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30 June 2016
Harris Wins Multiple Contracts for Tactical Comms
The US Army Communications-Electronics Command (CECOM) has awarded Harris Corporation a follow-on five year contract with a ceiling value of $1.7 billion for secure tactical communication solutions.
The contract is awarded under the Foreign Military Sales (FMS) programme, which aims at improving interoperability among coalition partners.
Harris will supply a wide range of secure radio communications, tactical communication networks and embedded high-grade encryption solutions drawn from the broad spectrum of the company’s tactical communications offerings.
Chris Young, President of Harris Communication Systems, commented that the contract, “highlights that Harris tactical communication solutions continue to meet the varied needs of our international customers, [and] will add to an already broad range of Harris communications products and services for international customers under the FMS programme.”
At the same time, the company announced a $15 million order from an undisclosed Middle Eastern nation for provision of tactical radios, network management systems, training and logistics support as part of that nation’s modernisation programme. The contract includes Single Channel Ground and Airborne Radio System (SINCGARS) and SPEARNET tactical radios for ground forces elements of the nation’s aviation branch.
29 June 2016
British Army Needs to Dominate Information Space
Addressing members of the UK’s Armed Forces and international colleagues at the RUSI Land Warfare Conference on 29th June, Fallon stressed how the result of last weeks referendum did not change the Ministry of Defence’s (MoD’s) “global outlook”, explaining how it would continue to fight terrorism; support counter-migration efforts; and counter-arms smuggling operations with with NATO, the UN and EU.
Also due to speak at the event was LTG Ben Hodges, Commander of US Army Europe, who in March suggested a British exit from the EU would have a negative impact on NATO. His position on a discussion panel on the first day of the Land Warfare Conference was cancelled at short notice.
Referring to the MoD’s Future Force 2025 for the British Army, Fallon described his three aspirations for the service, including integration; domination of information warfare; and internationalism; while highlighting associated technology requirements to assist developments.
According to Fallon, the future British Army must be integrated with the whole government, with threats encountered in the contemporary operating environment now crossing departmental boundaries.
Security agencies, the Home Office, Police and other key government departments would need to collaborate more than ever to shape and inform governmental decision making; supporting national resilience; and stabilising overseas territories by improving partners abilities to deal with terrorism, he described.
Second, the British Army needs to dominate the Information Space, Fallon proclaimed. Describing how the army currently masters the physical terrain, he warned that further work was required to enhance capabilities in areas such as Cyber Warfare; Social Media; and Open Source Intelligence.
“The army of the future must be plugged into the digital age to translate virtual bits into physical atoms, [with intelligence] emerging from multiple receptors capable of deploying real time information to disrupt adveraries capabilities, inform decision-making and deliver faster truth to our public,” he continued.
Additionally, Fallon highlighted 77 and 1 ISR Brigades as the “Pioneers of Information Warfare” and called upon these relatively new force structures to define tactics, techniques and procedures for the wider army as well as provide more, “flexible terms of employment; breaking down barriers in organisation; and providing greater access to expertise of UK assets worldwide.”
“That impact will, in time, be revolutionary,” Fallon urged.
Finally, Fallon said the British Army would remain “international by design”, describing how if necessary, it would be capable of operating alone and if required, also in a better position to work with global coalition partners.
“No matter what the result of the referendum, we will remain a major international power with global responsibilities and continue to be leading members of NATO, the UN Security Council, Commonwealth and Five Eyes intelligence alliance,’ amongst others," Fallon explained.
Describing the contemporary operating environment, Fallon explained how “tens of thousands” of Iraqi and Kurdish security personnel had been trained as part of wider counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency campaigns as well as support of Nigerian forces to counter Boko Haram in West Africa as well as what he dubbed “essential support” to the UK’s Ukrainian allies.
“We have to have a strong army out in front to lead the way,” Fallon stressed.
Regarding specific equipment procurement, Fallon explained how November’s Strategic Defence and Security Review had pledged GBP12billion for the British Army over the next five years in order to support the MoD’s two new Strike Brigades; reconfigured specialist infantry battalions; counter-terrorism and stability operations overseas.
Fallon informed delegates how the army would be able to call upon sufficient firepower to match additional manpower with digitally enhanced AJAX vehicles; mechanised infantry fighting vehicles; upgraded APACHE attack and CHINOOK transport helicopters; and “cutting edge” UAVs.
Referring to the latter, Fallon revealed the MoD had today, signed a GBP80million support contract with Thales as part of the ongoing WK450 WATCHKEEPER programme.
“We know what our future force will look like but questions today go much deeper. How can we make sure the army has the ability to react to a wide range of threats, simultaneously from the East or South; from conventional threats or cyber warfare,” Fallon asked?
Fallon described how the British Army would next year lead NATO’s Very High Readiness Joint Task Force (VJTF)- the spearhead of the NATO Response Force (NRF)- the former of which was inaugurated in 2014.
Additionally, he proclaimed the British Army as the only international force element capable of integrated a Division into the US Army Order of Battle, which he said would continue to be further developed in the future.
Fallon also proclaimed future cooperation with the French MoD and highlighted future cooperation including the evaluation of the Combined Joint Expeditionary Force.
“I want the Army 2025 to be the partner of choice for smaller nations with greater operations for sharper and speedier response against our adversaries,” Fallon added while referring to more than 100 training tasks conducted over the first half of 2016 in countries stretching from Belize and Burkina Faso, to Egypt, Sierra Leone, Singapore and most recently, Ukraine.
Finally, Fallon called for the army in 2025 to see the successful inclusion of 10% ethnic minorities as well as 15 per cent inclusion of women, although he stressed such a force mix was much more than numerical requirements.
“We need to bring their skills to every part of the army and every corner of the World where our people serve,” Fallon concluded.
FNSS Wins Anti Tank Vehicle Project of the Turkish Armed Forces
As the TAF started phasing out the MILAN AT Missile and the TOW, to be replaced by the OMTAS Medium-Range AT Missile, currently under development by Roketsan, the STA programme was likewise modified. The 260 vehicles will now only be equipped with the recently acquired KORNET and the OMTAS systems in a mixed approach. The turret development has not yet been finalised, but Aselsan and/or FNSS seems to be the most likely solution, and will feature modern Fire and Command-Control capabilities. In addition to their ready-to-fire AT guided missiles each turret will be equipped with a 7.62 machine gun.
FNSS plans to use the lightest member of the KAPLAN vehicle family as the platform for the tracked type vehicle of the AT vehicles project, while considering the PARS 4x4 as the basis for the project’s wheeled type AT vehicle. See pictures below.
In addition to having ballistic and mine protection, the amphibious tracked and wheeled AT vehicles will be capable of conducting joint operations with armoured units, and have a modular mechanical and electronic infrastructure that enables rapid adaptation of future potential requirements. Design, development and prototype qualification processes will be completed in 2018; and in the following two-year period, serial production shall be completed and delivered to Turkish Land Forces.
Rockwell Collins Does Not See Major Challenges in BREXIT for its European Operations
Briefing journalists in Toulouse on 28 June, Claude Alber, vice president and managing director for EuMEA, was sanguine about the potential effects that the UK’s vote to leave the EU may have on his business unit. “Like any company we have analysed the potential effect in advance and have considered what our reactions might be. Our conclusion is that it does not have a big impact on us in the long term,” he said.
The company has a strong presence in the UK, particularly in the training and simulation line of business centred on its plant at Burgess Hill and its acquisition of visual systems specialists SEOS. The F-35 Griffin simulator, which the company demonstrated in the same briefing, is one of the principal product-centred solutions the EuMEA business will be pushing in coming months and years as decisions are made regarding training facilities by all the F-35 users.
Saab Details GIRAFFE Family and Discloses Customers
Speaking to MT ahead of the 2016 Farnborough International Airshow, due to take place between 11-15 July, Saab company officials explained how the COE was witnessing an uplift in such activities particularly in Areas of Interest (AOIs) in Asia Pacific and specifically the South China Sea where the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) continues to flex its muscles across disputed island chains and UNCLOS 200nm Exclusive Economic Zones.
Addressing this particular element in the COE, Saab’s Matt Smith, responsible for sales and marketing in the air domain, explained how the company was witnessing increased interest in Asia Pacific, particularly in operational areas close to Vietnam, Philippines and Brunei.
“We are seeing new advanced threats in the areas of jamming and cyber and Saab is very much aware of the threat,” he explained to MT.
Referring to Saab’s family of GIRAFFE GBAD systems, Smith explained how the company was gearing up for delivery of the first tranche of systems in the Fourth Quarter 2016 as part of the first GIRAFFE 4A contract to an undisclosed customer.
Designed with multi-mission capabilities in mind, the GIRAFFE 4A comprises elements of the ARTHUR and GIRAFFE AMB product families with the introduction of a new radar payload based on Active Electrically Scanned Array (AESA) technology.
According to Saab company documentation, the GIRAFFE 4A is capable of simultaneously support a variety of operations ranging from air surveillance (the ability to identify and track a high number of objects simultaneously makes the system suitable for air and sea surveillance as well as military air traffic control) and GBAD (identification and tracking of airborne targets to support multiple simultaneous engagements); through to weapon locating missions (tracking of ballistic munitions and calculation of origin and point of impact); and sense and warn missions to counter such weapons.
The GIRAFFE 4A has been designed for operations in “all climate zones” and Smith described to MT how the system had successfully completed Cold Weather and High Altitude trials in the Swiss Alps owing to conditions not being cold enough in Sweden across usual test sites.
“GIRAFFE 4A is specified for operation in extreme climates, ranging from inland, coastal and hot desert to Arctic environments,” Saab explained. “It is reliable and easy to operate with a redundant design such as the AESA concept making the time between critical failure extremely long at more than 2,500hours while typical repair time is less than 45 minutes.”
The GIRAFFE 4A is designed to provide ground commanders with optimal situation awareness through simultaneous air surveillance and GBAD target acquisition, with added benefit of weapon locating capability without degradation of other sensors.
“If the situation dictates, the commanding officer can choose between search in the entire 360-degrees volume or an optimised search in a sector (40degrees–120-degrees).Both with coverage up to 70-degrees of elevation,” Saab continued.
The GIRAFFE 4A also took part in a Live Exercise (LIVEX) with the Swedish Air Force’s Air Defence Regiment in October 2015, conducted in Gotland, Smith explained before referring to the international market and potential interest from “several customers” which have already conducted trials and performance testing which “met or exceeded expected performance.”
Saab disclosed potential customers as being Sweden, the UK, US and Switzerland. Saab is preparing to put forward its Best and Final Offer for the UK Ministry of Defence’s GBAD BMC4I competition in July, following the completion of maturity tests, Smith added. He also explained first deliveries of GIRAFFE's initial undisclosed contract would be made in the fourth quarter of 2016.
In May 2014, Saab extended its GIRAFFE family of products to include the 4A following operational requirements for air surveillance and air defence applications on land and at sea. Other options include the vehicle-mounted GIRAFFE 1X; GIRAFFE AMB; truck-mounted GIRAFFE 8A; suitable for asymmetric warfare.
28 June 2016
GLSDB Increases Capabilities of MLRS and Brings SDB into Land Domain
Saab has unveiled a series of new Concepts of Operation (CONOPS) for the GBU-39/B Small Diameter Bomb (SDB) with a novel design now allowing the munition to be launched from ground-vehicles.
Speaking to MT ahead of the Farnborough International Air Show, scheduled to take place between 11-15 July, Alex Alderson, UK Marketing Sales Director for the company’s Land Portfolio, explained how the GBU-39/B SDB had been re-roled from an airborne-delivered munition to one capable of supporting operations from the ground.
Being specifically developed with Boeing for the US Army’s Missile Technology Demonstration, the Ground Launched SDB (GLSDB) has been designed on the back of precision-guided munitions utilised for Counter-Insurgency (COIN) operations in Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere over the past decade or so.
However, Alderson explained how the Contemporary Operating Environment was starting to witness evolving requirements for the same precision but with enhanced reach, particularly as modern threats trend away from Low Intensity Conflict and potentially further towards more High Intensity Conflict with “Near Peer” adversaries such as Russia, China and North Korea.
As Alderson explained, armed forces now require extended reach in order to neutralise high priority targets in multiple engagements.
The re-roled armament now comprises the GBU-39/B SDB munition; MLRS Rocket motor; and an Interstage Adapter, the latter of which can be pre-programmed to detach and fall to the ground in a pre-determined square kilometre box. The munition can be fired from legacy MLRS platforms, thereby reducing the amount of extra retraining for soldiers.
“The GLSDB increases the capabilities of MLRS and brings the SDB into the land domain,” Alderson explained.
“GLSDB provides commanders and planners with a flexible weapon which complements existing ballistic trajectory weapons. The SDB is a 250-pound class weapon with an Advance Anti-Jam Global Positioning System-aided Intertial Navigation System, combined with a multipurpose penetrating blast-and-fragmentation warhead and a programmable electronic fuze,” company literature explained.
The munition is accurate to within a single metre, Saab claimed, with the weapon system being capable of launch in all weather conditions during the day and night. It also features terrain avoidance technology to allow manoeuvre around mountains and other obstacles as well as a cave breaching capability.
A programmable fuze can also be used for impact and delay fuzing for deep penetration or proximity height-of-burst while a SDB Focused Lethality Munition (FLM) variant is also an option for low collateral damage. The munition is also capable of destroying moving targets.
The concept has also extended the range of the weapon system out to 150km for targets to the front of the launcher while firing from the same position, rockets are capable of engaging targets up to 70km to the rear; and 115km to each flank. Alderson highlighted how legacy and other in-service capabilities boasted ranges out to approximately 70km.
The GLSDB is capable of firing from out-of-sight and protected areas with a “Ripple Fire” capability should one be required for the engagement and suppression of multiple targets. The weapon system is also capable of providing 360-degree coverage without any requirement to manoeuvre the launcher. The munition alos lacks a minimum engagement range, Alderson added.
"GLSDB is a long range precision incendiary solution that widens the capabilities of armed forces. Capable of conducting reverse slope engagements and defeating a range of targets, from hardened facilities to soft-skinned assets, the GLSDB adds another dimension to armed forces´ capabilities,” company literature read.
Alderson also highlighted how the GLSDB could be used to counter tall buildings encountered during Military Operations in Urban Terrain (MOUT) with options available to conduct steep attack firings for Non-Line of Sight (NLOS) targets through to near-horizontal engagements more suitable for rural fire missions.
“For ground forces, GLSDB now provides the same precision strike capability currently only provided by Air Forces,” Alderson highlighted. “GLSDB therefore reduces requirements to call upon additional air assets and close air support.”
The capability was demonstrated in February 2015 at the Vidsel Test Range in Sweden with a Live Fire Serial. Since then, GLSDB has been verified and validated for integration on board the MLRS Rocket Launcher.
Alderson explained how the next stage of the programme would see variants supplied for the US Army’s Missile Technology Demonstration programme although he was unable to comment on when an expected trials programme would be conducted.
Finally, Saab also admitted it was considering maritime concepts of operation for the SDB with a Maritime Launched SDB (MLSDB) used for precision Naval Gunfire Support (NGS) missions during littoral and amphibious operations for example.
Saab's Future Integration of Counter UAV Tech/Air Integration
Saab has revealed potential plans to integrated a Counter-Unmanned Aerial System (C-UAS) capability into its Remote Tower System which allows a single operations centre to control multiple airheads off-site, company officials have revealed to MT.
Speaking to the media ahead of the Farnborough International Air Show in the UK, which takes place between 11-15 July, company officials described how Saab would be publicly demonstrating its Remote Tower capability for the first time.
In its current iteration, the Remote Tower System is capable of detecting and identifying multiple UAS measuring less than a single metre in diameter, at a range out to 3km and beyond. However, the concept currently lacks the capability to deter, disrupt or neutralise UAS should it be deemed a threat to the airfield itself.
However, Saab officials admitted that “internal discussions” were in the process of being conducted with undisclosed companies in order to assess the necessary “next step” to counter UAS. The Remote Tower System’s current capability relies upon a Ground Surveillance Radar to detect suspect UAS before handing over to a pair of Electro-Optical/InfraRed Pan/Tilt/Zoom cameras capable of identifying any threat and tracking it.
Such C-UAS technology continues to spread across the defence, security and civil markets as the proliferation of affordable and agile micro-, mini- and small-UAS continues to drive the market with terrorist organisations continuing to use such systems for battlefield reconnaissance and airborne improvised explosive devices (ABIEDs).
Further technology which could be integrated on board Saab’s Remote Tower System to deter, disrupt and neutralise threatening UAS would likely include Radio Frequency (RF) technology which features heavily in other C-UAS solutions.
For example, the Anti-UAV Defence System (AUDS) features Blighter Surveillance Systems’ radar technology; Chess Dynamics EO/IR cameras; and Enterprise Control Systems’ Directional RF Inhibitors; all of which are integrated into a single C-UAS solution.
Additionally, Leonardo-Finemccanica (the old Selex ES) FALCON SHIELD solution relies upon passive electro-optical and electronic surveillance sensors, combined with scenario specific radar to find and fix UAS with an electronic attack capability providing operators with the ability to disrupt or take control of the threat with the additional option of kinetic effectors.
Since 2015, Saab’s Remote Tower has been operating Örnsköldsvik airport from the Sundsvall-Timrå airport, located 150km from one another. Additionally, Saab officials described that how the Sundsvall-Timrå airport would soon be operating a Remote Tower System later this year with Linköping City Airport also set to benefit from the technology in the first quarter of 2017.
Further afield, the Remote Tower had conducted “environmental trials” with Saab at multiple locations including Alice Springs in Australia; Værøy Heliport, Norway; Leesburg Executive Airport, Virginia; Cork and Shannon Airports; and Schipol in the Netherlands.
Saab’s Remote Tower solution comprises a total of 14 camera systems covering day colour and low light IR cameras; PTZ cameras; Laser Rangefinders; Signal Light Gun; and Gap Filler Camera.
Field of Views can be tailored dependent upon customer preference with varieties ranging from 220-degrees to 360-degrees in panoramic angle and 45-degrees to 180-degrees in the vertical. Information can be displayed on 14 integrated screens in a Controller Working Position (CWP), although Saab officials explained the system had yet to be operationally approved in Sweden.
Additionally, sources explained how a single CWP provided a capability to connect and control three separate airports simultaneously.
According to Saab, the technology could be used for oil and gas platforms (for control of rotary wing aircraft); small airports; regional and local airports; as well as a contingency plan for larger international airports.
Finally, Remote Tower technology has also been integrated on board ground vehicles for military expeditionary operations such as C-130 Temporary Landing Zones (TLZs). Saab officials explained: “You can have an air base up and running very quickly and a lot of Air Forces are now starting to look into this option,” it was added with an additional demonstration scheduled to highlight the technology at Farnborough later this year.
Company literature describes how “Air Navigation Service Providers, airport owners and operators, and related stakeholders are facing growing pressure to reduce their operating costs for air traffic services (ATS) services while maintaining safety and efficiency.
“The Saab Remote Tower system is an integrated package of subsystems which facilitates the provision of a range of conventional ATS. High definition images and all relevant airport systems are transferred via a data network to an integrated controller working position at the Remote Tower Centre (RTC) that best suits the customer’s business model. A comprehensive suite of image enhancement tools and state of the art video compression provides optimal image resolution whilst minimising bandwidth usage.”
Embraer Defense & Security: A Multi-Faceted Technology House
￼￼The A-29 Super TUCANO is currently selected by 13 air forces worldwide, including the US Air Force (USAF), who have chosen the aircraft for its Light Air Support (LAS) programme. According to Jackson Schneider, President and Chief Executive Officer Embraer DS, “we are operating in three warzones, with more than 35,000 combat hours.”
|A-29 Super TUCANO. (Photos: Embraer)|
Embraer has already delivered more than 200 Super TUCANO aircraft, “assembling six aircraft for the USAF to be sent to Lebanon, to be used in an border surveillance,” said Schneider. With more than 150 weapons configurations certified, it is equipped with advanced electronic, electro-optic, infrared, and laser system technologies (customisable to customer specifications), as well as secure radio systems with data links and great munitions capacity.
“Currently we are in sales campaigns with four different countries,” the CEO unveiled, not disclosing who these are.
The KC-390 is a tactical transport aircraft designed to set new standards in its category while “presenting the lowest life-cycle cost of the market,” according to Schneider. It is a project of the Brazilian Air Force (FAB) that, in 2009, hired Embraer to perform the aircraft development. Under this programme, industrial partnerships were also established with Argentina, Portugal, and the Czech Republic. The KC-390 ́s first prototype has performed its first flight in February 2015 and the aircraft is now in the flight test campaign. “The flight test campaign of the KC-390 is progressing extremely well, and we are surpassing all requirements,” according to the industry expert.
The current stage of the flight test campaign was dedicated to a general assessment of its systems, performance and flying qualities. Embraer has recently performed the initial cargo airdrop and paratroops assessment as well as the rear ramp, cargo door and paratroops door operation. The programme has already covered the full flight envelope of the aircraft reaching cruise speed of Mach .80 and operational ceiling of 36.000ft, performing daily flights. Other milestones achieved also include flight control systems, sidesticks linked and active, complete flap and slat configuration tests, as well as inflight shutdown and restart of the engines and APU.
The flight test schedule for 2016 includes aerodynamics freezing, air drop tests, paratrooper evaluation and aerial refueling hose stability. “Dry AAR tests will start this year, first refueling aircraft, with helicopter AAR coming shortly after,” he said. In total, the flight test campaign is expected to last around two years. Embraer expects to receive the certification of the KC-390 jet by the end of 2017 with first deliveries of the aircraft scheduled for the first half of 2018. “A third test aircraft will be delivered to the FAB, to be delivered beginning 2018,” Schneider explained.
Equipped with International Aero Engines V2500 turbofan engines, the latest avionics, a rear ramp, and an advanced cargo handling system, the KC-390 will provide excellent operational productivity and will be capable of transporting a payload of up to 23t, including pallets, helicopters, armored wheeled vehicles, and troops (80 soldiers or 64 paratroopers). "We can load up to 26t, if you concentrate cargo," the CEO said.
Embraer’s Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) aircraft family consists of three models: Airborne Early Warning & Control (AEW&C), Multi Intel (Remote Sensing and Surveillance) system, and Maritime Patrol (MP), all based on the EMB 145 regional jet family (more than 1,100 delivered and 20 million accumulated flight hours).
Seventeen units of the EMB 145 ISR family have been delivered to four air forces, worldwide. The FAB operates eight of them in the Amazon Surveillance System (SIVAM): Five EMB 145 AEW&Cs and three Multi Intel EMB 145s. Another three aircraft are in operation in Mexico, with the National Defense Department (SEDENA) using one EMB 145 AEW&C and two EMB 145MPs. The Greek Air Force uses four EMB 145 AEW&Cs that operate in conjunction with NATO. The Indian Air Force operates three EMB 145 AEW&C. India’s EMB 145 AEW&C has important capabilities, such as an in-flight refueling system, a significantly greater electrical and refrigeration capacity, and a set of structural changes that allow the installation of advanced mission systems that were developed by India’s Centre for Air Borne Systems – (CABS), in conjunction with the Defence Research & Development Organisation (DRDO).
According to news reports, the FAB was scheduled to receive the first Legacy 500 navigational aid aircraft in May. The last of six Legacy 500s (designated IU-50 by the FAB) is to be delivered in November 2017. The business aircraft, modified by Embraer DS, includes Rockwell Collins Pro Line Fusion integrated avionics system, Norwegian Special Mission (NSM) UNIFIS 3000 navigational aid automatic flight inspection system, a laser camera, and a range of external antennas. The new aircraft is a special mission aircraft used for aiport inspection.
In terms of C4I technologies, Embraer’s subsidiary Bradar is a technology-based company specialised in the development and production of radars for remote sensing as well as aerial and land surveillance applications: The SABER M-60 radar, for example, can track targets within a radius of 60km, transmitting information in real time to anti-aircraft operations centres, transmitting in P- and X-band frequencies. Since it is portable and lightweight, it can be easily transported to any location. The SABER M-60 was recently operated by the Brazilian Armed Forces in the security of major events such as the visit of Pope Francis to Brazil, the Confederations Cup, the Rio +20 Environment Conference and the FIFA World Cup 2014.
Bradar’s SENTIR M-20 is a portable short-range radar used in surveillance, acquisition, classification, location, tracking and automatic graphic display of targets on land or in air operations, such as: Individuals, troops, tanks, trucks, and trains on land, and helicopters within a range of up to 30 kilometres.
In Embraer's integrated solutions, Atech provides for all communications and C4I capabilities.
Savis, an Embraer subsidiary dedicated to developing, integrating, and setting up systems and services in the area of border monitoring and protection of strategic structures is responsible for implementing the Integrated Border Monitoring System (Sisfron) in Brazil. Sisfron’s initial phase includes the monitoring of approximately 650km of land along the border of Brazil with Paraguay and Bolivia. In total, Sisfron will be responsible for the surveillance and protection of the 16,886km of and borders separating Brazil from 11 neighboring countries and representing 27% of its territory. "It is the right size solution that we can deliver according to customers needs," Schneider concluded.
Embraer KC-390: Capable, Flexible, Affordable
|KC-390 in paratrooper tests. (All photos via Embraer)|
Touted as a genuine multi-mission aircraft, it can transport and launch cargo and troops (already proven on one of the two prototype aircraft currently going through testing) and perform a wide array of missions, such as medical evacuation, search and rescue, and aerial fire fighting, among others. The KC-390 can also perform aerial refueling (air-to-air refueling - AAR) operations with great flexibility, being capable of refueling from helicopters to high-performance fighter aircraft…on paper. According to Schneider, AAR tests so far included hose extraction, showing the hose being very stable during high and low drogue extension. “Dry AAR tests will start this year, first refueling aircraft, with helicopter AAR coming shortly after,” he said.
With daily flights of prototype 001 and 002, more than 320 flight hours have been achieved in eight months; surpassing all requirements, according to the industry expert. “A third test aircraft will be delivered to the Brazilian Air Force, to be delivered beginning 2018,” he explained. While two more prototypes are available for static tests, 001 will be flown to Farnborough Airshow 2016, with a demonstration tour following in countries in Europe, Middle East, and Africa. Schneider said the tour will start in Europe and might include the Czech Republic.
Equipped with a modern cargo handling system, the KC-390 can transport large-sized cargo, such as pallets, vehicles, helicopters, in addition to troops, paratroopers, medevac stretcher or mixed configurations. The state-of-the-art integrated avionic system and a fly-by-wire flight control facilitates the aircraft piloting, reducing pilot workload and increasing the mission’s efficiency. The KC-390 can also be equipped with an advanced self-defense system and ballistic protection in critical areas, which increases its capacity to operate in hostile environments. Embraer builds the wing skins (18.4m, largest metallic part Embraer ever built) and skins of the horizontal stabiliser (Empennage: 11.9m, largest composite part Embraer ever built) in Évora, Portugal.
- Maximum concentrated payload: 26 metric ton
- Maximum distribuited payload: 23 metric ton
- Maximum cruise speed/ Mach Number: 470 knots/0.80 Mach
- Maximum operational altitude: 36,000 ft (cabin altitude 8,000 ft)
- Range with 23 metric ton: 1,380 nm
- Ferry range: 3,350 nautical miles
- Cargo configuration: 80 soldiers, 66 paratroopers, 74 stretches, seven 463L type pallets, three HMMWVs, one BLACK HAWK helicopter, one LAV-25, among others.
27 June 2016
India Clears Path for BAE Systems M777 Lightweight Howitzer
On 25 June the Indian Defence Acquisition Council approved the procurement of 145 M777 Ultra Lightweight Howitzers from BAE Systems, in a deal worth an estimated $750 million.
Also approved at the same time was the intention to procure 18 DHANUSH 155mm howitzers (an Indian designed weapon based on the Bofors FH77) and the Navy was cleared to issue calls for tender for six next generation missile vessels.
Under the deal with BAE Systems, which is being concluded through the US Foreign Military Sales (FMS) process, 25 of the howitzers will be delivered from the US and 120 delivered from an Indian assembly and integration facility created in conjunction with Indian defence company Mahindra Group. BAE Systems announced in February it had selected Mahindra to build the integration plant. Offset commitments of up to $200 million will be pursued in a track parallel to the procurement.
The procurement marks the first time the Indian Army has bought artillery systems for almost 30 years, since the Bofors acquisition scandal in 1987.
Northrop Grumman TERN – An Accelerating Programme?
On 24 June the Pentagon confirmed that the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is awarding Northrop Grumman an additional U$17.8 million to the $93.1 million contract awarded to the company in January for development of the TERN unmanned aerial system (UAS): specifically, the additional award refers to the construction of a second TERN air vehicle. The original award was made for ‘Phase 3’ of the TERN programme, Phases 1 and 2 having focused on preliminary design and risk reduction.
TERN is a joint programme between DARPA and the US Office of Naval Research (ONR), with support from the Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory (MCWL), to develop a UAS capable of taking off and landing from confined spaces in rough seas and providing efficient operations at long distances over extended periods. Although current capability development is focused on intelligence and surveillance functionality, it is believed that DoD seeks to weaponize TERN in the long term, with a payload thought to be in the 600lbs range.
The UAS bears a passing resemblance to the Convair XFY-1 POGO experimental vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) fighter developed as a USN aircraft in the 1950s, which never proceeded beyond the prototype stage. Northrop Grumman’s vision for TERN is a 40ft wingspan tailsitting flying-wing design, featuring twin counter-rotating nose-mounted 10ft propellers.
The fact that DARPA has made an additional award for a second air vehicle would seem to indicate that one has already been manufactured – or is at least close to being tested. In less than six months, that would indicate a high degree of confidence in the technology demonstrator programme, which seeks to prove the concept for a medium altitude, long endurance (MALE) UAS that could significantly enhance the reach, effect and connectivity of USN vessels.
Picture shows an artist’s impression of the Northrop Grumman TERN UAS, courtesy DARPA.
26 June 2016
BAE Systems’ Virtual Focus
Using the Terrier Combat Engineer vehicle as a demonstrator, the company demonstrated, using a VR headset, how engineers can “see” the intended fit of a new component or assembly – and even “touch” it as the software superimposes the user’s hands on virtual equipment. Many engineering design issues have already been resolved in this way, and engineers have been able to highlight and resolve potential engineering, maintenance and even operational issues at a much earlier stage in the development process.
BAE Systems has also worked with soldiers to test changes in VR and uses their feedback to improve the design in real time. The company sees huge potential in using VR to provide better, more cost-effective training for their vehicles – in both operational and maintenance roles – a system already in use on the British Army’s CHALLENGER 2s.
“We are also looking at how VR can help armoured soldiers on operation by providing a better feel for the battlefield. This should them react to threats more quickly, giving an advantage,” John Puddy, Technology Lead for BAE Systems Land (UK), said.
Bluedrop Wins Canadian Maritime Helicopter Training Extension
The company will provide over 30 aircrew instructors, simulator operators and technical support personnel to 406 Operational & Training Squadron at Shearwater in Nova Scotia. The training suite there includes two flight simulators, two operational mission simulators, six mission procedures trainers and two aircraft maintenance trainers; supplemented by several maintenance part task trainers.
The Canadian Maritime Helicopter Project industry team, led by Sikorsky with General Dynamics Mission Systems Canada as principal subcontractor, is delivering a total of 28 CH-148 CYCLONEs to the Canadian Forces, where they will replace Sea KINGs in anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare roles. The first six aircraft were accepted by Canada in 2015 with a further six – in Block II standard – scheduled for delivery in 2018. Full operational capability, with all 28 aircraft delivered, is forecast for 2021.
Angola Defence Budget Under Pressure
The six helicopters form part of a €90 million contract signed in December 2015 that included €115 million of new radar systems and €7.3 million for two new fast patrol boats from Leonardo-Finmeccanica Whitehead Sistemi Subacquei. The Air Force currently operates a mixed fleet of helicopters from Russia, Bell and Airbus Helicopters, much of which is laid up or unserviceable due to poor maintenance.
Angola has recently invested heavily in new equipment, including six EMB-314 Super TUCANO delivered (from Brazil) and six Cessna 172R trainers (USA) in 2013; 12 SU-30K ordered the same year (due for delivery this year); eight MT-LB armoured vehicles delivered in 2014 (Bulgaria); four Super DVORA FAC ordered (Israel) in 2015; 45 CASSPIR MRAPs from South Africa. Seven MACAE-class patrol vessels ordered from Brazil in 2014 may not be delivered as Angola reportedly lacks the funds to pay for them.
The national defence budget is undergoing significant growth and is scheduled to reach U$13 billion by 2019, but the fact that half Angola’s GDP depends on oil coupled with falling commodity prices is putting enormous strain on financial resources.
Austria Army Could Deploy Special Forces Unit to Mali
If deployed, it is considered likely the troops will be equipped with several examples of the HUNTER 4x4 Open Tactical Vehicle (OTV), an airportable special purpose counter-insurgency vehicle developed on a Mitsubishi chassis by Austrian specialist Valentin Tusch.
The OTV, equipped with satellite communications, a GPS system, flotation devices and modular force protection, can carry a 12.7mm machine gun and up to seven troops; two vehicles can be transported medium transport aircraft or helicopters such as the CH-47 CHINOOK.
France’s Operation "Barkhane" is focused on preventing Islamic militants from regrouping in northern Mali following their defeat in 2013. French forces in the region consist of at least 3,000 troops, 20 helicopters and 200 tanks, with supporting units including logistics and transport aircraft in addition to fighter aircraft and drones. Germany has approved the redeployment of 350 of its troops attached to the European Union Training Mission (EUTM) in the capital Bamako to northern Mali to assist the multinational force. Austria’s potential contribution would serve the same purpose.
22 June 2016
ST Aerospace Establishes New German Subsidiary
The new company will have planned equity of €5.5 million, will occupy an area of 30,000sqm and is expected to create about 100 new jobs by the end of 2018. Planned investment of about €40 million will result in a new component manufacturing facility to supplement EFW’s existing production centre in Dresden. Production of floor panels and cargo linings for the entire range of Airbus aircraft is scheduled to begin by the first half of 2018.
South African Navy VALOUR-class Frigates to be Upgraded
|South African Navy AMATOLA and ISANDLWANA frigates.|
The intention of the MLU is to extend service life of the vessels beyond 2035, although work on the second vessel, ISANDLWANA, has been put on hold pending funding availability. The last two vessels will be upgraded over the next decade, according to programme manager Cpt. Michael Girsa, speaking to a surface warships conference in Romania earlier this year. He indicated work is expected to commence in 2017 or 2018.
The primary role of the class is anti-surface warfare and the EXOCET Block 2 anti-ship missile will be enhanced or replaced and the guns (Leonardo-Finmeccanica [ex-OTO Melara] 76/62 forward and Denel 35mm aft) will also be upgraded. For anti-air warfare the Denel UMKHONTO missile system will be modernised to cater for evolving treats and the existing Thales KINGCLIP sonar is expected to be retained, since anti-submarine warfare is a low priority for the class.
From a systems perspective, lessons learned in anti-piracy operations dictate the addition of a bow thruster for station keeping and manoeuvring and the African Defence Systems combat management system upgraded or replaced. The embarked Super LYNX helicopters are slated to receive improved self-protection systems and new Rigid Hull Inflatable Boats with better communications will be embarked.
The sensor suite is now reaching the end of its useful life and includes a Thales MRR G-band surveillance radar, a Grintek EWASION EW suite, and a Saab Avitronics ESM system, all of which will be replaced, as will the electro-optic tracking system, although the Reutech RTS 6400 optical radar tracker is to be retained.
Threat evolution has persuaded planners to consider the addition of a close-in detection system for the VALOUR-class, to deal with the increasing threat from swarming manned or unmanned vessels.
MAST Europe 2016: Forging Bonds
There is indeed much consensus over this, since, "the emerging shift of geopolitical configurations and trade fragmentation has resulted in a competition between nations at sea", according to a report, entitled "Global Marine Technology Trends 2030 (GMTT2030)," released by authors from Lloyd's Register, QinetiQ, and the University of Southampton. This development will, "pose threats to peace and stability (...)," Richard Sadler, Lloyd's Register Group's CEO, noted in his publication's foreword.
Lloyd's Register, teamed with QinetiQ and the University of Southampton, is showcasing their global maritime expertise at MAST'16, and noted that they examined more than 56 critical technologies that might possibly be developed and implemented around 2030 by the commercial shipping, naval, and ocean space sectors. Of these, according to the report provided to attendees of MAST'16 in Amsterdam, the authors identified 18 technologies that scored the highest in a "net assessment" combining technical feasibility on a commercial basis, potential marketability, and their transformational impact on the rspective sectors. These 18 technologies are: robotics; sensors; big data analytitcs; propulsion and powering; advanced materials; smart ship, autonomous systems; advanced manufacturing; sustainable energy generation; shipbuilding; carbon capture; storage; energy management; cyber and Electronic Warefare (EW); marine biotechnology; human-computer interaction; deep ocean mining; human augmentation; and communication.
Exhibiting companies are expected to deliver a fresh appeal to the naval and maritime community at MAST'16, explaining why completely new technological concepts are in strong need and how they will be used in the maritime security environment. Likely examples at MAST'16 are, among several others: BAE Systems (promoting the 40MK 4 naval gun for which Jan Soederstroem, Head of Technical Sales, Weapon Systems, named a new, however yet unnamed customer); Northrop Grumman (highlighting solutions for Cyber Defence, surface strike, C4ISR and logistical support); Meggitt Target Systems (showcasing its multi-role, threat-representative helicopter target system); micromag from Alcorcon (Madrid) in Spain (dealing with nanonaterials based on silica and yet unnamed metalliferous compontents for low-observable naval platforms, according to CEO Santiago Alvarez de Cienfuegos); UK-based CRFS (with Steve Blades, Vice President International Sales, informing on airborne, naval, man-portable, and ground-mobile, fixed spectrum monitoring and data analysis); and Rohde & Schwarz (speaking of its newly developed R&S NAVICS solution for enhanced, secure naval communications).
21 June 2016
Who will supply the French Army’s next assault rifle?
The French Army’s standard assault rifle, the 5.56 mm FAMAS, was adopted in 1977, is based on late 1960s technology and is in urgent need of replacement: the average age of the current arsenal is over 25 years.
The DGA, France’s defence procurement agency, is poised to issue a Request for Proposals for a replacement, again in 5.56 mm calibre, which is likely to be for approximately 90,000 rifles, of which the first 21,000 will apparently need to be delivered in 2017-2018. Observers close to the programme put the estimated value of the contract at between €200-250 million. The programme is known in France as the Arme d’Infanterie du Futur (AIF) or Future Infantry Weapon.
None of the likely candidates are French, however. Manufacturers invited by the DGA to comparative trials include FN Herstal (Belgium), Heckler & Koch (Germany), Beretta (Italy), Swiss Arms/SIG SAUER (Switzerland), and HS Produkt (Croatia). Due to the technical requirements the Thales F90 – which won a $100 million contract from the Australian government last year – will not be a contender.
The fact that the next French Army individual weapon is unlikely to be French in origin has sparked some acrimonious debate. In June 2014, Minister of Defence Jean-Yves Le Drian told the Assemblée nationale that he was, “very open to French companies responding in one way or another to this opportunity and I strongly encourage them to do so.” Manurhin in Alsace, for example, has a long tradition of small arms manufacturing in France but it is unknown whether or not they will make a bid.
Although there appears to be no contractual obligation for French content or involvement in the AIF programme, contenders could do worse than find some modus operandi that includes Nexter Mechanics in Tulle, which currently provides operational maintenance for FAMAS and integrates it into the FELIN future soldier equipment now being deployed throughout the Army.
Picture shows a soldier of the 2eme Regiment d’Infanterie Étranger using a FAMAS equipped with an Aimpoint red dot sight.
Airbus Helicopters H145M: A Multirole Aircraft
The H145M is truly multirole aircraft, quickly reconfigurable between military and civil missions. Having 75% communality with the LAKOTA, the avionics were renewed including a glass cockpit, integrated with 4-axis autopilot, all manufactured by Airbus Helicopters. The aircraft furthermore features digital standby instrumentation and a flight management system.
First customer of this helicopter are the German Special Forces (KSK), who took first delivery in December 2015, having selected 15 with five delivered so far, in light utility role and armed reconnaisance. Currently the KSK is in crew training with all mission kits, learning to fight by day and night with the helicopter via its L-3 WESCAM MX-15 EO/IR gimbal, and its Rockwell Collins’ HF9000 communications suite. Other Special Forces equipment include SATCOM, classic self-protection shelf, and an electronic warfare system. Thales’ SCORPION Helmet Mounted Display (HHMD) can be integrated and is promoted by Airbus Helicopters; as well as the L-3 WESCAM MX-15 EO/IR gimbal. Weapons prompted by Airbus Helicopters during the presentation include the FN Herstal HMP400 12.7mm machine gun pod, FZ NATO standart rocket package (70mm rocket pod), Nexter’s 20mm gun pod, and DillonAero’s M134 machine gun, as well as the MAG58, all to be qualified up to the end of 2017.
Another customer for the H145M is the Royal Thai Navy, ordering five aircraft in an utility mode, and the Thai Army, ordering six helicopters for governmental VIP missions.
The helicopter’s cabin’s versatility is based on a plug and play system, being able to transform from an attack role to an utility role in two hours. It can carry up to six SOF with equipment, also featuring removable rear clamshell doors, so sniper or machine gun can cover the rear.
Christian Fanchini, Senior Operational Marketing Manager, Airbus Helictopers, explained that the company’s new HForce Generic Weapon System offers the high end of weapon systems with hardware developed by Rockwell Collins and software developed by Airbus Helicopters (iR&D). The system is able to accept HMDs for both pilot or gunner, and the full weapons suite.
It is based on the BK117 D2m type, has a 3.7t maximum take-off weight, features multi-purpose pylons, a self-sealing supply tank, a hardened windscreen, and Rockwell Collins’ CMA900 flight management system.
On the HForce Core System, Airbus Helicopters has integrated weapons, making the most out of Airbus Helicopters experience in weapon system integration, making the most out of the full spectrum of weapons from ballistic to guided. Boasting their helicopters as being truly multipurpose they can carry all types of weapons: Air-to-air and air-to-surface/ground. Gunner firing can be performed by EOS or the pilot firing with the HMD.
According to Fanchini, HForce is accurate and affordable, with a TIGER like crew resource management system. The armed scout H125, H145M light attack, and light utility, and the H225M utility helicopters have all been fitted with HForce. May 2015 saw entry into service, 1 flight in December 2015, and first firing campaign in May/June 2016 in Belgium. Qualification of the HForce Generic Weapon System on aircraft will be ready by the end of 2017. The first flight of an H145M with HForce is planned for the beginning of 2017.
The H145 and the AS565MBe PANTHER can be used in the armed scout light attack role or an utility role. HELLFIRE and SPIKE will be proposed in the future to customers, according to Christian Fanchini. He said that the French forces want to integrate an ITAR free solution. In terms of laser guided rockets we are working with, e.g. Roketsan.
Copenhagen Sensor Technology Reveals Spectrel PTZI-1000
Prominent on Copenhagen Sensor Technology’s stand at Eurosatory 2016 was the Spectrel PTZI-1000, a long distance camera with a boresighted laser illuminator.
The high precision pan/tilt/zoom camera (with a 33x zoom facility) and the 808nm semiconductor laser use the same optics, thus illuminating the camera field of view optimally at all zoom settings. Offering true day/night operation across a temperature range of -40°C to +70°C, the unit also provides digital video output in the form of streaming IP.
Boresighting the camera and laser means operators are provided with optimal scene illumination regardless of target distance. The company claims this makes it an ideal solution for applications such as border surveillance, forward operating base protection and protection of critical infrastructure.
Picture shows: PTZI-1000 output at 200m in pitch black conditions
Rockwell Collins Launches PSR-500 Perimeter Surveillance Radar
Designed as a compact, high resolution radar capable of tracking and recording instrusions in all weathers, the PSR-500, “couples high performance with low power consumption to bring users affordable and reliable technology,” said Claude Alber, Vice President and Managing Director Europe, Middle East and Africa at Rockwell Collins as the company launched the radar at Eurosatory 2016 in Paris last week.
In addition, the radar sensor can be combined with a camera that is controlled by radar detections, allowing for multi-target, highly accurate video visualization and real-time recording. Compared to similar surveillance radars, PSR-500 requires less energy and emits low radiation, posing no health risk to the user.
Deployment of the radar system at a railroad station, hydroelectric dam and nuclear power plant are key examples of uses for PSR-500’s sensitive intrusion monitoring. The radar system is suitable for locations such as airports, industrial and military sites, as well as public or private urban sites.
Thanks to its relatively short range and target behaviour analysis algorithms, the PSR-500 identifies mobile targets 24/7 under all weather conditions, including rain and fog. Demand for this capability at short range for surveillance of border areas, critical infrastructure and large public arenas is growing, according to Alber.
20 June 2016
Botswana to Procure GRIPEN C/D by End 2016?
Reports in Botswana and South Africa on 20 June indicate the Botswana Defence Force is to acquire 8-12 GRIPEN C/D aircraft, though earlier reports indicate the number was 16 and the order value estimated at $1.45-1.63 billion.
GRIPEN manufacturer Saab opened an office in Botswana’s capital Gaborone in 2014 and as recently as mid-May this year confirmed, “a dialogue has been opened,” regarding the potential acquisition of 8-12 GRIPENs. In recent months there has been informed comment that the BDF is also seeking up to 12 K2 BLACK PANTHER tanks from South Korea, a further 45 General Dynamics Land Systems PIRANHA 8x8 armoured vehicles and that negotiations are under way with MBDA for MISTRAL and MICA-ML air defence systems.
In addition, a Korean delegation visited Gaborone late last year to discuss the possible acquisition of up to 16 Korean Aerospace Industries T-50 advanced jet trainer aircraft. The BDF currently flies 14 F-5A fighters and F-5D trainers acquired from Canada in 1998 but has focused considerable effort on planning to replace these aircraft over the last two years.
Continuous Improvement on the Eurofighter TYPHOON
599 Eurofighter TYPHOONs are on on order with 478 aircraft delivered; out of these 47 were delivered to five customers in the last 12 months. “We have been investing a lot to have the airframe fully up to speed,” Alberto Gutierrez, Head of Airbus Defence & Space (DS) Eurofighter Programme, in a presentation during the annual Trade Media Briefing 2016 (TMB16), said. P4E enhancements include DASS, low band extension, enhanced jamming, passive geolocation, enhanced weapon integration, and additional stores and weapons. “We are expecting to run MLU in 2025,” he informed.
Eurofighter TYPHOON has been proven in action, with the last 12 months involving Red Flag exercises, Baltic Air Policing, and in operation with the RAF over Syria/Iraq, and over Yemen with the Royal Saudi Arabian Air Force. “Feedback from operation makes me extremely proud,” the head of Eurofighter programme boasted.
Continuous improvement on the aircraft is currently ongoing with several user nations contracts signed, e.g. a 5-year extension for logistic and engineering support services from 2017 onwards with the four core nations. Also, new customers are looking at aircraft deliveries by 2019, which is possible, according to the industry expert.
The latest contract was signed with Kuwait for 22 single seat and six twin seat Eurofighter TYPHOONs on 5 April. Kuwait has become the eighth customer. On export opportunities, Gutierrez told the audience that Malaysia under the lead of BAE Systems and the UK government has no news at the moment, while in Indonesia, “we believe we have a good offer to re-vitalise Indonesian industry."
“In the Gulf, we hope for new orders from existing customers, and are very interested in getting into Qatar,” he continued. “In Europe we believe we are a perfect candidate as a F-16 replacement. We are currently contesting the Danish desicion, and are awaiting the response. Finland has to replace F-18, as well as fighter-replacements in Belgium, and Poland. Switzerland also has to replace their old fighter fleet, and we believe we have to keep going in Europe. On top of that, Eurofighter TYPHOON is the best aircraft for Canadian government demands, and in terms of pricing and quality we are an excellent match. We are ready, we are keen to be involved with either Germany and Spain as the lead nation.”
On the topic of the German Air Force’s (Luftwaffe) Future Combat Air System (FCAS), Gutierrez said: “They want us to investigate a TORNADO replacement, complimentary to the Eurofighter TYPHOON. Man-Unmanned Teaming is one of the technologies involved. We believe it will be a non-manned aircraft that carries bombs, being controlled by a manned aircraft (a two pilot aircraft). We are currently working with the Luftwaffe, seeing that it will not be a starting from scratch aircraft, as it will not be inexpensive
On the topic of the E-Scan radar, the commitment by Kuwait, Germany, and Spain is already there, while the Italian Air Force is considering it. Upon contract signatures, the radar could be fielded by 2018, and Gutierrez expects production to begin 2017, with Kuwait possibly being the first customer.
Airbus DS Unveils A330 MRTT Full Flight Simulator
Stefan A. Miegel, Head of Airbus Defence & Space (DS) Military Aircraft Services, at the annual Trade Media Briefing 2016 (TMB16), unveiled Airbus DS’ decision to invest in a new A330 MRTT Full Flight Simulator (FFS) on top of an existing Air Refuelling Operator Simulator (ARO). The simulator will be manufactured by INDRA, and will be located in the already existing International Training Centre in Seville. Airbus will be advising Indra and market the FFS.
Airbus Defence & Space Details Market Growth, Innovation
Airbus Defence & Space (DS) invited journalists from around the world to its annual Trade Media Briefing 2016 (TMB16), informing about their current and upcoming technology solutions. Dirk Hoke, CEO Airbus DS, informed the TMB16 audience: “We have to become more agile, more faster, increasing the speed of our business, learning to integrate start-up ideas. We are looking at how via technology we can grow our business again. We have to look at our traditional business, military aircraft, to increase the speed of our business. We expect to grow faster than the market."
Jean Pierre Talamoni, Head of Sales & Marketing, Airbus DS, in a presentation during Airbus DS’ TMB16, stated that, “our DNA is CSI (Customers, Services, and Innovation).” Customers as in, “if we have them we will keep them,” Services as in Intemacy with customers, and Innovation as in following the speed of technology.
Giving an outlook of military aircraft in the defence procurement market, Talamoni explained that, “up until 2020 we have a huge part coming from the US, but no growth.” A large part is coming coming from the ASPAC (6%), Europe, without France, Germany, the UK, and Spain (2%), who make up their own market growth-share (1%), and the Middle East (3%) and Latin America (2%). In Airbus DS’ view of the defence market, 25% of procurement budgets are dedicated to aircraft and 21% to space systems, C4I, missiles, and UAVs, in the timeframe 2016-25.
2/3 of these opportunities are in Asia and the Middle East, according to the industry expert, seeing the competition globally. In the next 10 years, military opportunities include approx. 150 heavy transport aircraft, 85 tanker aircraft, 750 combat aiircraft, and 350 mission aircraft. “The more competition we will get, the more we will have to fight for new markets,” he said, stating Russia, Japan, and Embraer as up-and-coming competition. Also, with an already existing surplus of C-130s, he boasted, “the A400M will kill the C-130,” creating a larger surplus of C-130s in the future, thereby creating more competition.
Concerning India and its “Make in India” mantra, Talamoni wants fair participation: “We cannot go faster than the music. What is missing in India is to show that this vision is not only marketing, but a line for the next 40 years.”
“We have an aircraft that is perfectly suited for today’s crises, able to land everywhere,” Talamoni told the press, talking about the A400M. The aircraft is currently in operational use with French Forces in Burkina Faso/Chad/Mali/Mauritania/Niger in Operation Barkhane; the RAF in Operation Shader, supporting TORNADO and Eurofighter TYPHOON over Iraq and Syria; in Operation Chammal, supporting French MIRAGE 2000s over Iraq and Syria; supporting German TORNADOs and Turkish fighters since 2015; and more.
The A330MRTT is in operations with Australia, France, Korea (ROK), Saudi Arabia, Singapore, the UAE and the UK. 2015 saw a repeat order of +2a/C by Australia, a 2nd tranche of +8 a/c by France, and the new order of four aircraft by the ROK. According to Talamoni, Airbus MRTT has captured 85% of the global tanker market, excluding the US market, with many more to come, including India. “Soon we will launch good news about Poland, Luxemburg, and the Netherlands,” he said. 27 MRTTs have so far been sold to different customers. Continuing with the C295, Talamoni informed that 168 aircraft have so far been sold to 23 countries with 11 repeat orders.
According to the head of sales and marketing, the C295 Medium Transport Aircraft is one of the most versatile aircraft on the market. In terms of future R&D, he stated that helicopter refuelling; AGS, AEW, SIGINT; and Water Bombing will be in service soon. Also, a big competition is coming up in Canada.
Canada is very important to Airbus, not just as a sale of an MPA, but in service support of the fleet for a very long time. “We are confident that we will wind, as the C295 is the only proven aircraft that has proven complete mission systems on board for Canada’s SAR requirement,” Fernando Ciria Head of Marketing, Tactical Airlifters, and ISR, explained. The C295 MPA has the capacity to detect and track small targets and the capacity to drop large rescue packages, while having great endurance. This includes to human movement and drug trafficking. In terms of a border surveillance capacity, the C295 provides high resolution SAR/GMTI radar, EO/IR and target designation turret, ESM/ELINT, COMINT, wide band video link, and the FITS tactical system.
The air-to-air Refuelling (AAR) refuelling kit for the C-295 was extensively tested by Airbus DS with dry contact scheduled in July and helictopter AAR with an H-225M by November 2016. A video shown during Airbus DS Head of Engineering Miquel Angel Morell’s presentation during TMB16 depicted no proximity nor stability issues issues between the helicopter and the tanker aircraft. The next step according to Morell will be industrialisation.
On A400M helicopter AAR, currently a large topic with many air forces, is currently in R&D, the main problem being proximity between the two aircraft. The A400M AAR R&D programme consists of two phases Advances Simulation &Training and Wind Tunnel Tests. has been launched with the main goal was simulation and wind tunnel tests. The next step is to physically refuel a helictoper by the end of this year. According to the head of engineering, “following successfull completion of the R&D programme, a Flight Test Prgroamme will follow to fully validate the results of previous phases. The target is to proceed with proximity testing before end of 2016.”
Why not use the tanker for more things, was a question asked by Miquel Angel Morell, Head of Engineering. “It can be used as a tanker, and other applictation, why not LINK16 extension,” he asked. “You can transmit all the excisting datalink information to a ground control station immediatly via SATCOM, acting as LINK16 data relay to make local LINK16 information accessible to the C3I network.”
There are two main options to implement Joint Range Extension (JRE) capability to the MRTT:Tx/Rx of Link16 messages through an IP SATCOM (JREAP-C), e.g. Inmarsat4/Skynet; or Tx/Rx of Link16 messages through UHF DAMA radio (JRAP-A). Interested customers include Australia and France, with the latter also involved in the next step: Integration in one MRTT fitted with wideband SATCOM.
The C295 has been the workhorse for Airbus DS. It has been flying for 25 years and is still flying. Botwana have just renewed their fleet, on-going deliveries include 24 to Egypt (with 21 delivered, having repeatedly ordered the aircraft in five batches; with deliveres to be finished this year), and one to Mali (to be delivered this year).
A strong focus on Africa is due to the very old fleets on the continent with the C295 being the perfect tactical airlifter, according to the Head of Marketing, Tactical Airlifters, and ISR. “The African environment is very hard to operate in, but the new C295W with winglets and an enhanced performance engine mode provides larger payload from hot and high airfields (7.85t at 50nm) and longer range and fuel savings. Egypt created a new fleet model, the Medium Size Airlifter, for conducting missions, previously allocated to the C-130H," according to Ciria.
The C295 is a proven solution for maritime patrol, bringing high manoeuverability and excellent low-level flying qualities. It provides a proven mission system with a renewed Fully Integrated Tactical System (FITS) and advanced sensors for target aquisition and classification.
Africa requires CSAR operations with the refuelling capacity for helos (C295 AAR with a roll-on roll-off system). The C295 has the capacity to detect and track small targets (human movement, drug trafficking) and the capacity to drop large rescue packages, while having great endurance. The aircraft’s Border Surveillance capacity include High resolution SAR/GMTI radar, EO/IR and target designation turret, ESM/ELINT, COMINT, wide band video link, and FITS.
According to Ciria, Gunship work still being customised with a customer, and New Zealand has just opened discussions (future airlifter + future MPA), where Airbus DS can create important .
Talamoni informed that, “despite the capability of the Eurofighter TYPHOON, today we are facing serious competition in Europe with the F-35. EUROFIGHTER is the plane that should protect Europe in the future. We will lose engineering capabilities here, with technology going as fast as it does.” With Oman deliveries starting 2017; Kuwait ordering 28 aircraft, other countries targeted include Belgium, Finnland, Poland (even though they are overburdend within too many things: Air defence, helicopters, F-16 replacement, according to Talamoni), and “nordic nations will have to replace their fleets...it is time we are engaging this game on a European level.”
“We have to play our chances in the ASPAC with a maximum of strength. It is not the quality of the aircraft and its operational capabilities that makes the difference, it is politics,” he concluded.
A400M Helicopter Refuelling Kit Ready by End of 2016
An air-to-air Refuelling (AAR) refuelling kit for the C-295 was extensively tested by Airbus Defence & Space (DS) with dry contact scheduled in July and helictopter AAR with an H-225M by November 2016.
A video shown during Airbus DS Head of Engineering Miquel Angel Morell’s presentation during TMB16 depicted no proximity nor stability issues issues between the helicopter and the tanker aircraft. The next step according to Morell will be industrialisation.
On A400M helicopter AAR, currently a large topic with many air forces, is currently in R&D, the main problem being proximity between the two aircraft, and the air flow behind the A400M. The A400M AAR R&D programme consists of two phases Advances Simulation &Training and Wind Tunnel Tests. has been launched with the main goal was simulation and wind tunnel tests.
The next step is to physically refuel a helictoper by the end of this year. According to the head of engineering, “following successfull completion of the R&D programme, a Flight Test Prgroamme will follow to fully validate the results of previous phases. The target is to proceed with proximity testing before end of 2016.”
SECNAV warns cost of F/A-18E/F could rise
Speaking in Germany on 19 June, US Secretary of the US Navy (USN) Ray Mabus warned that unless the US government approves sales to allies, the cost of new Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornets for the USN could rise.
Mabus admits to being frustrated by delays in approval of foreign sales and fears the USN may face a cost penalty as a result. The White House has been delaying approval of an estimated $3 billion sale of 28 aircraft to Kuwait for almost a year.
Boeing has stated it needs to be producing two aircraft for month to ensure economical production and current expectations are that Congress will approve only 16 F/A-18s for the USN Fiscal Year 2017 request. Lack of approval of the Kuwaiti order will leave a gap that may increase unit costs for the USN. The Navy is expected to request a larger number for Fiscal 2018, which may persuade Boeing to maintain current price levels, though this is currently far from certain. The company is understood to be spending “hundreds of millions of dollars” in procuring long lead time materials such as titanium to cater for expected orders.
Welcoming Mabus’ remarks, a Boeing spokesperson said the company “agrees that a Kuwaiti order is an important element in continuing a production rate of two per month to keep prices optimal.”