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  • New contract with the Royal Navy will extend QinetiQ's test and evaluation capabilities into ASW training

    June 7, 2019 | International, Naval, C4ISR

    New contract with the Royal Navy will extend QinetiQ's test and evaluation capabilities into ASW training

    QinetiQ has confirmed it has secured a new contract to provide the Royal Navy with advanced anti-submarine warfare (ASW) training services using the latest target simulation technology from Saab. The new contract will extend QinetiQ's long-term partnership role at the MOD's British Underwater Test and Evaluation Centre (BUTEC) at the Kyle of Lochalsh into the training environment. Significantly, the new training service supports the Royal Navy's forthcoming introduction of Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carriers and will increase ASW training opportunities while also maximising operational deployment of the submarine fleet. It will also provide unprecedented training analytics to optimise exercise outcomes and deliver world-leading training capabilities. With QinetiQ as the lead partner, the new contract is the result of a progressive and close collaboration between QinetiQ, Saab and Serco. The new programme will capitalise on Saab's state of the art AUV62-AT autonomous underwater vehicle system to provide full and effective simulation of an operational submarine in a wide range of training scenarios. Highly experienced QinetiQ personnel will coordinate, manage and control all deployment of the simulated target, with Serco providing the vessels for launch and recovery. De-risking trials were completed by the QinetiQ team at BUTEC, and two successful training serial events have already been completed off the south west coast of England. According to the Royal Navy's Lt Cdr Ben Costley-White, Staff Warfare Officer (Under Water) to Flag Officer Sea Training, the new contract led by QinetiQ will transform the Navy's ASW training capabilities. “This move will enable us to harness the expertise of QinetiQ and the very latest simulation technologies to deliver comprehensive and first class ASW training exercises without the limitations posed by the practicalities and cost of redeploying submarine assets for training purposes. This represents a major step change in our training options and our ability to harness analytical data for effective evaluation of all ASW training.” “We're delighted to be extending our test and evaluation capabilities into the training environment for the Royal Navy,” says QinetiQ's Stu Hider, Programme Director (Maritime). “Combining our expertise and experience in programme planning and delivery with the world's most advanced target simulation technology will help to ensure the Royal Navy benefits from the most versatile, cost-effective and sophisticated ASW training solution.”

  • L3 to Modernize Avionics for U.S. Air Force C-130Hs

    June 7, 2019 | International, Aerospace

    L3 to Modernize Avionics for U.S. Air Force C-130Hs

    NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Jun. 6, 2019-- L3 Technologies (NYSE:LLL) announced today that it has been competitively awarded the $499 million U.S. Air Force C-130H Avionics Modernization Program Increment 2 (AMP INC 2). Under the contract, L3 will design, produce and certify a state-of-the-art modernization solution for a fleet of 176 Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve C-130H aircraft to improve aircraft availability, reliability and sustainability while significantly reducing life-cycle costs. This press release features multimedia. View the full release here: L3's avionics and Communications, Navigation, Surveillance/Air Traffic Management (CNS/ATM) upgrade solutions are fully certified for airworthiness and CNS/ATM compliance, and are flying today with U.S. and international customers. (Photo: Business Wire) “L3 is committed to delivering innovative, cost-effective solutions to ensure mission readiness in support of the U.S. Air Force's modernization strategy,” said Christopher E. Kubasik, L3's Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and President. “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.” Modernization solutions will include integration of a commercial off-the-shelf avionics suite, as well as L3's training integration and services. Development, initial- and full-rate production will take place at L3's facility in Waco, Texas, on multiple C-130H variants, including the C-130H1, C-130H2, C-130H2.5, C-130H3 and LC-130H. “L3's aircraft modernization and modification capabilities are world-class,” said Jeff Miller, L3's Senior Vice President and President of its ISR Systems segment, which includes the Waco facility where work on the AMP will be centered. “Our skilled workforce and our unique 1.25-million-square-foot facility in Waco will provide differentiated capabilities for C-130H fleet longevity.” L3 has more than 65 years of experience as an aircraft systems integrator, including modernizing avionics for C-130 aircraft in the U.S. Air Force fleet and for international allies. The company's tailored C-130 solutions feature a modern cockpit and open-architecture solutions that integrate avionics from leading providers, and are fully certified for airworthiness and Communications, Navigation, Surveillance/Air Traffic Management (CNS/ATM) compliance. L3's aircraft modernization and modification facilities are capable of retrofit, modernization and production for both fixed- and rotary-wing aircraft, delivering a broad range of aerospace modification and integration solutions to keep international military, head-of-state, government and commercial customers safe and mission-ready. L3 supports aircraft of all types, sizes and missions, with industry-leading capability to provide complex aircraft conversions; maritime, ISR, command and control, and airborne systems missionization; depot fleet maintenance and modification; and highly customized design, integration and certification of mission subsystems and interiors. With headquarters in New York City and approximately 31,000 employees worldwide, L3 develops advanced defense technologies and commercial solutions in pilot training, aviation security, night vision and EO/IR, weapons, maritime systems and space. The company reported 2018 sales of $10.2 billion. To learn more about L3, please visit the company's website at L3 uses its website as a channel of distribution of material company information. Financial and other material information regarding L3 is routinely posted on the company's website and is readily accessible. Safe Harbor Statement Under the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 Except for historical information contained herein, the matters set forth in this news release are forward-looking statements. Statements that are predictive in nature, that depend upon or refer to events or conditions or that include words such as “expects,” “anticipates,” “intends,” “plans,” “believes,” “estimates,” “will,” “could” and similar expressions are forward-looking statements. The forward-looking statements set forth above involve a number of risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from any such statement, including the risks and uncertainties discussed in the company's Safe Harbor Compliance Statement for Forward-Looking Statements included in the company's recent filings, including Forms 10-K and 10-Q, with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The forward-looking statements speak only as of the date made, and the company undertakes no obligation to update these forward-looking statements.

  • Tweaked Terms For Canada Future Fighter Help F-35 And Rivals

    June 7, 2019 | Local, Aerospace

    Tweaked Terms For Canada Future Fighter Help F-35 And Rivals

    Four years after successfully campaigning, in part, on a critique of the previous government's selection of a new fighter for the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) without first holding a competition, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's staff is finding out just how difficult the task can be. In an extended series of drafts released to industry since October, the Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC) agency has rewritten key provisions of the original solicitation, with ...

  • Satellite imagery startups to challenge Maxar for big government contracts

    June 7, 2019 | International, Aerospace, C4ISR

    Satellite imagery startups to challenge Maxar for big government contracts

    by Sandra Erwin The NRO is ready to start buying products from new vendors and move beyond the single-supplier arrangement with Maxar Technologies. SAN ANTONIO — The talk of the industry at this week's geospatial intelligence symposium GEOINT 2019 was the National Reconnaissance Office's friendly outreach to commercial suppliers of satellite imagery that for years have felt shut out of the market. A year after taking over the responsibility for buying commercial satellite imagery from the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency, the NRO is ready to start buying products from new vendors and move beyond the single-supplier arrangement that NGA signed nearly a decade ago with DigitalGlobe, which has recently been rebranded by its parent company as Maxar Technologies. Maxar is now the NRO's sole supplier of commercial satellite imagery under the EnhancedView contract, which NGA inked in 2010 with two companies — DigitalGlobe and GeoEye. By 2012, government spending cuts forced NGA to slash its imagery budget by half. EnhancedView subsequently was reduced from more than $7 billion to about $3.5 billion, which led to the merger of the two companies under DigitalGlobe. Now, the NRO pays $300 million a year for access to Maxar's WorldView-1, WorldView-2 and WorldView-3 satellites and its image library under the program it renamed EnhancedView Follow-On. EnhancedView was originally a 10-year deal set to expire in 2020. When the NRO took over the management of the contract, it added three yearly options worth about $300 million a year. NRO officials said extending Maxar's options until 2023 gives the agency sufficient time to transition to a new procurement while continuing to buy imagery from Maxar to ensure there is no disruption in supply. Troy Meink, director of the NRO's geospatial intelligence directorate, announced June 3 that the agency in 2020 will start a new procurement that will include multiple companies. To begin the process, it awarded one-year contracts to Maxar and two other suppliers — Planet and BlackSky — to allow the NRO to study the companies' products and gain insight into the projected size and capacity of their satellite constellations. The NRO calls these “study contracts” because the information they receive from vendors will be used by the agency to examine the companies' abilities to task, collect process and deliver satellite imagery. “These are major efforts to start working with vendors that traditionally we have not, to figure out how they can deliver product and best meet the requirements,” Meink told SpaceNews in a June 3 interview. “We are trying to understand how we can use their capability. Licensing is always a big deal. That's part of the study phase. How could we license that data?” Meink said the opportunities for new players will be significant because the NRO expects it will need more imagery than it currently acquires from Maxar, which means it is likely to spend more than $300 million annually. Meink declined to say how much more. A newly created Commercial Systems Program Office at the NRO will oversee the procurement of imagery. The office's director, Peter Muend, said that after the one-year study phase, the NRO will start planning large procurement awards in late 2020. “We see a dramatic increase in commercial requirements. That means we're going to be buying a lot more commercial imagery than we have in the past,” he said June 4 at GEOINT. While the NRO will acquire the imagery, the NGA will continue to buy the “value added” services and analytics after the imagery is purchased, Muend said. “We are just buying the pixels.” Muend said the NRO has an important relationship with Maxar but “no single provider can meet all of our needs. We'll be on contract with multiple providers in the future.” Maxar will remain a key provider, he said. “We're very much eager to continue to move forward with them but also add Planet and BlackSky, and others beyond that.” Planet and BlackSky were selected because they are able to provide products now whereas other companies have plans to offer imagery but can't yet, Muend said. As the industry matures, the NRO will be open to bringing in more vendors. The study contracts will be a chance for Planet and BlackSky to actually show they are viable competitors. “We want to make sure there's truth in advertising,” Muend said. Both companies have sold imagery and services to the government under narrowly scoped contracts, but the NRO needs to see whether they are able to satisfy the agency's more ambitious demands. The NRO will model the companies' capabilities and analyze how their imagery would be integrated into the agency's ground systems architecture that will combine commercial and government imagery. The NRO also will examine the companies' business plans “so we have confidence in their projections of what they're going to build in the future,” Muend said. In the first part of the study contract, the companies will demonstrate their imagery collection abilities. The second part is more complex and requires the companies to deliver imagery to “user specified downlinks.” This would show whether they are capable of providing imagery to military forces in war zones, for example, which operate tactical ground terminals. During a conflict, the military would need imagery quickly and would not want data to pass through the corporate enterprise architecture. The study contracts will “lay the groundwork for the future,” said Muend. The plan is to focus first on optical imagery. The NRO will consider procuring other data sources from commercial vendors such as synthetic aperture radar, he said, when those products are available. New competitors Both Planet and BlackSky are commercial players that have been eager for a shot at the biggest imagery buy from the U.S. government. When BlackSky was formed in 2015, several of its employees were GeoEye and DigitalGlobe alumni, including chief technology officer Scott Herman. “We're made up of people from the national security community that support national security missions,” Herman told SpaceNews. “We see that as our primary and first vertical that we really want to focus on.” At the same time, BlackSky is rapidly building a commercial business. “The government wants us to have a commercial business,” Herman said. “They don't want us to be solely dependent on the government.” Based in Seattle, BlackSky is owned by Spaceflight Industries, a space services firm. BlackSky has two Earth imaging satellites in operation and plans to have eight in service by year's end, Herman said. The company' long-term goals are to deploy 30 satellites by 2023, and possibly 60 in the years after, depending on the market demand. BlackSky supplies high-revisit imagery but primarily sees itself as a provider of global monitoring and alerting services that combine pictures — taken by its own satellites and other companies' satellites — with other sources of intelligence such as social media, news and other data feeds. “We are not just a satellite company,” said Herman. “We build satellites to support our global monitoring.” BlackSky's foreign military customers have described the company's service as “NGA in a box,” Herman said. San Francisco-based Planet has been making modest inroads into the defense and intelligence market. In March, the NGA renewed its third contract since 2016 with Planet, extending the agency's subscription access to daily imagery over select areas of the Earth. “We're excited” about the NRO contract, Robbie Schingler, co-founder and chief strategy officer at Planet, said in a statement. Schingler and other former NASA scientists founded Planet Labs in 2010 with the goal of providing universal access to satellite Earth imaging. It makes small, low-cost satellites and operates the world's largest constellation of commercial imaging satellites, with 140 currently in orbit. The head of Planet's federal business, Jen Marcus, told SpaceNews the company is developing new analytics products using artificial intelligence, and is upgrading satellites with new cameras to satisfy demand for higher resolution pictures. Marcus said the company will remain primarily a commercial business but does want to increase its footprint in defense and intelligence. In the future Planet is looking to become a vertically integrated imagery and analytics company, said Marcus. “We think there's a big value and efficiency in vertical integration.” Despite the competitive pressures from new players, Maxar executives said they are confident the company will remain a key provider of imagery to the U.S. government. “For nearly 20 years, Maxar has been a trusted partner of the U.S. government,” Maxar CEO Dan Jablonsky said in a statement. “We look forward to continuing to work with the NRO as they increasingly adopt commercial imagery.” Tony Frazier, Maxar's executive vice president of global field operations, told SpaceNews the company has committed $600 million to building a new constellation of satellites, WorldView Legion, that would be smaller and image the Earth at faster rates than its legacy spacecraft. Legion will start launching in 2021 in anticipation of future government demands for high revisit imagery, Frazier said. The company has not yet revealed how many satellites it will build, although an FCC filing indicated it would be as many as 12. Culture change at NRO The commercial imagery procurement is viewed as a sign of a cultural shift at the secretive NRO. Meink said a desire to buy products from the market instead of developing government-owned systems is just common sense, given the massive investments made by the private sector in satellites and launch vehicles. Muend said the NRO is changing but not radically. “When we first assumed responsibility for commercial imagery some folks worried that we wouldn't do it justice,” he commented. “I feel we have done the right things. We are having a deliberate discussion to make sure we buy commercial imagery everywhere we can, and only build national systems where commercial systems don't exist.” There is a real effort to increase openness in “how we interact with providers,” said Muend. The agency will be watching developments in the industry as it figures out a procurement strategy for commercial imagery and other types of data. “We're operating on the information that we have now,” said Muend. “We recognize that what we're setting up now is not the final answer.”

  • L’appel d’offres pour le remplacement des CF-18 lancé bientôt

    June 6, 2019 | Local, Aerospace

    L’appel d’offres pour le remplacement des CF-18 lancé bientôt

    NORMAND BOIVIN Au cours des prochaines semaines, un mois au maximum, le Canada devrait lancer le processus d'appel d'offres pour le remplacement de sa flotte de CF-18. Le major-général Alain Pelletier est en train de mettre la touche finale aux travaux qui l'ont tenu occupé au cours des deux dernières années pour le choix du prochain chasseur, tout en s'assurant de maintenir la capacité opérationnelle de la flotte actuelle. « Nous sommes toujours en discussions avec les quatre fournisseurs en lice », a expliqué au Quotidien, lors de son passage dans la région mardi, celui qui est devenu, en mai, le nouveau commandant de la 1re Division aérienne du Canada. Même si le F-35 est le seul avion furtif de cinquième génération, le major-général affirme que les offres seront analysées en fonction de la capacité du futur chasseur à répondre à la mission que va se donner le Canada et du nombre d'années de service qu'il sera en mesure de fournir – 35 à 40 ans –, plutôt que de génération. Dassault a retiré son Rafale de la course. Furtif, oui ou non ? Les F-18, comme les F-16 ou les F-15, sont des avions de quatrième génération et sont facilement détectables par les radars. Le F-35 et le F-22 sont les seuls avions de chasse de cinquième génération, c'est-à-dire qu'ils ont une faible signature radar, ce qui les rend pratiquement indétectables. Entre les deux, le Typhoon, fabriqué par Eurofighter, est un appareil qu'on dit de 4,5e génération. Il n'est pas complètement furtif, mais a des caractéristiques qui diminuent sa signature radar. On peut le détecter, mais son écho est plus petit et peut être confondu avec autre chose. Il y a aussi des changements sur le Super Hornet. Boeing fait des tests pour diminuer sa signature radar par des contre-mesures électroniques et certaines peintures qui, semble-t-il, absorbent les ondes radar au lieu de les réfléchir. « Avec l'évolution des technologies, ce genre de dénomination tient moins la route, car on parle maintenant de 4,6 et même 4,7e génération. Nous avons nos exigences et nous discutons avec nos quatre fournisseurs », affirme le major-général Pelletier. Le F-18 Super Hornet de Boeing, le Gripen du Suédois SAAB et le Typhoon européen sont donc encore dans la course avec le F-35 Lightning de Lockheed Martin. Une fois que le Canada aura déposé la version finale de ses exigences, le major-général Pelletier estime que les quatre avionneurs devraient soumettre leurs offres à la fin de 2021. S'ensuivra une période de négociations devant aboutir à la livraison des premiers appareils quelque part en 2025, pour la mise en service au début de 2026. Lorsque les 88 nouveaux chasseurs auront été livrés et que les CF-18 prendront leur retraite, ils auront presque 50 ans. D'ici là, ajoute Alain Pelletier, le Canada va tout mettre en œuvre pour s'assurer que nos vieux CF-18 continueront d'être en mesure de remplir leurs missions de protéger l'espace nord-américain et d'assurer la paix ailleurs dans le monde. Ainsi, les avions, qui avaient été achetés au début des années 80 pour servir jusqu'en 2010, ont déjà subi des modifications pour les mettre à niveau avec de nouveaux systèmes d'armement et pour augmenter leur vie utile d'abord jusqu'en 2017, puis en 2025. À cause de la décision du gouvernement fédéral d'annuler la commande initiale des F-35 pour retourner en appel d'offres, ils devraient donc bénéficier de nouveaux investissements pour prolonger leur vie jusqu'en 2032.

  • Contract Awards by US Department of Defense - June 3, 2019

    June 4, 2019 | International, Aerospace, Naval, Land, C4ISR, Security, Other Defence

    Contract Awards by US Department of Defense - June 3, 2019

    DEFENSE LOGISTICS AGENCY HDT Expeditionary Systems Inc., Solon, Ohio, has been awarded a maximum $200,000,000 firm-fixed-priced, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for commercial off-the-shelf shelters and tents. This was a competitive acquisition with one response received. This is a one-year base contract with three one-year option periods. Locations of performance are Alabama, Ohio, Virginia and Kentucky, with a June 4, 2020, performance completion date. Using military services are Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps. Type of appropriation is fiscal 2019 through 2020 defense working capital funds. The contracting activity is the Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (SPE1C1-19-D-1158). NAVY Accenture Federal Services LLC, Arlington, Virginia, is awarded a $79,074,099 firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract to provide program and project management; support of the Navy Tele-Mentoring Program; system administration; training; communications support; data analytics; tele-radiology; and support of the Health Experts Online Portal and Pacific Asynchronous TeleHealth in support of the Bureau of Medicine and Surgery. Work will be performed in Falls Church, Virginia (83 percent); San Diego, California (10 percent); Portsmouth, Virginia (2 percent); Camp Pendleton, California (2 percent); Lemoore, California (1 percent); Twentynine Palms, California (1 percent); and Bremerton, Washington (1 percent). The contract will include a 60-month ordering period that will begin July 2019, and is expected to be completed by July 2024. Fiscal 2019 operations and maintenance (Defense Health Procurement) (O&MDHP) funds in the amount of $10,000 will be obligated to fund the contract's minimum amount and those funds will expire at the end of fiscal 2019. Subsequent task orders will be funded with the appropriate fiscal year O&MDHP funds. This contract resulted from a full and open competitive solicitation pursuant to the authority set forth in Federal Acquisition Regulation 16.504. The requirement was solicited through the Federal Business Opportunities and Navy Electronic Commerce Online websites, with 11 offers received. Naval Supply Systems Command Fleet Logistics Center Norfolk, Contracting Department, Philadelphia Office, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, is the contracting activity (N00189-19-D-Z024). Lockheed Martin Sippican Inc., Marion, Massachusetts, is awarded a $56,865,098 firm-fixed-price, cost, and cost-plus-fixed-fee modification to previously awarded contract N00024-16-C-6412 to exercise Option Year Three for the production of Mk 48 Mod 7 guidance and control (G&C) sections, Mk 48 Mod 7 Common Broadband Advanced Sonar System (CBASS) Functional Item Replacement (FIR) kits, spares, production support material, and related engineering services and hardware repair support for G&C sections and CBASS kits. Work will be performed in Marion, Massachusetts (88 percent); Braintree, Massachusetts (8 percent); and Lemont Furnace, Pennsylvania (4 percent), and is expected to be completed by March 2021. Fiscal 2019 and 2017 weapons procurement (Navy); Foreign Military Sales; fiscal 2019 research, development, test and evaluation (Navy); and fiscal 2018 shipbuilding and conversion (Navy) funding in the amount of $56,865,098 will be obligated at time of award and will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Sea Systems Command, Washington, District of Columbia, is the contracting activity. Communication & Power Industries LLC, MPP Division, Palo Alto California, is awarded a $10,244,971 firm-fixed-price, indefinite-quantity contract for evaluation, repair, rebuild and new manufacture of L-Band Klystron microwave tubes required to support the AN/SPS-49 radar system. Work will be performed in Palo Alto, California, and is expected to be completed by June 2024. Working capital funds (Navy) funding in the amount of $905,658 will be obligated at time of award, and will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was not competitively procured, in accordance with 10 U.S. Code 2304(c)(1) - only one responsible source and no other supplies or services will satisfy agency requirements. The Naval Surface Warfare Center, Crane Division, Crane, Indiana, is the contracting activity (N0016419DWP32). ARMY General Dynamics Mission Systems Inc., Taunton, Massachusetts, was awarded a $36,850,696 modification (0125) to contract W15P7T-10-D-C007 for post-deployment software support services. Work locations and funding will be determined with each order, with an estimated completion date of June 1, 2020. U.S. Army Contracting Command, Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, is the contracting activity. TRAX International LLC, Las Vegas, Nevada, was awarded a $17,666,430 modification (P00312) to contract W9124Q-07-C-0504 for mission support services. Work will be performed in White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico, with an estimated completion date of Aug. 31, 2019. Fiscal 2019 research, development, test and evaluation funds in the amount of $2,100,000 were obligated at the time of the award. U.S. Army Mission and Installation Contracting Command, White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico, is the contracting activity. CORRECTION: The contract announced on May 31, 2019, for DirectViz Solutions LLC (DVS),* Chantilly, Virginia (W91RUS-19-C-0014), was not awarded. No new award date has been set. AIR FORCE AAI Corp., doing business as Textron Systems, Hunt Valley, Maryland, has been awarded a $24,318,602 undefinitized contract action for AC-208 contract logistics support and maintenance training. This contract provides for contractor logistics support and maintenance training for the AC-208 aircraft. Work will be performed at Hamid Karzai International Airport, Kabul, Afghanistan, and is expected to be complete by May 31, 2020. Fiscal 2018 Foreign Military Sales funds in the amount of $7,406,993 are being obligated at the time of award. Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, Training Aircraft Division, Wright Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, is the contracting activity (FA8617-19-C-6234). Work Services Corp., Wichita Falls, Texas, has been awarded a $20,805,260 firm-fixed-price modification (P00002) to the previously awarded contract FA3020-18-C-0013 for food services. This contract modification provides full funding for the first option period. Work will be performed at Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas, and is expected to be complete by June 30, 2020. This modification brings the total cumulative face value of the contract to $36,010,315. Fiscal year 2019 operations and maintenance funds in the full amount are being obligated at the time of award. The 82nd Contracting Squadron, Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas, is the contracting activity. *Small business

  • Boeing Invests in Unmanned Aerial Systems Aftermarket

    June 4, 2019 | International, Aerospace

    Boeing Invests in Unmanned Aerial Systems Aftermarket

    Lee Ann Shay Following its announcement in October to collaborate with Robotic Skies, Boeing is to announce on June 4 an investment in the company. Boeing is investing an undisclosed amount in Robotic Skies, a company that provides aftermarket services for unmanned aircraft systems (UAS). This follows an October 2018 announcement that the companies were starting to work together to develop MRO, supply chain, logistics and digital analytics capabilities for the UAS market—with the intention of expanding their relationship to provide “unified operations services.” The next steps, after this undisclosed minority investment, are to continue “going to market together” and to explore new business opportunities that they could develop for customers, says Stan Deal, president and CEO of Boeing Global Services. The partnership then equity approach is similar to what Boeing, through its HorizonX Ventures investment arm, has done with other small, emerging-technology companies, such as ForeFlight, which it ended up buying in March after following a similar relationship development path. Deal sees the potential to do something similar with Robotic Skies. So far, some of the biggest collaborations between the two companies have dealt with parts distribution through Boeing company Aviall and “exploiting digital solutions we've been able to use in the commercial aviation market,” including those available from Boeing's Jeppesen subsidiary, says Deal. Robotic Skies, founded in 2014, has customers in the U.S., Europe, Asia and the Middle East and services them through a brokered network of about 170 certified repair stations in 40 countries. The investment in Robotic Skies expands Boeing's global services footprint and “is another proof point of Boeing's seriousness” to invest in a breadth of services to support its customers, says Deal. Boeing HorizonX led the funding but the investment round also had participation from Thayer Ventures, Sun Mountain Capital and KickStart Seed Fund.

  • Comment le F-35 est réapparu sur le radar d’Ottawa

    June 3, 2019 | Local, Aerospace

    Comment le F-35 est réapparu sur le radar d’Ottawa

    Marc Godbout Justin Trudeau s'était engagé à ne pas acheter le F-35, l'avion de chasse de Lockheed Martin. Pourtant, de récentes manoeuvres rendent de plus en plus probable l'acquisition de l'appareil américain. Une réelle compétition aura-t-elle vraiment lieu pour remplacer les vieux chasseurs des Forces armées canadiennes? Les jeux de coulisse se sont intensifiés toute la semaine à Ottawa. L'enjeu est énorme : un contrat de 19 milliards de dollars pour 88 avions de combat canadiens. En toile de fond, le salon canadien des équipements militaires. Non seulement les lobbyistes sont plus actifs que jamais, mais leurs clients ont mis le paquet pour séduire et chercher à influencer le futur acheteur. Airbus et SAAB ont même fait venir d'Europe, par navire, des répliques de leurs avions de chasse respectifs. Mais au-delà des apparences, l'inquiétude s'est installée. Après le F-35, le F-35 Après des années d'attente, de dérapages et d'interminables débats, un appel d'offres du gouvernement fédéral doit finalement être lancé d'ici la mi-juillet. Il le sera juste avant la campagne électorale, près de quatre ans après l'élection des libéraux qui avaient promis d'amorcer le processus immédiatement en arrivant au pouvoir. Résultat? Le choix du gagnant ne sera annoncé qu'en 2022, et les premiers avions, livrés en 2025, au plus tôt. Les concurrents potentiels pour la construction des avions de chasse canadiens : Boeing (Super Hornet) Airbus (Typhoon) Saab (Gripen) Lockheed Martin (F-35) Quatre joueurs souhaiteraient être de la course. Mais le seront-ils tous? Le portrait pourrait très bien changer. Les pressions exercées par Washington sur Ottawa y sont pour beaucoup. L'administration Trump a obtenu des assouplissements au processus d'évaluation des retombées économiques au Canada pour s'assurer que le F-35 soit de la course. La politique canadienne d'approvisionnement militaire exige depuis très longtemps que les entreprises dépensent au pays l'équivalent de la valeur d'un contrat afin de renforcer l'industrie canadienne. Or, le programme du F-35, dont le Canada est l'un des neuf pays partenaires, est structuré autrement. Les entreprises canadiennes ont le droit de soumissionner pour des contrats mondiaux liés à la chaîne d'approvisionnement. Les pays partenaires ne peuvent, par contre, exiger des avantages économiques comme condition préalable à l'achat de l'appareil. Voilà que la récente révision obtenue par Washington permet à Lockheed Martin et son avion de ne pas être écartés de la compétition quoiqu'ils seraient pénalisés s'ils choisissent un système différent. On est donc bien loin de la promesse électorale de 2015 de Justin Trudeau, qui s'engageait à ne pas acheter l'avion de Lockheed Martin. Les libéraux ont tout fait pour se distancer du F-35 dans la foulée du fiasco qui collait à la peau des conservateurs. Mais la réalité a fini par rattraper le gouvernement Trudeau. « Sélectionner un appareil autre que le F-35 pourrait créer des tensions avec les Américains », soutient Justin Massie, professeur de science politique à l'UQAM. « Le F-35 est important pour l'administration Trump, qui veut développer davantage l'industrie militaire américaine. » Ce revirement a eu l'effet d'une douche froide chez les concurrents. « Il ne serait pas étonnant de voir des joueurs se retirer dès le départ ou en cours de route. Ils sont furieux », a confié à Radio-Canada une source très proche du dossier. Tant l'américaine Boeing que l'européenne Airbus et la suédoise Saab disent maintenant attendre « l'ensemble des exigences » de l'appel d'offres avant d'annoncer leurs intentions finales. « Nous sommes sur nos gardes [....] et de plus en plus incertains de vouloir nous lancer », a même indiqué un dirigeant de l'une de ces compagnies, sous le couvert de l'anonymat. Retour vers le futur Le temps est-il en train de jouer en faveur du F-35? Possiblement. « Le volume de production du F-35 entraîne la diminution du coût à l'unité qui est inférieur à celui de ses concurrents qui sont moins avancés sur le plan technologique », expliquait récemment Richard Shimooka dans un rapport de l'Institut Macdonald-Laurier. Alors que le coût par avion dépassait les 200 millions de dollars américains au début de la production en 2007, il devrait passer sous la barre des 80 millions d'ici 2020, selon le Pentagone. Plus de 390 appareils ont été livrés dans le monde. Et pas plus tard que cette semaine, le président américain annonçait la vente de 105 avions supplémentaires à l'issue d'un sommet avec le premier ministre japonais. Les pays qui ont choisi le F-35 : États-Unis Royaume-Uni Italie Pays-Bas Norvège Danemark Belgique Turquie Japon Australie Israël Corée du Sud Il s'est déjà écoulé neuf ans depuis l'annonce par le gouvernement Harper de l'achat de 65 avions F-35. « La modernisation de nos vieux F-18 a coûté beaucoup d'argent. Et l'acquisition de chasseurs intérimaires australiens a coûté au bas mot un milliard de dollars de plus aux contribuables canadiens », déplore Justin Massie. Neuf ans plus tard, le Canada a commencé à recevoir ses premiers F-18 australiens usagés, toujours dans l'attente d'une solution permanente. Il est quand même plutôt ironique de constater que l'Australie voulait s'en débarrasser pour recevoir ses premiers F-35 tout neufs.

  • Rheinmetall rolls out robot rescue vehicle at CANSEC 2019

    June 3, 2019 | Local, Land

    Rheinmetall rolls out robot rescue vehicle at CANSEC 2019

    DAVID PUGLIESE, OTTAWA CITIZEN Rheinmetall has rolled out at CANSEC 2019 in Ottawa a rescue model of its “Mission Master” robotic vehicle. The vehicle gives soldiers the ability to evacuate casualties over long distances either autonomously or via remote control. The rescue robot vehicle comes equipped with two basket stretchers with sliding provisions, head and foot immobilizers, oxygen masks and canisters, a monitor defibrillator, and other medical gear. All of these items would be impossible for a medic to carry on foot, Rheinmetall points out. Troops can operate the Mission Master from near or far using autonomous navigation. While transporting a wounded soldier using the system's stretcher, for example, accompanying medics can use the vehicle as a workstation to administer emergency care. Using the “follow me” function, the rescue robot can roll alongside other soldiers, who are busy making sure that the surrounding area is safe and secure, the company noted. “In both “follow me” and autonomous navigation modes, the Mission Master significantly relieves cognitive and physical stress, allowing troops to deal with the mission at hand,” according to Rheinmetall.

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