17 Aug 23. The New Frigates Will Strengthen the Polish Navy. “We have witnessed a very important event, which is the next stage of our activities aimed at strengthening the Polish Navy. Two years ago, we signed a contract regarding the order of new frigates from a Polish shipyard. Thanks to cooperation with Great Britain, with Babcock and other companies forming the consortium, we have now taken another step forward,” said Mariusz Błaszczak, Minister of National Defense in Gdynia.
On Wednesday, August 16, at PGZ Stocznia Wojenna sp. z o.o. in Gdynia, the head of the Ministry of National Defense participated in the ceremony of burning metal sheets for the first of the three Miecznik frigates for the Polish Navy.
“Yesterday, at the parade in Warsaw, we watched the strength of the Polish Army. First of all, the strength of the land forces, but also the strength of the air forces. It is difficult to present the strength of the Navy in Warsaw. Therefore, today we are in Gdynia and we are witnessing the next stage of strengthening the Polish Navy.
“Three frigates in the Miecznik program will constitute a new quality in the Polish Navy. They will be heavily armed, both in terms of offensive and anti-aircraft weapons. We have talked many times about the Navy with Minister Siewiera, with the President of the Republic of Poland, and as a consequence of these strategic documents, as a consequence of our findings, today we have another stage in terms of strengthening the Polish Navy,” said Minister Mariusz Błaszczak.
Three modern Miecznik frigates for the Polish Navy will be built at PGZ Stocznia Wojenna in cooperation with the leaders of the defense industry (Babcock, MBDA, Thales, Remontowa Shipbuilding), as part of the largest contract ever awarded to the Polish shipbuilding industry. The first frigate will be built by 2026. The project is being implemented according to schedule.
“One could say that after Sweden’s accession to NATO, perhaps the strength of the Polish Navy is not so necessary. No sir, it’s essential. It is necessary to ensure the security of our homeland. We assume that we stand in solidarity with our allies, and that the Navy plays an important role in the security of the entire North Atlantic Alliance. These new frigates will also be used by Polish sailors to fulfill missions not only in the Baltic Sea, but also in the oceans to ensure the security of the entire North Atlantic Alliance,” said the Minister of National Defence.
Multi-purpose ships of this class will significantly increase the capabilities of the Polish Navy and will allow for the implementation of a wide range of tasks at sea, including securing shipping routes and critical infrastructure. The ships will increase the combat potential of the Polish Armed Forces, but will also constitute a significant contribution of the Republic of Poland within the framework of the North Atlantic Alliance, e.g. by carrying out tasks within NATO’s Permanent Ship Teams.
The multi-purpose ships will be equipped with modern radar, artillery and missile systems. Thanks to them, the Polish Navy will gain new opportunities to perform a wide range of tasks in Polish maritime areas and to participate in missions and exercises organized with allies from NATO countries.
“I am very happy that these ships are built in a Polish shipyard. I would like to thank our British partners for their cooperation and exemplary cooperation. There are great prospects in front of the Polish Naval Shipyard. This is good news for the crew, for the people who work here. The prospects are great. I am very happy that Polish shipyards are implementing these contracts. On the one hand, in this way they provide good weapons for the Navy, on the other hand, these are new jobs right here in our country,” emphasized the minister.
The implementation of the project in Poland allows for the creation of about 2,000 jobs in shipyards, defense companies and other industry sectors directly involved in the project. The acquired competences will allow to develop new possibilities and help in work on other projects for the Polish Navy.
The contract with the Armament Inspectorate (now Armaments Agency) was signed on July 27, 2021. The PGZ-MIECZNIK Consortium, composed of: Polska Grupa Zbrojeniowa S.A., PGZ Stocznia Wojenna sp. z o.o., is responsible for the implementation of the project. Strategic partners in the project are: Remontowa Shipbuilding S.A., Babcock, Thales UK and MBDA UK.
(Unofficial translation by Defense-Aerospace.com) (Source: https://www.defense-aerospace.com/ Polish Ministry of Defense)
16 Aug 23. Babcock and PGZ SA Pen Framework Agreement to Lead to Joint Venture. Following on from their Strategic Cooperation Agreement signed in March 2022, Babcock, the international defence company, and PGZ S.A, the Polish Armaments Groups – one of the largest defence groups in Europe, have entered into a Framework Agreement with the intention of forming a Joint Venture (JV) that further strengthens the Strategic Partnership between the two companies. When enacted the JV will see both companies work more closely together to deliver Poland’s MIECZNIK frigate programme and on the potential development of broader international opportunities.
Poland’s MIECZNIK programme is based on Babcock’s Arrowhead 140 Frigate design, and Babcock and PGZ plan to deliver this programme by combining their shipbuilding and equipment support capabilities. The companies will also seek opportunities to partner for other naval and wider defence programmes by optimising resources, capabilities and infrastructure across both organisations.
Currently going through latter stage commercial processes, the new Joint Venture organisation will be a further boost to UK and Polish industry collaboration and wider prosperity generation, following the recent signing of the 2030 Strategic Partnership between the UK and Poland which seeks to deepen policy, security and defence cooperation.
David Lockwood, CEO Babcock said: “In today’s world, sovereign defence has never been more important. Our planned Joint Venture with PGZ continues to build on our increasingly close relationship, enabling us to consolidate the core capabilities of both organisations to benefit our current and future customers. What we do matters more than ever, and today we are proud to stand alongside our Polish partner as they cut the first steel on this national shipbuilding programme.”
Sebastian Chwałek, CEO PGZ S.A. said: “The Framework Agreement concluded today is built on the strong and fruitful relationship between PGZ and Babcock. Over the last few years, we have established a strategic partnership between Poland and the UK. Once concluded, the Joint Venture will not only support the MIECZNIK programme, but also work as a platform for future naval shipbuilding capabilities. Strengthening the potential of the Polish Navy is an absolute priority for us, but in the long term, together with Babcock we also plan to create export opportunities. Cooperation in the development of naval forces is also an action to strengthen NATO, of which both our countries are extremely important representatives.”
15 Aug 23. Turkey’s Kaan fighter targets overseas partners. The Turkish Aerospace (TAI) developmental Kaan fighter appears to be gaining international traction, with Pakistan likely to follow Azerbaijan in exploring participation in the effort. In a 14 August tweet, Turkish defence minister Yasar Guler indicates that Pakistan is poised to sign up to the programme. Guler’s statement follows previous remarks from Turkish officials that Islamabad is interested in Kaan. Should Islamabad become involved with the new Turkish fighter, it could become its second international fighter partnership, following its collaboration with Beijing on the Chengdu/Pakistan Aeronautical Complex JF-17.
Pakistan’s apparent interest in the Kaan programme comes just weeks after Baku signed a protocol with Ankara to explore involvement in the programme.
“With the protocol, it is aimed to determine the working procedures and principles of cooperation with Azerbaijan on joint production issues, including the development activities of the 5th-generation national combat aircraft Kaan, which is being developed for the Turkish air force,” according to Turkey’s Defence Industry Agency.
“The protocol also aims to identify and evaluate the capabilities established in Azerbaijan, to make production preparations at the appropriately evaluated facilities and/or companies, to develop production capabilities and to share experience within the scope of the Kaan project.”
The Kaan was rolled out in May 2023
Azerbaijan and Turkey already have a deal under which TAI is upgrading Baku’s Sukhoi Su-25 fleet to a new Su-25ML standard, capable of deploying Turkish smart weapons.
At the Paris air show in June, TAI chief executive Temel Kotil said that by 2028 the company aims to deliver 20 Kaan fighters to the Turkish air force in an initial Block 10 configuration. As the programme matures, subsequent deliveries will be in a new Block 20 standard.
The Kaan is powered by a pair of GE Aerospace F110 engines, but the company is “working on” an indigenous powerplant for the type. A first flight is planned before the end of 2023.
Pakistani involvement in the Kaan programme could raise questions about its future collaboration with Beijing on advanced fighters, with the JF-17 is pitched as a basic, affordable fighter for air forces in the developing world. Pakistan is also the first export customer for China’s single-engined Chengdu J-10C, a type analogous to the Lockheed Martin F-16. (Source: https://www.defense-aerospace.com/Flight Global)
15 Aug 23. Room for Innovation: Dutch ASW Frigates in Service from 2029. The four new Anti Submarine Warfare (ASW) frigates will have a large number of innovations aboard. In 2029, the first ship must be transferred to the Royal Netherlands Navy Command, with space for a laser cannon and a weapon that is still being developed: the anti-torpedo torpedo.
Christophe van der Maat, the now outgoing Defense Secretary of State, signed the contracts for the construction of the ships at the end of last month. Damen builds them and Thales supplies the integrated radar and fire control system. Two ships are intended for the Royal Navy, the other two for the Belgian navy. The ASW frigates replace the current 30-year-old Multipurpose (M) frigates of both countries. In 2031, all four new ASW frigates must be in service.
Now with model 22D
For Captain (TD) Gwilym Walraven and shipbuilding engineer Etienne Duchateau of the Commando Materieel en IT (COMMIT), this marks the end of the long road they walked together. They pulled the cart with regard to the ASW frigates on behalf of the Maritime Systems Division (AMS) of the COMMIT. TD’er Walraven has now ‘moved’ to Den Helder and Duchateau has taken on another project. “It is great to see how everything turned out with this signing,” said Walraven. “If you see what’s in this ship… To indicate: from model 1 on the drawing board, we have now ended with model 22D modified . That, in addition to COVID-19, is one of the reasons why we will not achieve the desired year of 2027.”
Drawing of a rowing boat
COMMIT’s AMS is unique in the world of shipbuilding, where the navies usually leave the design to the industry and buy ‘off the shelf’. “We design the more complex ships together with the user and in close consultation with the builder,” explains Duchateau. It starts, almost literally, with the drawing of a rowing boat, on which more and more things are built. “You can make it as crazy as you want, but there are of course limitations. Think about the budget. Every change has consequences, for example for the length or speed of the ship.”
Package of sensors
The new ships will of course receive a package of sensors to detect submarines. This includes a Hull Mounted Sonar (HMS), a Low Frequency Active Passive Sonar (LFAPS) and a communication system to receive the signals from sonar buoys. Irregularities on the water surface, such as a periscope, can be detected with Thales’ radar and electro-optical systems. The ASW frigate, which will often act alone, must be able to defend itself against attacks from on, under and above the water. Defense’s JIVC and the civilian RH Marine are jointly responsible for the Integrated Mission Management System (IMMS). That is an overarching IT architecture which includes JIVC’s Combat Management System , as well as Integrated Platform Management System (IPMS) and RH Marine’s Integrated Navigation Bridge System (INBS).
Now we have to wait for the first laser gun and the anti-torpedo torpedoes (ATT). “The protection against torpedoes now consists of decoys, a so-called soft-kill system,” explains Walraven. “The intention is that in time the anti-torpedo torpedo can be launched from these ships to achieve a hard kill, underwater.”
And then of course there is always the on-board helicopter that can go on the attack thanks to its sonar and torpedoes. A clever trick on board the ASWF: “The flight crew is housed in its entirety in cabins below the flight deck; after all, during flight operations they are stationed in the hangar and on the helideck. In this way, the permanent crew is not affected by flight operations,” explains Duchateau.
The adjustments have resulted in the ASWF being 144 meters long – 8 meters longer than originally intended. Amidships space has been created for a FRISC or a larger unmanned surface vehicle (USV). “Despite these adjustments, no concessions have been made to the speed of the ship. Thanks to an optimal hull shape – which has been tested at MARIN – and the use of light materials, the engines can handle it. For example, the masts are made of composite and, remarkably enough, this also applies to the bridge house and the barge. “All in all, that saves about 60 tons in weight high up in the ship,” says Duchateau. The engines – ‘the largest of their kind’ – are also quieter due to an adjustment of the diesel generator room (DGK), which is a nice extra in anti-submarine warfare.
‘The challenge lies in automation and mechanization’
There has also been a strong focus on automation and mechanization, explains Walraven. “Business operations will be very different from what we are used to. Until now, we assumed planned maintenance with our ships. We are moving towards so-called condition-based monitoring . The quality of the parts is constantly monitored and, for example, you only replace a part when it is worn out. So no preventive replacement. This not only saves money, but also leads to higher operational readiness.”
All new systems will undoubtedly have to catch up from 2029, just like the staff. “In the beginning there are therefore 117 people on board, later that will be reduced to 110. The automation will be the major challenge: whether it will indeed deliver the savings in manpower that we expect.” (Unofficial translation by Defense-Aerospace.com) (Source: https://www.defense-aerospace.com/ Netherlands Ministry of Defence;)
15 Aug 23. Replacing F-35 PTMS May Cost $3bn, Honeywell Estimates. Whether and when the Lockheed Martin F-35 fighter will need a new Power and Thermal Management System (PTMS) or an upgrade has been a matter of debate within industry and the F-35 program. Honeywell‘s Torrance, Calif. plant builds the F-35 PTMS, which supplies main engine start and auxiliary and emergency power needs, in addition to 30 Kilowatts of aircraft cooling.
RTX‘s Collins Aerospace said at June’s Paris air show that the company had conducted a lab test in Windsor Locks, Conn., of the Enhanced Power and Cooling System (EPACS) that Collins Aerospace plans to offer as a replacement for the Honeywell PTMS (Defense Daily, June 28). Collins Aerospace said that EPACS will provide “more than twice the current cooling capability to support additional growth beyond Block 4 and is expected to provide enough cooling capacity for the life of the aircraft.”
EPACS includes a Collins Aerospace air cycle system, electric power generator and controller, and an auxiliary power unit by RTX’s Pratt & Whitney.
In May, a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report said that the F-35 will need a new or improved PTMS to accommodate future weapons and sensors on the aircraft (Defense Daily, May 30). The question appears to be when.
The U.S. Air Force decided this year to cancel the Advanced Engine Transition Program to develop and field a new, adaptive cycle engine on the F-35 and instead to move ahead with the Pratt & Whitney F135 Engine Core Upgrade (ECU).
Jill Albertelli, president of Pratt & Whitney’s military engine business, has said that “the F135 ECU paired with an upgraded PTMS can provide 80KW [kilowatts] or more of cooling power for the F-35, which will exceed all power and cooling needs for the F-35 through the life of the program.”
Honeywell said that it has been working with Lockheed Martin and the F-35 Joint Program Office to lend up to 17 kilowatts more of cooling for the F-35 for a total of 47 kilowatts of cooling on the Block 4 F-35.
From Honeywell’s standpoint, that may be enough extra cooling for the sensors and weapons on F-35 Block 4, while Block 5 after 2030 will likely require additional incremental changes like additive or other advanced heat exchangers to give the fighter 60 kilowatts to 80 kilowatts of cooling. The requirements for Block 4 and Block 5 thus far are not firm.
“When we look at swapping out a PTMS, let’s say you want to put in an EPACS, that’s like a $3bn bill because you’ve got to replace all the spares, everything in the fleet, all the support equipment, all the training,” Matt Milas, president of Honeywell’s defense and space business, said in an Aug. 14 virtual interview. “We have four active depots that are supporting the PTMS worldwide. You’ve got specialized support equipment. We just activated a new test cell so there’s all these test requirements and capabilities that, if you switch, the government and the international partners are gonna have to pick up a very significant bill for not a whole lot of difference.” (Source: News Now/https://www.aviationtoday.com/)
10 Aug 23. Race for new F-35 cooling system heats up, as DoD won’t rule out competition. A Honeywell Aerospace executive suggested Pratt & Whitney is improperly coordinating with fellow RTX subsidiary Collins Aerospace on modernization efforts for the F-35, but a Pratt VP denied the charge.
The Defense Department is considering “all” options as it seeks upgrades to the F-35’s cooling system, Breaking Defense has learned, with the F-35 Joint Program Office not ruling out the potential for a new competition to upgrade the system currently provided by incumbent producer Honeywell Aerospace.
Honeywell makes the F-35’s Power and Thermal Management System, or PTMS, which combines an auxiliary power unit, environmental control and emergency power into a single apparatus that, among other capabilities, cools off the aircrafts subsystems. The F-35 Joint Program Office (JPO) wants to upgrade the PTMS in order to enable future capabilities on the fifth-generation aircraft.
Asked directly by Breaking Defense whether the F-35 program is planning a competition to field a new PTMS, JPO spokesman Russ Goemaere on Thursday said “All PTMS options will be assessed to ensure we provide the greatest capability to the warfighter.”
He then added that officials “are very early into the Defense Acquisition System/Process. However, as a first step a PTMS Modernization Industry Day was held on 12-14 June with industry to collect market research, design solutions and insight on what will be needed to ensure the successful development of a new PTMS solution.”
The JPO statement is the closest yet the office has come to stating that a full-on recompete for the PTMS is on the table. And it comes as Honeywell is crying foul that its primary challenger may have an unfair advantage in a potential competition — with the Pentagon wary of providing a remedy the company seeks.
Honeywell’s goal is to have greater access to data on Pratt & Whitney’s Engine Core Upgrade (ECU). Officials are exploring improvements to the F-35’s PTMS alongside the fighter’s engine — opting to upgrade Pratt’s current F135 powerplant through the ECU program — to head off future cooling and power challenges. The program expects to field a dual PTMS/ECU modernization by 2030, the JPO has previously said.
The engine and PTMS work together to cool off the F-35, and the JPO has said modernizing both must be done in tandem to optimize their respective designs.
“In the best interest of the taxpayers and the best interest of reducing costs, and providing availability and capability for Block 4, we should have the ECU requirements being fed over to [the] PTMS because we’re already on there. We can take advantage of [that] and provide the lowest cost solution and meet the immediate threats for Block 4” and other future upgrades, Matt Milas, Honeywell’s president for defense and space, said in a July interview.
Milas also emphasized that Honeywell’s PTMS is meeting the requirements that were set forth for it. As highlighted in recent watchdog reports, Honeywell’s PTMS has needed to pull more bleed air off the F135 than specifications originally called for. That relationship has caused the engine to run hotter, prompting officials to seek upgrades to both companies’ systems especially as increased cooling needs will be brought on by upgrades down the road.
“The Program continues to evaluate technical risks and opportunities relative to PTMS. The Government appreciates Honeywell’s contributions to, and interest in continuing, supporting the Program,” Goemaere said when asked about Honeywell’s request. “Maintaining acquisition integrity at this stage, however, requires discretion when engaging with any individual vendors, so as not to prejudice opportunities for wider industrial participation.”
A competition to replace the current PTMS could put significant heat on Honeywell, whose design would be at risk of getting knocked out by a competitor. One opponent is already known: RTX subsidiary Collins Aerospace announced at the Paris Air Show plans to offer a new PTMS, dubbed the Enhanced Power and Cooling System (EPACS), which company officials said will be ready for an engineering and manufacturing development phase next year.
It’s unknown if others may seek to participate in a PTMS competition. However, both Collins and Pratt are owned by RTX, which adds a level of tension over Honeywell’s desire to get extra information out of Pratt.
For its part, Lockheed Martin, the prime contractor for the F-35, said in a statement that the company stands behind the JPO’s ongoing analysis, including the possibility of incorporating new designs.
“We are fully committed to engine, cooling, and power modernization efforts that ensure the F-35 remains the world’s most capable fighter for decades to come,” the company said in a statement to Breaking Defense. “We are supporting the F-35 Joint Program Office with their requirement definition, assessment of life, performance and life cycle costs of the propulsion options and cooling/power configurations including baseline systems, upgrades to that baseline and new architecture designs.”
Previously, RTX subsidiaries Pratt and Collins have touted their respective ECU and EPACS designs as complementary, which when combined would deliver extensive margin for growth on the F-35. In January, RTX championed the two systems working together in a news release.
For Milas, the public-facing statements about the collaboration is evidence of impropriety and, in his eyes, an attempt by RTX to knock Honeywell off the PTMS and bring all that work in-house.
Asked whether he thought Pratt was withholding information on the ECU for a competitive advantage, Milas replied, “I’d say anybody who’s really interested in the best interest of the program and best interest of taxpayer money, would want to share that information openly with the current PTMS provider. For them to say that [the ECU] meets the capabilities and not working with us, that tells you something,” adding that he is “extending the arm of collaboration to work together and try to find that solution for the lowest cost possible.”
In response to Milas’s comments, Jen Latka, vice president for F135 programs for Pratt, said in a statement: “We are not denying Honeywell information on our Engine Core Upgrade. We have not received any requests for information on ECU through official channels, and that makes sense because the JPO asked us mid-June 2023 not to share any information on ECU with potential PTMS providers because it could turn into a competitive effort.
“Based on this request, Pratt immediately developed and implemented a mitigation plan that includes firewalls between our Pratt ECU and Collins EPACS teams to avoid conflicts of interest. We respect the JPO’s desire for a fair competition on PTMS, and any requests for information on ECU should be directed to them,” she added.
Honeywell’s Argument: High Cost, Risk of Replacement
To boost Honeywell’s own offering for the PTMS, Milas turned to arguments employed by Pratt in support of its ECU approach — namely, that retrofitting jets with a new PTMS would cost billions and introduce developmental risk.
“I think it’s going to be [an] over $2bn cost impact to switch out the PTMS, and I don’t think that the JPO or the program or the partner countries are really interested in paying that bill. I think that they’d like to see the JPO and like to see us partners working together to find the most affordable solution that meets the needs of the aircraft,” he said.
When asked about the possibility of a competition for a new PTMS, Milas replied, “If there was to be a competition and introduce an entirely new architecture, I can assure you that there will be problems and there will be challenges that are encountered as with any new development type of program. And I think that just introduces more risk and more cost to the F-35.”
Losing out on a competition for a PTMS upgrade would be a setback for Honeywell, though the company would still remain intimately involved in the F-35 program: Honeywell currently makes some 100 parts for the stealth fighter, such as its brakes and wheels.
Milas said the company is currently engaged with Lockheed on “trade studies and design alternatives,” and in the near term has developed what he called a “modest” PTMS upgrade that will offer “a couple kilowatts” in cooling capacity, which he said the program is aiming to qualify by mid-2024.
In the longer term to accommodate future cooling needs, with analysis funded both internally and by Lockheed, Honeywell is further evaluating other major PTMS improvements. Some of those improvements, Milas said, would feature new tech like micro-vapor cooling systems, advanced materials, modernized coatings and 3-D printed parts.
But there are changes that should be made on the aircraft as well that are separate from the PTMS, Matt Schacht, Honeywell’s VP for engineering, emphasized in a July 25 interview.
“Some of that is work on the PTMS itself to unleash that extra cooling capacity, but a significant portion of adding cooling capacity on the aircraft is having additional heatsink [ability] to be able to make the thermodynamic cycle work,” Schacht said.
He then explained that there are two heatsinks on the F-35: fan duct heat exchangers supplied by Honeywell and the fighter’s fuel thermal management system, which he said is “owned by and integrated by Lockheed Martin.
“And so any future growth capacity will need changes to one or both of those systems,” he added.
The need for Lockheed, Pratt, the eventual PTMS provider and the JPO to sync up various subsystems is a key reason Honeywell is pushing for greater collaboration now, Milas said, adding that the sooner the program makes a decision on the PTMS, the better the F-35 will fare.
“I think the sooner that we can get to that type of answer then the sooner we can get the investments and the capabilities out there to support Block 4 and be able to meet that… timeline to 2030,” he said. (Source: Defense News Early Bird/Breaking Defense.com)
16 Aug 23. US Army seeks industry input on AI bill of materials. U.S. Army officials are seeking industry input on a fledgling initiative that would require companies to disclose the provenance of their artificial intelligence algorithms.
Under the AI bill of materials, or AI BOM, effort, prospective contractors would be asked to provide the service an inside look at their digital ingredients and supply chain. It would resemble software bill of materials, or SBOM, practices championed by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency.
“The AI BOMs are critical for us,” Young Bang, the principal deputy assistant secretary of the Army for acquisition, logistics and technology, said Aug. 15 at the AFCEA TechNet Augusta conference in Georgia. “This is where we really want industry’s feedback, because, depending on what we say we want as part of the recipe for the AI BOM, y’all can come back and say, ‘That’s basically RIP.’”
The Pentagon is investing in AI, machine learning and autonomy as leaders demand quicker decision-making, longer and more-remote intelligence gathering and a reduction of human risk on increasingly high-tech battlefields. The Defense Department in 2021 established its Chief Digital and AI Office — whose executives have said high-quality data is foundational to all its pursuits — and earlier this year launched Task Force Lima to study generative AI.
An AI BOM measure is not meant to hurt companies or jeopardize sensitive intellectual property but rather improve cybersecurity and consistency, according to Bang.
“We want to reduce our attack surface, from an algorithmic standpoint,” he said. “It’s not because we want your IP, and we’re not going to reverse engineer it to put you out of business. Why would the government do that?”
Bang teased the AI BOM possibility earlier this year at an Army networks-and-communications conference in Philadelphia known as Technical Exchange Meeting X. He and others met with industry to gather initial feedback on potential requirements but did not share insights from the get-togethers.
“Just like we’re securing our supply chain — semiconductors, components, subcomponents — we’re also thinking about that from a digital perspective,” Bang said at the time. “So we’re looking at software, data and AI.”
More than 685 AI-related projects are underway at the Pentagon, according to the Government Accountability Office, a federal watchdog. At least 232 being handled by the Army. (Source: C4ISR & Networks)
REST OF THE WORLD
17 Aug 23. Sweden Offers JAS-39 Aircraft for PH Air Force Modernization. Sweden has again offered its Saab JAS 39 “Gripen” multi-role fighter aircraft for the modernization needs of the Philippine Air Force (PAF) which is looking to beef up its fleet.
This developed following Monday’s courtesy call of Sweden Ambassador to Manila Annika Thunborg to Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Gilberto Teodoro Jr. at the DND headquarters in Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City.
“On modernizing the Armed Forces of the Philippines to more effectively protect the country’s territorial integrity and interests in its EEZ (exclusive economic zone), Secretary Teodoro emphasized that whatever defense acquisition the Philippines will pursue must be sustainable, interoperable, and supportable. Recognizing the Philippines’ need for a modern PAF, Ambassador Thunborg highlighted Sweden’s offer of its flagship multi-role fighter aircraft, the Saab JAS-39 Gripen,” DND spokesperson Arsenio Andolong said in a statement Wednesday.
The JAS-39 is considered one of the top two contenders for the PAF multirole fighter (MRF) acquisition project with the other jet fighter being the US Lockheed Martin F-16V “Viper”, the latest version of the American-made aircraft now being supplied in quantities in many air forces in the world.
The JAS-39 is classified as the most reliable “swing-role combat aircraft” available in the world.
The Swedish-made fighter requires minimal personnel and ground support equipment for dispersed operations and can operate from small unprepared roads. It is also equipped with sophisticated radar and sensors and weapons.
The MRFs are expected to backstop the military’s existing fleet of 12 South Korean-made Mach 1.5 capable FA-50PH light jet fighters.
The requirements for the MRF project stipulate that the offered aircraft must be “fourth generation or higher. The project also requires 12 MRFs at least capable of patrolling the country’s protected waters and airspace.
The MRF project is supposed to be part of Horizon 2 of the AFP Modernization Program slated for 2018 to 2022, which aims to acquire more equipment for external defense, but was pushed back for implementation due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Previously, Sweden discussed the JAS-39 to Teodoro’s predecessors, then DND officer-in-charge Senior Undersecretary Carlito Galvez Jr. this March 24 and then Defense chief Senior Undersecretary Jose Faustino Jr. on Dec. 21, 2022.
“Exchanging regional security situation updates, Ambassador Thunborg noted the developments in the South China Sea (SCS)/West Philippine Sea (WPS) and conveyed Sweden’s support for the Philippines’ position and upholding the rules-based international order,” Andolong said.
“Welcoming the support from Sweden and other like-minded partners, Secretary Teodoro hoped for a global consensus on the 2016 Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) ruling on the SCS and underscored the importance of the Philippines’ enforcement of its sovereign rights over its EEZ,” the DND spokesperson said.
He added that both sides looked forward to the ratification and implementation of the Memorandum of Understanding concerning Cooperation in the Acquisition of Defense Materiel, which was signed between the Philippines and Sweden last June 3 in Singapore.
“In anticipation of possible projects in the future, the Swedish Ambassador proposed to facilitate the exchange of information on the two countries’ differing financial systems and financing packages that Sweden could offer,” Andolong stressed.
Both countries are also looking at possible cooperation or capacity-building on disaster resilience and management. (Source: https://www.defense-aerospace.com/ Philippine News Agency)
17 Aug 23. Russian Defense Ministry Awards $4.15bn Worth Contracts to Defense Industry Companies. The Russian Defense Ministry signed and awarded government contracts to defense industry companies totaling over 400 bn rubles ($4.15 bn) at the Army-2023 International Military-Technical Forum, chief of the main armament department of the Russian Armed Forces Lieutenant General Anatoly Gulyaev said.
“Eleven government contracts were signed and nine were awarded to the amount over 400 billion rubles,” Gulyaev said. Russian Armed Forces will receive more than 2,500 new specimens of armament, military and special vehicles and over 1,800,000 means of destruction as a result of performance of these government contracts, he added.
In particular, a contract for project for torpedo recovery boats was signed with the Sokolskaya Shipyard. A government contract for manufacturing and supplies of P-234PMB field mobile systems was executed with Rubin scientific and production enterprise. A contract for manufacturing and supply of 300 mm rocket projectiles to the Tornado-S multiple launch rocket systems was awarded to Splav company at the Army-2023 Forum. The Pribor research and production company will supply 30 mm VOG-30D rounds to the Russian Defense Ministry under the contract executed at the Forum.
The Defense Ministry also awarded a contract to the Dolgoprudny research and production company for production and supply of surface-to-air guided missiles. The special design bureau of the Defense Ministry will supply Uran-6 demining robots to the army under a government contract. A contract for new R-177M command and control vehicles was awarded by the Ministry to Elektroavtomatika company.
The Russian Defense Ministry also signed government contracts for supplies of cutting-edge Malva wheeled howitzers, upgraded 120 mm mortars, and 82 mm mortars.
Russian Helicopters holding will produce and deliver Mi-8AMTsh-V Terminator helicopters to the Russian Defense Ministry. The Tactical Missiles Corporation signed a contract with the Ministry for manufacturing and supply of anti-ship cruise missiles. (Source: https://www.defense-aerospace.com/)
15 Aug 23. Brazil issues request for proposals for self-propelled artillery system. The Brazilian Army released its long-awaited request for proposal (RFP) and request for tender (RFT) for a 155 mm self-propelled wheeled artillery system on 2 August, a major milestone for the service’s effort to replace part of its M114A1 howitzers.
The Brazilian Army Commission in Washington (CEBW) issued the document on behalf of the Logistics Command that intends to meet self-propelled, wheeled 155 mm howitzer armoured combat vehicle (VBC OAP 155 mm SR) project requirements, part of the Army Strategic Program Armoured Forces (Prg EE F Bld).
The project aims to acquire two initial vehicles for evaluation at the Army Evaluations Center, and later another 34 systems in different tranches to arm three field artillery groups. No details on the acquisition schedule were provided in the initial documents.
The latest edition of the operational, technical, logistical, and industrial requirements for the VBC OAP 155 mm SR project was published in July. (Source: Janes)
15 Aug 23. Inovor selected for Lockheed Martin Mentor Protégé Program. Adelaide-based space and defence company Inovor Technologies is the third Australian small-to-medium enterprise selected for the program, aimed at developing their business and helping open the door for export opportunities for the US and beyond.
Under the program, Inovor executives will receive an intensive 12-month mentoring program covering best business practice across human resources, business ethics, contracting, product management, export controls, quality management systems, supply chain risk management, competitive intelligence, and cyber security readiness.
They will also be given access to Lockheed Martin subject matter experts both in Australia and in the US.
The program is designed to help Australian businesses flourish globally, Warren McDonald, Lockheed Martin Australia and New Zealand chief executive, explained.
“Our Mentor Protégé Program is one way we’re working with leading Australian SMEs, such as Inovor, to help accelerate their development, so they can be competitive on the global stage.
McDonald added, “All of the non-US Mentor Protégé Program participants to date are from Australia, which underscores not only the world-class standard of our local industry, but also the trust we share with the US.”
The companies outlined that the program is jointly sponsored by Lockheed Martin Space and Lockheed Martin Australia’s Office of Australian Industrial Participation as part of their Global Supply Chain Program.
David Ball, Lockheed Martin Australia’s regional director for space, recognised Inovor’s determination.
“Inovor impressed us with their innovative technologies, the clarity of their vision, and their determination to seek sustained growth through securing export opportunities in the US and further afield,” Ball explained.
“Their commitment to making the necessary investments to compete for global supply chain contracts made them ideally suited for the Mentor Protégé Program.
“Our investment in Inovor’s participation in the Mentor Protégé Program is part of our commitment to developing Australia’s space industry sector, including through our support of STEM learning initiatives and focus on key programs such JP 9102,” added Ball.
Founder and CEO of Inovor Technologies Matt Tetlow hopes that the program will enable Inovor to grow its domestic and international client base.
“We see the Mentor Protégé Program as a transformational opportunity that coincides with a series of strategic initiatives, including the expansion of our state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities in Adelaide and a rapidly maturing flight heritage.
“At the conclusion of the program, Inovor will have the scale, experience, capabilities, and corporate knowledge required to meet the growing needs of our Australian customers and pursue the international export opportunities that can accelerate our growth exponentially,” Tetlow added.
“Through its programs and initiatives, such as the Mentor Protégé Program, Lockheed Martin consistently demonstrates its ongoing commitment to building the capacity and capabilities of SMEs and creating growth opportunities for the Australian industry.” (Source: Defence Connect)
15 Aug 23. Armscor looking to acquire unmanned underwater vehicle. Armscor is looking to acquire a single REMUS 100 unmanned underwater vehicle (UUV) for research and development purposes, and has issued a tender to this effect.
The tender was issued on 7 August with interested manufacturers/suppliers given three weeks until 28 August to submit written bids. Tender R&D/IMT-2023/018 calls for the “supply and delivery of an unmanned underwater vehicle (UUV) system”.
Wording of the documentation has it the UUV system “shall be the REMUS 100(M) variant”. The REMUS (Remote Environmental Monitoring UnitS) was developed by the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and its Oceanographic Systems Laboratory (OSL). More recently REMUS vehicles have been manufactured by spin-off company Hydroid Inc, once a wholly owned subsidiary of Kongsberg Maritime and subsequently acquired by Huntingdon Ingalls Industries (HHI) in March 2020.
On hardware the Armscor documentation has it “a single UUV shall be provided with full OEM (original equipment manufacturer) specifications as per part number 1705371-03”. A complete set of shipboard equipment to prepare, operate, maintain and support the UUV as well as software and documentation are also part of the tender along with “online training”. This covers preparation, mission planning, operation, post mission analysis, routine maintenance and diagnostics.
The REMUS 100 takes its name from its maximum operating depth of 100 meters. It is available in several variants, including REMUS 100B with a high-resolution sonar; REMUS 100E for collecting ecological data; and REMUS 100M for mine countermeasures surveying, search and recovery, and rapid environmental assessment.
The REMUS 100 is used by expeditionary forces to conduct shallow-water mine countermeasures and port and harbour clearance. Using side scan sonar, the REMUS 100 surveys large areas autonomously which allows operators to review the data away from the minefield to identify and classify mine-like objects.
The REMUS 100M weighs nearly 40 kg, has a speed of 8 km/h, endurance of 10 hours, and maximum range of nearly 70 km. It is powered by a 1.5 kWh lithium-ion battery driving a three-bladed propeller.
Armscor’s tender calls for “operator and maintenance training for experienced IMT staff” indicating the REMUS 100M will be used by the Institute for Maritime Technology (IMT), part of the Armscor defence institutes, which conducts research and test activities in the maritime domain.
The IMT has for a number of years worked on autonomous underwater vehicle technology for mine countermeasures work, for instance conducting multiple UUV tests for the SA Navy in Simons Town in 2015. In 2011, the SA Navy awarded the IMT a contract to develop autonomous underwater vehicle technology in line with an SA Navy requirement for a number of AUVs, including for four offboard minehunting systems in terms of Project Mapantsula.
The IMT has designed and developed an underwater locator beacon detection system in collaboration with the SA Navy to detect cockpit voice and flight data recorders on crashed or ditched aircraft. The underwater locator beacon (ULB) has been fitted to an unmanned vessel. (Source: https://www.defenceweb.co.za/)
07 Aug 23. Israel National Police seek industry partner for C-UAS sensor, soft and hard kill systems. The Israel National Police (INP), the R&D Division (MAFAT), the Division for Technology and IT (ATUV), are seeking information on technological systems and/or solutions that can aid in countering the threat of drones in an urban environment, as an initial step before releasing a tender to select providers across various categories of C-UAS technology. The deadline for submissions is 28 August 2023.
The INP is particularly interested in three key technology categories:
- Sensors: This includes RF, Radar, Electro-Optics, Acoustics, and other relevant sensor technologies.
- Soft Kill: Encompassing a range of solutions from jammers to takeover mechanisms.
- Hard Kill: This category involves aiming devices, ammunition, and drones designed for combating unmanned aerial systems.
The INP seeks effective, proven, and innovative solutions available on the market that are specifically tailored for the Homeland Security (HLS) sector and suitable for managing complex urban environments.
To participate in this opportunity, interested companies are required to work through an Israeli representative.
According to a Linkedin post
“Once we receive applications, we will carefully evaluate them against the specified requirements and shortlist the most qualified companies. These selected companies will then be invited to demonstrate their C-UAS solutions in September.”
For more information: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/18Y63Wk6uVgrNAvD2ejwm_Q19yN69ZK44
14 Aug 23. Three bidders announced for Indian Army’s air defence/C-UAS gun tender. The Indian Army has reportedly received three bids for its air defence, including counter UAS, tender. Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd (BHEL) has announced a partnership with Italy’s Leonardo S.p.A while Larsen & Toubro and Advanced Weapons & Equipment India Ltd (AWEIL) are also reported in the Indian defence press to have put in bids.
A request for proposal for 220 air defence guns was issued by the Ministry of Defence in October last year. The proposal includes 1.42 lakh rounds of ammunition and the estimated contract value is marked around Rs 6,500 crore. For more information: https://www.financialexpress.com/business/defence-bhels-air-defence-gun-partnership-with-a-foreign-vendor-raises-concerns-3208623/ (Source: www.unmannedairspace.info)
11 Aug 23. Babcock pitches frigate solution to expand Australian Navy firepower, fleet. Babcock has responded to the growing speculation about the future Tier 2 combatants identified in the Defence Strategic Review, drawing on the experience and expertise that helped the company secure the Royal Navy’s Type 31 frigate contract with the Arrowhead 140 option.
Amid growing speculation around the future of the Royal Australian Navy’s multi-billion-dollar Hunter Class frigate program, as a result from the findings of the Albanese government’s Defence Strategic Review (DSR) and the currently underway Surface Fleet Review, a number of prospective industry partners have started circling to address the changing requirements of the Navy’s future surface fleet.
A key pillar for delivering this is the Royal Australian Navy and its surface and submarine fleets, respectively. In recognising this, the DSR identifies the need to establish: “An enhanced lethality surface combatant fleet, that complements a conventionally armed, nuclear-powered submarine fleet, is now essential given our changed strategic circumstances … Australia’s Navy must be optimised for operating Australia’s immediate region and for the security of our sea lines of communication and maritime trade.”
While both Navantia and Lürssen have been highly active with their respective proposals to help support the expansion of the Navy’s surface fleet, with proposals to meet the Tier 1 and Tier 2 requirements identified in the DSR, Babcock has been silently sharpening its pitch to deliver Navy a fleet of general-purpose frigates to fill the Tier 2 role.
The review establishes the need for: “An enhanced lethality surface combatant fleet, that complements a conventionally armed, nuclear-powered submarine fleet, is now essential given our changed strategic circumstances.”
Explaining further, the government and the review believes such a force structure should incorporate “Tier 1” and “Tier 2” surface combatants to provide for “increased strike, air defence, presence operations, and anti-submarine warfare”, the review unpacks this, stating: “Enhancing Navy’s capability in long-range strike (maritime and land), air defence, and anti-submarine warfare requires the acquisition of a contemporary optimal mix of Tier 1 and Tier 2 surface combatants, consistent with a strategy of a larger number of small surface vessels.”
Leveraging the experience and expertise developed through the Royal Navy’s Type 31 frigate program, which will see a similar expansion to the Royal Navy’s surface combatant fleet to what is expected with the Royal Australian Navy’s surface fleet, Babcock is presenting the Arrowhead general purpose frigate.
In a statement, Babcock Australasia chief executive officer Andrew Cridland said, “Babcock’s Arrowhead, a Type 31 frigate derivative, is a capable, adaptable, and multi-mission modern warship that is operationally proficient in both blue water and littoral areas. We consider the Arrowhead would deliver significant capability to the Royal Australian Navy and meet naval requirements both now and into the future.” (Source: Defence Connect)
10 Aug 23. Dassault strengthens Indo-French partnership with 18 more Rafale Fighter Jets. Indonesia’s commitment to acquiring advanced Rafale Jets reaches a milestone in national security and bolsters aeronautical industry growth. Dassault Aviation marks a milestone in its strategic collaboration with Indonesia as the second tranche of 18 Rafale fighter jets enters the order backlog, underscoring the nation’s dedication to strengthening its military capabilities and fostering a robust domestic aeronautical sector.
This agreement between Indonesia and France reflects the deepening partnership between the two countries and underscores the versatile capabilities of the “omnirole” Rafale aircraft, poised to bolster Indonesia’s regional prominence and sovereignty.
Building upon the initial agreement signed in February 2022, encompassing the procurement of 42 Rafale aircraft, this development reinforces the nation’s dedication to bolstering its national defence.
Following the successful entry into force of the first tranche of six Rafale jets in September 2022, this new milestone brings the total number of aircraft on order to 24. The acquisition of these advanced-generation fighter jets elevates Indonesia’s operational independence and sovereignty and shows its commitment to nurturing a domestic aeronautical sector. Indonesia’s partnership with Dassault Aviation encompasses a “turnkey” solution beyond acquiring aircraft. The collaboration includes an industrial return, facilitating the growth of the Indonesian aeronautical industry.
Dassault Aviation SA occupies 5.6% of the European military fixed-wing aircraft market, anticipating earnings of $15.1bn, according to GlobalData.
Moreover, the engagement encompasses educational initiatives to foster the development of aeronautical expertise within the nation, ensuring a sustainable transfer of technical know-how.
At the heart of this agreement lies the multifaceted capabilities of the “omnirole” Rafale. The Rafale’s versatility, avionics, and advanced weaponry position Indonesia as a significant regional power capable of asserting its influence and safeguarding its interests.
India has also procured the Dassault Rafale and ongoing efforts to develop its indigenous Tejas Mk-2 and AMCA projects, according to GlobalData’s “The Global Military Fixed Wing Aircraft Market 2023-2033“.
Eric Trappier, Chairman and CEO of Dassault Aviation, expressed his appreciation for the burgeoning partnership. He stated, “This new step consolidates the beginning of a long-term partnership with the Indonesian authorities, whom I would like to thank once again for their confidence.
It testifies to the strategic link that unites Indonesia and France and will be reflected in the growing presence of Dassault Aviation in the country.”
As Indonesia’s defence capabilities continue to evolve, the collaborative efforts between Dassault Aviation and Indonesia’s authorities serve as a testament to the shared commitment towards technological advancement, national security, and the cultivation of an aeronautical ecosystem.
According to a GlobalData’ Analyst Briefing: France’s push for the Rafale’, on 25th January 2021, France and Greece finalised the purchase of 18 Rafale fighters for the Hellenic Air Force in a€2.5bn ($2.75bn) contract, marking the first European export of Dassault’s Rafale.
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.