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  • US Army requests $429 million for new cyber training platform

    February 22, 2018 | International, C4ISR

    US Army requests $429 million for new cyber training platform

    In 2016, the Pentagon tapped the Army to lead development of a persistent cyber training environment, or PCTE, to help train experts from Cyber Command in a live-virtual-constructed environment. Since then, cyber officials have repeatedly said such an environment is among their top priorities. “The service cyber components have established their own training environments but do not have standardized capabilities or content,” Army budget documents say. In the Army’s research and development budget documents, the service requested $65.8 million in fiscal 2019 for the training environment and $429.4 million through fiscal 2023. Under the various line items in the Army’s research and development budget, the Army is looking to develop event scheduling for the environment. It also wants to develop realistic vignettes or scenarios as part of individual and collective training to include real-world mission rehearsal, on-demand reliable and secure physical and virtual global access from dispersed geographic locations. In addition, the Army is asking for $3 million in fiscal 2019 base budget money to find and close gaps in hardware and software infrastructure related to virtual environments needed for cyber operational training. Additional funds will go toward virtual environments such as blue, grey, red or installation control system that the cyber mission force use for maneuver terrain. Moreover, the documents indicate that the Army will use Other Transaction Authorities vehicles for contract awards. The program will be delivered through incremental capability drops. The document states a “full and open competitive contract will be awarded in FY20 for further integration of new or refinement of existing capabilities, hardware refreshes, accreditation, and software licensing.” https://www.c4isrnet.com/dod/2018/02/21/army-requests-429-million-for-new-cyber-training-platform/

  • Une législation américaine bloque la vente de «Rafale» à l'Egypte par la France

    February 20, 2018 | International, Aerospace

    Une législation américaine bloque la vente de «Rafale» à l'Egypte par la France

    L'information a été révélée par le journal économique français La Tribune. Une nouvelle vente de « Rafale » en Egypte serait bloquée à cause des Etats-Unis. Washington brandit sa législation sur les exportations d'armement pour compromettre la vente de missiles de croisière européen « Scalp » que l'armée égyptienne souhaite à tout prix monter sur ses « Rafale ». Jusqu'à la révolution égyptienne, Le Caire était un très bon client des Etats-Unis, mais les Français et les Russes ont effectué depuis une impressionnante percée dans ce pays. Les autorités françaises essayeraient donc de trouver un arrangement avec les Américains, pour qu'ils autorisent l’exportation vers l'Egypte, de composants fabriqués aux Etats-Unis entrant dans la fabrication de missiles européens. C'est l'un des arguments de poids, des industriels de l'armement sur le vieux continent. « Acheter Européen, pour se soustraire à la domination américaine ». Mais les choses ne sont pas si simples, car les Etats-Unis disposent d'une carte maitresse dans leur jeu, la norme ITAR (International Traffic in Arms Regulation) destinée à réguler leurs ventes d'armes dans le monde. Le problème, c’est qu’elle ne concerne pas uniquement les matériels fabriqués aux Etats-Unis, mais qu’elle peut s'appliquer à tout système d'arme étranger incorporant un composant américain. Dans le cas de l'Egypte, Washington s'offusquerait de la vente de missiles MBDA Scalp assemblés dans une usine du Loir-et-Cher dans le centre de la France mais dans lesquels se cachent des éléments fabriqués aux Etats-Unis. Il s’agit souvent de petites puces électroniques. La question s'était déjà posée quand la France voulait vendre des Rafale au Brésil, mais cela n'avait finalement pas pesé significativement sur la négociation. Joint par RFI, le Groupe Dassault certifie qu'il n'y a pas de composants américains dans ses avions de combat, mais qu'il y en a effectivement dans les missiles de croisières qu'emporte le Rafale. L'application de la norme ITAR, n'est toutefois pas toujours aussi rigide. Sous l'administration Obama, la France n'avait pas eu trop à s'inquiéter des blocages de Washington pour vendre des armes au Moyen-Orient mais avec Donald Trump la donne est  différente. http://www.rfi.fr/economie/20180216-une-legislation-americaine-bloque-vente-rafales-egypte-france

  • Rheinmetall-led consortium wins first European research contract

    February 20, 2018 | International, Land, C4ISR

    Rheinmetall-led consortium wins first European research contract

    FRANKFURT, Feb 19 (Reuters) - A consortium led by Rheinmetall has won the first contract relating to European Union defence research financed by the EU’s European Defence Union, the German company said on Monday. The consortium will conduct studies into what could become EU-wide standardized soldier systems, including electronics, voice communication, software and sensors, it said. The other members of the consortium are Indra and GMV Aerospace and Defence of Spain, Leonardo and Larimart of Italy, the Netherlands Organization for Applied Scientific Research TNO, Poland’s iTTi, the Portuguese company Tekever ASDS and SAAB of Sweden. (Reporting by Maria Sheahan, editing by Louise Heavens) https://www.reuters.com/article/rheinmetall-europe/rheinmetall-led-consortium-wins-first-european-research-contract-idUSFWN1Q902H

  • Germany's Bundeswehr 'lacks basic equipment' for NATO mission

    February 20, 2018 | International, Aerospace, Land

    Germany's Bundeswehr 'lacks basic equipment' for NATO mission

    The German army reportedly lacks the tents, winter clothes and other essential equipment needed for its deployment in a NATO rapid reaction force. The German defense ministry pledged that the items would be procured. German soldiers do not have enough protective vests, winter clothing and tents to head NATO's 'spearhead force,' the newspaper Rheinische Post reported on Monday, citing a paper presented to the Defense Ministry. The news comes as Germany prepares to take over the leadership of the multinational Very High Readiness Joint Task Force (VJTF) Army Command at the start of next year, with Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen (top picture) under intense pressure to bring equipment up to scratch by then. Read more: Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen: Germany will spend more on its military Commenting on the article on Monday, Germany's Defense Ministry said that combat readiness of German troops would be ensured. "Currently, the selected troops are going through the phase of preparation and mobilization," spokesman Jens Flosdorff said in Berlin. During this phase, the ministry is checking which equipment is already available, and "what is still needed," he said. The authorities are set to complete the process by the end of 2018, at the latest. Flosdorff also said that "Bundeswehr is ready and able to fulfill its commitments," and that the missing items "are being procured." Sleeping cold The Monday report cites the internal paper by Germany's Army Command as stating that the army would lack sufficient tents until at least 2021. According to the Army Command report, 10,282 mobile "accommodation units" are needed for the army's deployment in the VJTF for the period 2018 to 2020, but only 2,500 are currently available — and even these are not fit for purpose. Protective vests and winter clothing were also in such short supply that it would be "impossible" to ensure that demands were met, it said. Last week, German media reported that the Bundeswehr was also lacking sufficient tanks and operational aircraft to fulfill its duties as VJTF leader, along with other equipment shortfalls such as night-vision equipment and automatic grenade launchers. Read more: German military short on tanks for NATO mission 'Scandalous situation' The Rheinische Post said German parliamentarians reacted with outrage to news of the latest deficiencies. "We cannot and will not accept" such supply gaps, said defense expert Fritz Felgentreu from the Social Democratic Party (SPD). The Free Democrat (FDP) politician Marie-Agnes Strack-Zimmermann found even stronger words. "The fact that even basic equipment such as protective vests and winter clothing is in short supply shows what a miserable state the Bundeswehr is in as a result of cutting costs," she said, adding that her party would set up a subcommittee to "look into this scandalous situation" at the next meeting of the Bundestag's Defense Committee. The VJTF is a 5,000-strong force initiated by NATO in 2014 to counter the threat of Russian military aggression against Baltic member states. The force is supposed to be capable of going into action within 24 hours. http://www.dw.com/en/germanys-bundeswehr-lacks-basic-equipment-for-nato-mission/a-42638910

  • DroneShield Ltd (ASX:DRO) United States / Canada Joint Certification Program DD2345

    February 20, 2018 | International, Aerospace

    DroneShield Ltd (ASX:DRO) United States / Canada Joint Certification Program DD2345

    Sydney, Feb 19, 2018 AEST (ABN Newswire) - DroneShield Ltd (ASX:DRO) (OTCMKTS:DRSHF) ("DroneShield" or the "Company") is pleased to advise that the United States Defense Logistics Agency, the logistics combat support agency of the United States Department of Defense, has certified DroneShield's subsidiary DroneShield LLC under the United States / Canada Joint Certification Program DD2345 (militarily critical technical data agreement). With this certification, DroneShield LLC has established eligibility to access unclassified export-controlled technical data of the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) and Canada's Department of National Defence (DND).  - United States Defense Logistics Agency has certified DroneShield LLC under the United States / Canada Joint Certification Program DD2345 (militarily critical technical data agreement).  - Establishes eligibility to access unclassified military technical data belonging to the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) and Canada's Department of National Defence (DND).  DroneShield LLC's certification under this program is part of its participation in the U.S. DOD and Canadian DND procurement processes.  This announcement follows the recent award to the Company of a NATO Stock Number for its DroneGun MKII product.  About DroneShield Ltd Based in Sydney, Australia and Virginia, USA, DroneShield Ltd (ASX:DRO) (OTCMKTS:DRSHF) is a worldwide leader in drone security technology. The Company has developed the pre-eminent drone security solution that protects people, organisations and critical infrastructure from intrusion from drones. Its leadership brings world-class expertise in engineering and physics, combined with deep experience in defence, intelligence, and aerospace. http://www.abnnewswire.net/press/en/92055/DroneShield-Ltd-(ASX-DRO)-United-States-Canada-Joint-Certification-Program-DD2345-92055.html

  • AI makes Mattis question ‘fundamental’ beliefs about war

    February 20, 2018 | International, Aerospace, Naval, Land, C4ISR, Security

    AI makes Mattis question ‘fundamental’ beliefs about war

    By: Aaron Mehta  WASHINGTON – Over the years, Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis has cultivated a reputation for deep thinking about the nature of warfare. And during that time, he has come to a few conclusions about what he calls the “fundamental” nature of combat. “It’s equipment, technology, courage, competence, integration of capabilities, fear, cowardice — all these things mixed together into a very fundamentally unpredictable fundamental nature of war,” Mattis explained Feb. 17. “The fundamental nature of war is almost like H20, ok? You know what it is.” Except, that might not be true anymore. During a return flight from Europe, Mattis was asked about artificial intelligence — a national priority for industry and defense departments across the globe, and one driving major investments within the Pentagon — and what the long-term impact of intelligent machines on the nature of war might be. “I’m certainly questioning my original premise that the fundamental nature of war will not change. You’ve got to question that now. I just don’t have the answers yet,” he said. It’s both a big-picture, heady question, and one that the department needs to get its head around in the coming years as it looks to offload more and more requirements onto AI. And it’s a different question than the undeniable changes that will be coming to what Mattis differentiated as the character, not nature, of war. “The character of war changes all the time. An old dead German [Carl von Clausewitz] called it a ‘chameleon.’ He said it changes to adapt to its time, to the technology, to the terrain, all these things,” Mattis said. He also noted that the Defense Innovation Board, a group of Silicon Valley experts who were formed by previous defense secretary Ash Carter, has been advising him specifically on AI issues. For now, the Pentagon is focused on man-machine teaming, emphasizing how AI can help pilots and operators make better decisions. But should the technology develop the way it is expected to, removing a man from the loop could allow machine warfare to be fully unleashed. Mattis and his successors will have to grapple with the question of whether AI so radically changes everything, that war itself may not resemble what it has been for the entirety of human history. Or as Mattis put it, “If we ever get to the point where it’s completely on automatic pilot and we’re all spectators, then it’s no longer serving a political purpose. And conflict is a social problem that needs social solutions.” https://www.defensenews.com/intel-geoint/2018/02/17/ai-makes-mattis-question-fundamental-beliefs-about-war/

  • Names of aircraft manufacturers on “suppliers list” for Canada’s new fighter jet still a mystery

    February 20, 2018 | Local, Aerospace

    Names of aircraft manufacturers on “suppliers list” for Canada’s new fighter jet still a mystery

    DAVID PUGLIESE, OTTAWA CITIZEN  More from David Pugliese, Ottawa Citizen Published on: February 16, 2018 | Last Updated: February 16, 2018 1:40 AM EST Feb. 9 was the deadline for companies to apply to the Canadian government to be on the supplier’s list for the new program to provide a fleet of fighter jets. Being on that list is a requirement to be able to enter the competition to provide Canada with 88 new fighter aircraft. Public Services and Procurement Canada was looking at having the list formalized by Feb. 12, at which time they would make it public. The reason for the fast turnaround is because it is relatively easy to be included on the list – essentially a manufacturer has to have a fighter jet currently in production. But the list has yet to be formalized. Procurement Canada said they are still working on the list but offered no explanation about the delay. But expect the major aircraft manufacturers who have indicated previous interest in the competition. They are: Lockheed Martin with the F-35, Eurofighter Typhoon, the Dassault Rafale, and Saab’s Gripen. Sources are also indicating that Boeing will join the competition with Super Hornet….perhaps an Advanced Super Hornet? http://ottawacitizen.com/news/national/defence-watch/names-of-aircraft-manufacturers-on-suppliers-list-for-canadas-new-fighter-jet-still-a-mystery

  • UK submits bid for Belgium fighter competition, pitting Typhoon against F-35

    February 16, 2018 | International, Aerospace

    UK submits bid for Belgium fighter competition, pitting Typhoon against F-35

    By: Andrew Chuter LONDON — Britain has pitched a range of strategic and industrial tie-ups to the Belgian government as part of a bid to secure a deal to supply Eurofighter Typhoon jets to replace the country’s aging F-16 fleet. “The proposal includes 34 Typhoon aircraft, underpinned by the offer of a deep strategic, defence and industrial partnership between the Governments of Belgium and the U.K.,” the British Ministry of Defence said in a statement. Feb. 14 was the deadline date for the submission of best and final bids for the Belgian air combat capability program. A decision on the winning contractor is expected later this year with the fleet being delivered starting 2023. British Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson, in Brussels for a two-day NATO defense ministers meeting, said the jets offer Belgium a “formidable capability which forms the backbone of European air power, as well as a comprehensive long-term defense and industrial partnership with the U.K. A unique partnership with the RAF and integration with our world-leading support service mean Belgium’s selection of the Typhoon would be a powerful demonstration of us working together to support security across the continent.” The British are leading the Typhoon bid on behalf of the Eurofighter nations in a formal competition with the Lockheed Martin F-35A to replace 54 F-16s. Germany, Italy and Spain are also part of the Eurofighter partnership. The U.S. State Department said last month it had approved a possible foreign military sale of 34 Lockheed Martin F-35 jets to the Belgians in a deal which could be worth up to $6.5 billion. Earlier this month the U.S. confirmed it had responded to the request for final offers. “The F-35 Joint Program Office invested considerable effort to craft an offer that enables our Belgian allies to acquire the F-35’s unmatched capabilities well within the budget specified by the [Belgian] Strategic Vision for Defense 2030,” said the U.S. government. Speaking recently to an audience of alliance and industry partners, US Charge d’Affaires, , Matthew Lussenhop said a F-35 purchase would pay big dividends for Belgium. “Joining the F-35 program provides access to technology that support all of Belgium’s essential security interests and opens the door to related projects with potential returns well in excess of the initial investment — just like the F-16 program has in the past,” he said. Lockheed Martin and engine maker Pratt & Whitney both have memoranda of agreement with a number of Belgian companies. It may not be a two-horse race though. The French government and Dassault are also somewhere in the mix. They declined to formally respond to requests for proposals, claiming they had more to offer than bid requirements which, they said, were too restrictive. Instead the French have been offering Belgium what has been described as a deep and structured economic and military partnership. Dassault Aviation chairman and CEO Eric Trappier on Feb. 13 signed 13 cooperation agreements with Belgian companies as part of an offer of the Rafale in a proposed government-to-government deal. That signing is “part of the proposal of the Franco-Belgian strategic partnership concerning the jet fighter,” Dassault said in a statement. The French proposal of the Rafale falls outside the Belgian tender, as Paris seeks to build a broad bilateral relationship aimed mainly to counter an offer of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.Those cooperation agreements bring to more than 30 contracts signed with Belgian partners for activities including service for the Rafale, training of aeronautical engineers and work on drone projects, the company said. Other areas include automating production lines, simulation, research on advanced material and predictive maintenance. Among the local partners were Sabca, Safran Aero Booster and Thales Belgium. The former is the Belgian unit of Dassault Aviation.Following an order, Dassault, Safran and Thales are committed to investing in Belgium at least €20 billion over 20 years, and supporting more than 5,000 high technology jobs, the aircraft builder said. Dozens more agreements with local partners would be signed as part of a campaign by French companies to invest in the Belgian economy, Trappier said. The status of the French bid is unclear at this point. The French decision was not the first left field move by expected bidders. Boeing pulled the F/A 18 E/F Super Hornet from the contest last April citing issues with the fairness of the bidding process. Not long after that Saab unexpectedly withdrew the Gripen E saying they could not meet Belgian operational support requirements without a change of Swedish Government foreign policy. For their part the British are, on the military front, offering to further strengthen co-operation between the two air force, integrate the Belgians into Royal Air Force support arrangements and form a training partnership which involves training and exercising together. The British are also offering to help establish a National Network Cyber Centre, a Cyber Innovation Centre and a Cyber Research Partnership, underpinned by a partnership between the two governments. U.K. Typhoon lead contractor BAE Systems and others, have been signing industrial co-operation deals with Belgian industry. As of Feb. 7 BAE said it had signed agreements with more than 20 Belgian companies to explore potential collaboration opportunities as part of a wide-ranging Eurofighter industrial proposal. Despite the efforts by the Europeans to entice the Belgians with attractive strategic and industrial offers Doug Barrie, the senior air analyst at the International Institute of Strategic Studies reckons the F-35 remains the aircraft to beat. “My money is on the F-35, particularly if the Belgians insist on retaining the ability to deploy B-61 freefall nuclear weapons to match the capability they have on the F-16,” said Barrie. “The F-35 is the only aircraft in the competition presently able to do that. Rafale is wired to deploy nuclear free fall weapons but they are French.” Pierre Tran in Paris contributed to this story. https://www.defensenews.com/air/2018/02/15/uk-submits-bid-for-belgium-fighter-competition-pitting-typhoon-against-f-35/

  • MDA to provide unmanned aircraft systems to Royal Canadian Navy

    February 16, 2018 | Local, Naval

    MDA to provide unmanned aircraft systems to Royal Canadian Navy

    MDA, a Maxar Technologies company (formerly MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates Ltd.), announced it has signed a contract valued at approximately $8 million with Canada’s Department of National Defence (DND) to provide maritime miniature unmanned aircraft systems (MMUAS). The contract also includes services to support training, resource and equipment development activities and development and validation of naval tactics and new capability development. The MMUAS will play a critical role by extending the reach of the communication and sensor capability over contentious or hostile areas during maritime security operations. MDA’s solution is based on the Puma AE (All Environment) unmanned aircraft built by Aerovironment. The Puma AE system will provide the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) with enhanced intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities. The Puma has the ability to carry additional payloads as required for specific missions. The MMUAS is the first UAS project that will see the RCN operate and maintain its own capability and provide a sustainable shipborne, near real-time, beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) ISR capability with an expected introduction to the fleet in the summer of 2018 onboard Kingston-class ships. Capable of both ground and water landings, Puma AE’s innovative fuselage offers an operational flexibility never before available to the RCN. The Puma AE is operated from the same control station as the Raven UAS which has been provided by MDA to the Canadian Army since 2013. MDA’s Canadian-based UAS services group has been providing UAS systems and services to Canada’s DND since 2009. Mike Greenley, group president for MDA, said: “We are very proud to once again, expand our unmanned aircraft systems and services to support Canada’s Department of National Defence needs. https://www.skiesmag.com/press-releases/mda-provide-unmanned-aircraft-systems-royal-canadian-navy/

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