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June 26, 2019 | International, Aerospace

Safran to continue supporting UK MOD Merlin and Apache helicopter engines

Safran Helicopter Engines has signed a three-year support contract extension with the UK Ministry of Defence's Defence Equipment and Support agency, to provide an end-to-end availability service for the RTM322 engines fitted to Royal Navy Merlin and British Army Apache AH Mk1 helicopters. Covering a fleet of more than 400 engines, the contract represents a continuation of the support provided by Safran for this engine type since 2013, when they bought out Rolls-Royce's share of the RTM322. Since then, Safran has significantly improved engine reliability and can now boast more than four years of significantly exceeding availability targets for engines, accessories and spare parts.

Safran Helicopter Engines manages this contract from its UK facility in Fareham, Hampshire with more than 40 people on site directly involved. The contract covers the provision of engines, modules, accessories and spares, including maintenance, repair and overhaul, logistics, technical support and technical publications. It runs until 31st March 2022 with additional option years to 2024.

Air Vice-Marshal Graham Russell, Director Helicopters at the UK MOD's Defence Equipment and Support Organisation, commented: "Safran Helicopter Engines has provided highly capable, reliable and responsive support to our fleet of RTM322 engines during the previous contract, consistently delivering high levels of engine availability. Consequently, we are very pleased to have signed this extension to the contract which will ensure continued effective support to the front line."

Franck Saudo, Safran Helicopter Engines CEO, said, "We're delighted to be awarded this contract extension. It shows a high level of confidence from the UK MOD in our engine solutions and in our teams. We are committed to earn that trust by providing them with a high level of service, as they prepare to deploy these helicopters aboard the UK's new aircraft carriers."

On the same subject

  • Rheinmetall wins multimillion-euro order from international customer for artillery propelling charges

    April 8, 2020 | International, Land

    Rheinmetall wins multimillion-euro order from international customer for artillery propelling charges

    April 7, 2020 - An international customer has awarded Rheinmetall an order for artillery propelling charges. Booked at the end of March by Rheinmetall Denel Munition (Pty) Ltd., the order encompasses several hundred thousand Tactical Modular Charges. These are to be delivered in 2021. The order is worth over US$80 million (more than €70 million). Made by Rheinmetall Denel Munition, Tactical Modular Charges are designed to propel 155mm artillery shells. Finetuned to match the customer's weapons systems and artillery projectiles, they assure maximum effectiveness. Moreover, their modular design simplifies logistics as well as handling procedures in self-propelled howitzer systems. Other positive characteristics of this advanced Rheinmetall Denel Munition product include reduced barrel wear (RDM's Barrel Wear Reducer/BWR) and lower muzzle flash (RDM's Muzzle Flash Reducer/MFR); the former results in longer barrel life, the latter makes the artillery system harder for the enemy to detect. Rheinmetall possesses comprehensive expertise in the world of advanced indirect fire systems – those that meet the criteria contained in the NATO Joint Ballistics Memorandum of Understanding (JBMoU) as well as non-JBMoU systems. The Group demonstrated its technological superiority in this field at the end of 2019. During test firing at the Alkantpan proving ground in South Africa, three new maximum ranges were attained with different guns. A 52-calibre G6 howitzer hurled a shell 76 kilometres, the longest ranged ever attained by a conventional 155mm artillery projectile. The 52-calibre main gun of the PzH2000 self-propelled howitzer achieved a range of 67 kilometres, while a 39-calibre field howitzer reached 54 kilometres. Rheinmetall AG Corporate Sector Defence Press and Information Oliver Hoffmann Rheinmetall Platz 1 40476 Düsseldorf Germany Phone: +49 211 473-4748 Fax: +49 211 473-4157 View source version on Rheinmetall:

  • Outgoing Pakistan Navy chief reveals details of modernization programs

    October 15, 2020 | International, Naval

    Outgoing Pakistan Navy chief reveals details of modernization programs

    Usman Ansari ISLAMABAD — Pakistan's Navy is racing to plug operational and technological gaps as part of an unprecedented modernization effort, according to the outgoing naval chief, but analysts are divided on whether the move will deter adversaries. Adm. Zafar Mahmood Abbasi was speaking during the an Oct. 6 change-of-command ceremony when he detailed measures he enacted, prioritizing “combat readiness and offensive capability” for the historically undersized force amid tension with India. In addition to reorganizing the Navy's force structure, he outlined acquisition and development programs, some of which were mentioned for the first time or had new details confirmed. These included: Expanding the Navy to more than 50 warships (more than doubling major surface combatants to 20, with plans for six additional large offshore patrol vessels). The apparent free transfer of a Chinese Yuan-class submarine to train Pakistani crews for its eight Hangor subs. Developing the hypersonic P282 ship-launched anti-ship/land-attack ballistic missile. Establishing the Naval Research and Development Institute to nurture indigenous design talent (it is presently engaged in programs such as the Jinnah-class frigate, Hangor-class subs, UAV jammers, directed-energy weapons, underwater sonar surveillance coastal defense systems, unmanned underwater vehicles and unmanned combat aerial vehicles). Replacing of the P-3C Orion patrol aircraft with 10 converted commercial jets, the first of which has been ordered. Acquiring medium-altitude, long-endurance unmanned combat aerial vehicles as well as 20 indigenous gunboats, which are to be commissioned by 2025. The Navy would not provide more details when asked, though the gunboats were previously confirmed as undergoing design. Rivals However, analysts are divided on whether these programs will prove a sufficient deterrent against Pakistan's archrival India. Author, analyst and former Australian defense attache to Islamabad, Brian Cloughley, claimed it is “quite impossible for Pakistan to achieve a naval structure that even approaches that of the Indian Navy.” “It cannot afford it. At best, its deterrence value would be entirely local," he said. Though he described India's aircraft carriers as “decidedly inferior in effectiveness in international terms, and present no threat to China,” they are a “major threat” to Pakistan's Navy when they are out of range of shore-based air power. In the event of a conflict involving India's Navy, Pakistan “would deploy all its assets to destroy it, and although the [Indian Navy] would suffer major losses, the attrition factor would be the decider,” he added. In contrast, expansion of the Pakistan Navy would “effectively neutralize India's growing naval capability,” according to Mansoor Ahmed, a senior research fellow at the Center for International Strategic Studies in Islamabad. He noted that India has “long enjoyed the most decisive numerical advantage; that is potentially destabilizing, as it could encourage belligerency and aggression, and fuel crisis instability.” However, Pakistan's modernization efforts would “help keep the nuclear threshold high,” “enhance Pakistan's second-strike capability by increasing survivability of its surface and submarine fleet,” and provide considerably increased capacity for attrition, Ahmed added. Similarly, Tom Waldwyn, a naval expert at the London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies, said there is merit in the expansion program. “Certainly the ship- and submarine-building plans, once realized, will be a significant boost to Pakistan's conventional maritime capability. By the end of this decade, the frigate fleet will grow by half and the submarine fleet will probably double in size. The planned gunboats could free up the new frigates to perform tasks the Pakistan Navy is currently not able to do as often,” he said. The Hangor program is probably the most noteworthy because of China's involvement, Waldwyn added. “Although local build of Hangor submarines is planned to be complete before the end of the decade, regenerating that industrial capability will be a big effort, and I expect that Chinese assistance in doing so will be crucial.” But one factor depends on whether Germany provides export clearance of diesel engines for the submarine. Pakistan's Ministry of Defence Production, the Navy's public relations department, the German embassy in Islamabad, and Germany's Federal Office for Economic Affairs and Export Control all declined to respond to Defense News' inquiries about the engines. It is unknown whether the program is now proceeding with Chinese substitutes. Weapons and platforms Announcement of a contract for unmanned combat aerial vehicles, however, appears to be official confirmation the Chinese Wing Loong II deal first reported in October 2018. Though photographed undergoing testing in Pakistan, there was never official confirmation of a contract. Air power expert at the Royal United Services Institute think tank, Justin Bronk, said it “is probably one of the most effective options for armed UAV acquisition available to Pakistan.” “It has proven fairly satisfactory in service with the [United Arab Emirates] and others, and can carry a wide variety of cheap and effective Chinese munitions. Its sensor capabilities are not up to U.S. standards, especially in terms of stabilization. But given that sales of MQ-9 and other comparable U.S. systems are restricted, and Israeli UAVs are seldom exported with acknowledged weapons capabilities, Wing Loong II is probably the best option available,” Bronk explained. In regard to what aircraft Pakistan will choose to replace its P-3C Orion fleet, Defense News asked the Navy and the Ministry of Defence Production, but neither provided details by press time. A small number of business or regional jets from Brazil, Russia or Ukraine with non-Western systems (to avoid sanctions) could readily be converted to suit Pakistan's requirements. However, there is no official, publicly available notice or hint of sale to Pakistan from these countries' manufacturers, and there was no response to related queries. Such a conversion could be locally done, as wider naval modernization is underpinned by Pakistan's in-house research and development program. Still, the IISS analyst added, it's not essential the work be performed domestically. On the modernization effort as a whole, Waldwyn noted that “developing the local capability to design and build this equipment is not a prerequisite to providing conventional deterrence in the short term, and importing equipment from abroad can sometimes be less expensive.” “However, there is value to developing the defense industrial base and sovereign technological capabilities, as it can protect you against geopolitical changes going forward,” the IISS analyst added. For Ahmed, domestic work would demonstrate Pakistan “is determined to maintain the required level of modernization” — particularly with directed-energy weapons. Meanwhile, he said he's uncertain what new purpose the P282 missile will serve. He is unconvinced the P282 is a hypersonic cruise missile intended to replace the current ship- and submarine-launched Harbah cruise missile. However, if the P282 is a ballistic missile as claimed, “it would make sense only if deployed on a submarine” where it could serve as part of Pakistan's nuclear deterrent. Nevertheless, he added, the modernization program will still “greatly enhance the overall credibility of Pakistan's deterrent posture vis-a-vis India.”

  • Coast Guard picks homeport for new icebreaker fleet

    June 18, 2019 | International, Naval

    Coast Guard picks homeport for new icebreaker fleet

    By: Navy Times staff They'll do much of their hardest work in a world that's icy white, but the Coast Guard's new fleet of Polar Security Cutters will be homeported in the Emerald City. “I am pleased to announce that Seattle, Washington, will be the home of the Coast Guard's new Polar Security Cutters,” said Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Karl L. Schultz in a Monday statement emailed to Navy Times. “The Pacific Northwest has been the home of our icebreaking fleet since 1976, and I am confident that the Seattle area will continue to provide the support we need to carry out our critical operations in the polar regions.” Coast Guard officials said that Seattle won out over other potential locations because of “operational and logistical needs.” Two months ago, the Navy and Coast Guard awarded Mississippi shipbuilder VT Halter Marine, Inc. a contract that could be worth as much as $1.9 billion to build three heavy icebreakers. The Polar Security-class vessels will be designed to conduct search and rescue, maritime law enforcement, environmental response and national defense patrols missions in areas often covered in heavy ice. A longtime resident of the Seattle suburbs, U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell cheered the announcement in a prepared statement released Monday evening. “This is great news. Homeporting new icebreakers in Puget Sound shows the significant role Washington state has to play in securing our waters and protecting our environment in the Arctic. The Puget Sound region supports a cutting-edge maritime workforce, which is poised to meet the needs of these new world-class vessels,” said Cantwell, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, one of the panels overseeing the Coast Guard. “I am excited to welcome new polar icebreakers and their Coast Guard crews to Seattle in the near future.” Cantwell has long fought to maintain and expand the Coast Guard's icebreaker fleet, including sparring with President Barack Obama's administration over funding to build the new icebreakers. Construction on the first icebreaker is slated to begin in 2021 with delivery three years later, but there are financial incentives in the contract for early delivery, according to the Pentagon. Congress also indicated that it expects the heavy breakers and other vessels to spend more time in Alaska. Lawmakers earmarked $53 million to construct cutter support facilities in Alaska. That hasn't been the preferred destination for the Coast Guard's heavy icebreakers, which are down to one semi-working vessel and the skeleton of another that's used to harvest spare parts to keep the other one running. Commissioned in 1976, the Polar Star annually crunches a channel through miles of thick ice to reach McMurdo Station, the main logistics hub for the National Science Foundation's personnel in Antarctica, including researchers at Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station and remote field camps. Supply vessels follow behind the breaker, but by the end of Operation Deep Freeze, its 11,200-mile journey, it's usually so battered that it spends much of the rest of the year in dry dock, undergoing repairs. Last year, it caught on fire. During a May 28 meeting with reporters in Alaska, Republican Sen. Dan Sullivan grumbled that the new breakers need to spend more time in the Arctic and less at the bottom of the world. “I write the Coast Guard bill. I chair that subcommittee; we'll see,” he was quoted as saying. Sullivan chairs the Security Subcommittee of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation panel. The Coast Guard's medium breaker Healy draws the nation's Arctic duties. During last year's 129-day deployment, it plied the Chukchi and Beaufort seas. Although it mostly supported scientific exploration during that tour, Healy also is used for search and rescue missions, escorting warships and other vessels through ice-jammed waterways, environmental protection and enforcing the law in an Arctic region increasingly under pressure from Russia and China.

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