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  • CAE, Jazz and Seneca launch first cadet pilot training program in Canada

    November 19, 2019 | Local, Aerospace

    CAE, Jazz and Seneca launch first cadet pilot training program in Canada

    CAE, Jazz Aviation, and Seneca have teamed up to develop Jazz Approach, an innovative Canadian program to provide Jazz with a pipeline of top-quality first officers. Cadets will receive a letter of employment from Jazz upon selection into the program, allowing for a direct path to join the airline as first officers conditional upon successful completion of the program. The parties involved have signed a five-year partnership agreement and the first cohort is set to begin training in April 2020. “CAE creates over 1,500 new pilots yearly over 30 cadet training programs globally, and we are thrilled to add a first Canadian cadet pilot training program to our list of curricula,” said Nick Leontidis, CAE's group president, Civil Aviation Training Solutions. “The demand for pilots has never been so high. With over 300,000 pilots needed globally over the next decade, CAE is working closely with airlines around the world to come up with pilot creation solutions. This program is a one-of-a-kind program, and a great example of how the Canadian aviation industry is working closely together to come up with innovative solutions to face that challenge. We thank Jazz for its trust, we are honored to help expand upon its pipeline of future pilots and we look forward to training them alongside Seneca.” Jazz Aviation's pilots have been training in CAE's network in Canada since 2003. Now, under this new agreement, with its partner Seneca, CAE will be assisting Jazz in the selection, training and certification of new pilots. “We are very excited to partner with two exceptional Canadian organizations, CAE and Seneca, to introduce the Jazz Approach program,” said Capt Steve Linthwaite, vice-president, Flight Operations for Jazz Aviation. “For Jazz, this innovative initiative will be an expansion of our Jazz Aviation Pathways Program (Jazz APP) and provides yet another avenue for future generations of pilots to launch their careers in aviation. The roots of the Jazz APP program go back to 2007 and the addition of Jazz Approach is an important step in growing the program to yet another level. We have worked with both CAE and Seneca for many years and we are delighted to have the opportunity to join together to introduce this program in Canada.” “We are thrilled to be partnering with CAE and Jazz Aviation through this innovative all-Canadian collaboration. The Jazz Approach program builds on the success of our partnership with Jazz Aviation and will be an excellent addition to the suite of academic and hands-on training offered within our School of Aviation,” said Lynne McMullen, director of strategic partnerships with Seneca's School of Aviation. “The Jazz Approach program is another opportunity for Seneca to be on the forefront of flight training in Canada.” About the Jazz Approach program CAE, Jazz and Seneca developed the Jazz Approach program in close collaboration, showcasing the latest competency-based training innovations. The Jazz Approach program embeds Jazz Aviation standard operating procedures (SOPs) and threat and error management strategies. Under the terms of this program, CAE will conduct recruitment, assessment and selection of the cadets according to Jazz's defined criteria. The cadets will undergo the integrated airline transport pilot license (ATPL) training over 18 months at Seneca's School of Aviation in Peterborough, Ont. Following completion, CAE will provide a CRJ200 type rating at CAE Toronto, leveraging CAE's innovative training equipment. Upon successful completion of the training program and subject to certain conditions, the first graduates will join Jazz Aviation as first officers by the end of 2021. Applications for the Jazz Approach training program will open on Dec. 1, 2019.

  • Embraer et Boeing annoncent le C-390 Millenium.

    November 19, 2019 | International, Aerospace

    Embraer et Boeing annoncent le C-390 Millenium.

    Le biréacteur de transport militaire, qui se pose en remplaçant du C-130 Hercules, fait l'objet d'une première joint-venture entre les deux avionneurs américains. Il est important de noter que l'annonce s'est faite pendant le salon de Dubaï sous l'égide de Boeing Embraer-Defense, co-entreprise (joint-venture) créée par les deux avionneurs pour la commercialisation de l'appareil. La JV sera possédée à 51% par le partenaire brésilien. Une deuxième JV, baptisée cette fois Boeing Brasil – Commercial et portant sur la gamme commerciale d'Embraer, doit voir le jour dans les semaines à venir et sera possédée cette fois à 80% par Boeing. Mais revenons au Millenium... En enlevant la lettre « K » et la capacité de ravitaillement en vol à son KC-390, Embraer offre désormais un appareil plus léger et moins coûteux à la clientèle miliaire, pour les missions de transport tactique. L'avion ne perd rien de sa polyvalence en matière de transport et de parachutage ni de ses capacités d'évolution sur les terrains sommaires. Le KC-390 a été certifié par les autorités brésiliennes en 2018 et le premier appareil de série a été livré à la force aérienne brésilienne le 4 septembre dernier. La livraison du deuxième, sur une commande de 28 appareils notifiée au lancement du programme, en 2010, devrait intervenir avant la fin de l'année. Le Portugal a quant à lui signé en août dernier pour cinq avions livrables à partir de 2023.

  • The US Air Force is in no hurry to commit to a next-gen fighter design

    November 19, 2019 | International, Aerospace

    The US Air Force is in no hurry to commit to a next-gen fighter design

    By: Sebastian Sprenger BERLIN — The U.S. Air Force is taking its time to settle on a next-generation fighter design, awaiting instead lessons learned from the F-35 jet and playing the field with promising technologies, according to a senior service official. Options being kicked around are still in the conceptual stage, as America's newest fighter, the fifth-generation F-35, is only now “coming off the line,” according to Lt. Gen. David Nahom, the Air Force's deputy chief of staff for plans and programs. “We're not in a hurry,” Nahom told Defense News on the sidelines of the International Fighter Conference, an air power-themed confab of industry and government officials held in Berlin, Germany. He noted that expected deliveries of the F-35 and the relatively young age of the F-22 fleet enables the service to be picky about moving forward with the envisioned Next Generation Air Dominance weapon. In short, the Air Force wants to keep its options open for as long as possible for a weapon whose combat punch will lie not in a single aircraft but rather in the amalgamation of hardware and software, an airborne concerto of data clouds, artificial intelligence, and boundless interconnectivity. “We don't want to get too stuck into a platform,” Nahom said. “It's a very different way to approach it.” Still, the service plans to lay the groundwork for boosting the domain of information and data — organizing it, analyzing it, sharing it — as a key element for future aerial warfare. To that end, officials will include a “significant investment in the digital backbone” in the next budget request, Nahom said. As the Air Force studies its options, service analysts have shied away from the term “sixth-generation” aircraft as a successor to the F-35 because it's unclear what breakthrough technology will be created next. “What are the characteristics of sixth-generation? I don't know,” Nahom said. “Stealth is important,” he added, referring to one of the advertised features of the F-35. “But speed is important, too.” The service aims to develop a new capability quickly once the theoretical legwork is done. That is why there is a renewed emphasis now on engineering processes and algorithm development that Nahom said will have to unfold much faster than under previous aircraft programs. Air Force acquisition chief Will Roper has put down a marker to develop an aircraft within five years. “Based on what industry thinks they can do and what my team will tell me, we will need to set a cadence of how fast we think we build a new airplane from scratch. Right now, my estimate is five years. I may be wrong,” he told Defense News in an interview in September. The service's information-heavy tack on future aerial warfare echoes two European projects aimed at building a next-generation weapon: the British-led Tempest and the Franco-German-Spanish Future Combat Air System. Both programs also lean on the the premise that data clouds, driven by artificial intelligence, can turn flying pieces of metal into breakthrough weaponry. In the case of the continental program, an envisioned “combat cloud” will be “the ocean between the islands of the platforms,” French Maj. Gen. Jean-Pascal Breton said at the conference. But Nahom noted a difference in the American way of thinking when it comes to piercing contested airspace — a key skill required of all future warplanes. While the Europeans seem to perceive the task as popping dispersed bubbles of ever-improving air defense systems, the U.S. view is that any airspace may be contested at any given time. That means a next-generation aircraft will be constantly engaged in the mission of punching its way through enemy defenses, like finding the holes in a never-ending series of Swiss cheese, Nahom said.

  • Contract Awards by US Department of Defense - November 18, 2019

    November 19, 2019 | International, Aerospace, Naval, Land, C4ISR, Security

    Contract Awards by US Department of Defense - November 18, 2019

    NAVY BAE Systems Technology Solutions & Services Inc., Rockville, Maryland, is awarded a $104,775,349 cost-plus-fixed-fee, cost reimbursable, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract. This contract will provide engineering and technical services to support production, lifetime support engineering and in-service engineering for the radio communication system/command, control, communications, computers, combat systems, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance systems aboard Navy surface combatants and at associated shore sites. The shipboard efforts are focused primarily on Coast Guard 47 Class and Destroyer, Guided Missile 51 Class AEGIS ships but will be applied to all Navy ships, to include Coast Guard ships, subsurface vessels and non-combatants in support of the Ship and Air Integration Warfare Division, Naval Air Warfare Center Webster Outlying Field. Work will be performed in San Diego, California (30%); Patuxent River, Maryland (30%); Norfolk, Virginia (25%); Mayport, Florida (7%); St. Inigoes, Maryland (5%); and various locations within the continental U.S. (3%), and is expected to be completed in April 2025. No funds will be obligated at the time of award. Funds will be obligated on individual orders as they are issued. This contract was competitively procured via an electronic request for proposal; one offer was received. The Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division, Patuxent River, Maryland, is the contracting activity (N00421-20-D-0004). CH2M Hill Constructors Inc., Englewood, Colorado (N62470-13-D-6019); Environmental Chemical Corp., Burlingame, California (N62470-13-D-6020); Kellogg, Brown, and Root Services Inc., Arlington, Virginia (N62470-13-D-6021); and URS Group Inc., Morrisville, North Carolina (N62470-13-D-6022), are awarded a $92,000,000 modification to increase the maximum dollar value of an indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity, multiple award contract for global contingency construction projects. The work to be performed provides for the Navy, the Navy on behalf of the Department of Defense, and the Navy on behalf of other federal agencies when authorized, an immediate response for construction services. The construction and related engineering services would respond to natural disasters, humanitarian assistance, conflict, or projects with similar characteristics. Work will be predominately construction. The contractor, in support of the construction effort, may be required to provide initial base operating support services, which will be incidental to construction efforts. Work will be performed worldwide. After award of this modification, the total cumulative contract value will be $1,058,000,000. The term of the contract is not to exceed 71 months with a completion date of May 2019. No funds will be obligated at time of award. Funds will be obligated on subsequent modifications for work on existing individual task orders. The Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Atlantic, Norfolk, Virginia, is the contracting activity. CACI Inc. - Federal, Chantilly, Virginia, is awarded a $41,514,235 firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract. This contract provides for the Automated Data Capture System (ADCS) application and support services to U.S. Navy Fleet Readiness Centers at organization and depot level activities. The ADCS application captures data and information associated with integrated maintenance concept inspection results for all Navy and Marine Corps aircraft as well as inspection and configuration management of applicable aircraft engines. Work will be performed in Chantilly, Virginia (85%); Jacksonville, Florida (10%); North Island, California (3%); and Cherry Point, North Carolina (2%), and is expected to be completed in November 2024. No funds will be obligated at the time of award. Funds will be obligated on individual orders as they are issued. This contract was not competitively procured pursuant to 10 U.S. Code 2304(c)(1). The Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division, Patuxent River, Maryland, is the contracting activity (N00421-20-D-0005). Vigor Marine LLC, Portland, Oregon (N3220520C2048), is awarded a $19,963,709 firm-fixed-price contract for a 75-calendar day shipyard availability for the regular overhaul and dry-docking of USNS Matthew Perry (T-AKE 9). The contract includes options, which, if exercised, would bring the total contract value to $20,217,869. Work will be performed in Portland, Oregon, and is expected to be completed by March 16, 2020. Fiscal 2019 working capital funds (Navy) in the amount of $19,963,709 are obligated at the time of the award and none of which will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was competitively procured with proposals solicited via the Federal Business Opportunities website and one offer was received. The Navy's Military Sealift Command, headquartered in Norfolk, Virginia, is the contracting activity (N3220520C2048). Turner Construction Co., New York, New York, is awarded a $17,500,000 modification for the negotiated changes to the firm-fixed-price construction contract for the Academic Center for Cyber Security Studies at the U.S. Naval Academy. After award of this modification, the total cumulative contract value will be $133,042,235. The work to be performed provides for all management, supervision, labor hours, training, equipment, materials, bonding, and insurance necessary for construction and commissioning of the Academic Center for Cyber Security Studies in accordance with Department of Defense unified facilities criteria. Work will be performed in Annapolis, Maryland, with a contract completion date of May 22, 2020. Fiscal 2017 military construction (Navy) in the amount of $17,500,000 will be obligated via award of modification number A00035. The Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Washington, Washington, District of Columbia, is the contracting activity (N40080-16-C-0156). Hamilton Sundstrand Corp., Rockford, Illinois, is awarded a $10,075,122 modification (P00003) to a previously awarded firm-fixed-price contract (N00019-19-C-0006). This modification exercises an option to procure non-recurring engineering and equipment for system integration lab activities in support of the V-22 aircraft Constant Frequency Generator Control Unit design improvement effort for the Navy, Air Force and the government of Japan. Work will be performed in Rockford, Illinois (96%); Patuxent River, Maryland (2%); and various locations within the continental U.S. (2%), and is expected to be completed in October 2021. Fiscal 2020 research, development, test and evaluation (Navy and Air Force); and Foreign Military Sales funds in the amount of $10,075,122 will be obligated at the time of award, none of which will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This modification combines purchases for the Navy ($7,073,336; 70%); Air Force ($1,742,396; 17%); and the government of Japan ($1,259,390; 13%). The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Maryland, is the contracting activity. Canadian Commercial Corp., Ontario, Canada, is awarded a $9,895,077 firm-fixed-price delivery order (N0017420F0039) under previously-awarded indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract N00174-19-D-0002 for the Mk 200 Mod 0 propelling charge. This delivery order combines purchases for the Navy (62%); and the government of Australia (38%) under the Foreign Military Sales program. Work will be performed by General Dynamics Ordnance and Tactical Systems in Quebec, Canada, and is expected to be completed by November 2021. Fiscal 2020 procurement of ammunition (Navy and Marine Corps) funding in the amount of $3,986,575; Foreign Military Sales (Australia) funding in the amount of $3,771,900; and fiscal 2019 procurement of ammunition (Navy and Marine Corps) funding in the amount of $2,136,602 will be obligated at time of award and will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Surface Warfare Center Indian Head Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technology Division, Indian Head, Maryland, is the contracting activity. ARMY Dyncorp International LLC, Fort Worth, Texas, was awarded a $21,564,568 modification (P00259) to Foreign Military Sales (Sweden) contract W58RGZ-13-C-0040 for the aviation field maintenance services and operations. Bids were solicited via the internet with three received. Work will be performed in Afghanistan, Germany, Sweden, Honduras, Egypt, Iraq and South Korea, with an estimated completion date of Dec. 31, 2019. Fiscal 2010, 2019 and 2020 Foreign Military Sales, aircraft procurement and operations and maintenance, Army funds in the combined amount of $21,564,568 were obligated at the time of the award. U.S. Army Contracting Command, Redstone Arsenal, Alabama, is the contracting activity. DEFENSE LOGISTICS AGENCY Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Titusville, New Jersey, has been awarded a maximum $12,013,872 fixed-price with economic-price-adjustment, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for pharmaceutical products. This is a one-year base contract with nine one-year option periods. Location of performance is New Jersey, with a Dec. 14, 2020, performance completion date. Using customers are Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and federal civilian agencies. Type of appropriation is fiscal 2020 through 2021 warstopper funds. The contracting activity is the Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (SPE2D0-20-D-0001). AIR FORCE iCAMR Inc., Kissimmee, Florida, has been awarded a $7,585,850 cost-type contract with no fee for research and development. The Trusted Semiconductor Manufacturing Pilot Project involves developing a Secure Digital Twin for Semiconductors manufacturing methodology by applying block-chain trust and assurance security concepts and "digital twin" manufacturing concepts to the semiconductor manufacturing process. While the focus of this project is on security aspects, the "digital twin" concept provides the framework on which the security and provenance data will be collected and analyzed. Work will be performed at Kissimmee, Florida, and is expected to be complete by Sept. 22, 2022. This award is the result of a broad agency announcement and one offer was received. Fiscal 2019 research and development funds in the amount of $7,585,850 are being obligated at time of award. The Air Force Research Lab, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, is the contracting activity (FA8650-20-C-1911).

  • Military Procurement: What the New Cabinet Can Learn From Australia

    November 19, 2019 | Local, Aerospace, Naval, Land, C4ISR, Security

    Military Procurement: What the New Cabinet Can Learn From Australia

    By Lee Harding The Liberal government announced its new cabinet on Nov. 20—the very same day the Canadian Global Affairs Institute hosted its annual event on the topic of military procurement. Given that an overhaul in that area is sorely needed, Canada can learn a lot from Australia, Ian Mack wrote in a recent report for the institute. Mack is uniquely qualified to make that assessment, having worked with both governments in their process of awarding contracts for military sea vessels. While he believes both countries had an acceptable result, his report, titled “Another Way to Buy Frigates,” suggests the Canadian approach adds work, balloons costs, and delays success. The re-elected Trudeau government should take note. The Liberals proposed significant changes to Canada's defence procurement system during the election campaign, but it will be a tall order to change this process. The land down under is isolated in a less secure part of the globe, without a nearby superpower like the United States to watch its back. So if Australia is far more diligent about defence than Canada, it might be due to necessity. The last time Canada had a proper and comprehensive white paper on defence was 1994. Australia has had three in the 21st century. Australia's effectiveness goes from the top down, something Canada knows nothing of. As Mack explains, “Canada, uniquely among its allies, has multiple government departments and central agencies significantly involved in the minutiae of its major military procurement projects.” These include Defence; Treasury Board; Finance; Public Services and Procurement; Justice; Innovation, Science and Economic Development—and even more. Meanwhile in Australia, the minister of defence is responsible for all aspects of navy shipbuilding. This includes setting operational and technical requirements, securing funds, developing a plan to benefit domestic industries, and satisfying the legal aspects of procurement. Each country had a project management office of roughly the same size, but Canada's was, frankly, less competent. Australia's office had many knowledgeable contractors working alongside the Department of Defence, whereas Canada's team had many from the public service and armed forces with “little or no applicable experience or knowledge,” according to Mack. “In Canada, significant effort was expended on regular reporting to layers of senior governance,” he says in the report. But it was paperwork and process for its own sake, and impractical in its effect. “Despite the onerous reporting demands, only a few key decisions were rendered and rarely in a timely manner. The opposite was the case in Australia.” In seemingly every aspect of development, Canada made things rigid, complicated, and fragmented, while Australia made them flexible, cohesive, and collaborative. Canada made stand-alone contracts for each sequence of the process. Australia worked with contractors to establish “end-to-end accountability.” Canada's initial request for proposal included hundreds of technical requirements that bidders had to prove. Australia had few mandatory requirements, but worked alongside bidders to explore their respective proposed solutions. In Canada, the intellectual property, liabilities, and insurance requirements were debated at length and only decided hours before the request for proposal was made. Hundreds of criteria got a numerical score, and the sum of all scores won the bid. Canada was “preoccupied” about a public appearance of fairness and avoiding lawsuits. (Nevertheless, the controversy over former Vice-Admiral Mark Norman and complaints from Irving Shipbuilding over the bid for a navy supply vessel shows it failed at this.) Shipbuilders bidding in Australia were confident of a fair system without any of those things. The department did not announce its evaluation criteria, nor was the evaluation report the only factor. Instead, the department stated its objectives and worked collaboratively with three potential bidders in their respective approaches. In Mack's words, this left “the competition to be more about assessing apples, oranges, and bananas” than about tallying up numerical scores. Mack says he could not make the Canadian system work like Australia's because the procurement, request for proposals, and resulting contracts were done outside of the Department of National Defence. At the time, he was “simply unaware of the intricacies of the Australian approach” because he hadn't yet been exposed to it. Regardless, he had already surmised that Canadian bureaucrats “did not want changes to their tried and true ways of doing business” and clung to “adherence to prescriptive and traditional methodologies.”

  • Boeing pitches guarantee of billions of dollars of work for Canadian firms if its Super Hornet is picked by Canada

    November 19, 2019 | Local, Aerospace

    Boeing pitches guarantee of billions of dollars of work for Canadian firms if its Super Hornet is picked by Canada

    DAVID PUGLIESE, OTTAWA CITIZEN U.S. aerospace giant Boeing is pitching its guarantee of billions of dollars of work for Canadian companies as well as keeping aircraft maintenance in country as it tries to convince the Liberal government to select a new version of the Super Hornet fighter jet. Boeing is hoping that new technology on the Super Hornet and its commitment to place as much as $30 billion of work with Canadian firms will result in it winning the competition to build 88 jets. The move comes as the NDP and aerospace unions are becoming more vocal about the need for Canada's fighter jet replacement project to pay major dividends for the economy. NDP leader Jagmeet Singh said last week he would be pushing that issue when Parliament returns and he hopes to have a discussion with the Liberal's new defence minister about how Canadian jobs can be created and sustained by the program. Boeing had been non-committal to the Canadian program as it reviewed the bidding requirements throughout the summer. But that changed last week when Boeing confirmed it was in the race. “We wouldn't be having this conversation if we didn't think we had a very realistic chance of winning,” Boeing executive Jim Barnes said in an interview with this newspaper. Lockheed Martin's F-35 stealth fighter is considered the top contender in the project that will see the purchase of new jets at a cost of between $15 billion and $19 billion. Saab of Sweden is also in the competition, offering the Gripen fighter jet. The issue of guaranteed economic benefits for Canada could be a problem for the Liberal government, which under pressure from the U.S., changed the procurement rules to allow the F-35 to be considered. Because of the way the U.S.-led F-35 program is structured, Lockheed Martin cannot provide guarantees of any work for Canadian firms, a stance that in the past would have disqualified a company from bidding on a major defence acquisition. In early September, the union representing machinists in the aerospace industry warned that the changes made for Lockheed Martin would come at the expense of other firms offering guaranteed work for Canada's aerospace sector. In addition, the union is worried that if Canada were to purchase the F-35 then most of the key maintenance would be done in the U.S., putting in jeopardy 600 jobs at L-3 in Mirabel, Que. L-3 conducts maintenance on the Royal Canadian Air Force's current CF-18 fighter fleet. Barnes said Boeing was surprised about the change in the Canadian competition that lifted the need for guarantees on providing domestic firms with work equal to, or more than, the cost of the project. Boeing has L-3 on its fighter jet team as well as Peraton Canada Corp., CAE Inc., GE Canada and Raytheon Canada. Barnes said over the years the Canadian government has built up a capability to maintain its fighter jets at home by using those companies. “So we are leveraging that investment by the government of Canada,” he added. Boeing officials say they are confident in guaranteeing billions of dollars of work for Canadians as the company has an extensive presence in both military and commercial aerospace around the world as well as its own facilities in Canada. Lockheed Martin has countered that while there are no guarantees of work on the F-35 program, Canadian firms have picked up more than $1.3 billion in contracts on the project over the last 12 years. The amount of those contracts could significantly increase as more F-35s are delivered to the U.S. and Canada's allies, Lockheed Martin officials have noted. Boeing is offering what is known as the Block 111 Super Hornet, an advanced version of the existing aircraft. Earlier this year the U.S. Navy confirmed it is purchasing 78 of the aircraft which are equipped with a new computer, sensors and data links to boost the amount of information that can be received or transmitted. The aircraft also has satellite communications, which is important for Arctic operations, Boeing noted. Some stealth aspects have also been added and Boeing says it has been able to increase the life of the aircraft from 6,000 flight hours to 10,000 flight hours. It is also pitching the new Super Hornet as less costly to maintain. The aircraft costs about $18,000 U.S. an hour to operate compared to the F-35 which costs $44,000 U.S. The Pentagon and Lockheed Martin are working on reducing that F-35 cost. Bids for the Canadian program must be submitted by the spring of 2020, and the winner is expected to be determined by early 2022. The first aircraft would be delivered by 2025. Technical merit will make up the bulk of the assessment at 60 per cent. Cost and economic benefits companies can provide to Canada will each be worth 20 per cent. A trade dispute between Canada and Boeing over duties on Canadian-made civilian passenger jets prompted the Liberals to include in the fighter jet competition a clause that would consider any economic harm a company has done to Canada. Barnes said that clause is in the bidding documents. Boeing, however, does not see that as a problem for the company as it ultimately lost the trade dispute.

  • Here’s who will build the US Army’s heavy common robot

    November 18, 2019 | International, Land

    Here’s who will build the US Army’s heavy common robot

    By: Jen Judson WASHINGTON — The U.S. Army has chosen FLIR's Kobra robot to serve as its heavy version of the Common Robotic System that will be used for explosive ordnance disposal and other heavy-duty jobs. The production contract will run for a period of five years and could be worth up to $109 million. The Army wanted its Common Robotic System-Heavy, or CRS-H, to weigh up to 700 pounds and to carry a variety of sensors and payloads to support missions. “The Kobra [unmanned ground vehicle] delivers unmatched strength, power and payload support in an easy-to-operate robot package,” according to a FLIR statement sent to Defense News. Kobra has a lift capacity of 330 pounds and can stretch up to eleven-and-a-half feet to get at difficult-to-reach places, but it is also still nimble enough to climb jersey barriers and fit into the back of a standard utility vehicle, according to FLIR. FLIR's legacy business, Endeavor Robotics, won a contract in 2017 to provide the Army with a medium-sized UGV — the Man Transportable Robotic System Increment II. FLIR is delivering the Centaur UGV for the program. FLIR bought Endeavor Robotics in February, an acquisition that made sense because FLIR's camera and sensors — its bread and butter — have been used on countless manned and unmanned vehicles like those developed by the Massachusetts-based robotics company. FLIR also acquired Prox Dynamics in 2016, the Norwegian maker of the tiny micro-drone — the Black Hornet — that is now used as the Army's soldier borne sensor. Endeavor also competed for the CRS-Individual system — a man-packable robot that is less than 25 pounds — but lost to fellow Massachusetts-based robotics company QinetiQ North America in March. For the CRS-H program, FLIR beat out QinetiQ. Kobra is also participating in a Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency effort to build a system-of-systems solution that can operate in subterranean environments. The company's solution consists of the Kobra robot that will enter subterranean environments carrying radio repeaters —based on the company's small, throwable FirstLook robots — and drop them off along the way to continue connectivity as it travels deeper underground. The system will also carry a four-legged robot supplied from Ghost Robotics to explore more rugged and difficult terrain as well as a quadcopter that will investigate vertical shafts and other hard to reach places. The winner of the challenge is expected to receive $2 million in 2021. The CRS-I and CRS-H programs are part of a larger Army program to streamline its robotics inventory. By necessity, during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Army clamored to buy UGVs that could help provide a level of standoff between soldiers and the dangers faced on the battlefield, mostly improvised explosive devices. The Army procured roughly 7,000 UGVs and ended up with a petting zoo of robots from Talons to PacBots to Dragon Runners, to name a few. The service had roughly nine variants of robots used for explosive ordnance disposal, two robots for engineering battalions to conduct route clearance, two for Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) tasks and three for contingency and global response forces. The Army's way forward uses just a few common platforms where systems and sensors can be swapped out easily for different missions and which are all controlled using one universal controller. It's been the season for major headway in Army robotics programs across the board. The service is also underway with development of robotic combat vehicles in light, medium and heavy categories. The Army invited four teams to compete to build prototypes for its future light RCV last month: A Textron and Howe & Howe team, a team of QinetiQ and Pratt & Miller, HDT Global and Oshkosh Defense. And three teams were picked earlier this month to move on in the Army's competition for a medium-sized RCV: General Dynamics Land Systems, QinetiQ and the Textron and Howe & Howe team. The Army also awarded, at the end of last month, a contract to GDLS to provide the Squad Multipurpose Equipment Transport (SMET) unmanned vehicle. GDLS offered up its Multi-Utility Tactical Transport — or MUTT — in that competition.

  • One way for the Pentagon to prove it’s serious about artificial intelligence

    November 18, 2019 | International, C4ISR

    One way for the Pentagon to prove it’s serious about artificial intelligence

    By: Mark Pomerleau Department of Defense officials routinely talk about the need to more fully embrace machine learning and artificial intelligence, but one leader in the Marine Corps said those efforts are falling short. “We're not serious about AI. If we were serious about AI we would put all of our stuff into one location,” Lt. Gen. Eric Smith, commander of the Marine Corps Combat Development Command and the Deputy Commandant for Combat Development and Integration, said at an AFCEA Northern Virginia chapter lunch Nov. 15. Smith was broadly discussing the ability to provide technologies and data that's collected in large quantities and pushed to the battlefield and tactical edge. Smith said leaders want the ability to send data to a 50-60 Marine cell in the Philippines that might be surrounded by the Chinese. That means being able to manage the bandwidth and signature so that those forces aren't digitally targeted. That ability doesn't currently doesn't exist, he said. He pointed to IBM's Watson computer, noting that the system is able to conduct machine learning and artificial intelligence because it connects to the internet, which allows it to draw from a much wider data pool to learn from. Military systems aren't traditionally connected to the broader commercial internet, and thus are limited from a machine learning sense. “We have stovepipes of excellence everywhere from interagency, CIA, NSA. The Navy's got theirs, Marine Corps' got theirs, everybody's got theirs. You can't do AI when the machine can't learn from one pool of data,” he said. Brown noted that he was not speaking on behalf of the entire department. Pentagon leadership has come to similar conclusions. Top officials have noted that one of the critical roles the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure cloud program will do is provide a central location for data. “The warfighter needed enterprise cloud yesterday. Dominance in A.I. is not a question of software engineering. But instead, it's the result of combining capabilities at multiple levels: code, data, compute and continuous integration and continuous delivery. All of these require the provisioning of hyper-scale commercial cloud,” Lt. Gen. Jack Shanahan, director of the Joint AI Center, said in August. “For A.I. across DOD, enterprise cloud is existential. Without enterprise cloud, there is no A.I. at scale. A.I. will remain a series of small-scale stovepipe projects with little to no means to make A.I. available or useful to warfighters. That is, it will be too hard to develop, secure, update and use in the field. JEDI will provide on-demand, elastic compute at scale, data at scale, substantial network and transport advantages, DevOps and a secure operating environment at all classification levels.” Overall, Smith said that industry should start calling out DoD when policies or technical requirements hinder what it can offer. “If we're asking for something that is unobtanium or if our policies are keeping you from producing something we can buy, you've got to tell us,” he said

  • Tech Data launches cyber range to fight simulated threats

    November 18, 2019 | International, C4ISR, Security

    Tech Data launches cyber range to fight simulated threats

    By: Jaleah Dortch Tech Data has opened a cyber range in Tempe, Arizona, to provide an environment for testing security technologies and training to prevent, detect and respond to simulated cyberthreats, the company said in a Wednesday news release. The company said the facility was built in response to a growing sense of urgency for cybersecurity threat preparedness. According to Cybersecurity Ventures, 3.5 million cybersecurity positions will be unfilled by 2021, and that skills gap continues to grow. “To help address these issues in an ever-changing marketplace, the Tech Data Cyber Range will immerse users in a ‘safe' environment," Tech Data's release said. The cyber range will serve as a place for Tech Data's vendor partners to test and demonstrate technologies to their customers to build on cybersecurity solutions and mitigate cyberthreats, the company said. Tech Data is partnered with the National Cyber Warfare Foundation, which built its own cyberwarfare range in 2012.

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