UNITED KINGDOM AND NATO
19 Jan 23. Missile defence agreement with British industry updated.
A Ministry of Defence agreement with British industry has been refreshed to formalise important work taking place regarding missile defence.
The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) is being updated to formally recognise Fluid Gravity Engineering Ltd and Airbus Defence and Space Ltd as industry partners to the UK Missile Defence Centre (MDC).
The MDC was established in 2003 as a government-industry partnership to deliver science and technology research across all areas of Ballistic Missile Defence (BMD). More recently, their remit has expanded to include advanced missile threats, including hypersonics. The unique relationship enshrined in the MOU enables the MDC to respond rapidly to technology and geopolitical developments, with clear benefits for MOD and UK industry.
The partnership supports closer working relations and open communication between and within MOD and industry to enhance planning, increase understanding of threats and defensive architectures, and develop defensive technologies for the UK and our allies.
MOD Chief Scientific Adviser, Professor Dame Angela McLean, said:
These organisations bring unique expertise to the table, helping strengthen the UK’s missile defence supplier base at a time when threats are developing more rapidly than ever.
The new partners will ensure the MDC remains at the cutting-edge of missile defence science and technology as it seeks to deliver robust capability options for our Armed Forces.
This agreement is intended to promote and support interaction between the MOD and industry organisations to ensure the MDC is the centre of excellence for missile defence within the UK. By drawing upon the most relevant expertise, the MOD will further enhance its understanding of missile defence and be well-positioned to support current or future procurement programmes.
The activities of the MDC, supported by an underpinning research programme, ensure the provision of evidence to decision makers, collaboration on projects of mutual interest with international partners, and sustainment of elements of national expertise.(Source: https://www.gov.uk/)
19 Jan 23. A £1.6bn contract has been awarded to Team Resolute to manufacture the vessels providing munitions, stores and provisions to the Royal Navy’s aircraft carriers, destroyers and frigates. Creating 1,200 UK shipyard jobs, hundreds of graduate and apprentice opportunities, and an expected 800 further jobs across the UK supply chain, Team Resolute, comprising BMT, Harland & Wolff and Navantia UK, will deliver three Fleet Solid Support ships for the Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA). Set to invest around £100m into UK shipyards, including £77m of infrastructure at Harland & Wolff’s Belfast and Appledore shipyards, and a further £21m in skills and technology transfer from Navantia UK, Harland & Wolff will create one of the most advanced shipyards in the UK – significant for future export and domestic shipbuilding. With around 900 jobs alone to be created at Harland & Wolff’s Belfast site, the contract is a welcome boost for Northern Ireland, bringing naval shipbuilding back to Belfast.
The Prime Minister visited Harland & Wolff last month, following the announcement that Team Resolute had won the competition for the future support ships in November.
Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said: “This contract is a significant boost to the UK’s historic shipbuilding industry, balancing shipbuilding across the Union. Creating jobs and prosperity, Team Resolute is bringing shipbuilding back to Belfast, developing a modern, resilient and thriving shipbuilding industry that will support naval and commercial shipbuilding into the future.”
Expanding and enhancing Harland & Wolff’s shipbuilding facilities, the FSS fleet will be the first ships built by Harland & Wolff in Belfast since MV Anvil Point was launched in 2002.
Strengthening shipbuilding in England and Northern Ireland, this contract will complement existing Type 26 and Type 31 frigate construction contracts in Scotland, bolstering the UK’s shipbuilding capabilities.
The majority of the blocks and modules for the ships will be constructed at Harland & Wolff’s facilities in Belfast and Appledore, following the entirely British crafted design by the Bath-based company BMT. Build work will also take place at Navantia’s shipyard in Cadiz in Spain, with the final assembly for all three 216-metre-long vessels – each the length of two Premier League football pitches – to be completed at Harland & Wolff’s Belfast yard.
On behalf of Team Resolute, Group CEO of Harland & Wolff, John Wood, said: “This programme will bring £77 m of investment into the Harland & Wolff shipyards and create around 1,200 Harland & Wolff shipyard jobs, spring boarding Harland & Wolff back into the naval shipbuilding sphere and significantly enhancing our export opportunities for the future. This is the last chance to capture the excellent shipbuilding skills that remain in Belfast and Appledore before they are lost and pass them on to the next generation of UK shipbuilders. UK Government has seized this opportunity and in doing so ensured the long-term survival of our shipyards and significantly bolstered sovereign shipbuilding capability.”
Aiming to deliver 200 further education opportunities on graduate placements and apprentice programmes, the contract will build on the Prime Minister’s commitment to grow the economy by supporting thousands more supply chain jobs across the UK. Harland & Wolff’s welding academy is set to train 300 new UK welders during the contract, with 120 highly-skilled jobs supported at BMT.
Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Chris Heaton-Harris said: “The award of this major UK Government contract is fantastic news for Northern Ireland and the UK shipbuilding industry. Harland and Wolff is iconic worldwide for its shipbuilding history, and the creation of hundreds of jobs through this contract as well as training opportunities will ensure that Belfast remains a key player in the shipbuilding industry of the future.”
Delivering on ambitions to bolster UK shipbuilding as laid out in the National Shipbuilding Strategy Refresh, the contract aims to deliver significant capital investment in the UK while providing ships which are essential to the Carrier-led Maritime Strike Group.
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, and develop the domestic supply chain and workforce while improving the industry’s environmental sustainability.
Unite Union Representative, Joe Passmore, said: “This is an historic moment for shipbuilding in Belfast. We campaigned for Harland & Wolff with a view to bringing new infrastructure and knowledge into our shipyards, and FSS will create jobs, skills and opportunities for young people in Northern Ireland. We continue to wrestle with a capacity shortage in shipyards and we believe that by unlocking the full potential in Belfast, we can help to secure a bright future for shipbuilding in the UK.”
Production is due to start in 2025, with recapitalisation and yard improvements starting immediately. All three support ships are expected to be operational by 2032. (Source: https://www.gov.uk/)
18 Jan 23. DASA seeks deployable anti-submarine warfare technologies.
DASA is seeking systems and technologies relevant to uncrewed, persistent, deployable anti-submarine warfare (ASW) capability, to provide surveillance of underwater hostiles.
- DASA has launched a new Market Exploration: Project CHARYBDIS
- Launched on behalf of the Royal Navy
- This Market Exploration is seeking technical solutions to deliver persistent, deployable uncrewed maritime assets
- The deadline to submit proposals has extended to midday 3 February 2023
The Defence and Security Accelerator (DASA) is pleased to launch a new Market Exploration as a workstream of Project CHARYBDIS, which seeks systems and technologies that could deliver persistent, deployable uncrewed maritime assets.
This is one workstream of Project CHARYBDIS, which is being delivered by DASA & the Submarine Delivery Agency (SDA) on behalf of the Royal Navy.
This Market Exploration is run on behalf of the Submarine Delivery Agency (SDA), and project CHARYBDIS is part of Navy Command’s ASW Spearhead Programme. In support of this the SDA have commissioned DASA to search for related innovative technologies and sub-systems. The SDA are separately commissioning concept studies from suppliers with expertise in overall integrated ASW systems, which is being advertised through the Defence Sourcing Portal.
If you don’t have a login you can still access this from the homepage:
- on the DSP homepage select ‘View DSP Opportunities’
- select the drop down arrow on ‘Enter Filter’
- select ‘Project Info’
- insert 705492450 into ‘Value’ section
Suppliers are welcome to participate in either or both workstreams.
Do you have an innovative solution? Read the full Market Exploration now and submit your idea.
Exploring underwater security systems and their capabilities
Our Market Exploration aims to identify, prototype, trial and deliver technologies that could support persistent deployable uncrewed capabilities to detect, classify, localise, and report underwater hostiles with a focus on wide areas of ocean.
We are looking for innovations (covering related technologies and systems) that could credibly result in an improvement to uncrewed anti-submarine warfare capability, focusing on the following areas:
- Sensors for underwater hostile threats, or their signature.
E.g. active acoustic, passive acoustic and non-acoustic.
- Platforms including uncrewed seabed, underwater, surface and air.
E.g. Overall structures, mobility options, tethering.
- Analysis including on-board uncrewed platforms, and off-board.
E.g. Data management, structuring and processing.
- Communication including in-water, above-water, through surface and tethered.
E.g. associated software, firmware, hardware and integration (e.g. standards).
- Launch & Recovery solutions across all domains and locations
E.g. Crewed and uncrewed options to deploy and recover systems
- Power sources spanning generation, storage and transfer.
E.g. Renewables and Non-renewables.
- Station-keeping and Propulsion, spanning related platforms
E.g. Tethering, Anchoring, Traditional rotary propulsion, Buoyancy systems, Biomimetics.
- Navigation, including internal and external.
- Data, including collection, processing, storage, management and wiping.
- Maintenance and sustainment options.
- Training, options including relevant simulations.
- Validation, options including test-targets.
This market exploration is currently open. The deadline to submit proposals is midday 3 February 2023.
Submit your innovation
Your innovative solution could help support the Royal Navy in their endeavours to maximise their operational advantage over adversaries. Innovations with a particular focus on leveraging advances in autonomy, and exploring new solutions beyond the current mixture of fixed infrastructure, short-term sonobuoys and high-value crewed platforms, will ensure the Royal Navy maintains their battle-winning edge.
Read the full Market Exploration document and submit your innovative solution.: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/market-exploration-project-charybdis (Source: https://www.gov.uk/)
18 Jan 23. If UK wants to meet new medium helo target, industry needs design details.
“Clearly the longer these negotiations take…. the harder it is for any defense contractor to be able to then say that they’ve got a low-risk solution, [especially] if the end date for delivery doesn’t move,” Adam Clarke, managing director at Leonardo Helicopters UK, told Breaking Defense.
One of the competitors in the UK’s £1 bn ($1.24 bn) New Medium Helicopter procurement warned that the “longer negotiations take” with the Ministry of Defence, the harder it will prove for industry to offer a “low risk solution” and meet the 2025 target for getting the aircraft into service.
Adam Clarke, managing director of Leonardo Helicopters UK, told Breaking Defense that the company is “making investments today” so its AW149 helicopter can be “de-risked” to meet NMH guidelines, but said that there is still no “firm” Request for Proposal date set, despite a scheduled early 2024 contract award and the RAF preparing to retire the Puma rotary fleet in 2025.
“We understand the process to be gone through, but the actual dates for certain events within that are not clearly defined at the moment,” said Clarke.
The tight timeframe puts pressure on industry, with all of the different work to be done before an operational capability can be considered, he suggested.
“It’s not just about manufacturing, you’ve got to have a design and development capability in the UK, because you’ll have to work through modifications by integrating electronic suites, then assembly and test, followed by certification,” said Clarke. “There’s a huge amount of people upskilling that’s required, if we’re going to be able to say legitimately that this is a low-risk solution ready to be introduced into service. Clearly the longer these negotiations take… the harder it is for any defense contractor to be able to then say that they’ve got a low-risk solution, [especially] if the end date for delivery doesn’t move.”
Leonardo, Airbus, Boeing and Lockheed Martin were all down selected to take part in the “second half” of the NMH program following assessment by the MoD of an initial dynamic prequalification questionnaire (DPQQ) phase in October 2022.
In a Jan. 16 written statement to parliament, Alex Chalk, UK minister for defense procurement, confirmed that the “second half” of NMH is “anticipated to be launched later this year.”
The MoD also intends on publishing “detailed requirements” for the first time when the second half of the program commences. Tender documents stipulate that “over” 10 percent of the evaluation criteria will be covered by social value — a reference to a weighing system to be used requiring competitors to demonstrate national UK content included in their aircraft offers.
NMH was launched to procure up to 44 aircraft to replace the RAF’s Puma HC.2 battlefield helicopters (a fleet made up of 23 platforms) and a number of smaller rotary fleets, like the Bell 212, Bell 412 and AS365 Dauphins.
Leonardo currently manufactures the AW149 multirole helicopter at the company’s Verigate facility in Italy, but has committed to moving the production line to Yeovil, Southwest England, if it receives a NMH production contract. Orders for the rotorcraft have previously been placed by Poland, Egypt and Thailand.
“Through the ITN (Invitations to Negotiate) process we currently have specifications to go through and compare against and move through technical compliance of the [AW149] helicopter,” said Clarke. “I think we are in reasonably good shape there and it [ITN documentation] also addresses manufacturing maturity.” (Source: News Now/Breaking Defense.com)
17 Jan 23. UK defense chief announces jump-start for new field artillery weapons. Britain is accelerating a program to update Army artillery capabilities in response to lessons learned from the conflict in Ukraine.
The move is meant to field a new 155-millimeter howitzer in the British Army’s Mobile Fires Platform program during this decade rather than in the 2030s, Defense Secretary Ben Wallace told lawmakers on Jan. 16. It also involves buying a gap-filler weapon until such time, he said.
Under the existing program schedule a new artillery capability to replace the British AS-90 weapon was scheduled to be available in 2029, with a full operating capability in 2032.
New target dates for the weapon have yet to be made public. And officials here did not say how the government will go about urgently acquiring an interim solution.
The MoD declined to comment beyond repeating Wallace’s comments to Parliament.
Donation of Army’s AS-90 artillery, along with Challenger 2 main battle tanks, are at the center of a new military aid package for Ukraine, described by Wallace as Britain’s biggest donation yet.
Pressure to rethink the timetable for introduction of new artillery capability has been mounting for a while.
Even before Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine land warfare analyst Ben Barry of the International Institute for Strategic Studies produced studies detailing how the British would be heavily outgunned in any fight with the Russian army.
Wallace admitted to the parliamentary Defence Committee last June that a lack of deep-strike artillery was a big problem.
Now the Army is left scrambling to acquire an interim solution until a longer term answer can be found quickly.
“My main concern is 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 kilometers. France and everyone else are in 55 kilometer ranges,” Wallace said.
Swedish, German, French, South Korean defense companies are among those who have previously expressed an interest in the Mobile Fires Platform program once the competition formally gets underway.
The deep-fires update is part of a wider modernization of British artillery and fires assets, including recapitalization of the M270 multiple launch rocket system (MLRS).
At least six of the Royal Artillery-operated M270 systems, similar to HIMARS, have been gifted to Ukraine.
Modern artillery isn’t the only capability in the spotlight this week.
Over the weekend Prime Minister Rishi Sunak formally announced Britain was donating 14 Challenger 2 main battle tanks plus support vehicles to Ukraine.
Wallace went further in his Jan. 16 statement, outlining a substantial program of new weapon deliveries to the Ukrainian military.
The defense secretary also revealed that ministry officials are rethinking whether planned tank force cuts announced in 2021 were still credible.
“Even as we gift Challenger 2 tanks, I shall, at the same time, be reviewing the number of Challenger 3 conversions to consider whether the lessons of Ukraine suggest that we need a larger tank fleet,” Wallace said.
MoD officials told the Defence Committee last week they were “uncomfortable” with some capability gaps and were looking at what they could do to accelerate several programs.
Capability gaps in areas like ground-based air defense, weapon stockpiles, drones, deep fires and logistics were mentioned by the officials.
The British are currently in the early stages of substantially upgrading their Challenger 2 fleet to the Challenger 3 standard via a 2021 deal with Rheinmetall BAE Systems Land.
The integrated review of 2021, though, downgraded the importance of the main battle tank in modern warfare, mandating that the British Challenger 2 fleet would be cut to just 148 vehicles from the present level of 227 – minus the 14 tanks now destined for Ukraine.
The decision sparked controversy with analysts and lawmakers who argued that that such a small number of vehicles meant Britain was effectively giving up on having a viable main battle tank force.
The Challenger 3 upgrade will breath new life into a vehicle that has been neglected by the British in terms of upgrades since it entered service in the late 1990s.
The most visible modification on the Challenger 3 will be the introduction of a 120-millimeter smoothbore gun replacing the Challenger 2′s unique, rifled weapon.
Defense procurement chief Alex Chalk told lawmakers last week that the first 18 Challenger 3s would be handed over by the Rheinmetall/BAE joint venture in 2027. Full operating capability is scheduled for 2030, he said.
Fourteen British main battle tanks for Ukraine by themselves may not change the battlefield balance much, but they send a political signal to allies prevaricating over doing something similar.
Poland and Finland have said they will donate German-built Leopard 2 tanks, but the transfers are subject to the approval of the German government.
Britain’s tanks should not be seen in isolation but as part of a broader Western capability package, according to Wallace.
“The Challengers should be viewed alongside the 50 Bradleys from the United States. Those are effectively the ingredients for a battlegroup with divisional level fires of either AS-90s or other 155mm howitzers. The 14 tanks represent a squadron, and the 50 Bradleys would roughly form an armored infantry battlegroup,” Wallace told lawmakers.
The latest British weapons package bound for Ukraine includes:
- A squadron of Challenger 2 tanks with armored recovery and repair vehicles.
- A battery of eight AS-90 guns at high readiness and two further batteries at varying states of readiness.
- Hundreds of armored and protected vehicles including Bulldog tracked armored personnel carriers.
- A maneuver support package, including minefield breaching and bridging capabilities.
- Dozens of drones to support Ukrainian artillery.
- 100,000 artillery rounds.
- Hundreds of missiles including GMLRS rockets, Starstreak air defense missiles, and medium range air defense missiles.
- An equipment support package of spares to refurbish up to a hundred Ukrainian tanks and infantry fighting vehicles.
(Source: Defense News)
BATTLESPACE Comment: The interim solution is believed to be between a refurbished/upgraded AS90 and a K9A1 which would be upgrade to K2 status. Given the spares problems related to AS90, the later solution may be preferable. The other key to the success of the Hanwa K9 bid is the presentation of key industrial benefits strategy to boost UK presence.
17 Jan 23. The New Medium Helicopter (NMH) programme is an initiative by the British military to acquire a modern medium-lift support helicopter, which will serve as a replacement for several existing aircraft currently in operation by the Royal Air Force and British Army.
It is anticipated that the new helicopter will be fully operational and integrated into service by the mid-2020s.
The Ministry of Defence had previously announced that four manufacturers had been selected to progress to the next phase of the New Medium Helicopter acquisition programme.
Kevan Jones, MP for North Durham, recently asked:
“To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what progress his Department has made on the New Medium Helicopter programme.”
Alex Chalk, Minister of State for the Ministry of Defence, responded: “The New Medium Helicopter (NMH) competition’s Contract Notice and Dynamic Pre-Qualification Questionnaire were released on 18 May 2022. Responses have been evaluated to determine a shortlist of credible suppliers. They will be invited to participate in the second half of the competition, which is anticipated to be launched later this year. Suppliers were notified of the Dynamic Pre Qualification Questionnaire evaluation outcome on 31 October 2022.”
The manufacturers that have been selected are Airbus, Boeing, Leonardo, and Lockheed Martin. The manufacturers that were not selected include Bell and AceHawk Aerospace.
- Airbus Helicopters H175M: Airbus plans to offer a military version of their H175 helicopter, to be called the H175M. It would be made at Airbus’s Broughton facility in Wales.
- Boeing MH-139 Grey Wolf: American company Boeing is offering their MH-139 Grey Wolf for the UK’s New Medium Helicopter (NMH) program. It won a US Air Force competition to replace the Bell UH-1N.
- Leonardo AW149: Italian manufacturer Leonardo plans to offer the AW149 for the NMH program. It would be assembled at a new assembly line at their Yeovil facility in Somerset, England.
- Sikorsky S-70 Black Hawk: Sikorsky believes their latest generation of the S-70M Black Hawk would meet the requirements of the NMH program. They may also work with a partner to assemble the aircraft in their factory in Poland. The Black Hawk is a combat-proven helicopter that has been in service since 1979 and is used by 29 countries worldwide. (Source: News Now/forces.net)
17 Jan 23. £19.4m funding to boost Leicester’s space and satellite industry. Leicester has been awarded £19.4m from the Levelling Up Fund to develop new projects around the city’s Pioneer Park.
The funding will support space and technology businesses by:
- creating new and innovative workspace that will complement the existing Dock workspaces
- developing new opportunities for high-quality production facilities linked to space and satellite technologies
- enhancing the University of Leicester’s Science Park
- transforming the vacant Ian Marlow Centre into much-needed small light industrial units.
A boost for the region
The package of projects will benefit the region by:
- supporting the city’s burgeoning space and satellite technology cluster
- accelerating the expansion of businesses in Leicester
- attracting further investment
- creating new jobs
Leicester University President and Vice-Chancellor, Professor Nishan Canagarajah, welcomed the success. He said:
we are particularly pleased that Pioneer Park has received a significant proportion of the funding. This will be a game-changer for ensuring that we are able to bring the benefits of the space sector to the city.
Leicester City Mayor Peter Soulsby said:
I’m delighted that the city’s bid for funding for the Pioneer Park scheme has been successful. The area is also home to some very forward-thinking, high-end technology and space science businesses, so being able to retain and develop that sector is a key part of the city’s post-Covid economic recovery.
Schemes such as this will help ensure that there are opportunities for skilled employment, meaning we retain skilled workers, develop high-manufacturing facilities and build on our reputation as a place which has much to offer businesses, and with good transport links to the rest of the region.
Find out more about Leicester’s levelling up projects: https://www.leicester.gov.uk/your-council/policies-plans-and-strategies/planning-and-development/levelling-up-projects/
17 Jan 23. Defence industry’s business model transformed by war, says German contractor. Boss of Hensoldt says booming demand means manufacturers can produce weapons and technology without pre-orders. The business model of the defence industry has been transformed by the war in Ukraine and the growing threat of conflict in the world, according to the head of one of Germany’s big contractors in the sector. Arms manufacturers are now producing weapons and equipment without pre-orders because of booming demand, Hensoldt chief executive Thomas Müller told the Financial Times. It means companies can get defence technology and products “almost like in the supermarket”, he added. Many defence contractors would avoid producing arms without pre-orders due to the cost of manufacturing, which often runs into several ms of euros per unit, leading to long waiting lists for advanced equipment. “Usually we had to have firm orders and a down payment on the table. [But] from April, we will be able to deliver one radar per month, even if we don’t know yet to whom,” Müller said, speaking about the company’s ground-based air defence radar TRML-4D. Growing geopolitical instability in recent years has led to several countries such as Germany ramping up military spending.
This was most notable following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February, which prompted investors to flock to companies such as Hensoldt, which specialises in missile-detecting radars. The company also makes the optronics system for the Leopard 2 tank that Germany is under pressure to send to Ukraine. Optronics systems are used for surveillance and navigation. In Germany, the invasion caused a historic shift in the country’s defence policy, which has for decades invoked its second world war legacy as a reason to keep its military lean. German chancellor Olaf Scholz, who visited Hensoldt this week — his first to a defence group as the country’s leader — last year promised to spend €100bn to modernise the military, after years of pressure from Nato allies. Although it is not clear where the money will be invested, Hensoldt is likely to enjoy a jump in orders from the German government, which already makes up roughly 40 per cent of its sales. “We were profiting from rising budgets, even prior to the Ukrainian war. But after the war, we’re seeing a more sustainable growth in the next decade, if not to say the decades to come,” Müller said. “We have so many potential customers in the pipeline, and they are so happy that they can get [air defence radars] almost like in the supermarket,” he added, pointing out that it takes roughly a month to manufacture some of the company’s larger radars. “Other defence contractors are doing the same thing, especially in the ammunition sector, because demand is growing so much.” This demand has lifted shares in defence groups. The stock of Hensoldt, which listed in Frankfurt nearly three years ago, is up nearly 90 per cent since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. (Source: FT.com)
18 Jan 23. Turkey F-16 sale in congressional limbo amid Lockheed backlog.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu met with his U.S. counterpart Antony Blinken in Washington on Wednesday to secure a $20bn arms sale that includes 40 Lockheed Martin Block 70 F-16 fighter jets as well as upgrades to Turkey’s current F-16 fleet.
But the U.S. State Department has yet to formally notify Congress of the potential deal, and a key senator has vowed to block it from proceeding.
If the sale clears Congress, Turkey may still have to wait a good deal of time before it receives the new jets amid an F-16 production backlog.
Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., has repeatedly said he will use his position as chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee to block the sale, and he hasn’t shown signs of backing down.
“I strongly oppose the Biden administration’s proposed sale of new F-16 aircraft to Turkey,” Menendez said in a statement. “President [Recep Tayyip] Erdogan continues to undermine international law, disregard human rights and democratic norms and engage in alarming and destabilizing behavior in Turkey and against neighboring NATO allies.
“Until Erdogan ceases his threats, improves his human rights record at home — including by releasing journalists and political opposition — and begins to act like a trusted ally should, I will not approve this sale.”
But it remains to be seen how quickly F-16 manufacturer Lockheed Martin might be able to build those jets for Turkey.
“We have a significant backlog for F-16s,” Erin Moseley, vice president of strategy and business development for Lockheed Martin Aeronautics, said in a July 2022 interview with Defense News at the Farnborough Airshow in England. Moseley also said international customers were showing a “massive interest” in buying new F-16s.
Lockheed Chief Financial Officer Jay Malave also said in an earnings call last summer that the F-16 backlog was 128 fighters. For instance, Taiwan is also waiting on 66 F-16s, which is an approximately $8bn portion of a broader backlog in overall U.S. arms sales to the Asian nation that now exceeds $14bn.
Malave also said in the earnings call that Lockheed bolstered its F-16 production operations in Greenville, South Carolina, with nearly 50 employees, who moved from another section of the company. Lockheed has built F-16s for foreign customers in South Carolina since 2019, when it moved that production line from Fort Worth, Texas.
Lockheed Martin referred Defense News’ queries to the U.S. government.
F-35s for Greece?
Menendez did praise another major arms sale involving Lockheed Martin: a pending deal for Greece to purchase 20 F-35As. Greece and Turkey continue to lobby the U.S. against the other country receiving fighter jets amid ongoing tension between the two NATO members.
“This defense capability is not only critical for a trusted NATO ally and enduring partner’s efforts to advance security and stability in the Eastern Mediterranean, but also strengthens our two nations’ abilities to defend shared principles including our collective defense, democracy, human rights and the rule of law,” Menendez said of the potential F-35 sale to Greece.
Menendez’s home state of New Jersey boasts the sixth-largest Greek American population in the U.S. and the fourth-largest Armenian American population, making Turkey particularly unpopular among some of his constituents.
The U.S. State Department has yet to issue a formal notification to Congress for the sale to Greece, which also seeks to join the F-35 co-production program.
The U.S. kicked Turkey out of that program in 2019 over Ankara’s purchase of the Russian S-400 missile defense system. The U.S. government had cited concerns over the system’s advanced radar and the possibility its presence in Turkey could allow Russia to spy on F-35 stealth fighters.
Rep. Frank Pallone, D-N.J., a member of the congressional Hellenic Caucus, also issued a statement Wednesday blasting the Biden administration’s proposed F-16 sale to Turkey. He vowed to work with Menendez to block the deal from proceeding.
More specifically, he singled out Erdoğan’s “vitriolic rhetoric advocating for the invasion of Greek and Cypriot sovereign territory and encouraged illegal overflights by Turkish jets.” He also accused the Turkish president of holding “hostage the Finnish and Swedish applications to join NATO until his absurd and unrelated demands are met.”
The State Department is in talks with Congress over the potential F-16 sale, but department spokesman Ned Price declined to disclose the Biden administration’s private conversations with lawmakers. However, Price pointed to the overwhelming support on Capitol Hill for Finland and Sweden joining NATO — an accession bid that Erdoğan has stalled as he seeks the extradition of political dissidents that Turkey labels as terrorists, including several Kurds.
“Our partners on the Hill, at least several of them, have made no secret about their opposition to this,” Price told Defense News at a State Department press conference Wednesday in response to a question on the F-16 sale. “We encourage Turkey, Finland [and] Sweden to find a way to achieve what we would all like to see, and that is the quick accession of Finland and Sweden as NATO’s newest allies. There is strong support within the alliance … there is strong support within the U.S. Congress for Finland and Sweden to become NATO’s newest members.”
Further complicating matters is the fact that the Turkish government has repeatedly threatened to launch another large-scale offensive against U.S.-backed forces in northeastern Syria ahead of the Turkish presidential elections in May.
The Kurdish-dominated Syrian Democratic Council lobbied the Biden administration and Congress last year against selling fighter jets to Turkey, pointing out that Ankara has used F-16s to target civilian infrastructure in northeast Syria. (Source: Defense News)
16 Jan 23. EDA launches project to enhance automatic targeting technology. The initial phase of the €2m ATRIT project will be executed by a Rheinmetall-led consortium. The European Defence Agency (EDA) has launched a new project to enhance the automatic target/threat recognition, identification, and targeting for land systems (ATRIT).
Launched on 13 January, the project is valued at approximately €2m and has a performance period of 18 months.
This ATRIT effort is being managed by the EDA as a ‘Category-B project’, and co-funded by member nations and other participants interested in joining the project.
The programme aims to address future requirements of European militaries to equip their soldiers with more technologically effective platforms and weapon systems.
The project’s initial phase is being led by Germany and will involve the participation of other member nations including Greece, Norway, France, Poland, and the Netherlands.
This phase will be executed by a consortium led by German company Rheinmetall.
Other multi-nation companies in the consortium include France’s Safran and Thales, Germany’s Industrieanlagen-Betriebsgesellschaft (IABG), Greece’s Integrated Systems Development (ISD), Polish company PCO, the Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research (TNO) and Thales’ Dutch subsidiary, and Norway’s Rheinmetall.
Under this phase, the companies will work on the design system architecture and determine associated requirements to develop a cross-platform capacity for allocating military targets on the basis of their behaviour.
According to the EDA, ATRIT analysis will depend on different modules such as the integration of fused sensor information, target allocation, 360° situation awareness, human behaviour, and the presentation of fused data, including command, control, communications, computers, and intelligence (C4I) data, historical and real-time sensor data.
In the second step, the EDA aims to develop a physical demonstrator and test it in an operationally relevant environment.
The new platform is expected to feature enhanced software, better automatic target identification, and the capacity to fuse different sensor data to simplify it for use by warfighters. (Source: army-technology.com)
13 Jan 23. France Awards Maritime Patrol Aircraft Study Contracts to Airbus, Dassault. France’s defense procurement agency, the DGA, announced on January 12 the earlier awarding on December 22 of a pair of 18-month, €10.9 m ($11.8 m) contracts for the study of maritime patrol aircraft variants to Airbus and Dassault. The aim is to examine replacement options for the French Navy’s current fleet of 22 1990s-vintage Atlantique ATL2 maritime patrol aircraft operated from the Lann-Bihoue naval air base. A total of 18 units from this fleet are being upgraded to Standard 6 configuration thereby enabling the fleet to remain in service through 2032. The variants being examined involve the Airbus A320neo and Dassault’s Falcon 10X platforms. The contract calls for each aerospace manufacturer to provide an economically attractive solution to the French Navy’s operational needs post-2030. The future maritime patrol system – or “Patmar” as it is referred to by the DGA – is expected to replace the Atlantiques in the 2030s and, if the studies are deemed satisfactory, will result in a procurement program being launched in 2026. (Source: Google/https://dsm.forecastinternational.com/)
13 Jan 23. Pivoting to multi-vendor approach, Army eyes data platform awards in late 2023. Army Under Secretary Gabe Camarillo told reporters the service plans to award contracts for the Vantage re-compete towards the end of this year.
The Army this year is planning to award multiple vendors a spot on its largest data analytics platform used across the entire service enterprise, a break from the single-vendor approach the service has used in the past and an attempt to be more IT agile.
Army Undersecretary Gabe Camarillo said on Thursday at the AFCEA Army IT Day that the service is “currently working through” a request for information and draft requirements for the re-compete of the decision-making platform, called Vantage.
“First, continued progress on the data products and support for soldiers,” Camarillo said of his priorities this year. “You know, we’re not taking a step back in any way on our push for unlocking our data and data-driven decision making. We’re going to pursue a multi-vendor approach that allows for best-in-breed industry approaches, and allows us to tailor the products for the specific use cases.
“And I think this is really important… [there will be] a new governance process to ensure that we allow both bottom-up, as I said, use cases to flow up, but also top-down direction on some of the most critical strategic priorities across the Army that allows us to make sure that we balance the need for direction on what priorities are the most relevant to also supporting local innovation in terms of unlocking data,” he added. “So this is going to be our approach.”
Vantage is a cloud-based platform used across the enterprise to help users make decisions by “joining and enriching ms of data points into Artificial Intelligence (AI)/Machine Learning (ML) capable applications” and has the authority to operate on both unclassified and classified Army networks, according to the service. The platform has been powered by Palantir’s software since December 2019, when the Army awarded the company a production agreement worth up to $458 m, according to a Palantir press release.
Following his remarks, Camarillo noted specific use cases for Vantage, including “unliquidated obligations in our audit efforts” and helping with logistics and supply chain issues.
“So it is, you know, the part of the work that involves developing a data platform, working with the specific Army users to ingest unstructured and structured data that’s in legacy systems into a new visualization platform, and then developing it in a way that can work,” Camarillo said. “That’s what Vantage does.”
He added that the service plans to make awards for Vantage toward the end of this calendar year. According to the RFI, a contract award is currently planned for the second quarter of fiscal year 2024.
Meanwhile, Camarillo told reporters that after two of the Army’s top modernization officials have left their roles, it’s not going to “slow us down in terms of our efforts to make sure that we digitally transform the Army.” The service is searching for replacements for Paul Puckett, the Army’s cloud executive, and Raj Iyer, the service’s first chief information officer.
“So no, there’s no concern, no issue,” he said. “We’ll work through the deliberate process to find the right replacements and in the meantime we just want to make sure that A: we’re not losing momentum and B: we want to continue to thank both of those great leaders for their support.”
(Source: Breaking Defense.com)
15 Jan 23. NASA seeks industry partner to commercialise, market its UTM concept. NASA’s Technology Transfer Program has issued a tender to solicit inquiries from companies interested in obtaining license rights to commercialize, manufacture and market the NASA-developed traffic management system for Unmanned Aerial Systems (UASs).
According to a post on the US government tender portal SAM.gov:
“This novel technology enables the growth in civilian applications of UAS operations at lower altitudes by developing a UAS Traffic Management (UTM) system. There are a number of applications of UAS which includes goods and services delivery in urban, difficult terrain and rural areas, imaging and surveillance for agricultural, and utility management. To enable significant commercial use of UASs within lower altitude airspace and airspace that does not interfere with regular National Airspace System (NAS) operations, a UTM system is required. UTM is essential to enable accelerated applications of UASs. UTM will accommodate and support all types of UAS operations ranging from disposable with minimalistic avionics capabilities to highly capable UASs.
“To express interest in this opportunity, please submit a license application through NASA’s Automated Technology Licensing Application System (ATLAS) by visiting https://technology.nasa.gov/patent/TOP2-237
“If you have any questions, please e-mail NASA’s Technology Transfer Program at with the title of this Technology Transfer Opportunity as listed in this SAM.gov notice and your preferred contact information. For more information about licensing other NASA-developed technologies, please visit the NASA Technology Transfer Portal at https://technology.nasa.gov/
For more information: https://sam.gov/opp/d39dd647471448acbadc78562401b230/view (Source: www.unmannedairspace.info)
12 Jan 23. US government calls for C-UAS information to support mitigation of drone threats. The Department of Homeland Security is looking to learn more about the availability of counter-unmanned aircraft systems—or C-UAS—according to a request for information filed on 10 January 2023.
DHS requested industry information on the availability of C-UAS to “include the capability to detect, identify, classify, track and/or mitigate these threats.” The agency is looking for fixed-site and “rapidly deployable, mobile and single person-portable employment modes to provide situational awareness and mitigation capabilities for personnel in the field.”
The agency noted that such capabilities are necessary to address existing and future threats and gaps with UAS, and requested that products mentioned in the responses would have a technology readiness level and a manufacturing readiness level of at least six.
According to the RFI, desired capabilities will align with the agency’s mission and strategic goal of countering terrorism and homeland security threats. For example, related objectives include: collecting, analyzing and sharing actionable intelligence; detecting and disrupting threats; protecting designated leadership, events and soft targets; and countering weapons of mass destruction and emerging threats.
Specifically, DHS asked respondents to detail prediction, detection, identification, classification, tracking and response capabilities. This includes the ability for the C-UAS to: receive flight information intelligence and other historical information; find an unmanned airborne object within a defined time and volume of airspace in all weather circumstances all year long; pinpoint a detected Track of Interest with a unique identifier and aircraft characteristics; decide the level of threat, risk or intent of a detected ToI; continuously follow the movements of a ToI from detection to response; and use necessary resources to address a possible attack, according to the RFI.
Additionally, each C-UAS will be responsible for a specific coverage area, and the number of these deployed in each area will vary depending on need and availability. When a C-UAS is deployed, it will provide the operator with the aforementioned information.
DHS is looking for scalable, adaptable and flexible C-UAS configurations and C-UAS equipment—both hardware and software—that can be “easily operated by non-experts who have had minimal training.”
Responses are due via email to the contracting officer by Feb. 7 at 5pm ET. DHS will use responses for procurement planning purposes for a potential future award. Some vendors may be asked to perform a product demonstration.
Department of Homeland Security
NAICS Code: 541330 Engineering Services
For more information visit: www.nextgov.com;www.sam.gov
15 Jan 23. USN re-issues RFI to industry for C-UAS systems to protect US Marine bases. The US Navy Department’s Program Executive Officer Land Systems (PEO LS), Program Manager, Ground Based Air Defense (PM GBAD) is looking for interested parties to address the United States Marine Corps’ (USMC) force protection installation security capability gap for the detection, identification, tracking, and defeat of small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (sUAS) operating within the vicinity of specific missions sets associated with USC Title 10, Section 130i. This original request for information (RFI) ( M67854-23-I-0001)was published on November 15, 2022 with a deadline of January 13. This new RFO was announced on January 11 2023 with a deadline of March 10, 2023.
According to the tender document:
“The purpose of this RFI is to seek potential solutions and feedback from industry and gather information on candidate non-developmental systems that are currently available to support a potential acquisition under the I-CsUAS program. The USMC (Government) wants to assess industry’s ability to provide and sustain a materiel solution within an accelerated acquisition schedule at an affordable cost, and to determine the technical and manufacturing maturity of candidate systems that provide capabilities desired for I-CsUAS as described in paragraph 3. This RFI constitutes market research in accordance with FAR Part 10 and is not an RFP. USMC is issuing this RFI, in support of PEO LS, to determine if any potential sources in industry have the capability to provide the support described herein.
“The Government is particularly interested in Industry recommendations and feedback to improve contract requirements, contract structure and type, performance metrics and incentives.
“Respondents who are interested are requested to provide the information that identifies their capability to meet or exceed technical and support requirements described herein:
- System must provide the entire kill chain (detect, track, identify and defeat) against Group 1 and 2 sUAS threats. The defeat aspect of the kill chain; however, will be via non-kinetic means.
A ‘non-kinetic’ defeat is defined as an electromagnetic, acoustic, or other signature disruption of an sUAS’ flight path short of using a kinetic defeat capability (such as drone-on-drone intercept, laser, or direct fire munition).
The system will be deployed on 20 Marine Corps installations within the Continental United States (CONUS) and 13 Marine Corps installations outside the Continental United States (OCONUS).
“Minimum system requirements: 24/7 detection in day/night, all-weather with multi-modal active and passive sensor payloads fusing all sensor data into a single operator view. It must have the ability to passively detect radio frequency (RF) signals associated with sUAS and defeat them. Also requires real time, automated object detection and identification to be able to autonomously detect, identify, classify, and track objects of interest (provide current and estimated minimum and maximum ranges).
“User interface technology is required to reduce operator workload. The user interface should allow the operator to respond or ignore based on the threat, rules of engagement, etc. The system must alert operators via notification on a user interface (computer or mobile device).
“How many objects can your system identify and track at one time? Are there any future plans to add additional capabilities to track more than currently stated? If there are future plans what is the anticipated timeline?
“After initial detection, how long does it take for the system to notify the user? How long after the detection does the system take to identify and classify a UAS?
“The capability will operate as part of layered defense solution and must integrate multiple sensors and fuse the data into a single, secure, operator view display. The system and the information that is processed by the system, shall be protected through the implementation of Committee on National Security Systems (CNSS) security controls.
“The system should have the ability to apply sensor fusion, Machine Learning (ML), and Artificial Intelligence (AI). The system should facilitate end-to-end sensoring including target handoff and track fusions. The Government differentiates and recognizes the definitional differences between sensor correlation and sensor fusion.
- The system must be modular and scalable (different sensors, etc.) to be able to provide an optimal system package for a given mission set at CONUS and OCONUS locations, based on Government provided intelligence, operator inputs, site surveys and vendors expertise of various available sensors. Provide pictures or drawings of the various system configurations.
“ What is your system’s anticipated/demonstrated rate of false positive identifications (alerting the user to a Group 1/2 UAS when the object in question is not a Group 1/2 UAS), and what is its anticipated/demonstrated false negative rate (a Group 1/2 UAS is operating within the system’s detection capabilities, but the user is not alerted)?
For more information: https://sam.gov/opp/c33f51666cc3473991ec58a55a05e431/view
REST OF THE WORLD
18 Jan 23. UAE joins South Korea’s military transport aircraft program.
South Korea and the United Arab Emirates have signed two memorandums of understanding to improve bilateral defense ties, during a visit by the South Korean president to the Gulf kingdom.
South Korea’s Defense Acquisition Program Administration and the UAE’s Tawazun Council inked the agreements Jan. 15 in the presence of President Yoon Suk Yeol and his Emirati counterpart Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
The Tawazun Council serves as the acquisition authority for the Emirati military and the Abu Dhabi Police.
The first memorandum called for both countries to continue efforts in joint investment, research and technological development to further develop bilateral cooperation in the arms industry, according to a DAPA news release.
The second memorandum would see the UAE join a South Korean development program for the next generation of multimission cargo aircraft. Specific signatories included Tareq Al Hosani, secretary general of the Tawazun Council, and Kang Goo-young, CEO of Korea Aerospace Industries.
KAI unveiled the concept aircraft, known as MC-X, last year. The company aims to develop a next-generation multirole transport aircraft that is positioned to bridge the size and capability gap between the Lockheed Martin C-130J Super Hercules and the Airbus A400M.
KAI expects the MC-X to have a maximum takeoff weight of 92 tons and an internal cargo capacity of 30 ton. Preliminary specifications released by the company during the DX Korea exhibition in 2022 show the platform will likely be a twin-engine aircraft with a range of about 4,350 miles, measuring 131 feet long, 44.3 feet tall and 135 feet in wingspan.
South Korea’s growing defense industry has previously had success in the UAE, having secured the sale of Cheongung II KM-SAM medium-range surface-to-air missile system to the country in early 2022.
That contract, worth $3.5 bn, will also see LIG Nex1 perform system integration, Hanwha Systems provide a multifunctional radar, and Hanwha Defense develop the missile’s vertical launcher as well as its ammunition resupply vehicles.
(Source: Defense News)
17 Jan 23. Australia to spend $2bn on 40 U.S. Black Hawk choppers.
The Lockheed Martin Corp (LMT.N) UH-60M Black Hawks will replace the Army’s fleet of MRH-90 Taipan choppers, which have been plagued for years by maintenance issues. Delivery of the new helicopters will begin this year.
“We’ve just not got the flying hours out of the Taipan that we would need,” Defence Minister Richard Marles told ABC news on Wednesday. “We’re confident that we can get that from the Black Hawks. It’s a platform we’re familiar with.”
Australia has been boosting its defense spending over the past few years as China looks to step up its presence in the Indo-Pacific region.
A 2021 decision to ditch French-made submarines for nuclear submarines to be built by the United States and Britain sparked a bitter diplomatic dispute with France.
Marles said he had spoken with his French counterpart several times and was confident the U.S. helicopter deal “won’t interrupt” the renewed relationship with France. The Taipans are made by Airbus (AIR.PA), partly owned by France.
Australian industry will be involved in logistics, warehousing, engineering as well as the helicopter’s global supply chain, said the Defence Department in a statement. ($1 = 1.4316 Australian dollars) (Source: Reuters)
16 Jan 23. Applications open for NSW Quantum Computing Commercialisation Fund. The NSW Quantum Computing Commercialisation Fund (QCCF) has opened for applications. This $7m, single round, competitive technology development and commercialisation program is focused on quantum computing and funded by the NSW Government through its Future Economy Fund’s Commercialisation Pathways Program.
Applications close on 2 February
Grants of between $200,000 to $4m are available for projects that progress quantum computing hardware and/or software towards commercialisation within NSW.
Funding can be used for:
- prototyping and piloting studies
- manufacturing and/or scaling
- conducting market and product assessments
- salaries and access to external expertise that is directly related to delivery of the project
- commercialisation strategies and commercial feasibility studies
- specialist equipment and/or infrastructure necessary to progress the project
- intellectual property protection or advice
The QCCF targets innovative quantum computing hardware and/or software within Technology Readiness Levels (TRL) 3 – 7 and aims to support them to move up the TRL scale, commercialise their idea and enable them to attract large-scale private investment.
The NSW Government has strategically invested in a number of initiatives to support the formation of a global quantum ecosystem in NSW, showing thought leadership for the sector including investment in research, infrastructure and skills development.
NSW possesses the full complement of quantum computing capabilities, from theory and software to hardware, and is home to one of the largest cohorts of quantum talent internationally.
Quantum computing has been identified under both the NSW 20-Year R&D Roadmap and NSW Industry Development Framework as a high-value sector where NSW has a competitive advantage.
Announced in the 2022/23 NSW State Budget, the Future Economy Fund aims to support innovation and business development in emerging, high-value sectors where NSW has a competitive advantage.
Guidelines and eligibility criteria
Quantum Computing Commercialisation Fund Guidelines
Quantum Computing Commercialisation Fund Online Application Form: https://chiefscientist.smartygrants.com.au/QCCF_NSW (Source: Rumour Control)
16 Jan 23. Singapore Defence Innovation Challenge 2022 open for applications. Organised by Singapore’s Ministry of Defence (MINDEF) and Enterprise Singapore, the Defence Innovation Challenge 2022 supports Singapore’s growth as a hub for the global innovation ecosystem and offers product innovation and commercialisation opportunities to innovative solution providers.
Applications close 31 January – see the Challenge Statements and application form here.
MINDEF and the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) are harnessing new technologies and looking for new solutions to enhance organisational effectiveness and create a safer and smarter working environment, through wide-ranging challenge statements. We invite startups and SMEs with cutting-edge technologies to showcase their capabilities and contribute to the growth of dual-use innovation applicable to both defence and commercial spheres.
Innovation opportunities cover dual-use technologies such as artificial intelligence and robotics, which can be applied and scaled to commercial industries such as construction, real estate and commercial aerospace sectors.
This is your opportunity to work with Singapore’s Ministry of Defence to co-develop, test and refine your solution. A fully-funded pilot opportunity is up for grabs!
Applications close 31 January – see the Challenge Statements and application form here: https://defence.innovation-challenge.sg/?utm_source=openinnovationnetwork.sg&utm_medium=referral
16 Jan 23. Purchase of new planes to replace 50-year Twin Otter military aircraft now on hold.
A project to replace the 50-year-old Canadian military aircraft used in the Arctic is on hold despite the Liberal government’s claim it is committed to improving northern defences. Instead of purchasing new planes, the government is now looking at further extending the life of the four-aircraft fleet, first purchased in 1971.
Bottom of Form
“We are also conducting an evaluation of the fleet’s Estimated Life Expectancy in order to determine what additional work would be required,” National Defence noted in a statement Monday to this newspaper.
“The Twin Otter remains a robust, versatile aircraft that continues to serve the RCAF exceptionally well in the conduct of Northern Operations.”
The acquisition process for the new planes was supposed to start next year with the delivery of the first aircraft in 2027.
The Liberal government committed to replacing the Twin Otters in its 2017 defence policy, Strong, Secure, Engaged, which focused in part on the Arctic. In June, the Liberals announced plans to invest in continental security, again with an emphasis on protecting the north. The Liberal government promised to spend more than $40 bn over the next 20 years. (Source: News Now/https://ottawacitizen.com/)
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