UNITED KINGDOM AND NATO
15 Nov 23. Defence Secretary will support UK industry and back firms globally.
UK Defence firms will be championed as positive ambassadors for the UK, in the face of investment threats, the Defence Secretary has told industry leaders.
* Commitment made to defend the industry from environmental, social, and governance (ESG) investors trying to immorally defund British defence.
* Defence Secretary highlighted the importance of boosting exports and backing business as global champions for Britain.
* Importance of delivering programmes on time and on budget emphasised.
UK Defence firms will be championed as positive ambassadors for the UK, in the face of investment threats, Defence Secretary Grant Shapps has told industry leaders today.
Maintaining national security and the continued supply of cutting-edge equipment to British Armed Forces and allies were also highlighted in a meeting with key defence sector organisations held at the Ministry of Defence (MOD) in London.
The Defence Suppliers Forum (DSF) brought together senior government personnel with more than a dozen of the UK’s key defence suppliers. These ranged from UK SMEs and trade associations to some of the world’s largest international defence and aerospace companies, with experts convened from military domains covering everything from the ocean’s depths to outer space.
With global security challenges increasing, the forum, which convenes twice a year, was an invaluable opportunity to deepen ties between industry and government. It ensured the short, medium, and long-term plans of government and industry align around the collective objectives of equipping the UK’s Armed Forces and simultaneously deterring international adversaries.
Addressing this influential network, the Defence Secretary made clear he would always champion British industry, particularly in the face of concerns around ESG investing, ensuring they have the financing needed to maintain vital supplies to our Armed Forces and allies, keeping the country safe and protecting our way of life.
Defence Secretary, Grant Shapps said:
Investment in defence is the morally right thing to do, without which the atrocious activities of tyrants like Putin would go unchallenged and undeterred.
A strong UK defence industry is the bedrock of our national security, continuing the supply of equipment that our service personnel use to protect our nation, the weapons we need deter our enemies, and the ability to support our allies’ Armed Forces.
There is no doubt about the critical role that industry plays in our defence and that’s why I will back the firms that protect our nation and help us prosper.
The DSF Main is the primary collaborative forum for the Defence Secretary to engage with a range of senior leaders from across the UK defence sector on strategic issues of mutual interest. Key aims of the DSF include:
* Creating a new and closer strategic alliance between the MOD and industry, delivering the ambitions set out in the recent Defence Command Paper Refresh.
* Delivering more agile, secure, sustainable, and resilient supply chains by improving visibility of fragility and maximising opportunities for all suppliers, including SMEs.
* Forging closer working on defence exports to champion British manufacturers on the global stage.
BAE Systems Chief Executive and DSF Co-Chair, Charles Woodburn said:
In today’s heightened global threat environment, it’s important for the UK’s defence industry and Government to come together to sustain our sovereign capability to deliver the equipment our armed forces need. Investment in our defence industry is vital to ensure our continued ability to support national security and economic prosperity.
Improving the way the government supports UK exports and growth opportunities was also high on the agenda. With more than 200,000 British jobs supported through the Defence industry, the sector is crucial to the Prime Minister’s priority to grow the economy, while also furthering international opportunities for the sale of high-quality British technologies and services to our allies.
Kevin Craven, Chief Executive, ADS said: “Our defence industrial base is a vital pillar of our society, protecting our way of life. Our industry needs to be highly innovative, agile, and responsive to ongoing requirements. The UK defence financial and operating environment must be grounded in a collaborative approach to strategic planning, that enables the development of the technologies of tomorrow. ADS is a proud convenor of industry, working tirelessly with the DSF and Ministry of Defence to secure UK strategic advantage.”
The Defence Secretary also outlined the importance of delivery, stating that while he would be holding the Department to account to avoid unnecessary programme delays and costs, industry partners must play their part in meeting agreed timelines and budgets.
14 Nov 23. UK MoD seeking illum shells for British Army’s L118 105mm artillery. With an expected out-of-service date of around 2030, the L118 is expected to continue to serve the needs of the UK for several more years.
The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) is looking to acquire artillery illumination shells for use in the British Army’s L118 105mm Light Gun, detailing its requirements and industry response timelines in a 9 November request for information (RfI).
According to the MoD, the British Army requires a 105mm calibre illumination shell for the L118 to provide illumination in the white visual spectrum in support of the service’s “war fighting division, strike, and armoured infantry brigades, airborne task force, lead commando group and reserve”.
The formations are all part of the British Army’s or UK military’s force structure, providing the basis for response to potential threats, the RfI stated.
Any new illumination shells must be compatible with the current fuze and charges used by the British Army’s 105mm illumination shell (L43), the L163 fuze, and L35, L36 & L45 charges, as well as a in-service L118 Light Gun barrel.
Additional requirements include that fuzed Illumination projectile delivering target effect at a range equal to or greater than 15700m, and after expulsion of the illumination components shall provide Illumination in the visible (0.4 to 0.7?m) spectrum. An industry response deadline was set at 8 December this year.
The British Army’s L118 Light Gun
The L118 105mm Light Gun has been a mainstay in British Army service since its introduction in the 1970s, with 126 units in service as of mid-June this year.
With an expected out-of-service date of around 2030, the system is expected to continue to serve the needs of the UK for several more years, with the potential for an extension in service as the ‘artillery star’ continues to rise with such capabilities the decisive factor in the ongoing Ukraine-Russia war.
Showcased in 2022 possible vehicle-mounted use cases of the L118 were demonstrated at the DVD event, which pared the 105mm artillery piece with the HMT 6×6 utility vehicle produced by UK company Supacat, providing a mobile shoot-and-scoot medium-range fires capability. (Source: army-technology.com)
10 Nov 23. UK MoD seeking two floating docks for Clyde naval base.
HM Naval Base Clyde is home of the UK’s nuclear deterrent fleet, the Vanguard-class ballistic missile submarines.
The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) is looking to obtain two floating docks and associated infrastructure to be located at Clyde naval base, home of the UK’s nuclear deterrent and the Vanguard-class ballistic missile submarines (SSBN).
In a 7 November early engagement notice, the MoD stated that following completion of a period of market engagement with industry, the Authority intends to formally commence a procurement for the Additional Fleet Time Docking Capability (AFTDC) programme.
The MoD stated the purpose of the Prior Information Notice (PIN) “is to invite industry to participate in market engagement events” to be conducted by the AFTDC joint project team, which will “progressively mature in detail”, prior to the commencement of a future procurement.
An MoD spokesperson told Naval Technology that the AFTDC programme was “looking to enhance the out of water submarine maintenance capability and meeting future demand for submarine maintenance at His Majesty’s Naval Base Clyde.”
Market engagement ‘Event 1’ is planned for 7 December this year and will be a virtual briefing to industry participants who have registered to be involved in market engagement, where background on the AFTDC programme will be provided. The event will be followed up with further market engagement events focussing on one-to-one discussions between the MoD and industry.
Further, the MoD is “looking to engage with suppliers” that have the capability to design and build significant elements of the floating docks and associated infrastructure to participate in the market engagement stage of the AFTDC programme.
Subsequent evolutions of the engagement process would include discussions with required equipment and systems suppliers.
HM Naval Base Clyde – commonly known throughout the Royal Navy as Faslane – is the service’s main presence in Scotland and home to the core of the country’s subsurface fleet, including the SSBN-based nuclear deterrent, and the new generation of Astute class hunter-killer submarines (SSN).
The Royal Naval Armaments Depot at Coulport, eight miles from Faslane, is responsible for the storage, processing, maintenance and issue of key elements of the UK’s Trident nuclear-armed ballistic missiles and the ammunitioning of all submarine embarked weapons.
A job advert posted across a number of recruitment sites in October, since withdrawn or else no longer accepting applications, listed a requirement for a deputy head [of] capability integration – submarine fleet time docking, located at UK Navy Command Naval Base Clyde.
Babcock to add new capacity to Devonport dockyard
The move to acquire floating dock capacity at Clyde comes as other key sites in the UK’s nuclear submarine infrastructure are also expanding.
On 10 November, Babcock announced that it had signed a £750m contract to deliver “future submarine capability” infrastructure at its Devonport dockyard. The deal with the MoD’s Submarine Delivery Agency (SDA) would service to “sustain the UK’s submarines for decades to come”, the release stated.
The contract for the delivery of infrastructure to support submarine maintenance includes a dock and logistics and support facilities, and forms part of the site-wide infrastructure upgrade programme at Devonport to enable “the ongoing delivery of base maintenance periods and deep maintenance projects for current and future classes of submarine, including nuclear defuel”.
The reference to nuclear defuel could inform a future expansion of the UK’s efforts to dispose of dozens of decommissioned Royal Navy nuclear submarines still moored at sites in Devonport and Rosyth.
The MoD’s Submarine Dismantling Project is responsible for dismantling 27 nuclear submarines; 22 of which are decommissioned and have left service, while five currently continue to be operated by the Royal Navy. A test case being carried out on HMS Swiftsure is currently underway at Babcock’s Rosyth site, which could be expanded if provided successful.
Chris Gardner KBE, CEO of the SDA said the contract would “see the delivery of dock and infrastructure for our attack submarine deep maintenance projects later this decade”.
The Babcock release stated that supporting the company on “10 Dock” would be delivery partners Costain and Mott Macdonald, and main works contractor Kier BAM. (Source: naval-technology.com)
17 Nov 23. Germany ‘undecided’ on Eurofighter Tranche 5 buy. Germany has not yet determined if it will proceed with its previously announced plan to buy Eurofighter Tranche 5 combat aircraft.
Speaking to Janes under the Chatham House Rule, an official said that the plan announced by the previous German government in March 2020 to acquire additional newbuild Eurofighters as part of its wider Luftwaffe recapitalisation efforts was not a done deal.
“This Tranche 5 buy is undecided rather than uncontracted,” he said earlier in November. The official’s comment came after weeks of intense lobbying by Eurofighter, Airbus, and the Defence and Security Department in the Federal Association of the German Aerospace Industries (BDLI eV) to secure the order for as many as 35 aircraft that remain outstanding from the Tornado replacement plan for the Luftwaffe that covers 85 new aircraft. (Source: Janes)
16 Nov 23. Turkey in talks with Britain, Spain to buy 40 Eurofighter typhoon jets. Defence Minister Yasar Gular said on Thursday the Turkey was in talks with Britain and Spain to buy 40 Eurofighter Typhoon jets, though Germany objected to the idea.
“We are working on procurement,” he said at a parliamentary hearing in Ankara. “Now the UK and Spain are making efforts to convince Germany, (though) we are not in talks with Germany… If possible, we plan to purchase 40 Eurofighter Typhoon jets.”
NATO member Turkey has also asked to buy U.S. F-16 fighter jets though that purchase order has been delayed. Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan is set to visit Germany on Friday for talks with Chancellor Olaf Scholz.
(Source: News Now/Reuters)
13 Nov 23. Moldova Receives First Batch of French Military Aid.
The National Army Received the First Batch of Assistance from France.
The first batch of assistance from the French Ministry of the Armed Forces for the National Army has arrived in Chisinau. It was delivered by air, with an aircraft belonging to the French Air Force.
The aid contains personal equipment, logistical supplies, light infantry weapons and ammunition.
This is the first batch of support from the French Republic in the context of strengthening the defense capabilities of the Republic of Moldova and modernizing the National Army.
The equipment, intended for infantry troops, will ensure the compatibility of the Moldovan military with the armies of the European Union and North Atlantic Alliance states in the framework of joint exercises and missions.
It should be noted that the assistance comes as a result of the statements of support by the French President Emmanuel Macron, launched during the Summit of the European Political Community, held on June 1, in the Republic of Moldova, as well as as a result of the visit of the French Minister of Defense Sébastien Lecornu to Chisinau, this September.
The Republic of Moldova and France cooperate in the field of defense based on the Agreement between the defense institutions of the two states, signed in Paris on July 15, 1998. Recently, the Minister of Defense, Anatolie Nosatîi and his French counterpart, Sébastien Lecornu, agreed on strengthening the partnership, through signing a bilateral letter of intent.
Soon, the two defense institutions will conclude a new Military Cooperation Agreement. This is after Wednesday, November 8, the Cabinet of Ministers approved the initiation of negotiations on the draft Agreement between the two institutions. (Source: https://www.defense-aerospace.com/ Moldova Ministry of Defence)
13 Nov 23. Romania: No Corvettes, No Submarines but 32 F-35s for $6.5bn. No corvettes, no submarines, but 32 F-35 as the top priority. Nothing from Europe, but top priority to the United States: this briefly sums up the procurement policy of the Romanian Government. The Romanian Ministry of Defense has quietly sent to Parliament the procurement project of the F-35, and as is always the case for the F-35, the cost of the planned expenditure is massive: $6.5bn.
The entire project calls for 48 fighters, according to an early memo sent to Parliament on August 4: to equip two squadrons of 16 F-35 each in a first step, and an additional squadron of 16 to follow. The first step alone will cost $6.5bn excluding VAT.
It is interesting to compare the Romanian case with the Polish contract and the FMS case for the Czech Republic.
This is the most expensive project of Romania’s defense ministry since the procurement of the Patriot ($3.9bn for seven upgraded batteries, bought through the Foreign Military Sales program) and the HIMARS ($1.25 bn for 54 launchers and missiles, also procured through the FMS). It is worth noting that the F-35 project comes less than one year after the procurement of second-hand F-16s.
While making these substantial investments to re-equip its army – most recently boosted by the $1.2bn purchase of M1A2 Abrams tanks – and its air force, the Romanian government has been short-changing its naval forces, despite the growing strategic importance of the Black Sea. It has also been short-changing foreign shipyards because, after holding separate competitions for the procurement of submarines and corvettes, abruptly dropped both initiatives with flimsy or non-existent explanations.
Once again, two actors were bamboozeled: the Romanian Navy and French and Italian shipyards, which have been led down the garden path for a second time. (Source: https://www.defense-aerospace.com/)
15 Nov 23. GE’s XA100 engine progresses as Congress weighs in on F-35. XA100 engine completes additional testing, marking a key step in its bid for inclusion in the F-35 programme amid Congressional discussions.
General Electric (GE) Aerospace announced 14 November 2023, that its XA100 Adaptive Engine Transition Programme (AETP) engine, intended for the F-35 fighter jet, has completed additional testing in coordination with the US Air Force (USAF).
This round of testing follows a report in June from the US House Appropriations Committee that blocked the USAF proposal to cancel GE’s engine and move forward with the F135 Engine Core Upgrade from RTX.
“Recent Congressional support for advanced engine development in the defence appropriations bills will help continue our progress as we work to bring this revolutionary technology forward for US warfighters,” said GE Aerospace’s Defense & Systems president and CEO Amy Gowder.
GE have been lobbying congress for the inclusion of the XA100 in the F-35 programme, arguing that it is “already the most advanced combat engine ever developed”, according to GE Aerospace vice president and general manager David Tweedie, adding now that it is also the most tested engine, following the recent third round, on top of completing all AETP testing in 2022.
The second XA100 engine, which benefits from the expertise of over 400 engineers, completed the third round of testing at GE Aerospace’s facility in Evendale, Ohio. This testing aimed to validate minor design improvements based on previous testing conducted in 2022. “With a third round of testing, GE Aerospace has proven again our place as the industry leader in adaptive cycle engines,” continued Gowder.
Additionally, the testing helped to enhance the engine’s detailed design and digital models, as well as accelerate the development of adaptive propulsion and related technologies for sixth-generation applications through scenario-specific testing. GE Aerospace’s claim the XA100 engine has now successfully completed hundred of hours of system-level performance and operability testing that has provided the company with insight into adaptive cycle engine architecture. The company expects the XA100 engine to offer pilots enhanced fuel efficiency and extended range, and increase thermal management capacity in comparison to existing fighter engines. (Source: airforce-technology.com)
REST OF THE WORLD
15 Nov 23. UAE, Korea Aerospace Industries enter talks for KUH-1E helicopter buy. The United Arab Emirates is negotiating the purchase of South Korean helicopters, with the aim of signing a deal by year’s end, according to an official with the manufacturer.
The Emirati military is seeking an undisclosed number of KUH-1E helicopters from Korea Aerospace Industries, Cho Seok Joon, a senior manager with the company’s rotorcraft division, told Defense News during the Dubai Airshow, which runs Nov. 13-17.
The KUH-1E is an export version of the twin-engine KUH-1 Surion. The former can carry 18 people, including two pilots, whereas the latter can accommodate 18 total. The UAE is seeking a maritime variant.
“Instead of the gun present in the KUH, it is equipped with a radar,” Cho noted.
A spokesperson with the Emirati Defence Ministry told Defense News the country is currently evaluating the aircraft.
“At the ministry, we have several layers of tests for all equipment. Once it’s complete, we give our verdict,” the representative said.
The Surion can perform military transport and airfreight missions, among other functions.
The export variant’s power comes from a pair of 1,855-shaft-horsepower GE T700-701K turboshaft engines. It can reach a maximum speed of 147 knots (169 mph) and has a maximum takeoff weight of 19,200 pounds.
(Source: Defense News Early Bird/C4ISR & Networks)
15 Nov 23. Central Europe’s defence companies spy African opportunity.
* Some African countries look to upgrade Soviet-era weaponry with Western tech
* Central European defence firms say well-placed to provide alternative to Russia
* Czech, Polish companies in talks to supply guns, ammunition and other equipment
* Defence deals one focus of Czech trade mission to Africa this month
Central European defence companies are negotiating new deals to sell more weapons, military equipment and related services in Africa as they seek to poach customers looking for alternatives to Russia, companies and government officials say.
Though now part of the Western NATO alliance, former Warsaw Pact members such as the Czech Republic, then part of Czechoslovakia, delivered a steady supply of weapons to African countries during the Communist era and so are well-placed to maintain or upgrade those systems.
“The best new markets are the African ones because they still use Soviet-era equipment but now want Western technology added to it,” Jiri Hynek, president and director of industry trade group the Defence and Security Industry Association of the Czech Republic, told Reuters.
“We call it the westernization of Soviet products.”
Take Czech aircraft maker Aero Vodochody. The company is in talks to sell its L-39NG training and light attack aircraft to new buyers as well as provide upgrades for older versions, its executive vice president of sales Filip Kulstrunk told Reuters.
“We see increasing interest from new potential customers, who are looking to abandon Russian or Chinese equipment and wish to westernize their armed forces,” he said, declining to give details on which countries it was talking to.
The Czech Republic in 2022 exported ammunition, guns, aircraft and other military supplies valued at around 32 m euros to 10 sub-Saharan African countries, many which rely on Soviet-era weapons manufactured with different standards and calibres than those used in the West. This was up from just under 2m euros in 2011.
Reuters spoke to around a half dozen Czech and Polish defence companies and government officials who described renewed efforts to carve out a bigger share of the African arms market as the Ukraine conflict diverts Russia’s attention.
While the companies declined for the most part to outline specifics or countries they were targeting for competitive reasons, deals being discussed included for guns, ammunition and other military equipment and services, they said.
Privately-held defence and civil manufacturing company Czechoslovak Group – the biggest Czech defence company – said its ability to maintain and modernize armoured vehicles using Soviet-era standards has helped it win business in Africa.
“CSG has exceptional capability to maintain and modernise military land systems of Eastern origin so that African customers needn’t depend on Russian suppliers,” spokesman Andrej Cirtek told Reuters. “We have already used this in a number of business cases in Africa.”
According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, Russia overtook China as the leading arms seller in sub-Saharan Africa with a market share rising to 26% over the past five years from 2018 to 2022.
While it has not yet fully processed data on all recent exports to Africa since the start of the Ukraine war, Pieter Wezeman, a senior researcher in the organisation’s arms transfers programme, told Reuters that reliability concerns could spur some nations to look beyond Russia.
“Czech industry has the kind of expertise on former Soviet weapons which can be useful when selling equipment, components or servicing of weapons used by African countries,” he said.
Sebastian Chwalek, chief executive of Poland’s state-owned PGZ – which controls dozens of companies making weapons, ammunition, armoured transporters, unmanned air systems and other equipment – told Reuters the company has stepped up talks over the last 12 months to tap African markets.
Polish military technology company WB Group – whose products include unmanned drones and missile systems – has also seen an uptick in interest from potential African customers on its home turf over the past year.
“We attended a recent trade exposition. …in Poland where our stand was visited by numerous delegations from African countries that appeared here for the first time,” WB Group spokesman Remigiusz Wilk said.
“It is always beneficial for any other supplier if someone who previously existed on a given market disappears from it, or is less represented.”
Underlining the push into Africa, a Czech trade mission visited Ethiopia, Kenya, Ghana and the Ivory Coast earlier this month. A key aim, said Prime Minister Petr Fiala, was boosting opportunities for the defence industry.
Czech national security advisor Tomas Pojar, who took part in the trade mission, said defence deals under discussion as a result of the trip were worth bns of crowns and included talks with Ethiopia about modernizing its aircraft and upgrading Soviet technology.
“Our focus is to re-open and strengthen relationships with our traditional partners in Africa by committing ourselves to what they want and need the most,” he told Reuters.
Tomas Kopecny, a Czech government envoy and former deputy minister of defence charged with leading business missions to Africa, added that inviting African leaders to visit Prague represented another way to stir up new defence deals.
This included the Czech-speaking president of Mozambique, whose visit in August marked the first of a sub-Saharan African leader to Prague for more than two decades, he added.
“One part of these activities also includes defence industry cooperation, since it has been an integral part of what we have engaged in together in the past,” Kopecny said.
As a nation of 10.5 m, the Czech Republic has long punched above its weight when coming to arms production and has been a leading supplier of ammunition, military equipment and other weapons to Ukraine since Russia’s 2022 invasion.
The effort to supply Ukraine has pushed Czech companies to boost production and expand supply lines, something Czech-based independent defence analyst Lukas Visingr said has burnished the region’s reputation.
“The Czech arms industry is stepping up its efforts towards certain African countries still using Soviet-style equipment but who start to see Russia as a problematic supplier,” Visingr said. (Source: Reuters)
14 Nov 23. Contracts Worth $4.5bn Signed with African Countries in 2023 — Rosoboronexport CEO. Russia signed contracts totally worth over $4.5bn with African countries in 2023, Chief Executive Officer of Russia’s state arms export agency Rosoboronexport Alexander Mikheev told TASS at the Dubai Airshow 2023.
“African countries are developing their economy, being important and reliable partners for Rosoboronexport. In 2023 only, contracts worth more than $4.5bn were signed with countries of the continent, and we plan to reach new agreements by the end of the year,” he said.
Mikheev told TASS earlier that Russia’s arms exporter would continue developing partnership with African countries within the framework of the Dubai Airshow through lines of cooperation drafted at the Russia-Africa summit that was held on July 27-28 in St. Petersburg.
The Dubai Airshow is one of the world’s largest aerospace exhibitions, held biannually. Russia has been a participant in the Dubai Airshow since 1993. This year, 20 national pavilions at the Dubai Airshow will showcase over 180 aircraft made by more than 1,400 manufacturers. The Dubai Airshow 2023 is running from November 13 through 17. (Source: https://www.defense-aerospace.com/TASS)
14 Nov 23. Indonesia’s strategic submarine collaboration takes depth with Naval Group. Deputy minister M. Herindra explores expansive partnership horizons with Naval Group CEO Pierre Eric Pommellet for strengthening Indonesia’s defence and economy. In a meeting at the heart of Jakarta, Deputy Minister of defence M. Herindra hosted Naval Group CEO Pierre Eric Pommellet to delve into submarine procurement discussions that transcend traditional defence talks.
The agenda, centring around submarine procurement, unfolded as a strategic endeavour to acquire vessels, reinvigorate Indonesia’s national defence industry and uplift its economic landscape.
Deputy minister M. Herindra and Naval Group CEO Pierre Eric Pommellet convened to chart a course beyond routine defence collaboration. Amidst the diplomatic ambience, the duo delved into the intricate details of submarine procurement, emphasizing a joint commitment to align with the expectations set forth by both the Indonesian and French governments.
The Indonesian Navy is likely to invest in the acquisition of a new-generation submarine, according to GlobalData’s “Indonesia Defense Market 2023-2028” report.
Accompanying the deputy minister of defence in this high-profile engagement were notable figures, including the head of the ministry of Defence’s Baranahan Head, Dirkersinhan, and the directorate general of defence. Together, they navigated through discussions not only on the acquisition of submarines but also on the matter of financing submarine construction.
The focus shifted towards a holistic vision – Indonesia’s national defence industry revival. Deputy Minister Herindra, in alignment with PT. PAL underscored the nation’s determination to foster a self-sustaining defence sector. This vision, they believe, holds the key to bolstering national security and, uplifting the livelihoods of thousands employed in the defence industry and contributing to the broader national economy.
According to GlobalData’s information on the Indonesian defence market, Naval Group have proposed to work on the Scorpene-class submarine with PT Pal Indonesia, and the procurement of Naval Group’s Gowind-class Corvette has been planned.
The collaboration between Deputy Minister M. Herindra and Naval Group CEO Pierre Eric Pommellet signifies a shift in defence discussions. It signals a commitment to acquiring assets but fostering growth within Indonesia’s defence industrial landscape. (Source: naval-technology.com)
14 Nov 23. Russian arms industry banks on Dubai defense fair to show viability. Tucked away outside, at the very end of the Dubai Airshow’s static display of aircraft, the Russian pavilion of suppliers makers spanned a large portion of the floor plan here.
This setting was markedly different from Moscow’s displays at recent defense fairs, where the regime’s state-owned companies came practically empty-handed and kept a relatively low profile.
Banking on the event to market its full range of weapons, including those used in the brutal invasion of Ukraine, Russia’s outdoor setup placed helicopters and air-to-air guided missiles at center stage.
One prominent presence was the KA-52E combat helicopter, of which at least 58 units have reportedly been destroyed or damaged by Ukrainians, according to the Dutch open-source intelligence website Oryx. As part of the Russian helicopter stand, the X-69 precision strike cruise missile, designed to be employed by the Su-57 fifth-generation fighter, was shown for the first time internationally, according to the manufacturer.
A total of five Russian agencies exhibited here, including Almaz-Antey with mockups of its Viking surface-to-air missiles, Rostec with the small-scale Pantsir-S1M self-propelled, anti-aircraft missile system, Roscosmos marketing the Federal Space Program Khrunichev Center, and Rosoboronexport.
Rosoboronexport had planned to unveil its own spin on an anti-drone gun at the airshow. Dubbed the Argument-2, the company markets the weapon as capable of destroying the wildly effective first-person-view (FPV) drones used by Ukrainian forces on the front lines. The drones are named after their modus operandi of a simple, forward-looking video feed that allow operators to fly explosive payloads near targets for detonation.
But as of Tuesday, the new system was nowhere to be seen at the Rosoboronexport stand. Asked about the absence, a company representative at the show declined to comment.
Experts have placed the number of FPV-type drones flying in Ukraine “in the many thousands per month,” Sam Bendett, research analyst at the U.S.-based Center for Naval Analyses, told Defense News.
Ukrainian forces have reportedly used the weapons in the heavy fighting around Avdiivka, a battle that has inflicted the heaviest casualties on Russian invaders in 2023, according to the U.K. Ministry of Defense.
“I think the value for Russia publicizing here is to promote and demonstrate sustainability and self-sufficiency, that it can produce technology like this on its own as the war drags on, whether that capability is accurate or not,” Matt McCrann, chief executive of DroneShield, an Australia-based competitor in the counter-drone market, said.
Throughout the Ukraine war, the United Arab Emirates has walked a fine line by choosing to remain largely neutral, maintaining close ties to Russia while also providing humanitarian aid to Kyiv.
Last March, Emirati presidential adviser Anwar Gargash said in a statement on social media that the Gulf country “believes that taking sides would only lead to more violence” and that the government prioritizes encouraging “all parties to resort to diplomatic action.” (Source: C4ISR & Networks)
13 Nov 23. INDUS-X Investor Strategy Session Harnesses Private Capital for Start-Ups. The U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) and the Indian Ministry of Defence (MoD) participated on November 8, 2023, in the first investor strategy session of the India-U.S. Defense Acceleration Ecosystem (INDUS-X). The session in New Delhi occurred in conjunction with the fifth U.S.-India 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue, led by Secretary Austin, Secretary Blinken, and their counterparts. The U.S.-India Strategic Partnership Forum (USISPF) and IndUS Tech Council organized the investor session to mobilize capital and sustain collaboration between both countries’ private sectors. At the session, Defense Innovation Unit (DIU) Director and Senior Advisor to the Secretary of Defense Douglas A. Beck addressed investors alongside Innovations for Defence Excellence (iDEX) Chief Operating Officer Vivek Virmani of the Indian MoD. Beck and Virmani joined investors and start-ups to discuss harnessing private capital to drive defense innovation and equip both countries’ armed forces with the capabilities to defend a free and open Indo-Pacific. Launched in June against the backdrop of Prime Minister Modi’s visit to the White House, INDUS-X is strengthening ties between both countries’ defense industrial ecosystems to make them more innovative, accessible, and resilient. By enabling partnerships between both countries’ businesses, investors, and academic institutions, this initiative builds on a commitment by the U.S. and Indian National Security Advisors in January 2023 to launch an “Innovation Bridge” to connect defense start-ups from the two countries as part of the U.S.-India initiative on Critical and Emerging Technology (iCET). At the investor session, DIU and iDEX also announced the launch of the INDUS-X Gurukul Education Series – monthly events where government officials and private sector leaders will meet with U.S. and Indian start-ups to discuss business and technology development, regulatory regimes, and investor pitches. The Education Series will inform start-ups of new programs and opportunities available through INDUS-X and be tied to priorities established by both governments, as well as other areas of interest outlined in the iCET agenda and INDUS-X Fact Sheet. This event builds on recent collaboration between DIU and iDEX, who recently opened applications for joint challenges that enable start-ups in both countries to develop technological solutions for shared defense challenges. Aligned with the Roadmap for U.S.-India Defense Industrial Cooperation, the challenges will culminate in financial awards for the most promising technology along with potential procurement opportunities. (Source: glstrade.com)
13 Nov 23. Saab Positions Gripen E for Thailand’s New Fighter Acquisition. The Royal Thai Air Force (RTAF) released a request for proposals (RFP) in October for new fighters. Two of the frontrunners are Saab’s Gripen and Lockheed Martin’s F-16. Although the latter was unwilling to speak to media at Defense & Security 2023 in Bangkok, Saab executives were able to highlight the suitability of the latest Gripen E fighter.
Robert Bjorklund, Gripen sales executive in Saab’s Business Area Aeronautics, estimated the RTAF would want 12-16 new fighters by 2028 to replace older F-16s that are due for retirement.
With the RTAF’s ambition for F-35A fifth-generation fighters soundly knocked back by the US, both the Gripen and F-16V are strong 4.5-Generation contenders given that the air force is familiar with both fighter families.
Bjorklund pointed out that the Gripen E can build upon the RTAF’s current Gripen infrastructure and its concept of operations. Wing 7 operates Gripens from Surat Thani Air Base. The Gripen E is also easy to upgrade in the future, since its critical and tactical systems are separated. Improvements to the latter would not affect the former.
Last year, Saab and the Swedish Defence Materiel Administration (FMV) began a programme to upgrade the RTAF’s Gripen C/D fleet with the MS20 upgrade. This work has been completed, and it extends the aircraft’s life and tactical capability.
The RTAF also has two Saab 340 Erieye airborne early warning (AEW) aircraft. The air force does not have an intention to expand the fleet, but an upgrade is certainly a possibility.
Anders Wanner, senior sales director, Marketing & Sales Radar Solutions, of Saab’s Business Area Surveillance, said this would involve updating both the hardware and software on the AEW aircraft, such as a new radar and antenna. This would add to its maritime monitoring abilities.
While the latest F-16s and Gripens have the strongest pedigree to join the RTAF in the future, Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) is also keen to add its name to the mix. A KAI spokesperson told Asian Military Review that either the FA-50 or KF-21 would be suitable for Thailand.
Incidentally, AVIC displayed scale models of J-10CE and J-31 fighters at Defense & Security 2023. However, a Chinese platform is not really an option for Thailand given that these could not interoperate with the RTAF’s existing Western fighters. (Source: News Now/AMR)
10 Nov 23. No weapons sales to Israel – Armscor. Armscor has not supplied weapons to Israel or been part of joint projects with the Mediterranean country currently at war with Hamas in Gaza.
The State-owned defence and security acquisition company under the control of Minister Thandi Modise’s Defence Ministry was responding to allegations, including from the SA Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) coalition and a public representative, that it was supplying weapons to the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF).
Armscor, via its Senior Manager: Corporate Communication Liziwe Nkonyana, emphasised in a statement it has “no contact” with Israel.
“The buying and selling of, or possession of controlled items (armaments and/or items or services with military application) is subject to the very strict control regime implemented by the National Conventional Arms Control Committee (NCACC),” the statement reads.
It continues: “The NCACC is established to ensure compliance with government policy in respect of arms control. The NCACC implements control measures in relation to transactions where such controlled items are exported. No person may buy, sell, or be in possession of controlled items, unless that person is registered with the NCACC and in possession of a permit authorised and issued by the NCACC”.
“Any defence industry company or arms manufacturer who are trading with arms or controlled items must apply to the NCACC to authorise the issue of a permit subject to such conditions as the NCACC may decide upon. The NCACC considers and evaluates all applications and in doing so also considers the destination country and end-user where the arms will be used.
“The issue of an arms embargo is a matter of government policy. It is confirmed that Armscor complies with all the provisions of the NCACC Act and executes its mandate in accordance with the national security interest of the Republic [of South Africa] and applicable government policy in this regard.” (Source: https://www.defenceweb.co.za/)
10 Nov 23. SA Navy looking to replace SAS Drakensberg. The South African Navy will soon start a project to replace its combat support vessel SAS Drakensberg, which is nearly 40 years old and which has not been to sea for quite some time.
This is according to SA Navy Chief, Vice Admiral Monde Lobese, who was speaking during the naming and acceptance ceremony of the second new multi-purpose inshore patrol vessel (MMIPV) SAS King Shaka Zulu at Naval Base Durban last month.
Lobese mentioned that the SA Navy used to operate a number of different vessel types, namely submarines, offshore patrol vessels, frigates, a combat support vessel, a hydrographic survey vessel, anti-mine warfare vessels (mine hunters), deep diving support and torpedo recovery vessels. The submarines and frigates were replaced during the Arms Deal about 20 years ago, whilst a new Hydrographic Survey Vessel is currently being built by Sandock Austral Shipyards in Durban. The three new MMIPVs will take over the mine hunting, deep diving support and torpedo recovery roles of previous vessels, and some patrol duties.
“The SA Navy is currently in the process to containerise the anti-mine warfare capability through Project Motso, so that it can be placed on these vessels,” Lobese explained. “This capability is absolutely vital, because even a threat of a seamine can close a port like Durban for weeks on end. This will have devastating consequences for our economy. It requires specialised equipment and highly trained personnel and is a vital capability for any Navy to have.”
According to Lobese, the SAS Drakensberg will be replaced with a new vessel, and this project will start soon. It is not clear how this will be funded, as the Navy already had to cut its patrol vessel numbers under Project Biro from six to three – Lobese has called for an additional 12 inshore and offshore patrol vessels to adequately project South Africa’s maritime domain.
“If we take our maritime security seriously, and if we want to protect our maritime economy, we need at least another 12 ships, of which six must be the larger offshore patrol vessels. I am absolutely convinced of the fact that over a 30 year period, the investment in these ships, and the overall benefit to our economy in preventing theft of our marine resources, as well as criminality on our oceans, makes the procurement of an additional 12 vessels, a very logical and rational choice,” Lobese’s prepared remarks for the naming ceremony of the SAS King Shaka Zulu on 27 October read.
The SA Navy has been exploring a Drakensberg replacement for quite some time. In 2015, Flag Officer Fleet, Rear Admiral Bravo Mhlana, said “We are presently taking serious strain as the Drakensberg, for the last one and a half years, has been going through major maintenance. When it is not there, you are very limited in terms of reach, in terms of sustainment of the operations in distant areas.”
Mhlana said at the time that Drakensberg is a useful ship and a major force multiplier and consequently studies had commenced into a potential replacement. “The replacement class may end up being more than one vessel as we really feel Drakensberg’s absence when she goes into an extended maintenance period,” he added.
In addition to being used as a replenishment ship, SAS Drakensberg has also been used to patrol for pirates in the Mozambique Channel as part of Operation Copper. In April 2012 she helped European warships catch seven Somali pirates in the Channel.
SAS Drakensberg was launched in April 1986 by Sandock Austral and commissioned into service in November the following year. She has a full load displacement of 12 500 tons and a length of 147 metres. She can carry 5 500 tons of fuel, 750 tons of ammunition and dry stores and 210 tons of fresh water. In addition, 50 000 litres of fresh water can be made every day. Two Oryx helicopters, two landing craft and two RHIBs can be accommodated on board as well.
The Drakensberg is the largest ship built in South Africa to date and is reportedly the first naval vessel to be completely designed in the country. In addition to her replenishment role she is employed on search and rescue duties, patrol and surveillance duties and has considerable potential for use in disaster relief.
The SAS Drakensberg has not been to sea for the last four years. The Navy originally hoped to have a replacement around 2021. (Source: https://www.defenceweb.co.za/)
13 Nov 23. First New-Build AUKUS Nuclear-Powered Submarine to be Sold to Australia in 2038 – Report. First Newly-Built Nuclear-Powered Submarine under AUKUS Likely to be Sold in 2038, US Admiral Reveals (excerpt). Australia will be sold its first new American nuclear-powered submarine in 2038, according to a senior US naval officer who has also revealed that initial sales of second-hand Virginia-class boats will likely take place in 2032 and 2035.
During a separate media event in Sydney, the visiting commander of the US Pacific fleet also assured Australians that this country will maintain full sovereignty over the American technology when it eventually comes into service here.
Speaking in Washington, the US commander of submarine forces, Vice Admiral Bill Houston, provided a provisional timeline for transferring Virginia-class submarines to Australia under the AUKUS partnership.
According to US publication Breaking Defense, Vice Admiral Houston said planned US sales of “in-service submarines” to Australia are expected in 2032 and 2035, while the 2038 sale will be a newly constructed Block VII version of the Virginia-class.
The newly constructed Block VII submarine will not carry the Virginia Payload Module, the mid-body section equipped on certain boats in the fleet that increases its missile capacity.
Under the AUKUS agreement, the United States will sell at least three, and up to five, Virginia-class submarines in the 2030s, before the United Kingdom will then jointly construct a new SSN-AUKUS submarine fleet with Australia.
Australia to buy Virginia and AUKUS submarines
Australia’s nuclear submarine program will cost up to $368 bn over the next three decades, with confirmation that the federal government will buy at least three American-manufactured nuclear submarines.
Defence Minister Richard Marles has not yet commented on the new details of the proposed “optimal pathway” for nuclear-powered submarines, but earlier this week he expressed optimism the project still enjoyed broad political support in the US.
“There is legislation which is going through the US Congress as we speak, legislation which goes to reducing the export control regime as it applies between Australia and America,” Mr Marles said on Tuesday.
“[It is] legislation which will enable the sale of the Virginias but importantly legislation which will enable the provision of the Australian contribution to the American industrial uplift,” he added.
US officials insist the annual production rate of Virginia-class submarines needs to increase from the current level of 1.2 vessels to well above 2 per year, before transfers to Australia can occur.
“It is going to be important for the US to be able to increase its rate of production in order to enable there to be the space for Virginias to be transferred to Australia,” Mr Marles told reporters at the International Maritime Exposition in Sydney. (end of excerpt)
(Source: https://www.defense-aerospace.com/ Australian Broadcasting Corp)
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