Sponsored by Hobson Industries
14 May 20. Joint hackathon planned to strengthen sovereign supply chains. Australian Defence Minister Linda Reynolds has announced that the Australian and New Zealand Defence Forces will host a joint hackathon to identify opportunities to strengthen Australia’s sovereign supply chains and support its Sovereign Industrial Capability Priorities.
Known as #ANZDFhack, the 48-hour online event will be held from 15 to 17 May and will identify innovative solutions to supply chain issues, which underpin Defence’s ability to mobilise quickly when responding to a crisis or threat.
Minister Reynolds said the hackathon will leverage the ingenuity of technological specialists across the two nations to enhance sovereign capability.
“The strength of the Australia-New Zealand relationship is more important than ever, and now is the optimum time to build networks and find self-reliant capability solutions with our close partner and friend across the Tasman,” Minister Reynolds said.
A hackathon (a combination of the words hack [solving a complex problem] and marathon) is an intense sprint-style experience in which software developers, interface designers, technologists and product experts come together to rapidly develop software or hardware projects.
Typically, the goal of a hackathon is to have a proof of concept or working hardware/software ready to demonstrate at the event. It usually has a specific focus such as developing software on a specific platform or API, or helping solve problems for a specific demographic or cause, such as #flattenthecurve hack, were 2,700 participants worked together to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.
Hackathons are defined by the intensity of experience, most often the events are technology-focused. However, for this event they encourage anyone with a creative mindset and intent to generate solutions for Australia and New Zealand manufacturing revival and supply chain resilience.
The hackathon is expected to generate executable submissions, including prototypes, applications and algorithms. Software developers, innovation specialists, 3D experts and prototype development specialists will be invited to engage with each other and Defence. Winning and shortlisted concepts will progress through innovation programs, mentoring, real data, funding streams or ongoing support.
The event is being coordinated by the Australian Defence Force and will be executed by the Australian Computer Society. More information about #ANZDFhack is available at www.anzdfhack.org (Source: Defence Connect)
14 May 20. Trump has questions about the F-35′s supply chain. Here are some answers. During a Thursday morning cable news appearance, U.S. President Donald Trump blasted the F-35’s global supply chain and hinted he might intercede to bring more work on the Lockheed Martin-made jet back to the United States.
Trump brought up the F-35 during an exchange where Fox Business Network’s Maria Bartiromo asked how the president plans to incentivize key U.S. industries — such as pharmaceutical companies — to cut China out of their supply chain.
“I could tell you hundreds of stories of the stupidity that I’ve seen. As an example, we’re making a fighter jet. It’s a certain fighter jet, I won’t tell you which, but it happens to be the F-35,” Trump said.
“It’s a great jet, and we make parts for this jet all over the world. We make them in Turkey, we make them here, we’re going to make them there. All because President [Barack] Obama and others — I’m not just blaming him — thought it was a wonderful thing,” he said. “The problem is if we have a problem with a country, you can’t make the jet. We get parts from all over the place. It’s so crazy. We should make everything in the United States.”
“Could we do it?” Bartiromo asked.
“Yeah, we’re doing it because I’m changing all those policies,” Trump said. “Look, we make F-35s — very important, the greatest jet in the world — where the main body of the jet is made in Turkey and then sent here.”
But if that relationship breaks down, Turkey could refuse to give the United States key F-35 components, Trump said.
It was unclear whether Trump actually plans to take action to move additional elements of F-35 back to the United States.
In a statement to Defense News, Defense Department spokesman Lt. Col. Mike Andrews said the Pentagon has no comment and referred questions on Trump’s statements to the White House.
“The Department remains fully committed to the F-35 program, and maintaining a competitive edge with its unique, unmatched 5th generation capabilities. We will continue to aggressively reduce F-35 cost, incentivize Industry to meet required performance, and deliver advanced capabilities to our warfighters at the best value to our taxpayers.” he said.
A spokesman for Lockheed referred questions to the Defense Department.
It’s worth noting that while Trump got many broad assertions about the program right, not all of his statements about the F-35 stand up to scrutiny. Here’s a point-by-point explainer:
Global participation is baked into the very foundation of the Joint Strike Fighter program.
The Joint Strike Fighter program — which stems from efforts started in the 1990s — was structured not only to produce planes for the U.S. military but also for key allies. Nations that wanted to be “partners” on the program would help foot the bill for developing the jet in exchange for work producing components on the program.
There were several benefits to this structure. From an operational perspective, it would ensure that many of the Pentagon’s closest allies were using the same jet, making it easier to send information and coordinate military engagements.
From an industrial perspective, having a deep, multilayered global supply chain would theoretically make F-35 production less prone to disruption, and it could make it easier for Lockheed to distribute parts to sustain the jet worldwide.
There were also economic advantages for the United States. Having so much international buy-in ensured future sales, which benefited U.S. defense manufacturers and the Defense Department, which can buy its planes more cheaply due to economies of scale.
Originally there were nine partner nations on the program: Australia, Canada, Denmark, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Turkey, the United Kingdom and the United States. However, the United States expelled Turkey from the program last year after the country purchased the Russian S-400 air defense system.
President Barack Obama and his predecessors weren’t really to blame for the globalized structure of the program.
Historically — at least until Trump — a president hasn’t publicly interfered in the F-35 program. The Obama administration was broadly supportive of the F-35, continuing to finance the program even as it hit a number of technical snags that caused cost and schedule to balloon. However, the structure of the program and much of the F-35 supply chain was already set in stone before Obama was sworn into office in 2009.
Lockheed Martin won the Joint Strike Fighter contract in 2001 after producing a prototype version of the F-35 known as the X-35 and facing off against Boeing’s X-35 demonstrator. At that point, the company would have already cemented much of its supply chain as part of the process of preparing a proposal for the competition. The first F-35 flew in 2006.
While there have been changes to the F-35 supply chain since the jet went into production, the more major changes have occurred during block upgrades, when legacy technologies are swapped out for cheaper, improved versions. One example is the transition of the distributed aperture system from a Northrop Grumman to Raytheon product during the upcoming 15th lot of F-35 production.
Turkey has an industrial role in building the F-35, and that’s changing on the U.S. government’s terms.
Trump’s assertion that Turkey could deny the United States key F-35 components doesn’t reflect the current status quo, as it’s the U.S. Defense Department that is working to expel Turkey from the program.
While it is true that Turkey, as an international partner on the F-35 program, helps to manufacture the jet and build key components, Trump has overstated the role played by Turkey. According to the U.S. Government Accountability Office, Turkey makes about 1,000 different components for the F-35.
The Pentagon is set to stop awarding F-35-related contracts to Turkish firms this year. According the GAO, the Defense Department already identified alternate suppliers for all components currently made in Turkey, and the department is working with those suppliers to speed up production.
When Trump talks about Turkey building the “main body” of the jet, he is talking about the center fuselage, some of which are built by Turkish Aerospace Industries. However, TAI is only the secondary supplier of the center fuselage, with Northrop Grumman making that component for the majority of F-35s. It is very likely that Northrop will take over production of that structure until another supplier is found to replace TAI. (Source: Defense News)
13 May 20. German Army receives more Leguan AVLBs. The German Army announced on its website on 8 May that the second major Bundeswehr unit received the Leguan (Iguana) armoured vehicle launched bridge (AVLB) at the beginning of March.
The second company of Panzergrenadierbrigade (Armoured Infantry Brigade) 37’s Panzerpionierbataillon (Armoured Engineer Battalion) 701, based in Gera, eastern Germany, has also received the Leguan and training on the AVLB is underway, the army said.
The training is to be completed at the end of the year, after which the Leguan will participate in an exercise with combat troops. (Source: Jane’s)
12 May 20. US Navy’s USS Boise submarine to undergo engineered overhaul. The US Navy Los Angeles-class nuclear-powered submarine USS Boise (SSN 764) is set to undergo an engineered overhaul (EOH). As part of this, it has moved from Naval Station Norfolk, Virginia, to Huntington Ingalls Industries’ (HII) Newport News Shipbuilding division in Newport News, Virginia.
The vessel will commence pre-maintenance smart start activities in preparation for its EOH.
Following the nearing of mid-point of a submarine’s service life, a major multi-year EOH is performed.
The EOH includes all necessary repairs, maintenance and modernisation.
Once repaired, the submarine will be certified for unrestricted operations. This will further ensure the submarine continues to operate at full technical capacity and mission capability, improving the efficiency of the mission.
In June 2018, the Newport News Shipbuilding division of HII commenced the scheduled upgrade work on the SSN 764 submarine. According to the contract, following the vessel’s arrival at the Newport News shipyard, the company was to carry out an extended EOH.
The modernisation project will involve upgrade works to be carried out on the existing systems on-board the vessel and is scheduled for delivery by 2021.
In October 2017, the shipbuilding company HII’s Newport News Shipbuilding division won a $59.7m contract to plan and carry out the upgrade of the US Navy’s USS Boise. The contract was awarded by the US Navy. The deal included several additional options with a ceiling value of $385m. So far, 62 Los Angeles-class submarines have been completed, including 41 that are in active service. (Source: naval-technology.com)
12 May 20. StandardAero secures USAF MRO contract to support T-38 aircraft. StandardAero has secured a contract from the US Air Force (USAF) to provide engine maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) services to support T-38 trainer jet aircraft. Under the multi-year $237m contract, the company will provide services for General Electric J85 turbojet engines powering the USAF fleet of T-38 aircraft. The fleet of T-38 trainer aircraft will be powered at StandardAero’s San Antonio facility located at Port San Antonio. The contract will continue work until 2028 and create 100 job opportunities.
StandardAero Military division president Scott Starrett said: “We are thrilled to continue expanding our successful partnership supporting USAF aircraft engine MRO and the J85 programme is a very strategic and logical addition to our portfolio services.
“Our employees take great pride in helping our nation’s airmen achieve the highest level of operational readiness and mission success.”
Previously, the company provided service to USAF through other multi-year contracts including support for the USAF MRO requirements for Rolls-Royce T56 engines, powering C-130 aircraft and General Electric F110 MRO engine support for F-15 and F-16 aircraft. Works for all these programmes are performed at the company’s facility in San Antonio.
The facility serves as the exclusive engine MRO partner for Rolls-Royce RB211-535 engines powering commercially operated, Boeing 757 aircraft.
In February 2017, StandardAero secured a contract from the Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC) to provide propulsion system maintenance and support for the Royal Canadian Air Force’s fleet of CC-130 Hercules and CP-140 Aurora aircraft.
Under the C$45m ($34.2m) contract, the company agreed to provide T56 propulsion sustainment. (Source: airforce-technology.com)
12 May 20. 200th Marshall container dispatched on time. The 200th container has been dispatched by Marshall Aerospace and Defence Group to the Netherlands, despite the challenges of Covid-19 and universal lockdown.
Marshall ADG continues to produce vital equipment to fulfil its DVOW contract with the Dutch Defence Materiel Organisation (DMO), while ensuring its employees adhere to strict social distancing rules, to deliver customers the products they need in this time of crisis.
“It is vital for us to ensure our customers receive the equipment they need to fulfil their commitments,” said Programme Director, Steve Nokes.
“It’s certainly not easy at the moment. We are socially distancing, observing the strict hand -washing rules, wearing face masks where appropriate and getting on with the day job, as best we can. We’re tremendously proud of how our teams have risen to the challenge, without losing momentum on this contract.”
This consignment of containers forms part of the 1,500 plus deployable container systems in the Dutch Defensiebrede Vervanging Operationele Wielvoertuigen (DVOW) programme, to update the Dutch Armed Forces with new vehicles, containers and support equipment.
Owing to lockdown and international travel constrictions there was no Dutch presence to mark the occasion, unlike when the 100th container was shipped out in November.
The very first containers were delivered in July 2019, just seven months after the contract was awarded.
The contract has two elements, the production and delivery of containers, including command and control, medical systems, workshops and basic stores units, plus a full support programme that includes Health and Usage Monitoring (HUMS) and a Fleet Management System.
12 May 20. F-35 Faces Parts Problems After Turks Expulsion. It’s a familiar tale, if one told with fewer operational problems. The Government Accountability Office today details a $1.5bn increase for 2019 in the F-35’s Block 4 costs — now up to $12.1bn — and serious parts problems caused by the expulsion of Turkey from the Joint Strike Fighter program.
And that cost estimate may not be completely accurate, the GAO audit found, because “the cost estimate did not fully adhere to leading practices, such as including all life cycle costs.”
The program “is already addressing, to include: cost estimate baselines, risk and uncertainty analyses, and evaluation of Technology Readiness Levels for Block 4 hardware and capabilities,” Program Executive Officer Lt. Gen. Eric Fick said in a prepared statement.
But the bigger problem in the short term is that 15 key parts for the $428bn F-35 program are “not currently being produced at the needed production rate.” How serious is this problem? How and how much will it slow production?
“The program has identified new sources for 1,005 parts produced by Turkish suppliers, but the program is assessing the effect of 15 key parts not currently being produced at the needed production rate,” the GAO audit found. I asked the JSF PEO for details and did not receive an answer by press time.
This comes on top of parts that continue to arrive late for production. The Defense Contract Management Agency found that “between August 2017 and July 2019, the number of parts delivered late increased from under 2,000 to more than 10,000. Contractors told the government that “roughly 60 percent of parts shortages are attributable to 20 suppliers.”
The other broadly significant finding by the GAO is that the program is “not meeting manufacturing leading practices identified by GAO. Specifically, only about 3,000 of the over 10,000 airframe contractor’s manufacturing key processes meet predefined design standards for ensuring product quality. Also, the fielded aircraft, over 500 so far, do not meet the program’s reliability and maintainability goals. Although the contractor is changing manufacturing processes to address problems and improve efficiency, more remains to be done. Unless the program office evaluates the risks of not meeting these leading practices, the military services and international partners are at risk of not receiving the quality aircraft they purchased.”
Boil that down — price is coming down, many, many fixes have been made to the Lockheed Martin aircraft, but the Air Force, Navy, Marines and many American allies and partners are getting aircraft that aren’t as good as they should be. (Source: Breaking Defense.com)
13 May 20. USAF introduces metal manufacturing tech to augment aircraft part production. The US Air Force Life Cycle Management Center’s Metal Technology Office has pioneered a safe, agile and cost-efficient way to replace aircraft parts, drawing on the expertise of additive manufacturing technical experts working with deployed Air Force units.
The MTO, comprising a group of technical experts, works directly with field units who perform repairs to develop solutions using metals technology, or MT, and additive manufacturing technology, ensuring the units have what they need to be successful.
There are approximately 190 MT shops located across all major commands, and each shop is equipped with modern manufacturing equipment set up to augment supply system gaps.
Che Dacalio, an MTO engineering technician, explained, “We are the subject matter experts for the metals technology career field, which involves additive manufacturing, machining, welding, heat-treating, parts repair and fabrication. We do site visits throughout the United States visiting MT shops, assessing their work, capabilities, equipment and providing training as needed.”
When a flight-critical spinner backing plate from a US Air Force Academy T-51 Mustang trainer aircraft cracked, there wasn’t a replacement available since the part was obsolete. As with many supply challenges, production-level drawings did not exist.
Thus, any future part produced for the Mustang required Federal Aviation Administration co-ordination and approval prior to flight authorisation.
Dacalio added, “We are trying to help our [system program offices] recognise the organic manufacturing potential that has long been established within the Air Force. MT shops offer rapid response manufacturing and repair solutions for unique AF part production and stock exhaustion problems. We seek to maximise MT shop utilisation to sustain continuous Air Force flight and improve mission generation by supplying parts on-demand, anytime, from almost any Air Force installation and at a fraction of the costs when compared to similar contracted efforts.”
The office worked with the USAFA T-51 chief engineer and the Advanced Technology and Training Center of Middle Georgia to reverse-engineer, produce a 3D model of the original part and create FAA-approved manufacturing drawings.
Dacalio then co-ordinated with the MT shop in Luke Air Force Base, Arizona, to locally manufacture 15 new spinner backing plates within six-and-a-half weeks. The spinner backing plate was eventually installed on the T-51.
The MTO team also supports mission-critical parts within the Air Force armaments sustainment, support equipment and vehicle divisions, as well as tooling, fixtures and non-critical weapon system components and parts.
Master Sergeant Joshua Bemis, MTO superintendent, added, “We support the unique capability, unmatched by any other field or intermediate-maintenance-level base entity that metals tech can provide. We are steering the future of manufacturing methods in maintenance through the implementation of technologies, such as additive manufacturing (3D printing), while not losing focus on the benefits and requirements for legacy machinery, such as mills and lathes.” (Source: Defence Connect)
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.