Sponsored by Hobson Industries
16 Jul 20. COVID-19 Pandemic Reveals Supply Chain Vulnerability. If there’s one silver lining from the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s that it’s helped expose vulnerabilities in the U.S. and Defense Department supply chain, the undersecretary of defense for acquisition and sustainment said.
Ellen M. Lord discussed acquisition in the face of COVID-19 during a virtual “fireside chat” today with the Ronald Reagan Institute.
Efforts that followed an executive order by the president to assess the defense industrial base and the U.S. supply chain have proven useful in the face of COVID-19, Lord said.
“One of the most useful things that came out of that was we segmented the base, we all had the same lexicon, then we could identify fragilities,” Lord said. “We identified a lot of single-source offshore supply chain critical items. So we have used that as a platform over the last couple of years to try to make sure that we strengthen that industrial base.”
COVID-19, she said, has helped to accelerate efforts to strengthen the industrial base.
“Not only for the rare earth elements or the microelectronics that we all know so well,” she added, “but also for the advanced pharmaceutical ingredients that go into our drugs that obviously are important for the nation and also very, very important for DOD,” she said. “So we’ve been able to really get that message out and frankly, get a little bit more support from Congress and the administration to strengthen our domestic industrial base.”
For microelectronics, she said, as with other manufacturing, there’s risk associated with much of the intellectual property being based in the United States, while much of the manufacturing is based overseas.
One risk, she said, is the security of the supply chain. With COVID-19, she explained, many international commercial flights were halted. DOD had to respond by providing a military air bridge to bring supplies into the United States in support of the Department of Health and Human Services and the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
“We set up flights to bring back all kinds of medical equipment and personnel protective equipment that was produced offshore that we owned, but we couldn’t get back here,” she said.
Another risk, she said, is that manufacturing overseas might produce equipment and gear that’s not entirely what it seems.
“We could have implants in those electronics,” she said. “So all of a sudden … we have U.S. systems calling home to China. We also have the theft of intellectual property that is very well documented, where what we think we licensed for a specific use is all of a sudden repurposed into capability organic to China.”
Other factors with off-shore manufacturing involve workers themselves, Lord said. “Manufacturing know-how accumulates with the experience of actually producing something — and that’s lost in the U.S. if workers here aren’t doing the work,” she said. And when work is done overseas, she added, it means Americans aren’t doing the work stateside.
“We lose those good jobs that we really need here in the U.S.,” she said. “So [there are] all kinds of risks associated with that, that we’re concerned about.”
Public-private partnerships might be able to bring some manufacturing of microelectronics back to the United States, Lord said. One way to do that, she said, is using Defense Production Act Title III authority to grant loans to re-shore critical capability to the U.S.
“We again are working through all the legalities of that,” she said. “We are looking at what are those critical capabilities that we should re-shore, both in the medical resources side of things, as well as the industrial base writ large — but where defense really has a critical need that then could help industry in general, and microelectronics is one of those.”
A number of CEOs have reached out to DOD to discuss issues related to dependence on overseas manufacturing and the risk it poses to national security, Lord said, including a willingness now to discuss a consortium coming together for trusted microelectronics.
“They are also being very, very generous with their time explaining to a variety of government officials how their business works, what they need, what they don’t need,” she said. “I will say right now, we are in the midst of really some dynamic discussions that I think are very, very exciting.”
Lord said she thinks the time is coming for policy that makes the government more supportive of having businesses bring critical capabilities back to the United States.
“That ranges all the way from capital to make the investments, to local and state and federal tax incentives to regulatory easing of burdens,” she said. “We really have to look at the entire scope of that kind of supply chain, the whole thread, and understand what makes sense. And frankly, as DOD, we have a compelling, urgent and … large need here. And we can be the leaders, and I think we have a lot of fast followers.” (Source: US DoD)
15 Jul 20. Sisu Auto selects Texelis to provide axles for GTP 4×4 test series. Proven design and supply chain security essential to choice. The SISU GTP 4×4 recently selected for assessment as the future armoured 4×4 for the Finnish Defence Forces is fitted with independent suspension axles manufactured by Texelis of Limoges in France. The Finnish Army recently announced that the test series of the vehicle will be used to acquire information on the capability and operability of this vehicle with regard to the Defence Forces’ mobility requirements in the future both in Finland and on crisis management operations. The GTP 4×4 has also won a Latvian Ministry of Defence procurement competition.
The T700 axles, designed in partnership with Timoney of Ireland, is a modular driveline for military and commercial vehicles with gross axle weight requirements of up to 7000kg. The axle system utilises proven modular sub-assemblies including Texelis’s wheel hubs and differentials in conjunction with Timoney’s independent suspension technology.“We selected the Texelis axle system as it is a proven solution suitable for the purpose. Also, the T700 from Texelis is an off-the-shelf product and as such favourable also from the Security of Supply point of view.” said Jyri Ahonen, Vice President Military Vehicles at Sisu Auto.
The SISU GTP has been designed with high levels of mobility for the harshest environments; to be modular to fulfil a range of tasks, including troop and logistic carriage, recce, and command and control; easily maintained; and protected up to Stanag 4569 both mine and ballistic protection with add on armour available as an option.
14 Jul 20. Airbus Transforms A330s Into MRTTs Through an Optimised Conversion Process. Having earned their reputation as the new-generation aerial tanker of choice for military services worldwide, Airbus’ A330 Multi Role Tanker Transports (MRTTs) are now being outfitted for their multi-mission duties in an optimised industrial process – enabling five aircraft to undergo the conversion every year.
The A330 MRTTs are based on Airbus’ popular A330 widebody passenger airliner, with the aircraft produced on the company’s commercial airplane final assembly line in Toulouse, France. Once their initial built-up is complete, they are flown to Airbus’ military aircraft facility in Getafe, Spain to be transformed with hardware and systems for their dual roles as an air-to-air refuelling platform and an airlifter for troops and cargo.
Thousands of new parts integrated
During the conversion, Airbus teams install some 16,000 types of new components and approximately 450 new electrical harnesses (for a total cabling length of more than 50 km.), as well as 6,000 brackets and 1,700 connectors.
With 42 A330 MRTTs delivered to date, Airbus’ has reduced the end-to-end transformation time by one month, introducing increased digitalisation and applying the “takt” principle of lean production methodology – in which the aircraft moves through the conversion with zero hours pending and zero work orders open.
The digitalisation includes the increasing use of Microsoft HoloLens mixed reality headsets instead of computer tablets. With 80 to 90 work orders now produced with HoloLens, the goal is to apply the system during 2020 for 50% of overall work orders, mainly for electrical and hydraulic installations.
A key element of the conversion is installing the A330 MRTT’s air-to-air refuelling hardware. All aircraft are equipped with hose and drogue units, and most customers have opted for Airbus’ highly capable fly-by-wire Aerial Refuelling Boom System (ARBS) – which provides enhanced controllability during in-flight fuel transfers to receiver airplanes.
The A330 MRTT transformation process includes locating the Airbus-developed Air Refuelling Console in the cockpit area behind the pilots. Containing seats for two crew members, this station enables the aerial refuelling to be remotely controlled, aided by an advanced high-resolution observation system with panoramic 3D-vision for operations day and night.
On the A330 MRTT’s main deck, the aircraft’s widebody cross-section can be configured for a variety of roles, from the transportation of troops and personnel with capacities for 268 passengers in a two-class configuration, to aeromedical evacuation – accommodating two intensive care units, 16 stretchers, along with seating for medical staff and passengers.
A330 MRTT Airbus cabin static display at Paris Airshow 2019 – Day 3 The A330 MRTT – seen here on Airbus’ static display at the 2019 Paris Air Show – is a combat-proven tanker with unique multi-role capabilities
Customers from around the world
Airbus delivered its initial A330 MRTT in December 2009, with this no. 1 aircraft received by the Royal Australian Air Force. Today, A330 MRTTs are flown by Australia, France, Singapore, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, the United Emirates and United Kingdom – logging a combined total of more than 200,000 flight hours. A total of 60 A330 MRTTs have been ordered for operations at the service of 13 nations. (Source: ASD Network)
14 Jul 20. Covid-19: Seoul commits to locally developed K2 transmission. South Korea’s Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) has outlined a commitment to locally develop a transmission system for Hyundai Rotem’s K2 Black Panther main battle tank (MBT).
The commitment, it said, is linked to wider efforts in South Korea to reduce reliance on foreign components and systems, and especially those that are integrated into “critical” military programmes such as the K2. Such efforts have intensified partly in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, which has exposed supply-chain weaknesses in South Korea’s defence industry.
DAPA said in a statement on 13 July that South Korea has not been successful in developing a transmission system for the tank despite related development projects that have spanned nearly 20 years. DAPA added that such efforts had become “controversial” and have included “disagreements between related organisations and companies”.
The agency said it recognises the need for a “reasonable revision of standards [on the transmission] and has discussed directions to resolve the controversy”. It added that it is committed to integrating a locally developed system into the K2 in the third phase of the tank’s production.
DAPA said it will “decide on how to apply a domestic transmission through a fair process”, and that it aims to finalise plans for the third phase of mass production of the K2 tank before the end of 2020.(Source: Jane’s)
09 Jul 20. USAF Expands AI-Based Predictive Maintenance. The USAF plans to expand its “predictive maintenance” using artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning to another 12 weapon systems, says Lt. Gen. Warren Berry, deputy chief of staff for logistics, engineering and force protection.
“I continue to believe that predictive maintenance is a real game changer for us as an Air Force,” he told the Mitchell Institute today. “There’s a lot of power in moving unscheduled maintenance into scheduled maintenance, and we’re firmly convinced that it will improve our readiness and improve our combat capabilities by doing so.”
“We have long been a fly-to-fail force,” he explained, simply waiting for aircraft to quit working and then trying to fix them by moving parts to wherever the planes were grounded. But today’s unpredictable and relatively slow approach to getting fighters and bombers back in the air simply won’t be possible in future conflicts, as Russian and China seek to degrade US communications including via cyber attacks and attacks on US bases.
The service has made “logistics under attack” one of its key priorities as it shifts focus to deal with globalized peer conflict, asking for $3 bn in 2021 to fund various efforts.
Berry noted that the Air Force is “talking to” the Joint Artificial Intelligence Center (JAIC) about best practices and lessons learned as it pushes ahead with its two key predictive maintenance initiatives: “condition-based maintenance plus (CBM+) and “enhanced reliability centered maintenance (ERCM).
The service has been using CBM+, which involves monitoring platforms on three aircraft: the C-5, the KC-135 and the B-1. “They’ve been doing it for about 18 to 24 months now, and we’re starting to get some real return on what it is that the CBM+ is offering us,” he said.
ERCM, he explained, “is really laying that artificial intelligence and machine learning on top of the information systems that we have, the maintenance information system data, that we have today, and understanding failure rates and understanding mission characteristics of the aircraft and how they fail,” he said. While he said he didn’t have the list at his fingertips, Berry said the dozen weapon systems being integrated would come under the ERCM effort by the end of the year.
Berry said that there are a number of other changes to how the Air Force does logistics that will require future focus, especially the question of how best to preposition supplies in the European and Pacific theaters. He noted that the Pacific region presents particular problems because of the wide geographic dispersement of allies there.
“I think we need to fundamentally change how we think about prepositioning our assets,” he said. “And that really does require partners and allies, in not just prepositioning the material and equipment, but prepositioning capacity and capability — whether that’s through operational contracting support or whether that’s through things that are actually on the installation that we can take advantage of.”
“We’re not going to be able to bring what we could bring in the past,” he added, “and so much of what we are going to use is probably going to have to be there.”
This is going to require new ways to partner with allies and friendly nations in those regions, he said, noting that the European Deterrence Initiative and the Pacific Deterrence Initiative might help. “But, we’re gonna have to make those a little bit more foundational moving forward,” he said.
Finally, Berry stressed that improved command and control is going to be the base of all of the Air Force’s efforts to establish “adaptive operations and agile combat employment” — concepts for operating in a distributed manner from a large number of small operating locations in a peer conflicts. As a 2019 study on “distributed operations” by RAND explains, “this type of distributed air operations in a contested environment represents a significant shift in the way the Air Force has operated since the end of the Cold War.”
Berry said that “Log C2” is related to Joint All Domain Command and Control (JADC2), another top Air Force priority as Breaking D readers are well aware.
“JADC2 is about having the decision advantage in multi- domain operations, and so in the log enterprise sustainment we want to have that same decision advantage in order to support multi-domain operations because sustainment and logistics follows operators,” he said. “And so we’ve got to be able to have the sense orient and respond posture … to be able to support multi-domain operations in the way that the operators plan to employ.”
This involves moving to replace old IT systems with modern capabilities, including cloud storage and data fusion from multiple sensors — whether those be onboard an aircraft such as the F-35 or from a machine doing specific maintenance.
“That data really is the key to our awareness of what’s happening in the environment, and what’s happening in the broader enterprise, to include at home and the depots and the broader supply system,” he said. (Source: glstrade.com/Breaking Defense.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.