Sponsored by Hobson Industries
18 Jun 20. Protolab’s PMPV gets engine upgrade. Finland’s Protolab has updated its Protected Multipurpose Vehicle (PMPV) with a new engine and completed a series of company trials, Juha Moisio, Protolab’s director of business development, told Janes on 16 June.
Moisio explained that the trials were primarily company led and related to the further development of the PMPV. The goal “is to provide a faster APC, which, in addition to meeting the demand for the rapid movement of troops from one operational area to another, provides for an extremely high level of protection from the offset,” Moisio explained. He added that the trials had been conducted in various scenarios, from the Arctic to the heat of the summer, and that the trials were effectively complete. The engine upgrade replaces the original Cummins I-6 multi-fuel engine that provides 285hp (210 kW) with a variant of the same engine that provides 330hp (250kW) and 1,125 Nm of torque at 2,500 rpm. Both options are coupled to an Allison 3500sp automatic transmission and a Katsa 2-speed transfer box. (Source: Jane’s)
17 Jun 20. US Navy’s second SSC completes acceptance trials. The US Navy’s Ship to Shore Connector (SSC), Land Craft, Air Cushion (LCAC) 101 has concluded acceptance trials. The trials were concluded in the week commencing 8 June following the completion of a series of graded in-port and underway demonstrations for the Navy’s Board of Inspection and Survey (INSURV). During the acceptance trials, the US Navy’s second SSC underwent integrated testing and demonstrated the capability of its installed systems, meeting all the mission requirements.
These demonstrations are necessary to validate the quality of construction as per navy’s specifications prior to the delivery.
Given that INSURV is the authority to provide approval for ships and craft undergoing acceptance trials, LCAC 101 can now commence delivery preparations.
Program Executive Office (PEO) Ships amphibious warfare programme manager Tom Rivers said: “The first operational production unit for the next-generation landing craft, LCAC 101, performed well having incorporated lessons learned from the recent Craft 100 at-sea trials.
“LCAC 101 successfully demonstrated the ability to operate both on and off cushion at full load through the full range of speed, payload and manoeuvring requirements.” Sorry, there are no polls available at the moment.
The SSC is a replacement for the current fleet of legacy LCAC vehicles.
It will be mainly used to transport weapon systems, equipment, cargo, and personnel of the assault elements through diverse environmental conditions.
SSCs are constructed at Textron Systems, Marine & Land Systems in Slidell, Los Angeles.
Developed with similar configurations, dimensions, and clearances to the older LCAC, SSCs ensure compatibility with existing amphibious ships and Expeditionary Transfer Dock and Expeditionary Sea Bases.
Besides delivering Craft 100, Textron has concluded testing on the LCAC 101. Currently, 12 craft are under production with an additional ten on contract.
PEO Ships is responsible for executing the development and procurement of all destroyers, amphibious ships, special mission and support ships, boats and craft. (Source: naval-technology.com)
17 Jun 20. New research: Nearly half of A&D manufacturers polled believe legacy ERP platforms impede ability to meet changing market demands. New IFS webinar research finds ERP platforms used by Aerospace & Defence manufacturers have failed to help them respond to new market demands during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.
IFS, the global supplier of enterprise software solutions, has today shared research which reveals that A&D manufacturers would consider changing their Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software system due to the lack of flexibility it currently provides. In a poll taken at a recent webinar attended by a roll call of blue-chip aerospace manufacturers and aviation organisations, almost half of the respondents (46%) said that their current ERP platform was hindering their ability to adapt to changing market demands.
During the webinar – which focused on the flexibility and agility that ERP platforms can give A&D manufacturers – manufacturers, consultants and industry bodies were asked to respond to a number of questions relating to their ability to cope during the COVID-19 crisis and the role their ERP platforms played. When asked about the effect of the pandemic, just 8% of respondents had been agile enough to effortlessly adapt operations to manufacture high demand items such as Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). In addition, 27% of the registered A&D decision makers said they had struggled to change operations to meet new market demand and 12% said they had found it extremely challenging to meet the timeline demands under the Defense Production Act in the US.
Another key finding showed a limited appetite for fully cloud-based ERP deployments. Just 3% of respondents said they deploy their ERP software only using cloud technology—whereas 64% said they use their software either on-prem only or a mixture of on-prem and cloud-based deployments.
“Success in the current climate and into the future will depend on an A&D manufacturing organisation’s ability to be agile in their operations and flex their business models—those who can’t adapt will quickly shift from leader to laggard,” said Matt Medley, IFS Senior Product Manager. “Ultimately, the choice of underlying enterprise software platform matters, this data shows it can either be your strategic enabler of change—or the Achilles heel.”
09 Jun 20. Sarcos Defense Announces Availability of World’s 1st Compact and Portable Rapid-Deployment Battery-Powered Pneumatic HLS for Recovery, Rescue, and Field Service Missions.
Designed in collaboration with the Air Force Research Laboratory, the self-contained, easy-to-deploy system eliminates reliance on air canisters and unstable inflatable bags, enabling one person to quickly and safely lift vehicles, machinery, fuel tanks and other heavy equipment.
Today, Sarcos Defense, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Sarcos Robotics, announced commercial availability of the Guardian® Heavy-Lift System (HLS). The Guardian HLS is a first-of-its-kind man-packable pneumatic heavy-lift system designed to quickly and efficiently lift objects weighing up to 45,000 pounds with a single system. It can also be combined with multiple systems to lift larger amounts.
The Guardian HLS is comprised of a unique, single battery-powered pneumatic compressor, together with two proprietary, re-usable airbags made from durable Dyneema® fiber, enabling the safe and stable lift of substantial military assets including land vehicles, machinery, and fuel tanks. The rapid-deploy system is capable of lifting a Class 2 commercial vehicle in less than one minute and enables quicker recovery, repair, and servicing missions in the field.
Sarcos Defense worked with Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) to produce the Guardian HLS—a system that would be faster, lighter, and more stable than other alternatives while eliminating the need to carry high-pressure air canisters and enabling a lift capacity of more than twice the current maximum.
“The Guardian HLS is a great example of the successful commercialization of a product that meets a critical military need thanks to the funding and collaboration made possible by the Air Force Small Business Innovation Research Program,” said Dr. Alok Das, Senior Scientist at AFRL’s Center for Rapid Innovation. “It is gratifying to see our innovation efforts result in products that will better equip our community to complete recovery, rescue, and maintenance missions faster and more safely than they could before.”
The Guardian HLS has been extensively field-tested and deployed in harsh environments around the world and is now available for purchase by military and public safety organizations to support asset recovery, emergency response, and field maintenance operations. (Source: ASD Network)
15 Jun 20. FY20 Contractor-Operated Aerial Refueling Aircraft: Executive Summary. The House Committee on Armed Services (HASC) tasked the Secretary of the Air Force (SECAF), in coordination with the Commander of U.S. Transportation Command (CDRUSTRANSCOM), to report on the feasibility, affordability, and advisability of initiating use of contractor-operated aerial refueling aircraft to support U.S. Air Force (USAF) receiver requirements. Currently, no commercial outlet to provide USAF compatible service exists.
Air refueling is a critical capability which sustains Joint force readiness and enables global power projection in support of all National Defense Strategy mission areas. Recent testimony by the Commander, USTRANSCOM indicates the aerial refueling fleet is their most-stressed capability and number one readiness concern. Degraded readiness of the existing aerial refueling force, delays in delivery of capable KC-46s, planned force structure reductions of KC-l0s and KC-135s, and forecasted increases in aerial refueling demand indicate a critical and deepening shortfall in taskable aerial refueling aircraft and aircrews, especially over the next 5-7 years.
In 2018, USTRANSCOM Acquisition (AQ) conducted initial market research on commercial air refueling capabilities with industry and released the first request for information (RFI). The research led to discussions with Air Mobility Command (AMC) on the viability of a potential commercial air refueling program. In early 2019, USTRANSCOM formed a Commercial Air Refueling Working Group, with members from AMC, to look at current (and historical) air refueling demands exceeding tanker air refueling capacity.
In June-July 2019, USTRANSCOM and AMC released a second RFI and sponsored an Industry Day to discuss commercial solutions to the estimated air refueling shortfalls. This resulted in the conceptualization of five potential commercial contract air refueling solutions.
The five potential solutions are:
(1) Government Furnished Equipment to a contractor;
(2) Government sale or lease of surplus aircraft to a contractor;
(3) Foreign government surplus tankers purchased and used for contract air refueling;
(4) Modifying existing commercial aircraft to perform contracted boom air refueling support; and
(5) the use of a commercial off-the-shelf tanker for contract air refueling support.
On 17 Dec 2019, AMC sponsored another Industry Day to determine the viability of each of these options from industry’s perspective. The commercial contract companies showed an interest in solutions 1, 3, 4, and 5.
The cost per flying hour for these solutions ranged from $15,000 to $27,000, but could drop to between $12,000 and $15,000 once the contract capability was established.
Commercial contractors desire a long-term contract structure, of possibly up to 10 years, in order to obtain the necessary return on investment. The group did not consider any organic solutions due to the report’s task to assess commercial contract air refueling.
The combined working group expanded to include Headquarters Air Force (HAF) members. The group found the data required to assess the five contract solutions lacked substantive information to warrant the additional air refueling capability; specifically, a validated requirement as well as the operational/readiness impact of the unfulfilled/unsupported air refuelings. It was determined contractor-operated aerial refueling services for boom-type tankers have legal, regulatory, and financial challenges to overcome in order to proceed.
The combined working group determined further in-depth study is required to analyze the effect of adding commercial aerial refueling capacity on tanker and receiver crew readiness, the legal, regulatory and financial challenges, and potential variations on contract solutions.
In addition, per 10 U.S.C. §§ 129a and 2463, before a contract solution can be adopted that outsources a function currently performed organically, a comparison must be made with the cost of providing the same service. The additional study will provide this comparative analysis while also noting prior attempts to meet steady-state requirements by increasing organic capacity beyond the programmed fleet of 479 aircraft have not been possible due to fiscal constraints and higher priorities elsewhere in the Department.
Within 60 days of the release of this report, AMC will provide for SECAF (or designated representative) approval of the parameters of this additional study, to include specific solutions to be examined, participants, a draft Requirements Approval Document (RAD), and timelines for completion to inform a decision on whether to proceed with solicitation of offers for provision of commercial aerial refueling services.
Until this further study is complete, the USAF should not move further forward towards initiating any contractual arrangements with service providers (Emphasis added—Ed.). Lastly, commercial contract air refueling is not intended to replace current or future tanker aircraft acquisition programs.
(defense-aerospace.com EDITOR’S NOTE: The US Air Force appears to have painted itself into a corner in terms of tanker capability.
Having overturned the initial selection of Airbus to replace its old KC-135 tankers, the Air Force awarded the contract to Boeing, which has proved incapable of delivering a working tanker.
Now over a decade old, Boeing’s KC-46 program is delivering aircraft that are rife with faults and that will not be able to refuel other aircraft until 2023-24 – and then only if Boeing fixes the plane’s remote vision system. The KC-46 is now only capable of transport missions.
As the above report shows, attempts to find contractor-supplied in-flight refueling capabilities to make up for the shortfall caused by the KC-46 are likely to fail, not least because of legal obstacles that will prove more difficult to solve than technical problems.) (Source: defense-aerospace.com/US Department of the Air Force)
12 Jun 20. HHI delivers RNZN HMNZS Aotearoa logistics support vessel. The Royal New Zealand Navy (RNZN) is set to welcome its Polar-class logistics support vessel HMNZS Aotearoa. Delivery of the new 26k tonne Maritime Sustainment and Capability vessel followed a series of seven contractual sea trials.
Construction of the vessel took 28 months and was undertaken by Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) in Ulsan, South Korea.
Earlier this week, RNZN’s largest tanker and replenishment ship departed from South Korea.
The vessel will focus on providing global sustainment to New Zealand and coalition maritime, air and land forces with fuel, ammunition and other equipment supplies.
In April 2017, SeaQuest Marine Project Management was contracted to oversee the construction of the vessel.
SeaQuest was also involved in a 3D design review and approval of plan by the RNZN. Sorry, there are no polls available at the moment.
Construction of the vessel has been as per Lloyds Register of Shipping standards and Nato and Naval Rules.
HMNZS Aotearoa has been ice strengthened to increase New Zealand’s ability to support Antarctic programmes. It has the ability to transfer liquid to two vessels simultaneously.
The ship is powered by a Rolls Royce-developed Combined Diesel Electric and Diesel (CODLAD) propulsion system.
Generating 250t of fresh water per day, the vessel is capable of enabling operation of all New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) helicopters.
Aotearoa has a medical ward, a gymnasium, Wi-Fi connectivity in recreation spaces, a library, training facilities, and cabins.
SeaQuest CEO Jan Andersson said: “SeaQuest were tasked with the design review, plan approval and construction supervision of this challenging and advanced MSC Polar Class 6 vessel.
“This is the third time we have looked after a naval support ship, first from Royal Fleet Auxiliary UK, second from NDLO Norway and now from NZ Crown.” (Source: naval-technology.com)
16 Jun 20. On May 15, 2020, ARQUUS presented a report on the use of HUMS (Health and Usage Monitoring Systems) in an Army fleet to a group of Defense authorities. This report concludes a six-month tactical evaluation carried out on a fleet of 20 VAB (Véhicule de l’Avant Blindé) armoured vehicles at the Camp de Mourmelon, near Châlons-en-Champagne. The first conclusions of this experiment underline the interest of data collection solutions and pave the way for predictive maintenance solutions for land equipment. The EVTA Vérité thus creates new perspectives for the transformation of Land MOC (Maintenance in Operational Condition).
In December 2018, the French Army entrusted Arquus with an experiment on predictive maintenance tools, to be conducted on land equipment: the Evaluation Tactique Vérité (Tactical Evaluation Vérité, Vérité standing for VEhicules Roulants Instrumentés et Tactiquement Employés, instrumented and tactically employed rolling vehicles). The experiment was set with the support of the SIMMT (Structure Intégrée du Maintien en Condition Opérationnelle des Matériels Terrestres, in charge of the maintenance of all French Land equipment).
The goal of EVTA Vérité was to analyze the relevance of predictive maintenance-related technologies and their suitability for the management and use of military fleets. It also aimed at measuring the impact of these technologies on maintenance organization, as well as defining the next development steps.
As part of this tactical evaluation, 20 VAB from the 8e Régiment du Matériel (8e RMAT), were equipped with various HUMS sensors and delivered on June 5, 2019 at the CENTIAL (Centre d’Entraînement Interarmes et du soutien Logistique, Combined Training and Logistics Support Center) in Mourmelon. The instrumentation and data collection protocol had been previously validated on the Satory test tracks in May 2019.
During the collection phase at CENTIAL, between June and December 2019, the VABs were given a wide variety of missions, conducted under very different conditions and on very different terrains. This experiment, carried out in partnership with LGM, was conducted on several thousand kilometers in numerous configurations, thus enabling to build and study a complete database on the spectrum of monitored functions.
SIMMT’s positive feedback on the use of this first data collection highlights the interest of the degradation models created thanks to this study. The analysis of data collected by the sensors enables the construction of complete models to forecast maintenance needs, adapted to the environment and mission profile. Thanks to predictive maintenance, technical failures may be anticipated several days in advance, refining the planning and work of maintenance and logistics personnel of the armed forces.
The generalization of HUMS-based procedures within the land forces should therefore increase the equipment’s uptime. These new approaches should also offer the field commander all necessary tools to properly assess the equipment’s potential and maintenance needs.
The use of HUMS is one of the innovative solutions currently being developed by ARQUUS to improve the maintenance of Army equipment in operational condition. These solutions include the use of 3D printing, as well as virtual and augmented reality.
ARQUUS has a strong expertise in the fields of support and maintenance, built over the years by providing long-term support for Army vehicles. ARQUUS currently supports more than 20,000 vehicles for the French Army. In order to provide support as close as possible to the forces, ARQUUS relies on an international logistics network and several thousand partner and service points, both in France and abroad. To coordinate all those support activities, ARQUUS has invested in its Garchizy logistics platform, which is the single center for spare parts and components for all current and future vehicles in the ARQUUS range, both in France and abroad. These provisions ensure the quickest access to spare parts and components to maintenance personnel, and improve vehicle availability on the field.
12 Jun 20. To improve F-35 reliability, Pentagon plans performance-based logistics contract. The F-35 Joint Program Office plans to issue one performance-based logistics (PBL) contract to improve parts reliability and maintainability of the Lockheed Martin stealth aircraft.
The programme office has launched a market research effort ahead of a plan to grant a three-year PBL contract for 2024 to 2026, it says in a request for information posted online on 12 June.
F-35C at the Hill AFB for depot modifications
The potential contract echoes a white paper PBL proposal put forward by Lockheed in September 2019 to cut the operating cost of the F-35 to $25,000 per hour by fiscal year 2025. In FY2018, it cost $44,000 per hour to fly the F-35A, the conventional take-off and landing variant of the Joint Strike Fighter trio. The F-35C carrier variant and F-35B short take-off and vertical landing variants cost even more to fly.
By issuing a PBL contract, the Joint Program Office could award a flat fee to maintain certain levels of performance on the F-35, such as cost per flight hour and mission capability rates. That differs from traditional maintenance contracts where the operator would pay for supply of parts or repair services.
In theory, a multi-year PBL contract could allow Lockheed to take ownership of the whole maintenance and sustainment process of the F-35. The company could then use the multiple-year commitment to take advantage of economies of scale savings by buying bulk parts and services upfront at lower prices from suppliers. It could also create cheaper and more effective sustainment processes. Savings would be passed on to operators of the F-35, while Lockheed would keep the rest as profit.
However, the the US Department of Defense (DoD) has been skeptical that the F-35’s operating costs can be reduced to $25,000 per flying hour as promised by Lockheed.
“Right now we are targeting a $34,000 per cost per flying hour for the F-35A in 2024,” said former F-35 programme executive officer, US Navy Vice Admiral Mat Winter, in a May 2019 hearing before the US House of Representatives Armed Services Committee.
Robert Daigle, director of cost analysis and programme evaluation for the DoD, added to that scepticism in the hearing.
“The department doesn’t see a path to get to $25,000 per flying hour by FY2025,” he said. “After 2024 our projections are that the cost per flying hour are going to flatten out and increase a little bit because the planes are starting to age and we’re going to have to bring them back into the [maintenance] depot.”
Depot-level maintenance on the F-35B at Fleet Readiness Center East at MCAS Cherry Point, North Carolina
For its part, Lockheed says it foresees more savings with a PBL and remains committed to reaching $25,000 per flying hour by FY2025.
“In partnership with the [Joint Program Office] and services, we estimate this PBL approach will simplify the contracting process, enable continued industry investment in performance improvements and cost reception estimated to provide the DoD cumulative savings of $2.5bn in operating cost through 2025 and $18bn through 2035, achieve mission capability of 80% and cost per flight hour for F-35A of $25,000 by 2025,” says the company.
The Joint Program Office appears to be focused foremost on using the potential PBL for improvements to the F-35’s reliability.
“Past PBL experience has shown that longer-term contracts can incentivise vendors to make investments to improve parts reliability and maintainability, because the longer contract term allows them to realise their return on investment,” says the DoD. “Improving the effectiveness of the supply chain is one factor in increasing aircraft availability, but reducing the demand for parts, and reducing the time it takes to make repairs when they are necessary, is another key factor.”
Reductions in operating cost might result from less maintenance, but are not explicitly mentioned in the request for information.
“The PBL will require F-35 supply chain management and demand reduction for components of the F-35 aircraft, including training systems and tools, support equipment and laboratories,” says the Joint Program Office in its request for information. “Logistics functions to be included include, but are not limited to: repair, replenishment, overhaul, and modification of components; inventory management; configuration management and obsolescence management authority and accountability; and reliability improvements. The contractor will be required to perform all these functions for depot-level repairables while meeting supply response time metrics for destinations [Contiguous United States] and [Outside Contiguous United States].”
The F-35 has struggled with reliability issues. In May 2020, incoming US Air Force chief of staff General Charles Brown said the service would no longer measure the F-35A against an 80% mission capability rate goal. The F-35A fleet peaked at 74% in September 2019.
The Joint Program Office wants Lockheed to partner with maintenance depots of F-35 operators and perhaps subcontract with government-directed sources as part of the potential PBL agreement.
Originally, Lockheed proposed a five-year, full system PBL. The Joint Program Office’s PBL contract would exclude the stealth fighter’s Pratt & Whitney F135 engine, as well as components of the Autonomic Logistics Information System (ALIS), a troubled software program that manages prognostics, maintenance, supply chain, flight operations and training for the jet.
“The PBL working group determined that a PBL with a more limited scope, focused on supply chain and demand reduction, would better meet the needs of the services,” says the DoD.
Ahead of signing a PBL contract with Lockheed, the Joint Program Office is seeking additional cost and performance metrics from the company, it says.
“The department has not set a deadline for when negotiations for a PBL contract will need to be complete,” it says. “The department is proceeding in parallel with negotiations for a FY2021-FY2023 annualised sustainment contract under the current model, and is prepared to move forward under that contract until the department is satisfied that it has negotiated an agreement that provides best value to the services.” (Source: Flight Global)
10 Jun 20. Russian Tu-160 and Il-78 aircraft conduct night refuelling in air. Crew members of the Russian Aerospace Forces’ (VKS) Tu-160 supersonic strategic bomber and Il-78 long-range aircraft have conducted night refuelling in the air. The flight training was performed in the airspace over the Volga region in Russia.
During the flights, crew personnel of VKS performed two night aircraft refuelling missions under harsh weather conditions with a strong crosswind.
It saw the participation of more than five aircraft units.
The aircraft flew at altitudes of 5,000m and a speed of 600km/h while maintaining a distance of less than 30m between each other.
The tanker aircraft and the refuelling aircraft were installed with additional lighting.
In a statement, VKS said: “Practising of these air elements is one of the most complex and at the same time necessary in the flight training of long-range aviation crews, allowing them to significantly increase the combat range and perform tasks for their intended purpose at a great distance from their bases.”
is a four-engine tanker used for in-flight refuelling.
The Tu-160 was manufactured by Tupolev aircraft research and engineering complex joint-stock company of Moscow and the Kazan-Gorbunov Aircraft Production Association in Tatarstan.
In November 2018, the crew members of the Su-30SM combat aircraft used by the VKS successfully carried out live-fire exercises in Primorsky Krai.
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.