UNITED KINGDOM AND NATO
21 Aug 23. Airmanship data capture technology flies high with a Defence Innovation Loan. VRAI secured a DASA Defence Innovation Loan to help commercialise their data capture and analysis technology to help the RAF rapidly assess airmanship in future aviators.
- VRAI’s data capture technology, funded through the DASA Open Call, has the ability to codify and predict airmanship performance. This technology can be used to accelerate training time for RAF recruits.
- Additional funding secured through DASA’s Defence Innovation Loan programme will help VRAI further develop the technology and prepare for commercialisation
- Run in partnership with Innovate UK, Defence Innovation Loans are designed to help SMEs develop and commercialise their mature defence solutions
- As part of the project, DASA provided guidance and helped VRAI test the system with the RAF and obtain vital military end user feedback
Virtual training has become an essential component of modern defence, ensuring armed forces personnel can train proficiencies at scale while reducing costs. However, capturing and analysing training data has been a persistent challenge in defence, particularly in areas such as airmanship data from trainee pilots.
Airmanship refers to the non-technical skills, and judgement required for aerial navigation. To operate an aircraft safely, it is vital that trainees are trained to a high standard to have good situational awareness, decision-making ability and aircraft knowledge.
However, there are numerous obstacles to assessing pilot airmanship. It is constrained by the availability of in-person instructors that can observe students, as each instructor can only manage two or three students at a time. It is also heavily reliant on subjective observation.
Introducing VRAI: Combining virtual reality technology with data capture
Newcastle-based SME, VRAI, which specialises in virtual reality (VR) simulation training and data capture, recognised the need to provide trainee pilots with personalised training plans and data-driven feedback, to help them achieve their maximum potential in a shorter amount of time.
With the help of DASA funding, VRAI developed a solution to enable the Royal Air Force (RAF) to better measure and predict trainee pilot performance, using a combination of VR and data capture technology, called HEAT.
HEAT, which has been used to train staff in an array of vertical industries, can capture and generate rich data sets from commercial off-the-shelf VR solutions, which enables the capability to capture and store pilot data from simulated flying tasks.
VRAI’s data capture and analysis technology enables the RAF to train airmanship in future military pilots to a higher standard, faster, and in a more cost effective way.
It helps defence and security by:
- enabling instructors to train more students at the same time
- ensuring training performance is measure accurately
- ensuring good airmanship qualities can be codified, resulting is less subjective monitoring of student performance
- ensuring that students can readily self-assess their strengths and weaknesses against data
- enabling projections of trainee performance can be used to develop individualised training programmes
- enabling instructors to focus on more value added tasks when training students
Testing helps VRAI collect 1 bn airmanship data points with the RAF
VRAI submitted their innovative data capture solution to the DASA Open Call in 2020 and were awarded £348,000 in funding. DASA played a significant role in the project by offering VRAI guidance and helping them to test the system with the RAF, receiving valuable feedback from military end-users. The innovation was implemented at three RAF stations within a three-month timeframe, gathering nearly one bn data points from 40 RAF pilots, across the RAF 22 Group, and positive feedback from users.
During the testing, VRAI was able to collect valuable trainee data which can be used to standardise airmanship training and assessment, helping to significantly reduce the amount of time needed to train quality pilots.
Flying towards commercialisation: Defence Innovation Loans
With an eye towards the future, VRAI secured a Defence Innovation Loan to the value of £544,742, to further develop their innovation and market readiness.
They will use these funds, to apply machine learning (ML) to the innovation in order to generate more robust actionable insights to further develop trainees, while also ensuring the RAF can utilise the system for self-training. To help with this, VRAI will also use the funding to develop customised dashboard metrics relating to airmanship.
Niall Campion, Founder of VRAI said:
We believe the technology we’re developing with this funding will allow us to bring genuinely game changing advancements in how training is delivered and its success is measured.
Without DASA funding it would have been impossible for us to bring this product into the UK defence supply chain. By providing vital working capital while we demonstrate the value of the product in the defence industry, the Defence Innovation Loan will help us grow our business and deliver measurable improvements to training across both defence and other simulation markets.
Meet VRAI at DSEI 2023
If you are interested in learning more about VRAI and their innovative solutions, be sure to visit them at DSEI 2023. You can find them at the UK MOD Science & Innovation Stand: H1-810, alongside DASA.
Need help bringing your defence innovation to market?
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/competition-document-defence-innovation-loan
21 Aug 23. Call for proposals on communications campaign support in Ukraine. The British Embassy Kyiv seeks a supplier by 3 September 2023 to provide communications campaign support to a government ministry in Ukraine.
The British Embassy Kyiv invites interested suppliers to submit proposals for providing communications campaign support to a Government of Ukraine Ministry from October 2023 to March 2024.
Send your completed proposal to by 11:59pm (Eastern European Summer Time) on 3 September 2023.
This project aims to enhance the Ministry’s capacity to develop and deliver creative, effective communications campaigns. Its primary beneficiary is the Government of Ukraine.
The supplier will implement the project in close cooperation with British Embassy Kyiv’s Stratcomms Programme and the Strategic Communications Adviser, who will continue to provide expertise and support to the Ministry.
The Invitation to Tender (ITT) documents provide detailed terms of reference and instructions for submitting your proposal:
ITT volume 1: tender instructions
ODT, 83.4 KB
This file is in an OpenDocument format
ITT volume 2: terms of reference
ODT, 37.9 KB
This file is in an OpenDocument format
ITT volume 3: commercial proformas
ODS, 11.7 KB
This file is in an OpenDocument format
ITT volume 4: FCDO standard terms and conditions
PDF, 490 KB, 42 pages
This file may not be suitable for users of assistive technology.
Request an accessible format. (Source: https://www.gov.uk/)
21 Aug 23. BAE Systems Naval Ships’ Future Programmes team have reached out to us regarding supplier engagement at DSEI 2023. They are looking to meet with Make UK Defence members at our pavilion on Wednesday 13th and Thursday 14th of September with specific capabilities and new ideas which could be developed for Naval applications.
Their key areas of interest are new research and technologies in the following areas:
Ship & system design tools enabled by Artificial Intelligence (AI)
Next generation lightweight materials for ship structures (~100m scale) with affordable routes to manufacture (competitive with steel ship structures)
Sprayable thermal & fire insulation solutions with minimal fire, smoke or toxicity issues
Improved methods of ship outfitting
- Alternate methods to fabricate piped systems
- Ship energy efficiency measures
- Waste heat recovery from diesel & gas turbine engines
- Robust & safe energy storage solutions (2-10MWh scale)
If you have a solution applicable to any of the above, please email a brief paragraph to with your capabilities and research and their application to the above. We will then pass this information onto BAE Systems Naval Ships who will select the suppliers of most interest. We can then communicate when appointments will take place.
Thales UK have reached out to us as well regarding the below requirement
We are Interested to know if you have any members doing engineering outsourcing (basically consultancy) in hardware or software design or niche areas like safety testing, etc.
Again, if you have a solution applicable to any of the above, please email a brief paragraph to with your capabilities and research and their application to the above. We will then pass this information onto Thales UK who will select the suppliers of most interest. We can then communicate when appointments will take place.
Appointments for both companies will take place on the Make UK Defence pavilion. The deadline for submissions will be Friday 1st September
18 Aug 23. British Government stops VIP helicopter contract. The British Government has decided not to renew a contract whereby a commercial operator supplies the Ministry of Defence with a helicopter for VIP use – including the Prime Minister, Ministers, Senior Military Officers, and Government Officials. The contract is known as RWCSAT – Rotary Wing Command Support Air Transport. A tender was issued for a renewal of RWCSAT for five years with one option year, initially “to be delivered as soon as practicable following 1 Apr 23”, but after a further six month extension on the current contract, bidders were advised that the process was withdrawn and no contract was awarded. A Ministry of Defence spokesperson told HeliHub.com: “As part of ensuring available funds are prioritised on key areas, the capability will be removed, and essential senior travel fulfilled by other means.”. The current contract for the RWCSAT contract will end on 30 September. It is unclear whether any environmental or political agenda has caused the UK Ministry of Defence to make this decision. The MoD is also not providing any details on how they will fulfil this role going forward – HeliHub.com considers it unlikely to be rolled into the NMH “New Military Helicopter” proposal, which seeks to provide a single platform to replace Puma, Griffin (Bell 412), Bell 212 and Dauphin. Prior to 2006, the VIP flight was run by 32 Squadron of the Royal Air Force using Gazelle helicopters. From that point onwards, the UK Government created a contract whereby a commercial operator supplied and flew suitable helicopters on military registrations. The contract allowed civil-registered helicopters of the same type to substitute if the primary (military registered) aircraft was/were not available. It was also a requirement to carry out line maintenance for the contracted aircraft at RAF Northolt, an airfield six miles north of London’s Heathrow Airport and under the control of the Royal Air Force as its name suggests. Although the contract has gone though various tenders and renewals over the 17 years it has been run, Sloane Helicopters has been the chosen operator throughout. In the early years three Leonardo A109E Power helicopters were used, and from late 2015 one AW109SP GrandNew has been flown – image below Read more at https://helihub.com/2023/08/18/british-government-stops-vip-helicopter-contract/ (Source: News Now/https://helihub.com/)
11 Aug 23. Saab proposes expeditionary design to meet Dutch replacement submarine competition requirements. Swedish shipbuilder Saab has submitted its submarine design proposal for the Royal Netherlands Navy’s (RNLN’s) next-generation submarines.
The RNLN is conducting a procurement competition to replace its four in-service Walrus-class diesel-electric submarines (SSKs) with a new class of SSK. French shipbuilder Naval Group, Germany’s Thyssen Krupp Marine Systems, and Saab are the three companies competing in the downselection process. The new RNLN boats are planned to begin entering service from 2034.
The RNLN’s submarine force has a requirement for extended range trans-oceanic operations. Its boats deploy widely across the Euro-Atlantic theatre from the North Atlantic to the Mediterranean in support of national and NATO interests, across the Atlantic to support Dutch territories and interests in the Caribbean, and (on regular occasions in the past) south through Suez to support Horn of Africa counter-piracy operations.
In a statement on 28 July, Saab said its proposal is based around its Expeditionary Submarine C718 design, with four boats offered. The capabilities of this design exceed the RNLN’s long-term requirements, Mats Wicksell, Senior Vice President and head of the company’s Kockum’s submarine-building business, said in the statement.
“The C718 is an advanced Expeditionary Submarine that offers an unsurpassed level of endurance and exceeds the RNLN needs for long-distance operations, sufficient accommodation, crew comfort, and increased weapon payload capability,” Saab said in the statement.
“Saab’s innovative design features signature solutions to minimise detection by active sonars,” it added.
The design’s technologies include proven weapon-launching and sensor systems, the statement said. Overall, it highlighted the boat’s modular, future-proofed design and the capacity to accommodate new technologies as they evolve, to ensure continued capability relevance.
Saab’s offer also focuses on providing strategic autonomy for, and knowledge transfer to, the Netherlands, with the boats designed to be maintained and upgraded in country through life, it continued.
The statement highlighted the ongoing partnering between Saab and Dutch shipbuilder Damen Shipyards Group to develop the offer.
In addition, it highlighted the wider support offered by the Swedish and UK governments. The UK’s support for Saab’s bid, for example, has been developed through close working relationships with several UK government departments and with UK industry. (Source: Armada)
24 Aug 23. Pentagon exercises options of Virginia class submarine propulsors. The Goodrich Corporation will exercise options for manufacturing activities in support of Virginia-class submarine propulsors instead of the previous manufacturer, BAE Systems.
The US Navy has granted the Florida-based systems supplier Goodrich Corporation a $20.7m contract to exercise options for manufacturing activities in support of Virginia-class submarine propulsors.
The navy will use FY23 shipbuilding and conversion funds in the amount of $13.8m and FY23 other procurement funds in the amount of $6.9m to pay Goodrich for its services. With this modification, the contract will have a value of $43.7m.
While the contract appears to be a routine task to develop the nuclear-powered systems, it is the first time Goodrich has supplied the systems.
Change of supplier
Until now, BAE Systems has supplied Virginia-class propulsors. The Naval Sea Systems Command initially contracted the firm to produce propulsors and payload tubes in 2012 under the ‘Virginia-class Propulsor Program’.
According to BAE, it had manufactured propulsors for the navy since 1989, which significantly contributed to the stealth and effectiveness of a submarine.
“Initially delivering this key technology for the Seawolf-class, we continue to successfully manufacture propulsors for Virginia-class subs as well. BAE’s propulsor improved the propeller’s efficiency and help lower its sonar signature.”
The original supplier claims it currently produces a total of 37 payload tubes for the latest Virginia submarines. The navy is adding significant capability to Block V vessels by increasing the firepower and payload capacity with the Virginia Payload Module (VPM). VPM extends the length of Block V submarines over previous versions by adding a mid-body section to create more payload space.
However, the navy has turned to Goodrich for its system expertise.
Incoming changes to submarine propulsion design
In June 2023, General Atomics announced it would perform propulsion system design, to provide modeling, technical evaluation, and analysis supporting the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s Advanced Propulsor, Experimental (APEX) programme.
The APEX programme develops and demonstrates a new generation of propulsion technology designs to power submarines and other undersea vehicles. APEX will focus on “efficiency, signature, mechanical design and limits and operational considerations.”
Meanwhile, BAE’s original pump-jet propulsion design for Virginia submarines had differed from the conventional bladed propeller. However, with new designs beginning to be tested by new contractors such as General Atomics, and now Goodrich, the US Navy is widening its focus on innovation elsewhere in the defence industrial base. (Source: naval-technology.com)
19 Aug 23. US business aviation association finds FAA’s rulemaking proposals create “uneven playing field.”
The National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) has commented on two initiatives critical to the safe, timely and successful integration of advanced air mobility (AAM) into the US National Airspace System (NAS).
According to the NBAA press release:
The association’s comments – informed by NBAA’s AAM Roundtable and Emerging Technology Committee – provide direction to government agencies on proposals with potential impact for pilots, manufacturers, infrastructure developers and other stakeholders.
First, NBAA provided feedback to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) on its Integration of Powered-Lift: Pilot Certification and Operations; Miscellaneous Amendments Related to Rotorcraft and Airplanes Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM). This effort aims to provide transition regulations, or Special Federal Aviation Regulations (SFAR), for pilot certification and operating rules, allowing entry into service.
The association, along with the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, the General Aviation Manufacturers Association, the Helicopter Association International, the National Air Transportation Association and the Vertical Flight Society, described several concerns regarding the proposal, and outlined practical recommendations to ensure safe pilot qualification and operations.
The stakeholders explained the proposal is not aligned with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) standards for airman certification, creating an unnecessary burden for many powered-lift manufacturers and operators, and establishing impossible mandates for powered-lift with a single set of controls. The proposed rule also does not align with ICAO guidance regarding operational rules, inhibiting operators from utilizing the full capabilities of these new aircraft.
“Unfortunately, this NPRM does not empower the development of powered-lift aircraft with the potential described by the Government Accountability Office (GAO),” the associations stated in their comments. “The proposal for airman qualification creates a barrier for most AAM aircraft manufacturers to enter the U.S. market and the proposed operations rules create an uneven playing field for powered-lift aircraft, failing to take advantage of the many benefits provided by vertical takeoff and landing capabilities.
“Close alignment with ICAO standards and guidance will allow U.S.-based manufacturers and operators to achieve anticipated operations launch dates in 2025 and ensure a lively AAM industry in the U.S. far into the future,” they concluded.
View the NBAA’s full comments on the NPRM here: https://nbaa.org/wp-content/uploads/aircraft-operations/emerging-technologies/advanced-air-mobility-aam/20230814-Industry-Comments-FAA%E2%80%932023-1275-Powered-Lift-SFAR.pdf
Second, NBAA provided both short- and long-term recommendations on future AAM operations to the Department of Transportation’s AAM Interagency Working Group (IWG), which was created as a result of the Advanced Air Mobility Coordination and Leadership Act, signed into law by President Biden in October 2022.
“As the IWG knows, the U.S. has been at the forefront of aviation leadership and innovation for decades,” the RFI states. “We have the potential to continue to lead the next phase in the evolution of aviation with AAM, but competition with other nations is fierce and rapidly advancing. Among other considerations, this means the FAA will need to keep pace with its promised regulatory schedule, so that the first AAM commercial operations can occur as soon as 2025.”
NBAA emphasized the importance of safety, while also encouraging entry into service in a timely and thoughtful manner. Looking to the long term, NBAA urged the agency to work closely with stakeholders to facilitate scaled operations. The association also highlighted the need to nurture community acceptance and address apprehensions that may arise from the new, on-demand air mobility entrants into the aviation system.
“The path to realizing the goals of advanced air mobility is a complex and multifaceted endeavor,” the RFI states. “However, by upholding a steadfast commitment to security, adhering to regulatory timelines, harnessing existing infrastructure and fostering community acceptance, we can pave the way for a future where the skies are not just a symbol of boundless potential but a tangible and integrated component of our modern transportation landscape.”
Read the full RFI here: https://nbaa.org/wp-content/uploads/aircraft-operations/emerging-technologies/advanced-air-mobility-aam/20230814-NBAA-RFI-Response-Advanced-Air-Mobility.pdf
NBAA Chief Operating Officer Chris Rocheleau summed up the significance of the unified industry direction for federal AAM planning, noting that, “Taken together, the industry’s input on these two key initiatives will inform the work needed to ensure that the U.S. remains the world’s leader in fostering the development, integration and utilization of promising advanced air mobility technologies.” For more information visit: www.nbaa.org (Source: www.unmannedairspace.info)
21 Aug 23. US DOD seeks industry partner to integrate military UAS in US National Airspace and beyond. The Washington Headquarters Services, on behalf of the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition & Sustainment (OUSD(A&S)), is performing market research to identify qualified sources with the availability, interest, and capability to provide UAS Airspace Operations Support.
According to the US government contracting website www.sam.gov:
“For decades, the DOD has pursued a long-term goal of enabling routine, efficient, safe, and secure airspace access and integration for DOD Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) operations conducted within both civilian and military airspace. To accomplish this goal, OUSD A&S is working across several efforts, both internally and with our federal partners to address the technical, operational, and regulatory challenges associated with normalizing DOD UAS operations in a way that is comparable to the conduct of present-day DOD crewed operations.
“This work includes developing and demonstrating the ability to employ airspace access and integration systems in support of UAS, Air Traffic Control (ATC), and Counter UAS (CUAS) missions. These efforts are intended to address how DOD will utilize the same or similar systems and concepts to support UAS operations in both U.S. National Airspace as well as in an expeditionary environment. To ensure DOD remains on track to meet its long-term UAS goal, the ability t conduct simulated and live UAS operations is critical to the validation of current and the informing of future concept, technology, and policy development.
The acquisition has an estimated dollar value of over USD1,000,000.00.
“OUSD(A&S) is seeking qualified firms to provide planning, resourcing, and execution for simulated and live UAS events to accomplish specific tasks assigned by the Office of the Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment (OUSD A&S). Winning bidders will conduct research, development, test, and evaluation events that provide data and recommendations that will be formally recognized by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) as applicable to the safe, secure, and efficient operations of UAS operating beyond visual line of sight. This is necessary to ensure the test results used to inform the development of DOD concepts and technologies will support the eventual acceptance by the FAA for use in U.S. National Airspace.”
Deadline for responses is August 23, 2023.
For more information: https://sam.gov/opp/200cd53086f64039aa7ca9d4a9983ba3/view
17 Aug 23. Government proposes a sustainability update for contracting regulations. Although the White House said the proposed update to the Federal Acquisition Regulation will help the government meet its zero-emissions goals, some stakeholders want it to go further.
The federal government is reworking sustainability provisions in the Federal Acquisition Regulation — or FAR — which serves as the primary policy for government acquisitions.
The Biden administration said that the updates will ensure that the U.S. government — which spends over $630bn on products and services annually — prioritizes sustainability, a position that could shape markets in addition to helping the government cut its own emissions.
The proposed rule, released Aug. 3 and open for comments through Oct. 2, looks to clean up messy, existing sustainability-focused regulations and implement an executive order on federal government sustainability.
The Biden administration said that the FAR update will help the government meet the goal of net-zero emissions from procurement by 2050.
“Emissions associated with the federal supply chain… are estimated to be more than twice as large as the emissions from operating the federal government’s buildings and vehicles combined,” the White House said in its announcement of the newest proposed rule.
The “sustainable products and services procurement rule” adds language to require agencies to “procure sustainable products and services… to the maximum extent practicable.” Currently, the FAR requires agencies to have 95% of contract actions require products that are energy-efficient and environmentally preferable.
The proposed update also directs agencies to follow a set of specifications, standards and ecolabels for federal purchasing, laid out by the Environmental Protection Agency for government buyers to identify sustainable products and services.
Primarily, though, the new proposal is “a housekeeping measure” that is “intended to streamline and consolidate the sustainability provisions and make them more logical and one clause, as opposed to five clauses,” Kara Sacilotto, a partner at Wiley Rein LLP who specializes in government contracting, told Nextgov/FCW.
The current version of the section — FAR part 23 — includes not only sustainability measures but also other, unrelated items about texting while driving and drug-free workplaces, for example.
This latest update follows another proposal to add greenhouse gas emission reporting requirements for certain contractors — an idea that has proven to be contentious, coming under fire from Republicans on Capitol Hill and some contractors. That proposal followed another proposed environmental disclosure rule from the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Nicole Darnall, director and cofounder of the Sustainable Purchasing Research Initiative at Arizona State University, told Nextgov/FCW that, “as the largest purchaser in the world, GSA has the potential to radically change supply chains globally.”
Darnall is also a member of GSA’s Acquisition Policy Federal Advisory Committee, although she was not speaking with Nextgov/FCW on behalf of the committee.
“It’s a watershed moment for the federal government to consider their responsibilities in federal acquisition,” she said of the most recent proposed rule.
“Those responsibilities go beyond providing low-price goods and services across different federal agencies — there is a really important social value, and by social value, I mean also sustainability. That is inherently tethered to these decisions, and for me, it is a welcomed response to see that this is finally getting considered.”
“As the world’s largest buyer, we have a responsibility to lead by example and accelerate the move toward buying clean,” Robin Carnahan, GSA administrator, said in a statement included in the White House’s announcement of the proposed rule.
Still, realizing that promise will take “radical change” on the part of the government and businesses, Darnall said. Specifically, it will take upskilling in the vendor community and the government’s acquisition workforce.
Other stakeholders say that the government isn’t going far enough.
“Something is always better than nothing,” Steven Schooner, procurement law professor at George Washington Law School, told Nextgov/FCW of the recently proposed rule. He formerly worked at the Office of Federal Procurement Policy at the Office of Management and Budget and also currently serves on the GSA acquisition advisory committee, although he was not speaking on behalf of that committee.
The “primary achievement” in the recent proposed rule, he said, “is a reimagination — and, in large part, an almost complete replacement — of the relevant aspects of FAR part 23,” something that “was unhelpful, disorganized, confusing and more often than not just plain out of date and wrong.”
But Schooner said that the latest proposed rule and the greenhouse gas reporting rule “haven’t asked the acquisition workforce to meaningfully engage in sustainable procurement,” calling the disclosure rule specifically a “check-the-box exercise,” and haven’t done enough to elevate sustainability as a top priority for the acquisition workforce.
“If you believe that the future [of] the planet is important, and if you believe as a government that nothing is more important as a government than ensuring quality of life for future generations, maybe you put some clear language in FAR part one that focusing on doing less harm to the planet in every procurement you make is worth thinking about,” he said.
Brenda Mallory, Chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality, said in a statement that “President Biden believes that when we spend American taxpayers’ dollars, we should be investing in America, reducing costs and building a more sustainable future. Through today’s action, we are doing just that.”
The White House did not provide comment by the time of publication. (Source: Nextgov/FCW)
REST OF THE WORLD
24 Aug 23. Brazilian Ministry of Defense, the budget for the military defense. Brazil is one of the largest countries in the world in terms of territory and population, and has a strategic position on the international stage. Therefore, the country invests in modernizing and strengthening its military defense sector, especially the Brazilian Army, which is responsible for protecting land borders and guaranteeing national sovereignty.
According to the Ministry of Defense, the budget for the military defense sector in 2021 was BRL 116.1 billion, of which BRL 76.2 billion was allocated to the Army. This value represents an increase of 4.8% in relation to the previous year, and corresponds to approximately 1.4% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of Brazil.
Among the main investment projects of the Brazilian Army are:
1- Strategic Program of the Guarani Army, which aims to develop and acquire new armored vehicles for transporting troops, with greater mobility, protection and combat capacity.
2- Astros 2020 Army Strategic Program, which aims to expand and modernize the Army’s rocket and missile artillery system, with greater range, precision and lethality.
3- Strategic Cyber Defense Army Program, which aims to train the Army to act in the defense and security of the national cyber space, with the creation of specialized units and the acquisition of equipment and systems.
Strategic Program of the Sisfron Army, which aims to implement an integrated system for monitoring and controlling Brazil’s land borders, using sensors, radars, cameras and drones.
The Strategic Program of the Proteger Army, which aims to reinforce the security of strategic installations of the Army and of the country, with the implementation of surveillance systems and anti-aircraft defense. (Source: Paulo Dominonni via LinkedIn)
24 Aug 23. Sikorsky, PTDI Sign Agreement for Indonesian Black Hawks. Sikorsky, a Lockheed Martin company, announced today the signing of an agreement with Indonesian aerospace firm PT Dirgantara Indonesia (PTDI) to enter into a strategic partnership to pursue a sales agreement of up to 24 Sikorsky S-70M Black Hawk helicopters for the Republic of Indonesia.
“This agreement demonstrates our mutual interest with PTDI to provide S-70M Black Hawk helicopters to serve Indonesia’s security needs,” said Jeff White, vice president of Global Business Development at Sikorsky. “The Black Hawk is designed and built to the toughest military standards, and it can quickly and reliably deliver personnel and supplies to geographically-dispersed populations across a large archipelagic area such as Indonesia.”
The agreement was finalized during Indonesian Defense Minister Prabowo Subianto’s visit to the U.S. to meet with defense and industry officials in support of Indonesia’s military modernization and interoperability efforts.
“We are confident that this strategic cooperation between PTDI and Lockheed Martin will result in added values gained for PTDI’s capability in integration, customization, modification and system upgrade for the helicopter’s completion,” said Gita Amperiawan, President Director at PTDI. “In addition, with the opportunity to become an official Sikorsky supplier, PTDI will also be able to expand its aerostructure business.”
Built at Lockheed Martin’s PZL Mielec facility in Poland, the highly sought after S-70M Black Hawk has earned its standing as the trusted utility aircraft for operators worldwide, featuring unmatched multi-mission versatility and military-grade airworthiness capable of operating in extreme weather conditions, day or night.
PT Dirgantara Indonesia, also known as PTDI, is one of the indigenous aerospace company in Asia with core competences in aircraft design, development and test, aircraft structure manufacturing, aircraft production, and aircraft services for both civilian and military. Established in August 1976, under the auspices of the Ministry of State Owned Enterprises, we have successfully developed and grown our capability as an aerospace industry by delivering more than 460 units of aircraft to many customers all around the globe.
Headquartered in Bethesda, Maryland, Lockheed Martin Corporation is a global security and aerospace company that employs approximately 116,000 people worldwide and is principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products and services.
(Click here for the related Aug. 23 statement by PTDI: https://www.defense-aerospace.com/indonesia-signs-agreement-for-sikorsky-s-70-black-hawk-helicopters/) (Source: https://www.defense-aerospace.com/Lockheed Martin)
24 Aug 23. Brazil Seeking Truck Artillery. The Brazilian Army is seeking proposals for truck mounted artillery systems. The intent is to initially acquire two systems for evaluation. This could be followed by the purchase of an additional thirty-four systems.
The truck artillery will replace current M114A1 towed howitzers in service and will be provided to three army artillery units. The project is an element of the country’s “VBCOAP 155mm SR” Program to improve its forces. The plan was originally identified in January 2022 on “InfoDefensa’s” web site.
The objective is to provide both artillery with greater mobility than the current towed howitzers and capability to reach targets at ranges of 40 km. These truck guns are understood to be intended for support of Brazil’s mechanized forces. The Army also has tracked M109A3 and M109A5+ self-propelled howitzers, however, these are both heavier and less deployable. Truck mounted artillery is particularly well suited to rapid redeployment over roads and highways including long distance road marches. Their truck chassis also require less maintenance and support.
The published Brazilian Army requirements include a howitzer at 155 mm calibre capable of utilizing existing ammunition but with a maximum range of 40 km. Two companies which both have proven fielded systems have reportedly already responded to the Army’s request.
Israel’s Elbit Systems’ ATMOS 2000 which uses a 155mm/52 calibre gun mounted on a 6×6 tactical truck chassis. It uses automated loading and computer-controlled laying system offering a rate of fire of four to nine rounds per minute. It is in used with ten armies and was recently selected by the Colombian Army as well.
France’s Nexter CAESAR is offered both for integration in 6×6 and 8×8 tactical trucks. It is reported that the Brazilian defence firm AVIBRAS and Nexter may be discussing collaborating with n the project. Their approach could utilize the truck chassis utilized in the Astros Mk6 multiple rocket launcher system already in service with the Army.
Nexter would supply the 155mm gun, mount and associated systems from CAESAR which AVIBAS would integrate. CAESAR is in service with ten armies and seen combat use. Its platform adaptability has been illustrated on at least four different truck chassis. It is designed for a crew of five with integrated navigation and positioning, assisted loading, automated laying and set-up in sixty seconds and displacement in forty. The 52-caliber cannon offer a range of 42 km with Extended Range Full Bore (ERFB) ammunition and 50 km using rocket assisted.
The Brazilian Army acquisition follows a growing trend toward truck mounted artillery by many world armies. Originally these were primarily a replacement for towed howitzers that provided greater tactical mobility and the ability to shoot-and-scoot supporting motorized and light forces. They have been appreciated by armies facing operations in areas with less developed road and bridge networks and by expeditionary forces. However, increasingly they are being viewed as a complement or even substitute for some tracked self-propelled howitzers. The benefits of their typically lower initial and operating and maintenance support costs being major influencing factors. Illustrating this is Russia’s Rostec defence company announcement of its contract to produce 2S43 Malva 155mm truck howitzers for the Russian Army. (Source: Armada)
23 Aug 23. Troop pack replacements on the way as Armscor seeks new APCs.
Lightly modified Toyota Land Cruisers have served as the primary transport for South African Army soldiers on the border protection tasking Operation Corona for just on six years and are now due for replacement.
Progress in this regard is evident from input given by SA Army Director Force Structure Development Plan, Brigadier General Bruce Motlhoki, to what Major Kgaugelo Mmekwa of SA Army Corporate Communication reported was a stakeholder meeting with the South African defence industry (SADI) in mid-July to “foster collaboration and establish clear expectation regarding borderline patrol evaluation”. The SADI/landward force meeting was held at the CSIR (Council for Scientific and Industrial Research) in Pretoria.
The SA Army is the major South African National Defence Force (SANDF) contributor to Operation Corona, providing the 15 companies (sometimes referred to as “sub units”), from its regular and reserve components to maintain South Africa’s territorial integrity along its 4 800 km plus land borders with six countries.
Motlhoki is reported as telling the meeting “amid austerity measures the SA Army is mandated to have a more robust approach”. Replacing the current fleet of troop packs (as the Land Cruisers were named) with “improved vehicles” will enhance border security and safeguarding operations. “The acquisition of new personnel carriers will reduce the potential risk to national security by creating deterrence and stopping cross-border movement in order to have non-porous borders,” the one-star is quoted as saying.
“Functional evaluation” of troop packs offered to replace the Land Cruisers, which were imported from Australia in an SA Army acquisition, by the local defence industry starts on 20 October and ends on 14 November. “Different centres of excellence” will focus on command and control, firepower, mobility, “superior protection”, intelligence and sustainability with driver training concentrating on operator obstructions, tactics and off-road critical mobility.
The personnel carriers offered will be part and parcel of the landward force’s major exercise – Vuk’uhlome – at its Northern Cape Combat Training Centre (CTC) in November. Apart from being on display for close-up inspection they will reportedly also demonstrate capabilities.
When the first soft-skinned Land Cruisers, some sporting chromed wheels as an indicator of their antipodean origin, were taken into service in November 2017, a final figure of 435 vehicles was given. This would see all 15 companies deployed at any one time on border protection with 29 vehicles per company: 18 configured for troop transport, three in logistics configuration, four command and control variants and four ambulances. There is currently no indication of vehicle numbers and configurations needed.
“After a successful acquisition process the new personnel carriers will be utilised at points of entry including the Lesotho borderline, the Mozambique/Swaziland borderline [specified as Ndumo] and the Zimbabwe borderline,” Mmekwa wrote.
National Treasury has allocated nearly R1 bn to improve SANDF border security capabilities over the next three years. Major General Thembelani Xundu explained to the Portfolio Committee on Defence and Military Veterans (PCDMV) earlier this year that R700 m was allocated for border safeguarding technology in 2024/5 and 2025/26.
In the medium term, troop pack vehicles will be replaced with off-the-shelf vehicles and R500m will be spent in 2024/25 for this. The SANDF wants to replace the troop packs with armoured personnel carriers (APCs), which would serve with all 15 companies on Operation Corona duty. In January this year, Armscor issued a request for information for APCs for an indication of what new vehicles would cost, with responses ranging from R6m to R18m each. Armscor planned to request three vehicles for the upcoming borderline test and by the end of the year decide which is best and how many the SANDF can afford.
January’s request for information called for a 2+8 seat APC for counter-insurgency operations with variable ballistic and mine protection, including the ability to defeat an 8kg mine. The vehicles would replace or supplement Mamba and Casspir vehicles.
In addition to new vehicles, R200 m worth of sensor technology will be acquired for Operation Corona in 2025/6 including a geographic information system (GIS) capability (R22.5 m); 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 (R16m under Project Dominate); 16 quadcopter unmanned aerial vehicles (R16m) and two long range UAVs (R24m). (Source: https://www.defenceweb.co.za/)
22 Aug 23. UK open to Saudi involvement in flagship fighter jet project.
Saudi defence investment is on the rise as Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman sets his sights on the Tempest programme.
Saudi Arabia is reportedly pushing to gain access to the Global Combat Air Programme (GCAP), a three-way partnership between the UK, Italy and Japan to develop one of the most ambitious combat aircraft projects worldwide.
Should the Kingdom be accepted, a move tentatively favoured in London and Rome but opposed by Tokyo, it would gain access to the fighter jets, technology and geopolitical influence GCAP offers, according to the Financial Times.
In the UK, this technology has been overseen by “Team Tempest”, a collaboration between the Ministry of Defence (MoD) and industry giants Rolls-Royce, BAE Systems, MBDA and Leonardo. The Tempest project aims to create a fleet of hypersonic stealth combat jets equipped with AI-controlled swarming drones and electromagnetically charged missiles.
First announced in July 2022, the Tempest programme and wider GPAC initiative have coincided with a rise in job hirings in the defence sector across the UK, Italy and Saudi Arabia. Italy has seen the largest percentage growth, with an 82% increase.
Saudi Arabia – a future global defence power?
Listed at $69.1bn (SR259bn) in 2023, Saudi Arabia’s defence budget is already the fifth largest worldwide. Military spending is projected to reach $86.4bn by 2028, according to GlobalData’s Saudi Arabia Defence Market 2023-2028 report.
The oil-rich nation is already channelling bns of petrodollars into developing a domestic weapons industry. Saudi Arabia is currently one of the world’s biggest arms importers, mostly from US companies, but it seeks to become a producer.
21 Aug 23. A potential first-of-its-kind fighter-jet purchase could be a sign Saudi Arabia isn’t happy with what it’s getting from the US.
Saudi Arabia is reportedly considering a large number of French-made buying US and British jets.
- This suggests Riyadh doesn’t think its traditional partners will be as reliable in the future.
Saudi Arabia has spent decades building an enormous air force composed exclusively of advanced US and British fighter jets. But Riyadh’s reported interest in potentially purchasing a large number of French jets may be a sign it doesn’t think its longtime patrons are as reliable as before.
In December, France’s La Tribune financial newspaper, citing unnamed sources, reported that Saudi Arabia was considering acquiring 100 to 200 Dassault Rafale fighters. The report came amid developments suggesting that the US and other nations might not provide military equipment to Riyadh in the future.
After Riyadh cut oil production in October, US lawmakers proposed legislation freezing all American arms sales to the kingdom, which could have grounded most of the Saudi air force and would further fray already strained US-Saudi relations.
In July, Germany announced it would not allow additional Eurofighter Typhoon fighter jets to be delivered to Saudi Arabia. The Saudi air force has 72 Eurofighters, second only to the number of US-made F-15s it has.
Saudi Arabia’s neighbors in the United Arab Emirates and Qatar have built up large fleets of Western-made jets that include dozens of Rafales. The La Tribune report, while unconfirmed, suggests political and practical concerns are pushing the Saudis toward the French jet.
Buying more Typhoons would be “the sensible move” since the Saudis have the infrastructure to train pilots and operate that jet, “but a German block prevents that,” said Sébastien Roblin, a widely published military-aviation journalist.
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is “not currently inclined to throw Washington any free bones by ordering F-15EXs,” and despite an “about-face” by President Joe Biden, Roblin said, the Saudis know that future jet sales “could be disrupted by domestic political revulsion for Riyadh’s actions domestically or the war in Yemen.”
As bin Salman pursues a detente with his main rival, Iran, and improves relations with China, opposition to such sales may only increase.
Roblin noted that France has sold armored vehicles, helicopters, artillery, air-to-ground Damocles targeting pods, and SCALP cruise missiles to Riyadh and that French political culture values having “a diversified, independent defense sector” and is therefore “much less susceptible to human-rights-based misgivings, which has enabled sustained arms sales to a wider stable of clients in the Middle East.”
(Source: News Now/https://uk.news.yahoo.com/)
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