30 Sep 21. Republic of Korea Army to Receive 1.3km of Amphibious Bridging. The Republic of Korea’s Defence Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) has selected the Hanwha Defence / General Dynamics European Land Systems (GDELS) partnership to provide the Republic of Korea Army with 110 GDELS M3 amphibious bridging vehicles. This will be the largest M3 bridging fleet in operation with a combined bridge length of 1.3km. The GDELS M3 has been designated the M3K it can be used for bridging or as a raft and is interoperable with other bridging equipment including the SRB (Standard Ribbon Bridge ) / FSB (Floating Support Bridge) and IRB (Improved Ribbon Bridge).
“We are very delighted that the Republic of Korea is the fourth Asian customer to select our M3 as their future amphibious bridge and ferry system,” said Dr. Thomas
Kauffmann, GDELS’s vice president of international business and services, adding that the acquisition underlined “the essential importance of tactical bridging for modern armies in terms of interoperability and military mobility.” (Source: Armada)
29 Sep 21. Boeing, U.S. Air Force Extend C-17 Sustainment Partnership with Phased Contract Valued at Up To $23.8bn. Boeing (NYSE: BA) will continue assuring the C-17 Globemaster III’s worldwide mission readiness through a follow-on contract awarded by the U.S. Department of Defense, valued at up to $23.8bn including potential options and incentives over ten years. The program is currently funded through September 2024 with a Phase I award of $3.5bn.
Under the agreement, Boeing will continue performing critical sustainment activities, including engineering, field support, and material management, for the global fleet of 275 aircraft. The contract provides additional funding for new work scope such as international staffing to augment maintenance efforts and cyber security work statement.
“The C-17 continues to serve as the strategic airlift workhorse for the nation, as evidenced by its impressive performance in the recent airlift of more than 124,000 evacuees from Afghanistan in an around-the-clock operation,” said Brig. Gen. Darren Cole, Air Mobility Command (AMC) director of Logistics, Engineering and Force Protection. “As the command responsible for operating the U.S. Air Force C-17 fleet, AMC looks forward to the continued partnership with our Boeing teammates as we work to keep the Globemaster fleet healthy for years to come.”
This performance-based logistics (PBL) contract builds on more than two decades of successful C-17 sustainment, where Boeing has worked closely with the U.S. Air Force and global partners to maintain high mission-capability rates and continuously improve affordability. While sustainment costs typically rise as a fleet ages, Boeing will lower operating cost per-flight-hour for the global fleet under the new agreement.
“We are bending the cost curve on platforms like the C-17 by leveraging the breadth and depth of Boeing’s services capabilities and expertise worldwide, and by applying digital tools and analytics to drive predictability and performance into every C-17 mission,” said Dan Gillian, vice president & general manager of U.S. Government Services for Boeing Global Services.
“Working in partnership with our military customers, we are deriving data insight from these aircraft that is improving readiness and increasing fleet efficiency,” Gillian added. “Analytical insights provide actionable intelligence to predict component failures, troubleshoot errors with greater speed and accuracy, complete repairs faster, and support aircrew decision making.”
Boeing has been under contract for PBL support of the C-17 fleet since 1998. This new $3.5bn Phase I award is expected to be ordered by the Air Force through 2024. Under a PBL arrangement, a customer receives an agreed-to level of system readiness, as opposed to a traditional contract for specific spare parts and support services. This integrated logistics approach has allowed Boeing to apply innovative tools to maximize aircraft availability while lowering costs.
The global C-17 fleet boasts best-in-class aircraft availability rates while operating as the strategic airlift workhorse for the U.S. Air Force and global partners. In January 2020, the C-17 fleet became one of the fastest to achieve four m flight hours. The United States, Australia, Canada, India, Kuwait, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, and the 12-nation Strategic Airlift Capability all operate the C-17 Globemaster III.
29 Sep 21. RE2 Robotics to develop flight line sustainment system for USAF C-17. The flight line sustainment system will focus on the pre and post-flight inspection tasks of the military aircraft. RE2 Robotics has received a contract to develop an autonomous flight line sustainment system for the US Air Force (USAF) Rapid Sustainment Office.
Under the Mobile Autonomous Aircraft Platform for Sustainment (MAAPS) programme, RE2 Robotics will build dual RE2 Sapien robotic arms.
The arms are equipped with a JLG scissor lift to help execute tasks on C-17 military airlift aircraft.
The sustainment system will focus on pre and post-flight inspection tasks such as visual inspection of the fuselage, wing and tail, and taking analogue gauges reading of the C-17 aircraft at height.
According to the company, MAAPS will minimise the need for military crew to work at height during routine aircraft inspection repair and maintenance.
RE2 Robotics president and CEO Jorgen Pedersen said: “Whether in the military or in commercial markets, working at height is inherently risky for aircraft maintenance and repair personnel.
“By automating certain flight line maintenance tasks during aircraft turnarounds, MAAPS will help the US Air Force improve safety, overcome a shortage of trained maintenance personnel, and enhance the efficiency of aircraft readiness.”
The company received $1.5m in Phase II Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) funding for the development effort.
RE2 Robotics noted that the MAAPS system will use a pair of the company’s RE2 Sapien 6M robotic arms.
With a sleek hardware design, these robotic arms feature embedded intelligence and integrated arm control.
RE2 Robotics project manager Adam Brant said: “MAAPS will use RE2’s advanced computer vision and autonomy software, RE2 Detect and RE2 Intellect, to autonomously identify and travel to an aircraft to perform flight line sustainment tasks.
“The goal is for this system to be a mobile, mission-adaptable platform that can perform ground-based line maintenance tasks in a variety of environmental conditions, including harsh weather that may be hazardous for airforce personnel.”
In May 2016, RE2 Robotics secured a subcontract from a division of Applied Research Associates to develop robotic systems for the USAF’s rapid airfield damage repair programme. (Source: airforce-technology.com)
28 Sep 21. DoD Publishes Federal Register Notice for Input on Supply Chain Vulnerabilities and Opportunities. As part of the department’s one-year response to Executive Order (EO) 14017, America’s Supply Chains, the Department of Defense published a Federal Register Notice (FRN) soliciting comments from industry on key supply chain challenges and recommendations to strengthen the defense industrial base.
The department seeks comments about supply chain vulnerabilities and opportunities in four focus areas: select kinetic capabilities, energy storage/batteries, microelectronics, and castings and forgings. The department also welcomes inputs on vulnerabilities across five systemic enablers in these supply chains, including: workforce, cyber posture, interoperability, small business, and manufacturing.
Details regarding the four focus areas and five systemic enablers are provided in the FRN, in addition to specific questions for response. The focus areas and strategic enablers were selected through ongoing supply chain analysis efforts across the department, interagency, and White House, and align with the secretary’s guidance.
Input from industry partners is critical to the department’s efforts to address supply chain challenges in the defense industrial base. While the FRN is the primary avenue through which DoD is collecting written feedback from industry, the Office of Industrial Policy will also leverage existing industry engagements and ad hoc events to solicit feedback over the coming months. DoD’s one-year report in response to EO 14017 will be published in February 2022.
The Federal Register Notice is open until Oct. 13, 2021. The original language of Executive Order 14017 and the 100-day assessment published on June 4, 2021 can both be found on the White House website. (Source: US DoD)