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29 September 2015

Cooperation Between Germany and Japan Needed Now More Than Ever Before

On 29 September 2015, at the third German-Japanese Defence Forum in Tokyo by the German Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Japan, 23 German companies and one Japanese company (Fujitsu) exhibit and present their high technology to the Japanese customer.

As reported before, after seven decades of self-imposed exclusion from the international defence market, Japan has opened up to foreign companies. Complemented by a series of lectures on defence technology, i.e. weapons and ammunition, electronics and defence components, and mission support and supply equip,emt, the event has attracted Japanese defence companies and government officials from both countries.

German ambassador Dr. Hans Carl von Werthern provided information about Germany and Japan being natural partners, by both being centres of high technology, having arms-exports restrictions in place, and increasing costs for modern defence equipment. He made an excellent point by stating that Small Sized Enterprises (SME) being the backbone of the defence industry.

In his keynote, Hubert Blahnik, Deputy Director General for Equipment and Usage (AIN) in the German MoD, explained that the Armed Forces need the best equipment possible. As budgets are currently challenging, “we must look for partners,” where Japan comes into place, as both countries (German and Japan) are highly reliable. While the MoDs of both countries are in legal discussions for possible cooperations, it is “largely up to industry to work on practical means for collaboration.”

In February 2015, Japan’s MoD announced that it will establish the Acquisition and Logistics Agency (ATLA), to be headed by a commissioner who has seniority equivalent to an administrative vice minister (the top bureaucratic position), and is expected to absorb the Japanese MoD’s resident research and development (R&D) and contract management functions. By doing so, this new organisation is expected to provide oversight in five core functions: Acquisition programme management, promotion of defence equipment cooperation with Japan’s trusted security partners, R&D, execution of acquisition reform, and preservation of Japan’s indigenous defence industrial base. The official launch is expected in the next few days.

Toru Hotchi, Director of Equipment Policy Division, Bureau of Finance and Equipment, Japanese MoD told the forum of industry experts and military that advice from German MoD and industry on how to integrate SMEs into the fold can be used. With challenging financial difficulties, ATLA is bound to further accelerate working level discussions on transfer of technology with Germany and expand it around the world. “We need to have international partnerships,” he said.

To further German-Japanese defence industry cooperation, Akiko Iimura, Director for Defence Industry, Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI), gave an outlook of the future vision of the Japanese Defence Industry: Maintain and strengthen the industry base, and to maintain and enhance technology superiority through R&D, with Japan being either a partner or supplier or both.

As one of the companies exhibiting at the forum, Dynamit-Nobel (DND) told MT that the company is here to promote its new RGW 90 family, as well as its family of DynaSim simulators. Renowned manufacturer of shoulder launched munitions (SLM), DND has been introducing a series of variants of its well proven RGW 90 weapon including an area denial munition. At the DND presentation, the company detailed its ERA solution that is on order for the German Army's new PUMA vehicle. DND's head of business development Herbert Weisshaupt explained that while DND has been working on ERA solutions for many years, recent trials have shown that its ERA protective system is capable of coping with hits of small and medium caliber rounds up to 30mm including APFSDT rounds without going off.

RUAG is at the forum in order to further promote its DO228 robust turboprop aircraft, having already sold five to NCA and a 6th in the works.

Airbus Defence & Space (DS) and Fujitsu detailed their cooperation in the ATX Japanese military trainer aircraft future tender, electronic warfare systems, and missile warners. In terms of gallium-nitride (GaN), Fujitsu is a world leader, and Airbus DS wants to use this expertise for possible future markets.

"The reason we are here is, primarily, to simply get to know a lot more about the market, to find out its potential for our company and present ourselves to firms that could become our clients or collaborators," a Jenoptik executive told MT. In news, he unveiled to MT that the company has recently sold NYXUS BIRD multifunctional thermal imager to the Police of Peru.

Rheinmetall, having already provided the Japanese military with munition and smoothbore guns, the group is currently in tests with its F-35 onboard cannon munition, and will market this in Japan, once tests are finalised.

TKMS is at the moment watching the marketplace very closely.

Atlas Elektronik provides an array of maritime solutions, including sonar, command and weapons deployment systems, mine countermeasures equipment, unmanned underwater and surface craft and shipping guidance systems, with a lot of interest here in Japan.

The Forum is still on today, so please watch this place for news from the floor and conference, as well as our twitter feed.

Japan’s Defence Policy and Defence Capability Build-up

Adm. Katsutoshi Kawano, Chief of Joint Staff, Japan Self Defence Force gave MILITARY TECHNOLOGY an exclusive statement, to be read in MT #9/2015.

Japan is surrounded by the sea, and has a long coastline, numerous remote islands and a vast Exclusive Economic Zone. Japan is a maritime state and dependent largely on international trade for its supply of food and natural resources. Therefore, securing the safety of maritime and air traffic, through strengthening an “Open and Stable Sea” order based upon such fundamental principles as the rule of law and the freedom of navigation, constitutes the basis of our peace and prosperity.

The Asia-Pacific region including areas surrounding Japan is still seeing a concentration of large scale military power as well as increasing modernisations of forces and activities of military and relevant organisations.

In light of this security situation, the Government of Japan issued the National Security Strategy, the National Defense Program Guidelines (NDPG), and the Midterm Defense Program in December 2013. Based on them, the MoD/Japan Self Defense Forces (JSDF) is currently promoting and building the Dynamic Joint Defense Force with which we focus on building mobile deployment capabilities in addition to firm main ensuring maritime supremacy and air superiority.

The new NDPG call for the JSDF to selectively strengthen the following functions and capabilities in particular, paying attention to enhance joint functions with interoperability with the US forces, prioritising defence build-up, which enables Japan to maintain maritime supremacy and air superiority, which are prerequisites for effective deterrence and responses to various contingencies- such as strengthening defence posture in the south-western Areas of Japan:
  • ISR Capabilities: Japan will implement extensive and persistent ISR at seas and airspace surrounding it, and adopt a flexible approach to boosting its ISR posture according to the developments of situations.
  • Intelligence Capabilities: Japan will strengthen its system for intelligence collection, processing information, and analysing and sharing the collected information, so that the SDF can promptly detect signs of various situations, and take other actions.
  • Transport Capability: In order to swiftly deploy and move necessary units, the SDF will strengthen its integrated transport capacity, while seeking collaboration with the civilian transport sector on a regular basis.
  • C3I Capabilities: In order to establish a C2 system that can manage units nationwide in a mobile, joint and integrated manner, a new central headquarters to control all regional armies will be established within the GSDF, among other measures. The SDF will also strive to enhance and strengthen its communication infrastructure on remote islands and data link functions among the three services, along with other C3I capabilities.
  • Response to an Attack on Remote Islands: In order to ensure maritime supremacy and air superiority, the SDF will strengthen its ability to deal with attacks by aircraft, naval vessels, and missiles, etc. The SDF will newly develop sufficient amphibious operations capability, which enables the JSDF to land, recapture, and secure without delay in the case of an invasion of any remote islands.
  • Response to Ballistic Missile (BM) Attacks: To counter North Korea’s improved BM capability, Japan will pursue comprehensive improvement of its response capability against ballistic missiles. With regard to the BM Defence system, Japan will enhance readiness, simultaneous engagement capability, and sustainable response capability to strengthen the capability to protect the entire territory.
  • Response in Outer Space and Cyberspace: While strengthening information collection capability using satellites, and reinforcing C2 and telecommunications capabilities, the JSDF will enhance the survivability of satellites through such initiatives as space situational awareness. As for cyberspace, Japan will enhance integrated persistent surveillance and response capabilities as well as continuously strengthen and secure personnel with expertise and the latest equipment.

ShinMaywa's US-2, priced at almost ¥12 billion per aircraft, can take off and land even on rough seas, a standout feature compared to amphibious planes by other manufacturers. 

It is essential for Japan to strengthen cooperation with international partners including European countries and NATO members from peace time in order to deal with global challenges, which are extremely difficult for one country to tackle on its own. Therefore, from the perspective of “proactive contribution to peace” based on the principle of international cooperation, the Japanese people expect the MOD/JSDF, as the final bearer of national security, to strengthen its activities in terms of both quality and quantity.

Adm. Katsutoshi Kawano, Chief of Joint Staff, Japan Self Defence Force

Full statement along with other Chiefs of Defence in MILITARY TECHNOLOGY #09/2015, available at DSEI on booth #S2 165. Please frequently check back for more NEWS FROM THE FLOOR.

Can ShinMaywa Handle a Third Customer?

It is only a matter of time before Tokyo sells a major military platform rather than just parts. With a wealth of experience in manufacturing armour, ships, submarines and helicopters, Japan's first export will probably be a search-and-rescue (SAR) amphibious aircraft, the US-2.

Japan and India have been discussing the sale of the amphibian since 2012. The platform's civilian SAR role allowed talks to progress even before Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's government revised the principles governing defence exports.

Since the change in policy, however, the government has stepped up efforts to market the US-2 alongside more traditional defence platforms such as Mitsubishi Heavy Industries' SORYU submarine and Kawasaki Heavy Industries' P-1 maritime patrol aircraft (MPA). This has meant a lot more exposure for Japan's niche amphibious aircraft.

The aircraft is a joint product of Japan's defence industry giants. Mitsubishi contributes the outer sections of the wings and the rear sections of the engine nacelles, NIPPI builds the amphibian's special water-tight landing gear housings, and Kawasaki Heavy Industries supplies the cockpit. US-2's manufacter ShinMaywa is then responsible for assembling the parts around its special boat-like forward hull and supplying the aircraft to the Maritime Self-Defense Force.

ShinMaywa has supplied three production-standard copies since 2007 but a lack of capacity is choking the production line. The company can only produce two aircraft simultaneously, which increases the length of the production run. This complicates the conditions of supplying Japanese-assembled aircraft for export.

India is looking to buy somewhere between 10 and 20 US-2s — Tokyo and New Delhi are still negotiating the final number. India wants to manufacture the planes domestically but Japan is asking to build them at its existing factories. This would allow ShinMaywa to get the most out of its existing capital, but building the aircraft in Japan would either reduce the flow of planes to the Maritime Self-Defense Force or add a significant wait time to the Indian bid.

Indonesia has also expressed an interest in the aircraft, but with ShinMaywa's domestic orders and possible Indian orders, is ShinMaywa able to handle a third customer? In the meantime, the company is continuing to attend defence and aerospace exhibitions at the request of the Japanese government. 

Japanese Troops to be Sent on UN Peacekeeping Missions

The upper house of the Japanese parliament (Diet) passed a series of security bills on 19 September aimed at substantially modifying the way the country’s post-war pacifist constitution is interpreted. The vote, of 148 to 90, was pushed through by Shinzo Abe’s conservative coalition. It marks a significant break with the past that has caused both the prime minister’s popularity to plummet and outrage in China, but has been largely welcomed by Japan’s regional neighbours and allies (apart from South Korea).

The main effect is to allow Japan’s Self-Defence Forces (JSDF) to help America and its allies even if Japan is not under attack itself. Although the Diet will have to approve any deployments abroad — a concession by Mr Abe to get some smaller parties onside — it means that the long-standing bilateral security pact between America and Japan ceases to be a one-way street obliging the US to defend Japan but not the other way round. It will also make it possible for Japanese troops to be sent on UN peacekeeping missions in more forceful roles. An interesting early test could come in South Sudan, where both Japan and China contribute to the UN effort. Under the new laws, the JSDF could find itself fighting alongside Chinese soldiers should they come under attack.

Japan is raising defence spending. This year, its military budget has increased by 2% to ¥4.98 trillion ($42 billion) and next year will go up by 2% again. 

24 September 2015

CCExpo Critical Communications Expo 2015

Mission critical information and communications, professional mobile radio (PMR) and control rooms for critical infrastructures
Date: 6th and 7th October 2015, 0900 to 1700 hrs 
Messe Berlin, Entrance North, Ehrenhalle (Pantheon), Exhibition Hall 20

CCExpo Critical Communications Expo is the annual platform for mission critical information and communications, professional mobile radio (PMR) and control rooms in all fields of critical infrastructure at national and international level. With this future-oriented concept as independent branch and user meeting CCExpo 2015 is already the 15th event covering this topic by Exhibition & Marketing Wehrstedt GmbH (EMW).

In co-operation with 8 national and international associations and institutions CCExpo expands the content, technological offers and attractiveness for all visitor groups. Apart from BOS (authorities and organizations with security tasks) other professional associations and organizations, technology and product suppliers, system suppliers, planners/designers, installers and users as well as research institutions and teaching facilities present the entire spectrum of relevant products.

Highlights of CCExpo® 2015:

  • Specialised Trade Fair
  • Communications Congress, 6th October 2015 
  • 12th Official Control Room Congress, 7th October 2015
  • Open Forums in the exhibition hall
  • Blue light Forum Broadband and  Blue light Forum In-House Coverage
  • NEW: Forum Future
  • NEW: Forum Transport & Communication
  • Premiere in Germany Interactive Patrol Cars: Special presentation of different interactive patrol cars from 4 German states (Bundesländer)
  • Briefing in the safety lab of the Innovation Centre Public Security at the Fraunhofer Institute FOKUS
  • Cyber Security as Precondition for the Operation of Critical Infrastructures in the Energy Sector, panel discussion with emphasis on target group municipal utilities
  • Additional Official and informal meetings of relevant panels/committees/bodies
  • parallel to CCExpo: Meeting of the PSRG Public Safety Radiocommunication Group, 7th/8th October 2015

Source: CCExpo Critical Communications

MDM 2015: Lockheed Martin Introduces New Amphibious Combat Vehicle (ACV) Candidate

Lockheed Martin officially introduced its new Amphibious Combat Vehicle (ACV) 1.1 offering at the Modern Day Marine trade show in Quantico, Virginia, on Tuesday. The armored, eight-wheel-drive vehicle is designed to transport up to 13 Marines, transition seamlessly between land and water, and provide high levels of blast protection.

Lockheed Martin’s new Amphibious Combat Vehicle candidate undergoes testing in Saginaw, Michigan. The heavily armored eight-wheel-drive vehicle transitions seamlessly between land and water, and carries up to 13 Marines.

The US Marine Corps established the ACV programme to replace its aging fleet of Amphibious Assault Vehicles, which have been in service since the 1970s. The Lockheed Martin ACV candidate is a modular, easily upgradable 8x8 design that allows superior growth for a wide range of variants, weapons, sensors and communications options. Lockheed Martin is the original equipment manufacturer, systems integrator, and final-assembly, integration and test agent for its ACV. The company has selected an experienced team of suppliers for their specific capabilities to enable the production and delivery of a high-quality, affordable solution.

We have been committed to the Marine Corps for more than eight years in the growth and evolution of the ACV and its predecessor programmes,” said Scott Greene, vice president of Ground Vehicles for Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control. “In concert with the Marine Corps’ desire for domestic production, Lockheed Martin has assembled a supplier team that will enable the manufacturing and delivery of a vehicle that meets or exceeds their requirements at the right price.”

The Lockheed Martin ACV candidate meets the Marine Corps’ ACV requirements in four key areas, according to the company: Water Operations; Land Operations; Payload Capacity and Protection. The team’s ACV offering is comprised primarily of off-the-shelf components and products currently in service on vehicles around the world. They have been brought together in the Lockheed Martin 8x8 to provide the Marine Corps a vehicle that meets their needs today and supports their missions far into the future.

MDM 2015: FAUN Trackway USA Launches Helipad Multi-Role Packaging Solution

FAUN Trackway USA is launching its latest innovation, a multi-role packaging solution for its range of expedient helipads, at at stand 261, while FAUN Trackway USA is positioned at booth number 3303.

The Helipad Multi-Role Packaging Solution is made up of a 10ft ISO container that carries all of the equipment and tools necessary for expeditionary, humanitarian and relief personnel to build a helipad where infrastructure has been damaged or non-existent. Once the helipad has been deployed, the container can then be put into practical use. The container can be adapted to include power, air conditioning, heating as well as plumbing for showers or toilets. It can be fitted out for a variety of purposes, from a control room or office, to secure storage area or accommodation for use off-shore.

The container is designed to be compatible with both the PSA, PSA-FT and PSA-FT R helipad variants which have been designed by FAUN Trackway to create stable, temporary landing surfaces. The modular structure enables the panels to be laid in varying configurations to accommodate different helicopters.

"We saw a need in the market for a solution that could offer additional operational features to those active in remote areas and following extensive consultations with the UK Royal Engineers and the United Nations, the Helipad Multi-Role Packaging Solution was developed," Mike Holdcraft, Vice President at FAUN Trackway USA, said. "The technology can be used as both a landing area and a temporary base, having been designed to add versatility to both expeditionary and civilian operations. It will be particularly valuable in places where infrastructure has been damaged or is non-existent."

22 September 2015

SDSR Must Make UK More International By Design; No Dialogue with Russia Over Syria

UK Defence Secretary Michael Fallon today told members of the UK’s Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) that unlike his American counterparts, he had not engaged with his Russian counterpart over Syria. Later in the speech he highlighted Russia’s, “re-ignition of the Cold War, menacing its neighbours and using hybrid warfare to pursue its goals,” as one of the reasons behind the deterioration of world security since the last Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR) in 2010.

The other two overlapping crises were the north African regional upheaval following the Arab Spring together with the civil war in Syria which had both given rise to the violent religious extremism of IS (so called Islamic State).

The rules based international order on which our security and prosperity depend is being tested by this global upheaval,” stated Fallon, adding that this should also be viewed against a, “global backdrop of increasing competition between states and weapons proliferation.”

The British Government’s first priority was to protect its nationals, a job that Fallon said was becoming harder every day. “Home grown battle-hardened jihadis returning to these shores increases the risk.” He pointed to an, “unprecedented,” growth in terror threats: “15 attacks foiled worldwide and six in this country alone this year, with the number of plots the highest since 9/11 which is why counter-terror spending has been ring fenced.”

Fallon added that there was a need for quicker response to various crises, highlighting as a good example the quick deployment of resources to deal with the Ebola outbreak in Africa. He said that, “crisis response arrangements between departments were under constant review.”

He said the UK needed to leverage its global influence through its membership of NATO, the UN security council and the European Union and must be, “prepared to intervene militarily where that is necessary.”

Fallon remained bullish about the effectiveness of the last SDSR in 2010: “We are now far better prepared to respond (by creating) an agile and more flexible force capable of reacting more swiftly to multiple events.” He underlined the Government’s 10 year, £163 billion commitment to its equipment plan as a way of maintaining high end capability.

Looking ahead to the SDSR

Fallon said that the government’s research had been wide reaching and strategic, with input sourced across government departments as well as from over 100 external experts.  “I’ve spoken to all of my predecessors since the Cold War,” he added. “It has not been rushed, with preparations going back for over a year….We have assessed the risks to our nation’s security and now we are considering how best to deal with them and what capabilities we will need. We are looking 10 years and beyond.”

Fallon said that there were three important elements to the SDSR: being more international, efficient and innovative. “We need to be more international by design - the way we make policy, the way we plan and train must increasingly reflect the reality of how we operate. In a world of global problems we need multinational solutions.” Further, he added that the UK had to maintain high-end capabilities and that to reach a sufficient mass in force should be done in cooperation with coalition allies and partners. “That means more training, force generating and operating in multinational coalitions in pursuit of shared goals, particularly in NATO - the cornerstone of our national defence,” he said.

He also referred to the collective need to fight hybrid and cyber warfare where the lines between what may be, or may not be, an act of war were blurred.

He observed that there was a need to communicate a, “faster truth,” to the public in order, “to counter adversaries who are adept at using social media to recruit and radicalise supporters while spreading disinformation.”

Fallon said that the commitment to a 2% of GNP spend on defence (the called-for NATO standard) meant that all future savings should be ploughed back into frontline capability. “We need to deliver more value, flying hours, sea miles, deployable units from the force structure that we have and we need to reform ways of working.”

Technical superiority was now not enough due to the proliferation of weapons developments which were, “ending up in the hands of state and non-state actors who have spent the last 15 years looking at how we operate and refining their own approaches accordingly.”

He said a new culture open to better risk taking and more willing to change needed to be developed. New technologies needed to be integrated faster and the UK needed to adapt and change the way it conducted its defence business strategy.

Fallon concluded by stating that, “a series of major strategic decisions for ministers to take which will shape the UK’s approach to national security in the period ahead,” were currently being prepared.

The SDSR 2015 is expected to be published in November 2015.

Andrew Drwiega at Royal United Services Institute, London, UK: 22/09/15

18 September 2015

US, Japan Cooperative SM-3 Block IIA Effort on Track for 2018 deployment

The US Missile Defense Agency (MDA) awarded Raytheon $87 million to purchase long-lead materials needed to produce up to 17 Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) Block IIAs that will be used for testing and initial deployment. A follow-on contract for the additional materials, parts and components is expected by early 2016. “Our Japanese partners have been tremendous allies in this development programme, and together we’ve taken ballistic missile defense to the next level,” said Dr. Taylor W. Lawrence, Raytheon Missile Systems president. “When the SM-3 Block IIA deploys in 2018, we will have a greater degree of protection than ever before.”

The SM-3 Block IIA has larger rocket motors and a bigger, more capable kill vehicle that allows it to take out threats sooner in flight and protect larger regions of land. “The SM-3 Block IIA can be used at sea or on land with no modification to the missile,” said Amy Cohen, Standard Missile-3 programme director. “The SM-3 is the only ballistic missile defense interceptor that can be deployed both ways, and that flexibility is a tremendous asset.”

The programme is on track for both land and sea deployment in 2018 in line with Phase 3 of the US’ Phased Adaptive Approach for missile defense of US deployed forces and allies in NATO Europe.


DSEI 2015: Uvision update

Capable of carrying out pinpoint strikes in urban areas or remote locations, Uvision's HERO family of smart loitering munitions now includes six variants, the smallest member being the HERO 30 while the high end HERO 900 tops of the range. However, speaking to MT at DSEI, Yair Dubester, president and CEO of Uvision, said his company is now working on a seventh, larger variant which will be called the HERO 1250. With an estimated weight of 125kg, the new version will have a larger warhead than the one now carried on the HERO 900, the weight of which is given as 20kg. Dubester hinted that the development of the HERO 1250 is to make the company compete at better terms with IAI and its Harop. Dubester boldly stated that he is convinced he can deliver a broadly similar capability to that being offered by IAI at one fourth the price of a HAROP. Speaking about the HERO 120, Dubester said that Uvision is close to conducting the first flight test with the weapon which will make it the first in line of four new systems that also include the HERO 70, 250 and 900 to be made available for potential customers. Meanwhile, Uvision's earlier HERO 30 and 400 have already attracted a number of orders.

Showing both a UGV and USV based concept solution with respectively the HERO 30 and 120 at DSEI, Uvision is now talking to various companies in and outside Israel that make these vehicles, Dubester said. He also revealed that during the upcoming AUSA exhibition, Uvision will show a demonstrator vehicle together with G-NIUS unmanned ground systems.

Pieter Bastiaans

DSEI 2015: Thales' SEARCHMASTER - "The 5-in-1" package

Thales has its latest SEARCHMASTER airborne multi-role AESA surveillance radar on display at DSEI. Operating in the X-band, the versatile SEARCHMASTER is capable of conducting multiple missions including ASW, ASuW, maritime surveillance, ground surveillance and mapping, and air tactical support. However, in the air-to-air mode, it does not give the altitude of the targets that are being tracked which according to Oliver Ageorges, a former TACCO on the French naval air arm's Atlantique 2 (ATL2) aircraft and now an operational advisor to Thales, is perfectably explainable as AEW&C use optimised radars in order to achieve this. This is why SEARCHMASTER will complement other radars such as SEARCHWATER for instance. In the ground surveillance role, the new radar has ground moving target detection and tracking functionality as well as a strip SAR mode.

The radar's ISAR mode provides its operators with excellent imagery of potential targets at ranges well in excess of those provided by EO/IR cameras. IFF capability is integrated into the radar's architecture with four antennas being used for this purpose. Selected as a part of an upgrade programme for the ATL2, SEARCHMASTER is also compatible with smaller aircraft such as UAVs and the ubiquitous Beechcraft twin prop special mission aircraft due to its weight of 77kg. Typical features of the surveillance radar include its ability to scan 360 degrees or a specific sector, its multi RF channels for high accuracy tracking and the fact that it uses digital waveform generation with a high throughput COTS processor being used. Thales gives a a maximum range of 200nm for Searchmaster while the company indicates that the radar can deal with up to 1,000 tracks simultaneously, although it appears this would be reduced to 100 when pursuing land targets. Thales also touts its low probability of intercept while the MTBF is given as around 2,000 hours.

SEARCHMASTERis set to undergo its first flight in late 2015 or early 2016 according to Ageorges who when speaking to MT indicated that this very much depends on the speed with which the software needed to accommodate SEARCHMASTERon the ATL2 is being developed. However, this falls outside the scope of Thales' activities as this is being done under auspices of the French defence procurement agency DGA.
Pieter Bastiaans

DSEI 2015: Outsourcing Naval Training Works

At DSEI in London this week, an unusual vessel was moored alongside the frigates and destroyers from visiting navies. VN Partisan, a former platform support vessel from North Sea operations, offered visitors tours and demonstrations of its maritime training capabilities – in conjunction with personnel from the Royal Marines.

Partisan by SeaOwl

Operated by SeaOwl Group, Partisan is a multi-task training vessel aimed at providing outsourced training facilities for maritime operations. In 2010, the commander of the French Navy’s active component (ALFAN – Amiral Commandant de la Force d’Action Navale) found himself confronted with budget cuts and resource restrictions that made it impossible to use operational vessels for at-sea training. The answer was to examine methods by which such training – a critical component of maintaining readiness – could be outsourced and provide the Marine Nationale with a facility that could be turned on and off as required.

In 2011, SeaOwl Group was tasked to provide training under the ‘Plastron’ contract – and the vessels and equipment associated with it – for up to 100 days per year for an initial five year period. As Shane Biggi, the company’s Director of Strategy, phrases it, the cost-saving aspects were immediately obvious. “The personnel cost savings alone are significant. Partisan has a crew of 12 – a naval frigate has a crew in excess of 100. So using Partisan in place of an operational vessel for 100 days a year saves around 10,000 man days per year,” he explains. The overarching intent is to be able to provide assured operational capability to the French navy at lower direct cost.

Fitted with a flight deck, an aviation control room and a close combat module to provide an environment for close quarters shipboard action (hostage rescue operations training springs to mind), the 79m vessel has the capacity for a wide variety of training serials ranging from boarding at sea to naval air operations and special forces mission training. Operational sea training, asymmetric warfare operations and seamanship training all figure in the vessel’s capabilities.

Although contracted to the French Navy, Partisan is a UK-registered vessel, home ported in Aberdeen. With capacity to spare – and an extensive heritage of ship management techniques and capabilities as a result of its association with V.Group – SeaOwl has its sights firmly set on extending its maritime training support facilities to other Navies, with the Royal Navy already taking interest, according to Biggi. Indeed, as MT left the vessel this week, Vice Admiral Sir Philip Jones, KCB, Fleet Commander and Deputy Chief of Naval Staff, was seen to board. This is a space to be watched with interest in coming months.
Tim Mahon

Esterline CODIS Displays Feature on UK AJAX Vehicle at DSEI 2015

Esterline, a company with a large aviation footprint and a growing one in the defence domain, showcased its CODIS range of ruggedised displays at DSEI in London this week. The CODIS range centres on the displays and technologies acquired from Belgium-based Barco earlier this year – the name deriving from BarCO DISplays. Under the acquisition agreement, use of the Barco tradename ceased after a six month transition period, and Esterline will market and develop the range further under the CODIS brand.

Robbert Crucq, Esterline’s Sales Director Europe, Middle East, Africa and Latin America, explained to MT that the feedback from existing and potential customers has been good and that the client base understands the rationale for the acquisition by Esterline and the incorporation of the former Barco products and technologies with the growing range of complementary products within the Esterline Control and Communications Systems portfolio. “We are at the early stages of merging the teams and expanding the knowledge network: the full benefits will emerge over time but we are already getting very positive indications from customers in many of our global markets,” he said.

As an example of the applications Esterline is pursuing with the CODIS range of visualisation systems, the company announced during the show the award of a contract from General Dynamics UK for supply of displays for the British Army’s Scout SV vehicle programme, now called AJAX.

Valued at $21 million over seven years, the contract calls for supply of the CODIS TX-3355 turret crew station display (mission, gun-control and logistics information for commanders and gunners), CODIS TX-321S three screen driver displays (offering a near seamless 120° image of the vehicle’s route, front and rear, day and night) and the VPU-101 video-processing unit, that processes and reformats data from multiple vehicle-mounted sensors and distributes it to the displays.

Manufacturing of the displays and VPUs will take place at Esterline’s facilities in Kortrijk, Belgium and deliveries will commence in 2016 for a seven year contract period.
Tim Mahon

DSEI 2015: Thales' Low Yield Free Fall LMM on Display

At DSEI, Thales is showcasing its Free Fall LMM, an unpowered, air dropped variant in its Lightweight Multi-role Missile (LMM) family of precision strike weapons. Speaking to MT, Mick Oliver, business development director of advanced weapons at Thales, explained that unlike the LMM, StarStreak, there is no rocket propellant in the FF LMM. The latest weapon also has a different guidance method with SAL being used for terminal guidance while there is the option of GPS for mid course corrections. Envisaged as a weapon for CAS and armed ISTAR missions on both light to medium manned and unmanned platforms, FF LMM has a low drag design and weighs almost 6 kg with a stand off range in excess of 4km when operating at an altitude of 10,000ft being given by Thales. Weighing 2kg, FF LMM 's warhead combines a shaped charge penetrator with a pre-fragemented blast warhead with matching proximity fuze. Unlike rocket propelled weapons, FF LMM can strike targets behind and besides the platform it is dropped from with ease while it can deal with both stationary and moving targets using a top attack method. In the US, Thales has teamed with Textron, which offers the FF LMM as the FURY. Textron's main aim with FURY is the SHADOW family of tactical Unmanned Aerial System (UAS). Oliver indicated that further testing with FF LMM/Fury will be conducted in the US this year with the country being considered "a major market." Oliver also said Thales had joined forces with IOMAX and LH Aviation for offering FF LMM on their Border Patrol Aircraft (BPA) and LH-10 ELLIPSE respectively.
Pieter Bastiaans

News and Contracts in the British Army AJAX Platform

General Dynamics UK (GDUK) has unveiled the turreted AJAX prototype platform (formerly SCOUT programme) at DSEI 2015, which is the second prototype to be unveiled by General Dynamics UK, and the first to feature the Lockheed Martin UK-developed turret, which is designed to meet the needs of the modern British soldier.

GDUK's AJAX platform at DSEI features Lockheed Martin UK/Rheinmetall's turret, armed with a stabilised 40mm Case Telescoped Cannon (CTC) being provided as government furnished equipment by the UK MoD, and a 7.62mm coaxial machine gun. (Photos: DPM)

Lockheed Martin UK has contracted Rheinmetall Defence to manufacture the turret structures (40mm medium-calibre) for the British Army’s new AJAX Reconnaissance vehicle. The order, issued in London, is worth a total of €130 million and covers production of up to 245 units. Rheinmetall also participated significantly in the preceeding technical demonstration phase. The first production unit is scheduled for completion in July 2016. Rheinmetall has extensive, longstanding experience in developing and manufacturing turret systems, prompting an important order in connection with a key programme of the British Ministry of Defence (MoD).

The AJAX platform will be the ‘eyes and ears’ of the British Army on the battlefields of the future. It will be effective in the most difficult terrains around the world, providing all-weather intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition and reconnaissance (ISTAR) capabilities. Commenting on the unveiling of the AJAX platform, MoD Armoured Vehicles Head of Programmes, Maj.Gen. Talbot-Rice, said: “We are committed to supplying the Armed Forces with the very best equipment possible and are delivering on this by supplying the AJAX platform which will become their first fully digitised armoured fighting vehicle (AFV).”

The AJAX platform is one of six variants to be delivered to the British Army by GDUK from 2017 through 2024. It represents the future of AFV for the British Army. “We are delighted to unveil the AJAX prototype, which is another significant step in the on schedule delivery of a family of best-in-class platforms to the British Army,” Kevin Connell, vice president of General Dynamics Land Systems UK, said. “Working together with our industry partners, customer and end-user, we will deliver into service a platform that will enable the British Army to gather the information they need, when they need it, on the battlefields of the future.”

The range of AJAX variants will allow the British Army to conduct sustained, expeditionary, full-spectrum and network-enabled operations with a reduced logistics footprint.  It can operate in combined-arms and multinational situations across a wide-range of future operating environments.  The first British Army squadron will be equipped by mid-2019 to allow conversion to begin with a brigade ready to deploy from the end of 2020.

Saab has received an order from GDUK to provide Mobile Camouflage Systems for AJAX, deliveries are planned until 2022. The order for the Saab Mobile Camouflage System (MCS) is part of a September 2014 contract awarded to GDUK by the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) covering the delivery of 589 AJAX platforms to the British Army. The vehicle platforms will be delivered to the British Army from 2017 through 2024. The contract between Saab and General Dynamics UK covers MCS systems for the first batch of vehicles to be acquired from the 589 total. “This order is a clear statement of trust in our skills and know-how. AJAX is one of the most modern armoured vehicle families to enter service in a NATO country, one designed to meet the toughest requirements and excel in all environments. We are proud that our Mobile Camouflage System meets the requirements to enhance the capabilities and mission readiness of these vehicles,” Görgen Johansson, head of Saab Business Area Dynamics said.

This order is recognition of our continuous development efforts to optimise the MCS and provide efficient survivability against the most potent threats. The contract is a result of the great cooperation between GDUK and Saab Barracuda since the start of the programme, along with all the efforts made in the ongoing demo phase,” Anders Wiman, head of Saab business unit Barracuda explained further.

Marshall Aerospace and Defence Group and XPI to supply driver training simulator for AJAX

British Army Chief Gen. Nick Carter and Philip Dunne Minister of State for Defence Procurement at the Ministry of Defence discussing the AJAX.
Driver training for the UK’s AJAX programme is to be provided on static and full motion simulators developed and provided by a team supported by Marshall Aerospace and Defence Group and lead by XPI Simulation, part of the Thales Group, following the award of a major simulator contract by prime contractor, GDUK. This multi-million pound contract will provide 28 sets of equipment with the first being delivered in 2017.  XPI Simulation as lead contractor is providing the software and the motion base whilst Marshall is providing the replica driver modules. Marshall Aerospace will be creating a high fidelity replica of the Drivers Compartment. The Driver Simulators will develop better driver awareness and familiarity with the vehicle, reduce training time and allow for quantitative evaluation of the driver’s aptitude prior to live training on an actual vehicle with the benefit that vehicle time can be more effective in terms of skills development. The role of the driver on AJAX will be significantly enhanced, compared to previous AFVs, as he will be able to manage the extensive suite of sensors and vehicle systems from his position using the screen based technology and the simulators are designed to provide full training to maximise his effectiveness. “Securing this contract on the UK’s largest current land programme confirms our capability to provide real engineered solutions,” Steve Fitz-Gerald, Chief Executive of Marshall Aerospace and Defence Group informed. “Our knowledge of training and in particular part task trainers gives confidence that we will be able to deliver a high quality solution for this important simulator that will enable UK forces to maximise the benefits of the AJAX vehicle.

Marshall has a history of providing simulator solutions and part task trainers including for the WATCHKEEPER Ground Control Station, the WARRIOR OPV, the JACKAL, C-130, and A400M simulators and training.

Rolls-Royce brand MTU is to supply engines both for the AJAX (as well as for the Royal Navy’s Type 23 frigates). The Type 8V 199 TE21 engine is to be used in the AJAX  fighting vehicle. The unit is the most powerful in this engine series, setting the benchmark in its performance class. The outstanding power and reliability delivered by Series 199 engines have already been convincingly demonstrated in infantry fighting vehicles such the ULAN (Austria) and PIZARRO (Spain) as well as in the BOXER infantry fighting vehicle (Germany, Netherlands). MTU is to start deliveries of 589 engines from 2016. 

Photographic Recap of DSEI 2015