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April 3, 2023 | International, Land

Rheinmetall welcomes the start of negotiations to build more than 100 Boxer combat vehicles in Australia for the German Bundeswehr

The Boxers to be built in Australia are intended for the German Army?s ?schwerer Waffentr?ger Infanterie? (heavy weapon carrier infantry), a direct tactical fire support vehicle for infantry forces

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  • Choosing the right commercial tech for government

    May 19, 2020 | International, Aerospace, Naval, Land, C4ISR, Security

    Choosing the right commercial tech for government

    By: Meagan Metzger In today's crisis-stricken world, it is heartening to see leaders recognizing the importance of government support for innovative, private sector solutions to the problems facing the defense industry. For the Department of Defense, reforming policies and refocusing priorities so that commercial tech can be successfully implemented to support the defense industry's mission is essential. The DoD's endorsement not only encourages emerging tech startups to consider government compliance and scale in their business models from the very beginning; it also protects our national security — and service members in uniform — by putting the most innovative technology into play. But creating more opportunities for commercial tech companies to secure government contracts is only the beginning. For government agencies to successfully take advantage of innovative tech from the private sector, a few things need to happen — and the sooner, the better. First, the government needs to look beyond legacy contracts. As has been noted by venture capital leaders, the announced provisions of the coronavirus relief legislation, the CARES Act, “to streamline the Defense Department contracting process” currently apply only to contracts worth $100 million or more. This excludes emerging commercially successful tech companies that could have a significant impact at the government level. Separate, though related, are needed reforms to the Small Business Innovation Research program. The National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal 2020 provides additional SBIR flexibility for small businesses that are more than 50 percent owned by venture capital, but the DoD has yet to fully promulgate this new flexibility authority. Until eligibility standards are adjusted, the DoD is missing the chance to work with proven, VC-backed companies. Of course not all commercial tech companies are equipped to support government missions; and to ignore the importance of a rigorous evaluation process is even more harmful than ignoring commercial tech all together. Finding emerging tech is easy. Evaluating and equipping tech companies for success in government is hard, particularly when national security is a critical concern. The COVID-19 crisis has made it even more apparent that government agencies need to be able to implement tech solutions quickly and trust that they will perform as expected. A tech company with proven success in the private sector may draw the government's attention and show that it can deliver, but there are other equally important indicators to consider when determining if a company is capable of performing as expected at the government level. The Pentagon, like any government agency, must rely on data-backed advice and expertise to identify which commercial tech solutions are most likely to succeed in the federal market. Finding technology companies should not be a quantity play, but focus more on fit and quality. Moving fast requires working with private sector partners who have experience vetting tech companies for government contracts, which we've seen leaders do, like Space and Missile Systems Center's Air Force Col. Russell Teehan and the head of Air Force Program Executive Office Digital Steven Wert. Partners that are federally focused — with deep knowledge of government problem sets and missions — can identify which tech companies are viable technically and will be viable in the federal market. Assessing tech's viability requires specific experience evaluating a set of qualitative characteristics unique to this market, in addition to the typical “can they work with government" questions like: “Where is the code compiled?” Government agencies should also look to VCs and accelerators that can specifically guide tech companies through the government market contracting process and equip them to succeed in the long term. For instance, in 2019, the United States Air Force worked with Dcode to scout technology for the service's Multi-Domain Operations Challenge, and seven of the 30 finalists were companies that had completed the Dcode accelerator to prepare for success in the federal market. Supporting these tech companies requires more than just a singular contract award. To get over the “valley of death,” companies have to understand everything from compliance to how to staff, rework operational processes and market effectively, to name a few. There is no question that working with the right emerging tech companies is imperative for the DoD and other government agencies. But at a moment in history when time is particularly of the essence, there is no room for trial and error when it comes to identifying which tech companies can meet the government's specific needs. By working with private sector partners that have extensive government expertise and proven results, the DoD can confidently implement innovative technology that addresses its most critical needs in a time of crises and well into the future. Meagan Metzger is the founder and CEO of Dcode. She also serves on an advisory board for Booz Allen Hamilton, and another advisory board for the Defense Entrepreneurs Forum. She previously worked as chief operating officer of a mobile and cloud company, as well as chief strategy officer at an IT consultancy.

  • With mounting questions about cost and survivability, a shifting political landscape for US aircraft carriers

    August 7, 2019 | International, Naval

    With mounting questions about cost and survivability, a shifting political landscape for US aircraft carriers

    By: David B. Larter and Joe Gould WASHINGTON — The new chief of naval operations, Adm. Michael Gilday, was confirmed quickly by the Senate last week, but lawmakers made clear that the cost and growing vulnerability of aircraft carriers to ever-faster and evasive missiles will be among the issues he's expected to tackle when he officially takes the reins. The Navy's main force projection tool, the carrier, became a punching bag for several lawmakers at Gilday's confirmation hearing, as they alternately raised the threat posed by Chinese and Russian hypersonic missiles and berated the Navy's future top admiral for the significant delays and cost overruns associated with the new carrier Gerald R. Ford. At one point during the July 31 hearing, the Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., told Gilday the Navy's arrogance on the carrier “ought to be criminal.” Later on, longtime friend of the Navy Sen. Angus King, I-Maine, warned that hypersonic missiles were a “nightmare weapon” that threatened to make carriers obsolete. And while the lawmakers differed on the future of aircraft carriers and their long-term viability, the hearing left no doubt that Gilday, a career surface warfare officer, has his work cut out for him in proving he can guide the service toward a more stable future for the Navy's most expensive and strategically invaluable assets. To be clear, Inhofe does not oppose carriers, and he has publicly reminded multiple Trump administration officials of the Navy's legal requirement to maintain 11 of them. Inhofe was in the bipartisan chorus of lawmakers who opposed Pentagon plans to cut costs by decommissioning the aircraft carrier Harry S. Truman before the administration scuttledthose plans this year. When it comes to the Ford program, Inhofe plans to keep the Navy on a short leash and pressed Gilday to commit that he would work to prevent the kind of widespread “first-in-class” issues that have plagued the Ford. It's an issue with some urgency behind it, as the Navy prepares to tackle the new Columbia-class ballistic missile submarine for nuclear deterrent patrols, as well as a next-generation frigate, new classes of unmanned warships and a new large surface combatant. “The Navy entered into this contract in 2008, which, combined with other contracts, have ballooned the cost of the ship more than $13 billion without understanding the technical risks, the costs or the schedules, and you know this ought to be criminal,” Inhofe said. The Navy had taken a gamble integrating immature dual-band radar, catapult, arresting gear and weapons elevators, and Inhofe expressed displeasure with the result. Tackling the first-in-class issue will be a priority, Gilday said. “I commit to that and complete transparency as well as taking what we learn from the Ford and ensuring that we don't commit those same mistakes again in the Columbia class and other ships that we need to field in the next few years,” Gilday told Inhofe. ‘Sitting ducks' As for rising threats to the carrier, King believes hypersonic missiles are an existential threat to the Navy and urged Gilday to take the issue head on. “Every aircraft carrier that we own can disappear in a coordinated attack,” King said. “And it is a matter of minutes. Murmansk, [Russia], to the Norwegian Sea is 12 minutes at 6,000 miles an hour. “So I hope you will take back a sense of urgency to the Navy and to the research capacity and to the private sector that this has to be an urgent priority because otherwise we are creating a vulnerability that could in itself lead to instability.” In an interview with Defense News, King said the speed at which the Russians and Chinese are fielding the capability worries him. “My concern is that we are a number of years away from having that capacity, and our adversaries are within a year of deployment,” he said. “And that creates a dangerous gap, in my view. This represents a qualitative gap in offensive warfare that history tells we better figure out how to deal with, or it will mitigate our ... advantage.” King, who represents the state where half the Navy's destroyers are produced, also said he's concerned about the long-term viability of aircraft carriers in a world with hypersonic missiles. “I think it does raise a question of the role of the aircraft carrier if we cannot figure a way to counter this capability,” he said. “I don't want indefensible, $12 billion sitting ducks out there. I'm not prepared to say the carrier is obsolete, but I say that this weapon undermines the viability of the carrier.” Inhofe, in response to another senator's questions about carrier obsolescence, said he disagrees carriers are becoming obsolete, but that he's concerned about the cost. But the threats to the carrier are mounting, experts say. With the advent of ground-launched hypersonic missiles, it's a matter of time before air-launched hypersonic missiles present a nearly insurmountable threat, barring a significant development to counter them. “I think what King's comments reflect is that he sees the vulnerability of the aircraft carrier only getting worse,” said Bryan Clark, a retired submarine officer and analyst with the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments. “Specifically, maybe not so much these kind of boost-glide weapons, but its more about cruise missiles that are hypersonic — air-launched perhaps. “Then you are talking about something that is relatively inexpensive and could be delivered in large numbers, and that would be a bigger deal because missile defenses are not necessarily built for hypersonic weapons. “So we'll have to find a way to deal with this new challenge, or we'll have to rethink how we do things.”

  • L'inflation fait gonfler le coût des nouveaux avions de combat F-35

    November 29, 2021 | International, Aerospace

    L'inflation fait gonfler le coût des nouveaux avions de combat F-35

    L’office chargé des acquisitions de l’armée, armasuisse, a ajusté les contrats d’acquisition d’entente avec le gouv

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