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  • House panel unveils $674.6B Pentagon spending bill

    11 juin 2018 | International, Aérospatial, Naval, Terrestre, C4ISR, Sécurité

    House panel unveils $674.6B Pentagon spending bill

    BY REBECCA KHEEL - 06/06/18 12:39 PM EDT The House Appropriations Committee on Wednesday unveiled its $674.6 billion Pentagon spending bill for fiscal 2019. The bill would provide $606.5 billion in base discretionary funding, which is about $900 million less than the Trump administration requested but $17.1 billion more than this year’s spending level. The bill would also provide $68.1 billion for a war fund known as the Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) account. “With the changing global dynamics and ever-growing threats to our security, it is absolutely imperative that our military is properly trained, equipped and fully supported in order to do their jobs,” Appropriations Committee Chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-N.J.) said in a statement. “This legislation does all of this by including robust funding for our troops, the defense programs and activities necessary to accomplish our national goals and ideals, and to continue to rebuild our military.” The money would pay for a boost of 15,600 troops across the military and a 2.6 percent pay raise for service members, both matching what was requested by the administration. The bill would also provide $145.7 billion for equipment purchases and upgrades. That’s split $133 billion for base requirements — or $2.5 billion more than requested — and $12.7 billion in OCO. The procurement money includes $22.7 billion for 12 new Navy ships, two more ships than the administration requested. The two extra ships are littoral combat ships, which Congress continues to support buying — despite the Navy’s plan to transition away from the ship — so that shipyards keep working and will be able to keep pace on future orders. The bill would also fund a slew of aircraft, including $9.4 billion for 93 F-35 fighter jets and $1.9 billion for 24 F/A-18E/F Super Hornet aircraft. The bill includes funding for the procurement of 16 more F-35s than requested. The plane is built by Lockheed Martin in defense appropriations subcommittee Chairwoman Kay Granger's (R-Texas) district. Granger said the bill is an extension of last year’s efforts to address readiness shortfalls. “It is a product of countless meetings and briefings with our military leaders and demonstrates our commitment to ensuring the U.S. military is the strongest, most capable military in the world,” she said in a statement. “Our military must have the resources it needs to respond to and deter threats from countries like Russia, China, Iran and North Korea, and also counter violent extremists throughout the world.” http://thehill.com/policy/defense/391001-house-panel-unveils-6746b-pentagon-spending-bill

  • LOCKHEED MARTIN ANNOUNCES $100 MILLION VENTURE FUND INCREASE

    11 juin 2018 | International, Aérospatial

    LOCKHEED MARTIN ANNOUNCES $100 MILLION VENTURE FUND INCREASE

    BETHESDA, Md., June 7, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT) announced the doubling of its venture capital fund to $200 million and recent investments in early-stage companies focused in the areas of autonomy and advanced manufacturing. "Our focus is on finding and investing in companies developing cutting-edge technologies that will grow our business and disrupt our industry," said Chris Moran, vice president and general manager of Lockheed Martin Ventures. "We're developing long-term strategic partnerships with companies and helping them navigate through the early stages of product development while  leveraging our decades of experience working with government customers." Enabled by tax reform legislation, Lockheed Martin Ventures is focusing the additional $100 million on early-stage companies in the areas of sensor technologies, autonomy, artificial intelligence and cyber. With the fund's latest investment, Lockheed Martin expanded its relationship with nTopology, creator of ELEMENT, an emerging software technology in the high-growth additive and advanced manufacturing sectors. "Our investment in nTopology will bring strategic advantages in Lockheed Martin's computational design processes and help shorten the periods between the design and manufacturing phase," said Moran. The increase in the venture fund is part of $460 million that Lockheed Martin is investing as a direct result of tax reform savings. The tax reform legislation enables Lockheed Martin to make investments that improve its global competitiveness, including investing in transformative technologies that will bring lasting benefits to customers, employees and communities. The company is making additional investments enabled by tax reform savings, including: $200 million additional investments in capital expenditures and research and development in 2018 $100 million in employee training and educational opportunities over the next five years $50 million investment in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education enrichment, including the establishment of a new Lockheed Martin STEM Scholarship Fund $10 million for the launch of the Lockheed Martin Innovation Prize competition More details of Lockheed Martin's investments enabled by tax reform legislation can be found here. About Lockheed Martin Headquartered in Bethesda, Maryland, Lockheed Martin is a global security and aerospace company that employs approximately 100,000 people worldwide and is principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products and services. SOURCE Lockheed Martin https://news.lockheedmartin.com/2018-06-07-Lockheed-Martin-Announces-100-Million-Venture-Fund-Increase

  • This Army unit will be first to test an exoskeleton that lightens combat load

    11 juin 2018 | International, Terrestre

    This Army unit will be first to test an exoskeleton that lightens combat load

    By: Todd South Soldiers with the 10th Mountain Division will be the first to test the long-awaited exoskeleton that developers say can reduce injuries, carrying loads and help troops move around the battlefield with ease. The U.S. Army Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center partnered with the division in February to identify, evaluate and transition exoskeleton technology to the Army. NSRDEC has led exoskeleton efforts for the Army for a number of years. One of the more advanced products that will soon hit the division is made by Lockheed Martin. Army Times spoke recently with company officials about the ONYX device, which will go through phases of testing, beginning as early as this fall. The first phase will include a six-month “development effort” in which researchers work on “quality of life” portions of making the knee- and hip-focused device fit comfortably and correctly to the soldier’s body, said Keith Maxwell, senior program engineer for the company’s exoskeleton technologies. That will be done with 10th Mountain soldiers later this year. And that’s not the only high-tech gear that 10th Mountain soldiers will be testing. They’re one of two units, along with the 101st Airborne Division, that will take robotic vehicles to act as gear mules into the formations later this year. That’s part of the Squad Multipurpose Equipment Transport program. The program has four vehicles being evaluated by those Army units and a yet-to-be identified Marine Corps unit at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. For the ONYX, 10th Mountain soldiers will evaluate the changes as they develop an exoskeleton “concept of operations.” A second phase will include a cycle that starts in early 2019 to add in faster, quieter actuators to the device; those will also be tested by 10th Mountain soldiers. Then a third round will test for ruggedized operation before the Army decides if or when the tech will be fielded. Officials estimate the device could be ready for fielding as early as 2021. The most challenging movements of climbing, especially with a load, up stairs or mountain faces, present strain on the endurance and strength of a soldier but also put them in a position for significant injury to their back, hips or knees. The exoskeleton allows a soldier to transfer the weight of the load from his or her frame to the device. Much of the work began years before with the Human Universal Load Carrier, or HULC. But that system was too bulky and required more power, which meant more batteries. More batteries meant more weight, which could cancel out the benefits of transferring load bearing, Maxwell said. So, with the ONYX, developers incorporated changes made in systems that came after HULC – removing added power requirements and adding technology that had been used in the medical field by B-Temia for people with extremity injuries. Last year, a University of Michigan study by their Human Neuromechanics Laboratory showed reduced fatigue using the knee-stress relief device that is part of the ONYX exoskeleton called the FORTIS. The university had four participants carry a 40-pound backpack at different speeds on a treadmill at a 15-degree incline. All showed reduced exertion when using the exoskeleton, according to the study. While the ONYX device has shown considerable promise in clean environments, the big step will be ruggedizing it for fieldwork, Maxwell said. “That’s the hardest part of all, ruggedization,” Maxwell said. And that’s a matter of time and investment. “None of the stuff we’re facing is insurmountable,” Maxwell said. Waterproofing the device is paramount, he said. The standard is for it to be submersible to three feet of water for 15 minutes. While the current device focuses on the lower body, which carries most of the load and presents most soldier injury problems, there are technologies that are coming from this research that could eventually work their way into upper body support and possibly the TALOS suit that is being developed by Special Operations Command. https://www.armytimes.com/news/your-army/2018/06/05/this-army-unit-will-be-first-to-test-an-exoskeleton-that-lightens-combat-load/

  • Pentagon’s Second Multibillion Cloud Contract to Be Bid in Coming Months

    11 juin 2018 | International, C4ISR

    Pentagon’s Second Multibillion Cloud Contract to Be Bid in Coming Months

    Officials say the Defense Department’s multibillion Defense Enterprise Office Solutions contract is expected to be bid out in the fourth quarter of this fiscal year. Much of the oxygen in the federal contracting community has gone to the Pentagon’s Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure contract in recent months, but the Pentagon is very close to bidding out a second major cloud contract that may rival it in size. Defense officials said last month that the Defense Enterprise Office Solution acquisition, valued at approximately $8 billion, could be bid out later this month, with an expected award issued by the second quarter of 2019. The contract will have a five-year base period with five one-year options. DEOS is the Pentagon’s attempt to “unify and modernize” some of its legacy systems, including enterprise email, collaboration services, voice and video services, messaging, content management and other productivity capabilities for more than 3.5 million users.   Brian Herman, the Defense Information Systems Agency’s unified capabilities portfolio manager, said the Pentagon isn’t interested in developing new capabilities but rather wants to take advantage of existing commercial capabilities in use across industry today. “Our goal is to take the capabilities that are available now, change the way we work to take advantage of these commercial services, and receive all of the upgrades and improvements that industry brings to their commercial customers,” said Herman, speaking at the Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association’s Defensive Cyber Operations Symposium in Baltimore May 16. In the commercial world, many companies have opted for cloud-based delivery of collaborative and email services. Delivered at scale across the Defense Department’s massive enterprise, Herman said the approach could significantly reduce costs and improve security and efficiency. DEOS could eventually replace the Defense Enterprise Email, Defense Collaboration Services, and Defense Enterprise Portal Service, and potentially other legacy systems currently maintained by the Pentagon’s IT wing. “We’ve had feedback from the DOD management, financial, and technical leaders. They’ve looked at the services used by [DOD agencies] and said, ‘You need to change the way you use these services. It’s no longer necessary for every application to be on your desktop. Perhaps you can have web-based access to some of these capabilities and both improve the security and reduce the cost of these capabilities,” Herman said. DEOS will offer services through the Pentagon’s unclassified and classified networks, meaning potential bidders must have provisional authorization to operate at Impact Level 5 to bid on it. Currently, only a few cloud service providers, including Microsoft, IBM, Amazon Web Services and General Dynamics, have achieved this status. Meanwhile, the Pentagon has not yet released a final solicitation for JEDI, which some industry estimates have pegged at $10 billion. The contract has drawn scrutiny from industry and Congress because of the Defense Department’s decision to award it to a single cloud service provider. Initially expected to be released in mid-May for industry consideration, it has been delayed indefinitely. https://www.nextgov.com/it-modernization/2018/06/pentagons-second-multibillion-cloud-contract-be-bid-coming-months/148733/

  • Watchdog warns Pentagon to fix F-35 tech problems before full-rate production starts

    11 juin 2018 | International, Aérospatial

    Watchdog warns Pentagon to fix F-35 tech problems before full-rate production starts

    By: Valerie Insinna WASHINGTON — The F-35 fighter jet is finally cruising toward the end of its development phase, but a congressional watchdog is warning the Defense Department not to move to full-rate production until it’s certain it’s resolved all critical technical issues. The F-35 Joint Program Office intends to make a decision in October 2019 on whether to move to full-rate production, but had planned to defer certain critical technical deficiencies until after that time, the Government Accountability Office stated in a June 5 report. That could make the program more expensive overall. “In its rush to cross the finish line, the program has made some decisions that are likely to affect aircraft performance and reliability and maintainability for years to come. Specifically, the program office plans to resolve a number of critical deficiencies after full-rate production,” it wrote. “Resolving these deficiencies outside of the developmental program may contribute to additional concurrency costs.” The GAO advised the F-35 JPO to resolve all critical deficiencies before full-rate production — a recommendation with which the JPO concurs and says it will pursue. However, it’s important to understand what “resolve” means in this case. “The Department of Defense expects the F-35 Program to resolve all critical deficiencies prior to entering Initial Operational Test and Evaluation (IOT&E), with either a fix, a Service Operational Test Agency approved workaround or a formal acceptance of the deficiency,” the JPO said in a statement. “The full-rate production decision will include an assessment of SDD [development phase] and IOT&E DRs [deficiency reports], as well as follow-on improvement DRs deferred for post-SDD action.” Translation: While the JPO will take steps to address all critical deficiencies, there are some that may require future work in order to be completely fixed. GAO noted that it is common practice for Defense Department acquisition programs to require that problems are “resolved” and not “fixed” because it “affords the department with more flexibility to develop alternative solutions rather than technical fixes.” In a statement, Greg Ulmer, Lockheed Martin’s vice president of the F-35 program, said the company was working with the JPO to prioritize and correct issues. The F-35’s next stage The GAO report was also critical about the JPO’s new plan for Block 4 follow-on modernization, telling its congressional audience that it should consider holding back funding for that phase of the program until the JPO provides full details including an independent cost estimate, final acquisition strategy and test plan. Last year, Vice. Adm. Mat Winter, the F-35’s program executive, announced that the JPO would pursue a path of rapid, agile software modernization during Block 4 called continuous capability development and delivery, or C2D2. The thrust behind C2D2 is for the government to constantly be developing, testing and delivering new capabilities as they become available, instead of as part of a traditional batch of upgrades every couple years. Currently, the cost of the new plan is unknown. The Department of Defense plans to update its acquisition strategy in time for a Defense Acquisition Board meeting this month, when it will decide when to start the competition for Block 4 development. By: Valerie Insinna Currently, the cost of the new plan is unknown. The Department of Defense plans to update its acquisition strategy in time for a Defense Acquisition Board meeting this month, when it will decide when to start the competition for Block 4 development. Sign up for our Military Space Report  Get the latest news about space and strategic systems Subscribe However, a full business case won’t be finalized until March 2019 — despite the fact that the Pentagon has asked for $278 million in fiscal 2019 for Block 4 development. “As a result, DOD requested funding for modernization over a year before the program has a business case for Block 4,” the report stated. “This means that the program is asking Congress to authorize and appropriate funds for Block 4 without insight into its complete cost, schedule, and technical baselines. Furthermore, once Congress appropriates these funds, DOD would be able to award a contract, beginning a long-term commitment to Block 4, the costs of which are not fully understood.” However, the GAO also acknowledged that there are some elements of that plan that could end up being a boon to the DoD. For one, it plans to use “government-owned open systems architecture and acquire data rights” for Block 4 development, which could increase competition throughout the F-35’s life cycle and make it easier and cheaper to upgrade the platform. The C2D2 strategy may also “potentially shorten time frames for delivering capabilities over a traditional acquisition approach,” the agency said in the report. Most of the noted flaws in the C2D2 plan revolve around oversight — specifically the DoD’s decision to keep Block 4 underneath the F-35 program instead of making it a separate acquisition program. “According to DOD’s January 2018 report, however, each capability will be baselined separately in the program’s future Block 4 annual reports to Congress,” the GAO noted. “We will review these future reports to Congress to determine what level of insight they provide into the program’s cost, schedule, and performance goals.” https://www.defensenews.com/air/2018/06/05/watchdog-group-to-pentagon-fix-f-35-tech-problems-before-full-rate-production-starts/

  • DND unable to spend billions in equipment funds, pushing projects beyond next election

    11 juin 2018 | Local, Aérospatial, Naval, Terrestre, C4ISR

    DND unable to spend billions in equipment funds, pushing projects beyond next election

    Murray Brewster National Defence fell $2.3 billion short in its plan to re-equip the military in the past year — a failing that one defence analyst says guarantees many important decisions on warplanes, ships and vehicles will be pushed beyond next year's election. Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan revealed the figure Wednesday as he launched the department's long-anticipated investment plan at a major defence industry trade show in Ottawa. The plan is the Liberal government's spending roadmap for its defence policy, released a year ago, which pledged $6.2 billion in new capital spending in the first year. New figures show $3.9 billion was spent. Later in the day, the chair of the Liberal government's council of economic advisers underscored the importance of investment in the defence sector and how it will drive innovation in other sectors. "If we want to grow — and we can in Canada, and we want to grow more significantly — the defence sector is going to play an essential part in doing that," Dominic Barton said. Leading-edge military technology and the possibilities for its commercialization can transform the broader economy, he added. However, the investment plan presented by the Liberals on Wednesday leans heavily on refurbishing existing technology and equipment — mostly aircraft — in the coming decade. The Defence Capabilities Blue Print will see the air force's CF-18 fighter jets, C-140 Aurora surveillance planes, C-144 Challenger executive jets, C-150 Polaris refuellers and transports, CT-114 Tutor trainers and demonstration jets, C-149 search and rescue helicopters and CH-146 Griffons all given life extensions and upgrades. New aircraft, including drones, won't be introduced until the mid-2020s — or later. A defence analyst said that's no surprise since many major decisions will be pushed past the 2019 election. That means it will be up to the next government to make the tough decisions on how much to buy and how much to spend. "Unless we see an extremely busy June with a lot of announcements on milestone projects, a lot of the work is going to be left until later," said Dave Perry, an expert in procurement at the Canadian Global Affairs Institute. "They're not moving ahead as quickly as they suggested in the defence policy." The government could leave even more money on the table this year. Figures compiled by Perry, using the federal government's own budget documents and records, suggest as much as $3 billion could go unspent on military equipment in the current fiscal period. The former Conservative government was repeatedly criticized for promising the military big things in terms of equipment, but rarely delivering and allowing allocated funds to lapse. That cash was eventually kicked back to the federal treasury and used for deficit reduction. DND gets to keep money, spend it later Sajjan said defence spending is now guaranteed in the fiscal framework, the government's long-term financial plan. That means National Defence gets to keep the money and spend it later. "We always know we might not need the extra funds, but they have to be there just in case," Sajjan said. "Rest assured, the unspent $2.3 billion dollars is protected. Those funds remain available when we need them." He defended the spending "delta," saying that 30 per cent of it comes because projects came in under budget. Another 42 per cent was because of delays by defence contractors. Approximately one-third, though, relates to the department's inability to make a decision — or develop specifications on time. Sajjan took a shot at the government of former prime minister Stephen Harper, which used to regularly publish its defence spending plans, but never had specific funding attached to individual projects. Conservative defence critic James Bezan said there is a disconnect between the government's defence policy and its spending plans as outlined in federal budget documents. "Nothing seems to match," said Bezan, who treats the federal budget as the last word in spending. There was no mention of National Defence in Finance Minister Bill Morneau's latest fiscal, presented in February. Defence officials insist that is because the department's spending is already accounted for in the fiscal framework. The federal Treasury Board, however, must approve funding on a project-by-project basis — and Bezan said that hasn't been done. "There's no money to do the things Sajjan is out there talking about," he said. "We are still dealing with the problems of getting procurement done in a timely manner and getting it done on budget." The head of a defence industry group — Sajjan's audience as he made the announcement — said the government does deserve credit for consulting more about projects ahead of time, but there are obvious shortcomings. "Any time funding moves to the right, it is a predictability problem for us. We want as as predictable and as stable funding as we can get," said Christyn Cianfarani, the president and CEO of the Canadian Association of Defence and Security Industries. "I still think, systemically, there is a problem and if we don't turn it upside down and shake it — the whole procurement system — and do things differently ... many, many things differently, we'll still see sluggishness in the procurement system." He said the Liberal investment plan is not "aspirational" and states clearly where the cash is coming from. The Conservative guidebook in the end "did not deliver for the men and women in uniform," Sajjan told the audience of defence contractors. http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/sajjan-dnd-equipment-funds-1.4683606

  • A Bourges, la DGA se prépare aux nouvelles formes de combat

    11 juin 2018 | International, Aérospatial, Terrestre

    A Bourges, la DGA se prépare aux nouvelles formes de combat

    Mini-drones, véhicules blindés collaboratifs, neutralisation des engins explosifs… La Direction générale de l’armement prépare les matériels aux nouvelles formes de combat. Des mini-drones et des robots attendent, posés sur les tables et sur le sol dans un grand hangar. Au centre technique d’armement terrestre de Bourges (Cher), les experts de la Direction générale de l’armement (DGA) disposent d’une habitation avec ses pièces, ses cloisons, ses meubles, son escalier… De quoi tester en grandeur nature la maniabilité de ces équipements et surtout leur capacité à dénicher un individu dans un local inconnu. Discrets ou volumineux, sur roues ou sur chenilles, destinés au grand public ou directement conçus pour un usage militaire, les produits testés sont très variés. "Leurs caméras embarquées agissent comme des yeux déportés. Cela évite de mettre les vies des soldats en danger", explique le chef du laboratoire robotique de la DGA, à la tête d’une équipe de 16 experts. Avant de les mettre dans les mains des militaires, ils s’assurent que ces robots ont les capacités prévues, notamment en termes d’autonomie, de résolution et de transmission[…] https://www.usinenouvelle.com/article/a-bourges-la-dga-se-prepare-aux-nouvelles-formes-de-combat.N698834

  • Reports: Google won’t renew Pentagon contract to use AI

    11 juin 2018 | International, C4ISR

    Reports: Google won’t renew Pentagon contract to use AI

    By: The Associated Press  SAN FRANCISCO — Google won’t renew a contract with the Pentagon that provides the company’s artificially intelligent algorithms to interpret video images and improve the targeting of drone strikes. That’s according to reports in Gizmodo, Buzzfeed, and The New York Times Friday. The reports said Google Cloud business head Diane Greene told employees of the decision not to renew the 18-month deal past the end of 2019, when the current contract ends. Google representatives did not respond to a request for comment. The so-called Project Maven had riled Google employees, including several who quit and thousands of others who signed a petition asking CEO Sundar Pichai to cancel the project and enact a policy renouncing the use of Google technology in warfare. https://www.c4isrnet.com/news/pentagon-congress/2018/06/03/reports-google-wont-renew-pentagon-contract-to-use-ai/

  • South Korea to reboot training helicopter acquisition

    11 juin 2018 | International, Aérospatial

    South Korea to reboot training helicopter acquisition

    By: Jeff Jeong SEOUL, South Korea ― The South Korean military’s long-sought purchase of training helicopters has been ruptured due to price issues, prompting the arms procurement agency to prepare a rebidding process for the aircraft acquisition project code-named TH-X. Bell (formerly Bell Helicopter) and Leonardo Helicopters were competing for the $155 million project to procure 41 training helicopters both for the South Korean Army and the Navy, according to the Defense Acquisition Program Administration, or DAPA. “The TH-X selection, originally due late last year, has been delayed, and a bidder failed to meet some of the TH-X requirements,” DAPA spokesman Kang Hwan-seok said. “As the TH-X acquisition is a competition basis, we’re scheduled to proceed with a rebidding soon.” Multiple industry sources said the TH-X negotiations broke down mainly because of cost concerns. “Bidding price was an issue, but there are some other reasons, too,” Kang said, adding his agency would issue a request for proposals again between June and July. He declined to elaborate further. The South Korean military has sought to introduce new training helicopters to replace the older fleet of MD 500s, which have been operational for more than 30 years. The DAPA issued an RFP for the TH-X in November 2015. Bell offered its new 505 Jet Ranger light helicopter, which successfully completed its first flight in November 2014, while Leonardo suggested its SW-4 light single-engine multirole helicopter produced its Polish subsidiary PZL Swidnik. Both companies are expected to participate in the TH-X retender, according to DAPA officials. https://www.defensenews.com/global/asia-pacific/2018/06/01/south-korea-to-reboot-training-helicopter-acquisition/

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