UNITED KINGDOM AND NATO
20 Dec 22. UK launches future fixed-wing aircraft study. The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) has launched an effort designed to address its future military fixed-wing aircraft needs. Published by the MoD on 19 December, the Fixed-Wing Concepts and Technology project will be led by the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl), and will aim to address the requirements and technologies needed of the UK military’s future fixed-wing aircraft programmes.
“To address [the] MoD’s future challenges in the air environment, there is a need for continued research and development of fixed-wing aircraft concepts, technologies, and knowledge within the Combat Air, Air ISTAR [intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition, and reconnaissance], and Air Mobility domains,” the MoD said. (Source: Janes)
19 Dec 22. Windfarm Mitigation for UK Air Defence: Webinar. DASA and BEIS hosted a webinar to test the vision for Windfarm Mitigation for UK Air Defence: Phase 3. Watch it below. The Defence and Security Accelerator (DASA), in partnership with the Department for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) are exploring a Phase 3 of the “Windfarm Mitigation for UK Air Defence” competition, to build on current activities which seek to advance innovative technologies to enable the long-term co-existence of offshore windfarms and Air Defence radar.
The competition is funded by the BEIS Net Zero Innovation Portfolio (NZIP) and is undertaken in partnership with the Royal Air Force (RAF), the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl), and DASA.
On 16 December, DASA and BEIS hosted a webinar to test the programme’s vision with the wider market and provide the opportunity to inform the programme. The scope of Phase 3 is likely to support technologies across the 3 broad categories:
- stealthy materials
- alternative tracking based solutions.
The competition is aimed at any technology providers within those 3 categories, as well as original equipment manufacturers, onshore and offshore owner/operators and developers who would be interested in collaborating with the technology providers as part of Windfarm Mitigation for UK Air Defence: Phase 3.
If you are interested in submitting a proposal when the competition launches in 2023, watch the below webinar.
Windfarm Mitigation for UK Air Defence – Phase 3: Webinar https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6tks-RrEx5s
What is covered in the webinar?
- Recap of Phase 1 and Phase 2
- Windfarm Mitigation for UK Air Defence: Phase 3 scope and timelines
- Proposed Delivery Model
- Collaboration survey
For a potential phase 3, we encourage collaboration between suppliers. To support this, we have a short survey to collect details of suppliers who wish to explore collaboration possibilities. This collaboration list will be circulated to all those who have signed up on a weekly basis. In contrast to phases 1 and 2, the potential phase 3 will likely be a grant competition and require match-funding from the bidders.
Fill out the collaboration survey here: https://www.smartsurvey.co.uk/s/J3Y3MY/
The importance of Windfarm Mitigation for UK Air Defence
Offshore wind will play an increasingly critical role in the UK’s renewable energy supply to enable Net Zero ambitions, as manifested by a 50GW target by 2030 and a Climate Change Committee (CCC) central scenario of at least 75GW of capacity by 2050.
The offshore windfarm installations may adversely impact the quality of data obtained from the long-range Primary Surveillance Radars (PSR) which are the backbone of the UK’s Air Defence detection capability. A mitigating solution, or combination of solutions, is needed to enable the co-existence of windfarms and Air Defence and enable the deployment of offshore wind.
Through the Joint Air Defence and Offshore Wind Task Force, the Ministry of Defence (MOD) is currently working on procuring mitigation solutions in the near term, to enable the next generation of large-scale offshore windfarms to be built that will become operational from 2025 and beyond. This BEIS funded innovation programme is complementing the MOD work and focuses on helping to find solutions that will enable the long term co-existence of Air Defence and offshore wind.
What happened in Phase 1 and 2?
In Phase 1, £2m worth of contracts were awarded to fast-track ideas for technologies that could mitigate the impact of windfarms on the UK’s Air Defence radar system. Learn more here: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/offshore-windfarm-development-boosted-by-2mi-research
In Phase 2, seven projects were awarded a total of £3.8m funding to develop technologies that support the coexistence of offshore windfarms and UK Air Defence systems. Learn more here: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/38-m-in-contracts-awarded-to-mitigate-the-radar-risk-of-windfarms (Source: https://www.gov.uk/)
20 Dec 22. Romania to buy Watchkeeper X surveillance systems from Elbit Systems. Romania signed a deal on Tuesday to acquire seven Watchkeeper X unmanned aircraft systems from Israeli defence electronics firm Elbit Systems (ESLT.TA) for roughly 1.89bn lei ($408.77m), the defence ministry said. Under the five-year deal, Elbit Systems will transfer some of the systems’ production, testing and maintenance to Romanian defence firms, part of wider government plans to overhaul its state defence industry.
The Watchkeeper X systems are designed for intelligence gathering, surveillance, target acquisition and reconnaissance.
Romania, a NATO member since 2004, will raise defence spending to 2.5% of gross domestic product in 2023 from 2% at present, in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The country, which shares a 650-km (400 mile) border with Ukraine, is host to a U.S. ballistic missile defense system and, as of this year, has a permanent alliance battlegroup stationed on its territory. In September, the ministry said Romania plans to buy three unmanned aerial vehicle (UAVs) systems from Turkish defence firm Baykar along with logistics support for an estimated $300 m before tax as part of the country’s NATO targets and its military endowment plans. ($1 = 4.6236 lei) (Source: Reuters)
19 Dec 22. Germany approves Puma retrofit, BvS10, and rifle procurement. On 14 December the budget committee of the Bundestag, the German parliament, approved the retrofit of Puma infantry fighting vehicles (IFVs) and the procurement of BvS10 all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) and Heckler & Koch HK416A8 assault rifles. The budget committee approved around EUR850 m (USD900 m) for the retrofit of 143 Pumas so all IFVs of the type are of the same operational technical standard. It approved another EUR405 m for the procurement of 140 BvS10 ATVs from BAE Systems Hägglunds to replace the German mountain troops’ Bv206D ATVs under the Collaborative All-Terrain Vehicle (CATV) programme. The CATV programme is led by Sweden and includes the UK. The Bundeswehr (German armed forces) will procure 118,718 HK416A8 assault rifles, redesignated as G95A1, to replace the G36 in 2024–26. (Source: Janes)
16 Dec 22. Lithuania signs $495m deal to buy HIMARS, ATACMs.
Lithuania and the U.S. government have finalized a $495m deal for as many as eight M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems, the Lithuanian government announced Friday.
The deal includes Army Tactical Missile Systems, or ATACMS, which have a range of 300 kilometers, and other ammunition. A State Department notice last month said several dozen Guided Multiple Launch Rocket Systems, and variants of them, would be included.
The deal was finalized as Defense Minister Arvydas Anušauskas met with U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and other U.S. officials in Washington this week. According to a U.S. readout, Austin hailed Lithuania’s “robust defense spending” and investments in new capabilities like HIMARS.
Anušauskas told Defense News in an interview that the system will be a division-level asset for Lithuania, and that it was important that its Baltic neighbors Latvia, Estonia will also be buying them. Still, because the three countries and Poland will all have placed orders, it’s expected to stretch Lockheed Martin’s ability to build them.
“As far as I know, industry has doubled its pace in producing HIMARS and ammunition,” Anušauskas said. “But in terms of orders, we’re also looking at Poland also ordering them, so the waiting list is rather long.”
Anušauskas said deliveries would begin in 2024 and conclude in 2025 for Estonia, and begin in 2025 and conclude in 2026 for Lithuania. A U.S-Latvia deal for the systems is expected to be finalized next year.
Future talks between the U.S. and Lithuania will focus on HIMARS integration, to include personnel training and maintenance.
As part of U.S. plans to enhance the military presence in the Baltics, defense officials are “transitioning the episodic deployments of an armored battalion-sized element and field artillery battery to a persistent rotational presence,” the U.S. Embassy in Vilnius announced earlier this month.
Lithuania earlier this year decided to expand its military budget by some €148 m ($157 m), paving the way for the purchase of the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle to replace M113 armored personnel carriers it sent to Ukraine. (Source: Defense News)
20 Dec 22. Canada’s DND receives approval to buy 16 F-35s for $7bn: sources. Two defense sources have said that the Department of National Defence (DND) received quiet approval earlier this month to purchase 16 Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightning II jets for $7 bn. The sources spoke on the condition that they remain anonymous, as the news has not yet been made public.
The funding approval comes roughly nine months after Canada announced the F-35 as the top-ranked bidder in the fighter replacement competition. The F-35 was competing against Sweden-based Saab’s Gripen E jet. The F/A-18E/F Super Hornet was also a contender up until December 2021, when the Canadian government confirmed that the Boeing-built fighter aircraft was disqualified and no longer in the running.
Public Services and Procurement Canada has been in negotiations with Lockheed Martin since April, in order to finalize the contract. A formal contract is not likely to be announced until the new year, but Canada needed to make an initial order by the end of this year in order to keep the first delivery on track for 2025.
While the federal government initially laid out its intention to buy 88 new fighter jets to replace the Royal Canadian Air Force’s (RCAF’s) aging fleet of CF-188 Hornets, the defense sources said the plan is to purchase F-35s in blocks over the next few years.
In addition to the first 16 aircraft, the $7 bn covers spare parts, weapons, and the start-up costs that come with acquiring new jets, according to the sources.
Germany recently announced that it received approval to spend €10 bn (C$14 bn) on 35 F-35 jets. Lockheed Martin said the agreement includes “a comprehensive package of engines, role-specific mission equipment, spare and replacement parts, technical and logistic support, training, and armament.”
The Canadian government had earmarked $19 bn for the fighter replacement project in its 2017 defense policy, but more accurate details on costs were to be refined during negotiations with Lockheed Martin. If Canada is to acquire 88 F-35s, the costs would far surpass $19 bn, and the country’s Air Force would become the world’s second-largest operator of the fifth-generation fighter.
Canada expects to phase out its CF-188s between 2026 and 2032 as it takes delivery of the new F-35s. However, since the CF-188s are aging, the government must invest hundreds of ms of dollars more into the fleet to keep it operational through 2032.
In late 2016, Canada announced a plan to buy 18 Boeing Super Hornets, sans competition, as an interim measure until the future fighter competition could be launched. The U.S. government said the sale of 18 Super Hornets to Canada would cost $6.4 bn at the time. That plan was, of course, scrapped after Boeing launched a trade dispute with Montreal-based Bombardier.
More accurate details on the costs associated with Canada’s F-35 contract remain to be seen until a formal contract announcement is made — which is not likely to occur until January. (Source: News Now/https://skiesmag.com/)
REST OF THE WORLD
21 Dec 22. India outlines 155 mm/52 calibre towed gun programme. The Indian Army has outlined detailed requirements supporting its acquisition of 155 mm/52 calibre towed gun systems.
In a request for information (RFI) document issued by the army, the service confirmed that the guns would be procured from local industry.
The RFI said that the Indian Army seeks to equip its regiments employed in plains, mountains, and deserts with guns for the execution of artillery tasks. The weight of the guns should be less than 15 tons.
The systems should fire all in-service ammunition and should have the capability to operate on existing roads and track networks at India’s northern and western borders, the RFI added.
The guns must be equipped with a global positioning system (GPS) and inertial navigation-based sight system with the capability to orient and fix the location of the system. The fire-control system (FCS) should also provide an optical sight for indirect firing day and night. (Source: Janes)
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