Sponsored by Hobson Industries
28 Apr 20. USN Looking to Buy Aircraft Engines as Civilian Demand Dwindles. The US Navy is moving forward with its plans to take advantage of a commercial aviation slowdown by accelerating new orders, buying spare parts and conducting depot maintenance – all in conjunction with the other services, to get the maximum benefit of what the industry has to offer even while combating the COVID-19 pandemic.
Navy acquisition chief James Geurts told reporters today that, both because customers are avoiding commercial air travel and because aviation manufacturing sites are being hit by the coronavirus, “commercial aviation is still remarkably challenged, and remarkably important because we do get a lot of benefit in the DoD from commercial aviation sector, from those companies that work in both areas. So we’re working closely with them.”
Geurts had said two weeks ago that the Navy was early in the process of identifying what opportunities might exist to keep aviation-related production lines moving despite limited commercial demand, while also building up Navy readiness by boosting the inventory of spare parts or getting ahead of schedule on acquisition or maintenance efforts.
After Geurts made those remarks, his counterpart, Defense Department acquisition chief Ellen Lord, said that aviation was the hardest-hit sector in the defense industrial base due to the COVID-19 pandemic and response.
Today, asked what opportunity there was to get ahead on aviation acquisition and maintenance even amid the sector’s great disruptions, Geurts told USNI News during a media teleconference that the effort is moving forward and that aviation propulsion would be a key focus.
“We’re working closely with our partners in the other services so we have a whole-of-DoD approach to those companies in those efforts,” he said.
He added that his focus would be less about awarding new contracts and instead looking at rephasing or accelerating work, connecting companies with grants and loans they might not otherwise have access to, and more.
“We’re looking at the full tools we have available and then trying to rapidly tailor those tools and the right mix to each individual sector and each individual situation,” he said.
“I don’t see a giant DoD-level contract. I think it’s more about synchronizing efforts and working closely with my counterparts in the other services so that we’re working together to get the maximum benefit, and I think that’s more an alignment of strategies and tools than in a large new kind of joint contract.”
For example, the Navy is looking at construction programs where “we may not have planned to buy the engine for three months, but maybe we can buy it now and gain some efficiency.”
On programs like the P-8A Poseidon, a military version of the popular Boeing 737, the Navy could find money within the program to stock up on parts, or to leverage Boeing depot repair capabilities not being used by commercial planes.
“There will be a natural limitation of funding and whatnot, so we can’t do that infinitely, but we’re looking to leverage all the different toolsets we have,” Geurts said.
Outside the Navy budget, Geurts said the Navy has been trying to help its smaller suppliers get connected with the Small Business Administration to apply for loans so they can keep their production moving or even accelerate. And in the Navy’s own Small Business Innovative Research, the service has $250m in awards that Geurts is trying to get out to industry as quickly as possible over the next couple months.
More broadly, Geurts said the Navy had already been taking a close look at its domestic and international supply chain and is in a good position now to be making informed decisions as the entire world faces disruptions from this pandemic.
In hard-hit Italy, for example, companies that make parts for the Marine Corps’ amphibious combat vehicle (ACV) – which BAE Systems builds in partnership with Italian defense contractor Iveco, which designed the vehicle for the Italian Navy – have had to shut down.
“Everybody is working very aggressively to manage around it,” Geurts said, adding “there’s nothing I would put in a crisis mode yet, we’re just keeping an eye on it.”
He said for ACV and other programs that rely on international suppliers, the program offices are looking to rephrase elements of construction to account for certain components being delayed, or may look at using spare parts for already-fielded vehicles to support construction. The latter move, though, would have to be done carefully to balance both production and sustainment needs, he said. (Source: Defense News Early Bird/USNI)
28 Apr 20. US planning new taxiway at Erbil Air Base. The US military is looking for contractors that can design and build an alternative taxiway at Erbil Air Base in northern Iraq, according to a market research notice published on the US government’s System of Awards Management (SAM) website on 26 April.
The plan suggests the US military intends to remain at Erbil Air Base for the foreseeable future as the facility is in the Kurdistan Region where the Iraqi military has no bases. The Kurdistan Regional Government has aircraft at the base, but these are not known to include fixed-wing aircraft that would use a taxiway, only helicopters operated on its behalf by the company 7 Group. (Source: Jane’s)
27 Apr 20. US FRCE ensures continued readiness for F-18 fleet. US Fleet Readiness Center East (FRCE) has stepped up to take on a component workload to ensure continued readiness for the F-18 fleet during the shortage in workforce caused due to the Covid-19 (coronavirus) pandemic.
The storage in staff impacted Oklahoma City Air Logistics Complex (ALC) at Tinker Air Force Base (AFB).
As per the initial schedule, FRCE was to begin working with the F-18 cabin safety valve later this year when the test chamber of Oklahoma City ALC underwent maintenance.
The schedule was disturbed when the facility at Tinker AFB saw a reduction in the number of available artisans due to the risks associated with the pandemic.
Work was later handed over to the FRCE without any interruptions to the fleet.
FRCE Gas Turbine Compressor-Pneumatics Fleet Support Team F-18 environmental control systems aerospace engineer Mary Linton said: “The original intent of bringing this workload to FRCE was to support Tinker AFB through a major support equipment rework effort.
“All of the great effort that went into establishing this capability proved even more critical to maintaining the readiness of the F-18 fleet as we navigate through the Covid-19 crisis.”
To shift the workload from Oklahoma City ALC, FRCE will commence repairing, checking and testing the valves next month.
Inductions will begin at 20 per month, with full induction rate expected to be 40 per month by July.
Linton added: “Originally the plan was for FRCE to slowly ramp up production to give the shop time to gain experience on the component and to ease into the additional workload.”
Artisans in the engine driven compressor/gas turbine compressor shop at FRCE required additional training to prepare for the new component.
However, that did not cause any delay in the depot’s response to the requirement of the fleet.
To date, FRCE has turned around 18 of the 40 units inducted. It plans to induct a further 10.
Following this, more unserviceable but reparable valves will arrive at the depot. This will maintain constant workload. (Source: naval-technology.com)
28 Apr 20. USAF contracts AAR to produce and repair 463L Cargo Pallets. The US Air Force (USAF) has awarded a $125m contract to AAR’s Mobility Systems division for the production and repair of 463L cargo pallets. The firm-fixed-price (FFP) contract carries one base year period and four one-year options. As agreed, AAR Mobility Systems will carry out the contract works at Cadillac in Michigan.
AAR Mobility Systems senior vice-president Lee Krantz said: “AAR continues to produce and maintain this strategic asset for the US Air Force to ensure it meets its worldwide operational requirements.
“For many years, AAR has been proud to provide the 463L cargo pallet to the US Armed Forces, its allies, and other US Government agencies.”
The 463L cargo pallets are a standardised version used by the USAF to transport military air cargo. The 463L USAF design uses a lightweight balsa wood core to optimise strength-to-weight performance and reliability.
Usually, these pallets are used to load and offload cargo on a different military and commercial aircraft.
As a division of AAR, AAR Mobility Systems supplies rapid deployment equipment such as mobile tactical shelters, pallets and expeditionary containers to the armed forces.
The AAR Mobility Systems product portfolio also comprises large lightweight structural assemblies and platforms for mission-critical functions.
Meanwhile, the USAF has stepped up efforts to support the fight against Covid-19 pandemic.
Earlier this week, more than 150 additional airforce reserve medical specialists were mobilised to support medical staff in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut.
Overall, more than 770 Air Force Reservists were mobilised to fight the pandemic that has infected more than 988,000 in the US. (Source: airforce-technology.com)
28 Apr 20. Volunteers Get ‘Blue light’ to Crew Civilian Ambulances. Royal Air Force stations are helping the NHS fight Coronavirus in their region by manning civilian ambulances. Teams at RAF Henlow, RAF Honington and RAF Marham have each taken delivery of emergency vehicles to aid the East of England Ambulance Service Trust (EEAST) with the surge in virus-related calls.
The five two-man vehicles, and two rapid response cars, are crewed by co-responders, volunteers from various trades across the force who have trained in life-saving techniques and attend emergencies outside of their RAF duties.
With some intensive clinical up-skilling from the EEAST the teams are on duty, responding to emergency calls in Bedfordshire, Suffolk and Norfolk. Some of the co-responders have amassed thousands of hours of volunteering and responding to 999 calls for the NHS.
RAF Marham Station Commander, Group Captain James Beck, said: “I am very proud of what the team have done to support the NHS and how valuable our volunteers are to our local community.”
The training package provided to the RAF personnel included virus-specific training, including use of PPE, hospital handover procedures and emergency transfer practice.
RAF Honington Station Commander, Group Captain Matt Radnall, said: “I’m delighted our personnel are able to provide direct support to the NHS ambulance service in our region. They are well trained and very much looking forward to playing their part in this incredibly important role.”
RAF Henlow Station Commander, Wing Commander Rachel Mawdsley, said:
“It is vitally important that we are able to support the NHS and the East of England Ambulance Service Trust. Our team is made up of trained military personnel from RAF Henlow, as well as from JITG Chicksands, RAF Wyton, MBDA Stevenage and RAF Halton and is operating right across Bedfordshire.”
EEAST Community Response Manager Alex Laurent said: “The RAF co-responders are a vital asset to us. The support they bring to the communities is outstanding during this challenging time.” (Source: Warfare.Today/RAF)
27 Apr 20. Germany to expand strategic sealift co-operation with Denmark. The budget committee of the Bundestag, the German parliament, on 22 April approved funding totalling EUR124m (USD134m) to continue strategic sealift co-operation with Denmark, Germany’s Federal Ministry of Defence (MoD) announced on its website on 23 April.
The ministry said that the co-operation, dating from 2006, would be extended by 10 more years beyond 2022, with the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) still planned this spring. Germany would contribute to an increase in sealift capacity available to NATO at shorter notice, the MoD added.
Under their existing strategic sealift co-operation, Germany and Denmark charter commercial roll-on, roll-off (RO-RO) ships for themselves, which is being expanded to contribute to NATO deployment planning. (Source: Jane’s)
27 Apr 20. Companies unveil offerings for US Air Force’s Agility Prime eVTOL effort. Companies are offering aircraft ranging from heavy lift, one-tonne payload capacity platforms to smaller, 200 kg payload capacity quadcopters, for the US Air Force’s (USAF’s) Agility Prime unmanned electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) procurement effort, which starts on 27 April.
Sabrewing Aircraft will offer its Rhaegal-B, an unmanned heavy lift, long-range unmanned aircraft capable of carrying 2,450 kg in VTOL mode or over 4,500 kg as a conventional aircraft using a paved runway. Elroy Air will offer its Chaparral, an unmanned four-rotor aircraft that is expected to carry 100-225 kg with a range of 500 km. Piasecki Aircraft will offer both its Aerial Reconfigurable Embedded System (ARES) multimission modular unmanned tilt-wing turbine powered VTOL platform and its all-electric PA890 eVTOL low disc-loading Slowed-Rotor Winged Compound helicopter.
Other companies expected to offer aircraft or technologies for Agility Prime include AirMap, Beta Technologies, Joby Aviation, Honeywell, LIFT Aircraft, Transcend Aerospace, Pratt & Whitney, and Collins Aerospace.
Sabrewing’s Rhaegal-B can perform VTOL as well as takeoff and land horizontally. The platform is expected to have a range of 1,000 n miles at an altitude of 22,000 feet and at speeds of up to 200 kt. The Rhaegal-B uses electric motors to turn fans within ducts that provide lift during take-off and landing, but then uses a main wing to provide lift during cruise flight.
Ed De Reyes, Sabrewing Aircraft chairman and CEO, told Jane’s on 23 April that the ducted-fan Rhaegal-B will use a mix of alternating electric current (AC) and direct current (DC) with its motors. The company has a fully-built half-size prototype of the Rhaegal-B that will roll out for the Aglity Prime virtual pitch even on 1 May. (Source: Jane’s)
24 Apr 20. AFLCMC delivers NPC container prototype to Joint Base Charleston. The Air Force Life Cycle Management Center’s (AFLCMC) Air Force Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Defense Systems Branch has delivered the Negatively Pressurized Conex (NPC) isolation container prototype to Joint Base Charleston, South Carolina.
This prototype will be tested for potential use as a transport module. It will be utilised to move individuals infected with coronavirus (Covid-19) and other infectious diseases.
The branch of AFLCMC has partnered with the Joint Program Executive Office for CBRN Defense, along with other organisations across the US Department of Defense (DOD) and academia.
The container was designed in response to the US Transportation Command’s Joint Urgent Operational Need.
Design and fabrication of the NPC prototype was awarded to UTS Systems, Highland Engineering and Delta Flight Products, through an other
The prototype testing cost valued $2m, with the team managing to deliver it within 13 days after the contract was awarded.
The tests are scheduled for 30 April. Following positive test results, Ustranscom and Air Mobility Command leadership will procure the NPC and begin the delivery of the first systems by the end of May.
Designed to fit inside a C-17 Globemaster III, the container ensures the safe transportation of 28 patients both ambulatory and litter. It will also accommodate teams of medical professionals and equipment.
NPC programme manager Captain Alexis Todaro said: “The goal of the NPC is to help us keep infectious organisms contained, in order to prevent the aircrew, and medical professionals on board the aircraft from being exposed.
“The container is negatively pressurised; fans are continuously pulling the air from within the unit through high-efficiency particulate filters to prevent any exposure to the aircraft.”
Attached to the container is an anteroom that will provide medical professionals with a safe area to move in or out of their medical equipment.
NPC programme test lead Captain Kerollous Marzouk said: “We acquired one system (NPC prototype), and will put it through a series of tests to make sure it contains bio-organisms, meets the needs of the aeromedical evacuation teams and that it’s safe to fly on the C-17.
“After we can provide those three things, we will provide this information to leadership for a procurement decision.” (Source: airforce-technology.com)
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.