UNITED KINGDOM AND NATO
14 Jul 22. UK and Japan aim to merge Tempest and F-X fighter programmes-sources. Britain and Japan are close to an agreement to merge their next-generation Tempest and F-X fighter jet programmes, with the two countries aiming for a deal on a new joint project by year-end, three sources told Reuters.
It would be the first time Japan has sought a non-U.S. partner for a large military programme and the first major collaboration between Tokyo and London, going beyond what had been expected when industrial talks began five years ago.
“This would be an equal partnership between Japan and Britain,” said one of the sources with knowledge of the plan. It will cost tens of bns of dollars, he added.
The push to combine the Japanese F-X programme, led by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) (7011.T), with Britain’s Tempest, managed by BAE Systems PLC (BAES.L), by December has not previously been reported.
The sources asked to remain anonymous because they are not authorised to speak to the media.
“The main thing that we are aiming for is to build a common jet, that may have small differences in design for each country,” said another of the sources.
Britain could handle exports in Europe, while Japan would take care of the Asian market, another of the three sources said.
Collaboration would spread development costs, while exporting would increase production lots and reduce the price per plane, helping both countries stretch their defence budgets.
It would represent a deepening of security ties between the two close U.S. allies. London is taking on a bigger military role in Asia under a strategic “tilt” towards the Indo-Pacific, and Tokyo is expanding defence cooperation beyond Washington. Japan’s policy, pushed by the late former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to strengthen Tokyo’s hand against neighbouring China, has taken on new urgency following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which Moscow describes as a “special operation.”
The switch to a European partner comes as Japan’s defence spending rises, with the budget expected to double over the coming decade as Prime Minister Fumio Kishida sticks with Abe’s national security agenda and fulfils an election pledge to “substantially” increase military outlays.
“We would like to decide how we can cooperate by the end of this year, and are considering various possibilities,” Japan’s defence ministry said.
Britain’s defence ministry had no immediate comment. The country’s air force head, Air Chief Marshal Mike Wigston, told a conference on Thursday that Britain is “exploring partnering opportunities and sharing our technological expertise with a range of international partners, including Japan and Italy”.
MHI and BAE declined to comment.
Britain plans to give an update on Tempest at next week’s Farnborough Airshow, another source said, without elaborating.
OPENING FOR EUROPE
Japan’s partnership with Britain is a chance for BAE and other European Tempest companies, such as Rolls-Royce (RR.L), missile maker MBDA and Italian defence group Leonardo (LDOF.MI) to tap a growing market long-dominated by U.S. companies.
Efforts to merge the fighter jet projects follow deepening co-operation between the UK and Japan in recent years from the JNAAM missile project to sensor work and a deal to develop an engine demonstrator.
“You can see the direction of travel,” said Douglas Barrie, senior fellow for military aerospace at think-tank IISS.
It is more than 20 years since MHI, maker of the World War Two-era Zero fighter, and U.S. defence group Lockheed Martin Corp built Japan’s F-2 fighter, a short-winged derivative of the F-16 Fighting Falcon.
Lockheed, which later developed the F-35 stealth plane, had also been expected to help MHI build the F-X, an F-2 replacement, which Japan wants to deploy in the 2030s to counter advanced fighters from China.
The programme cost of developing the F-X is estimated by Japan defence ministry officials at around $40 bn, $700 m of which has been allocated this year, making it a lucrative proposition for Japanese companies that lost out as Tokyo bought American kit, including the F-35.
The BAE-led Tempest project to field a replacement for the European Typhoon combat jet has a government budget of 2 bn pounds ($2.38 bn) until 2025, when full development is slated to start.
It is one of two European initiatives for the next generation of air power alongside the Franco-German-Spanish Future Combat Air System, currently mired in divisions between partners Airbus (AIR.PA) and Dassault Aviation (AM.PA).
Lockheed, in 2018, had proposed using an F-22 Raptor airframe and F-35 components for the F-X, but that tentative partnership ended this year because U.S. control over the sensitive technology meant Washington could say when and how Japan maintained and upgraded its planes, the sources said.
A Lockheed spokesperson said questions about the programme should be referred to the Japanese government.
For Japanese companies, which were banned from exporting weapons overseas until 2014, the partnership is a chance to access foreign markets and European technology with potentially fewer restrictions than those imposed by Washington.
Tempest “is a flexible construct that lends itself to multiple forms of cooperation,” said defence analyst Francis Tusa.
The fighter will still need some U.S. components, such as for communications and data links, to ensure interoperability with U.S. forces. As talks in Tokyo and London push ahead, it is still unclear what role, if any, the Swedish and Italian governments will have in the new project after agreeing to collaborate on Tempest. (Source: Reuters)
11 Jul 22. Turkey officially launches competition for TF-X fighter engine. The Turkish government has officially launched a competition for the local development of a turbofan engine that will power the country’s national fighter jet in the making, the TF-X. Turkey’s defense procurement agency, the Presidency of Defense Industries, or SSB, issued in June a request for proposals, inviting potential bidders for the program. SSB said two Turkish engine makers, Tusas Engine Industries and TRMotor, have replied to the RFP.
The agency’s chief and the government’s top procurement official, Ismail Demir, told media that TAEC, a partnership between British engine-maker Rolls-Royce and Turkish industrial conglomerate Kale Group, would soon reply to the RFP, making it a three-way competition. Kale owns 51% of TAEC.
The planned TAEC engine is expected to fly the TF-X at an altitude of 40,000 feet and help it reach a speed of up to Mach 1.8.
Demir said the government’s sine qua nons — or essential requirements — are:
- Production of the planned engine in Turkey.
- Intellectual property rights owned by Turkey.
- No export license restrictions.
- Cost effectiveness.
Demir said TAEC’s offering met all criteria but one: intellectual property rights owned by Turkey. “In case we do not agree on a deal with Rolls-Royce, Turkey will move ahead with its indigenous capabilities [to develop the engine],” he stated.
One of the two local bidders, Tusas Engine Industries, is a government-controlled company. Based in Eskişehir, northwestern Turkey, TEI was founded in 1985 as a joint venture involving GE Aviation, Turkish Aerospace Industries, the Turkish Armed Forces Foundation and the Turkish Aeronautical Association.
The other domestic bidder, TRMotor, was founded in 2017 by SSTEK, a subsidiary of the procurement agency SSB. Tusas, which is the parent company of TEI and Turkish Aerospace Industries, wholly owns TRMotor.
SSB plans to build TF-X prototypes using the American-made F110 engine. The General Electric F110 is an afterburning turbofan jet engine produced by GE Aviation, and it uses the same engine core design as the company’s F101. The engine is also built under license by TEI.
“It is likely that we may use the F110 in serial production [of the TF-X],” Demir said.
But a senior industry official and engine expert said powering the TF-X with the F110 may prove difficult. “Serial production may require vast amounts of investment and testing time. In addition, this option would come with the same export license and intellectual property rights problems as Turks dislike with the Rolls-Royce solution,” the official said on the condition of anonymity, as the individual was concerned about employer retaliation for speaking to the media.
A British proposal
Demir also said BAE Systems has made a new proposal to Turkey about the TF-X program. “The new proposal is about the second phase of the [TF-X] program. We will respond after checking if that proposal for technical support fits our requirements,” Demir said.
The TF-X’s second phase is about finishing the preliminary conceptual design.
Top British manufacturers like BAE Systems and Rolls-Royce are no strangers to the TF-X program. In October 2016, Rolls-Royce offered a joint production partnership to Turkey with a view to powering planned Turkish platforms and potential sales to third parties. The company’s proposal involved a production unit in Turkey to manufacture engines for the TF-X, as well as for helicopters, tanks and missiles.
In January 2017, BAE Systems and TAI signed a deal worth more than £100m (U.S. $120m) to develop the Turkish fighter jet. “We work with Turkish Aerospace to bring know-how and engineering expertise to the TF-X programme,” BAE tweeted Feb. 15, 2022.
The TF-X is scheduled to make its maiden flight in 2026. It will enter service in 2029, according to Turkish officials. (Source: Defense News)
04 Jul 22. Greek Parliament approves the acquisition of AAV-7 and MQ-9 SeaGuardian. Greek Parliament Special Standing Committee on Armament Programs and Contracts approved today the acquisition of the US AAV-7 armoured amphibious vehicles and the procurement of the MQ-9 SeaGuardian Unmanned Aerial Vehicles. The program will cost $ 700m in total.
The acquisition of 75 second-hand AAV-7 armoured amphibious vehicles is envisaged for the equipment of the three marine battalions of the 32nd marine brigade. The original thought was to acquire amphibious vehicles that would serve the entire needs of the unit, precisely 70 to 75 pieces. The cost was up to 600 m dollars. This scenario was rejected to get to the second plan related to the acquisition of amphibious AAV -7A1 to cover the needs of a battalion of marines. And this solution was rejected due to cost, and now the third and prevailing plan, which is also expensive, is to acquire 9-10 amphibious AAV -7A1, which will cover the needs of a company of marines.
The cost for the final plan amounts to 70 m dollars with a complete reconstruction of the vehicles, spare parts, literature, installation of communication material, etc. This is also the prevailing scenario for the implementation, although again, due to the financial difficulty, the cost is considered high given the conditions and the remaining needs. Vehicles are given in an ‘as is where is’ situation, so they require an extensive level of repairs and maintenance.
On the other hand, it is worth emphasizing that the US Marine Corps has stopped its operational use due to many technical and challenging issues. The vehicles will be available for operations only on land, while at sea, they will only be available in case of crisis or war. Greece wants to acquire the UAV system consisting of three MQ-9 SeaGuardian UAVs and one ground control station. (Source: https://www.turdef.com/)
11 Jul 22. US Homeland Security Department seeks C-UAS industry capability information. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Office of Procurement Operations (OPO) has issued a Request for Information (RFI) on behalf of the DHS Science and Technology Directorate (S&T), Office of Mission and Capability Support (MCS) for counter-UAS market information.
According to the tender: “The DHS/S&T/MCS is conducting market research to identify potential sources of support in the areas of detecting, tracking, identify, reporting, and countering small, unmanned aircraft systems (sUAS) and performing radio frequency (RF) spectral measurements of C-UAS technologies. This support is intended to assist S&T in maintaining awareness of technologies on or over the horizon; and understanding the available facilities for conducting RF spectrum measurements.
“S&T’s C-UAS program assesses C-UAS technologies both in laboratory and real-world operational environments and assists DHS Components in: developing and refining requirements, completing the Congressionally mandated process to test and evaluate prototype C-UAS capabilities at a covered asset or mission, and in executing limited duration C-UAS technology pilots at DHS Component locations. The program also guides the development of new and innovative technologies to deliver critical C-UAS capabilities to DHS Components.
“S&T is interested in learning about the availability of aircraft deployable systems to counter the threat of sUAS, commonly referred to as drones, which includes the capability to detect, identify, classify, track, and/or mitigate (DTI-M) these threats. The system will primarily be implemented for manned flight safety in the border environment. The ability to detect sUAS, avoid collision, and take mitigating action is paramount. In addition to manned fixed and rotary capabilities, this RFI topic area also seeks capabilities as they may apply to DHS operated unmanned aircraft and tethered platforms. The system should be cable of being carried or integrated aboard DHS-operated rotary wing, fixed-wing, unmanned, and tethered aircraft.
The following table contains additional system parameters sought:
- The system shall be capable of functioning in an aircraft/airborne environment Detect, Track, Identify, and/or Mitigate at pilot’s or operator’s discretion.
- The system shall be capable of functioning under varying aircraft attitude conditions Detect, Track, Identify, and/or Mitigate at pilot’s discretion regardless of aircraft attitude.
- The system shall be capable of functioning in a moving aircraft in the air, and on the ground. Detect, Track, Identify, and/or Mitigate at pilot’s discretion regardless of aircraft speed, including while in a hover.
- System Size, Power, and Weight Requirements The system shall be configurable to integrate into any DHS-operated rotary wing, fixedwing, unmanned, and tethered aircraft.
- The system shall be configurable to prevent electromagnetic interference and be compatible in aircraft electromagnetic environment for DHS aircraft The system shall meet applicable Electromagnetic Compatibility (EMC) standards for installation in aircraft.
- The system shall not have known cyber vulnerabilities or transmit data beyond the operator’s network cyber-hardened hardware and software will be preferred.
- The system shall be able to detect an unmanned aircraft system and report its presence to a Law Enforcement (LE) agent on the ground (Detect) System shall alert the pilot or operator via a means that minimizes focused attention. E.g., audible alarm.
- The system shall be able to detect an unmanned aircraft system affiliated ground controller and report its presence to a LE agent on the ground (Detect) For the law enforcement mission, the system shall be able to collect and store augmented information on the threat sUAS such as operator position.
- The system shall be able to record data for unmanned aerial system and report it to a LE agent on the ground The system shall have the capability to log DTI-M data
- The system shall be able to inform the operator of where the detected unmanned aircraft vehicle is by providing its latitude, longitude, and altitude. Additionally, the system should include as much additional meta-data associated with the detected platform as possible. (Track) System shall provide relative position information such as bearing, range, altitude, and speed. System shall indicate heading of the sUAS so as to alert the pilot to take evasive action and/or the operator to initiate law enforcement coordination.
- The system shall be able to inform the operator of where the unmanned aerial systems ground controller is located in two or more dimensions (Track) For law enforcement actions, the system shall be able to geographically depict the sUAS operator’s position. An example would be a map overlay with reference points.
- The system shall be able to report/ collect specific details (make/model) about the UAS system and/or its payload (Identify) For law enforcement and intelligence collecting operations, the system shall have the ability to inform the intelligence cycle with information such as time, point of origin, and flight duration.
- The system shall be able to render the UAS inoperable by the aircrew or operator. (Mitigate) Pilot or operator will maintain full control and have the option to selectively mitigate or activate a persistent mitigation action (i.e. fence around the aircraft).
- The system shall display and be capable of sharing information across varying mission displays. The pilot or operator shall be able to have full situational awareness of the air domain within the range of the systems. The system shall be able to integrate across several platforms. E.g., an aircraft cockpit display, a display in a manned UAS ground control station or operations center, etc.
Issuing organisation: US Department of Homeland Security
Tender number: 70RSAT22RFI000012
Deadline: July 20, 2022
For more information
REST OF THE WORLD
12 Jul 22. Air defence for Qatar soccer stadiums a boon for Swiss arms exports. Swiss arms exports rose more than 40% to CHF 516m in the first half of this year, the Economy Ministry said, with CHF 159.8m in sales of air defence systems to Qatar to protect stadiums during the soccer World Cup making a decisive contribution. After Qatar, the top five buyers were Denmark, Saudi Arabia, Germany and Botswana. Denmark and Botswana bought armoured vehicles and Germany ammunition and spare parts. Switzerland does not sell new systems to Saudi Arabia in order to prevent them being used in the Yemen war: sales to Riyadh encompassed spare parts and ammunition for air defence systems. (Source: Google/Reuters)
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