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LOGISTICS AND THROUGH LIFE UPDATE

04 Dec 20. Tyro goes sole source to WFEL? Sources close to BATTLESPACE suggest that RBSL has withdrawn from project Tyro the requirement to replace the British Army’s tactical bridging systems. WFEL is partnered with KMW with their Leguan system and the WFEL Close Support Bridge (CSB).  The armoured truck carrier is a MAN armoured chassis. The contract requires supply of a number of bridging systems plus upgrades to the existing Titan tracked vehicle and an armoured MAN truck version.

Project TYRO — Close Support Bridge

Concepts

  • mobile bridges
  • close support bridge
  • close support bridging
  • provision of close support bridge
  • service support
  • close support launch vehicle
  • service support element of the contract
  • titan armoured vehicle bridge launcher
  • support solution

Location

Bristol, City of

2 buyers

  • MOD Land Equipment Operational Infrastructure, Bristol

Description

Mobile bridges. Operational Infrastructure team has identified a possible future requirement to procure and support a Heavy Forces Close Support Bridging (CSB) capability for use by UK Armed Forces until at least 2040. The CSB system is used within the direct fire zone and must provide a minimum Military Load Classification (MLC) of 100 (Tracked).

Total Quantity or Scope

Provision of Close Support Bridge sets with a Military Load Classification of at least MLC100(T) which can be rapidly launched and recovered by the TITAN Armoured Vehicle Bridge Launcher. Any modifications to the TITAN Launch Mechanism to meet the detailed technical requirement is also included in the CSB scope. Provision of a suitable Wheeled Close Support Launch Vehicle (CLV) and Wheeled Support Vehicles/Trailers to transport bridging components. Initial equipment quantities: finalised fleet numbers are subject to the potential providers equipment proposals and affordability. However, the information below provides an expected range for each major sub-system: (a) 29-49 Short Bridges capable of spanning a gap of at least 11,5 m; (b) 19-34 Medium Bridges capable of spanning a gap of at least 24,5 m and, with the use of additional supplied equipment, scalable to achieve a 60 m gap crossing; (c) 14-36 Wheeled Close Support Launch Vehicles; (d) 11-17 Wheeled Support Vehicles. Support solution: the potential provider is expected to supply a full Integrated Logistic Support package for the offered equipment. The extent of the in-service support is subject to value for money decisions but may range from a Traditional Support solution (i.e. repairs, Post Design Services) through to Contracting for Availability. Coherence with the Army’s Whole Force Approach initiative is sought. Contract: it is the Department’s intent to award a single contract for this requirement, covering the Demonstration, Manufacture and initial In-Service Support activity for the CSB system. Demonstration of the proposed CSB system is expected to take place no later than approximately 40 months after contract award and manufacture to be completed circa 75 months after contract award. The in-service support element of the contract should be in place to support the first delivered system and is anticipated to operate for a further 60 months after delivery of the final system. The contract will include options to both procure additional components or complete bridging systems and extend the support element of the contract potentially to its planned out of service date. Contract rationalisation: it is the Department’s intention to run this competition simultaneously with the requirement for a General Support Bridging capability (GSB). It should be noted that a single contract may be awarded to encompass both the CSB and GSB requirement if the same potential provider wins both competitions.

Renewal Options

1) Potential additional optional years for In Service Support out to 2040. 2) Potential options to provide additional bridge sets and vehicles.

CPV Codes

  • 34144300 – Mobile bridges

Indicators

  • Published under EU Directive 2009/81/EC.
  • An E-Auction will not be used. (Source: http://bidstats.uk/)

30 Nov 20. APC Technology has completed and delivered one of the lightest, smallest MIL-SPEC diesel generators available in today’s market. Daronmont Technologies approached APC Technology to partner on a project supplying diesel generators which would be integrated into a custom designed deployable shelter to the Australian defence forces.

Daronmont’s partnership with APC Technology required the delivery of generators based on specific requirements including size, weight and output. They also needed to perform and survive in rugged conditions, including challenging environmental ecosystems, varying altitudes and weather conditions

Achieving a lightweight, smaller generator

John Head, Engineering Manager at APC Technology commented on the approach to the design of a more compact but highly efficient generator. “Our engineering team has an enviable depth & breadth of experience and relish a challenge. In order to minimise weight without compromising electrical and environmental performance we utilised our experience in Finite Element Analysis (FEA) to select the optimum material and construction methods. Through close collaboration with our partners we selected components that provide further weight savings whilst improving overall performance.”

Additionally by incorporating a 3000RPM engine instead of the standard 1500RPM, this enabled APC to meet the smaller envelope requirements.

The value-add of in-house capabilities

APC Technology has continued to develop their skills and technologies to add value for their customers. An area of notably investment has been their in-house capabilities ,whether through up-skilling staff or ensuring the adoption of the latest technologies. For example the electrical box within the generator had internal components that were not rated to the low temperatures specified. APC completed in house confidence testing using their thermal chamber which is part of the prototyping & testing hub. This ensured comprehensive certification & reporting, plus a quicker turn around as there was no reliance on an external third party.

APC Technology also used SolidWorks Simulation to perform shock and vibration testing, eliminating the need to send it to compliance test house which adds cost and time to the production. Their highly skilled engineers were able to input key data to optimise product durability and test heat transfer and buckling instabilities.

Sovereign Supply Chain

2020 has been a challenging year for the movement of products. APC Technology has taken a proactive approach to developing the depth and breadth of its on-shore supply chain. This enables the team to be nimble and reactive.

APC Technology partnered with a South Australian generator manufacturer with more than thirty years of experience to support the build. The company did not have the defence background or the expertise to design the generator to specifications. APC has a proven depth and breadth of experience in understanding and applying defence standards. By bringing together the skill sets APC were able to design a more compact but highly efficient and highly usable generator, whilst reducing manufacturing time lines by engaging locally.

Find out more about the specifications of the generator: https://apctechnology.com.au/industrial-generator/ (Source: Defence Connect)

02 Dec 20. EATC seeks to better support member nations, selected EU and NATO states. The European Air Transport Command (EATC) has set itself a timeline of two years to develop concrete proposals to better support its seven participating nations, as well as selected European Union and NATO member states.

Speaking at the virtual SMi Military Airlift and Air-to-Air Refuelling 2020 conference, Colonel Patrick Mollet of the EATC said that the command wants to build on its recently celebrated first decade of operations by identifying specific scnarios in which is can provide additional support in both the planning and mission phases of future air transport (AT), air-to-air refuelling (AAR) and aero medical evacuation (medevac) operations.

“After 10 years we are convinced that we can do better,” Col Mollett said on 2 December. “We aim to develop in the coming years [proposals] on an increased advisory role in the planning phase, and a more active role in the execution and operational phase for our partners and selected EU and NATO nations. We have given ourselves a timeline of two years for solid solutions.”

As set out by the colonel, the selected scenarios comprise non-combat evacuation operations, disaster relief and/or humanitarian operations, and military operations for NATO, EU and other international coalitions.

Headquartered at Eindhoven Air Base in the Netherlands, the EATC was established on 1 September 2010 between France, Germany, the Benelux countries of Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg. Spain and Italy also joined in 2014. (Source: Jane’s)

01 Dec 20. Global MRTT users seek to ease certification of US-built receiver aircraft. The global customer base for the Airbus A330-200 MultiRole Tanker Transport (MRTT) aircraft is to come together to ease the certification requirements for US receiver aircraft types. Speaking at the virtual SMi Military Airlift and Air-to-Air Refuelling 2020 conference, Group Captain Doz James, Deputy Air Mobility Force Commander, RAF, said that a user group of the worldwide customer base for the A330 MRTT is being set up to make it easier for US aircraft (and for those nations that operate US-built aircraft) to receive fuel from their tankers.

“We are currently involved with the worldwide MRTT user community to set up a new receiver working group, with the aim of avoiding the repetition of receiver trials particularly with US aircraft and nations that operate US aircraft. This is still very embryonic, but we have just recently written and distributed the first draft set of the terms of reference for that working group,” Gp Capt James said on 1 December. (Source: Jane’s)

01 Dec 20. UK to support MRTT buy for Qatar. The United Kingdom is to support the procurement of an Airbus A330-200 MultiRole Tanker Transport (MRTT) aircraft for Qatar, as part of wider cooperation measures between the Royal Air Force (RAF) and the Qatari Emiri Air Force (QEAF). Speaking at the virtual SMi Military Airlift and Air-to-Air Refuelling 2020 conference, Group Captain Doz James, Deputy Air Mobility Force Commander, RAF, said that his service is currently in the early stages of developing such a capability for the QEAF that would add to the joint Eurofighter Typhoon unit the two nations are already operating.

“We are looking to develop a range of options to support a Qatari requirement to assist with a potential procurement of an MRTT,” Gp Capt James said on 1 December.

While the group captain provided no further details as to either the QEAF’s aerial refuelling requirements or the specific nature of the RAF’s assistance in helping it achieve its goals, Qatar was reported to have signed a QAR2.5bn (USD679m at the time) deal with Airbus for two MRTTs in 2014. No deliveries took place, and there were no further official communications regarding the procurement after that date. Further to this reported MRTT buy, the QEAF was also reported to be considering the Boeing KC-46A Pegasus, but again there has been very little official disclosure on this. (Source: Jane’s)

30 Nov 20. Raytheon and C3.ai announce alliance on artificial intelligence solutions. Raytheon’s intelligence and space business is partnering with C3.ai, a software company known for its predictive maintenance business with the U.S. Air Force, the companies announced Monday. The alliance between C3.ai and Raytheon Intelligence and Space aims to speed up artificial intelligence adoption across the U.S. military. The partnership will pair Raytheon’s expertise in the defense and aerospace sector with C3.ai’s artificial intelligence development and applications.

“The military and intelligence community have access to more data now than any time in history, but it’s more than they’re able to make quick use of,” said David Appel, vice president of defense and civil solutions for space and C2 systems under Raytheon Intelligence and Space. “Artificial intelligence can be used to help them make sense of that data, which will allow them to make smarter decisions faster on the battlefield. And that’s just one of the benefits.”

In recent years, C3.ai has positioned itself as a trusted partner of the Air Force, providing predictive maintenance capabilities for the service’s E-3, C-5 Galaxy, F-15, F-16, F-18 and F-35 aircraft. The Pentagon’s Silicon Valley arm that helped bridge C3.ai into the Pentagon, the Defense Innovation Unit, estimated that the program could save the service $15bn annually in maintenance funds if it was scaled to the Defense Department’s entire aircraft fleet.

In January, DIU awarded a five-year, $95m contract to C3.ai for predictive maintenance. The alliance between the two companies will also focus on helping the intelligence community.

“Raytheon and C3.ai are driven by similar purposes: Anticipating and solving our customers’ most difficult problems,” said Thomas Siebel, CEO of C3.ai. “Together, we offer an end-to-end enterprise AI platform and mission-tailored applications that will dramatically reduce cost and risk, accelerate adoption and deployment of AI solutions, and scale the impact of AI across any organization.”

In September, the Air Force’s rapid sustainment office selected C3.ai’s C3 AI Suite platform and C3 AI Readiness product to support predictive maintenance across the service’s enterprise.

“Raytheon and C3.ai represent key partners for the U.S. Air Force, and specifically the Rapid Sustainment Office, in realizing the vision of harnessing AI to transform the military into a digital organization,” said Nathan Parker, deputy program executive officer for the Air Force Rapid Sustainment Office. “Fulfilling this vision of broad implementation requires identifying applicable use cases for AI across the Air Force, rapidly piloting solutions, and scaling successes across our enterprise to accelerate the transformation.” (Source: Defense News)

30 Nov 20. A new design is almost ready for the KC-46’s most troubled system. The U.S. Air Force and Boeing have almost finalized a new design of the problem-plagued system that must be overhauled before the KC-46 tanker is ready for combat operations, the service’s acquisition executive said Nov. 24.

Unlike legacy tankers, where boom operators look out a window and rely on line-of-sight visual cues to guide the refueling boom into a receiver aircraft, KC-46 boomers use a series of cameras and sensors called the Remote Vision System. After years of disagreements between the Air Force and KC-46 prime contractor Boeing about whether the current RVS met requirements, the parties in April agreed to replace the original system with a completely redesigned “RVS 2.0.”

“We’ve completed nearly every aspect of the design except the actual projection method,” Will Roper, the Air Force’s assistant secretary for acquisition, technology and logistics, said during a roundtable with reporters last week.

The Air Force is considering two different options to project the images from the tanker’s rear camera system to the boom operators who sit at the front of the aircraft: a collimated mirror design, which uses a curved mirror to project a wide field of view to the user, and an LCD-type screen similar to modern televisions.

Roper characterized the difference between the two methods as “a hyper-stereo system” that would deliver near-perfect optics versus “a more mature technology” with less risk.

“Once they’ve selected that final projection method, the rest of the design is complete, so we’ll be ready to go ahead and start building a laboratory system,” Roper said. “Every component that we would install on the jet, we’ll just do that on the ground, and that would give us a lot of confidence that when we install the jet itself, that it will work as advertised.”

The Air Force plans to buy at least 179 KC-46s, with the first tanker accepted by the service in January 2019. Boeing agreed to take total financial responsibility for developing the new RVS system, cutting the new design into the production line and modifying tankers already delivered to the Air Force.

So far, the company has delivered more than 30 KC-46s to the service, which all must receive a retrofit service.

As a short-term stopgap, Boeing offered an enhanced version of the current RVS system to the Air Force in order to bridge the gap before RVS 2.0 comes online in 2023 or 2024.

If the service ultimately chose to move forward with the so-called RVS 1.5, Boeing could start incorporating those upgrades in the second half of 2021, according to Mike Hafer, the company’s KC-46 global sales lead, who spoke during a briefing in September.

But Roper stressed that “it’s really 2.0 that has the lion’s share of our attention.”

The Air Force completed its assessment of the enhanced system this fall. While there are “a few capabilities” that the service will cut into the baseline system, Roper said that none of the improvements are “earth-shattering” or have changed the Air Force’s view that a newly designed system is needed to meet requirements. (Source: Defense News)

26 Nov 20. IrvinGQ Develops Airdrop Platform Compatible for Use With Milrem Robotics THeMIS Combat. IrvinGQ develops airdrop platform compatible for use with the Milrem Robotics’ THeMIS Combat UGV configured with KONGSBERG Protector Remote Weapon Station (RWS).

The ability to operate in high threat environments, without putting warfighters or service people at risk, is one of the single biggest challenges faced by decision-makers of the day. Part of the solution is the use of Unmanned Vehicles that are not only safer but also potentially more effective than the use of current manned systems.

The separate challenge of how to effectively deploy these assets to their operating environments; whether it be in the surveillance, protection or strike mode is now also being answered.

By expanding the initial Milrem Robotics / IrvinGQ collaboration with the integration of a Kongsberg Protector RWS onto Milrems’s THeMIS UGV, it is possible to deploy by parachute an autonomous strike capability using the ATAX® airdrop system.

The KONGSBERG Protector family of Remote Weapon Systems are suitable for any mission. Modular and highly flexible, the system is designed for small and medium calibre weapons including mounting of coaxial weapons and anti-tank guided missiles (ATGM), complete with advanced day and night sensor suite for situational awareness and target acquisition. More than 20 000 KONGSBERG Protector Remote weapon Stations have been produced for 23 countries, – and KONGSBERG is now implementing a qualified secure, packed based fire control system for use in wireless control of one or more remote systems simultaneously.

The Milrem Robotics’ THeMIS is a multi-role UGV intended to reduce the number of troops on the battlefield. THeMIS’ open architecture enables it to be rapidly configured from having a transport function to being weaponized, performing ordnance disposal, or supporting intelligence operations according to the nature of the mission. THeMIS UGVs have been acquired by 9 countries, 7 of which are members of NATO, including the Netherlands, Norway, Germany, the UK and the US.

ATAX® is a patented, Modular, Rapid-Rig/De-Rig, Aerial Delivery System that employs Soft Landing Airbags instead of traditional energy-dissipating materials (EDM). The reusable Airbags offer a number of significant advantages over traditional methods as they; reduce load preparation and rigging times by eliminating consumable rigging materials; significantly reduce the shock forces imparted into the cargo load, and facilitate a true drive-on drive-off capability.

Given the emerging nature of unmanned autonomous and remotely piloted ground vehicles and the requirement to lessen the burden to warfighters, IrvinGQ is developing an airdrop restraint system with an auto release that enables the UGVs to self-derig and drive-off the ATAX® platform unaided. A truly autonomous capability.

Milrem Robotics / IrvinGQ / KONGSBERG enable a true autonomous mission at reach delivered by parachute, or in support of airborne forces, that can limit the warfighters exposure on the battlefield. (Source: ASD Network)

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