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  • South Korea to reboot training helicopter acquisition

    June 11, 2018 | International, Aerospace

    South Korea to reboot training helicopter acquisition

    By: Jeff Jeong SEOUL, South Korea ― The South Korean military's long-sought purchase of training helicopters has been ruptured due to price issues, prompting the arms procurement agency to prepare a rebidding process for the aircraft acquisition project code-named TH-X. Bell (formerly Bell Helicopter) and Leonardo Helicopters were competing for the $155 million project to procure 41 training helicopters both for the South Korean Army and the Navy, according to the Defense Acquisition Program Administration, or DAPA. “The TH-X selection, originally due late last year, has been delayed, and a bidder failed to meet some of the TH-X requirements,” DAPA spokesman Kang Hwan-seok said. “As the TH-X acquisition is a competition basis, we're scheduled to proceed with a rebidding soon.” Multiple industry sources said the TH-X negotiations broke down mainly because of cost concerns. “Bidding price was an issue, but there are some other reasons, too,” Kang said, adding his agency would issue a request for proposals again between June and July. He declined to elaborate further. The South Korean military has sought to introduce new training helicopters to replace the older fleet of MD 500s, which have been operational for more than 30 years. The DAPA issued an RFP for the TH-X in November 2015. Bell offered its new 505 Jet Ranger light helicopter, which successfully completed its first flight in November 2014, while Leonardo suggested its SW-4 light single-engine multirole helicopter produced its Polish subsidiary PZL Swidnik. Both companies are expected to participate in the TH-X retender, according to DAPA officials.

  • L3 MAS Teams with Israel Aerospace Industries for the Royal Canadian Air Force’s Remotely Piloted Aircraft System Project

    June 11, 2018 | Local, Aerospace

    L3 MAS Teams with Israel Aerospace Industries for the Royal Canadian Air Force’s Remotely Piloted Aircraft System Project

    MIRABEL, Quebec, May 31, 2018 – L3 MAS announced today that it has teamed with Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) to form Team Artemis to offer the state-of-the-art Artemis Unmanned Aerial System (UAS), based on IAI's Heron TP, for the Royal Canadian Air Force's (RCAF) Remotely Piloted Aircraft System (RPAS) program. The Artemis UAS is a mature and highly capable platform with a proven operational track record. This Medium Altitude Long Endurance (MALE) UAS will be equipped with a wide variety of sensors and other payloads designed specifically to meet Canada's requirements. The Artemis UAS is uniquely positioned to assist Canada in preserving its national security and sovereignty interests at home and abroad. L3 MAS will be the prime contractor for the team, building on its extensive In-Service Support (ISS), airworthiness, integrated logistics and program management experience. It will also lead the Artemis Canadian industrial team, including Pratt & Whitney Canada, which will provide the power plant for the air vehicle, as well as other prominent Canadian partners to be named at a later date. The Artemis solution will deliver substantial economic benefits to Canada, including the creation of high-value Canadian jobs. “RPAS provides a welcome opportunity to deliver a world-class UAS capability to the RCAF,” said Jacques Comtois, Vice President and General Manager of L3 MAS. “As the prime contractor, mission systems integrator and ISS provider, L3 MAS looks forward to breaking new ground in Canada's defence and aviation sectors with IAI's Artemis UAS.” “IAI is excited to propose our advanced, flexible and operationally proven Artemis solution for Canada's RPAS project,” said Shaul Shahar, IAI Executive Vice President. “We are excited to have L3 MAS as our partner to cooperate with and bring this impressive capability to the Royal Canadian Air Force. The unique solutions we are offering provide tremendous advantages to Canada, and we look forward to the opportunity to compete on the RPAS project.” Under the RPAS program, the Department of National Defence (DND) will procure a number of MALE UAS aircraft, with associated Ground Control Stations (GCS), sensor suites and support equipment. The contract is scheduled to be awarded in 2021-2022 and will include the acquisition of the equipment and the full spectrum of In-Service Support for 20 years.

  • IMP Aerospace Awarded Royal Norwegian Air Force P-3 Orion Maintenance Contract

    June 11, 2018 | Local, Aerospace

    IMP Aerospace Awarded Royal Norwegian Air Force P-3 Orion Maintenance Contract

    IMP Aerospace announced that it has been awarded a contract by the Norwegian Defence Logistics Organisation (NDLO) following an international competitive bidding process for the maintenance of the P-3 Orion Maritime Patrol Aircraft fleet operated by the Royal Norwegian Air Force (RNoAF). This multi-year contract includes additional In-Service Support (ISS) work beyond maintenance inspections and will be performed at IMP's operations in Halifax, Nova Scotia. The P-3 Orion aircraft perform strategic patrol missions for the RNoAF in the detection of submarine threats, search and rescue support, littoral surveillance, as well as economic zone and shipping lane protection off the coast of Norway. Tom Galley, IMP Aerospace Executive VP, stated “We are very pleased to be awarded this long-term contract for the Royal Norwegian Air Force for the heavy maintenance of their P-3 Orion fleet. IMP Aerospace has developed a close relationship with the RNoAF over the past decade and has a solid working knowledge of their P-3 aircraft maintenance requirements. IMP provides innovative, high value solutions to a variety of domestic and international operators of maritime patrol and ISR capable aircraft, such as the P-3. This award further demonstrates our competitiveness in the marketplace and our reputation as a world class provider of a broad range of in-depth aircraft ISS services.” About IMP Aerospace IMP Aerospace, one of Canada's largest Canadian-owned aerospace and defence contractors, provides a full range of technical services including aircraft In-Service Support, engineering, aircraft repair, overhaul and modification services to domestic and international military and commercial customers. IMP Aerospace is one of six independent operating units of IMP Aerospace & Defence which is a business unit of IMP Group Limited, a Halifax-based company focused on global sustainable growth with over 3,500 experienced people delivering service, quality and value to customers across diverse sectors, such as aerospace, aviation, healthcare, information technology, hospitality, and property development. Carl Kumpic Vice President International Marketing IMP Aerospace & Defence Direct: (902) 873-2250 e-mail: Website:

  • Is a light attack aircraft coming to the Corps?

    June 11, 2018 | International, Aerospace

    Is a light attack aircraft coming to the Corps?

    By: Shawn Snow The Senate Armed Services Committee plans to dish out millions for a Marine light attack aircraft and the Corps' futuristic sea drone, known as the MUX. The committee voted 25-2 on May 24 to give $100 million for a Marine light attack aircraft and $100 million for the MUX sea drone in its markup of the fiscal year 2019 annual defense legislation. The Air Force is still in pursuit of a light attack aircraft. Two aircraft, Textron Aviation's AT-6 Wolverine and the A-29 Super Tucano, are currently undergoing three months of demonstrations, which kicked off in May at Holloman Air Force Base, New Mexico. So, what will the Corps choose? “The Marine Corps is monitoring the Air Force-led Light Attack Experiment to procure a cost-effective, observation and attack (OA-X) air platform for employment in permissive environments, with the intent to employ such an asset as a joint force capability,” Marine spokesman Capt. Christopher Harrison told Marine Corps Times in an email. “The SASC's decision to authorize $100 million for a light attack platform is only reflected in a policy bill ― nothing has been appropriated to this program yet.” Light attack aircraft are seen as a cost-effective means to deliver close-air support in more permissive environments like Iraq and Afghanistan. The A-29 Super Tucano is already fielded by the Afghan air force. Military officials in the past have come under criticism for using expensive aircraft to destroy low key targets. For instance, on Nov. 20, 2017, an F-22 Raptor was used for the first time in Afghanistan, to destroy a narcotics lab. Gen. John Nicholson, the commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, said the F-22 was selected because of its ability to carry the small diameter bomb. As for the MUX, the Corps submitted a request for information in March that spelled out some details the Marine Corps wants in its new futuristic drone. The Corps is looking for a drone to compliment the long distances of some of its other aircraft like the MV-22. According to the March RFI, the Marines want the MUX to be able to fly 700 nautical miles and carry a 9,500-pound payload. The Corps wants its future sea drone to have strike capabilities, surveillance and electronic warfare. first reported that the Senate Armed Services Committee voted to give $100 million for a Marine light attack aircraft.

  • US Navy officially inducts Triton UAV into service

    June 11, 2018 | International, Aerospace

    US Navy officially inducts Triton UAV into service

    Gareth Jennings, London - Jane's Navy International The US Navy (USN) has officially commenced operations of its Northrop Grumman MQ-4C Triton Broad Area Maritime System (BAMS) unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), it was announced on 1 June. A ceremony to formally induct the high-altitude long-endurance (HALE) UAV into service with Unmanned Patrol Squadron (VUP)-19 – the navy's first unmanned patrol squadron – was held the previous day at Naval Base Ventura County in Point Mugu, California. VP-19 now has two Triton UAVs, which are housed in specially constructed to facilities designed to accommodate their nearly 40 m wingspans. With this milestone, VP-19 will undertake training and trials ahead of the platform's inaugural overseas deployment, which will be to the Pacific island of Guam later this year. For this and later deployments, the Triton will operate in concert with the manned Boeing P-8A Poseidon maritime multimission aircraft. The MQ-4C Triton has been developed from the Block 30 RQ-4N naval variant of the RQ-4 Global Hawk HALE UAV to provide the USN with a persistent maritime intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) capability in support of a full range of military operations. Designed for high-altitude, long-endurance ISR tasks, the Triton has a range of about 2,000 n miles and, with an endurance of 24 hours, will be able to cover more than 2.7 million sq miles in a single mission. Its payload primarily comprises the AN/ZPY-3 multifunction active-sensor radar. The USN has established the infrastructure to train its Triton operators at Naval Air Station (NAS) Jacksonville in Florida. Operators undergo training under the supervision of Patrol Squadron (VP) 30 at the 11,600 m2 Integrated Test Center (ITC), which is also used for the training of P-8A Poseidon and P-3 Orion crews.

  • Army Wants Manned-Aircraft Airworthiness Levels From Future UAS

    June 11, 2018 | International, Aerospace, Land

    Army Wants Manned-Aircraft Airworthiness Levels From Future UAS

    Graham Warwick | Aviation Week & Space Technology Its appetite Fueled by the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, the U.S. Army is a big user of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), from thousands of hand-launched RQ-11 Ravens to hundreds of tactical RQ-7 Shadows and medium-altitude MQ-1C Gray Eagles. And the service has made progress in how it uses UAS, including manned-unmanned teaming between Shadows and AH-64 Apache helicopters in the reconnaissance role. But as it looks to the future, the Army is less than happy with some aspects of its UAS ...

  • NASA’s new administrator says he’s talking to companies to take over the International Space Station

    June 5, 2018 | International, Aerospace

    NASA’s new administrator says he’s talking to companies to take over the International Space Station

    NASA is talking to several international companies about forming a consortium that would take over operation of the International Space Station and run it as a commercial space lab, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said in an interview. “We're in a position now where there are people out there that can do commercial management of the International Space Station,” Bridenstine said in his first extensive interview since being sworn in as NASA administrator in April. “I've talked to many large corporations that are interested in getting involved in that through a consortium, if you will.” The White House touched off a heated discussion about the future of the orbiting laboratory earlier this year when it said it planned to end direct government funding of the station by 2025, while working on a transition plan to turn the station over to the private sector. Some members of Congress said they would vigorously oppose any plan that ends the station's life prematurely. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) said the decision to end funding for it was the result of “numskulls” at the Office of Management and Budget. And it was unclear, who, if anyone, would want to take over operations of the station, which costs NASA about $3 billion to $4 billion a year and is run by an international partnership that includes the United States, Russia, Japan, Canada and the European Space Agency. An orbiting laboratory that flies some 250 miles above the Earth's surface, it has been continuously inhabited by astronauts since 2000. In unveiling its plan to commercialize the station earlier this year, the White House offered few details of how exactly it would work. As it prepares a transition plan, the White House said it “will request market analysis and business plans from the commercial sector and solicit plans from commercial industry.” The international nature of the station could make it tricky, though perhaps there could be an international commercial partnership with some sort of a government role, said Frank Slazer, the vice president of space systems for the Aerospace Industries Association. “It will be very hard to turn ISS into a truly commercial outpost because of the international agreements that the United States is involved in,” he said. “It's inherently always going to be an international construct that requires U.S. government involvement and multinational cooperation.” Bridenstine declined to name the companies that have expressed interest in managing the station, and said he was aware that companies may find it “hard to close the business case.” But he said there was still seven years to plan for the future of the station, and with the White House's budget request “we have forced the conversation.” A former congressman from Oklahoma, Bridenstine, was confirmed by the Senate by a narrow 50-to-49 votethis spring, after the post had remained vacant for 15 months. Democrats had rallied against his nomination, saying he lacked the managerial and scientific background for the job. Many had labeled him a climate-change denier over controversial comments Bridenstine, a conservative Republican, had made in the past. But during a Senate hearing last month, he said his views had evolved, and that he believes human activity is the leading cause of climate change. That earned him plaudits from Democrats, such as Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) who had opposed his nomination. “I have come to the conclusion that this is a true evolution,” Schatz said. “That you respect people with whom you work, you respect the science, you want their respect.” In the interview, Bridenstine said there was no single event that cause him to change his thinking. As chairman of the Environment subcommittee, he said he “listened to a lot of testimony. I heard a lot of experts, and I read a lot. I came to the conclusion myself that carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas that we've put a lot of it into the atmosphere and therefore we have contributed to the global warming that we've seen. And we've done it in really significant ways.” In the wide-ranging interview, Bridenstine also listed a return to the moon and the restoration of human spaceflight from United States soil as two of his top priorities. NASA has proposed building an outpost in the vicinity of the moon that could be inhabited by humans from time to time, with landers that could ferry supplies to the lunar surface. Known as the Lunar Orbiting Platform Gateway, the system would be built by NASA in partnership with industry and its international partners, he said. “I've met with a lot of leaders of space agencies from around the world,” he said. “There is a lot of interest in the Gateway in the lunar outpost because a lot of countries want to have access to the surface of the moon. And this can help them as well and they can help us. It helps expand the partnership that we've seen in low Earth orbit with the International Space Station.” But the first element of the system wouldn't be launched until 2021 or 2022, he said. Perhaps as early as this year, Boeing and SpaceX, the companies hired by NASA to fly its astronauts to the space station, could see their first test flights with people on board, though it's possible they could be delayed to next year. Since the space shuttle was retired in 2011, Russia has flown NASA's astronauts to the station, charging hundreds of millions of dollars over that time. Bridenstine said that it is “a big objective is to once again launch American astronauts on American rockets from American soil.” Both Boeing and SpaceX have had delays and setbacks in their programs. Government watchdogs have said they were concerned about an issue with Boeing's abort system that may cause its spacecraft to “tumble,” posing a threat to the crew's safety. Boeing has said it has fixed that problem, as well as a concern with the heat shield that the Government Accountability Office said last year could disconnect “and damage the parachute system.” John Mulholland, Boeing's commercial crew program manager, told Congress earlier this year that the company's "analyses show that we exceed our requirements for crew safety." As administrator, Bridenstine and his staff will also have to sign off on SpaceX's decision to fuel its Falcon 9 rocket after the crews are on board -- which some have said could put astronauts at risk. But during a recent NASA safety advisory panel, some members said they thought the procedure could be a “viable option” if adequate safety controls are in place. SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk told reporters last month that he did not think the fueling process "presents a safety issue for astronauts. But we can adjust our operational procedures to load propellant before the astronauts board. But I really think this is an overblown issue.” In the interview, Bridenstine said no decision had been made yet about the fueling procedures. “I haven't signed off on anything at this point,” he said. “We're going to make sure we test it every which way you can possibly imagine. And that's underway right now. We're not going to put anybody in any undue risk.”

  • State of Canada's Defence Industry 2018

    May 25, 2018 | Local, Aerospace, Naval, Land, C4ISR, Security

    State of Canada's Defence Industry 2018

    Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED) joined forces with the Canadian Association of Defence and Security Industries (CADSI) to publicly release a new report on Canada's defence industry for decision makers. Features of the report include building analytic capacity through collaborative research, economic impact, innovation, exports, and supply chains analysis.

  • Company plays “a long game” at NATO

    May 18, 2018 | International, Aerospace

    Company plays “a long game” at NATO

    Persistence and a long-term strategy have paid off for a Canadian space and defence company, which has won a $15 million contract to build a new system for NATO's maritime command and control operations. MDA signed a deal with NATO in December 2017 to support the military alliance's Project TRITON. The contract comes with the prospect of significant follow-on opportunities at NATO and many of its member countries, proving the value of perseverance in pursuing work with the organization. “It's a long game,” says Mike Greenley, group president of MDA president of MDA, part of Maxar Technologies, a public company listed in Canada and the United States, formerly known as MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates. MDA first became interested in the TRITON contract almost a decade ago, when it heard that NATO had plans to replace and update the command and control, or C2, system in its maritime operations centres, he says. “It's a big effort. We had a team working on this project for several years.” MDA, which was founded in 1969 and today has 1,900 employees in several centres across Canada, is best known for innovations in space robotics, such as the development of the Canadarm. It is also involved in satellite antennas, surveillance and intelligence, defense and maritime systems and geospatial radar imagery. NATO—which stands for North Atlantic Treaty Organization—is a military defence alliance signed in Washington D.C. in 1949, by several North American and European nations in the North Atlantic area. Canada is a founding member of NATO, which is headquartered in Brussels. Greenley says the three-year Project TRITON contract—which is under the NATO Communications and Information Agency (NCIA) in Brussels—uses MDA's core expertise in maritime domain awareness and digital mapping to present a “maritime picture” that locates, tracks and analyzes the movements of ships at sea. This helps NATO and its member counties improve their situational awareness and decision-making processes. It was critical for NATO to recognize MDA's capabilities in the field, he notes, but the company also had to “stick with it” over a long time to be successful in its bid. “This is a demonstration that a Canadian firm can compete in full and open competition and win a NATO program,” Greenley comments, noting that European firms especially find it more convenient to compete at NATO than those overseas. “There's not a lot of history of Canadian companies being successful there.” NCIA general manager Kevin Scheid said in a statement that “NCIA is delighted to have an opportunity to work with a Canadian company that brings the depth and breadth of Canadian maritime command and control experience to NATO for the TRITON project.” Kerry Buck, the Permanent Representative of Canada to NATO, noted, “NATO is at the core of Canada's national security policy. We are proud that NATO will leverage Canadian technology and expertise to contribute to enhanced communications and support interoperability in NATO.” Lieutenant-Colonel Jim Bates, the former national expert, or NATEX, for Canada at NCIA, says that “MDA did everything right to win the TRITON contract.” Bates, who returned to Ottawa in 2017 to take up an assignment at National Defence Headquarters, calls it “an excellent case study” for Canadian firms interested in getting work at NATO. Bates first became aware of MDA's interest in the TRITON contract when he first started at NATO in 2012. “MDA had been tracking that project from the earliest days,” he recalls. “MDA made regular visits to NATO to meet with key stakeholders. It pursued and won other smaller NATO contract opportunities prior to the TRITON award, so it had a foot in the door and was able to introduce NATO personnel to MDA's services and expertise. That made a positive impression.” The company kept in regular contact with Bates to get business intelligence, and it attended each annual NCIA Industry Conference, where MDA officials could engage agency staff and completely understand NATO's procurement process. “There were no surprises when it came time to bid,” says Bates, adding that is not always the case. “Companies big and small agonize over whether to bid,” because it's a substantial commitment with no guarantee. “It was the norm during my time at NATO that Canadian companies would track NATO opportunities but rarely bid. But you can't win if you don't bid...MDA was confident in its position on TRITON and it won.” Greenley says that in dealing with NATO and its member countries, it's important to present the right price as well as the right technical solution. “In NATO you have to get the entire team comfortable with your approach.” Future contracts related to the TRITON deal could “highly likely” include adding functions and features to NATO's C2 systems, he says, while NATO member countries could adopt MDA's TRITON solution for their own maritime operation centres. “There's every reason to expect there will be solid follow-on business,” Greenley says. “This could easily become a persistent work story in our company for a decade or more.” He credits the Canadian representatives in Brussels at all different levels of Canada's mission to NATO, as well as in key NATO member countries, with MDA's success in winning the contract. “All the right people in the right places at the right time worked with us to win this opportunity.” MDA exports regularly and has started to become operationally present in other countries, Greenley says. Its business development activities are supported by the Canadian Trade Commissioner Service (TCS), along with Export Development Canada and the Canadian Commercial Corporation. “We use the full suite of export tools available to Canadians,” Greenley comments. “International business is based on having a good solution, it's based on having your country as a buyer and then you need whole-of-government support.” MDA will be using the Canadian Trade Commissioner Service (TCS) to promote its TRITON technology among NATO members looking to replace and update their own C2 systems, Greenley says. “We will certainly be out there working in NATO countries with the TCS encouraging those countries to adopt this solution.” Gregory Rust, the senior trade commissioner who is head of the trade program at Canada's embassy in Brussels, says “one thing that I've observed following the NATO contracting process over the years is that it's important to be persistent, patient and thorough.” Rust says MDA displayed all of those critical characteristics, and the TCS “was available to support the company's ongoing interests by offering key core services.” Jane Li, First Secretary in the Joint Delegation of Canada to NATO, who is Canada's representative on the Investment Committee that oversees the NATO Security Investment Program, says it's important to be proactive in researching and understanding NATO's needs. “Patience is also a virtue,” she says, adding that as with many large organizations, it takes time to get to know NATO and how it functions, and for the organization to understand what industry has to offer. “Taking a long-term view is necessary.” MDA took such an approach “and spent a lot of time working towards this,” she says, adding that it's important to “respond to opportunities early and often. Tracking and signalling interest to receive invitations for bids will help you understand what NATO needs and improves familiarity with its processes, which in turn can help increase your chances of success.” Greenley says now that MDA has the TRITON contract, “we want to have sustained business relationships with NATO,” but it's still not going to be easy to get contracts there. “It takes a long time for any NATO program to be organized and executed, so to stick with it is challenging,” he says, while the distance to Brussels and the extra investment needed to have a presence there is an added hurdle for Canadian firms. Canada is joining other countries in having governments and companies form partnerships to lobby for NATO work, which makes sense given the revenues that NATO contracts can bring, he says. “We're starting to step up and ensure that we get our fair share.” Greenley advises companies interested in NATO work to beware of how long the process can take. “I would not put a NATO project in my core business plan,” he says. “You shouldn't assume it's going to happen. It's a strategic, incremental business growth opportunity.” He says it's important to stay “fully engaged” with the TCS and work with Canada's delegation to NATO as well as member countries. “NATO by its definition is based on the participation and collaboration of many participants,” he explains. “You need to use Canada's relationships with multiple NATO countries to build a base of support for your solution.” Greeley hopes MDA's success “leads to other companies in Canada seeing it can be done, and adding to the list of Canadian-based NATO programs.” As the company now executes the TRITON contact, “we're going to work hard to make the most of this opportunity,” he adds. From Brussels, Belgium, this story is one example of how trade commissioners located in more than 160 cities around the world help Canadian companies succeed.

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