UNITED KINGDOM AND NATO
31 Aug 22. British government sounds out arms makers on new howitzer risks. The British Ministry of Defence has queried arms manufacturers about ways to smoothen a major upcoming acquisition program for a new self-propelled 155mm howitzer.
Industry executives, who asked not to be named, said companies vying to compete for the key land strike program, had responded to at least four MoD requests for information.
The military’s envisioned Mobile Fires Platform program is aimed at updating artillery capabilities currently provided by the British Army’s aging AS90 155mm self-propelled howitzers.
A formal competition has yet to get underway, but the industry probes were likely aimed at flagging potential program risks ahead of MoD leaders approving the business case and triggering the acquisition process.
Officials involved in the procurement confirmed they had been gathering information aimed at developing a better understanding around the procurement.
“The Mobile Fires Platform project is not in formal procurement process, however, the project team have issued a number of requests for information to industry,” said an MoD spokesperson.
The MoD didn’t detail the nature of the RFIs but the industry executives said at least four had been issued, including query’s about early experimentation opportunities.
The queries’ focus does not appear to be directly related to the platforms themselves but are more slanted towards associated aspects of a new procurement.
Equipment familiarity, tactics and doctrine, safety procedures, training and logistic support were the focus of the questions, said the industry executives.
Expected bidders include BAE Systems with the Archer and Nexter with the Caesar, both offering truck-mounted systems, pitched against Hanwha Defence with the tracked K9 self propelled weapon, and Krauss Maffei Wegman offering a RCH155 howitzer turret mounted on a 8×8 wheeled Boxer.
Updating the current AS90 might be another option.
For now, industry is still waiting for an update of key user requirements from the British Army. That information is expected to determine whether wheels or tracks are the preferred option.
Both options have their supporters and it’s possible the British could eventually operate both types.
KMW earlier this year announced it was developing a tracked version of the Boxer multimission vehicle already ordered in large numbers by the British Army – mainly for armored personnel carrier duties.
Whichever way the British eventually go a contract award for the new 155 mm weapon is expected in 2025 or 2026.
First equipment delivery is currently scheduled for 2028, with full operating capability a decade away.
That might change, though, as the early lessons from the war in the Ukraine point towards artillery capabilities becoming a priority for a British Army currently, with comparable Russian guns firing much farther.
Not long after Russia started its invasion British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace admitted to the Parliamentary Defence Committee in June that a lack of deep-strike capability was a big issue for the Army.
“My main concern is actually our lack of deep fire. We are pretty much over-ranged in our heavy artillery by everyone. Our AS-90 range is about 23 or 24 km. France and everyone else are in 55 km ranges,” he said.
The massive impact of artillery systems in the Russian invasion makes some analysts and others here wonder whether the British might quicken the pace of the Mobile Fires Platform, but there are no signs of that yet.
Writing a commentary in June, Jack Watling, the land warfare analyst at the Royal United Services Institute think tank in London, advocated hastening the program. “Accelerating the delivery of the Mobile Fires Platform seems eminently sensible,” Watling said.
The deep-fires update is not confined to 155mm artillery, it’s part of a wider modernization of British artillery and fires assets which includes recapitalization of the M270 multiple launch rocket system (MLRS) and the expected purchase of Raytheon’s new Precision Strike Missile (PrSM).
Six of the Royal Artillery-operated M270 systems, similar to HIMARS, have been donated to the Ukrainian military.
Norway transferred three out-of-service MLRS systems to the British earlier this year to help restore numbers of Royal Artillery M270′s, and the British are currently pursuing other opportunities to increase fleet size as they move to establish a second MLRS regiment.
The British Army is in the early phases of modernizing its capabilities, having signed a deal with the Pentagon in 2021 on a five-year program to update 44 MLRS launchers, including a new armored cab and upgraded automotive and launch components.
The U.K. is also developing its own specific systems for the launchers, including a new radar, while a new fire-control system is being developed collaboratively by the United States, Britain, Italy, and Finland.
The update work will be carried out under an existing production contract with Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control with the work being undertaken at Red River Army Depot and Lockheed Martin’s facility in Camden, Arkansas.
“The program to upgrade the Army’s MLRS in on track, with the first of the launchers being delivered to Lockheed Martin in the U.S. this autumn,” said a British Army spokesman.
The sharp end of MLRS is also getting some improvements, with an extended-range missile due in service around 2025 that would give the British Army a weapon with a reach of around 150 km, compared with the current 84 km range.
Crucially, the British ground service also intends to collaborate with the U.S. and Australia on the PrSM project.
The 44 updated launchers will be able to fire the PrSM, Lockheed said when announcing the M270 update contract.
A Memorandum of Understanding is expected to be signed with the United States and Australia next year, with a view to collaborating on future capability increments and the purchase of a stockpile of the new 500km range missiles already being built for the US Army.
A memorandum of understanding between the Australian Army and the U.S. military was announced last year. It includes a commitment to increasing the lethality, range and target engagement of the baseline missile now completing development. (Source: Defense News)
31 Aug 22. A vision of the future: £750K available for novel early stage concepts that may disrupt the defence landscape.
Help DASA and Dstl discover creative technologies and concepts that may disrupt the future of defence.
- DASA has launched a new Themed Competition: Disruptive Science and Technology Impacting the Future of Defence
- Funded by the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl).
- Up to £750k funding available for disruptive, early stage ideas and concepts may be used as the basis for further research within the Defence Science and Technology Futures (DSTF) Programme
The Defence and Security Accelerator (DASA) is pleased to launch a new Themed Competition, Disruptive Science and Technology Impacting the Future of Defence. Run on behalf of the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl), this competition seeks exciting concepts, technologies, or ideas that may disrupt the future of defence.
The outcome of this competition is anticipated to be a pool of novel Science and Technology (S&T) ideas / concepts that may disrupt the defence landscape and have the potential to lead to radical change.
Key dates and funding
£750k (exc. VAT) funding is available for this Themed Competition. The value of each funded submission is £50k.
The deadline to submit a proposal is midday (BST) 12 October 2022
Do you have a disruptive idea or concept? Read the full competition document and submit a proposal.
Getting ready for the technologies that will shape the future defence landscape
The Defence Science and Technology Futures (DSTF) Programme identifies novel early stage research which may have a significant game-changing or disruptive impact on future military capability.
The DSTF Programme recognises the need to look beyond the current, developed science and technology landscape, and this Themed Competition has been launched to support this need.
DASA and Dstl seek ideas that may underpin generation-after-next technology, concepts or approaches and could disrupt traditional technologies or ways of thinking. Proposals submitted to this competition will help defence understand how current novel Science and Technology (S&T) might develop and impact defence priorities, to help plan for the future, combat threats and take advantage of opportunities.
We are interested in low Technology Readiness Level (TRL) ideas (TRL 1-2) from any discipline. Proposals submitted for this competition do not need to fulfil contemporary defence requirements.
This competition has one requirement area.
Requirement 1: Evaluating Disruptive S&T ideas and their impact on the Future of Defence
The goal of this requirement is to help Dstl develop an understanding of ideas to help determine their potential to be disruptive. Proposals should examine how the idea may fit within the future defence landscape, rather than the confines of contemporary technologies and capabilities.
Ideas that might help solve this requirement include:
- early stage science and technology that currently do not have a defence application
- ideas identified through horizon scanning or technology watch, that may be disruptive and should be researched further
- ideas developed through brainstorming or other workshopping approaches that may have the potential to disrupt the future defence landscape but are at a very low Technology Readiness Level (TRL 1-2)
Any ideas submitted to this requirement must have a theoretical basis supported by reasoned explanation.
To learn more about the challenge area of the competition, read the full competition document here.
16 September 2022
This webinar will provide more information on the challenge areas and how to submit a proposal. There will also be an opportunity to ask questions in the Q&A. If you would like to get involved, please register on the DASA Eventbrite page.
Register now: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/disruptive-st-impacting-the-future-of-defence-qa-session-tickets-407999065187
Submit a proposal
Do you have a potentially disruptive idea or concept that may disrupt the future of defence? Submit your idea and help the DSTF Programme improve its ability to research and prepare for the future defence technology landscape.
Learn more and submit a proposal: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/disruptive-science-and-technology-impacting-the-future-of-defence
30 Aug 22. Swedish FCAS involvement ‘in hibernation’, says Saab CEO. Sweden’s participation in the UK-led Future Combat Air System (FCAS) is effectively on hiatus, with Saab’s President and CEO Micael Johansson saying on 26 August that the country is in “a hibernation period” on the multinational project.
Speaking to Janes and other defence media at the company’s Stockholm headquarters, Johansson said that the initial promise of the project had not so far materialised, and that Saab and Sweden were taking a back seat while they consider their own future requirements at the same time as the other FCAS partners map out the future direction of the programme.
“We are on the margins [of FCAS], and our involvement has not been as intensive as we thought it would be at first,” Johansson said, adding, “We are not out of the programme, but there has been a hibernation period for Sweden while we see how the UK, Italy, and potentially Japan set up the programme. I am not sure how this will play out.” (Source: Janes)
29 Aug 22. BAE set to sign multi-billion warship deal. BAE Systems is in the ‘final phase’ of talks over a multi-billion-pound deal for five new submarine-hunting ships, the Daily Mail can reveal.
Britain’s biggest defence firm is already building three Type 26 models at its Govan shipyard in Glasgow under a £3.7bn deal signed in 2017.
But the Government has until now not confirmed details of a new contract for five more of the warships – designed to provide ultra-quiet capabilities in the North Sea.
The next prime minister could sign off the project within months of taking office with frontrunner Liz Truss pledging to increase defence spending to 3pc of GDP.
Sir Simon Lister, managing director of naval ships for BAE, said Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine had created an ‘increased sense of purpose’. He added: ‘We’ve been in negotiation with the Ministry of Defence for the last 18 months. There’s an intensity that builds towards the end. We’re in the final phase of that negotiation but it hasn’t yet concluded.’
Asked if Russia’s attack on Ukraine had spurred on the talks, he said: ‘I would say that the Ukrainian invasion has given us all an increased sense of purpose in general.
‘But the intensity of the negotiations was there before.
‘The requirement for this anti-submarine capability pre-dates that Ukrainian invasion and has been felt very strongly in the shipbuilding community and in the MoD for some time.’
The Type 26’s main purpose will be to counter Russia’s submarine threat in the north Atlantic. HMS Glasgow is months away from completing the first stage of its construction, at Govan, expected by the end of this year. It will then be towed by barges out into the deep waters of the Clyde and lowered in. Next it will be fitted out at BAE’s dry dock down the river in Scotstoun.
The next two Type 26s, HMS Cardiff and HMS Belfast, are in earlier stages of construction at Govan. The programme has not been without snags.
Adjusting working conditions during the pandemic and supply chain issues added a year to the timetable.
But HMS Glasgow is still expected to be ready for service by the mid-2020s. BAE is a major employer on the Clyde, with 3,500 working at Govan and 400 more being recruited as its shipbuilding work is stepped up. (Source: Daily Mail)
30 Aug 22. Poland eyes S. Korean rocket launchers amid HIMARS talks with the US. In what could mark another major acquisition of South Korean weapons by Poland, the country’s Ministry of National Defence is mulling plans to purchase K239 Chunmoo multiple rocket launchers. The negotiations run in parallel with the country’s talks with the United States over a potential purchase of about 500 M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems, or HIMARS.
A spokesperson for the Polish ministry confirmed the talks to Defense News, suggesting that Poland’s cooperation with South Korea could extend beyond the weapons’ delivery to future joint manufacturing or upgrades of the launchers.
“We are holding talks with our partners from South Korea with regard to a potential acquisition and joint development of the K239 Chunmoo multi-barreled missile launchers on wheeled platforms,” the spokesperson said.
The ministry representative did not disclose how many launchers made by Hanhwa Group could be ordered, and to what extent the potential purchase could complement the discussed HIMARS acquisition.
In an interview published on Aug. 29 by local daily Polska Times, Poland’s Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Mariusz Błaszczak officially acknowledged Warsaw’s talks with Seoul on the potential procurement of launchers.
These talks “are important, because our order for the HIMARS rocket launchers must take account of the production capacities of the American industry and the needs of the United States Army,” he said. “Of course, I’m aware of these production capacities, and the delivery [of the HIMARS] will be spread over time.”
This suggests that Warsaw could opt for a rapid purchase of an undisclosed number of K239s while awaiting the completion of its HIMARS talks with Washington. The Polish government could also attempt to use the availability of alternative South Korean weapons to negotiate better price and delivery terms with U.S. decision makers.
The potential procurement could further boost Poland’s reliance on South Korean weapons after a string of recently signed deals for the purchase of tanks and howitzers made the country Seoul’s largest defense client in Europe.
On Aug. 26, Błaszczak signed two contracts worth a total $5.8 bn under which 180 K2 tanks are to be delivered to Poland from 2022 to 2025, and 212 howitzers are to be supplied between 2022 and 2026. In addition to this, a deal for the acquisition of South Korean 48 FA-50 light attack aircraft for the Polish Air Force is expected to be signed by the end of this year. (Source: Defense News)
29 Aug 22. Saab CEO ‘frustrated’ at slow pace of Gripen sales.
Saab’s president and CEO, Micael Johansson, has told reporters of his ‘extreme frustration’ at the lack of recent sales of the company’s Gripen combat aircraft. Speaking to Janes and other defence media at the company’s Stockholm headquarters on 26 August, Johansson conceded that the single-engined ‘Euro-canard’ had struggled to meet the export expectations that his predecessors had laid out for the multirole fighter, saying that this was not a reflection on the quality of the aircraft, but was down to politics. (Source: Janes)
26 Aug 22. Spain doesn’t know what to do with the ordered 13 A400M aircraft. The Ministry of Defense of Spain has not yet decided what to do with the 13 A400M transport aircraft it will initially receive from 2025 and which it does not plan to use.
Spain initially placed an order for 27 A400Ms, but in May 2013 the Ministry of Defense announced that it would operate only 14 aircraft. Currently, the 31st Air Force Wing, which is responsible for its operation, already has 13 of the 14 aircraft, having received two A400Ms in recent months.
Specifically, the twelfth aircraft arrived on 10 May and the thirteenth on 13 July. The last one, with in-flight refueling capacity, will be delivered to the unit located at Zaragoza Air Base in May 2023, according to the schedule provided by the ministry.
“With the delivery of the 3 aircraft mentioned in the previous section, the 14 aircraft to be operated by the Spanish Armed Forces are complete. As of today, no decision has been taken on the remaining 13 A400M aircraft,” official sources told Infodefense.com.
What will happen to the remaining 13 planes?
When the Ministry of Defense decided to keep only 14 aircraft, the ministry said the idea was to try to sell the remaining 13 aircraft to other countries interested in the aircraft. It should be remembered that this lot will be delivered by Airbus between 2025 and 2030, according to the amendment of the purchase contract signed in 2016 between the ministry and the aircraft manufacturer.
A sale remains one of the most viable options, especially since the aircraft has already reached operational maturity – more than a hundred A400Ms are flying – and has also demonstrated its capabilities in real missions. Airbus, after years of commercial campaigns, won contracts in Indonesia and Kazakhstan.
Part of this sales success is due to the excellent performance of the A400M fleet, which is already in service in high-profile missions such as the evacuation from Afghanistan in August and September 2021. In the case of Spain, the aircraft also played a key role in the arrival of medical supplies during the worst moments of the pandemic, and recently it has also been used to send weapons to Ukraine.
One of the aircraft’s strengths is its versatility. The A400M is equipped to perform a wide range of missions: cargo transport, troop transport, parachute descent, medical evacuation, aerial refueling, or electronic surveillance. Airbus recently tested a kit that turns an airplane into a fire extinguisher. On the other hand, among the disadvantages, the high cost of acquisition, operation, and maintenance stand out, which means that many countries do not even try to buy it.
Spain may also choose to keep one of the 13 units precisely because of the aforementioned good performance and flexibility. The UK, one of seven countries in the A400M program – there are also France, Germany, Turkey, Belgium, Luxembourg, and Spain itself – plans to acquire more aircraft.
(Source: News Now/https://bulgarianmilitary.com/)
01 Sep 22. Space communications node offers DARPA model for rapid acquisition. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency said it selected teams to help develop an on-orbit satellite communications translator within just eight days of releasing a formal solicitation. Now, the Pentagon agency charged with making investments in transformational technology wants to apply that quick approach to other programs.
DARPA announced last month that 11 teams would participate in Phase 1 its Space-Based Adaptive Communications Node program, dubbed Space-BACN, an in-space terminal designed to help government and commercial satellites communicate.
The capability is increasing in relevance as companies such as SpaceX and organizations including the Space Development Agency launch large constellations of satellites to low Earth orbit, within 1,000 kilometers of the planet’s surface. Awardees range from universities to commercial companies, some of which have never worked with the U.S. Department of Defense. DARPA didn’t announce the total value of the agreements.
That selection followed a year-long process beginning in September 2021 of outreach to industry and academia and a proposal process in which DARPA engaged with prospective bidders as they developed concepts for the program.
Phil Root, director of DARPA’s strategic technology office, said this week that the informal, pre-solicitation phase, which included abstracts and oral presentations, allowed the agency to familiarize itself with the various designs and approaches so that when a final solicitation was released, it could make its decision quickly.
“Their proposal is submitted and rigorously reviewed, but it’s reviewed within the context of all that we’ve learned over the past few months,” Root said during an Aug. 31 presentation at the DARPA Forward conference in Fort Collins, Colo. “This is a different approach that matches the technology with the kind of performers that deliver at the speed and scale that we want.”
Space-BACN Program Manager Greg Kuperman said the selection process was geared toward attracting a diverse range of providers that could offer innovative commercial solutions.
“We intentionally made making a proposal to our Space-BACN solicitations as easy as possible, because we wanted to tap into both established companies and the large pool of innovative, small tech companies, many of which don’t have the time or resources to figure out complicated government contracting processes,” he said in an Aug. 10 statement.
Programs traditionally move through a much more extensive review process, slowing down the acquisition timeline, Root said. The approach DARPA took for Space-BACN worked so well the agency plans to apply it to other efforts. He noted that while it’s “not a panacea” and may not work for program managers that can’t dedicate as much time on the front-end of an acquisition, “it is a tool in our quiver.”
DARPA chose Space-BACN development teams across three technical categories. The first group of providers, CACI, MBRYONICS and Mynaric, will produce designs for a flexible, small, low-cost optical system. The second focus area, aimed at creating a reconfigurable modem, includes II-VI Aerospace and Defense, Arizona State University and Intel Federal.
The final group, which will identify the key command-and-control elements needed to support the mission and develop an interface to connect various satellite constellations, is made up of SpaceX, Telesat, SpaceLink, Viasat and Kuiper Government Solutions, a subsidiary of Amazon.
Phase 1 of the effort will last 14 months and culminate with a preliminary design review in the first two technical areas after which DARPA will select performers to move into an 18-month second phase. Companies in the third group will participate in a demonstration at the end of Phase 1. They will continue to evolve their designs in Phase 2, applying them to more “challenging and dynamic scenarios,” DARPA said in an Aug. 10 statement. (Source: Defense News)
01 Sep 22. USAF Looking for New Stand-off Attack Weapon. The Air Force is looking for a new, generic weapon, produced by multiple vendors, to affordably attack targets at standoff ranges, with a capability as soon as 2030, according to a service solicitation to the defense industry.
The sam.gov announcement from the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center said the Armament Directorate’s “Disruptive Futures” division is conducting market research for a Stand-off Attack Weapon (SoAW) analysis of alternatives. The Air Force wants to assess the industrial base’s ability to “produce a material solution to this operational objective” with the idea of establishing “a single design for all concepts, with appropriate data rights for the government to potentially distribute the digital design to multiple vendors for production.”
Under the Aug. 23 solicitation, the Air Force wants vendors to submit their ideas in time to discuss the program at an industry day to be held Sept. 27 at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., where the AFLCMC’s armament division is headquartered.
Prototyping and demonstration activities will likely start in fiscal 2025, with initial fielding “by FY 2030 or FY 2033, as applicable, depending on the associated tech maturity,” USAF said.
Potential vendors are to submit a notional schedule for development and testing, platform integration, and flight testing. The Air Force also wants respondents to quote a notional average unit production price for the weapon, “assuming a production quantity of 500, 1,000 and 1,500 units.”
Responses should include all the particulars of the proposed solution, including the physical size of the proposed weapon, along with sensors, propulsion type, warhead, controls and actuators, maneuverability, datalink, frequencies used by the sensors, interfaces with aircraft, and how much work has been done already and how much is yet to be done “to support a full scale operational concept.” The weapon will have to be designed using digital methods and have an open architecture permitting any offeror to design software and hardware upgrades.
The service said that if companies don’t respond to this request for information, they won’t be disqualified from competing for the work later.
The solicitation did not disclose a minimum or maximum range for the weapon. The Air Force already fields the AGM-158 Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile-Extended Range (JASSM-ER) and a variant called the Long-Range Anti-Ship Missile, both made by Lockheed Martin, which have a range of nearly 600 miles. The stealthy JASSM is expensive, however, and various studies have pointed out that for a Pacific campaign with thousands of aimpoints, individual standoff munitions with multimillion-dollar price tags will be unaffordable and unsustainable. Standoff weapons offer the advantage of striking key targets without entering the lethal range of the enemy’s air defenses.
The Air Force has in the last two decades pursued a strategy of addressing heavily defended targets with a mixture of single-use standoff weapons and inexpensive, stand-in weapons delivered by survivable/stealthy aircraft that can re-attack many times.
The solicitation follows the Air Force’s award of exploration contracts for a Stand-in Attack Weapon (SiAW) to L3 Harris, Lockheed Martin, and Northrop Grumman in late May. Those contracts were for 90 days, but USAF didn’t say how that program would advance after that period, which expired Aug. 25.
Mark Gunzinger, a fellow with AFA’s Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies, has written on the importance of munitions affordability and the right mix of stand-in and stand-off weapons. (See, “Stand-In, Stand-Off,” Air Force Magazine, July, 2020). Gunzinger said the new program is a bit mysterious “but I suspect it could be a mid-range weapon in the SiAW class” for penetrating strikes.
Gunzinger noted that “The need for these mid-range weapons that are survivable and can be carried in greater numbers internally by stealthy aircraft was one insight developed during the Air Force’s ‘operational imperative’ work.”
Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall has set seven “operational imperatives” of systems the Air Force must develop to stay ahead of China. They range from elaborate sensor-to-shooter networks to space capabilities to uncrewed combat aircraft.
The SoAW may also be aimed at something “more affordable than a JASSM-ER,” Gunzinger speculated. “The Air Force needs precision strike ‘affordable mass.’”
At the industry day, USAF said it will conduct “an open forum presentation and question and answer session on SoAW requirements, initial trade space analysis planning, and notional considerations for a follow-on acquisition program.” This will be followed by one-on-one sessions with individual contractors “desiring further clarification and to address any specific questions relevant to their proposed concepts/ approach.” Those answers will be “shared with all contractors,” USAF said. (Source: News Now/https://www.airforcemag.com/)
31 Aug 22. DoD Announces $6.8m Defense Production Act Title III Agreement with Burlington Industries, LLC to Strengthen the Domestic Clothing and Textile Industrial Base. The Department of Defense (DOD) entered into a shared $6.8m agreement with Burlington Industries, LLC to sustain and strengthen the domestic clothing and textile industrial base. The agreement extends through September 2027.
Burlington Industries, LLC will invest in equipment and infrastructure necessary to sustain and stabilize the supply chain of dress military fabrics for the DoD. The investments will allow for capital equipment upgrades and improvements to drive increased productivity and quality and reduce lead times for the fabrics. These improvements are important to ensure the U.S. government continues to have access to this domestic supplier of Berry Amendment-compliant dress uniform fabrics. The Berry Amendment (USC, Title 10, Section 2533a) requires the DoD to give preference in procurement to domestically produced, manufactured, or home-grown products, most notably food, clothing, fabrics, and specialty metals.
By using funds authorized and appropriated under the CARES Act, this Defense Production Act (DPA) Title III investment will help to offset financial distress brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic and enable Burlington Industries, LLC to provide a stable supply of dress military uniforms.
Burlington Industries, LLC’s headquarters is in North Carolina. The principal place of performance for the contract is Raeford, North Carolina. With nearly 100 years of textile leadership, Burlington has been providing fabric for the U.S. military for over 70 years.
About the Department of Defense’s DPA Title III Program:
The DPA Title III program for the Department of Defense is dedicated to ensuring the timely availability of essential domestic industrial resources to support national defense and homeland security requirements now and in the future. The program works in partnership with the uniformed services, other government agencies, and industry to identify areas where critical industrial capacity is lagging or non-existent. Once a need is identified, the program engages with U.S. and Canadian companies to mitigate these risks using grants, purchase commitments, loans, or loan guarantees. By executing its mission, the DPA Title III program reduces the nation’s reliance on foreign supply chains, ensures the integrity of materials supplied to the American warfighter, and helps create a resilient, robust, and secure defense industrial base. (Source: US DoD)
29 Aug 22. Navy, HII pitch Congress for another two-carrier contract. As the U.S. Navy urges Congress to buy its next two aircraft carriers in a single contract, as it did for the most recent two, the service and manufacturer HII say the two-carrier approach has kept CVNs 80 and 81 on time and budget. Despite record-setting inflation levels, HII already has on contract more than 80% of material for the future Enterprise (CVN-80) and 65% of material for the future Doris Miller (CVN-81), shielding the Navy from soaring costs.
Placing orders for two ships shortly after the contract was signed in January 2019 also meant many lower-level vendors had a backlog of work going into the COVID-19 pandemic, giving them stability when many companies had to lay off workers or shut down.
And new digital shipbuilding efforts and an improved manufacturing strategy informed by lessons learned on USS Gerald R. Ford and the future John F. Kennedy are translating into saved time and money. Doris Miller may cost as much as 40% less than Ford did in same-year dollars, Capt. Brian Metcalf, the Navy’s program manager for new aircraft carrier construction, told reporters.
That, according to Navy and HII program officials, is a solid reason to buy the next two aircraft carriers in their proposed 2-3-4 plan: two carriers, with three years of advanced procurement funding, with the carriers spaced four years apart.
HII’s Newport News Shipbuilding and Navy officials spoke to reporters ahead of the keel laying ceremony for the Enterprise — a celebration marking the start of ship construction, as the first major piece of the ship’s bottom is lifted into the dry dock where the ship will be built.
Chris Kastner, HII’s president and chief executive, told reporters the two-carrier buy for Enterprise and Doris missile “just makes perfect sense” due to buying material in larger quantities, planning smoother construction schedules, predicting labor and capital improvement needs and more.
The Navy projected it would save $4 bn across the two ships due solely to the two-ship contract structure.
Kastner said inflation that has surged since that contract has made the approach even more important.
“We were able to place the vast majority of the orders for 81 before that inflation — so just smart buying by the Navy and the nation and HII, a good strategy to get that that ship underway,” he said.
Brian Fields, the vice president of CVN 80 and 81 programs at Newport News Shipbuilding, told reporters the two-ship approach “allows us to keep our workforce stable and allows our industrial partners to keep their factories open and stable, keep hot production lines going, and provide the best chance to meet schedules and budgets.”
Metcalf said the Navy is working internally on a pitch for the next two-ship buy. The Navy’s 30-year shipbuilding plan notes a decision by the Pentagon and Congress must be made no later than fiscal 2025.
In early talks with Congress, he said, “we’ve sent them several scenarios. The scenario that we believe is optimal is two ships every eight years, on four-year centers,” meaning four years between each ship.
“With the advanced procurement funding, typically we’ve gotten two years. We’ve learned now that we probably need about three years,” Metcalf added. “Lead times have gone up nationwide — if you order something, that takes a lot longer than it used to to get here. That’s not untrue here in the shipyard.”
Much of that pitch for the upcoming CVNs 82 and 83 comes down to the health of the supply base, which Kastner called the biggest challenge to the program because there are so many vendors who are the sole suppliers of the product they manufacture.
Rick Giannini, the chairman of the Aircraft Carrier Industrial Base Coalition, told reporters at the media event the group surveyed about 158 of its 2,000 suppliers in February, and 90% responded that a seven-year center between aircraft carriers would be extremely difficult for their company and workforce. He said 88% responded that six-year centers would be extremely difficult, and 61% said five-year centers would be a challenge.
The first three ships of the Ford class of aircraft carriers were bought on five-year centers, but the program office and industrial base are pushing for four-year centers for future carriers.
“Over 50% more of the material is placed on [CVN-]81 than it was on [CVN-]80″ at a similar stage, Metcalf said. “That advantage to the industrial base, to companies spread all over the country, is huge. They’ve got back orders, they can hire, they can plan capital investments in their particular facilities. It’s a security for the American workforce.
Metcalf noted the first-in-class Gerald R. Ford will go on its first deployment this fall, making it more critical to protect the industrial base.
“That same vendor base that’s supplying the equipment on 80 and 81 is spooling up to answer the demand signal from an in-service ship,” Metcalf said. “As things break, or as maintenance happens, that all goes into the planning.”
A new way to build carriers
In addition to buying Enterprise and Doris Miller differently, Newport News Shipbuilding is also building them in a new way.
Gerald R. Ford was designed completely digitally, with 3D product models rather than paper drawings. But for Ford and John F. Kennedy, the yard then printed out paper work instructions for the workforce to use as they manufactured parts and built the ship.
For Enterprise, not a single paper work instruction has been printed — builders carry laptops or tablets, giving them access to much more information and helping them move faster.
“It gives our shipbuilders the opportunity to understand visually what is it that they’re supposed to be doing,” Fields said. “With the amount of new shipbuilders that we’re bringing into the company now and over the next five or 10 years, we see that their time to proficiency is collapsing. We’re able to give them harder jobs without the same oversight because they know what’s being asked of them.”
Fatima Medina, a pipefitter apprentice who joined the shipyard after graduating high school in 2020, showed off her ruggedized laptop and digital work instructions during the media event.
She displayed a job for installing a section of piping in the jet fuel distribution system — something that previously could have required numerous papers outlining the complex piping system that would have to be carried to the job site.
Instead, Medina said she has access to all the reference sheets she could need with her laptop and can view the materials in three dimensions to understand how pieces come together.
Medina, in her first job working with pipes, said her list of materials includes both names and images of materials, helping her find the right pieces and learn the materials faster.
And, she said, when she completes a job, she can use the laptop to call over her foreman, who uses his or her laptop to inspect the job and mark it complete.
Fields said “this is the first time our workforce has electronic access to email and to access information and references. It’s a generational change in the way that we build ships.”
In addition to leveraging the digital tools, the shipyard also has a new build strategy for Enterprise that pulls more work earlier in the process. Processes that may have taken place after the ship was launched from the dry dock can now happen in the dry dock; those that previously happened in the dry dock may now take place on the final assembly platform on land.
Fields said this is leading to the yard doing more work on land and then doing fewer — but much larger and more fully outfitted — lifts of assembled pieces from the ground into the dry dock. Enterprise will have 321 crane lifts into the dry dock, compared to about 370 for Kennedy.
Between the digital initiatives, the new build strategy and overall learning from ship to ship, Fields said the yard is seeing about a 10% decrease in man hours on Enterprise compared to JFK, after already seeing an equivalent step-down in man hours from Ford to JFK.
Fields added that, despite the challenges the program faces — supply chain issues, labor shortages, ongoing absenteeism due to the COVID pandemic and more — the actual keel laying (as opposed to the ceremonial keel laying on Aug. 27) took place in April, three weeks earlier than planned.
“Without that two-ship buy and without some of the digital initiatives, I think it’s hard to quantify a negative, but I think it would have been a lot more challenging.” (Source: Defense News)
REST OF THE WORLD
01 Sep 22. 11 new research and innovation projects representing $34m invested to accelerate transitions towards resilient and sustainable mobility.
– The Quebec aerospace ecosystem is responding with bold determination to the call for proposals issued by the Consortium for Research and Innovation in Aerospace in Quebec (CRIAQ), to address both the challenges of today and tomorrow. No less than 11 projects have been approved and funded in pre-competitive collaborative research and large-scale technological demonstrations, just four months after CRIAQ launched its call for projects on April 29.
These 11 projects will be carried out by 11 new collaborative innovation partnerships involving a total of 19 companies and 12 public and academic research centres and 5 international companies. These experts are pooling their expertise and know-how to create innovative solutions that aim to reduce environmental impacts with new engines and composite equipment, incorporating artificial intelligence into integrated digital aviation systems, as well as designing and experimenting with new types of vertical landing aircraft to redefine the air mobility of the future.
R&D projects pooling expertise to create solutions aiming to reduce impact and redefine air mobility of the future
This is our purpose: to bring ideas together, stimulate them, sometimes confront them with the aim of creating innovation through new approaches to ideation, technology demonstrations and product certification, to facilitate their safe and timely integration into the market,” – Alain Aubertin, President, and CEO of CRIAQ.
These 11 projects were selected through a rigorous process of proposal submission, analysed by a scientific committee of experts, and then submitted to the Ministere de l’Economie et de l’Innovation du Quebec (MEI) for final approval, with funding totalling $13.5m. The total public and private funding of more than $34m invested in these projects comes in part from funds granted by the MEI as part of the Strategie quebecoise de l’aerospatiale (SQA) Horizon 2026, from budget envelopes, the private sector, Mitacs and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC).
The following 11 research and development projects:
Electric hydrogen architecture for the aviation of tomorrow
Autonomous system for aerial deliveries by drones
Autonomy structure of new air mobility of the future
Icing expertise, research, testing and certification
Development of a controlled opening textile to promote the integration
of functions in aeronautical composites
Development of digital twins for two flight regimes
Infusion of aircraft interior parts in bio-based composites
Development of advanced compressor technologies
Research and development of an electric propulsion system, including a
reliable propeller, thrust mount and an AI model to analyse performance
data, for heavy cargo drones or small UAMs.
Development of a thermal correlation tool for aerospace
Preparation and setting up of a partnership to develop a supervision tool for factory assembly environments and satellite integration rooms.
Brief descriptions of the projects are available on the CRIAQ website here. The purpose of CRIAQ’s Horizon 2026 calls for projects, which are open to all, is to enable the development and rapid adoption of technologies so that Quebec’s aerospace industry can take full advantage of the recovery in global demand for new aerospace products. A second call for projects is underway. Details can be found on the website.
To learn more about the trajectories needed to achieve sustainable aerospace, resilient future air mobility and integrated, safe and efficient digital aviation systems, we invite you to consult CRIAQ’s Roadmap 2035.
This CRIAQ initiative aims to create new and essential partnerships with governments, cities and territories, industry, and the academic and research communities, to launch research programs and calls for projects as well as structuring initiatives that will enable the ecosystem to achieve carbon neutrality objectives together.
The Consortium for Research and Innovation in Aerospace in Quebec (CRIAQ) is a unique model of collaborative aerospace research conducted by companies of all sizes involving universities and research centres. Its mission is to increase the competitiveness of the aerospace industry by stimulating business innovation through collaborative R&D. Its role is to bring together ecosystems and develop a new generation of innovators to strengthen Quebec’s technological leadership in cutting-edge aerospace applications: digital aviation, future air mobility and sustainable aerospace.
More than 200 projects have been completed and are underway, with a value of more than $270m, involving more than 1,900 scientific researchers and academic members and 1,700 students over the 20 years of CRIAQ’s existence. (Source: PR Newswire)
01 Sep 22. Israel, Boeing agree to $927m deal for four KC-46A tankers.
Boeing will soon sign a $927m contract to deliver four KC-46A aerial refuelers to the Israeli military, the Israeli Defense Ministry and Boeing announced this week.
The ministry agreed to purchase the planes in January, following years of delays in finalizing a contract that stemmed from budgeting issues and local elections. The aircraft, which will arrive in 2025 and 2026, are coming from Boeing’s Lot 8 production.
In a statement, Israel Defense Minister Benny Gantz thanked the U.S. Defense Department for approving the agreement. “I began promoting this agreement, which includes the expedited implementation of U.S. FMF [foreign military financing], two years ago, in coordination with the Ministries of Finance and Justice. This essential initiative will be launched after the Israel Ministry of Defense will sign the agreement with the U.S. Department of Defense,” he said.
He added that the KC-46A tankers are part of a procurement effort that will see Israel buy F-35 fighter jets, helicopters, submarines and advanced munition to “enable the IDF [Israel Defense Forces] to face security challenges near and far. This is yet another testament to the powerful alliance and strategic ties between the defense establishments and governments of Israel and the United States.”
A statement from Boeing confirmed parties finalized the contract for the KC-46A, of which the American company has sold 179 total, primarily to the United States. Japan is the only other country operating the aircraft type. (Source: Defense News)
01 Sep 22. India still in talks over MQ-9B acquisition. India’s potential acquisition of the General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc (GA-ASI) MQ-9B SeaGuardian/SkyGuardian has been at a high level of discussion since at least July 2022, sources said. There has been speculation that India is looking for alternative, domestically developed unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). However, C Mark Brinkley, company spokesperson for GA-ASI, told Janes, “We understand that the MQ-9B acquisition programme is at an advanced stage of discussion between the US and India governments.”
India’s acquisition of 30 MQ-9Bs (likely 10 for each branch of the armed forces) has a proposed price of USD3 billion in what is a government-to-government deal. Local media has said that India is seeking clarity from Washington about acquisition and maintenance costs, plus transfers of technology. Janes has learned that New Delhi is said to be awaiting these clarifications before it will make a decision. Following this, the project will be moved to “acceptance of necessity” by India’s Minister of Defence Rajnath Singh. (Source: Janes)
31 Aug 22. Thai Submarine Programme at a Crossroads. The Royal Thai Navy (RTN) is considering the use of Chinese-made marine diesel engines for its Type S26T diesel-electric submarine programme, which is being led by the China Shipbuilding & Offshore International Company (CSOC).
RTN spokesperson Vice Admiral Pokkrong Monthatphalin said in a 9 August statement that CSOC has offered to replace the originally proposed German-made MTU 396 diesel engines – which were offered when the order was made in 2017 but subsequently blocked from export to China by Berlin in accordance with longstanding European Union (EU) sanctions – with locally built CHD620 marine diesel engines.
VAdm Pokkrong stated that the RTN had requested more information on the CHD620 engines after CSOC proposed the alternative option in June, and has given the company till mid-September to submit the requested data. “The RTN has assigned a naval technical working group to consider these details,” he said. “CSOC is required to submit additional information by 15 September for further consideration.”
“If the substitute [engine] cannot pass the test, the navy could end the contract and seek compensation or refunds,” VAdm Pokkrong added.
In May 2017, Thailand signed a $380 m contract to procure the Type S26T through an agreement with CSOC, the international trading arm of the state-owned China Shipbuilding Industry Corporation (CSIC). The S26T is a modified version of the Yuan-class (Type 041) submarine in service with the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN).
A steel cutting ceremony for the submarine was held in September 2018, and the boat’s keel was laid down in 2019. Work is currently ongoing at CSOC’s Wuchang Shipbuilding subsidiary in Wuhan and the boat is expected to be delivered between 2023 and 2024.
The RTN earlier secured approval from the House of Representatives to procure two additional S26T submarines, despite earlier indications that the acquisition could be deferred due to the economic challenges wrought by the Covid-19 pandemic.
According to company specifications, the S26T submarine displaces 2,550-tonnes at full load and measures 255 feet (77.7 metres) in length and 28ft (8.6m) in beam. The boat can be operated by a standard crew complement of 38 personnel, although it also features a large accommodation space with 46 bunks as well as a separate commanding officer’s quarters, which enable all crew members to have their own berthing space for increased comfort during extended missions.
CSOC also quotes a maximum underwater speed of 17 knots (31 kilometres per hour), dive depth of up to 984ft (300m), and an operating range of over 260nm (481km) on battery power. The boat is also claimed to offer a maximum endurance of 65 days at sea and can transit distances of up to 8,000nm (14,800km) when alternating between surface and underwater cruising. (Source: AMR)
31 Aug 22. KAI Eyes Further Success for Golden Eagle.
Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) is looking to ride on the momentum of recent successes to further expand the global footprint of its T-50/FA-50 Golden Eagle advanced jet trainer/light attack aircraft.
The company’s latest order comes from Poland, with Warsaw committing to acquiring 48 FA-50PL light attack aircraft worth up to $3 bn under a broader South Korean arms package that also includes Hyundai Rotem’s K2 main battle tanks and Hanwha Defense’s K9 155mm self-propelled howitzers.
The first batch of 12 aircraft will be delivered in mid-2023, with the remainder to follow according to an undisclosed timeline. KAI will also establish a maintenance, repair, overhaul (MRO) centre in Poland as well as an international pilot training school using the FA-50 aircraft.
In the Indo-Pacific region, KAI announced in July 2021 that it had signed a $240 m agreement with the Indonesian Ministry of Defence (MoD) to provide an additional six T-50i Golden Eagles for its lead-in fighter trainer (LIFT) programme. The company stated that the deal will run through 30 October 2024 and will include associated logistics support.
KAI previously supplied the Indonesian Air Force (TNI-AU) with 16 T-50i training jets in May 2011 worth around $400 m and was also contracted in November 2018 to provide radar and machine gun systems alongside the supply of three KT-1B Woong-Bee basic turboprop trainers in a deal worth around $89m.
Elsewhere in the region, Thailand is also reportedly acquired another two more T-50TH advanced jet trainers to increase its lead-in jet trainer fleet to 14. The move is expected to enable the Royal Thai Air Force (RTAF) to gradually phase out its Czech-made Aero Vodochody L-39ZA Albatross training aircraft fleet.
Besides Indonesia and Thailand, the Philippine Air Force (PAF) is also another operator of the type having acquired the 12 FA-50PH aircraft.
The T-50 Golden Eagle is a single-engine, supersonic aircraft developed by KAI for the Republic of Korea Air Force (RoKAF) with technical assistance from Lockheed Martin, with an eye on emerging international requirements for affordable LIFT and light-attack aircraft.
“Recently, military tensions are rising in the world due to a combination of economic crisis and diplomatic relations, and countries are increasing their military capabilities,” KAI told Bilingual Show Daily in a statement.
“Due to constant inflation and cuts in budgets, it is essential to operate a system that boasts outstanding capabilities with the minimum costs,” the company added. “[Our] T-50/FA-50 is a trainer during peacetime, and a fighter during crisis – meeting the requirements of the customer.”
“More than 200 T-50/FA-50s are currently in operation worldwide, making it the most proven aircraft for performance and reliability compared to its competitors,” it explained. “The aircraft has been operating in major [regional] countries: 16 in Indonesia since 2011, 12 in the Philippines since 2014, and 12 in Thailand since 2015.”
Earlier in June, KAI and Lockheed Martin signed a teaming agreement to market the T-50 Golden Eagle advanced jet trainer globally. The agreement is set to ‘escalate’ a strategic partnership that already exists between the two companies, with the company noting that the enhanced pact will provide an opportunity to realise a November 2021 vision between the South Korean government and local defence industries to export at least 1,000 T-50 aircraft internationally.
“First, KAI has been continuously improving T-50/FA-50’s performance and multi-mission capability to take responsibility for the increasingly diverse missions of customers,” the company told Bilingual Show Daily. “In addition, KAI is proposing customised export package deals based on the Teaming Agreement with Lockheed Martin and the formation of ‘Team Korea’ with the Korean government.”
Finally, KAI asserted that the T-50/FA-50 platform is optimised for training F-35 pilots, and therefore an ideal solution to address the growing interest in F-35 acquisition within the region. (Source: AMR)
30 Aug 22. US not delivering Taiwan arms. Nearly a dozen Dongfeng ballistic missiles flew over Taiwan earlier this month as China conducted its largest-ever military exercises in the nearby strait as a response to U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visiting Taipei.
During these drills, Chinese naval forces for the first time positioned themselves on the eastern side of Taiwan, fully encircling the island. China’s message was clear: Beijing could easily blockade the island, wreaking havoc on global supply chains and preventing the United States and allies from delivering weapons to the Taiwanese military.
The incident prompted U.S. lawmakers to emphasize the need to export as many weapons to Taiwan as possible as part of the so-called porcupine strategy meant to deter China from blockading — or outright invading — the island. U.S. weapons serve as the metaphorical quills in this strategy, but Taiwan is facing a $14bn backlog in foreign military sales from the United States.
Even though the U.S. views these weapons sales as integral to deterring China from attacking Taiwan, some still-unfulfilled deals were publicly announced as far back as 2017.
“We need to start having new legs to fly capability to Taiwan before the situation gets even worse,” Lara Crouch, a Republican staffer on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said at a Heritage Foundation panel in August. “Our ultimate goal is that Taiwan is strengthened and in the best possible position to thwart [the Chinese People’s Liberation Army] objectives and to give ourselves options in terms of how we respond.”
“There must be a permanent linkage between U.S. policy on arms sales to Taiwan and the degree to which the threat from Beijing either increases or decreases,” she added, noting the weapons give Taipei “the ability to defend itself in the case of a full invasion, a cyberattack or other scenarios.”
Congress is moving to address the backlog in sending weapons to Taiwan, as well as other potential delays in arms sales to Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand.
House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Gregory Meeks, D-N.Y., told Defense News that the panel is “working on bills now to help expedite and to reduce red tape to get defense items that are needed out in a quicker fashion.”
In the meantime, the massive weapons backlog illustrates how the unwieldy, slow-moving Foreign Military Sales process is undermining U.S. efforts to deter Beijing in the Pacific region.
The reasons — including government delays, supply chain issues and production requirements — are numerous, and the problem won’t be easy to fix, Rep. Mike McCaul, R-Texas, the ranking member on the committee, told Defense News.
“It’s kind of like moving a big ship — turning a ship around — and so it’s a very complex issue,” he said.
The foreign military sales process formally begins when a potential customer submits a letter of request for a given American-made weapon system. Then the Defense and State departments each conduct a series of reviews, assessing a range of issues including the risk of disclosing sensitive, classified technology as well as potential human rights concerns with the interested country.
Once these reviews are complete, the State Department can decide to approve the sale and certify it serves U.S. national security interests. If that takes place, the Pentagon’s Defense Security Cooperation Agency would disclose the deal to the public and formally notify Congress. After the 30-day congressional review period, the United States government — with Congress’ backing — sends the foreign purchaser an official letter of offer and acceptance.
That leads to what can be a lengthy, even yearslong, process of signing a final contract. And U.S. arms manufacturers typically do not begin production of a weapons system until they receive that final contract from the Defense Department.
Issues with the unwieldy Foreign Military Sales process have persisted for years, but recent pandemic-related supply chain issues within the defense-industrial base have exacerbated the delays.
“There’s always a lot of finger-pointing on this, but it really depends on the sale,” Crouch said, regarding causes of slow deliveries. “Sometimes it’s a State Department issue. Sometimes it’s a [Defense Department] issue. … And sometimes it’s an industry issue.”
The U.S. government has approved the sale of 10 weapons systems Taiwan has yet to receive — some of which are not slated for delivery until the end of the decade.
Right now, the U.S. is intensely focused on getting weapons to Ukraine and its European allies as Kyiv seeks to fend off a Russian invasion.
The United States is “backfilling the eastern flank of NATO,” McCaul said. “They’re putting all their weapons in Ukraine.”
The United States has flooded bns of dollars in weapons into Ukraine, including items that are part of Taiwan’s backlog, such as Harpoon anti-ship missiles, Stinger anti-aircraft missiles and High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems.
“Given the various needs that we’re trying to supply with regard to Ukraine, there’s increased stress on the supply chain within the defense-industrial base,” said Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi, D-Ill., at a news conference following his visit to Taiwan with Pelosi, D-Calif.
While Ukraine takes center stage, Taiwan remains behind several other countries in the queue for items Washington promised to send.
For example, several Middle Eastern and Eastern European countries are ahead of Taiwan in Lockheed Martin’s F-16 production queue. In 2019, the State Department approved an $8 bn sale to Taiwan for 66 of the fighter jets, but Taipei does not expect to receive the aircraft until 2026.
“Saudi Arabia is still ahead of Taiwan on the priority list in some cases,” Rep. Mike Gallagher, R-Wis., told Defense News ahead of a July meeting with Taiwan’s Washington envoy. “We need to take a look at that.”
The Defense Department did not reply to Defense News’ repeated requests for comment on the stalled contracts as well as the backlogged items to Taiwan and other Pacific partners.
“Backlogs are a constant and persistent issue with the Foreign Military Sales program writ large,” Sen. Bill Hagerty, R-Tenn., who served as ambassador to Japan under the Trump administration, told Defense News. “It occurs in every nation that’s our partner.”
And even when the approval process goes smoothly, sales can fall through. Take Japan’s cancellation of its planned purchase of Aegis Ashore missile defense systems. The country initially sought to purchase the systems to ward off North Korean missile threats, estimating the combined upfront cost and 30 years of maintenance would total $2.15bn. The U.S. Defense Security Cooperation Agency used the Japanese cost estimate when it publicly announced the sale in 2019, but there was a problem: That estimate proved to be wildly inaccurate. Japan later realized the total cost would come in at $4.1bn, nearly double its initial assessment. (Source: C4ISR & Networks)
31 Aug 22. Japan plans to develop longer-range missiles to counter China, Russia. Japan will develop and mass produce a cruise missile and a high-velocity ballistic missile, it said on Wednesday, as it seeks the ability to strike more distant targets as part of a military expansion aimed at meeting threats from China and Russia.
The procurement plan unveiled in the Ministry of Defence’s annual budget request represents a clear departure from a decades-long range limit imposed on Japan’s constitutionally constrained Self Defence Forces, that meant they could only field missiles with ranges of a few hundred kilometres.
“China continues to threaten to use force to unilaterally change the status quo and is deepening its alliance with Russia,” the ministry said in its budget request.
“It is also applying pressure around Taiwan with supposed military exercises and has not renounced the use of military force as a way to unite Taiwan with the rest of China,” it said.
Alarm about China’s regional ambitions grew this month after it fired five ballistic missiles into waters less than 160 km (100 miles) from Japan in a show of force after U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visited Taiwan.
The ministry also mentioned North Korea as a threat to Japan.
The budget request is for funding to mass produce ground-launched cruise missiles, an extended range version of the Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (7011.T) designed Type 12 missile already in use, to strike ships, and a new, high-velocity glide ballistic missiles capable of hitting ground targets.
The ministry is also seeking money to develop other projectiles, including hypersonic warheads.
The ministry did not give a range for the proposed weapons, or say how many it planned to field, but they would likely be able to reach targets in mainland China if deployed along Japan’s nearby southwest Okinawa island chain.
Japan has already ordered air-launched missiles, including the Joint Strike Missile (JSM) made by Norway’s Kongsberg (KOG.OL), and Lockheed Martin Corp’s (LMT.N) Joint Air-to-Surface Stand-Off Missile (JASSM) with a range of up to 1,000 km (620 miles).
Unlike with ship or ground-based launchers, however, the number it can fire is limited by how many planes it can put in the air to fire them.
The ministry asked for a 3.6% increase in spending to 5.6 trillion yen ($39.78 bn) for the year starting on April 1, but said the figure would rise after it calculated the cost of new procurement programmes.
Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s government will approve that increased request at the end of the year when it will also unveil a major defence strategy overhaul and new midterm military buildup plan.
Kishida, who has described security in East Asia as “fragile” after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, has promised to “substantially” increase defence outlays to prepare Japan for regional conflict.
His ruling Liberal Democratic Party in its upper house election manifesto in July promised to double defence spending to 2% of gross domestic product over five years.
That would make Japan the world’s third biggest military spender behind major ally the United States, and neighbouring China.
In addition to increasing stockpile of missiles and other munitions, Japan’s military wants to develop its cyber defences, electromagnetic warfare capabilities and space presence. (Source: Reuters)
30 Aug 22. Armscor aims to be prime contractor for SA defence industry.
Part of its efforts to raise much-needed capital sees Armscor planning to become a prime contractor and facilitator for the South African defence industry and engaging with foreign militaries needing equipment that can be provided by the domestic industry.
Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Defence and Military Veterans (PCDMV) was informed of this development last week during an Armscor presentation that also provided an update on Hoefyster, the long-running State Capture affected project to provide a new infantry fighting vehicle (IFV) to the SA Army. Committee members were also given some insight into Armscor’s thinking around intellectual property exploitation as regards the South African defence industry (SADI).
On what it called “foreign contract sourcing”, Armscor indicated it “intends to act as prime contractor for required systems”. If approval is given it will contract South African industry to provide sub-systems for “total required systems”.
Armscor will manage system integration and final delivery to what the presentation called “prospective foreign clients”.
The presentation indicated foreign requirements for execution on a government to government basis are “currently being followed with the intention of submitting offers”.
The presentation notes further: “Should Armscor succeed in winning contracts for any large foreign requirements, it will not only improve Armscor’s own financial situation, but will also provide significant workload for a large number of local companies and especially SMMEs. It will furthermore facilitate maintenance of specialised local capabilities currently threatened as a result of the decrease in local defence spending”.
The unofficial announcement of, hopefully, a new revenue source for Armscor comes in the wake of previous plans to sweat assets and registering as a United Nations (UN) vendor.
As part of asset sweating, Armscor planned to develop a conference centre on land adjacent to its Erasmusrand headquarters. Better utilisation of Armscor facilities such as Alkantpan in the Northern Cape and Gerotek west of Pretoria was supposedly going to see accommodation, including lodges, built to attract users to the facilities, especially the remotely situated Alkantpan test range. There was, at one stage, talk of putting up a headquarters building for Defence Intelligence on the Gerotek site.
In June this year, Armscor informed defenceWeb it decided against “renewing membership” of the UN vendor list in September 2021. This, Group Executive: Corporate Support Advocate Ndodomzi Mvambo, said was because “no value was derived from the partnership”.
In what could possibly have been seen as a preliminary to engaging foreign defence forces, an Armscor delegation attended the ninth annual Africa security symposium (ASEC) in Nairobi, Kenya, in July.
The second Armscor newsletter of this year had it the symposium was “crucial in showcasing Armscor’s capabilities, promoting and positioning its products as a solution to UN peacekeeping operations”. Strategic collaboration with other African countries was listed as an objective to assist in “achieving and maintaining long term financial sustainability” for the State-owned enterprise (SOE) that resorts in Thandi Modise’s Ministry of Defence and Military Veterans. (Source: https://www.defenceweb.co.za/)
30 Aug 22. DSTG seeks high-temperature materials expertise. The Defence Science and Technology Group (DSTG) is seeking innovative applied research proposals supporting development of high temperature structures and sub-assemblies and has issued a call through Melbourne-based DMTC Limited.
Proposals are due on 9 September 2022
The aim is to support the development of sovereign industrial capability that will be crucial to the construction of full-scale hypersonic platforms.
Australian industry, universities, and research organisations are invited to submit research proposals. The call for proposals aims to complement parallel efforts in the field and to focus on specific elements and sub-assembly knowledge. Its aim is to facilitate applied research that supports the design, fabrication and testing of critical sub-assemblies at a representative scale (TRL 5 to 6).
Outcomes from this program will support strategic aims of the Australian defence and national security community with regard to sovereign hypersonic materials and manufacturing capability.
Collaborations supported under this RFP will contribute to the body of knowledge in assembly of high temperature structures, as well as developing critical capability associated with larger scale fabrication. Work of this nature will also highlight capability and infrastructure gaps to be filled in across the process of building a mature end-to-end capability.
Downloadable documentation includes:
Detailed Overview of Requirements – Request for Proposals; https://dmtc.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2022/08/DMTC-High_Temperature_Sub-AssembliesRFP.pdf For submission to DMTC by 9 September. (Source: Rumour Control)
29 Aug 22. Indian Defence Ministry approves 780 items for indigenisation.
The latest move is aligned with the government’s plan to achieve self-reliance in defence manufacturing.
Indian Defence Minister Rajnath Singh has approved the third Positive Indigenisation List (PIL) comprising 780 key line replacement units (LRUs), sub-systems and components.
The latest move is aligned with the government’s plan to achieve self-reliance in defence manufacturing.
It also seeks to reduce imports by defence public sector undertakings (DPSUs) as part of ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’ initiative.
The list was released “with a timeline beyond which they will only be procured from the domestic industry”, the Defence Ministry posted on Twitter.
The ministry has allotted specific timelines for import ban of the LRUs, sub-systems and components that are used in multiple military platforms and equipment.
Import of these items will be phased out starting from December 2023 to December 2028.
The items will undergo the indigenisation process through various routes under ‘Make’ category that ensures a bigger role for the local industry.
The category will include design, development and modernisation of equipment, systems and platforms by the domestic industry.
Two similar lists to indigenise LRUs, sub-systems, assemblies, sub-assemblies and components were released in December 2021 and March 2022.
Under the previous lists, a total of 2,500 items are indigenised and 458 will be indigenised within the specifies timelines.
According to the ministry, the DPSUs will issue Expressions of Interest (EoIs) and Requests for Proposal (RFPs) in this regard soon.
The ministry expects the local industry to take part in this process in large numbers.
In a statement, the Defence Ministry said the indigenous development of the LRUs, sub-systems and components “will help to harness the design capabilities of domestic defence industry and position India as a design leader in these technologies”. (Source: army-technology.com)
26 Aug 22. New grants program targets Hanwha supply chain. The Victorian government has launched a new grants program aimed at supporting local SMEs looking to contribute to Hanwha Defense Australia’s land systems projects. The Andrews Labor government has unveiled the Victorian Land Systems Fund — a $10m grants program aimed at supporting local firms looking to join Hanwha Defense Australia’s (HDA) supply chain.
Up to $100,000 would be offered to each eligible applicant in support of bids to support HDA’s $1bn LAND 8116 Self- Propelled Howitzer program, which involves the delivery of 30 self-propelled artillery systems and 15 armoured ammunition resupply vehicles to Army.
The grants are set to be offered through a targeted investment stream as part of the Supply Chain Uplift Program.
This is tipped to fund improvements to SME capability, including upgrading business systems and facilities, gaining international accreditations and certifications, or undertaking research and product development.
Minister for Industry Support and Recovery Ben Carroll noted the benefits of the new grants program for the state’s defence industry.
“This funding is about maximising opportunities for local businesses and manufacturers to enter Hanwha’s supply chain, ensuring more Victorian-made components are used in the company’s products worldwide,” Minister Carroll said. (Source: Defence Connect)
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- Direct control of critical process steps that reduce cost, decrease production lead times and improves life-cycle management
- Unique advantage to serve to both smaller quantity, highly custom displays needs as well as high volume production outputs
- Expert in delivering the best value in form and fit replacement by modifying existing COTS products to meet legacy requirements
- Leading the next generation avionics efficiencies by leveraging open architectures and common software standards
- Field-proven, pre-engineered displays minimize lead-time and non-recurring engineering costs.