UNITED KINGDOM AND NATO
25 Aug 22. UK seeks new or upgraded solution for aircraft training capability. The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) has released a request for information (RFI) to industry regarding the potential replacement or upgrade of its Generic Flying Systems Trainers (GenFly).
According to the RFI released on 24 August, the Defence School of Aeronautical Engineering (DSAE) is planning to upgrade the current systems or replace them with a suitable solution. The solution must be fully supportable for a minimum of 10 years.
GenFly was originally manufactured by Pennant and maintained by Leonardo under the Ground Transportation Management System (GTMS) contract. It is a facsimile airframe, which enables realistic and effective training for mechanics and technicians. It offers trainees the opportunity to conduct hands-on maintenance on aircraft hydraulics, landing gear systems, flight controls, and other services.
The RFI is seeking to understand whether a commercial off-the-shelf solution is available to replace GenFly, if any modifications are required, and the rough order of magnitude (ROM) costs. The deadline for responses is 30 September. (Source: Janes)
24 Aug 22. Collaboration Event: Novel Amphibious Craft. The Defence and Security Accelerator (DASA) are to host a collaboration event in October to aid the acceleration of partnerships across industry
- An event to accelerate partnerships across Industry
- In advance of a new themed competition, Novel Amphibious Craft, launching in October 2022
- Meet subject matter experts in this field
The Defence and Security Accelerator (DASA) will host a collaboration event in advance of a new themed competition launch, Novel Amphibious Craft. This competition launches in October 2022, and will fund promising technologies to help develop a Commando Insertion Craft (CIC) fit to combat the threats of the 21st Century.
To create a platform that can transport personnel and light vehicles across great distances, in challenging conditions, whilst evading detection from coastal sensors is a significant challenge. It demands collaboration between experts in many disciplines, including those outside the defence sector.
This event looks to accelerate partnerships, by bringing together prospective innovators across industry. There will also be an opportunity to connect with subject matter experts from the competition team.
Why should you attend?
Attending the collaboration event will allow you to:
- understand the requirements of front line operators
- form new collaborative relationships with innovators that have complimentary knowledge
- meet the experts from DASA and the Royal Marines Commando Force
Who should attend?
There are multiple complex engineering requirements for this competition and we expect that a proportion of the proposals will be collaborative efforts between multiple suppliers. This event targets innovators interested in networking and/or establishing collaborations before submitting a proposal to the competition.
Register your interest in attending via this Eventbrite page. Registration will close at midday on Friday 23 September 2022.
The CIC will be the medium lift craft to deliver Royal Marine Commando teams and their equipment from specialist ships to foreign and hostile coastal access points without being detected.
Royal Marine Commando teams will be expected to operate independently and as part of a larger group, and will complement the force’s network of sensors and command and control capabilities. The craft must be able to travel ranges of 300 nautical miles (threshold) at speeds of no less than 25 knots in sea state 2.
The Novel Amphibious Craft competition is seeking innovative technologies that could help to develop a novel landing craft that can:
- travel at sustained high speed over a long range
- provide the ability to deliver personnel and light vehicles to a coastal access point with limited/ no impact on operational speed/capability
- relaunch from the coastal access point
- consider Signature Management across all spectrums to reduce probability of detection (for example thermal, radar, visual, acoustic)
This competition is expected to launch in late October 2022, with funding being provided to proposals that successfully pass DASA’s assessment and moderation panels.
- Please note that the event will be an open public event held at OFFICIAL; the appropriateness of discussions should be considered by attendees.
- While we encourage collaboration, we wish to stress that it is the sole responsibility of each attendee to consider and manage appropriately any disclosure of their proprietary information to any other attendee or party, given the public nature of the event.
- There will be a limited hybrid component to this event via Microsoft Teams.
- Photographic identification will be required at entry.
Further event details will be sent upon confirmation of your place to attend. (Source: https://www.gov.uk/)
19 Aug 22. France Plots Long-Term Army Modernization Plans. While still in the throes of its biggest modernization push since World War II, the French army is already looking at what comes afterward.
The NATO member’s army is in the middle of a 20-year modernization program called “Scorpion” that takes it through 2040.
Col. Arnaud Goujon, chief of plans at the French army headquarters, said the service is already jumpstarting plans for a second step of upgrades it calls “Titan.”
Scorpion is seeking to upgrade the army’s light and medium tanks and improve their connectivity. Similar to U.S. forces’ push to connect sensors and shooters known as joint all domain command and control, France calls its effort “combined collaborative combat,” he said.
The roots of Scorpion took hold 20 years ago. Equipment from that program is now being delivered to the force and is already being used in operations in Sub-Saharan Africa, he said.
The army received its first batch of Jaguar armored reconnaissance and combat vehicles in February and since then has ordered more. They are manufactured by a consortium comprising French contractors Nexter, Arquus and Thales.
They will replace three existing vehicle platforms: the AMX-10RC tank destroyer, the ERC-90 Sagaie armored reconnaissance vehicle and the VAB HOT Mephisto armored personnel carrier.
The same consortium is building the Griffon multi-role armored vehicle as part of the Scorpion program. They will replace 4×4 armored personnel carriers, which have been in the inventory since the 1970s.
“In light of this success with the realization of Scorpion — and without waiting for it to come to fruition — the army must already think about the next phase,” he said during a talk at the Eurosatory defense trade show in Paris.
Titan will start in 2030 — a few years before Scorpion wraps up — and will run through 2045 with a concentration on modernizing heavy tanks, artillery and combat helicopters, Goujon said.
Titan will start off as a series of studies that “will identify the best technological solutions,” he said.
The reason for the two-phased approach is that French military thinkers see the battlefields of 2030 and 2040 as being different, he said.
The trends that the army will see two decades from now are beginning to emerge today, and will only grow more prominent by 2040, he said.
Warzones will be more heavily contested with anti-access, area denial capabilities in all domains — land, air, sea, cyber and electro-magnetic, he said.
“We must also develop forces that are resilient, a characteristic more essential than ever because while we will not only hit opponents, we will also take some hits,” Goujon said.
Resilience was a key theme of a recent RAND Corp. study that took an in-depth look at the French armed forces.
“A Strong Ally Stretched Thin: An Overview of France’s Defense Capabilities from a Burden-Sharing Perspective,” by Stephanie Pezard, Michael Shurkin and David A. Ochmanek, concluded that France fielded a highly capable military, but could not sustain a long-term conflict.
Like many Western European armies after the end of the Cold War, the French army drastically reduced its numbers. Today, it has a standing force of about 119,000 and is considered one of the most formidable land forces in the region, the authors said.
“The army has been making major investments in technology, especially networked warfare technology (as seen in the multibillion-euro Scorpion modernization program), but it faces a challenge with respect to readiness,” the report said. This was due to past budget cuts and austerity measures, a small number of weapon systems, and sustaining Operation Barkhane in the Sahel and the homeland security operation known as Operation Sentinelle, it said.
“The result is a struggle to conduct training relevant to conventional warfare and to maintain personnel and materiel readiness for any additional contingencies, especially high-intensity conflicts, which would require ample resources and might feature high rates of attrition,” the report stated.
“Overall, the French armed forces lack depth, meaning that demanding operations would quickly exhaust both France’s human and material resources,” it added.
One conundrum is that the army wants to be light enough to fight in Sub-Saharan Africa but also heavy enough to contribute to any conflict with Russia in Europe, the authors noted. As for the future, Goujon’s thoughts on warfare reflected those of U.S. military leaders who are also making a transition from permissive environments found in Iraq and Afghanistan to potentially contested environments.
“Our forces will have to be more frugal because access to logistics on the battlefields will be more difficult than today,” he said.
Warzones will also be more “transparent,” he said, meaning it will be harder to hide from enemies and launch surprise attacks.
Future battlefields will be more dynamic, faster and digitally connected, he said.
Like U.S. forces and their JADC2 concept, France’s solution to these challenges will be its own robust, interconnected network of sensors and shooters being developed called the Scorpion Combat Information System.
“We will develop our own network of sensors to facilitate the exploitation and the diffusion of our information,” he said.
The standards and interfaces for interconnectivity being developed today for the modernization program will lay the groundwork for Titan, although that will be at a much larger scale as it seeks to integrate more tanks, long-range artillery and helicopters, he said.
The French army also foresees warfare conducted increasingly by autonomous uncrewed systems and swarm tactics used to overwhelm forces, he said.
Those capabilities are rapidly developing and will be nearer-term threats, he said. French ground forces will have to strike a balance between protection, concealment, and mobility, he added.
The army will not only have to develop its own masses of robots, but find ways to protect itself from others, he added.
It will also emphasize manned-unmanned teaming, he added.
“We are already seeing these tendencies with our own eyes in present-day conflicts,” he said, referring to the use of loitering munition tactics in the Ukraine war with Russia.The French army is behind others in fielding the so-called “kamikaze drones,” but that will be remedied soon as it plans to acquire U.S.-made AeroVironment Switchblade drones later in 2022, he said.
Connectivity will be the main pillar under which it all operates, he said. It will start with platoons, work its way up the echelons, the battalion, brigade and division, and eventually connect to the French air force and navy.
Ultimately, the goal is to have complete interoperability with allies, although he noted that work on inter-connectivity is already being carried out with partner nations such as other NATO members.
“Titan’s future is a series of systems of systems that will co-exist,” he said.
One goal is to have up to 7,000 nodes on a division scale interconnected, he said.
“It is a great challenge,” he noted.
Another challenge is resilience. The network must be defended against adversarial attacks. The network must be “dynamic,” he said. In other words, it must be able to heal itself.
Ultimately, Titan will prompt the French army to revisit traditional roles on the battlefield and break down barriers between infantry, cavalry and artillery, he added.
As for the immediate future, the Scorpion program is preparing to integrate two new platforms in addition to the Jaguar and Griffon.
It has so far ordered 108 Serval light armored vehicles built by manufacturers Nexter and Texelis.
The 15-ton Serval is expected to complement the 24-ton Griffon. It can move eight personnel, including the driver and gunner and is expected to be the main light vehicle in the inventory with some 16 variants, including patrol vehicle, a communications node and scout, according to French army fact sheets.
Delivery of Griffons has also begun. The 6×6 vehicle will serve a variety of missions including a mobile mortar, mobile command post and ambulances.
They can carry remotely operated 7.62mm or 12.7mm machine guns or 40mm grenade launchers.
The French army decided not to include new high-firepower vehicles in its modernization plans, but rather to upgrade 200 of its Leclerc main battle tanks. That includes new computers, stronger armor, new sensors and the Scorpion Combat Information System, a fact sheet said.
Goujon said none of these vehicles so far are autonomous or optionally manned. However, robotic systems are envisioned as fighting alongside ground forces under a program called Vulcan, which will run in parallel to Scorpion and Titan.
Robots will be integrated in two phases, with experimental vehicles planned to join crewed counterparts around 2025, he said.
The first stage will be a pilot program concentrating on linking the robotic vehicles into their Scorpion counterparts, he said.
“We aren’t just interested in adding robots to the battlefield but making sure they are fully integrated into the command system,” Goujon said.
The second phase — with experiments beginning around 2030 — will include more autonomous robots that will collaborate with the second wave of new platforms developed under Titan.
“The rapid evolution of technology means that we have to conceive of all of this very methodically, in a very steady manner, in order to make reliable choices,” Goujon said. (Source: glstrade.com/National Defense)
25 Aug 22. DARPA to Brief Potential Proposers on ‘Infrastructure-Less’ sUAS Development Program. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency intends to meet with interested contractors next month to discuss a new program aimed at building a small unmanned air system that would deploy and recover from a vessel’s flight deck or an austere ground site without requiring additional equipment.
DARPA’s Tactical Technology Office will sponsor the meeting with potential proposers on Sept. 20 to provide details of the forthcoming Advanced Aircraft Infrastructure-less Launch and Recovery project.
The AdvaNced airCraft Infrastructure-Less Launch And RecoverY (ANCILLARY) program aims to develop and flight demonstrate an X-plane with the critical technologies required for a leap-ahead in long endurance, vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) unmanned air system (UAS) performance. The UAS would be able to launch and recover from ship flight decks and small austere land locations in adverse weather without additional infrastructure equipment, thus enabling expeditionary deployments. Unlike large VTOL systems, the small UAS size would allow many aircraft to be stored and operated from one ship creating a tactical beyond-line-of-site (BLOS) multi-intelligence sensor network capability.
DARPA is requiring participation in an in-person-only expo-style event on the same day after its Proposers Day that will take place at a Strategic Analysis facility in Arlington, Virginia, and will be broadcasted via Microsoft Teams for Government for remote participants. (Source: UAS VISION/DARPA; GovConWire)
19 Aug 22. Army taps AeroVironment’s Jump 20 to replace Shadow unmanned system. The U.S. Army has chosen AeroVironment’s Jump 20 unmanned aircraft system to be the first Future Tactical UAS, an effort to replace the runway-dependent Shadow unmanned system. The $8m contract announced Thursday will pay for one system, which includes six air vehicles, ground data terminals and ground control stations, according to the Army. The system will go to a single Brigade Combat Team.
“Based upon the results of testing, Army leadership may decide to procure and field up to seven additional [Increment 1] systems,” the service added in a statement.
This initial purchase is meant to inform requirements for a second program increment, which will rely on “a separate competitive acquisition,” the statement noted.
In 2018, the Army began considering requirements for a replacement for the Textron-manufactured Shadow UAS. This unmanned system is widely used, but is one of the most accident-prone unmanned aerial systems in the service’s inventory, is difficult to deploy and has a loud engine, making it easily detected.
In 2019, the service narrowed the pool to two competitors: Martin UAV and the team of Northrop Grumman and Textron’s AAI. Martin UAV supplied its V-Bat system, while the Northrop-Textron team offered Textron’s Aerosonde HQ. Shortly after, the Army added two more aircraft for evaluation: Arcturus UAV’s Jump 20 system and L3Harris Technologies’ FVR-90. For about a year, operational units evaluated the four different tactical unmanned aerial systems, culminating in a rodeo in spring 2021 at Fort Benning, Georgia. Last year, AeroVironment acquired Arcturus for $405m. (Source: Defense News)
REST OF THE WORLD
25 Aug 22. Rafale or Super Hornets are ‘interim arrangement’ only, says Navy on mega fighter deal. Vice Admiral Ghormade said the indigenous Twin Engine Deck Based Fighter is the future of Indian Navy and the force is working closely with DRDO to make the project a success.
As US firm Boeing competes against France’s Dassault Aviation for Indian Navy’s mega fighter deal, Vice Chief Vice Admiral S.N. Ghormade Thursday said the new aircraft will only be an “interim arrangement” until the indigenous Twin Engine Deck Based Fighter (TEDBF) gets ready.
The Navy made it clear that the force was only going to purchase 26 new fighters and a decision will soon be taken on whether it will procure the F/A -18 Super Hornet of Boeing or the Rafale M of Dassault Aviation.
The development comes as the Navy is set to commission its first indigenous aircraft carrier on 2 September, with fighter trials to start on board only by November this year.
While India will soon be operating two aircraft carriers – INS Vikramaditya and soon-to-be commissioned INS Vikrant – the fighters for them are not enough. India currently operates 42 MiG 29K of Russian origin but these have been plagued by serviceability issues, with indications that availability ratio of these aircraft is less than 45 per cent.
While the most promising timeline for indigenous TEDBF to start trials is five to seven years from now, the Navy would need additional fighters to fully operate two aircraft carriers in their true potential.
“There is a timeline that is there for the TEDBF. It will take about 5-7 years for its first flight and we need an interim aircraft. And hence the trials have been done and a report is being prepared,” Vice Admiral Ghormade said, while responding to a query by ThePrint on the aircraft carrier during a a press conference ahead of the commissioning of Vikrant.
He was referring to trials done by both Hornet and Rafale to showcase their ability to take off from the Indian aircraft carrier.
‘Twin Engine Deck Based Fighter is future of Navy’
Vice Admiral Ghormade made it clear that TEDBF was the future of the Navy and the force was working closely with the Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO) to make the project a success.
Asked about the availability of MiG 29K to operate from the two aircraft carriers, he said, “We have limited numbers. We will utilise them to be operationally deployed on the Vikrant. Normally, we are able to deploy 12 aircraft and we will do that.”
He said Navy personnel have been maintaining the aircraft and all necessary parts are being procured from Russia despite its ongoing war with Ukraine.
Speaking on the sidelines, Navy officers also confirmed that the force was looking at buying just 26 new fighters, either the Super Hornet or the Rafale M, and there would be no additions.
While the original plan was to buy 57 new fighters, the Navy has now decided to go for 26. However, sources underlined that any future plans of additional aircraft purchase will depend on how the TEDBF timelines are met because some of the MiG 29 Ks would be decommissioned over the next one decade.
As reported by ThePrint earlier, the Navy was looking at procuring fighters on its own rather than with the Indian Air Force. In 2020, then Navy chief Admiral Karambir Singh had said that the force was trying to work with the IAF for a possible joint procurement. (Source: News Now/https://theprint.in/defence)
22 Aug 22. IMC – Naval Architects joins AMA bid for LAND 8710. The consultancy firm has been selected to support Serco and Civmec’s joint venture to deliver next-generation littoral manoeuvre capability to the Australian Army.
The Australian Maritime Alliance (AMA) — a joint venture between Serco and Civmec — has partnered with Fremantle-based naval architecture and marine engineering consultancy firm IMC – Naval Architects as part of its bid for the Commonwealth’s LAND 8710 Phase 1A project.
IMC has been tasked with supporting AMA’s development of an evolved littoral manoeuvre vessel – medium (LMV-M) design, dubbed “Oboe”.
Serco Defence managing director Clint Thomas AM, CSC, said the partnership would ensure the longevity of sovereign shipbuilding capability.
“Partnering with IMC demonstrates the importance of maximising Australian industry capability while drawing upon Serco’s global shipbuilding expertise to ensure AMA delivers the best possible solutions and advancements for the Australian Defence Force,” Thomas said.
“Essentially, we are bringing together a national team to deploy the skills and strengths of Australian industry, reflecting a rigorously developed strategy to deliver sustained SME growth and professionalisation.”
The AMA’s Oboe offering reportedly features a through-deck design, supporting greater flexibility load/offload options and “rapid ramp-to-ramp marriages” with amphibious and sealift ships. (Source: Defence Connect)
19 Aug 22. Combat systems on Malaysian LCS were selected despite navy objections, says declassified report. Several weapons and combat systems on Malaysia’s Maharaja Lela-class littoral combat ship (LCS) programme were selected to reflect recommendations made by the programme’s main contractor despite objections from the Royal Malaysian Navy (RMN). This was among several revelations made in a declassified report that was released on the Malaysian government’s Public Accounts Committee (PAC) website on 17 August. The report was released as part of a bipartisan parliamentary enquiry into the six-ship programme, which is facing massive delays and cost overruns. The Malaysian government signed a MYR9bn (USD2bn) contract for six vessels with the programme’s main contractor Boustead Naval Shipyard (BNS) in 2014. The contract was awarded via a direct negotiation method instead of through an open tender, and the Malaysian government has thus far paid BNS about MYR6 bn. A design based on Naval Group’s (then DCNS) Gowind 2500 was selected for the project. (Source: Janes)
21 Aug 22. Japan eyes stockpiling 1,000 long-range missiles amid China tensions. Japan estimates that it will need around 1,000 long-range standoff missiles in addition to its stockpile of anti-ballistic missiles as a defense against China’s increasing military capabilities, government sources said Sunday. With tensions mounting in the region, the Defense Ministry is set to bring forward by a year to fiscal 2024 part of its plan to extend the range of the Ground Self-Defense Force’s Type-12 surface-to-ship guided missiles, with the associated costs to be included in its budget request for fiscal 2023.
The ministry is seeking a record budget of over 5.5 trillion yen ($40 bn) for the next fiscal year, with the amount likely to further balloon after unspecified costs for around 100 items are finalized, the sources said.
In making its estimate, the Japanese government researched the number of missiles, and the required budget, that would be needed to counter Chinese missiles, based on the assumption that Beijing possesses a large number of missiles that can be used to attack Japan.
The missile framework, and some materiel with yet-to-be specified price tags, will be discussed during a review of three security-related documents, including the National Security Strategy, scheduled to be updated by the end of 2022.
“As an island nation, Japan will be attacked from afar. So it is necessary to have a number of missiles to counterattack,” Itsunori Onodera, who heads the Liberal Democratic Party’s Research Commission on National Security, said on a Fuji TV program Sunday.
The Defense Ministry’s budget request for fiscal 2023, set to top its highest-ever 5.49 trillion yen budget drawn up in fiscal 2021, reflects a desire to enhance the nation’s standoff defense capabilities and unmanned systems such as drones.
Prime Minister Fumio Kishida at a press conference on Aug. 10 called an overhaul of defense capabilities the most important issue for the remaining part of the year, adding that he would “make a concerted effort to have a firm grasp of the budget’s scale and secure financial resources.” (Source: https://asia.nikkei.com/)
19 Aug 22. Rosoboronexport and Marine Instrumentation sign joint action programme. The entities will offer Russian naval systems to foreign partners for adapting these into their naval platforms. Russian joint-stock company (JSC) under Rostec State (RSC), Rosoboronexport has signed a joint action programme with Marine Instrumentation.
Signed on 17 August, the programme comes under the framework of the VIII Army 2022 International Military and Technical Forum.
The joint effort aims to promote Russian naval equipment in the international market between 2022 and 2027.
Rosoboronexport director general Alexander Mikheev said: “Following the key trend in the global arms market, we have placed special emphasis in the programme on the expansion of industrial cooperation.
“Under the signed programme, Rosoboronexport will offer its foreign partners solutions for adapting Russian equipment to naval platforms being upgraded and built at national shipyards.
“In addition, we will promote various formats of joint development and manufacture of naval weapons based on the latest Russian pieces of armament.”
The different naval systems to be offered under this programme are Bal-E and Rubezh-ME coastal defence missile systems, surveillance systems, automated control systems, coastal surface and air surveillance radars, electronic warfare and navigation systems.
It also includes ship-borne radars, combat management systems (CMS), sonar and fire extinguishing equipment, control and data exchange systems and ship and submarine crew trainers. (Source: naval-technology.com)
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