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22 Nov 19. Collins Class sustainment tug-of-war heats up. The tug-of-war between South Australia and Western Australia for the rights of responsibility to the full-cycle docking sustainment of the Collins Class submarine is continuing to heat up, with a review by the Australian Industrial Transformation Institute of Flinders University recommending the task stays in SA. The independent review was commissioned by the South Australian government, and took into consideration the workforce, infrastructure, industrial base and national interest arguments for and against relocating Collins Class submarine full-cycle docking activities to Western Australia.
The report from the Australian Industrial Transformation Institute highlighted the significant cost, estimated at nearly $650 million, that would be required to “build the appropriate infrastructure in Western Australia and ensure sufficient skilled workers are available in both states during a potential move.”
The review also claimed that “strong growth in the state’s mining and construction sectors” would intensify the competition for suitably skilled personnel, suggesting that Western Australia would struggle to recruit and retain enough security cleared engineers and tradespeople for the full-cycle docking sustainment.
“ASC (2019) has indicated that shifting sustainment activities from South Australia to Western Australia would initially require the recruitment, training and certification of an additional 500 employees,” the report reads.
“However, this number will only increase the Western Australian maintenance sustainment workforce to 900 employees, sufficient to deliver the FCD, but insufficient to also deliver the MCD, unscheduled docking (USD) and other sustainment activities required concurrently.
“To deliver all maintenance and sustainment requirements, Western Australia would require a total of 1,300 employees (ACIL Allen Consulting, 2019; ASC, 2019). Nine hundred of this workforce would need to be upskilled and retrained in Western Australia, be seconded, fly-in fly-out (FIFO) or move from South Australia in order to deliver the work associated with FCD, which is considerably more technically complex than the current program of work delivered in Western Australia.”
The report went on to say that over $250 million would be required in duplicate wages if the job was moved.
“South Australia has a long and proven history of naval shipbuilding and sustainment, being home to the nation’s largest and most digitally-advanced shipyard at Osborne, a highly experienced and skilled workforce and a well-established supply chain,” Defence SA chief executive Richard Price said.
“Our state’s mature naval shipbuilding sector has developed over 30 years and will be difficult to reproduce in the necessary time frames in Western Australia.
“It is important to remember that the Naval Shipbuilding Plan needs 15,000 people nationally of which 5,500 are needed in South Australia. Today, even with the significant ramp down on completion of the Air Warfare Destroyer program, the skilled workforce is 2,500.
“South Australia has managed similar naval shipbuilding workforce ramp-ups in the past, has strong funded plans underway to manage workforce demands and does not face the kind of competitive labour market pressures that Western Australia does, due to its mining and resources industry.”
The report even suggests that shifting the current arrangements could “deprive the Australian Navy of essential submarine capability” due to the disruption.
“A world-class submarine sustainment capability exists at Osborne and is exceeding international benchmarks in putting submarines to sea,” Price said.
The release of the report comes after the Western Australian government highlighted their own credentials for the role earlier in the week at the Submarine Science, Technology and Engineering Conference 2019 (SubTEC5) in Fremantle.
“Moving full-cycle docking to Western Australia is in the national interest, it will result in a significant job boost and will generate millions of dollars for the state and independent studies show WA is ready and able to deliver on the country’s strategic defence needs,” Premier Mark McGowan said during his address at SubTEC5.
“Playing host to SubSTEC5 allows Western Australia to show its outstanding capabilities to leading industry figures and remain at the forefront of industry technology and advancements.”
Defence Issues Minister Paul Papalia said the conference was timely as the Commonwealth weighs up the monumental decision.
“The McGowan government has put forward a comprehensive case that it’s in the national interest to bring Collins Class submarine full-cycle docking to Henderson,” Minister Papalia said.
“Not only do we have a highly skilled workforce, we already perform Collins Class mid-cycle docking in the West.
“Supporting a strong and enduring Defence presence is a key strategy of WA’s Defence and Defence Industries Strategic Plan.”
It’s all about balance
As Defence Connect deputy editor Stephen Kuper wrote in September, “Compromise serves as the ideal path forward for all parties as the focus needs to shift beyond the political jockeying and recognise the challenges faced by the nation and the Australian Defence Force in an increasingly contested and challenging tactical and strategic operating environment.”
That is, finding a middle ground where the ADF’s capabilities are met to its fullest, regardless of which state or territory benefits, should be at the forefront of the decision by the Commonwealth.
As proposed by Kuper, expanding the procurement of the Hobart Class destroyers would tick a number of boxes, increasing the RAN’s critical capabilities as well as maintaining the critical skills in both Adelaide and/or Henderson shipyards until the major construction Hunter and Attack Class programs commence.
“Expanding the acquisition of the Hobart Class will also serve to provide additional redundancy for the Navy in the face of increasingly advanced anti-ship ballistic and cruise missile systems and enhancing the protective layers around other major Navy assets, namely the Canberra Class amphibious warfare ships, while further supporting Australia’s growing responsibilities in the region,” he wrote. (Source: Defence Connect)
22 Nov 19. RAN to deploy world-first technology for patrol vessel maintenance. The Royal Australian Navy is set to deploy Darwin-developed 3D printing technology in a world-first trial that is anticipated to streamline the maintenance of patrol vessels.
The federal government confirmed the investment of $1.5 million into the two-year Supersonic Deposition 3D printer pilot, which will lead to a significant increase of parts availability compared with what the regular supply chain can provide.
Minister for Defence Industry Melissa Price congratulated Charles Darwin University’s Advanced Manufacturing Alliance, along with industry partner SPEE3D, for producing the cutting-edge and uniquely Australian capability.
“This high-tech machinery enables metal components to be produced quickly and efficiently, meaning our ships can get back on the water without delay,” Minister Price said.
“Benefiting both the Navy and industry, the knowledge transfer gained using this capability also positions the Advanced Manufacturing Alliance to pursue further opportunities.
“This capability is a prime example of Australian innovation at its best and supports the government’s unprecedented shipbuilding and sustainment plans.”
Minister Price visited Charles Darwin University with chancellor Paul Henderson, AO, as part of a wider visit to Darwin this week to inspect work underway on the $1.1bn defence infrastructure upgrades in the Top End. (Source: Defence Connect)
18 Nov 19. UAE signs contracts worth $2bn for defence equipment and support. The Ministry of Defence of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has awarded contracts totalling more than AED7bn ($1.9bn) during the ongoing Dubai Airshow 2019. The deals cover aircraft support, munitions, spare parts and maintenance. Global Aerospace Logistics (GAL) has been awarded a AED3.5bn ($952.75m) contract to provide maintenance support for the UAE Joint Aviation Command’s (JAC) helicopter fleet.
GAL CEO Khalid Al Breiki was quoted by media sources as saying: “We are honoured by the continued faith that the UAE Armed Forces has shown GAL to deliver aviation maintenance support services for the JAC fleet.
“We will continue to bring innovative solutions to enhance turnaround times and maximise fleet availability, and explore further opportunities to deliver comprehensive lifecycle support solutions that deliver value and operational efficiencies to the JAC.”
France’s Dassault Aviation has secured a AED1.7bn ($462.76m) deal to deliver enhancements to the UAE’s fleet of Mirage fighter aircraft.
According to Gulf News, MBDA signed a contract for the supply of aircraft munitions.
The UAE also struck an agreement with Lockheed Martin to deliver equipment for the F-16 aircraft.
Boeing has agreed to provide maintenance and support of the UAE’s aircraft and simulator training.
Other major awardees include Abu Dhabi Autonomous Systems Investments Company (Adasi) and Denel Dynamics.
Adasi will supply aircraft spare parts under a AED120m ($32.66m) contract while Denel will be responsible for providing technical support for the country’s aircraft fleet. The contracts were signed on the first day of the air show, which is being held at Dubai World Central, UAE. (Source: airforce-technology.com)
18 Nov 19. US Navy eyes cost-effective F-5 upgrades. In October, the US Air Force (USAF) awarded four companies indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity (IDIQ) contracts worth ISD6.4bn to provide contracted adversary air (AdAir) support over the next five years. The US Navy (USN), having pioneered the use of contractor owned/contractor operated (COCO) adversaries in the 1990s, is looking at a number of ways to enhance its own ‘red air’ support to front line forces.
The USN and US Marine Corps (USMC) currently operates three reserve command squadrons of ex-Swiss Northrop F-5N Tiger IIs, plus three F-5F ‘Frankentiger’ two-seaters, which mated existing F-5F front fuselages with ex-Swiss rear fuselages. Despite plans to ‘sundown’ the F-5 in 2015, it is now looking at ways to keep them relevant for modern training, and to extend them out past 2030.
The US Department of Defense USD718bn Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 budget included USD39.7m to acquire a further 22 F-5E/Fs from Switzerland, to supplement and in some cases replace the 43 aircraft currently in service. The Tiger II is ideal for the role; cheap to operate, simple to maintain with no complex systems. However, the aircraft in its current state only realistically offers MiG-21 ‘Fishbed’ threat replication and desperately needs to be modernised to offer credible modern-day opposition.
Tactical Air Support Inc (TacAir) of Reno, Nevada, acquired a fleet of 21 F-5E/Fs from the Royal Jordanian Air Force in 2017 and immediately began developing a bespoke upgrade for the aircraft at its maintenance and logistics facility in St Augustine, Florida. The company was rewarded when in late 2018 it was awarded a five-year USD107m contract from the navy to provide adversary services in addition to training for air and ship crews to counter electronic threats. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
17 Nov 19. Honeywell (NYSE: HON) and S&K Logistics Services have entered into a new service agreement that will reduce aircraft downtime and cut costs for Foreign Military Sales customers worldwide. S&K Logistics Services, an industry-leading provider of maintenance, repair and overhaul services, made the collaboration with Honeywell official at a signing ceremony on Day 1 of Dubai Airshow.
The agreement with S&K Logistics Services (SKLS) will support Foreign Military Sales (FMS) customers, with fast, reliable repairs and maintenance for all their Honeywell parts. Downtime is expensive and inconvenient for operators, but necessary to maintain aircraft. Honeywell has maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) centres all over the world with its extensive network of channel partners. Through this collaboration, operators will benefit from reduced turnaround time and faster access to local MRO services on a global scale.
“The work we do is mission critical,” said John Sims, president of S&K Logistics Services. “Joining forces with a global company like Honeywell gives us the infrastructure and reach needed to ensure we are able to provide local and efficient services to our customers. FMS users can get their required parts faster and have the reassurance of Honeywell-backed original equipment manufacturer support on all parts. This reduces aircraft downtime and costs, allowing operators to keep the focus on the mission.”
The five-year servicing agreement will cover all of Honeywell’s defence products and services, including engines, avionics and mechanical components. The agreement between S&K Logistics Services and Honeywell will offer direct support to military operators and allow FMS users easy access to expert servicing professionals at the same high standards of safety and reliability that Honeywell applies to its own products.
“With this agreement, our FMS users in the Middle East and the rest of the world will benefit from Honeywell’s global network of repair and overhaul sites,” said Mosab Alkubaisy, director for Defense and Space, Middle East and Africa, at Honeywell Aerospace. “Buying Honeywell’s parts gives customers a one-stop shop for all their military procurement needs. Crucially, all products and parts procured through the collaboration with S&K Logistics Services can be repaired and maintained worldwide, significantly reducing turnaround time and boosting efficiency for customers.”
18 Nov 19. Boeing Embraer – Defense Joint Venture to Develop New Markets for the C-390 Millennium. Boeing [NYSE: BA] and Embraer [B3: EMBR3, NYSE: ERJ] today announced their joint venture to promote and develop new markets for the C-390 Millennium multi-mission airlift and air mobility aircraft will be called Boeing Embraer – Defense. The organization will only be operational after the companies’ joint venture receives regulatory approvals and meets closing conditions.
“Boeing Embraer – Defense will build on our companies’ history of collaboration across commercial and defense aerospace to unlock significant value in the state-of-the-art C-390 Millennium as it enters service and leads the next generation of airlift and air mobility aircraft,” said Marc Allen, Boeing’s president of Embraer Partnership and Group Operations.
The C-390 Millennium is a tactical transport aircraft designed to set new standards in its category, while presenting the lowest life-cycle cost on the market. The aircraft brings airlift and air mobility into the jet age with increased mobility, rugged design, higher flexibility, state-of-the-art proven technology and easier, more efficient maintenance. The C-390 Millennium can perform a variety of missions, such as aerial refueling, cargo and troop transport, cargo and paratrooper airdrop, search and rescue, aerial firefighting and humanitarian missions.
“The name of our joint venture represents the strong partnership between Embraer and Boeing that will strengthen the global competitiveness of this incredible aircraft and broaden the target markets, developing and generating greater value for the C-390 program to offer the best for our future customers,” said Jackson Schneider, President and CEO, Embraer Defense & Security.
The C-390 Millennium received its Civil Certification from the Brazilian National Aviation Agency (ANAC) in 2018 and is now in full production. In August 2019, Portugal signed a contract to acquire five aircraft with deliveries slated for 2023. The Brazilian Air Force (FAB) received its first aircraft on September 4, 2019. The delivery of the second aircraft to the Brazilian Air Force is scheduled to happen in 4Q19.
Embraer will have 51 percent ownership of Boeing Embraer – Defense, with Boeing holding the remaining 49 percent. The C-390 Millennium partnership is one of two planned joint ventures between the companies. Boeing Brasil – Commercial will be a joint venture comprising the commercial aviation operations of Embraer, with 80 percent owned by Boeing and 20 percent owned by Embraer. Both joint ventures remain subject to regulatory approval and customary closing conditions. The companies expect their transaction to close in early 2020.
15 Nov 19. UAE using new raiding craft. UAE’s Union Fortress 6 military demonstration. The United Arab Emirates (UAE) Armed Forces is using what appears to be the 11m Offshore Raiding Craft (ORC) made by the British company Holyhead Marine, it was revealed during its Union Fortress 6 public demonstration.
Held on the coast of Ras al-Khaimah on 1 November, the demonstration featured a wide variety of the UAE’s air and land platforms, but also a few maritime assets, including the previously unseen raiding craft and a swimmer delivery vehicle that emerged from the water to be used as a sniper platform by its two-man crew.
The 11 m ORC is an enlarged version of the 9m ORC in service with the UK’s Royal Marine Commandos. Holyhead Marine says the baseline craft can be easily reconfigured into two versions: the Troop Carrier Variant that can accommodate 12 soldiers and two crew and the Fire Support Platform with four machine gun mounts and higher armour, which protects against 7.62×39 mm bullets at 20m.
An example of the latter seemed to feature in Union Fortress 6, providing covering fire as rigid hulled inflatable boats and helicopters landed soldiers on the beach to fight insurgents. A landing ship then came in to deploy BMP-3 infantry fighting vehicles, while a motorised pontoon was used to land Leclerc tanks. Holyhead Marine declined to respond to requests for comment on the apparent sale to the UAE. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
15 Nov 19. Mikros to install maintenance systems on two US Navy ship classes. Mikros Systems has received a new order from the US Navy to install advanced maintenance systems on two additional ship classes. The company won the order under its ADEPT Distance Support Sensor Suite (ADSSS) contract with the navy. The new order is valued at up to $6m. Mikros will develop a new variant of the AN/SYM-3 Condition-Based Maintenance (CBM) system for installation on the US Navy’s CVN-class aircraft carriers and the LHD/LHA-class large deck amphibious assault ships. In September, Mikros installed the AN/SYM-3 system on a littoral combat ship (LCS). The system is designed to provide secure networking, remote status monitoring and data analytics for the components of a ship’s combat system.
Mikros Systems senior programme manager Lori Ogles said: “We are very pleased to report that Mikros has been awarded this new delivery order as design agent for the navy’s AN/SYM-3 system.
“This substantial order extends the system to two additional classes of navy ships. This programme will ensure that we continue to enhance the design and effectiveness of the system, and gives us the opportunity to prove its value on other navy platforms.”
The company stated that the SYM-3 system has the ability to provide operators with near real-time feedback on system performance.
The advanced maintenance solution also performs data analysis to predict trends and future failures.
Mikros Systems CEO Tom Meaney said: “Extending the programme into two new ship classes represents a monumental achievement and provides Mikros with an opportunity to generate multiple additional task orders under our existing IDIQ contract and grow our business.
“We are working diligently to develop new applications for the SYM-3, which provides a cyber-secure environment for remote monitoring and data analytics and helps keep the ship and its systems ready to fight.” (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.