15 septembre 2021 | International, C4ISR

New war-gaming center to speed up weapon deliveries to US Marines

A planned 100,000-square-foot facility in Quantico, Virginia, will transform military war gaming from a tabletop exercise to an immersive experience in a simulated environment.


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  • India announces ban on 101 imported arms. Who benefits, and who loses out?

    14 août 2020 | International, Aérospatial, Naval, Terrestre, C4ISR, Sécurité

    India announces ban on 101 imported arms. Who benefits, and who loses out?

    By: Vivek Raghuvanshi  NEW DELHI — To bolster self-reliance for its defense industrial base, India on Sunday released a list of 101 weapons and platforms that will be banned from import over the next seven years. The list incorporates major armaments such as artillery guns, assault rifles, corvettes, sonar systems, transport aircraft, ammunition, radars, conventional diesel-electric submarines, communication satellites and shipborne cruise missiles. In announcing the move, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh called it “a big step toward self-reliance in defense production in accordance with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat,’ ” or “Self-Reliant India.” Singh added the decision will bring with it a great opportunity for the local defense industry to manufacture the items on the negative list by using domestic design and development capabilities. “The embargo on imports is planned to be progressively implemented between 2020 to 2024,” the Ministry of Defense said in a statement. “The aim behind the promulgation of the list is to appraise the Indian defense industry about the anticipated requirements of the [Indian] armed forces so that they are better prepared to realize the goal of indigenization.” The items on the list, worth a total of $53.4 billion, are to be manufactured in India, with local companies as prime contractors. Of these, about $17.3 billion will be either Army or Air Force programs, and defense contracts worth $18.6 billion will be meant for naval programs. The MoD said these orders will be placed with domestic companies within the next five to seven years. The domestic industry will now stand a better chance to compete among itself and cater to local demand, an MoD official told Defense News. “Foreign-origin technology transfer will be key. However, the Indian companies will be in the driver’s seat,” the official said. Domestic private companies have welcomed the government’s move, but some defense experts doubt change will come. Baba Kalyani, chairman of Bharat Forge Limited, said this decision is a strategic step that will “propel the Self-Reliant India narrative and bolster the Indian defense equipment-manufacturing industry.” He added that the growth of the domestic sector will lead to self-reliance, reduced expenditure on imports, the saving of foreign currency, job creation and the revival of consumption, and that it will get India closer to its goal of a $5 trillion economy. Jayant Patil, senior executive vice president of India’s largest private defense company Larsen & Toubro, said the defense policy reforms will provide long-term visibility, which he said is needed to drive investment. In contract, Vivek Rae, a former MoD chief of acquisitions, said the “gradual ban on imports of 101 weapons and platforms signals the strong intent of government to boost domestic defense production. However, some of these items are already made or assembled in India, and import content is also high. Therefore, business as usual will continue unless more orders are given to the private sector and import content reduced.” Rae also noted the cost of items manufactured or assembled locally tends to be higher than the cost of imported items. The quality of locally produced materiel is also a concern for Rae. The embargo may not adversely affect foreign original equipment manufacturers, as they can continue involvement in MoD acquisition programs, either by way of direct product orders or through technology transfer or collaboration with the Indian companies, in respect to items not covered by the list, according to Amit Cowshish, a former financial adviser for acquisition at the MoD. It doesn’t matter whether an embargoed item is made by a joint venture or any other entity, so long as it is designed and developed in India, Cowshish added. Indeed, an MoD official confirmed that foreign original equipment manufacturers now can set up joint ventures with a majority control up to 74 percent. The ventures would be considered Indian companies and thus be eligible for manufacturing the embargoed items, the official explained. https://www.defensenews.com/global/asia-pacific/2020/08/13/india-announces-ban-on-101-imported-arms-who-benefits-and-who-loses-out/

  • Opinion: How To Break Exponential Pentagon Cost Growth

    16 septembre 2020 | International, Aérospatial, Naval, Autre défense

    Opinion: How To Break Exponential Pentagon Cost Growth

    James Chew The recently published viewpoint “Can the Pentagon Spend More Smartly?” (AW&ST Aug. 31-Sept. 13, p. 58) highlights the consequences of increased dependence on technology to maintain an edge. In fact, the core issue of the exponential growth in cost associated with the linear growth in technology capability is highlighted in Norman Augustine’s 1982 book Augustine’s Laws. Specifically, two of “Augustine’s laws” focus on what needs to be avoided within the Defense Department acquisition community. One of the laws states: “In the year 2054, the entire defense budget will purchase just one aircraft. This aircraft will have to be shared by the Air Force and Navy three and a half days each per week, except for leap year when it will be made available to the Marines for the extra day.” Additionally, the book highlights the Defense Department’s growing dependence on electronic systems with this law: “After the year 2015, there will be no airplane crashes. There will be no takeoffs either, because electronics will occupy 100% of every airplane’s weight.” Even if these laws seem outlandish, the book’s underlying lessons still ring true today. For decades, the Pentagon was the driving force behind the development of microelectronics until, interestingly, the commercial sector ultimately ended up in the driver’s seat. To share a little history, the Army-funded Micromodule project was the precursor of the integrated circuit and the Very-Large Scale Integration project created today’s electronic design automation companies and resulted in the development of multichip wafer fabrication technology. The fact is, today’s microelectronics technology would not exist, or would almost certainly be less sophisticated, if not for a few brave and visionary Defense Department project officers. The electronics industry is likely the most visible and significant example of a commercial market that not only transitioned from but significantly advanced technology developed by the U.S. military. Without the government investment, the device on which I am writing this article, and the one on which you are reading it, would perhaps not exist. There are lessons to be learned from both the public and private sectors, and best practices from each can certainly be applied cross-functionally to optimize outcomes. For example, the commercial electronics industry has enabled electronic systems companies to develop high-quality, sustainable and modernizable products on a “can’t-miss-Christmas” schedule. Much of the industry’s success is due in large part to an adherence to “first-pass success” and the computational software tools and processes that enable it. These tools and processes have been developed by companies that invest significant portions of their annual sales—some up to 40%—into research and development (that is “IR&D” to you in the Pentagon) and are a result of the intense competition within the unforgiving consumer electronics market. These tools and processes, which have institutionalized the product development practice of “emulate before you fabricate,” make up the foundation of on-schedule, on-cost product development. The best-case scenario is that the current Defense Department and defense industry electronic development process matches up with the commercial electronics development process, where they both seek to achieve “first-pass success.” Even if all things were equal, which they aren’t, the commercial timeline would still be around 30% that of the defense timeline. Eliminating the need for prototype hardware and the associated tests and reworks is a major reduction in design time and cost. So, after so many years of funding research into electronic design and development, why have the Defense Department and defense industry turned away from the commercial processes that stemmed from that investment? Why aren’t these processes being adopted? Congress appreciates that transitioning to commercial electronics best practices is the basis for the much-desired firm, fixed-price acquisition. The fiscal 2017 National Defense Authorization Act, reinforced by the fiscal 2021 Defense Appropriations Act, has an entire section on transitioning to commercial electronics best practices. Program offices and some individuals within the defense industrial base are seeking to better understand the commercial industry-proven way to design electronics that reduce design schedules by at least 70%, producing “first-pass success” electronic system designs that are immediately sustainable and agilely modernizable. The answer is out there—adopt commercial best practices to save time and money. With nontraditional companies entering the picture (what’s the name of that space company?), the public sector should have plenty of motivation to implement tools and processes that are prevalent and successful in today’s private sector. https://aviationweek.com/defense-space/budget-policy-operations/opinion-how-break-exponential-pentagon-cost-growth

  • Australia chooses General Atomics MQ-9B Sky Guardian RPAS

    29 novembre 2019 | International, Aérospatial

    Australia chooses General Atomics MQ-9B Sky Guardian RPAS

    The Australian Department of Defence (DoD) has down-selected General Atomics’ MQ-9B Sky Guardian for the programme to acquire an armed Medium Altitude Long Endurance (MALE) remotely piloted aircraft system (RPAS). Australia is looking to purchase the MQ-9B unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) for its armed MALE RPAS requirement under Project Air 7003. The DoD has selected the MQ-9B over the MQ-9A unmanned aircraft for the A$1.3bn ($884m) programme. It will now work on preparing an acquisition proposal for government consideration, which is expected to take place in 2021-22. Australia Defence Minister Linda Reynolds said: “Cutting-edge technology of this kind, with advanced sensors and systems, would complement advanced aircraft such as the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter and ensure that Australian Defence Force maintains state-of-the-art capability.” The team assembled by General Atomics to deliver the RPAS for the Australian Defence Force (ADF) is known as Team Reaper Australia. It includes Cobham Aviation Services Australia, Flight Data Systems, Collins Aerospace, Raytheon Australia, Airspeed, CAE Australia, Sentient Vision Systems, Ultra Electronics Australia, Quickstep Technologies and TAE Aerospace. Australia Defence Industry Minister Melissa Price said: “Local companies that provide a range of innovative sensor, communication, manufacturing and lifecycle support capabilities will have the opportunity to showcase their capabilities throughout this development process. “Australian defence industries are world-class and are extremely well-placed to be involved in projects like this.” The DoD select General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc (GA-ASI) to provide an armed RPAS solution in November last year. To be operated by the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF), the MQ-9B drone is part of the MQ-9 series of unmanned systems. Belgium and the UK also selected the MQ-9B Sky Guardian to meet their defence requirements. https://www.airforce-technology.com/news/australia-general-atomics-mq-9b-sky-guardian/

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