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  • Japan at a crossroads: What’s keeping its defense industry from growing?

    November 28, 2018 | International, Aerospace, Naval, Land, C4ISR

    Japan at a crossroads: What’s keeping its defense industry from growing?

    By: Mike Yeo MELBOURNE, Australia — Japan is facing what appears to be an increasingly difficult choice, between a desire to keep its domestic defense industry in business, and getting more value for its defense spending while introducing much-needed capabilities by buying foreign off-the-shelf systems. This conundrum comes as the U.S. ally continues to warily eye nearby China's military buildup and North Korea's missile and nuclear programs. Japan's defense industry came to being soon after the end of World War II, as it attempted to rebuild its shattered economy. According to Corey Wallace, a postdoctoral fellow at the Graduate School of East Asia Studies at Germany's Freie Universität Berlin, Japan adopted what was known as kokusanka — a conscious and systematic attempt to domesticate technologies that Japan would need for an autonomous defense-industrial base. Through licensing agreements and other methods of technology transfer and acquisition, the Japanese government in the post-war period identified the most important platforms it thought it needed and tried to domesticate them. Today, Japan's local industry produces all of the country's warships and submarines, albeit fitted with important systems like the Aegis combat system, radars and missiles from the United States as well as most of its land warfare systems. Despite these capabilities, there are a number of hurdles for Japan's defense-industrial base. Chief among these is the relatively small, domestic market that drives up unit prices as well as Japan's own set of unique requirements that sometimes create a bespoke product difficult to market overseas. The small, domestic market has also meant there is little competition. And when the price of a product is determined by what Japanese newspaper Asahi Shimbun calls the “cost calculation method,” in which a contractor's profit is added to the prime cost that also includes that of materials and labor, it can lead to “an open invitation for soaring costs as contractors have few incentives for suppressing the prime cost.” An example of this is the C-2 airlifter. Since 2016, Japan has ordered a total of seven C-2 aircraft out of an eventual requirement of 40. This slow production rate means the C-2 costs about $201 million per aircraft, according to the latest budget request from Japan's Defense Ministry, which has asked to procure two aircraft in the next fiscal year. This, coupled with the need to focus on the expensive missile defense systems against the North Korean ballistic missile threat, has put Japan's defense budget under strain, to the point that earlier this year Japan's Finance Ministry reportedly took the unorthodox step of urging its defense counterpart to consider the option of acquiring a cheaper airlifter instead of the C-2. Given recent developments in the geopolitical and domestic industrial sphere, Japan has turned to what Wallace calls “selectivity and concentration” — the country accepts that its defense-industrial base cannot achieve absolute autonomy, particularly in areas like fighter jets and ballistic missile defense, where international cooperation is necessary in the development process. Foreign partnerships Cooperation with a foreign partner appears to be the way Japan is proceeding with two key aerospace programs: the development of a new air-to-air missile and its next fighter jet. Japan is developing the Joint New Air-to-Air Missile, which will marry the active electronically scanned array radar seeker of Japan's AAM-4B air-to-air missile with the European MBDA Meteor ramjet-powered beyond-visual-range air-to-air missile. The missile is intended for use by the Japan Air Self-Defense Force, but the program appears to be on a long timeline. Reports indicate no technical work has been done, and the first prototypes are planned to be ready for test shots after April 2022, with a decision following on whether to go ahead with the program. With regard to its next-generation fighter jets, following a request for information from several overseas manufacturers earlier this year, Japan is reportedly studying the feasibility of a joint development program. Local media has tracked the story, although official information is scant pending the release of Japan's five-year midterm defense plan later this year. It's widely expected Japan will link up with a foreign partner for the development, however some are holding out hope for a wholly domestic fighter program despite the risks and higher costs involved. Japan has not locally built fighters since Mitsubishi F-2s rolled off the line in 2011. However, Grant Newsham, a retired U.S. Marine Corps officer who is now a senior research fellow at the Japan Forum for Strategic Studies in Tokyo, says Japan should consider spending more on defense, telling Defense News earlier this year that figure should be about $5 billion to $7 billion more per year for the next five years. As the world's third-largest economy, he said, “Japan has all the money it needs to properly fund defense. And the amounts required are about the same as the waste and/or fraud in a couple of public works projects, but it chooses not to do so.” Japan's latest defense budget request for the next fiscal year is for $48 billion, which is a 2.1 percent increase from the previous year's allocated budget and represents a new record-high defense budget for the country. The amount is roughly 1 percent of its gross domestic product, which, although not official policy, has essentially become a ceiling for its defense budget. Notably, Japan is carrying out final assembly on most of its 42 Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightning II Joint Strike Fighters, which will eventually replace the upgraded F-4EJ Kai Phantom II aircraft currently in service. The government reportedly wants to buy more F-35s, with some suggesting it's looking at the short-takeoff-and-vertical-landing F-35B to equip the flight decks of its helicopter destroyers of the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force. Export challenges Under Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Japan has ended its ban on defense exports, which his government sees as a way to boost Japan's economy. Japanese defense companies have and continue to pursue several international acquisition programs ranging from Australia's requirement for submarines to France and Germany's requirement for new maritime patrol aircraft. However, these export opportunities have presented their own set of challenges, not least the fact that Japanese companies lack the savvy of their more-experienced competitors at the higher end of the global arms market, and that they're being priced out by cheaper alternatives at the lower end. And despite their undoubted quality, Japanese offerings are sometimes hindered in the export market by the domestic market's bespoke requirements. In the case of the C-2, there were no requirements for the aircraft to conduct operations on short or poorly prepared airstrips, and this is likely to hurt its prospects in New Zealand, which is seeking airlifters for both strategic and tactical airlift missions. In this case, the ability to operate from poorly prepared runways is important given the Royal New Zealand Air Force conducts regular operations to South Pacific islands, particularly on humanitarian assistance and disaster response missions in the aftermath of natural disasters. Newsham noted that despite the recent loosening of restrictions, there has not been significant effort by Japanese companies to dive into the international defense market, as most major Japanese companies don't consider the defense business to be profitable. Other sources in Japan who are familiar with the industry have corroborated that view in speaking to Defense News. And Newsham adds that despite being the administration that pushed for the loosening of defense export restrictions, the Abe government has not proactively supported Japanese defense companies seeking to do business overseas.

  • France: Comment l’armée se prépare aux batailles du futur

    November 28, 2018 | International, Aerospace, Naval, Land, C4ISR, Security

    France: Comment l’armée se prépare aux batailles du futur

    Nicolas Berrod Jambe bionique, casque de réalité virtuelle... Le premier salon de l'innovation de la Défense ouvre, ce samedi, au public. Pour avoir une idée de ce à quoi va ressembler le soldat du futur, il faut se rendre à... la Cité de la Mode et du Design ! C'est ici, dans l'Est parisien, que se tient le premier Salon de l'Innovation de la Défense, qui ouvre ses portes au public samedi. Dans les allées, on croise des militaires, industriels, scientifiques, venus présenter leurs propres projets -160 sont exposés. Le robot greffeur de peau permet, par exemple, de soigner un soldat brûlé, à proximité du champ de bataille, sans attendre trop longtemps. Le principe est simple : un bras robotisé prélève à un endroit sain un échantillon de peau, qui, une fois mélangé avec une encre spéciale, via une imprimante 3D, est greffé sur la partie blessée du corps. « On peut le faire en une seule fois et l'opération ne dure pas plus de quelques heures », assure Amélie Thépot, la présidente de la start-up LabSkin Creations, qui à conçu le projet avec les Hospices de Lyon. Une jambe bionique Pour les militaires plus gravement blessés, la société Proteor a imaginé une jambe bionique nouvelle génération, constituée d'un ensemble genou-cheville-pied contrôlé par un microprocesseur. Abel Aber, 32 ans et militaire de formation, a perdu sa jambe gauche dans un accident à l''ge de 17 ans. Depuis, ce grand gaillard utilise plusieurs prothèses dont celle-ci qui lui « apporte un nouveau confort de marche, même si ça reste évidemment contraignant ». L'outil, développé avec le soutien de la Direction générale de l'armement (DGA) et disponible d'ici 2021, a ses limites : impossible pour le moment de monter un escalier, par exemple. « Et pour faire du sport, on a besoin de prothèses plus spécifiques », glisse cet amateur de boxe thaï. Un casque de réalité virtuelle Autre innovation qui attire l'attention : la cape d'invisibilité, dite Caméléon. Imaginé pour camoufler un véhicule terrestre, ce système optique fonctionne gr'ce à une caméra haute définition qui capte l'environnement, et le reproduit ensuite sur la surface du blindé. « Les soldats peuvent facilement changer de treillis mais on ne peut pas repeindre un véhicule selon l'endroit où il se trouve », justifie Sébastien Fagour, ingénieur chez Nexter Systems. Article complet:

  • Killing of Khashoggi tests U.S. defense industry as backlash builds on Capitol Hill

    November 23, 2018 | International, Aerospace, Naval, Land, C4ISR

    Killing of Khashoggi tests U.S. defense industry as backlash builds on Capitol Hill

    By Beth Reinhard ,Tom Hamburger and Emma Brown The powerful U.S. defense industry is facing a rare challenge to its influence on Capitol Hill as support for arms sales to Saudi Arabia has rapidly eroded following the killing last month of journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the hands of Saudi government operatives. The defense industry's typically aggressive lobby has gone quiet as gruesome details of Khashoggi's death have leaked and American intelligence officials have laid blame at the feet of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Even as President Trump has reiterated his support for continued sales of U.S. weapons to the kingdom, congressional opposition to those sales and to U.S. support for the Saudi-led war in Yemen has mounted in recent weeks — testing the power of an industry that has sold tens of billions of dollars' worth of weapons systems to the kingdom since the 1950s. Growing bipartisan support for Senate legislation to cut off the arms sales marks a historic disruption in a seemingly inviolable arms-for-oil trade relationship that stretches back decades and is an unusual setback for one of the most influential lobbies in Washington. In the coming weeks, key senators are expected to push for a vote on a measure that would impose sanctions on Saudi officials responsible for Khashoggi's death and suspend many weapons sales to Saudi Arabia until it ceases airstrikes in Yemen that have killed tens of thousands of civilians. The bill represents one of the first major breaks between congressional Republicans and the White House, which has embraced Saudi Arabia as a key Middle Eastern ally — a strategy driven by Jared Kushner, Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser, who forged a strong personal relationship with the crown prince. Full article:

  • Contract Awards by US Department of Defense - November 21, 2018

    November 23, 2018 | International, Aerospace, Naval, Land, C4ISR, Security

    Contract Awards by US Department of Defense - November 21, 2018

    NAVY Stratascor LLC, Virginia Beach, Virginia, is awarded a $210,000,000 indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity, fixed-price contract for command, control, communications, and computer system afloat operations and sustainment support for capabilities aboard the Military Sealift Command (MSC) fleet of ships, and the MSC network operations centers. This contract includes a five-year ordering period. Work will be performed in Norfolk, Virginia, and is scheduled to commence Jan. 1, 2018, and is expected to be completed Dec. 31, 2023. Navy working capital funds and U.S. Transportation Command working capital funds in the amount of $500,000 will be obligated at the time of award. Funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was competitively procured, with proposals solicited via the Federal Business Opportunities website, with five offers received. The Navy's Military Sealift Command, Norfolk, Virginia, is the contracting activity (N3220519D1000). Thales Defense and Security Inc., Clarksburg, Maryland, is awarded a not-to-exceed $13,999,410 for undefinitized contract action delivery order N00383-19-F-AQ00 under previously awarded basic ordering agreement N00383-17-G-AQ01 for repair of 58 dome sonars in support of the H-60 airborne low frequency sonar system. Work will be performed in Clarksburg, Maryland (50 percent); and Brest, France (50 percent). Work is expected to be completed by November 2020. Working capital funds (Navy) in the amount of $10,499,557 will be obligated at the time of award and funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. One firm was solicited for this non-competitive requirement under authority 10 U.S. Code 2304 (c)(1), with one offer received. Naval Supply Systems Command Weapon Systems Support, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, is the contracting activity. PAE Applied Technologies LLC, Arlington, Virginia, is awarded a $12,473,525 cost modification to previously-awarded contract N66604-05-C-1277 for Hurricane Matthew repairs to the Atlantic Undersea Test and Evaluation Center (AUTEC). AUTEC is the Navy's large-area, deep-water, undersea test and evaluation range. Underwater research, testing and evaluation of anti-submarine weapons, sonar tracking and communications are the predominant activities conducted at AUTEC. This modification increases the total value of the contract to $800,549,247. Work will be performed on Andros Island, Commonwealth of the Bahamas, and is expected to be completed by September 2019. No funding will be obligated at time of award, as work has been incrementally funded with fiscal 2017 research, development, test and evaluation (Navy) funding. The Naval Undersea Warfare Center Division Newport, Newport, Rhode Island, is the contracting activity. Offshore Service Vessels LLC, Cut Off, Louisiana, is awarded a $10,493,750 firm-fixed-price contract with reimbursable elements for the West Coast Naval Special Warfare submarine support vessel MV Alyssa Chouest. This vessel will be utilized to launch and recover submersibles, divers and small craft. This contract includes a 12-month base period, three 12-month option periods, and one 11-month option period. If all options are exercised this would bring the cumulative value of the contract to $54,238,356. Work will be performed in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, and at sea, and is expected to be completed July 9, 2020. If all options are exercised, work will continue through June 8, 2024. Fiscal 2019 Navy working capital funds in the amount of $2,415,000 will be obligated at the time of award, and will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was competitively procured with 50 plus proposals solicited via the Federal Business Opportunities website, with six offers received. The Navy's Military Sealift Command Norfolk, Virginia, is the contracting activity (N3220519C3518). URS Group Inc., Morrisville, North Carolina, is awarded a $10,010,000 modification on a firm-fixed-price task order under a previously awarded multiple award construction contract (N62470-13-D-6022) for phase one of Hurricane Michael repairs for stabilization and repairs to multiple buildings at Naval Support Activity Panama City. The work to be performed provides for removal of carpet, walls, windows and other unsalvageable items due to water penetration, clean-up of roofing materials and tarping of rooftops to mitigate further water intrusion. Repairs include roof replacement, roof decking, and sealing roof penetrations. The repairs also include correction of architectural, structural, plumbing, heating, ventilation and air conditioning, fire protection, electrical deficiencies and any other incidental related work as found due to the hurricane. After award of this modification, the total task order value will be $21,510,000. Work will be performed in Panama City, Florida, and is expected to be completed by September 2019. Fiscal 2019 operations and maintenance (Navy) contract funds in the amount of $10,010,000 are obligated on this award and will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Southeast, Jacksonville, Florida, is the contracting activity. DEFENSE LOGISTICS AGENCY Noble Supply and Logistics, Rockland, Massachusetts, has been awarded a maximum $75,000,000 indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity, 192-day bridge contract for maintenance, repair, and operations support in the Central Command Area of Responsibility. This was a sole-source acquisition using justification using 10 U.S. Code 2304(c)(1), as stated in Federal Acquisition Regulation 6.302-1. Locations of performance are Bahrain, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, the United Arab Emirates, Yemen, Afghanistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan, with a June 1, 2019, performance completion date. Using customers are Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, and other federal civilian agencies. Type of appropriate is fiscal 2019 defense working capital funds. The contracting activity is the Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (SPE8E319D0002). AIR FORCE CACI NSS Inc., Colorado Springs, Colorado, has been awarded a $63,267,131 fixed-price-incentive firm-target modification (P00068) to contract FA8823-16-C-OOOC for support of Consolidated Air Force Satellite Control Network (AFSCN) modification, maintenance and operations. The modification exercises the second option period effective Nov. 22, 2018. This contract provides for continued operations and maintenance at AFSCN mission locations, AFSCN factory compatibility testing and phase-in sustainment activities for same systems. Work will be performed at tracking stations in Diego Garcia, British Indian Ocean Territory; U.S. Territory of Guam; Ka'ena Point, Hawaii; New Boston Air Force Station, New Hampshire; Thule AFB, Greenland; Vandenberg AFB, California; Bordon and Hants, United Kingdom; and Eastern Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida. Work is expected to be completed by May 21, 2024. Fiscal 2019 operations maintenance funds in the amount of $40,267,131 are being obligated at the time of award. Total cumulative face value of the contract is $165,067,247. Space and Missile Systems Center, Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado, is the contracting Activity. Lockheed Martin Space Systems Co., Littleton, Colorado, has been awarded a $16,113,613 definitization (P000012) to previously undefinitized contract FA8204-18-C-0009 (P00005) to implement security classification guide changes. Work will be performed in Littleton, Colorado, and is expected to be completed by Dec. 3, 2020. Fiscal 2018 research and development (3600) funds in the amount of $50,215 is being obligated at the time of award. Air Force Nuclear Weapon Center, Hill Air Force Base, Utah, is the contracting activity. The Boeing Co., El Segundo, California, has been awarded a $13,965,639 modification (P00110) for the Wideband Global Satellite (WGS) communication system, mitigation and anti-jam effort and additional strings. This effort will provide the WGS system with increased resilience. Work will be performed in El Segundo, California; and Colorado Springs, Colorado, and is expected to be completed by Feb. 28, 2021. Fiscal 2018 research, development, test and evaluation funds in the amount of $13,965,639 are being obligated at the time of award. Space and Missile Systems Center, Los Angeles Air Force Base, California, is the contracting activity (FA8808-10-C-0001). CORRECTION: The $489,924,430 contract (FA8620-18-C-1000 PZ0004) announced on Nov. 19, 2018, to Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems, San Diego, California, for the Japan Global Hawk Program was actually awarded on Nov. 20, 2018. ARMY Guyco Inc., Lampasas, Texas, was awarded a $57,538,500 firm-fixed-price contract to revitalize and renovate barracks. Bids were solicited via the internet with three received. Work will be performed in Fort Hood, Texas, with an estimated completion date of Feb. 21, 2021. Fiscal 2019 operations and maintenance (Army) funds in the amount of $57,538,500 were obligated at the time of the award. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Fort Worth, Texas, is the contracting activity (W9126G-19-C-0008). Canadian Commercial Corp., Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, was awarded an $18,742,500 firm-fixed-price contract for the procurement of strip stock and ground side and wheel side rubber materials. Bids were solicited via the internet with three received. Work locations and funding will be determined with each order, with an estimated completion date of Nov. 22, 2021. U.S. Army Contracting Command, Warren, Michigan, is the contracting activity (W911RQ-19-D-0018). AMG JV, Leesburg, Virginia,* was awarded a $9,820,000 firm-fixed-price contract for renovation of an administration building. Bids were solicited via the internet with nine received. Work will be performed in Arlington, Virginia, with an estimated completion date of Aug. 12, 2020. Fiscal 2019 operations and maintenance (Army) funds in the amount of $9,820,000 were obligated at the time of the award. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Norfolk, Virginia, is the contracting activity (W91236-19-C-0005). U.S. SPECIAL OPERATIONS COMMAND Insitu Inc., Bingen, Washington, was awarded a maximum $18,000,000 modification (P00018) for an existing non-competitive, single award, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract (H92222-16-D-0031) for mid-endurance unmanned aircraft systems (MEUAS 1.5B) intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) services. An increase of $18,000,000 to a ceiling of $250,000,000 prevents a gap in ISR services until all task orders are transitioned to the current competitive MEUAS III contracts. Fiscal 2019 operations and maintenance funds in the amount of $18,000,000 are available for obligation as needed. U.S. Special Operations Command, Tampa, Florida, is the contracting activity. *Small business

  • Contract Awards by US Department of Defense - November 20, 2018

    November 23, 2018 | International, Aerospace, Naval, Land, C4ISR, Security

    Contract Awards by US Department of Defense - November 20, 2018

    ARMY DDB Chicago Inc., Chicago, Illinois, was awarded a $4,000,000,000 hybrid (cost, cost-plus-award-fee, cost-plus-fixed-fee, and firm-fixed-price) contract for services in support of the U.S. Army Marketing and Advertising Program. Bids were solicited via the internet with five received. Work locations and funding will be determined with each order, with an estimated completion date of Nov. 18, 2028. U.S. Army Mission and Installation Contracting Command, Fort Knox, Kentucky, is the contracting activity (W9124D-19-D-0001). Tetra Tech-Maytag Aircraft Corp., Pasadena, California, was awarded a $10,252,498 modification (0007 03) to contract W912DY-13-G-0010 for maintenance and minor emergency repair of equipment and appurtenances. Work will be performed in Jacksonville, Florida; Fort Worth, Texas; Tallahassee, Florida; Mayport, Florida; Panama City, Florida; New Orleans, Louisiana; Parris Island, South Carolina; Pensacola, Florida; Quantico, Virginia; Albany, Georgia; Milton, Florida; Andros Island, the Bahamas; and Guantanamo, Cuba, with an estimated completion date of Dec. 15, 2019. Fiscal 2019 defense working capital funds in the amount of $10,252,498 were obligated at the time of the award. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Huntsville, Alabama, is the contracting activity. Threat Tec LLC,* Hampton, Virginia, was awarded an $8,215,050 modification (P00003) to contract W9124E-18-D-0002 for training support services. Bids were solicited via the internet with seven received. Work locations and funding will be determined with each order, with an estimated completion date of Nov. 24, 2019. U.S. Army Mission and Installation Contracting Command, Fort Polk, Louisiana, is the contracting activity. DEFENSE LOGISTICS AGENCY Pacific Unlimited Inc., Barrigada, Guam, has been awarded a maximum $288,000,000 firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for full food-line distribution. This is a 90-month contract with no option years, but three tier periods. This was a small business set-aside with two responses received. The maximum dollar amount is for the life of the contract. Location of performance is Guam, with a May 20, 2026, performance completion date. Using customers are Army, Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps and the Guam Department of Education. Type of appropriation is fiscal 2019 defense working capital funds. The contracting agency is the Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (SPE300-19-D-4045). WGL Energy Services Inc., Vienna, Virginia (SPE604-19-D-7503; $68,917,749); Direct Energy Business Marketing LLC, Iselin, New Jersey (SPE604-19-D-7500; $28,236,905); UGI Energy Services Inc., Reading, Pennsylvania (SPE604-19-D-7501, $9,110,525) and Enspire Energy LLC, Chesapeake, Virginia (SPE604-19-D-7504, $8,626,448), have been awarded a fixed‐price with economic‐price-adjustment contract under solicitation SPE604-18-R-0405 for natural gas. These were competitive acquisitions with eight offers received. These are two-year base contracts with six‐month option periods. Locations of performance are Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Washington, District of Columbia, and Virginia, with a March 31, 2021, performance completion date. Using customers are Army, National Guard, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard and federal civilian agencies. Type of appropriation is fiscal 2019 through 2021 defense working capital funds. The contracting activity is the Defense Logistics Agency Energy, Fort Belvoir, Virginia. NAVY Vista Outdoor Sales LLC – Federal Cartridge Co., Anoka, Minnesota, is awarded a $41,181,315 firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for 5.56mm ball, carbine, barrier ammunition. This ammunition is designed to defeat intermediate barriers such as auto windshields and doors while providing sufficient terminal performance. Work will be performed in Anoka, Minnesota, and is expected to be completed by November 2023. Fiscal 2019 procurement of ammunition (Navy and Marine Corps) funding in the amount of $219,981 will be obligated at time of award and will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was competitively procured via the Federal Business Opportunities website, with one offer received. The Naval Surface Warfare Center, Crane Division, Crane, Indiana, is the contracting activity (N00164-19-D-JN58). IMSAR LLC,* Springfield, Utah, is awarded a $9,952,769 cost-plus-fixed-fee, firm-fixed-price delivery order (N6833519F0016) against a previously issued basic ordering agreement (N6833518G0015). This order provides for the procurement of Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase III work that derives from, extends, or completes an effort performed under SBIR Topic AF112-144 entitled “Advanced Radar Concepts for Small (Tier I/II) Remotely Piloted Aircrafts.” Research and development will be performed in Springfield, Utah, and is expected to be completed in November 2019. Fiscal 2018 research, development, test and evaluation (Navy); and fiscal 2018 procurement (Marine Corps) funds in the amount of $9,952,769 are being obligated on this award, $5,332,588 of which will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division, Lakehurst, New Jersey, is the contracting activity. Iridium Satellite LLC, Tempe, Arizona, is awarded a $9,141,484 cost-plus-fixed-fee option modification to previously-awarded contract N00178-17-C-0001 to continue to support commercial satellite-based network services for the Department of Defense in the areas of satellite, ground node, user equipment/terminal software and hardware development, integration and testing. This award is a follow-on requirement to procure continued communication support services that may be implemented for use in tactical, operational and strategic-level activities. Work will be performed McLean, Virginia (50 percent); and Tempe, Arizona (50 percent), and is expected to be completed by November 2019. Fiscal 2018 research, development, test and evaluation (Navy) funding in the amount of $300,000 will be obligated at time of award and will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was not competitively awarded, in accordance with 10 U.S. Code 2304(c)(1) - only one responsible source and no other supplies or services will satisfy agency requirements. The Naval Surface Warfare Center, Dahlgren Division, Dahlgren, Virginia, is the contracting activity. *Small business

  • Le Royaume-Uni, premier budget de défense en Europe ? Vrai ou Faux

    November 23, 2018 | International, Aerospace, Naval, Land, C4ISR, Security

    Le Royaume-Uni, premier budget de défense en Europe ? Vrai ou Faux

    (B2) Le Royaume-Uni qui est depuis de nombreuses années le pays dépensant le plus pour sa défense en Europe serait-il en passe de perdre sa première place... La réponse est : oui si on se fie aux derniers Une question très symbolique mais aussi très politique. Toute l'argumentation britannique en effet, notamment lors du Brexit, a été de donner le premier rôle en matière de sécurité européenne au Royaume-Uni... Avec un argument sonnant et trébuchant : le budget britannique de défense est le premier de la classe européenne. Un propos qui n'est plus exact. Au fil du taux de changes En fait, tout dépend du taux de change Livre Sterling/Euro. Ainsi avec un taux de 1,15 (comme la semaine dernière), le Royaume-Uni demeure à la première place dans le classement européen des budgets de défense, que l'on prenne les budgets prévus pour 2018/20 19 (37,8 milliards £) ou pour 2019/2020 (38,8 milliards £). A un taux de 1,12 — comme au début de cette semaine avec la chute de la livre et les errements de la politique locale sur le Brexit —, le budget britannique passe derrière le budget allemand. L'Allemagne devrait en effet sacrément augmenter son budget défense pour 2019 (fruits de la croissance oblige) et passer à 43,2 milliards d'euros, selon la dernière mouture du projet de loi de finances votée par le Bundestag (1). Si le taux de change remonte, le budget britannique repassera devant. Mais ce temps de premier de la classe est compté. Un rattrapage progressif Quel que soit le taux de change ou les évolutions annuelles, il existe en effet une tendance de fond. L'Allemagne est en passer d'effectuer un rattrapage, au moins en termes budgétaires, de son effort de défense. Le budget allemand est déjà passé à la seconde place, reléguant la France à la troisième place (35,8 milliards pour 2019). En 2020 ou 2021, soit dans un faible laps de temps à l'échelon stratégique — le budget allemand devrait passer à la première place, reléguant le Royaume-Uni à la seconde place... Ce pour certaines années. Une évolution stratégique à très court terme Au niveau de la croissance, et de la bonne santé budgétaire allemande, et des engagements de ses responsables politiques, on peut prévoir que la progression du budget allemand va perdurer. C'est un changement stratégique notable... au moins en termes financiers, de capacités d'équipements, d'industries ou de recherche (2). Au jour du Brexit, le 29 mars, même si les deux évènements ne sont pas liés, ce sera pour le Royaume-Uni une certaine ‘claque' à ce qui est (à juste titre) une fierté nationale. (Nicolas Gros-Verheyde) La période budgétaire britannique très spécifique, court d'avril à mars, contrairement aux périodes budgétaires annuelles en cours sur le continent. Ce qui complique les classements. Pour pouvoir comparer équitablement les deux budgets, nous avons opéré une petite règle de trois, avec une péréquation lissant le budget britannique sur une période annuelle. Ce qui donne 38,55 milliards £ pour 2019. L'efficacité des armées obéit à d'autres données que celles de la mathématique. Et les contraintes historiques et constitutionnelles allemandes feront toujours que l'armée ne sera pas le premier instrument politique de l'Allemagne, à la différence de qui se passe en France et en Grande-Bretagne. Les armées françaises et britanniques, resteront donc en termes de dynamique opérationnelle et expéditionnaires toujours en tête. Nicolas Gros-Verheyde

  • DARPA: CODE Demonstrates Autonomy and Collaboration with Minimal Human Commands

    November 21, 2018 | International, Aerospace, C4ISR

    DARPA: CODE Demonstrates Autonomy and Collaboration with Minimal Human Commands

    Ground and flight tests highlight CODE-equipped UASs' ability to collaboratively sense and adapt to locate and respond to unexpected threats and new targets In a recent test series at Yuma Proving Ground in Arizona, DARPA's Collaborative Operations in Denied Environment (CODE) program demonstrated the ability of CODE-equipped Unmanned Aerial Systems (UASs) to adapt and respond to unexpected threats in an anti-access area denial (A2AD) environment. The UASs efficiently shared information, cooperatively planned and allocated mission objectives, made coordinated tactical decisions, and collaboratively reacted to a dynamic, high-threat environment with minimal communication. The air vehicles initially operated with supervisory mission commander interaction. When communications were degraded or denied, CODE vehicles retained mission plan intent to accomplish mission objectives without live human direction. The ability for CODE-enabled vehicles to interact when communications are degraded is an important step toward the program goal to conduct dynamic, long-distance engagements of highly mobile ground and maritime targets in contested or denied battlespace. “The test series expanded on previously demonstrated approaches to low bandwidth collaborative sensing and on-board planning. It demonstrated the ability to operate in more challenging scenarios, where both communications and GPS navigation were denied for extended periods,” said Scott Wierzbanowski, DARPA program manager for CODE. During the three-week ground and flight test series in a live/virtual/constructive (LVC) environment, up to six live and 24 virtual UASs served as surrogate strike assets, receiving mission objectives from a human mission commander. The systems then autonomously collaborated to navigate, search, localize, and engage both pre-planned and pop-up targets protected by a simulated Integrated Air Defense System (IADS) in communications- and GPS-denied scenarios. “The demonstrated behaviors are the building blocks for an autonomous team that can collaborate and adjust to mission requirements and a changing environment,” said Wierzbanowski. The DARPA team also has advanced the infrastructure necessary to support further development, integration, and testing of CODE as it transitions to future autonomous systems. Achievements include incorporation of third-party autonomy algorithms into the current software build, the creation of a government repository and lab test environment for the CODE algorithms, and the successful demonstration of the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory White Force Network capability to provide constructive threats and effects in an LVC test environment. CODE's scalable capabilities could greatly enhance the survivability, flexibility, and effectiveness of existing air platforms, as well as reduce the development times and costs of future systems. Further development of CODE and associated infrastructure will continue under DARPA until the conclusion of the program in spring 2019, followed by full transition of the CODE software repository to Naval Air Systems Command.

  • To maintain tech edge, US seeks export controls on AI

    November 21, 2018 | International, C4ISR

    To maintain tech edge, US seeks export controls on AI

    By: Kelsey D. Atherton In just two words, the phrase “artificial intelligence” captures a deep techno-utopian promise, the notion that through craftsmanship humans can create learning and thinking machines outside the processes of organic life. AI is typically the realm of technologists and science fiction writers. Now it is also in the world of export controls prohibitions and restrictions on technologies as overseen by the Department of Commerce. In a proposed rule announced Nov. 19, the Bureau of Industry and Security wants to set out guidelines establishing “criteria for identifying emerging technologies that are essential to U.S. national security.” The stated goals of such controls are tied to both security and protectionism for existing American industry, especially the science, technology, engineering and manufacturing sectors. The proposed rules encompass 14 technologies, covering brain-computer interfaces to advanced surveillance technology. Nestled in that list of technologies is “artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning technology,” which is further broken into 11 related tools. Here is a list of all the kinds of AI that the new rules seek to put under Commerce export controls: Neural networks and deep learning (e.g., brain modelling, time series prediction, classification) Evolution and genetic computation (e.g., genetic algorithms, genetic programming) Reinforcement learning Computer vision (e.g., object recognition, image understanding) Expert systems (e.g., decision support systems, teaching systems) Speech and audio processing (e.g., speech recognition and production) Natural language processing ( e.g., machine translation) Planning (e.g., scheduling, game playing) Audio and video manipulation technologies (e.g., voice cloning, deepfakes) AI cloud technologies AI chipsets Several of these are as much mathematical concepts, or processes, as they are distinct, controllable technologies. Others, like AI cloud technologies, suggest always-online servers, which by the very nature of the internet, are difficult to control within borders. Tackling an entire technological field, especially one with as low a barrier to entry as coding, is a tricky proposition, even in the instances where the technology is clearly defined. Why might the White House go through all this trouble? “These revisions could compose an important element of a strategy of targeted countermeasures against the near-term threat posed by China's tactics for tech transfer and the long-term challenge of China's emergence as a powerhouse in innovation,” said Elsa B. Kania, adjunct fellow at the Center for New American Security. “However, the revision of this traditional mechanism for today's challenges is inherently challenging, particularly when development is driven by commercial technologies.” Unlike, say, controlling the components and designs of missiles in the Cold War, many of the technologies covered under these proposed rules have both commercial and military applications. We need not look abroad to find this. Project Maven, the tool Google created to process images collected from drones, was built on top of an open-source library. Identifying objects in images is hardly a military-specific task. Should companies within the United States be restricted in how they create, sell and share those same tools with researchers and commercial companies outside American borders? “China's national strategy of military-civil fusion, which seeks to create and leverage synergies among defense, academic, and commercial technological developments in dual-use technologies, increases the ambiguity and uncertainty of tech transfer and collaboration,” Kania said. “That is, the boundaries between defense and commercial technologies can become quite blurred as a result of the nature of these technologies and the Chinese government's strategy for their integrated development.” Putting in place controls to hinder the free flow of AI between American companies and businesses abroad may mitigate that risk somewhat, but countries set on acquiring the tools can pursue research by other means, including technology transfers, espionage, theft through hacking, or even straightforward investment and acquisition. Staying ahead in artificial intelligence likely cannot be done through commerce restrictions alone. “The U.S. must recognize that such controls may slow and hinder China's advances in these emerging technologies, but China's emergence as a powerhouse and would-be superpower in such emerging technologies will remain a critical long-term challenge,” Kania said. “We must not only pursue such defensive countermeasures, but also undertake a more offensive approach to ensuring future American competitiveness through investing in our own innovation ecosystem.”

  • Disruptive technologies show why government needs data security standards now

    November 21, 2018 | International, C4ISR

    Disruptive technologies show why government needs data security standards now

    By: Justin Lynch Telepathy. Data uploading to the brain. Even humanoid sex robots. These are among the ideas that exist on a periodic table of disruptive technologies, a new visual guide that predicts what will alter human existence in the coming years. Created by Imperial College London, the table identifies what is set to change societies in the short term (smart controls and appliances), as well as fringe ideas that are decades away from existence, if they will exist at all (think force fields.) Yet the disruption could turn disastrous without proper data-security standards, according to one of the chart's creators, Richard Watson, the futurist in residence at Imperial College London. “There is very little here that is not in some way digital and connected, which makes it vulnerable,” Watson said. “Any kind of internet-of-everything device doesn't really work if you haven't got common standards — if Apple isn't sharing with Google and the French aren't sharing with the Germans.” Experts have long expressed concern about the lack of data standards for internet-connected devices. There is no international standard for data security. And U.S. government oversight of internet-connected devices is spread across at least 11 different federal agencies, according to a 2017 Government Accountability Office report. “As new and more ‘things' become connected, they increase not only the opportunities for security and privacy breaches, but also the scale and scope of any resulting consequences,” the report said. And there has been a flurry of cyberattacks using internet-connected devices. Some hackers are exploiting smart devices as an intermediary to attack computer networks, the FBI warned Aug. 2. Ninety-three percent of respondents told Armis, a security platform, in an August survey that they expected governments to exploit connected devices during a cyberattack. The Imperial College London chart offers a further glimpse at how important it may be to create these common regulations by imagining a wealth of potential breach points. Watson listed some of the table's future technologies that could be hacked. “Smart controls and appliances.” Hackable. “Autonomous robotic surgery.” Hackable. “Autonomous ships and submarines.” Hackable. “One of the issues with the stuff on here is that it relies on extremely good data security,” Watson said. The problem with having a developing ecosystem without global standards is that a single vulnerability could allow access to more than one network, and government officials and businesses are currently taking a strategy of letting the private sector debate how, or if, to regulate itself when it comes to internet-connected devices. One piece of bipartisan federal legislation, the 2017 Internet of Things Cybersecurity Improvement Act, mandates that “devices purchased by the U.S. government meet certain minimum security requirements," but it has stalled in Congress. As a first step, manufacturers should collaborate to establish device security baselines, Jing de Jong-Chen, general manager for global cybersecurity at Microsoft, said during a June conference hosted by the Woodrow Wilson Center, a Washington, D.C.-based think tank. One private solution is a set of common guidelines developed by the IEEE Standards Association, an industry trade organization. The trade association's voluntary standards is evidence of a fear of government regulation that the private sector is openly hostile to. During the June event, the idea of government regulation of smart devices was laughed at by private sector officials in the room. But that laughter may have been premature. In September 2018, California Governor Jerry Brown approved a bill that requires companies to install connected devices with “a reasonable security feature” protecting it against unauthorized access. The bill means that the periodic table of disruptive technologies may eventually be impacted by a modicum of public regulation, although it is not clear if that will be effective. Not making it any easier is that no amount of planning can compensate for every technological innovation. For example, when it comes to the most disruptive future technology, the chart is secretive. In position 100, predicted to be the most innovative idea, the chart says it is too dangerous to publish. “We can't talk about this one,” it reads. In this instance, however, a potential security risk is averted. When asked if this technology is the one that will literally “break the internet,” Watson is forced to make a confession: “It's a joke. It's just us dodging the ball because we couldn't think of what to put there.”

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