UNITED KINGDOM AND NATO
11 Aug 22. Babcock to collaborate with Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) on radar solution for UK Ministry of Defence’s SERPENS programme. Babcock, the international aerospace, defence, and security company, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Israel Aerospace Industries’ (IAI) Group and Subsidiary ELTA Systems to provide a deep-find radar solution for the UK Ministry of Defence’s SERPENS programme.
SERPENS is the MoD’s next generation weapon locating system with a digitally networked suite of sensor systems that detect hostile mortars, artillery and rockets. The collaboration will offer IAI-ELTA’s highly capable, and battle proven Compact Multi Mission Radar (C-MMR) system, which will be partly produced and integrated in the UK.
The C-MMR is designed for air defence and artillery weapon location missions, with the radar locating hostile weapon locations and calculating impact and launching points in real time. The radar implements advanced 3D-active electronically-steered array antenna technology.
The MoU between Babcock and IAI-ELTA will boost sovereign radar experience and expertise. It provides Babcock with the opportunity to further prove its system integration and through life support pedigree while also developing its radar assembly and maintenance expertise.
Dr Richard Drake, Babcock’s Chief Technology Officer, said: “We are delighted to announce our partnership with IAI-ELTA to provide a deep find radar solution for the UK Ministry of Defence’s SERPENS programme.
“Babcock is proud to provide class-leading technology to our customers and with IAI-ELTA’s battle proven C-MMR system, we have a capable, affordable and available solution.”
Ronald Cook, IAI UK Managing Director, added: “This agreement between IAI and Babcock demonstrates our commitment to the UK. We are bringing together the brightest minds in the industry to combine world-class technology with our commitment to UK prosperity. We are proud to partner with one of the UK’s finest companies in the industry to provide our cutting-edge C-MMR to the UK market.”
11 Aug 22. Airbus: Ministry of Defence invites bids for New Medium Helicopter requirement which could be built at Broughton. The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) has invited bids for the New Medium Helicopter (NMH) requirement to replace its fleet of Puma HC2 and three British Army-operated types. Airbus Helicopters is set to offer the new military variant of the H175 helicopter to the MoD.
If chosen, Airbus would use its Broughton site as the location of a final assembly line for the H175M creating hundreds of jobs, Airbus would also export this model globally from the U.K.
“If selected, the H175M, produced at Broughton by @AirbusHeli will support thousands of jobs in UK aerospace, generate meaningful helicopter exports, and revitalise the nation’s helicopter industry.”
The UK Government’s online contract notice states: “The Ministry of Defence (MoD) is considering the procurement of up to 44 New Medium Helicopters (NMH) to replace existing rotorcraft systems for Army and Strategic Commands.”
“The scope of the contract will also include the provision of training capabilities and a maintenance/spares package as well as design organisation scope.”
“The purpose of this Contract Notice is to invite potential and interested suppliers to formally express interest in participating.”
Airbus already has extensive ties with the MoD through its support for the Military Flying Training System and H135 Juno and H145 Jupiter at RAF Shawbury
Airbus Helicopters is vying for the NMH contract with Leonardo Helicopters and their AW149 helicopter, which it intends to build in Yeovil, Sikorsky could offer the UH-60/S-70i Black Hawk.
Earlier this week the Airbus H175M ‘Task Force’ visited Broughton, “to refine the production line of the H175M New Medium Helicopter.”
The huge A380 wing factory at Broughton is one building on the site that could be configured relatively quickly as an assembly line for the H175M, although there are several other smaller buildings that may be better suited.
Operations at the A380 factory have been wound down since the last wings to be built were dispatched from the site in February 2020.
The West factory still houses a jig that remains on standby for any A380 wing repairs. (Source: Google/https://www.deeside.com/)
11 Aug 22. Babcock inks deals to pitch Israeli tech for British radar, air defense programs. Babcock International has signed it’s second deal in a fortnight aimed at offering Israeli technology for British defense programs.
The British company’s latest agreement with Israel Aerospace Industries and its subsidiary Elta Systems is aimed at proposing a long-range radar for the Defence Ministry’s Serpens program.
The program, valued in excess of £400 million (U.S. $486 million) is for the British Army’s next-generation weapon-locating system that needs to be able to detect and find hostile mortars, artillery and rockets.
The agreement will see Elta’s battle-proven Compact Multi-Mission Radar offered by Babcock in the U.K. Babcock said in an Aug. 11 statement that the system will be partly produced and integrated in the U.K.
Britain wants to replace its current capability, the Saab-supplied Mamba, around 2026. The Swedish company was awarded a £46 million deal in 2020 to extend the life of the program until Serpens is ready for deployment.
The agreement with IAI comes about two weeks after Babcock inked a deal with another Israeli company to propose technology to the British Army — on this occasion to offer a battle management, command, control, communications, computers and intelligence capability for a new ground-based air defense capability.
Babcock signed the memorandum of understanding with Rafael Advanced Defense Systems to offer the latter’s Micad platform for the Defence Ministry’s Sky Sabre GBAD program, which is based on the Common Anti-Air Modular Missile built by the European consortium MBDA.
Babcock and Rafael have worked together in the delivery and maintenance of the Sky Sabre system since 2017, with the first units introduced to British forces in the Falklands.
“It makes clear sense for both parties to further develop the collaboration so that Micad can be readily offered into the wider land GBAD program,” Simon Holford, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance director at Babcock, said during the Farnborough Airshow last month when the tie-up was announced. (Source: Defense News)
11 Aug 22. The Ministry of Defence has published what’s called a “Prior Information Notice” detailing their intent to eventually purchase a new, fully integrated air defence system.
“This PIN is the first within a series informing the Industry of the strategic direction of the Land Ground Based Air Defence (Land GBAD) Programme. The intent of this PIN is to provide notification of a planned Market Interest Day to be held in October 2022 (venue in Bristol); which will seek the views from Industry Partners to as (as to) how the identified threats are to be addressed and capabilities integrated across the Programme.
The Authority would welcome innovative ideas, insights and perspectives from Industry Partners on how the Land GBAD capability requirement can be addressed including the potential for industry and MOD collaboration.”
The requirements are also set out.
The notice states that the land GBAD Programme has been established in response to the Army’s requirement for a fully integrated Air Defence system of systems.
“This is a Category A Government Major Project Portfolio (GMPP) programme. This will be an enduring capability that will be delivered through incremental capability uplifts over the next 10 years.”
The identified ‘Single Statement of User Need’ for Land GBAD is stated as:
“Land GBAD must provide sufficient, effective capability to warn, inform, deter and defeat all air threats (including aircraft, missiles, munitions, and UAS), in order to prevent adversary interference from the air inhibiting Joint Force freedom of manoeuvre. Land GBAD will provide lethal and non-lethal defeat mechanisms and minimise the risk it presents to friendly and neutral air users. It will be deployable on multi-domain operations, integrated, scalable up to divisional level, and in joint and multi-national operations to Protect, Engage, Constrain and Fight.”
Identified capabilities to be delivered and enhanced by the Land GBAD programme include:
- Short-Range Air Defence (SHORAD);
- Medium-Range Air Defence (M-RAD);
- Counter Small Aerial Targets (C-SAT) for SHORAD and MRAD; and
- All Arms Counter Small Uncrewed Aircraft Systems (All Arms C-sUAS).
These capabilities will be incrementally delivered as a multifaceted and multi-layered programme over a 10-year period.
“Aerial threats to be targeted range from Class 1 Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) including swarms, artillery, munitions, Attack Helicopters and Fixed Wing Aircraft, with potential for larger munitions and the introduction of future novel weapons.” (Source: https://ukdefencejournal.org.uk/)
10 Aug 22. UK launches next phase of UAS Heavy Lift challenge. The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) has launched Phase 2 of the Unmanned Aerial Systems Heavy Lift Capability (UASHLC) challenge.
According to the pre-qualification questionnaire (PQQ) published on 5 August, the MoD is seeking to “support and inform the development of maritime operating concepts and enable assessment, analysis, exploration, and evaluation of the use of UAS for beyond-visual-line-of-sight (BVLOS) payload delivery and broader UAS capabilities”. The MoD is therefore seeking to accelerate the development of one or more suppliers’ platforms, as well as the key technologies that will enhance UAS operational capabilities.
The closing date for suppliers to submit a PQQ is 5 September, with a contract expected to run from September 2022 to August 2027, the MoD said. Up to GBP95m (USD116m) is available for the programme, the MoD added. The MoD was unable to provide further comment at the time of publication. (Source: Janes)
09 Aug 22. Space Accelerator catalyses multi-million pound investment. Space start-ups generated almost £9m in investment and created 80 new jobs after taking part in a UK Space Agency-backed business support programme. Space start-ups generated almost £9m in investment and created 80 new jobs after taking part in a UK Space Agency-backed business support programme.
The UK Space Agency Space Accelerator Programme, delivered by Entrepreneurial Spark, worked with entrepreneurs from all over the UK aged between 18-70, with business expertise in sectors such as aerospace, law, quantum technology, farming, environmental engineering, and healthcare.
Delivered through a series of virtual events led by a range of industry experts, the Accelerator aimed to break down perceived barriers facing under-represented business founders and open conversations about the opportunities that space can present.
Harshbir Sangha, Director of Growth at UK Space Agency, said: “I’d like to congratulate everyone who successfully completed our Space Accelerator. The UK has a strong entrepreneurial culture and a growing space sector, and there are significant opportunities for new space businesses to start up and thrive with the right support. The Space Accelerator perfectly encapsulates the value we seek to bring as an agency: catalysing investment, delivering space capabilities and championing space. With record levels of investment flowing into the sector, we want to accelerate the growth in space start ups and create thousands of new jobs across the UK.”
Participants included start-up leaders, established businesses in their early stages, and professionals from adjacent sectors who could benefit from space expertise, generating a vast and diverse network of multi-skilled space pioneers.
The UK Space Agency awarded £360,000 to the Accelerator over two financial years. This catalysed a total investment of £8.79 m from other grants and investors, opening up 80 new jobs and directly assisting 88 individual businesses between January 2020 and April 2022.
Since joining the programme, participants have reported an increase in their business turnover and customer numbers, as well as improved confidence in their own leadership skills, strategy planning, business models and partnerships.
James New, Co-founder and CEO of ODIN Space Ltd, said: “Our biggest achievement during the accelerator was raising our first round of investment. We raised £430,000 and it has massively boosted our growth.
The support from UK Space Agency, Entrepreneurial Spark and the delivery partners helped us hone our business model and boost our confidence when pitching to investors. It really felt like we were part of a major industry movement to develop new space businesses.”
ODIN Space is now ready to launch and start protecting space assets against orbital debris.
The growing UK space sector is already worth £16.5 bn to the economy and employs almost 47,000 from all over the UK, representing a huge area of opportunity for a range of businesses. The first satellite launches from the UK, due to take off later this year, will also help to drive growth in the sector and enhance the UK’s position as a leader in the global space community.
The Space Accelerator Programme was developed in collaboration with partners including Airbus, Astroscale, the European Space Agency, Department for International Trade, STFC RAL Space and others. Entrepreneurial Spark provided one-to-one support to the participants, specialising in developing entrepreneurial mindsets in technically focused founders. Alden Legal hosted a series of regulatory and access to finance workshops, while AstroAgency delivered space focused market prioritisation and competitive analysis workshops and one-to-one sessions with participants. Grey Consultants provided open access business horizons tech talks to engage new-to-space attendees from all around the UK.
The UK Space Agency is now looking for a partner to design and deliver the next space accelerator phase to run until March 2025. This will include providing a focused package of targeted support to space companies at different stages of development and equip programme participants with the knowledge and skills they need to grow, wherever they are based in the UK.
Entrepreneurial Spark is an impact-led accelerator for entrepreneurs. With a decade of global experience running 22 accelerators, it has supported over 5,000 founders to start, grow and scale their businesses. The Entrepreneurial Spark team members are experts in people, with a focus on helping entrepreneurs overcome the psychological barriers to growth while building great businesses. (Source: https://www.gov.uk/)
07 Aug 22. Future Supply Of UK MoD Combat Boots. On 24th June 2021 Team Leidos, on behalf of the UK MoD, issued a PIN (Prior Information Notice) for the future Supply of Combat Boots, writes Bob Morrison.
Notification of the current issue UK MoD five-year Supply of Combat Boots contracts (LSL/DC/0001, 0034 & 0035) was dispatched on 1st August 2017 and these are now rapidly drawing to an end, though a ‘plus two year’ option may well be taken up to bridge the gap until the next contract (PIN Ref: LSL/DC/0131) is awarded and new boot types enter the supply system. The estimated date of publication of the next Combat Boots contract notice (i.e. the start of the formal tender process) was originally given as 7th February 2022 with anticipated supply commencement in late 2023 but, as with many UK MoD procurement contracts, the project timeline seems to have slipped quite considerably and at time of writing no notification has yet been published.
Over the last quarter century or so the Combat Boots sector has become one of my three primary areas of speciality ~ the others being Field Rations (hence my waistline) and Military Utility Vehicles ~ and as a result I have penned quite a few articles on the topic and photographed many different footwear types, including the primary UK MoD combat boot models. While we wait for firm news on the start of the next round of boot procurement for UK Forces, now strikes me as an ideal time to look back at the last two five-year contract batches for UK combat boots: DC2B/2606, 2607 & 2608, awarded May / June 2012; and LSL/DC/0001, 0034 & 0035, awarded June / July 2017.
The first of these ‘brown boot’ contracts roughly coincided with the widespread introduction of MTP (Multi-Terrain Pattern) uniform camouflage to replace the long-standing Temperate and Desert variants of DPM (Disruptive Pattern Material) camo, so this makes an ideal break point, but first it probably makes sense to briefly set the scene prior to this. From 2004 through to 2011 all UK Forces footwear across 32 different categories, from Men’s Hot Weather Safety Boots through to Women’s Black Service Shoes and encompassing five categories of Combat or Patrol Boots, was provided by one sole main supplier (Iturri SA) in a £175 m contract but several different manufacturers provided various models through this main contractor.
In the summer of 2012, however, following a series of comparison tests of many different boot makes, three suppliers ~ Iturri of Spain, HAIX of Germany and YDS of Turkey ~ were awarded combat / patrol / jungle boot contracts. HAIX and YDS supplied their own boot models, but those boots supplied by Iturri also included ALTBERG, Magnum and Meindl models. To allow soldiers a choice of fit, and to reduce the percentage of ‘boot chits’ issued for non-standard footwear when only a single fit was available, two different models were issued in each of the five main Categories, though only one type was selected for the low volume sixth Category:-
- Category 1: Combat High Liability
- Category 2: Patrol
- Category 3: Desert Combat High Liability
- Category 4: Desert Patrol
- Category 5: Cold Wet Weather
- Category 6: Jungle
08 Aug 22. MH-60R positions for potential Nordic maritime helicopter requirements. With nine aircraft already in Danish service, Lockheed Martin’s Sikorsky helicopter business is eyeing new opportunities for the US Navy’s (USN’s) MH-60R ‘Romeo’ maritime helicopter elsewhere in the Nordic region as disaffected NH90 customers explore potential alternatives.
Norway in June 2022 announced its decision to withdraw its NH90 fleet from navy and coastguard service, terminate its contract with NHIndustries, and seek a full refund estimated at around NOK5 bn (USD513 m). Meanwhile, Sweden has expressed its continued dissatisfaction with the performance of its NH90 (HKP 14) fleet, and expects to take a decision on its future rotorcraft plans before the end of 2022.
Lockheed Martin has to date delivered over 300 MH-60R helicopters. Alongside the USN, export orders have been concluded with Australia, Denmark, Greece, India, Saudi Arabia, and South Korea through the US Foreign Military Sales (FMS) programme. Speaking at the Farnborough airshow in July, Sikorsky’s vice-president of army and air force programmes Nathalie Previte said the company was pursuing both repeat orders and new opportunities for the MH-60R through FMS sales. (Source: Janes)
08 Aug 22. Turkey’s defense industry eyes export expansion as government navigates geopolitical stage. Turkey’s defense and aerospace sales have increased tenfold over the last two decades, with the sector’s export business growing by nearly 1,200%, according to data released May 3 by one of the country’s industry umbrella organizations.
Sales in 2002 equated to about $1bn, and annual exports stood around $248m. But in 2021, Turkey’s defense and aerospace sector sales reached $10.1bn, and exports totaled $3.2bn, exceeding $2.6bn in imports, the Defence Industry Manufacturers Association reported.
And Turkish companies won new orders worth $8.5bn that same year, during which the industry employed 75,000 people and spent $1.6bn on research and development, the association found.
“These numbers speak for themselves. This is a spectacular growth story,” said Ozgur Eksi, a defense analyst in Ankara. “Over the past two decades, Turkish engineering has taken several big steps with indigenous solutions, which later paved the way for lucrative export contracts.”
See the Top 100 list here
Furthermore, Turkey’s defense and aerospace exports in the first half of 2022 reached a record high of almost $2bn, up 48% from the same period in 2021, official statistics revealed July 19. According to the Turkish Exporters’ Assembly, exports may come close to or exceed the $4bn mark by the end of 2022, an annual all-time high.
“The rise in exports, which came after two years of decline during the pandemic in 2020 and 2021, should be attributed primarily to aerospace, and homemade drones in particular,” Eksi told Defense News. “These numbers tell us that the Turkish industry’s dependence on local sales is diminishing, and exports are helping Turkish companies to become self-sufficient.”
Ukraine, for instance, has become a regular buyer of Bayraktar TB2 drones, produced by Turkish firm Baykar. Deliveries of the drones began before Russia invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24, but has continued since. In May, Kyiv received 12 TB2s and related operating systems, then ordered another 24.
Overall, Turkey has supplied 96 TB2 drones globally, including to Poland, the first European customer. Two government officials working on defense industry exports told Defense News potential buyers include the United Kingdom, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Saudi Arabia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Serbia, Slovakia, Uruguay and Albania.
In 2019, the drone maker teamed up with Ukrainian state-owned arms export organization Ukrspecexport to work on drone technology in the country. Through the relationship, Baykar hoped to procure from Ukraine turboprop engines from the MS-500V-S family that generate 950-1,050 brake horsepower as well as turboprop engines from the AI-450C series that provide 450-630 brake horsepower for the Akinci drone.
In 2021, Baykar secured land in Ukraine to build a testing, training and maintenance center as well as a factory for TB2 drone systems. But Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24 has stalled those plans.
Although the company would not disclose the exact location for its planned project, citing security reasons, industry sources told Defense News the land is around Kharkiv and Donetsk, which have been the targets of Russian attacks.
“Such co-production plans between Turkey and Ukraine have been indefinitely postponed. Major delays should be expected and, in some cases, these may take years,” depending on how the Russian invasion plays out, Eksi said.
Central Asia is also becoming another marketplace for the TB2. Last year, Kyrgyzstan signed a deal to purchase the armed drone, becoming the first Central Asian country to buy the system, although it’s unclear how many were ordered.
In May 2022, Turkey and Kazakhstan agreed to co-produce Turkish drones the Central Asian country purchased in 2021. The Anka, made by Turkish Aerospace Industries, will be jointly produced at a facility in Kazakhstan, which officials expect to open in late 2022 or early 2023. TAI was ranked 67 in this year’s Top 100 list, along with two other Turkish companies: Aselsan at 49 and Roketsan at 86.
Also in May, reports emerged that Tajikistan, another Central Asian nation, had bought the TB2, with neighboring Kyrgyzstan voicing its alarm amid an arms race between the two countries.
More recently, Turkey’s ambassador to Bangladesh, Osman Turan, said July 25 that the Dhaka government and Baykar have agreed on contractual terms for the sale of the TB2 to the Asian nation. The ambassador did not provide a quantity nor a contract value.
By air, land and sea
While Africa is a new market for Turkish defense firms, defense and aerospace exports to the continent are rising, from $83m in 2020 to $288m in 2021. Turkish companies have sold various equipment and armored vehicles to 14 African nations: Burkina Faso, Algeria, Chad, Morocco, Ghana, Kenya, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Somali, Rwanda and Uganda.
“Threats of terror, increasing geopolitical rivalry [and] growing conflict zones have dictated a major increase in defense spending in Africa, offering, among others, export opportunities to Turkish manufacturers,” wrote Mursel Bayram, an associate professor at the Ankara University of Social Sciences.
For its part, Nurol Makina, which makes the Yoruk and Ejder Yalcin four-wheel drive tactical armored vehicles, has sold its products to 18 countries, from Chile to Malaysia and from Senegal to Uzbekistan.
Both vehicles entered the inventory of European Union and NATO member Hungary in September 2019, and the company in March 2022 announced its debut in the European market by opening a location in the country. Nurol’s general manager, Engin Aykol, said the new facility aims to create solutions specifically for the Hungarian Ground Forces.
Also in March, Nurol delivered 40 Gidran tactical wheeled armored vehicles to Hungary, with 100 more to be produced there. Gidran is the name given to Nurol’s Ejder Yalçın mine-resistant, ambush-protected vehicle, which is in use by the Turkish military.
Turkey’s maritime market has also made moves in Ukraine. In November 2020, the two countries signed an industrial cooperation agreement, under which Turkey in 2021 began construction of the first Ada-class corvette for Ukraine, with delivery planned for 2023. A second Ada-class corvette is to be built by Ukraine’s OKEAN shipyard.
However, diplomatic snags are slowing down some of Turkey’s programs and bringing export deals to a halt.
In 2018, Pakistan chose Turkey’s T129 attack helicopter to replace its fleet of AH−1F Cobra gunships that were acquired in the 1980s. Pakistan signed a $1.5bn contract with TAI for 30 T129 helos; however, the deal has not progressed as T129′s engine is a joint U.S.-U.K. product that requires export licenses before delivery can take place.
The 5-ton T129 is a twin-engine multirole helicopter produced under license from the Italian-British company AgustaWestland and based on the A129 Mangusta. It’s powered by two LHTEC T800-4A turboshaft engines, each of which can produce 1,014 kilowatts of output power.
The T800-4A is an export version of the CTS800 engine. LHTEC, the maker of the engine, is a joint venture between the American firm Honeywell and the British company Rolls-Royce.
U.S. lawmakers quietly froze all major U.S. arms sales to NATO ally Turkey for nearly two years, Defense News reported in August 2020, in order to pressure Ankara to abandon its Russian-built S-400 surface-to-air defense system, but the Turkish government has yet to do so.
Nevertheless, Turkey and the Philippines announced in May 2021 TAI would export six T129 helos to the Asian nation without U.S. restrictions; nearly a year later, in March, the Philippines received the first two aircraft, and the remaining four are scheduled for delivery in 2023.
Last last month, TAI announced new deals to export six T129s to Nigeria. The firm also announced the sale of an unspecified batch of its Hurkus HYEU, an advanced version of the Hurkus basic trainer aircraft, to Chad.
TAI has previously sold two HYEU platforms to Niger and is presently competing in a race to sell 18 of them to the Malaysian military. TAI declined to comment on the contract value for the Nigerian and Chad deals, and it would not provide a quantity for the aircraft deal with Chad.
Southeast Asia has also served as a market for Turkish radar technology. A procurement official with Turkey’s Presidency of Defence Industries said negotiations between the state-controlled defense organization ASFAT and the Philippine government reached a final phase in April for Turkish-made offshore patrol vessels. The source said Turkey anticipates a $600 m contract for the export deal. (Source: Google/Defense News)
11 Aug 22. USAF moves to shield Wedgetail acquisition from continuing resolution. The U.S. Air Force is trying to speed up a contract award in its plan to buy Boeing’s E-7 Wedgetail early warning and control aircraft to protect the program from a potential continuing resolution that could limit available funds.
The Air Force selected the E-7 in April to replace a portion of its E-3 Airborne Warning and Control fleet, a command-and-control platform the service has been operating for more than 40 years. The service’s proposed 2023 budget calls for retiring 15 E-3s, or about half the fleet, and includes $227 million in research, development, test and evaluation funds for the replacement.
Steven Wert, the program executive officer for the service’s Digital Directorate, which oversees the Wedgetail acquisition, told reporters this week that if Congress fails to pass a fiscal 2023 defense budget on time, it would delay the Air Force’s current plan to award Boeing a contract by February of next year.
Lawmakers have until Sept. 30 to pass an appropriations bill, a fast-approaching deadline made more challenging by the August congressional recess. If Congress fails to approve a budget, it must approve a continuing resolution as a stopgap measure to keep the government funded until it does. Continuing resolutions freeze funding at prior-year levels and restrict agencies from awarding contracts to start new programs or increasing procurement quantities.
Agencies can request “anomalies” to shield priority programs from the impact of a CR, and Wert told reporters during an Aug. 10 briefing at the Air Force’s Life Cycle Management Industry Days event in Dayton, Ohio, the service plans to request protection for the E-7 acquisition.
At the same time, the service is also seeking congressional approval to shift, or reprogram, fiscal year 2022 funding from other accounts to speed up the E-7 award. If approved, the Air Force could award the deal to Boeing before February, Wert said.
“That new-start reprogramming would give us the flexibility to potentially speed it up somewhat,” he said. “It’s not going to be a dramatic speed-up, but we’re doing everything we can.”
The Air Force expects to have its first E-7 on hand by fiscal 2027. While the aircraft is an off-the-shelf solution, it will require some software upgrades as well as integration of new hardware.
The Royal Australian Air Force also flies the Wedgetail and Wert said the service is working closely with Australia to identify options to collaborate and accelerate test and evaluation. The U.K. also signed a deal with Boeing in 2018 to buy five E-7s and is considering expanding that procurement and Saudi Arabia has shown interest in the platform, Wert said.
“The potential is there for cooperative programs between the nations that are currently using the E-7,” he said. “We are hearing of a lot of interest from other nations to look to E-7 as well.” (Source: Defense News)
11 Aug 22. Unmanned program could suffer if Congress blocks F-22 retirements, Hunter says. A congressional push to block the U.S. Air Force’s plan to retire 33 F-22s could have ripple effects for one of the service’s top priority programs, the Collaborative Combat Aircraft.
The Air Force’s proposal to cut the F-22s is part of a broader plan to divest 150 aircraft in fiscal 2023 to free funds for higher priorities such as the B-21 bomber, hypersonic weapons programs and Next-Generation Air Dominance systems.
The House Armed Services Committee’s defense policy bill offered a sharp rebuke of the strategy and of the planned F-22 retirements in particular. Not only did lawmakers reject the plan to cut the aircraft, they called for the older-model jets, which are used primarily for training missions, to be upgraded to the newest F-22 configuration.
The White House Office of Management and Budget said in a statement to Congress last month it “strongly opposes” House efforts to block aircraft and ship retirements. Andrew Hunter, the Air Force’s top acquisition official, told reporters this week that preventing the service’s divestment plan would slow progress on the Collaborative Combat Aircraft, which aims to field a fleet of unmanned aircraft to augment NGAD and other fighter aircraft during combat missions. The program is one of Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall’s top priorities.
“The concern I would have would be on our ability to deliver on a Collaborative Combat Aircraft system to complement NGAD. That’s where I think we start to see impacts,” Hunter told reporters during an Aug. 11 briefing at the Air Force’s Life Cycle Industry Days conference in Dayton, Ohio. “It would limit our ability to dedicate people and resources to an aggressive effort to field that capability.”
The Air Force requested $51.5m in fiscal 2023 to transition technologies matured through the Skyborg program — the service’s effort to demonstrate the utility of teaming fighters and unmanned aircraft — to the Collaborative Combat Aircraft effort.
Asked whether additional funding from Congress would allow the Air Force to keep the F-22s and stay on track with the Collaborative Combat Aircraft, Hunter said there are infrastructure and manpower constraints that can’t necessarily be addressed with more money.
Brig. Gen. Dale White, program executive officer for fighters and advanced aircraft, told reporters during a separate Aug. 11 briefing the service is working with F-22 manufacturer Lockheed Martin to develop a cost estimate for modernizing the 33 older aircraft. A 2019 analysis projected it would cost about $50 million per jet, but White said a number of variables, including supply chain constraints, could change that estimate.
“We’re trying to put our arms around what has changed since the last time we did this,” he said.
The service plans to provide that data to Congress within the next month to inform budget deliberations, he added.
(Source: glstrade.com/Defense News)
10 Aug 22. The U.S. Army Is Hunting For More Soldier-Connected Tech. A recent solicitation calls for soldier-centered networking and information technology that will link existing and prototype technologies together.
The Army wants a small business to supply tech that can support and integrate everything from sensors to 5G and augmented reality headsets, in an effort to “optimize the ground soldier’s ability to shoot, move, and communicate”
The Ground Soldier Technology Workflow, Integration, and eXperience—or GS-TWIX—is an effort to link several technologies through both hardware and software, according to a solicitation notice.
The Army first revealed its intentions earlier this year with a request for information that highlighted six elements, including tech that can optimize sensor data; communications, like with the Nett Warrior program; and other ground-based systems needed for displaying information collected by sensors or other means. Other task elements focus on improving the survivability of these systems if exposed to chemical, biological or nuclear attacks, and the tactical implications of using 5G.
GS-TWIX seems to represent a piece of the Army’s ambition to more intricately connect data to troops and decision makers through improved sensors and networking capabilities. It also specifically calls for integration with the Army’s augmented reality headset, the Integrated Visual Augmentation System, which could indicate longer-term plans as the Army works out the system’s future.
“All applications shall be integrated with the software code base and hardware system for either Nett Warrior or IVAS,” the notice states, adding that the contractor must also supply a technical report on Chemical Biological Radiological and Nuclear Defense integration. IVAS is also mentioned in relation to Ground Soldier Systems Integration and Sensored Soldier.
But a final report on the IVAS’s latest test is still pending—as is a final decision on its future.
Douglas Bush, the Army’s chief buyer, declined to give details on whether the system would be fielded in the coming months, but told reporters last month that there are “still some technology issues with regard to the exact technology in the platform that need further improvement.”
“I think we have a good system, it needs further improvement. There’s also, because this is a wearable technology, there are kind of human factors engineering aspects of how it is on a soldier that we again learned what—good and bad—in terms of what they liked and what they didn’t like and what was, rather than just using the term liked or didn’t like, what was most helpful to them in accomplishing their missions,” Bush said, adding that the service secretary has the final say on whether the system will move forward.
The Army plans to submit the system’s final test reports to Congress by early fall and have a decision on IVAS’s future before then, he said.
Submissions for the proposal are due by Aug. 22. (Source: Defense News Early Bird/Defense One)
10 Aug 22. B-52 Will Get at Least One New Designation With Radar, Engine Upgrades. The B-52H will be redesignated the B-52J or possibly B-52K when it gets a new radar and new engines, but the Air Force hasn’t yet decided what will constitute the new B-52 variant, according to Col. Louis Ruscetta, senior materiel leader for the program.
The program has also developed a new estimate of what the re-engining will cost and is about to submit it to Congress, as directed under last year’s defense bill, but Ruscetta said reports of a 50 percent overrun are far overstated. In fact, he said he sees no overruns on the horizon.
The radar and engine program represent “the largest modification in the history” of the B-52, Ruscetta told reporters at Air Force Materiel Command’s Life Cycle Industry Days conference in Dayton, Ohio. The change from B-52G to B-52H in 1961 was mainly the switch to the TF33 engine, but the new package includes radar, engines, communications, pylons, cockpit displays, and the deletion of one crew member station, meaning “it makes sense” to have a new designation, Ruscetta said.
The question is whether there will be two designations, because some of the new APG-79B4 radars will be installed on the bombers before the new Rolls-Royce F130 engines, Ruscetta said. The B-52 pilot operating manual and maintenance manuals will be re-written for the version with the new radar; and will be re-written again when the engines are changed, Ruscetta said.
“What the Air Force, along with Global Strike Command, needs to look at, is how do we define” the new variant, he said. The decision will be made sometime within the next two years, before installations begin, Ruscetta added.
Ruscetta described the new active, electronically scanned array radar as a “game changer” for the B-52, especially as the Air Force migrates toward the two-bomber fleet of B-21s and B-52s. The APG-79 is effectively the same radar as on the export version of the Navy F/A-18 fighter, with the array turned “upside down” so it looks more down at the ground than up at the sky, Ruscetta said.
“We will have fighter-quality radar … to support air-to-ground operations,” he said, and be better able to operate “with other coalition partners” because the bomber will be able to use the same sensor format. It will be able to scan farther, “guide weapons in flight,” and improve the bomber’s situational awareness, he said. The B-52 today is still flying with its 1960s mechanical-scan radar.
The radar mod just passed critical design review “a few months ago, so we are now in the next stage of this program,” he said. That entails “building up the systems integration lab” (SIL) that will vet the radar as it affects the other parts of the B-52, to ensure no harmful or unintended side effects of the new equipment ahead of flight testing. The SIL will be a full representation of the system, minus its cooling equipment.
The new radar will be “segregated” from the B-52’s electronic warfare suite, Ruscetta said, but the new gear takes up less volume than the old and “gives us some growth space” for additional EW functions.
The program office is working on how the installations of the radars, engines, and other gear will be staged. Some bombers will get new radars before they get new engines, but later, when both are available, the preference will be to do the mods together, organically, during regular depot visits, when the aircraft are already “opened up,” Ruscetta said.
“We have an integration team looking at … the dependencies” of all the new equipment from the perspectives of size, weight, and power, Ruscetta said, to fashion the most logical sequence of installations. Minimal downtime is necessary to make sure Air Force Global Strike Command doesn’t dip below the operationally required minimum numbers of bombers.
“We are looking for those friction areas” that could spell logjams in the process, Ruscetta said. “We’re looking to minimize and reduce what could go wrong,” he said, “and if things do go wrong, how can I still operate?”
At some point, there will be an aircraft that will have all the new mods on it, and “we may do some regression testing” at that point, but the goal is to have shaken out any problems before that milestone.
Oklahoma City Air Logistics Complex at Tinker Air Force Base pushes out about 17 B-52s per year, Ruscetta said.
“It does not make sense to have multiple [installation] lines, with multiple aircraft down at once,” Ruscetta said, so the plan is to do as much of the mod as possible at once, during depot.
Flight testing with the new radar will start in late 2025, and the first production versions should be built around the same time. They’ll be installed in early 2027, Ruscetta said, and initial operational capability (IOC) with the radar will consist of 12 aircraft as the required assets available for the declaration. The first aircraft will be operational with the new engines circa 2030.
A major acquisition program doesn’t usually have to submit a Selected Acquisition Report until after Milestone B—and the B-52 Commercial Engine Replacement Program (CERP) isn’t there yet—but the program has developed a cost estimate and submitted it to Headquarters, Air Force, and it will go to Congress “in the very near future,” Ruscetta said.
Reports of a 50 percent increase in CERP costs were “taken out of context,” Ruscetta said. The business case analysis done in 2017 wasn’t comprehensive and didn’t anticipate all the ramifications of the upgrade, and cost-estimating models have been updated. The Air Force used the KC-135 re-engining as its model but is now using the more recent C-5 re-engining as a guide to costs.
“I don’t have one program related to the engine replacement … that is in overrun,” Ruscetta said, “and I don’t foresee an overrun … in the future.”
In a later email, Ruscetta said the program “has seen minor cost growth … of about 12 percent” since the first Air Force independent cost estimate in 2019.
“The FY22 NDAA established a cost baseline for the CERP program using the FY’20 cost estimate. Currently, we have seen estimated growth of 3% from the congressionally mandated baseline.”
The report will “give Congress a full update on the status of the CERP,” Ruscetta said. There has been cost growth discovered due to the complexity of integrating the new engines, controls, and displays needed on the B-52.
“It is more than just new engines,” he said. It’s “new pylons … generators … fuel lines … cockpit displays.” It is “a much bigger effort than just Rolls-Royce.” Boeing is the integrator of the all the B-52 upgrades.
“We just held our engine subsystem preliminary design review at Rolls-Royce … it was a very successful event,” he said, and showed a strong partnership with Boeing. The full system-level PDR will be held later this year. “The design is fairly stable,” Ruscetta said. The engine and radar upgrades were intended to have almost no new development.
The major challenge to program schedule now is not design, but the supply chain, Ruscetta added, “just like any program managing in a … COVID environment.” (Source: News Now/https://www.airforcemag.com/)
09 Aug 22. US Army launching new campaign to more quickly field capabilities. The U.S. Army plans to launch a testing campaign aimed at creating a direct avenue to field new capabilities more rapidly.
The service has a wide variety of offensive and defensive missile capabilities, but also a need to tie into space sensors and non-Army organic sensors that can see at much farther ranges to cue these missile systems, Maj. Gen. Robert Rasch, the Army’s program executive officer for missiles and space, said Aug. 9 at the Space and Missile Defense Symposium. His office will conduct what it to become an annual integrated fires test campaign.
Sensors found across the services that can detect targets at long ranges are able to, for example, provide valuable targeting information for weapons like the Army Tactical Missile System, the forthcoming Precision Guided Munition and the Guided Multiple Launch Rocket Systems, Rasch said.
The Army has shown the effectiveness of integrating sensors with shooters on the battlefield to accomplish both offensive and defensive fires missions during its campaign of learning last year, Project Convergence, held at Yuma Proving Ground, Arizona.
The Army took its Integrated Battle Command System, or IBCS, which is meant to serve as the brains of its air and missile defense system, and expanded its defensive mission set to a precision strike capability.
Rasch said IBCS has finished its first phase of its major initial operational test and evaluation event, and is now gearing up for the second phase. Once the second phase concludes, the Army can make a full-rate production decision on the system, which is currently in low-rate initial production.
The system was demonstrated in one of the seven use-case scenarios at Project Convergence. During the joint air and missile defense use-case scenario, IBCS conducted a successful engage-on-remote test. Threat targets were launched from White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico. An engagement operations center using IBCS picked up on the threats at Fort Bliss, Texas, and tracked them. Then the system was able to remotely initiate from Fort Bliss the launch of Patriot missiles at White Sands to neutralize the threat.
Part of the demonstration included using space-based sensors, which Joint Tactical Ground Station operators tap into through satellite communications to track a missile threat. While ground and airborne sensors have been used in demonstrations involving IBCS, the addition of the space sensors shows the system is able to tie into the space capability layer.
IBCS was able to obtain information from an F-35 fighter jet tracking a ground target and feed it to the Army’s fire control system — the Advanced Field Artillery Tactical Data System — for the first time. That system then engaged the target using a High Mobility Artillery Rocket System, Rasch said.
“How do we take it out of the experimental realm and move it into a ‘let’s do it every day’ realm,” Rasch said, describing the next step.
So in fiscal 2023, the service’s Program Executive Office Missiles and Space will conduct its first-ever integrated fires test campaign, Rasch noted. “We’re going to get an opportunity to bring these things out on the range that maybe were not initially designed or thought [were] being designed to work together, but actually have them out on the range and either demonstrate, if it’s early, or operationally test, if it is ready to get to materiel release for new capabilities.”
The Army is using Project Convergence to identify what does and doesn’t work well for the service, Rasch added. The plan is to take good ideas from Project Convergence, go through a hardening process and take it right out to test as part of the integrated fires test campaign, he explained.
The venue will also offer the Army an ability to get more sets and repetitions to build up range legs more on an annual basis, Rasch noted.
But more importantly, the integrated fires test campaign is an opportunity to get those good ideas fielded without having to wait six or seven years for the “big bang that is typically associated with the program of record,” Rasch said. “We have never done that before.”
Rasch told Defense News to stay tuned for more details on what specifically will be evaluated at the first campaign next year as the new incoming program executive officer puts his stamp on the event.
Rasch is tapped to become the next commander of the Army’s Rapid Capabilities and Critical Technologies Office. The new leader at PEO Missiles and Space will be Brig. Gen. Francisco Lozano, who most recently served as the chief of staff in the Office of the Secretary of the Army for Acquisitions, Logistics and Technology. (Source: Defense News)
REST OF THE WORLD
11 Aug 22. Philippines tries to claw back money after canceling Russian helicopter deal. The Philippines has confirmed it is in the process of canceling a contract to acquire Russian-built transport helicopters, citing changes in priorities brought on by world events.
National Defense Department spokesman Arsenio Andolong said in a statement carried by the Philippines’ national news agency that the government is currently formalizing the termination of the contract with Russia’s Sovtechnoexport for 16 Mi-17 helicopters.
“We are also preparing to initiate a diplomatic dialogue with the Russian side regarding matters arising from the project’s cancellation,” Andolong said, adding cryptically that “changes in priorities necessitated by global political developments resulted in the cancellation of the project by the previous administration.”
He also said efforts are being made to retrieve the $48.2 million down payment for the helicopters made in January.
Philippine Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana previously told The Associated Press that the government was canceling the $322.3 million deal due to concerns over potential U.S. sanctions. He also said the decision was approved by then-President Rodrigo Duterte, whose administration had signed the contract for the helicopters in November 2021.
The Philippines insisted as recently as March 2022 that the procurement would go ahead despite the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine, which began Feb. 24.
Those buying Russian arms could be hit with sanctions under the U.S. law Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act. The law was passed in 2017 and is meant to discourage governments or entities from acquiring weapons as well as military hardware and parts from American adversaries like Iran, North Korea and Russia.
Without the Mi-17s, the Philippines would be left with an outstanding requirement for heavy transport helicopters. The Mi-17 was chosen because of its relatively spacious cabin as well as its rear ramp or clamshell doors (depending on the variant).
Transport helicopters are a vital component of the Philippine military; the country is an archipelagic nation made up of more than 7,000 islands and is beset with natural disasters and ongoing insurgencies. Its existing fleet of transport helicopters are often engaged in relief operations or transporting troops and equipment.
The Mi-17 has similar payload capabilities to several Western transport helicopter types, but its price was a draw for the Philippines, with the country seeking to modernize its aging and modest military in the face of a tight budget. (Source: Defense News)
Sibylline Comment: On 10 August, reports indicated that in his last days of office former President of the Philippines Rodrigo Duterte cancelled an order of 16 Mi-17 Russian military helicopters to avoid violating Ukraine-related sanctions imposed on Moscow. This decision was also supported by President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. In November 2021, Manila agreed to pay USD 228m for the military helicopters to help modernise its armed forces. Since its cancellation, the US has offered the Philippines alternative helicopters to ensure its modernisation programme stays on track. The Philippines’ decision to uphold Western sanctions against Russia nearly six months into the war in Ukraine underlines that these sanctions remain effective. Sanctions are still a major point of consideration in countries’ decisions before engaging with Russia, and therefore, limit Moscow’s freedom to participate in trade.
11 Aug 22. Leidos Australia onboards Cloudera for JP 2060 P4 project.
The global hybrid data company has been selected to support Leidos Australia’s work to update Defence’s health infrastructure.
Cloudera is the latest member of a Leidos Australia-led consortium contracted to deliver an e-health management system to the Australian Defence Force (ADF) — dubbed the Health Knowledge Management System — under the JP 2060 Phase 4 project. The $299m contract involves replacement of the ADF’s legacy electronic health record product with a “modern, patient-centric” health offering.
The new system will be designed to record, store, aggregate and analyse health data and information, integrating multidisciplinary primary and occupational care with emergency and hospital care.
This is tipped to improve clinical decision making.
As part of its contribution, Cloudera has been tasked with delivering private-cloud-native data engineering capabilities, leveraging its CDP Data Engineering offering.
CDP Data Engineering is expected to draw data from multiple sources, including legacy systems and new data streams, while also creating secure data products designed to streamline and operationalise the data contained in the Health Knowledge Management System.
Leidos Australia’s chief executive, Paul Chase, welcomed the opportunity to work with Defence and its industry partners to deliver an upgraded e-health capability.
“Our team’s health expertise, as well as Leidos’ vast Defence experience, will deliver a modern, sovereign solution that will meet the evolving healthcare needs of the ADF,” Chase said.
Colin Pont, Cloudera ANZ senior alliance manager, welcomed the opportunity to contribute to the JP 2060 Phase 4 project.
“Cloudera is extremely honoured to have been selected to be part of this important healthcare project, led by Leidos, in Australia,” Pont said.
“We understand the challenges faced by governments in extracting value from citizen health data to improve both the clinician and patient journey from primary to emergency care, rehabilitation to recovery, are extremely complex.
“For defence personnel, that journey from the field through evacuation to hospital and recovery is even more so.”
Pont went on to note the importance of developing an “intelligent, data-driven solution” capable of strengthening e-health record-keeping across the defence space.
“We are delighted to be partnering with Leidos and other consortium members to support this transformation project,” he added.
(Source: Defence Connect)
10 Aug 22. Canada plans to buy four new Airbus tankers, requests proposal. The Canadian government expects to award a contract next year to Airbus for four new strategic tanker transport aircraft, according to the country’s National Defence Department.
The cost of the contract is yet to be determined, but the government has allocated up to CA$5bn (U.S. $4bn) to purchase the planes.
Airbus was designated as the only supplier qualified to provide the tankers to the Royal Canadian Air Force. As a result, a formal request for its proposal for the planes was issued to the firm on May 13, 2022.
National Defence Department spokeswoman Jessica Lamirande said the government has not yet received the proposal.
“Once Airbus’ response is received, an assessment and negotiation will occur,” Lamirande said, noting that a contract is expected to be awarded by April 2023.
The Canadian Armed Forces found the Airbus A330 MRTT, a refueling and transport plane, is the only aircraft qualified for the job. The Air Force wants the first of the A330s operational by 2028.
The new aircraft are part of Canada’s Strategic Tanker Transport Capability project, meant to replace the existing CC-150 Polaris aircraft flown by the Royal Canadian Air Force. Those refueling and transport planes have been in operation since 1992.
Originally six new aircraft were to be purchased as part of the Strategic Tanker Transport Capability project. But on July 14, Canadian Defence Minister Anita Anand announced the military would acquire two used Airbus A330s and eventually upgrade those to become part of the Air Force’s tanker and transport fleet.
Canada acquired those used aircraft, built in 2015, from International Airfinance Corp., a global aircraft leasing company, in a deal worth about $102m.
Lamirande said the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on the commercial aviation industry created favorable market conditions to procure the used A330-200 aircraft at the best value for Canada. The government is scheduled to receive the aircraft in December 2022 and April 2023, and then ferry them to the country shortly after, she added.
“There are a number of predelivery and acceptance activities that need to be completed before any used aircraft will arrive in Canada” Lamirande said. Those include scheduled preventive maintenance, limited retrofit to prepare for service within the Air Force, painting of the aircraft, final delivery inspection and acceptance checks.
The used aircraft are currently configured for long-haul commercial use. They will initially be used for an interim period to perform cargo and troop airlift operations, said Lamirande. The planes could also be used to transport civilian passengers during humanitarian relief operations, as well as fly VIPs, such as Canada’s prime minister.
These used aircraft will, after an interim period of operations, be turned over to Airbus for conversion to the MRTT configuration as the other four new aircraft expected to be purchased. (Source: Defense New
10 Aug 22. Mali commissions new aircraft. Mali’s armed forces have commissioned a range of new aircraft into service, including L-39, Mi-8, Su-25 and C295 aircraft. Air Force Chief of Staff General Alou Boi Diarra officially received the aircraft from transition president and armed forces commander Colonel Assimi Goïta on 9 August in a ceremony at Modibo Keita International Airport in Bamako-Sénou. Other dignitaries present were Prime Minister Choguel Kokalla Maïga, defence minister Sadio Camara, and the Russian ambassador to Mali, as much of the new equipment was sourced from Russia.
The aircraft handed over included one Su-25 jet, four L-39 jet trainers, an Mi-24P attack helicopter, an Mi-8 transport helicopter and a single Airbus C295 tactical transport aircraft. The C295 aircraft arrived on 31 May and is the second to be acquired, with the first delivered in December 2016. Delivery of the second aircraft was delayed by US sanctions following Mali’s recent coups and allegations the army was recruiting child soldiers.
Two Mi-24Ps were delivered to Mali on 30 March this year, along with Protivnik-GE/59N6-TE mobile radars from Russia. Mali also recently acquired four Mi-35s from Russia.
According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute’s arms transfers database, Mali in 2020 ordered four Mi-8MT/Mi-17Sh helicopters from Russia for $61 m including training and weapons, with deliveries from 2021. The Su-25s and L-39s appear to be new acquisitions as well.
In his speech, Camara said the new equipment is part of the country’s vision to rebuild a professional military that is well-equipped, well trained and has good morale. For his part, Diarra said the new aircraft significantly strengthen the Air Force and will be used to destroy terrorist bases and hideouts. The new acquisitions will also improve the military’s mobility and its ability to evacuate the wounded and sick and provide humanitarian relief to the population.
Mali’s Air Force has grown over the last several years, with fixed and rotary wing acquisitions. In October 2017 then Malian President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita welcomed new aircraft into the Air Force’s inventory, including a C-295W transport, two Y-12E light utility aircraft and a Super Puma transport helicopter (out of two ordered). In July 2018 Mali received four Embraer Super Tucano light attack and trainer aircraft from Brazil after ordering them in 2015. In April 2019 Mali’s Air Force received a Cessna 208 Caravan configured for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) that was donated by the European Union to combat terrorism and insecurity.
Mali has been battered by an extremist campaign that began in the north of the country in 2012, with attacks spreading into Niger and Burkina Faso as well. As a result, Mali has turned to Russia to supply equipment and paramilitary forces to shore up its military. (Source: https://www.defenceweb.co.za/)
08 Aug 22. Bolsonaro election concerns stall U.S. Javelin missiles sale to Brazil. A Brazilian military request to buy Javelin anti-tank missiles worth as much as $100m has been stalled in Washington for months due to U.S. lawmakers’ concerns about far-right President Jair Bolsonaro, including his attacks on Brazil’s electoral system, multiple U.S. sources told Reuters.
Brazil’s bid to acquire some 220 Javelins was originally made when former President Donald Trump, a Bolsonaro ally, was in the White House. The State Department gave its blessing to the proposal late last year, despite objections from some lower-ranking U.S. officials, according to two people familiar with the matter.
But the confidential deal, which has not been previously reported, has since become mired in procedural limbo amid mounting concerns among Democratic lawmakers over Bolsonaro’s Trump-like questioning of voting integrity ahead of Brazil’s Oct. 2 election, the sources said.
Brazil’s request for the cutting-edge U.S.-made missiles, which have won fame for their effective use by Ukrainian forces against Russian armor, has been delayed by a Democratic-led effort to send a message to Bolsonaro and his military.
“It’s being slow-walked on Capitol Hill and isn’t going anywhere anytime soon” because of misgivings about Bolsonaro, said a source who has followed the proposed deal.
The holdup underlines the impact Bolsonaro’s undemocratic rhetoric is already having on Latin America’s biggest country. It also gives a glimpse of how Brazil could become more isolated internationally if Bolsonaro were to follow Trump’s example and refuse to accept any election loss to his leftist rival, former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.
President Joe Biden’s administration, scarred by Trump supporters’ Jan. 6, 2021, storming of the Capitol, has become increasingly anxious about Bolsonaro’s authoritarian comments, sending delegations to Brasilia to urge caution.
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin brought a message of respect for democracy to Brazil in a meeting of regional defense ministers in July. That followed a visit last year by CIA director William Burns in which he told Bolsonaro’s aides he should stop undermining confidence in the country’s electoral process.
Bolsonaro, who trails Lula in the polls, has ignored them. Instead, he has continued to question the credibility of Brazil’s electronic voting system and claimed fraud in recent elections without providing evidence.
‘BRAZIL DOESN’T NEED THEM’
The potential post-election role of Brazil’s armed forces, which oversaw a military dictatorship for two decades following a 1964 coup, is an open question. Bolsonaro has called for the military, Latin America’s largest, to undertake its own parallel vote count, saying “the army is on our side.”
Washington is also concerned by environmental backsliding under Bolsonaro, as well as his friendly relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin, whose Ukraine invasion he has refused to condemn.
Manufactured by defense giants Lockheed Martin Corp and Raytheon Technologies Corp (RTX.N), the Javelin has become one of the world’s best-known weapons due to its success against Russian tanks in the Ukraine war.
Brazil faces no similar threats, prompting questions about why it would need such firepower, sources said. Brazil’s military mainly focuses on securing its borders, among the world’s longest, and international peacekeeping missions.
“Brazil doesn’t need them,” said a former congressional aide who worked on weapons issues.
Another source said the State Department’s support for the sale showed it wanted to satisfy Brazil’s weapons wish-list to help nurture relations with one of Washington’s most important allied militaries in the region.
Bolsonaro’s office directed requests for comment to the defense ministry, which did not respond to a list of questions.
The State Department did not respond to a request for comment.
The request came in 2020 at a time of warming ties between the United States and Brazil under Trump and Bolsonaro, two blustery nationalists. In 2019, Trump designated Brazil a major non-NATO ally, allowing it greater access to U.S.-made weaponry.
The deal sailed through the Trump-era bureaucracy and was inherited by Biden, a Democrat less friendly toward Bolsonaro than his Republican predecessor.
Still, Biden’s State Department gave the deal a preliminary nod after what one person familiar with the matter described as only cursory discussions, overlooking concerns of U.S. diplomats in Brazil and lower-level officials in Washington.
“There are those within State working levels who have expressed reservations about this sale given Bolsonaro’s actions and rhetoric and certain past actions of Brazil’s military and security services,” said a U.S. government source. “Such concerns are not shared among Defense Department officials nor State leadership.”
The State Department then sent the proposed sale for an “informal” review by the two Democratic chairs and two Republican ranking members of Congress’ foreign relations committees. Congressional sources say it has not advanced due to the concerns of lawmakers, including Senator Bob Menendez and Representative Gregory Meeks, Biden’s fellow Democrats.
They have peppered the State Department with questions, ranging from Bolsonaro’s human rights record to whether Brazil needs such weapons, according to one congressional source, suggesting they at least want to delay it until after Brazil’s elections.
“We do not comment on arms cases under current review,” said a spokesperson for the committee, adding: “Chairman Meeks takes a range of considerations into account when reviewing such transfers, such as the broader range of diplomatic and security dynamics as well as human rights concerns.”
There have been no indications that the two senior Republicans also reviewing the Brazilian request, Senator Jim Risch and Representative Michael McCaul, have expressed any reservations, sources said.
The State Department has acknowledged to the lawmakers that the Javelins do not safeguard against any specific threat Brazil faces, a U.S. official said. But State has argued that Brazil’s bid to upgrade its anti-armor capacity is legitimate, and it seeks a reasonable number of missiles, the official added.
Despite tensions between Biden and Bolsonaro, Washington has remained open to selling weapons to Brasilia.
“The view is that Brazil has the right to procure military equipment as it sees fit and in accordance with our laws,” a senior Biden administration official told Reuters.
Even if the sale does move to the next phase – a full congressional review – it would still face formidable obstacles.
Democratic Senator Tim Kaine, who chairs the Western Hemisphere subcommittee, said he would want to examine any sale closely. Selling weapons to Brazil, he told Reuters, is “not something that I just would immediately feel like we should do.”
Demand for Javelins has soared since the start of the Ukraine war. So even if the deal is approved, it could take years for Brazil to receive the missiles due to a backlog of orders, with priority given to other U.S. partners. If the request is denied, sources said Brazil has other options – chiefly the HJ-12, China’s cheaper version of the Javelin. (Source: Reuters)
08 Aug 22. India’s private defense firms seek level playing field as MoD preps new arms embargo. is preparing a new list of additional banned foreign-made defense materiel, according to the Society of Indian Defence Manufacturers, with the industry association providing its own input to the government. The effort follows three other lists released by the Defence Ministry, which have banned a total of 310 foreign-made weapons and platforms. The import embargoes are part of an effort to bolster the domestic defense industry under the economic initiative Make in India.
But analysts and industry experts tell Defense News the private sector — which has long faced adverse conditions competing against foreign and state-run companies — is yet to see a significant change, with few exceptions. Neither SIDM nor the ministry would provide specifics about the forthcoming list, and it’s unclear when it will be released to the public.
It’s also unclear exactly how the embargo lists have affected the bottom line of Indian defense contractors. Certainly, there are cases where orders of banned items were made with local companies, but those were related to deals already in the works before the respective embargo.
For its part, the Ministry of Defence announced April 9 that 25% of the $12bn budget meant for the procurement of new weapons and associated equipment would go toward private sector orders during fiscal 2022-2023.
The ministry also announced it reserved $214.28 m for buying products developed through the iDEX initiative — or Innovations For Defence Excellence, a government effort meant to foster innovation and technological development in the defense and aerospace sectors by engaging startups, individual innovators, academia, research and development institutes, and micro, small and medium enterprises.
Additionally, the government is encouraging private sector participation by simplifying the procurement process, raising companies’ hopes that they’ll see more contract awards in shorter time frames. Under the new changes, acquisition tenders that fall under the Make-II procurement project and involve domestic private companies will now progress to contract awards within four months after successful prototype testing. Previously, the decision-making process for awarding contracts took about two years following the completion of prototype trials.
Make-II is an industry-funded procurement initiative that receives no government funding and through which the prototype development cost must be borne by private companies.
The government also reserved 25% of its $800m defense research and development budget for new R&D proposals by private industry, startups and academia for the FY22-23 time period.
The ministry issued new rules — which took effect April 6 — requiring any imported defense materiel, irrespective of value, to receive the approval of the Defence Acquisitions Council before entering the country. In other words, weapons systems that cannot be locally made may be procured from foreign firms only under exceptional circumstances.
However, the ministry noted, the military “will be encouraged to explore the procurement of these through indigenous sources.”
The MoD also said, going forward, the military must receive approval from the defense minister if an armed service wants to import defense equipment under capital procurements, which also can only take place if the materiel is unavailable domestically.
MoD officials said these efforts of the ruling National Democratic Alliance government are meant to enhance the role of private companies, small businesses and startups in manufacturing defense products and building a robust supply chain to reduce the country’s dependence on arms imports.
Last year, the Indian military purchased $3.5bn in weapons from overseas through emergency and fast-track procurement authorities. India spent $10.73bn of its $16.41bn capital procurement fund last year on weapons from domestic defense companies.
“To promote indigenization, the Defence Ministry has brought out three positive indigenization lists. With the first and second list, we have been able to award [defense] contracts worth $7.1bn … to Indian companies,” Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said at a May 9 industry event. “We hope that over the next five [to] seven years, the indigenous acquisition will provide $64.28bn worth of orders for the industry.”
The ministry refers to the three arms embargo lists as positive indigenization lists.
But Vivek Rae, a former chief of acquisitions for the MoD, told Defense News India must adopt more nuanced strategies if the key objective is to bolster the private sector. He suggested the ministry reserve some competitions for contract awards solely for the private sector, as both state-run and private companies are allowed to participate in Make-II competitions.
The chief executive of a small private defense enterprise agreed. “While deciding the production order, the Indian government has to look away from state-run companies; otherwise there will be no confidence instilled in the private sector,” the executive told Defense News, speaking on the condition of anonymity out of fear of economic reprisal. The executive added that a significant number of new procurement projects fall under Make-II.
“What the [private] industry has developed — and has capabilities for — is only partially included in the lists released as yet and await inclusion in subsequent lists,” Jayant Patil, senior executive vice president of defense contractor Larsen & Toubro, told Defense News. The government, he argued, needs to make fair and quick decisions on contract awards and avoid bureaucratic red tape to lessen the cost of acquisition.
Patil, a former president of SIDM, also called for new economic models and processes that would benefit India’s defense export market.
The government opened defense business to private companies in May 2001. Since then, about 333 private companies were issued a total of 539 industrial licenses, according to an MoD news release in July 2021. Out of those companies, 110 supply arms to the Indian military, the release stated.
India’s private sector has supplied to the military over the last 15 years guns, rocket systems, ships, underwater platforms, sonars, drones, vehicles, radar systems, electro-optical systems, naval weapon systems, bridging systems, integrated platform management systems, and air defense missiles and launchers. The sector has also upgraded multiple types of weapon systems.
However, with the government continuing to prioritize state-run defense companies and its own Defence Research and Development Organisation, private sector contribution to overall defense production suffers. A few major orders have been placed with a handful of large private firms, but the private sector mostly serves as a supplier to state-run defense companies.
The Central Vigilance Commission, which serves as the government’s anti-corruption watchdog, released a memo in April 2021 calling for additional transparency in how contracts are awarded, particularly when they’re done so on a nomination basis — or where contracts are awarded to a state-run company without a competition, similar to sole-source contracts in the United States.
“The award of contracts/projects/procurements on nomination basis without adequate justification amounts to restrictive practice eliminating competition, fairness and equity,” the document read. “Hence, award of contracts through open competitive bids should remain the most preferred mode of tendering.”
And if an award is made on a nomination basis, the commission stated, details of the contract and justification for the decision should be posted online in the public domain.
But Rae said this should go further.
“The only way private manufacturing companies can grow is through the steady flow of orders,” he said. “To establish a level playing field, orders on a nomination basis to state-run companies should be stopped completely, especially where the private sector has the infrastructure and capability to compete.”
Ashok Baweja, who leads a defense unit at Quest Global Engineering and previously served as chairman of the state-run company Hindustan Aeronautics Limited, took a more positive view of the arms embargoes, saying they have provided opportunities to both the private and public defense sectors. (HAL ranked 42 in this year’s Top 100 list, alongside one other Indian company, Bharat Electronics Limited, which ranked 56.)
Still, Baweja added, India’s private sector lacks access to defense projects that are based on realistic technical parameters, backed by government funding for prototype development and the support of manufacturing facilities, and involve timely orders.
But it’s not all bad. Private companies have access to several technologies — gyros, gimbals, image intensifiers, sensors, metallurgy techniques — through their relationships with foreign businesses, who are more reluctant to share with state-run organizations than private entities.
Additionally, the private sector has built up its capabilities in the design and development of defense electronics, software and artificial intelligence in recent years.
The head of SIDM, Satya Prakash Shukla, said India’s defense industry has welcomed the embargo lists.
Shukla, who also leads Mahindra Group’s defense, aerospace and agriculture unit, said creating these lists is complicated, as the Defence Ministry wants to focus on items it might need going forward but can also be locally produced.(Source: Defense News Early Bird/Defense News)
08 Aug 22. Ambiguity continues over status of Indian Navy’s third aircraft carrier. With one aircraft carrier still under maintenance and one yet to be inducted, the Indian Navy will be operating without one for some more time. The ambiguity over Indian Navy’s third aircraft carrier continues even as China is adding to its maritime might. The Navy has been strongly pushing for a third aircraft carrier. The proposed indigenous aircraft carrier-2 (IAC-2, expected to be 65-70,000 tonnes) will supplement INS Vikramaditya (46,000 tonnes), and INS Vikrant, the 44,500-tonne IAC-1 that is expected to join service this month after almost a six-year delay.
The Navy has been maintaining the three carriers-based force structure so that it can operate two of them in maritime zones on each side of the Indian coastline — eastern and western coasts. This can only happen when the Navy has three carriers as one can be used as a substitute when either of the first two undergoes maintenance.
Aircraft carriers are known to have lengthy maintenance schedules. The cycle of maintenance can lead to an absence of a carrier for years, as has been the case with the refit of India’s lone Aircraft Carrier INS Vikramaditya which started in the beginning of 2021 and still continues. It has been delayed due to a fire onboard in July.
With one aircraft carrier still under maintenance and one yet to be inducted, the Indian Navy will be operating without one for some more time.
This is the state of affairs when China has been successful beating deadlines in adding to its military might. It started manufacturing its first aircraft carrier in 2012 and commissioned its third indigenous one, Fujian, in June this year.
China has become the biggest Navy with 355 warships and submarines while India’s total fleet strength is 130. “Keeping in mind our pace, even if we take a decision on the carrier today, it will take over a year to begin the process of manufacturing,” said a defence source. (Source: News Now/https://www.newindianexpress.com/)
05 Aug 22. India bids to sell fighter jets to Malaysia, says six other countries interested. India has offered to sell 18 light-combat aircraft (LCA) “Tejas” to Malaysia, the defence ministry said on Friday, adding that Argentina, Australia, Egypt, the United States, Indonesia, and the Philippines were also interested in the single-engine jet.
The Indian government last year gave a $6 bn contract to state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HIAE.NS) for 83 of the locally produced Tejas jets for delivery starting around 2023 – four decades after it was first approved in 1983.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government, keen to reduce India’s reliance on foreign defence equipment, has also been making diplomatic efforts to export the jets. The Tejas has been beset by design and other challenges, and was once rejected by the Indian Navy as too heavy.
The defence ministry told parliament that Hindustan Aeronautics in October last year responded to a request for proposal from the Royal Malaysian Air Force for 18 jets, offering to sell the two-seater variant of Tejas.
“Other countries which have evinced interest in the LCA aircraft are: Argentina, Australia, Egypt, USA, Indonesia, and Philippines,” India’s junior defence minister, Ajay Bhatt, told members of parliament in a written reply.
He said the country was also working on manufacturing a stealth fighter jet, but declined to given a timeline citing national security concerns.
Britain said in April it would support India’s goal of building its own fighter jets. India currently has a mix of Russian, British and French fighter jets.
India is looking to ground all its Soviet-era Russian fighter jets, the MiG-21, by 2025, following a number of fatal crashes, the Times of India daily reported last month. (Source: Reuters)
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