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  • Australian subs to get sonar boost

    June 20, 2018 | International, Naval

    Australian subs to get sonar boost

    Pierre Tran PARIS — Thales has sealed a deal worth AU $230 million (U.S. $169 million) to boost the sonar capability on the Australian Navy's six-strong fleet of Collins submarines, drawing on teams working in Britain, France and Australia. “Australia's strategic priority on enhancing its submarine capability will be supported by Thales through major upgrades of the sonar system on all six Collins class submarines,” the electronics company said in a June 14 statement. Thales' work is part of a total AU $542 million project to install a modular cylindrical array, based on sonar 2076 submarine technology developed by its British unit, the company said. That modular array replaces a cylindrical array installed in the 1980s. A new flank array from the Thales French unit will replace the existing system. Thales will work with the combat system integrator, Raytheon Australia, which will integrate products from other suppliers including Sonartech Atlas and L3 Oceania. The sonar work will support more than 140 local jobs, of which 50 will be Thales staff at its Rydalmere plant, western Sydney, the company said. That deal follows Thales winning in November 2016 a contract for design and pre-production to upgrade cylindrical and flank array sonars, including onboard processing, on the Collins boats. Separately, Thales hopes to win business worth more than AU $1.6 billion to supply sonars and other equipment on the Australian acquisition of 12 ocean-going attack submarines. Lockheed Martin is combat systems integrator and Naval Group the prime contractor on that program worth some AU $50 billion.

  • The Navy’s acquisition boss has a plan to get fleet maintenance back on track

    June 20, 2018 | International, Naval

    The Navy’s acquisition boss has a plan to get fleet maintenance back on track

    David B. Larter WASHINGTON — The Navy's acquisition boss, aiming to get his arms around the long-term maintenance and ownership costs of the world's most complex fleet, has directed Naval Sea Systems Command to undertake an ambitious long-term plan for all the ships in the fleet. James “Hondo” Geurts, the assistant secretary of the Navy for research, development and acquisition, has asked NAVSEA to compile a 30-year ship repair and maintenance plan that he intends to roll out alongside the annual shipbuilding plan. “The idea is, we have this 30-year shipbuilding plan, that's only as good as our ability to repair and modernize those ships once we build them,” Geurts told a gaggle of reporters Tuesday. “So what we'd like to do is create the companion plan that takes the shipbuilding plan and what we have in inventory, then forecast and plan for all the repair and modernizations that we'll have to do.” The Navy wants to have an idea, as it looks down to road, if it has the needed industrial capacity and infrastructure in place to meet the fleet's needs, which will become especially important as the fleet builds up. In fact, the Navy struggles to adequately maintain the smaller fleet it has today. In testimony last week, NAVSEA head Vice Adm. Thomas Moore told House lawmakers that the net capacity private shipyards that handle surface ship maintenance was only 75 percent of what the Navy required. During the past decade, the increasing demands on a smaller fleet drove deployment lengths to nine months or longer, which racked up a readiness deficit that the Navy is still working through. Deployment lengths have come back down closer to seven months, but the unpredictable operations tempo made it difficult for the Navy to plan yards periods and impacted the business of the private shipyards. Geurts conceded that operations will undoubtedly impact a 30-year maintenance schedule but said having it on paper was the right place to start when managing complicated schedules. “It's a very complex issue with inputs and outputs,” Geurts said. “But the only thing I know is the best way to get after a complex issue is laying out at least what you know and having that at least as a baseline so then when you have to do changes – for operational reasons of whatever — you are changing from a known baseline and you can understand quickly what the second and third order effects are. Like we do on new construction, I'd like to introduce that kind of rigor.” Ultimately the hope is that industry can plan better with a long-term plan in place, Geurts said. “My hope is if we can do that, industry can start planning resources, they can start hiring resources when they see the signal,” he said. “Right now we are not as well positioned in the future as I'd like to be.”

  • GenDyn contracted for parts for future submarine construction

    June 20, 2018 | International, Naval

    GenDyn contracted for parts for future submarine construction

    James LaPorta June 19 (UPI) -- The Department of Defense has awarded a contract to General Dynamics Electric Boat for work on the next nine Virginia-class attack submarines. The contract award from Naval Sea Systems Command, announced Monday, is worth $225 million under the terms of cost-plus-fixed-fee contract, which is a modification to a previous Pentagon award, the Defense Department said. The deal will see General Dynamics provide economic ordering quantity material -- parts ordered ahead of time -- for the next nine Virginia-class, nuclear-powered fast attack submarines, for work in fiscal 2019 through 2023. The nine vessels are part of the Block V generation of the Virginia class. The first four have been ordered by the U.S. Navy already, with General Dynamics set to construct SSN-802 and SSN-803 and Huntington Ingalls Industries tapped for SSN-804 and SSN-805. Work on the contract will occur in various locations throughout the United States and is expected to be complete in January 2019. The total cumulative value of the contract will be obligated to General Dynamics at time of award -- the obligated funds will be allocated from Navy fiscal 2018 shipbuilding and conversion accounts and will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year, said the Pentagon press release.


    June 19, 2018 | Local, Aerospace, Naval, Land, C4ISR, Security


    • Canada has awarded Thales Canada Phase II of the MEOSAR (Medium Earth Orbit Search and Rescue) Ground Segment contract. • The contract includes the procurement of two MEOLUTs and maintenance services for five years with options for an additional five years. • Using Thales Alenia Space's powerful and compact MEOLUT Next phased array solution, Canada will benefit from the world's first space borne search and rescue system of this type. Canada has awarded Thales Canada Phase II of the MEOSAR (Medium Earth Orbit Search and Rescue) Ground Segment contract. It will support Canada's ability to respond quickly and effectively to distress signals from land, air and sea from coast-to-coast-to-coast; enabling Canada to meet its obligations under the International COSPAS-SARSAT Programme Agreement. The contract includes the procurement of two MEOLUTs and maintenance services for five years with options for an additional five years. Using Thales Alenia Space's powerful and compact MEOLUT Next phased array solution, Canada will benefit from the world's first space borne search and rescue system of this type. Thales Alenia Space designs, operates and delivers satellite-based systems for governments and institutions, helping them position and connect anyone or anything, everywhere. Since its commissioning in 2016, MEOLUT Next has delivered unrivalled performance, detecting distress signals more than 5,000km away. This new capability saves lives. On July 2, 2017 at 6:30 a.m., 70 kilometres off the coast of Sardinia, a 12-meter sailboat with three people aboard triggered its COSPAS/SARSAT beacon when its rudder broke and its engine failed. Its VHF radio out of range, the sailors quickly realized they were in a critical situation with waves over four meters high and the wind blowing at 40 knots. MEOLUT Next was able to receive and process their distress signals in less than five minutes, providing accurate positioning to authorities. An airplane identified the boat less than two hours after the beacon was triggered and a helicopter airlifted the crew to safety, saving all three lives. “Thales Canada is proud to deliver world class solutions that will make life better and keep us safer,” said Jerry McLean, Managing Director and Vice President, Thales Canada. “From complex C4ISR systems to integrated maritime C3 and diverse aerospace solutions, this contract further reflects Thales' continued commitment to Canadian innovation.” “We are confident that our solution will meet and exceed Canada's MEOSAR expectations, offering Canada a decisive technology for its decisive moments,” said Philippe Blatt, VP Navigation France at Thales Alenia Space. “Today, MEOLUT Next is the only solution in the world capable of processing second-generation beacons in real time. Its operational efficiency was recently recognized by Space & Satellite Professionals International (SSPI) for its humanitarian contributions”. Notes to Editor COSPAS/SARSAT COSPAS/SARSAT is an intergovernmental organization founded by Canada, the United States, Russia and France. In operation in 43 countries around the world, this satellite-based search and rescue distress alert detection and information distribution system is best known for detecting and locating emergency beacons activated by aircraft, ships and backcountry hikers in distress. Today, some 500,000 ships and 150,000 aircraft are equipped with COSPAS/SARSAT distress beacons. To date, the COSPAS-SARSAT service has saved more than 37,000 lives. MEOLUT Next Conventional MEOLUT (Medium Earth Orbit Local User Terminal) systems use large parabolic antennas and are limited by how many satellite signals they can receive. Thales Alenia Space's MEOLUT Next solution is compact, measuring less than six square meters, with the ability to track up to 30 satellites, significantly enhancing the distress beacon detection rate while expanding the coverage zone. Since there are no mechanical components, hardware maintenance costs are the lowest on the market. About Thales The people we all rely on to make the world go round – they rely on Thales. Our customers come to us with big ambitions: to make life better, to keep us safer. Combining a unique diversity of expertise, talents and cultures, our architects design and deliver extraordinary high technology solutions. Solutions that make tomorrow possible, today. From the bottom of the oceans to the depth of space and cyberspace, we help our customers think smarter and act faster - mastering ever greater complexity and every decisive moment along the way. With 65,000 employees in 56 countries, Thales reported sales of €15.8 billion in 2017. About Thales Canada A national leader in research and technology, Thales Canada combines its more than 50 years of experience with the talent of 1,800 skilled people located coast-to-coast. With revenues of $500 million, Thales Canada offers leading capabilities in the urban rail, civil aviation and defence and security sectors that meet the needs of customers' most complex requirements across every operating environment. About Thales Alenia Space Combining 40 years of experience and a unique diversity of expertise, talents and cultures, Thales Alenia Space engineers design and deliver high technology solutions for telecommunications, navigation, Earth observation, environmental management, exploration, science and orbital infrastructures. Governments, institutions and companies rely on Thales Alenia Space to design, operate and deliver satellite-based systems that help them position and connect anyone or anything, everywhere, help observe our planet, help optimize the use of our planet's – and our solar system's – resources. Thales Alenia Space believes in space as humankind's new horizon, which will enable to build a better, more sustainable life on Earth. A joint venture between Thales (67%) and Leonardo (33%), Thales Alenia Space also teams up with Telespazio to form the parent companies' Space Alliance, which offers a complete range of services and solutions. Thales Alenia Space posted consolidated revenues of about 2.4 billion euros in 2016 and has 7,980 employees in nine countries. PRESS CONTACTS Cara Salci National Director, Public Affairs & Communications Thales Canada Tel.: 613-404-9413 THALES ALENIA SPACE Sandrine Bielecki Tel: +33 (0)4 92 92 70 94 Chrystelle Dugimont Tel: +33 (0)4 92 92 74 06 Cinzia Marcanio Tel: +39 06 41512685

  • US Navy Wants a Next-Gen Supply Network — and Fast

    June 19, 2018 | International, Naval

    US Navy Wants a Next-Gen Supply Network — and Fast

    BY AARON BOYD An accelerated-acquisition office is seeking industry's best ideas for keeping track of parts and repairs ashore and at sea. The U.S. Navy is looking for bleeding-edge technologies to improve its business systems and is using its other transaction authority to solicit ideas. The Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command, or SPAWAR, announced June 14 its intention to use the Training and Readiness Accelerator, or TReX, consortium to manage the solicitation. On or about June 25, TReX will release the full solicitation requirements to its members, which includes “the entire innovation ecosystem including companies from—startups to Fortune 1000—universities, technology incubators, investors, public and private laboratories and non-profits,” according to its website. The solicitation will cover four areas under the Naval Operational Business Logistics Enterprise, or NOBLE, family of systems, with the overall goal of improving the Navy's material and shore readiness—including “reduced failure rate, improved repair time, improved resupply time and accuracy, affordable sustainment, mission capable and secure facilities”—and user experience—including “simplified and expedited decision making, integrated and dynamic work prioritization, digitally enabled training and collaboration and easy and intuitive user experience/interface.” The solicitation focuses on three core areas, with an overarching integrated data environment stretching across the enterprise. The core areas include the Naval Operational Supply System, or NOSS, the Naval Aviation Maintenance System, or NAMS, and the Naval Operational Maintenance Environment, or NOME. According to the solicitation, NOSS will provide planning, requisitioning, procurement, inventory control, logistics services and financial accountability of all material and property across all commodities. NAMS will provide Naval aviation—U.S. Navy and U.S. Marine Corps—with a deployable, scalable and streamlined tactical maintenance solution to maintain the operational availability of deployed and deployable aircraft. NOME will provide the Navy with a deployable, scalable and streamlined tactical maintenance solution afloat to maintain the operational availability of deployed and deployable ships and submarines. Along with the core areas, SPAWAR is also looking for an integrated data environment that can work across platforms. While the data environment will have to work with each individual system, it is being treated as a separate solution area under this solicitation. The data environment will need to be hosted in a government-certified cloud with an impact level rating of 4/5, which cover sensitive controlled unclassified information. “The cloud environment combined with a common IDE will provide a highly available and reliable commercial solution,” the solicitation states. “The environment will also be capable of hosting and integrating applications, data, systems and services planned to be transitioned to modern commercial technologies, and accomplish this migration of government-owned applications with no degradation of services.” SPAWAR will conduct the solicitation in two phases. The first phase consists of submitting white papers for each solution—vendors can bid on any or all of them—with a tentative deadline set for July 24. SPAWAR will then down-select from that pool for Phase II, which will consist of two-hour, in-person demos in Orlando, Florida. Interested parties must be a part of the TReX consortium in order to bid.

  • Trump orders creation of independent space force - but Congress will still have its say

    June 19, 2018 | International, Aerospace, Naval

    Trump orders creation of independent space force - but Congress will still have its say

    Valerie Insinna and Aaron Mehta WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump on Monday appeared to sign an executive order directing the Pentagon to create a new ”Space Force,” a move that could radically transform the U.S. military by pulling space functions variously owned by the Air Force, Navy and other military branches into a single independent service. But while the president's support for a new military branch is notable, experts -- and a powerful member of Congress -- believe Trump still needs the support of Congress to make a space force happen. “I am hereby directing the Department of Defense and Pentagon to immediately begin the process necessary to establish a Space Force as the sixth branch of the armed forces,” Trump said during a meeting of the National Space Council. “That's a big statement. We are going to have the Air Force and we are going to have the Space Force. Separate but equal. It is going to be something. So important,” Trump added. “General Dunford, if you would carry that assignment out, I would be very greatly honored.” Dunford responded in the affirmative, telling Trump, “We got you.” According to a White House pool report, the president signed the executive order establishing the Space Force at about 12:36 p.m. EST. However, a readout issued from the White House later that day of the executive order contained no language related to the creation of a new military branch, leaving open the question of whether Trump has actually issued formal guidance to the military. The Air Force referred all questions to the Office of the Secretary of Defense, which did not respond immediately to requests for comment. However, a defense official, speaking on background, said “The Joint Staff will work closely with the Office of the Secretary of Defense, other DoD stakeholders and the Congress to implement the President's guidance." Trump's support for creating a separate branch for space is a break from his own adminsitration's stance last year, as well as that of Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis. “At a time when we are trying to integrate the Department's joint warfighting functions, I do not wish to add a separate service that would likely present a narrower and even parochial approach to space operations vice an integrated one we're constructing under our current approach,” Mattis wrote in a 2017 letter to members of Congress. But in recent months, Trump has signaled he was intrigued by the idea of a stand alone space force, saying in a May 1 speech that “We're actually thinking of a sixth” military branch for space. At the time, that statement confounded Air Force leaders who had publicly opposed the creation of a separate space service, leading them to adopt a softer tone when talking about the potential for Space Force to avoid being seen as out of step with Trump. This time, however, Trump's announcement tracks with the Pentagon's schedule for an interim report on whether to establish an independent space corps. Deputy Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan said in April that it was on track to be wrapped up on June 1. The final report, which would be sent to Congress, is due in August. Trump's announcement was characteristically vague, but experts say that any new branch would have to come through an act of Congress. “The Congress alone has the power to establish a new branch of the military and to establish the positions of senior executive officials to lead such a department,” said Jonathan Turley, a professor at Georgetown University's law school who has studied constitutional issues relating to the military. “While the Pentagon can informally create study or working groups, it has no such authority.” The president can have the military lay the groundwork for a future new branch, Turley said, which is close to what Trump seemed to be getting at. By: Kelsey Atherton “What the President can do is to order the study and proposal for a new branch, which would ultimately go to Congress of any authorization and appropriations,” he said. Todd Harrison, an expert with the Center for Strategic and International Studies, agreed, tweeting Monday that “The president can't just create a new military service on his own. It requires congressional authorization..” “So the near-term practical effect of all this is that the president can direct DoD to come up with a plan and start preparing to create a Space Force, but he still needs congress to authorize it,” Harrison continued. And while sources on Capitol Hill said they believe Trump does have the authority to establish the new military branch, and that their attention will now turn to funding and missions for the new Space Force, at least one Republican member of Congress made his stance clear. “Establishing a service branch requires congressional action,” House Armed Services Tactical Air and Land Forces Subcommittee chair Mike Turner, R-Ohio. “We still don't know what a Space Force would do, who is going to be in it, or how much is it going to cost. “The congressionally mandated report evaluating a Space Force to answer those questions is due in August,” Turner added. “After we get the report that we required as a legislative body and the President signed off on, then this issue can be appropriately evaluated for what's best for national security.” Congress reacts Trump's announcement also left it unclear whether this new space force will rest under the Department of the Air Force — much like the Marine Corps is a component of the Department of the Navy — or whether a new “Department of the Space Force” will also be created. Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Ala., the head of the House Armed Services strategic forces subcommittee, tweeted out his support for Trump's order. Rogers had previously proposed a separate space service as part of Congress' annual defense policy bill. However, lawmakers and experts also immediately registered their opposition to the announcement. Sen. Bill Nelson, (D-Fla.), the top Democrat on the Senate Commerce Committee that oversees nonmilitary space programs, tweeted that now was not the right time to establish a separate space force. Harrison noted that the infrastructure may already exist to smooth the creation of a space force. “Creating a Space Force would not necessarily mean a huge increase in funding. We already have space forces within the military, this would just be reorganizing them under a single chain of command,” he tweeted. “Yes, there would be some extra overhead costs, but it doesn't have to be huge.” But David Deptula, a retired Air Force lieutenant general and currently dean of the Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies, questioned whether the administration had hammered down the details needed to successfully consolidate the military's space functions into a single service. “This is another case of ready, fire, aim,” he said. David Larter, Joe Gould, Tara Copp and Leo Shane III contributed to this report. This story is developing.

  • Défense : un programme franco-allemand ambitieux

    June 19, 2018 | International, Aerospace, Naval, Land

    Défense : un programme franco-allemand ambitieux

    ANNE BAUER Fabriquer un char franco-allemand commun ? Par deux fois, à la fin des années cinquante et dans les années 1970, la France et l'Allemagne sont passées à côté de ce symbole de réconciliation. La troisième fois devrait être la bonne. Le conseil franco-allemand qui se tient mardi à Meseberg doit permettre de sceller une nouvelle avancée significative dans la coopération entre les deux pays en matière de défense. En misant sur deux programmes...

  • Naval Group execs head to Poland to extoll virtues of its submarine

    June 18, 2018 | International, Naval

    Naval Group execs head to Poland to extoll virtues of its submarine

    Pierre Tran PARIS — Naval Group has fielded top executives to Poland to pitch the Scorpene submarine in Warsaw's Orka naval program. The senior executives were in Poland June 14 and 15 presenting the Scorpene, which is a frontrunner in the Polish tender, said François Dupont, director of the international trade department. That French Scorpene is competing with the 212CD submarine from ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems and A26 boat from Saab in a closely watched competition reported to be worth 10 billion zloty (U.S. $2.71 billion). A creation of 2,000 local jobs and offer of the MBDA cruise missile are part of Naval Group's “highly significant offer,” he said. Naval Group has long played down the impact of political discord between France and Poland stemming from Warsaw's cancellation in 2016 of talks for an offset deal tied to 50 Caracal military helicopters. The previous Polish government had picked Airbus Helicopter as preferred bidder, but the present administration cancelled that when it took office. Meanwhile, chances of Naval Group of winning a sale of two Scorpene to Italy and displacing the incumbent supplier TKMS seem to be slim. “This is a complex campaign,” Dupont said. Italy is due to add a further two U212A boats to the present four-strong fleet built by Fincantieri under licence from TKMS. Political ties between France and Italy hit a low this week, calling into question whether Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte would go ahead with a June 15 visit to France. But Conte went ahead with the meeting with president Emmanuel Macron, despite the French head of state three days earlier decrying the “cynicism and irresponsibility” of Rome in turning away the Aquarius, a humanitarian rescue ship with 629 migrants aboard. In Canada, Naval Group has explained why concerns over handing over intellectual property rights led to a joint offer with Italian partner Fincantieri being submitted directly to the Canadian government rather than observing a procedure calling for filing a bid to Irving Shipbuilding. “We have explained, we have been heard,” he said. Naval Group hopes the Franco-Italian offer will win over rival bids which include the Type 26 frigate from BAE Systems, which Dupont points out has yet to be built. In India's plan to acquire six more submarines under the P-75I project, Naval Group hopes its supply of the first six Scorpene in the P-75 program with local partner Mazagon Dock Limited will lead to a follow-on deal. Exports are critical to Naval Group, which seeks to make half of annual sales from foreign deals by 2020, compared to around a third presently. Dupont, a graduate of Columbia University, took up his post as head of international trade on April 2. Dupont previously worked for Thales, specializing in export sales of sonar systems.

  • It's make or break time for Canadian Surface Combatant bidders

    June 15, 2018 | Local, Naval

    It's make or break time for Canadian Surface Combatant bidders

    DAVID PUGLIESE, OTTAWA CITIZEN The companies bidding on the Canadian Surface Combatant program will provide Irving Shipbuilding with their “cured” bids by July 21. Earlier this year, Postmedia reported that all three bidders in the competition failed to meet some of the federal government's requirements. The problems centre around technical issues. Some are minor but in other cases there is a view among defence industry officials that Canada is asking for too much in some areas such as radar, which may be causing problems with meeting requirements. Public Services and Procurement Canada spokeswoman Michèle LaRose earlier said the bids received for the Canadian Surface Combatant project have not been disqualified. Three bids have been received. The federal government and Irving Shipbuilding are still evaluating the proposals, she added. LaRose pointed out that the evaluation is at the second stage in the process. Government officials say that involves what is known as “the cure process” in which bidders will be given details of how their proposals have failed to meet the stated criteria. They will then be given only one opportunity to fix issues with their bids. So those fixes are to be submitted by July 21, according to industry representatives. If the bids are still considered “non-compliant” after the cure period they “will be eliminated from the competition,” according to the federal government. The budget for the Canadian Surface Combatant project is estimated by the federal government to be between $55 billion and $60 billion. That is a range but specific costs won't be known until contacts are signed and more details worked out. Fifteen warships will be built. Pat Finn, assistant deputy minister for materiel at the Department of National Defence, told Defence Watch he expects a winning bid to be selected by the end of this year.

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