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  • Lockheed Adds To Investment In Underwater Specialist Ocean Aero

    August 30, 2018 | International, Naval

    Lockheed Adds To Investment In Underwater Specialist Ocean Aero

    Lockheed Martin Ventures is doubling down on its investment in Ocean Aero, a startup targeting the underwater unmanned vehicle system ... Full article: http://aviationweek.com/awindefense/lockheed-adds-investment-underwater-specialist-ocean-aero

  • Irresistible Forces: Long-Term Tectonic Influences on Canada’s National Security

    August 30, 2018 | Information, Security

    Irresistible Forces: Long-Term Tectonic Influences on Canada’s National Security

    This Vimy Paper examines three long-term tectonic influences on Canada's national security: geography, demographics, and science. These macro-level factors tend not to be understood well or receive much serious consideration in the public discourse, but in many cases can have powerful and sustained impacts on events. They can also reveal previously unrecognized threats. The discussion is structured in four parts. Part 1 focuses on geography and its impact on regions of strategic interest to Canada. Part 2 looks at world mortality and demographic trends, and the closely related subject of economics, and considers the cases of selected nations. Part 3 considers science at the macro-level – that is, humanity's collective adaptation to it. Part 4 then draws conclusions about how these issues impact Canada's national security. Click here to read / Cliquez-ici pour lire

  • L3 MAS to continue services on CT-114 Tutor aircraft fleet

    August 30, 2018 | Local, Aerospace

    L3 MAS to continue services on CT-114 Tutor aircraft fleet

    L3 MAS announced it has been awarded a contract extension from the Canadian government to provide engineering, repair and overhaul, and publication management services on the CT-114 Tutor aircraft fleet. The company was originally awarded a contract spanning from 2016 to 2018, with three one-year options. The first one-year option has been exercised, and two additional one-year options are still available. “L3 MAS is honoured to be selected once again by the Royal Canadian Air Force to offer a cost-effective and technically superior solution to keep the CT-114 fleet airborne over the coming years,” said Jacques Comtois, vice-president and general manager of L3 MAS. “L3 MAS is proud to continue to support the CT-114 fleet, which it has done for more than 40 years. As the OEM of the aircraft, this contract provides us with the opportunity to demonstrate our exceptional in-service support (ISS) capabilities.” L3 MAS is a global leader in providing ISS, system upgrade and life-extension solutions on a broad range of aircraft and helicopter types, and has provided ISS support to Canada, Australia, Finland, Spain, Switzerland and the U.S. Navy. https://www.skiesmag.com/press-releases/l3-mas-to-continue-services-on-ct-114-tutor-aircraft-fleet/

  • En Inde, le contrat Rafale tourne au scandale politique

    August 29, 2018 | International, Aerospace

    En Inde, le contrat Rafale tourne au scandale politique

    Par Julien Bouissou L'achat par l'Inde, en 2016, de trente-six exemplaire de l'avion de combat de Dassault suscite la colère de l'opposition. Le Parti du Congrès dénonce le rôle joué par un proche du premier ministre Narendra Modi. Deux ans après l'achat par New Delhi de trente-six avions de combat Rafale, le contrat signé avec Dassault Aviation se retrouve au cœur d'une tempête politique en Inde. Pas un jour ne passe sans que le Parti du Congrès, dans l'opposition, n'attaque le gouvernement de Narendra Modi sur son manque de transparence et sa connivence avec Anil Ambani, le partenaire indien de l'avionneur français. Rahul Gandhi, le président du Parti du Congrès, a qualifié le contrat d'« escroquerie ». Une polémique qui pourrait ternir l'image de Dassault Aviation alors que le groupe tricolore est en concurrence pour fournir à l'Inde 110 avions de combat supplémentaires. Six avionneurs ont répondu, le 6 juillet, à la demande d'information (« Request for Information ») déposée par New Delhi pour ce nouveau contrat. L'« affaire Rafale », comme on la surnomme désormais dans les médias indiens, était née de l'annonce surprise faite par M. Modi d'acheter trente-six avions de combat lors de sa visite à Paris en avril 2015. Premières livraisons prévues en 2019 L'appel d'offres remporté en 2012 par Dassault prévoyait la livraison de 126 appareils, dont 108 assemblés sur le sol indien. Mais en ce printemps 2015, les négociations piétinent depuis trois ans. Elles butent sur le prix final et le partage des responsabilités pour les avions assemblés en Inde. Or les escadrons de l'armée de l'air indienne se rapprochent dangereusement de l'obsolescence, au risque de compromettre la sécurité du pays. M. Modi, pourtant si attaché au « Make in India », enterre le « contrat du siècle » qui prévoyait la construction d'une chaîne d'assemblage Rafale en Inde. Les trente-six avions, dont les premières livraisons sont prévues en 2019, seront produits en France. Le nouveau contrat, signé quelques mois plus tard dans le cadre d'un accord intergouvernemental, est assorti d'une clause d'« offset », c'est-à-dire qu'une... Article complet: https://www.lemonde.fr/economie/article/2018/08/28/en-inde-le-contrat-rafale-tourne-au-scandale-politique_5347034_3234.html

  • Défense: l'armée de l’air malaisienne friande des savoir-faire français

    August 29, 2018 | International, Aerospace

    Défense: l'armée de l’air malaisienne friande des savoir-faire français

    Par Romain Mielcarek Depuis le 19 août, un détachement de l'armée de l'air française a entamé une tournée en Asie du Sud-Est, baptisée « Pegase », pour aller à la rencontre de ses alliés de la région, dont la Malaisie. Un terrain peu familier pour des aviateurs à la recherche de nouveaux partenariats face à des menaces émergentes. De notre envoyé spécial à Kuala Lumpur, Quand deux officiers d'armées de l'air différentes se croisent, ils parlent d'abord de golf - « sport d'aviateurs » -, puis de la coupe du monde de football – victoire des tricolores oblige - et enfin de leurs avions. En la matière, les Français ont sorti le grand jeu les 24 et 25 août derniers : trois chasseurs Rafale et deux A400M de transport sont déployés sur le tarmac de la base aérienne de Subang, près de la capitale, pour séduire les Malaisiens. « Notre objectif à nous, c'est de conforter la coopération sur l'A400M », résume le général de corps aérien (2S) Patrick Charaix, chef de la mission Pegase, à propos de cette escale. Les Malaisiens ont en effet acheté quatre exemplaires de cet avion européen développé par Airbus. Particulièrement sophistiqué, celui-ci demande des méthodes de travail modernes. C'est là que la France vient aider Kuala Lumpur : un officier supérieur, spécialiste de la mécanique et de la gestion aéronautique, est présent en permanence pour conseiller l'état-major sur ses procédures et son organisation, depuis 2015. La France, premier fournisseur d'armement Située en plein cœur d'une région particulièrement courtisée du fait de la forte croissance économique de plusieurs pays, la Malaisie a besoin de renouveler une grande partie de ses équipements de défense. Ce qui tombe bien pour les Français, dont les industriels sont bien implantés sur l'archipel : ils sont le premier fournisseur d'armes de Kuala Lumpur. Par le passé, d'importants contrats ont été signés, notamment pour des sous-marins, des navires, des missiles exocet et les fameux A400M. « La grande question, décrypte Dzirhan Mahadzir, un journaliste malaisien spécialiste des questions militaires, c'est de savoir si la Malaisie a les moyens et ce que le nouveau gouvernement compte faire, celui-ci n'ayant donné aucune indication sur le sujet. Les capacités opérationnelles sont un sujet permanent, la disponibilité des matériels étant un problème récurrent d'année en année. » Un espoir pour le Rafale ? Alors pourquoi pas des Rafale ? Deux commandants d'unités malaisiens, eux-mêmes pilotes de chasse, ont été invités à tester l'avion. Un officier de leur équipe résume ainsi le dilemme de son armée, en termes d'approvisionnements : « Notre principal problème, c'est que nous avons à la fois des avions occidentaux et russes. Nous, les opérationnels, nous savons quels avions sont bons. Mais ce sont les politiques qui décident. Et eux, ils choisissent souvent ce qu'ils voient le plus. Les Typhoon par exemple, viennent tous les deux ans. » Si les opérationnels préféraient avoir un seul avion pour remplir toutes les missions et pour simplifier la logistique, les politiques gardent également un problème crucial à l'esprit : multiplier les fournisseurs, c'est éviter d'être dépendant vis-à-vis d'une seule grande puissance. Dans ce domaine, la France fait souvent valoir la grande liberté dont bénéficient ses clients, Paris évitant de se montrer trop intrusif dans leurs affaires domestiques. Le Typhoon, concurrent européen du Rafale, pourrait-il convaincre le gouvernement ? Les Russes pourraient-ils placer leur Su-35, qui a déjà convaincu en Indonésie ? Les différents observateurs restent très partagés, les uns estimant que l'avion français a toutes ses chances sur ce marché, les autres qu'il est trop tôt et que les finances de la Malaisie ne lui permettront pas un tel investissement avant de nombreuses années. Paradoxalement, c'est un cadre de chez Dassault, le fabricant de l'appareil, qui se montre le plus pessimiste : « Ça a été un vrai prospect à un moment, confie-t-il. Mais ce n'est plus le cas. Ils n'ont pas les moyens. » Article complet: http://www.rfi.fr/france/20180827-armee-air-malaisienne-friande-savoir-faire-francais-A400M-rafale-aviation-defense

  • Is this the new wave of submerged communications?

    August 29, 2018 | International, C4ISR

    Is this the new wave of submerged communications?

    By: Kelsey Atherton The ocean hides what it contains, and it is in that hiding that submarines have their power. Lurking under seas, at first with just enough capability for an attack run and now with the ability to lurk for months at a time, submarines remain power out of reach, unseen until engaged in combat or resupplying in a friendly port. That stealth comes at a cost, however, besides the simple perils of existing underwater. When submerged, submarines are more or less on their own until they resurface again, since radio waves do not travel well through seawater. Or they are for now. New research by MIT, presented at a conference in late August, devised a way for submerged submarines to communicate wirelessly with people on the surface by combining hydroacoustics and acoustic radars. Presently, submarines communicate either across normal radio frequencies when surfaced or through hydroacoustic signals and listening posts underwater that can transmit the messages back to counterparts on shore. Very and extremely low-frequency radio waves can be transmitted in a way that submarines can listen to below the surface, but it's a one-way form of communication, from stations on land to submarines. To get something responsive, with the flexibility to communicate away from static seabed hydrophones, needs something else. Specifically, it needs a way to combine hydroacoustic transmission from the submarine through water that can then be converted into a useful data. “We present a new communication technology, translational acoustic-RF communication (TARF),” write paper authors Francesco Tonolini and Fadel Adib of the MIT Media Lab. “TARF enables underwater nodes to directly communicate with airborne nodes by transmitting standard acoustic signals. TARF exploits the fact that underwater acoustic signals travel as pressure waves, and that these waves cause displacements of the water surface when they impinge on the water-air boundary. To decode the transmitted signals, TARF leverages an airborne radar which measures and decodes these surface displacements.” In testing, they demonstrated that the communication technique can transfer data at standard underwater bitrates up to 400bps, and even do so with surface waves 6.3 inches crest-to-crest, or 100,000 times larger than the surface perturbations made by the acoustic transmitter. Right now, this communication is one-way. While the signal transmitted up from the water produces useful information at the boundary with the air, a signal transmitted through the air downwards would disintegrate on integration with water. This one-way is distinct from previous forms of communication with submarines, however, as it lets the submarine talk without revealing its position to surface sensors. Despite the limitations, and the earlierness of the research, Tonolini and Adlib see a bright future for the technology, as a way to enable a host of new technology in machines. The technology, they write, can enable “many applications including submarine-to-drone communication, deep-sea exploration, and subsea IoT (Internet of Things). https://www.c4isrnet.com/c2-comms/2018/08/28/mit-discovers-way-for-submarines-to-talk-to-drones

  • After security clearance hiccup, Czech Republic selects a contractor for armored vehicle deal

    August 29, 2018 | International, Land

    After security clearance hiccup, Czech Republic selects a contractor for armored vehicle deal

    By: Jaroslaw Adamowski WARSAW, Poland — The Czech Ministry of Defence has awarded a contract to supply 62 Titus six-wheel drive armored vehicles, jointly developed by France's Nexter Group and Czech vehicle-maker Tatra Trucks, to local defense company Eldis Pardubice. “Acquiring the Titus vehicle has been one of the military's priorities for several years. Soldiers need this technology, and it is my objective to complete this project successfully and quickly,” said Czech Defence Minister Lubomir Metnar, as reported by local broadcaster Ceska televize. The ministry decided to change the contractor from Tatra Export to Eldis Pardubice after the former company failed to obtain a relevant security clearance, including a license from Nexter Systems. Deliveries of the vehicles are scheduled for the years 2020-2025, according to the minister. The contract is estimated to be worth about 6.7 billion koruna (U.S. $303.1 million). Both Tatra Export and Eldis Pardubice are part of the country's defense industry giant Czechoslovak Group. The Titus is mounted on a chassis made by Tatra Trucks. Czechoslovak Group reported sales of more than 24 billion koruna for 2017. The holding is operated by a workforce of about 8,000, according to data from Czechoslovak Group. https://www.defensenews.com/land/2018/08/28/after-security-clearance-hiccup-czech-republic-selects-a-contractor-for-armored-vehicle-deal

  • When you should expect the Air Force to announce its next trainer aircraft

    August 29, 2018 | International, Aerospace

    When you should expect the Air Force to announce its next trainer aircraft

    By: Aaron Mehta WASHINGTON – With the U.S. Air Force having received final bids from industry, the service is now poised to award a contract for its 350-plane next-generation trainer fleet in just a few weeks. An Air Force official, speaking on background, said the service expects to award the contract by the end of the fiscal year — in other words, before Sept. 30. Many have speculated that the days before the Air Force Association's annual conference, being held Sept. 17-19 outside of Washington, would be a potential time for an announcement to come. However, a source with knowledge of the situation said the current plan is to make the announcement after AFA concludes, likely the week of Sept. 24. If true, it could create an awkward environment at the event, where senior leaders will have to duck commenting on the soon-to-come T-X winner. Three industry teams have submitted bids for the T-X competition, with an estimated price tag of $16 billion over the life of the program. Boeing and Swedish aerospace firm Saab have developed a new, clean-sheet design; Lockheed Martin and Korea Aerospace Industries are offering the T-50A, a take on KAI's T-50 jet trainer; and Leonardo DRS is offering the T-100, a modified version of the Italian aerospace company's M-346. The contract represents more than just 350 jets, although that alone would make it one of the biggest U.S. Air Force programs in years. Whichever contractor captures the USAF market may have the inside track on a number of future trainer competitions around the globe, particularly among countries looking to buy the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. In addition, if the U.S. Air Force decides to purchase aggressor aircraft for live-flying training, something that has been discussed on and off in recent years, simply buying more T-X trainers would be a logical solution. The contact has been a long time coming, and the contest has been filled with twists and turns. The service has for years sought to replace its aged T-38 jet, which ended production in the early 1970s and has served as the primary training plane for fighter pilots for decades. However, other priorities and sequestration-related budget caps saw the T-X campaign pushed to the right; while companies began announcing their entries for the competition as early as 2010, it wasn't until 2015 that the service revealed its actual criteria. At this point last year, the Air Force was still pledging to announce a winner by the end of calendar 2017. That projected award was pushed to March, and then to the end of the fiscal year. The expected winners have shifted over time as well. Around 2013, the conventional wisdom was that either Leonardo or the BAE Hawk, teamed with Northrop Grumman, would be the winner, as the service was looking for an off-the-shelf solution that has already been proven in service elsewhere. Boeing's idea of a clean-sheet design was seen as a longshot, due to the associated costs and timeline. However, that view shifted to the point that in 2015, Northrop and BAE scrapped plans to offer the Hawk and instead developed a new clean-sheet design of their own; the companies ultimately dropped out of the competition entirely in February of 2017. Meanwhile, the T-100 team struggled, with original partner General Dynamics dropping off the project in March 2015. GD was replaced by Raytheon in February 2016, but quit less than a year later. Other competitors, including Textron AirLand's Scorpion jet and a team-up between Turkish Aerospace Industries and Sierra Nevada, have come and gone, leaving only the three remaining competitors. Of those, industry analysts largely agree the winner will be either the Lockheed/KAI team or the Boeing offering. https://www.defensenews.com/air/2018/08/28/when-you-should-expect-the-air-force-to-announce-its-next-trainer-aircraft

  • Navy’s Next Large Surface Combatant Will Draw From DDG-51, DDG-1000 — But Don’t Call it a Destroyer Yet

    August 29, 2018 | International, Naval

    Navy’s Next Large Surface Combatant Will Draw From DDG-51, DDG-1000 — But Don’t Call it a Destroyer Yet

    By: Megan Eckstein THE PENTAGON – The Navy will buy the first of its Future Surface Combatants in 2023 – a large warship that will be built to support the Arleigh Burke Flight III combat system and will pull elements from the Arleigh Burke-class (DDG-51) and Zumwalt-class (DDG-1000) destroyer designs. The combatant – not dubbed a cruiser, and potentially not dubbed a destroyer either – will be bigger and more expensive than the Arleigh Burke Flight III design and will have more room to grow into for decades to come, the director of surface warfare (OPNAV N96) told USNI News today. Future Surface Combatant refers to a family of systems that includes a large combatant akin to a destroyer, a small combatant like the Littoral Combat Ship or the upcoming frigate program, a large unmanned surface vessel and a medium USV, along with an integrated combat system that will be the common thread linking all the platforms. Navy leadership just recently signed an initial capabilities document for the family of systems, after an effort that began in late 2017 to define what the surface force as a whole would be required to do in the future and therefore how each of the four future platforms could contribute to that overall mission requirement. With the ICD now signed and providing the service with an idea of how many of each platform would be needed in a future fleet and how each would contribute as a sensor, a shooter or a command and control asset, Surface Warfare Director Adm. Ron Boxall and his staff are now able to begin diving into the finer details of what each platform would look like. The first to be tackled is the large combatant, Boxall told USNI News today. He noted the effort would be more like the move from the Ticonderoga-class cruiser to the Arleigh Burke-class destroyer – where the same combat capability was kept, but housed in a more suitable hull – rather than the move from the Spruance-class destroyer to the cruiser, which maintained the same hull design but added in new combat capability. After the addition of the AN/SPY-6(V) Air and Missile Defense Radar (AMDR) to the DDGs' Aegis Combat System to create the Flight III design, Boxall said the resulting warfighting capability is one the Navy can use for years to come. “We have a new capability on that hull now, so everything's going good – except for, as we look towards going further, we know we've maxed out that hull footprint,” Boxall said of the Arleigh Burke-class hull design, power-generation capability and more. “So the key elements that we're looking at in this work we're doing on the requirements side is, keep the requirements about the same as DDG Flight III, but now look at what do we need a new hull to do.” USNI News first reported last month that the large combatant would pair a new hull with the Flight III combat system. The Navy will spend about the next six months having that conversation about what the new hull will need, though he suggested to USNI News that it would need sufficient space to carry helicopters and unmanned systems; it would need to support long-range missiles and weapons; it would have to include command and control systems able to support a staff onboard for air defense or offensive surface capability, much like the cruiser does today with the air defense commander role for a carrier strike group; it may incorporate DDG-1000's signature controls and integrated power system; and it will certainly have to be flexible and modular enough to quickly undergo upgrades and modernizations in the future as new systems are developed that the Navy will want to incorporate into the next block buy of large combatants or back fit fielded ones. Though there has been much speculation about whether the large combatant would use an existing design or a new design, Boxall said there really are no designs out there that meet the Navy's needs without significant modifications. Whereas the ongoing frigate design effort was able to mandate that bidders use mature parent designs, Boxall said “a lot of people in the world make frigates. Not many people make large surface combatants of the size and capability that we need. So we've got to kind of look to our portfolio of blueprints that we have as a starting point, and we'll edit and modify the hull and design things as we go forward.” “I think what you're going to see won't be a huge deviation from things we have already, but at the same point, we are going to be making changes to anything we have” already in the fleet, he added. In a nod towards the idea the next large combatant will share the same combat system as DDG Flight III and will perform much the same role in the fleet, Boxall said the Navy is starting with the DDG-51 Flight III capability development document (CDD); will go through a Large Surface Combatant Requirements Evaluation Team effort with requirements, acquisition and engineering personnel from the Navy and industry; and after six months call the finished product a “modified Flight III CDD.” Once that modified CDD is complete, it will be clearer how much the future large surface combatant will resemble its predecessor and how much it will be a new class of ship – which will likely determine its name. “It is the big question: what do you call the future large surface combatant? I don't know. I don't think you call it a cruiser. I don't think you call it a destroyer. Maybe – I don't know what it is,” Boxall said, noting that he has commanded both a cruiser and destroyer and that they get used in much the same fashion, save for the cruiser's role as the air defense commander ship, which the future large surface combatant will have the capability of doing with its command and control suite. Once the first large combatant is designed and purchased in the 2023 “block” – following the current block-buy of Flight III DDGs from Ingalls Shipbuilding and General Dynamics Bath Iron Works, which spans from Fiscal Years 2018 to 2022 – new blocks will be planned for every five years. As USNI News has reported, this block structure, laid out in a Surface Combatant Capability Evolution Plan, would allow the insertion of new hardware and software in a predictable timeline. This would help researchers and developers in the government and in industry understand when a new capability would have to be matured by to be included in the next block design, and anything not quite ready yet could wait until the next block. This setup is much like the Virginia-class attack submarine's block upgrade approach to adding in new capabilities, and its Acoustic Rapid Commercial-off-the-shelf Insertion (ARCI) process of adding new capabilities in via new construction and back fitting existing subs. However, Boxall noted the surface community had the added challenge of managing this block buy and upgrade effort across four or more types of surface combatants, compared to just one class of attack submarines. Unlike before, when the surface community would undergo a massive planning effort – like the CG(X) cruiser replacement design that ultimately was too expensive and not accepted by the Navy – and then cease planning for many years before undertaking another massive effort, Boxall said he hoped the block upgrades would create a “heartbeat type of effort, where you always have something going on.” https://news.usni.org/2018/08/28/navys-next-large-surface-combatant-will-draw-ddg-51-ddg-1000-dont-call-destroyer

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