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21 Mar 19. L&T hits Brahmos TLC stride. Larsen & Toubro Defence (L&T) has delivered the 100th set of Brahmos transport-storage launch canisters (TLC) to BrahMos Aerospace from its recently-updated manufacturing facility at Ranoli in Gujarat, India. The TLC is designed for the storage, transportation and launch of Brahmos supersonic cruise missiles. Manufacture of the TLC requires specialised automated winding processes with distinctive layers made out of glass and carbon pre-impregnated fibre materials. L&T opened its add-on production line for Brahmos TLC at Ranoli in July 2018 to support serial production of the Brahmos weapon system.(Source: Shephard)
20 Mar 19. BAE Systems Australia develops new supply chain system. BAE Systems Australia has teamed with a domestic industry organisation to develop a system to enhance supply chain integration, the company announced on 18 March. The approach will be tested on the Royal Australian Air Force’s (RAAF’s) new Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighters. BAE Systems Australia said it will develop the “digitised” supply chain system in collaboration with the Advanced Manufacturing Growth Centre (AMGC), which was established in 2015 as part of the Australian Government’s Industry Growth Centre Initiative. The new system will avoid the requirement to use “expensive, proprietary software, which is currently one of the major barriers to Australian SME [small and medium-sized enterprises] manufacturers participating in global supply chains”, it added. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
19 Mar 19. Lack of Pilots, Operating Costs May Keep Norway’s F-35 Fleet Grounded. With 52 F-35 fighter jets as a replacement for its ageing F-16 fleet, Norway hopes to build one of the world’s most modern air forces. However, there are fears it will be hamstrung by a dramatic lack of pilots and technicians. Despite Norway’s massive investment and ambitions of building up a formidable air force, it may end up largely grounded due to lack of experienced pilots and ballooning associated costs, the daily newspaper Aftenposten reported.
“In 2025, we will have one of the world’s most modern air defences. My big concern is whether we have enough money to actually use it”, Major General Tonje Skinnarland, the Chief of Norway’s Air Force, told Aftenposten.
According to Skinnarland, there is a large gap between the recommended number of pilots and the actual number of trainees schooled annually. In addition to the lack of pilots, Skinnarland also highlighted the lack of aviation technicians. This is exacerbated by the fact that very many of today’s pilots and technicians are approaching retirement age.
Brigadier Øyvind Strandman, who was previously responsible for education programmes in the Norwegian Air Force, shared Skinnarland’s concern.
“The situation is that we acquire an expensive weapon system, but do not have the economy to be able to operate it fully due to lack of expertise”, Strandman said.
Additionally, sky-high flight prices and costly education were also named as risk factors possibly resulting in the expensive aircraft being grounded indefinitely. The operating costs for the F-35 is about NOK 110,000 ($13,000) per hour. Complete education for a pilot costs about NOK 60m ($7m). Combined, these factors may result in a serious financial burden even for Norway’s oil-rich economy.
Norway’s air defence has recently reduced the number of bases, but made huge investments in new aircraft. So far, Norway has received nine F-35 fighter aircraft with an average price tag of NOK 1.375bn apiece (roughly $160m), with another seven still in US for tests. With 52 such aircraft in total, Norway will become one of Europe’s foremost users of F-35, a long-running fighter jet project marred by well-documented flaws and skyrocketing costs. (Source: defense-aerospace.com/Sputnik News)
19 Mar 19. Serco to support two Belgian military bases. Serco’s Belgian subsidiary has received a contract from the Belgian Ministry of Defence to provide an integrated range of facilities management services on the Heverlee and Meerdaal military bases in Belgium, Serco announced on 13 March. The contract, worth €30m over ten-years, will see Serco provide an integrated range of services on the Heverlee and Meerdaal military bases including maintenance of buildings and infrastructure facilities, accommodation, pest control, winter services, landscaping, cleaning and restoration. According to the company, this is the first time that the Belgian Ministry of Defence has outsourced the full management of the installations of a military base to a private company and will free up 61 military personnel to concentrate on their core mission. (Source: Shephard)
19 Mar 19. Russian Helicopters says LOTN Afghan Mi-17 helicopter overhaul illegal. Russian Helicopters has labelled Slovakian aircraft repair firm LOTN overhaul of Russian-made Mi-17 helicopters belonging to the Afghan Air Force as illegal. According to the company, repair work of the second Mi-17V-5 helicopter was carried out based on repair documentation developed by the LOTN. Russian Helicopters has accused the Slovakian firm of carrying out the work unilaterally without participation or supervision from either the helicopter designer Mil Moscow Helicopter Plant or manufacturer Kazan Helicopters. Furthermore, Russian Helicopters added that repeated attempts to settle the issue of overhauling the Mi-17 type helicopters operated by the Air Force of Afghanistan did not yield the desired result. The parties could not reach an amicable understanding with LOTN on the issue. The company went on to claim that neither the actualised overhaul and design documentation for the Mi-17V-5 military transport helicopter and spare parts nor repair group sets were supplied to LOTN.
In addition, Russian helicopter designer and manufacturer Mil Moscow Helicopter Plant noted that LOTN’s claims that it cooperated with the company for the work are false.
In a statement, Russian Helicopters said: “Russian Helicopters Holding Company disclaims all responsibility for further safe operation of the helicopter repaired by LOTN and has every reason to deny services related to maintenance of this aircraft.”
Earlier this month, LOTN announced that it is set to deliver the next Mi-17 helicopter to the Afghan Air Force following the completion of a general overhaul. The company performed the work under a contract secured with the NATO Support and Procurement Agency (NSPA) in 2016. Mi-17V-5 is a military transport variant in the Mi-8/17 family of helicopters. It can be used to drop tactical air assault forces and reconnaissance and sabotage groups, as well as destroy ground targets. (Source: airforce-technology.com)
19 Mar 19. JSF to help test new supply chain digitisation. The Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) program will be used by BAE Systems Australia and the Advanced Manufacturing Growth Centre (AMGC) to test a new approach to supply chain digitisation. The new method avoids having to use expensive, proprietary software, which is currently one of the “major barriers” to Australian SME manufacturers participating in global supply chains. The project is valued at $750,000, as BAE and AMGC look to “bring Industry 4.0 to reality”, with project partners able to view plans in real time, allowing them to identify and resolves issues faster, as well as improving risk management and optimise production.
“This is so much more than replacing paper processes with digital technology,” said BAE Systems Australia aerospace and integrated systems director Steve Drury.
“If we get this right and develop a freely available, open standard to digitise supply chains, the long-term benefits of this project to the broader Australian industry could be significant.”
BAE Systems is heavily involved in the F-35 JSF project, supplying 300 titanium components monthly from its advanced manufacturing facility in South Australia for each F-35 vertical tail.
The defence industry was selected because of the “stringent security and traceability requirements both in Australia and allied nations.”
BAE said it “will work with its existing Joint Strike Fighter supply chain partners Axiom Precision Manufacturing and RUAG on this project, together with Advanced Focus and Flinders University”.
BAE confirmed the project is part of a series of Industry 4.0 activities that the company is running, either on its own or in collaboration with industry and universities, and said that the Jindalee Operational Radar Network (JORN) and the Hunter Class Frigate Program could see the adoption of digitisation, depending on the success of the project.
“The development of best practice between a leading defence industry prime and Australian SMEs is another example of how everyone can win from collaboration,” AMGC managing director Dr Jens Goennemann said.
“This will be essential if Australia’s manufacturing sector and economy is to successfully transform as the global market accelerates toward the adoption of Industry 4.0.” (Source: Defence Connect)
18 Mar 19. Lürssen secures long-term Asia-Pacific sustainment contract. Leading ship designer and builder Lürssen has signed contracts with the Brunei government to provide long-term sustainment services for Royal Brunei Navy vessels, providing an avenue for future Australian industry expansion. The new joint venture, named Muara Maritime Services, between Brunei government-owned holding company Darussalam Assets and Lürssen will perform full service support for the entire Royal Brunei Navy’s fleet, including the PV 80 Offshore Patrol Vessel, which is a similar design to the Royal Australian Navy OPV in the SEA 1180 program.
The sustainment contract includes maintenance, repair and overhaul services as well as spare part supply and warehousing services. The contract between the government of Brunei represented by the Ministry of Defence and Muara Maritime Services was signed on 6 March 2019 in the presence of the Minister of Defence II, the Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office and Minister of Finance and Economy II, the Acting Commander of the Royal Brunei Armed Forces, Peter Lürssen and other dignitaries in Brunei.
Tim Wagner, managing director of Lürssen and chairman of Lürssen Australia highlighted the importance of the contract, hinting at the company’s long-term plans to establish a fully integrated Australian manufacturing, sustainment and maintenance centre, saying, “This contract substantiates Lürssen’s global strategy, including Australia, to build capable navel vessels in conjunction with the delivery of customised sustainment services.”
The sustainment contract is for an initial period of ten years and consolidates Lürssen’s growing reputation and presence in the Asia-Pacific. Lürssen, the prime contractor to deliver the $3.5bn SEA 1180 program, which will deliver 12 OPVs for the Australian government, plans to build an export business from Australia. It has partnered with Western Australian-based Civmec to establish Australian Maritime Shipbuilding & Export Group (AMSEG). AMSEG, under the guidance of Lürssen, will play a significant role in the building of 10 OPVs at the Henderson shipyards in Western Australia. (Source: Defence Connect)
14 Mar 19. US Navy awards aircraft readiness support contract to Leidos. The US Navy has awarded a contract to Leidos for the provision of flexible, ready, and rapidly deployable capabilities for aviation systems to support aircraft readiness worldwide. US Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) is the contracting authority for the multiple award, hybrid contract. The contract includes a five-year base period and five optional years. If all options are exercised, the total potential value of the contract will reach $12.6bn. Work involves contracted maintenance, modification, aircrew, and related services. Under the contract, Leidos will provide aviation logistical services for fixed-wing, rotary-wing, unmanned aircraft vehicles, and lighter than air vehicles to help increase readiness for US Navy initiatives. The contract will also include services for integrally related systems and weapon systems. Leidos Airborne Solutions senior vice-president Kevin Lansdowne said: “We have decades of operational and integration expertise that has provided rapid solutions for our customers when they need them the most.
“Our systems have successfully flown thousands of hours supporting the warfighter in combat zones, as well as on the ground processing and exploiting mission-critical information.”
NAVAIR is responsible for providing full lifecycle support of naval aviation aircraft, weapons and systems. Leidos specialises in the development, operations, and maintenance of both manned and unmanned airborne systems. The latest agreement comes after Leidos won a $962m contract from the US Navy’s Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center (SPAWARSYSCEN) Atlantic earlier this month. The multiple-award contract requires the company to provide engineering and information warfare services for cyber missions. (Source: naval-technology.com)
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.