Filter Results:

All sectors

All categories

    2236 news articles

    You can refine the results using the filters above.

  • 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...

  • Estonia’s new law opens door for weapons export, defense industry growth

    June 15, 2018 | International, Aerospace, Naval, Land, C4ISR

    Estonia’s new law opens door for weapons export, defense industry growth

    By: Jaroslaw Adamowski WARSAW, Poland — Estonia’s Parliament has amended legislation to allow Estonian companies to make and handle military weapons and gear. The law paves the way for the development of the country’s defense industry and the export of weapons and equipment by local players. Estonian Defence Minister Jüri Luik said in a statement that, to date, the Estonian military has acquired its gear almost exclusively abroad, but now the situation is expected to change, and export opportunities for the country’s defense industry will also increase. “The absence of a right to handle weapons and ammunition has long been a serious concern for Estonia’s defense industry, one that hinders the development of the defense sector,” Luik said. The legislation’s summary states it “provides a legal framework for Estonian companies to begin to manufacture, maintain, import and export military weapons, ammunition, munitions and combat vehicles. The existing legislation does not allow this.” The ministry expects between five and six local companies to apply for the required licenses in the first year. The move comes as Estonia is planning a defense spending hike, with military expenditure to total €2.4 billion (U.S. $2.8 billion) in the next four years, according to Luik. Last April, the ministry unveiled the country’s updated investment program for the years 2018-2022. Among others, Estonia aims to purchase munitions for about €100 million. Owing to the amended legislation, Estonian defense companies could also become suppliers to neighboring Lithuania and Latvia. Lithuania has allocated €873 million to its defense budget this year, up 20.6 percent compared with 2017. Latvia’s military expenditure for 2018 is to reach €576.34 million, up €126.8 million compared with a year earlier.

  • When does industry expect France and Germany to set its future tank requirements?

    June 15, 2018 | International, Land

    When does industry expect France and Germany to set its future tank requirements?

    By: Pierre Tran PARIS ― KNDS expects France and Germany to deliver by early next year key military requirements for a future heavy tank, said the two chairmen of the Franco-German joint venture for land weapons. “Within this year or latest next year,” said Frank Haun, CEO of Krauss-Maffei Wegmann and joint chairman of KNDS. Haun and Stephen Mayer, CEO of Nexter and joint chairman of KNDS, spoke June 13 to Defense News at the Eurosatory trade show on land weapons. Those requirements for a next-generation tank are seen as critical to the future of KNDS, formed in 2015. KMW is a private company owned by the Wegmann family, while Nexter is state-owned. The French and German defense ministers have given political pledges to back a new tank, dubbed Main Ground Combat System, and new-generation artillery, or Common Indirect Fire System. Industry leaders are waiting for the French and German army chiefs of staff to set out requirements that will shape the programs, which may lead to a consolidation of European land weapons for industry and lead to the military sharing the same tank and artillery. That Main Ground Combat System will be the successor to the Leclerc and Leopard 2 tanks, the main battle tanks for the French and German armies, respectively. An entry into service is expected in 2035. There are signs of an eagerness for the requirements, which could open a new chapter. “They need something now,” Haun said. Much hangs on whether the two army chiefs of staff will agree on a common requirement that would allow French and German industry to design, develop and build the same tank. “Will they agree?” Haun said. “We don’t know, but we think so.” Added Mayer: “We think so.” The French and German army chiefs of staff are due to meet in the next few weeks to discuss operational requirements, a French military source said. That critical list of requirements launches “an iterative process,” with companies studying the operational needs and responding, Mayer said. “It is more than a political statement but not a final definition,” Hain said. At the Berlin Air Show in April, it was reported the French and German defense ministers said a German company would lead the new tank program. German industrial leadership was seen as opening the door to Rheinmetall. KNDS, however, is confident its capabilities as a “systems house” will lead to winning the prized prime contractorship, and Nexter sees no problem of a German leadership on the tank. “KNDS has all the competences needed to be the system house for MGCS,” Mayer said. “Both Nexter and KMW have that. We are French-German, we are able together to manage the program and to make a joint team, and also to respect the decision of the two countries to have a German leadership.” There were “no problems inside the group,” he added. Said Haun: “We are as French as we are German.” A German company leading the tank program follows a leading German role through Airbus for a project for a European medium-altitude, long-endurance UAV. A French company will take the top job in the third bilateral project, dubbed Future Combat Air System. Research and development for the tank will likely require some €1 billion (US $1.2 billion) over 10 years, with the government partially funding the work, Haun said. There will be new concepts, new technology, protection, communications, more artificial intelligence and “robotization.” There will be a new gun, with caliber size weighed against mobility and protection. A maximum weight is seen as 70 tons. The tank will likely be linked to robots through “automatization.” There will also be a need to cut the cost of spares and logistical support. Work on the new artillery project is similar to that on the tank, with active discussion on theCommon Indirect Fire System , which is on a similar timescale, around 2035. Mayer noted that French Armed Forces Minister Florence Parly referred to the planned artillery in her June 11 speech at Eurosatory. In her remarks, she said work by KNDS on the tank and gun projects can be interpreted as signs of cooperation with Germany. “This industrial partnership speaks much of the ambition we have with Germany, with which we share programs which will be of structural importance for our armies and the future of our defense.” Sebastian Sprenger contributed to this report.

  • Trade dispute could leave U.S. firms out of the running to sell military equipment to Canada

    June 14, 2018 | Local, Aerospace, Naval, Land

    Trade dispute could leave U.S. firms out of the running to sell military equipment to Canada

    U.S. President Donald Trump’s tirade against Canada and threats to punish the country could undermine efforts by American firms trying to sell fighter jets and other military equipment to the Canadian Forces, warn defence and industry analysts. One European firm, Airbus, has already been talking with Canadian officials to pitch its plan to build fighter jets in Quebec as it positions itself to win the $16-billion deal to replace CF-18 aircraft. An Italian aerospace firm, Leonardo, is looking at building helicopters in Nova Scotia as it moves towards negotiations for a search-and-rescue aircraft modernization project the Department of National Defence says will be worth between $1 billion and $5 billion. Trump has hit Canadian aluminum and steel with tariffs, claiming their import is a threat to national security. After the weekend G7 meeting and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s reaffirming that Canada would reciprocate with tariffs on specific U.S. products, Trump vowed more economic grief that will “cost a lot of money for the people of Canada.” Trump’s move comes at a time when European firms are courting the Canadian government, particularly on big-ticket defence items such as aircraft and warships. Billions of dollars in new purchases are potentially at stake and European firms had a strong presence at the recent CANSEC military equipment trade show in Ottawa. “Trump certainly isn’t helping U.S. defence companies who want to sell to Canada,” said Martin Shadwick, a defence analyst in Toronto. “It would be very difficult at this point from a political optics point of view for the government to announce awarding contracts to any American firm.” Shadwick said whether that situation will continue for the next several years, when for instance the decision on new fighter jets is supposed to be made, would depend on any further actions by the president. Two U.S. aircraft, the Boeing Super Hornet and the Lockheed Martin F-35, are among the top contenders in that jet competition. The other three aircraft are from European companies. An earlier trade dispute with Canada has already backfired on Boeing and the Trump administration, costing the U.S. billions in fighter jet sales. Last year Boeing complained to the U.S. Commerce Department that Canadian subsidies for Quebec-based Bombardier allowed it to sell its civilian passenger aircraft in the U.S. at cut-rate prices. As a result, the Trump administration brought in a tariff of almost 300 per cent against Bombardier aircraft sold in the U.S. In retaliation, Canada decided against buying 18 new Super Hornet fighter jets from Boeing. That deal would have been worth more than US$5 billion. Christyn Cianfarani, president of the Canadian Association of Defence and Security Industries, said it is too early to determine the impact of the U.S. tariffs on the domestic defence industry. “Tariffs are never good for trade or business,” she added. “CADSI is monitoring the issue and consulting our members to better understand the potential impact to Canadian firms, both in terms of the direct impact of any tariffs and the more indirect, long term impact on supply chains and market access,” she said. There is growing concern that Canadian aviation firms could be hurt by Trump’s aluminum tariffs. The Aerospace Industries Association of Canada did not respond to a request for comment. But its counterpart in the U.S. has voiced concern that American aerospace companies could feel pain. In March, the U.S. Aerospace Industries Association noted it was deeply concerned about Trump’s tariffs on steel and aluminum as it “will raise costs and disrupt the supply chain, putting U.S. global competitiveness at risk.” “There is also a significant threat for retaliation from other countries towards American ­made products,” the association noted in a statement. Canada is the largest exporter of aluminum and steel to the U.S.

  • The French Army could have its first unmanned vehicle by 2025

    June 14, 2018 | International, Land

    The French Army could have its first unmanned vehicle by 2025

    PARIS ― The French Army and government procurement office will begin talks this summer for the acquisition of a new light armored vehicle, dubbed VBAE, with a view to equipping the service by 2025, according to a program director at the Direction Générale de l’Armement procurement office. Among the capabilities to be considered are an unmanned, remote controlled VBAE, Erwan told journalists June 12 at the the indoor stand of the Armed Forces Ministry at the Eurosatory trade show for land weapons. Erwan is the first name of the program director, whose last name has been withheld for security reasons. If the VBAE is made to be controlled remotely, it would be the first unmanned vehicle for the French Army. That vehicle will replace the VBL light vehicle. Illustrating future operations, the ministry’s stand displayed a brief video of a virtual combat simulation in 2035. The screening took place between prototypes of the Griffon troop carrier and Jaguar reconnaissance and combat vehicle. The entire display was meant to emphasize the importance of an integrated network and firepower. The DGA and the Army will spend a year in discussions, leading to a draft that will define the project. They will then consult industry for their responses to the requirement, he said. The companies that show interest will be invited to “show what they can do” by demonstrating their capabilities from 2020-2021. That work will be undertaken under a new “innovation partnership” between industry and the government. A selection of industrial partners is expected to produce a technology demonstrator by the end of 2022. If the ministerial investment committee approves this, contracts will then be awarded and a program launched. The aim is for delivery of the vehicle by 2025. The DGA and the Army are also discussing the requirement for a military engineering vehicle, dubbed MAC. This vehicle would be used to open up terrain, clear improvised explosive devices and mines, and allow troops to advance. Those talks are part of an attempt by the DGA to speed up arms programs and deliver kit much faster ― tasks set by Armed Forces Minister Florence Parly. The acquisition of VBAE and MAC are part of the Army Scorpion modernization program. Army Gen. Charles Beaudouin told the Defence Committee of the lower-house National Assembly on May 16 that he was looking for an “innovative approach” in the acquisition of VBAE. “Instead of defining a requirement, thinking about the specifications and then calling on industry, we want to speak immediately with DGA and industry,” he said. “We have high hopes of launching this program during the multiyear military budget law, and then perhaps — call me crazy — see the first delivery before the end of the law.” The National Assembly and Senate have approved the 2019-2025 military budget law, which pledges a total €295 billion (U.S. $348 billion) for support of the military services. That DGA briefing was part of a Thales presentation of its role in the Scorpion program, in which the company supplies extensive onboard vehicle electronics, software-defined radios and sensors. The aim is to install algorithms and artificial intelligence in the vehicle, aiming to deliver a “digital transformation” intended to reduce stress on the crew, a Thales executive said. The intention is to make the systems easy to use.

  • Gen. Milley is right: The US Army is on the mend

    June 14, 2018 | International, Land

    Gen. Milley is right: The US Army is on the mend

    Last month, in an appearance before the Defense Subcommittee of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army Gen. Mark Milley provided a notably upbeat assessment of the state of his service. “The Army is on the mend. I can report out to you today, after two and a half years as the chief of staff of the Army, we are in significantly better shape than we were just a short time ago. And that is through the generosity of this Congress and the American people,” he said. Clearly, some of the credit for the Army’s improved state of affairs is a result of the recently passed two-year budget, which provided a much-needed increase in resources. The Army has been able to grow its end strength, purchase needed munitions and spare parts, increase training activities, and recapitalize older and damaged equipment. More resources have also enabled the Army force to expand its presence in Europe, increase, albeit modestly, procurement of upgraded Abrams tanks, Bradley Fighting Vehicles and Strykers, and acquire the new Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicle. But much of the credit goes to the Army chief of staff himself. About a year and a half ago, I wrote a blog for the National Interest titled “Perhaps the Most Remarkable CSA in More than Half a Century.” It was Gen. Milley who made modernization the measure of success for his tenure as the Army chief of staff. This change in strategic direction came just in time, ahead of the reappearance of great power competition as the greatest threat to this nation’s security. Gen. Milley is not alone in his quest. In fact, it is a troika consisting of Secretary of the Army Mark Esper, Under Secretary of the Army Ryan McCarty and the chief that is fashioning a new Army in record time and doing so while simultaneously transforming the Army’s acquisition system. This is the proverbial case of changing the car’s tires while speeding down the road. The early signs are that the Army modernization is on the mend and the acquisition system is being changed. An important example of these improvements is the Army’s Rapid Capabilities Office. Established by the secretary and the chief in August 2016, the RCO is tasked to expedite critical capabilities to the field to meet combatant commanders’ needs using alternative contracting mechanisms to deliver technologies in real time to the war fighter. One of the RCO’s initial projects was to bring the Army back into the game with respect to electronic warfare. In 12 months, the RCO developed an initial integrated mounted and dismounted EW sensor capability that has been deployed with U.S. forces in Europe. A second phase of the project is underway that will add aerial sensors, additional ground-unit sets and improve functionality. Another program that is proceeding rapidly is a vehicle-mounted, jam-resistant positioning, navigation and timing capability for GPS-challenged environments. Prospective solutions are currently undergoing testing. The chief has directed the RCO to address several new areas. The RCO is working on a long-range cannon concept that may be able to double the range of 155mm howitzers, as well as optical augmentation technology to detect an adversary’s anti-tank guided missile day/night sights and loitering munitions that can strike air-defense and artillery emplacements. The Army has been moving rapidly to address many of its critical capability gaps. To meet the challenge posed by hostile aircraft and drones, the Army intends to deploy the first battery of the Maneuver Short Range Air Defense launcher on a Stryker armored vehicle by 2020, five years ahead of schedule. Additional sensors and weapons, including a tactical laser, could be integrated into the new turret by the early 2020s. Tank-automotive and Armaments Command did a rapid assessment of active protection systems. The current plan is to equip at least four brigades of Abrams tanks with the Israeli Trophy system while testing continues on a number of solutions for other armored fighting vehicles. The Army also has used other rapid procurement organizations within the Pentagon. One of these is the Defense Innovation Unit Experimental, created in 2016 to push rapid innovation based on leveraging commercial companies. Recently, DIUx led a prototype contract involving upgrades for Bradley Fighting Vehicles. The first production items from it will soon be delivered to the 1st Cavalry Division at Fort Hood, Texas. There are other examples of advances in cyberwarfare, soldier systems, networking and long-range precision fires. The central point is that Gen. Milley’s vision of the Army’s future is turning out to be right.

  • No more Army adviser brigades or amphib ships? This proposed report could radically change how the services fight

    June 14, 2018 | International, Land

    No more Army adviser brigades or amphib ships? This proposed report could radically change how the services fight

    A Senate committee is asking for a report that could radically alter the “roles and missions” of the services — especially the Army and Marine Corps. Senate bill 2987 calls for the services to put together this report by February. However, the bill is still in draft form and would require House agreement to become law. The proposal for the report suggests the Marine Corps could take over all counterinsurgency missions from the Army, thereby eliminating the newly established and deployed Security Force Assistance Brigades. The bill’s authors instead want the Army to beef up its presence in the “great power competition” against Russia and China by increasing the size and strength of its vehicle fleet. The service would also use more drones and fewer manned aircraft to support ground units in the multi-domain fight. The Senate Armed Services Committee’s request also calls for the services to conduct or provide the following: An assessment whether the joint force would benefit from having one service dedicated primarily to low-intensity missions, thereby enabling the others to focus more exclusively on advanced peer competitors. A detailed description of, and accompanying justification for, the total amount of forces required to perform the security force assistance mission and the planned geographic employment of such forces. A re-validation of the Army plan to construct six Security Force Assistance Brigades, and an assessment of the impact, if any, of such plan on the capability of the Army to perform its primary roles under the National Defense Strategy. An assessment whether the security force assistance mission would be better performed by the Marine Corps, and an assessment of the end strength and force composition changes, if any, required for the Marine Corps to assume such a mission. The analysis isn’t limited to ground forces either. The SASC wants an assessment of the feasibility of current plans and investments by the Navy and Marine Corps to operate and defend their sea bases in contested environments. One assessment may strike deeply into current Marine Corps and Navy projects — amphibious connectors and the ships that carry them. SASC is asking the Pentagon to conduct the following: An assessment whether amphibious forced entry operations against advanced peer competitors should remain an enduring mission for the joint force considering the stressing operational nature and significant resource requirements of such missions. An assessment whether a transition from large-deck amphibious ships to small aircraft carriers would result in a more lethal and survivable Marine Corps sea base that could accommodate larger numbers of more diverse strike aircraft. An assessment of the manner in which an acceleration of development and fielding of longer-range, unmanned, carrier-suitable strike aircraft could better meet operational requirements and alter the requirement for shorter range, manned tactical fighter aircraft. Special operations forces would join the Army’s shift back to fighting big militaries, getting out of the counterinsurgency business as well, according to the Senate proposal. Senators are seeking: A detailed assessment whether the joint special operations enterprise is currently performing too many missions worldwide, and whether any such missions could be performed adequately and more economically by conventional units. A detailed assessment whether the global allocation of special operations forces, and especially the most capable units, is aligned to the pacing threats and priority missions of the National Defense Strategy. A detailed description of the changes required to align the joint special operations enterprise more effectively with the National Defense Strategy. Additional reviews include the space mission, requirements for the KC-46 tanker aircraft, and logistics in contested environments. If approved, the Senate Armed Services Committee wants the report by Feb. 1.

  • Defence deputy minister to start sweeping procurement-rules review this summer

    June 13, 2018 | Local, Aerospace, Naval, Land, C4ISR

    Defence deputy minister to start sweeping procurement-rules review this summer

    By EMILY HAWS Department of National Defence deputy minister Jody Thomas says she’ll work through the summer to review how the Canadian government buys defence equipment, with a view to paring down the procurement process to get projects out the door quicker. That could even mean more use of sole-source contracts, when it doesn’t make sense to hold a competition. She says the department wants to ensure the money outlined in Strong, Secure, Engaged—the government’s 20-year defence policy unveiled last year—is spent. The department took flak earlier earlier this year for not having the capacity to push procurement projects outlined in the plan through the system at the expected pace. Speaking at a June 7 conference organized by the Canadian Global Affairs Institute think-tank in Ottawa on the first anniversary of the defence policy, Ms. Thomas suggested switching up the rules around sole-source contracting. She discussed the idea on a panel with other top DND executives Gordon Venner and Bill Matthews, moderated by CGAI defence procurement expert David Perry. “I think what we want to do and what is expected of us is to have an honest conversation,” Ms. Thomas told the audience. “Where we know there’s one supplier in the world that is compliant, Five Eyes-compliant, NORAD-compliant, whatever compliancy we need—to run a competition  [in that case] where there is no hope of multiple bidders wastes [everyone’s] time; it’s kind of disingenuous and dishonest,” she said, referring to security alliances of which Canada is a member. “We have to talk to ministers about that, and ministers are open to that conversation.” Mr. Perry said in a separate interview that the change in process would be a big deal, but it would only happen if the government decides its priority is to spend money. The department is trying to determine a better balance between spending and oversight, he said, but it needs to keep in mind that the “objective is to spend money, not follow a thousand steps and do multiple dozens of reviews.” Sometimes government officials try overly hard to make the bid process competitive, said Mr. Perry, so they end up sending to Treasury Board for review some bids that clearly don’t meet requirements. This leaves Treasury Board officials with only one compliant bidder, which in turn leads these keepers of the public purse to ask more questions and perhaps conduct reviews. For example, the government is looking at buying one or more tanker aircraft, and is narrowing down the list of eligible companies, said Mr. Perry. There are basically only two companies that sell tankers, Airbus and Boeing, he said. “You set it up so that everyone has a chance, but that doesn’t actually mean that you can actually have a really competitive environment that have at least two bids that actually meet all of the mandatory things you need to meet to submit a bid,” he said. Depending on the extent the rules shift, they may require approval from not just Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan (Vancouver South, B.C.), but Treasury Board and the larger cabinet, he added. Conservative MP James Bezan (Selkirk-Interlake-Eastman, Man.) and NDP MP Randall Garrison (Esquimalt-Saanich-Sooke, B.C.), defence critics for their respective parties, said they support streamlining the procurement process, but Mr. Bezan said the Liberals just need to be more decisive. Industry representatives are also supportive, with the Canadian Association of Defence and Security Industries (CADSI) calling the move “refreshing” in an emailed statement. DND is trying to increase its procurement workforce, said Ms. Thomas, adding that the procurement process is the same regardless of whether the contract is worth $1-million or $1-billion. Ms. Thomas, who has been in her role since October, said the rules were put in place after the department received criticism from the auditor general. “We’ve been risk-averse and we’ve been criticized, so a deputy’s normal reaction to criticism or recommendations from the auditor general is to put process in place,” she said. “I absolutely understand that; we need to make sure it’s appropriate to the complexity of the project.” She said she’s going to work through the summer to analyze the number of steps in the procurement process to determine the value they serve and where they can be reduced. Ms. Thomas said she will create “sort of a lean methodology of the number of hands something has to touch, how long do we spend in project definition, [and] how long we spend in options analysis.” Byrne Furlong, a spokesperson for the defence minister, said in an emailed statement the review will accelerate approvals and delivery. “Ensuring our Canadian Armed Forces [are] well-equipped to deliver on what Canada requires of them is a significant undertaking,” she said, adding the government is committed to doing so. New defence policy ups procurement spending Earlier this year, Mr. Perry authored a report suggesting the procurement plans laid out in Strong, Secure, Engaged could be threatened by long-standing process problems. The new policy would see procurement ramp up from about $3.5-billion to $4-billion annually, in 2018-19 dollars, to $12-billion. Defence procurement budgets were cut from about 1990 until the mid-2000s, he said. Now Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (Papineau, Que.) is trying to play catch-up, but there’s a bottlenecking of purchases. The government both doesn’t have enough people to approve the projects, nor the quality of experience to work the larger, more technical jobs, Mr. Perry said in a previous interview. There are five critical steps to procuring defence equipment which spans from identification to close-out. Most work is done by DND to determine what it needs, said Mr. Perry, but the actual competition is run by Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC). The change in rules Ms. Thomas is contemplating would only apply to DND, she said, as that’s her jurisdiction. CADSI president Christyn Cianfarani said, to her knowledge, a review in such a systematic way hasn’t been done for some time. She said she sees the move as positive, allowing the government to properly balance risk and acquisition. “With the launch of SSE and the Investment Plan, the deputy minister’s call to review the system is timely,” she said. “In this critical period of recapitalization, we simply cannot expect to move four times the volume of procurement through the same old procurement system.” When asked about the sole-sourcing of contracts, Ms. Cianfarani said competition is just one tool to meet policy objectives. She wants more sole-sourcing to Canadian firms and more Canadian-only competitions between companies with similar capabilities, price, and proven roots in Canada. Liberals just need to decide, says Conservative critic Mr. Bezan said sole-source contracting is almost impossible to do when the country isn’t at war because one must argue it’s in the best interest of national security and the taxpayer. The Liberals need to be more decisive on what equipment they want to buy, he added, saying they are risk-averse. “Fighter jets is a good example. They have punted the close of the competition—making the decision—until 2021,” he said. “Most countries run these competitions in around a year, and this was launched three to four months ago … they should be able to close this off and make a decision within six to nine months.” The Conservative government before it tried and failed to procure fighter jets for several years too, incurring political controversy along the way, with accusations of conducting a flawed process of the purchase of billions of dollars. Mr. Garrison said the NDP welcomes efficiencies in the procurement process that benefit the armed forces and support Canadian industry, as well as meet DND targets.

  • As European defense evolves, here’s how industry is responding

    June 13, 2018 | International, Aerospace, Naval, Land, C4ISR

    As European defense evolves, here’s how industry is responding

    WASHINGTON — As priorities in Europe evolve, particularly with the threat of Russia growing more profound, industry partners are left to adapt. Defense News spoke to Kim Ernzen, vice president of land warfare systems in Raytheon Missile Systems, to find out the company’s approach to meeting customer expectations. EU and NATO cooperation on defense is evolving. As they work out roles, is it challenging for industry? From an international or global footprint, we are looking to continue to expand in international marketspaces. As we look particularly to EU and NATO starting to cooperate more, the EU brings some capabilities to the table. Obviously NATO is typically backed more from the U.S. [But] it’s how we merge the capabilities together so the fighting forces have what they need when they go into harm’s way. From a U.S. defense industry perspective, we like to make sure we protect the latest and greatest. When we look to international, we work through the normal releasability channels to make sure we can release our products. I think there is going to be increased opportunity, because the threats are continuing to evolve. From a pure RMS perspective, we’re well positioned to support [combatting] those threats. We continue to work closely not only with the U.S.-based customer, but through them, the international partners to look at the capabilities they may need. Missile defense remains a huge priority in Europe, but how have hybrid warfare tactics, particularly from Russia, influences defense strategies and as a result the investments? As we as a nation look at how to pivot from urban warfare of the last two decades to what many would consider more traditional warfare, but with added complexities of things like cyberattacks, EW. So now you go into overmatch capability, a long-range standoff capability. Army is focused on how to get long-range precision fires that supports the [combatant commands] in the international footprints, being able to protect the European front against advancing Russia threats. And it’s got to have that standup capability, they also have to be able to see further. From a company perspective, we’re involved in the PRSM [program] — the new Long Range Precision Fire competition between us and Lockheed Martin. And we’re also working to enhance the sighting capability on the vehicle, so they can see farther and identity threats sooner. We see a lot of exercises in Europe. Does industry have enough of a seat at the table? We don’t necessarily engage one-on-one with the exercising activities that go on; we’ll get feedback through customer communities. This is something we talk with our customers about continually: the more we can be engaged, the more we can bring to bear, whether company investments, a spin on the product; the more we can partner with the customer community, sooner, the better it is for them and us as well. We just haven’t necessarily always done that. We’ve seen a great deal of emphasis on increased defense spending of our European allies. Have you seen a bump up? Or if not, where do you see them focusing in on in terms of spending? We have seen a modest increase, particularly across the munitions fronts. Everyone [is looking] in the cupboard drawer, wanting to make sure they have the right stockpiles should they need to go into any engagement with the enemy. We’re also continuing to see internationally more system integrated solutions. Not just coming forward with a product, but how a system would work and operate so they can be more nimble in the battlefield. That’s a transition we’re seeing. The FMS system can be painful to work through. Have their been improvements? We need to look at [whether we] can start converting more programs to direct commercial sales, depending on where we’re at in a lifecycle of a product, and what it is we’re trying to protect or throttle. FMS is a slow an laborious process. It hinders industry from capitalizing on market opportunities. The more we can change the paradigm and partner with the government side to do more [direct sales], the more they will benefit long term because they get the volume to drive down prices, and allow us to recoup funds to invests in future technology. But there are challenges, because each branches has organizations that support foreign military sales. There’s a balance. As more and more countries seek indigenous capacities as well as a return on defense investments domestically, has the nature of partnership changed? Part of partnering with some of these countries involves offset requirements. Often as we start to partner with indigenous capable industries, it used to be ok to [offer up] basic machining. But there is more pull for being able to put high levels of noble work into these countries. Some are more advanced in capabilities, and as we look to partner, how to do we strike that balance, leveraging some technology they may bring to bear, with what we’re trying to keep domestically and protected? It’s an interesting paradigm. And a tipping point with how U.S. industry deals with going international.

Shared by members

  • Share a news article with the community

    It’s very easy, simply copy/paste the link in the textbox below.

Subscribe to our newsletter

to not miss any news from the industry

You can customize your subscriptions in the confirmation email.