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  • Squad X Improves Situational Awareness, Coordination for Dismounted Units

    November 30, 2018 | International, C4ISR

    Squad X Improves Situational Awareness, Coordination for Dismounted Units

    The first test of DARPA's Squad X Experimentation program successfully demonstrated the ability to extend and enhance the situational awareness of small, dismounted units. In a weeklong test series at Twentynine Palms, California, U.S. Marine squads improved their ability to synchronize maneuvers, employing autonomous air and ground vehicles to detect threats from multiple domains – physical, electromagnetic, and cyber – providing critical intelligence as the squad moved through scenarios. Squad X provides Army and Marine dismounted units with autonomous systems equipped with off-the-shelf technologies and novel sensing tools developed via DARPA's Squad X Core Technologies program. The technologies aim to increase squads' situational awareness and lethality, allowing enemy engagement with greater tempo and from longer ranges. The Squad X program manager in DARPA's Tactical Technology Office, Lt. Col. Phil Root (U.S. Army), said Experiment 1 demonstrated the ability for the squad to communicate and collaborate, even while “dancing on the edge of connectivity.” The squad members involved in the test runs praised the streamlined tools, which allowed them to take advantage of capabilities that previously had been too heavy or cumbersome for individual Soldiers and Marines to use in demanding field conditions. “Each run, they learned a bit more on the systems and how they could support the operation,” said Root, who is also program manager for Squad X Core Technologies. “By the end, they were using the unmanned ground and aerial systems to maximize the squad's combat power and allow a squad to complete a mission that normally would take a platoon to execute.” Two performers, Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control and CACI's BIT Systems, each are working on different approaches to provide unique capabilities to enhance ground infantries. Manned-unmanned teaming is critical to both companies' solutions. Marines testing Lockheed Martin's Augmented Spectral Situational Awareness, and Unaided Localization for Transformative Squads (ASSAULTS) system used autonomous robots with sensor systems to detect enemy locations, allowing the Marines to engage and target the enemy with a precision 40mm grenade before the enemy could detect their movement. Small units using CACI's BITS Electronic Attack Module (BEAM) were able to detect, locate, and attack specific threats in the radio frequency and cyber domains. Experiment 2 is currently targeted for early 2019.

  • Reinventing Drug Discovery and Development for Military Needs

    November 30, 2018 | International,

    Reinventing Drug Discovery and Development for Military Needs

    Flying at 50,000 feet, diving deep in the ocean, or hiking for miles with gear through extreme climates, military service members face conditions that place unique burdens on their individual physiology. The potential exists to develop pharmacological interventions to help service members complete their toughest missions more safely and efficiently, and then recover more quickly and without adverse effects, but those interventions must work on complex physiological systems in the human body. They will not be realized under the prevailing system of drug discovery and development with its focus on engaging single molecular targets. DARPA created the Panacea program to pursue the means of rapidly discovering, designing, and validating new, multi-target drugs that work with the body's complexity to better support the physiological resilience and recovery of military service members. The premise of Panacea is that the physiological systems of the human body work in complex and highly integrated ways. Drugs exert effects on our bodies by physically interacting with and changing the functional state of biomolecules that govern the functions of cells and tissues. Most drugs target proteins, which are the principle cellular workhorses. Ideally, drugs would target multiple proteins simultaneously to exert precise, network-level effects. One major problem facing the drug development community is that the functional proteome — the complete collection of proteins and their roles in signaling networks — is largely dark to science. Despite being able to identify many of the proteins within a cell, researchers do not have a firm grasp on everything those proteins do and how they interact to affect physiology. Due to this sparsity of structural and functional knowledge, the state of the art in drug development — what Panacea seeks to transform — is to engage only a very small fraction of known protein targets to achieve an effect. In fact, today's approach to drug design singles out individual proteins in certain cells. That hyper-specificity is an attempt to minimize the risk of side effects and speed time to market, but it also yields a thin stream of drugs, many of which have similar mechanisms and relatively muted effectiveness compared to what might be achieved using a multi-target, systems-based approach. “The current roster of drugs approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration only targets about 549 proteins, yet the body can produce more than six million different protein variants,” said Tristan McClure-Begley, the Panacea program manager. “The opportunity space for pharmacological intervention is vast and effectively untapped, but to access it we need new technology for understanding and targeting the human functional proteome.” Panacea will address the lack of functional knowledge about the proteome. DARPA's call to the research community is to consider complex physiological conditions relevant to military service members — for instance, metabolic stress during extreme endurance missions or pain and inflammation after injury; investigate the molecular mechanisms underlying those conditions; identify multiple, key molecular targets involved; and develop novel medicinal chemistry approaches to synthesize interventions that modulate those targets. DARPA believes that multi-target drugs will deliver safer and more efficacious solutions to military requirements for readiness and recovery over state-of-the-art interventions. “Many of the most successful drugs produced in the past were found rather than made, and we knew what they did long before we knew how they did it,” McClure-Begley said. “To deliver improved interventions, we need to get to a place where we can investigate all of the potential proteins at play for a given condition and then prioritize sets of protein targets and signaling networks to effectively modulate physiological systems, regardless of what prior knowledge exists about those targets.” The Panacea program aims to generate initial proof of concept for this new direction in drug discovery and development. Research will primarily involve animal models, human cell derived organoids, and high-throughput cell culture models. However, to support eventual transition to humans, DARPA will work with federal agencies to develop a regulatory pathway for future medical use. By the end of the five-year program, DARPA will require teams to submit novel drug candidates to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for review as an Investigational New Drug or for Compassionate Use. DARPA will hold a Proposers Day on December 14, 2018, in Arlington, Virginia, to provide more information about Panacea and answer questions from potential proposers. For details of the event, including registration requirements, visit A forthcoming Broad Agency Announcement will fully describe the program structure and objectives.

  • Why can't Ottawa get military procurement right?

    November 30, 2018 | Local, Aerospace, Naval, Land, C4ISR, Security

    Why can't Ottawa get military procurement right?

    Murray Brewster · CBC News The last couple of weeks may go down in the Trudeau government's public record as the point when the desires of deliverology met the drawbacks of defence procurement. Remember 'deliverology'? That lofty concept — measuring a government's progress in delivering on its promises — was the vogue in policy circles at the beginning of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's administration. While it's sometimes derided as an empty concept, deliverology must have seemed tailor-made for a new government inheriting a troubled defence procurement system. The Canadian International Trade Tribunal's decision Tuesday to step into the brawl over which multinational consortium will design and support the construction of the navy's new frigates is another lesson in how (apologies to Robert Burns) the best laid plans of mice and men go awry. The tribunal's decision to order Ottawa to put the frigate project on hold pending the completion of their probe into a complaint by a failed bidder comes at a politically awkward time for the Liberals. One week ago, Auditor General Michael Ferguson delivered an ugly report on the Liberals' handling of fighter jet procurement — specifically, the plan to buy interim warplanes to cover the gap until the current CF-18 fleet can be replaced with new aircraft. Self-inflicted wounds A cynic's reflex (given the checkered history of defence purchasing over the last decade) might be to consider these two events as just another day at the office for the troubled government procurement system. That might not be entirely fair. Still, experts were saying Wednesday that the government is suffering from numerous self-inflicted political and administrative wounds on this file. With a federal election on the horizon, and in a climate of growing geopolitical instability, the question of what the government has actually managed to deliver on military procurement is an important one to ask, said Rob Huebert, an analyst in strategic studies at the University of Calgary. While the system, as the Trudeau Liberals and previous governments have constructed it, seems to be the perfect model of the "evidence based" policy making promised by the champions of deliverology, it's also not built for speed. Some would suggest the deliverology model was followed to the letter in the design competition now tied up before the trade tribunal and in Federal Court. What seemed like endless consultations with the bidders took two years. The government made up to 88 amendments to the tender. And in the end, the preferred bid was challenged by a competitor that claims not all of the navy's criteria were met. Alion Science and Technology Corp. and its subsidiary, Alion Canada, argue the warship Lockheed Martin Canada and BAE System Inc. want to sell to Ottawa cannot meet the speed requirements set by the tender without a substantial overhaul. It does not, the company claims, meet the government's demand for a proven, largely off-the-shelf design. Michael Armstrong, who teaches at Brock University and holds a doctorate in management science, said the government could have avoided the challenges and accompanying slowdowns had it been more precise in its language. "They could have been more clear and firm when they use the words 'proven design'," he said. "Did they literally mean we won't buy ships unless they're floating in the water? Or did they mean that British one that doesn't quite exist yet is close enough? "If they would have been more firm and said, 'We want a ship that actually exists,' that might have simplified things at this stage." Huebert described the auditor general's report on the purchase of interim fighters as an all-out assault on evidence-based policy making. "It is just so damning," he said. A break with reality The Conservatives have accused the Liberals of avoiding the purchase of the F-35 stealth jet through manufacturing a crisis by claiming the air force doesn't have enough fighters to meet its international commitments. The auditor found that the military could not meet the government's new policy commitment and even ignored advice that one of its proposed solutions — buying brand-new Super Hornets to fill the capability gap —would actually make their problems worse, not better. That statement, said Huebert, suggested a jaw-dropping break with reality on the government's part. "They [the Liberals] were just making things up," he said. It might have been too optimistic to expect the Liberals to fix the system, said Armstrong, given the short four years between elections. But Huebert said Ottawa can't carry on with business as usual — that the government now must deliver on procurement, instead of doubling down on rhetoric. The problem, he said, is that governments haven't really paid a price in the past for botched military procurement projects. There was "no political pain for the agony of the Sea King replacement, as an example," he said, referring to the two-decade long process to retire the air force's maritime helicopters. "The thing that makes me so concerned, even outraged, is that we are heading into a so much more dangerous international environment," said Huebert, citing last weekend's clash between Russia and Ukraine over the Kerch Strait and ongoing tension with Beijing in the South China Sea. "When things get nasty, we have to be ready."

  • UK: Speech by Admiral Sir Philip Jones, First Sea Lord and Chief of Naval Staff

    November 30, 2018 | International, Naval

    UK: Speech by Admiral Sir Philip Jones, First Sea Lord and Chief of Naval Staff

    Introduction Good morning everyone, and Nick [Childs, IISS], thank you very much for the introduction, for the invitation for Mike [Noonan, RAN] and I to be here with you all this morning, and to everyone here at IISS for facilitating this event. And a special thanks to Mike. He looks as fresh as a daisy this morning, but he's on a bit of a world tour, taking in London having also taken in some substantial visits in Europe to check on future RAN capability, I'm sure you'll hear more about that later, and then after a trip to Scotland tomorrow to have a look at what a Type 26 looks like, and we'll see the significance of that of course, we're then travelling together to Chile on Thursday night to help them commemorate the 200th Anniversary of their navy. So you've covered a lot of ground as Chief of Navy but for very good reason and it's really good to have you with us, Mike, today. What I wanted to do is to set the scene, before we hear from the Theatre expert, Mike, on the Asia Pacific Region, about how the Royal Navy sees that region and the way we've shifted some of our posture to reflect that in the last year or so. RN Pacific Presence Because it won't have escaped the attention of most of you who are tracking what the Royal Navy does and where it goes that this year has seen a very public return to that region. The deployments of the frigate HMS Sutherland initially, which also went to Australia, the LPD HMS Albion and her embarked Royal Marines, now followed by the frigate HMS Argyll which is in the region as we speak, and then HMS Montrose, who I'll be on board in Chile in a couple of days' time, is then crossing the Pacific to New Zealand and Australia on her way through the region too; so all of that has drawn no small amount of interest and commentary, both in the region and back here in the UK. And I hope that comes as no surprise because those deployments have had in the region, I am told, a really tangible effect. Whether on be operations: helping to enforce UN Security Council Resolutions against the DPRK, or the significant programmes of defence engagement they have been conducting right across the region – Indonesia, Vietnam, the Republic of Korea, Brunei, Japan and of course Australia to name but a few. But why now? Why has that change of focus to the region come now? Importance of the Pacific Those of you who are aficionados of IISS events may have been at their other site in June when, the US CNO, Adm John Richardson, and I spoke at a similar event about the challenges we share together in the maritime domain, challenges that have grown considerably into threats, and threats have both intensified and diversified. And whilst it's perhaps unsurprising that our combined UK/US geographical focus is principally in the Atlantic area, we made the point that the same challenge to freedom and security on the high seas is to be found in many other places in the world, perhaps most notably over the last year or so in the Indo-Pacific region. And that's a region we here in the UK simply can't afford to ignore. As I said at my Sea Power conference at RUSI a few weeks before that IISSevent I did with CNO, we were feeding off the UK Defence Concepts and Doctrine Centre's analysis of Global Strategic Trends which clearly identifies the economic shift towards the Indo-Pacific region; that's already on the way and will only intensify in the years to come When you combine this with the well established importance and growth of global maritime trade, and the UK's ambitions for an enhanced global trade network once we depart from the European Union, it becomes very easy to see why the Indo-Pacific region will be of such strategic importance to this island nation in the years to come – physically separated from that region by several thousand miles though we may be. But this renewed ambition for trade links in the Indo-Pacific, where some of the largest and fastest growing economies reside, does rely on influence in the region; you have to earn your place there. And that's where the key attributes of a navy can come into play, the ability, as one of my predecessors, Adm Sir Mark Stanhope, once put it, to do ‘engagement without embroilment', and that can come into play in support of cross-government objectives. But to paraphrase our Secretary of State for Defence: it's not all about soft power, it's also about being able to back it up with credible, hard power if required. And the way we can proactively contribute to regional maritime security is clearly one component of that. China In any assessment of the Indo-Pacific region, the growing role and influence of China will play a major part. China is the most populous country in the world, it's home to the largest supply of natural resources, it boasts the second largest world economy. So it is perhaps only natural that given their place in world they should look to exert their influence as a world power. And we're seeing this ambition play out very clearly in the maritime domain as the PLA(Navy) evolves from a coastal force to a regional force, and now very clearly a global force; they had 5 different task groups on deployment around the world last year. It's an ambition backed up by a programme of Naval expansion that massively exceeds any other country in the world, including the United States. If you look at the scale of their shipbuilding programme purely in terms of tonnage, it broadly equates to launching the equivalent of the whole Royal Navy or French Navy, every year, and they'll be able to do that for the next 10 years. Combine this with their equally rapid development of tactics and doctrine and it is very clear that they now possess a potent Naval force, equipped and ready to support China's national agenda, and this will be the case more and more in the years to come as they become bigger and more and more capable. Now there are probably differing, even conflicting views as to how this growth in Chinese military capability is to be perceived, but these perceptions are surely influenced in no small part by their recent actions like the militarisation of artificial features in the South China Sea, and I suspect not influenced for the better. UK/China relationship At the national political level, Britain is very clear eyed in its relationship with China, it's a good relationship and one we hope will continue to prosper for all sorts of reasons. And at a Head of Navy level, I'm pleased to say my relationship with Admiral Shen Jinlong, Commander of the PLA(N) is a good one. I visited him in China this year and we had a further meeting at the International Sea Power Symposium in Newport, Rhode Island a couple of months ago. Now unquestionably there were issues on which we do not see eye to eye, but the open, honest and frank discussion we have over a myriad of issues which affect all of us in the maritime domain are open and genuinely valuable, and I thank him for it. But at the same time, to again paraphrase my Defence Secretary, we will not shy away from telling them when we feel that they do not respect the commonly accepted rules and norms of international behaviour, the laws and systems from which we all benefit and therefore have a duty to protect. Specifically, in the Maritime domain, we are committed to ensure that the global commons remain secure and freely available for all mariners who are going about their lawful purpose, anywhere in the world, and we will continue to work to ensure that the laws and conventions that exist to protect those rights are followed. Return to Pacific So it's clear that the Pacific is somewhere the Royal Navy needs to be, in defence of our national interests and to promote our national prosperity, but also to exert our influence in the region as we seek to uphold the rules that have underwritten our collective security since the middle of the last century. But all of this comes after something of a fallow period in the Royal Navy's record of operations in this region, and I'm very keenly aware of that. Following the decision in the 1960s to withdraw naval forces from the region, and the demise of the Far East Fleet in 1971, our last ship, HMS Mermaid, left the Sembawang Basin in Singapore in September 1975. Since then we have seen a steady decline in the Royal Navy's presence in the region, exacerbated further by the withdrawal from Hong Kong in 1997, to the extent that when Sutherland arrived back in the region earlier this year, that was the first Royal Naval presence in the region for 5 years. The stark contrast of this year's near constant presence shows that we've now passed that nadir of presence and engagement, and I think we can now look forward to far closer engagement with our key regional partners there, whether it be in the guise of FPDA activity or bi-lateral and tri-lateral relationships such as our burgeoning relationship we have with Japan, and after Chile I fly on to Japan with Admiral Richardson to have another one of our close tri-lateral meetings with Admiral Murakawa, the head of the Japanese Defence Force. RN/RAN But whilst we may have been removed from the Pacific for a while, we have not lost our links with Pacific-based powers, especially the Royal Australian Navy. Throughout, our 2 navies have continued to enjoy a significant programme of personnel exchanges, building those all important personal relationships, shared experiences and mutual understanding. And at the tactical and operational level, our collective efforts in the Middle East in particular have kept our 2 navies closely aligned. As 2 of the 4 central members around which the 33 nation Combined Maritime Forces coalition has been built over the last 15 years or so, our ships have worked side by side and we have each taken a large share of Task Force Commander responsibilities. And if you've seen in the press in the last couple of days, we've also started to muscle in on the Royal Australian Navy's drug busts as well. In the course of these commitments the Royal Navy and Royal Australian Navy have shared in a plethora of operational tasking – and no small amount of operational success – be it counter piracy and counter narcotics focussed maritime security tasking right the way through to offensive military action. Going back to 2003, on the gun line off the Al Faw peninsula during 3 Cdo Bde RM's assault, that gunline was HMS Marlborough, HMS Richmond, HMS Chatham and HMAS Anzac. And that Combined approach was far from unprecedented either; 12 years earlier during the 1991 Gulf War, HMS Gloucester and HMS Cardiff had operated in the high end of the Gulf establishing air defence supremacy alongside their Australian counterparts HMAS Brisbane and HMAS Sydney. All of that is evidence of how closely our 2 navies have, and can, integrate with each other. Interoperability I hope we can take it as an established fact that interoperability lies at the heart of successful international partnerships. And that for effective interoperability, how we operate and why we operate is just as important as where we operate and when we operate. So it's about far more than simply our ability for our comms fits to speak to each other – important though that may be. In this sense, the Royal Navy and Royal Australian Navy are always going to be natural partners. We have those ties that bind our 2 countries together, our common history including being part of the Commonwealth, and we're always going to share near identical outlooks and values, and I would contend that this is especially true in the relationship between our 2 navies. But now we have a generational opportunity to further enhance this Naval partnership. The decision by Australia to buy and operate Type 26 frigates means that our 2 navies will soon be operating common Anti-Submarine Warfare platforms, the Australian Hunter class working side by side with our near identical Royal Navy City Class. And if you add to that our common outlook on how we generate these common platforms, how we bring that capability and its characteristics into service, it's but a short leap to see that we can find a way to operate them more closely together. And therein lies the opportunity to set the gold standard for interoperability – in the Asia-Pacific region, in Combined Maritime Forces and more widely amongst the ‘Five Eyes' community. And if the Type 26 has a coalescing effect for Combined RN/RAN operations, it will surely enhance our Anti-Submarine Warfare strategic partnership too, and Admiral Mike and I have signed an agreement today to push that between our too navies. There's no small amount of truth in the old adage that ‘2 heads are better than 1'. So the ability to tap into all of the skills, knowledge and experience that our navies both share, to address the future challenges in the underwater battlespace that we know we face, I think that makes a really powerful partnership. US and Regional Leadership Potent though this combined force may be, I think it would be remiss of me not to reflect on the predominant Naval power in the Pacific, which of course remains the US Navy, a navy with whom both the Royal Navy and Royal Australian Navy also work incredibly closely. Given the number of maritime facing nations in the Indo-Pacific region, some of which may be small but all of which are rightly proud and keen to play their part, leadership opportunities abound. And working alongside the USN, there's no doubt that there's something the Royal Australian Navy can provide in leadership through the region, which is significant; providing the lead for other navies to follow and providing a unifying role within the region. And I think this is something our 2 navies very much have in common. Just as the Royal Australian Navy provides that leading role within the Pacific, I would like to think the same can be said for the Royal Navy's corresponding leadership role in the Atlantic and the adjoining seas, bringing together, in our case, principally European navies to work together alongside the US, in our case most often under the framework of NATO. So the leadership role we play in our respective oceans is a real point of connection for us, and I hope this is something that will allow the Royal Navy to quickly begin to deliver effect alongside the RAN in the Pacific. I hope that this work, the unifying effect that we can bring with the Royal Australian Navy, can achieve within the region the leadership opportunity that I think is there, and by bringing to bear our mutual close relationship with the US Navy and a host of other navies in the region, I think this can have a powerful effect. Conclusion A few weeks ago we marked the centenary of the armistice that brought to an end the First World War. The Royal Australian Navy might only have been formed 3 years before the outbreak of that war, but from the very outset our 2 navies were entirely compatible. The Royal Australian Navy had almost all its major units operating as part of the Royal Navy's Grand Fleet in the North Sea for most of the Great War, and the Royal Naval Division landed directly alongside the Anzacs at Gallipoli. In the Second World War, 5 Australian destroyers distinguished themselves repeatedly as part of Admiral Cunningham's Mediterranean fleet and over 1,000 Australians were serving in the Royal Navy on D Day. Through the subsequent campaigns in Korea and Malaya, and right up to the present with those 2 recent conflicts in the Arabian Gulf, our 2 navies have been at each other's side. It's a partnership steeped in history. But it's also modern, forward looking, and it's hugely valued, certainly on my side, and I look forward to seeing it grow in the future. So I'm hugely grateful to Mike for being here today and for all your team is doing to lean so heavily in to the optimisation of this relationship. Because as we re-assert our presence in your region I have no doubt our cooperation with you will continue to feature very heavily.

  • Air Spray wins Manitoba aerial firefighting contract

    November 30, 2018 | Local, Aerospace, Security

    Air Spray wins Manitoba aerial firefighting contract

    Air Spray Ltd. announced that is has been awarded a contract for aerial firefighting by the Government of Manitoba. The Wildfire Suppression Services Contract has been issued by the Manitoba Sustainable Development Agency and is for a period of 10 years. Air Spray will be working in partnership with Babcock International to carry out the contract. The contract includes the management, maintenance and operation of Manitoba's fleet of seven Canadair water-bomber amphibious aircraft (four CL-415s and three CL-215s), supported by three Twin Commander “bird-dog” aircraft. Manitoba will retain ownership of the water-bomber aircraft, parts, inventory, special tools and equipment but will transfer care and custody to the contractors. Based on operations in prior years, the Wildfire Suppression Service will provide approximately 1,400 flying hours and 3,750 water drops per year. Operations will cover the entire province of Manitoba (649,950 square kilometres) and will help to protect communities in a population of 1.3 million people. Lynn Hamilton, owner and president of Air Spray Ltd., responded that “the province of Manitoba can be assured that our years as a leader in the airtanker industry and experience fighting wildfires throughout Western Canada can be relied on to provide outstanding service to the province. The award of the contract is expected to provide Air Spray with additional future opportunities associated with the CL415 aircraft platform and enable us to further our dedication to the protection of our environment from wildfire.” Mike Whalley, president of Babcock Canada, commented: “Babcock has over 30 years of fixed- and rotary-wing aerial firefighting experience throughout Europe. In 2017, our aircraft and crews carried out over 5,500 firefighting missions, dropped 174 million litres of water and logged over 20,000 hours in support of wildfire suppression. “We deliver a fully integrated and professional aerial firefighting management service, underpinned by technology investments and mission specialist pilot training. We are delighted and honoured that the Government of Manitoba has entrusted us with this critical service, and we look forward to serving the province and protecting the natural resources and communities of Manitoba.”

  • Japan sets naval-friendly requirement in search to replace AH-1S Cobra fleet

    November 30, 2018 | International, Aerospace

    Japan sets naval-friendly requirement in search to replace AH-1S Cobra fleet

    By: Mike Yeo Correction: Airbus has not confirmed its H145 multipurpose helicopter will be chosen to compete in Japan's search for a new attack helicopter. TOKYO — Japan is requiring its new attack helicopters be equipped for shipboard operations, as the country looks to replace its legacy Bell/Fuji Heavy Industries AH-1S Cobra attack helos. Japan's request for information issued earlier this year called for the new helicopters to be marinized and able to operate from “expeditionary airfields or sea bases,”, said retired Lt. Gen. George Trautman, an adviser to Bell. Speaking to Defense News at the Japan International Aerospace Exhibition in Tokyo, the former U.S. Marine aviator and commander of Marine Corps aviation said the RFI requested pricing and information for “30, 40 and 50” helicopters. He added that a request for proposals is expected in the next three to four months. Apart from Bell's AH-1Z Viper offer, Japanese firm Mitsubishi Heavy Industries is proposing its UH-60J/JA Black Hawk helicopter fitted with stub wings and weapons stations. Mitsubishi Heavy Industries has produced several variants of the Black Hawk and SH-60 Seahawk for the Japan Self-Defense Forces under licence with Sikorsky since the 1990s. European manufacturer Airbus confirmed to Defense News that it is not offering its Tiger attack helicopter, and has not made a final decision on its offering. The company already has a footprint in Japan, as local emergency medical services operate the civilian H145, manufactured by Airbus. The company has also announced it is adding a maintenance, repair and overhaul complex adjacent to its existing facility in Kobe, Japan. Other possible contenders for the competition include Boeing with the AH-64E Apache as well as Italy's Leonardo with its AW249 attack helicopter currently in development. Japan already uses the Apache, with 13 license-produced AH-64Ds currently in service. However, this was a much smaller number than the 62 helicopters it originally planned to manufacture, and like neighboring South Korea, Japan is reportedly unimpressed with the performance of the Apache's Longbow radar.

  • What will forces need in complex EW environment?

    November 30, 2018 | International, C4ISR

    What will forces need in complex EW environment?

    By: Mark Pomerleau Sophisticated adversaries have been leveraging the electromagnetic spectrum to create significant dilemmas for U.S. and allied forces, say officials, and transformative efforts are needed to deal with an increasing complicated threat. “China is outspending us probably 10 to 1 on trying to figure out how to use and manipulate the electromagnetic spectrum. Russia showed us what they're going to do with it in their incursion into Ukraine ... Electromagnetic warfare, electronic warfare at the maneuver level,” Gen. Paul Selva, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said at the annual Association of Old Crows symposium held Nov. 28 in Washington, D.C. “We haven't designed ourselves to fight that fight. They have demonstrated that they are not only willing, but they're [also] capable of deploying and employing electronic countermeasures at the ground and maneuver level. It is a reality that we are going to have to adjust to.” The capabilities forces need For the Army, it's not going to be one thing, Col. Mark Dotson, the capabilities manager for electronic warfare at the Cyber Center of Excellence, said at the symposium Nov. 27. There have to be layered capabilities and effects, each increasing range and sensing capability. “We're still sorting through that,” Dotson said, noting the need to develop from the current tactical focus all the way to the strategic level. “We're trying to expand our scope and get into what are those other things we need. Do we need artillery delivered capability? Do we need loitering munitions? Is it going to manned or is it an unmanned aircraft?” In addition, Dotson said, the Army needs systems integrating EW, cyber and signals intelligence, and the service has started generating requirements working with the Intelligence Center of Excellence and the Cyber Center of Excellence. “I think SIGINT and EW go hand in hand, so us not sharing going forward and working like a team like we do now makes no sense,” Col. Jennifer McAfee, Dotson's counterpart for Terrestrial and Identity at the Army Intelligence Center of Excellence, told C4ISRNET in a November interview. McAfee added that the team is also joining up with the other centers of excellence to ensure that when they are pursuing requirements for airborne or ground systems, the Intelligence and Cyber centers are plugged in to leverage EW expertise and not create duplicative efforts. Geolocating solutions Others across the joint force have expressed the desire for more decoys, physical or non-physical, to confuse or confound enemy systems. “It's network electronic warfare from air, sea and land; it's smart warfare combined with advanced decoys, whether they're physical decoys or cyber decoys out there; drones, swarms and jamming drones,” Col. John Edwards, commander of the 28th Bomb Wing, said at the symposium. “Things that go out there to where an air defense operator cannot distinguish between what is cyber and what is real out there.” Such aerial systems can be used to either overwhelm or distract air defenses, allowing strike aircraft to penetrate, or take the point jamming the air defenses and thus assuming all the risk leaving the more expensive and manned systems in the rear. On the ground side, officials have also discussed the need for more investments in decoys. Lt. Gen. Stephen Fogarty, commander of Army Cyber Command, told reporters in August that big investments needed to be made in this area. He envisioned forces being able to drop a decoy emitting strong signals off a truck at a fork in the road, thus drawing enemy attention to it. “Now we're presenting multiple dilemmas to the adversary,” he said. One of the difficulties of modern warfare is all jammers and sensors emit some kind of a signal in the electromagnetic spectrum, meaning they can be geolocated and targeted. This means if an enemy wants to use it, they have to take into account a risk calculus in revealing their position. “Jammers are emitters, emitters are targets. I think that's something we really ought to be thinking about,” Selva said. “If you're going to operate in an electronically dense environment ... the tools actually reveal their position." Similarly, decoys can be used to throw adversaries off the trail of friendly forces or distract from other items forces might want to protect. ”If I have something like a counterfire radar, that's really important to me. Maybe what I want to do, again, is push an alternate threat to the adversary," Fogarty said. In these complex environments, Selva said forces need to be able to identify, localize and characterize the jammer. If that's possible, then forces can decide what to do with it. If the answer is they want to kill it, they have to have a tool to kill it. “If you can't do all three of those things, the jamming is very effective,” he said.

  • With nod to Paris, MBDA claims lead on EU tank-killing missile

    November 30, 2018 | International, Land

    With nod to Paris, MBDA claims lead on EU tank-killing missile

    By: Sebastian Sprenger COLOGNE, Germany — Missile-maker MBDA is banking on a new European Union project to help boost wider adoption of its Missile Moyenne Portée anti-tank weapon on the continent. The confidence by executives stems from last week's European Council approval of a Beyond-Line-of-Sight Land Battlefield Missile System. The project is one of 34 efforts under the union's new Permanent Structured Cooperation scheme, or PESCO. The framework is meant to unify military capabilities of the member nations with an eye toward establishing the EU as a military player on the world stage. The new missile project offers an glimpse into PESCO's nascent process for turning political ambitions into actual hardware made by national vendors. Such is the case here, says MBDA, which released a statement saying its MMP anti-tank weapon had been “endorsed” by the EU even though the official, one-paragraph project description makes no mention of a specific weapon. Company executives told Defense News that the MMP is what defense officials in France — which has the project lead together with Belgium and Cyprus — had in mind from the start when offering the project under an EU umbrella. The weapon, they argue, is the natural choice because it is already in service with French forces and because it is the sole wholly European option available. (MBDA is a joint venture of Airbus, BAE Systems and Leonardo.) A spokeswoman for the French delegation to the EU in Brussels did not respond to multiple requests for comment. The guided MMP, which boasts a range of 4 kilometers, can be fired by dismounted soldiers or from vehicles. Its competitors include the American-made Javelin and variants of the Spike, designed by Israel's Rafael. The Israelis market their offering through the Germany-based company Eurospike, and the missiles are produced in that country. But MBDA argues the “design authority” for both competitors lies outside of Europe, which means the joint venture would be ineligible for a role — and funding — under PESCO or its associated funding stream, the proposed €13 billion (U.S. $15 billion) European Defence Fund. It remains to be seen whether the apparent PESCO blessing can help propel the MMP weapon to greater popularity in European armies. There is already lower-hanging fruit included in the partnership with project co-sponsor Belgium: Brussels plans to buy a new fleet of armored combat vehicles from France's Nexter, a portion of which stands to be equipped with an anti-tank weapon. That's where EU funding support could come into play. Players of any PESCO project can get EU co-financing for the modification work required to make one weapon interoperable for several partner forces. On paper, the EU missile project has ambitious goals. The weapon eventually chosen — presumably the MMP — “is intended to be integrated on an extensive variety of platforms,” a PESCO project overview states. “The project includes joint training and formation aspects. A dedicated ‘users club' is envisioned develop a common European doctrine on BLOS firing.” Industry officials expect an initial kickoff meeting of the partner nations to hammer out a way ahead, though the timing is unclear. At that point, there could be a formal commitment to the MMP weapon. MBDA, for its part, is painting a purely altruistic picture of what's to come for the missile. “France is opening a collaborative approach for how to use it,” a spokesman told Defense News.

  • France: Armée de l'air : le général Lavigne dévoile son plan de vol

    November 30, 2018 | International, Aerospace

    France: Armée de l'air : le général Lavigne dévoile son plan de vol

    Par Alain Barluet L'espace, les effectifs, la protection aérienne du territoire et le système de combat du futur sont les priorités du nouveau chef d'état-major de l'armée de l'air. «Ce n'est pas un plan de rupture», prévient le général Philippe Lavigne. Arrivé à son poste début septembre, le nouveau chef d'état-major de l'armée de l'air (Cemaa) a tracé ses perspectives stratégiques sur la base des travaux largement entamés par son prédécesseur. Néanmoins, précise-t-il, «il m'appartient d'infléchir la trajectoire de l'armée de l'air pour lui permettre de prendre en compte les nouveaux enjeux des prochaines années». C'est ce «plan de vol» - une expression parlante pour tous les aviateurs - que le nouveau Cemaa a présenté jeudi à l'École militaire. Un projet qui, souligne-t-il, «s'appuiera sur l'ADN des aviateurs: agilité, précision, audace et passion». Selon la formule, directe, du général Lavigne, «l'objet de la mission sera de vaincre et protéger ensemble par les airs». Parmi ses priorités: le rôle futur de l'armée de l'air vis-à-vis de l'espace, qui s'affirme comme un thé'tre de conflictualité entre les puissances. «Nous devons désormais répondre à l'enjeu de ... Article complet:

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