UNITED KINGDOM AND NATO
16 Nov 22. UK military ups investments in undersea surveillance.
Britain plans to boost its undersea capabilities in the face of growing threats from Russia, with the Ministry of Defence preparing to release tender documents in the next few weeks aimed at purchasing a deep-water remotely operated vehicle.
The Defence Equipment and Support arm of the MoD is currently in the process acquiring the remotely operating vehicle in a program likely to cost the British £20m, or $24m.
The commercial off-the-shelf vehicle, being acquired via a competitive tender, will give the British the ability to manipulate objects and produce high resolution imagery down to a depth of 6,000 meters.
The requirement to provide Britain with a deep-water salvage capability was included in a recently published update of the departments forward equipment pipeline of work.
An MoD spokesperson confirmed the procurement effort is underway.
“We are seeking to procure a remotely operated vehicle system, which will provide a deep-water salvage capability in support of United Kingdom maritime operations,” they said.
News the British are strengthening their military underwater capabilities comes just days after Defence Secretary Ben Wallace announced the MoD was speeding up a multirole ocean surveillance vessel program using some of the cash from scrapping a controversial plan to build a £250m ($297m) super yacht to promote British exports around the globe.
Wallace said instead the MoD would be speeding up the introduction of a specialist multi-role ocean surveillance ship being acquired to protect underwater pipelines and cables from potential sabotage by Russia.
The first ocean surveillance vessel, thought to be a converted merchant ship, should be handed over to the Royal Fleet Auxiliary, the support arm of the Royal Navy, next year, months ahead of the original plan.
A second ship , likely built locally, is also now part of the British plan to protect undersea infrastructure from possible attack.
Originally the government had planned just one vessel when the requirement was included in the 2021 integrated defense and security review – which is itself subject to review expected to be published by January.
Speaking in the House of Commons on Nov. 7 Wallace told lawmakers he was prioritizing the procurement of the surveillance ship and had terminated the competition to build the yacht, which the MoD was to fund.
“In the face of the Russian illegal and unprovoked invasion of Ukraine and Putin’s reckless disregard of international arrangements designed to keep world order, it is right that we prioritize delivering capabilities which safeguard our national infrastructure,” he told members of Parliament.
The Russians are thought to be behind the late September sabotage of two Nord Stream pipelines in the Baltic Sea bringing natural gas from Russia to western Europe.
It’s not clear at this point whether the deep-sea unmanned vehicle will be part of the surveillance vessel capability.
The Royal Navy has previously said the ship will be fitted with advanced sensors and a number of remotely operated and autonomous undersea drones.
The envisioned vehicle is likely to be able to interface onto a number of platforms both commercial and government-owned. (Source: Defense News)
16 Nov 22. The Ministry of Defence has selected a preferred bidder to build support ships for the Royal Navy, with a contract that will create 1,200 UK shipyard jobs, hundreds of graduate and apprentice opportunities, and an expected 800 further jobs across the UK supply chain.
- Team Resolute selected as Preferred Bidder to deliver naval support ships
- Highly capable team includes BMT, Harland & Wolff and Navantia UK
- Bolsters UK shipbuilding and delivers on National Shipbuilding Strategy Refres
British-led Team Resolute, comprising BMT, Harland & Wolff and Navantia UK, has been appointed as the preferred bidder to deliver three crucial support ships to the Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA). Team Resolute will be awarded a £1.6bn contract (before inflation) to manufacture the vessels providing munitions, stores and provisions to the Royal Navy’s aircraft carriers, destroyers and frigates deployed at sea, subject to HM Treasury and Ministerial approval.
Pledging to invest £77m in shipyard infrastructure to support the British shipbuilding sector, the investment will create one of the most advanced yards in the UK, significant for future export and domestic shipbuilding and offshore opportunities.
The entire final assembly for all three ships will be completed at Harland & Wolff’s shipyard in Belfast, with the three 216m long vessels – each the length of two Premier League football pitches – built to Bath-based BMT’s entirely British design.
The majority of the blocks and modules for the ships will be constructed at Harland & Wolff’s facilities in Belfast and Appledore, with components to be manufactured in their other delivery centres in Methil and Arnish. This programme, which will also support a significant British-based supply chain, will be undertaken in collaboration with internationally renowned shipbuilder, Navantia. Build work will also take place at Navantia’s shipyard in Cadiz in Spain, in a collaboration that allows for key skills and technology transfer from a world-leading auxiliary shipbuilder.
Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said: “This is a welcome boost to the UK shipbuilding industry. By selecting Team Resolute, the Ministry of Defence has secured £77 m of investment into UK shipyards, creating around 2,000 UK jobs, and showcasing cutting-edge British design.
“Building on ambitions laid out in the National Shipbuilding Strategy, we are also bolstering technology transfer and key skills from a world-renowned shipbuilder, crucial in the modernisation of British shipyards.”
The contract will deliver 200 further education opportunities on graduate placements and apprentice programmes, as well as supporting thousands more supply chain jobs. Harland & Wolff’s welding academy is set to train 300 new UK welders during the contract. The contract will also support 120 high-skilled jobs at BMT.
Delivering on ambitions to bolster UK shipbuilding as laid out in the National Shipbuilding Strategy Refresh, the contract will deliver significant capital investment in the UK while providing ships which are essential to the Carrier-led Maritime Strike Group.
On behalf of Team Resolute, Group CEO of Harland & Wolff, John Wood, said: “Team Resolute is proud to have been selected as preferred bidder to provide the Royal Fleet Auxiliary with three state-of-the-art, adaptable ships which will fulfil the Royal Navy’s needs while strengthening UK sovereign design and shipbuilding capability, as well as generating around £1.4 bn in national social and economic value.
“Team Resolute will be making a significant investment into the UK and help to level up UK Government defence spend across the whole Union. We will create high quality UK jobs, apprenticeships and four facilities across the UK which will have shipbuilding capabilities fit for the 21st century.
The ships will be the second longest UK military vessels behind the two Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carriers. They will have commonality with the RFA’s Tide class fleet tankers, also built to a British BMT design.
The majority of the three ships’ build will take place in the UK, and the contract will increase industrial productivity, develop the domestic supply chain and workforce while improving the industry’s environmental sustainability.
Designed to support Net Carbon Zero by the end of their 30-year service lives, the RFA vessels will be equipped with energy efficient technologies to reduce power demand and will have the capability to reduce their carbon intensity by adopting low-carbon, non-fossil fuels and future energy sources.
Vice Admiral Paul Marshall, DE&S Director General Ships, said:
“FSS will deliver worldwide logistic and operational support to the Royal Navy, including the Maritime Strike Group on deployment.
“Significant investment in emerging shipyards across the UK will also strengthen and diversify our industrial base. Alongside our investment in the Type 26 and Type 31 frigate programmes, this breadth will be vital to grow and support a highly capable and modern Navy.”
Production is due to start in 2025 and all three support ships are expected to be operational by 2032. The manufacture contract is due to be awarded by DE&S by the first quarter of 2023, subject to completion of a successful preferred bidder stage and final approvals.
- Navantia UK will act as the prime contractor of the consortium. Navantia is a world-leading shipbuilder and has established a permanent UK presence.
- Transfer of Navantia’s cutting edge digital shipyard knowledge to Harland & Wolff will support the modernisation and availability of the Belfast shipyard as a sovereign asset with a highly skilled workforce capable of competing and exporting globally.
- BMT will be responsible for the ship design ahead of manufacture and will deliver the integrated logistic support package.
- BMT is the only company to have been involved in the design of QEC and MARS Fleet Tanker Programme. This experience provides the best possible foundation for delivering an FSS design that will comply with the project requirements and embed world-class environmental standards.
- Final outfitting, integration of blocks, modules and sensitive systems, as well as all testing and commissioning, will take place at Harland & Wolff.
- Harland & Wolff has two of Europe’s largest drydocks in Belfast, has a rich heritage of shipbuilding experience, and provides the best opportunity from which to enhance UK shipbuilding across its various UK Delivery Centres. (Source: https://www.gov.uk/)
16 Nov 22. DECA to merge into MOD’s specialist procurement arm.
The Defence Electronics and Components Agency (DECA) will merge into Defence Equipment and Support (DE&S), the procurement arm of the MOD, from 1 April 2023.
The Defence Electronics and Components Agency (DECA) is currently a MOD Executive Agency, delivering electronics and components, general engineering support capabilities, and maintenance, repair, overhaul and upgrade services across a range of defence systems and capabilities.
The merger decision was sparked by a UK Government Investments (UKGI) review which identified that DECA was a valuable strategic asset and that its capability should be grown to the benefit of defence and the UK taxpayer.
The merger is seen as advantageous for both organisations and the ownership model that will best drive DECA growth. Merger will help to secure the long-term future of DECA and advances MOD’s ambition to be the electronics, components and general engineering repair and support provider of choice across the defence enterprise.
DE&S will benefit from easier access to DECA’s expert repair and maintenance capabilities, helping defence achieve greater financial savings through this increased utilisation.
Andy Start, CEO of DE&S, said:
DECA provides a unique capability which helps to sustain defence systems that are critical in keeping our nation safe.
Merging DECA into DE&S enhances our ability to support to even more Air, Land and Naval Defence systems in future.
DECA employs around 440 crown servants and operates primarily from MOD Sealand in North Wales together with a second operating base at MOD Stafford. Initially, the merger will not result in any significant changes to business operations.
Geraint Spearing, Chief Executive of DECA said:
The decision to merge DECA into DE&S with the intent to grow, recognises the important contribution DECA makes to Defence, our wide-ranging capabilities and the critical support we provide to the UK Armed Forces.
16 Nov 22. FSS Bid: All UK Shipyards Must Get The Work They Need To Thrive – GMB. Ministers finally concede a ‘significant’ amount of the FSS work will be done at home following GMB Union campaign
GMB, the shipbuilding union, has reacted to today’s announcement of the winning bid for the Solid Fleet Support ships tender.
GMB Union has campaigned since 2016 for the Fleet Solid Support ships to be built in the UK using UK steel and shipbuilding supply chain. 
Matt Roberts, GMB National Officer said: “Following today’s announcement, the Defence Secretary must reassure GMB members and the public that all UK shipyards will get the work they need to thrive – no UK region or nation left behind. Let’s not forget it’s only a few short years since Harland & Wolff, set to benefit from this bid, was occupied by workers to save the yard from closure. Ever since the last RFA order debacle from the Tory government back in 2012, we have campaigned for all of the build work on FSS to be done in the UK and for each shipyard in every nation and region of the country to get decent packages of work from this big government order. Through GMB’s campaigning, we have come a long way from the Tories sending the MARS tankers build to South Korea. Ministers finally concede a ‘significant’ amount of the FSS work will be done at home. The problem is that they don’t define ‘significant’ by volume or value and they don’t tell us what guarantees or enforceability there is. Due diligence must be rigorous. The next stage of our campaign will be to ensure that all promises made by the winning bidders are kept and the Government invests in – and protects – all of our shipyards for our future sovereign defence capability.”  turning-the-tide.pdf (gmb.org.uk)
17 Nov 22. Today, the Netherlands Ministry of Defence approached 3 candidate shipyards with a request for quotation (RFQ) for the development of 4 new submarines. The candidate yards are Naval Group, Saab Kockums and ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems. They are expected to submit their bids by summer 2023.
The Ministry of Defence (MOD) will then require several months to analyse the detailed bids. The MOD will decide which yard will be awarded the contract to build the submarines on the basis of pre-established requirements and award criteria. One of the award criteria is the participation of Dutch businesses in the development, construction and maintenance of important systems of the boat. In addition, the MOD desires as much Dutch involvement as possible to strengthen the country’s technological and industrial base. The winning shipyard must therefore enter into an agreement with the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy.
Over the past six months, the Submarine Replacement Programme has gained considerable momentum. The request for quotation is another major step forward in this process. Despite this, it will take around 10 years from the moment the contract is signed before the first two submarines are operational. The boats still have to be built, tested and put into service.
Meanwhile, the Submarine Service will continue to use the Walrus-class boats. In time, 2 of the 4 boats will be decommissioned. Their parts will subsequently be used for the maintenance of the remaining boats.
Investing in striking power
The Netherlands Ministry of Defence is investing in the striking power of the armed forces. Replacing the current submarines is an important part of this investment. Dutch submarines are an important niche capability within NATO and the EU. (Source: ASD Network)
17 Nov 22. Luftwaffe reaffirms F-35A, Eurofighter EK procurement plan. The Luftwaffe has restated its earlier declared intent to satisfy its Tornado replacement requirement with Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter and Eurofighter Electronic Combat (Elektronischer Kampf: EK) aircraft, despite recent reports this was being reconsidered because of budgetary pressures.
Speaking at the IQPC International Fighter Conference (IFC) 2022 held in Berlin from 16 to 18 November, the Commander of the Air Force Forces Command, Lieutenant General Günter Katz, said that the intent to procure 35 F-35As and 15 Eurofighter EKs remains.
This statement on 16 November was contrary to German media reports over recent weeks that F-35 numbers were being revised downwards and the Eurofighter EK was to be replaced by the Boeing EA-18G Growler as a result of inflationary pressures on the EUR100 billion (USD103.86 billion) Söndervermögen (special fund) uplift in national defence spending that was introduced on the back of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February. (Source: Janes)
17 Nov 22. France and Germany are ready to move to the next phase of their flagship fighter jet project, rekindling Europe’s largest weapons programme and removing a key irritant in their bilateral relationship. The two countries and two of the main companies involved, Airbus and Dassault Aviation, are close to formally advancing to a crucial stage of the Future Combat Air System project, during which the demonstrator jet will be built, according to people familiar with the matter. A deal could be reached in the coming days, said two of the people, who spoke under condition of anonymity because there are still outstanding issues. About €3.8bn had been earmarked for this next phase — dubbed “Phase 1b” — and a deadline set for the end of last year. But talks stalled after disagreements over intellectual property sharing between the companies, how work would be divided, and over the jet’s specifications. Further complicating matters were recent tensions between France and Germany, which burst into the open in October when a joint meeting of the French and German cabinets was postponed. The two countries have found themselves at odds over everything from a proposal for an EU-wide cap on the price of gas to gas pipelines and emergency aid programmes for people and companies hit by the energy crisis. Speaking in Berlin on Monday as head of Germany’s aerospace association, Mike Schoellhorn, chief of Airbus defence and space, signalled the next phase of FCAS was on a surer footing. “France and Germany are each convinced of the importance of FCAS,” he said. “There is no alternative, it must work.” Launched by Berlin and Paris to great fanfare in 2017 and later joined by Madrid, FCAS is Europe’s biggest defence project. It was designed to enhance the continent’s strategic autonomy, strengthen political and military ties between its biggest economies and breathe new life into the European aerospace industry. A French parliamentary report in 2020 put estimated development costs to 2030 at €8bn, but cited external analyst forecasts of up to €80bn. However, concerns among military and political officials that the project might never take off deepened because of wrangling between Airbus, which represents Germany in the project, and rival Dassault. There were battles over technology sharing and who would lead critical parts of the programme. There has also been frustration about the inability of the French and German governments to break the industrial logjam. “It’s Europe’s biggest weapons project and yet the lack of any political flanking for it is just amateurish,” said Christian Mölling, a defence analyst with the German Council on Foreign Relations. Paris was also alarmed at Germany’s decision in March to buy 35 American-made F-35 fighter jets, fearing it meant Berlin was cooling on FCAS or wanted to slow the development timeline. Germany argued that the F-35s were urgently needed to ensure its continued role in Nato’s system of nuclear sharing. FCAS was conceived to include a next-generation jet that is designed to work seamlessly with drones and be fitted with advanced communications systems. If finalised, it could replace the fighter jets flown by European air forces, such as the Eurofighter, Germany’s Tornado, and France’s Rafale. Airbus and Dassault converged on the bare bones of an agreement just over two weeks ago, with each company making concessions, people familiar with the discussions said. Dassault has been the lead contractor for the demonstrator from the outset, but Airbus contested some of the fine print over the assignment of roles. Dassault and Airbus declined to comment on the details of the discussions. The agreement salvages FCAS, although only for the prototype phase. The delays mean that delivery of a jet for 2040 is unlikely to be met. Dassault chief executive Eric Trappier has warned that 2050 would be more realistic. Such a delay might disadvantage FCAS in the race against a competing project, Tempest, which is developed by the UK and Italy with companies including BAE Systems and the UK arm of Italy’s Leonardo. Talks are continuing with Japan over whether to integrate its F-X fighter jet programme with Tempest. (Source: FT.com)
10 Nov 22. Greece to acquire new corvettes. Greece will acquire new corvettes the Supreme Naval Council of the Hellenic Navy has decided on Wednesday. The decision was reached in the context of the program by the Navy for the renewal of the fleet together with the procurement of Belharra frigates and the modernization of the MEKO frigates.
According to media information, Italian and French proposals are considered the most dominant, while there is also the Dutch one – however, the procurement process is still at the beginning.
Chiefs of General Staff Council will follow on the matter, and then the Directorate of Equipment will take over to negotiate with the interested parties. The final decision will be taken by the Government Council for Foreign Affairs and Defence (KYSEA).
The Ministry of National Defense has committed funds totaling approximately 2.5 bn euros, which will be allocated to the purchase of three corvettes and the upgrade of the four MEKO-class frigates.
The amount is expected to increase over time, as the hidden costs are reportedly impossible to predict in advance. (Source: News Now/https://www.keeptalkinggreece.com/)
16 Nov 22. NRO opens call for commercial hyperspectral satellite imagery.
Hyperspectral imagery could allow analysts at NRO’s sister agency, the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency (NGA), to do things like identify drug production facilities or find evidence of chemical weapons production. The National Reconnaissance Office has released its formal request for proposals from commercial operators who can provide the spy satellite agency with hyperspectral imagery, which can pinpoint things like buried landmines and surface areas that have been camouflaged.
“We’re looking forward to seeing what is available,” NRO Director Chris Scolese told a gathering of the Intelligence and National Security Alliance (INSA) on Tuesday evening. “We see that in the next set of phenomenology, we really want to go after.”
He said on Tuesday that the agency released its long-awaited RFP to industry under its Broad Agency Announcement (BAA) Framework for Strategic Commercial Enhancements — an umbrella tool that covers acquisition of new and emerging phenomenologies. The BAA has been used over the past two years to gather commercially-provided electro-optical, synthetic aperture radar (SAR), and radio frequency remote sensing data.
The NRO does not release details of its RFPs in public, even unclassified ones, but interested vendors can obtain the information via the agency’s Acquisition Research Center (ARC) website.
Hyperspectral cameras break down pixels into hundreds of frequency bands and thus can detect minute differences in colors that cannot be seen by the human eye, or detected by other types of imagery cameras such as infrared. Thus, hyperspectral sensors can “see” what materials a surface is made of and identify individual elements in the surrounding atmosphere. Such cameras have been used for three decades on airborne platforms for things like analyzing crop health, but until recently have been too expensive for use on satellites.
Hyperspectral imagery could allow analysts at NRO’s sister agency, the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency (NGA), to do things like identify drug production facilities or find evidence of chemical weapons production.
NGA is responsible gathering up, analyzing and then disseminating imagery products — for example, from static maps showing Chinese nuclear research facilities to daily pictures of Russian troop movements in Ukraine — from all kinds of sensors (not just space-based) to government users, including military commanders.
The work can involve contracting with commercial satellite imagery firms for analytical products and software capabilities to help imagery analysts speed through piles of raw data — a mission NGA retained when responsibility for acquiring commercial imagery itself was hived off to NRO in 2018. Since that time, NRO often has been following behind NGA in contracting with commercial firms for emerging satellite-based capabilities such as RF geolocation. With the hyperspecral imagery RFP, however, NRO is actually out in front of NGA.
Scolese told the INSA audience that his agency is dedicated to leveraging as much commercial imagery as possible.
“The main thing is commercial’s doing a lot of stuff we want to take advantage of. And we’ll evaluate each and every one of them,” he said.
(Source: glstrade.com/Breaking Defense.com)
06 Nov 22. An RFP for 600 LEO satellites issued by Rivada Space Networks. Rivada Space Networks GmbH has issued a request for proposals for 600 LEO satellites, having released the RFP for the associated, heavy-lift launch services two weeks ago. The company anticipates selecting a prime contractor for the space segment, parts of the ground segment and system integration for the LEO constellation by the end of 2022 in parallel to the selection of the launch service provider.
For the first time, Rivada Space Networks will offer access to a secure satellite network with pole-to-pole reach, offering end-to-end latencies similar or better than terrestrial fiber. The Rivada network will operate like an optical backbone in space, using lasers to interconnect satellites and deliver an ultra-secure and highly reliable global data network for business operations in the telecom, enterprise, maritime, energy and government services markets.
Since formally launching in March 2022, Rivada Space Networks has been on a fast-track mission to complete the detailed definition of the overall system architecture and provide the production and deployment framework needed to place a firm contract for the constellation and associated launch services.
The preceding phase B study concluded that the procurement plan will successfully fulfill the requirements associated with the company’s high priority ITU Ka-band filings. With a contract for manufacturing and launch in place by the end of 2022, deployment will start in 2024, with 300 satellites in orbit by mid-2026 and full constellation deployment expected by mid-2028.
Clemens Kaiser, Rivada Space Networks Chief Program Officer, said, “Following a rigorous process with a number of leading satellite manufacturers, we are delighted that today we have completed another major milestone in the specification and development of our unique constellation to enable secure, global connectivity for governments and enterprises. The key attributes of RSN’s laser-linked LEO constellation architecture include global reach, low latency, ultra-security, resilience and optional quantum key encryption. We have worked tirelessly to ensure that our system comprises the best the satellite industry has to offer. We are really looking forward to moving to the next phase of our program to manufacture and deploy our LEO constellation.”
Severin Meister, Rivada Space Networks CEO, said, “RSN is a German ‘NewSpace’ innovator and disruptor. I am incredibly proud of what our team has achieved in such a short time frame. Over the course of the past eight months we have completed the design of our satellite system and grown our teams in Munich and Berlin to further develop the technical, commercial and regulatory competencies of the company. With over 60 people today, we anticipate expanding further to over 100 people by the end of Q1 2023 and are on track to execute our vision of providing the first truly global point-to-point low latency connectivity network.” Meister added: “Initial customers are showing great interest, which confirms that we will occupy a much-needed niche. This is the German NewSpace company to watch!“
Rivada Space Networks Founder, Declan Ganley, said, “I am thrilled that we have completed this important milestone. This is a unique satellite network in terms of security, speed and global reach.. Our constellation in combination with our patented Open Access Wireless Market Platform allows us to offer a network with unprecedented flexibility. It will be instrumental in driving the next leg of the ongoing communications revolution. Having recently joined the ITU Partner2Connect digital inclusion initiative and the EU’s multi-stakeholder Secure Connectivity Program, we are committed to providing a secure communications infrastructure like no other for Government and Enterprise.“
Rivada Space Networks GmbH is a disruptive new company set to establish and operate the first, truly global, low latency, point-to-point connectivity network of LEO satellites. By connecting its satellites with lasers, Rivada Space Networks will provide resellers and B2B customers with the ability to securely connect any two points on the globe with low latency and high bandwidth. The constellation of 600 low-earth-orbit communications satellites will represent a fundamental change in the availability of secure, global, end-to-end enterprise-grade connectivity for Telecom, Enterprise, Maritime, Energy and Government Services markets. Rivada Space Networks is a wholly owned subsidiary of Rivada Networks, Inc. (Source: Satnews)
14 Nov 22. US Space Development Agency PNT Service Payload Request for Information. The US Space Development Agency (SDA), which is now part of the US Space Force, has issued a Request for Information for developing a low-cost L-band Position, Navigation and Timing (PNT) payload which can be added to potentially hundreds of satellites in the future.
Submissions close 5 pm EST 21 November.
The PNT would be handled as ‘a service as a payload’ on the SDA Tranche 2 Transport Layer. The PNT payload would include an on-orbit reprogrammable PNT signal generator, mid-size High Powered Amplifier (HPA), and associated fixed wide beamwidth antenna. The goal is to proliferate this low-cost payload onto hundreds of satellites within future SDA Tranches – potentially as early as Tranche 2. Ideally, solutions will be highly informed by the Tranche 1 Transport Layer and share technical approaches and hardware where possible as size, weight, power, cost (SWAP-C), technical readiness and manufacturability will be significant constraints.
SDA is responsible for defining and monitoring the nation’s future threat-driven space architecture, thereby accelerating the development and fielding of new military space capabilities necessary to ensure US technological and military advantage in space for national defence. To achieve this mission, SDA will unify and integrate next-generation space capabilities to deliver the National Defense Space Architecture (NDSA): a resilient military sensing and data transport capability via a proliferated space architecture primarily in Low Earth Orbit (LEO). SDA will not necessarily develop and field all capabilities of the NDSA, but rather orchestrate those efforts across DoD and fill in gaps in capabilities while providing the integrated architecture. The initial “tranches” of the NDSA are predicated on the availability of a ubiquitous data and communications transport provided by relatively small, mass-produced satellites and tactically-relevant payload hardware and software.
Consistent with the continued evolution of the NDSA capabilities, the DoD and US Combatant Commands have identified the SDA-proliferated LEO constellation as a potential source for the transmission of a PNT service that would complement, augment, and, in extreme circumstances, be a back-up to GPS. In this way, the SDA PNT service could serve as a forward-looking capability within navigation warfare (NAVWAR) resilience planning and operations. For further information go to the Space Development Agency web site. (Source: Rumour Control)
REST OF THE WORLD
18 Nov 22. Armscor having difficulty lining up SAAF maintenance contracts. As the Department of Defence’s (DoD’s) defence material acquisition agency, Armscor is trying to make sure that maintenance contracts are in place to keep the South African Air Force’s (SAAF’s) aircraft flying in spite of budgetary and other challenges.
In a presentation to the Joint Standing Committee on Defence (JSCD) on 10 November, Armscor gave a presentation on its service level agreement with the DoD, and this included the support contracts “funded from the limited SAAF operating budget.”
Armscor noted that funds have to be prioritised for allocation to the respective aircraft fleets and funding challenges inevitably result in under-funded support contracts as well as delays in receiving funding for support contracts. “Funding limitations are resulting in challenges with negotiating support contracts with OEM’s [original equipment manufacturers] that meet all SAAF requirements – this leads to delays in contract placement as well as periods with no support contracts for affected aircraft,” Armscor’s presentation stated.
In spite of these issues, Armscor is placing contracts to ensure airworthiness for much of the fleet. The Boeing Business Jet (BBJ), for example, has a contract that expires on 30 November, and placement of a new contract is in process, and this is expected to run from 1 December this year.
The Falcon business jet fleet has no contract in place, as this expired on 1 July, but a new contract will be placed from 1 December. The King Air maintenance contract is in place until 15 February 2023, but a new contract offer solicitation is in process.
For the transport fleet, the C-130BZ Hercules maintenance contract has been extended to 31 December, and a new contract will be placed by 1 January 2023. A contract for the C212 fleet has been in place since August, while the C-47TP fleet, which has not had a contract since April 2017, will finally have a maintenance contract from 1 December this year. The Cessna 208 Caravan maintenance contract is valid until 15 December.
On the rotary wing side, the Oryx support contract is valid until September 2023, as is the Rooivalk combat support helicopter contract. The BK 117 contract expired on 31 March this year, and Armscor is “still awaiting requirement from the SAAF.” For A109 Light Utility Helicopter support, this contract is valid until 30 November, and a new contract is in process for placement by 1 December. The Lynx maritime helicopter’s support contract is valid until September 2023, but Armscor is in the process of contracting for long lead spares.
After a year-long grounding, the SAAF’s Gripen fleet returned to the air in time for the September 2022 edition of Africa Aerospace and Defence, as an airframe support contract is in place with Saab effective 1 September. Armscor aims to have an engine support contract in place with GKN by 1 December. The Hawk Mk 120 lead-in fighter-trainer is supported until 30 June 2024, while the PC-7 Mk II fleet is supported by the manufacturer Pilatus until 15 March next year. (Source: https://www.defenceweb.co.za/)
16 Nov 22. New Zealand issues tender for utility vehicles. The New Zealand Ministry of Defence (MoD) has issued a tender supporting the procurement of utility vehicles (UVs) as a part of the country’s Protected Mobility Capability Project (PMCP).
In a request for proposal (RFP), the MoD invited the “respondents to submit a proposal” for the supply of light and medium UVs along with the associated spares, contract data, services, training, and other items.
Nick Gillard, director of the land domain at the New Zealand MoD, told Janes that the RFP covers the supply of approximately 230 light and medium UVs. In addition to general services, the light UVs will be used for liaison and command purposes, Gillard said.
He added that the medium UVs will be used to support command and control (C2), and forward information support team. The medium UVs will also be used as ambulances and maintenance vehicles. (Source: Janes)
15 Nov 22. Indonesia approves USD3.9bn in foreign loans for fighter aircraft programmes. The Indonesian Ministry of Finance (MoF) has granted approval for the country to obtain up to USD3.9bn in foreign loans for three separate proposals that have been put forward to sustain the Indonesian Air Force’s (TNI-AU’s) combat capabilities.
These include a bid to procure Mirage single-engine multirole fighter aircraft from the Qatar Emiri Air Force (QEAF) and a second batch of between 12 and 18 Dassault Rafale multirole combat aircraft for the TNI-AU. The Indonesian Ministry of Defence (MoD) inked an agreement with Dassault in February 2022 to procure a total of 42 Rafales. The airframes are being procured in stages and a contract for the first batch of six airframes became effective in September after a down payment for it was made with funds sourced from a foreign lender.(Source: Janes)
15 Nov 22. Firm intent: Lockheed Martin leans on local companies to boost Indian F-21 bid. Lockheed Martin is leveraging its manufacturing ecosystem in India to support its proposal to supply the Indian Air Force (IAF) with F-21 fighter jets as part of India’s Multi-Role Fighter Aircraft (MRFA) acquisition project.
The USD18 bn MRFA project was announced by New Delhi in April 2018, following a request for information (RFI) from the Indian Ministry of Defence (MoD). The MRFA programme is the successor of the defunct Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) project, which was announced in 2001. The MRFA project seeks to acquire 114 fighter aircraft (or six squadrons).
The MRFA project has attracted bids from seven companies, according to previous disclosures by the companies. Apart from Lockheed Martin, Boeing (offering its F/A-18E/F and F-15EX), Dassault (Rafale), Eurofighter Jagdflugzeug (Typhoon), Mikoyan-Gurevich (MiG-35), Saab (JAS-39 Gripen E/F), and Sukhoi (Su-35) are also competing for the acquisition. (Source: Janes)
11 Nov 22. Honeywell, PTDI partner to supply collision-avoidance system to Indonesian Air Force. Honeywell has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Indonesia’s state-owned aircraft manufacturer PT Dirgantara Indonesia (PTDI) for the potential supply of its Military Airborne Collision Avoidance System (MILACAS) for the Indonesian Air Force (Tentara Nasional Indonesia Angkatan Udara: TNI-AU).
The MOU – signed during the Indo Defence 2022 exhibition held in Jakarta in early November – will support the modernisation of the TNI-AU’s C-130 transport aircraft, Sathesh Ramiah, the vice-president of the Asia-Pacific region at Honeywell, told Janes in an interview.
MILACAS “is designed for a better range and quality of the surveillance broadcast on military aircraft”, Ramiah said.
It “provides up to two times better surveillance rate than the Enhanced Traffic Alert Collision Avoidance System (ETCAS)”, Ramiah added.
“We [Honeywell] are having further discussions with PTDI to finalise the complete timeline” for the supply and integration of MILACAS into the C-130 aircraft, Ramiah said. (Source: Janes)
11 Nov 22. Indonesian corvettes to get further upgrades. Thales has entered into an agreement with state-owned defence electronics specialist PT Len Industri to provide a range of C4ISR enhancements to the Indonesian Navy’s (TNI-AL’s) four Diponegoro-class guided missile corvettes, among other work announced on 4 November.
The company said it will refurbish the ships with “an Integrated Missions System including the TACTICOS Combat Management System, as well as the latest in software-driven radar technology able to combat the highest level of threats”.
It added that modernization work will be carried out over the next five years with post-sales support provided by trained teams at Thales’ Naval Service Centre in Surabaya. This latest upgrade follows a similar programme undertaken for the service’s Bung Tomo-class corvette KRI Usman-Harun l in 2020.
“As a leading partner to the Indonesian Navy for the last forty years and the appointed supplier of combat systems for most Indonesian warships currently in service, Thales is bringing its best capabilities to help extend the lifecycle of the Navy’s fleet and ensure that the ships remain equipped for optimal performance,” the company said in a statement.
The TNI-AL’s four Diponegoro-class corvettes were commissioned between 2007 and 2009.
Earlier in October 2021, Terma was awarded a contract to upgrade the existing C-Guard decoy launching system on board the Diponegoro-class corvettes with anti-submarine warfare (ASW) capabilities.
The vessels are presently equipped with two six-tubed DL-6T decoy launchers from Terma as part of its C-Guard ship self-protection suite. The launchers can fire both mortar and rocket-propelled decoys to defeat precision-guided munitions.
The corvettes could also benefit further from a planned mid-life upgrade (MLU) should foreign loan funding sought by the Ministry of National Development Planning (BAPPENAS) be approved by the Ministry of Finance.
Since 1946, Industrial Electronic Engineers, IEE, has specialized in the design, test, support and fielding of display products for use in demanding military and aerospace applications throughout the world. IEE has developed an extensive product portfolio that today includes enhanced flat panel displays, smart displays and handheld devices.
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