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  • Fighter Competitions to Watch

    June 11, 2019 | International, Aerospace

    Fighter Competitions to Watch

    Over the next decade, the world may see deliveries of 3,164 new-build combat aircraft, according to Aviation Week's Fleet Data Services. That includes a whopping 1,771 Lockheed Martin F-35s, as deliveries are expected to ramp up from 147 in 2020 to 178 in 2021. At least 386 of the aircraft to be delivered by 2029 have yet to be competitively awarded. Here is a look at some of the largest defense fighter contests underway. Full article: https://aviationweek.com/fighter-competitions-watch-0

  • Bidding criteria for Canada's $19B fighter jet competition will emphasize strategic attack and ground-strike capabilities — seeming to favour the F-35

    June 11, 2019 | Local, Aerospace, Security

    Bidding criteria for Canada's $19B fighter jet competition will emphasize strategic attack and ground-strike capabilities — seeming to favour the F-35

    David Pugliese The criteria that will govern the selection of the winning bid to provide Canada's next fleet of fighter jets will prioritize strategic attack and foreign ground-strike capabilities, according to government documents obtained by Postmedia — guidelines that are seen to favour Lockheed Martin's controversial F-35. In 2010 the Conservative government under Prime Minister Stephen Harper selected the F-35 to replace the Canadian Forces' aging CF-18s, but later abandoned the plan after concerns about the technology used for the plane and its growing cost. During the 2015 election campaign Justin Trudeau promised that a Liberal government would not purchase the F-35, at the same time vowing to hold an open competition for the purchase of the country's new jet. Once in office, however, the Liberals backed away from their promise to freeze out the F-35 and the aircraft is now seen as a front-runner in the upcoming competition, with many supporters in the Royal Canadian Air Force. Though the Liberal government has highlighted the need to buy new jets to protect Canadian airspace and meet the country's commitments to NORAD, the procurement criteria obtained by Postmedia, currently in draft form, indicate the bidding process will assign additional weight to aircraft that excel at ground attack for overseas operations. Those criteria are seen to favour Lockheed Martin's F-35 stealth jet, say industry representatives allied with Lockheed's rivals in the upcoming $19-billion competition. The evaluation criteria also place less emphasis on sustainability — something else that may play to the advantage of the F-35, which has been dogged by high maintenance bills. But Pat Finn, the Department of National Defence's procurement chief, says there is such a wide variety of requirements to meet in the competition that while some aircraft might be seen to do well in some areas, they may not excel in others. “Somebody may be better in a high-end scenario but they're worst for cost,” Finn explained. “That's why we say it's the whole piece” that will be considered in the competition. At this point four aircraft are expected to be considered: two U.S.-built aircraft, the F-35, and the Super Hornet, and two European planes, the Eurofighter Typhoon and the Gripen. Finn said bidding companies must meet mandatory requirements when it comes to long-term sustainment of the planes. But industry representatives, both from Lockheed Martin rivals and those not directly involved in the competition, point out that beyond the mandatory requirements there is little emphasis on the important area of long-term maintenance and sutainability. So a company with an aircraft that costs relatively little to maintain won't get that recognition in the competition, they claimed. Finn said discussions are still ongoing with various companies and their feedback is being assessed. The request for proposals, which will outlined the final requirements for the aircraft, is expected to be released around mid-July, he added. Royal Canadian Air force commander Lt.-Gen. Al Meinzinger said key capabilities for a new plane are survivability and having an operational advantage. “We are very confident we are actually meeting the requirements of NATO and NORAD,” he said, pointing to the requirements for the new aircraft. “Both of those missions are well represented.” Canada already changed some of the industrial benefits criteria of the competition in May to satisfy concerns from the U.S. government that the F-35 would be penalized or couldn't be considered because of how that program was set up. U.S. officials had warned that the F-35 development agreement Canada signed years ago prohibits partner nations from imposing requirements for industrial benefits. Under the F-35 agreement, partner nations such as Canada are prohibited from demanding domestic companies receive contracts for work on the fighter jet, those companies instead having to compete for work. Over the last 12 years, Canadian firms have earned more than $1.3 billion in contracts to build F-35 parts. The changes made in May would now allow some of those F-35 contracts to be considered when weighing the industrial benefits offered by the planes. The winning bidder will build 88 jets for Canada, and the first delivery is expected in the mid-2020s with the full capability available in the early 2030s, according to documents produced by the Department of National Defence. https://nationalpost.com/news/bidding-criteria-for-canadas-19b-fighter-jet-competition-will-emphasize-strategic-attack-and-ground-strike-capabilities-seeming-to-favour-the-f-35

  • Relativity to Build New Autonomous Rocket Factory and Expand Testing Facilities at NASA Stennis Space Center in Mississippi

    June 11, 2019 | International, Aerospace

    Relativity to Build New Autonomous Rocket Factory and Expand Testing Facilities at NASA Stennis Space Center in Mississippi

    LOS ANGELES--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Relativity, the world's first autonomous rocket factory and launch services leader, today announced that it has secured an agreement with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and an incentive package from the Mississippi Development Authority to expand facilities and infrastructure at NASA's historic Stennis Space Center in Hancock County, Mississippi. Through this agreement, Relativity will leverage valuable existing NASA infrastructure and capital investment incentives from the Mississippi Development Authority to build and integrate a pioneering robotic 3D printing rocket factory and an expanded testing facility for autonomous production of Relativity's Terran 1 rocket launch vehicles. The agreement with NASA includes exclusive use of 220,000 square feet within building 9101 at Stennis Space Center for a 9-year lease. The facility includes an 80-foot high bay, multiple bridge cranes, and extensive industrial infrastructure. The agreement also includes an option to extend the lease for an additional 10 years. Relativity's partnership with the Mississippi Development Authority is supported by a significant cost reimbursement and tax incentive package for Relativity's employment and capital investments for advanced aerospace manufacturing and technology development in the State of Mississippi. Disrupting 60 years of global aerospace manufacturing, Relativity is developing the first and only aerospace platform to integrate machine learning, software, and robotics with metal 3D printing technology to build and launch rockets in days instead of years. Traditional aerospace manufacturing relies on fixed tooling, a complex supply chain, and extensive human labor. Relativity's groundbreaking autonomous rocket platform is highly reconfigurable, with a radically simplified supply chain and no fixed tooling, reducing part count 100x. On path to first orbital launch in 2020, Relativity will be building out first stage assembly, engine integration and testing, and a full 3D printing and robotics-enabled production line at the site. The technologies developed through Relativity's Stennis Factory site are the first step toward the company's long term vision of 3D printing the first rocket made in Mars and expanding the human experience in space. Through the factory build-out and expansion, the company will create a total of 200 jobs and invest $59 million in the state of Mississippi. This partnership between Relativity, NASA and the Mississippi Development Authority advances innovation, economic development, and job growth in the Gulf Coast, and progresses Relativity's leadership in American aerospace development. Relativity will invest in regional workforce development programs, university and education outreach, and community engagement initiatives. The infrastructure and resource incentives will enable the company to accelerate development and scaling of its technology and shorten lead times to launch. “We are excited to partner with NASA and the Mississippi Development Authority to bring our patented 3D printing rocket platform to Hancock County,” said Jordan Noone, cofounder and CTO of Relativity. “We believe this groundbreaking technology is the future of aerospace manufacturing, and we look forward to bringing this innovation to the Gulf Coast.” “This partnership will foster innovation, investment, and growth in Mississippi,” added Tobias Duschl, VP of Operations at Relativity. “The integration of our 3D printing rocket production and testing facilities at one site will also enable Relativity to offer greater flexibility to commercial and government entities needing faster, more frequent, and lower cost access to space.” “This agreement demonstrates again NASA's commitment to work with our industry partners to expand commercial access to low-Earth orbit. This helps NASA maintain focus on the ambitious Artemis program that will land the first female and the next male on the south pole of the moon by 2024. Relativity is a valuable member of the Stennis federal city and we look forward to building on our already successful partnership. This is a significant expansion of their presence at Stennis and we appreciate their confidence in making south Mississippi an integral part of their future,” said Dr. Rick Gilbrech, Director, Stennis Space Center. “The Mississippi Gulf Coast has a strong aerospace presence, and Relativity's expansion at Stennis further positions our state as a leader in this prominent sector,” Governor Phil Bryant said. “The important work that will be done for Relativity by our skilled workforce will play a crucial role in developing new methods to connect to outer space and other planets.” Relativity is accelerating growth of a customer manifest including leading global satellite operators, commercial companies, and government payloads. Recently, the company announced customer agreements with Telesat, the renowned global satellite operator, to support their LEO constellation; mu Space, the innovative Thai satellite and space technology company, to launch their first LEO satellite; and Spaceflight, the leading satellite rideshare and mission management provider, to launch Spaceflight's dedicated smallsat rideshares. Relativity is on track to conduct its first orbital test launch at the end of 2020 and enter commercial service in 2021. With this expansion at Stennis, Relativity is increasing infrastructure fourfold to over 280,000 square feet of operations, production, testing, and launch facilities and is on track to reach over 350,000 square feet of space in 2019. In the past year, the company increased team size over 6x from 14 to 90 employees. Relativity became the first venture-backed company to secure a launch site Right of Entry at Cape Canaveral Launch Complex-16 from the U.S. Air Force, and has a 20-year exclusive-use Commercial Space Launch Act (CSLA) agreement at the NASA Stennis Space Center E4 test complex, as well as membership on the National Space Council advising the U.S. White House. Relativity is also securing a polar and Sun Synchronous Orbit (SSO) capable launch site this year. About Relativity Relativity is the first autonomous rocket factory and launch services leader for satellite constellations. The company's vision is to build the future of humanity in space -- starting with rockets. Disrupting 60 years of aerospace technology, Relativity's platform vertically integrates intelligent robotics and 3D autonomous manufacturing technology to build the world's first entirely 3D printed rocket, Terran 1. Terran 1 has 100x lower part count than traditional rockets, a radically simple supply chain, and will be built from raw material to flight in less than 60 days with unparalleled iteration speed. Relativity deploys and resupplies satellite constellations with industry-defining lead time, flexibility, and cost, better connecting and securing our planet. Relativity is backed by leading investors including Playground Global, Y Combinator, Social Capital, Phillip Spector formerly of Intelsat, and Mark Cuban. For more information, please visit https://www.relativityspace.com/. https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20190611005304/en

  • A Report from NATO's Front Lines

    June 11, 2019 | International, Security, Other Defence

    A Report from NATO's Front Lines

    by Michael O'Hanlon All is busy on NATO's eastern front. That was our main conclusion during a recent study delegation to Lithuania sponsored by the Lithuanian Ministry of National Defense and organized by the Atlantic Council. A lot is happening on the defense preparation front, and the overall security situation is improving considerably compared with a few years ago. But problems remain and work still has to be done, if deterrence and stability are to be ensured, and a potentially devastating war with Russia prevented. As many people will recall, the Baltic nations of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, with a combined population of some six million and combined military strength of some thirty thousand active-duty troops, joined NATO in 2004. All three border Russia, though in the case of Lithuania, that border is in the western part of the country (near Russia's Kaliningrad pocket). Lithuania's eastern frontier is shared with Belarus, a close ally of Moscow, at Vladimir Putin's insistence. Its southern border touches Poland, along the famed “Suwalki gap,” the narrow land corridor through which NATO would likely send most of its tens of thousands of reinforcements during any major crisis or conflict with Russia over the Baltics. All three Baltic states, plus Poland, are now among the seven of NATO's twenty-nine members that meet their obligations to spend at least 2 percent of gross domestic product on their militaries, however imperfect a metric of burden-sharing that formal NATO requirement may be. In Lithuania's case, this represents a tripling of military spending since 2013. Give President Donald Trump and President Barack Obama some of the credit for recent increases if you wish. But give the Lithuanians, Latvians, Estonians, and Poles the majority of the credit—with a nod, of course, to Vladimir Putin, who has done more to unify and motivate eastern Europeans' security efforts than anyone else this century. Since 2014, when Russia seized Crimea in Ukraine and stoked a conflict in Ukraine's east that continues to this day, NATO has been gradually fortifying its eastern flank, in the Baltic states and Poland. It now has a multinational battalion-size battlegroup (of about one thousand soldiers) in each of the three Baltic states, plus a larger U.S. brigade-sized presence in Poland (with occasional, but intermittent, American deployments into the Baltic states for exercising and signaling resolve). The battalion in Lithuania is backstopped by Germany, with additional major contributions from the Czech Republic and the Netherlands. These battalions are collectively described as the “enhanced forward presence” or eFP program, following NATO's Operation Atlantic Resolve; the U.S. element is often described as the European deterrence initiative. Adding in those rotational deployments, there are some thirty-five thousand total NATO troops in the Baltics, with only a smattering of Americans on most days. Russia has well over one hundred thousand of its own recently-improved forces just across the border and could probably muster closer to two hundred thousand with little effort under the guise of an exercise, if it wished. The Lithuanians' recent defense efforts need to be put in perspective. The nation is resolute, with 80 percent supporting NATO forces deployed to its territory and all of the recent major presidential candidates—and eventual winner—favoring the ongoing defense buildup. But it does not seem paranoid, or on serious edge, even as the officials we saw were clear about the challenge and legitimately focused on progress. While a military budget at 2 percent of GDP, headed towards 2.5 percent, is an impressive defense effort, it does not reflect the dire sense of urgency of a society expecting imminent war. After all, the United States and Russia each spend more than 3 percent of GDP on their armed forces; in fact, NATO aimed for a 3 percent minimum during the Cold War, when the United States typically spent upwards of 5 percent of GDP on its military. And for all the enhancements to its two main combat brigades, Lithuania has restrained from fortifying the eastern and western flanks of the country with smart minefields or other barriers to invasion. For its part, NATO more generally has stationed the eFP forces but has not tied them into a truly integrated combat force; nor has it deployed many helicopters or air defense systems into the Baltic states. It certainly has not prestationed the seven brigades of capability that a 2016 RAND Corporation simulation estimated as necessary to constitute a viable forward defense position. The current level of effort, vigilant but tempered, strikes us as roughly appropriate to the circumstances at hand. While there are still conflict scenarios that can be imagined, it is hard to think that President Putin believes he could really get away with naked aggression against any NATO member, including those in the Baltic region. Even if NATO does not have an adequate forward defense in place against hypothetical Russian aggression, it does have a rather robust forward tripwire, combined with increasingly credible ways of rapidly reinforcing that tripwire in a crisis. Still, there are three additional lines of effort that Washington and other NATO capitals should pursue in the interest of greater deterrence, stability, and predictability in eastern Europe. First, as a recent Atlantic Council report, “Permanent Deterrence,” underscored, NATO should strengthen key pieces of its modest military presence in Poland and the Baltic states. Much of this can happen in the Polish/American sector, but elements of it should extend to the Baltics as well. It makes good sense to combine greater combat engineering capability for military mobility, so as to better move reinforcements into the east in the face of possible Russian opposition, together with plugging gaps in areas such as combat aviation and air defense, and pre-stocking certain equipment. Moscow may complain, but it cannot credibly view such additions as major NATO additions or provocations, especially because they are modest, and because Russian actions have necessitated them. Second, nonmilitary elements of NATO resoluteness need to be strengthened, too. As discussed in The Senkaku Paradox: Risking Great Power War over Small Stakes, there are various types of very small Russian probing attacks that could leave NATO flummoxed and paralyzed over how to respond. These attacks might not reach the threshold where all alliance members would wish to invoke NATO's Article V mutual-defense clause and send military forces in response, yet they could be too serious to ignore. NATO should conceptualize such scenarios and exercise crisis decisionmaking in advance while honing various economic and diplomatic approaches to complement any military responses. NATO also needs to develop more contingency plans for economic warfare with Russia that would provide alternative energy sources in a crisis. Lithuania's recent development of a liquefied natural gas terminal is exemplary in this regard. Third, while projecting resolve vis-à-vis Moscow, including retention of the EU and U.S. sanctions that have been imposed on Russia in recent years, NATO needs to rethink its broader strategy towards Russia. This strategy should include options for bettering relations in a post–Putin Russia. Various types of security architectures and arrangements should be explored and debated. For now, with a new president in Kiev, a concerted effort to help Ukraine reform its economy and further weed out corruption makes eminent sense. Things are moving in the right direction in eastern Europe, but there is considerable work left to be done. Michael O'Hanlon is a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and author of the new book, The Senkaku Paradox; Christopher Skaluba is the director of the Transatlantic Security Initiative at the Atlantic Council. https://nationalinterest.org/feature/report-natos-front-lines-62067

  • Canada puts premium on fighter jets’ ability to conduct attacks on foreign soil

    June 11, 2019 | Local, Aerospace, Security

    Canada puts premium on fighter jets’ ability to conduct attacks on foreign soil

    DANIEL LEBLANC The federal government's plan to buy new fighter jets puts greater emphasis on the aircraft's ability to conduct “strategic attacks” in foreign countries than their capacity to defend Canada and North America from enemy incursions, government documents show. The importance awarded to the new aircraft's offensive and first-strike capabilities abroad, rather than their defensive capabilities in places such as the Arctic, is causing concerns among some companies in the running for the $19-billion contract to replace Canada's CF-18s, industry sources said. In particular, some manufacturers have told the government they are worried the process will end up favouring the Lockheed-Martin F-35 at the expense of bids from the Boeing Super Hornet, Saab's Gripen and the Eurofighter Typhoon, which is built by a consortium led by Airbus. The industry sources who spoke about the matter were granted anonymity because federal rules prevent them from speaking publicly. Federal officials said they are aware of the concerns from various aircraft manufacturers and that government experts are reviewing the evaluation grid. The government is planning to launch the competition for new fighter jets by the end of July. “We are continuing to have discussions with the companies,” said Pat Finn, the assistant deputy minister in charge of procurement at National Defence. He added that 80 per cent of the technical requirements are related to NORAD and NATO operations, while the rest are needed to be able to respond to government missions in hot spots around the world. “We're in a good spot for a competition,” he said. Canada's defence policy, which was released in 2017, made it clear that the priority for the new fighter jets would be defending the country's territory. “The fighter aircraft fleet is a critical Canadian Armed Forces capability necessary to enforce Canada's sovereignty, enable continental security, and contribute to international peace and stability,” the policy said. David Perry, a military analyst at the Canadian Global Affairs Institute, said the acquisition process to this point gives the impression that foreign missions are more important than domestic ones. “At the high level, the optics of the way it is presented aren't very good at all,” he said. The federal government's assessment grid for the new fighter jets is based on an evaluation of all requirements worth a total of 100 points, with 60 points going to technical capabilities, 20 points to the acquisition and sustainment costs, and 20 points to the package of industrial benefits. The government has shared its draft evaluation grid with potential bidders, a copy of which was provided to The Globe and Mail. Of the 60 points going to technical requirements, 31.5 points are based on the aircraft's performance on six potential missions: conducting NORAD operations, intercepting a foreign aircraft carrying a cruise missile, carrying missions against maritime targets, detecting and attacking foreign aircraft such as enemy fighter jets, providing “close air support” in an attack against targets on foreign soil and participating in a “strategic attack” against a foreign country. The first two missions, which are seen to be domestic in nature, are worth a total of 3.5 points. By contrast, the mission worth the most points (12 out of 31.5, or nearly 40 per cent of the points in this category) is the one based on an aircraft's ability to conduct a first-strike “strategic attack” in a foreign country, which is known to be a forte of the F-35. The evaluation grid has led some companies to complain to the government that the process favoured the F-35 at the expense of their aircraft, industry and government sources said. Following complaints from the American government, the federal government changed last month the way it will evaluate the 20 points related to industrial benefits. Under a new process, Ottawa will no longer force all bidders to commit 100 per cent of the value of the aircraft's acquisition and sustainment on spending in Canada. Instead, manufacturers will lose points in the scoring system if they do not make this commitment, but they will still be allowed to remain in the competition Before the changes were made, the F-35 could have been automatically disqualified because the international consortium that builds the aircraft doesn't allow for the provision of traditional industrial benefits. Of the 20 points that are attributed to the cost of the new aircraft, 10 are determined based on the acquisition costs and 10 are determined based on the sustainment of the aircraft after their purchase. https://www.theglobeandmail.com/politics/article-canada-puts-premium-on-fighter-jets-ability-to-conduct-attacks-on/

  • Active protection systems demo hits dead end for Stryker, Army evaluating next steps

    June 11, 2019 | International, Land, Security

    Active protection systems demo hits dead end for Stryker, Army evaluating next steps

    By: Jen Judson WASHINGTON — After evaluating two active protection systems in a demonstration late last fall and determining neither were the right fit for the Stryker, the Army is now evaluating how to protect one of its critical combat vehicle. “Unfortunately for Stryker, we have not found a system that is suitable for the platform,” Col. Glenn Dean, Stryker project manager told Defense News in a June 7 interview. The Army has found interim APS for both its Abrams tank and Bradley infantry fighting vehicle but has struggled to find one for Stryker. The service has moved quickly to field combat vehicle protection against rocket-propelled grenades and anti-tank guided missiles while it develops a future system. The service originally considered Herndon,Virginia-based Artis Corporation's Iron Curtain APS for Stryker, but decided in August 2018not to move forward in fielding it to Stryker units. In an effort to expand its search for an appropriate system, the Army then decided to host a demonstration in late fall last year of two additional systems: Rafael's Trophy VPS and Rheinmetall's Active Defense Systems. Signs the demonstration wasn't proving fruitful cropped up in March, when the service said they'd need extra time — an entire year — to evaluate options for Stryker. Dean said the Army was hoping they'd see promise in one of the systems at the end of the demonstration and be able to carry it through more complex characterization for better evaluation in order to make a decision. But as the demonstration wrapped up, the Army decided neither would work. “Both Rheinmetall and the medium-weight Trophy, both have maturity challenges, but the bottom line is that they turned out to not be a suitable fit for Stryker,” Dean said. “We did see some potential in systems,” Dean said, adding, “it is our desire to continue to evaluate them further so we can understand them at a greater level of detail.” Neither system received the same level of testing as Rafael's Trophy on Abrams, IMI's Iron Fist on Bradley or Iron Curtain, Dean said, and the systems could end up being the right fit for some future effort to outfit other vehicles such as the Next-Generation Combat Vehicle program's Optionally Manned Fighting Vehicle, Mobile Protected Firepower and the Armored Multipurpose Vehicle, “none of which we have identified APS solutions for yet,” Dean said. Through continued evaluation “maybe we will eventually learn something that brings us back to Stryker,” he added. Unlike Bradley and Abrams, Stryker is a relatively light-weight platform, Dean said. “It has challenges in its space, weight and power integration. It has proven difficult for us to find a system that is entirely suitable for integration.” And while no operational APS system evaluated so far seems to work for Stryker, the Army is still looking into ways to protect it as its value on the battlefield only increases with the addition of bigger guns and more expensive weapon systems. Under the Vehicle Protection System (VPS) program office, the Army is working on reactive armor improvements focused on Bradley and AMPV, but that could be of particular value for Stryker, Dean said. The Army's laser warning program that is tied to the Modular Active Protection System (MAPS) program could also contribute to Stryker protection. MAPS is a system under development with the Army featuring a common controller into which hard-kill and soft-kill protection can be plugged. And the Army will be conducting a demonstration with layered hard-kill and soft-kill protection capability later this year as part of culminating exercise for its MAPS program, according to Dean. “The soft-kill may ultimately prove to be particularly well suited for Stryker,” Dean said. Those soft-kill systems are jammers and smoke systems that help obscure and tend to take up relatively little space and are less expensive then hard-kill APS that require the reloading of countermeasures. The service is also studying what it may need for a future APS and plans to initiate a program in the late part of the next fiscal year, which could also be an opportunity to develop something more suitable for Stryker, according to Dean. While the Army does have plans to protect its combat vehicles from rockets and missiles, in a June 6 letter sent to Army Secretary Mark Esper, a group of 13 House lawmakers expressed concern the service isn't doing enough to outfit its current fleet with APS and asked the Army to explain why it hadn't requested any further funding for APS upgrades in the budget According to Dean, for Abrams and Bradley, “we are resourced to meet the requirements that we have on an urgent basis to outfit a limited number of brigades. We are doing analysis right now to support development programs of record in active protection.” He added, “What we are buying is not the end of APS activity, but it is the urgent requirements we have been given.” https://www.defensenews.com/land/2019/06/10/active-protection-systems-demo-hits-dead-end-for-stryker-army-evaluating-next-steps/

  • Why the new Raytheon Technologies will eschew platforms for new technology development

    June 11, 2019 | International, Aerospace, Security

    Why the new Raytheon Technologies will eschew platforms for new technology development

    By: Aaron Mehta WASHINGTON — “Platform agnostic.” It's a term getting a lot of play from United Technologies CEO Greg Hayes and Raytheon CEO Tom Kennedy, in the wake of this weekend's surprise announcement that the two companies would be merging into a new firm,known as Raytheon Technologies Corporation. Neither company works as a platform producer, eschewing the production of aircraft or ground vehicles and instead focusing on the technology that makes them work. It's a business model that has produced well for both firms, and in a Monday interview with Defense News, the two CEOs made it clear they see no need to deviate now. “One of the first and foremost things we absolutely agree on is, we want to be platform agnostic,” Hayes said, noting that UTC sold off its Sikorsky helicopter unit almost five years ago because “we didn't like the programmatic risk associated with platforms.” “We'll supply all the content and all the systems, all of the offensive, defensive capabilities necessary to make the system successful, but we really think it's important that we remain agnostic among the platform providers,” Hayes added. Said Kennedy, “Neither of us essentially develop platforms or sell platforms. Why that's important is, really, the amount of capital that you have to go and spend in maintaining and creating these platforms kind of takes your eye off the ball relative to investing in technology moving forward. So that was a big feature, that both companies are platform agnostic.” Instead, both men said the new firm will remains focused on developing high-end technologies which can be inserted on, or in, platforms developed by the other major defense primes. With that goal in mind, the company is preparing to spend $8 billion in R&D funds in the year following its merger. When the merger is completed in early 2020, Kennedy will become chairman of the board, with Hayes serving as CEO. Two years later, Kennedy will step down, with Hayes adding the chairman title. One area Kennedy highlighted as having good synergies is hypersonic weapons, a major interest for the Pentagon. Raytheon has already been working on hypersonic missiles, including the guidance and control systems, but UTC's experience with propulsion and materials science might be able to help deal with a specific challenge for Raytheon's weapon designers. “It just turns out when you're flying at Mach 5, you really increase your temperature on all your surfaces," Kennedy said. "If you have a propulsion system, the air is coming in at such a high speed, that creates a significant amount of heat; it has to be dissipated in a very efficient way,” Kennedy said. “And one of the areas that the United Technologies has, really based in the Pratt & Whitney guys, is all the technology that they've developed over the years in working very high temperatures internal to their turbine engines,” he continued. “So not only do they have, I would call it the heat management capabilities, but also the material science to go implement those.” Hayes identified two areas where shared R&D will have a near-term impact, and they underline the benefit of having a new company that will be roughly 50-50 defense and non-defense business. The first is on aircraft control systems, where each company has technologies that can be brought to bear for the FAA's next-generation air traffic control networks. The second comes in the form of cybersecurity. “I think Raytheon is second to none as it relates to cyber, and we view this as a core competency that can benefit the entire commercial aerospace ecosystem,” Hayes said. “Not just the connected aircraft, which is probably the first order of business, but the whole ecosystem. How do you protect passenger data, how do you protect the equipment that's on the ground? How do you protect the airplane while it's flying? “I think we'll see that shortly in the marketplace.” https://www.defensenews.com/industry/2019/06/10/why-the-new-raytheon-technologies-will-eschew-platforms-for-new-technology-development/

  • C-130Hs to get avionics upgrade in half-billion dollar deal

    June 11, 2019 | International, Aerospace

    C-130Hs to get avionics upgrade in half-billion dollar deal

    By: Stephen Losey The Air Force has awarded a $499 million contract to L3 Technologies to modernize avionics for the service's Guard and Reserve C-130H Herculesfleet. In a June 6 release, L3 said it had received the Air Force's C-130H Avionics Modernization Program Increment 2 contract, to design, produce and certify a plan to upgrade the 176 Hercules aircraft belonging to the Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve. L3 said its upgrades will improve the Hercules' availability, reliability and sustainability, while lowering its costs to operate the transport aircraft. The aircraft will receive a commercial off-the-shelf avionics suite and L3 will provide training services, according to the release. The contractor will carry out the work at its facility in Waco, Texas. “L3 is committed to delivering innovative, cost-effective solutions to ensure mission readiness in support of the U.S. Air Force's modernization strategy,” L3 CEO and president Christopher Kubasik said in the release. “We are focused on providing an agile and low-risk approach to modernizing the Air Force's diverse fleet of C-130s, enabling these assets to operate well into the future.” The Air Force's C-130Hs are among the older transport aircraft in the fleet. In 2017, the most recent year for which data is available, the Air Force's 188 C-130Hs had an average age of 28 years. https://www.airforcetimes.com/news/your-air-force/2019/06/10/c-130hs-to-get-avionics-upgrade-in-half-billion-dollar-deal/

  • Contract Awards by US Department of Defense - June 10, 2019

    June 11, 2019 | International, Aerospace, Naval, Land, C4ISR, Security, Other Defence

    Contract Awards by US Department of Defense - June 10, 2019

    NAVY Sikorsky Aircraft Corp., Stratford, Connecticut, a Lockheed Martin Co., is awarded $542,023,016 for firm-fixed price modification P00074 to a previously awarded fixed-price-incentive-firm contract (N00019-14-C-0050) in support of the Presidential Helicopter Replacement Program (VH-92A). This modification exercises an option for the procurement of six Low Rate Initial Production Lot 1 Presidential Helicopters, as well as interim contractor support, initial spares, support equipment, and system parts replenishment. Work will be performed in Stratford, Connecticut (50 percent); Coatesville, Pennsylvania (36 percent); Owego, New York (10 percent); Patuxent River, Maryland (3 percent); and Quantico, Virginia (1 percent), and is expected to be completed in April 2022. Fiscal 2019 aircraft procurement (Navy) funds in the amount of $542,023,016 will be obligated at time of award, none of which will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Maryland, is the contracting activity. Taylor Defense Products LLC, Louisville, Mississippi, is awarded a ceiling $84,000,000 indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for the Service Life Extension Program (SLEP) for up to a maximum of 145 all-terrain cranes. Work will be performed in Louisville, Mississippi, and is expected to be complete by June 2029. Fiscal 2019 procurement (Marine Corps) funds in the amount of $9,719,457 will be obligated on the first delivery order immediately following contract award and funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was competitively procured via the Federal Business Opportunities website, with three offers received. The Marine Corps Systems Command, Quantico, Virginia, is the contracting activity (M67854-19-D-5018). QED Systems Inc.,* Virginia Beach, Virginia (N32253-19-D-0008); ORBIS Inc.,* Mount Pleasant, South Carolina (N32253-19-D-0009); Oceaneering International Inc., Chesapeake, Virginia (N32253-19-D-0010); Delphinus Engineering, Inc.,* Eddystone, Pennsylvania (N32253-19-D-0011); Electric Boat Corp., Groton, Connecticut (N32253-19-D-0012); and Confluence Corp. doing business as Regal Service Co.,* Honolulu, Hawaii (N32253-19-D-0013), are awarded a multiple award, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract with firm-fixed-pricing for the procurement of non-nuclear, non-SUBSAFE touch labor at Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard and Intermediate Maintenance Facility, Hawaii. The maximum ceiling value for all six contracts is $49,000,000 with options included. Touch labor trades include: marine electrician, electronics technician, temporary service sheetmetal mechanic, temporary service electrician, temporary service pipefitter, inside machinist, marine machinery mechanic, shipwright, plastic fabricator/woodcrafting, fabric worker, sandblaster, painter, painter/sandblaster, laborer, shipfitter mechanic, sheetmetal mechanic, firewatch/tankwatch, welder, pipefitter, and insulator. The six contractors may compete for task orders under the terms and conditions of the awarded contracts. Work will be performed in the state of Hawaii, and is expected to be complete by June 2020. Fiscal 2019 operation and maintenance (Navy) funding in the amount of $15,000 ($2,500 per awardee) will be obligated at the time of award and will expire at the end of the fiscal year. These contracts were competitively procured with six offers received via the Federal Business Opportunities website. The Naval Sea Systems Command, Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard and Intermediate Maintenance Facility is the contracting activity. The Boeing Co., Huntington Beach, California, is awarded $22,834,133 for modification 0017 to delivery order 2001 previously issued against basic ordering agreement N00019-16-G-0001. This modification provides for additional acoustics software support activity and engineering support for the P-8A Poseidon aircraft. In addition, this modification incorporates virtual machine efforts and develops and integrates software for Multi-static Active Coherent Enhancements. Work will be performed in Huntington Beach, California, and is expected to be completed in January 2022. Fiscal 2019 research, development, test and evaluation (Navy) funds in the amount of $7,800,000 will be obligated at time of award, none of which will expire at the end of the fiscal year. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Maryland, is the contracting activity. BAE Systems Land & Armaments L.P., Minneapolis, Minnesota, is awarded a $19,636,725 modification to a previously awarded firm-fixed-price supply contract N00174-17-C-0022 to exercise option year two for the fiscal 2017-2020 production of the MK38 MOD 3 Machine Gun System (MGS) and associated spares. This contract is to fulfill specified requirements and technical performance requirements for the MK38 MOD 3 25mm MGS Ordnance Alteration and associated spares. The MGS produced is derived from application of an ordnance alteration to the MK 38 MOD 1 25mm MGS. Once installed, incorporates two-axis stabilization, an improved electro-optical sight system (EOS), improved multi-function display, modified main control panel, a new main computing unit, a 7.62mm machine gun and remote control operation. Work will be performed in Haifa, Israel (67 percent); and Louisville, Kentucky (33 percent), and is expected to be completed by September 2021. Fiscal 2017 shipbuilding and conversion (Navy); 2019 weapons procurement (Navy); and fiscal 2019 weapons procurement (Coast Guard) funds in the amount of $19,636,725 will be obligated at the time of award and will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Surface Warfare Center, Indian Head, Maryland, is the contracting activity (N00174-17-C-0022). ARMY XL Scientific LLC,* Albuquerque, New Mexico, was awarded a $48,000,000 cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for non-kinetic, T&E needs, addressing Directed Energy, Electronic Warfare and nuclear systems and effects. One bid was were solicited via the internet with one bid received. Work locations and funding will be determined with an estimated completion date of May 31, 2029. U.S. Army Contracting Command, Orlando, Florida, is the contracting activity (W900KK-19-D-0007). Louisiana State University System, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, was awarded a $12,908,650 firm-fixed-price contract for Nutritional Biochemistries Analysis services. One bid was solicited with one bid received. Work locations and funding will be determined with each order, with an estimated completion date of June 9, 2024. U.S. Army Medical Research Acquisition Activity, Fort Detrick, Maryland, is the contracting activity (W81XWH-19-D-0010). Mahaffey Tent & Awning Co. Inc.,* Memphis, Tennessee, was awarded a $8,976,868 modification (P00006) to contract W9124E-16-D-0006 for shower trailers, environment control units, light sets, tentage of various sizes and configurations, hand washing stations, generators, cots, and other logistical life support equipment. Work will be performed in Fort Polk, Louisiana, with an estimated completion date of June 20, 2021. Fiscal 2019 operations and maintenance Army funds in the amount of $8,976,868 were obligated at the time of the award. U.S. Army Mission and Installation Contracting Command, Fort Polk, Louisiana, is the contracting activity. DEFENSE LOGISTICS AGENCY Kaba Mas, Lexington, Kentucky, has been awarded a maximum $20,548,845 fixed-price with economic-price-adjustment, indefinite-quantity contract for combination locks. This was a competitive acquisition with one response received. This is a two-year base contract with three one-year option periods. Location of performance is Kentucky, with a June 9, 2021, performance completion date. Using military services are Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps. Type of appropriation is fiscal 2019 through 2021 defense working capital funds. The contracting activity is the Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (SPE5EY-19-D-0542). Defense Energy Syndicate LLC, Bronx, New York (SPE600-19-D-0757, $10,580,489); and TC Chemicals LLC Pearland, Texas (SPE600-19-D-0795, $8,193,690), have each been awarded a firm-fixed-price, requirements contract with economic-price-adjustment under solicitation SPE602-19-R-0702 for additives. These were competitive acquisitions with nine responses received. They are two-year contracts with a 30-day carry-over periods. Locations of performance are New York, Delaware, New Jersey, Louisiana, Texas and California, with a June 30, 2021, performance completion date. Using customer is Defense Logistics Agency. Type of appropriation is fiscal 2019 through 2021 defense working capital funds. The contracting activity is the Defense Logistics Agency Energy, Fort Belvoir, Virginia. AIR FORCE Advanced Concepts and Technologies International LLC, Waco, Texas, has been awarded a $7,202,973 firm-fixed-price modification (P00003) to previously awarded contract FA4890-18-F-5102 for the 505th Training Group academic and training support. This contract provides for the exercise of option period one for services to cover requirements in the areas of course instruction, mission support, exercise support and lessons learned to the government-led maintenance and execution of select 505th Training Group courses. Work will be performed primarily at Hurlburt Field, Florida, as well as various other locations worldwide, and is expected to be complete by June 9, 2020. Fiscal 2019 operations and maintenance funds in the full amount are being obligated at the time of award. Air Combat Command Acquisition Management and Integration Center, Hurlburt Field, Florida, is the contracting activity. *Small business https://dod.defense.gov/News/Contracts/Contract-View/Article/1871303/source/GovDelivery/

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