UNITED KINGDOM AND NATO
08 Mar 23. DASA funding helps Northern Ireland SME deliver personnel and accounting technology to the Royal Navy’s aircraft carriers.
Accelerated by DASA: Kinsetsu’s PAS Technology has been procured by the Royal Navy to improve personnel safety and security on both Queen Elizabeth Class Aircraft Carriers.
- Northern Ireland-based SME, Kinsetsu, has developed a resilient and scalable platform to accurately account for and locate personnel on Royal Navy ships, providing immediate insight of all souls on board, as well as visitors to ships.
- Funded through the DASA Themed Competition, Get the Ship in Shape, Kinsetsu’s innovation has been procured by the Royal Navy for use on board HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince of Wales.
- Kinsetsu had not previously worked with defence, but their DASA journey helped them realise the defence potential of their personnel accounting and locating innovation, and they now have a thriving defence-centric business.
Getting the Ship in Shape
Royal Navy vessels are highly complex and operate in extremely hazardous environments, with crews that can number into the thousands. However, navies around the world, including the Royal Navy, use a simple manual peg in/out board to record the number of people on board a ship. This system lacks digitalisation, which makes it difficult to efficiently locate and track personnel and visitors on larger vessels, such as the Queen Elizabeth Class Aircraft Carriers.
To ensure the safety of the crew, as well as visitors, a modern and reliable personnel accounting system (PAS) solution is vital to gain visibility of all souls on board a ship. In 2019 The Royal Navy and DASA launched the Get the Ship in Shape Competition to improve the accounting of personnel on board Queen Elizabeth Class vessels.
Introducing Kinsetsu: Intelligent tracking and location solutions provider
Female founded, Belfast-based SME, Kinsetsu, has developed a platform to accurately account for and locate personnel, providing a live view of all souls on board, as well as visitors.
Kinsetsu had enjoyed success providing accounting and locating technologies to the NHS, Government and Commercial sectors, but had never considered the defence potential of their technology. This was until DASA published the Get the Ship in Shape Competition, which helped them realise how the work they were already doing in NHS, Government and Commercial sectors could help drive safety within defence. The PAS solution was born.
Their innovation comprises a network of ruggedized deckhead and bulkhead-mounted terminals, placed at ingress and egress locations and high-traffic areas throughout a ship. The ship’s crew use their ID card at a terminal when they enter or leave the ship. Visitors are provided with a visitor card to capture arrival and departure, providing traceability of their visit.
Procured by the Royal Navy
Kinsetsu successfully submitted their idea to DASA’s themed competition, Get the Ship in Shape, where the innovation was initially trialled on HMS Bristol, and later both Queen Elizabeth class aircraft carriers, HMS Prince of Wales and HMS Queen Elizabeth. Kinsetsu’s innovation was up to the challenge, representing huge efficiency gains compared to the pegboard system, and was able to accurately account for personnel on both ships, which comprise crews of up to 1700 working across 8000 internal compartments.
As a result of the DASA trials, the innovation has now been procured by the Royal Navy for use on both aircraft carriers.
Lieutenant Will Thomas Capital Ships Weapon Engineer in the Royal Navy and project sponsor, said: “The PAS project has exceeded expectations; this capability is now providing positive evidence that technology can reduce the Risk to Life of Souls on Board and it was used as the primary accounting method on HMS Queen Elizabeth for her global deployment in 2021. To achieve this success on a strategic defence platform in a highly demanding environment is remarkable for any project; to get this far from a tech demonstration project so quickly is > unheard of and has been the result of solid collaboration across defence organisations and suppliers.”
Kinsetsu’s PAS solution helps defence in several ways:
- Ease of use: Similar to a train station ticket gate, uses simply use their ID card at a deckhead or bulkhead terminal and their location, entry and exit data is recorded
- Safety: The system has significantly reduced the time to muster in the event of an incident, improving safety for all who serve on these huge vessels
- Flexibility: Personnel and visitors can enter the ship at any point where a terminal is located, rather than a singular gangway with a pegboard
- Automatic updates: The solution enables historic reports of personnel movements, as well as automatic updates
- Multiple security case uses: This technology has multiple security uses such as for energy and nuclear sites, prisons, hospitals and blue light services
How DASA helped Kinsetsu build their defence business
DASA funding has had a transformative impact on Kinsetsu. At the time of submitting their first innovation to DASA, Kinsetsu was entirely focused on non-defence work and had 5 full-time employees, which has now risen to 25. Engaging with DASA provided a front door to defence, helping Kinsetsu build relationships with large defence suppliers, creating new revenue streams. The SME has tripled its turnover since starting their defence journey with DASA.
Co-founder Jackie Crooks said: “DASA has been invaluable in raising our profile and enabling access to the defence and security sector, which we could never have achieved on our own. Their collaborative approach, pairing us with subject matter experts from the Defence Science & Technology Laboratory (DSTL) and the Royal Navy, informed our deployment of the solution within the defence operating environment. PAS was delivered in three phases, each robustly and rigorously tested at scale, before being adopted as a production system by the Royal Navy. We are immensely proud of our journey from micro SME to scale-up, entrusted by the Royal Navy to enhance safety for all who serve > at sea.”
Kinsetsu is showing no signs of slowing down and is exploring new defence opportunities and collaborations with large organisations in the UK, Europe and North America. DASA funding and support have proved instrumental to these efforts, helping Kinsetsu, a micro SME from Northern Ireland, steer their business towards defence, and help engage directly with stakeholders within the military, and to find product champions in the Royal Navy. (Source: https://www.gov.uk/)
07 Mar 23. New funding to support space exploration using Moon resources and nuclear power. The UK Space Agency is investing in projects that could revolutionise our ability to journey deeper into space – and even travel to Mars. The UK Space Agency is investing in projects that could revolutionise our ability to journey deeper into space – and even travel to Mars – safely and efficiently, using remote technologies and supplies found in space to sustain astronauts and spacecraft.
One project is creating remote equipment that scientists can use to run experiments on biological models in deep space from Earth, enabling them to better understand the impact of space on human health and begin designing medical treatments for astronauts.
Other innovations, in different stages of development across the country, include testing improved systems for recycling breathing gases while in space, enhanced methods for extracting valuable resources, such as oxygen and metals, from Moon rock (known as in-situ resource utilisation) and new nuclear power processes for propulsion.
Minister of State with responsibility for Space at the new Department of Science, Innovation and Technology, George Freeman, said:
Space is the ultimate frontier, laboratory and technology testbed.
The UK’s long history of leadership in deep space science and exploration is key to both understanding our solar system and origins of life, and creating opportunities for our high growth SpaceTech sector.
Today’s funding is part of the government’s strategy to use our £5bn investment in space science and technology to grow our £16.5bn commercial space sector to create the businesses, jobs and opportunities of tomorrow, and the space clusters from Cornwall to Scotland.
The agency has announced £1.6m funding for the eight projects through its Enabling Space Exploration fund on Mars Day, led by STEM Learning to celebrate innovations in space exploration and promote career opportunities in the sector.
Investment in skills and expertise is a key pillar of the National Space Strategy to grow the UK as a global space superpower, and part of our goal to enable sustainable exploration of the Moon and, eventually, Mars.
Supporting innovative technologies enables UK organisations to take part in major exploration missions with international partners.
The government pledged £1.84bn for important space programmes at the European Space Agency Council of Ministers meeting in November, which includes a commitment to the UK-built Rosalind Franklin Mars Rover, set to launch to Mars in 2028.
Dr Paul Bate, CEO of the UK Space Agency, said: “The concept of exploring deeper into space – whether that means retuning to the lunar surface through the Artemis programme, or working out how we could travel to, and survive on, Mars and beyond – is a global ambition that has been growing since humanity’s first forays into space in the 1950s. Supporting technologies that make that ambition a reality will help raise the international profile of UK space skills and expertise. Not only does this naturally unlock business opportunities all along the supply chain, but it helps inspire young people to consider the possibility of a career in space without having to leave the UK. This is an incredibly exciting time for the space exploration sector, and I look forward to seeing how far the results of these projects will reach.”
The latest report on the size and health of the UK space sector showed that at least 47,000 people are employed in space-related jobs across almost 1,300 UK-based space organisations. It also reported a 19% increase in space-related research and development investment up to 2021.
Projects receiving a share of the £1.6m Enabling Space Exploration funding
Fluorescent deep space petri-pod (FDSPP) flight readiness programme
Lead: University of Exeter, Devon
This project aims to support future planetary exploration by addressing the harmful impact of the space environment on human health. It will establish innovative, miniaturised equipment that will enable scientists to perform biology experiments in deep space, remotely. Designed to give important readouts of health in model systems (cells, microbes, microscopic animals), this equipment will help understand the biological effects of space and the effectiveness of different therapies, to help develop medical treatments for astronauts.
All-in-one Mars in-situ resource utilisation system using non-thermal plasma
Lead: University of Southampton, Hampshire
This project will develop an all-in-one in-situ resource utilisation system for future crewed Mars exploration missions and explore the feasibility of using non-thermal plasmas for removing biological and chemical contaminants in extracted water from Mars and generating oxygen and rocket fuel from the Martian atmosphere.
Novel infrared technology for exploring Mars and advance reconnaissance
Lead: Open University, Buckinghamshire
Infrared observations are a key measurement in space exploration, and high-performance infrared detectors are a crucial element in spaceflight instrumentation. This project will build on previous work developing a new technology for use of IR detectors in space, by exposing a new form of detector to radiation levels that would be encountered in a typical Mars mission and assessing the effect on performance.
Microwave heating and oxygen extraction experiment
Lead: Open University, Buckinghamshire
This project extends the development of the microwave heating demonstrator payload that investigated the potential of microwave heating for lunar construction and resource extraction, such as oxygen and water from lunar soil, to support sustainable surface exploration on the Moon.
Reactors for off-planet life support systems and Martian in-situ resource utilisation
Lead: MAC SciTech, South Shields
This project will optimise the design and function of the various components of reactor systems designed to recycle breathing gases (carbon dioxide and hydrogen) in off-planet environments such as low Earth orbit, lunar or on Mars. The technology offers efficient, catalyst-free, low maintenance gas processing designed to improve upon and replace existing gas processing systems.
Nuclear thermal fuel system and thermal-based characterisation
Lead: Bangor University, Wales
Without stable nuclear fuel systems, deep space missions would not be successful. Additive manufacturing presents a state-of-the-art demonstration technique for nuclear-based fuels for space propulsion. The process allows the development and manufacture of various fuel configurations and designs that cannot be easily realised by conventional manufacturing methods. This project will demonstrate the additive manufacturing of metallic and ceramic zirconium-containing nuclear fuels and assess their performance.
In-situ resource utilisation production DISRUPT-2
Lead: Thales Alenia Space, Oxfordshire
This project will allow more efficient selection of Moon rock for oxygen extraction as well as extraction of other resources such as metal. It will improve a technique for use on the Moon’s surface called X-Ray Diffraction/X-Ray Fluorescence where the Moon rock is illuminated with X-rays and the rock type is identified by the way that the X-rays are diffracted or by the way the X-rays cause the rock to fluoresce.
Integrated fission-based power systems for electric propulsion
Lead: University of Southampton, Hampshire
This project will develop a coherent design concept of a nuclear fission power system to drive space exploration to be integrated with a high-power electric propulsion technology. Substantial high power electric propulsion systems are needed to make large-scale activity near and further from the Earth feasible and nuclear fission reactors are required to power them. (Source: https://www.gov.uk/)
06 Mar 23. UK MoD says significant interest in HMS Scott and Type 23 frigates. Type 23 Duke Class Frigates and the HMS Scott are listed for sale in the DESA brochure.
The UK Defence Equipment Sales Authority (DESA) brochure was updated on 2 March to include the HMS Scott and the Type 23 Duke-class frigate. The Royal Navy will seek to sell all Type 23 vessels, as it upgrades its fleet to the Type 26.
Bottom of Form
Speculation on social media had suggested that Turkey is interested in purchasing the Type 23, but a Royal Navy spokesperson dismissed these claims as based solely on conjecture, stating that potential buyers are a commercially sensitive subject, and the Ministry of Defence would not disclose any details of potential nations in discussion for purchasing the ships.
The spokesperson added that there has been a lot of interest in purchasing both HMS Scott and the vessels from the Type 23 frigate class.
The Type 23 Frigate
The Type 23 frigate forms the core of the front-line fleet, and served as a submarine hunter until the addition of the vertical-launched Seawolf point missile defence system and the Boeing Harpoon surface-to-surface missile expanded its role to include anti-surface warfare, with the versatility to take on a complete variety of mission tasks.
A total of 16 Type 23 vessels were built with the first commissioned in 1990.
The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) announced that the Type 23 fleet was to be reduced to 13 in July 2004. Batch 1 vessels, HMS Norfolk and Marlborough, were decommissioned in 2005 and Grafton in March 2006. All three were sold to the Chilean Navy and delivered over 2007-2008.
Eight Type 26 frigates will replace the remaining dedicated anti-submarine frigates, while the new Type 31 Inspiration class will step in to serve as a general-purpose light frigate.
HMS Scott, the only vessel of its class, is the largest vessel in the Hydrographic Squadron, with the primary task of surveying the ocean depths, collecting bathymetric data and for providing the UK Hydrographic Office (UKHO) with submarine navigation information.
In the wake of the attack on the Nord Stream pipeline new focus has been given to operations on the ocean’s seabeds, with seabed warfare coming into focus as an area of attention necessary for protecting critical infrastructure.
The vessel was built by Appledore Shipbuilders in North Devon. It was ordered in 1995 to replace HMS Hecla (A133), and was launched in October 1996, entering service in June 1997.
In February 2005, Scott was deployed to survey the Indian Ocean seabed around the origin point of 2004 earthquake. The survey was conducted in depths of 1,000m to 5,000m by using a high-resolution and multi-beam sonar system.
The survey vessel underwent a ten-month refit and sea trials in 2009. In October 2009, it was deployed in the Antarctic and South Atlantic to replace the Royal Navy’s Antarctic ice patrol ship HMS Endurance.
The ship is able to be at sea for 300 days in a year.
In November the UK MoD said it was prioritising the procurement of two Multi-Role Ocean Surveillance (MROS) ships. “The suspected sabotage of the Nord Stream pipelines in late September has brought these vulnerabilities in sharp focus,” said James Marques, associate aerospace, defence and security analyst at GlobalData, “prompting the MoD to speed up delivery of the MROS capability.” (Source: News Now/naval-technology.com)
04 Mar 23. UK moves to next stage in delivering Project Synergia C-UAS systems to military bases. The next stage of the UK’s Project Synergia counter-UAS system to protect UK military bases from drone attacks is being handed over to the UK’s Defence Equipment and Support (DE&S) in-service delivery team.
According to the DE&S Desider publication:
“Project Synergia was originally procured as a research and development programme in response to the threats posed by uncrewed aerial systems (UAS). Managed by DE&S’ Future Capabilities Group (FCG), Project Synergia, the counter-uncrewed aerial system (C-UAS) study is considered of high importance to national security and a means of further protecting UK military operating bases from hostile drone activity. Using technology delivered by Leonardo, it will enable the RAF to establish the most effective way to detect, track, identify and defeat hostile drones, as well as evaluate a range of capabilities including advanced radar, electro-optic and radio frequency sensors, and counter-measures.
“The system has been deployed for use in operations and used in the UK for Military Aid to Civilian Authorities (MACA). FCG have transitioned the capability to the Joint Sensor and Engagement Networks (JSENS) delivery team, meaning that the equipment can now be incorporated into the DE&S supply chain.”
In September 2020 Leonardo delivered the first of four complete baseline counter-drone systems to the Royal Air Force as part of the programme. “The RAF will also maintain the ORCUS system as an upgraded national standby capability, to be rapidly deployed anywhere in the country in support of emergency services in the event of a drone-based crisis,” according to Leonardo. “The modular systems provided by Leonardo for the study will allow the RAF to evaluate a range of capabilities including advanced radar, electro-optic and radio frequency sensors and an electronic attack countermeasure. In due course, further systems will be integrated for testing and evaluation. Throughout, RAF Force Protection operators will be examining the most effective ways to detect, track, identify and defeat rogue drones. In the long-run, the research and development programme will inform the requirements for a core RAF counter-drone capability, intended to
For more information
https://www.leonardo.com/en/press-release-detail/-/detail//03-09-2020-leonardo-consegna-alla-royal-air-force-tecnologia-anti-drone-a-supporto-del-programma-di-ricerca-e-sviluppo-synergia (Source: www.unmannedairspace.info)
06 Mar 23. Lockheed Martin cements the F-35 as the standard NATO fighter.
Lockheed presents the F-35 as more than just the top stealth fighter, it is also a formidable political statement for coalition unity.
By 2030, there will be more than 400 F-35 stealth fighters across NATO member bases enhancing coaltions through joint training, equipment, and exercises according to Lockheed Martin.
This standard choice of aircraft, which will be present in fleets across NATO member bases and those of their allies, has become a symbol of “diplomacy in action” Lockheed has stated. The NATO coalition’s widespread use of the fighter marks it as a formidable means to secure the rule-based order in an increasingly contentious geopolitical environment.
Dotted across the world map, the presence of F-35s is a testament to the aircraft as a means of NATO policing and containing autocratic aggression from the likes of Russia, Iran, and China.
F-35 fleets are situated across Europe; surrounding the South China Sea in Australia, the Republic of Korea (ROK), with some expected to arrive in Singapore by 2026; while an Israeli fleet is left to deter ideological adversaries in the Middle East.
What is also incredible is that Lockheed’s production of F-35s has, so far, been remarkably steady. The original equipment manufacturer predicted that US and NATO allies could have 450 of them stationed in Europe by 2030 from as early as June 2021.
Then, the US Air Force General Tod Wolters, the former NATO supreme allied commander for Europe, commented that this figure provides NATO with “a tremendous capability”. He added, “if I were a potential foe against NATO or Europe, I wouldn’t like to hear that”.
Perhaps this productive timeline and comment gives us some signal of the importance of the F-35 Joint Strike programme today as a deterrence method in itself.
Orders and deliveries are increasing, some recent procurements of the aircraft have come from Australia, the UK, and the ROK to name a few.
As a programme partner, more than 70 Australian industries are an integral source within the F-35 supply chain as their development, production, and sustainment is valued at over $2bn. Every F-35 built contains some Australian parts and components.
The Royal Australian Air Force operates the F-35A conventional take-off and landing variant (CTOL). Australia’s programme of record is for 100 F-35A aircraft, 72 aircraft are expected this year to form three squadrons.
The UK has similarly contributed to the production of various components of the aircraft. The country’s programme of record is at 138 aircraft. Moreover, according to Air Chief Marshal Sir Mike Wigston, Chief of the Air Staff, the UK will have a second squadron of F-35Bs.
Similarly, the ROK is currently in the process of taking deliveries for 40 F-35A CTOL aircraft. (Source: airforce-technology.com)
06 Mar 23. Airbus welcomes Boeing to H175M Task Force for UK New Medium Helicopter competition. Boeing has become the latest and final defence and aerospace company to join the H175M Task Force addressing the UK New Medium Helicopter requirement. As training services partner, Boeing Defence UK will provide aircrew, groundcrew and maintenance training, if the super-medium class Airbus H175M, to be built at Broughton in Wales, is selected to replace the Airbus Puma HC2.
The company joins a UK-based industry team created to offer, supply and support the British-built H175M which includes some of the most respected players in international aerospace.
Managing Director of Airbus Helicopters in the UK, Lenny Brown, said: “Boeing Defence UK is rightly respected in this country for its long-standing support of the British Chinook and Apache fleets. As training services partner it completes a rock-solid line-up of UK-based first tier aerospace partners who bring a guarantee of world-class service provision to the UK Ministry of Defence for decades to come.”
“We are delighted to collaborate with Airbus and join their innovative team of aerospace leaders to meet the UK’s New Medium Helicopter requirement”, said Steve Burnell, managing director of Boeing Defence UK. “Our local team has supported the British armed forces for decades, sustaining hundreds of jobs across the country in helicopter training. As a member of the H175M Task Force, we look forward to leveraging our current expertise to ensure availability and readiness for the UK’s future helicopter fleets.”
Launched at the UK’s RIAT 2022 airshow, the H175M Task Force also includes defence and helicopter specialist Babcock fulfilling the critical role of support partner for the H175M in UK service at military operating locations.
Martin Baker, at Denham, Middlesex, with more than 70 years of aerospace experience, is providing specialist troop seating and cabin integration services.
In Belfast, Northern Ireland and Prestwick, Scotland Spirit AeroSystems, already an Airbus partner on the CityAirbus NextGen eVTOL aircraft, has begun extensive detailed design and manufacturing activities on the H175M.
In addition, Pratt & Whitney Canada, is formally partnering in the team for which it supplies and supports the highly reputed PT6C-67E turboshaft engines from its market leading family of powerplants.
02 Mar 23. UK mulls ways to rectify dwindling ammunition stockpiles. Some manufacturing lines for UK equipment donated to Ukraine have closed, with little prospect of a restart without significant investment.
As the Ukraine war continues to draw upon the resources of NATO’s western European member states, the UK’s focus is attempting to ensure that domestic stocks are replenished as economies adapt from the just-in-time delivery philosophy.
While western European ammunition stockpiles are generally kept to an amount required to maintain military requirements and replenish out-of-date munitions, war has highlighted the fact that most NATO states engaged in a conflict as Ukraine is against Russia, supply would quickly run short.
The UK is no exception to this. Having donated thousands of Next Generation Light Anti-Tank Weapons (NLAW) to Ukraine, it has had to turn to manufacturer Saab to restart a cold production line.
Thales, the manufacturer of another system delivered to Ukraine, the Starstreak High Velocity Missile system, ceased production at its Belfast site a few years ago, with recent comments made during UK Defence Committee hearings stating that just 60 are left in UK stock. It is not clear whether this refers to Starstreak stock kept at the industry level or units in service with the British military.
Army Technology approached Thales for comment on Starstreak stock and production lines but at the time of publishing had not received a response.
Both Starstreak and Stormer air defence armoured vehicles have been donated to Ukraine.
Speaking before the UK’s Joint National Security Committee on 27 February, Tim Barrow, National Security Advisor at the Cabinet Office, said that the UK “clearly” needed to restock its ammunition.
“We are very conscious of the need to restock,” said Barrow, adding that there was a consideration in not only working with established industrial and national partners, but also those “we haven’t worked much with in the past.” (Source: army-technology.com)
07 Mar 23. Romania aims to buy Abrams tanks, senior army official says. Romania aims to buy Abrams tanks made by General Dynamics (GD.N), a defence minister official in charge of military public procurement was quoted as saying on Tuesday. The European Union and NATO state has raised defence spending to 2.5% of gross domestic product this year from 2%, 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 last year, has a permanent alliance battlegroup stationed on its territory.
“We are in the process of sending our (ministry) request for preliminary approval to acquire a battalion of Abrams tanks,” lieutenant general Teodor Incicas was quoted saying by defence ministry publication Observatorul Militar. Incicas heads the army’s general weapons division.
Incicas said the acquisition, once approved, will be done through a government to government deal. The timeline for the purchase was unclear.
Countries close to Russia like Poland, Finland and Germany are striking deals to build U.S. weapons in Europe, negotiating new deals and looking to speed up existing contracts. In December, Romania’s defence ministry signed a deal to acquire seven Watchkeeper X unmanned aircraft systems from Israeli defence electronics firm Elbit Systems (ESLT.TA) for roughly 1.89bn lei ($410.19m). Romania aims to overhaul its state defence industry by investing in new technologies to boost output and exports in the region, its economy minister said in December. ($1 = 4.6076 lei) (Source: Reuters)
07 Mar 23. French Air Force receives first of upgraded Rafale F4 fighter aircraft. The French Air and Space Force has received the first of its most sophisticated Rafale fighter jets, reaching a milestone after four years of development. The service’s Air Warfare Center, located on the 118th air base in southwestern France, took possession of the first F4.1 standard Rafale on March 2, the Ministry of Defense announced in a March 7 statement. Development of the F4 standard kicked off in 2019, when then-Armed Forces Minister Florence Parly signed a €2bn ($2.12bn) contract with manufacturer Dassault.
The aircraft was originally one of several F3R-standard Rafales delivered starting earlier this year to the French military procurement office Direction Generale de l’Armement (DGA). The aircraft underwent a “software transformation” and transitioned to the F4 standard at the DGA’s flight test center in Istres, near Marseille, per the ministry release.
A second F4 aircraft is expected to be delivered in the coming weeks. The jets will then be integrated into the service’s 30th Fighter Wing to begin training in anticipation of an Initial Operating Capability (IOC) decision.
France’s DGA began flight tests for the F4 standard in April 2021, and the aircraft is slated for full availability by 2025.
The new standard includes upgrades to existing capabilities like the Thales AESA radar and Talios targeting pod along with the Rafale’s electronic warfare system and communications suite.
New capabilities for the F4 include the Thales Scorpion Helmet Mounted Display, MBDA’s MICA NG (Next-Generation) air-to-air missile and the 1,000 kilogram variant of Safran’s AASM (armement air-sol modulaire) “Hammer” precision-guided munition.
The new aircraft is expected to serve as a bridge between the Rafale and France’s next-generation fighter being developed alongside Germany and Spain under the trinational Future Combat Air System (FCAS) program, slated to be fielded around 2040.
The January delivery of the F3R standard aircraft marked the first Rafale delivered to the nation’s military after a four-year pause. France’s proposed 2023 defense budget, released in September 2022, includes 42 new Rafales, including 30 under the forthcoming Tranche 5 contract.
(Source: Defense News)
07 Mar 23. Italy launches C-27J upgrade. Italy has launched an upgrade programme for its fleet of C-27J Spartan tactical airlifters, with Leonardo and the Italian Defence Ministry’s Air Force Armament and Airworthiness Directorate (Armaereo) signing a contract on 7 March. Under this contract, the Italian Air Force (Aeronautica Militare Italiana: AMI) will fit its fleet with modernised avionics, upgraded systems, and a new self-protection suite. It also includes delivery of a new simulator to represent this enhanced configuration.
“Under this contract, the [AMI’s] C-27J will receive a significant upgrade of its avionic suite through the integration of new features such as the mission computer, the flight management system, head-up and head-down displays, radio and satellite communication systems, self-protection systems, and other upgrades improving the aircraft’s flexibility and operational effectiveness,” Leonardo said in its announcement. “The training system will also be updated on the basis of the new systems introduced onboard, aligning both training devices (flight simulators) and courseware (teaching materials) along with relevant technical publications.” (Source: Janes)
09 Mar 23. Inside Indo-Pacific Command’s $87bn wish list to deter China. U.S. Indo-Pacific Command has outlined new spending requirements to boost deterrence against China, including bns of dollars in new weapons, new construction and closer military-to-military collaboration with America’s allies in the region.
The command’s congressionally-ordered assessment delivered Wednesday calls for more than $87bn in spending between 2024 and 2028; with $15.4bn for fiscal year 2024 alone. That represents a significant jump from last year’s $9bn request for FY23 and five-year projected spend of $77bn.
With China competition a bipartisan priority on Capitol Hill, the Indo-Pacific Command assessment of its needs offers a blueprint for China hawks to add to President Joe Biden’s $842bn defense budget for FY24, which requests $9.1bn for the Pentagon’s Pacific Deterrence Initiative.
The report drafted by INDOPACOM chief Adm. John Aquilino calls for new space capabilities, missiles and air defenses, radar systems, staging areas, intelligence-sharing centers, supply depots and testing ranges throughout the region, as well as exercises with allies and partners.
“The U.S. must focus our efforts to present persistent, lethal and integrated Joint Force west of the [international date line] that can impose out-of-proportion costs and complicate any adversary’s ability to effectively compete with the U.S. military while simultaneously demonstrating U.S. commitment and resolve to our allies and partners,” reads an unclassified executive summary obtained by Defense News.
The command continues to call for a 360-degree persistent and integrated air defense capability on the U.S. territory Guam by 2026, as Aquilino has said his No. 1 priority is establishing an Aegis Ashore system there. The effort, underway for several years, would help protect U.S. citizens and forces.
Amid the Pentagon’s plans for more distributed forces in the Pacific, the largest portion of the assessment ― $10.8bn ― would be to “improve the posture and presence” in the region. More than $2bn would build aircraft parking, fuel stores and other facilities on Tinian Island, Pulau ― and Guam, where the Marine Corps is moving 5,000 Marines of III Marine Expeditionary Force, based on Okinawa, Japan.
More than $8bn would fund research and development efforts across the services, including $1.3bn for space technology prototyping and more than $400m for “offensive cyber,” the report says.
A $5.3bn “persistent battlespace awareness” project, the Space Force’s Next-Generation Overhead Persistent Infrared program, would offer an orbiting missile warning system that includes the Arctic. Another $1bn would fund a network of space-based sensors to cover air, sea and ground-launched missile threats.
A $2.8bn wedge in the plan for “integrated maritime fires” includes hundreds of millions of dollars for Maritime Strike Tomahawk Missiles for the Navy and Army; sea mines and for the Navy’s long-range anti-ship missile. Also included is $170m for the Navy Marine Expeditionary Ship Interdiction System, meant to be used by the new Marine littoral regiments for ship targeting and sea control.
As the Pentagon works to improve alliances in the region as a counterweight to China, Indo-Pacific Command also sees a need for $700m to “build defense and security capabilities, capacity and cooperation of allies and partners.” The lion’s share of that proposal, roughly $530m, would go toward Defense Security Cooperation Agency programs. (Source: Defense News)
08 Mar 23. USAF reworks tanker modernization plans, slashes next buy. The Air Force is cutting in half the number of tankers it planned to buy as an interim step, as part of a move to rethink its overall aerial refueling modernization strategy, the service’s acquisition chief said Monday. The revamp of the Air Force’s strategy comes as the service is growing increasingly concerned about the likelihood it will face a dangerously contested airspace in a future war against an adversary like China. The approach is meant to ensure future tankers will be able to survive a war in which they are likely targeted.
As part of this strategic shift, the Air Force will halve the number of tankers it originally planned to buy in the next decade from roughly 150 to about 75, Andrew Hunter told reporters in a roundtable at the Air and Space Forces Association’s AFA Warfare Symposium here.
Hunter also said the requirements will be “more modest” than originally planned for the bridge tanker, which is the Air Force’s term for a planned tanker purchase meant to close a gap between buying its final Boeing-made KC-46 Pegasus and a next-generation tanker it originally referred to as KC-Z.
Originally, the Air Force plotted a three-stage modernization effort, with its phases dubbed KC-X, KC-Y and KC-Z, to replace the legacy KC-135 Stratotanker fleet. The KC-46 Pegasus was acquired to fill the KC-X stage, and the Air Force was mulling its next steps for the KC-Y, or bridge tanker, which would tide the service over until it procured KC-Z sometime in the 2040s.
Over the last year, the Air Force has been conducting a business case analysis on the KC-Y to decide whether to hold a competition to choose between Lockheed Martin’s LMXT tanker and the KC-46, or to forgo the competition and buy more modified KC-46s from Boeing. If the Air Force ended up buying more KC-46s, Hunter said, it would likely get those tankers in 2032; if Lockheed won, Hunter expected their tankers would come in 2034.
The Air Force originally thought its KC-Y requirements could be a tweaked version of the KC-X requirements, with additional capabilities, Hunter said.
But after recent reviews and analyses of what the service’s refueling needs might be, he added, the service decided its current strategy for tanker modernization leaves the aircraft too vulnerable to attack.
Hunter said the Air Force is now moving to a program called the next-generation aerial refueling system, or NGAS.
NGAS is “focused on ensuring that the tanker capabilities [in the] 2030s and beyond will be able to survive and operate in a much more contested environment than the tankers of the past, or the tankers that are in our current fleet,” he said.
Hunter said recent Air Force studies, performed as part of Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall’s operational imperatives, underscored the threats potential adversaries might pose to vital aircraft such as tankers.
“We have to have an approach that allows us to address those threats and still refuel the joint force, and allow it to engage in all of the critical operations that are required for high intensity conflict,” he told reporters.
In his keynote address at the conference Tuesday, Kendall said the Air Force must revise its approach to mobility aircraft, including tankers, to account for the threats of a future war.
“Our mobility fleet can no longer operate forward with relative impunity,” Kendall said. “The air threat is becoming much more severe, with increasing range. A particular concern is the survivability of our tankers, which will have to be farther forward to refuel fighters that operate within a few hundred miles of the threat.”
This will require a new design for a more survivable tanker, Kendall said — “one that is not a derivative of a commercial aircraft.” He added that a blended wing body design is one option.
The Air Force said in a January request for information for NGAS it planned to start conducting an analysis of alternatives for the program in October, and is soliciting ideas from the defense industry.
According to the RFI, the NGAS tanker must be able to operate in contested combat scenarios. The Air Force wanted ideas on how a tanker would refuel unmanned aerial systems, integrate with a joint air battle management network, and take off from or land at regional or improvised airfields.
Hunter said the analysis of alternatives will take a “clean sheet” approach that could design an entirely new plane. He said the service wants a competitive pool of vendors — both aircraft companies and mission system providers — to plan the way ahead.
Hunter noted the Air Force hopes to field the “initial increment” of NGAS in the mid- to late 2030s.
He said that, based on the information industry has already sent the Air Force, the service could still end up selecting a modified KC-46 as its interim step. But if the Air Force does end up buying another wave of KC-46s, Hunter said the cost is likely to go up — partly because the KC-46 ended up being more expensive than anticipated, and partly because of the increased capabilities.
The Air Force expects to contract for the last of 179 planned KC-46s in fiscal 2027, and receive them two years later, Hunter said, which would lead to a gap in tanker production under a KC-Y competition.
Hunter said the Air Force expects to wrap up its business case analysis on the path forward on its future tanker needs by the middle of 2023.
Hunter told Defense News on Tuesday he did not expect shifting strategies from KC-Y and Z to NGAS would lead to any significant losses.
“Anything we’ve done to date, we will be able to leverage going forward,” Hunter said. (Source: Defense News)
03 Mar 23. US Army to seek multiyear munitions buys in next budget. The U.S. Army’s 2024 budget will request authority to buy more munitions in bulk over multiple years as the U.S. and its allies work to refill their inventories and help Ukraine’s forces defend themselves.
Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics and Technology Doug Bush on Friday said the Army is harnessing authorities Congress granted last year to begin multiyear munitions buys and to secure new sources for chemicals used to produce munitions.
“In these ramp-ups, the reason we’re taking a really maximalist foot on the floor all the way down approach is that we don’t know how long the conflict will last, we don’t know how low our stocks will be, we don’t know the full amount we will have to help replenish,” Bush said at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
Bush noted the Pentagon is expected to raise peacetime munitions stockpile targets.
“I believe our requirements for stockpiles will be higher after these conflicts, after we’ve done the analysis; I think there will be work to do,” Bush said.
The Pentagon doesn’t publicize the levels of its munitions stockpiles, but the U.S. is running low on some high-end weapons systems and ammunition, according to multiple reports. Defense officials say U.S. donations to Ukraine from its own inventories have not compromised readiness.
The volume of deliveries to Ukraine, which is burning through ammunition faster than the U.S. and NATO can produce it, has upended assumptions about how much ammunition gets used to fight wars.
European Union leaders are considering whether, as a bloc, to buy 155mm artillery shells, and Reuters reported last month NATO is expected to increase its targets for munitions stockpiles.
The U.S. Army meanwhile has sped up modernization plans for government-sponsored factories that make conventional munitions and is is investing in private-sector facilities to accelerate production.
“The long-term challenge is how much of that capacity can we sustain over time, post-conflict,” Bush said.
Pentagon officials are mulling the pre-war requirements cognizant that larger stockpiles mitigate production lead times, but stockpiles are expensive to build, maintain and track. The appropriate size of stockpiles for precursor chemicals and other raw materials that go into the munitions is also under discussion.
“All this costs money, but I think how big are our war reserves is a really good policy question that’s being asked and being worked. I know it’s also of interest on [Capitol] Hill,” Bush said.
Still another question is how to strike a balance between industry’s efficiency and affordability ― and its ability to surge in a crisis.
“We of course, expect our defense companies to be efficient and provide their goods at good prices,” Bush said. “If we want them to have excess capacity, we will have to partner with them and work with them to pay for part of that excess capacity that’s not being used.”
Washington must also strike a balance between surging flexible funds and overseeing of taxpayer dollars. Amid a stepped up Congressional oversight push, Bush offered assurances that while Congress has accommodated the Army’s efforts, he and lawmakers take their oversight role seriously.
“It’s a lot of money; there does need to be boundaries on it,” Bush said. (Source: Defense News Early Bird/Defense News)
REST OF THE WORLD
09 Mar 23. AUKUS: Aussies to buy 3-plus subs from US, build more from UK designs, reports say. Australia faces “huge political risk in this, and huge costs. It’s going to be an extremely bumpy ride,” says Malcolm Davis of the Australian Strategic Policy Institute. Australia is likely to get at least three Virginia-class nuclear attack submarines to bridge the looming capability gap between its Collins-class submarine retirements and the arrival of the first Australian-built boats, under the defense technology agreement known as AUKUS.
That looks to be the most immediate decision by the United States, United Kingdom and Australia, along with the Lucky Country committing to building and deploying a fleet of attack boats.
Leaks about the AUKUS submarine decision, published by a half dozen international wires and major newspapers, poured across the dam of secrecy in the last 24 hours. The formal announcement of the plan by the American president and the prime ministers of Australia and Britain is expected Monday in San Diego, perhaps with the symbolic backdrop of the Pacific Ocean and a nuclear-powered submarine. Breaking Defense was first to report the location of the meeting.
Per the reporting, Australia is poised to buy an initial three Virginia-class subs, with the option to add two more if necessary. That will bridge a gap as Australia builds up its nuclear and shipyard workforces, design and build highly secure shipyards where the boats can be built and maintained with limited chances of espionage occurring, and train its submariners in how to manage one of the most strategic weapons on earth.
Virginia-class subs will probably require an additional production line to ease the already considerable strains on America’s sub shipyards, said Malcolm Davis, an expert at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute. Both the US Congress and the Navy are deeply concerned that efforts to bolster Australia’s sub fleet do not cut into America’s ability to build enough attack subs to meet its own requirements. As a result, Australia may have to bear much of the cost of building and running a new production line.
Down the line, reports indicate, the Royal Australian Navy will then build and deploy its own unique subs, derived from Britain’s Submersible Ship Nuclear Replacement (SSNR), successor to the Royal Navy’s Astute-class. The Australian subs will likely use Lockheed Martin’s combat system, so they are compatible with the Collins-class and the American sub fleet.
This means, notes Davis, that Australia will operate at least two classes of nuclear boats, which will certainly complicate sustainment and logistics at a time when the country’s military will be learning how to design, build, operate, fight and maintain a new class of weapon.
Why is Australia taking on the risk of, essentially, developing two production and support lines?
“I think the capability gap really has them spooked, so that’s why they’re doing this,” Davis says. US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin pledged in early December that the US “will not allow” a capability gap to appear between Australia’s Collins-class sub retirement, planned for 2039, and the deployment of its first nuke powered attack subs.
What will happen to the conventionally-powered Collins boats as the US boats come on stream? “From six, they might slowly taper down until most of the Collins may be basically tied up at the dock,” says Davis.
What do Australian experts make of what they’ve heard so far? Davis says his country faces “huge political risk in this, and huge costs. It’s going to be an extremely bumpy ride.”
Initial reaction from influential defense voices here were not positive. Ben Packham, defense reporter at Australia’s arguably most influential paper, The Australian, posted a tweet saying the possible purchase of two different classes of nuclear boats “sounds completely nuts.” (Source: Breaking Defense.com)
08 Mar 23. Australia expected to buy up to 5 Virginia class submarines as part of AUKUS. Australia is expected to buy up to five U.S. Virginia class nuclear powered submarines in the 2030’s as part of a landmark defense agreement between Washington, Canberra and London, four U.S. officials said on Wednesday, in a deal that would present a new challenge to China.
The agreement, known as the AUKUS pact, will have multiple stages with at least one U.S. submarine visiting Australian ports in the coming years and end in the late 2030’s with a new class of submarines being built with British designs and American technology, one of the officials said.
U.S. President Joe Biden will host leaders of Australia and Britain in San Diego on Monday to chart a way forward for provision of the nuclear-powered submarines and other high-tech weaponry to Australia.
China has condemned the effort by the Western allies, who are seeking to counter China’s military buildup, pressure on Taiwan and increasingly muscular deployments in the contested South China Sea.
Two of the officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said that after the annual port visits, the United States would forward deploy some submarines in Western Australia by around 2027.
In the early 2030’s, Australia would buy 3 Virginia class submarines and have the option to buy two more.
AUKUS is expected to be Australia’s biggest-ever defense project and offers the prospect of jobs in all three countries.
Australia has an existing fleet of six conventionally powered Collins-class submarines, which will have their service life extended to 2036. Nuclear submarines can stay underwater for longer than conventional ones and are harder to detect.
The officials did not elaborate on the planned new class of submarines, including offering specifics about production locations.
The Pentagon referred queries to the White House, which declined to confirm details about any upcoming announcement. The British Embassy in Washington did not comment directly on the Reuters report but repeated an announcement from London that British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak would travel to the United States for further talks on AUKUS.
The Australian Embassy in Washington did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Under the initial AUKUS deal announced in 2021, the United States and Britain agreed to provide Australia with the technology and capability to deploy nuclear-powered submarines as part of joint efforts to counter the increasing threat posed by China in the Indo-Pacific region.
But a deal between the three countries on how specifically to achieve that goal had not been ironed out.
The U.S. Congress has been briefed several times in recent weeks on the impending AUKUS deal to garner support for the legal changes needed to smooth out technology transfer issues for the highly protected nuclear propulsion and sonar systems that will be aboard Australia’s new submarines, a congressional source said.
Over the next five years, Australian workers will come to U.S. submarine shipyards to observe and train. This training will directly benefit U.S. submarine production as there is currently a labor shortfall for shipyard workers the U.S. needs to build its submarines, the source said.
It is unclear how the upcoming announcement might affect the U.S. Navy’s expectations for its own submarine acquisitions in coming years.
The Navy’s 30-year shipbuilding plan released last year forecast submarines being produced at a rate of 1.76 to 2.24 per year and forecast the fleet grow to between 60 to 69 nuclear attack submarines by 2052, according to the Congressional Research Service.
General Dynamics Corp (GD.N), which makes Virginia class submarines, has 17 of them in its current backlog delivering through 2032.
To date no party to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) other than the five countries the treaty recognizes as weapons states – the United States, Russia, China, Britain and France – has nuclear submarines. (Source: Reuters)
08 Mar 23. Ghana’s police get Marauder APCs, helicopters. The Ghana Police Service has taken delivery of a vast quantity of new equipment, including Marauder armoured personnel carriers, and helicopters.
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo handed over 600 motorcycles, 100 Toyota Hilux vehicles, and six Marauders on 21 February and also commissioned upgrades to National Police Headquarters. The Marauders were painted in the colours of the police’s Counter Terrorism Unit.
These were on display at the 66th Independence Anniversary Parade on 6 March, during which the police also flew three newly acquired helicopters: one Airbus H125M (AS550 Fennec), and two Aerospatiale Gazelles.
In 2018, Akufo-Addo first revealed that the new helicopters would be acquired and two years ago said new hangars had been built at the National Police Training School while six pilots completed training in South Africa.
Paramount, which manufactures the Marauder, said it is a “proud partner of the Ghana government and police. Congratulations on strengthening police and building security.”
The company has supplied equipment to Ghana in the past, providing 20 Maverick internal security vehicles to the country between 2013 and 2015, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI). Ghana also received a dozen Hunter Light Strike Vehicles from South Africa’s OTT Technologies around this time.
Both the Hunters and Mavericks were displayed during the 66th anniversary celebrations in the city of Ho in the Volta Region of the country, along with water cannon-equipped riot control vehicles and other police hardware including mobile hospitals.
Ghana’s armed forces displayed a variety of weapons and equipment during the parade, including Otokar Cobra armoured vehicles (some in surveillance configuration with mast-mounted sensors), Type-81 122 mm multiple rocket launchers, D-30 122 mm howitzers, 105 mm howitzers, 107 mm rocket launchers, Husky TSV armoured vehicles, and rigid hull inflatable boats (RHIBs).
Ghana has been expanding its military and police in recent years, with a major tranche of equipment being taken into service last month. Akufo-Addo on 1 February presented 175 military vehicles for internal security as well as peacekeeping use to the Ghana Armed Forces. The vehicles included 70 Kamaz trucks, 20 BTR-70 armoured personnel carriers, 20 Navistar Defence Husky tactical support vehicles (TSVs), and 65 Toyota utility vehicles. (Source: https://www.defenceweb.co.za/)
07 Mar 23. Big AUKUS news coming, but Hill and allies see tech sharing snags. The U.S., U.K. and Australia are poised for a major announcement next week in landmark plans to help Australia build a fleet of nuclear-powered subs, but U.S. lawmakers are setting their sights on a part of the pact that’s seen as lagging: technology co-operation.
Senate staffers are expected to press Biden administration officials on the topic Wednesday when the officials brief them on the coming news behind closed doors on Capitol Hill. Tech cooperation, which includes work on hypersonic weapons, quantum technologies and artificial intelligence, is also part of the tripartite agreement known as AUKUS.
House staffers already received an AUKUS briefing last week, but the countries are keeping a tight hold on what capabilities the trilateral agreement will entail. President Joe Biden, Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and U.K. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak are expected to reveal details on AUKUS capabilities and technology sharing on March 13.
While the submarine portion of the pact ― known as Pillar One ― is poised for progress, British and Australian officials have said the U.S. International Traffic in Arms Regulations regime threatens to hamstring the pact’s other tech sharing goals ― known as Pillar Two ― and have called for reforms.
The House Foreign Affairs Committee last week advanced a bill that would add scrutiny on the State Department, ordering it to coordinate with the Pentagon on a report to Congress detailing potential impediments to implementing AUKUS, including ITAR.
The report would include an “average and median time” it took the U.S. government to review arms exports applications to Australia and the U.K. in 2021 and 2022. It also requires a list of “voluntary disclosures” between 2017 and 2022 that have resulted in ITAR violations while trying to export defense articles to either country.
The bill also stipulates that the Biden administration must provide Congress with “an assessment of recommended improvements to export control laws and regulations of Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States that such countries should make to implement the AUKUS partnership.”
One of the main disincentives for cooperation with the U.S. is that jointly developed technologies would be subject to America’s strict approvals process, potentially robbing Britain and Australia of vital export opportunities, according to Josh Kirshner, a former State Department defense trade official who is now with Beacon Global Strategies.
Whether the U.S. would allow cooperation with its most important, secretive and potentially most lucrative development efforts, like Next Generation Air Dominance, is also an open question, he said.
Boeing, which is co-developing the MQ-28 Ghost Bat drone with the Australian military, has found that ITAR “doesn’t quite move at the pace we would want it to if we want to out-innovate the Chinese ― even with our closest allies,” its senior director for international operations and policy, Mike Schnabel, said last week at a virtual event hosted by the Center for a New American Security think tank.
Experts warn that speed is a factor in U.S. competition with China, whose president has instructed his country’s military to be ready by 2027 to conduct a successful invasion of Taiwan. Under AUKUS, Australia seeks to acquire nuclear submarines before 2040.
”If Pillar Two fails, AUKUS will be a failure. Plain and simple,” said Bill Greenwalt, a deputy undersecretary of defense for industrial policy in the George W. Bush administration. “The submarine portion will not happen in time to be relevant to a near-term conflict with China. What happens in Pillar Two could be, but only if ITAR is radically changed.”
The Pentagon, for its part, is making a push. According to Ely Ratner, the assistant secretary of defense for Indo-Pacific security, the Biden administration has been making internal progress on export controls and other “antiquated systems that need to be revised,” as the U.S. works to deepen defense ties in the region.
Without detailing the sensitive efforts, Ratner said at a Hudson Institute event in Washington that policy officials have been bending the bureaucracy to yield a “live evolution of processes” for technology sharing, foreign military sales, the defense industrial base and more.
“I would submit that in our closest alliances and partnerships, we’re having much better conversations about issues related to operations and planning and no-kidding defense areas in a way that hasn’t happened previously,” Ratner said.
Today the Biden administration believes it has the legal latitude to share nuclear propulsion technology as the U.S. did with the U.K. in the 1950s. But to fully realize AUKUS it will likely have to come to Congress at some point to address export controls, Rep. Joe Courtney, the top Democrat on the House Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee, told Defense News.
Courtney noted that the initial AUKUS announcement in 2021 received a very positive bipartisan response. Still, there’s a thicket of agencies involved in export controls, which means there’s also a thicket of congressional committees that would have to pass any reform legislation.
“We think there’s going to be a need for us to help with the export control issue, but this stuff can get so challenging in terms of multi-committee jurisdiction, and you know, the different levels of certifications by different agencies ― whether it’s Treasury, State, DoD, Commerce,” Courtney told Defense News.
“My strong belief is that we’ve got to sort of come up with a package, stack hands and move out in terms of the legislative process. Whether that’s all going to happen this year in one fell swoop or whether people do it on an incremental basis, I don’t know the answer to that,” he added.
As U.S. officials have said they want to share more, Canberra has shown them the information security measures Australia is taking to prevent leaks, Australian ambassador Arthur Sinodinos told the Center for Strategic and International Studies think tank earlier this month.
Sinodios praised progress over the last six months, saying the administration has worked to make a “seamless” transfer of technology easier. U.S. lawmakers are waiting to see how far the Biden administration feels it can go and where legislation would come into play, possibly attached to the annual National Defense Authorization Act, he said.
“The attitude we’ve taken is we want to push the administration process as far as possible,” he said. “The Congress wants to help.”
At the CNAS event, Australia’s first assistant secretary of defense for industry policy, Stephen Moore, said there has been “a frustration, I think, amongst all of us that bureaucratic processes need to be better.”
Speaking alongside Moore, Shimon Fhima, director of strategic programs at Britain’s Ministry of Defence, said that while the political will was “absolutely there, to ensure that the barriers that we have are broken through,” it remains to be seen whether the will also exists at the institutional levels.
“The willingness to share really sensitive technologies and capabilities in Pillar One; if we can do that, and we can do that at pace, we must be able to do that in Pillar Two,” Fhima said. (Source: Defense News Early Bird/Defense News)
02 Mar 23. UAE looks to Europe for help to bolster its vital air defence systems. Greater UAE defence industry integration as the Gulf country looks to shore up its air defence systems with Rheinmetall Air Defence’s multi sensor unit. Nations are feeling the pinch of the current security situation across the world, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is no exception. Part of the Gulf country’s plan to look globally to shore up its defence has led to greater global industry collaboration, which has been largely executed by leveraging the country’s state-owned defence and security conglomerate: EDGE Group.
EDGE Group’s most recent partnership confirms this. It was announced that EDGE entity HALCON, a regional leader in the design and production of guided weapon systems, has partnered with Swiss-based Rheinmetall Air Defence (RAD), a subsidiary of Rheinmetall and a leading manufacturer of air defence and anti-aircraft systems on 28 February.
The partnership will see RAD develop and qualify the truck mounted Oerlikon Multi Sensor Unit (MSU). It will work in conjunction with the UAE’s own HALCON SkyKnight counter-rocket, artillery, and mortar (C-RAM) missile system.
This modular integration will see the Skynex system adapted to the C-RAM which is specifically designed to counter hard-cased targets such as precision guided munitions and large artillery shells.
The MSU itself is a remote controlled, rapidly deployable sensor unit. It features a 4D active electronically scanned array search radar, covering 360° and is capable of automatically classifying detected targets and handing the generated tracks over to the most suitable gun or missile launcher autonomously or by the push of a button.
The need to bolster UAE air defences
Marco Parisi, sales director at Rheinmetall Air Defence, stated that this partnership “shows both companies’ commitment to providing the UAE with leading edge air defence systems. The Oerlikon Skynex air defence system paired with HALCON’s SkyKnight Missile is the ideal solution for the protection of UAE’s most vital infrastructure.”
This modular air defence system will be a more effective solution to the regional strife the UAE faces in the Gulf. The UAE’s total forecasted investment of $129.3bn over the period 2024-28 reflects the country’s plans to equip itself with advanced defence equipment.
The purpose of this expenditure is primarily to deter Iran from taking an aggressive posture and to fortify its national security against strikes from the Houthis, an Iran-backed Yemeni insurgent group.
It is reasonable to believe that the partnership with RAD goes some way to providing the UAE with newly enhanced air defence capabilities to prevent Iranian/Houthi missile strikes against the country and its infrastructure.
The growth of modularity
The current security situation sees modularity standardise weapon systems, establishing greater defence industry integration the world over, as seen with the UAE-Swiss partnership.
Modularity has become a way to cut costs for defence equipment, while countries seek to narrow their defence spending in on the latest and greatest weapon systems.
The UAE, like the rest of the world, has seen inflation hike up to 5.20% according to GlobalData’s macroeconomic analysis of the country’s economy, and all the while the UAE is expected to see a cumulative defence investment throughout the 2024-28 period.
UAE defence spending goes toward modernised equipment, as opposed to spare parts and affordable equipment to bolster the count of their platforms and weapon systems.
Akash Pratim Debbarma, aerospace and defence analyst at GlobalData, comments: “The UAE’s efforts to develop its domestic defense capabilities encourages foreign defense companies to start joint ventures with domestic companies”.
The UAE’s globalised approach to bolstering its defence industry demonstrates a greater need for modularity to allow for flexible adaptation of their modern systems with foreign components like the MSU. (Source: airforce-technology.com)
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.
From rapid prototyping of custom designs to full-scale production runs, IEE, produces displays with advanced features like low-latency video processing, high-bright and NVIS backlighting, and lightweight rugged enclosures. Their SWaP-C products employ the latest lightweight composite materials; low power, high performance integrated ARM processors; standard Ethernet and USB communication, in a low cost, highly producible design.
In-house California facilities include optical bonding, clean rooms for display assembly, a dark room for optical measurements and environmental chambers for pre-compliance and customer acceptance testing. On-site manufacturing includes PCB assembly and flow soldering. IEE has manufactured handheld, in-vehicle, airborne and naval LCD displays for all military branches as well as leading aerospace firms both domestically and internationally.
IEE is ISO 9001:2015 and AS9100D certified.
- Direct control of critical process steps that reduce cost, decrease production lead times and improves life-cycle management
- Unique advantage to serve to both smaller quantity, highly custom displays needs as well as high volume production outputs
- Expert in delivering the best value in form and fit replacement by modifying existing COTS products to meet legacy requirements
- Leading the next generation avionics efficiencies by leveraging open architectures and common software standards
- Field-proven, pre-engineered displays minimize lead-time and non-recurring engineering costs.