27 Jan 21. UK to soon receive final Enhanced Pallet Loading System trucks. MAN Truck & Bus UK Ltd is slated to soon deliver the last of 382 Rheinmetall MAN Military Vehicles (RMMV) HX 8×8 trucks for the British Army fitted with the Enhanced Pallet Loading System (EPLS), under a GBP53m (USD72m) contract awarded by the Defence Equipment & Support organisation late in 2018.
This work is being undertaken at facilities in the UK with MAN Truck & Bus as prime contractor and RMMV responsible for supplying the conversion kit that is produced at its main military truck manufacturing facility in Vienna. The hook loading system is made by Cargotec, which has co-operated with RMMV for various international customers including Australia, New Zealand, Norway, and Sweden. These HX 8×8 trucks are fitted with a standard fully enclosed and air conditioned forward control cab that can accept an applique armour kit. The upgraded vehicles are designated as the EPLS3, and are replacing the Leyland DAF 8×6 Demountable Rack Off-loading and Pick up System (DROPS) Medium Mobility Load Carrier (MMLC) fitted with a Cargotec Mk 4 handing system with a nominal load of 16.5 tonnes, or a 20 ft ISO container system deployed by the British Army. When compared to the older DROPS, the new EPLS3 have greater cross-country mobility (8×8 drive rather than 8×6). In addition to the EPLS conversion, quantities of RMMV 8×8 trucks have also been allocated for other battlefield missions including the MBDA Land Ceptor surface-to-air missile system. Those 8×8s were provided to MBDA as government furnished equipment from British Army stocks. (Source: Jane’s)
27 Jan 21. Joint Assault Bridge ready for initial fielding after testing redo. The U.S. Army’s Joint Assault Bridge struggled in its first initial operational test and evaluation but saw drastic improvement in a second attempt in late 2020, opening up the program to begin conditional fielding to units, the bridging product manager within the Program Executive Office Combat Support and Combat Service Support, told Defense News.
The new JAB capability is intended to be a significant enhancement to the maneuverability of the Army’s combat forces, particularly armored brigade combat teams with M1 Abrams tanks and Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicles. It is replacing the Wolverine and M48/M60 chassis-based Armored Vehicle-Launched Bridge systems.
The service needed the second test after its first one at Fort Bliss, Texas, in April 2019 revealed issues related to the hydraulic system and training. The second test was supposed to happen in June 2020 at Fort Riley, Kansas, but the coronavirus pandemic caused a schedule slip to an event that took place August through November.
Leonardo DRS made changes to the design of the hydraulic systems to address the line failures and also improved the manufacturing process, solving reliability issues and improving performance, Elizabeth Miller said in a statement.
The design changes were cut into the production line in January 2020, Miller said. Leading up to the second initial operational test and evaluation, the improved JAB was evaluated at two separate demonstrations, she added, giving the Army confidence it would see success in the second test and evaluation.
Prior to the second evaluation, additional live-fire testing was conducted at Yuma Proving Ground, Arizona, in the second quarter of fiscal 2020. The event confirmed design changes to the Automatic Fire Extinguishing System and armor integration mitigated vulnerabilities identified in previous tests.
Existing systems will be retrofitted with design changes prior to fielding, Miller said.
During the second test, “all JAB systems completed both 96-hour mission cycles without an Operational Mission Failure,” Miller said. “During this time, the JAB completed 83 launch and retrieve cycles and 549 miles with all systems entering and completing the test event Fully Mission Capable.”
The JAB will be fielded under a conditional materiel release to its first unit — the 1st ABCT, 1st Infantry Division — in March 2021, Miller said. That was the unit that conducted the second test.
The conditional materiel release is in place to move forward with fielding while the program office makes improvements to the chassis and completes logistical requirements, according to Miller.
While the JAB is fully operational and meets mission requirements for large-scale combat operations, Miller said, the system continues to receive improvements to “reduce vulnerabilities ensuring the system can remain in the fight during a contingent environment.”
Leonardo DRS is under contract to complete the design, which will begin tests in the fourth quarter of FY21. The Army expects to receive a full materiel release in FY22.
The systems are slated to be fielded across the active, Reserve and National Guard components. The Army’s objective requirement is 297 systems, which will be delivered through FY27.
Congress zeroed out the program’s FY21 funding of $72m in its appropriations bill, which eliminated the production of 15 JAB systems in the fiscal year. That cut delays the “ramp up” to full-rate production of four systems a month by more than a year due to the 14-month production lead time, Miller said.
However, the program is postured to increase production in FY27 by 15 systems to complete the Army acquisition objective, she added. (Source: Defense News)
26 Jan 21. Cascade Aerospace Takes Delivery of first USMC KC-130J Aircraft as Part of $374m Contract. IMP Aerospace & Defence is pleased to announce that its operating unit Cascade Aerospace, has accepted delivery into maintenance today of the first US Marine Corps (USMC) KC-130J aircraft as part of the unique contract to support the United States Navy (USN) global C-130 operational footprint for up to 10 years.
This contract, in support of Naval Air Systems Command’s Tactical Airlift Program Office, is a multi-award contract to provide Maintenance, Repair & Overhaul (MRO) services to the USMC’s KC-130J fleet. Cascade Aerospace was chosen by the USN after a lengthy selection process involving MRO providers from around the world.
“This program leverages the important depot level work being performed in support of the RCAF C-130J’s.” said Kevin Lemke, Executive Vice-President and COO of Cascade Aerospace. “This demonstrates the close ties between Canada and the US; and the importance of the North American shared Industrial Base to keep the warfighter mission ready. As one of the largest and most capable C-130 depots in the Americas, we are proud to offer the men and women of the US Marine Corps C-130 maintenance that is globally recognized for both safety and quality of service.”
Cascade’s primary location on the Pacific Rim is well suited to support the contract being managed by the US Navy’s Fleet Readiness Center (FRC) Western Pacific and Fleet Logistics Center (FLC) in Yokosuka, Japan. Commanding Officer Randy J. Berti comments, “Teaming up with Cascade Aerospace, a globally recognized leader on C-130 maintenance, will help us accomplish our mission and accelerate naval aviation readiness with world-class execution.” (Source: PR Newswire)
26 Jan 21. CENTCOM developing contingency logistics sites in Saudi Arabia. US Central Command (CENTCOM) has revealed four sites in western Saudi Arabia that it is using as part of an effort to establish more resilient supply lines.
After accompanying CENTCOM commander General Kenneth McKenzie on a visit to the kingdom on 25 January, The Wall Street Journal identified the sites as commercial and industrial ports in Yanbu and airbases in Tabuk and Taif.
The newspaper published a photograph of Gen McKenzie at a currently unused part of King Fahad Industrial Port Yanbu. King Faisal Air Base and King Fahd Air Base are located in Tabuk and Taif respectively.
“What it does is to give us options, and options are always a good thing for a commander to have,” Gen McKenzie said. He added that personnel, aircraft, and weapons have been moved through all the sites over the past year to test how they can be used to transfer assets in and out of the region. Additional sites that Gen McKenzie declined to identify are under consideration.
CENTCOM spokesman Captain Bill Urban told the Associated Press on the following day that the plan was prompted by the 19 September 2019 attack on Saudi oil facilities using cruise missiles and unmanned aircraft and that Riyadh has already paid for improvements at the sites.
“These are prudent military planning measures that allow for temporary or conditional access of facilities in the event of a contingency,” he said. “[They] are not provocative in any way, nor are they an expansion of the US footprint in the region.” (Source: Jane’s)
25 Jan 21. TMD Technologies, LLC, Baltimore, Maryland (TMD US), a world class supplier of high-power microwave and RF transmitter products, has significantly expanded its Service and Repair facility in response to increased demand for technical support services.
This development is a direct response to recent new maintenance requirements from our US Military customers to service and support our transmitter/amplifier products, including TWT-based amplifier diagnostics, component level upgrades, and sub-system repairs.
Said Mike Farley, CEO at TMD US: “As the US military continues to upgrade their radar and EW platforms to extend system life, technical product support, maintenance, and repair have become increasingly important. At TMD US, we have addressed this critical requirement head-on, and have invested in the human resources and capital equipment needed to strengthen our capacity to expand this growing aspect of our business.
Continued Mike Farley: “At our recently up-graded Service Center in Baltimore, Maryland, high-power airborne, ground-based and shipboard transmitter systems for radar and EW/ECM/EA applications undergo full evaluation, performance upgrades and, if needed, repairs. Our impressive turn-around time on these activities provides an essential advantage to our customers in the form of reduced system downtime.
Working to the highest standards
In order to meet these demanding requirements, all relevant technical certifications are monitored and fulfilled at the TMD US Service Center, with strict adherence to current standards. Test engineers are factory trained and accredited by TMD at its advanced manufacturing establishment in the UK. As such, TMD’s customers can confidently entrust the company with the repair of their TWTAs (Travelling Wave Tube Amplifiers), ruggedized amplifiers, and MPMs (Microwave Power Modules) currently in use on active military programs.
At TMD US, the growth of its Service Center has become a strategic imperative to bring further technical support to its US military and prime contractor customers.
22 Jan 21. First of 14 aircraft to be maintained by the depot over the next 10 years. Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE: NOC) today announced it recently inducted the first U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) P-3 Orion aircraft for depot level maintenance at its Aircraft Maintenance and Fabrication Center in Lake Charles. Northrop Grumman was awarded a contract in June for aircraft maintenance and logistics services for the P-3 fleet. In addition to depot level maintenance, the company will support daily operations of the 14 aircraft fleet operating primarily out of Jacksonville, Florida, and Corpus Christi, Texas, as well as domestic and international deployment locations. All 14 aircraft in the fleet will undergo depot inductions over the course of the contract.
“Northrop Grumman’s expertise in aircraft maintenance, logistics and sustainment have kept aircraft fleets mission ready for decades,” said Michelle Scarpella, sector vice president and general manager, global sustainment and modernization, Northrop Grumman. “We support operations of aircraft around the world and have delivered depot maintenance from our Aircraft Maintenance and Fabrication Center in Lake Charles for over 20 years.”
Northrop Grumman’s growing Aircraft Maintenance and Fabrication Center is home to 700 professionals who have performed over 15 million hours of direct maintenance work on numerous aircraft including the P-3 Orion, E-8C, E2-C Hawkeye, C-2A Greyhound, and the United Kingdom Royal Air Force’s E-3D.
Northrop Grumman solves the toughest problems in space, aeronautics, defense and cyberspace to meet the ever evolving needs of our customers worldwide. Our 90,000 employees define possible every day using science, technology and engineering to create and deliver advanced systems, products and services.