23 juin 2022 | International, Terrestre

Hanwha, Kongsberg partner on combat vehicle, long-range fires system

The Norwegian Defence Material Agency is expected later this year to issue a request for information on new infantry fighting vehicles, and another RFI for a long-range precision fires system, namely multiple launch rocket systems.


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  • Rebuilding America’s Military: Thinking About the Future

    25 juillet 2018 | International, Aérospatial, Naval, Terrestre, C4ISR

    Rebuilding America’s Military: Thinking About the Future

    Dakota Wood  SUMMARY America’s military—engaged beyond capacity and in need of rebuilding—is at a crucial juncture. Its current “big-leap” approach to preparing for future conflict carries great risk in searching for revolutionary capabilities through force-wide commitments to major single-solution programs. The Heritage Foundation’s Rebuilding America’s Military Project (RAMP) recommends that the U.S. military instead adopt an iterative, experimentation-heavy approach that can achieve revolutionary outcomes at less risk through evolutionary improvements that build on each other until transformative tipping points are reached. Critical to this is a military culture that is immersed in the study of war and a force of sufficient capacity to prepare for the future while also handling current operational commitments. https://www.heritage.org/defense/report/rebuilding-americas-military-thinking-about-the-future

  • B-21 Bomber Critical Design Review by End of Year

    26 juin 2018 | International, Aérospatial

    B-21 Bomber Critical Design Review by End of Year

    JOHN A. TIRPAK The secret B-21 bomber will progress to a major milestone—critical design review—by the end of this year, Air Force Rapid Capabilities Office director Randall Walden said Monday. Walden also revealed that the B-21 is merely one of 28 programs being managed by the RCO, which he noted is funded at about $30 billion over the five-year future year defense plan.  Walden, speaking at an AFA Mitchell Institute event in Arlington, Va., said the B-21 has already passed its preliminary design review, and noted that the release of drawings for the bomber is progressing well. As for critical design review, "we haven't done it, but we're on our way," and he predicted it would happen by the end of December. Major design work on the bomber is taking place at Northrop Grumman's Melbourne, Fla., facility. He acknowledged that subscale models of the aircraft have been tested in wind tunnels, but said no full-size version has yet been fabricated. "Component testing" is moving along at an "appropriate" speed, he said. "We're looking forward to ... an 'on-time' start of production," Walden said. Walden has spoken publicly about the RCO in a number of venues, but was more forthcoming than usual about the organization and its products at the Mitchell event. Of the 28 projects in the RCO's portfolio, 13 are "ACAT 1," he noted, meaning they are major defense acquisition programs, which usually means a major platform, like an aircraft, missile, or command and control system. While Walden would only identify the B-21 and X-37 orbital vehicle among those that the RCO is working on, he said the majority of the rest could best be characterized as "family of systems" projects.  Interestingly, Walden said the RCO has not been called on to undertake any hypersonics programs. The Air Force is pursuing hypersonics projects with the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), and the other services are conducting independent research in the field.   Walden said the RCO has about 220 people, who are headquartered at JB Anacostia-Bolling, in Washington, D.C. Among them are experts from the line Air Force who are "embedded" with programs to offer operator advice on design and development. Four bomber pilots are attached to the RCO to advise on the B-21's development, he noted. The B-21 program manager—who Walden did not name—has had experience with management of the F-22 and F-35 programs, he said.    The B-21 program has long been scheduled to produce a "usable asset" in the 2024 timeframe, according to comments offered by Air Force officials for the last three years. Rep. Rob Wittman (R-Va.), chair of the House Armed Services Seapower and Projection Forces panel, revealed in March that problems had arisen with airflow to the B-21's engines, and Walden said Monday that these had been resolved.  "Complex weapon systems, especially engine integrations, ... you've got to get throat sizes done right, prior to anything being built" he said, referring to the serpentine tunnels by which air reaches the B-21's engines, which are buried in the fuselage. The RCO obtained "insight from actual lab testing" and found the optimal solution, he said. The RCO has been asked to help with the set-up of a dedicated "Space RCO" at the Space and Missile Systems Center at Los Angeles AFB, Calif., and Walden said he has recommended veterans of his own shop to run it, especially those who have worked on space systems, and they have been hired, he said. Walden resisted allowing his own people to be hired away for the new organization, he said.    Walden was asked whether the RCO is working on a successor platform to the X-37, and although he did not reply directly, he did say that it is "no different from any other system, ... it starts to get old," and there begin to emerge problems with vanishing vendors and parts obsolescence. However, he forecast no "big change" in that program in the near future. The X-37 tends to fly two-year missions, and various agencies that use the data collected from it are very happy with its activities, he said.   Walden told Air Force Magazine he is not experiencing trouble obtaining the workforce he requires, but he said he's aware that major vendors are experiencing difficulties hiring all the engineering and especially software talent needed to execute the Air Force's array of high-tech projects. He also reported that the RCO's experience with protests—wherein a contractor not selected for a program complains that the judging was not fair—is no worse, and probably somewhat better, than that experienced by the Air Force in its "white world," or non-secret programs. Commenting on the "culture" of the RCO, Walden said it is largely based on the Lockheed "Skunk Works" model of small teams with tightly defined objectives and a vastly shortened reporting chain. Where the RCO saves time and money is usually in the area of "deciding to do" something and not going into endless coordination efforts. The RCO can save two to three years on a project simply by having the authority to make decisions, Walden said, avoiding "the tyranny of consensus." It reports to an executive committee comprised of the Secretary and Chief of Staff of the Air Force, the service's acquisition executive, and the Pentagon's acquisition chief. It's not possible to rush the development of, say, an aircraft, he said, noting that basic design must be gotten right or problems are inevitable later on. It takes about three years at a minimum to develop a design, he said.  Asked whether the RCO can provide a model to the overall acquisition system, Walden said it can be applied to a degree, but there is the risk that the organization could get too big. "There is a knee in the curve. I can't tell you" what it is, he said, but at a certain size, an RCO-like acquisition agency would no longer be able to do things rapidly. The value of something of constrained size, like the RCO, is to "make a decision, get on contract," Walden said. The mainstream acquisition system takes "an inordinate amount of time" on those two steps. An analysis of alternatives can take up to three years and "sometimes no one makes a decision," Walden said.  Walden insisted the RCO is fully observant of the 5000-series of acquisition regulations, but makes a careful review of them on all its efforts and works to "avoid" the ones that don't really affect its programs. He also said the organization turns away many people who want to be involved in overseeing or getting briefed on RCO activities unless they are required under regulations. Even so, he said the RCO has a good relationship with Congress because it tries to be transparent with members, and even when it runs into problems, people on Capitol Hill "want to help."     He added that the Pentagon's "risk-averse" acquisition process took many years to get that way and reversing that mindset to one of risk-taking and experimentation will not happen quickly. http://www.airforcemag.com/Features/Pages/2018/June%202018/B-21-Bomber-Critical-Design-Review-by-End-of-Year.aspx

  • These six companies have been selected to compete in the Army’s submachine gun program

    19 septembre 2018 | International, Terrestre

    These six companies have been selected to compete in the Army’s submachine gun program

    By: Todd South After some fits and starts, the Army submachine gun program has reached its next phase as officials have selected the six companies they want to provide guns for consideration. The program caught attention when it was first mentioned at the annual National Defense Industrial Association’s Armament Systems forum. Lt. Col. Steven Power, product manager of Soldier Weapons for Program Executive Office-Soldier noted the then-recent posting of a Request For Information on sub gun options for soldier personal security. Fairly quickly, more than a dozen companies sent their offerings, and the designs ranged from the classic Heckler & Koch MP5-style to the smaller M4-type guns chambered in 9mm. Sub guns or subcompact guns have been in use in the military for a variety of purposes dating back to the Thompson Submachine gun developed during World War I and put into use in World War II. That heavy-duty, high-capacity weapon fell out of use in the subsequent decades, while other lighter versions with smaller rounds such as the 9mm came into fashion. Sub guns have long been used by special operations forces, such as the Navy SEALs, for close-quarters battle shooting scenarios. But they were not in common use among the rank and file for some time. That seems to be part of the reason that posting caught the attention of military-gun focused readers. Then, it appeared the program halted when the RFI was canceled after 13 submissions were received. But, in a few short weeks, a Prototype Opportunity Notice by Army Contracting Command was posted, modifying some of the requirements. The new notice wants a “highly concealable [Sub Compact Weapon] system capable of engaging threat personnel with a high volume of lethal force while accurately firing at close range with minimal collateral damage.” The sub gun now had to be optimized specifically to fire a 147-grain 9mm and include 20- and 30-round magazines. It must fire 60 rounds per minute for five minutes without a cookoff. The following companies were selected for the next phase: Trident Rifles, LLC Sig Sauer Shield Arms Global Ordnance, LLC B&T USA Angstadt Arms If selected, the companies could be asked to manufacture up to 350 guns initially, and possibly as many as 1,000 of the sub guns, depending on Army requirements. First, the companies will have until mid-October to provide 15 weapons for an evaluation. The six companies selected make for some interesting developments on the design front. Though details on specific submissions have not been made public, at least two of the companies on the list, Angstadt and Shield Arms, both make M4-style 9mm variants, as reported by Soldier Systems, a military gear-focused website. The Firearm Blog notes that the original MP5-style designs from Heckler & Koch, Zenith and PTR are now off the list, as are some of the companies typically associated with this type of gun. That includes Colt, Beretta, CMMG, CZ-USA, LMT and Noveske, the website reported. Sig Sauer has had recent success, nabbing last year’s contract to replace the common sidearm for all the services in the M17 9mm handgun, part of the Modular Handgun System. It also garnered attention from Special Operations Command for its work on the MCX Rattler, chambered in .300 Winchester Blackout, this year. One company not selected, Handl Defense, reportedly told TFB that they planned to file a protest on the selections, alleging they were excluded on a “procedural basis.” https://www.armytimes.com/news/your-army/2018/09/18/these-six-companies-have-been-selected-to-compete-in-the-armys-submachine-gun-program

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