21 juillet 2021 | International, Naval

Gilday: The budget request supports future fleet vision, even if it’s a smaller fleet

The chief of naval operations remains firm that the fiscal 2022 budget request is well aligned with the U.S. Navy’s future fleet design plans – even if current spending levels would force the fleet to shrink instead of grow towards the 355-ship goal.

https://www.defensenews.com/naval/2021/07/20/cno-gilday-2022-budget-request-supports-future-fleet-vision-even-if-its-a-smaller-fleet/

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  • Poland acquires AW101 helos for Navy under $430M deal

    30 avril 2019 | International, Aérospatial

    Poland acquires AW101 helos for Navy under $430M deal

    By: Jarosław Adamowski WARSAW, Poland — As part of efforts to replace Soviet-designed copters with new aircraft, the Polish Ministry of Defence has signed a deal to acquire four AW101 helos from Leonardo for the country’s Navy. The deal is worth some 1.65 billion zloty (US $430 million), and the aircraft are scheduled to be delivered to Poland by the end of 2022, the ministry said in a statement. The contract was inked April 26 at the European group’s Polish subsidiary PZL Swidnik. Leonardo was the only bidder in the tender to supply the copters after Airbus Helicopters decided to pull out of the contest last December. The "offset requirements defined by the Polish [Ministry of Defence] made it impossible for Airbus Helicopters to submit a competitive offer," the manufacturer said in a statement sent to local news agency PAP. The new copters, fitted with anti-submarine warfare (ASW) and search-and-rescue (SAR) capabilities, are to replace the Navy’s Kaman SH-2G Super Seasprite copters, according to First Deputy Defence Minister Wojciech Skurkiewicz. Local observers have also said the helos could replace the Polish Navy’s Soviet-designed Mil Mi-14 copters. https://www.defensenews.com/global/europe/2019/04/29/poland-acquires-aw101-helos-for-navy-under-430m-deal

  • Pandemic not slowing Army plans to field enduring indirect fires protection capability

    14 avril 2020 | International, Terrestre

    Pandemic not slowing Army plans to field enduring indirect fires protection capability

    By: Jen Judson  WASHINGTON — The COVID-19 pandemic is not slowing down the Army’s plans to field an enduring indirect fires protection capability, according to Lt. Col. Juan Santiago, the service’s program development manager for the effort. The Army has had to take a few steps back over recent years to reconsider its ways forward to develop an enduring capability to defend against rockets, artillery and mortars as well as cruise missiles and unmanned aircraft systems. As the service re-examined its path, Congress mandated that it buy an interim capability aimed directly at protecting the force from a growing cruise missile threat, but the Army has stressed that the system it will use — Rafael’s Iron Dome — won’t cover all the bases needed for a lasting capability. Earlier this year, the Army sent a report to Congress outlining its plans to get after the enduring capability, partly by hosting a shoot-off with vendors that bring launcher and interceptor capabilities next year. The Army issued a request for information to industry at the beginning of March with plans to conduct an industry day. But with the COVID-19 pandemic raging in the United States and limiting travel and social contact, the IFPC program office had to get creative in order to keep the program moving forward. The office was able to host one-on-one meetings with interested vendors as part of an industry day this month and is planning to answer industry questions, which have been submitted virtually, Santiago told Defense News in an April 9 interview. To stay on track with the program, the office couldn’t afford to delay industry engagements in order to keep the ball moving, Santiago explained. The next big step for industry is to submit white papers to the Army toward the end of April, Santiago said. The Army will review the papers over the course of a month and will notify industry by the end of May whether or not they will be invited to proceed into an agreement with the service to move forward, he said. Those selected will move into a modeling and simulation phase that will also include some hardware-in-the-loop activities where capabilities are demonstrated in a simulated environment to determine if they are ready to go out on the range for the live shoot-off next year in the 3rd quarter of fiscal 2021 at White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico. Santiago said he could not disclose the number of agreements that might be awarded. The Army will invite vendors to submit final proposals following the shoot-off, Santiago said, but even if a vendor isn’t ready for that phase, it can still submit a final proposal that draws upon performance in a simulated environment and includes a plan to get to a live-fire capability within the desired timeline. The government will evaluate final proposals and choose one vendor to provide the launcher and interceptor solution in the fourth quarter of FY21, Santiago said. Initial capabilities are expected to be fielded by FY23. https://www.defensenews.com/land/2020/04/10/pandemic-not-slowing-down-army-plans-to-field-enduring-indirect-fires-protection-capability/

  • Sorry, Sierra Nevada Corp. and Textron: The US Air Force isn’t buying light attack planes

    11 février 2020 | International, Aérospatial

    Sorry, Sierra Nevada Corp. and Textron: The US Air Force isn’t buying light attack planes

    By: Valerie Insinna  WASHINGTON — At long last, the U.S. Air Force has definitively stated it will not procure light attack planes, putting to bed a three-year-long debate about whether to buy upward of 300 low-cost aircraft for the counterterrorism fight. In a statement to Defense News, Air Force spokeswoman Ann Stefanek confirmed that the service will not move forward with a program of record for light attack planes. Instead, U.S. Special Operations Command has requested $106 million in the fiscal 2021 defense budget for its armed overwatch requirement, according to Defense Department budget materials. As part of that program, SOCOM is set to acquire as many as 75 light attack aircraft, the command stated in a Feb. 3 solicitation.   The funding would support “prototype demonstrations and the testing of Special Operation Forces-unique capabilities and air worthiness release efforts” as well as the “procurement of aircraft, mission kits and associated support equipment,” according to the department. Last year, Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Dave Goldfein said the Air Force would continue experimenting with light attack aircraft, using funding from FY18 and FY19 to buy a handful of AT-6 Wolverine turboprop planes from Textron and A-29 Super Tucanos from a Sierra Nevada Corp.-Embraer team. Then, in FY22, the service would be ready to decide whether to venture into a program of record, he said. The Air Force still intends to buy two AT-6s and two A-29s, Stefanek said. However, the scope of their future operations has become more limited as the service opted to not pursue a larger buy. At Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, “[the] AT-6 will be used for continued experimentation on exportable network/data link capabilities for allies and partners,” said Stefanek, referencing a project under development known as Airborne Extensible Relay Over-Horizon Network, or AEROnet. “The Air Force has prior year funds available to continue the experiment,” she added. Meanwhile, U.S. Air Force Special Operations Command pilots will use the A-29s to conduct training at Hurlburt Field, Florida, allowing them to act as instructor pilots and advisers for partner nations that plan to operate the A-29, Stefanek said. For the past year, Air Force leaders have been sending signals that their interest in buying light attack aircraft was waning. The service originally considered a buy of several hundred planes that would be able to augment pilot absorption and provide a less expensive alternative to using high-cost fighters like the F-15 and F-35 for low-threat strikes against terrorist groups. However, a national defense strategy that prioritizes the fight against near-peer adversaries like Russia and China made it difficult to justify buying an aircraft fleet only survivable in the most uncontested environments. In contrast, SOCOM has been bullish on light attack capabilities, with its commander, Gen. Richard Clarke, describing it as “a need for SOCOM” and “a need for our nation.” In the FY20 national defense policy bill, Congress instructed the Air Force to coordinate with SOCOM on light attack capabilities and included an option “to transfer a portion of funds authorized for Air Force light attack aircraft experiments to procure aircraft for supporting the combat air adviser mission of the Special Operations Command.” While the Air Force seemed most interested in the A-29 and AT-6 as potential light attack platforms, SOCOM appears to want to explore all options. The command is holding an Armed Overwatch industry day March 4-5 to discuss an upcoming demonstration of prototype aircraft. https://www.defensenews.com/smr/federal-budget/2020/02/10/sorry-sierra-nevada-corp-and-textron-the-us-air-force-isnt-buying-light-attack-planes  

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