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23 Nov 18. F-35 countdown: Deployable cabins ready to support JSF operations. The Department of Defence has formally accepted the first two deployable cabins for Australia’s F-35A fleet, which were delivered by Lockheed Martin Australia and Newcastle-based Varley Group. The Commonwealth’s formal acceptance of the first of 15 deployable cabins, delivered by defence prime Lockheed Martin Australia and fabrication experts Varley Group, marked a major milestone for the full operation of the Air Force’s F-35A aircraft.
“The deployable cabins are a critical part of operating and maintaining the Air Force’s new fighter aircraft, whenever they are deployed away from their future homes at RAAF Bases Williamtown and Tindal,” Minister Pyne explained.
All 15 of the deployable cabins will provide transportable, secure work spaces for Australian Defence Force personnel to support the operations and maintenance activities for the F-35 as part of the future, networked ADF.
As part of their role, the specialised ICT facilities will also serve as a housing for a portable Autonomic Logistics Information System (ALIS), enabling a connection to the ALIS network anywhere in the world.
ALIS provides the off-board information system hardware, software and data that performs maintenance management, fault diagnostic, supply support, mission planning and training management across the F-35 weapons system.
Lockheed Martin Australia chief executive Vince Di Pietro said that the ADF’s formal acceptance of the deployable facilities was an important milestone in the lead up to the arrival of Australia’s first two F-35A aircraft.
“The deployable cabins are an evolutionary development and play a critical role in operating and maintaining Australia’s F-35 fleet whether from their home base or deployed further afield,” he explained.
The portable cabins will also hold the off-board mission planning system that would be used across the RAAF’s F-35A, F/A-18F Super Hornet, E/A-18 Growler and P-8 Poseidon fleets.
“This ensures that all 15 deployable cabins can be positioned to support Australian F-35A software verification and validation activities and provide transportable, secure work spaces for ADF personnel to support operations and maintenance activities,” Di Pietro explained.
Minister Ciobo said this was another strong example of opportunities in Australia’s expanding defence industry being taken up by companies in regional areas, with Newcastle- based Varley Group responsible for the manufacturing of the deployable cabins.
“The deployable cabins were built by Varley Group in Newcastle, NSW using Australian steel, creating 20 jobs at Varley and another 50 local jobs in the Hunter region supply chain,” Minister Ciobo said.
Jeff Phillips, General Manager, Varley Group said, “What we delivered together was not just a secure environment for F-35 Joint Strike Fighter pilots to be briefed in; we delivered a real example of the federal government’s vision for Australia’s defence industry and its jobs and growth commitment to the country.”
“The project was delivered on-time, using a local innovative engineering design and manufacturing, with Australian steel, using local Hunter workers,” Phillips continued.
Australia is spending about $17bn to buy 72 F-35As. Australia’s first six F-35s are currently operating at the international Pilot Training Centre at Luke Air Force Base in Arizona, with four more aircraft expected to be delivered by the end of this year.
Minister Pyne said when announcing the $37.5m project in June last year, “This acquisition is part of the transformation required to make Australia the most technologically advanced small modern Air Force in the world and optimise Australia’s individual Defence capabilities by operating as a truly networked force.”
Original equipment manufacturer Lockheed Martin has been working closely with Australian industry partners and the RAAF to prepare for the arrival of Australia’s first two F-35s in December, while aiming to establish initial operating capability (IOC) for Australia’s F-35s in December 2020. Number 3 Squadron will be operational in 2021. All 72 aircraft are expected to be fully operational by 2023. (Source: Defence Connect)
21 Nov 18. WFEL’s Rapidly-installed Bridges deployed during Exercise Trident Juncture. U.S. Marines and U.S. Navy Seabees jointly deployed a WFEL Medium Girder Bridge (MGB) in Norway recently, during the largest NATO exercise in more than 16 years – Exercise Trident Juncture 18. The troops demonstrated their bridge-building skills in a constricted workspace in an extremely harsh weather environment and tested their ability to ensure mobility of forces during the scenario of an existing bridge over a gap becoming structurally unsound due to battle damage and unsafe for military vehicles to cross. The need for the new bridge was, therefore, critical. Almost 100 U.S. Marine Light Armoured Vehicles and Norwegian Bandvagns (all-terrain tracked carrier vehicles) crossed the bridge immediately after its completion. Gap crossing is a critical skill that engineers need to accomplish; the military acknowledge that being able to rapidly assess and breach a gap takes a great deal of planning and co-ordination – and is always a challenge. In recent years, most U.S. Forces operations have been carried out in warm or desert environments, e.g. Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom. Recently, however, the focus has moved, such there has now become a priority for training between NATO allies in areas where temperatures often drop well below freezing. The austere environment of Norway caused some severe challenges; the road leading up to the bridge was narrow with steep drop-offs on each side, complicating the movement of transportation and the icy conditions created a safety hazard for those working around the bridge. However, the troops quickly adapted to the situation and accomplished their mission. The bridge was kept in pristine condition and was ready for the operation sooner than expected. The overall exercise, including bridge-building construction, helped to test and validate warfighting capabilities across the warfighting domains, better preparing them to help support NATO Allies and partners. To assist with the logistics challenge, a strategic pre-positioning programme was called upon. Since 1981, equipment and supplies had been pre-positioned in Norway to enable a quicker response by the military in times of crisis. The U.S. Marine Corps Prepositioning Program has been used to support logistics for combat operations such as the war in Iraq and, during Trident Juncture 18, the U.S. Marines once again utilized this concept by withdrawing equipment from caves to build the WFEL Medium Girder Bridge.
Around 50,000 participants from some 30 NATO and partner countries took part in exercise Trident Juncture 2018, the largest in a series of long-planned exercises to ensure that NATO forces are trained, able to operate seamlessly together and ready to respond to any threat, from any direction.
The exercise took place in central and eastern Norway and surrounding areas of the North Atlantic and Baltic Sea, including Iceland and the airspace of Finland and Sweden. Air, land, maritime, special operation forces and amphibious forces participated. Around 250 aircraft, 65 vessels and up to 10,000 vehicles were used during the exercise, including the British Army which deployed some 1600 soldiers and over 1000 vehicles and equipment.
21 Nov 18. How industry, government can partner to meet the Pentagon’s fighter readiness goal. Secretary of Defense James Mattis’ directive to reach 80 percent mission-capable rates across all tactical fighter fleets represents a major challenge. It is one we at Lockheed Martin fully support and embrace. American fighter jets are delivering exceptional capability for our men and women in uniform today, and we must ensure they are always mission-ready when it matters most.
The new direction has already served as a catalyst for positive momentum and partnership across the Department of Defense toward achieving the goal. Sustainment is not rocket science, but it is extremely complex and challenging. It will take strong, productive government and industry collaboration to be successful.
To achieve more readiness at less cost, sustainment must be enabled by high system reliability, predictive health monitoring, high-velocity supply chains, effective engineering support and condition-based maintenance approaches.
Innovative technology will help us get there. At Lockheed Martin, we are investing in advanced data analytics, robotic process automation, artificial intelligence and cognitive data fusion tools — and we’re applying them across our entire portfolio to include the F-35, F-22, F-16, C-130J and more. We’re starting to see these and other efforts paying off.
The F-35, for example, is heading in the right direction. F-35 reliability continues to improve, and newer aircraft are now delivering between 60 and 70 percent mission-capable rates. Additionally, the operations and sustainment cost per tail per year is coming down.
We recognize there is more to do.
We’re partnering with the U.S. government to accelerate its organic depot repair capacity and reduce repair turnaround times. We’re leveraging analytics to identify the parts and components we can enhance, recompete or second source to improve reliability, maintainability or supply chain capacity. We’re collaborating with the F-35 Joint Program Office to accelerate modifications for earlier aircraft to bring them up to the excellent reliability standards of newer F-35s. We’re integrating software suites to optimize spares levels and enable predictive analytics. And we’re investing in the ALIS infrastructure to improve user experience, lower maintenance labor and dramatically improve speed.
But it’s not just the F-35, and it’s not just for the near term. Government and industry must work together to ensure all aircraft fleets will be mission-capable to support war-fighter demand today, and for decades to come.
While many think sustainment starts after aircraft delivery, sustainment actually begins the moment a requirement is written and design begins. We are aligning efforts across our design, development, production and sustainment teams to ensure mission readiness is at the forefront of everything we do.
At the end of the day, increasing readiness is about focusing on the flight line as our center of gravity. This means making the life of maintainers easier, faster and more effective. It means making parts that break less, and ensuring that when they do, it’s affordable, fast and simple to repair or replace. Because when it comes to readiness, minutes matter.
So whether it’s the F-35, F-22, F-16 or any other platform we support, this is our focus. We appreciate Secretary Mattis’ strong direction to ensure our men and women in uniform always have the very best capability and are mission-ready when it matters most — and we are prepared to support our customers every step of the way. (Source: Defense News)
20 Nov 18. CACI wins $413m contract to support US Army’s Trojan Strong FoS. The General Services Administration (GSA) has awarded a $413m prime contract to information solutions and services provider CACI International for the US Army’s Trojan Strong signals intelligence and communications systems support. The contract has been awarded by the GSA Federal Acquisition Service Federal Systems Integration and Management Center on behalf of the US Army Communications-Electronics Research, Development and Engineering Center (CERDEC) Intelligence and Information Warfare Directorate (I2WD). Under the agreement, CACI will be responsible for providing the US Army with the required support for ground-based intelligence and communications systems within the service’s Trojan Strong family of systems (FoS). The award will run for a period of five years and will involve the continuation of current support in addition to work in the company’s command and control, and intelligence systems, as well as support market areas.
CACI International president and chief executive officer Ken Asbury said: “CACI is proud to expand our support for one of the US Army’s most critical intelligence missions.
“By providing high-quality solutions that deliver emerging capabilities to address new and varying threats from unconventional and asymmetric warfare, we help our customers maintain information superiority for America’s military and ensure the safety of US forces on the battlefield.”
The Trojan Strong FoS is the US Army’s premier ground intelligence platform deployed for collection and distribution, access to signals and near real-time fused intelligence data. CACI is committed to providing Trojan Strong with engineering services, system design and development, testing, fielding, maintenance, modernisation and training to advance the US Army’s signals intelligence capabilities. In January 2016, the company secured a three-year $81m contract from the US Army I2WD to continue supporting the Trojan Spirit programme. (Source: army-technology.com)
20 Nov 18. Calian Group to provide support services to Canadian DND and CASC. Manufacturing company Calian Group has been awarded a contract to provide significant training and support services for Canada’s Department of National Defence (DND) and the Canadian Army Simulation Centre (CASC).
The initial term of the training and support services contract is valued at $93m over a period of five years. Valued at approximately $170m over the full nine-year period of the award, the training contract has scope for two optional extension periods of two years each. CASC is a centre of excellence for constructive simulation for the Canadian Army and provides training capabilities in support of land operations and concept development.
Through CASC, the army accepts training projects on behalf of its own members, in addition to other branches of the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) and federal government departments.
“Calian’s advanced toolset is integrated with those of the CAF, demonstrating our focus on continuous process improvement both at Calian and in the work we do with our customers.”
An expert team from Calian comprising more than 600 full and part-time staff designs realistic and cost-effective synthetic environments for training exercises.
In addition, the company designs and delivers complex, multi-agency, multi-jurisdictional emergency management exercises in order to offer safety and security readiness for major events.
Calian Group president and chief executive officer Kevin Ford said: “This contract supports the CAF and the customer retention pillar of our four-pillar growth framework. For Calian, supporting the operational readiness of the Canadian Forces is more than just a commitment, it’s a passion and a privilege.
“I’m proud of our delivery of state-of-the-art, realistic learning and training exercises that help keep soldiers and all Canadians safe.
“The innovation happening at Calian Training, and with CASC, is very exciting. Calian’s advanced toolset is integrated with those of the CAF, demonstrating our focus on continuous process improvement both at Calian and in the work we do with our customers.” (Source: army-technology.com)
17 Nov 18. USAF announces bases that will test, maintain the new B-21 stealth bomber. The B-21 Raider, the Air Force’s next stealth bomber, has its first homes. The Air Force on Friday announced it has chosen Tinker Air Force Base in Oklahoma to maintain and sustain the B-21, and Edwards Air Force Base in California to handle testing and evaluation of the advanced long-range strike bomber.
In a release, the Air Force said the Air Logistics Complex at Tinker, part of the Air Force Sustainment Center there, has the knowledge and expertise to handle the Northrop Grumman bomber’s depot maintenance.
“With a talented workforce and decades of experience in aircraft maintenance, Tinker AFB is the right place for this critical mission,” Secretary Heather Wilson said in the release.
Robins Air Force Base in Georgia and Hill Air Force Base in Utah will support Tinker on maintaining, overhauling and upgrading the B-21, the Air Force said. The bases will also be equipped to rebuild parts, assemblies or subassemblies of the bomber, and test and reclaim equipment when needed to activate depots.
Edwards was chosen for the B-21′s Combined Test Force because it is home to the Air Force Test Center. That center handles the Air Force’s testing and evaluation to make sure aircraft and equipment meet the service’s standards.
“From flight testing the X-15 to the F-117, Edwards AFB in the Mojave Desert has been at the forefront of keeping our Air Force on the cutting edge,” Chief of Staff Gen. Dave Goldfein said. “Now, testing the B-21 Raider will begin another historic chapter in the base’s history.
The Air Force expects to buy at least 100 B-21s, and each aircraft is expected to cost about $638m. The service expects to stand up the first B-21 operational units around 2025. (Source: Defense News)
16 Nov 18. DOD teams with DHS for critical infrastructure protection. The Pentagon and the Department of Homeland Security are teaming up to protect critical infrastructure through information-sharing efforts with the private sector – an effort that is new, promising and underfunded.
Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen recently agreed to a framework for defending the U.S. from cyber threats. Kenneth Rapuano, assistant secretary of Defense for Homeland Defense and Global Security, told lawmakers at a joint hearing Nov. 14 that the joint memorandum “is a major step in fostering closer cooperation and marks a sea change in the level of collaboration between our departments.”
In his written testimony, Rapuano said that “DOD and DHS each derive unique insights from our daily activities — whether from DOD’s intelligence collection and cyber operations, or from DHS’s cyber operations to protect federal networks and critical infrastructure in partnership with the private sector — that inform our respective missions.”
Rapuano noted that just the day before the hearing, he and DHS officials signed a document chartering the Joint DOD-DHS Cyber Protection and Defense Steering Group. The group, Rapuano said, “will apply senior leadership energy to enhance U.S. Government readiness against cyber threats.”
Officials from both agencies told lawmakers at the hearing on cyber incident cooperation that the partnership has been fruitful, but budget constraints could require legislation.
Rep. Cedric Richmond (D-La.), ranking member on the Homeland Security Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Protection Subcommittee, pointed out the budgetary disparity, suggesting that DHS might need more than $1bn to defend infrastructure, the vast majority of which is privately owned. The Department of Defense cyber budget is north of $8bn.
Lt. Gen. Bradford Shwedo, Joint Chiefs of Staff command, control, communications and computers (C4) director and CIO, said DOD was considering “the equivalent of a cyber Stafford Act” for emergency and disaster relief to address potential funding issues, but private companies will ultimately have to invest in their own cybersecurity.
“We’re very cognizant of how funding in a bunch of different directions could get pretty bad,” Shwedo said, but “there is going to be a responsibility for a lot of these companies and others to have their portion of cyber defense. But for them to put their hands up in the air and say they’re not going to fund it anymore is also a bill that we could not afford.”
“We can do more with more,” said Jenette Manfra, the assistant secretary for the Office of Cybersecurity and Communications at DHS, in response to a question about budget constraints.
Manfra said that DHS along with DOD and the FBI have made more progress developing common operating procedures when it comes to defending U.S. interests in cyberspace.
“There are tools that are available to have a common operational picture in terms of incidents that we’re going to share. We have to be very precise in terms of what information have the authorities to view,” Manfra said.
When it comes to resources, DOD steps in to help DHS when requested and through that agency’s authorities. The Defense Department loaned 11 dozen cyber operators to Homeland Security, readying for disruptions aimed at the 2018 midterm elections, Manfra said.
Additionally, DHS and DOD are working together on closing up supply chain vulnerabilities. Manfra said civilian agencies use many of the same companies in the defense industry base, and DHS is coordinating how to implement best practices and information sharing.
16 Nov 18. Patria received a follow-on order for NH90 maintenance in Norway. Patria Helicopters AS has received an order for NH90 helicopters heavy maintenance taking place in Bardufoss, Norway as the Norwegian Defence Logistics Organisation (NDLO) has released the first option of one year from April 2019 onwards. Patria and the NDLO signed an agreement in 2017 on the support of the Norwegian Defence Forces NH90 helicopters’ maintenance in Bardufoss. The agreement was for two years and included an option for extensions. Estimated value of the agreement, including options, was approximately 100m NOK. “This follow-on order is an important milestone for Patria in Norway as it shows Patria’s capability in supporting military programs with cost-effective solutions in long-term and is considered by us as a sign of trust from the customer,” says Jukka Holkeri, President of the International Support Partnerships business unit from Patria.
About Oshkosh Defense
Oshkosh Defense is a leading provider of tactical wheeled vehicles and life cycle sustainment services. For decades Oshkosh has been mobilizing military and security forces around the globe by offering a full portfolio of heavy, medium, light and highly protected military vehicles to support our customers’ missions. In addition, Oshkosh offers advanced technologies and vehicle components such as TAK-4® independent suspension systems, TerraMax™ unmanned ground vehicle solutions, Command Zone™ integrated control and diagnostics system, and ProPulse® diesel electric and on-board vehicle power solutions, to provide our customers with a technical edge as they fulfill their missions. Every Oshkosh vehicle is backed by a team of defense industry experts and complete range of sustainment and training services to optimize fleet readiness and performance. Oshkosh Defense, LLC is an Oshkosh Corporation company [NYSE: OSK].
To learn more about Oshkosh Defense, please visit us at www.oshkoshdefense.com.