30 Dec 20. South Korea’s Hanwha partners with European firm to build M3 bridging vehicles.
The South Korean Army is set to deploy European amphibious bridging vehicles under licensed production to boost its operational capability across water obstacles.
The M3 Amphibious Rig, developed by General Dynamics European Land Systems, is to be locally produced by prime contractor Hanwha Defense, according to sources at the Defense Acquisition Program Administration.
The contract is worth about $460m and will see the production of about 100 M3 vehicles for deployment starting in 2023.
Hyundai Rotem lost the bid with its offer of the OTTER Armored Amphibious Assault Bridge to be developed by Turkey’s FNSS.
The Defense Acquisition Program Administration is scheduled to officially announce the contract award to Hanwha Defense in the coming weeks, the sources told Defense News on Dec. 30.
“The M3 is the world’s best amphibious rig that has combat proven records in terms of mobility, loading capacity, maneuverability and others,” an industry source with knowledge of the acquisition effort told Defense News on condition of anonymity. “The European bridging vehicle is to be locally produced as the M3K variant to be customized to the operational needs of South Korean forces.”
South Korea will be the sixth country operating the M3 after Germany, the United Kingdom, Taiwan, Singapore and Indonesia. The amphibious bridges have been successfully deployed in numerous allied operations and maneuvers, as well as in extreme climates. During NATO’s Anakonda 2016 exercise in Poland, German and British Army engineer units teamed up to assemble the longest 350-meter floating bridge using 30 M3 amphibious vehicles in less than 35 minutes.
First produced by Eisenwerke Kaiserslautern in Germany, the M3 is a self-propelled, four-wheel drive vehicle used for the projection of tanks and other vehicles across water obstacles. It can be driven into a river and used as a ferry or, when a number are joined together from bank to bank, as a bridge. Used as a bridge or as a multi-bay raft, the M3 can carry loads of up to MLC 85. (MLC stands for Military Load Classification, which is basically a load-carrying capacity measurement.)
The M3 features a set of four ramps for connecting one vehicle to another. Eight M3 rigs can bridge a 100-meter-long water gap, which is strong enough to bear 70-plus tanks. Alternatively, two rigs can be joined to create a ferry capable of carrying a similar load across much wider water gaps.
Powered by a 400-horsepower diesel engine, the 28-ton M3 can move on land with speeds up to 80 kph, while its maximum speed on water is 14 kph. It has a cruising range of 750 kilometers. The M3 is designed to be highly mobile to minimize the effects of the operational terrain and fit into any landscape. (Source: Defense News)
29 Dec 20. Defense Logistics Agency finds improvements through robotic process automation. The U.S. Department of Defense’s logistics arm leads the federal government in deployment of robotic process automation tools, according to a new report from the federal RPA community of practice.
In the last two years, the Defense Logistics Agency, the DoD’s combat logistics support agency, has deployed 96 robotic process automation automations, tools that automate basic tasks to save time, the report states.
According to the report, DLA’s RPA tools have completed 200,000 hours of annualized work. DLA doesn’t track hours saved, but rather hours contributed, the report notes. Employees who did work that has been automated now handle more complex tasks, the report notes.
“It’s not the job that goes away, it’s the task that goes away,” said Jim Walker, federal CTO for UiPath, an RPA vendor of the DLA.
The agency has automated parts of the employee onboarding process, demand planning, coding of materials and the enterprise business system, according to a 2018 press release. The RPA program at DLA assists the whole logistics enterprise, providing automated tools to each of the agency’s major subordinate commands and supply chain. More than 90 percent of the automations are “unattended,” or can be completed without human involvement, the report added.
The DLA platform is “extremely secure,” Walker said, because its bots use credentials similar to those of a common access card that DoD employees use to log in.
“It’s very easy to audit the work because you know that the bot had that credential when it went to work,” Walker said.
The Defense Logistics Agency’s push on robotic process automation stems from a cross-agency priority goal in the President’s Management Agenda, a White House document that lays out information technology priorities of the current administration. CAP goal 6 calls on agencies to shift from low-value to high-value work using automation, artificial intelligence and intelligent automation.
“RPA solutions is strong and growing,” said GSA Chief Financial Officer Gerard Badorrek, co-lead of the CAP goal 6, in the report’s introduction. “Automations that are creating more annualized capacity are being deployed in less time. Programs are starting to automate agencywide business processes across functional organizations.”
According to the report, the DLA’s RPA program office plans to deploy intelligent automation, which includes artificial intelligence tools, and complete pilots during the first quarter of fiscal 2021.
“Their program office is evaluating product offerings that include document understanding, which will introduce AI and ML through the use of [optical character recognition] and model driven form/data processing,” the report notes.
The success of RPA at the Defense Logistics Agency is due to five best practices, according to the report. The DLA first established four foundational elements to grow its RPA program: discovery, enablement, delivery and operations. It also integrated its continuous process improvement initiative with its business transformation office to “ensure processes are optimized before automating.” It also set up a center of excellence model, provide customer service functions and focused on exploring new technologies that could expand their use of RPA in the future. (Source: C4ISR & Networks)
22 Dec 20. Boeing Marks 35 Years of Field Reps with US Army Apaches, Looks Forward to Another Five.
- OEM knowledge and expertise continues to support the Army’s 700 Apaches
- Latest contract builds on support legacy from 1985
Boeing’s [NYSE: BA] latest contract from the U.S. Army continues to build on a legacy of customer field support for the Army’s AH-64 Apache. Under the projected five-year, $83.3m max indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity agreement, 15 Boeing field service representatives will be dedicated to the U.S. Army’s Apache fleet.
Boeing has provided field service representatives (FSR) for the U.S. Apache since 1985. Working side by side with Apache operators and maintainers, FSRs are located across the U.S. and deployed with Army units at international locations. The contract includes a base award and four option years.
“Our field reps continue to be the direct, on-site technical expertise for Apache operators,” said John Chicoli, director of U.S. Army, Special Operations and Vertical Lift Services for Boeing. “Side by side with the customer, they bring access to the entire Boeing network for troubleshooting, complex maintenance support and training the warfighter.”
Boeing’s Apache FSR team includes 100% veterans of the U.S. military, with 90% having supported Apaches during their military career. FSRs are a direct link to the latest Boeing proprietary technical documents and have instant access to Boeing engineering to supplement technical and maintenance manuals. Boeing FSRs provide critical technical support, innovation, training and cost savings as they work shoulder to shoulder with their United States government counterparts.
Boeing is the world’s largest aerospace company and leading provider of commercial airplanes, defense, space and security systems, and global services. As a top U.S. exporter, the company supports commercial and government customers in more than 150 countries, leveraging the talents of a global supplier base. Building on a legacy of aerospace leadership, Boeing continues to lead in technology and innovation, deliver for its customers and invest in its people and future growth. (Source: ASD Network)
22 Dec 20. Airbus begins HForce upgrade for Hungarian H145M helos. Airbus Helicopters has begun upgrading Hungary’s eventual fleet of 20 H145M rotorcraft with the company’s HForce Generic Weapon System (GWS).
The manufacturer announced on 18 December that three of the 16 helicopters so far delivered under the Eastern European nation’s Zrínyi 2026 military development programme have been retrofitted with the HForce GWS.
“They are fitted with the HForce weapon management system developed by Airbus Helicopters, which allows Hungary to equip and operate their aircraft with a complete range of ballistic or guided weapons,” Airbus said. With 16 H145M helicopters now based at Szolnok, the Hungarian Air Force will begin training with the HForce in June 2021, with its operational use slated to begin the following month.
As previously reported by Janes, the HForce GWS will enable Hungary to quickly and easily weaponise its helicopters by means of the Rockwell Collins Deutschland (RCD) FMC-4212 General Purpose Computer (GPC), the Thales Scorpion monocular helmet-mounted sight display (HMSD), a Wescam electro-optical sensor, as well as gunner armament weapon grips and weapon pods. Weapons options include 12.7mm heavy machine gun pods (HMGPs), 20mm cannon pods, air-to-surface and air-to-air missiles, and/or 68mm and 70mm unguided and guided rockets.
Airbus Helicopters has subdivided the HForce GWS into four different options, depending on the customer’s requirements: Option 0 – the helicopter is provisioned for the HForce GWC for later retrofit, but not yet equipped with it; Option 1 – Ballistic firing with HMSD (this includes pilot HMSD, as well as the integration of a combination of 12.7mm HMGPs, 20mm cannons, and unguided rockets. (Source: Jane’s)