with some STANAG standards required in the specifications.
Specifically, the specification developed by the Ministry of National Defense required the standards STANAG 4660 and 7085 for different types of communications, number of data links of the drone and the possibility that the drone can be controlled directly by a third party through encrypted communications.
Informed sources explained to HotNews.ro that the requests of the Ministry of Defense come based on an older configuration that the Watchkeeper drone no longer has, moving to something newer, and in its offer the manufacturer offered a solution based on the STANAG 4586 standard which would be response, ultimately, to the achievement of the same purpose of communication / transmission and control of the drone.
Hence the official response of the company which speaks of “a configuration equivalent and superior to the requirements”.
Is there a quick purchase before and without the drones being built in the country?
Now, after almost two years lost in this canceled procurement procedure, and under the urgency of the Russian-Ukrainian war near Romania’s borders, the Romanian state could turn to other “solutions” for a quick purchase.
Thus, we could even see the discussion promoted for a Government-to-Government acquisition – either for used drones or for new drones but already produced off-the-shelf – in both cases losing practically one of the the most important components of the program: production in the country.
In the case of the Watchkeeper X drone proposed by Elbit, it would have been produced and assembled in Romania with the help of local partners Aerostar, Romaero, AE-Electronics, ELMET and SIMULTEC, according to the manufacturer:
– Local production of UAS components (Aerostar, Romaero, A / E Electronics and Elmet)
– UAS (Aerostar) Local Assembly and Maintenance Center
– Complete training solution and flight simulators (Simultec Magurele).
Watchkeeper X is a drone with the main role of reconnaissance and surveillance and, optionally, can also be equipped with guided air-to-ground missiles.
Watchkeeper X is based on the Elbit Hermes 450 platform, but has been developed and customized according to NATO standards and the specific requirements of the British Army and is a product of a joint venture between Thales and Elbit.
The drone is capable of taking off and landing automatically and can also operate on unpaved runways (eg grass or sand), is equipped with two types of sensors: multispectral sensors (electro-optical and infrared), but also a radar covering an area of 100 kilometers and can detect, identify and monitor moving targets.
Watchkeeper X has a range of 16 hours, a flight speed of about 200 kilometers per hour and is able to operate in all weather conditions and in all seasons, with its own defrost system. (Source: UAS VISION/Hot News)
10 June 22. Thales outlines latest developments on German F126 programme. Thales Netherlands officials outlined the latest developments in the German Navy’s F126 frigate programme during a company briefing at its Hengelo facility. Speaking to Janes and other media on 7 June, Federiko Krommendijk, Thales deputy project director for F126, detailed that IBM, DXC, and Atos were some of the company’s key subcontractors contributing to the programme. The F126 programme, sometimes referred to as MKS 180, is a EUR4.6bn (USD4.8bn) contract led by prime contractor Damen Naval that involves the design and construction of four multi-purpose surface combatant frigates. Thales was awarded a EUR1.5 bn contract in November 2020 for the full integration and delivery of the mission system, fire control system, and communications suite. The company plans to supply its TACTICOS combat management system, integrated communications, a cyber security solution, and a new Above Water Warfare System (AWWS) fire-control cluster incorporating the Active Phased Array multifunction Radar (APAR) Block 2 X-band multifunction radar. (Source: Janes)
13 June 22. French government announces new contract to help NH90 helicopter after Norway blow. The French armed forces ministry announced on Monday a new contract to help the performance of the NH90 military helicopter, just days after Norway said it would axe its fleet. The French government said the new contract was aimed at addressing a problem regarding a shortage of materials for the helicopter, which is developed by a consortium between Airbus (AIR.PA), Italian company Leonardo and Fokker. Norway said last week that it would return the NH90 military helicopters it ordered from the NHIndustries consortium because they are either unreliable or were delivered late. (Source: Google/Reuters)
10 June 22. BAE Archer 155mm Mobile Howitzer Shortlisted by Swiss Armed Forces. The Swiss government has shortlisted BAE Systems’ ARCHER 155mm mobile howitzer as one of the systems going into the final round of competition for its future artillery system. The Swiss Federal Office for Defense Procurement, known as armasuisse, received multiple proposals submitted by several companies for the competition. ARCHER is a fully automated system purpose-built to keep pace with fast-moving land forces. It is designed for rapid deployment to quickly respond to threats and deliver superior mobility, lethality, and survivability. Operators control the entire gun system from the safety of ARCHER’s armored cabin. In only 20 seconds, the vehicle can stop and fire its first round. After completion of the fire mission, ARCHER is on the move again within 20 seconds. In less than two minutes, ARCHER can fire six rounds, displace, and move 500 meters, while the crew remains in the armored cabin, making the ARCHER the ultimate shoot-and-scoot system for soldier and platform survivability.
“ARCHER is the most advanced wheeled 155mm howitzer in operation today and meets the requirements of the Swiss Armed Forces,” said Stefan Löfström, director of marketing and sales at BAE Systems Bofors in Karlskoga, Sweden. “Consistent with our long history of implementing industrial cooperation projects around the world, we are working with Swiss industry to establish a project plan to successfully fulfill all Swiss requirements.”
ARCHER can fire the BONUS anti-armor munition up to 35km, conventional munitions up to 40km, and the precision-guided munition Excalibur in excess of 50km. The automated magazines can hold a mix of different ammunition types and modular charges needed to support any mission.
The system is already in service in the Swedish Army with the highest technical and manufacturing readiness levels.
14 June 22. Poland reveals plan to buy AW149 helos in deal potentially worth over $1bn. Poland plans to buy AW149 helicopters, the defense ministry said Monday, with one Italian bank estimating the order could be worth €1.1bn (U.S. $1.15bn) to manufacturer Leonardo.
“In the near future we will sign contracts for the supply of mine destroyers … AW149 multi-role support helicopters, two observation satellites and tank destroyers,” according to a tweet from the ministry, which cited Defence Minister Mariusz Blaszczak.
Polish news portal Defence24 reported the order will include 32 helicopters, with assembly handled in Poland by PZL-Świdnik, which is controlled by Leonardo. It also reported Poland will acquire the helicopters in three different formats: combat support; command; and reconnaissance and electronic warfare.
Italian brokerage Banca Akros on Tuesday estimated the contract value, which it said is equivalent to about 7.7% of Leonardo’s expected 2022 orders. A medium-lift, multirole helicopter launched in 2006, AW149 customers include Thailand and Egypt. Leonardo is currently marketing the type to the United Kingdom. The AW149 previously lost to the Airbus H225M in a bid to supply helicopters to Poland; the purchase was ultimately scrapped. (Source: Defense News)
16 June 22. General Dynamics’ $11bn DOD ‘Fourth Estate’ IT protest denied. Barring more action, this lets Leidos proceed on its work for the 10-year Defense Enclave Services award and consolidate IT systems for 22 DOD agencies.
General Dynamics has lost its protest for at least a second chance at a potential $11.5bn in IT services contract with the Defense Information Systems Agency won by Leidos.
The Government Accountability Office denied General Dynamics IT’s challenge on Wednesday in a ruling that will be sealed until attorneys representing the companies and DISA agree on what will go in the publicly available decision.
Leidos won the potential 10-year Defense Enclave Services contract in February. General Dynamics IT filed its protest to GAO the following month.
Barring more action by GDIT, Leidos can now proceed on the massive undertaking to consolidate IT systems across the Defense Department’s “Fourth Estate” administrative and support agencies. Those 22 agencies are outside of the combat service branches.
“Our robust and continuous preparation has positioned us to start delivering benefits to the user base on or ahead of current planned schedule, and we look forward to leveraging our decades of technological expertise to support mission success,” Leidos’ defense group president Gerry Fasano said in a statement sent via a spokesman.
General Dynamics IT has the option of taking its protest to the Court of Federal Claims, which has more authority than GAO to enforce bid protest rulings. A GDIT spokesman declined our request comment.
DISA’s Enclave competition is only the latest in the series of such between both companies for single-award, multibillion-dollar IT contracts.
GDIT fended off Leidos earlier this year for a $4.5bn end-user IT contract at the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, while the roles were reversed for the Navy’s $7.7bn NGEN network services award finalized last year. (Source: washingtontechnology.com)
16 June 22. Space Development Agency plans for ‘enduring’ satellite experimentation testbed.
The Space Development Agency wants to buy 10 satellites to support a new on-orbit experimentation effort.
The agency released a draft solicitation June 3 for the National Defense Space Architecture Experimental Testbed, or NExT, seeking a satellite provider to integrate government-provided payloads onto 10 satellites that SDA will use to test new capabilities.
The testbed will support SDA’s vision of creating a constellation of hundreds of satellites operating in low Earth orbit and is on track to launch the first of those systems this fall. While the initial solicitation will be for 10 satellites, an SDA official told C4ISRNET June 14 the agency expects NExT to provide an “enduring” test and experimentation capability. The official spoke on background to freely discuss the program.
“SDA is going to fly these things in this experimental testbed so that if the threat changes or if the warfighter comes to us in two years or four years or sometime in between and says, ‘We need a way to do this,’ we will have already checked out a number of payloads,” the official said.
The testbed will also allow the agency to work ahead, answering key questions about whether it can launch large quantities of the payloads and how they integrate with command-and-control systems on the ground.
“We’ll know a lot more information about these payloads than we would have without this experimentation testbed,” the official said.
SDA will hold an industry day June 22 to brief companies on its plan for NExT and expects to release a formal solicitation in July or August. The official said the agency has identified which government payloads the satellites will carry, but declined to provide details.
Separate from NExT, SDA is also preparing to buy up to 12 satellites that will carry experimentation payloads to inform future capabilities for its transport layer, set to create a mesh network of communication satellites that can transfer information from on-orbit sensors to users on the ground. The 12 satellites will integrate with “tranche 1″ of that transport constellation under an effort called Tranche 1 Demonstration and Experimentation Satellites or T1DES. SDA will release a formal solicitation for T1DES by mid-July. (Source: Defense News)
16 June 22. DARPA Wants to Refuel Drones in Wirelessly in Flight. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) published a request for information (RFI) from anyone willing and able to contribute their tech, with a few caveats.
It needs to fit on existing in-flight refueling tankers (the newer KC-46 and Cold War-era KC-135, specifically) and be able to deliver 100k W of power.
This Request for Information (RFI) from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), Tactical Technology Office (TTO) seeks technologies and innovative solutions that could be adapted by existing aerial refueling aircraft to expand their role as an Airborne Energy Well capable of transferring power to future Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) assets via laser energy beaming technologies.
Responses to this RFI will be used to inform and explore future programs that advance the ability of airborne assets to dynamically move energy across a network of aircraft equipped with energy beaming and receiving technologies. This Airborne Energy Well is a potential component of a more expansive energy web of power generation, transfer relays and receiving solutions, enabling the Department of Defense (DoD) to dynamically allocate energy resources to more flexibly deliver military effects.
Intellectual or other privileged or proprietary information contained in responses to this RFI will not be distributed outside of the U.S. Government. In the event that a new DARPA program is developed in response to this RFI and a solicitation is issued, no intellectual or other proprietary information received in response to this RFI will be divulged to agencies outside the U.S. Government. The full document can be accessed here: https://sam.gov/opp/d83028447b4c4f879748031dc1e78204/view (Source: UAS VISION/DARPA)
15 June 22. US Army eyeing new M-LIDS competition, live-fire prototype testing in 2023. The US Army is seeking companies that can merge its Mobile, Low, Slow, Unmanned Aircraft Integrated Defeat System (M-LIDS) technologies onto a single ground vehicle, possibly a Stryker, and enable the weapon to hit aerial threats while on the move. The M-LIDS Increment 2 is a two-vehicle solution using the Mine-Resistant Ambush-Protected (MRAP) All-Terrain Vehicles (M-ATV) where one vehicle detects and tracks aerial threats and a second outfitted kinetic and non-kinetic technologies downs group 1–3 unmanned aerial systems (UAS). Instead, the army wants to “transition” M-LIDS onto a single vehicle while also maintaining “mission effectiveness and enhancing system ease of use and reliability” as part of an Increment 3 programme, according to a 13 June request for information issued by the US Army Materiel Command. (Source: Janes)
REST OF THE WORLD
17 June 22. Penten joins Airbus bid for JP 9102. The Canberra-based cyber security company is the latest firm to join global contractor Airbus’ push for the Commonwealth government’s multi-bn-dollar JP 9102 contract.
Penten has joined Team Maier — an industry consortium led by Airbus Defence and Space, bidding for a contract to deliver a next-generation military SATCOM solution to the Australian Defence Force (ADF) under Project JP 9102.
The cyber security company has offered to provide ground segment sovereign encryption capability.
Specifically, Penten would be tasked with leveraging its AltoCrypt Stik technology to design and build the transmission security module, ensuring the future SATCOM capability cannot be jammed or intercepted.
The AltoCrypt Stik technology, approved for use by the Australian Signals Directorate, is reportedly capable of facilitating the safe exchange of sensitive information using modern devices.
The technology would be integrated with Airbus Defence and Space’s proprietary Proteus software defined radio (SDR) modem, designed to deliver a high bandwidth and resilient anti-jamming solution capable of mitigating interference from sophisticated foreign entities.
As part of Airbus’ contribution to Australian Industry Capability (AIC), Penten is expected to be offered the opportunity to evolve the Proteus modem into a domestic solution used to address Australia’s future needs.
Matthew Wilson, CEO of Penten, welcomed the opportunity, noting the benefits for local industry and the company’s own growth.
“We are excited to partner with Airbus in Team Maier and offer an entirely Australian-developed cyber technology solution to protect Australia’s military communications,” Wilson said.
“Joining Team Maier also offers a potential export gateway for Penten’s technology to be used across Airbus’ satellite solutions globally.
Martin Rowse, director, space – Australia at Airbus Defence and Space, said Penten’s encryption capability would form a key part of a future SATCOM offering.
“Combined with Airbus Defence and Space’s Proteus SDR modem, Penten will enable Team Maier to offer a proven, ready-to-launch solution with world leading resilience and anti-jam capability,” Rowse said.
“Given that Proteus’ predecessor, the Paradigm modem, was developed here in Australia, it’s fitting that this technology should return home to enable Penten to lead a new wave of Australian technology development for the future of Australian military capability.”
Penten is the latest of a number of companies to join Team Maier, which include SSTL, Willyama Services, Microsoft, Clearbox Systems, Blacktree Technology, and UGL.
Team Maier is competing against a host of other major contractors, including Airbus, Boeing, Lockheed Martin Australia (LMA), Northrop Grumman Australia, and Optus. The JP 9102 tender closed on 10 January. (Source: Defence Connect)
16 June 22. Argentina chooses to buy US-made Chinook over Russian Mi-26. Argentina has kicked-started the process for procuring four Boeing-made CH-47 Chinook heavy-lift helicopters from the U.S., military sources in Buenos Aires have told Defense News. Aimed at fulfilling a requirement first issued in 2011, the helicopters are intended for Army and Air Force operations, both in tactical transport and special forces support roles, as well as disaster relief and civil support.
The decision first came to light in Resolution No. 75 of the Argentine military’s joint staff, dated June 10, which said the government had authorized the acquisition process begin by requesting the aircraft through the Pentagon’s Foreign Military Sales program.
According to the military sources, speaking on the condition of anonymity for security reasons, the government had studied the Russian-built Mil Mi-26 but decided against buying the aircraft mainly over its size and maneuver capabilities.
The Argentine Air Force had operated three CH-47s between 1980 and 2000. The Army also received two CH-47s in 1980, both of which deployed to the Falkland Islands in 1982, where one was destroyed and the other one captured by British forces.
The plan to acquire four CH-47s is part of a larger government effort to restore the country’s defense capabilities by using a special fund created in 2020. Known as FONDEF — or National Fund for Defense, in English — the mechanism sets apart $400 m annually for military equipment.
Speaking in front to Argentina’s Senate on June 9 — the day before the joint staff resolution was signed — Defense Minister Jorge Taiana underlined the important of FONDEF for bolstering military capabilities.
Taiana said FONDEF investments are planned for the short and medium term to acquire new fighter jets, submarines, cyber defense technology, missiles, rockets, radars and drones, among other materiel, per the Directive of National Policy for Defense, signed in 2021 by Argentine President Alberto Fernández.
The directive is meant to increase Argentina’s military capacities for “defensive, deterrent [and] cooperative … purposes,” Taiana said.
The acquisition of a first batch of fighter jets is one of the higher priorities, with the Argentine Air Force evaluating the FC-1/JF-17 Thunder, which is jointly developed and produced by China’s Chengdu Aerospace Corp. and the Pakistan Aeronautical Complex.
The service is also considering secondhand, refurbished Lockheed Martin F-16s, with price and financing options considered key factors in making a decision, the military sources said. (Source: Defense News)
12 June 22. Indian Army to get 6 AH-64E Apache attack helicopters; Suspense over Super Hornet fighters for Indian Navy. The numbers of the aircraft the Indian Navy is seeking is not confirmed so far. The original requirement was for 57 aircraft but this number is likely to be revised as the focus is on indigenous Twin Engine Carrier Based Deck Fighter.
In what will be a government to government deal, US aerospace giant Boeing Company says that the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet fighter will be a better choice for the Indian Navy which is in the process of identifying fighter jets to operate off its aircraft carriers.
Will they be made in India?
The numbers of the aircraft the Indian Navy is seeking is not confirmed so far. The original requirement was for 57 aircraft but this number is likely to be revised as the focus is on indigenous Twin Engine Carrier Based Deck Fighter.
“To manufacture in India is a decision which will be dependent on the numbers that are being ordered. The deal when it happens will be through government-to-government,” Torbjorn Sjogren, vice president, International Government and Defence, Boeing, told Financial Express Online in an exclusive interaction in New Delhi.
According to him “The US Navy goes with Super Hornet and it is already invested in the Block III version of the F/A-18 E/F and is set for more production, and life extension programme.”
“India is a big focus for Boeing. We are waiting to hear from the Indian Navy about the Super Hornets trials,” Torbjorn Sjogren, said.
Last month, the company had flown two Super Hornets to INS Hansa, Goa for trials on the Indian Navy’s Shore Based Test Facility (SBTF). During the trials the aircraft showcased their ski-jump ability and compatibility to operate from the first Indigenous Aircraft Carrier (IAC) of India.
Financial Express Online has reported earlier that several innovative solutions which are related to the aircraft’s carrier compatibility are being currently developed by the Boeing’s technology teams in the Bengaluru located Engineering and Technology centre.
Boeing’s growing presence in India
During an exclusive interaction Torbjorn Sjogren, shared details about the growing presence of the company in India from Civil aviation to military aircraft.
The US based aerospace giant Boeing started with a partnership with state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) in 2007 for producing parts for commercial and defense aircraft. And its presence in the Indian Air Force and the Navy has gone up. Today, the Indian Air Force (IAF) is operating 11 C-17s, 22 AH-64 Apaches, 15 CH-47 Chinooks, 12 P-8Is for the Indian Navy, 3 VVIP aircraft and two Head of State aircraft, all Boeing platforms.
“The footprint in India is increasing. Additional six AH-64E Apache attack helicopters which will have indigenous fuselages are coming in for the Indian Army. Boeing is already sourcing over USD one bn per year from a large and growing base of over 280 suppliers manufacturing critical systems and components for some of the most advanced products.”
Engaging with India
He also confirmed that the company is engaging with its defence customers here in India for not only the current requirements but also for future requirements for national security.
The company is engaging with India and showcasing their portfolio which can be delivered to India to develop capabilities they require for the execution of their missions.
What is the company offering to India?
Besides fielding its F/A-18 Super Hornet Block III for the Indian Navy, the company is also in the race for the IAF’s requirement of fighter jets. As has been reported earlier, Boeing is fielding its F-15EX as well as F/A-18 Super Hornet Block III for the IAF.
Also on offer are additional P-8Is, Apaches and Chinook Helicopters, KC-46 aerial refuellers, performance based logistic solutions, additional training, and sustainment.
Operational capability and readiness
Through sustenance contracts the company is already working with IAF and Indian Navy to provide operational capability and readiness for the P-8Is, C-17s, Apaches, Chinooks and Head of State aircraft.
According to the company, investments in R&D will help in building capabilities indigenously to drive innovation and to also contribute to the growth of Indian aerospace and defence sector. This includes new-age technologies to replace the traditional approaches — next-generation airplane health management, environment-friendly coatings, advanced networks and secure-communication. In a first of its kind outside the US, Boeing has invested USD 200 m in the new upcoming Boeing India Engineering & Technology Center.
‘Make in India’ ‘Make for World’
Among the company’s global supply chain around 26 percent of the Boeing suppliers are MSMEs and they have raised the bar to deliver world class quality critical systems and components which are being used globally on major platforms.
There are huge demands for Chinook and Apache Helicopters from Germany, Poland, and Australia. This means, “Several critical components including Wire Bundles which are made in India will be fitted onboard the helicopters which the company is in the process of manufacturing,” Torbjorn Sjogren said.
As has been reported earlier in Financial Express Online, Tata Boeing Aerospace Limited (TBAL), in Hyderabad, is already producing aero-structures for Apache helicopters and this includes fuselages, secondary structures and vertical spar boxes. These are for the global and Indian customers as well as the US Army. There are almost 1,100 suppliers, sub-suppliers working with Tata. This means more jobs, more work for the Indian industry and the MSMEs. (Source: News Now/https://www.financialexpress.com/)
14 June 22. Armscor issues tender for military vehicle maintenance and repair. Eyebrows were raised in some quarters when an Armscor tender for maintenance and repair of “various military vehicles” was published last week. One who saw tender ELWS/2022/39 on the defence and security acquisition agency website was Kobus Marais, the outspoken Democratic Alliance (DA) shadow minister for Thandi Modise’s defence and military veterans portfolio.
The tender requirements are for “maintenance and repair of various military vehicles” listing nine different types. They are tow trucks, recovery vehicles, refrigeration trucks, diesel tankers, water tankers, cargo carriers, personnel carrier trucks, firefighting trucks and mobile shower trucks.
“My first reaction was ‘isn’t this what the Cubans are doing?’” Marais told defenceWeb, adding there is both bad and good to be read into the tender.
On the bad side, he said it is simply another component of the disaster that is the South African government’s – and particularly its defence sector’s – “love affair” with the Caribbean Island state.
Turning to the plus side, Marais notes the tender is “probably not all negative”.
In support of his assertion, he said the tender “could be seen” as one step on the road to replacing the Cubans in South Africa under Project Thusano, created by a Cuba/South Africa defence bilateral and in operation since 2015.
“The tender could be interpreted as a way of replacing the Cubans and if so, it is a good move. Armscor is the sole agent of the SA National Defence Force (SANDF) to acquire goods and services. Taken on face value, the tender seems a good one.”
He maintains the about 140 Cubans placed at a number of military vehicle parks and workshops cannot do the repair and refurbishment work on vehicles and at the same time transfer skills to SA Army Technical Services Corps personnel.
“My information is we will have Cubans in South Africa until the end of next year and they will not be replaced by others. In the medium term this can be interpreted as good because skills needed to keep military trucks in working condition are available locally,” he said, adding original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), the local defence industry, the private sector and the tertiary technical sector were sources to be tapped.
“Looking at the Reserve Force, the skills and abilities are also available there from both the training and actual work points of view.”
The closing date for interested parties to respond to tender ELWS/2022/39 is 28 June. (Source: https://www.defenceweb.co.za/)
13 June 22. Indian Air Force plans to acquire 114 multirole fighter aircraft. Out of the 114 aircraft, 96 would be manufactured in India and the remaining 18 would be imported. The Indian Air Force (IAF) is reportedly planning to procure 114 multirole fighter aircraft (MRFA), with 96 aircraft to be produced within the country.
A report by Asian News International (ANI) said that the remaining 18 of 114 aircraft would be purchased from foreign manufacturers selected under the new project.
The fighter jets are being acquired under the Government of India’s (GOI) ‘Buy Global and Make in India’ initiative, which allows local companies to collaborate with international vendors. Foreign aircraft manufacturers such as Lockheed Martin, Irkut, Boeing, Saab, Dassault Aviation and MiG are expected to participate in the tender process.
ANI cited undisclosed government sources as saying: “Recently, the Indian Air Force held meetings with the foreign vendors and asked them about the way they would carry out the Make in India project.”
Once the initial 18 aircraft are procured from international companies, India will focus on building the 96 aircraft within the country.
As per the report, payment for the first 36 of 96 aircraft would be made in foreign and Indian currencies.
The last batch of 60 MFRA is anticipated to be the crucial responsibility of the Indian partners. The payment for this batch would be made in Indian currency only.
According to the sources, this payment arrangement assists the vendors in the project to achieve more than 60% Make-in-India content.
In 2016, India and France signed an inter-governmental agreement for the delivery of 36-Rafale Jet aircraft. Last year, India approved the procurement of 83 light combat aircraft (LCA) Tejas Mk-1A. (Source: airforce-technology.com)
Since 1946, Industrial Electronic Engineers, IEE, has specialized in the design, test, support and fielding of display products for use in demanding military and aerospace applications throughout the world. IEE has developed an extensive product portfolio that today includes enhanced flat panel displays, smart displays and handheld devices.
From rapid prototyping of custom designs to full-scale production runs, IEE, produces displays with advanced features like low-latency video processing, high-bright and NVIS backlighting, and lightweight rugged enclosures. Their SWaP-C products employ the latest lightweight composite materials; low power, high performance integrated ARM processors; standard Ethernet and USB communication, in a low cost, highly producible design.
In-house California facilities include optical bonding, clean rooms for display assembly, a dark room for optical measurements and environmental chambers for pre-compliance and customer acceptance testing. On-site manufacturing includes PCB assembly and flow soldering. IEE has manufactured handheld, in-vehicle, airborne and naval LCD displays for all military branches as well as leading aerospace firms both domestically and internationally.
IEE is ISO 9001:2015 and AS9100D certified.
- Direct control of critical process steps that reduce cost, decrease production lead times and improves life-cycle management
- Unique advantage to serve to both smaller quantity, highly custom displays needs as well as high volume production outputs
- Expert in delivering the best value in form and fit replacement by modifying existing COTS products to meet legacy requirements
- Leading the next generation avionics efficiencies by leveraging open architectures and common software standards
- Field-proven, pre-engineered displays minimize lead-time and non-recurring engineering costs.