21 Jul 21. Rapid Dragon demonstrates BLOS command and control of Palletized Weapon System. The US Air Force (USAF) Rapid Dragon Experimentation Program, in association with Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC) and US Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) Det 1, has successfully demonstrated beyond line of sight (BLOS) command-and-control (C2) of an AGM-158B Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile-Extended Range (JASSM-ER)-equipped Palletized Weapon System from an AFSOC MC-130J Commando II multi-mission combat transport aircraft.
The demonstration was conducted during the US Indo-Pacific Command’s exercise Northern Edge 21 (NE21), at the Joint Pacific Alaska Range Complex, the Gulf of Alaska on 3–14 May.
The Rapid Dragon Program, previously designated the Palletized Munitions Program, is an accelerated research campaign led by the Air Force Strategic Development Planning and Experimentation Office (SDPE), part of the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL), to assess the operational utility of delivering large volumes of palletized long-range strike weapons from military cargo aircraft. The SDPE Office supports air force development planning efforts by examining the operational utility of emerging technologies and potential operational concepts through experimentation and demonstration efforts.
Rapid Dragon advances a roll-on/off capability that uses standard airdrop procedures without modification to the aircraft, transforming combat transport aircraft into lethal strike weapon platforms that complement or augment the strike capacity of tactical fighters and strategic bombers. In an earlier test of an instrumented JASSM-ER Palletized Weapon System at White Sands Missile Range in March, the SDPE used the Mills Manufacturing G-11 Cargo Parachute Assembly to establish a new, undisclosed deployment altitude deployment record for the Rapid Dragon programme. (Source: Jane’s)
21 Jul 21. MBDA and Naval Group join forces to develop new remote assistance solutions. The remote assistance service deployed by Naval Group and MBDA for the French Navy achieves several objectives: provide prompt diagnostics and a repair solution to naval systems users in all locations and in all circumstances. Remote assistance is a secure, end-to-end encrypted multimedia communication system linking the ship with onshore support facilities. It enables the crew to set up a fully confidential, real-time, dialogue with the French Navy and other state and/or industry experts to; assist diagnostics in the case of breakdowns; provide greater autonomy for the maintenance personnel; and help with the preparation for maintenance periods on returning from missions. Remote assistance can thus help improve the availability of ships in operation.
Deployment of remote assistance has already begun to the multi-mission frigates (FREMM) and the aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle, as well as to the Toulon Fleet Support Service (SSF), the Brest SSF and connecting them with MBDA and Naval Group industrial sites.
Pascal Gendre, MBDA Group Customer Support & Services Director, stresses that “We are well aware of the critical nature of our products and systems for the armed forces, and MBDA has always made a point of honour of working with its customers throughout the life cycle of their equipment, guaranteeing them a high level of operational availability. Today we have the satisfaction, alongside Naval Group, of being able to provide our support to the women and men who are committed to the defence of our country, at any time, wherever they may be.”
Vincent Martinot-Lagarde, Naval Group Director of Services, adds: “This remote assistance solution developed with MBDA contributes to offering our customers greater operational availability of their ships. The remote assistance service enables simultaneous discussions with the French Navy fleet support service and the crew of a ship to assist the crew and solve a technical problem at sea. Furthermore, the remote support kit can be deployed as part of the preparation of an upkeep period for an overhaul of the ship.”
20 Jul 21. Sigma Bravo tapped to support Hanwha’s LAND 8116 project. The Canberra-based SME has been selected to provide support services for Hanwha Defense Australia’s artillery systems program.
Hanwha Defense Australia has entered into a partnership with KBR subsidiary Sigma Bravo, which has been tasked with delivering training packages and training equipment to support the AS9 Huntsman Self-Propelled Howitzer and AS10 Armoured Ammunition Resupply Vehicle.
The projects form part of the Commonwealth government’s LAND 8116 Phase 1 program — a $900m-$1.3bn procurement of self-propelled artillery systems manufactured in the greater Geelong area of Victoria.
Sigma Bravo’s training services are set to include the development of learning management packages through the Systems Approach to Defence Learning (SADL), and a range of computer-based training solutions.
The work is expected to generate up to 30 jobs over three years with ongoing support, with most of the services to be delivered within greater Melbourne.
“The agreement will enable the delivery of exceptional products and training support with a partner of impeccable pedigree,” Richard Cho, managing director of Hanwha Defense Australia, said.
“Sigma Bravo’s experience matched to the quality of their training products made partnering with them an easy choice that will deliver genuine capability and value-for money.”
Tim Wedding, managing director of Sigma Bravo, welcomed the opportunity to collaborate with Hanwha.
“It’s great to collaborate with a company like Hanwha Defense Australia to deliver cutting edge solutions to new capabilities such as the Self-Propelled Howitzers,” he said.
“The breadth and depth of our team’s experience will assist in navigating the delivery schedule and ensure we deliver best practice training solutions for this new capability.”
According to Hanwha, the firm will explore other partnership opportunities with Sigma Bravo for across Australian and global defence programs.
Hanwha’s project pipeline includes its bid for the $18-$27bn LAND 400 Phase 3 contract, with the firm proposing its Redback IFV to replace the Army’s existing M113 fleet.
The Redback is competing against Rheinmetall’s Lynx, with the IFVs currently undergoing risk mitigation activities. (Source: Defence Connect)
19 Jul 21. USAF RSO partners Google Cloud for aircraft maintenance. The move seeks to optimise aircraft maintenance readiness, boost staff productivity and reduce overall costs. The US Air Force (USAF) Rapid Sustainment Office (RSO) has joined forces with Google Cloud to develop an open and globally scalable ecosystem for aircraft maintenance.
The move will support RSO’s ‘Project Lighthouse’ initiative that seeks to optimise maintenance readiness, enhance staff productivity and cut overall costs.
RSO Program Executive Office deputy Nathan Parker said: “Our partnership with Google Cloud is a significant milestone for RSO on our journey to adopt Industry 4.0 technologies when everything is connected, and deliver on our mandate to solve the airforce’s toughest sustainment challenges.
“What we’re building with Google Cloud will accelerate the way we adopt, integrate, and scale technologies for the airforce. Project Lighthouse is a hardware-flexible, software-driven approach that provides optionality at scale.”
The new aircraft maintenance ecosystem will enable the integration of emerging technologies ranging from predictive maintenance software to manufacturing robotics.
As agreed, the project will be powered by Google Cloud’s API management platform Apigee and managed application platform Anthos. Google Cloud’s professional services organisation will also provide the necessary support.
At first, the aircraft maintenance ecosystem will be validated and tested for scalability within the USAF’s technology environment. Subsequently, the system will be launched.
Google Cloud Global public sector vice-president Mike Daniels said: “We know that sustainment is one of the biggest and most complex challenges in the military, and we are proud to support the RSO in its mission to modernise the USAF.
“Thanks to Project Lighthouse, more personnel are going to have what they need to do their jobs faster, and we’re committed to playing a key role in this effort.”
Last year, Google Cloud signed an agreement to support USAF initial flight training modernisation. (Source: airforce-technology.com)
19 Jul 21. Eight European nations agree to streamline ammunition logistics. The initiative aims to devise a set of principles to modernise the storage and provision of ammunitions. A total of eight European Nato-member countries have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) that seeks to reshape the logistical processes for ammunitions. The participating nations are Belgium, Estonia, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Slovakia and Spain. Under the new Multinational Ammunition Warehousing Initiative (MAWI), the eight nations will work to devise a single set of principles to modernise the storage, provision and management of ammunition stockpiles in various multinational warehouse locations. The initiative focuses on flexibility and adaptability and will enable the creation of temporary storage facilities in support of Nato deployments. These steps are expected to reduce deployment costs.
The first MAWI location is expected to become operational before the end of this year with several others to follow.
Nato deputy secretary-general Mircea Geoană said: “The set-up of the MAWI multinational High Visibility Project is simple, yet highly effective.
“Following the example of the private sector, it allows participants to rationalise their warehousing footprint and drive a greater degree of efficiency into their logistical system.
“This will free up resources to be re-allocated for higher priority purposes such as advancing Nato’s ambitious innovation agenda.”
Nato is an intergovernmental political and military alliance of 28 European and two North American countries.
In April this year, Marshall Aerospace and Defence Group (MADG) secured a contract to modernise the Nato Deployable Air Command and Control Component’s (DACCC) communications systems.
The upgrade will transform the way critical mission data from ally nations is transmitted, relayed, and received by Nato’s transportable shelters. (Source: army-technology.com)
21 Jul 21. TAE Aerospace’s F135 MRO&U facility in Australia becomes operational. Located in Queensland, the facility is the first operational F135 engine depot in the Asia-Pacific region. TAE Aerospace has announced that its F135 maintenance, repair, overhaul and upgrade (MRO&U) facility in Australia has been activated. This comes after the company achieved Initial Depot Capability (IDC) status to repair Pratt & Whitney F135 engine fan and power modules. The F135 is an afterburning turbofan that powers all three variants of the fifth-generation F-35 Lightning II fighter aircraft.
The construction of the facility, located in the state of Queensland, started in 2018. It is said to be the first operational F135 engine depot in the Asia-Pacific region.
TAE Aerospace achieved the module IDC milestone after rebuilding an F135 power module at the facility. Last year, the company secured fan module repair qualification.
The site will now provide maintenance support to all F-35 operators in the Asia-Pacific region under the F-35’s Global Support System.
Pratt & Whitney Military Engines Sustainment Operations vice-president O Sung Kwon said: “We congratulate the TAE Aerospace team on reaching this critical sustainment milestone for the F135 engine.
“The activation of the Australia depot will bring increased capacity to the global F135 MRO&U network in support of the growing fleet.
“Standing up the regional MRO&U depots is an integral part of the enterprise’s strategy to accelerate capacity growth across the F135 MRO&U network to exceed programme requirements.”
TAE Aerospace CEO Andrew Sanderson said: “The investment made by the Commonwealth of Australia and TAE Aerospace over the past five years will result in benefits for both Australia, with an important sovereign industrial capability now available in-country, as well as at the local level, with the creation of many jobs over the coming years.” (Source: airforce-technology.com)