UNITED KINGDOM AND NATO
03 Aug 23. New declarations about future Royal Navy Type 83 destroyer. According to information published by the UK government on June 28, 2023, the UK Minister of Defense delivered a speech on the future of the Armed Forces, the lessons learned from the war in Ukraine, and the future Type 83 program of the Navy.
In the speech, the UK Minister of Defense discusses the lessons learned from the war in Ukraine and the importance of full-spectrum air defense. He emphasizes the evolving and real threats faced by the UK and its allies, including the use of new technologies and tactics witnessed in Ukraine.
The Type 83 destroyer is a key component of the Royal Navy’s Future Air Dominance System, representing a notable shift in naval warfare. It is anticipated to replace the existing Type 45, embodying a transformation towards a network-centric naval strategy heavily reliant on sensors.
A distinguishing feature of Type 83 is its extensive use of automation. This technology aims to decrease the necessary crew size, with potential increases in the ship’s operational efficiency and response speed.
Its armament is planned to be a mix of traditional missile systems and emergent Directed Energy Weapons, crafted to respond to evolving threats in the maritime theatre.
The Type 83 is also projected to incorporate uncrewed systems, which could provide additional surveillance, reconnaissance, and strike capabilities, possibly expanding the ship’s operational reach while mitigating risks to crew.
Further, the ship is designed to include advanced radar sensing capabilities, potentially offering an extended detection range. This attribute might enable the Type 83 to provide more effective protection for a fleet, potentially improving airspace control and supporting the UK’s maritime freedom of movement. (Source: News Now/https://www.navyrecognition.com/)
02 Aug 23. Bunker and tunnel detection innovation shines with support from Defence Innovation Loans. Silicon Microgravity secured a DASA Defence Innovation Loan to further develop and commercialise their micro-chip technology for autonomous tunnel and bunker detection
- The Defence Innovation Loan will help Cambridge-based SME, Silicon Microgravity, develop and commercialise their autonomous gravimeter technology for tunnel and bunker detection by the end of 2024.
- DASA has also funded Silicon Microgravity’s ultra-precise, gyroscope technology for alternative navigation in GPS denied environments.
- DASA’s Defence Innovation Loans, run in partnership with Innovate UK, is an alternative funding model to help convert mature defence innovations into viable business propositions that can compete for defence procurement.
The detection of sub-surface tunnels and bunkers has long been identified as a challenge area for defence, in both asymmetric and symmetrical warfare, and recent conflicts have only highlighted the growing threat of underground structures. In order to better safeguard frontline personnel, the military needs to swiftly and efficiently detect sub-surface tunnels and bunkers to overcome potential adversaries who use them.
Despite their effectiveness, current tunnel detection methods such as ground penetrating radar and electromagnetics have several drawbacks. They are often bulky, costly, and challenging to apply in situations featuring difficult to navigate terrain, making them less efficient for quick, mobile use.
Introducing Silicon Microgravity
Cambridge-based Silicon Microgravity identified the need to radically shrink, and lower the cost and power consumption of underground structure detection systems, to enhance their effectiveness for Defence. Drawing inspiration from the civil environment and the current use of conducting gravity surveys to detect buried infrastructure, the SME sought to adapt this technology for defence.
Silicon Microgravity is developing a gravimeter (a tool for measuring minute changes in the force of gravity) which can be deployed remotely on an autonomous land vehicle or drones, to detect underground structures, keeping personnel out of danger zones.
The innovation uses resonant Micro Electrical Mechanical Systems (MEMS), which is a technological process used to create tiny integrated devices or systems that combine mechanical and electrical components. MEMS has a long history in the civil world, and is used in an array of technologies such as accelerometers for airbag sensors and inkjet printer heads, however it has never had, until now, the sensitivity for use in navigation or gravity applications. Silicon Microgravity’s sensors are over a thousand times more accurate than those traditionally used in civilian applications.
Thanks to their proprietary resonant MEMS technology, Silicon Microgravity has achieved a significant breakthrough in sub-surface detection technology. The technique has enabled the company to miniaturise the technology from the size of a shoe box to a tiny computer chip. As a result, the SME has been able to attach the underground sensing technology to a handheld device, or a drone, which can easily navigate hazardous terrain, land, and take readings of underground structures beneath the surface.
In 2022, Silicon Microgravity received a Defence Innovation Loan to take the innovation towards commercialisation by the end of 2024.
Silicon Microgravity’s journey with DASA and towards commercialisation
In 2017, Silicon Microgravity first collaborated with DASA through the Open Call, marking their first foray into the Defence sector. With DASA’s funding, Silicon Microgravity completed a feasibility study and initial development on an ultra-precise gyroscope based on their resonant MEMS technology, a critical part of inertial measurement which is used in GPS-denied environments. This technology has applications both in military and civilian markets.
During their first discussions with DASA, they discovered the immense potential of their MEMS technology and its applicability to a wide range of defence-related solutions. Through the feasibility study as part the Open call, Silicon Microgravity was also able to develop links into the defence sector, engage with large defence contractors, and now has two development contracts with a large global defence contractor and is in active discussions with others, both within the UK and overseas.
Having further developed their resonant MEMS technology for gravity applications, Silicon Microgravity submitted their next innovation to DASA in 2021, to receive a Defence Innovation Loan to help commercialise their tunnel detection technology. The Cambridge-based SME was granted a Defence Innovation Loan of £750,000, which they will use to further develop the underground detection technology in preparation for field trials in the first half of 2024. The loan will also help commercialise the product, for potential use in applications such as security, border control, defence, cartography, civil engineering and infrastructures/utilities.
Francis Neill, CEO of Silicon Microgravity, said: “DASA have been absolutely fundamental in helping to get Silicon Microgravity to the stage where we will shortly be commercialising what is becoming recognised as world leading technology in gravity sensing and inertial navigation. Not only does our technology have defence applications but it is very much in line with the UK’s strategy of creating an international technology superpower. DASA have provided both market and >fund raising assistance in addition the project specific funding.”
DASA’s A2MF Team mentors Silicon Microgravity for future investment opportunities
As part of the post-contract support, DASA’s Access to Mentoring and Finance (A2MF) team has been helping Silicon Microgravity with market readiness and future investment. The A2MF team assisted Silicon Microgravity in perfecting their pitch to potential investors by offering workshops to improve presentation content and pitch decks. This culminated in the DASA Investment Showcase in 2021, where Silicon Microgravity was invited to present their business and innovative ideas to investors, alongside other innovators.
Silicon Microgravity was able to secure additional investments and build belief in their project thanks to the invaluable experience and skills gained from the A2MF team, along with their successful application through Defence Innovation Loans.
Need help bringing your defence innovation to market?
Silicon Microgravity has made great strides in a short period of time and is preparing for an exciting year ahead, starting field trials, commercialising both their gravity and inertial products, building export markets, adding high value UK jobs and more than doubling revenue. Since their first meeting with DASA in 2017, they have made significant progress by conducting field trials, commercialising their innovation with the help of Defence Innovation Loans, attracting new investors, and expanding their organisation.
One of DASA’s main financial mechanisms to support with business readiness and the commercialisation of innovations is through the Defence Innovation Loans programme. Run in partnership with Innovate UK, these are designed to help growth-minded SMEs develop and commercialise their mature defence solutions and in doing so, tackle some of the challenges businesses face in moving from technology development to product and company scale up.
Defence Innovation Loans Key points:
- Exclusively for SMEs
- Innovations must be at Technology Readiness Level 6 or above
- Loans from £100,000 – £2m
- Loans can cover up to 100% of project costs to aid commercialisation of the solution
- Below market interest rate
- In partnership with Innovate UK
Learn more about Defence Innovation Loans here and submit an application: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/competition-defence-innovation-loans
02 Aug 23. UK Space Agency funding for technologies to monitor the Earth.
Funding for satellite Earth Observation technologies, which are critical to improving humanity’s understanding of our planet and its climate, is now available. The £15m UK Space Agency funding will support the research and experimental development of space-based instruments, aimed at supporting a range of environmental services, which could include meteorology, climate monitoring, environmental management, agriculture and urban planning, and improving scientific knowledge.
The UK is already a world leader in Earth Observation (EO) tools, technologies, and data use. This funding will help to accelerate the development of promising UK EO technologies which could be flown on satellites in the next few years.
The National Space Strategy in Action report, published in July, set out the government’s plans for how the UK will remain at the forefront of EO technology and know-how for commercial and public services.
Minister of State at the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology George Freeman MP, said:
Earth Observation technology is critical to tackling the fundamental challenges of our age – from monitoring climate change to responding to humanitarian disasters – and so we owe it to the future of our planet to harness the UK’s world-leading skills in this field.
This pivotal technology doesn’t stop there and from ensuring the safety of bridges to enabling our farmers get the best from their land, this £15m investment will boost our economy and drive forward our ambition to make the UK a science superpower.
The Earth Observation Technology Programme funding, delivered by the Centre for Earth Observation Instrumentation (CEOI), is part of a £400m package announced in November 2022 to support the UK’s Earth Observation sector.
Harshbir Sangha, Missions and Capabilities Delivery Director at the UK Space Agency, said: “Satellite technology is essential to our daily lives, helping us to monitor climate change and protect our environment, manage our resources, respond to global humanitarian disasters and support sustainable development. This funding will help catalyse investment across the sector to support a range of innovative projects, from developing new sensor technologies to using the data for improved understanding of climate change.”
The £15m funding will cover Pathfinder projects of up to £75,000, Fast Track projects of up to £250,000, and Flagship projects of up to £3m.
Pathfinder and Fast Track projects will support new and innovative ideas for technology development, including early-stage research and lab-based experimental hardware.
Flagship projects will develop technologies further, including testing instruments in relevant environments such as vacuum chambers and airborne demonstration flights.
Chris Brownsword, Director of the Centre for Earth Observation Instrumentation, said: “This call for grant proposals is the 16th the CEOI has released on behalf of the UK Space Agency and represents a significant increase over past funding opportunities. It will continue to support innovative new technology developments, paving the way for future novel UK developed instruments, but importantly will also provide significantly larger grants to make a step change in the pace of technology development. It has been recognised that previous CEOI calls have had major impact across the entire UK Earth Observation community; bringing together academia and industry to develop UK owned technologies. We are excited to see what successes this new call can facilitate.”
Since 2016 the Earth Observation Technology Programme has provided £20m in funding across a total of 57 projects. These include a next Generation Synthetic Aperture Radar for Oceanography led by the National Oceanography Centre with Airbus, a Compact Infrared Imager and Radiometer led by the University of Oxford, and a Laser Heterodyne Radiometer led by RAL Space.
This funding opportunity is the latest in a series of technology development activities the UK Space Agency has issued under its Earth Observation Technology Programme. Since 2016 this programme has provided £20m in funding across a total of 57 projects, with many of these now progressing on their roadmaps towards flight on commercial, societal and research space missions.
These include a next Generation Synthetic Aperture Radar for Oceanography led by the National Oceanography Centre with Airbus, a Compact Infrared Imager and Radiometer led by the University of Oxford, and a Laser Heterodyne Radiometer led by RAL-Space.
Professor John Remedios, Executive Director of the National Centre for Earth Observation, said: “The UK has a proud history of developing satellite instruments which have transformed our understanding of the global Earth system from ocean temperature change to polar ice melt. Working together, the new investment will enable the UK to design and test our next ‘eyes on our world’. The UK has a vibrant community of Earth Observation scientists in our research laboratories, universities and industry who can bring novel technologies, smart mathematical algorithms and exciting datasets into leading partnerships across the world.”
Dr Jonathan Taylor, Principal Fellow at the Met Office, said: “Investment in Earth Observations (EO) is vital for the ongoing development in weather and climate research and prediction. We look forward to working with successful applicants to understand how the Met Office and our partners can benefit a wide range of users with innovative services and information from new EO technology.” (Source: https://www.gov.uk/)
01 Aug 23. Eyeing defence tech, NATO seals world’s first multi-sovereign fund. Deep Tech disruptive solutions including autonomous systems, hypersonic gliders, and quantum computing, stand to benefit from the €1bn fund. The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) announced 1 August that twenty-three NATO Allies have taken the official step of becoming Limited Partners of the NATO Innovation Fund (NIF).
This sets the stage for the NIF to commence its inaugural investments in the coming months, using its €1bn ($1.1bn) multi-sovereign venture capital fund, the first of its kind, to back Deep Tech projects in a variety of disruptive areas of the defence and security markets.
NATO states that NIF grants and funding will be centred on pursuing the Emerging and Disruptive Technologies (EDTs) outlined in its 2022 Strategic Concept.
Participating allies have expressed their warm reception towards Sweden’s expressed interest in becoming a member of the NIF, following the nation’s recent entry into NATO.
“As a member of NATO, Sweden will contribute to the strength of the Alliance, not only through our geo-strategic location and military capabilities, but also through a vibrant security and defence industry that promotes innovation and development of cutting-edge technology,” said Pål Jonson, Minister of Defence, Sweden. “This is further enabled through participation in the NATO Innovation Fund.”
Deep Tech challenges and NATO solutions
The fund intends to directly invest in start-ups situated within the 23 participating Allied nations, as well as to invest in Deep Tech funds that have a significant impact across the trans-Atlantic region, over a 15-year period
Deep Tech initiatives are characterised by high cost research and design (R&D) processes to meet a specific problem. As an investment vehicle, Deep Tech is distinct from conventional tech companies that typically have low R&D requirements but higher marketing and business analytics costs as the company seeks to scale, and understand its fit with the market. In contrast to this, Deep Tech looks to tackle well defined challenges that have a recognised customer base, but need to invest tremendously in technology that may or may-not work in order to even achieve a minimum viable product.
Because of the high up-front costs and uncertainty, finding backers can be tricky from the outset, but these investments are essential for the private sector to foster disruptive technological solutions. NIF has a laundry-list of ambitious objectives it is seeking to achieve through backing Deep Tech innovators, including hypersonics, quantum technology, artificial intelligence and autonomy, and next-generation communications.
The fund also has interest in supporting advances in biotechnology, energy and propulsion and operations in space. Understanding the complex demands of this work, the fund offers “patient capital to meet the needs and timelines of Deep Tech innovators and to secure an enduring future for the Alliance’s 1 billion citizens,” according to a release from NATO.
NIF’s sister, DIANA
While NIF is a the world’s first multi-sovereign venture capital fund, it does have the opportunity to draw on the experience of its ‘sister initiative’, the Defence Innovation Accelerator for the North Atlantic (DIANA), and participants in DIANA’s programmes will be awarded grants and gain exposure to the NIF, according to the NIF website, which goes on to suggest that there may also be opportunities for DIANA start-ups to benefit from NIF funding.
DIANA is a NATO working body launched in 2021 to foster transatlantic cooperation on critical technologies and engage with the private sector as well as civilian bodies including academia. Its approach to selecting innovators has been though competitive industry challenges based on critical defence and security problems using deep-tech dual-use technologies.
As of June 2023, there are 91 DIANA test centres appearing in 21 countries across Europe, and 11 accelerators across Europe and the US. The initiative launched its first three challenges in 2023, on energy resilience, secure information sharing, and sensing and surveillance.
DIANA’s energy resilience challenge is to find a modular design for microgrids that are reliably able to meet supply demands. The fund’s challenge for secure information sharing is to create a secure information environment for live data streams, with low-latency video, augmented reality feeds, and digital radio.
Regarding the DIANA challenge for sensing and surveillance, the initiative is interested in systems for subsurface coastal zones, that could extend to “seafloor mapping, undersea infrastructure monitoring, manmade object and marine-life tracking, climate-change-effects sensing, and patterns-of-life visualisations.” (Source: Google/army-technology.com)
30 Jul 23. UK to sign major deal with BAE for new nuclear submarine class. Plans have surfaced from a recent ‘Departmental Minute dated 28 June 2023‘ indicating the Ministry of Defence’s intent to contract BAE Systems for the ‘Detailed Design and Long Lead Items‘ phase of a new class of nuclear submarine.
The new submarines, christened the ‘Ship Submersible Nuclear AUKUS‘ (SSN-AUKUS), are marked to replace the existing Astute Class submarines.
According to the Minute, the ‘Detailed Design and Long Lead Items’ (D2L2) contract with BAE Systems, the UK’s only submarine builder capable of this critical Defence requirement, includes ‘procurement commitments with the supply chain for Long Lead Items‘ along with early steel fabrication at the Barrow Site.
BAE Systems has requested enhanced protection, beyond the usual Defence Contractual Conditions, covering potential outstanding commitments and rationalisation costs if the contract is terminated. As such, the contract includes non-standard clauses which could create liabilities if the MOD were to terminate the contract or refrain from awarding a subsequent one.
Significantly, the Minute explains that, “The non-standard clauses commit the MOD to fund committed spend on long lead items and for allowable and reasonable rationalisation costs in the case of termination of convenience or force majeure, and reasonable rationalisation costs in the event of a termination due to contractor default.”
While these potential financial liabilities are recognised, the MOD perceives these risks as ‘remote,‘ given the strategic significance of the SSN-AUKUS Programme.
However, the document admits the liabilities are “currently deemed unquantifiable due to the early stages of the programme.” The total financial commitments and plausible rationalisation costs are uncertain at this stage.
The Treasury, according to the Minute, has “approved the proposal in principle.’ Nonetheless, final approval will be held back if objections are raised within the span of ‘fourteen parliamentary sitting days”.
The AUKUS class submarine – What do we know?
The SSN-AUKUS submarines will be the largest, most advanced and most powerful attack submarines ever operated by the Royal Navy and Royal Australian Navy, combining world-leading sensors, design and weaponry in one common hull.
In September 2021, the United Kingdom, Australia, and the United States revealed a significant trilateral initiative known as AUKUS, with the aim of assisting Australia in obtaining conventionally-armed, nuclear-powered submarines (SSNs).
After an 18-month evaluation period to determine the most suitable approach for Australia to attain this capability, a model has been selected that is based on the UK’s leading-edge design and integrates advanced US submarine technology.
Both Australia and the UK will manufacture new submarines following this design, referred to as “SSN-AUKUS.” The UK’s submarines will primarily be constructed in Barrow-in-Furness, while Australia will focus on developing its submarine industrial base over the next decade. Australian submarines will be built in South Australia, with some components produced in the UK.
The first UK submarines utilising this design are expected to be delivered in the late 2030s to replace the current Astute-Class vessels, with Australia’s submarines scheduled to follow in the early 2040s.
(Source: News Now/https://ukdefencejournal.org.uk/)
02 Aug 23. HYDIS² consortium project for hypersonic defence interceptor proposed for funding by the European Commission. In May 2023, the HYDIS² consortium, composed of 19 partners and more than 20 subcontractors across 14 European countries, submitted a proposal for a concept architecture and technology maturation study of an endo-atmospheric interceptor against new high-end emerging threats, in the framework of the European Defence Fund 2023 work programme. On the 12th of July 2023, following a positive evaluation, the European Commission proposed the project for funding.
The consortium, coordinated by MBDA, proposed HYDIS² (HYpersonic Defence Interceptor Study), a project that brings together Defence groups, institutions, SMEs, mid-caps and universities. It gathers the best competences in the domains of missiles from across the European Union. France, Germany, Italy and the Netherlands have already confirmed their support and commitment by signing a Letter of Intent and agreeing on Initial Common Requirements.
The objective of HYDIS² is to study various interceptor concepts and bring to maturity the associated critical technologies to deliver the best counter-hypersonic and anti-ballistic interception solution that fulfils the four Member States needs and addresses the needs of the European PESCO TWISTER capability programme. This is a central element of the contribution of European states to the mission of defence of populations and armed forces, in particular against the emerging hypersonic threats that constitute a radical change from ballistic ones.
The HYDIS² consortium brings together 19 partners and more than 20 subcontractors in 14 European countries. The partners are ArianeGroup, AVIO, Avio Aero, Bayern-Chemie, CIRA, DLR, GKN Fokker, LYNRED, MBDA España, MBDA France, MBDA Germany, MBDA Italia, OHB System AG, ONERA, ROXEL France, THALES LAS France, TDW, THALES Netherlands and TNO.
HYDIS² contributes to the AQUILA interceptor project, proposing the most valuable counter-hypersonic interceptor concepts for European nations, alongside a global area defence portfolio with other MBDA air defence products.
31 Jul 23. OCCAR (Organisation for Joint Armament Cooperation) has awarded Naviris and eurosam a contract for the Mid-Life Upgrade (MLU) of the French and Italian Horizon frigates. The two co-contractors, Naviris and eurosam, will work in close relationship with their shareholders, Fincantieri and Naval Group for the frigate, MBDA Italia, MBDA France and Thales for the new generation of Principal Anti-Air Missile System & Long-Range Radar (PAAMS & LRR).
The value of the contract for Naviris and eurosam is euro 1.5bn. More in detail, in the coming days Naviris will finalize subcontracts, including the one with Fincantieri, which will have a value of 211m euros and constitutes a major related party transaction defined in compliance with the relevant applicable regulations.
With this upgrade, Horizon class frigates will receive a state-of-the-art modernization of the entire vessel and the enhancement of their anti-warfare capabilities. New weapon systems and associated Command and Control, and electronic warfare suites will provide highest capabilities and performances against the most modern threats. Regarding anti-air warfare, the new generation of PAAMS & LRR is a very significant upgrade and the system will be able to defeat the threats of the decade to come as missiles (hypersonic, ballistic, supersonic sea-skimmer, high velocity cruise), UAVs and highly maneuvering aircrafts, in a saturation attack scenario.
Damien Raby, Naviris’ CEO and Enrico Bonetti, Naviris’ COO declared: “We are very proud of today’s achievement; the contract signed today is the result of a route, jointly walked with our partner eurosam and our Customers: OCCAR, which we sincerely thank for the excellent work done, Directorate of Naval Armaments of the Secretariat General of Defence / National Armaments Directorate and French Armament General Directorate (DGA), started with the award of the feasibility studies which will make even more solid the execution of the programme. This contract is a fundamental step for Naviris in demonstrating its capability to execute a multinational programme and it further reinforces the role of the joint venture as center of gravity in the cooperation among Fincantieri and Naval Group, also with the partnership of Leonardo and SIGEN (ELT and Thales)”.
Eva Bruxmeier, Managing Director of eurosam stated: “PAAMS & LRR, unique System deployed on the four French and Italian frigates, has been successfully engaged all over the world for more than 15 years in synergies with PAAMS & LRR – UK variant deployed on the six Type-45 destroyers. This new generation of PAAMS & LRR for the frigates, developed and produced by eurosam through MBDA Italia, MBDA France and Thales and integrated jointly with Naviris on the frigates, relies on an enhanced missile (ASTER Block 1 NT), an upgraded launcher, two new AESA radars (Kronos Grand Naval from Leonardo and SMART-L MM/N from Thales) and a new open software architecture command and control system”.
The Horizon frigates were originally built between 2000 and 2010 as part of a joint programme between Fincantieri and Naval Group, providing the Italian and French navies with innovative frigates with anti-air capabilities. The PAAMS & LRR system was original
29 Jul 23. European Defence Fund EUR43m counter UAS tender has a deadline of November 22. In June 2023 a European Defence Fund EUR 43m counter-UAS tender (EDF-2023-DA-AIRDEF-CUAS) was launched with a deadline of 22 November 2023.
The specific objective of this topic is to:
- tackle safety and security concerns (e.g. malevolent users attempting deliberately hostile missions such as the use of explosive payloads, ISR);
- consider the various threats in their environmental and operational context as mitigation options may vary from different scenarios (e.g. depending on the size of the area to protect, the value of the unit to protect, the reaction time required and the need to minimise fratricide and collateral damages);
- provide a suite of solutions to comply with a broad set of rules of engagement (ROEs), each adapted to the surrounding environment and the operational scenarios (including the transition from peace-time to war-time), including from a sensing perspective;
- cover fixed (i.e. continuous protection of Forward Operating Bases (FOB), critical infrastructures, 24/7, at reasonable operational and maintenance costs), deployed (i.e. quick deployment with minimum logistic support, as well as rapid integration of additional sensors and effectors within a recognised open architecture, for tactical military activities as well as civil events) and mobile (i.e. protection of mobile units/elements) applications;
- include a set of various C-UAS capabilities, such as navigation systems spoofing, RF jamming, kinetic effectors (soft/hard with lethal or non-lethal effects), catch or hit-to-kill by a swarm subset or direct energy weapons (e.g. high-power lasers and/or microwaves);
- improve identification and classification capabilities of the system.:
The proposals must address the development of a C-UAS system, from a detailed design (i.e. critical design review) up to a system prototype to be tested and qualified in relevant defence operational scenarios, demonstrating its ability to:
- with a selection of passive and active sensors, detect, track, classify, identify, support decision making and counter class I UAS (single and/or multi-UAS) through an optimal selection and activation of relevant effectors using multiple technologies;
- ensure effective protection of critical defence infrastructure, installations and assets;
- operate with limited impact on existing communications or position and navigation infrastructures.
In addition, the proposals may address other operational scenarios, if deemed relevant.
The following table lists the types of activities which are eligible for this topic, and whether they are mandatory or optional (see Article 10(3) EDF Regulation):
Types of activities
(art 10(3) EDF Regulation)
(c) Activities that aim to create, underpin and improve knowledge, products and technologies, including disruptive technologies, which can achieve significant effects in the area of defence (generating knowledge)
(d) Activities that aim to increase interoperability and resilience, including secured production and exchange of data, to master critical defence technologies, to strengthen the security of supply or to enable the effective exploitation of results for defence products and technologies (integrating knowledge)
(c) Studies, such as feasibility studies to explore the feasibility of new or upgraded products, technologies, processes, services and solutions
(d) Design of a defence product, tangible or intangible component or technology as well as the definition of the technical specifications on which such a design has been developed, including any partial test for risk reduction in an industrial or representative environment
(e) System prototyping of a defence product, tangible or intangible component or technology
(f) Testing of a defence product, tangible or intangible component or technology
(g) Qualification of a defence product, tangible or intangible component or technology
(h) Certification of a defence product, tangible or intangible component or technology
(ii) Development of technologies or assets increasing efficiency across the life cycle of defence products and technologies
The proposals must cover at least the following tasks as part of the mandatory qualification activities:
- the proposals must address the qualification of the prototype to be developed, based on use cases jointly agreed by the supporting Member States and EDF associated countries (Norway);
- in particular, the proposals must address the provision of drawings, reports, analyses, certification plan and data in view of future certification of the system by the supporting Member States and EDF associated countries (Norway) authorities.
In addition, the proposals must substantiate synergies and complementarity with activities described in the call topic EDIDP-CUAS-2020 Counter Unmanned Air Systems (UASs) capabilities.
- projects addressing activities referred to in point (d) above must be based on harmonised defence capability requirements jointly agreed by at least two Member States or EDF associated countries (or, if studies within the meaning of point (c) are still needed to define the requirements, at least on the joint intent to agree on them)
- projects addressing activities referred to in points (e) to (h) above, must be: supported by at least two Member States or EDF associated countries that intend to procure the final product or use the technology in a coordinated manner, including through joint procurement
And based on common technical specifications jointly agreed by the Member States or EDF associated countries that are to co-finance the action or that intend to jointly procure the final product or to jointly use the technology (or, if design within the meaning of point (d) is still needed to define the specifications, at least on the joint intent to agree on them).
The proposed product and technologies should meet the following functional requirements:
- The C-UAS system should include battlefield management features, providing for the following capabilities:
- ensure effectiveness of the protection of moving units and assets (e.g. ground formations, convoys, ships located in the vicinity of a harbour or coastal patrolling);
- facilitate the interaction of C-UAS system with security and defence systems for fixed, deployed and mobile assets;
- consider non-static, effector-dependent danger areas in order to reduce risk of blue-on-blue or collateral damage, when protecting groups of moving objects (e.g. convoys, formations);
- ensure robustness and high availability, without being saturated in case of multiple threats (i.e. either single or multiple UAS units, either uncoordinated or operating as a team or as a single system, including swarms);
- provide an extended range of operational performances (e.g. extended ranges for surveillance, detection, identification and neutralisation) to face possible improvements of UAS threats;
- require minimum operator effort for decision making;
- neutralise the threat with focus on semi-autonomous (or even manual) technical solutions (HITL);
- in critical scenarios, where extremely high tempo and/or high threat volume prohibit the use of human sound judgement, provide options for temporarily allowing automatic C-UAS engagements with specified effectors in defined areas, within the LOAC and relevant ROE;
- offer all-weather, 24/7 operational capability, in a wide variety of climate conditions;
- provide simulation and training features in realistic scenarios;
- provide real-time playback functions for mission analysis, training and other purposes;
- require limited logistic support for deployment and maintenance.
- Regarding command and control (C2), the C-UAS system should be able to:
- plan and monitor subsystems missions and conditions;
- merge information from heterogeneous sensors;
- report about any internal or external elements that could affect the system performances;
- evaluate the possible engagement approaches to the operator, coordinate the engagement approach selected by the operator and report on the resulting outcomes;
- balance the autonomous processing of information across the adopted sensors and timely report to a central Battle Management/C2 system in order to reduce operational manpower load and bottlenecks;
- generate, disseminate and update real-time operational picture and alerts;
- integrate multilayer C2 system with cross-security-domain approach;
- allow subsystems dynamic deployment and multi-instance integration;
- provide a range of selective engagement and mitigation alternatives with the ability to evaluate mission success probabilities and potential resulting drawbacks;
- compute success probability, time to complete the neutralisation and drawback probabilities, depending on the characteristics of the effectors, for each of the possible neutralisation approaches;
- integrate and connect all the sensors and the effectors in a local C2 station;
- implement data fusion and automatic procedures and rules in order to focus human operations on action, resources coordination and cooperation. A user-friendly interface should be provided.
- Regarding sensors, C-UAS should:
- enable omnidirectional detection (e.g. rotating or staring) while also being capable of limiting the detection to a sector of choice;
- include the capability of detection for non-cooperative UAS, including autonomous, in the suite of sensors, as well as various technologies for detection and tracking (e.g. EO/IR, RF, acoustic);
- provide dynamic scalability of sensors and effectors using communication protocols that allow plug-and-play deployment.
- In terms of data and information processing, the proposed solution should:
- enable machine learning to allow using recorded signals or signatures in order to enhance the performance of target recognition and identification;
- integrate, process and display different information sources for classification/identification (e.g. sensors information, ACO, civil UTM/ATM information…).
- In terms of interfaces and interoperability, the C-UAS system should:
- be based on an open, flexible, modular and scalable architecture based on a plug-and-play component approach which allows deployment of specific configurations adapted to the threat scenarios;
- provide standard interfaces and interoperability with relevant foreseen UAS systems (e.g. U-space) and higher air defence C2 elements or other units.
The outcome should contribute to:
- consolidating and validating doctrine and CONOPS in the field of C-UAS;
- developing a comprehensive C-UAS capability for the EU and EDF associated countries;
- reducing the minimum reaction time compared with current systems;
- enhancing situation awareness and protection of critical areas and strategic assets;
- ensuring interoperability with existing security and defence systems in order to easily adapt to current monitoring systems;
- further increasing the effectiveness of C-UAS technologies/systems to be able to better counter the current and future UAS threat (including the use of MOTS UAS and swarms).
The list of all projects in this EUR714m EDF call comprise:
- EDF-2023-DA-MCBRN-FCS: Federating CBRN systems; EUR 15 000 000; No fixed maximum number of projects (but normally 1 expected)
- EDF-2023-DA-C4ISR-LCOM: Laser communications; EUR 17 000 000; No fixed maximum number of projects (but normally 1 expected)
- EDF-2023-DA-C4ISR-TRPAS: Tactical RPAS; EUR 42 000 000; No fixed maximum number of projects (but normally 1 expected)
- EDF-2023-DA-C4ISR-DAA: Detect and avoid; EUR 40 000 000; No fixed maximum number of projects (but normally 1 expected)
- EDF-2023-DA-SENS-GRID: Sensor grid; EUR 27 000 000; No fixed maximum number of projects (but normally 1 expected)
- EDF-2023-DA-CYBER-CSA: Full-Spectrum Cyber Situational Awareness for enhanced Cyberspace Operations Support; EUR 20 000 000; No fixed maximum number of projects (but normally 1 expected)
- EDF-2023-DA-CYBER-DAAI: Deployable Autonomous AI Agent; EUR 26 000 000; No fixed maximum number of projects (but normally 1 expected)
- EDF-2023-DA-SPACE-SSA: Initial operational capacity for Space situational awareness C2 and sensors; EUR 100 000 000; No fixed maximum number of projects (but normally 1 expected)
- EDF-2023-DA-MATCOMP-MJR-CBDIN: Technologies and processes for maintenance, joining and repair through an innovation test hub; EUR 30 000 000 excluding remuneration of EDA; No fixed maximum number of projects
- AIR-EDF-2023-DA-STFS: Smart technologies for next generation fighter systems; EUR 30 000 000; No fixed maximum number of projects (but normally 1 expected)
- EDF-2023-DA-AIR-SPS: Self-protection systems; EUR 33 000 000; No fixed maximum number of projects (but normally 1 expected)
- EDF-2023-DA-AIRDEF-CUAS: Counter unmanned aerial systems; EUR 43 000 000; No fixed maximum number of projects (but normally 1 expected)
- EDF-2023-DA-GROUND-MBT: Main battle tank platform systems; EUR 20 000 000; No fixed maximum number of projects
- EDF-2023-DA-GROUND-IFS: Long-range indirect fire support capabilities for precision and high efficiency strikes; EUR 27 000 000; No fixed maximum number of projects (but normally 1 expected)
- EDF-2023-DA-NAVAL-MMPC: Modular and multirole patrol corvette; EUR 154 500 000 excluding remuneration of OCCAR; No fixed maximum number of projects (but normally 1 expected)
- EDF-2023-DA-UWW-ASW: Unmanned anti-submarine and seabed warfare; EUR 45 000 000; No fixed maximum number of projects (but normally 1 expected)
- EDF-2023-DA-UWW-MCMC: Future maritime mine countermeasures capability; EUR 45 000 000; No fixed maximum number of projects (but normally 1 expected)
For more information
28 Jul 23. Saab offers four Expeditionary Submarines to the Netherlands. Supported by Sweden and the United Kingdom, Saab has today submitted its proposal for the replacement of Netherland’s current submarines. The proposal comprises four advanced Expeditionary Submarines with the latest innovations and technologies and includes a cooperation with Dutch shipbuilder Damen Shipyards Group.
Saab’s offered solution is based on a successful, proven and future-proof design. It will incorporate the latest capabilities and technologies, whilst its truly modular design will allow for new technologies as they evolve to ensure relevance for many years to come.
Saab and Dutch shipbuilder Damen Shipyards Group have cooperated since 2015 and the offer to build submarines to replace the Dutch Walrus-class is a balanced cooperation between the Netherlands and Sweden.
“The outstanding capabilities of the Expeditionary Submarine C718 meets and exceeds the Dutch needs and requirements long-term. Our offer constitutes a substantial contribution to the operational capability of the Dutch Defence Forces. Cooperation with local industry throughout the programme secures strategic autonomy for the Netherlands. These are Dutch submarines for the Royal Netherlands Navy,” says Mats Wicksell, Senior Vice President and head of Saab’s business area Kockums.
The C718 is an advanced Expeditionary Submarine that offers an unsurpassed level of endurance and exceeds the Royal Netherlands Navy needs for long-distance operations, sufficient accommodation, crew comfort and increased weapon payload capability.
As part of the proposal, Saab offers a proven and integrated weapon launching system and one of the best sensor-systems in the world. Saab’s innovative design features signature solutions to minimise detection by active sonars, all combined in an undetectable and extremely capable submarine.
The offer includes knowledge transfer to the Netherlands. Once delivered, the submarines will be fully maintainable by the Royal Netherlands Navy including upgrades throughout their lifespans.
Sweden, through Saab’s business area Kockums, has a long tradition in producing world class submarines. Four nations are currently operating submarines and submarine technology designed by Saab’s business area Kockums; Sweden, Australia, Japan and Singapore.
01 Aug 23. RFI for next round of Air Force tanker buy projected for end of September: USAF official.
“I think what you’re hearing from individuals like Hon. Hunter and Hon. Kendall is a recognition that the requirements that went into the JCIDS process are not revolutionary,” said Scott Boyd, Air Force deputy program manager for mobility aircraft.
The Air Force expects to issue a request for information (RFI) to industry for its next round of tanker procurement around the end of September, a service official said Monday.
The requirements for the tanker buy — dubbed the KC-135 Tanker Recapitalization Program after replacing the now-defunct KC-Y effort — first have to move through the Pentagon’s Joint Capabilities Integration and Development System (JCIDS). That process, according to Scott Boyd, Air Force deputy program manager for mobility aircraft, is expected to wrap up by the end of September.
The RFI will then be released “almost simultaneous[ly],” Boyd said, with Boeing’s KC-46A Pegasus and Lockheed Martin’s LMXT are expected to respond.
Air Force officials such as Secretary Frank Kendall and acquisition chief Andrew Hunter have previously suggested the service may skip a competition for the next round of tankers and continue buying the Pegasus. Despite those indications, Boyd said an acquisition strategy still isn’t clear.
“We have yet to determine that — doesn’t matter what any person, senior leader or otherwise, has said. We don’t know what our acquisition strategy is,” he stated during a media roundtable here at the Life Cycle Industry Days conference hosted by Wright Patterson Air Force Base.
“We’ve engaged with Congress on that as well, to try to make it clear to them we still don’t know what our strategy is,” he added. Some members of Congress have previously pushed for a competition for the tanker buy.
A final acquisition strategy is then expected “around the third quarter of fiscal year 2024,” according to Boyd.
As the Air Force eyes accelerating a buy for a next-gen tanker, Lockheed is betting that the service’s plans to field it will take longer than the current 2035 target date. In that case, the Air Force would require more tankers to continue recapitalizing its refueling fleet, which would better position Lockheed to compete for the KC-135 recap effort.
“We still have to do the same process of market research, evaluating feedback from industry, completing the business case analysis, all of those activities will happen regardless,” Boyd said when asked about previous comments from senior officials that suggested a sole-source decision to Boeing for continued KC-46A procurement is in the cards.
“I think what you’re hearing from individuals like Hon. Hunter and Hon. Kendall is a recognition that the requirements that went into the JCIDS process are not revolutionary… And so when they recognize that, I think that sort of helps influence how they talk about the program, that it can be potentially satisfied by the [KC-]46.
“But we still have to do our due diligence. It’s always been that way,” he added. “I’ve honestly not felt pressure from Congress or from within the Air Force to do anything different than what we were already doing.”
(Source: Defense News Early Bird/Breaking Defense)
26 Jul 23. FAA seeks industry interest in drone detection data services to monitor DJI drones. The Federal Aviation Administration is seeking sources for drone detection data services to monitor DJI drone activities at various locations along US land and coastal national borders. Deadline for replies is 1 August 2023.
According to the www.sam.gov website:
“The purpose of this Statement of Work (SOW) is to establish a contract to procure drone detection data as a service (DaaS) renewal for 12-months for 26 sensors, DaaS new for 12-months for 11 sensors, and installation credits for 11 new sensors to monitor DJI drone activities primarily along US southern border regions, but also includes various locations near other land or coastal US border areas.
More detailed SOW objectives are available on the website.“This is a market survey for information and comments from industry that will aid in the formation of a strategy for the acquisition of DaaS. The FAA provides second level engineering and logistics support to the CBP Counter Unmanned Aircraft System (CUAS) program. This program is designed to identify, intercept, and tag unmanned aircraft which may be deemed a threat or potentially being used for illegal activity. DaaS is a critical piece of the CUAS mission and requires specific operational capabilities and performance requirements which are explained in the accompanying statement of work (SOW).
“The responses to this market survey will be used for informational purposes only. This is not a screening information request or request for proposal of any kind. The FAA is not seeking or accepting unsolicited proposals. The FAA will not pay for any information received or costs incurred in preparing the response to the market survey. Therefore, any cost associated with the market survey submission is solely at the interested vendor’s expense.
“At this time the nature of the competition has not been determined. The FAA may decide to do a full and open competition or set aside all or part of the procurement for small businesses, service-disabled veteran-owned small businesses or eligible socially and economically disadvantaged businesses that are certified by the SBA for participation in the SBA’s 8(a) Program. For more information: https://sam.gov/opp/190dad71248c4e68828c545735e064f3/view
28 Jul 23. Pratt & Whitney’s F135 engine receives full funding support from Senate Appropriations Committee. Pratt & Whitney, an RTX (NYSE: RTX) business, continues to receive positive support for various F135-related program items on the path toward finalizing the 2024 appropriations bill. On July 27, the Senate Appropriations Committee, led by Chairman Jon Tester (D-MT) and Ranking Member Susan Collins (R-ME), passed a bipartisan bill that included:
Pratt & Whitney’s F135 Engine Core Upgrade work continues to receive Congressional support with the Senate Appropriations Committee passing a bipartisan bill that includes $497m for the modernization effort as well as additional funds for engine spares and repair parts.
- $497m for the development of the F135 engine core upgrade (ECU), the DoD’s chosen F-35 engine modernization effort.
- $264m above the President’s budget request for F135 engine spares and repair parts.
- A prohibition against integrating any alternate engine on any F-35 variant.
- $280m for the development of future engine technology that could be used on 6th generation tactical aircraft.
“I want to personally thank Senators Tester and Collins for their leadership on this effort, because it’s essential to ensuring our limited DoD funds go to the most urgent, high-priority needs,” said Jeff Shockey, senior vice president of RTX Global Government Relations. “I also want to express my gratitude to the Senate Appropriations Chair Patty Murray (D-WA), Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT) and the entire Connecticut and Maine delegations for their support and advocacy.”
The F135 supports nearly 55,000 jobs across 41 states and more than 260 domestic suppliers. In March 2023, the U.S. Air Force, U.S. Marine Corps, and U.S. Navy chose to upgrade the F135 versus replace it with an entirely new engine. The decision was announced as part of the administration’s 2024 budget proposal.
“The Senate Appropriations Committee’s full funding of the Engine Core Upgrade program, its addition of $280m for future-generation propulsion technologies, and language prohibiting integration of an alternate engine on any F-35 variant are critically important,” said Jill Albertelli, president of Military Engines at Pratt & Whitney. “Our collective focus should be on maximizing the performance of all three variants of the F-35, while prioritizing the advancement of sixth-generation solutions that serve our highest, most urgent national defense priorities.” (Source: PR Newswire)
REST OF THE WORLD
04 Aug 23. Australia seeks sovereignly manufactured general-purpose UAS. With Australia’s military banning the use of commercially available UAS, the ADF is looking for sovereignly designed replacements for general-purpose use. The Australian Defence Force (ADF) is seeking information on small, general-purpose UAS that can be produced at scale. On 31 July, the ADF issued an RfI for what it termed an Australian Sovereign Uncrewed Aerial System (UAS) and Trusted Autonomy Capability. The Australian-manufactured UAS being sought would be used for various applications free from security limitations and concerns, particularly their internet connectivity. (Source: News Now/Shephard)
03 Aug 23. BRAZILIAN ARMY -RFP / “request for proposal.” It was published today, August 3, 2023, on the website of the Brazilian Army Commission in Washington (CEBW), the launch of the request for proposal / request for bidding (“request for proposal” – RFP / “request for tender” – RFT ) No. 01/2023 to obtain the 155mm self-propelled howitzer combat armored vehicle on wheels (VBCOAP 155mm SR) from the Brazilian Army (EB), through the Chief of Material (CMat, ex-DMat), body of the Logistic Command (COLOG ).
CAESAR from KNDS
The project aims at 36 vehicles, through two contracts (as was the case with the VBC Cav): two initial ones, for a prototype lot for evaluation, and the 34 after homologation, with deliveries taking place over eight years, in a manner compatible with the availability of resources and operational needs of the armored units of the EB. The final objective is to equip three divisional Artillery groups or mechanized brigades, with twelve vehicles each.
***The documentation regarding the process and guidelines for participation will be available for download from August 17, 2023.
Interested industries contact us to receive the complete documentation (RFP). (Source: LinkedIN)
03 Aug 23. L3Harris delivers the first aircraft of Canadian Hornet extension project. The Canadian fighter aircraft supplier, L3Harris, achieves a CF-188 Hornet Fleet enhancement milestone.
In a pivotal juncture for Canada’s air defence capabilities, L3Harris, the Canadian fighter aircraft supplier, has marked a significant stride by delivering the inaugural fighter aircraft under the Hornet Extension Project (HEP).
The project is geared towards reinforcing Canada’s CF-188 Hornet fleet, ensuring operational readiness until the imminent induction of the F-35 next-generation fighter aircraft in 2032.
The first phase of the HEP encompasses modifications on 94 CF-188s, introducing upgrades to meet regulatory standards and enhance interoperability. These enhancements are poised to empower the CF-188s to navigate civilian airspace while coordinating with allied forces.
The subsequent phase focuses on elevating the combat prowess of 36 CF-188s through crafted hardware and software improvements to guarantee sustained operational efficacy until their intended retirement.
Long-standing collaborators, L3Harris and the Royal Canadian Air Force have fostered a partnership spanning over 35 years. During this alliance, L3Harris has breathed new life into Canada’s fighter aircraft fleet, infusing modernisation and structural enhancements that have extended the platform’s operational relevance.
The company’s proficiency is further underscored by its stewardship of aircraft fleets like the CC-150 Polaris, CP-140 Aurora, CH-148 Cyclone, and CH-147F Chinook, to name a few, symbolising the depth of their commitment to bolstering Canada’s strategic aerial capabilities.
“L3Harris is Canada’s only fighter aircraft centre of excellence,” asserted Ugo Paniconi, General Manager at L3Harris. “This contract is a testament to our ongoing performance and commitment to our customer’s mission. For over three decades, we have proudly maintained Canada’s only fighter aircraft fleet, and we look forward to the opportunity of continuing our rich legacy of ISS on Canada’s future F-35 fleet.”
Canada’s Future Fighter Capability Project aims to replace the Royal Canadian Air Force’s ageing fleet of CF-188 Hornets with 88 new-generation fighters. The air force has agreed to replace CF-188 Hornets with Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II, according to GlobalData’s report on “The Global Military Fixed Wing Aircraft Market 2023-2033“.
L3Harris has garnered international acclaim for its prowess in effecting fighter aircraft structural modifications and life-extension solutions. The company’s achievements encompass undertakings with entities such as the Royal Australian Air Force, the U.S. Navy, the Swiss Air Force, the Finnish Air Force, and NASA.
As the Hornet Extension Project progresses, L3Harris is poised to remain at the vanguard of ushering in a new era of operational excellence, ensuring Canada’s preparedness in the realm of aerial defence. (Source: airforce-technology.com)
02 Aug 23. SCA releases first Innovation Challenge RFI. Just one month after its formation Defence’s Advanced Strategic Capabilities Accelerator (ASCA) has issued a Request for Information for its first Innovation Challenge. ASCA is seeking information to support an Australian sovereign Uncrewed Aerial Systems (UAS) and trusted autonomy industrial capabilities.
The RFI will close 21 August 2023 at 4:30pm AEST.
Defence is looking in particular for small, general-purpose systems that can be produced at greater scale than is currently possible to service a wide range of applications, but without the security limitations and supply chain vulnerability of current commercial suppliers.
Responses to this RFI may also support planning for developing innovative applications of existing uncrewed aerial systems, including applications involving increased autonomy.
For further information go to tenders.gov.au
For further information regarding ASCA please visit www.defence.gov.au/asca. For any enquiries, please contact ASCA at
01 Aug 23. Russia highlights arms contracts and defence industry cooperation with Africa. Coinciding with the Russia-Africa summit in St Petersburg last week, Russia’s Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation has highlighted the joint projects and weapons sales to African countries, which have ordered $10bn worth of military hardware since 2019.
“There are promising cooperation projects in the field of joint development and production of weapons and military equipment, both for the national armed forces of our states and in the interests of third countries. Work on this issue continues,” a Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation (FSMTC) representative is reported by RIA Novosti as saying on 29 July.
African countries account for around 20% of Russian state arms agency Rosoboronexport contracts. Rosoboronexport Alexander Mikheev told reporters last week that since 2019, Russia has signed over 150 contracts worth $10bn with African countries.
Last week’s Russia-Africa summit was an opportunity to maintain and strengthen ties with traditional partners, find reliable customers and start developing new market segments, the chief executive said.
“Following the first summit, we saw an extremely high prolonged conversion from the talks in Sochi,” Mikheev said, adding that since 2019, Rosoboronexport added customers in five new countries on the continent.
The FSMTC representative told RIA Novosti that South Africa has the most developed defence industry in Africa and therefore Russia is interested in cooperation with South Africa, given the strategic level of interstate relations, as well as interaction within the BRICS framework.
In an interview with Russia Aviation & Military Guide (RAMG) magazine ahead of the Russia-Africa summit, Dmitry Shugaev, FSMTC Director, said “The African continent is of great importance for the Russian Federation. In modern geopolitical realities, we consider Africa as an important ally in the international arena. We are ready for deliveries of the most modern military equipment.”
Shugaev believes the African market is “sufficiently capacious and promising. The states of the region are paying more and more attention to the issues of ensuring security and strengthening the defence capability, while rejecting the encroachments of the West.” As many countries face terrorist threats, this is further incentive to overhaul their military equipment.
Shugaev mentioned to RAMG the fact that strong relationships exist between Russia and African states due to the USSR’s liberation struggle assistance – many weapons supplied during this time are still in use. He emphasised that in addition to supplying weaponry, Russia can deliver maintenance and repair services.
An emerging trend is for the establishment of joint projects and co-production. “Today the Russian side is ready to talk about setting up military equipment production in the territory of partner countries. We strive for more active introduction of modern forms of cooperation that can bring the process of our interaction to a higher level. This includes, first and foremost, the joint development of high-tech military products, the establishment of joint ventures for the production of military products, the construction of service centres to maintain the products supplied, and mutually beneficial research and development work in relation to military products,” Shugaev said, adding that many countries are interested in establishing the production of Russian military equipment on their territory.
One of the best known examples of such cooperation is India, which has the joint Russian/Indian BrahMos missile project, and licensed production of T-90S tanks and Su-30MKI aircraft, as well as aircraft engines and tank projectiles. Project 11356 frigates are also being built at Indian shipyards, and AK-203 assault rifles are being locally produced.
Rosoboronexport displayed a wide range of military equipment at the Russia-Africa summit on 27 and 28 July, including small arms, non-lethal weapons, screening and explosive detection equipment, perimeter security systems, satellite communication systems, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and counter-UAV systems, armoured vehicles, and helicopters, amongst others. (Source: https://www.defenceweb.co.za/)
31 Jul 23. Airbus pitches A400M for IAF MTA project. Airbus has pitched its A400M ‘Atlas’ aircraft in response to a request for information (RFI) by the Indian Air Force (IAF) for its Multirole Transport Aircraft (MTA) requirement.
“Airbus has participated in the MTA RFI that was issued in the first quarter of 2023,” an Airbus spokesperson told Janes.
With its MTA programme, the IAF is exploring the option of acquiring a batch of 40, 60, or 80 transport aircraft. In its RFI, the IAF said the aircraft are required to have a cargo-carrying capacity of between 18 and 30 tonnes. The spokesperson added that Airbus is pitching the aircraft as “several A400M have been flying through and to India as escorts of foreign air forces deployments in the South East Asia region and the aircraft is relatively known by the Indian Air Force”. The A400M Atlas transport aircraft has a maximum payload capacity of 37 tonnes (according to Janes. (Source: Janes)
28 Jul 23. Luerssen proposes ‘more bang for your buck’ Navy corvette. German shipbuilder Lürssen is proposing a ‘more bang for your buck’ C90 corvette for delivery to the Royal Australian Navy by 2028. The German shipbuilder, also known as NVL Group, operates across eight locations internationally for the building and refitting of luxury mega yachts and naval vessels. Within Australia it operates subsidiary, Luerssen Australia.
The proposed 90-metre-long C90 corvette design is based on two NATO-standard Multipurpose Modular Patrol Vessels (MMPV 90) already under construction for the Bulgarian Navy in Varna, Bulgaria.
Luerssen said each ship is designed for maritime security and combat scenarios, with a displacement of 2100 tonnes (2300 for Australia), crew of 60 (plus 25 embarked), powered by two diesel engines to a speed of 22knots and a range of up to 6000 nautical miles. The company has indicated two vessels would be built simultaneously with steel cut in 2024, the first finished and delivered in 2028 and one every ten months thereafter.
The C90 can be equipped with 3D search radar, fire control radar, two navigation radars, combat management system, electro-optical and IR sensors, laser warning system, Israeli DSIT Blackfish hull mounted sonar, towed array sonar (optional), a stern ramp launching system, a medium-size multi-mission helicopter and landing deck.
Each vessel could be armed with a 76mm super rapid cannon (120 rounds-a-minute), 35mm anti-aircraft and anti-surface secondary gun (1000 rounds-a-minute), sixteen VLS, eight surface to surface missiles (with the potential for 16 for Australia), torpedo decoys and flare/chaff countermeasures, two 12.7mm machine guns (for the Bulgarian Navy) and two triple torpedo launchers.
The C90 design would likely need to be extended with a larger helicopter hanger as the current Bulgarian AS565 Panther medium helicopter (13.68m length, 3.97m height) is more compact than the RAN MH-60R Seahawk helicopter (19.7m length, 5.18m height).
“First and foremost, a ship needs to be able to deliver a lot of bang, what you need is the capability to carry long range missiles,” said Lürssen chief executive officer and managing partner Peter Lürssen.
“You want to have good number of surface-to-surface missile and you need a very substantial range. The 90-metre ship that we have has a good range and the current configuration is anti-submarine, anti-surface. We can further enhance it by replacing a short to medium range vertical launch with a long-range vertical launch.
“The Bulgarian ship has a three-dimensional warfare capability (air, land, sea), is it a heavier ship? Yes, it is a few knots slower but it is originally designed for heavy and rough seas.
“You want a stable, strong platform, because you need to be at sea for a prolonged period of time. You can’t do this in a ship that is not offering the best human comfort, because then the capabilities of the crew will suffer. I think in the waters around Australia, you’re probably better off with a 90-metre heavy ship.
“We already put Australian built (SAAB 9LV CMS) consoles onto the Bulgaria ship. We do have a high Australian content… The adaptations can be done in Australia (including Australian CEA radar), we have a supply chain. And I think we will be having a great Australian content. We really have all capabilities necessary to build the ship in the country without problems.”
Luerssen has indicated production of future C90 corvettes could be streamlined by extending existing supply chains used in the construction of Arafura Class offshore patrol vessels (OVP80) in Adelaide and Perth.
The Australian Government originally signed the contract for the Arafura Class in 2018, laid the first keel in 2019, delivered the first vessel in 2021 and has 12 offshore patrol vessels to be delivered in 2030.
University of Sydney, United States Studies Centre foreign policy and defence director Professor Peter J. Dean, who worked as a co-lead of the 2023 Defence Strategic Review Secretariat for the independent leads, said Defence will be assessing costs, schedule risks, workforce and maintenance in relation to any proposal for a new Navy corvette.
“As the (Defence Strategic Review) capability section says, it’s about speed to capability. Some (designs) are less mature, Defence is going to have to offset maturity of design, scheduling and costs,” he said. “The ultimate aim they’re looking at is doing things with less risk, less costs, and really a big emphasis on speed.
“They (Luerssen) have a workforce, they have a shipyard, they have a vessel that’s an evolution of the OPV that delivers as much capability on paper as an ANZAC Class frigate does; that can be done quickly. On the surface, that’s a strong combination of factors, a workforce, a shipyard, an evolved design… that is already under construction.
“Given the higher risk strategic circumstances, the need for as DSR says ‘an enhanced capability in things such as long range strike but also in air defense and anti-submarine warfare’… stepping up from an offshore patrol vessel or a patrol craft to a corvette or light frigate option gives you those are different capabilities.
“From the design Luerssen put forward the C90 has 16 vertical launch system cells, each of those VLS cells can carry four evolved Sparrow missiles. That is a significant advantage over where the offshore patrol vessel, our Armadale and Cape class patrol vessels sit at.
“It can take a towed sonar array, has torpedo tubes and can operate a helicopter at the back. So in terms of anti-submarine warfare, it’s a massive step up from our patrol boats which have basically no capability in this area.”
Luerssen’s design could potentially compete against designs from British engineering company Babcock, Spanish state-owned shipbuilder Navantia and fellow German shipbuilder ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems (TKMS). Australia already has a contract signed with BAE Systems Maritime Australia to build nine Hunter class frigates under Project SEA 5000 Phase 1.
Prof Dean said Defence would have to consider whether other options are available.
“A Hunter Class from its sensor systems, its radar systems, its multi-mission capable and capabilities is much much larger, but it’s also significantly more expensive,” he said.
“According to what we know from Senate estimates and the Audit Office report, nine proposed Hunter class frigates currently sits at around $50bn dollars and rising and will only get more expensive; we don’t know how much the hunter class will cost.
“We also conversely don’t yet know exactly how much a corvette or light frigate option from the Navantia, Luerssen or TKMS or anyone else would offer.
“As a ballpark figure, you’re going to get considerably larger number of Corvettes. If you look at a price estimate around $5bn, which potentially could be the cost of one Hunter Class frigate, you could get somewhere between six to ten corvettes for that price range.
“Now if you’re looking at ten corvettes with 16 VLF cells in them. That’s 160 VLF cells across those ten corvettes, there’s only 32 VLS cells in one Hunter Class frigate, so there’s a return on your bang for buck but also ten corvettes can be in a lot more places at the same time than one Hunter class frigate.”
Mr Lürssen said the company was also willing to transport one of their floating maritime docks (dock 11) for the Henderson shipbuilding precinct in Western Australia. That dock (65000 ton lift capacity) would be moved from Hamburg, Germany to the site in Perth, allowing a viable option for maintenance on navy warships, large commercial vessels and even Virginia Class submarines.
“That proposal is over a year old, (but) we stand behind the proposal,” he said. “Would I think that it’s sensible to have a large dock there (in Perth); absolutely.
“I think as overall deal with AUKUS, you should try to get the American position ships in Australia. I mean, talking as industry, you want them to be in Australia and not in Singapore because they have lots of maintenance that need to be done and you can do it as good as your Singaporeans can.
“We stand behind the proposal to move the dock there if so wanted, and offer them the possibility to actually lift very large ships.” (Source: Defence Connect)
28 Jul 23. R85m worth of technology didn’t reach SANDF soldiers on the border. A fence and cleared area mark a section of the South African land border.
The Joint Operations Division of the SA National Defence Force (SANDF) had the wool well and truly pulled over its eyes by the officer commanding the Department of Defence (DoD) Central Procurement Service Centre (CPSC) earlier this year.
The massive and costly subterfuge was revealed by Defence and Military Veterans Minister Thandi Modise in reply to a Parliamentary question posed by African National Congress (ANC) parliamentarian Alexandra Beukes. She, as a member of the Portfolio Committee on Defence and Military Veterans (PCDMV), wanted to know how a National Treasury approved amount of R85m was spent on “borderline technology” in the 2022/23 financial year. Beukes asked Modise to elaborate on “procurement challenges” standing in the way of acquisition as well as what is and will be done to prevent similar occurrences.
Modise, without once mentioning any specific equipment such as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), radios or even vehicles, went into some detail on the CPSC acquisition as well as an Armscor one that didn’t meet muster.
On the CPSC, her response reads, in part: “a batch of equipment and items procurement process was conducted through the DoD CPSC in accordance with the type of equipment/items as well as the financial delegation threshold”.
It continues: “The officer in charge at the CPSC (Officer Commanding) informed the client (Joint Operations HQ) that the procurement process is progressing well and accordingly. This feedback was provided on a regular basis to Joint Ops as they conducted regular follow up on a weekly basis. However, later in January 2023 it was incidentally discovered that there were no records at the CPSC for such procurement. It was discovered that the CPSC Officer Commanding had all along deceived the client, Joint Ops, for this entire period. The Officer Commanding has since been removed from his post in January 2023 to allow investigation on various issues.”
While not in the same league, the acquisition entrusted to Armscor did not reach the expected conclusion of delivery by March 2023 as promised. The relevant part of the Ministerial response reads: “Armscor indicated to us due consultation was undertaken and the relevant suppliers/service providers confirmed to honour the requirement of the set delivery date. This did not materialise as the service providers later indicated that they are unable to deliver before end of February 2023 as agreed”.
Some time ago it was revealed Joint Operations planned to spend R85 m on border security technology for the 2022/23 financial year with a focus on high and low technology. High technology equipment was tp include tactical radios and surveillance equipment for land and sea applications and reliable communications systems.
In late 2021, Joint Operations revealed R225m was allocated to procure or acquire prime mission equipment for border protection use for the three-year 2020/21 medium term expenditure framework (MTEF). Of this, R65 m was allocated in 2020/21 and R75m in 2021/22. R32m was allocated for the procurement of UAVs.
As to what’s being done to prevent recurrences of delivery issues, Modise’s response to Beukes has it: “The DoD is in the process of undertaking wide ranging programmes and activities to address the various challenges of the prevailing challenges in the procurement process and or system (sic)”.
Additional border security technology will be acquired by the SANDF in coming years. In March, it was revealed National Treasury is giving the SANDF a R700 m injection over the next three years for procurement of vehicles and surveillance technology for border security. The ‘troop pack’ vehicles (at present Toyota Land Cruisers) will be replaced with off-the-shelf vehicles and R500 m will be spent in 2024/25 for this.
R200 m worth of sensor technology will be acquired for Operation Corona in 2025/26, including a geographic information system (GIS) capability (R22.5m); intelligence collection and processing capabilities (R47m under Project Baobab); upgraded Chaka command and control system (R7.2m); Reutech RSR 903 radars (R57m); 60 observation posts (R16 m under Project Dominate); 16 quadcopter unmanned aerial vehicles (R16 m) and two long range UAVs (R24m). (Source: https://www.defenceweb.co.za/)
28 Jul 23. Australia ‘Confident’ on US Nuclear Submarines Deal. Australia’s Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said on Friday he was positive about a US deal to deliver nuclear powered submarines to Australia being on track. “I am very confident and spoke with their Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin last night,” said Albanese to the media.
Austin and US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken are in the northeastern Austalian state of Queensland for the annual Australia-US Ministerial Meeting (AUSMIN) dialogue , focusing on the progress of the submarine deal, regional security and clean energy.
Republicans oppose submarine sale
The AUKUS pact, first announced in 2021, is a security alliance between Australia, the US and the UK. As per the deal, the US is expected to sell three US Virginia class nuclear-powered submarines to Australia.
Blinken and Austin are discussing the deal with Albanese and other Australian officials on Friday and Saturday.
Meanwhile, 25 US Republican lawmakers wrote to the US President Joe Biden that the submarine sale to Australia would “unacceptably weaken” the US fleet as there is no clear plan to replace them.
Despite this, Albanese expressed confidence about the deal because of the discussions he had with Republicans and Democrats during the NATO summit in Lithuania earlier this month. He said he was struck by their unanimous support for the US-Australia relationship, which he said has “never been stronger.”
Australia to invest in AUKUS deal
As part of the AUKUS deal, Australia has agreed to invest $3bn (€2.7bn) in the US submarine industrial base.
“There is pressure on the American industrial base. We’ve well understood that. That’s why we’ll be making a contribution to it,” said Australia’s Defense Minister Richard Marles in an interview to Sky television on Friday.
He added that the deal is advantageous to all three parties because Australia will develop an industrial base that will add to the net capability of all three countries.
The AUKUS deal is expected to cost Australia up to $2bn (€1.8bn) per year over a period of 30 years.
Security allies to discuss China amid tensions
Australia is currently reshaping its defense forces in response to China’s military build up and plans to boost its long range strike capabilities and domestic missile production.
The US and Australia will also discuss China’s security ambitions in the Indo-Pacific region at the AUSMIN summit.
Lloyd Austin said that both Australia and the US were worried about China’s attempts to depart from international law. He added that Washington will defend its allies against China’s “bullying behavior” in the Pacific.
Ahead of the meeting with Austin, Australia’s Defense Minister Marles emphasized that this is the time to be working with allies and “Australia has no better friend than the United States of America.”
Australian Foreign Minister Penny Wong also told the media that the US is “indispensable to the balance in the region.”
(Source: https://www.defense-aerospace.com/ Deutsche Welle German Radio;)
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.