8 octobre 2021 | International, C4ISR

Canada’s Department of National Defence to Advance Brain & Mental Health Research in Partnership with Polaris Genomics

In a pivotal partnership announced in collaboration with Polaris Genomics today, Defence Research and Development Canada (DRDC) is now conducting military brain


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  • U.S. Arms Sales Remain Robust Despite Pandemic

    4 décembre 2020 | International, Aérospatial, Naval, Terrestre, C4ISR, Sécurité

    U.S. Arms Sales Remain Robust Despite Pandemic

    12/4/2020 By Jon Harper Business is still booming on the foreign military sales front even though the world is reeling from the economic effects of the COVID-19 crisis. Boosting exports of U.S.-made defense equipment has been a top policy goal of the Trump administration. The government finished fiscal year 2020 with a total of $84 billion in potential FMS sales that had been approved. Roman Schweizer, an analyst with the Cowen Washington Research Group, called it a “massive” case load. “This isn’t technically the ‘real’ number but it’s still impressive,” he said in a newsletter, noting that not all of the deals had been consummated. In 2019, $68 billion in potential FMS cases were announced, with $55 billion in actual sales reported, according to the research group. The 2020 numbers were better than many observers anticipated. “Some of the concerns that have been initially identified in April have not come to fruition,” R. Clarke Cooper, assistant secretary of state for political-military affairs, told reporters in October. In July, the U.S. government processed the second highest amount of FMS case work in the history of the State Department, he noted. “On large items that would take a long train or trail in contracting and production, have we seen a change there? No,” he said. “If anything, the work toward getting significant procurement for, let’s say, F-16s or a Patriot missile battery, those things have not abated.” What explains this dynamic? Some nations have had better than expected economic recoveries, Cooper said. “There has been a recommitment by states who at one point understandably could have put on park or pause their modernization plans,” he said. “Overall, if we’re looking at long-term modernization plans across the board … we’re currently remaining on a trajectory of where we were in FY ’19 going into ’21.” That doesn’t mean nothing will change, he noted. There will probably be fluctuations on payments and payment schedules, he said. Some buyers could seek foreign military financing or grant assistance, or sequence their procurements differently. While trends seem positive, government officials don’t have a crystal ball when it comes to FMS in 2021 and beyond, he noted. The new fiscal year began strong, with the Defense Security Cooperation Agency announcing in October that it had cleared more than $4 billion worth of missiles to Taiwan, as well as $27.2 billion worth of aircraft to Finland including F/A-18E/F Super Hornets, EA-18G Growlers and F-35 joint strike fighters. https://www.nationaldefensemagazine.org/articles/2020/12/4/us-arms-sales-remain-robust-despite-pandemic

  • DoD Drafts New Acquisition Strategy For Commercial SATCOM

    12 mars 2020 | International, Aérospatial

    DoD Drafts New Acquisition Strategy For Commercial SATCOM

    Space Force will ask for 2022 money for commercial satcom, but the funds will not be for buying services as industry would like -- rather for R&D. By   THERESA HITCHENS SATELLITE 2020: The Space Force is drafting a new Transformative Acquisition Strategy for buying commercial satellite communications capacity, Clare Grason, the chief of the service’s Commercial Satellite Communications Office (CSCO), told a panel here today. The new strategy is bouncing off of the new “Vision for Satellite Communications” signed Jan. 23 by Space Command head, and Space Force chief, Gen. Jay Raymond. It’s designed to enable the creation of seamless web of communications capabilities to warfighters, even during conflict. David Myers, president of Peraton’s Communications sector, told me in an interview that CSCO  will likely replace it’s current program, known as the Future Commercial SATCOM Acquisition Program, “with something unique to Space Command that better suits this mission of interoperability between between commercial and government.” Indeed, Peraton on March 3 announced they had been granted a $218.6 million contract to provide commercial satellite communications services for Africa Command (AFRICOM). According to the company’s March 3 announcement, the “single award, blanket purchase agreement” is a first of its kind, whereby the company “will provide communications services leveraging satellites and emerging technologies from across multiple satellite fleet operators.” At the same time, Grason told me afterwards, the office is in the process of putting together a funding request for 2022 for a newish, congressionally-mandated program of record to buy commercial satcom directly from operators — although she did not reveal the sum. “We are POMing against the commercial satcom program of record,” she said. “We’re going through that process right now.” Congress created the independent program element for commercial satcom within the DoD budget in the 2019, putting $49.5 million into the pot. It added $5 million to the program in 2020, although DoD did not ask for funding. There is no money in the 2021 budget request, Grason explained, although she is working on an unfunded requirements request that might be able to fill that gap. The program of record, however, will not be used — at least in the near term — to provide satellite communications services to military users in a manner similar to how terrestrial telecom providers like AT&T sell you a data plan for your phone, as a number of commercial satcom operators have been advocating. Instead, those congressionally appropriated funds would be used “for research and development purposes, to assess capabilities that are emerging,” Grason told me. Once proven, new capabilities might be fed back into the operational program. “Or we could do isolated projects in cooperation with others,” she said. “There’s a lot of flexibility and potential for the arrangement.” CSCO is leery of crossing the working capital and congressionally appropriated funding streams, Grason explained. “It’s key when it comes down to the program of record that those activities are outside of the scope of our core … transactions,” she told me. “There are legalities there.” Currently, the CSCO buys commercial satellite bandwidth using a DoD working capital fund — a kind of revolving fund that works a bit like a checking account. CSCO negotiates one-on-one contracts between a satcom provider and a military customer, Grayson said. At any one time, she told the Satellite 2020 audience, the office is negotiating about 30 different deals. “Our office is responsible for connecting a customer to the marketplace,” she explained. Under that system, DoD essentially leases commercial bandwidth for short periods of time — an acquisition model that has been widely disparaged by commercial satcom operators. Indeed, Congress in the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) shifted Grason’s office from its original home within the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) to Air Force Space Command. That, of course, has now been subsumed by the new Space Force. The goal of the new acquisition strategy, Grason said, is to streamline that process via a kind of bundling of current contracts with providers. “We do have a Transformative Acquisition Strategy under development now, that will evolve how we acquire and deliver commercial satcom on an aggregated basis through a smaller number of contracts,” she said, that will “centralize procurement with industry.” CSCO will then turn around and sign so-called ‘service letter agreements’ with military customers that, in effect, make them subscribers to commercial services. “So in essence we’d become like a Direct TV with different cable plans,” she told me, and would managing the relationship between the user and the providers. “It’s a challenging objective, but we believe the benefit lies in the fact that we’re aggregating buying power, we won’t have duplication, we’ll have [broad] coverage, and the ability to shift resources without having to set up new contracts.” A first draft of which is due at the end of the year, she said. DoD currently contracts for satcom bandwidth with a number of providers, such as Peraton and Intelsat, which has been vocal in pushing the Pentagon to move to a ‘satellite-as-a-service’ model. “There’s going to be a very significant change required in the mindset,” Rebecca Cowen-Hirsch, senior vice president for government strategy and policy at Inmarsat Government, told the panel. But the bulk of DoD’s satcom services and bandwidth comes via the Enhanced Mobile Satellite Services (EMMS) program, for which Iridium Communications was awarded a $738.5 million, seven-year, fixed-price contract in December 2019. The US military is heavily reliant on commercial satcom, given the fact that military comsat networks, such as the Advanced Extremely High Frequency satellites built by Lockheed Martin and the Wideband Global SATCOM satellites built by Boeing, have limited bandwidth to go around. In fact, Grason told me, access to milsatcom bandwidth is granted via a “prioritization scheme that customers generally speaking are highly dissatisfied with.” That said, she admitted that military users of CSCO’s services are naturally a bit skeptical about a new approach.They want to know “how are you going to ensure that the capabilities that we’re getting today are not degraded?” she said. “The linchpin is that the customer will pay for the capability in the form of a service level agreement with us.” Myer said one model DoD might want to think about is “buying a pool of capacity that gives them portability to move capacity around.” This would it to leverage buying power, he said. https://breakingdefense.com/2020/03/dod-drafts-new-acquisition-strategy-for-commercial-satcom

  • New National Guard medical helicopter unit set to deploy

    12 juin 2018 | International, Aérospatial

    New National Guard medical helicopter unit set to deploy

    WINDSOR LOCKS, Conn. (AP) — The Connecticut National Guard's newest unit, which has spent the past two years training with new, specialized helicopters, will deploy soon to provide care and transport to the sick and wounded in support of military operations in southwest Asia. "To receive your first medical evacuation aircraft in 2016 and be fully prepared for a deployment less than two years later is a testament to the hard work and dedication of those in our aviation community," Maj. Gen. Thaddeus J.Martin, adjutant general and commander of the Connecticut National Guard, said in a statement ahead of a sendoff ceremony last month for the aerial medical evacuation unit, officially known as Detachment 2, Charlie Company, 3rd Battalion, 126th Aviation Regiment. The detachment, based in Windsor Locks and commanded by 1st Lt. Matthew Barringer of South Glastonbury, doesn't officially deploy until later this month. It represents a new capability for the National Guard. It received the first of three Blackhawk helicopters specifically outfitted for medical evacuation in the spring of 2016, even before becoming a fully operational unit in the fall of 2016. Thirty members of the detachment are deploying and will spend about a year providing aeromedical evacuation, en-route critical care and medical support while transporting patients. Five of the members deploying are women. The unit will join the 70 guardsmen from Connecticut already deployed in support of operations around the world. While deployed, the unit will be on 24-hour standby, and operate in shifts. A crew of four — two pilots, a crew chief, and a flight paramedic — can transport up to six patients at a time on one of the Sikorsky-built HH-60M Blackhawk helicopters. The helicopters have been specially outfitted for aerial medical evacuation and will be stocked with medical supplies like ventilators and IVs. The crew also has the capability to do procedures on board such as put in a chest tube. "We're almost a flying hospital," said Chief Warrant Officer Jonathan Behuniak, 28, of Unionville. From the time a call comes in, they have less than 15 minutes to grab supplies, get to the aircraft and take off to aid a patient, who could be a member of the U.S. military or coalition forces, contractors, and even military working dogs, Behuniak said. Through training, they've been able to get that number down to nine minutes. "There are a lot of computers that need to start working, so as fast as the aircraft will let us take off, we can take off," Behuniak said. The benefit of a medevac unit, he added, is the ability to get a critically wounded patient to a hospital within so the so-called "golden hour," which greatly increases a patient's chance of survival. A 2015 study involving the Army, Texas A&M University and the University of Texas Medical School at Houston found that getting wounded troops to hospitals in less than an hour, along with improved care on the battlefield and in medical helicopters, saved hundreds of lives. "There's a wide spectrum of care an injured person can receive on this aircraft," said Sgt. Ryan Will, 28, Manchester, a flight paramedic. "It's very comprehensive care as well." Flight paramedics like Will and Staff Sgt. Trevor O'Neill, 27, of Greenwich, have gone through extensive training and are nationally registered paramedics. Both are also civilian paramedics. Members of the unit underwent a range of training to prepare them for the conditions they'll encounter overseas. They trained at a facility in Rhode Island that can simulate desert conditions. Anticipating mountain peaks of 13,800 feet, some pilots went to Colorado for training to get an understanding of how air density affects a helicopter's rotor system and the ability to fly. Last week, they trained with members of Air National Guard's 103rd Airlift Wing, practicing loading and unloading patients onto the helicopters, and simulating different missions where the two units would cross paths. "There are a lot of gravity and effects that are placed on the patient that there aren't normally on the ground, whether that be from high maneuver turns or simply just taking off and landing. Things like vibrations can really make a patient uncomfortable and these are things they have to know when they're giving us patients," said O'Neill, one of the flight paramedics. There was strong interest in joining the unit, which represents a new capability for the Connecticut National Guard. Second Lt. Brett Boissonneault, 25, of East Hampton, was handpicked out of flight school to be part of the unit. "It's a great opportunity to be part of an important mission where we're saving people every day, helping people every day," he said. https://www.sfchronicle.com/news/article/New-National-Guard-medical-helicopter-unit-set-to-12984985.php

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