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07 Feb 19. The Raytheon Co., Fort Wayne, Indiana, was awarded a $406,280,000 hybrid (cost, cost-plus-fixed-fee, firm-fixed-price and fixed-price-incentive) contract for AN/ARC-231 Multiple-Mode Aviation Radio Suite, hardware components, repair services, technical, engineering and logistical support services. One bid was solicited with one bid received. Work locations and funding will be determined with each order, with an estimated completion date of Dec. 31, 2023. U.S. Army Contracting Command, Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, is the contracting activity (W56JSR-19-D-0014).

07 Feb 19. SensorHound to support USAF to monitor sensitive assets. SensorHound has secured a contract from the US Air Force (USAF) to explore technological solutions to monitor and track high-value and sensitive assets. The Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I contract is sponsored by the USAF and its technology and innovation hub AFWERX. The contract includes a feasibility study to assess the viability of existing and upcoming solutions to address one or multiple USAF and US Department of Defense problems. Through this initiative, the USAF intends to see if technological solutions that have demonstrated their worth in the non-defence commercial sector can be expanded to solve an airforce problem. SensorHound offers the Beagle pilot-stage cybersecurity environmental condition monitoring and location-tracking device, which can be deployed to safeguard high-value and sensitive assets.

“The cybersecurity start-up is a provider of software solutions that are used for the detection of malicious intrusions and monitoring firmware health in internet of things (IoT) devices.”

SensorHound co-founder and CEO Vinai Sundaram said: “The Beagle solution is purpose-built for high-value assets addressing key requirements of high cybersecurity, long-lasting and remote configurability.

“Beagle uses SensorHound’s core solution to monitor device firmware failures and intrusions in the field.”

Headquartered at Purdue Research Foundation’s Purdue Research Park in West Lafayette, Indiana, US, the cybersecurity start-up is a provider of software solutions that are used for the detection of malicious intrusions and monitoring firmware health in internet of things (IoT) devices such as asset trackers and smart thermostats.

If the Phase I project is successful, SensorHound could receive a multi-year Phase II award for the development, installation, integration and demonstration of a prototype system deemed as the most feasible in Phase I. (Source: airforce-technology.com)

07 Feb 19. Finland to procure support services from Insta Defsec. The Finnish Defence Forces is set to procure expert services and related personnel resources from Insta Defsec, a privately held technology company. The procurement contract is yet to conclude and follows the mandate Finland’s Defence Forces Logistics Command received from Defence Minister Jussi Niinistö on 1 February. Services will be used by the forces to develop and ensure the delivery of support to intelligence, surveillance, and command and control systems. In a statement, the Ministry of Defence said: “The procurement will improve the capacity of the Finnish Defence Forces’ Logistics Command to manage materiel projects in a more flexible and effective manner than before.

“A further goal is to improve the defence forces’ capacity to build and maintain capabilities in all lifecycle phases of the intelligence, surveillance, and command and control systems.”

Valid between 2019-21, the €13.1m procurement contract comes with an option to extend it up to 2022-23.

Insta DefSec is a part of Insta Group, which has been a partner of the Finnish Defence Forces since 1972.

The company has developed several command, control, communications, computer, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (C4ISR) systems for joint forces.

It has also made significant contributions in developing simulator-based training systems for the Finnish Defence Forces.

Last month, a €9.8m contract was concluded with Insta Group by the defence forces’ Logistic Command to procure services for lifecycle support. (Source: army-technology.com)

06 Feb 19. BAE Systems Norfolk Ship Repair, Norfolk, Virginia, was awarded an $114,563,249 firm-fixed-price contract for the execution of USS Bulkeley (DDG 84) fiscal 2019 depot maintenance period Chief of Naval Operations availability.  This availability will include a combination of maintenance, modernization, and repair of USS Bulkeley. This is a “long-term” availability and was competed on a coast-wide (East coast) basis without limiting the place of performance to the vessel’s homeport.  BAE will provide the facilities and human resources capable of completing, coordinating, and integrating multiple areas of ship maintenance, repair, and modernization. This contract includes options which, if exercised, would bring the cumulative value of this contract to $136,226,668. Work will be performed in Norfolk, Virginia, and is expected to be completed by June 2020. Fiscal 2019 operations and maintenance (Navy); and fiscal 2019 other procurement (Navy) funding in the amount of $114,563,249 will be obligated at time of award, $85,275,770 of which will expire at the end of the fiscal year. This contract was competitively procured using full and open competition via the Federal Business Opportunities website, with three offers received in response to Solicitation No. N00024-18-R-4448.  The Naval Sea Systems Command, Washington, District of Columbia, is the contracting activity (N00024-19-C-4448). (Awarded Feb. 1, 2019)

06 Feb 19. QinetiQ North America to support US Army’s TALON robots. The US Army has awarded a contract to QinetiQ North America to support its tactical adaptable light ordnance neutralisation (TALON) family of robotic systems. Under the $90m contract, the company will support the overall sustainment actions ongoing maintenance, upgrades and servicing of the US Army’s existing fielded fleet of the robots. The indefinite-delivery indefinite-quantity contract has a performance period that is valid until 16 December 2023.

The US Army Contracting Command Warren located at Detroit Arsenal (ACC-Warren) awarded the contract on behalf of PM Force Projection’s Robotic Logistics Support Center (RLSC).

QinetiQ North America president and CEO Jeff Yorsz said: “We are proud that TALON continues to be recognised as a robot that is vital to the US military for EOD and counter-IED missions because of its combat-proven ruggedness, ease of use, advanced flexible architecture and reliability.

“Helping to keep US soldiers and marines safe is what drives us and we continue to maintain and improve the TALON product line in support of that goal.”

The company will manufacture parts in Franklin, Massachusetts, US.

RLSC is responsible for the provision of fielded robotics hardware across the operational spectrum.

The US and its allies have deployed more than 4,000 TALON robots to perform several missions and assist defence personnel across the globe.

The robots are designed to detect and disable roadside bombs or improvised explosive devices (IEDs) planted by enemies to target troops.

So far, more than 80,000 counter-IED missions have been supported by TALON robots. (Source: army-technology.com)

05 Feb 19. Afghanistan lacks pilots, engineers to handle Black Hawk ‘copters, U.S. watchdog warns. The United States risks providing Afghanistan with state-of-the-art Black Hawk helicopters that the country’s embattled air force does not have the pilots to fly nor the engineers to maintain, a U.S. watchdog said on Tuesday.

The warning, by the U.S. Special Inspector for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR), comes amid widespread fears that the Afghan military will struggle to cope with a looming pullout of allied foreign troops after more than 17 years of conflict.

Talks between U.S. envoys and Taliban negotiators due to resume in Qatar on Feb. 25 are likely to centre on the withdrawal of thousands of US-led NATO forces and a ceasefire to end America’s longest war.

The U.S. military has provided the first 16 of a scheduled 159 UH-60 Black Hawks to the Afghan air force and its special forces, a move the watchdog says raises concerns about the country’s ability to absorb the rest by 2023.

It calls for efforts to improve pilot training timetables and English-language skills, as well as build a teaching programme for Afghan maintenance crews to replace foreign contractors.

“Given concerns that the Afghan air force and special mission wing may not be able to fully use all 159 aircraft when delivered, the Department of Defence runs the risk of wasting U.S. taxpayer dollars to purchase aircraft the AAF and SMW cannot fly or maintain,” SIGAR said.

It urged that the training and maintenance be linked to the pace of deliveries so that Black Hawks “will not sit idle in Afghanistan without enough pilots to fly them”.

Even reduced targets of U.S.-led training for 320 pilots may not be met, the watchdog added, with a class attrition rate of 26 per cent.

The Black Hawks are intended to replace a fleet of ageing Soviet-era helicopters that now serve as workhorses for the Afghan air force, which is battling Taliban militants who have stepped up attacks over the last two years.

The hardline Islamist movement now controls or contests districts across nearly half of Afghanistan.

In December last year, Reuters reported that Afghanistan’s fleet of 47 M-17s was under pressure from a deadly mix of hard use and poor maintenance.

As the pace of operations against Taliban and Islamic State insurgents has risen, crews said they faced pressure to take short cuts with maintenance, an issue U.S. military advisers saw as a major concern for the fledgling Afghan air force they were trying to build up, the Reuters report said.

SIGAR said the U.S. military “acknowledged that the UH-60 has performance limitations when compared with the MI-17, which can fly higher and carry more passengers”.

Most missions flown by the Afghan air force did not need the additional capability provided by the Mi-17, the watchdog, quoting the U.S. military. (Source: Reuters)

04 Feb 19. Transforming America’s supply chain into a strategic weapon. Aerospace and defense industry pioneers are best known for pushing the boundaries of math and science to overcome seemingly insurmountable challenges — and changing our world.

We’re about to celebrate the 50th anniversary of one of their most significant accomplishments — the Apollo moon landing — a pivotal moment in America’s space race that was the culmination of the burgeoning A&D industry’s technological prowess.

But 50 years later, acquiring the materials and resources that will make the next landing and other future breakthroughs possible has become almost as challenging.

Today, the A&D industry’s $400bn-plus supply chain is being tested on multiple fronts — from uncertain federal budgets and global political divides to third-party cyberthreats.

Materials and resources acquired through supply chain partners account for half of the A&D industry’s annual sales, and two-thirds of the industry’s exports. These same suppliers make up more than one-third of the industry’s 2.4 million workers — an extremely valuable segment of America’s workforce.

Materials sourcing has become a major element of the nation’s industrial base. A single break in the chain can result in a delayed delivery or, even worse, a failed mission.

Fortunately, the A&D industry and the U.S. government well recognize the supply chain’s critical importance and are taking the challenge head on, transitioning it into a strategic weapon to strengthen our companies, industry and nation.

Supply chain experts have identified five strategic areas requiring the most attention to make the transition successful:

Talent: Supply chain teams require diverse skill sets. Organizations are constructing teams with skills ranging from engineering, finance, contracts, cyber, risk management and others. They are hiring talent with new capabilities and mindsets — people who are part operations, part data scientist and part engineer.

Engagement: Companies are integrating supply chain teams into the value stream much earlier, particularly engineering, to drive efficiencies throughout organizations. The teams are becoming involved in every phase of the product life cycle — analyzing virtually every aspect of solution design, manufacturing and delivery.

Quality: Supply chain is now being fully embedded into companies’ operating systems and strategies, and becoming more data driven with key metrics. This helps ensure that suppliers adhere to high standards and drives operational excellence throughout the supply base.

Digitalization: Companies are embracing digitalization to address ever-tightening mission schedules and far-reaching global supply bases. Digitalization helps raise awareness, integrates workflows and informs decision-making. To help offset growing cyberthreats, the government and the Aerospace Industries Association are establishing critical standards and protocols to help protect each link across the supply chain.

Standardization: Standardizing and harmonizing processes and procedures across an enterprise is essential to implementing an efficient and effective supply chain management strategy. Companies are establishing supply chain playbooks with key business metrics that enable everyone involved to follow the same proven processes and procedures.

These five strategic areas are certainly not all encompassing, but they represent a strong baseline. The path to transforming supply chain management into a strategic weapon won’t happen overnight. It is a journey — one that is never truly finished. New threats will evolve and will need to be addressed.

With the expanding global challenges to our industrial base, I’m convinced that this is a journey we must take to be successful as an industry and a nation. (Source: Defense News)

04 Feb 19. Brazil eye to upgrade Fennec AvEx and AS365K2 helicopters. The Brazilian Army is to significantly improve the capabilities of its Airbus Helicopters Fennec AvEx and AS365K2 Super Pantera helicopters as part of the “Modernização do Sistema de Armas” sub-programme.

Twelve and eight of the so-called SiAAIH (Sistema de Armamento Axial e Imageamento para Helicópteros) helicopter weapon system and imaging suite will be purchased for Fennec AvEx and Super Pantera fleet respectively. The system will essentially comprise a forward-looking infrared (FLIR) payload, a Helmet-Mounted Display (HMD), a mission management system, and armament such as 70 mm guided rocket systems and 12.7 mm guns. It will increase the helicopter’s surveillance, target acquisition, armed reconnaissance, and intelligence capabilities. (Source: IHS Jane’s)

04 Feb 19. Denmark chooses Marshall to provide containerised Network and Communications systems.

  • Multi-million pound framework agreement
  • Advanced Protected Network and Communications Container Systems.
  • Contract won against international competition on quality and pricing

The Danish Ministry of Defence Acquisition and Logistics Organisation (DALO) has selected Marshall Aerospace and Defence Group, after a competitive international tender, to provide advanced communications and networking containers as part of its programme to update the Danish Armed Forces deployable infrastructure. The company will be supplying more than 40 containers as part of this multi-million pound contract.  Included in the contract is fitting out the units to meet the operational requirement and on-call support as required by the Danish Armed Forces.

“As part of our strategy for growth we are increasing our focus on exports. This contract demonstrates that we are on the right road especially as the award is based on our technical competence and pricing structure against a range of international competitors,” said Alistair McPhee, Chief Executive of Marshall Aerospace and Defence Group.

“We have had a long running relationship with the Danish Defence Forces going back to 1996 when they selected us to provide maintenance services for their C-130 Hercules aircraft. This was further extended in 2013 in a ground breaking collaborative support contract in partnership with the Royal Norwegian Air Force,” added Mr McPhee.

The Network and Communications containers will be supplied with air conditioning, electrical power distribution and fitted with a full suite of intruder and EMC protection assets. Internally the containers will be fitted with computer, communications, and network equipment. This is the second export contract Marshall has won in as many months for military containers.  In December Marshall announced a £100m contract to supply to the Netherlands.

31 Jan 19. Bad data in F-35 logistics system resulting in lost missions. Even after years of updates and improvements, the F-35’s logistics system continues to be beset by data gaps and bugs that make it more difficult for maintainers to keep the joint strike fighter mission-ready, stated the Pentagon’s chief weapons tester in a new report. The Lockheed Martin-made Autonomic Logistics Information System or ALIS was “designed to bring efficiency to maintenance and flight operations, but it does not yet perform as intended,” wrote Robert Behler, director of operational test and evaluation, in his annual report released Thursday.

In effect, these problems cause the military to ground aircraft that are erroneously described as not mission capable, slow down a squadron’s ability to start flying after being deployed, and create a bigger workload for maintainers.

DOT&E stated that most ALIS-related deficiencies fall under three categories.

The first is a high number of workarounds needed to use the ALIS system to do mission planning, repairs and supply chain management for the F-35. Functions that should be automatic often require manual input by the maintainer.

Secondly, the data provided by ALIS is often incomplete or flat-out incorrect. The reasons for this are varied —contractors do not rely on the system for their own use, and thus do not input always information correctly or in a standardized way. Even the system’s own manufacturer, Lockheed Martin, did not start using ALIS on the F-35′s production floor to track new aircraft until March 2018, the report said.

The end result is a poor user experience. Fixing more complicated datasets, such as the technical information that follows a complex piece of machinery like the F-35’s ejection seat, eats up a lot of time. But more importantly, these problems result in missed sorties, with the Air Force naming this problem one of its top five drivers of non-mission capable rates.

And during deployments on ships or in austere locations, this complexity makes it difficult to set up ALIS and begin flying.

“Often, the timeframe to start flight operation is longer than that with legacy aircraft,” the report notes.

This plays into a third problem: a lack of confidence in ALIS that leads those who work with the system to develop other ways of managing data that ALIS was developed to track.

Troubles with the ALIS system have been documented extensively by DOT&E and other sources in previous years.

During a May 2018 visit to Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort, S.C., which has some of the lowest mission capable rates across the F-35 enterprise, one maintainer told Defense News that ALIS sometimes reports that certain F-35 parts will take several years to arrive. Then, it’s up to maintainers to make the phone calls needed to see whether that can be expedited.

DOT&E notes that the program office has been making progress on fixing certain shortfalls. However, other issues are not being addressed in a timely manner and typically take an “excessive” period of time to resolve.

The report points out that ALIS’ Squadron Health Management application and Customer Maintenance Management System application will sometimes show conflicting information as to whether an aircraft is mission capable. This problem has been known since 2012, but persists despite multiple new software patches being developed since then.

For future version of ALIS, the program office wants to move toward fielding smaller increments of software more often and more rapidly — a decision that DOT&E believes is a step in the right direction.

However, the office believes that the program doesn’t test the system in a way that mimics how users operate in on a day-to-day basis, and criticizes ALIS testing as not being standard across the different labs that evaluate it.

“A single ALIS test venue would increase test efficiency and support more timely fielding of ALIS software to operational unit,” the report says. “The current, non-operationally representative method of testing ALIS releases leads to delays in finding and fixing deficiencies, often after the new software is fielded.”

Aside from ALIS’ many problems, the report highlighted a number of concerns about the F-35 program:

  • Durability testing shows that early versions of the Marine Corps’ F-35B short takeoff and vertical landing jet may last as little as 2,100 flight hours — about a quarter of the expected service life of 8,000 hours. This means that certain B models could end up being retired as early as 2026—only about a decade after the jet was declared initially operational. This issue, first reported by Bloomberg, was also detailed at length by The War Zone.
  • DOT&E considers the accuracy of the F-35A’s internal gun to be unacceptable and not in line with contract specifications. While software upgrades have enhanced the stability of the gun, no hardware or software changes have been implemented that would improve the accuracy of the gun. Furthermore, department investigations have found that guns are misaligned in various ways, so that the true alignment of the gun cannot be assumed.
  • Although the program validated that it can create mission data files, which act as the jet’s threat library, DOT&E believes it “lacks adequate equipment” to create new data files rapidly “under stressing conditions,” which could hinder its ability to respond to adversaries during a war.
  • DOT&E also continues to be concerned about the F-35’s modernization program, which is using an agile software development plane called Continuous Capability Development and Delivery or C2D2. The testing office believes the JPO’s plan to refresh the aircraft’s software every six months is a “high risk” strategy, and says that the program office should ensure that as much testing as possible is done in a laboratory setting rather than via flight tests. (Source: Defense News Early Bird/Defense News)


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.


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