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LOGISTICS AND THROUGH LIFE UPDATE

Sponsored by Hobson Industries

www.hobsonindustries.co.uk

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19 Mar 20. SAIC Wins $950m Defense Logistics Agency FSG-80 Contract. Science Applications International Corp. (NYSE: SAIC) won the Federal Supply Group – 80 Tailored Logistics Support Program contract from the Defense Logistics Agency. The single-award, indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity contract has a ceiling value of $950 million.

“We’re proud to extend our partnership with the DLA in supporting our warfighters around the world,” said Jim Scanlon, executive vice president and general manager of SAIC’s Defense Systems Group. “We’re looking forward to bringing our expertise and technical solutions, such as our Integrated Logistics Toolkit and hazardous materials management, to bear to help improve service delivery to the Department of Defense.”

On this contract, SAIC will take over supply chain management for the FSG 80 commodity, which includes paints; preservation and sealing compounds; and adhesives. Many of these items have short shelf lives and require temperature-controlled storage. The company will provide services including, but not limited to, procurement, demand planning, inventory and distribution management, shelf-life management, and direct delivery of the commodity to more than 5,000 DOD locations.

SAIC’s Integrated Logistics Toolkit is a suite of open-source software applications that optimizes performance on large, supply chain management programs. It automates collection of requirements, forecasting demand, and inventory and delivery management and optimization. The toolkit can also identify qualified sources of supply and generate customized reports. It was developed based on business processes and best-in-class methodologies obtained by SAIC’s more than 30 years’ experience in supply chain management. The contract has a three-year base period of performance with two, two-year options. (Source: BUSINESS WIRE)

16 Mar 20. Indian Navy to lease private berth for Vikrant-class aircraft carrier. The Indian Navy has informed the parliamentary Standing Committee on Defence that it intends to lease a 260m berth at an L&T shipyard in Kattupalli for its Vikrant-class aircraft carrier.

The lease would be for eight years from 2022 to 2030, as the planned base at Vishakhapatnam is yet to be completed. India is expected to complete the first-of-class INS Vikrant in 2022, and the navy hopes eventually to have two aircraft carriers fully operational at any given time.

Each Vikrant-class carrier would be responsible for maritime security and the protection of EEZs on India’s eastern and western coastlines. The Standing Committee has also raised some concern over the declining share of the defence budget allocated to the Indian Navy, suggesting that naval capabilities are reliant on high-value defence platforms such as aircraft carriers and frigates. (Source: Shephard)

17 Mar 20. US Army ventures down path to electrify the brigade. The U.S. Army is seeking to power its brigades using electric and hybrid sources in order to break free of the burden of fuel and disposable batteries that bog down its logistics tail and limit mobility and reach, a general with Army Futures Command has told Defense News.

Lt. Gen. Eric Wesley, the director of the Futures and Concepts Center within the command, said in a recent interview that it’s one thing to power a vehicle electrically, but quite another to work out an entire enterprise that would support fleets of electric vehicles and other capabilities.

“Let’s be clear. We’re behind. We’re late to meet on this thing,” Wesley said. “If you look at all of the analysis, all of the various nations that we work with, they’re all going to electric power with their automotive fleet, and right now, although we do [science and technology] and we’ve got some research and development going on and we can build prototypes, in terms of a transition plan, we are not there.”

For instance, the Army tested a hybrid Chevy Colorado — fitted with a hydrogen fuel cell and electric drive — with several units, but nothing amounted to the effort.

Buying an all-electric Tesla vehicle, Wesley said, is easy, but “the Army has to think about it much bigger. What is the cost of replacing your entire fleet? We know we can’t do that. There’s got to be a steady transition.”

U.S. soldiers evaluated the Chevrolet Colorado ZH2’s operational effectiveness as a hybrid vehicle. (Jerome Aliotta/U.S. Army)

There will likely be a time where vehicles that use fossil fuel and ones that are all-electric share the battlefield. “What is the distribution plan that enables that?” Wesley wondered. “That is much more complex when you look at the implications for an entire enterprise.”

So Wesley’s outfit is preparing a proposal for the head of Army Futures Command that will address how the service might accomplish such a big, but important endeavor that could change the paradigm of the logistics and sustainment tails as well as enhance force mobility.

The proposal will make a business case for the Army electrifying the formation, discuss the technical feasibility and describe how a transition process.

There are three major reasons it’s important the Army embark on this now as opposed to just dabbling with electrification capability, Wesley said. The service knows it must build a fleet more reliant on electric power than fossil fuels. While the Army previously dealt with prototypes and knows it can make electric vehicles, the service must get its arms around the capability “in a much more holistic way,” Wesley stressed, and that will take time to work out.

The entire automotive industry is going electric, Wesley said, so the Army will have to do the same or risk problems with resources and supply chains down the line; if industry no longer builds parts for fossil fuel-reliant vehicles, availability of those parts will diminish and their cost will increase.

The Army also views electrically powered brigades as advantageous when considering how it expects to operate in the future. The service’s emerging doctrine Multi-Domain Operations requires units to operate distributed and independently for longer periods of time in potentially contested environments.

“We have to operate distributed, which means you have to have organic power that is readily available,” Wesley said. “Another aspect of Multi-Domain Operations … when you think about it, a lot of technology is being distributed at lower and lower echelons, and the question is always: ‘How are we going to power these different tools that we use in operations, highly technical tools, that we use to integrate domains? How are you going to power those?’

“Electrification allows you to have access to readily available power to distribute not only for the vehicle but for all those different systems that I have.”

And other benefits abound, he added, including dealing with less parts. The general noted that a Tesla’s moving parts are a few dozen while the number of moving parts in an internal combustion engine can be in the thousands. In the electric vehicle, the parts are also modular and don’t break down due to interaction with each other, but rather individual failures, Wesley said, so that means broken parts can easily be replaced.

In addition, batteries from one vehicle to another would be similar or exactly the same, so parts across the fleet would have more commonality, he said. Electric vehicles are also quiet and have a low heat signature, which means they are less likely to be detected by opposing forces, he added.

While a transition to electrically powered brigades would have a substantial price tag, the cost of one would be much lower than the cost to power the brigade with fossil fuel now, he argued.

The Army is also considering powering its capabilities with other forms of energy such as nuclear power — a technological leap that isn’t far off, according to Wesley.

The Pentagon is investing roughly $400 million across the next five years in an attempt to develop prototypes for mobile nuclear power. The idea is to “pelletize” nuclear fuel encased in such a manner “to preclude the escape of radioactivity that allows you to leverage nuclear fission in such a way that it becomes safe,” Wesley explained.

The three-star general said there are at least nine vendors interested in building a prototype that could be built in the next two to three years, which would provide enough power to provide energy to an entire forward-operating base for an extended period of time.

“Imagine a mobile nuclear power capability that can fit on the back of a truck. Now you’re generating your own energy.” (Source: Defense News)

16 Mar 20. The F-35: ALIS in the Looking-Glass. The F-35 is the most modern fighter jet in the world. It’s the Department of Defense’s most ambitious and costly weapon system. It’s also supposed to be one of the smartest. It runs on the Autonomic Logistics Information System, a hardware and software system known as ALIS (read: “Alice”). This smart system is supposed to manage everything the F-35 fleet needs to operate at peak condition. But ALIS doesn’t actually work the way it’s supposed to. In today’s WatchBlog, we’re taking a look at ALIS—and what the Department of Defense plans to do with it in the future.

What is ALIS supposed to do?

ALIS is supposed to monitor system health and take action to improve it—by scheduling maintenance, for example, or ordering parts.

It’s also supposed to help military leadership keep tabs on the fleet—letting them know which planes are flight-ready. Software in ALIS is intended to help plan missions and record information for debriefing.

There’s even an application in ALIS intended to track training for pilots and maintainers—keeping them apprised of any developments in the F-35’s technology or capabilities.

What’s going wrong?

Even after years of development and testing, the system doesn’t work as intended—which officials recognize is particularly problematic because of how interconnected the system is with the F-35.

Because critical data in ALIS is often inaccurate or missing, F-35 maintainers have to manually collect and track information that should be automatically captured in the system. Tracking information in this way is both time-intensive and risky: when key data used to assess an aircraft’s safety has to be tracked using Excel spreadsheets, there is a chance that something critical could get overlooked.

Also, ALIS is bulky and hard to deploy. The server units (pictured here) that collect and analyze ALIS’s aircraft data each weigh approximately 200 pounds and require at least two people to lift. Personnel have to take several of these server units with them on a deployment. The units need a whole room to operate, so it can be hard to find a place to store them on a ship, for example.

F-35 personnel who use ALIS told us that while it’s working better than it used to, the user experience is poor. The interface isn’t intuitive, it’s hard to navigate, and standard functions can take much longer to complete than expected. And that training application? None of the 5 locations we visited are currently using it. They told us that the application doesn’t usually work—they use more user-friendly legacy systems instead.

What are the next steps?

The Department of Defense knows the system needs to be re-designed, and has decided to replace ALIS with a future system that it has named the F-35 Operational Data Integrated Network (ODIN). However, the Department has yet to answer some critical questions about the effort. How much of ALIS will be incorporated in ODIN? Does the Department have access to the data it needs to play a more active role in management of the new system? The figure below shows these technical and programmatic uncertainties.

As DOD proceeds with developing its new system, it will be imperative for the department to carefully consider and assess these questions.

Furthermore, since the Department has not developed a performance measurement process for ALIS, or determined how ALIS issues affect F-35 fleet readiness, how will the Department incorporate these efforts into its current and future systems?

Our recommendations are to help the Department develop a strategy for ALIS’s upcoming re-design. (Source: defense-aerospace.com/ Government Accountability Office)

17 Mar 20. Defence SME launches Adelaide-based 3D printing facility. Victorian metal additive manufacturing specialist Amaero has launched its Adelaide 3D printing facility in partnership with the University of Adelaide. The University of Adelaide and Amaero signed a strategic partnership agreement in October 2019 focused on developing additive manufacturing capability in South Australia.

The facility was originally established by the University of Adelaide with funding from the South Australian government. Amaero has now joined this site as an industry partner.

Amaero chief executive Barrie Finnin welcomed the milestone, stating, “Amaero is thrilled to be establishing a facility in South Australia, which is fast becoming a centre of aerospace and the defence industry. Additive manufacturing is one of the most promising sectors for the Australian economy and it is growing in strategic importance.”

Amaero will work with the University of Adelaide to continue the activities of the South Australian Additive Manufacturing Applied Research Network (AMARN), which involves expanding equipment, human capital, and capability to make Adelaide a leader in 3D printing research, education, training and manufacturing.

Executive director, innovation and commercial at the University of Adelaide, Dr Stephen Rodda, reinforced Finnin’s comments, stating, “The University of Adelaide is delighted to partner with Amaero and we congratulate them on the successful launch of their South Australian facility.

“Productive partnerships are a priority for the university and we look forward to working with Amaero to develop 3D metal printing capabilities for local, national and international markets.”

Located in Adelaide’s northern suburbs, the facility contains three state-of-the-art Renishaw AM 400 3D printing machines and ancillary equipment. The Adelaide site adds to Amaero’s other facilities in Melbourne and El Segundo, California.

South Australian Minister for Innovation and Skills David Pisoni added, “Innovative companies choosing to expand and invest here in South Australia is a vote of confidence in our economy and boost for our innovation ecosystem.

“This facility is a key enabler to help with the adoption of metal 3D printing by local companies that will drive innovation and the translation into new-to-world and new-to-industry products, services and processes.”

Amaero International is an Australia-based company that manufactures large format complex components in metal with laser-based additive manufacturing processes, commonly known as 3D printing.

Amaero has worked with many of the world’s leading manufacturers of aerospace and defence products in both an R&D and manufacturing capability and has a demonstrated ability to deliver aviation and military specification 3D printed alloy critical operation components.

The company was established with the support of Monash University in 2013 to take advantage of commercial opportunities identified by the Monash Centre for Additive Manufacturing (MCAM). Amaero is co-located with MCAM in Melbourne Australia. (Source: Defence Connect)

16 Mar 20. RUAG MRO Switzerland wins RNAF PC-7 aircraft maintenance contract. RUAG MRO Switzerland has won a maintenance contract with the Royal Netherlands Air Force (RNAF) for its Pilatus PC-7 training aircraft. The contract was awarded following a public tender process. The value of the award has not been disclosed by the parties.

Under the contract, RUAG MRO Switzerland will serve as a maintenance service provider for the PC-7 training aircraft’s propellers.

Specifically, the contract will cover maintenance of the complete PC-7 aircraft and subsystems, including engines and components.

Additionally, the company will be responsible for implementing cockpit upgrades and offering value retention measures.

The publicly tendered contract has been extended for two years and is validated until the end of 2022.

The contract has an option, which, if exercised, can be extended until 2026 when the aircraft reaches the end of its lifecycle.

The new contract will replace the original maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) agreement for PC-7 propeller maintenance.

RUAG MRO Switzerland Propeller Aircraft and UAV business development manager Max Grob said: “We are delighted about this order. As a technology partner of the Swiss Army, these synergies in the third market allow us to expand our competencies sustainably and in the long-term.”

Work on the training aircraft will be carried out at the company’s repair facility in Lodrino, Switzerland. Currently, the facility is performing repairs on other variants such as Pilatus PC-6 and PC-9.

It is also one of the 24 certified Hartzell Recommended Service Facilities worldwide. Pilatus PC-7 turbo light training aircraft is in service with several airforces, including India, Mexico, South Africa and Malaysia. (Source: airforce-technology.com)

16 Mar 20. F-35’s $17bn Diagnostic System Rife with Flaws, GAO Says. A $17bn Lockheed Martin Corp. system used since 2009 to monitor F-35 fighter jets for repairs, parts replacement and general maintenance is rife with flaws, sometimes forcing personnel to spend hours entering data by hand, according to congressional auditors. Maintenance crews at one of five U.S. Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps bases that were reviewed “estimated they spend an average of 5,000 to 10,000 hours per year manually tracking information that should be automatically and accurately captured” by Lockheed’s system, the Government Accountability Office said in a report obtained by Bloomberg News.

In addition, “inaccurate or missing data” in the Autonomic Logistics Information System, or ALIS, sometimes result in alerts that “an aircraft should not be flown even though it is ready for flight,” the GAO said. Airmen said the flaws are affecting the readiness of the fighter jets built by Lockheed. At one location, crews experienced as many as 400 “issues per week related to inaccurate or missing electronic records,” according to the report.

The problem adds to uncertainty about the F-35, the world’s costliest weapons system. Attention long focused on the plane’s $428bn acquisition program and on setbacks in development and production. But now the cost of sustaining the planes — estimated at about $1.2trn over 66 years — is what most worries military officials and lawmakers on the House Armed Services Committee panel that requested the GAO assessment. (Source: defense-aerospace.com/Bloomberg News)

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About Hobson Industries

Hobson Industries is a private company established in 1987 by Peter Hobson, after serving as a Charge Chief Weapons Engineering Artificer in the Royal Navy. Hobson Industries is an innovative and highly technical engineering business operating to the requirements of ISO 9001:2015 Quality Management System which is complimented with our ISO 14001:2015 Environmental Management System.

Across the markets we serve in, the UK and globally, we establish close relationships with the people that trust and depend on us. We specialise in the through life support management and development of Land Rover heritage military and civilian platforms – in effect, the Land Rover need never die!

Hobson Industries offer four core services that we specialise in:

Vehicles:

We offer Land Rover vehicle builds to original specification or complete with modifications and upgrades at the customers request. All work is done in house using our bountiful facilities. In addition to vehicle refurbishment, reconditioning and homologation across all Land Rover models.

Powertrain and Transmission Units:

We offer new and reconditioned units, perfect for your Land Rover. All built using Land Rover tolerances and specifications. All for sale on our website. Additionally, we offer reconditioning services to your own units.

Parts Supply:

With over 16,000 part lines in stock, and the Asset Management programme pioneered by the company, we are able to provide a cost effective range of parts which may no longer be available. Additionally, we are offering Hobson Original branded parts to drawings for  obsolete parts to help provide Land Rover owners the parts to keep them on the road. Our parts strategy ensures that all re-cycled, asset managed and reconditioned parts and units meet original equipment standards and specifications to ensure your safety while driving on or off road.

Amour – Design and Fabrication and Blast Protection

We offer armouring in steel, composite and ceramic of new and refurbished vehicles and fleets.

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