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18 August 2014

Kelvin Hughes – Positive About the Future

Mark Bown, Group Marketing Manager at Kelvin Hughes informed DPM about key capabilities and the future of the company.

Mark Bown, Group Marketing Manager at Kelvin Hughes gives insights about his company. (All photos: Kelvin Hughes)

What is it about Kelvin Hughes’ key capabilities currently being provided by the company that make this level of achievement sustainable for today’s military customer?
M. Bown: SHARPEYE radar technology is at the core of our surveillance and security products.  The radar is a solid state, X band pulse Doppler radar which uses a range of techniques such as pulse compression and Doppler processing.   These provide an advanced detection capability enabling persons and vehicles to be separated from clutter.  The targets can then be identified using electro-optical devices and classified on our CXEYE display which provides the operator with an easy to use situational awareness picture as well as camera control and automated tracking.

Our focus in the security market, whether it be for base protection, mobile patrols or border protection, is to provide situational awareness quickly, effectively and in budget.  360° radar coverage from SHARPEYE SxV means fewer sensors can provide wider area coverage.  It is a lightweight radar and does not require specific and expensive infrastructure to support it.  Using our unique pan and tilt mechanism the radar and cameras can be co-located, requiring only a single mast for support and one cable for both power and data.

Multiple radar and camera systems, including legacy camera systems can be integrated to create a larger surveillance network.  CXEYE provides track fusion and target tote compilation as standard to assist the operator in making real time and informed decisions.

Can you please give us some impressions about the company’s future plans to intensify business activities abroad?
M. Bown: Kelvin Hughes already derives in excess of 80% of revenues from overseas.  As we build our security sales and marketing network globally, we anticipate a similar mix of business at home and abroad.

The shrinking of R&D budgets continues to be the subject of great debate. Can you talk about Kelvin Hughes’ attitude to self-funded R&D and the role this plays in your development?
M. Bown: Kelvin Hughes has a long history of technology firsts over the last 250 years, from Henry Hughes’ chronometers and instruments in the 1700s and later with Lord Kelvin in the Victorian era.  In modern times we have had a mix of self-funded and customer-funded R&D and this is likely to continue.  In general terms, entirely new products are born from self-funded R&D while customer-funded activity tends to adapt the existing technology for a particular requirement.  We view an increase in R&D spending each year as a prerequisite to secure future growth.

Kelvin Hughes at a Glance

Kelvin Hughes is a world leader in the design and supply of navigation and surveillance systems. It has been in the forefront for more than 250 years, supplying advanced navigation solutions and services around the globe. From instrumentation to digital charts, integrated bridge display systems to solid state surveillance radars, Kelvin Hughes has established itself as a technology innovator and reliable partner to the world’s navies, merchant shipping, and pleasure craft operators. That expertise is also applied to the land domain where products designed and built by Kelvin Hughes safeguard borders, coastlines, and critical national infrastructure.

24 July 2014

France Expands Military Mission in Africa

France will replace its military mission in Mali with an expanded counterterrorism operation across the Sahel region, Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian announced on 13 July. This move will give France a substantial military presence across North Africa.

France currently has about 1,700 troops stationed in Mali as part of Operation “Serval.” This operation will be replaced with Operation “Barkhan,” which station 3,000 soldiers in Mali, Niger, Chad, and Burkina Faso, supported by six fighter jets, three drones and 20 helicopters. 1,000 soldiers will remain in Mali.
The 3,000 count does not include 2,000 French soldiers in the Central African Republic, nor does it include France’s 450-strong presence in the Ivory Coast, which will be increased to 800 starting next year.
The deployment stands in marked contrast to the mood six or seven years ago — when Fran├žois Hollande’s predecessor, Nicolas Sarkozy, felt able to plan for a significant reduction in the French military presence in West Africa. Northern Africa is turning into a battleground with enormously important implications. It is a battleground France is taking very seriously. Iran has designs on being the strongest power throughout the region, and is extending its reach throughout North Africa. But Iran is not the only one interested in Africa. Germany is making strong inroads as well. Both of these powers are racing to get as much control of North Africa as they can.

Iranian-backed radical Islamists have made huge gains in the region, but Europe is pushing back. While France’s latest deployment will not be enough to defeat the Islamists, it will make it much harder for them to expand. The fact that even in a time of austerity France is prepared to undertake an expensive military mission shows the importance it gives to the region.

18 July 2014

FIA14: Lockheed Martin Takes Aim at F-16 Future Upgrade Market

Lockheed Martin remains committed to delivering future upgrades for its 4th generation F-16 multi-role fighter aircraft. Speaking during Farnborough International Airshow 2014, head of business development for Lockheed's F-16, Bill McHenry, explained that his company has delivered 1,300 upgrade kits since the F-16 programme commenced forty years ago. Having delivered more than 4,500 F-16s to 28 customers, Lockheed Martin is well positioned when it comes to providing future upgrades due to its latest F-16V next generation programme and due to the company being the OEM. McHenry said: "The V configuration will be offered as an upgrade and as a new built aircraft. We offer a structural upgrade at the same time. Right now, we have a USAF aircraft in our laboratory and we will finish the lab tests this year. We believe that we can extend F-16's service life from 8,000 to 12,000 hours while upgrading avionics at the same time".

Being asked about competitors entering the F-16 upgrade market, McHenry was bullish about his company's prospects: "it's not rocket science, upgrades is where the money is. However, BAE is understating the value of the OEM. I believe we can win them all due to our low cost and low risk approach. We own the data on F-16 and have the engineers in place”. On top of this, Lockheed Martin has been inserting expertise from the F-22 programme as its groups responsible for both fighters have been merged. Asked about near term potential customers for F-16 upgrades, McHenry pointed at Singapore, the United Arab Emirates and Greece. Meanwhile, Taiwan has been the launch customer for the V-configuration upgrade for its F-16s. McHenry said: “two aircraft are going into the modification programme in Texas for kit proofing. Further kits will be installed in Taiwan”. Flight tests will commence in 2015 with land tests planned for this year. Meanwhile, the F-16V’s AESA radar has been flown on one of Lockheed’s testbed aircraft.

Lockheed Martin currently has an order backlog of 41 aircraft, enough to keep the production line open until the third quarter of 2017. “Oman is getting additional F-16s this year, this being their second buy”, McHenry said. The Iraq programme is meanwhile ongoing, and the first aircraft was handed over to the US government in June. Another airplane is to be delivered this month according to McHenry, who told the assembled media: “the aircraft are being delivered on time, on schedule”. Part of an FMS contract, Iraq currently has 36 aircraft on order, two tranches of 18 each. McHenry also indicated that he is pursuing new export orders for F-16, such as in South America: "we are pursuing 25 to 50 aircraft there I would say".
Speaking on 5th generation fighters, Lockheed’s F-16 chief emphasised that “no 4th generation aircraft can match the performance of 5th generation aircraft. Stealth, 5th generation will become the norm. However, some want to use the F-16 as a bridge to the F-35”.
Pieter Bastiaans

17 July 2014

FIA14: Photographic Evidence of Farnborough Air Show


During Farnborough International Airshow 2014, MBDA Missile Systems unveiled its new STRATUS netcentric command and control system for operating weapon systems in the 2035 battlespace. During its Concept Visions briefing, MBDA demonstrated that it is not only focused on fielding effectors but also on developing state of the art C2 solutions designed to increase both efficiency and effectiveness. With STRATUS MBDA is aiming for cost advantages for its customers by better integrating missile and other effects into the future battlespace. The new system provides through life benefits by introducing a common way of employing missile systems by all services, army, navy and air force. Modularity, re-use and commonality have been key themes during the development of STRATUS.  First of all, STRATUS works according to the resources sharing principle, meaning that launchers, effectors are no longer stand alone dedicated weapon systems but rather nodes in a wider network. Due to various different weapon systems being integrated into an overarching infrastructure, the end user benefits as he is now presented with several options to achieve specific effects when engaging a target. Due to this, the design philosophy of Stratus appears to be very similar to today’s effects based operations although it does not merely focus on the kinetic aspects of concepts such as joint fires but also takes into account the intelligence gathering systems needed in the targeting process.

Stratus also aims to eliminate redundancies by reducing the number of weapon resources needed on the battlefield including the logistic elements needed to sustain operations. As a result, MBDA’s C2 system also helps reduce manpower needed when on operations. Due to Stratus working in a distributed way, all nodes are involved as each of the weapon systems involved is required to provide targeting solutions. This is done by using common message formats. Due to it eliminating single points of failure through its distributed way of operating, the system has strong robustness as the remaining parts of the network will continue to function. While distribution helps combat the effects of actions aimed at degrading system efectiveness, the system can also cope with reduced levels of bandwidth.

Stratus is also designed to reduce the level of dependency on top down actions which are often a prerequisite to get things done right, hence traditional military chains of command. Due to the system’s network being able to integrate sensors such as on UAVs and on vehicles, more detailed intelligence can quickly be shared with lower echelons at the tactical level, hereby enabling a more bottom up approach. Meanwhile, responsibilities at the operational level will shift more towards providing guidelines instead of closely being involved in the targeting process. A common core user interface allows easy access to information for all concerned while a multilevel access scheme is available for joint operations as not all levels are required to get the same detailed intel. Stratus also enables platforms such as naval vessels to decide which resources are made directly available as part of the system’s architecture. This means that commanders can retain direct control over certain effectors they deem essential to their protection.

MBDA’s overall management system strives to present optimal engagement solutions which are tailored to the given environment, hereby allowing a robust, scalable approach in both symmetric and asymmetric warfare conditions including in contested environments. For instance, an operator is provided with three options, one which is aimed at a maximum probability of kill, one which takes the risk of collateral damage into account, and one which is designed for achieving the shortest time needed to hit a target. As result, either artillery, a directed energy weapon or loitering munition will be ordered to engage. Stratus does not make autonomous decisions but rather advises the operator on the desired course of action.

On a critical note, many netcentric programmes such as Stratus shatter due to the difficulty in achieving the desired levels of synchronization of all data streams, even more so when working in a multinational environment. With the latter increasingly becoming today’s way of operating, battlelab experiments will have to demonstrate whether Stratus is indeed able to live up to its promises. Either way, MBDA’s C2 system is indicative of the things that are to come in the future operational environment.
Pieter Bastiaans

16 July 2014

ADAS 2014: Interview with Philippine Secretary of National Defense Voltaire T. Gazmin

In an interview with Philippine Secretary of National Defense Voltaire T. Gazmin, MT was informed about the modernisation plans of the Philippine Armed Forces, funding for acquisition of new systems and weaponry, and bilateral and multilateral engagements in the ASEAN.

Philippine Secretary of National Defense Voltaire T. Gazmin in an exclusive interview with MILITARY TECHNOLOGY.

MT: The newly signed defense agreement between the Philippines and the US is widely seen as a boost for the Philippines’ military. What is your view on this?
V. T. Gazmin: We recently signed the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) with the US. This agreement falls under the ambit of the Mutual Defense Treaty between the Philippines and the US, which requires the two countries to maintain and develop their individual and collective capacities for mutual defence. This agreement facilitates mutual defence capability building, as well as increased interoperability between the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the US. More importantly, EDCA will give the Philippines access to necessary equipment and infrastructure that will enable the country to address both traditional and non-traditional security and defence challenges.

MT: Can you brief us on the Minimum Credible Defence Capability as envisaged in the Philippine Armed Forces Modernisation Plans? 
V. T. Gazmin: The term Minimum Credible Defence Posture (MCDP) pertains to the establishment of an effective force presence inside the Philippines and its EEZ with exhibited competence to defend the country and protect its national interests if and when the need arises. It includes the ability to conduct wide surveillance and monitoring of developments within the country’s territory, and have an extensive command and control (C2) as well as the capacity to provide an expedient and efficient response to untoward incidents.

Achieving this Minimum Credible Defence Capability is not directed against any particular country. It is being undertaken to enable us to address our legitimate security concerns.
For us to achieve an MCDP we must establish joint aerospace forces that can defend our territorial airspace; a joint maritime force that will provide situational awareness and response within our territory and EEZ; and a joint land force that will be able to perform both conventional and unconventional roles that will range from peace to crises to limited conventional war.

MT: Has the ongoing situation in the South China Sea (more specifically the Spratlys) and the guerrilla and criminal activities in the south influence the government to quicken the pace of the AFP modernisation plans?
V. T. Gazmin: Modernising the Armed Forces is a legitimate undertaking that began many years ago. What we are doing now is a result of our Defense System of Management (DSOM). It was planned over several years and was not merely prompted by recent events. Needless to say, recent developments highlight the need for all armed forces to have the ability to address non-traditional and traditional security concerns.

MT: The government has announced funding for the modernisation of the Armed Forces. What is the latest amount involved now?
V. T. Gazmin: Under Republic Act No. 10349 signed by the President Benigno S Aquino III in December 2012, the AFP Modernisation Program is allocated at least Php75 billion for the first five years. We were eventually granted a total of Php85 billion for the modernization program spread out over the next five years, from 2013 to 2017. With this budget, we can acquire lead-in fighter trainers, frigates, additional air assets, upgraded equipment for our land forces, as well as surveillance and monitoring equipment.

MT: As with most defence allocation elsewhere, emoluments and maintenance of infrastructure usually take up a large chunk of budget. Will there be adequate funding for actual modernisation and acquisition of new systems and weaponry?
V. T. Gazmin: As mentioned earlier, all our plans and acquisitions have gone through processes that are provided for under our DSOM. This means that all projects are meticulously planned down to the technical working group level. Following these processes, we determine the most judicious use of resources, including the need for logistics and support infrastructure. By doing so, we are able to acquire the necessary systems and weaponry, taking into account the required maintenance and other costs.

MT: Is the New People’s Army (NPA) still a major threat to the peace and stability of the Philippines?  What is their status as far as threat and the government’s olive branch offer to the armed wing of the CPP is concerned?
V. T. Gazmin: Following some high-profile arrests this year, particularly the arrest of top NPA leaders Benito and Wilma Tiamzon, the communist rebel group continues to show proof of decline.
The most important indicator of their weakening is the significant increase in rebel returnees this year. For instance, in Eastern Mindanao alone, which is our priority area, more than 200 rebels have already surrendered along with their assorted firearms. The returnees cited the hardships of the underground movement and the realisation that the armed struggle is not the solution to their problems as their primary reasons for returning to the fold of the law.
The NPA is still a primary concern in our internal peace and security operations, however, the Armed Forces of the Philippines is continuing to exert pressure on all fronts including the engagement of other stakeholders to encourage NPA rebels to abandon the armed struggle and become productive members of our society. This is the essence of our Internal Peace and Security Plan (IPSP) Bayanihan.

MT: Can you update us on the state of cooperation between the Philippine Department of National Defense (DoND) and MoDs and security forces of the ASEAN countries?
V. T. Gazmin: The DoND constantly engages its counterparts in the ASEAN through bilateral and multilateral engagements. We have existing structures such as the ASEAN Defence Minister’s Meeting (ADMM), which last met in May 2014 in Myanmar. During the meeting, the ministers agreed to establish direct communications links between and among themselves to help prevent conflicts arising from territorial disputes and to defuse tensions if and when they occur. Just recently, we entered into an agreement with Indonesia, which delimits the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of both countries. This agreement enhances and strengthens the friendly relations between the Philippines and Indonesia.

MT: With the Philippines being the host nation, how is the DoND involved in the upcoming Asian Defense and Security (ADAS) 2014?
V. T. Gazmin: We have been working closely with the organizers of ADAS 2014 in ironing out the details of the event. In ADAS 2014, we will have a series of symposia organized by the AFP’s major service commands. Our other bureaus are also involved in the event such as the Government Arsenal (GA) and the Office of Civil Defence (OCD). The DND and the AFP have also invited relevant defence and military officials from our ASEAN neighbours and other partner countries.
Since ADAS 2014 also features crisis management, the DND, through the OCD, is organising a forum on Disaster Risk Reduction and Management and is inviting local chief executives in Metro Manila to attend the event.

ADAS 2014: Seen and Heard on Day One

The first Philippine defence and security conference and expo opened today despite Typhoon Glenda's destruction, which did not dampen anyone's mood or diminish their resolve. Rather, the national emergency in the form of this violent storm and the joint civil and military resilient response underscored what this event was all about: The mighty spirit of the Philippine people and their ability (with the right equipment and technology) to overcome any challenge together.

The event was opened by the Secretary of Defence Voltaire Gazmin, who said this event provides "...additional vibrancy to the Philippine economy as the organizers have created genuine opportunities for our domestic companies to establish business linkages with participating international exhibitors (sic)." Secretary Gazmin was followed by an invocation of prayer by the top military chaplain, reminding one of the strong Christian heritage here. This was followed by Andrew Marriott, managing director of  ASIA PAC EXPO the organisers of ADAS, who framed up very succinctly and clearly why this event was taking place now and it's relevance to regional peace, stability and prosperity. Marriott cited the Philippines’ improved economic situation as among the reasons behind their decision to launch ADAS on top of the government’s commitment to pursue the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Modernization Act.

His remarks were followed by a spirited address from President Benigno Aquino III,  who - among other things - provided an impressive list of items the Philippines was buying this year as part of the budgeted Modernisation Programme.  (See next installment for his speech and military hardware shopping list.)

He praised the efforts and sacrifices made by the men and women of the Philippines' national services: the armed forces, emergency management and transportation agencies who - like the military - perform a range of duties to help those in distress and need, especially natural disasters.  
The AFP Modernization Act is in the first five-year phase of activity and significant progress has already been made since its enactment with the government’s recent acquisition of various aircraft, naval vessels, helicopters, and armored vehicles.

To paraphrase the official line of the Philippine government, the ADAS organizers have "brought in" products, solutions and services for evaluation to determine if they meet the specific requirements of the concerned government agencies represented at ADAS - ironically, all are involved in some way with the recent response to the typhoon's damage.  one of the main facts brought to light by ADAS is that the Philippine government is a potential growth market for international defense, security, and crisis management industries and products...indigenous and foreign.

The ADAS exhibition hosts 130 companies from the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Sweden, South Korea, Israel, Turkey, Brazil, Czech Republic, Lithuania, Malaysia, and Belarus, among others from the region. It is a healthy mix of companies serving the forces of air, cyber, land and sea warfare spectrum.

Overview: Main Themes

If we ignore the conference Programme for just a moment, which I suggest we do for only a moment, then we can review the exhibitors' offerings and see exactly what is important to the Philippine armed forces. ADAS has effectively matched requirement to exhibitor.

Helicopters & Fixed wing turbo-prop

The work horse of the Philippine defence forces is still the helicopter. They have at least 25 old Huey's that could be modernised to a "Huey Two" level extending the life of this airframe at least another 10 years for around 10% of the cost of replacing them with new helicopters. Sources say that the Philippine government has about 80 more moth-balled Huey's of which about 60 per cent could be rehabilitated and modernised.  This would be a suitable option to fulfill the AFP's requirements. Otherwise, AgustaWestland, Bell - which just sold a number of 412s to the AFP, Airbus Helicopter - which has more than 50% of the civil market there - and Sikorsky are all ready to sell their latest multi-mission rotor airframes and technologies to the AFP...this includes Beechcraft for a fixed wing air frame that resembles a WWII Mustang or Spitfire, but very, very effective. Their main competitor at ADAS is a Czech aerospace company, LET, which has been manufacturing a high standard of fixed-wing prop aircraft for nearly 100 years. The post-Soviet era in the Czech Republic has given way to a renaissance for their defence and security industry - one that increasingly is a significant rival to that of Poland.  A company out of Oklahoma City, ARINC Aerospace, works closely with governments thought North America and Asia for jet transport (eg KC 110) and helicopter (eg Mi17) integration, maintenance and upgrades.

Jet Fighter Aircraft 

Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) had a magnificent display of its Golden EAGLE. Saab is hoping that it's successes in Thailand with the GRIPEN will yield another satisfied Asian customer in the Philippines, where US fighter craft - and any other defence products - dominate the AFP "supply cupboard." Saab's Bangkok-based Market Area Asia office feels very confident about the GRIPEN's suitability for the Philippine armed forces that they recently hired a former GRIPEN pilot to work in "BKK" and introduce the airframes virtues to this neighbour of satisfied GRIPEN Customer Thailand.

Counter Terror / CBRN

According to Gwynn Winfield, CBRNe editor and pundit, this focus will remain a priority in the Philippines as long as it has insurgent threats throughout the vast archipelago nation. This certainly explains the interest of Avon, Bruker Daltonics, AVEC, Oritest, and even water purification company Maep in the AFP.     Emergent bio solutions, which recently acquired RSD Decon, is finding the Asian market particularly profitable. They committed to having a full-time, very experienced team of professionals based in Manila for some time, led by a former US DEA-agent with a speciality in dangerous materials in the Asia-PAC region. He is finding that the "decon" paradigm that focuses on powders is changing, and decision makers and practitioners are accepting their solution as the decon paradigm with the greatest efficacy and cost effectiveness.

Beyond the CBRN, PPE includes body armour. MKU displayed its line of helmets, etc. while Australia's BondStrong demonstrated how they are able to bond ballistic protection fibres together, forming a better level of protection. DuPont, innovators and manufacturers of Kevlar is reasserting itself in the Philipines with a massive stand, as everyone from AuTx-Kaminskvolokno, DSM Dynema, Teijin, and others bring lighter and stronger materials to this market...but, DuPont is the only "yarn" manufacturer to invest in ADAS attendance. Who do you think will win this race?

Soldier Systems

Radios, boots, garments, knives, SCBA, decontamination, firearms, BMS, etc. There were a fair number of APPROVED or OFFICIAL resellers as well as OEMs for soldier equipment. Canada's NewCon Optik, which uses Russian Gen III night vision tubes, joined FLIR Systems and others to show what is available for the AFP. Greece's Theon Sensors was showcasing their own line of night vision devices which range from clip-ons to binoculars with 4x and 6x magnification. They have supplied more than a dozen military and police organisations in addition to the Greek Army. The also have a well-established Theon Far East Pte. Ltd. office based in Singapore.

Although CZ and Remington's rifles and pistols and Trijicon's sights were delayed in customs, MKEK from Turkey and David's Stone (IMI's exclusive partner in the Philippines) where able to show off their fire power. As of the first day, Trijicon's and Remington did a stellar job talking attendees and delegates through their offering.  CZ made an excellent workshop presentation on their "new" P-09 pistol, a step up from the earlier successful P-07(which has been upgraded to a "Mark II" version, putting it almost on par with the P-09). They also had a queue the length of the exposition hall of punters lining up to receive their own personally autographed poster with the latest "Guardian Angel" pin-up girl. Take the public's mind off of what they want and refocus it on something else they want, while feeling they've seen what they originally came to see. Genius! (...really!)

Saab and Dynamit Nobel were showcasing their various anti-tank / structure weapons at their respective stands.  Saab also brought a large complement of other wares including the 9LV, GBAD radar, and ceramic pellet-based armour (a result of their purchase of Protaurius in early 2013). Oddly, Shenzhen-based Hytera Communications (mostly radios for "blue light" services) has a Manila-based office. Giant Rohde & Schwarz (Philippine office in Manila's Makati City) was certain to make sure that the AFP Modernisation Programme does not forget about them. UK-based Easat Antennas is keen to make a substantial footprint in the Philippines, which it feels has the best model to help make their AFP's communications more reliable.

Radar, Sensors & EW

Belarus's Radar Design Bureau made an appearance to show-off their full range of sea and land based radar solutions. Noting Saab's radars from above, one could also find Sea GIRAFFE on North Sea Boats famous sleek, stealth X3K trimaran.


North Sea Boats was joined by Hyundai Heavy Industry, Navantia and Kestral, who would be "Happy as Larry" to sell a few boats to the Philippines, which - in the case of Navantia - includes submarines.

Finally, there is PROPMECH... From installing Caterpillar propulsion systems to designing crafts to refurbishing second-hand boats, this Philippines-based company offers a complete range of services for every kind of vessel. Their literature states that they "...make certain every ship is reliable and ready for the challenges it'll face." This means that they can rebuild Caterpillar engines as well, extending the lifetime of a vessel's power train.

All-in-all it has been an intense first day that successfully combined the first two days of this significant conference and exposition. Heard on the floor: "It's too bad about the weather; but, today has really made coming all this way worthwhile!"

...I have to agree.
Stephen Elliot