UNITED KINGDOM AND NATO
04 Jan 23. Learn about NATO’s DIANA initiative at three upcoming events.
An opportunity to find out more about NATO’s DIANA initiative and meet the UK team at three different UK events in February 2023
The Defence and Security Accelerator (DASA) is hosting three industry events to discuss the new and exciting NATO initiative, the Defence Innovation Accelerator for the North Atlantic (DIANA).
The events will give attendees the opportunity to meet the UK DIANA team and learn about the DIANA vision through high-level briefing sessions on:
- the DIANA Accelerator
- the Defence BattleLab
- the Future DIANA elements
Each session will provide a briefing on the DIANA initiative and seek feedback from industry, in particular SMEs, as the initiative develops.
When and where will the events take place?
Three events are scheduled at different locations throughout the UK:
- 2 February 2023 – The Defence Battlelab, Dorset
- 8 February 2023 – techUK, London
- 14 February 2023 – The Calalyst, Newcastle upon Tyne
How to Register
The events are free to attend and places are limited to 50 attendees. Early registration is advised to avoid disappointment. You can learn more about the events and complete the online registration form here: https://www.eventbrite.com/cc/the-nato-diana-industry-events-1475039
04 Jan 23. Puma Fiasco Confirms Worst Fears About German Defense Procurement. The troubled Puma infantry vehicle program embodies much of what’s wrong with German defense procurement, on both the government and industry sides, argues our contributor in this Opinion piece. (KMW photo)
PARIS — The series of breakdowns affecting the PUMA tracked Infantry Fighting Vehicle since 2015 – not to mention the financial waste for German taxpayers – fully confirms what the most pessimistic analysts have been writing about German defence procurement for years: Germany is unable to conduct a single defence program and to maintain critical weapon systems in service.
The reason for this utterly German failure is not money but the whole system of planning, designing and conducting weapon systems.
In every aspect, the PUMA-fiasco has turned into what Johann Wadephul, the leader of the Christian Democrat parliamentary group (CDU), described as a “nightmare” during an interview to broadcaster ARD. “The Puma should be the main weapon system of the German army. And if the Puma is not operational, then the army is not operational,” he said.
While one can agree with Mr. Wadephul’s observations, the cases behind the nightmare are even worse that the nightmare itself…
The PUMA: a purely German failure in procurement
The PUMA is not a joint program involving a lot of foreign partners, such as the A400M, the EF-2000 or the Eurodrone: it is a pure German defence program. As such, it demonstrates how the German procurement system is massively at fault.
The BAAiNBW, the defence procurement authority, is the main cause; by changing the PUMA mission profile several times since the mid-1990s, it ordered too many changes. Instead of being used for static warfare in Europe, the IFV had to be ready for overseas deployments such as Afghanistan. This meant that the vehicle had to be protected not primarily against fire from the front sector, but from all sides.
However, such a change has a chain of unintended consequences: it requires the reinforcement of armour that went beyond the specifications for weight and dimensions. In order for Puma to be loaded onto military aircraft, dismountable side armour was installed.
The distribution of production work also proved to be a disadvantage. Since the Puma was built at different locations, no two vehicles are the same, according to representatives of the Bundeswehr. Even its dimensions did not match in many cases. Hence major and unbelievable consequences such as water leaks in the turret when it rained or the integration problems with the MELLS anti-tank missile.
The instability of requirements has already caused major setbacks to crucial weapon systems (such as the F-125, the A400M and of course, most recently, the Eurodrone with the two-engine configuration). The reason can certainly to be found in a doctrine torn between foreign obligations (NATO, EU and UN) and the pacifist feelings of the population and MPs, still reluctant to engage the Bundeswehr outside the German borders. By dint of willing to be ready for every mission, everywhere, the PUMA is unable to perform a single one on a simple training exercise ground.
The PUMA-fiasco: a purely German failure in its centre of excellence
What is downright worrying is the fact that the fiasco concerns one of the so-called centres of excellence of Germany: land systems. Better in land and sea-systems than in aerospace, the German defence industry has proved to be very bad in its core-domains.
Before the PUMA crashed on a training ground in Munster, some other iconic programs of the German quality have failed. The K130 corvettes of the 1st and 2nd batch have witnessed so many problems that batch One is to be replaced by a potential Batch 3, just a decade after it entered service, while Batch 2 is suffering major problems of sensor, weapons and software integration.
The F-125 frigate and the U-212 submarine programs encountered major delays, cost-overruns and under-performance to the point that the German political leadership decided to go to a Dutch shipbuilder (Damen) for its next project, the F-126 frigate, in a rare but spectacular humiliation. Will the same inglorious fate await the PUMA, supposed to be the core competences of German defence products?
The PUMA-fiasco: a purely German industrial failure
The overall picture would be incomplete if we forget to include the two compagnies responsible for the production. They are also both responsible for the fiasco and for two reasons. One, they both have bad relations with each other.
The reasons lie beyond the IFV, in their race for the supremacy in Germany and in Europe. For decades, KMW was the sole prime-contractor and integrator of land systems in Germany for domestic and export programs. It has developed a real capability in design, production, integration and trials of heavy land systems, MBTs, bridge-layers and vehicles. Hence, the success-story of the Leopard 1&2, purchased by 15 countries and a word-class standard for main battle tanks, whose major upgrades (1A1 to 2A7) were mechanically followed by customers in the user club LEOBEN.
With the arrival of Armin Papperger as CEO in January 2013 – a decade ago – the old Rheinmetall awakened as did Siegfried with the mythic Brünhild. His ambition is to take the full lead of the land systems in Germany and on the export markets. The rivalry began with the contract in Indonesia (2013) where Rheinmetall has sold 103 Leopard tanks (62 LEO RI + 42 LEO 2A4), 42 Marder 1A2 infantry fighting vehiles, and 11 engineer vehicles for a total of €216m, and has never ceased.
Rivals in strategy, KMW and Rheinmetall are also rivals in products. Rheinmetall has always played a double game, introducing competing products. Against the PUMA, Rheinmetall has marketed the LYNX, sold to Hungary (218 for €2bn) and being promoted in Australia (pending) and in Eastern Europe (but defeated in Slovakia and Czech Republic by the CV90). Against the future MGCS, it designed the KF-51 Panther tank using its own money. Each time, it claimed that its products were not competing KMW’s gamut but, in practice, that is indeed the case.
Facing the instability of the BAAiNBW unable to stabilize its requirements, the two companies do not trust each other, as TKMS does with Lürssen Werft/NVL and German Naval Yards-Kiel.
This long-standing mistrust between German players partly explain the current failures that the Bundeswehr and the taxpayers have to fix. (Source: Defense-Aerospace.com; posted Jan. 03, 2023)
29 Dec 22. North Macedonia approves 2023 defence budget for army modernisation. The Macedonian parliament approved a 2023 national budget on 23 December that includes EUR274.6m (over USD292m) for defence. EUR88.79m of this amount will be invested in modernising the Army of the Republic of North Macedonia (ARSM). The Ministry of Defence (MoD) said in a press conference in Skopje on 21 December that the 2023 defence budget is 24.45% higher than the 2022 one and represents 1.85% of GDP. Defence Minister Slavjanka Petrovska expressed the goal of reaching 2% of GDP in 2024. (Source: Janes)
19 Oct 22. Army readies to select tactical truck builders.
The Army is slated to select early next year multiple vendors to build prototypes for its Common Tactical Truck competition.
The service received “multiple” bids to compete, Brig. Gen. Luke Peterson, the Army’s program executive officer in charge of combat support and combat service support, told Defense News in a recent interview.
“We are on track for a January award, and it’ll be more than one company,” he said, “as a part of that prototyping effort to really allow the Army to evaluate current commercial technology in a military-type application, modified off-the-shelf for military purposes.”
The Army hopes the new trucks, set to replace its Family of Heavy Tactical Vehicles, will address a reliability issue, as the service is struggling to sustain its legacy trucks, Peterson said.
“We are going to really learn what industry can offer us and affordability is going to be the key driver here for the Army to make those informed decisions,” Peterson added.
The service in late June released a request for proposals to build prototypes. The prototyping phase is meant to help the Army define requirements.
Following the prototyping phase, the Army plans to again open the competition, allowing vendors to submit bids for the engineering and manufacturing development phase. The service expects to enter EMD in the fiscal 2024 time frame and is targeting the end of FY26 to enter the production phase with a single winner.
Initial production could total about 5,700 vehicles valued at around $5 billion.
At the Association of the U.S. Army’s annual conference earlier this month, hulking tactical trucks were hard to miss on the exhibition floor.
American Rheinmetall Vehicles and GM Defense, who earlier this summer agreed to partner in the CTT competition, displayed Rheinmetall’s MAN Military Vehicles HX tactical military truck at GM Defense’s two-story booth. The truck was hauling one of the Infantry Squad Vehicles GM Defense is building for the U.S. Army.
“The Army customer says they want modern, advanced technology based on commercial investments made so that we can deliver the best capability to the warfighter as quickly as possible,” GM Defense President Steve duMont told Defense News in August. “That’s what this team is preparing to do.”
Mack Defense brought to the conference its M917A3 Heavy Dump Truck, based on the commercially available Mack Granite model. In 2018, the Army awarded Mack Defense a $296 million contract to provide over seven years dump trucks to replace decades-old Army trucks. Mack began building those vehicles in 2021 in Allentown, Pennsylvania.
Just ahead of AUSA, Dave Hartzell, the company’s chief executive, told Defense News it had submitted a bid for the prototyping phase of the CTT program.
The company is taking its base design and technology from the Granite family of vehicles, and militarizing it.
“We made some performance enhancements to it to meet the Army’s requirements for off-road capability, or mobility requirements, and then they have a force protection requirement, there’s an armoring requirement, so obviously, we had to design that to provide that capability as well,” Hartzell said.
Roughly 80% of the parts are shared with Mack’s commercial vehicle platforms. The Army wants “a commercial base vehicle platform that can still meet the mission roles that are required for the military application, but with a degree of commonality with commercial industry as much to the extent possible,” he said.
AM General also announced at AUSA it submitted a bid to compete for the CTT. AM General is teaming with Italian Company IDV Iveco Defense Vehicles, which previously partnered with BAE Systems to supply the U.S. Marine Corps’ Amphibious Combat Vehicle.
AM General has long supplied Humvees to the U.S. Army and is planning to compete again for a chance to build the service’s Joint Light Tactical Vehicle after losing to Oshkosh Defense in 2015. The Army is recompeting the contract and plans to select a winner early next year.
“The team’s High Mobility Range Vehicle architecture for CTT will be based on a newly launched highly modular range of trucks, specifically designed for military use,” according to AM General’s statement. (Source: Defense News Early Bird/Defense News)
02 Jan 23. AAR Corp welcomes new US law on used aircraft parts.
US-based aircraft maintenance provider AAR Corporation could benefit from a provision in the recently enacted fiscal year (FY) 2023 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that requires the US Air Force (USAF) and US Navy (USN) to consider buying used parts for their commercial-derivative aircraft, according to the company’s chief executive.
While AAR has “had success here and there” selling used aircraft parts to the US government, the government has tended to favour new aircraft parts, said John Holmes, AAR’s president and CEO. However, the new law requires the USAF and USN to “implement processes and procedures” for buying used parts, and AAR believes it is well-positioned to furnish such items.
“We think this could be the starting point of [a] meaningful opportunity for AAR,” Holmes told analysts on 20 December. “How much and how long, I think, is a question, but we’re really encouraged by the fact that that language is now part of the NDAA.” (Source: Janes)
REST OF THE WORLD
03 Jan 23. In Abrupt U-Turn, Colombia Cancels Fighter Purchase At Last Minute. Less than two weeks after saying it would buy a new fighter to replace its elderly IAI Kfir fighters, the Colombian government announced on Monday that it was forced to postpone the deal because the funds earmarked for the initial deal expired on Dec. 31. Abruptly reversing its position in less than two weeks, the Colombian government on Jan. 02 announced that it was indefinitely postponing the replacement of its Kfir combat aircraft, just days after having announced on Dec. 22 that it had selected the Dassault Aviation Rafale for the contract. The decision to postpone the contract was taken because the legal authorization to spend $650m to pay for the first 3-4 aircraft expired on Dec. 31, Colombian President Gustavo Petro said in a post on his twitter account. The total purchase, of 16 aircraft, would have cost 15 bn pesos (approx. $3.2bn), Petro had stated in a Dec. 22 post. (“To clarify for public opinion, the Conpes that the defense minister is talking about for the purchase of airplanes for almost $650m dollars was signed by the previous government. It lost its legal force this December 31.”)
Earlier on Jan. 02, Defense Minister Ivan Velasquez told W Radio that the government had asked the bidders to submit new offers, based on a new delivery schedule, but they were unable to do so before the funding expired on Dec. 31.
However, no agreement could be finalized with the companies that were competing to supply fighters to replace Colombia’s Kfir fighters, who will be retired as their service life ends this year. Two companies had been shortlisted, Sweden’s Saab with the Gripen, and France’s Dassault Aviation Rafale, which was selected as the preferred bid.
We reported Colombia’s selection of the Rafale on Dec. 28.
The reversal appears to be due to mismanagement of budget regulations, as the Conpes (authorization) n° 4078, which according to Velazquez allocated $678m for this purchase, expired on December 31 as no contract had been signed by then.
The Minister of Defense has said that the issue of the planes must be addressed in the Council of Ministers to define whether a new Conpes will be made, adding that for now he could not anticipate how long this would take.
(The (French) Rafale aircraft proposal is one of the best in price, efficiency and operability and its flight hour cost is 30% cheaper than that of a Kfir, said this statement by the Colombian Presidency.)
Although no new schedule has been released, the replacement of Colombia’s Israeli-made Kfir fighters is an urgent one, as they will be retired this year after 30 in service and an average age of 43 years, having been initially produced by IAI for the Israeli Air Force.
A Dec. 22 post on the Colombian Presidency’s Twitter account said the Kfir fleet’s “operation and maintenance is expensive and can be risky. Colombia is today practically the only operator of the Kfir platform. That means that no aircraft or spare parts are produced, that is, it is an unsustainable capability,” adding that their replacement was necessary, since a further upgrade was not a viable alternative.
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