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04 Apr 19. In our piece last week, Lockheed WCSP Robust Supply Chain (BATTLESPACE UPDATE Vol.21 ISSUE 13, 01 April 2019), Lockheed Martin quite rightly highlighted the importance of the UK Supply Chain to the WCSP Programme.
Lockheed Martin Warrior Capability Sustainment Programme Success Underpinned by Robust Supply Chain. Lockheed Martin UK Ampthill brings together its supply chain partners to celebrate milestones and demonstrate how strong collaboration with suppliers is continuing to support programme success. Around 30 suppliers came together at the Tank Museum in Dorset for Lockheed Martin’s exclusive Warrior CSP event – a real celebratory moment which demonstrated the collaboration and partnership which is taking the programme from strength-to-strength.
Lockheed Martin UK Ampthill recently demonstrated the ongoing success of the WCSP development programme with their supply chain partners. This month the programme team has performed a successful Manned Fire-on-the-Move, the next stage in this important British Army programme. The platform is now certified for live firing and the MOD crews will soon start to add to the hundreds of CT40 and thousands of chain gun rounds already fired by the Lockheed Martin team. Lockheed Martin UK has now commenced Reliability Growth Trials and is pushing on to its next major programme milestone of 20 Battlefield Missions.
Mark Farrell, Warrior CSP Supply Chain Lead at Lockheed Martin said: “This is a really exciting and critical time for Lockheed Martin. We have just entered Reliability Growth Trials (RGT) with our MOD customer, this is when we’ll really be able to demonstrate that we have a product and capability which is reliable and absolutely performs. Our programme continues to go from strength-to-strength and together we continue to achieve all programme milestones. Our success is underpinned by our robust and capable supply chain. We have invested in fostering relationships with our suppliers; moving from a typical customer / supplier relationship to a more collaborative partnership – this has paid dividends. We have every confidence in our supply chain and their commitment to the programme”.
Axis Electronics MD Paul Chaplin said: “We are a proud supplier to the Warrior Capability Sustainment Programme. We have partnered with Lockheed Martin for the past 5 years, and our relationship has now matured to a point where we can consult Lockheed Martin for advice and guidance on a range of business challenges – their advice and support is invaluable to our organisation. Working alongside the world’s largest Defence Prime has enabled Axis to develop in areas such as cyber security; with Lockheed Martin’s support we have now achieved our Cyber Essentials Plus accreditation. I think it’s a very exciting time for Warrior CSP, and for supply chain partners such as ourselves. It’s a critical milestone as we enter RGT and a real opportunity for us to prove that our product works. The Lockheed Martin Warrior CSP supply chain is critical to the success of the programme and we take that responsibility extremely seriously.”
Supply Chain Post-Brexit
The MoD and the Treasury are seemingly at loggerheads over the allocation of the money required for WCSP, the timing of the award and the final vehicle numbers. The arduous WCSP Bovington Trials, run by Lockheed and DE&S (as we reported earlier last month) are performing on time and in in line with the contract requirements, albeit delayed, mainly due to engineering changes to the GFE CT40 canon and the turret. One source suggested that the arduous terms of the Trials may be due to the huge risk posed to the MoD in having to pay a huge cost overrun due to the CT40 problems which cannot be claimed back from Lockheed Martin, who were tasked with at least 7 engineering changes to meet the new designs for CT40 and the turret. Lockheed themselves acknowledged some responsibility with the programme and made a $60m charge in last year’s accounts. So, the view is that the Trials will run to the end and then an appraisal will be made by the customer, the MoD, as to whether to proceed or cancel the contract allegedly due to failure of the vehicle to perform in the Trials with one option being of a claim made against Lockheed for alleged poor performance as the MoD did to BAE Systems over Terrier, this will of course result in a legal dispute. As it stands, with the trials progressing well, this possibility is remote. The Terrier charges were one key reason why BAE took a cautious approach to WCSP, to avoid another big hit to its bottom line. However, any repeat of a Terrier-type hit on Lockheed for WCSP, would undoubtedly result in a large counter claim by Lockheed over CT40 engineering changes.
But, the MoD appears to have overlooked a key elephant in the room over WCSP – the UK Supply Chain for armoured vehicles. Post-Brexit. Since the Drayson speech that the UK would no longer be a manufacturer of armoured hulls, the number of key suppliers is dwindling with little appetite by existing suppliers to maintain their existing product range in the face of lack of orders and extended supply periods when orders are placed. The GDELS Ajax Programme has created a further hiatus in the UK Supply Chain. When GDELS announced the Ajax Programme bid, announced that the bid would be ‘British to its Bootstraps.’ In fact the opposite happened and the bulk of the Supply Chain was based upon the Spanish Ascod vehicle, a process which caused the demise of several manufacturers such as GKN Land which benefited very little from Ajax, having failed to win the wheels contract.
WCSP is the upgrade of around 225 of the existing Warrior fleet of around 800 vehicles, the remainder of which may be slated for ABSV. This provides a problem for the MoD and the Government in its wish for the UK to remain self-sufficient post-Brexit. If WCSP is cancelled, with ABSV being nowhere near fruition, just a concept study, many of those companies present at the Lockheed/DE&S Bovington Open Day may well shut up shop if WCSP is canned, as Warrior is the only large tracked vehicle Programme for their products along with the ageing and mostly mothballed FV432/Bulldog fleet. Sources told BATTLESPACE last year that even now Babcock is finding it hard to source certain spares for Warrior. So, if WCSP fails, the whole supply chain for the existing UK tracked armoured vehicle fleet, including the ageing FV432/Bulldog fleet and Challenger 2/CRAAV and Terrier, lies in danger of collapse as an industrial base of Just Terrier and Challenger 2/CRAAV is unsustainable and would also jeopardise the ability of DE&S to manage UORs in the event of war The Scimitar fleet is already being replaced by Ajax so that problem is receding, along with AS90, most of which are in storage. Solution, scrap the whole Warrior/FV432 fleet and buy a new fleet along the lines of the current MIV Programme. Any such move would most certainly be blocked by the Treasury and the Army as to build such a capability from scratch with a new vehicle, most likely an Ajax variant, would take a lot of time and money, which as we know from WCSP, the Treasury is reluctant to part with! In addition the political fallout from factory closures, loss of key technologies and redundancies in key marginal seats would be a disaster for the Government. So, in short, the doomsayers predicting the demise of WCSP may be well wide of the mark!
01 Apr 19. Supply chain security: the subcontractor risk. Vendors that don’t fully understand federal cybersecurity contracting standards along with the inability of large defense contractors to monitor into their own supply chains have led to widespread targeting and theft of U.S. economic and national security secrets by nation-state hackers, industry experts told Congress.
Less than 60 percent of small and medium-sized defense contractors responding to a survey conducted by the National Defense Industrial Association said they read the Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement (DFARS) that lays out minimum security standards for contractor information systems. Nearly half of those who did said they found it hard to understand. About 45 percent of respondents hadn’t read National Institute of Standards and Technology guidelines for protecting controlled unclassified information.
The research found that many small and mid-sized contractors tend to have “uneven awareness of cybersecurity risks and prevention” and are more likely to view requirements as just another regulatory box to check to win government business. There is also a perception of uneven enforcement of DFARS regulations, with complaints that poor metrics for measuring compliance do not do enough to reward companies that align their practices to DFARS over those that don’t.
Christopher Peters, CEO of the Lucrum Group and co-author on the NDIA report, told lawmakers at a March 26 Senate Armed Services Committee that while large defense contractors typically have “robust” security measures in place, the smaller and medium-sized companies with whom they subcontract do not, making them “prime targets” for nation states. This is particularly true when it comes to industrial control systems and software that run machinery on the plant or shop floor.
“Manufacturers have to have confidence that their investments in cybersecurity are going to meet DOD requirements,” Peters told the committee. “Large manufacturers also need a means to quickly and cost effectively assess the cybersecurity readiness of each manufacturer in their supply chains. That requires the establishment of meaningful metrics that can be readily certified, whether by a customer, the government or an independent third party.”
The big five defense contractors — Boeing, General Dynamics, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and Raytheon — frequently subcontract out portions of their work to smaller firms, who in turn subcontract further with other entities. At a certain point, prime contractors lose visibility into who their third-, fourth- or fifth-tier subcontractors are, a challenge that the Office of the Director of National Intelligence has encountered while examining supply chain security threats.
Michael MacKay, CTO for defense contractor Progeny Systems, told the committee there were a variety of reasons for that lack of visibility, ranging from a reluctance of prime contractors to lay out the details behind their proprietary supply-chain business strategies to a lack of transparency inherent in a contracting field that is often fluid and opaque.
“If I hand a document over to somebody to create a part, then I have to make — I have to ask them how they are going to managing that document and who they are going to give it to,” said MacKay. “They could lie to me … they could say, yes, we’re going to do this and at that last minute, hand it off to somebody that came in at a lower bid and not tell me.”
Policymakers have long fretted over the potential for adversarial nations to steal U.S. secrets by targeting contractors. However, two incidents over the past year have spurred greater urgency around the topic: reports that in 2018, Chinese hackers stole “massive” amounts of sensitive data from the unclassified networks of a contractor working for the Naval Undersea Warfare Center, and a 2019 internal review by the Navy that found Chinese hackers were pilfering so much Intellectual property and classified secrets from the defense industrial base that it was “materially eroding” U.S. economic and military advantages.
Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) called the lack of visibility down the supply chain “absolutely unbelievable” and said Congress needed to rewrite contracting standards to ensure subcontractors are held to the same security requirements as primes.
“Somebody has to be held accountable,” Manchin said. “A blind person can follow this. We wonder why we’ve been hacked so much, why they’ve copied everything? You all just explained it. There’s no checks and balances .… It looks like to me that we’re … protecting a business model more than we are the security of our country.” (Source: Defense Systems)
01 Apr 19. Secubit promotes smart inventory weaponry management system in region. Key Points:
- Secubit is showing its smart weapon management system for the first time at LAAD
- The system uses artificial intelligence and a weapon-mounted counter to asses the health of weapons
Secubit is presenting its WeaponLogic advanced weaponry readiness and maintenance enhancement at the 2019 LAAD Defence and Security exposition for the first time.
WeaponLogic facilitates data-driven maintenance and smart weapon inventory management based on actual usage of data gathered by constantly reviewing each weapon, according to a company statement. The system is a set of tools that includes an advanced algorithm that gathers and analyses compressive weapon usage data in real time.
This data provides immediate battlefield indication regarding weapon state and ammunition consumption. The system’s Smart Counter advanced artificial intelligence- (AI)-driven algorithm learns each specific weapon’s characteristics and provides analysis for tactical optimisation. Secubit spokesperson Ruby Shasha said on 28 March ahead of LAAD that the AI part of the system is not in the logistic and parts ordering, but is in learning the weapon activity and performance and reducing malfunction according to the energy recorded during the firing sequence.
The system alerts the armourer which weapons require service and supply status. The collected data are sorted and displayed in an easy-to-use interface with customisable features.
Shasha said WeaponLogic is in use with several branches of the United States military and other forces in Sweden and New Zealand. Shasha said two Latin American nations have requirements for smart inventory weapon management systems.
Shasha said, in comparison to WeaponLogic, other weapon management systems focus on armoury and inventory management. The WeaponLogic system, on the other hand, is focused and based on the weapon itself and its condition. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
01 Apr 19. Rafael eyes Brazilian Army helicopters upgrade. Rafael Advanced Defense Systems is offering a modernisation package for Brazilian Army Aviation Command’s Fennec AvEx and AS365K2 Super Pantera helicopters. Rafael’s proposal includes Brazilian privately-owned firm Akaer Engenharia for design, subsystem production, integration, installation, and fielding of the weapon system. It includes three types of armament, a reconnaissance package, and a training and support package. As armament, the team is offering the Spike ER2 extended-range multipurpose anti-armour missile that can engage an armoured ground target in non-line-of-sight (NLOS) from up to 16km, as well as 70mm laser-guided rocket and the 7.62 × 51mm Dillon Aero M134D six-barrel Gatling-gun. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
01 Apr 19. ANAO expresses concerns for Anzac Class sustainment program. The Australian National Audit Office (ANAO) has released its report into the sustainment arrangements the Royal Australian Navy has put in place for the fleet of Anzac Class frigates. An audit of the sustainment program was ordered due to the “cost and the importance of this capability until the Hunter Class frigates enter into service”, with the RAN using 15 per cent of its overall sustainment budget for the year on the Anzac Class, at a cost of $374m.
ANAO’s findings expressed concerns that “Defence cannot demonstrate the efficiency or outcomes of its sustainment arrangements, as the necessary performance information has not been captured,” as well as revealing that Defence has been aware since 2012 that “sustainment arrangements have not kept pace with higher than expected operational usage”.
“The Anzac Class Product Delivery Schedule in Navy’s Materiel Sustainment Agreement established with the Capability Acquisition and Sustainment Group is not fit-for-purpose,” the report said.
“Navy has not updated the document to reflect the current governance arrangements and sustainment needs. The current sustainment plan and available budget do not accurately reflect the operational use of the frigates, which is higher than planned.”
ANAO released the following recommendations for the sustainment program, which Defence agreed to undertake, some pending qualification.
- Defence update the Anzac Class Product Delivery Schedule of the Navy Materiel Sustainment Agreement to align sustainment plans for the Anzac Class frigates with their operational use and material condition;
- In the context of developing its transition plan for the Anzac Class life-of-type extension, Defence review the capital and sustainment funding required to maintain the Anzac Class frigate capability until 2043, and advise the government of the funding required to meet the government’s capability requirements for the class or the capability trade-offs to be made;
- Defence review the key performance measures for the Anzac Class frigates’ sustainment to ensure they are reliable and complete;
- To align with the strategic planning approach outlined in the Defence Integrated Investment Program, Defence develop guidance in the Capability Life Cycle Manual on when a proposal to establish or amend a sustainment program should be provided to the Defence Investment Committee and the Minister for Finance for consideration; and
- Defence refine its performance reporting and management arrangements for the Anzac Class frigates by aligning key performance indicators in the Warship Asset Management Agreement and those in the Anzac Class Product Delivery Schedule of the Navy Materiel Sustainment Agreement.
ANAO also released a summary of the Department of Defence’s response, which is provided below:
“Defence welcomes the ANAO Audit Report into the Anzac Class Frigates – Sustainment and agrees with the recommendations. Recommendations three and four have been agreed with qualifications.
“Defence would like to highlight the reliable performance and operational effectiveness of the Anzac Class Frigates, and their ability to consistently achieve whole of government requirements during the previous two decades. Throughout the life of the Anzac Class Frigates, Defence has effectively managed upgrades and subsequent sustainment of these warships in order to achieve the strategic requirements that have evolved since the introduction of the capability.
“Defence is confident the assurance provided through this Seaworthiness regime affirms the warships are operational, seaworthy and capable of performing all assigned tasks. Furthermore, Defence is continually assessing options to optimise sustainment funding for the Anzac Class Frigates to ensure operational availability and effectiveness continues to be met.
“The Warship Asset Management Agreement (WAMA) has seen the implementation of greater cost oversight and improved performance-based measures that encourage collaborative behaviours and a solutions focus within the industry partners. In line with the First Principles Review, the WAMA seeks to support long term relationships with industry that will underpin the sovereign capabilities essential to deliver continuous shipbuilding and sustainment.
“Defence is actively planning and making preparations for the transition from the Anzac Class Frigates to the Hunter Class Frigates to ensure effective operational coverage in a complex and ever changing strategic environment.” (Source: Defence Connect)
28 Mar 19. Jacobs Engineering receives PEX support contract from USAF. Jacobs Engineering Group has been awarded $75.8m Patriot Excalibur (PEX) contract at the US Air Force (USAF) Life Cycle Management Center at the Hanscom Air Force Base. Under the five-year contract, Jacobs will carry on maintaining the PEX software, provide engineering services, training and support field implementations. The contract is intended to provide a unit-level software toolset for the airforce, joint service and foreign military unit personnel. This will allow them to perform operational tasks and track readiness status accurately in real-time.
Jacobs Aerospace, Technology and Nuclear senior vice-president Jennifer Richmond said: “We are committed to delivering PEX with cutting-edge software solutions that are responsive, innovative and sustainable. This significant contract reaffirms our longstanding partnership with the US Air Force as Jacobs continues to invest in innovation that is centred on artificial intelligence, automated design and predictive analytics.”
Work under the contract will be carried out at more than 30 USAF locations. PEX software is designed to support flying, non-flying and intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance (ISR) and special mission units. The software employs Cloud computing and mobile technologies and is based on an agile software development method. It helps integrate a range of functional areas of a squadron organisation and enables information sharing. In 2016, the company was awarded a $36.5m PEX contract with a performance period of three years. Last year, Jacobs won a contract to continue developing software to support the USAF Air Mobility and Air Combat Command aircraft fleet. (Source: airforce-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.