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  • Australia commits to Triton in $5 billion deal

    28 juin 2018 | International, Aérospatial, C4ISR

    Australia commits to Triton in $5 billion deal

    By: Nigel Pittaway  MELBOURNE, Australia — Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull announced on June 26 that the Australian government will purchase six Northrop Grumman MQ-4C Triton unmanned surveillance aircraft. The initial investment in the Triton capability is AU$1.4 billion (U.S. $1.03 billion), which includes AU$200 million to enter into a cooperative development program with the U.S. Navy; and AU$364 million for major infrastructure works at two Royal Australian Air Force bases. The total cost of the deal, including whole of life sustainment costs, is estimated to be AU$6.9 billion Australian dollars (U.S. $5.1 billion). The first aircraft will be delivered in 2023 and the last in 2025. They will be based at RAAF Base Edinburgh in South Australia and at Tindal in the Northern Territory, but are also likely to be forward-deployed to other airfields around the continent, including a string of bare bases to the north and north-west. The announcement marks the Gate 2 milestone in the Australian Defence’s Force’s Air 7000 Phase 1B program, which seeks to acquire a high altitude, long endurance maritime surveillance platform to complement its eventual fleet of 12 Boeing P-8A Poseidon manned maritime patrol aircraft. Australia’s Triton program earlier achieved Gate 1 approval in 2014, and the 2016 Defence White Paper affirmed the government’s commitment to the acquisition of the capability, subject to the successful completion of the U.S. Navy’s Triton development program. At that time the requirement was for seven Tritons , one less than the six announced yesterday, and was initially capped at AU$4 billion, although this did not include through-life sustainment costs. “The Triton will complement the surveillance role of the P-8A Poseidon aircraft through sustained operations at long ranges as well as being able to undertake a range of intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) tasks,” according to a joint statement by Prime Minister Turnbull, Minister for Defence Marise Payne and Minister for Defence Industry Christopher Pyne. “Together these aircraft will significantly enhance our anti-submarine warfare and maritime strike capability, as well as our search and rescue capability.” Minister Pyne said that the Triton will be responsible for surveillance of Australia’s areas of maritime responsibility, which represents over 10 percent of the world’s surface. “They will provide surveillance and reconnaissance across the Indian Ocean, the Pacific Ocean and the Southern Ocean as far as Antarctica,” he said. “Triton provides unprecedented endurance and 360-degree coverage through its unique sensor suite,” commented Doug Shaffer, Northrop Grumman’s vice president of Triton programs. “Australia has one of the largest sea zones in the world over which it has rights to use marine resources, also known as an Economic Exclusion Zone. As a flexible platform, Triton can serve in missions as varied as maritime domain awareness, target acquisition, fisheries protection, oil field monitoring and humanitarian relief.” The Australian Defence Force estimates Triton is capable of establishing a ten-hour orbit in the Southern Ocean, south of Heard Island, or similar efforts to the north of Guam and to the East of Fiji in the Pacific Ocean, from bases around the country. Australia is interested in the multi-intelligence (MULTI-INT), also known as integration functional capability 4 version of the Triton. This features several enhancements over the baseline aircraft and includes a signals intelligence payload which, in U.S. Navy service, is intended to replace the Lockheed EP-3E Aries surveillance platform. The cooperative development program Australia has signed with the U.S. Navy is similar to the agreement it has with the Navy regarding P-8A spiral development and will seek to influence the further development of the MULTI-INT Triton to meet Australia’s specific needs. Items of interest are understood to include the integration of a weather radar system, for prolonged operations in tropical conditions where daily thunderstorms are a fact of life, and a ground moving target indicator to facilitate overland ISR missions in addition to the blue water maritime surveillance role. “This cooperative program will strengthen our ability to develop advanced capability and conduct joint military operations,” Prime Minister Turnbull said. https://www.defensenews.com/global/asia-pacific/2018/06/27/australia-commits-to-triton-in-5-billion-deal/

  • Army: Individual Soldiers Will One Day Control Swarms of Robots

    28 juin 2018 | International, C4ISR

    Army: Individual Soldiers Will One Day Control Swarms of Robots

    By Matthew Cox Army robotics officials at Fort Benning, Georgia are trying to give individual soldiers the capability to control swarms of air and ground robotic systems for missions that often require large numbers of troops to accomplish. U.S. ground forces have used small ground robots and unmanned aerial systems for years, but only on a small scale, said Don Sando, director Capabilities Development and Integration Directorate at Benning. "To really get a large benefit from robotic systems, we have to break the one-soldier, one-robot link, because right now, you generally need one operator for one robotic system and that is effective and interesting, but when I can have dozens of robotic systems controlled by one soldier, now I have a significant advantage," Sando told a group of defense reporters today on a conference call. A single soldier could conduct reconnaissance over "large areas with fewer soldiers and many dozens of robotic systems," Sando said. "That starts to matter especially in conditions such as dense urban environment," Sando said. "The problem with urban environments is they consume soldiers ... limited lines of sight, tunnels, buildings -- all the things that just take manpower to overcome and control. "If we can expand that with robotic systems, both air and ground, then that has significant impact." The concept could be developed to enhance communications battlefields when networks are hampered by enemy activity as well as natural obstacles. "If our communications infrastructure is going to be contested, as we know it will, then how can I regenerate quickly and effectively in a given area with robotic systems, both air and ground, to create that network?" Sando said. CDID officials are developing a common controller that can control air and ground robots regardless of the model. "We are very close on that; we did some assessment last year. We proved the feasibility of about three different versions of controllers that can effectively control air and ground robotic systems," Sando said. "The advantage to that is a soldier only has to learn one system as opposed to every robot has its own unique controller." The goal is to make a decision on a common controller by late fiscal 2019, Sando said. But the problem is more than just choosing the right controller. "How do you train a soldier, and how do you train leaders to do that? Sando said. "It's one thing to have two hands on your rifle -- one soldier, one system. It's one thing to be a small unit leader, to have a few subordinate leaders under your control -- it's something else to have dozens of under your control." Organizations continue to come to Benning to "practice and develop algorithms to employ swarming unmanned aerial systems," Sando said. "The next thing beyond that is OK, how do I swarm ground robotic systems? How can I do that?" he said. "That is the thing we are least developed on and that's the thing we want to start trying to emphasize. "We are going to continue to develop that and test that and I think that poses the next really large return on investment as we expand robotic systems." https://www.military.com/defensetech/2018/06/27/army-individual-soldiers-will-one-day-control-swarms-robots.html

  • Here’s how artificial intelligence could predict when your Army vehicle will break down

    28 juin 2018 | International, Terrestre, C4ISR

    Here’s how artificial intelligence could predict when your Army vehicle will break down

    By: Victoria Leoni The Army wants to use artificial intelligence software to predict when vehicle parts might break down and prevent equipment failures before they happen. Uptake, a Chicago-based AI company, recently received a $1 million contract from the Army to test its technology on a group of deployed Bradley M2A3 combat vehicles, according to the Washington Post. Depending on how the trial goes, the AI software could be applied on a much larger scale. “We’re looking to see if we can leverage some of Uptake’s machine learning algorithms to spot equipment failures before they happen,” Lt. Col. Chris Conley, Army program manager for the Bradley fleet, said in the report. “If this pans out and can provide some real capability, the Army could look to expand this to the entire Bradley fleet as well as other combat vehicle fleets.” Uptake’s technology will analyze the signals produced by the Army’s equipment to provide updates on the equipment’s maintenance status. If a vehicle part shows signs of being faulty, for example, commanders will be alerted and have the ability to repair or replace the part before the entire vehicle is compromised. “Just like humans have been putting their statuses on Facebook and Twitter, these machines have been putting out their statuses for decades and nobody’s been listening,” Ganesh Bell, president of Uptake Technologies, told the Post. “Only recently do we have the technology to understand that.” M2 and M3 Bradleys are some of the most widely used Army vehicles in peacekeeping and combat missions. This will be the first application of the technology to military vehicles. “I’m not convinced that this will be successful, but I’m really excited about the potential of it,” Conley told the Post. “We’re doing a pilot test to verify their claims before we do anything at scale.” Retired Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and an Uptake shareholder, told the Post the AI technology is what the military needs to ensure readiness and efficiency. “What I’ve seen on the component side is you almost wait for failure and then figure it out,” he said. “Based on the results I’ve seen there is a huge potential here for better outcomes and a lot less expense, which is what anybody in the military is focused on.” https://www.armytimes.com/news/your-army/2018/06/27/heres-how-artificial-intelligence-could-predict-when-your-army-vehicle-will-break-down/

  • Will $95B for R&D make its way to the final defense appropriations bill?

    27 juin 2018 | International, Aérospatial, Naval, Terrestre, C4ISR

    Will $95B for R&D make its way to the final defense appropriations bill?

    By: Joe Gould   WASHINGTON — Senate defense appropriators have advanced a proposed $675 billion Pentagon spending measure for 2019, touting its heavy investment in innovation and research to maintain America’s military edge. Hewing to the bipartisan, two-year budget deal, the spending bill includes $607.1 billion in base budget funding and $67.9 billion in the war budget. It is $20.4 billion higher than the fiscal 2018-enacted level. The bill contains $95 billion for research and development, the largest R&D budget in the Pentagon’s history, adjusted for inflation, according to Senate Appropriations Committee ranking member Dick Durbin, D-Ill. The bill also includes $2.8 billion in added basic research funding the president’s budget did not request. The bill also seems to surpass the Senate-passed policy bill’s emphasis on future warfare, with $929 million for hypersonics, $564 million to develop advanced offensive and defensive space capabilities, $317 million to develop a directed-energy weapon, and $308 million for artificial intelligence, according to a summary released Tuesday. “This bill sustains U.S. force structure and improves military readiness. It also recommends investments in future technologies needed to defend our nation in an increasingly complex and competitive national security environment,” said Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Richard Shelby, R-Ala., who also leads the sub-panel. “Our military must maintain its technological superiority. I am pleased that our subcommittee has identified the resources needed to make that happen ― investing in basic research, hypersonics, directed energy, missile defense, cybersecurity, and our test and evaluation infrastructure,” he said. Aviation programs would get $42 billion, to include $1.2 billion for eight F-35 carrier variants and four short takeoff and vertical landing Joint Strike Fighters, and it includes $375 million for the Air Force’s Advanced Battle Management System — as well as sustainment of the legacy fleet of JSTARS aircraft. The bill allocates $24 billion toward shipbuilding, which includes two Virginia-class summaries, three DDG-51 destroyers and two littoral combat ships. There’s $250 in advance procurement funding for one more DDG-51 in 2020 and $250 million for submarine industrial-base expansion. Munitions would get $18.5 billion, with $125 million to expand procurement for the anti-ship cruise missile LRASM for the Navy, and the JASSM long-range, conventional, air-to-ground, precision-standoff missile for the Air Force and Navy, as well as $57 million for Army industrial facilities. For personnel, the bill supports a military pay raise of 2.6 percent and includes $974 million for defense medical research. The bill’s end-strength boost of 6,961 falls below the president’s request for 25,900 more troops. The spending bill is several steps from becoming law. The House is due to take up its version of the legislation this week, and the Senate must pass its version of the bill before the two versions are reconciled. The full Senate Appropriations Committee is set to hold its markup on Thursday. The Senate this week passed a “minibus,” which merged funding for energy and water programs, the legislative branch, military construction, and Veterans Affairs. The strategy is meant to ensure passage for domestic spending priorities that Democrats have demanded in recent years. Democrats seem to favor merging the proposed defense spending bill with the coming spending bill for labor, health and human services, education, and related agencies. Durbin said as much Tuesday: “We have a confident path to conclusion for both.” “I believe in this bill, I think its a good bill and I could easily support it, defend it,” Durbin said of the defense spending bill, calling a merger helpful to “the best ending for the appropriations process.” https://www.defensenews.com/congress/2018/06/26/pentagon-money-bill-with-heavy-rampd-accent-passes-senate-subpanel/

  • ‘We need to be impatient’: Estonia’s No. 2 defense official dives into NATO priorities

    27 juin 2018 | International, Aérospatial, Naval, Terrestre, C4ISR

    ‘We need to be impatient’: Estonia’s No. 2 defense official dives into NATO priorities

    By: Aaron Mehta  WASHINGTON ― As a border state with Russia, Estonia is well aware it is ground zero for any potential conflict between Moscow and NATO. The country is hitting the target of spending 2 percent of gross domestic product on defense, as requested by the alliance, and it is trying to modernize and build up its military capabilities. But like many nations in Europe, Estonia faces tough budgetary realities. Jonatan Vseviov, the permanent secretary of the Estonian Ministry of Defence, serves as the point man in directing those investments ― and per local news reports, he is on the short list to be the next ambassador to the United States. He talked to Defense News about those issues, as well as cyber challenges, during a June visit to Washington. I want to start with the big picture. Estonia is going to the summit in a couple of weeks. What are some of the priorities you are looking at? NATO is the cornerstone of our security. We expect a lot, not only from this summit but from NATO in general. NATO has been doing a lot of good work on defense and deterrence, bolstering up its presence in the Baltic states as well as in other regions in the eastern part of the alliance. I think that work needs to continue, and we expect a good number of decisions from the summit regarding the readiness of alliance forces, regarding reinforcement, the ability of the alliance to reinforce different regions. Obviously burden-sharing is going to be a key topic for NATO. We, as you might know, are one of the nations that contribute more than 2 percent of our GDP towards national defense. That is going to be a topic that will be discussed, I’m sure at length, at the summit. We are obviously aware of the fact that output is as important as input. And what I mean by that is that what you actually get for your defense dollars or euros is what, at the end of the day, matters. But there is no output without sufficient input. So both input and output are important. We need to be impatient. We need to ask for more and faster results. And we’ve been doing that for the past few years, and I think we are on the right track. One of the things that is expected to come out of the summit is standing up a new Atlantic Command. There’s been a lot of talk about something along those lines for the Baltic. Where is Estonia on the idea of a Baltic command? And can it happen, given how NATO resources are always constrained? When it comes to, for instance, reinforcement, there are several key elements to that. One is the readiness of all forces. Military mobility, which has become a very famous topic, which is obviously crucially important not only for the Baltic states but for the alliance in general. Discussion on pre-positioning, for instance, as part of the overall military mobility issue. Planning and exercise: It’s something that we often talk about in the context of defense and deterrence and then obviously also command structure. The NATO command structure has been and will be adapted to make it more fit for the time we’re in right now. There is also NATO force structure, which is crucially important. We do expect to see a divisional level or two-star HQ that would concentrate on the Baltic states. Discussions are underway between us and the Latvians and Danes to set up what is known as a Multinational Division North to complement what Multinational Division North East in Poland is already doing, to complement what the NATO force structure in general, as well as the command structure, is doing. So I think our command structure needs to evolve as the challenges evolve, and as the forces that we have available for our defense evolve. I think we’re on the right path; and the Multinational Division North ― not only is it necessary, it is also a decision that will come at a very, very right time. There are no silver bullets when it comes to security in general ― no silver bullets in policy and no silver bullets and capability. It’s a complex picture, so we need to concentrate on alliance relationships. Part of your job is to figure out investments for the money you’re spending ― the best way to build Estonian forces. What are some of the key investments that Estonia is making in the next couple years? And what are the areas that you’re hoping to start investing in the next couple of years? Most of our procurement, a good portion of procurement, is relatively small stuff, but more than 20 percent [of defense spending] is major equipment. Some of the examples: We’re mechanizing one of our battalions, which is a lengthy process. It started back in 2013 [and] will continue for the next few years. We are investing heavily in infrastructure not only for our own purposes but for the purposes of hosting allies. We are investing in ammunition. All of our acquisitions are targeted at making sure that we are not creating a hollow force. And the most important element of making sure that you don’t have a hollow force is ammunition, whether you have it or you don’t. So we’re spending a lot out of our procurement budget on making sure that we actually have the ammunition for the weapon systems that we have in the armed forces. Self-propelled howitzers, one of the latest developments that we are about to procure together with Finland, which is a good example of a joint procurement. We spent a lot of money on intelligence early warning both within the military as well as within the civilian sector, and we’re setting up a cyber command within the armed forces. We’ve been talking about cyber for a long time, we’ve been working on cyber. We are a very internet-dependent society, but only now are we creating a separate cyber command within the armed forces, so that will require additional investments. These are probably some of the key areas where we intend to spend our money on in the next few years. Since you mentioned it, let’s talk cyber. If Estonia is known for anything worldwide, it might well be cyber capabilities. You’re also home to the NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence. Where is NATO on cyber? Is it getting where it needs to be or lagging behind? How concerned should the allies be about where they stand on cyber? I think we should always be concerned when it comes to cyber, and this is a very fast, developing domain. During the summit in Warsaw, for instance, the heads of state and government declared cyber to be one of the domains in security. I think that was a very important decision. In theory, it could trigger Article 5 now. Well, there is a good level of what I would call “constructive ambiguity“ built into the wording of the Washington Treaty and also Article 5. So Article 5 is what we decide to be Article 5, and that is very useful. We don’t want to give anybody a list of attacks that would trigger Article 5 because that would obviously mean that we automatically also create a list of potential attacks that would not trigger Article 5. Cyber is certainly a new domain. We are, I think, still scratching the surface of what it all means. It took us several years, perhaps even several decades, to think through, for instance, the air domain after airplanes arrived on the horizon and were used in major conflicts. We still didn’t have an air force until, in most cases, in the late 1940s or 1950s. So it will take us time to figure out how best to operate, how best to organize ourselves in the cyber domain. What is certain, though, is that the government alone cannot defend the cyber society, if you will. And will require not only a whole-of-government but really a whole-of-society approach. And secondly, obviously, the physical borders do not matter in cyber. So national initiatives are important, but they are nothing if there is no international component to our efforts. So figuring out all of this, thinking through the legal aspects, the policy aspects, is one of the things that the center of excellence in Tallinn does. We’re certain that we are again on the right path, in both NATO and the European Union, but I think it will take time for us to fully comprehend the best way to operate in this new domain. But how well, in your estimation, are the NATO allies integrating with cyber? I think there’s still a long way to go. Cyber tends to be a very sensitive area for obvious reasons, oftentimes also harnessed within intelligence organizations. But we’re making progress. There is more sharing, information sharing in NATO as well as between allies bilaterally, than there was a few years ago. So I think people are realizing that we need international cooperation; and without international cooperation, we simply cannot succeed in this new domain. https://www.defensenews.com/smr/nato-priorities/2018/06/26/we-need-to-be-impatient-estonias-no-2-defense-official-dives-into-nato-priorities/

  • Maintaining UK and US military relationship could cost Britain more than $10 billion a year

    27 juin 2018 | International, Aérospatial, Naval, Terrestre, C4ISR

    Maintaining UK and US military relationship could cost Britain more than $10 billion a year

    LONDON — Britain needs to raise defense spending by over £8 billion a year, or U.S. $10.59 billion, to not undermine the military relationship with the U.S. says a report by the parliamentary defence committee. The report, which looks at the U.K.’s defense relations with the U.S. and NATO, recommends Britain increases the percentage of gross domestic product being allocated to the military first to 2.5 percent and eventually 3 percent if the country is to maintain the military relationship with the U.S. and keep its leading role in NATO. “The U.K. armed forces and the Treasury benefit from our close relationship with the U.S. However, that will continue to be true only while the U.K. military retains both the capacity and capability to maintain interoperability with the U.S. military and to relieve U.S. burdens. For this to be the case the U.K. armed forces must be funded appropriately,” said the report released June 26. The lawmakers urged a significant rise in a defense budget which currently just manages to squeeze above the 2 percent of gross domestic product demanded by NATO for defense spending. “We calculate that raising defence spending to 2.5% of GDP would result in a forecast spend of £50 billion per annum and raising it to 3% of GDP would take this to £60 billion per annum,” said the lawmakers. The defense budget this year is set at £37 billion with small real term increases expected annually up to 2022. A rise to 3 percent would see defence spending return to a level — in GDP percentage terms —that has not been seen since 1995. The release of the document comes at a bad time for anyone advocating increases in defense spending here. Last week Chancellor Philip Hammond, an ex-defense secretary, revealed plans to spend an additional £20 billion a year on health care and made it clear that there was little or nothing left to bolster the finances of other departments, including defense. Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson has been battling for months to secure additional funding to fill a black hole that the National Audit Office, the government’s financial watchdog, has previously estimated could be anything between £4.8 billion and £20 billion in equipment spending alone over the next decade. The exact amount depends to some degree on how much the military can save in efficiency improvements and reprioritizing and cutting capabilities and programs. The headline outcomes of a Minstry of Defence review into the future size and shape of British forces, officially called the Modernising Defence Programme, could come at the NATO summit scheduled for Brussels starting July 11. Media reports Sunday on the defense funding battle highlighted the seemingly growing rift between Williamson and senior government figures over the issue. The reports followed strong denials from Prime Minister Theresa May last week that the government here was considering a watering down of Britain’s ‘tier-one’ status as a military power after the Financial Times reported that May asked Williamson to justify continuance of that position. The U.S, Britain, China, Russia and France are the only nations with a tier one status — which basically means they are able to fight nuclear, conventional and other conflicts around the world. The committee said military-to-military engagement between the U.K. and the U.S. was one of the linchpins of the bilateral relationship between the two nations. The report said the U.K. benefits greatly from the width and depth of the U.K.-U.S. defense and security relationship, but such a relationship requires a degree of interoperability that can be sustained only through investment in U.K. armed forces. The importance of the military relationship between the U.S. and Europe’s leading military power also extends into NATO. Lawmakers said the relationship is vital to the functioning of NATO while the U.K.’s leading contribution to the alliance helps to sustain the relationship between London and Washington. Julian Lewis, the Defence Committee chairman, said in a statement: “Defence spending is an area where a strong message needs to be sent to our allies and adversaries alike. The Government has consistently talked about increasing the U.K.’s commitment to NATO after our departure from the European Union. An increased commitment, in the face of new and intensified threats, means that further investment is essential,” said Lewis. The warning in the report over the risks to the military relationship between London and Washington follows a similar warning in February by U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis that Britain had to retain a credible military if the relationship between the two nations was to endure and strengthen. Williamson said that in financial terms alone the U.K. benefits to the tune of £3 billion a year from the U.K.-U.S. defense relationship. John Spellar MP, the Defence Committee’s senior Labour Party member and former armed forces minister said the inquiry has “underlined the importance of the U.K.-U.S. relationship in the area of defense and security and emphasizes the benefit which the U.K. receives as a result.” “We have heard that there are perceptions in the U.S. that the U.K.’s defense capabilities have slipped and that concerns have been raised about the U.K.’s ability to operate independently. We need to challenge this perception and the Modernising Defence Programme is an excellent opportunity to do so,” said Spellar. https://www.defensenews.com/smr/nato-priorities/2018/06/26/maintaining-uk-and-us-military-relationship-could-cost-britain-more-than-10-billion-a-year/

  • US military aims for $1 billion missile defense radar in Hawaii

    27 juin 2018 | International, C4ISR

    US military aims for $1 billion missile defense radar in Hawaii

    By: Audrey McAvoy, The Associated Press  HONOLULU — The U.S. military wants to install missile defense radar in Hawaii to identify any ballistic missiles that are fired from North Korea or elsewhere, officials said Tuesday. The $1 billion system would spot warheads on missiles headed for Hawaii and other U.S. states, and provide that information to ground-based interceptors in Alaska designed to shoot them down. It would be able to distinguish warheads from decoys that are designed to trick missile defense systems. The radar would help give the Alaska missiles “better eyes,” said Sen. Brian Schatz, a Democrat from Hawaii and a supporter of the project. So far, lawmakers have appropriated $61 million for planning but not funds for construction. Schatz, who serves on the defense subcommittee of the Senate Appropriations Committee, said he doesn’t have much doubt about the likelihood of follow-on funding. The radar would be about 30 to 50 feet wide and 60 feet to 80 feet high, according to the Missile Defense Agency. It will likely to have a flat-face surface like one in Shemya, Alaska, instead of a ball-like appearance of other military radar. Experts say the larger the face, the more precisely it will be able to distinguish between warheads and decoys. The agency is studying two possible locations for the radar, both of which are on Oahu’s North Shore. It’s collecting public comment through July 16. Schatz said lawmakers discussed the radar with the previous commander of U.S. forces in the Pacific, Adm. Harry Harris, who recently retired and has been nominated to be the U.S. ambassador to South Korea. “We already have robust capabilities, but working with Admiral Harris, we wanted to double down and make sure we have the most powerful combination of missile interceptors and radar systems anywhere,” Schatz said in a phone interview. The radar would help identify long-range ballistic missile threats mid-way through flight. David Santoro, a director and senior fellow for nuclear policy at the Pacific Forum think tank in Honolulu, said threats from North Korea were increasing as Pyongyang developed more sophisticated missiles and nuclear weapons. “Over the past few weeks, we have seen a so-called peace initiative developing, but the reality is the threat is still there. It’s not going away,” Santoro said. The U.S. would be expected to build a radar system to counter the threats, he said. U.S. concerns about the threat from North Korean missiles spiked last year as North Korea test-fired long-range missile over Japan and threatened to launch ballistic missiles toward the Guam, a major U.S. military hub in the Pacific. President Donald Trump warned the U.S. military was “locked and loaded, should North Korea act unwisely” and that the U.S. would unleash “fire and fury” on the North if it continued to threaten America. But then Trump and North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong Un, met in Singapore earlier this month and issued a declaration agreeing to “work toward complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.” The statement did not define a process, say when it would begin or say how long it might take. https://www.militarytimes.com/news/your-military/2018/06/27/us-military-aims-for-1-billion-missile-defense-radar-in-hawaii/

  • Foreign defense companies want in on US Army modernization efforts

    27 juin 2018 | International, Aérospatial, Naval, Terrestre, C4ISR

    Foreign defense companies want in on US Army modernization efforts

    By: Jen Judson and Sebastian Sprenger  PARIS, France — The U.S. Army has honed in on six modernization priorities, none of which can afford to linger in a sluggish acquisition process as threats grow in sophistication and the battlefield grows more complex, which has piqued the interest of many foreign companies, who are banking on having an increased chance at playing in the U.S. market due to the pace at which the Army wants to prototype and procure capabilities. At European defense conference Eurosatory, several companies unveiled not just paper or miniature model concepts but actual capabilities targeting the top two priorities: The Next-Generation Combat Vehicle (NGCV) and Long-Range Precision Fires (LRPF). The Army announced last fall that it would establish a four-star command to tackle its modernization priorities in short order. They are LRPF, NGCV, Future Vertical Lift, the Network,Air-and-Missile Defense and Soldier Lethality, in that order. And since that announcement, the service has set up cross-functional teams to focus on each priority. Many leaders of the CFTs said earlier this year that they planned to prototype capabilities within just a few years and get them into the hands of soldiers. Next-gen combat vehicles The U.S. Army’s first stab at building prototypes for what it intends to be an innovative, leap-ahead NGCV and its robotic wingman will be ready for soldier evaluations in fiscal 2020 with a follow-on prototypes expected in 2022 and 2024. Germany’s Rheinmetall Defence revealed its new Lynx KF41 infantry fighting vehicle at Eurosatory on June 12 with an eye toward the U.S. market. The company pulled out all the stops including a 10:00 a.m. champagne toast to christen the vehicle. It’s sometimes the case, at a unveiling, for the vehicle to just be a non-functioning, life-size model to convey the concept, but Rheinmetall made it clear the vehicle being shown is real. The company has publicly available footage of the vehicle’s rigorous test campaigns. Executives at Rheinmetall told Defense News it believes the stars could be aligned for a successful pitch of the Lynx vehicle to the U.S. Army. Due to its modular design, a few hours of work can turn the Lynx into anything from a medium tank to a battlefield ambulance. Ben Hudson, head of the company’s vehicle systems division, hopes the feature will be an interesting proposition for the U.S. Army’s NGCV. “We are highly interested in it, and we have been below the radar for a little for the last couple of years while we’ve delivered this,” Hudson told Defense News following the unveiling. “We don’t want to deliver a PowerPoint, we want to deliver a real vehicle, and we have shown this to some people in the U.S. Army and I think it is fair to say there is some genuine interest for the U.S. to look at this vehicle as a serious competitor for the Next-Generation Combat Vehicle.” When asked how Rheinmetall might become involved in that collaboration, Hudson said there have been a lot of changes over the past several months as the Army’s new cross-functional team under its new Futures Command moves forward with efforts to bring an NGCV capability online. “All I can say is the next six months for that program are going to be very interesting, and we look forward to things that may occur early next year. That’s all I can really say about that for now,” he said. What’s still missing, however, is an official U.S. partner company that could give the bid an American face and manage domestic production. Such teaming is practically mandatory these days, and Hudson said there is no shortage of suitors. “We’ve had significant interest from U.S. companies at Eurosatory over the last couple of days,” he said. “We’ve had a lot of people interested in partnering with us because we don’t only have a concept, we’ve got a real vehicle and turret for the program.” Israeli company Rafael didn’t have a dramatic unveiling at the show, but told Defense News that it was developing and testing a 30mm weapon station outfitted with its Trophy active protection system as an all-in-one system. The Army is outfitting several brigades worth of Trophy APS on its Abrams tanks. The turret can be purchase with our without the Trophy system, Rafael’s Michael L. told Defense News at the show. Michael’s last name has been withheld for security reasons. One customer is buying more than a hundred 30mm weapon stations, he said. And while Rafael is envisioning the possibility of its 30mm turret and APS system being a good option for outfitting upgunned Strykers going forward, it’s also setting its sights on becoming involved in NGCV prototyping with its work in flexible turret design as well as in its long history fielding APS capability. But not every leading tank manufacturer outside of the U.S. is clamoring to get involved in the U.S. combat vehicles market. In the case of Germany’s Krauss-Maffei Wegmann and its French partner Nexter, executives believe the odds of selling entire vehicles to the American armed forces are dim. “We play a role in the U.S., we are selling in the U.S., but not on a system level,” KMW boss Frank Haun said during an interview at Eurosatory. Mayer, his Nexter counterpart, added that “political reasons” and the “industry landscape” make it difficult for outsiders to break into a market tightly controlled by domestic players. In Haun’s experience, arms sales to the U.S. have the highest chance of succeeding when there is little money at stake. “Whatever is under the radar of senators and congressmen will work,” he said. U.S. defense contractors have significant influence in Congress thanks to traditional lobbying campaigns targeting both Democrats and Republicans. In addition, many large companies employ workers in plants across the United States, which means lawmakers from those areas are eager to ensure a continued flow of defense money to the contractors. Long-range precision fires The U.S. Army will demonstrate LRPF technology from a precision-strike missile to hypersonics and ramjet capabilities within the next couple of years, according to the service’s LRPF CFT. In the near future, the service is looking at how it will evolve its current M109A7 self-propelled howitzer — or the Paladin Integrated Management — into extended-range cannon artillery. At the same time, a competition is ongoing to build a new LRPF capability that replaces and surpasses the Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS). Norwegian ammunition company Nammo unveiled what it’s calling an “extreme range” artillery concept using ramjet propulsion that it hopes will meet the emerging LRPF requirements for a variety of countries, including the United States. Nammo has combined its experience in both ammunition and rocket-propulsion technology, and it’s merging those capabilities to create an artillery shell capable of reaching more than 100 kilometers in range without changing the gun on a standard 155mm howitzer, according to Thomas Danbolt, company vice president of large caliber ammunition, who spoke at Eurosatory, one of the largest land warfare conferences in Europe. The company displayed a model of the artillery shell at the exposition and plans to test several LRPF capabilities in the coming years, particularly its new extreme-range artillery projectile. The projectile will go through a flight demonstration in the 2019 or 2020 time frame, according to Erland Orbekk, company vice president for ramjet technology, which coincides with the Army’s LRPF CFTs tentative plans to test ramjet and hypersonics capabilities as early as 2019. Swedish company Saab has also teamed up with Boeing to develop a Ground-Launched Small-Diameter Bomb (GLSDB) and announced at the show that the pair had demonstrated — in cooperation with the U.S. Army Aviation & Missile Research, Development and Engineering Center (AMRDEC) — its capabilities for ground forces during a test fire where the laser-enabled weapon launched and then tracked and engaged a moving target at a distance of 100 kilometers. The range ultimately will be closer to 150 kilometers. The partnership allows for the team to easily tap the U.S. market as well as international customers interested in improving rocket artillery capability, according to Boeing’s Jon Milner, within the company’s direct attack weapons international programs division. Milner said Boeing and Saab would continue to assess what customers want. The U.S. Army has made it clear it needs longer range artillery in order to avoid being out-gunned and out-ranged by adversaries, but also a lot of NATO countries are interested in the capability because of NATO mandates which creates a significant international market for the weapon. https://www.defensenews.com/digital-show-dailies/eurosatory/2018/06/26/foreign-defense-companies-want-in-on-us-army-modernization-efforts/

  • Florence Parly lance une initiative européenne de défense à neuf

    26 juin 2018 | International, Aérospatial, Naval, Terrestre, C4ISR

    Florence Parly lance une initiative européenne de défense à neuf

    LUXEMBOURG (Reuters) - Neuf pays européens dont l’Allemagne, la Belgique et le Royaume-Uni ont signé lundi la lettre d’intention de l’initiative européenne d’intervention (IEI) prônée par Paris pour porter une approche novatrice de la défense hors des dispositifs de l’UE. Par l’IEI, la France ambitionne de doter les Européens d’une capacité d’action et de prévention autonome de l’UE, pour des conflits mais aussi des crises humanitaires ou environnementales, en mutualisant la planification militaire, le soutien aux opérations, l’anticipation et le renseignement. “Face aux doutes éventuels, il faut affirmer ses convictions”, a déclaré la ministre des Armées Florence Parly à l’issue de la signature. “Les Européens doivent être forts, les Européens doivent être capables, de plus en plus, d’assurer leur protection et leur souveraineté et donc cette initiative est en faveur de la souveraineté européenne”, a-t-elle ajouté. L’Allemagne, la Belgique, le Danemark, les Pays-Bas, l’Estonie, la France, le Portugal, l’Espagne et le Royaume-Uni ont signé lundi à Luxembourg le premier acte de l’initiative. La ministre des Armées, qui a porté le projet qu’Emmanuel Macron avait appelé de ses voeux en septembre lors d’un discours à la Sorbonne, a estimé qu’il répondait en outre aux appels américains pour une Europe qui assume plus sa sécurité. “Cette étape va permettre de commencer très vite des travaux communs qui impliqueront les états-majors des différentes forces armées”, a-t-elle précisé dans un entretien au Figaro. “Une première rencontre aura lieu mi-septembre à Paris pour mettre en place un programme de travail concernant l’anticipation, la planification et l’organisation d’exercice”, poursuit-elle, évoquant l’étude de scénarios concrets, “par exemple pour préparer l’exfiltration de ressortissants”. Absente de la liste des signataires, l’Italie “réfléchit à la possibilité de rejoindre cette initiative, mais n’a pas pris de décision définitive”, a précisé Florence Parly. Dans un communiqué, elle ajoute que “d’autres pays européens, capables, volontaires et partageant les objectifs de l’IEI, pourront rejoindre l’Initiative européenne d’intervention”. MOBILISATION PLUS RAPIDE L’accord à neuf a ménagé des concessions à l’Allemagne sur le maintien d’un lien fort entre l’IEI et la Coopération structurée permanente (Pesco ou CSP), le pacte de défense entériné en décembre dernier par 25 pays de l’Union européenne (excluant un Royaume-Uni sur le départ). “L’Allemagne ne souhaitait pas que l’Initiative européenne d’intervention soit détachée de la CSP. C’est parce que nous maintiendrons entre les deux mécanismes un lien fort qu’elle a décidé d’adhérer”, a précisé Florence Parly. En dépit d’inquiétudes quant à l’accumulation de dispositifs, le secrétaire général de l’Otan Jens Stoltenberg a salué la décision, jugeant que l’initiative faciliterait la modernisation des armées européennes et leur rapidité de mobilisation. “Je pense que cela peut renforcer la disponibilité des forces, car nous avons besoin d’une disponibilité élevée”, a-t-il déclaré à la presse en marge de la réunion des ministres de la Défense et des Affaires étrangères de l’Union européenne. Paris, qui entend stimuler des réponses européennes plus promptes face aux crises, se place au centre d’une réorganisation des structures européennes de défense post-Brexit, en incluant la puissance militaire britannique au sein de cette nouvelle initiative. Le ministre allemand des Affaires étrangères, Heiko Mass, a paru lundi partager l’impatience française et a dit souhaiter que la politique étrangère européenne soit décidée par un vote à la majorité à l’avenir, et non par une décision à l’unanimité. Londres entend conclure un traité avec l’Union européenne en matière de sécurité d’ici 2019, en vue notamment de garder après le Brexit accès aux bases de données, contrats d’armement et au partage d’informations au sein de l’Union, un projet soutenu par plusieurs Etats membres mais dont d’autres ne veulent pas. “Notre engagement dans la sécurité de ce continent est sans conditions”, a déclaré lundi un diplomate britannique, qui déplore la vision idéologique de certains pays pour lesquels le départ du Royaume-Uni de l’Union doit être total. https://fr.reuters.com/article/topNews/idFRKBN1JL1S2-OFRTP

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