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May 20, 2022 | International, Aerospace

Rafael unveils Aerospike missile for close-air support

The Aerospike is based on the Spike LR II, which has a ground-launched range of 5.5 kilometers and an air-launched range of 10 kilometers.

On the same subject

  • Lockheed eyes Indo-Pacific in push to sell newest C-130 variant

    February 18, 2022 | International, Aerospace

    Lockheed eyes Indo-Pacific in push to sell newest C-130 variant

    There are also four other Indo-Pacific operators of the C-130J: the air forces of Australia, Bangladesh, India and South Korea.

  • Fincantieri CEO on winning the US Navy’s frigate competition

    May 5, 2020 | International, Naval

    Fincantieri CEO on winning the US Navy’s frigate competition

    By: Tom Kington  ROME — As CEO of Italy’s state-controlled Fincantieri since 2002, Giuseppe Bono, has built cruise, merchant and naval vessels, including the FREMM frigate, for the Italian navy. Last week the type was picked by the U.S. sea service for its newest frigate, the FFG(X), in a deal worth $5.58 billion if options for nine vessels are exercised after the first ship. The FFG(X) will be produced at Wisconsin’s Marinette Marine shipyard, which Fincantieri bought in 2008 and where it already builds Freedom-class Littoral Combat Ships for the U.S. Navy and Saudi Arabia with Lockheed Martin. In an interview with Defense News, Bono explained why FREMM beat off the competition, why shipyards should always be prime contractors, and why building cruise ships makes you punctual. What are the reasons you won this competition? In the U.S., more than elsewhere, the quality-price ratio was crucial. And our vessel fit the requirement. The U.S. wanted a ship with anti-submarine capability and this ship is unique in its class because it has that capability. The other competitors offered ships derived from other designs. The customer also wanted a ship which was already at sea. In a way we were lucky. On paper, the other offerings might have been great, but we are operational. Our proposal was also more complete because the design is extremely flexible thanks to the possibility of fitting different defense systems. We had also studied an AEGIS version of the FREMM with Lockheed Martin and knew it would not need large, structural work. What was your reaction when you heard you had won? My colleagues were more emotional about than me. I pursue objectives and strategy. You teamed with Lockheed Martin on the LCS program but here you went alone. We never considered a U.S. partner. This bid was different to the past, with a new approach. In this case the shipbuilders were candidates to be prime contractors. And with a track record with 16 LCS orders for the U.S. and four for Saudi Arabia we are an American shipyard, this time with an Italian design. We have worked very well with Lockheed Martin, but as prime contractor on the Littoral Combat Ship it was the point of contact with the customer, meaning the yard was a step back and that sometimes led to a short circuit. When the shipyard is speaking to the customer as prime, it facilitates the relationships and leads to a better product and lower prices because certain decisions can be made faster. You will, however, work with U.S. firm Gibbs and Cox on the FFG(X). Gibbs and Cox frequently works with the U.S. Navy and knows its needs perfectly. We have a long and positive experience working with them on the LCS and we teamed with them to adapt the FREMM for the U.S. Navy. As work gets underway at Marinette will you need to hire new workers and make further infrastructure improvements?   A lot of the work we needed to do at Marinette has already been done. When we first took over, in a springtime, we were shocked to find that the forecourts were muddy due to snowmelt. Now we have paved them over and increased efficiencies in terms of the yard’s layout. We will need to find extra space because the FFG(X) will overlap with LCS construction, but we have shown we can build two FFG(X) vessels simultaneously as well as LCS vessels at Marinette. That said, depending on future programs, if the opportunity arose to buy a new yard, we will consider it. We would not be against the possibility, but it is not an issue now. There have been some legislative provisions requiring Buy American for certain FFG(X) components. How will this affect you going forward on this ship? On the LCS there are a number of Italian components, albeit a very limited number. The vessel also has Rolls Royce gas turbines, not GE, showing that price and quality always win out. On the LCS, the four diesel sets for power generation were built by our subsidiary Isotta Fraschini Motori. They are also on the Italian FREMMS. Now we will see if they can be used on the U.S. vessels. The Freedom LCS class experienced delays at the outset. How are you going to try and avoid that for FFG(X), understanding that there are always challenges with a first-of-class ship? There is a difference between a ship and other platforms like an aircraft or an helicopter. A ship does not have a prototype, only the first in class. The prototype of a ship becomes operational. This means the first vessel needs more time than the successive ships. On the LCS program the construction time sped up and prices fell as it accelerated. Is this the biggest ever win for an Italian firm in the U.S. defense market? Yes, I think so. It the result of working well and showing you are serious, of delivering on time and on budget. All these aspects are strongly taken into account by the customer and they give you an advantage. This is fundamental and one of our characteristics, derived in part from our work on cruise ships, which are built on a turnkey basis. The discipline there is unique. You need to deliver on a specific day which is established years earlier, otherwise the penalties never stop. Being punctual is in our DNA. Add to that we are always prime contractor, and a cruise ship is no less complex than a naval ship. In the military sector, delivering on time happens rarely. There are many examples of delays in some countries which can be almost infinite. Turning to Europe, there is ongoing consolidation in the German shipbuilding sector. How does that affect your plans to launch a type of European naval Airbus with French yard Naval Group? With Germany we have a consolidated and long-standing partnership related to the submarine sector. Consolidation must happen in Europe if it wants to count for something in the world, for this reason our goal must be a common defence. There are four of five major yards in the U.S. We cannot think of having more than that in Europe. We must consolidate.

  • How the Army’s new PEO C3T boss views network modernization

    July 27, 2020 | International, C4ISR

    How the Army’s new PEO C3T boss views network modernization

    Andrew Eversden It’s certainly busy at the Army’s Program Executive Office Command, Control, Communications-Tactical. The office is currently working to procure its new set of network tools, known as Capability Set ’21, while simultaneously preparing Capability Set ’23 for its preliminary design review next year and going through the early stages of planning for Capability Set ’25. In addition, PEO C3T, which is tasked with tactical network modernization, is under new leadership. Brig. Gen. Robert Collins, formerly program executive officer of the Army’s PEO Intelligence, Electronic Warfare and Sensors, took over June 1, after now-Lt. Gen. David Bassett took over the Defense Contract Management Agency. At PEO IEW&S, Collins oversaw the efforts to integrate sensors and sensor data to give soldiers a better overview of the battlefield. His work at PEO IEW&S, where he worked closely with PEO C3T and the Network Cross-Functional Team, also focused on the Joint All-Domain Command and Control and the Multi-Domain Operations concepts — work he will continue focusing on at PEO C3T. Collins discussed his priorities and goals for PEO C3T in an interview with C4ISRNET. C4ISRNET: What are your priorities as you take over the Army’s PEO C3T?   Brig. Gen. Robert Collins: We’ve established a very rigorous and methodical two-year capability set cycle. It’s got a series of increasing capabilities over time from Capability Sets ’21, ’23, ’25. And really, as we increase our networking capability from intuitive to expeditionary to increasing capacity, keeping a kind of a laser focus on lethality portions of sensor to shooter, and as you kind of heard about from Joint All-Domain Command and Control. One of the things that I would certainly underscore that I’ve carried from my past position into this position is we here are acquisition professionals. We will continue to underscore acquisition, discipline and rigor within our programs. And what I mean by that is we’re certainly given a healthy amount of resources to execute our programs and to make sure that we are doing things such as acquisition strategies; establishing baselines; we’re doing experimentation with rigor and data collection; and things such as developmental testing, operational tests prior to procurement so that we’ve got the best of capability, the best value and the highest-performing kit for our Army soldiers. The other thing I’ll underscore is we do this with continuous industry feedback and involvement. And when I say industry, I’m talking more than just your traditional, your nontraditional. And so we do a continuous outreach with industry, and I’m very proud of that. And not just traditional industry days, but other one-on-ones and allowing them to bring in and demonstrate and then probably, most importantly, I would tell you across this whole process is soldier involvement, soldier touchpoints, and really capabilities and requirements driven by soldiers and acquisition process that informs soldiers. They, at the end of the day, are helping us shape these investments that we’ve got. C4ISRNET: As you move from capability set to capability set, what do you want industry to know? What are some areas that stand out to you in terms of where industry can help? COLLINS: There are some significant opportunities. We’re going to continue to be open. We’re going to continue to be competitive, and I need them to be agile and adaptive. And when I talk about opportunities, when I look across what we have going on with Multi-Domain Operations, we’ve got the addition of cyber and space. And that is a tremendous opportunity within the industry to help us as we start to pull those into the domains and orchestrate: How do we fluidly move in and out of, and have operational advantage, in those domains? We look to link where we can have any sensor link to any shooter through any C2 node, and do that at the pace of combat. There’s going to be linkages and artificial intelligence and machine learning. So there’s opportunity there. Where we’re a little unique from our commercial counterparts as we operate in this environment: We’ve got to work in a contested, congested, disconnected, intermittent, limited-bandwidth environment, and we have got to do it in an expeditionary nature. And so those are opportunities for industry. How do we operate in that unique environment, and in such a way that it’s small and expeditionary and we can move at pace? Those are certainly some of the opportunities with industry. And we will continue to have open and transparent dialogue with them. Even as far as capabilities at ’23, we’re getting ready to host our next technical exchange where we look for them to come in with ideas that we can, they can submit areas for us to assess, and then we’ll continually iterate that, assess, and then put it into our design review process to see what’s available, what’s mature and what’s ready. And then continue to iterate that over time. C4ISRNET: What did you learn as program executive officer at PEO IEW&S? COLLINS: I think my experience being on the intelligence, electronic warfare and sensor side has given me an appreciation of the types of information that will traverse our networks. [I’ve kept an eye on] sensors that are looking deep [and] opportunities with other agencies [and] the types of data that are collected that have to move across the network, have to be synthesized so we can inform decision-makers. I think that’s been very valuable. C4ISRNET: At PEO IEW&S you focused a lot on Multi-Domain Operations. How does that translate to your new role at PEO C3T, one of your partners in your last position? COLLINS: When I look at network modernization and opportunities, I see an opportunity with MDO. Certainly space and cyber are tremendous opportunities. Cyber in and among itself is a domain that not only is an area we need to watch from [a] “how do we collect data from an intel” [perspective], “how do we organize ourselves from a defensive posture” and “where there may be opportunities in the competition element.” I think space, too, is an area. One of the things on the network is to make sure that we can operate at distance and beyond line of sight. So I think MDO has got an opportunity. I look at sensor to shooter; the network doesn’t necessarily exist for just removing data. It exists to help decision-makers make decisions and get them information and link sensor to shooters, so I think that’s a tremendous opportunity. I think continuing to refine our ability to be expeditionary and make sure that this kit can, at any place, anytime when the nation calls, we can put communications into austere environments and it can operate, even if the environment includes things such as limited communications.

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