UNITED KINGDOM AND NATO
20 Jul 22. Scanning the horizons for smarter, cooperative missiles.
Dstl is searching for technologies that enable missiles to cooperate with each other to complete shared objectives
- The Defence and Security Accelerator (DASA) has launched a new Themed Competition: It’s Good For Missiles To Talk
- Funded by the Defence and Science Technology Laboratory (Dstl)
- Up to £800K funding available for advanced technologies which can underpin a future cooperative missile
The Defence and Security Accelerator (DASA) is pleased to launch a new Themed Competition called It’s Good for Missiles to Talk. Run on behalf of the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl), this Themed Competition aims to identify and develop novel technologies that could be exploited in the development of a new category of missile – cooperative missiles.
Cooperative missiles can communicate with each other, share situational awareness and organise themselves to ‘work together’ efficiently to achieve a common objective. The aim of the work is to investigate how inter-missile communication and cooperative behaviours can be technically achieved to solve UK military challenges.
UK defence systems enabled by AI, including missiles, will always be subject to context appropriate human involvement. For this competition, we are only interested in technologies that could enable cooperation between missiles.
This themed competition focuses on the following challenge areas:
- Challenge 1: Distributed target detection and identification
- Challenge 2: Data processing onboard and between missiles
- Challenge 3: Enhanced navigation through cooperation
- Challenge 4: Application of Artificial Intelligence (AI)
Key dates and funding
Total funding available for Phase 1 is up to £800,000 (ex VAT) and is expected to fund multiple proposals.
The deadline to submit a proposal is midday 3 August 2022.
Do you have an innovation? Read the full competition document and submit a proposal.
It’s Good for Missiles to Talk in complex operational environments
The development of cooperative missiles for future UK missile systems is a novel and key challenge that Defence is seeking to solve.
At the moment, missile development seeks to overmatch adversary capabilities by improving the performance of individual missiles. For example, through use of more sophisticated seekers or navigation systems.
However, through the cooperative missile approach, overmatch can be achieved through leveraging networked technologies. This approach is potentially disruptive because the technologies and sub-systems used in a cooperative missile system will be less complex than current designs, while offering greater performance when working together.
This capability is important because the operating environment for UK missile systems is growing increasingly complex. For example, potential targets are often concealed and are likely to be surrounded by buildings, trees and vegetation, which can make identification and navigation challenging. Cooperative missiles will also be beneficial in environments where Global Navigation Satellite Services (GNSS) is degraded.
Generation-after-next cooperative missiles: Challenge areas
Submitted proposals should choose to target one or all of the below challenge areas.
Challenge 1: Distributed target detection and identification
This challenge area seeks novel ways to detect, recognise and identify intended targets using missile sensors distributed over a cooperative group. For example:
- combining sensor data to build a shared image of the target area, with multiple missiles potentially approaching the target from different directions. Increasing detection and identification range through use of multiple, low-cost sensors
- improving the accuracy of target tracking in a complex scene by combining data from multiple sources
- approaches to the above with homogenous and/ or heterogeneous arrays of sensors
Challenge 2: Data processing onboard and between missiles
This challenge area seeks innovations to process large quantities of data across cooperative missile networks for particular missions. For example:
- distributed processing in a missile environment
- distributed database systems within a cooperative missile network
- edge processing – this is an alternative and complimentary technique to analyse and process strong data at the point of generation
- transmission of data within a limited bandwidth cooperative missile network
Challenge 3: Enhanced navigation through cooperation
This challenge area seeks to understand how novel alternative navigation (AltNav) technologies and distributed navigation sensors can be used. For example:
- use of multiple low cost Inertial Measurement Units (IMUs) across the cooperative missile network to improve group navigation
- use of multiple GNSS feeds across the cooperative missile network when some are jammed or degraded to improve group navigation
- use of geolocation using diverse technologies that are distributed across the missile network
- synchronisation of timing information within the cooperative missile network
Challenge 4: Application of Artificial Intelligence
This general challenge area seeks to understand how advances in AI could be exploited in cooperative missile systems. For example:
- improving the robustness of limited bandwidth communications between the cooperative missile network
- optimising the searching of a scene across the distributed cooperative missile network
- target detection in the presence of obscurance (e.g. smoke or camouflage systems) across a distributed cooperative missile network
Want to learn more about these challenge areas? Read the full competition document here.
Webinars and online events
Competition Webinar: 20 June 2022
This webinar will provide more information on the challenge areas and how to submit a proposal. There will be an opportunity to ask questions. If you would like to get involved, please register on the Eventbrite page.
Register now: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/its-good-for-missiles-to-talk-qa-session-tickets-350506714017
Submit a proposal
Do you have a solution or novel approach that may help our ability to develop cooperative missile technologies? Submit an idea and help DASA and Dstl exploit cooperative missiles that can communicate with each other to complete a shared mission.
Read the full competition document to learn more and submit a proposal: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/competition-its-good-for-missiles-to-talk
18 Jul 22. Leonardo establishing AW149 facility in UK. Leonardo is establishing a manufacturing facility for the AW149 helicopter at its Yeovil plant in southern England, with a “multim-pound” investment announced at the Farnborough Airshow on 18 July. The company said that tooling for the new AW149 line is scheduled to be delivered to site in the fourth quarter of 2022, and that it will leverage commonalities with the AW189 that was earlier produced in Yeovil.
“This investment will ensure that the first UK AW149 can be delivered into operational service in the Ministry of Defence’s [MoD’s] stated 2025 timeframe,” Leonardo said.
As noted in the Leonardo statement, the MoD put out a tender to replace the Airbus Helicopters Puma HC2 and three other rotorcraft types under the New Medium Helicopter (NMH) requirement.
“Should Leonardo be successful in winning the competition, its existing helicopter design and engineering site in Yeovil will have the infrastructure and skills readily available to deliver to this ambitious timescale,” the company said. (Source: Janes)
18 Jul 22. BAE Systems ‘in a good place’ to meet UK’s UAS Challenge. BAE Systems feels it is “in a good place” to meet the United Kingdom’s upcoming Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) Challenge to develop quick-to-field uncrewed aircraft, unveiling its UAS Concept family of systems ahead of the Farnborough Airshow. BAE Systems’ head of the future systems, Steve Reeves, told Janes on 15 July that the company’s UAS Concept family could provide the Ministry of Defence (MoD) with the options it is looking for under the UAS Challenge announced just the day before by chief of the Air Staff Air Chief Marshal Sir Mike Wigston.
“For the UAS Challenge, I think we are very well placed to have conversations when that competition starts,” Reeves said at the Royal International Air Tattoo, where BAE Systems was showcasing full-sized mock-ups of its UAS Concept 1 and UAS Concept 2, with other concepts potentially in the offing also.(Source: Janes)
18 Jul 22. New £5m innovation fund for cutting edge veterans’ healthcare. Bids open for £5m funding for the Veterans’ Health Innovation Fund to enhance veterans’ healthcare.
- Bids open for £5m funding for innovative projects and cutting edge-tech to enhance veterans’ healthcare
- The Veterans’ Health Innovation Fund will support development of new treatments, techniques and interventions, including through use of AI, virtual reality and regenerative engineering
- Bids sought for initiatives to help enhance female veterans’ healthcare in particular
A new £5m fund has opened today for projects which will provide innovative healthcare treatments for veterans.
The funding will support organisations looking to research and trail cutting-edge technology which could help veterans with complex healthcare needs.
Veterans sometimes face unique health issues as a result of their military service and the Veterans’ Health Innovation Fund will spur innovation in techniques which will ultimately help treat ex-service personnel who have been injured whilst serving the country.
The fund is now open for a number of areas, including:
- Digital, data and technology, including through artificial intelligence, virtual reality and using data to predict long-term health outcomes
- Improvements in innovative surgical techniques, rehabilitation for blast injuries and intervention technologies for mid traumatic brain injury
- Trial interventions and treatments for the impact of pain, hearing loss and visual impairment
- Initiatives to help identify and provide solutions to disparities in female veterans’ health and healthcare
Minister for Veterans’ Affairs Johnny Mercer said: “Our military veterans deserve the very best physical and mental healthcare available. That’s why it is right that we invest cash in exploring how the latest innovation and technology can be used to help deliver that. I want to make the UK the best place in the world to be a veteran. That means ensuring we do all we can to help ensure better health and employment outcomes for those who have sacrificed so much on our behalf.”
The £5m Veterans’ Health Innovation Fund, announced by the Chancellor of the Exchequer in the Autumn Budget, is designed to fund a range of projects to improve understanding of how innovative medical treatments or new clinical pathways can be used to better meet veteran healthcare needs.
Organisations will receive grants or contracts to research or trial cutting-edge treatments, techniques and interventions for physical and mental health challenges to help veterans enjoy civilian life to the fullest of their ability.
The grant bidding process has been supported by the Defence and Security Accelerator (DASA). The bidding process is open until 31 August 2022.
The funding will also help the government meet its commitment in the Strategy for our Veterans for all veterans to enjoy a state of positive physical and mental health and wellbeing,
Interested applicants can attend an engagement session to find out more about the bidding process. Details on how to apply for a portion of the fund can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/veterans-affairs-health-innovation-fund (Source: https://www.gov.uk/)
15 Jul 22. Airbus announces H175M Task Force. Airbus Helicopters has announced the first members of H175M Task Force – the UK-based industry team created to offer, supply and support the British-produced H175M helicopter for the UK’s New Medium Helicopter (NMH) requirement.
On the opening day of the Royal International Air Tattoo in Fairford, Gloucestershire, leading aerospace companies Babcock International, Martin-Baker, Pratt & Whitney Canada (P&WC) and Spirit AeroSystems stepped forward as Strategic Partners in the new teaming.
The addition of Babcock, Martin-Baker and Spirit AeroSystems will increase the sovereign UK elements of the Airbus proposition sourced from across the country.
Managing Director of Airbus Helicopters in the UK, Lenny Brown, said: “These agreements, signed with some of the most respected aerospace companies in the UK and internationally are a clear sign of the robustness and enduring value to the nation of our proposal.
“If selected the H175M Task Force will create hundreds of new jobs and sustain thousands more throughout the UK rotary supply chain in the years ahead. The H175M has the potential to reinvigorate the UK’s helicopter industry by addressing an export market estimated at nearly 500 aircraft worldwide.”
Defence and helicopter specialist Babcock will fulfill the critical role of support partner for the H175M in UK service at military operating locations.
Martin Baker, at Denham, Middlesex, with more than 70 years of aerospace experience, will provide specialist troop seating and cabin integration services.
In Belfast, Northern Ireland and Prestwick, Scotland Spirit AeroSystems, already an Airbus partner on the CityAirbus NextGen eVTOL aircraft, will undertake extensive detailed design and manufacturing activities on the H175M.
In addition, Pratt & Whitney Canada, is formally partnering in the team for which it supplies and supports the PT6C-67E turboshaft engines from its market leading family of powerplants.
Further partners and suppliers from across the UK will be announced as the bid progresses based on the H175M helicopter to be produced at Broughton, North Wales.
Phil Craig, Manager Director of Babcock Aviation UK, said: “Babcock are extremely pleased to be part of the H175M Task Force competing to deliver the New Medium Helicopter requirement for the UK Ministry of Defence.
“Collaborating with Airbus as part of this strategic task force enables us to partner with industry specialists and leverage our expertise in aerospace engineering and in-service support, delivering resilient operational capability for the UK MoD.
“As a people-focused organization, we look forward to investing in the future of UK Defence and to provide sustainable, long-term employment opportunities that will benefit local communities and the wider economy.“
Martin-Baker Director of Business Development Andrew Martin said: “Martin-Baker is proud to have had our life saving troop seats selected for the H75M platform. Airbus and Martin-Baker have worked together for the last 20 years and look forward to continuing this partnership.
“We are delighted to be working with Airbus Helicopters in its effort to supply the Ministry of Defence with new H175M helicopters powered by our PT6C-67E engines,” said Nicolas Chabée, Vice President, Marketing and Sales, Helicopters at Pratt & Whitney Canada.
“The UK’s New Medium Helicopter programme will be ideally served by this exceptional pairing with proven reliability, dispatch capabilities and mission flexibility. Pratt & Whitney has a leading presence in the UK, serving over 250 operators flying 1,250 engines that power 660 aircraft. We understand military missions and have decades of experience powering them.”
“Spirit AeroSystems is delighted to utilise its advanced composites design and manufacturing expertise at both its Belfast and Prestwick facilities to support H175M Task Force. We’ve been working for many years with Airbus, supplying key structures, including fully integrated, for multiple commercial aircraft programmes and, more recently, on the exploration of disruptive aircraft design. We’re excited to collaborate on another new platform, and to leverage our design-for-manufacture capability to offer innovative, cost-effective solutions for defence. We look forward to joining other strategic partners on developing a proposal with the potential to help shape the future of UK military rotorcraft,” said Sir Michael Ryan, CBE, Vice President, European Space & Defence, and Government Affairs, Spirit AeroSystems.
The H175M is a modern and exceptionally capable helicopter with the biggest cabin in its class, outstanding range and endurance, and low through-life costs.
19 Jul 22. Greece moves to join Lockheed’s F-35 program as Turkey F-16 bid stalls. Greek Defense Minister Nikolaos Panagiotopoulos is visiting the United States this week as Athens continues its bid to join Lockheed Martin’s F-35 co-production program and lobby against a potential F-16 sale to Turkey.
Panagiotopoulos said Tuesday that he discussed Greece’s potential entry into the F-35 program with Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin as well as Sean Burke, the director of the Pentagon’s F-35 joint program office. He also noted that he would tour Lockheed’s F-35 production line Fort Worth, Texas on Wednesday alongside the company’s CEO, Jim Taiclet.
“We already have made our interest known,” he told Defense News. “We sent a letter of request, and we have to wait for a time – that’s the procedure – for the letter of acceptance. But everything that needs to be done on a procedural level for a swift entrance into this program is being done.”
Greece sent its official letter of request to buy 20 F-35As last month with an eye on delivery after 2028. Athens has also expressed interest in purchasing an additional batch of F-35s down the line. Joining Lockheed’s co-production program alongside the U.S. and eight other countries would also require Greece to stake its own equities in manufacturing the advanced fighter jets.
Panagiotopoulos said that joining the program reflects the commitment of Greece and the U.S. to intensify cooperation “in the domain of defense procurement.”
He made the remarks after a meeting with Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., who exercises considerable leverage over arms sales to other nations as chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee. Menendez’s home state of New Jersey boasts the sixth largest Greek American population in the U.S. and the fourth largest Armenian American population, making Greece’s adversarial NATO ally Turkey particularly unpopular among many of his constituents.
Greece, Turkey jockey for position in Washington
Menendez has threatened to use his leverage to block the $6 bn sale of 40 Lockheed Martin Block 70 F-16 fighter jets to Turkey. Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis directly appealed to Congress to block the F-16 sale during an address before a joint meeting of Congress in May – immediately after he announced Greece’s intention to acquire the F-35 at the White House.
The U.S. kicked Turkey out of the F-35 co-production program in 2019 over Ankara’s purchase of the Russian S-400 missile defense amid fears its advanced radar system could allow Moscow to spy on the stealth fighter jets.
The Greeks have found a critical ally in Menendez as they seek to block the F-16 sale to Turkey amid repeated Turkish violations of Greek airspace, the ongoing occupation of Northern Cyprus and maritime disputes over gas exploration in the eastern Mediterranean.
This puts Athens at odds with President Joe Biden, who voiced support for the F-16 sale at the NATO summit in Madrid last month after Turkey dropped its opposition to Swedish and Finnish accession to the alliance. The Turks are also seeking a separate $400 m sale to upgrade their current F-16 jets with new missiles, radar and electronics.
“We should sell them the F-16 jets and modernize those jets as well,” Biden said in Madrid. “But I need congressional approval to be able to do that, and I think we can get that.”
It remains unclear how the White House plans to persuade Menendez, who remains committed to using his position to block the sale.
Menendez told Defense News on Monday that he remains a hard no on the F-16s but said he could consider the sale if Turkey addresses issues he has previously raised with Ankara. Those include its actions in the eastern Mediterranean, its continued possession of the S-400s, it human rights record and ongoing attacks against the US-backed fighters in northeast Syria.
‘The situation is fluid right now’
The Kurdish-dominated Syrian Democratic Council has also lobbied Congress and the Biden administration against the sale, noting that Turkey has used F-16s to target civilian infrastructure in areas under its control as recently as February.
Sinam Mohamad, the Syrian Democratic Council’s envoy to Washington, told Defense News in May that she has engaged lawmakers and the State Department “at senior levels” to urge them not to approve the F-16 sale.
The top Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, James Risch of Idaho, also has the authority to block the F-16 sale and noted that “the situation is fluid right now.”
Risch has not yet given the green light for the sale to proceed. Still, he told Defense News in May that he was “positively disposed in that direction, but I’m not completely there yet.”
Turkey’s reputation on Capitol Hill plummeted following its 2019 S-400 acquisition and attack on the Syrian Kurds that same year, but recently Ankara has managed to claw back some goodwill in Congress over its support for Ukraine.
The chairman and ranking member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Democrat Gregory Meeks of New York and Republican Mike McCaul of Texas, have both indicated that they would not block the sale so long as Turkey continue to work with the U.S. to address outstanding issues.
The House voted 244-179 last week to add an amendment from Rep. Frank Pallone, D-N.J., to its annual defense authorization that would require Biden to submit “a detailed description of concrete steps” to ensure that Turkey does not use the F-16s to violate Greek airspace before proceeding with any sale. The amendment also requires that Biden certify that the F-16 sale is in U.S. national security interests. (Source: Defense News)
20 Jul 22. Italy expects Tempest exports by 2040; Japan working on jet’s Jaguar system. The Jaguar effort will feature the development of universal frequency sensor technology for the FCAS effort.
Senior representatives from the Italian Ministry of Defence and Leonardo have disclosed new details about the workshare they are developing for the UK-led Future Combat Air System (FCAS), including details of Japan’s collaboration on sensor and communication capabilities.
Speaking to the media Tuesday at the Farnborough Airshow, Lt. Col. Davide Dentamaro of the Italian Air Force’s FCAS Program Office and Leonardo’s executive team confirmed they remain in the assessment phase at uni- and multi-lateral levels.
“We are in discussions with government counterparts to assess any overlap of respective national requirements,” Dentamaro confirmed before adding: “This is an important phase to define the requirements.”
He also suggested the ongoing FCAS effort is “very different” than legacy efforts in European combat air, which often saw national industries battling one another into inefficiencies. In contrast, “There is complete synergy across industry partners,” he said.
FCAS is a multi-lateral program to design a sixth-generation combat air capability. Established in 2018 by the UK MoD, the program now includes Italy and most recently a team-up with Japan; Sweden is also closely observing the process, according to program officials this week.
However, Andrew Howard, the director of Major Air Programmes for Leonardo UK, said he expects to see differences in national requirements emerge over time.
“There will be commonality to drive efficiencies but there needs to be freedom of maneuver and freedom of action which can be accommodated through open architecture. It is not affordable for one country to bring this program to life on its own,” he said.
On July 18, the UK FCAS team — featuring the UK MoD, BAE Systems, Rolls-Royce, Leonardo UK and MBDA — announced the Tempest Combat Air Platform Demonstrator, a key part of the FCAS program, would fly within the next five years.
According to Howard, the next two years will drive alignment in terms of national requirements, giving the tri-lateral FCAS team a 10-year period to deliver capability.
Meanwhile, Leonardo’s FCAS Director, Guglielmo Maviglia, confirmed Italy, the UK and Japan would benefit from the “new defense asset” in 2035 and beyond but also said the consortium would aim to “leverage” the export market as soon as 2040.
Maviglia also described how tactical and operational experiences generated by Italian and UK fifth-generation F-35s would matter for the development of a sixth-generation combat air platform.
“The leap from a 4G [Typhoon] to 6G [combat aircraft could be a real challenge,” he warned.
Maviglia also described how Japan has fit “seamlessly into discussions” so far, sharing similar ambitions for the program in terms of timelines.
“The Japanese requirement is similar to that of Italy and the UK. Early talks are very encouraging,” Howard added before describing how Leonardo in the UK and Italy is focused on developing FCAS’s Integrated Sensing and Non-Kinetic Effects (ISANKE) and Integrated Communications System (ICS) with industry partners including ELT.
“We are working together on a number of projects with Elettronica in Italy including joint assessment of potential architecture of a common ISANKE and ICS. The work is complementary to ongoing collaboration with Japan on 6th-generation sensor capabilities, an area in which Italy will soon be involved,” he said.
According to Leonardo, ISANKE is a “spider’s web” of capability that sits across the FCAS airframe.
“SANKE is a fully integrated network of multi-functional radio frequency and electro-optic sensing and non-kinetic effects nodes. Collectively, these nodes gather information from across the electromagnetic spectrum, which is then combined using sophisticated fusion algorithms. The result is a comprehensive situational awareness picture, which provides the aircrew with an enhanced view of the battlespace and real information advantage in combat,” a Leonardo spokesperson said after the event.
The ICS features multiple tactical communications and secure datalink systems which enable information to be exchanged rapidly across an FCAS formation to harness ISANKE fusion capabilities.
“ICS also enables FCAS to share information with the wider force mix, contributing information advantage in multi-domain operations. This is a key component of FCAS’s sixth-generation capability. The pilot will be more aware of their surroundings and other entities in the battlespace, more quickly and at longer ranges than ever before. This will result in superior combat effectiveness and survivability,” the spokesperson added.
Integration may end up the most important element of ISANKE and ICS, and so Howard also described how Leonardo remains in the process of creating a digital backbone for FCAS. A combat cloud is also scheduled to be delivered.
‘We are looking at specific areas for deeper collaboration,” Howard said. “For example, ICS is an important area for Italian expertise and multi-function processing must be collaborative moving forward on the back of a UK MoD Technology Demonstrator Program.”
Howard also highlighted UK and Japan’s Letter of Arrangement, signed in February, to conduct cooperative research in fighter jet sensor technology.
The “Jaguar” effort will feature the development of universal frequency sensor technology to allow aircraft to “better detect future threats from air, land and sea, quickly and accurately locating targets and denying surveillance technology operated by our adversaries,” according to a Leonardo statement at the time. (Japan’s expected role in the FCAS effort has since expanded.)
Leonardo sources suggested work could include the miniaturization of future radars, something which the company is pursuing at a “deeper level”, company executives concluded. (Source: Breaking Defense.com)
21 Jul 22. Czech Republic focuses on F-35 procurement. The Czech government has selected the Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) as the preferred choice for its future combat aircraft. Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala announced the decision on 20 July, saying that negotiations with the US government for the procurement of the fifth-generation stealth fighter will now begin. According to Fiala, the Czech Air Force will receive 24 aircraft to equip two squadrons in Čáslav Air Base.
Explaining the air force’s selection, the Chief of General Staff, Major General Karel Řehka, noted, “The F-35 Lightning II will represent a highly competitive aircraft even in 2040, whereas the so-called 4+ generation of fighters will have become obsolete by then.”
The Czech Minister of Defence, Jana Černochová, said that the F-35 negotiations would be concluded by the end of October 2023, at which point a final decision on its acquisition will be made.
Lockheed Martin said it is “delighted” by the Czech government’s decision. (Source: Janes)
18 Jul 22. NH90 not delivering for Sweden, says Air Force chief.
“Big decision” to be made on the platform, which saw Norway cancel contract earlier this year.
The Swedish Air Force is assessing the effectiveness and performance of its NH90 anti-submarine warfare (ASW) helicopter, with the platform deemed as not currently delivering its planned capabilities to the country’s military, it has emerged.
In 2001, the Swedish Air Force signed the purchase contract for 18 NH90 helicopters, classified as the HKP14, as well as seven on option, receiving the first ASW platform in 2015. The Swedish acquisition included nine in the land-based roles and the remaining nine in naval roles, receiving the eighteenth and final HKP14 in 2019.
Speaking at a Swedish Air Force event in London on 17 July, Major General Carl-Johan Edstrom, commander of the Swedish Air Force, said the NH90 was “not delivering what it should deliver at the moment”, as the service conducts a wider review of its rotary requirements.
Edstrom said it was a “big decision” as to what Sweden would do with its NH90 fleet, and that the country was in dialogue with other operators on the platform.
By contrast, the UH-60M Black Hawk fleet was “really working well” for the Swedish military, Edstrom said.
The NH90 suffered a notable reversal earlier this year, after Norway opted to cancel its own NH90 programme and said it would be seeking “full restitution of funds and assets received by both parties”, amounting to around NOK5bn it has paid in the contract, in addition to interest and other expenses.
“We have made repeated attempts at resolving the problems related to the NH90 in cooperation with NHI, but more than 20 years after the contract was signed, we still don’t have helicopters capable of performing the missions for which they were bought,” the Norwegian Defence Material Agency said in a 10 June statement.
The NATO frigate helicopter (NFH) is one of two versions of the NH90 twin-engine multirole helicopter, manufactured by NHIndustries, with the other version designated the NH90 TTH (tactical transport helicopter). NHIndustries, the prime contractor for the programme, is a joint venture company between Airbus Helicopters, Leonardo, and GKN Fokkerr.
According to NHIndustries the programme is the largest of its kind launched in Europe, with more than 500 units ordered for France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, Finland, Norway, Sweden, Greece, Oman, Australia, New-Zealand, Spain and Belgium.
By April 2021, 444 NH90 aircraft were declared as operational across 13 countries, with more than 100 naval NH90 helicopters delivered to six nations by November 2020.
Elsewhere, Edstrom said the first four C-130H transporters will be replaced by the J model from 2028, in addition to outlining that Sweden’s future fighter fleet will comprise a mix of around 60 Gripen C/D and 60 Gripen E, across seven combat fighter squadrons, as the country seeks to increase defence spending to 2% of GDP.
A national strategy document will be published in November outlining what platform could replace the older Gripen C/D aircraft currently in service.
In June, Sweden announced its intention to join NATO, a move influenced by Russia’s large-scale invasion of Ukraine on 24 February. The NATO benchmark asks members to contribute 2% of their national GDP to national defence spending. (Source: airforce-technology.com)
18 Jul 22. Romania to purchase French submarines and helicopters. The plan of acquisitions of the Romanian Army includes French submarines Scorpene and French helicopters, minister of defence Vasile Dincu announced, adding that a letter of intent was signed with the French minister of defence in this regard.
“We have signed a letter of intent with the French minister of defence for a future project, and we have begun the process of bringing the new equipment to Parliament: it is about Scorpene submarines and helicopters. It is a letter of intent made with the French government, and we want to implement this project,” he said, quoted by Bursa.
The Romanian minister of defence said that he is working on a draft bill that will provide for shorter deadlines for the public procurement procedures in the sector of defence. (Source: News Now/https://www.romania-insider.com/)
20 Jul 22. With $100m, can the Senate save large undersea drone program from Navy chopping block?
The Senate Armed Services Committee in its report justified the move by saying Snakehead could be “an important capability” once fielded.
A Senate panel overseeing the Navy is calling on the service to continue developing a high-profile unmanned undersea vehicle program and directed $100 m in funding to keep the research afloat, despite the Navy’s request to discontinue the initiative.
“Despite program schedule underperformance, the committee believes the Snakehead Large Displacement Unmanned Undersea Vehicle could provide an important capability to the fleet once fielded,” the Senate Armed Services Committee wrote in its report accompanying the fiscal 2023 defense policy bill.
The panel published the full text of its bill earlier this week, and the legislation now awaits a vote on the Senate floor. There are still several steps in the legislative process that Congress must work through before it’ll be clear if the service actually receives that $100 m, such as negotiating with House lawmakers who granted the service’s request to cancel the program in their version of the bill.
But still, the abrupt change of course comes from a congressional panel that has historically worked to slow the service’s unmanned vehicle reserach, citing concerns about whether the technology behind the drones is fully baked.
For it’s part, the Navy in its budget request described issues with “limited availability of host platforms to conduct Snakehead operations” as well as “cost and schedule delays” associated with integrating the UUV onto the Virginia-class submarine.
The vehicle itself is envisioned to be launched from a submarine and able to host a wide range of payloads to take up missions that would otherwise divert resources away from the sub.
If the program is revived through this year’s defense policy and spending bills, then questions will linger both about how the Navy resolves the problems it cited as justifying the program’s cancellation as well as what negative side effects may have accrued during the several months that program officials had otherwise been planning on canning the drone. (Source: Breaking Defense.com)
20 Jul 22. US, Netherlands ink agreement on future rotorcraft info sharing, including FARA, FLRAA.
“One of the pitfalls from the past was that we were focusing too much on national requirements instead of Alliance or coalition requirements,” said Maj. Gen. Andre Steur, national capability director in the Dutch Defence Ministry.
The US Army and the Netherland’s Ministry of Defence signed an agreement today to exchange information about future rotorcraft requirements and programs as both nations look to modernize their militaries.
The agreement is the second such effort the Army has signed with a European ally, following a February handshake between the Army and United Kingdom to ensure interoperability between future helicopter platforms.
“What it allows us to officially do [is] it allows us to talk concepts at sensitive levels. It allows us to talk requirements, and allows us to talk science and technology,” said Maj. Gen. Walter Rugen, director of the Future Vertical Lift Cross-Functional Team, during a roundtable with reporters. “It gives us those authorities so we don’t have to talk around subjects.”
The US and Dutch will “ensure interoperability” between their future helicopter programs under the agreement, which they called a “Future Rotorcraft Concept Analysis Project Arrangement.” The agreement, according to a press release, will allow the two to “assess the benefits, risks and overall feasibility of rotorcraft cooperation between the two allies.” The release also says the arrangement will “develop plans for cooperation in future phases” of the US’s Future Vertical Lift program.
A fact sheet from that Army notes that the two nations will collaborate on Army aviation’s modernization priorities, including the Future Long-Range Assault Aircraft and Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft.
Maj. Gen. Andre Steur, national capability director in the Dutch Defence Ministry, told reporters that the arrangement was an “important step.”
“One of the pitfalls from the past was that we were focusing too much on national requirements instead of alliance or coalition requirements,” Steur said.
The project will also work to identify opportunities to reduce program costs, schedule and performance risks in future helicopter programs.
Rugen said that general officers from the Army and Netherlands will meet semi-annually, while colonels and other action officers will meet “routinely.” The semi-annual meetings will drive the topics of collaboration, identify gaps and “reinforce” successes, Rugen said.
Air Commodore Robert Adang, commander of the Netherlands Helicopter Command, told reporters that the information exchanged between the two countries will create more “synergy” between allies.
“This will allow us to work on a daily basis with the US Army in developing the new ideas, new concepts that Future Vertical Lift will bring,” Adang said.
The Army has a similar agreement with the United Kingdom announced earlier this year. Under that agreement, called Future Vertical Lift Cooperative Program Feasibility Assessment, the US and UK are formally sharing information about future rotorcraft requirements and programs.
Rugen told reporters that the US-UK agreement, signed in February, recently produced its first draft report, exploring operational concepts for future rotorcraft and potential collaboration for helicopters from research to sustainment.
In June, six NATO countries, including the Netherlands and UK but not the US, announced a collaboration agreement to develop a new medium multi-role helicopter, aiming to replace current inventories by 2035. Right now, Steur said the the Dutch currently have AH-64 Apaches, CH-47 Chinooks, AS532 Cougar and NH-90 helicopters in its fleet. All those helicopters are going through upgrades, he said, except for the Cougar.
Doug Bush, assistant secretary of the army for acquisition, logistics and technology, hinted that the US Army is considering more partnerships with allies in the future.
“There are ideas about expanding the pool further, which we think could be hugely beneficial,” Bush said. (Source: Breaking Defense.com)
19 Jul 22. DoD Announces First Set of Projects to Receive Funding From the Pilot Program to Accelerate the Procurement and Fielding of Innovative Technologies (APFIT). The Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering (OUSD(R&E)) announced the first set of projects to receive funding via the pilot program to Accelerate the Procurement and Fielding of Innovative Technologies (APFIT).
The purpose of the APFIT pilot program is to expeditiously transition technologies – with priority given to those developed by small businesses and/or nontraditional defense contractors – from pilot programs, prototype projects, and research projects into production. The benefits of this pilot will be to deliver war-winning capability earlier than scheduled while contributing to the viability of small business and nontraditional defense contractor vendors. APFIT is an additional tool the DoD can use to propel innovative capabilities across the “Valley of Death” and into the hands of the warfighter.
“APFIT holds great promise to transform the way the Department procures next generations solutions. This pilot program is well positioned to be a key asset as we continue to work to bridge the valley of death,” stated Heidi Shyu, Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering. “The ten companies being funded will fill critical capability gaps. Without APFIT, their innovative technologies could take much longer to reach the hands of our warfighters.”
The National Defense Authorization Act of FY22 directed the Secretary of Defense to establish APFIT as a competitive, merit-based program for innovative and mature technologies and products that can meet warfighter demands but currently lack the necessary funding to transition the capability into the production delivery phase. The U.S. Congress funded $100 m in FY22. Ten DoD program offices will each receive $10 m in APFIT funding. These program offices will in turn use that funding to procure innovative technologies from small businesses or nontraditional defense contractor vendors, as listed below. To be eligible for APFIT funding, these vendors must have received less than $500 m in cumulative revenue from DoD.
Following projects to receive funding via the pilot program to APFIT:
- Advanced Sensor Package Procurement, U.S. Navy, Arete Associates, California, Arizona, and Florida.
o Accelerates procurement of a multi-sensor payload for use in unmanned underwater vehicles. Enables safe passage of U.S. and Allied Naval forces with advanced mine-hunting capabilities.
- Anti-Jam Radio-links for Maritime Operations Resiliency, U.S. Marine Corps, Pacific Antenna Systems, Titan Systems LLC, and Naval Systems, Inc., California and Maryland.
o Initial procurement of small antennas for resilient comms that conform to tactical aircraft outer mold lines. Provides high data rate capacity scalable to support multi-mission needs and connects the National Technical Means to the tactical edge.
- Atmospheric Plasma Coating Removal System, U.S. Marine Corps, Atmospheric Plasma Solutions, North Carolina.
o Initial procurement of next-generation coating removal systems reduces repair person-hours by ~94%.
- Augmented Reality Tactical Assault Kit, USSOCOM, Eolian, New Jersey.
o Initial procurement of augmented and virtual reality kits to enable more effective, networked, distributed immersive mission planning and rehearsing operations in a realistic environment. Significantly reduces risk during mission execution.
- Autonomous Unmanned Aerial System – Vertical-BAT, USAF, Shield AI, California, and Texas.
o Initial procurement of semi-autonomous, long-loiter, vertical takeoff, and landing-capable UASs with modular payload capability. Can provide resilient data transport and locate and provide weapon quality targeting information as part of the Joint Sensing Grid to JADC2. VBAT VTOL can operate in high-wind conditions.
- Drop-Glide Munitions, U.S. Army, Orbital Research, Ohio.
o Initial procurement of low-cost, weaponized Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) featuring drop-glide projectiles. Enables the squad to have standoff, survivable, precision strike capability to defeat enemy armor.
- Lightfield Directing Array Secure Production, Missile Defense Agency, Bright Silicon Technologies, California.
o Establishes full-rate manufacturing capacity to produce optical communications antenna arrays at scale. This next-generation RF communications alternative provides resilient Position/Navigation/Timing, optical tracking, laser communications, and sensor protection.
- Lightweight Wide Field of View Aviation Goggle, USSOCOM, Aviation Specialties Unlimited, Idaho.
o Initial procurement of next-generation widened field of view night vision goggles for aircrew with increased resolution and reduced weight.
- Rapid Analysis of Threat Exposure, DIU, Philips Healthcare, Massachusetts.
o Initial procurement of 3,800 smartwatches loaded with algorithms that afford 2+ days of earlier detection of infectious disease, enabling early treatment and quarantine of infected individuals.
- Real-Time Sensor Data Transformation, U.S. Space Force, Meroxa, California.
- Procurement of a data architecture for automated transfer and integration of U.S. and allied sensor data. Enables access to 90 operational sources to provide a more complete picture to USSF analysts.
The Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering (USD(R&E) is the Chief Technology Officer of the Department of Defense. The USD(R&E) champions research, science, technology, engineering, and innovation to maintain the United States military’s technological advantage. Learn more at www.cto.mil, follow us on Twitter @DoDCTO, or visit us on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/company/ousdre. (Source: US DoD)
16 Jul 22. USAF scraps B-21 drone wingman concept. After doing some analysis, the idea appears to be “less attractive than we thought it might be,” Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall told Breaking Defense.
Last year, Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall made headlines when he announced plans to develop a drone counterpart for the still-yet-to be unveiled B-21 stealth bomber. Now, it appears the project is dead before it ever got off the ground.
“The idea of a similar range collaborative combat aircraft is not turning out to be cost effective, so it looks like we’re not going to go that direction,” he told Breaking Defense in an exclusive interview at the Royal International Air Tattoo.
After doing some analysis, the idea appears to be “less attractive than we thought it might be,” Kendall said, with the reasoning coming down to value. Bombers are by nature large planes — not only so they can carry large weapons payloads, but so they can fly at the long ranges needed for an aircraft to conduct a strategic strike anywhere in the world. But that size can drive cost, and in the end, the Air Force determined it wasn’t worth developing an unmanned B-21 counterpart that would be comparable in size to a large bomber.
“For relatively small platforms, taking a crew out can make it much cheaper,” he said. “But for large platforms, you don’t gain that much because the crew is only a small fraction of the weight, a small fraction of the cost by comparison.”
Kendall first announced his intention to start two new classified drone programs to Politico in December. Later that month, he disclosed that one of them was meant to be a wingman, of sorts, to the B-21, and part of a larger family of systems that would accompany the B-21 into battle.
“The B-21 is a very expensive aircraft. It has a certain payload and range. We’d like to amplify that capability it has to penetrate, which is valuable,” he said on Dec. 9.
As one of Kendall’s seven major priorities — what he terms “operational imperatives — the Air Force has spent half a year analyzing how it could structure a B-21 family of systems, soliciting industry for ideas and evaluating those inputs.
While the idea of a B-21 drone counterpart didn’t ultimately pan out, Kendall noted that other ideas are bearing fruit. “There are other things that we can do with the B-21 in a family systems context that we think are interesting,” Kendall said, adding that he couldn’t go into details given the secretive nature of the program.
Kendall’s other idea for a classified unmanned combat aircraft — a “Loyal Wingman”-style drone that could be paired with the fifth generation F-35 and the Air Force’s future sixth-generation fighter, known as Next Generation Air Dominance — is very much still of interest to the service and a program he remains “excited” by, he said.
The Air Force plans to buy at least 100 B-21 Raiders from prime contractor Northrop Grumman over the course of the program. Tom Jones, Northrop’s head of its aeronautics sector, confirmed to Breaking Defense today that the company is still on track to roll out the first B-21 by the end of 2022. (Source: Breaking Defense.com)
REST OF THE WORLD
20 Jul 22. Boeing F/A-18 Super Hornet Successfully Completes Operational Demonstrations in India. Boeing’s [NYSE: BA] F/A-18 Super Hornet successfully completed operational demonstration tests at Indian Naval Station Hansa in Goa, India, reinforcing the Super Hornet’s ability to effectively and safety operate off Indian Navy carriers.
Two U.S. Navy F/A-18E Super Hornets completed multiple ski-jumps, roll-in and fly-in arrestments, as well as performance flights, in a variety of weights in the air-to-air, air-to-ground, and air-to-surface configurations, meeting the Indian Navy test requirements.
“The Boeing team was privileged to showcase the F/A-18 Super Hornet’s compatibility with Indian carriers in Goa,” said Alain Garcia, vice president, India business development for Boeing Defense, Space & Security and Boeing Global Services. “As the most advanced frontline multi-role naval fighter, the F/A-18 Super Hornet is one of the world’s most proven and affordable multi-role fighters and continues to evolve with the development of the next-generation Block III capability which will be game-changing for India.”
“With the Super Hornet Block III, the Indian Navy would not only get the most advanced platform but would also benefit from tactics, upgrades and knowledge related to the naval aviation ecosystem that the U.S. Navy offers,” he added.
The tests followed eight ski-jumps in various weights and configurations during previous tests held at Naval Air Station (NAS) Patuxent River in Maryland in late 2020 that demonstrated the Super Hornet’s ability to operate from a short takeoff but arrested recovery (STOBAR) aircraft carrier.
20 Jul 22. South Korea to acquire CH-47F Chinooks. South Korea is proceeding with plans to replace its fleet of ageing Boeing CH-47D Chinooks serving with the Republic of Korea (RoK) Armed Forces with a newer variant of the aircraft. In a statement to Janes, South Korea’s Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) said that the “CH-47F is being considered for purchase”. The acquisition will be made for Seoul’s Heavy Utility Helicopter-II (HUH-II) project. Janes has learnt that the Defense Project Promotion Committee (DPPC) finalised the KRW1.4 trillion (USD1.06 bn) project on 15 July to procure 18 CH-47Fs for the South Korean army. According to Janes data, the army operates 37 CH-47Ds. The first batch of aircraft was acquired in 1988. According to DAPA, the new helicopters will be acquired between 2022 and 2028. (Source: Janes)
19 Jul 22. BAE Systems, Embraer team up to pursue Saudi Arabia tactical airlift contract. BAE Systems, the largest defense contractor in Europe, is considering a move into the military air transport business via a strategic partnership with Brazilian aircraft maker Embraer.
The companies opened the second day of the Farnborough air show in England July 19 by announcing they had signed a memorandum of understanding to pursue a potential deal with Saudi Arabia for the Embraer’s C-390 tactical airlift twin jet.
The aim is to establish a partnership to collaborate in the Middle East and other markets, they said in a statement.
Details of the potential scope of the strategic partnership were not available. Ian Muldowney, chief operating officer for BAE Systems Air sector said the collaboration “recognizes the capability of the C-390 Millennium aircraft combined with BAE Systems’ extensive knowledge and understanding of international markets including experience in standing up military capability and delivering industrialization through the support, maintenance, and training solutions for complex aircraft.”
BAE has had a major industrial and support presence in Saudi Arabia for decades on the back of massive deals in the air sector involving Typhoon, Tornado combat jets and Hawk trainers.
The C-390, known as the Millennium, is a multi-mission platform available in airlifter, air-to-air refueling and other variants.
Launched in 2009 on the back of a Brazilian military requirement the Lockheed Martin C-130J rival has been picking up international orders, most notably in the Netherlands where the government said it would buy five C-390′s to replace it’s aging C-130 H fleet.
Embraer previously had an agreement with Boeing to market the C-390 in markets like the Middle East but that arrangement fell apart in 2019 when a wider co-operation plan collapsed.
The C-390 MoU was one of two agreements signed by the British company and Embraer at the show. The two sides also confirmed their intention to create a joint venture to develop a defense variant of a electrically powered VTOL platform originally designed by the Embraer backed company Eve for the urban mobility market.
The companies revealed last December they were planning to work together in the eVTOL market.
“Teams from BAE Systems and Embraer will continue working together to explore how the aircraft, designed for the urban mobility market, can provide cost-effective, sustainable, and adaptable capability as a defense variant,” said Jackson Schneider, president and chief executive at Embraer Defense & Security.
Eve Holding announced at the show a non-binding Letter of Intent with Embraer and BAE to explore the potential order of up to 150 electric vertical take-off and landing vehicles with the aim of examining the aircrafts applications for the defense and security markets. (Source: Defense News)
18 Jul 22. Senegal receives new military hardware, including Puma M36 APCs. Senegal’s armed forces have taken delivery of a batch of new military hardware, including Puma M36 armoured personnel carriers (APCs) as the country continues to strengthen all branches of its military.
The hardware was received in Dakar by Sidiki Kaba, Senegal’s defence minister, and Chief of Army Staff Brigadier General Cheikh Wade on 24 June. The shipment included at least 11 Puma M36 APCs as well as heavy machineguns, mortars, recovery vehicles, assault rifles, riot shields, a dozen Toyota Land Cruisers equipped with pintle-mounted heavy machineguns, combat ambulances, rocket-propelled grenade launchers and riot helmets.
The equipment acquisition is part of President Macky Sall’s Emerging Senegal Plan that aims to enhance the country’s armed forces. Impending deliveries include LG1 105 mm towed howitzers from France’s Nexter, and three OPV 58S offshore patrol vessels from Piriou.
Kaba said the military has never received so much equipment at once, and the new hardware is a qualitative and quantitative leap that will greatly enhance the capacity of the military.
It has also been revealed that Senegal’s Gendarmerie is operating Urovesa Vamtac ST5 armoured personnel carriers, fitted with what appear to be Truvelo 12.7×99 mm anti-material rifles. At least three vehicles were seen in service from 2019. They are operated by the Gendarmerie’s rapid reaction unit, formed under the auspices of the European Union to enhance security in the Sahel.
Senegal already operates OTT Puma APCs – according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), 84 of these were delivered between 2014 and 2020, but it is not clear how many Puma M36s have been delivered in the most recent batch.
In addition to Islamist terror groups in the Sahel, Senegal is dealing with separatists in its Casamance region, the location of one of Africa’s longest-running conflicts. (Source: https://www.defenceweb.co.za/)
16 Jul 22. Spanish pitch to supply Australia with three warships by end of 2030. The federal government is being urged to overhaul a $44 bn program to buy a new fleet of British frigates after long delays to their delivery, prompting Spanish defence giant Navantia to step up its offer to supply three air warfare destroyers to fill the gap.
Navantia has promised federal officials it can build the three guided-missile warships by the end of this decade at a cost of $2 bn each to give Australia more firepower in the Indo-Pacific region. The warships have a similar design to three destroyers the company built in Spain and South Australia last decade.
Spanish leader Pedro Sanchez raised the issue with Prime Minister Anthony Albanese in their meeting in Madrid two weeks ago, but the Department of Defence is yet to decide how to respond to the delays in the frigate program at BAE Systems in Glasgow.
Navantia director of technology Donato Martinez Perez de Rojas said the company could fill the capability gap caused by the BAE delay because it had a proven design already in use in Australia and could start construction quickly if political leaders made the decision.
“Should you think that you have a capability gap that is going to happen in the next 15 years, we have a ship that meets the Australian requirements,” he said in an interview.
As a state-owned company, Navantia has the backing of the Spanish president for the Australian bid and is pitching to start work within months so it could deliver the first ship in 2027 and the third in 2029.
“If our boss tells us to make it a priority, we’ll make it a priority,” Martinez said of his country’s leader.
The Navantia destroyers have a displacement of 7000 tonnes and carry 48 guided missiles, while the BAE frigates weigh 10,000 tonnes, due to changes in their design since the original tender, and carry only 32 missiles.
An overhaul of the BAE contract has been discussed for months after officials confirmed the frigates, called the Hunter class, would be heavier and slower than first planned, a key problem for a vessel meant to hunt submarines.
Defence deputy secretary Tony Dalton said in February the frigates were a “high-risk program” when questioned in Senate estimates about a leaked review from his department that revealed the concerns about weight and speed.
Dalton told Senate estimates “we haven’t been asked to look at a plan B”, but Labor severely criticised the frigate program in opposition and must now decide on how to respond to the delays under former defence minister Peter Dutton.
Defence Minister Richard Marles said on July 6 the frigates would be the “centrepiece of our surface fleet”, and that he would work with BAE to make sure they were delivered.
Defence Industry Minister Pat Conroy warned as opposition spokesman last year that the “mismanagement” of the program put Australian security at risk. Both are aware of the Navantia bid.
Navantia has based its proposal on estimates that the first frigate on the quay in Glasgow is mostly empty, the program is at least four years late, the first ship may not arrive until 2035 and the last of the nine vessels will not be delivered until 2050.
Martinez, a naval architect who was the managing director of Navantia in Australia when the company lost the frigate contract to BAE in 2018, said: “Anything that we do is not trying to harm in any shape or form the decision that was made on the frigates.
“But what we see is that the program is not running in accordance with the original plan.
“They have some blocks, not the complicated parts of the ships, under way in Glasgow. Nobody builds an empty half – normally, the blocks are fully equipped, and you start joining them. My analysis is that there is a weight issue with the ship. They are trying to fix it.”
The options for Australia include continuing the frigate program or replacing some of the frigates with destroyers made by Navantia.
The key issue is the amount of local construction. The three Navantia destroyers already in operation, called the Hobart class, were 60 per cent built in Australia, but the new proposal argues that most construction should be in Spain to save time. The proposal includes an Australian-made option and a “hybrid” with construction in both countries.
Asked why he claimed Navantia could build the destroyers so quickly, Martinez said: “We know how to build them. The material is the same. The combat system is the same. The critical part here is the complexity of the shipbuilding.”
The 48 “cells” in the vertical launch system (VLS) on the Hobart class are the principal offensive weaponry on the vessels and are in addition to eight anti-ship missiles. The existing three ships are expected to be fitted with Tomahawk missiles from Raytheon under the AUKUS alliance.
Two defence experts, Paul Greenfield and Jon Stanford, wrote in February that the BAE frigates would not meet Australia’s needs because they were late and underpowered.
“If the necessary design changes prove impossible, the government should move rapidly to cancel the Hunter and order more Hobart ships to an updated design,” they wrote.
“If nothing changes, the navy won’t deploy a single additional VLS cell for another decade.” (Source: News Now/https://www.smh.com.au/politic)
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