12 Nov 20. Australia looks to boost aerospace MRO capability. The Australian government has launched a plan to promote the development of domestic capability to support military aircraft.
The Sovereign Industrial Capability Priority Implementation Plan – issued on 12 November – outlines how the Department of Defence (DoD) intends to collaborate with local industry in enhancing the maintenance and sustainment of Australia’s military aircraft over the coming decade.
The plan is also intended to enable local industry to align its business planning and investment decisions with DoD capability priorities.
Capabilities targeted by the plan include maintenance, repair, and overhaul (MRO), installing modifications and upgrades, the management of platform structural integrity and life-of-type analysis, and airworthiness certification following modification.
The plan also seeks to deliver such capabilities through the application of big data analytics, artificial intelligence, machine learning, and other ‘evolving technologies’.
The plan also outlines a series of linked ‘actions‘ that are expected to support the development of the identified capabilities.
These actions include efforts to improve industry’s access to platform technical data, the implementation of flexible contracting, building strong co-operative ties with supplying nations, and strengthened ties between academia and industry. Another requirement, said the plan, is to ensure a focus on sustainment in the early stages programmes that progress through the US Foreign Military Sales mechanism. The implementation plan is the latest in a series of initiatives to build sovereign skills and capacity in areas deemed critical for the Australian Defence Force (ADF). (Source: Google/Jane’s)
11 Nov 20. US Navy Develops Unmanned Air System for Ship Cargo Resupply. The Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division (NAWCAD) recently acquired a logistics Unmanned Air System (UAS) prototype to demonstrate long-range naval ship-to-ship and ship-to-shore cargo transport at Naval Air Station Patuxent River.
Delivered in late October, NAWCAD engineers, testers and military test pilots are now evaluating the commercially procured air vehicle – dubbed Blue Water Maritime Logistics UAS – and tailoring it to requirements set by Military Sealift (MSC) and Fleet Forces Command (FFC).
“The Blue Water logistics UAS will be further developed and tested by the Navy, for the Navy,” said NAWCAD Commander Rear Adm. John Lemmon. “NAWCAD has organic talent and facilities you can’t find anywhere else. Combined with increased acquisition freedom granted by Congress, this effort shows how we’re doing business differently.”
“This requirement is unlike other cargo requirements that online retailers like Amazon are exploring,” said Blue Water’s project lead, Bill Macchione. “Naval cargo transport requires vehicles that can successfully operate through difficult environments that include heavy winds, open water and pitching vessels at sea.”
Historic data from Navy casualty reports show that warships that move to non-mission capable or partially mission capable status often do so due to logistics-related issues like electronics parts or assemblies – 90% of which are logistical deliveries weighing less than 50 pounds. Currently, tactical aircraft like the H-60 helicopter and V-22 tilt-rotor aircraft fly these missions.
Recognizing the cost and inefficiency of using these aircraft in missions that could be completed by Group-3 size UAS, MSC tapped NAWCAD to demonstrate an ability for an autonomous vehicle to fly these logistics missions.
The warfare center solicited industry to demonstrate potentially viable platforms that existed commercially. Industry was required to prove its UAV could autonomously transport a 20-pound payload to a moving ship 25 miles away without refueling. Of over 65 UAS platforms that were analyzed, two systems were technically advanced enough to partially meet the difficult requirements.
“We planned the demo during NAWCAD’s first Advanced Naval Technology Test Exercise in 2019 because we wanted to test the systems in a realistic and simulated forward-deployed environment,” said Macchione. “NAWCAD engineers and pilots observed and provided honest naval assessment based on which system was easiest to operate and maintain, had solid design, and required least modification for the mission.”
Based on the systems’ performance at the Pax River demonstration in 2019, NAWCAD selected the Group-3 Skyways platform as the Texas-based company’s small UAS has the necessary size, payload capacity, and range potential to function in a maritime environment and allow incremental test by NAWCAD with supporting technologies that might ultimately meet the needs of MSC.
The platform’s arrival to NAWCAD’s unmanned Air Test and Evaluation Squadron (UX) 24 is the start of civilian and military training, and subsequent system development will better meet MSC’s requirement.
“NAWCAD intends to work with the contractor to create a better fit with the environment where it could potentially operate,” said Macchione. “We’re excited to get to work on such innovations as folding wings for better handling and ship storage, a dual propulsion system that runs on both electricity and JP-5 [fuel], an internal versus external cargo capacity, and an automatic dependent surveillance broadcast identification system.”
Once NAWCAD fine-tunes the system, Blue Water will head to the Atlantic for experimentation with the fleet through most of 2021.
“Results of the technical feasibility and technology demonstration efforts conducted will be shared and used to discuss transition to support fleet initiatives,” said James Tomasic, Blue Water’s co-lead and experimentation engineer. “Culmination of the effort with the Fleet during a Naval Warfare Development Command experiment later this year will provide pertinent information for the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, which determines requirements and future force structures for the Department of the Navy.”
NAWCAD advances capabilities and operational readiness for naval aviation. It’s diverse workforce of more than 10,000 military, civilian, and contractor engineers, scientists, testers, and other professionals support an evolving battlespace through research, development, test, and evaluation of both fielded and not-yet fielded naval and marine corps platforms and technology. Headquartered in Patuxent River, Maryland, the warfare center collaborates across its sites in St. Inigoes, Maryland; Lakehurst, New Jersey; and Orlando, Florida to ensure America’s warfighter always goes into conflict with significant advantage. (Source: ASD Network/US Navy)
10 Nov 20. IFS helps Marshall Aerospace & Defence Group scale its global defence manufacturing and service business. To ensure visibility and control over mission-critical business processes such as manufacturing and maintenance, repair, and overhaul (MRO), international defence manufacturer and service provider Marshall Aerospace and Defence Group turned to global enterprise applications company IFS for a comprehensive enterprise applications platform.
UK-headquartered Marshall is a leading provider of managed services, integrations, and technologies for the global aerospace and defence (A&D) sector. Having embarked on a group-wide initiative to increase agility, competitiveness, and profitability, the company needed an enterprise applications suite that could scale with its manufacturing line of business and at the same time eliminate information silos and process inconsistencies across its divisions and sites.
Following a competitive bid process, Marshall selected IFS Applications™ 10 as it offered comprehensive and robust support for its complex project and composite manufacturing business, together with an MRO solution for heavy maintenance for its Hercules C-130 and other aerospace & defence customers.
By standardising processes with IFS, Marshall is able to monitor and analyse all business data from a centralised location while benefiting from a modern platform for support activities. The IFS solution is used throughout the value chain, from first contact with customers to estimating, planning, project management, production, shipping, MRO and in-service support activities. The company also leverages the IFS platform to manage all suppliers and contractors and to address complex trade control requirements of the international defence industry.
“For more than a century, Marshall has been entrusted with delivering state-of-the-art products and services to some of the largest and most respected organisations in the global defence space,” said Marshall Aerospace and Defence, Interim CEO, Gary Moynehan. “We have reached this privileged position by adopting new technologies, constantly looking for ways to improve, and challenging the status quo. Leveraging the robust, industry-specific capabilities of the IFS solution, we are becoming more agile, competitive and profitable, allowing us to accelerate our enterprise performance as we continue to grow globally.”
Scott Helmer, President of Aerospace & Defence, IFS, added, “We are proud to be helping Marshall cement its solid reputation for product and service excellence. IFS’s continued investment in A&D business solutions is paying dividends for companies like Marshall, who are looking to increase efficiencies and enhance decision-making. We look forward to remaining in close collaboration with Marshall and to continuing our mutually beneficial partnership.”
09 Nov 20. Turkey to use cargo drones for logistics, with production to begin in 2021. The Turkish military plans to use cargo drones to run its logistical operations, part of a wider effort to incorporate unmanned systems into its inventory.
Turkish Aerospace Industries developed the cargo drones, which are expected to support units in combat zones in and outside Turkey, such as northern Iraq and northern Syria.
“Our Vertical Landing and Take-off Cargo UAV project will quickly and safely meet the logistical support our Turkish Armed Forces needs in mountainous terrain,” TAI said in a Nov. 7 statement.
In June 2018, Turkey’s procurement authority, the Presidency of Defense Industries (or SSB for short), launched a program to procure cargo drones with vertical landing and takeoff capabilities. TAI won the contract.
Turkey’s top procurement official, SSB President Ismail Demir, said that the UAVs will go into serial production in 2021.
“Thanks to the cargo UAV systems, the requirements such as weapons, ammunition, medical equipment, [and] equipment required by the security forces on the battlefield will be delivered in a very short time and safely even in difficult weather conditions,” Demir said Nov. 7.
The drone can reportedly carry 50 kilograms and is meant to provide logistic support for troops in combat zones, especially mountainous areas. Turkish companies, including TAI, are currently in the midst of manufacturing a large variety of drones, including armed aircraft. (Source: Defense News)
09 Nov 20. Saudi Arabia’s Wahaj to work on Typhoon components. Saudi Arabia’s Wahaj has received a quality licence from BAE Systems to manufacture a range of consumable parts for the country’s Eurofighter Typhoon fleet. A BAE Systems spokesperson confirmed to Janes on 8 November that the processes covered by the licence include conventional metallic and non-metallic machining and testing. Consumable components covered by the licence “include items such as brackets, bolts, and washers to more complex structural details of assembled components”.
As a result of being approved by BAE Systems as part of the supply chain for the aircraft, it will be possible for Wahaj to bid for work to supply other operators of the Typhoon with the components. However, according to the spokesperson, this will be subject to regulatory requirements, commercial agreements, and supply chain arrangements.
Wahaj president Ayman Al-Hazmi said in a statement that “the license from BAE Systems is the culmination of work and efforts that lasted for 12 months with participation of a number of specialists in materials engineering, quality auditors, supply chain development, and business development teams in both companies.”
Wahaj, which was established in 2014, is an affiliate of the Saudi Arabia’s SIPCHEM and is co-owned by South Korea’s Hanwha Chemical Corporation. The company undertakes a variety of manufacturing and engineering work for the aerospace, defence, oil, and gas industries. (Source: Jane’s)
06 Nov 20. General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA-ASI) recently completed the first phase of a maintenance and operational support contract awarded by the Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division (NAWCWD).
The first phase of the contract provided for the maintenance of Navy NMQ-1B remoted piloted aircraft located at Naval Base Ventura County, Point Mugu. The second phase will involve operational training support for pilots to operate the NMQ-1s, which will be used as targets in Navy training scenarios.
“We look forward to further collaboration opportunities with the U.S. Navy,” said GA-ASI Senior Vice President of Strategic Development Barton Roper. “Our Predator-series RPA have a proven record of success as assets for military training and real-world operations.”
Phase 2 of the contract is expected to be executed in early 2021, culminating with a Navy NMQ-1B operational evaluation flight.