01 Apr 21. Embraer successfully concludes aerial refueling qualification between two KC-390 Millennium aircraft. Embraer reached another important milestone in the development of the KC-390 Millennium multi-mission military freighter program with the successful conclusion of the aerial refueling qualification between two KC-390 Millennium, proving, for the Brazilian Air Force (FAB), this new operational capacity of the aircraft.
The in-flight refueling capacity between two aircraft of the same model using inflight refueling underwing “pods” is unique in this category. This allows KC-390 Millennium operators to expand their logistical transport capacity and during search and rescue operations, which increases the autonomy and range of their missions.
The demonstrations were conducted at Embraer’s Gavião Peixoto site in flights with aerial refueling between two aircraft. Pilots and engineers from FAB joined the flights, when the excellent flight qualities of the airplane and the low workload for the crew were demonstrated as a result of the “fly-by-wire” system control laws, which were developed by Embraer specifically for the KC-390.
Since its entrance into service, the KC-390 has proven its excellent performance and capacity as a new generation multi-mission aircraft. Recently, the four aircraft fleet operated by the Brazilian Air Force exceeded 2,500 flight hours in operation, being used extensively in operations to fight COVID-19 in Brazil. In addition to FAB, the Portuguese and the Hungarian Air Forces ordered the aircraft.
A joint project between FAB and Embraer, the C-390 Millennium is a military transport aircraft designed to set new standards in its category.
For air forces that desire to enter the 21st century achieving more operational effect, and with a modern and significantly more capable aircraft, the C-390 Millennium delivers unrivaled mobility capabilities, high productivity and flexibility at low operating costs. The rugged platform, using state-of-the-art technologies, was specially developed to operate in austere environments and can perform a wide range of missions with a single platform with high levels of availability, reliability, safety, and survivability capacity.
The C-390 Millennium and the designation KC-390 Millennium fly faster and carry more cargo than any other military freighters of the same category and are the ideal platforms for the main usage scenarios in humanitarian, tactical and strategic operations. The C-390 and the KC-390 Millennium require fewer on-demand inspections and maintenance, with levels of simplification normally associated only with commercial aircraft. This feature, combined with highly reliable systems and components, reduces the time on the ground and overall operating costs, contributing to excellent availability levels and low life-cycle costs.
01 Apr 21. BAE Systems secures Future Maritime Support Programme contracts worth over £1bn. BAE Systems will retain its key role supporting the Royal Navy at Portsmouth Naval Base, with the Company securing two contracts as part of the Ministry of Defence’s (MOD) Future Maritime Support Programme (FMSP) competition. The contracts, worth up to £1.3bn over five years, will commence on 1 October 2021 following a transition period. BAE Systems will continue to deliver ship asset management, repair and maintenance for the entire Portsmouth flotilla under a £900m contract. It will also establish a Joint Venture with KBR to deliver technology-led and data-driven facilities management and dockside services at the base, under a £365m contract. The joint venture – to be called KBS Maritime – will combine the expertise of KBR as a global leader in the infrastructure asset management and services market, with BAE Systems’ experience and capability within Portsmouth Naval Base.
David Mitchard, Managing Director of BAE Systems’ Maritime Services business, said: “These new contracts will enable us to continue our vital role in supporting the Royal Navy, at home and abroad, building on our long history of delivery, investment and collaboration at Portsmouth Naval Base.
“Working with our customer, we’re proud of the improvements we’ve made at the base, delivering significant infrastructure improvements and reducing carbon emissions by 65%. We’re excited by the opportunity to continue delivering transformation alongside KBR and other new service providers to support the Royal Navy at Portsmouth, mitigating environmental impact of operations, whilst maintaining critical military outputs.”
The first of the FMSP contracts secured by BAE Systems (Ship Engineering Delivery and Management) covers Class Output Management (strategy), Design Services (technical planning and design) and Ship Engineering (maintenance, repair and upgrade).
The second contract (Hard Facilities Management & Alongside Services) covers strategic estate management, infrastructure programme development and delivery and provision of operations, maintenance and alongside services. KBS Maritime will further develop the Portsmouth base infrastructure, securing investment in the local community and ensuring fit-for-purpose, world-leading naval fleet support for the Royal Navy and the UK.
BAE Systems and its legacy companies have a proud heritage of supporting the Royal Navy at Portsmouth Naval Base for more than 20 years, with the last seven years successfully delivering the Maritime Support Delivery Framework (MSDF) as part of Team Portsmouth. Under this contract, BAE Systems has managed the entire Portsmouth Naval Base estate and supported the Portsmouth-based flotilla.
As well as improving ship delivery, and through a successful partnership with the MOD, BAE Systems has helped deliver a number of major improvements to the base under MSDF. These include a Centre of Specialisation for Aircraft Carriers, major improvements to 14 and 15 dock and creation of a new D lock. The Company has also helped reduce carbon emissions from approximately 100,000 tonnes to 35,000 tonnes per year over the last 15 years, supported by the creation of a state-of-the-art Combined Heat and Power (CHP) plant to supply power to the Aircraft Carriers and the introduction of electric vehicles to the base. The Company has also helped the customer to develop its carbon profile and roadmap for Portsmouth Naval Base, and will support the implementation of the roadmap to achieve the MOD’s net zero goals by 2050.
30 Mar 21. Saab trials 3D-printed battle damage repair for Gripen. Saab has trialled battle damage repair of its Gripen combat aircraft using 3D-printed parts, the Swedish manufacturer announced on 30 March. A 3D-printed panel hatch was created and fitted to a Gripen D testbed, with a 30-minute test then flown over Saab’s Linköping facility in southern Sweden on 19 March. While 3D-printed parts have been flown internally, and included in the Gripen E, this test marked the first flight of an external section of the aircraft.
“A Gripen was fitted with a hatch that had been 3D printed using additive manufacturing, using a nylon polymer called PA2200. The spare part passed the test with flying colours,” Saab said in a statement. As noted by the company, as there was no 3D computer model of the hatch, the original was first removed from the aircraft and scanned.
“This work is a step towards 3D-printed spares being used for rapid repairs to fighter aircraft that have sustained damage while deployed on remote operations, thereby gaining a vital time-saving advantage,” Saab said.
According to support contract manager for Gripen C/D Håkan Stake, who has also been managing the development project, this process reduces the operational time lost in repairs and means that other jets do not have to be cannibalised for parts.
Göran Backlund, chief technology officer, Business Area Dynamics and chair of the Saab Additive Manufacturing Group, told Janes. (Source: Jane’s)
29 Mar 21. A USMC Logistics Base May Be the Warehouse of the Future. Virginia Tech researchers aim to use 5G networks to track items as they come and go. In the warehouse of the future, nothing is ever lost. A massive web of 5G-connected sensors will track every object all the time everywhere, slashing the time required to manage and restock items. The Defense Department has awarded $13m to a Virginia Tech-led team to build just such a smart warehouse for the Marine Corps. If it succeeds, it will be a prototype for other smart warehouses for DoD — and possibly other organizations around the globe.
Building an energy-efficient and secure warehouse network isn’t as simple as simply setting up a lot of antennas, according to Sachin Shetty, the executive director of the Center for Secure & Intelligent Critical Systems at Old Dominion University’s Virginia Modeling, Analysis, and Simulation Center. Shetty says that current 5G network architectures can’t support the sort of sensor networks needed to locate objects with the required precision, nor are they resilient enough to cyber attack.
So Shetty’s team is figuring out new ways to link sensors through the next-gen networking technology.
“Our proposed 5G network enhancements will result in an efficient, secure 5G network architecture that will provide accurate tracking of warehouse assets, communication resilience in diverse channel conditions and near real-time information delivery,” he said.
Over the next three years, Shetty and his team will work with companies and academic institutions within the Commonwealth Cyber Initiative to create a resilient distributed positioning network, or RDPN, at the Marine Corps logistics base in Albany, Georgia. An RPDN uses distributed sensors to track items inside the warehouse with precision positioning. They’ll also create a distributed coherent multi-input, multi-output network, or DCM. This is a technique for boosting antenna strength by combining the signals from multiple short antennas, attached to 5G base stations, into a larger virtual antenna. That, in turn, enables much better connectivity between the network inside the warehouse and outside.
“This effort to realize a 5G-empowered smart warehouse…will serve as a prototype capability which has the potential to be federated across multiple sites and installations across the DoD,” Shetty said.
The smart warehouse is one of several 5G experiments that the Defense Department is undertaking as part of an effort to prove new 5G concepts. At Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington, they’re looking at augmented and virtual reality for training, and dynamic spectrum-sharing at Hill Air Force Base in Utah. (Source: Defense One)
29 Mar 21. The US Army wants new software to make its logistics platform ready for multidomain operations. The U.S. Army’s is adding a new requirement for its day-to-day business software as the service continues its march toward multidomain operations: the need to operate in a disconnected environment.
That’s according to a March 25 solicitation from the service on beta.sam.gov asking industry for commercially available software prototypes that would allow the Global Combat Support System – Army to perform “mission critical functions in a disconnected, intermittent, and limited bandwidth operational environment.” The Army is also interested in low code/no code software solutions.
“The U.S. Army must have the capability to perform its mission-critical functions in support of Multi-Domain Operations,” the statement of need read, referring to the service’s future war-fighting concept. “In the future operational environment of the Multi-Domain Operations, the U.S. Army will operate in smaller, more dispersed units far away from well-established military posts that offer critical infrastructure comforts and essentials like connectivity, fuel, water, ammunition, and energy.”
The Global Combat Support System – Army is a logistics systems led by the service’s Program Executive Office Enterprise Information Systems, providing soldiers with maintenance, unit supply, property management, warehouse management, and other human resources and finance information.
The system today can’t operate in a disconnected environment. According to the solicitation, that inability to do so forces GCSS-A users to turn to processes that rely on paper when outages occur. To solve that problem, the Army is turning to industry for a prototype capable of operating in a degraded or disconnected battlefield environment for up to seven continuous days, with the ability to synchronize the it data collected while offline.
The initiative is part of the Army’s effort to modernize its enterprise business systems portfolio, which the solicitation calls the “principal reason” of the GCSS-A effort. But the solicitation noted that the Army is also developing “next generation” business systems that will “optimize the end-to-end process and converge functional capabilities from national to tactical.” That effort is led by PEO EIS’ Enterprise Business Systems – Convergence product lead. GCSS prototype software must follow common industry standards to ensure that it fits into future business systems with “minimal rework” in the future.
The new software capability must also be able to record equipment dispatch provide dashboard data. Prototypes will be awarded to one or multiple vendors via other transaction authority.
“The GCSS-Army Disconnected Operations Solution (DISCOPS) must have the capability to perform Army designated MCF [mission critical functions] with sufficient supporting Data, Supply Chain, Asset Management, Inspection, Status Reporting, and Administration functions to support the end-to-end business process(es),” the solicitation read. (Source: glstrade.com/C4ISR & Networks)
24 Mar 21. The Dutch Ministry of Defence is to invest 38m Euros in the Eygelshoven US Army Prepositioned Stocks (APS-E) storage and maintenance site. The Eygelshoven pre-positioned stocks site and maintenance facility is to undergo an overhaul. The Netherlands Ministry of Defence is to invest 38m Euros in the improvement of the storage hangars at the site and the surrounding infrastructure. Ank Bijleveld-Schouten, the Netherlands Minister of Defence, made the announcement during her visit to Eygelshoven Base today [24th].
Army Prepositioned Stocks Eygelshoven (APS-E) is used by the United States. There are currently 765 American vehicles, such as Hummers, earthmovers and transport vehicles housed in the hangars in southern Limburg. There are also over 6,500 pieces of equipment in storage, including various types of container, generators and general equipment.
A Dutch soldier mechanic from the 112th Maintenance Platoon, 11th Air Mobile Brigade (Air Assault) works on a US Hum-vee at Army Prepositioned Stock-2 Eygelshoven site, 22 February 2021 [US Army courtesy photo]
New jobs: The overhaul includes plans for improving the rail connection adjacent to the site and the storage hangars in which Dutch personnel carry out their work. New storage hangars will also be built. The investment will create new jobs, particularly for local workers.
The planned improvements are necessary due to the fact that the US wishes to expand and intensify its use of APS-E. Although the US is responsible for the on-site infrastructure, the Netherlands intends to assist the Americans, as this will also improve the working and living conditions of Dutch personnel based at the site.
National Military Mobility Plan: The investment is in line with the National Military Mobility Plan, commented Bijleveld. “With this investment, the Netherlands stands to reinforce its role as ‘Gateway to Europe’. The Netherlands is the main transit country for NATO allies situated outside Europe, such as the US, Canada and the UK.”
With this new investment, the Netherlands will also be bolstering the measures aimed at credible deterrence and the collective defence of NATO territory. “This investment not only contributes to bilateral relations between the US and the Netherlands, but also to trans-Atlantic and European security”, remarked Bijleveld.
During her visit to APS-E, Bijleveld was flanked by, among others, acting US ambassador Marja Verloop, the Commander of the Royal Netherlands Army Martin Wijnen and General Joseph F. Jarrard, the Deputy Commanding General of the US Army Europe.
DEFENDER-21: APS-E personnel are currently preparing for Exercise Defender-21, a large-scale international exercise in which the US Army will test how rapidly it is able to deploy in Europe in response to a threat. The Netherlands, as transit nation, has an extensive transport network and will lend host nation support. Materiel will be transported from APS-E to various exercise areas throughout Europe. (Source: joint-forces.com)