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21 Apr 20. Y-20 takes two Type 15 tanks. Each Xi’an Y-20 strategic airlifter can carry two of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Type 15 light tanks or a Type 99A main battle tank (MBT) over distances of 7,800km, state broadcaster China Central Television (CCTV) reported on 8 April.
Local reports indicate that the domestically manufactured Y-20 airlifter can carry a maximum payload of around 66 tonnes in its 20m long and 4m wide cargo hold.
Type 15 light tanks
The Type 15 is the latest light tank developed by the China North Industries Group Corporation (NORINCO) and entered PLA service in December 2018. The tank is armed with a 105mm main gun with an autoloader and 38 ready-to-fire rounds, and has a baseline combat weight of 33 tonnes although this increases to 36 tonnes when fitted with additional protection.
According to Chinese-language sources, the Type 15 measures 9.2m long (including main gun), 3.3m wide, and 2.5m tall. It is operated by a crew of three and powered by a 1,000hp diesel engine, which provides a high power-to-weight ratio that enables the tank to operate more effectively in higher altitudes where thin air often impacts on engine performance.
The Type 15 made its public debut at the National Day military parade on 1 October 2019 in Beijing, and the PLA deployed a fleet of these light tanks in exercises in the plateaus of the Tibet Autonomous Region in southwest China in January 2020.
Type 99A Main Battle Tank
In contrast, the Type 99A MBT is the PLA’s principal land warfare platform with a maximum combat weight of approximately 55 tonnes and armed with a 125mm smoothbore gun and a 42-round magazine. An autoloader enables its crew complement to be reduced to three persons, while a 1,500hp 150HB diesel engine enables it to traverse at road speeds of up to 75km/h and cross-country speeds of up to 65km/h.
With the ability to carry either two light or one heavy tank, the Y-20 enables PLA planners to rapidly project protected firepower across continental distances. (Source: AMR)
23 Apr 20. Rosobornexport markets Boomerang 8×8 ACV globally. Rosoboronexport has begun marketing its Boomerang 8×8 amphibious combat vehicle (ACV) overseas for the first time, the company reported in a 23 April statement.
The platform can perform a range of combat missions as well as peacetime operations. It can accommodate up to 11 soldiers with the troop compartment located at the rear of the vehicle. Access to the interior can be gained through a roof hatch, rear door or ramp.
Alexander Mikheev, director general of Rosoboronexport, said: ‘The uniqueness of the platform lies in the opportunity to build the widest range of vehicles on its base with various weapons and equipment.’
He continued: ‘African, Middle East, Southeast Asian and CIS countries have already shown an interest in Boomerang. We estimate exports of this platform in the foreseeable future at about $1bn.’
The Boomerang can be armed with a 7.62mm coaxial machine gun, a 30mm automatic cannon, a 30mm automatic grenade launcher, or a 12.7mm Kord machine gun. (Source: Shephard)
22 Apr 20. Air Force Materiel Command Operations Continue Despite COVID-19. With a focus on high priority, critical operational needs and ensuring airmen’s health and safety, the Air Force Materiel Command continues to maintain support to the Air Force across all mission areas in the face of COVID-19.
“Our No. 1 priority is taking care of airmen and their families. They are the foundation of AFMC,” Air Force Gen. Arnold W. Bunch Jr., the AFMC commander, said. “I am really proud of what our airmen are doing across the mission. We’ve never been [in a pandemic] as an Air Force. The team is really leaning in to innovate and get missions done.”
With more than 85,000 military and civilian airmen operating at centers and installations across the United States, AFMC manages installation and mission support, discovery and development, test and evaluation, and life-cycle management services and sustainment for every major Air Force weapon system and platform. The command is critical to ensuring Air Force readiness across the mission set.
However, as COVID-19 continues to infiltrate the communities in which AFMC airmen live and operate, prioritizing those items key to near-term readiness is important to ensuring sustained support for the long term while ensuring the right health and safety protections are in place for essential operations.
“We are looking at critical milestones in our missions and balancing them with needs in the field. We are taking smart looks at what we need to execute now while ensuring we sustain our force for the longer term, so as risk goes down, we can ramp back up,” Bunch said.
As the command continues to execute both COVID-19-related and everyday missions across the spectrum, the importance of communication and collaboration have emerged as key drivers of success. Recent examples include the success of the Air Mobility Command-led aeromedical mission using the Transport Isolation System and the test community’s performance during an F-35 canopy test.
Teams at the Air Force Research Laboratory worked closely with members of Air Mobility Command to provide training to operators for the Transportation Isolation System, recently used to transport three COVID-19 patients from Afghanistan to Ramstein Air Base, Germany, for treatment.
The TIS is an infectious disease containment unit designed to minimize risk to aircrew and medical attendants while still allowing in-flight medical care for patients afflicted by contagions such as COVID-19. Two airmen from the AFRL U.S. School of Aerospace Medicine’s Center for Sustainment of Trauma Readiness Skills trained operators on disease and infection prevention and control, personal protective equipment and risk management during patient transport, setting the stage for safe execution of this and future TIS flights.
A recent joint effort between members of the Air Force Test Center, F-35 Lightning II Joint Program Office, Lockheed Martin, Martin Baker, BAE Systems and leadership at the Holloman Air Force Base High Speed Test Track in New Mexico led to the successful test of an F-35 static ejection seat using a canopy transparency from a new manufacturer.
The test’s purpose was to demonstrate that the ejection seat could penetrate through the canopy without severely injuring the pilot should the Transparency Removal System, a charge designed to fracture the cockpit canopy acrylic prior to ejection, fail to activate. This was a critical milestone for the F-35 enterprise as it works to qualify a second vendor to ensure sufficient canopies are available to meet the global fleet’s demands.
“These unique times require us more than ever to rely on strong communication and collaboration with our partners across the joint enterprise,” Bunch said. “Maintaining open and clear lines, and being willing to take calculated risk for high priority missions, is crucial to our ongoing success in both our everyday missions and in the fight against COVID-19.”
While the long-term impacts of COVID-19 to the AFMC mission are largely unknown, the command continues to execute its critical Air Force responsibilities in line with health and safety guidance while continuing to support the whole-of-government response to the pandemic.
“We’re adjusting to a whole new normal, and I am really proud of what our airmen are doing,” Bunch said. “Our installation commanders are making the best decisions for our airmen, and we’re making sure to hit high-priority, critical items and as many other items as we can while we sustain our force for the long term.” (Source: US DoD)
21 Apr 20. Squadron Keeps Munitions Moving Despite COVID-19 Crisis. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 649th Munitions Squadron at Hill Air Force Base, Utah, has adopted new procedures and precautions to balance airmen’s safety and health with supporting worldwide warfighter requirements. As part of the Air Force Sustainment Center, the squadron supports AMMO resupply requirements for the Air Force, the Defense Department and allied and partner-nation warfighters. This involves placing bombs, missiles and other weapons onto aircraft pallets for shipment via cargo aircraft to warfighters around the globe.
The squadron also packages and ships aircraft parts and items such as explosive components that are part of ejection seats and life-support equipment.
“We are taking standard preventative measures like wearing masks, social distancing and disinfecting at our shipping/receiving and inspection bays,” said Air Force Senior Master Sgt. Brett Kemp, 649th MUNS materiel flight chief. “Also, we have taken a staggered approach to manning requirements, depending on changing mission needs.”
Air Force Tech. Sgt. Toby McGuire, 649th MUNS shipping/receiving assistant section chief, said airmen in the squadron are primarily operating out of two large bays in their main facility. ”COVID-19 has obviously changed our work process, but the job still has to happen,” he said.
The shipping bay is where all outgoing assets get inspected and then shipped out to the organizations worldwide. The receiving bay is where all items coming into the squadron’s depot are inspected before being accepted and added to the inventory stockpile.
“We are on the hook to be always ready, any time an asset resupply is needed in an area of response. That’s what we do,” Kemp said. “Of equal importance is our regular warfighter support involving egress items and life support explosive component parts.”
Kemp added that the squadron is always inspecting incoming, outgoing and static assets, along with moving various items, preparing materials and coordinating with other agencies throughout each step of the process.
“It’s not what gets all the AMMO glory, but it’s what saves lives,” Kemp said. (Todd Cromar is assigned to the 75th Air Base Wing.) (Source: US DoD)
22 Apr 20. RUAG Australia expands industry 4.0 manufacturing centre for JSF. RUAG Australia has announced the acquisition of next-generation technology to make its machine shop a state-of-the-art, interconnected, data-driven environment to support the development of the customer supply chains, including those for hydraulic components for the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) F-35 program.
Industry 4.0 brings with it the next-level advancement of interconnectivity between devices, equipment, tools, visualisation systems, and their human users within the manufacturing system.
It is an optimisation and networking of existing computerised technologies with a central server to create cyber-to-physical systems for ensuring a smarter, more productive factory.
The move to full interconnectivity at RUAG’s Hydraulic Centre of Excellence, housed at its Bayswater facility, generates significantly improved efficiencies as it creates a new human-to-machine interface.
Real-time performance data is immediately available at any given moment throughout the manufacturing system thus safeguarding reduced manufacturing lead times and securing a more efficient and reliable supply chain. (Source: Defence Connect)
Terry Miles, general manager of RUAG Australia, said, “Moving to Industry 4.0 allows us to more fully realise the potential of recent workshop upgrades and investments in manufacturing capabilities and in so doing ensure we deliver high performance for our customers.”
The transition of the Bayswater facility to Industry 4.0 standards included the integration of a dedicated server capable of interfacing with manufacturing tools running dated software platforms as well as those featuring state-of-the-art data interfaces.
Software integration and machine connectivity ensures all manufacturing process data is logged into a relational database management system (RDBMS). Teams company-wide have direct access to the intuitive and straightforward system of representing data and are able to interrogate and trend machining performance in real-time.
RUAG Australia is an independent supplier and life-cycle support provider of systems and components on behalf of the RAAF and other international air forces, as well as civil aviation, worldwide.
“Exploiting the equipment’s ability to be networked, we are able to generate a full array of visual performance indicators on demand that report on overall equipment effectiveness. Our process reviews are granular, where we trend uptime, identify otherwise-hidden process bottle-necks, and provide visual management controls within each work cell,” Miles added.
The company combines engineering expertise with landing gear hydraulic actuator manufacture, maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO), and metal treatment and finishing in its role as a DASR Part 145, DASR Part 21J, EASA Part 145, CASA Part 145, NADCAP, and AS9100D approved organisation.
RUAG Australia ranks as a top SME on behalf of the Australian Defence Force, features as a supplier in the Australian Defence Export Office’s Australian Military Sales Catalogue, and has been inducted into the Victorian Manufacturing Hall of Fame.
RUAG MRO International is an independent supplier, support provider and integrator of systems and components for civil and military aviation worldwide. It also develops and supports simulation and training systems and solutions for international trained security forces.
Highly specialised in the support of aircraft and helicopters throughout their entire life cycle, the company includes maintenance, repair and overhaul services, upgrades, and the development, manufacture and integration of subsystems and components in their service portfolio.
20 Apr 20. Jankel supports their supply chain in the global fight to beat Covid-19. Jankel, a world-leader in the design and manufacture of highly specialised defence, security and NGO protection systems, is providing support to one of their suppliers, Vector 3D, who are 3D printing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) components to protect the NHS and other key workers. Jankel’s contribution includes the sourcing of and funding for the materials required to print the components. Jankel’s partner in this venture, Vector 3D, are printing PPE components using an open source face shield design from Czech company, Prusa Research, developed in collaboration with the Czech Ministry of Health (https://www.prusa3d.com/covid19/). The face shield is made up of 4 parts: a 3D printed head and chin piece; a clear visor which is typically laser-cut and an elastic band for adjustability. Vector 3D’s focus has been on printing the face shield frames with over 300 produced so far and an ongoing daily production capacity of 15-20 sets. The finished shields are Intended for use by medical professionals and other exposed key workers, throughout the West Sussex area and are provided without charge.
Andrew Jankel, Chairman of Jankel Group said: “we’re exceedingly proud that we are able to contribute in this way, supporting our skilled supply chain as they re-purpose their capabilities to help in the global fight against Covid-19”. He added: “as I think we all know, PPE is a vital resource needed in large quantities by the NHS and other key workers. We at Jankel sincerely thank the NHS and everyone else who is putting themselves at risk to help others in these difficult times. We wish everyone the very best. Stay safe”.
21 Apr 20. AFMC continues to support USAF missions. The Air Force Materiel Command (AFMC) said it will continue to support US Air Force (USAF) across all mission areas with a focus on critical operational needs and safety of airmen amid the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.
AFMC manages installations and supports missions, aids with discovery and development, test and evaluation, lifecycle management services and sustainment of major airforce weapon system and platforms.
AFMC commander General Arnold Bunch said: “Our number one priority is taking care of Airmen and their families. They are the foundation of AFMC.
“I am really proud of what our airmen are doing across the mission. We’ve never been here (in a pandemic) as an airforce. The team is really leaning in to innovate and get missions done.”
AFMC ensures readiness of the airforce across missions. The health and safety procedures are followed to prioritise and support long term readiness of the crew.
Bunch added: “We are looking at critical milestones in our missions and balancing them with needs in the field.
“We are taking smart looks at what we need to execute now while ensuring we sustain our force for the longer term, so as risk goes down, we can ramp back up.”
The command continues to closely coordinate and communicate to execute scheduled, everyday airforce missions regular along with operations assisting Covid-19.
Recent operations include the aeromedical mission using the Transport Isolation System led by Air Mobility Command (AMC) and the modern F-35 canopy test.
The air command units continue to execute their critical airforce responsibilities without any known long-term impacts of the virus on the AFMC mission. (Source: airforce-technology.com)
20 Apr 20. UAVOS tests UVH-170 unmanned helicopter for automated cargo deliveries. UAVOS recently flew a pair of test flights of its UVH-170 unmanned helicopter, simulating automated delivery flights to a destination and back along preselected pathways.
The pair of flights that took place between 10-16 April, one covering 50km and another covering 100 km, lasted a total of 102 minutes. In a video provided by UAVOS, the aircraft used a 20m rope to ferry a payload of 8kg during one of the test flights.
Aliaksei Stratsilatau, UAVOS CEO and lead developer, told Jane’s on 17 April that the flights, which took place in Belarus, did not require the aircraft to land, nor need a ground control station on the receiving side. The aircraft does not require any additional equipment for take-off or recovery.
The UVH-170 is designed for commercial applications and immediate air response and emergency relief operations conducted under demanding conditions and to tight timeframes. (Source: Jane’s)
20 Apr 20. Covid-19 and Military Aerospace MRO solutions to force readiness sustainment. With Covid-19 closing specific sites, as well as impacting different military locations differently, measures developed to counter supply chain attacks and operational tempo sustainment support stress limitations can now be applied as a means to maintain preparedness through Covid-19.
China’s People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) Aerospace MRO planning is a key component of force preparedness, as the PLAAF planning anticipates the severing of logistics lines to operating bases in times of high intensity/ peer warfare. The expected logistics impact means the PLAAF prepositions significant stocks of spare parts in forward areas, in addition to having MRO teams to deploy rapidly by rail or air. As the PLAAF’s Equipment and Technical Department is responsible for all Aerospace MRO, including Air to Air missiles, there is an inherently centralised and coordinated system for spares, maintenance planning, and ordering. The key aspect of this process is the decentralised component whereby regional commands have pre-positioned stock, with the PLAAF typically having two or three spares on location and enough spare parts for one year of operations.
With F-35 production temporarily halted at a number of locations for varying lengths of time due to COVID-19, the potential for additive manufacturing at forward areas is once again offering a solution beyond cost-saving. The oft-cited example of the USMC printing a 9 cent part in a forward area rather than ordering a USD $70,000 part provides an example of an alternative solution to maintain operational readiness. With the F-35s well-documented ALIS problems, and uncertainty over ODIN’s ability to perform as ALIS was supposed to, COVID-19 is not the first indication that F-35 operators could be better served through decentralised component availability. This could either be through additive manufacturing, or through pre-positioned stocks as in the PLAAF example.
The real question will be what MRO and force preparedness lessons will be learnt by the different forces, as this will have critical implications for the supply chain and procurement process. With the limited availability of spare parts for F-35s, distributed production offered by additive manufacturing offers more advantages than proximity and time saving, but this has limits. With the scale of the F-35 program offering serious cost efficiencies in theory (and this being an important selling point for the program), further limits exist on what could be manufactured in forward areas in this manner. The existing issues with F-35 depots being unable to cope with demand point to greater spare build up requirements and more decentralised part repair facilities already.
Ultimately, in a short space, Covid-19 has demonstrated that force vulnerabilities in the supply chain send ripples through the system, and the end users (frontline forces) will need to learn logistics lessons from the experience. Both the PLAAF and F-35 operators deploy centralised registers and systems for centralised co-ordination of the supply chain logistics, the key distinction is in delivery of service/parts. (Source: airforce-technology.com)
16 Apr 20. Airbus has achieved the first ever fully automatic air-to-air refuelling (A3R) operation with a boom system. The flight test campaign, conducted earlier in the year over the Atlantic Ocean, involved an Airbus tanker test aircraft equipped with the Airbus A3R solution, with an F-16 fighter aircraft of the Portuguese Air Force acting as a receiver.
This milestone is part of the industrialisation phase of A3R systems ahead of its implementation in the A330 MRTT tanker development.
The campaign achieved a total of 45 flight test hours and 120 dry contacts with the A3R system, covering the whole aerial refuelling envelope, as the F-16 and MRTT consolidate the maturity and capabilities of the development at this stage. The certification phase will start in 2021.
Didier Plantecoste, Airbus Head of Tanker and Derivatives Programmes, said: “The achievement of this key milestone for the A3R programme highlights the A330 MRTT’s excellent capability roadmap development and once more confirms that our tanker is the world’s reference for present and future refuelling operations. Our special thanks go to the Portuguese Air Force for their continued support and help on this crucial development”.
The A3R system requires no additional equipment on the receiver aircraft and is intended to reduce air refuelling operator (ARO) workload, improve safety and optimise the rate of air-to-air refuelling transfer in operational conditions, helping maximise aerial superiority. The goal for the A3R system is to develop technologies that will reach fully autonomous capabilities.
Once the system is activated by the ARO, the A3R flies the boom automatically and keeps the alignment between the boom tip and the receiver receptacle with an accuracy of a couple of centimeters; the proper alignment and the receiver stability is checked in real-time to keep a safe distance between the boom and the receiver and also to determine the optimum moment to extend the telescopic beam to achieve the connection with the receiver. At this point, the fuel transfer is initiated to fill up the receiver aircraft and once completed and the disconnection is commanded, the boom is cleared away from the receiver by retracting the telescopic beam and flying the boom away to keep a safe separation distance. During this process, the ARO simply monitors the operation.
About Hobson Industries
Hobson Industries is a private company established in 1987 by Peter Hobson, after serving as a Charge Chief Weapons Engineering Artificer in the Royal Navy. Hobson Industries is an innovative and highly technical engineering business operating to the requirements of ISO 9001:2015 Quality Management System which is complimented with our ISO 14001:2015 Environmental Management System.
Across the markets we serve in, the UK and globally, we establish close relationships with the people that trust and depend on us. We specialise in the through life support management and development of Land Rover heritage military and civilian platforms – in effect, the Land Rover need never die!
Hobson Industries offer four core services that we specialise in:
We offer Land Rover vehicle builds to original specification or complete with modifications and upgrades at the customers request. All work is done in house using our bountiful facilities. In addition to vehicle refurbishment, reconditioning and homologation across all Land Rover models.
Powertrain and Transmission Units:
We offer new and reconditioned units, perfect for your Land Rover. All built using Land Rover tolerances and specifications. All for sale on our website. Additionally, we offer reconditioning services to your own units.
With over 16,000 part lines in stock, and the Asset Management programme pioneered by the company, we are able to provide a cost effective range of parts which may no longer be available. Additionally, we are offering Hobson Original branded parts to drawings for obsolete parts to help provide Land Rover owners the parts to keep them on the road. Our parts strategy ensures that all re-cycled, asset managed and reconditioned parts and units meet original equipment standards and specifications to ensure your safety while driving on or off road.
Amour – Design and Fabrication and Blast Protection
We offer armouring in steel, composite and ceramic of new and refurbished vehicles and fleets.