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  • Next phase of Canadian special forces aircraft project to begin soon

    9 août 2019 | Local, Aérospatial

    Next phase of Canadian special forces aircraft project to begin soon

    DAVID PUGLIESE, OTTAWA CITIZEN The next phase of the purchase of new surveillance aircraft for Canadian special forces is expected to begin soon with the request for bids for long-term maintenance of the planes. Canadian special forces will receive three new surveillance aircraft from the U.S. with the planes expected to arrive in 2022. A request for bids from Canadian firms to provide in-service support is to be released by the end of the summer. The purchase of the aircraft has raised questions about why the cost is substantially more than what the U.S. Air Force spends to buy the same or similar aircraft. The three Beechcraft King Air planes, to be based at CFB Trenton in Ontario, will be outfitted with sensors and equipment to intercept cell phone and other electronic transmissions. Canadian special forces and, potentially, other government departments will use them for missions overseas and in Canada. The agreement for the aircraft was finalized on April 26 with the U.S. government. Three aircraft and equipment will be delivered in the spring of 2022, the Canadian Forces noted. The agreement signed with the U.S. government is for $188 million (CAN). The U.S. Air Force lists the cost of the MC-12W surveillance aircraft as $17 million each or around $23 million Canadian. That includes communications/sensors and modification of the aircraft for that equipment. So three aircraft should cost in total about $70 million Canadian. At first it was unclear why Canada was paying more than double what the U.S. spends on the same planes. But the Department of National Defence now says the extra cost includes more powerful engines and a modernized cockpit. “As such, the cost for this new variant of the aircraft is higher than previous models,” the DND added in a statement. Also included in the overall agreement is two years of field service support and a technical data package which will enable the Canadian government to solicit bids from domestic firms to maintain the planes, according to the DND. No breakdown of the various costs was provided. The DND also noted that the initial outlay for the aircraft provides the “greatest benefit to Canada's industrial base.” It pointed out that it consulted with industry and determined buying from the U.S. was the best approach. Canadian industry officials, however, have disputed that claim. Various Canadian firms responded to the federal government's initial request for information in August 2013, highlighting that they could provide the aircraft needed by the Canadian Forces as well as integrate whatever equipment was selected or required by Canadian special forces. But the procurement was changed to have the aircraft purchased directly from the U.S. government and using U.S. firms. Attempts by Canadian companies to get an explanation about the change in direction were rebuffed, industry officials say. But the DND says Canadian firms will be providing the maintenance support for the aircraft. The federal government will solicit bids for the in-service support contract which will have the potential to cover a 23-year period. “The value of potential maintenance contracts is not yet known,” according to the DND. A draft request for proposals for the in-service support portion has been released with a final RFP expected sometime in the summer. No specific date was provided. https://ottawacitizen.com/news/national/defence-watch/next-phase-of-canadian-special-forces-aircraft-project-soon-to-begin

  • Canadian, U.S. military leaders agree on framework to retool Norad

    9 août 2019 | Local, Aérospatial

    Canadian, U.S. military leaders agree on framework to retool Norad

    By Murray Brewster Military leaders from the U.S. and Canada have come to an agreement on the nuts and bolts retooling of Norad, CBC News has learned. It is a milestone that could end up pitting the next government in Ottawa against both the Trump administration and perhaps even northern Indigenous communities at home. Now over six decades old, the bi-national air and maritime defence command — and its associated airfields, radar stations and satellite network — has been in need of a major overhaul in the face of emerging threats, such as North Korean ballistic missiles and rapidly advancing cruise missile technology. Word of the understanding comes as two Canadian CF-18s and two American F-22 Raptors intercepted two Russian Tu-95 Bear bombers, which pressed close to North American airspace, on Thursday. The agreement of "what's in and what's out" of the new North American Aerospace Defence Command was struck a few months ago, said a defence source in Ottawa, who was granted anonymity because of the sensitivity of the subject. Separately, the Canadian general who is the deputy commander of Norad confirmed the two countries are on the same page when it comes to the new framework needed to defend the continent, but cautioned there is still a lot of work and negotiation ahead over capabilities and what is affordable. "We have established the operational requirements," Lt.-Gen. Christopher Coates in an interview with CBC News. A bi-national panel is examining the specifications and make recommendations to both the Pentagon and the Department of National Defence in Ottawa. Eventually, Coates said, each government will have to "determine whether or not those capabilities will be provided — or some other option" will be pursued. And that is where things could potentially get messy, according to defence experts. James Fergusson, of the University of Manitoba, one of the pre-eminent researchers on Norad, said the price tag will be substantial. Replacing the North Warning System chain of radar stations, alone, could cost as much as $11 billion, he said. The Liberal government has made much of saying its defence plans are fully costed, but it deliberately did not include the calculation for Norad modernization in its policy. There will have to be some negotiation with Washington, even though the cost sharing formula (60-40 split between the U.S. and Canada) has long been established. Steve Saideman, a professor of international affairs at Carleton University in Ottawa, said he can't see any Canadian government being anxious to open negotiations with the Trump administration, regardless of how long standing the arrangements might be. U.S. President Donald Trump has long complained American allies do not pay their fair share of costs for the NATO alliance, and Saideman said it is not beyond the realm of possibility that government-to-government technical negotiations over Norad could devolve. Fergusson disagreed. If they argue over money, he said, it will likely involve environmental cleanup costs related to the existing, remote north warning radar stations. When Norad abandoned its first chain of early warning sites — known as the DEW line — in 1993, the cleanup took 21 years and Canada was stuck with the $575 million bill. More problematic, as far as Fergusson is concerned, is whether Norad's proposed new capabilities will affect northern indigenous communities, which — unlike the past — will rightfully expect to be consulted and have a say over what the military does with the land. "When they [the Canadian and U.S. military] go up there in Northern Canada, now, they can't simply ignore the Indigenous people," said Fergusson, "And that's a political issue." https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/norad-canada-us-military-1.5240855

  • The $25 million contract will provide a system that supports the military’s complex weather prediction workloads.

    9 août 2019 | International, Aérospatial

    The $25 million contract will provide a system that supports the military’s complex weather prediction workloads.

    By Brandi Vincent, Through a strategic partnership unveiled Wednesday, the U.S. Air Force and Oak Ridge National Lab will acquire a high-performance supercomputing system from Cray Inc. that aims to improve weather forecasting for Air Force and Army operations across the globe. Under the $25 million contract, the new system—called HPC11—will bring supercomputing-as-a-service to the Air Force's 557th Weather Wing, which creates and supplies comprehensive terrestrial and space weather information to the two military branches. “The system's performance will be a significant increase over the existing [high-performance computing] capability and will provide Air Force weather operators with the ability to run the next generation of high-resolution, global and regional models, and satisfy existing and emerging warfighter needs for environmental impacts to operations planning,” Steven Wert, an Air Force official and member of the senior executive service said in a statement. The system is expected to help the Air Force execute its mission more effectively by offering new features that support the military's complex weather prediction workloads. Official expect the system to improve forecasts and weather threat assessments that insiders rely on. Supercomputer manufacturer Cray also recently announced it's delivering the world's fastest supercomputer to the Energy Department by 2021, which it plans to outfit with a first-of-its-kind storage system that can hold more than an exabyte of data. “This is a great example of the upcoming Exascale Era bringing a new set of technologies to bear on challenging problems and empowering the Air Force to more effectively execute on its important mission,” Cray's President and CEO Peter Ungaro said. The system is expected to be delivered at the end of the year and accepted in early 2020. The company also announced Wednesday that the Defense Department selected it for two contracts—together valued at $46 million—to provide supercomputer systems to accelerate research and development at the Army Research Lab, and the Army Engineering and Research Development Center. https://www.nextgov.com/emerging-tech/2019/08/air-force-and-oak-ridge-get-supercomputer-better-weather-forecasts/159037/

  • Contract Awards by US Department of Defense - August 8, 2019

    9 août 2019 | International, Aérospatial, Naval, Terrestre, C4ISR, Sécurité

    Contract Awards by US Department of Defense - August 8, 2019

    AIR FORCE Atlantic Diving Supply Inc., Virginia Beach, Virginia (FA8606-19-D-0029); Nightline Inc., Mountain City, Tennessee (FA8606-19-D-0036); Tactical & Survival Specialties Inc., Harrisonburg, Virginia (FA8606-19-D-0039); Federal Resources, Stevensville, Maryland (FA8606-19-D-0032); Sera Star LLC, Carrollton, Texas (FA8606-19-D-0038); Hurricane Aerospace Solutions, Pompano Beach, Florida (FA8606-19-D-0033); Baker and Associates Inc., Centerville, Ohio (FA8606-19-D-0030); Mountain Horse Solutions, Colorado Springs, Colorado (FA8606-19-D-0035); Rapid Response Defense Systems Inc., Irvine, California (FA8606-19-D-0037); Capewell Aerial Systems LLC, Meadows of Dan, Virginia (FA8606-19-D-0031); and Life Support International Inc., Langhorne, Pennsylvania (FA8606-19-D-0034), have been awarded a contract with a ceiling of $950,000,000 multiple award, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for commercial aircrew items. This contract is a commercial item contract vehicle, designed to rapidly equip aircrew with non-stock listed, commercial items including: uniforms, cold weather clothing systems, visual augmentation equipment, personal protective equipment, helmets, body armor, tactical carriers, individual equipment, lighting, survival equipment, air crew support equipment, communication equipment, tactical equipment, load bearing equipment, lethality support items, boots, gloves, eye protection, egress equipment, aerial insertion equipment, search & rescue equipment, personnel recovery equipment, medical equipment, power management, hydration, electronics test equipment, ancillary services and testing. Work will be performed, as indicated, by contractor in the list above and is expected to be completed by Aug. 8, 2029. This award is the result of a competitive acquisition and 12 offers were received. Fiscal 2018 and other procurement funds in the amount of $11,000 are being obligated at the time of award. The Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, Wright Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, is the contracting activity. BAE Systems Technology Solutions & Services Inc., Rockville, Maryland, has been awarded a $369,000,000 ceiling increase modification (P00013) to previously awarded contract FA2521-16-D-0010 for serviceable components and subsystems for instrumentation tracking systems world-wide for both foreign and domestic government agencies to include radars, telemetry and optical instrumentation tracking systems. This increase is to support range instrumentation sustainment and obsolescence management requirements. Work will be completed at the program's 28 worldwide participating ranges and is expected to be completed by Dec. 31, 2020. Fiscal 2019 operational and maintenance funds will be used, and no funds are being obligated at the time of award. The 45th Contracting Squadron, Patrick Air Force Base, Florida, is the contracting activity. ARMY JE Dunn, Kansas City, Missouri, was awarded a $295,974,160 firm-fixed-price contract for design-build construction to replace the hospital at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri. Bids were solicited via the internet with four received. Work will be performed in Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, with an estimated completion date of Oct. 31, 2023. Fiscal 2018 military construction funds in the amount of $79,235,000 were obligated at the time of the award. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Kansas City, Missouri, is the contracting activity (W912DQ-19-C-4011). HydroGeoLogic Inc.,* Reston, Virginia, was awarded a $95,000,000 cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for hazardous, toxic and radioactive waste remediation activities at the Formerly Utilized Sites Remedial Action Program St. Louis sites. Bids were solicited via the internet with two received. Work locations and funding will be determined with each order, with an estimated completion date of Feb. 7, 2025. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, St. Louis, Missouri, is the contracting activity (W912P9-19-D-0011). Massman Construction, Leawood, Kansas, was awarded an $8,414,000 firm-fixed-price contract for lock and dam gate anchorage. Bids were solicited via the internet with five received. Work will be performed in Clarksville, Missouri, with an estimated completion date of Aug. 7, 2020. Fiscal 2010 civil operations and maintenance funds in the amount of $8,414,000 were obligated at the time of the award. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, St. Louis, Missouri, is the contracting activity (W912P9-19-C-0009). U.S. TRANSPORTATION COMMAND Columbia Helicopters Inc. Aurora, Oregon, has been awarded an option year modification to contract HTC711-17-D-R018 in the estimated amount of $224,394,412. This modification, P00008, provides rotary wing airlift support within the U.S. Central Command Area of Responsibility, configured to simultaneously transport passengers and cargo. Work will be performed in Afghanistan. The option period of performance is Sept. 1, 2019, to Aug. 31, 2020. Type of appropriation is 2019 operations and maintenance funds. The modification brings the total cumulative face value of the contract to an estimated $670,327,669 from an estimated $445,933,257. U.S. Transportation Command, Directorate of Acquisition, Scott Air Force Base, Illinois, is the contracting activity. CHI Aviation Inc., Howell, Michigan, has been awarded an option year modification to contract HTC711-17-D-R017 in the estimated amount of $149,819,159. This modification, P00009, provides rotary wing airlift support within the U.S. Central Command Area of Responsibility, configured to simultaneously transport passengers and cargo. Work will be performed in Afghanistan. The option period of performance is Sept. 1, 2019, to Aug. 31, 2020. Type of appropriation is 2019 operations and maintenance funds. The modification brings the total cumulative face value of the contract to an estimated $460,456,492 from an estimated $310,637,333. U.S. Transportation Command, Directorate of Acquisition, Scott Air Force Base, Illinois, is the contracting activity. Berry Aviation Inc., San Marcos, Texas, has been awarded option year modification to contract HTC711-16-D-R021 in an estimated amount of $29,848,000. This modification, P00006, provides fixed wing passenger, cargo, combined passenger and cargo, aeromedical evacuation, and short take-off and landing air transportation services within the U.S. Central Command Area of Responsibility, configured to simultaneously transport passengers and cargo. Work will be performed in Afghanistan. The option period of performance is Sept. 1, 2019, to Aug. 31, 2020. Type of appropriation is 2019 operations and maintenance funds. The modification brings the total cumulative face value of the contract to an estimated $117,746,500 from an estimated $87,898,500. U.S. Transportation Command, Directorate of Acquisition, Scott Air Force Base, Illinois, is the contracting activity. NAVY J.F. Taylor Inc.,* Lexington Park, Maryland, is awarded a $108,987,777 cost-plus-fixed-fee, cost-reimbursable, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract to provide engineering and technical services in support of the Integrated Battlespace Simulation and Test Department, Naval Air Warfare Center, Aircraft Division 5.4.3 Simulation Division laboratories. These laboratories support activities that include research and development of requirements for aviation systems, supporting system development, providing developmental and operational flight test support, and providing life-cycle operational support to include system enhancement, procedure refinement and accident investigations. Work will be performed in Patuxent River, Maryland, (78%); and Lexington Park, Maryland (22%), and is expected to be completed in August 2024. No funds will be obligated at the time of award. Funds will be obligated on individual orders as they are issued. This contract was competitively procured via an electronic request for proposal as a small business set-aside; one offer was received. The Naval Air Warfare Center, Aircraft Division, Patuxent River, Maryland, is the contracting activity (N00421-19-D-0074). ZITEC Inc.,** Niceville, Florida, is awarded a $25,110,110 fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract. This contract provides up to 672 alternate mission equipment mobility ready storage systems; two first article units, and 670 production systems for the Navy and Marine Corps. Work will be performed in Niceville, Florida, and is expected to be completed in August 2025. Fiscal 2018 aircraft procurement (Navy) funds in the amount of $71,969 will be obligated at the time of award, none of which will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was competitively procured via an electronic request for proposals as a Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business set-aside; three offers were received. The Naval Air Warfare Center, Aircraft Division, Lakehurst, New Jersey, is the contracting activity (N68335-19-D-0242). APTIM Federal Services LLC, Alexandria, Virginia, is awarded $15,248,090 for firm-fixed-price task order 0004 under a previously awarded multiple award construction contract (N39430-15-D-1632) to clean, inspect, repair and inspect repairs to mined-in-place military petroleum storage tanks (Red Hill Tanks 4 and 13). After award of this modification, the total cumulative contract value will be $30,112,525. Work will be performed in Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, and is expected to be completed by December 2021. Fiscal 2016 working capital funds (Navy) in the amount of $15,248,090 are obligated on this award and will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Hawaii, Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, is the contracting activity. AECOM Technical Services Inc., Los Angeles, California, is awarded $14,749,825 for cost-plus-award-fee modification to task order N62742-18-F-0126 under a previously awarded indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract (N62742-17-D-1800) for investigation and remediation of releases, and groundwater protection and evaluation for Red Hill Bulk Fuel Storage Facility, Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam. Work will be performed in Hawaii, and is expected to be completed by January 2021. Working capital funds (Defense) in the amount of $14,749,825 are obligated on this award and will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Pacific, Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, is the contracting activity. DEFENSE LOGISTICS AGENCY North American Rescue LLC, Greer, South Carolina, has been awarded a maximum $41,742,284 fixed-price with economic-price-adjustment, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for medical surgical products. This is a one-year base contract with nine one-year option periods. To date, this is the 13th contract awarded from standing solicitation SPM2D0-12-R-0004. Location of performance is South Carolina, with an Aug. 10, 2020, performance completion date. Using customers are Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and federal civilian agencies. Type of appropriation is fiscal 2019 through 2020 warstopper funds. The contracting activity is the Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (SPE2D0-19-D-0005). Dominion Privatization South Carolina LLC, Richmond, Virginia, has been awarded a $24,946,260 modification (P00008) to a 50‐year contract (SP0600‐18‐C‐8325) with no option periods for the ownership, operation and maintenance of the electric utility systems at Fort Jackson, South Carolina. This is a fixed‐price with economic‐price‐adjustment contract. Locations of performance are South Carolina and Virginia, with a May 1, 2069, performance completion date. Using military service is Army. Type of appropriation is fiscal 2019 through 2069 Army operations and maintenance funds. The contracting activity is the Defense Logistics Agency, Energy, Fort Jackson, South Carolina. Direct Energy Business Marketing LLC, Iselin, New Jersey (SPE604-19-D-7519; $15,881,084); Constellation New Energy-Gas Division LLC, Louisville, Kentucky (SPE604-19-D-7520; $10,742,319); and CenterPoint Energy Services Inc., Houston, Texas (SPE604-19-D-7521; $10,738,786), have each been awarded a fixed‐price with economic‐price-adjustment requirements contract under solicitation SPE604-19-R-0405 for pipeline quality direct supply natural gas. This was a competitive acquisition with seven offers received. They are two-year base contracts with a six‐month option period. Locations of performance are Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, Ohio, and New York, with a Sept. 30, 2021, performance completion date. Using customers are Army, Navy, Air Force, and federal civilian agencies. No money is obligated at the time of award; however, customers are solely responsible to fund these requirements contracts. The contracting activity is the Defense Logistics Agency Energy, Fort Belvoir, Virginia. *Small Business https://www.defense.gov/Newsroom/Contracts/Contract/Article/1929800/source/GovDelivery/

  • Hypersonics by the dozens: US industry faces manufacturing challenge

    9 août 2019 | International, Aérospatial, Naval, Terrestre

    Hypersonics by the dozens: US industry faces manufacturing challenge

    By: Jen Judson HUNTSVILLE, Ala. —The U.S. military is a few years from launching offensive hypersonic weapons that are currently under development. But building those initial missiles is one thing — manufacturing the weapons in multitude is another issue entirely. “I would say we really need to understand, again, how can we produce precision hardware at scale,” Michael Griffin, the Pentagon's undersecretary of defense for research and engineering, told a group of reporters Aug. 7 at the Space and Missile Defense Symposium in Huntsville, Alabama. “If we talk about ballistic missile defense or hypersonic offense and we talk about proliferating architectures, we need any dozens, many hundreds, maybe thousands of assets,” he added. “This takes us back to the Cold War where at one point we had 30,000 nuclear warheads and missiles to launch them. We haven't produced at that kind of scale since the wall came down.” As hypersonic missiles become a reality, industry is going to have to relearn how to effectively, efficiently and economically produce them, Griffin said. While industry has developed warheads, glide bodies and other components, there is no industrial base equipped to manufacture hypersonic weapons. Things are moving in the right direction when it comes to bringing industry up to speed and preparing for larger-scale manufacturing of missiles, Griffin said. But building these systems is challenging because, for example, hypersonics require a greater degree of thermal protection than what has been required of other weapons in the past, he noted. Building hypersonics is no longer a technical issue or a matter of understanding physics, but rather an issue of understanding the industrial engineering required to produce a larger number. “I'm not sure how much help the government can be there,” he said. “Mass production is not what we do. ... That is going to be an industry problem.” The Army is just weeks away from awarding a contract to a company that will work with the federally funded laboratory that developed a hypersonic glide body to develop manufacturing plans and strategies. Other companies will have a turn as well. The effort is spearheaded by the service's Rapid Capabilities and Critical Technologies Office. Griffin stressed that the weapons manufacturing process needs to be affordable. “Our adversaries have clearly found ways to make them affordable. China has these things now by the thousands. What do we do to learn, once again, how to produce sophisticated things at scale and affordably?” he said. China is able to field new systems every few years, Griffin noted, while the U.S. takes a decade or more to get through a cumbersome acquisition process. “It don't believe that the issues facing the United States aerospace and defense establishment are issues of specific technologies,” he said. “I believe that over the last 30 years ... we've become lost in our processes.” https://www.defensenews.com/digital-show-dailies/smd/2019/08/08/hypersonics-by-the-dozens-us-industry-faces-manufacturing-challenge/

  • US Air Force pauses flight ops for more than a hundred C-130s over ‘atypical’ cracking

    9 août 2019 | International, Aérospatial

    US Air Force pauses flight ops for more than a hundred C-130s over ‘atypical’ cracking

    By: Valerie Insinna WASHINGTON — More than a quarter of Air Mobility Command's C-130 Hercules fleet are being temporarily removed from service after “atypical” cracking was found. During scheduled depot maintenance, the U.S. Air Force discovered cracking of the lower center wing joint — also known as the “rainbow fitting” — which led Air Mobility Command head Gen. Maryanne Miller to order an inspection of a portion of the fleet, according to an AMC statement released Wednesday evening. A total of 123 of 450 C-130H and C-130J aircraft will be temporarily grounded while inspections occur. “This temporary removal of service will not impact ongoing C-130 support to overseas contingency operations,” AMC said in its statement. The decision to pause operations and conduct inspections was made after a single C-130 was found with the lower center wing joint cracks, said AMC spokesman Maj. Jonathan Simmons. But the risk posed by the issue — that the wing could become dislodged from the aircraft — was so serious that the Air Force decided to move forward with inspections for all planes that could potentially be impacted. The 123 aircraft chosen to go through inspections have not been equipped with an “extended service life center wing box” and have flown more than 15,000 hours. Maintainers will look for cracking, and, if discovered, will replace the rainbow fitting. That repair takes “approximately one to two months” to do and is “dependent on depot level availability and capacity,” Simmons noted in an email. Currently, AMC believes it has an adequate supply of rainbow fittings and is not concerned about a potential shortfall. If no defects are found, the aircraft will return to service. So far, eight aircraft have gone through inspections and are now able to fly, Simmons said. Each inspection is set to take eight hours, but the command does not know how long it will take to move all 123 aircraft through the inspection and repair process. “The Air Force takes the safety of its airmen and aircraft very seriously and is working diligently to identify and repair affected aircraft as soon as possible,” AMC said in its statement. https://www.defensenews.com/air/2019/08/08/air-force-pauses-flight-ops-for-more-than-a-hundred-c-130s-after-atypical-cracking-found/

  • Royal Air Force Typhoon jets to receive key sensor upgrade

    9 août 2019 | International, Aérospatial

    Royal Air Force Typhoon jets to receive key sensor upgrade

    By: Andrew Chuter WARTON — With a complex weapons integration program squared away, giving Royal Air Force Typhoon jets more punch, key sensors on the jet could see an upgrade. The RAF's test and evaluation squadron is already test flying the Litening 5 targeting pod in order to optimize its operation by Typhoon pilots. Work is also underway to update and improve the reliability of the jets Pirate passive infrared airborne track equipment, said Andy Flynn, BAE System's Typhoon capability director. Known as Project Centurion, the British late last year completed integration of MBDA's Meteor, Brimstone and Storm Shadow missiles on Typhoon in 47 months. At a cost of around £425 million, or $515.83 million, the program allowed the RAF to stand down the entire fleet of Tornado jets that had provided the primary strike capability. Flynn told reporters during a briefing at the company's Warton combat air site in northwest England Aug. 7 that the sensor work was “the next iteration of Centurion.” “Agile spiral development and keeping the aircraft relevant is the phase we are in. We have done the big leap and it's now about keeping it relevant,” he said. The Tornado was a two-seat aircraft, whereas the Typhoon is single seat. Flynn said the work on the Litening 5 was about easing pilot workload. “What we are doing now is getting the feedback from customer and operations teams on how to make that tasking simpler and really increase the cycle time on ops. We've already got Litening 5 pods up in the air as an iteration and we are seeking feedback from 41 Squadron [the test and evaluation squadron], ” he said. The plan is to get the enhanced capability “out to the front line by the end of next year,” said Flynn. Development phase work is also underway on a new iteration of Pirate as well improving the reliability and robustness of the sensor. “That work is in the development phase and we are doing that over the Autumn period. What we are doing on Typhoon overall is really enhancing the sensors capability as well making the workload easier for the pilot,” said Flynn. The sensor changes are a small part of a wider capability update on the Typhoon to keep aircraft relevant until they go out of service, currently set for 2040. On the horizon for the RAF is a new e-scan radar, known as Radar 2, which is being developed for the British by Leonardo; the new BAE Striker II helmet; and networked enabled weapons. But, Eurofighter, the Airbus, BAE, and Leonardo industrial partnership responsible for the development and production of the Typhoon, is also conducting a review of future potential updates to the fighter. Eurofighter announced at the Paris Air Show in June a deal valued at 53.7 million euros with the NATO Eurofighter & Tornado Management Agency, or NETMA, to undertake a long-term evolution review of the fighter and the EJ200 engine over the next 19 months. NETMA represents the British, German, Italian and Spanish governments. Flynn said there were more than 50 separate candidate technologies being considered by the evolution review. Some of those potential upgrades could also find themselves cross decking to the Tempest sixth-generation fighter now being proposed by the British. Clive Marrison, the industrial requirements director for Team Tempest, the industrial/government partnership leading the next-generation fighter work , said both jets could benefit from close development ties. “Typhoon could benefit from some of the technologies that Tempest is looking at and by the same token Tempest could benefit from some of the technologies that Typhoon is investing in,” said Marrison. For example: Some of the cockpit and helmet work BAE is doing might allow industry to offer some of those technologies back into Typhoon, said Marrison. While the BAE executives were looking into the future for British combat air capabilities, the Typhoon approaches a landmark of sorts to be celebrated. Sixteen years after taking delivery of its first Typhoon, the RAF is preparing to receive the final aircraft ordered for its fleet in the next few weeks, said Flynn. The final aircraft in a British order for 160 Typhoons made its test flight recently and is due to be handed over to the RAF in the coming weeks. Completion of the order leaves 24 aircraft destined for Qatar on the order book for BAE, although it is also building parts of the Typhoons sold to Kuwait by Eurofighter partner Leonardo. Three equipment sets have so far been completed at BAE's Samlesbury plant near Warton, destined for the Leonardo assembly site in Italy. Flynn said the Qatar build program was just getting underway. The 24 aircraft order will see deliveries start in 2022 with completion set for 2024. https://www.c4isrnet.com/global/europe/2019/08/08/royal-air-force-typhoon-jets-to-receive-key-sensor-upgrade/

  • Final hypersonic missile contract awards imminent as US Army preps to shoot one in FY21

    9 août 2019 | International, Aérospatial, Naval, Terrestre

    Final hypersonic missile contract awards imminent as US Army preps to shoot one in FY21

    HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — The U.S. Army is just weeks away from awarding the final contracts related to the development of its mobile, ground-launched hypersonic missile. The Army will award a contract within the next three weeks to a company to develop a launching system for the hypersonic missile in co-development across the services, Lt. Gen. L. Neil Thurgood, the service's Rapid Capabilities and Critical Technologies Office director, said Aug. 7 at the Space and Missile Defense Symposium. RCCTO's job is to serve as a bridge between the science and technology community and the program executive offices, helping bring technology out of development and into soldiers' hands, first on a small scale and then a larger scale when passed off to program offices. The office is primarily focused on hypersonics and directed energy. While the missile is under joint development, the Army needs a special launcher to make the missile road-mobile. The contract will encompass the design and integration of a vertical launcher onto a trailer, Thurgood said. Additionally, the RCCTO is preparing to award a contract, also in the next three weeks, to a vendor to produce the glide body for the hypersonic missile, Thurgood said. The Navy will own the design of the glide body, but the Army will own its production, he said. “We have a company that we are in the final process of negotiating an [other transaction authority contract],” Thurgood said. An OTA is a contract that allows for rapid prototyping by bypassing the usual red tape associated with acquisition. “What is interesting about the glide body technology is we also have to create an industrial base to do this. There is no industrial base in the United States for glide bodies,” Thurgood said. The technology is owned by the government labs, he noted, “so we are transitioning that out of the labs into the commercial marketplace. That is a really hard thing to do, but there's a lot of energy and a lot of momentum behind that outcome.” Unlike other programs, Thurgood said, there is not a single company that can produce a hypersonic missile and its equipment alone. “It actually takes a collaborative effort amongst the industry partners,” he added. The first contract will be awarded to one company, but there will be follow-on contracts for other vendors to learn how to make the glide body at the federally funded lab where it was developed. The methodology energizes the supply chain from the prime contractors all the way to sub-contractors should the service decide to make a large number of the weapons, Thurgood told Defense News in an interview at the symposium. Thurgood noted that in order to bring industry closer to the RCCTO's endeavors, the office established an industry board in addition to its board of directors to promote “horizontal communication.” The Army plans to field a hypersonic missile and launcher to a unit in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2021. The unit will train for an entire year without live rounds, Thurgood said, adding that the canisters the unit will use will be cement-filled to match the weight. The first live-round test will take place in FY22 and will be conducted by a battery led by a captain. Thurgood was tasked Feb. 14 to come up with a plan for hypersonic development, and given 30 days to do so. Now, almost six months later, the RCCTO is about to award all associated contracts to move forward in building prototypes that will be in soldiers' hands in just a couple of years, Thurgood said. https://www.defensenews.com/digital-show-dailies/smd/2019/08/07/final-hypersonic-missile-contract-awards-imminent-as-army-preps-to-shoot-one-in-fy21/

  • Operators of NATO’s surveillance plane reveal what they want in its replacement

    9 août 2019 | International, Aérospatial

    Operators of NATO’s surveillance plane reveal what they want in its replacement

    By: Valerie Insinna AMARI AIR BASE, Estonia — As NATO looks to replace its E-3A Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) fleet, it has asked operators for feedback on what technologies to incorporate in its future system. While NATO leaders have not yet decided whether a single platform or a family of systemswill take over the early airborne warning mission, "I think the most essential thing is the capability ... be absolutely interoperable. I think that's the key, that is the most essential thing,” said Lt. Col. Hans Growla, a crew member and public affairs officer for the NATO E-3A component in Geilenkirchen, Germany. But Growla declined to comment on what specific technologies could be integrated into an AWACS replacement to grow its capability, citing sensitivities. In June, the head of the NATO organization that manages the E-3A inventory told Reutersthat the organization was racing against the clock to choose an AWACS replacement. NATO plans to spend $750 million for the final service life extension of the aircraft, which would keep it flying until 2035, said Michael Gschossmann, director of the NATO Airborne Early Warning and Control Programme Management Agency. But if it delays making a decision on a replacement for too long, it could get stuck paying for additional work on the current E-3A aircraft. “We have to get moving on this. We have to ensure that the studies move along quickly. We need a reality check,” he said. One option, Gschossmann said, would be to purchase the E-7 Wedgetail, a Boeing aircraft currently operated by Australia, Turkey and South Korea. The United Kingdom also plans to purchase the aircraft. “That would give us a basic capability that could be expanded in the future,” he said. Like the units that conduct Baltic air policing, the NATO E-3A component has found itself similarly taxed after the Russian annexation of Crimea in 2014, with the number of surveillance missions increasing. “There is a clear shift from training to real world missions/operations,” Growla said, with a growing presence over the skies of Poland, Romania and Bulgaria. “Flying in northeast Poland gives you a great view into the Baltic states. We don't need to be physically flying in the airspace of the Baltics, we can stay a bit more south and see everything.” Despite the high operational tempo, Growla said NATO's E-3A component is making do with its 14 AWACS planes. “The Ukraine crisis was starting when we were still deployed to Afghanistan. ... [For a time] we had more or less two tasking, and then ISIL," he said, using an acronym for the Islamic State group. "We were really busy.” Currently, 17 nations participate in NATO's early-warning-and-control force, which operates 14 E-3As and six E-3Ds: Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Turkey, the United Kingdom and the United States. Canada announced in February it would rejoin the NATO E-3A mission, after dropping out in 2014 to cut costs. Earlier this year, NATO wrapped up a two-year-long effort to modernize its E-3A aircraft, replacing the fleet's 1970s-era flight instruments with glass cockpits that include five full-color displays and modern avionics that are easier to maintain. One of those upgraded AWACS planes made the trip to Amari Air Base, Estonia, for an air show commemorating the Estonian Air Force's 100th anniversary. It was the first open display of a NATO E-3A in Estonia, with visitors able to walk inside the aircraft to view the cockpit and crew stations. “We want people to see the NATO asset that is flying more or less daily, touch it, and see the guys who are making their airspace safer,” Growla said. https://www.defensenews.com/smr/a-modern-nato/2019/08/08/operators-of-natos-surveillance-plane-reveal-what-they-want-in-its-replacement/

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