21 Jan 21. IFS to propel major transformation project for India’s largest defence manufacturer.
- Comprehensive ERP solution from IFS to be rolled out in collaboration with Tech Mahindra to 9,500 users, working at multiple divisions across India
IFS, the global enterprise applications company, has signed a contract with Tech Mahindra, a leading provider of digital transformation, consulting and business re-engineering services and solutions and the prime contractor for Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), to enable HAL’s Project Parivartan Program, a US$ 54m (Rs 400 crore) business transformation project.
Dubbed Project Parivartan and conceived as a comprehensive business transformation exercise, the initiative will involve large-scale implementation of technological enhancements to establish new work processes based on industry best practice.
The comprehensive IFS solution will replace a large number of disparate business systems in HAL with a central, consolidated platform that will empower staff with easy access to accurate data. The project will also provide enhanced inventory visibility and purchasing power, powerful financial capabilities and group-level consolidation.
“In order to meet the challenges of evolving business scenarios and to ensure sustaining competitiveness and customer focus, HAL has initiated ‘Project Parivartan’,” said Mr. R Madhavan, CMD, Hindustan Aeronautics Limited. “As a leading digital transformation company, Tech Mahindra will implement the new platform from IFS and help HAL meet the dynamic needs of this hyper-digitalised world using ERP. This will further enhance mission-critical processes, such as MRO, and will facilitate HAL in ushering in a new era of centralised operations based on industry best practices.”
Sujit Baksi, President Corporate Affairs and Business Head Emerging Markets, Tech Mahindra, said, “Tech Mahindra’s selection by HAL extends our vision of supporting government’s ‘Atmanirbhar’ (self-reliant) initiative to enhance our indigenous capabilities. The project will transform HAL’s ERP system through the implementation of a new platform from IFS, thus enabling us to serve the Armed Forces in an efficient and effective manner. This is in line with our TechMNxt charter that focuses on leveraging new generation technologies with original equipment manufacturers and aims to deliver an enhanced experience to our customers.”
Michael Ouissi, Chief Customer Officer, IFS, added, “The need for HAL to manage and orchestrate the many intricate elements of its operation cannot be underrated from an effectiveness, financial and service perspective. We are honoured to continue our relationship with HAL as they work with our trusted partner Tech Mahindra to implement the latest IFS solution as part of ‘Project Parivartan’. Our platform is engineered to help international, multi-site companies in heavily regulated industries, such as aerospace and defence, digitalise and positively transform their value chains.”
The ERP solution from IFS will support business-critical processes, including maintenance, repair, overhaul (MRO), manufacturing, supply chain management, human capital management (HCM), and finance.
19 Jan 21. UK Navy’s ice patrol ship HMS Protector completes ten-month revamp. The British Navy’s ice patrol ship HMS Protector has successfully completed a ten-month overhaul at UK Docks Marine Services.
The British Navy’s ice patrol ship HMS Protector has successfully completed a ten-month overhaul at UK Docks Marine Services.
The revamp has been carried out as part of orders worth £150m that UK Docks won to service the UK Ministry of Defence’s marine research vessels over ten years.
The three ships are HMS Protector, HMS Enterprise, and HMS Echo.
Under the £14m overhaul, the refit work included overhauling engines, generators, hull painting by hand and inspecting the propeller shaft in Denmark and reinstallation.
The revamped vessel now features improved cargo space, new gym, new quarter deck structure, naval stores complex, and a workshop.
HMS Protector commanding officer captain Michael Wood said: “The past ten months on Teesside have transformed HMS Protector into a Polar Class vessel, ready for operations in the ice.
“The ship has undergone wholesale modernisation, exceptional amounts of structural rework, and significant capability enhancement as part of this mid-life update, and all in challenging circumstances for our industry partners.
“And while we were unable to deploy to Antarctica this season, we will return stronger at the end of 2021.”
Following the upgrade work, HMS Protector departed Teeside and returned to sea.
It was originally scheduled to return in autumn last year, but the overhaul required more time than originally expected due to the ‘more comprehensive’ nature of the revamp programme.
Since the revamp has been particularly carried out entirely during the coronavirus pandemic, the ship sailed three months later than planned.
UK engineering technician Craig Armstrong said: “I’ve been impressed by the scale, technical nature, and improvements to the engineering systems and I’m looking forward to working with them and enhancing our skills.” (Source: naval-technology.com)
20 Jan 21. The Defense Department still isn’t meeting its F-35 readiness goals. The F-35 joint strike fighter is still struggling to meet its mission capable rate goals, with current figures well below the military’s target, the Pentagon’s outgoing acquisition chief told reporters on Jan. 19.
The Lockheed Martin-made F-35′s mission capable rate — which describes the percentage of aircraft that can meet at least one of its assigned missions — currently sits at 69 percent, falling short of the military’s longstanding 80 percent goal, said Ellen Lord, whose time as the undersecretary for acquisition and sustainment ended Jan. 20 at noon after Joe Biden was inaugurated as president.
When looking at fully mission capable aircraft able to perform all of the F-35′s assigned missions, “we’re currently at 36 percent fully mission capable, and we are striving to be at 50 percent for the fleet,” she added.
Lord attributed the low percentage of fully mission capable jets to ongoing issues with the F-35′s canopy and the F135 engine’s power module.
Although she did not elaborate, the program has grappled with a longstanding problem with “transparency delamination,” where outer layers of the canopy begin to peel away from the base. In 2019, an F-35 joint program office spokesman told Defense News that the department was working with canopy supplier GKN Aerospace to improve the design and increase the supply of canopy transparencies.
Although the F-35′s mission capable rate has improved in recent years, the latest figures presented by Lord show that progress be stagnating.
In testimony to the House Oversight and Reform Committee in July, Lord noted that the mission capable rate for the F-35 increased from about 60 percent in January 2020 to nearly 70 percent in June of that year. Full mission capable rates improved from below 40 percent to nearly 50 percent over the same time period, she wrote.
A similar jump had been documented in Lord’s testimony to the House Armed Services Committee in November 2019, where she wrote that mission capable rates for combat-coded squadrons had increased from 55 percent in October 2018 to 73 percent in September 2019.
It’s not always easy to chart the trajectory of whether the F-35′s readiness is improving due to a host of factors.
Although Pentagon officials like Lord have, at times, provided updates about the jet’s mission capable rates, it is often unclear whether the numbers cited reflect a single point in time — an especially good month where more F-35s are ready to fly, for example — or a sustained trend. Officials also sometimes talk specifically about “operational” or “combat-coded” squadrons, which leaves out a lot of the early model F-35s used by training and test squadrons, which are more prone to breaking down and needing repairs.
Other times, the department has made mission capable rate data inaccessible to the public. In a November report on aircraft readiness, the Government Accountability Office reported that mission capable rates of all three F-35 variants had been moving upwards since fiscal 2018, but did not provide specific figures because the Defense Department designated such information as sensitive.
Between fiscal years 2012 through 2019, the F-35A was able to meet mission capable rate goals in two years, the GAO reported. The F-35B hit its objective in only one year from fiscal 2013 to 2019, and the F-35C met its target two years over the same period.
The GAO noted that spare parts shortages had contributed to the F-35 not being able to meet readiness objectives.
“Specifically, the F-35 supply chain does not have enough spare parts available to keep aircraft flying enough of the time necessary to meet warfighter requirements,” the GAO stated. “Several factors contributed to these parts shortages, including F-35 parts breaking more often than expected, and DOD’s limited capability to repair parts when they break.” (Source: Defense News)
21 Jan 21. Rethinking Resupply to the Forward Line. Logistical resupply may not seem glamorous but it is critical to success or failure in combat, particularly when forces are dispersed or in a peer-to-peer conflict.
Providing fighting arms with the essentials of ammunition, food, water, fuel, parts and the many other items is a constant challenge, with the supply of ammunition being one of the most crucial tasks among these. Moving, storing and delivering ordnance ranging from small arms bullets, to artillery shells, rockets, and guided missiles, also referred to as Class V, requires organisation, procedure and assets specific to that task. To accomplish this in a variety of terrain, weather, and tactical scenarios often requires specifically designed equipment and systems.
Moving and delivering artillery and larger mortar rounds from storage magazines to forward combat users confrnts major and unique difficulties. These items are heavy, difficult to handle and often utilise special packing for safe storage and transpot. They also can also be consumed in large quantities quickly when active combat occurs requiring moving large amounts of munitions in short order. These factors combine to make it preferable that ammunition be moved with as little handling as possible. Ideally it should be delivered directly to the final user in the combat zone who may well be in contact with the enemy.
Reliably providing ammunition to artillery is especially critical yet with each projectile in the 155mm calibre around 40-50kg (88-110lbs) alone, plus its charges, it is not a simple task. In addition, in response to increasingly effective counter-battery capabilities artillery must be more mobile changing its location after fire missions which can preclude the stockpiling of ammunition at gun positions. The movement of artillery stocks forward was simplified by the adaption of a commercial technique combining the use of ‘flat racks’, essentially flat metal pallets with an assembly on one end which hooks into a lifting device on a specially equipped truck.
As Mike Ivy, senior vice president International Programs at Oshkosh Defence, a principle supplier of the US Army Palletised Load System (PLS) explained, “It is a simple yet extremely efficient system. The PLS configured truck backs up to the rack, the driver deploys the hook attaching to the assembly on the flatrack and then lifts it onto the rear chassis. The entire process takes under a minute. Upon reaching the delivery point he reverses the process lowering the flatrack to the ground. The hook automatically disengages and the driver is able to depart never leaving the cab.”
The PLS and United Kingdom DROPS (dismountable rack offload and pickup system) as well as compatible similar French, German and other NATO systems use a standardised rack with a 15 metric ton (16.5 short ton) capacity. Further developments have provided a flatrack compatible trailer, a container handling unit that can carry 20ft ISOs with need for a flat rack and the CROPS (containerised roll-in/roll-out platform) where the rack fits inside the ISO. An Enhanced PLS includes the Movement Tracking System (MTS) that monitors the location and displays the load using a Global Positioning System (GPS). It also provides two-way digital messaging to both track logistics assets and redirect them to a new delivery site as necessary. Given the increasingly fluid nature of the forward battle space, the targeting of artillery and its associated resupply elements, and the push for forward resupply the armouring of the PLS and other logistics vehicles undertaken in response to insurgent attacks has taken on a new importance. By providing previously lacking protection to drivers it enhances their ability to perform closer to the enemy less threatened by indirect fire shrapnel.
Readily supplying artillery does not end with the dropping of the flatrack. It must then be transferred to the guns themselves. This remains a key problem for towed guns, however, it is being addressed in a number of self-propelled artillery through AARVs (Armoured Ammunition Resupply Vehicles). The Republic of Korea’s Hanwha K10 is noteworthy it its approach to addressing this task. ShinYoung Park Manager Overseas Business Team at Hanwha Land Systems explained ” K10 is teamed with Hanwha’s K9 Thunder self-propelled 155mm howitzer. It is a fully-automated ammunition carrier and reloading system. Its task is to replenish the K9 using its 104 projectiles and 504 propellant charges. It collects these from resupply trucks or forward stocks and moves them directly to the Thunder. Crewmen of neither vehicle are exposed in the transfer process which can move 10 rounds per minute over its electrically driven telescoping arm meaning it can completely rearm a K9 in five minutes. The K10 provides for the secure availability of ammunition for the guns without taking them off-line and loosing their firepower at a critical moment.
Mechanised combat units have the benefit of a vehicle which can carry additional supplies of ammunition for both its weapons and those of embarked infantry. As a result they have greater combat endurance and can engage in fire fights with less concern of running low on ammunition. Onboard ammunition stocks increase the ability for mechanised and motorised forces to conduct extended independent combat action.
Reducing the demand to replenish Class V also permits focus on other demands such as Class III – fuel. Still the intensity of combat can see high ammunition expenditures. Anticipating this a several armies have introduced armoured logistics and support vehicles, usually variants of an already widely fielded combat vehicle but configured with a large rear compartment specifically to accommodate loads. The US Marine Corps included a LAV- logistics variant in its fleet and currently the Canadian Forces are fielding their wheeled LAVIII Armoured Combat Support Vehicle (ACSV) with a cargo role. Norway has selected a tracked ASCV from FFG, plus the ARTEC Boxer family includes a cargo logistic module that can accept two standard one tonne pallets for the Dutch Army. The US Army’s Armoured Multi-Purpose Vehicle description suggests it also has a resupply capacity although it is not reflected as a specific mission.
For light infantry having adequate ammunition and other essential goods this is a continuous and serious concern. The dismounted soldier is limited to the ammunition that he is able to carry for a rifleman which may be around 80 rounds, for the machine gun team possibly 600 rounds, and for a light mortar crew maybe 20. This basic load can be quickly exhausted in an engagement when they need to be resupplied. The problem for these light units is their very limited capability for carrying additional ammunition close at hand and the difficulties in providing responsive resupply. This is particularly an issue for heavier ordnance like portable anti-tank guided missiles – a Javelin is 15.9kg (35lbs) – and mortar rounds This is further complicated by the need for a solution that can travel where the unit goes and should not take soldiers away from combat duties.
The development and use of autonomous ground vehicles is beginning to show as an alternative to this task. Systems like the Rheinmetall Defence Mission Master provide a small all-terrain capable cargo carrier that will carry 600kg (1320lbs) of ammunition and other supplies. Retired General Alain Tremblay, a vice president at the company shared that “a driving factor for Unmanned Ground Vehicles (UGVs) like Mission Master is the need to provide the essential capability without the need to dedicate soldiers to the task.” The US Army in July 2020 awarded a contact to General Dynamics Ordnance and Tactical Systems for a similar capability. Their multi-wheeled MUTT is to be fielded to units like the 82nd Airborne and 10th Mountain Divisions. Both had previous used light all-terrain vehicles like the Polaris MRZR but these require a soldier to drive. Polaris proposed an ‘optionally-manned’ version of its MRZR that program manager Patrick Zech said “allowed for both traditional driving even at high speeds and autonomous operation when preferred.” The MUTT and Mission Master can travel without soldier control either autonomously or automatically by following a soldier (referred to as ‘leader-follower’). With these robotic cargo carriers a rifle company could be accompanied by a resupply of readily available ammunition (33 cans of 5.56mm could be loaded on one MUTT). In addition, given advances in autonomous point-to-point navigation it may be also possible for these UGVs to be programmed to transport ammunition and other supplies from the rear to forward units.
Capitalising on the possibilities that robotics may offer, the concept of using current technologies to provide self-driving truck convoys is viewed as a way to more efficiently move supplies from depots with fewer soldiers. The idea is actually building off commercial demonstrations conducted as early as 2015 by Daimler Trucks with its Highway Pilot system. The US Army’s Expedient Leader-Follower envisions nine unmanned trucks with a soldier driving the lead. However, Oshkosh Defence and Robotic Research has suggested a completely autonomous convoy is within reach. Oshkosh’s program manager for Autonomous Vehicles, Chuck Bunton stated: “The technology does exist, but we are not there yet with acceptance”. Still the Army has proposed an Automated Ground Resupply Program for as early as 2022. The use of automated resupply offers definite benefits on well established and secure routes. How far the self navigating approach can currently be applied remains to be seen, particularly across unfamiliar terrain.
New Challenges for Combat Logistics
Resupplying in counter-insurgency presented extended communication routes that could be vulnerable to attack and disruption as well as the need to resupply remote outposts. Yet, future battlefields may be even more challenging. The presence of unmanned aerial systems over both forward and rear areas will make discrete movement and distribution of ammunition and fuel appreciably more difficult. This is coupled with the demonstrated capability for these detections to be quickly engaged by massive firepower. In addition, the anticipated increased dispersal and displacement of combat units will likely require logistics efforts to operate independently and able to take combat action to pursue their resupply missions. The enhanced difficulties in executing uninterrupted replenishment and increased need for these to be more rapidly accomplished is complicated by greater ammunition expenditures anticipated on the peer-on-peer battlefield. Past combat logistics processes and procedures now need extensive re-evaluation for conflict now and in the future. (Source: Armada)
20 Jan 21. Battery manufacturer and supplier, Lincad, is celebrating a twelve-month extension of its battery supply contract with defence and logistics specialists, Team Leidos.
The contract is to continue supplying a range of primary batteries for distribution to British armed forces deployed around the world.
The batteries are mostly lithium chemistry, with many used in mission-critical applications. They are therefore required to conform to exacting UK Defence Standards. Lincad has invested further in its battery testing facilities to ensure that product supplied continues to maintain these required standards. Lincad also provides Team Leidos expertise in packing and labelling, ensuring suitable packaging for various transport modes, which includes full adherence with IATA transportation regulations.
The original three-year contract with Team Leidos began in Q1 2018. After demonstrating good performance during the contract, Leidos has agreed to extend the contract until Q4 2021.
Peter Slade, Joint Managing Director at Lincad, says of the contract extension, “We are delighted to continue working with Team Leidos for another twelve months. With the UK military’s involvement in managing the coronavirus pandemic, it is more important than ever that our frontline personnel are fully supported, and Lincad is proud to be part of that supply chain.”
Team Leidos was founded to ensure continuous supply of mission-critical equipment and global expertise to the UK defence industry. The organisation is assisting in implementing the Ministry of Defence’s Logistic Commodities and Services (Transformation (LCS[T]) programme, designed to improve the UK’s defence supply chain.
- Lincad is a privately-owned UK company with over 30 years’ experience in the design, manufacture and supply of bespoke batteries and charging systems.
- Lincad is an ISO 9001 and TickITplus accredited company with expertise in battery chemistry, systems, hardware and software engineering and is based in Ash Vale in the South East of England where the design and manufacture of all its products takes place.
19 Jan 21. South Korea selects localised version of M3 amphibious rig for RoKA. South Korea’s Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) has formally selected a localised version of the M3 amphibious rig to meet a Republic of Korea Army (RoKA) requirement for an amphibious bridge and ferry system.
Official sources told Janes on 19 January that this M3 variant, which was proposed by Hanwha Defense in partnership with original equipment manufacturer (OEM) General Dynamics European Land Systems (GDELS), was chosen over the Otter Armoured Amphibious Assault Bridge (AAAB) system, which had been proposed by rival bidder Hyundai Rotem in co-operation with OEM FNSS Savunma Sistemleri, following a series of trials and evaluations conducted in the second half of 2020. In its bid for the KRW500bn (USD454m) programme, which was submitted in March 2020, Hanwha Defense had stated that the localised M3 version, known as the M3K, would be built under licence in South Korea and specifically tailored to meet RoKA requirements. Sources told Janes that the RoKA has a requirement for about 100 of these systems, with deliveries slated to begin in 2023. (Source: Jane’s)
20 Jan 21. Alcon launches new Ford F550 brake upgrade kit for performance off-road, specialist and defence use. Alcon Components Ltd, the highly acclaimed UK-based brake and clutch company, have announced the launch of a new brake upgrade kit for the Ford F550 to support the performance off-road, specialist, armoured and defence vehicle sectors. The 6-piston caliper and pad kit is compatible with the stock OEM actuation and stability control system, so is easy to fit but has been fully “ruggedised” to ensure extreme levels of robustness and performance are balanced with the requirement to keep weight to a minimum.
The new Alcon F550 kit offers many advantages for serious off-road use. The cast iron housings allow the calipers to be fitted in many standard wheels, where aluminium calipers will not fit, allowing large specialist off-road tyres to be used. The calipers are extremely stiff, giving improved pedal feel and the additional brake torque available reduces the increased brake efforts required when the vehicle is fitted with specialist tyres, with larger than standard rolling radii. As well, the sealing technology and dirt protection is the same concept as used on Alcon’s off-road motorsport product – a proven WRC Championship winner. All calipers sold for serious off-road use will be plated and painted for optimum corrosion protection and performance styling.
When optimised for specialist, armoured and defence vehicle use, the Alcon F550 kit offers improved brake torque allowing the vehicles to be armoured or modified to greater Gross Vehicle Weights. Reduced brake fade and enhanced corrosion protection combine with discrete styling to avoid attention being drawn to the fact that the vehicle has been armoured or modified. In addition, the secure design with bleed screws only on the inboard side makes them less likely to be tampered with and the materials and technology used is common with products already sold by Alcon to major global defence vehicle and axle manufacturers, that are now in use by security services and armed forces across the world.
In addition to the F550 kit, Alcon brake kits are available for a wide range of other SUV’s, including, but not exclusively: Ford F150-based Raptor and Ranger platforms; Chevrolet’s Suburban and Suburban HD; GM’s GMT K2-based platforms Tahoe and Escalade; Toyota’s LC 200, LC78-79 and Hilux; Mercedes’ Sprinter; and VW’s Amaroc and Crafter. All of the armoured or specialist variants of these base platforms have significantly increased Gross Vehicle Weight, often by over 30%. Alcon are able to offer a ready-made solution for the essential brake upgrade required to accompany armoured modifications and other specialist and performance vehicle applications, where the stock braking systems become challenged.
Alcon has over 25 years of experience in engineering brakes and clutches for specialist vehicles; from F1, World Rally and prestige performance cars to 30T-plus military armoured vehicles. This places them at the forefront of developing and delivering high performance braking solutions for sectors where only the absolute best can be accepted. Alcon’s off the shelf brake kits allow both OEM’s and vehicle modification companies to overcome the challenges posed by modifying vehicles for performance off-road, defence, security and other specialist purposes.
Jonathan Edwards, Group Sales Director at Alcon said: “We’re very proud to be launching this new Ford F550 kit today. We are offering proven and reliable brake performance enhancements to those wanting to seriously operate the vehicle off-road, in specialist roles or in the security and defence sectors, where the F550 base automotive elements are often used in up-armoured and bespoke military vehicle designs”.
18 Jan 21. PLAGF operating new tracked ATV for high-altitude logistics support. State-owned broadcaster China Central Television (CCTV) revealed in mid-January that the People’s Liberation Army Ground Force (PLAGF) is operating a new tracked all-terrain vehicle (ATV) to provide logistics support to troops deployed in hard-to-reach high-altitude areas.
In a news report published on its js7tv.cn website, CCTV said that the four-door vehicle, the designation of which was not disclosed, can be used to supply troops stationed in plateau regions at altitudes of more than 5,000 m above sea level. The ATV, which was shown towing an open-top tracked rear module, is equipped with caterpillar tracks made of metalloid, can climb slopes with an inclination of more than 35°, has an average speed of 40 km/h, and can deliver up to 1.5 tons of supplies, according to CCTV. Both modules have evenly spaced road wheels on both sides. The state-owned Global Times newspaper reported that the recently delivered vehicle, which appears to be armoured and was shown painted in PLAGF camouflage, has entered service with the PLAGF’s “plateau transportation troops”: a euphemism used by state media that often refers to some of the troops operating in either the Tibet or Xinjiang military commands. CCTV provided no further details about the vehicle but it appears to be based on the JM8 ATV from Chinese company Guizhou Zhanyang Power Heavy Industry that was first identified by Janes in 2015. (Source: Jane’s)