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28 July 2016

UK 2015 Defence Exports Decline; But Security Sector Continues Growth

Figures released on Tuesday 26 July by the UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) Defence & Security Organisation (DSO) show that in 2015 the UK’s defence export figures based on orders won were £7.7 billion ($12 bn), down from £8.5 billion ($13.2 bn) in the official 2014 figures. This represents a decline in the UK’s share of the world’s defence export market from 16% in 2014 to the current 12%. One of the impacts of this according to DSO is that the UK now slips behind France placing it as the world’s third largest defence exporter.

Stephen Phipson, head of  UKTI DSO, was keen to underline the fact that the value of the UK’s security exports have continued their steady growth, from £3.2billion in 2013, to £3.4billion last year, raising to £4billion ($6.1bn) in 2015.

Phipson said that the UKTI DSO’s calculations have revealed that the global defence export market in 2015 was worth £63billion ($97bn), up from £50billionn ($83bn) in 2014. The United States remained clearly in first place due to its strong Foreign Military Sales (FMS) policy, he said

The UK’s biggest export markets continue to lie in the Middle East, North America and Asia. The Royal Saudi Air Force agreement to acquire a further 22 BAE Systems HAWK 165 Advanced Jet Trainer which was formalised in December 2015 made a significant contribution to the UK’s total income.

Aerospace accounts for 88% of the UK’s defence exports, with only 8% being attributable to land sales and 4% to naval sales. Much of this is in ongoing support and life-time costs. However Phipson said that is was likely that the naval percentage will grow in coming years due to an increased requirement being expressed by countries in the Asia-Pacific region. Although he did not indicate the reason, this would correlate with China’s aggressive  maritime claims in the South China Sea and to a lesser extend, East China Sea.

The UKTI DSO figures suggest that the defence market continues to rise in value: from $71billion in 2013, to $83bn in 2014. In 2015, it was estimated to have increased a further 17% to $97billion. Unsurprisingly Saudi Arabia retains its place as the world’s biggest defence importer, “with more orders/contracts signed than India and USA combined.” The state of Qatar has entered the top 10 rankings and joins the United Arab Emirates (UAE) which is listed sixth.

Security Exports
In terms of security exports, the UK saw an increase of 18% on the 2014 figures from £3.4bn to £4bn in 2015 (the 2013 figure was £3.1bn). The leading UK security export destinations were the USA (21%), China (13%), Japan (7%) and India (6%).

Cyber technology currently accounts for around 45% of total UK security exports, although the worth has decreased from £472million in 2014 to £342m in 2015. This is explained by a growth in counter-terrorism and physical security which is likely to continue following the surge of terrorist incidents that have been witnessed internationally in 2016. This will rebalance security export opportunities although cyber growth is considered more consistent and predictable.

According to the UKTI DSO report, “three of the top six UK sub-sector exports are cyber related. Cyber related capabilities grew on average, at 25% over 2014– 2015, whilst other Security related capabilities grew by 13%.”

In contrast, the UK has also increased its security imports and has risen from from ninth to seventh place with imports worth £2.2 billion.

Globally Competition
There has been a noted rise in newer nations competing in the world defence market, with Phipson noting Turkey, South Korea, Brazil and Canada (the first three increasing their focus on aerospace).

SME Support
Phipson said that one of the DSO’s enduring goals was to ensure that Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) remained part of ‘big ticket’ equipment supply chains while taking advantage of  the more open competitions that are more identified with security orders.

We look for opportunities to introduce UK SMEs into the supply chains of other nations, although this tends to be as part of a relationship with the Ministry of Defence (MoD). We also introduce other national prime manufacturers to our SMEs,” said Phipson. “Many of these security contracts are through SMEs anyway,” he added.

This is the third year that UKTI DSO has released these figures as ‘official statistics.’

Andrew Drwiega

14 July 2016

Inzpired to qualitative assessment

“Innovation lies at the heart of our company: it is our fundamental premise,” says Hugh Griffiths, CEO of Inzpire, a small British company going places in a hurry in the training and mission support systems domain.

At Farnborough 2016 this week Inzpire revealed it was one of only two companies to have won phase 2 funding from the MoD’s Centre for Defence Enterprise (CDE) and the UK Defence Solutions Centre (UKDSC) for the Agile Immersive Mission Training competition. For the next 11 months the company will be working on developing their GHOST project – with which they successfully competed in the first phase of the CDE competition – to a higher technical readiness level.

GHOST focuses on moving quantitative forms of training and learning assessment to a more qualitative assessment process, enabling individuals, units and even entire forces to recognise and act upon the ‘lessons learned’ in almost any training environment – though the company admits that the initial optimum usage of GHOST will be in the synthetic environment.

Inzpire is a company that embraces an entirely military ethos and in something less than a decade has come from practical invisibility and “A Good Idea” to become a company with a sizeable turnover (some £11 million, according to Griffiths) and one in which over 80% of its staff – which enjoys a very low turnover rate – has a recent military background. “In aggregate, we have over a thousand years of relevant military and operational experience,” Griffiths told journalists during a briefing at Farnborough.

Showcased on the company’s exhibit was GECO (originally Graphical Electronic Cockpit Organiser), a mission support system and planning/rehearsal tool that achieved initial operating capability with the UK Puma Force earlier this year. Squadron Leader Chris Greenwood, second in command of 230 Squadron RAF, explained that Puma crews use GECO “for mission planning, navigation and as an alternative for all our airborne paper products.”

Housed on Panasonic tablets – a 7 inch display version for the flying pilot and a larger 10 inch version for the non flying pilot, GECO provides instant, intuitive and comprehensive situational awareness for an aircraft that currently has no moving map display but for which potential wire strikes are a significant safety hazard.

Inzpire’s customer base is largely UK centric currently, though the Royal Jordanian Air Force makes use of GECO in F-16 training. Griffiths, however, indicated the company, which is far from a ‘single product marvel,’ “will be going global very soon.” Which makes it a company to watch closely as it leverages considerable expertise – and carefully honed vision – in the training domain.

Photo shows Inzpire’s GECO in use in a Royal Jordanian Air Force F-16.

FIA2016: Airbus DS Wins UK Cryptographic Contracts

Airbus Defence and Space has been awarded three new contracts by the UK Ministry of Defence to provide cryptographic key management technology for three additional RAF platforms.

Already in use on RAF TYPHOONs and A400Ms, Airbus’ Local Key Management System (LKMS) will now be integrated on UK F-35B LIGHTNING IIs, C-130J HERCULES and the VOYAGER aerial tanker/transport.

LKMS handles and packages cryptographic keys so that they can be loaded to the recipient aircraft’s End Crypto Units using a single electronic fill gun prior to each individual mission. As well as reducing turnaround time between missions, use of the LKMS allows for extended out-of-area operations by storing and distributing multiple cryptographic keys, thus contributing to increased overall operational effectiveness and a reduction in the required footprint of support services.

FIA2016: Saab’s GLOBALEYE “strategic hub of future air forces”

Claiming several features as unique and ‘best of breed,’ Saab executives at Farnborough put enormous effort into briefing the characteristics, capabilities and compelling nature of the company’s all-new airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) solution – the GLOBALEYE.

They make a compelling case. As the threat envelope changes for security and defence forces and as governments pay more and more attention to detecting, deterring and defeating insidious as well as overt attacks on national security, so the number and nature of the agencies interested in accessing rapid and reliable intelligence from assets such as an AEW&C aircraft are broadening rapidly. “We think the military will of course be the primary customer for us in those nations we are in discussions with, but it is true to say that there are a much larger number of interested and influential parties now than there were only a decade ago,” said Lars Tossman, Head of the company’s Airborne Surveillance business.

Saab strongly believes the heritage it has in aircraft manufacturing, aerostructures and complex systems integration is a major asset that has underpinned the development of GLOBALEYE. Advanced radar technologies, the ability to highly leverage sensor data fusion and the capability to conduct surveillance in air, maritime and land domains – simultaneously – give the new aircraft an unassailable market edge, in the company’s view.

The powerful new ERIEYE ER (for Extended Range) radar lies at the heart of GLOBALEYE and gives the system greatly increased detection and tracking ranges, according to Airborne Surveillance Business Development executive Erik Winberg. Briefing journalists at Farnborough 2016 this week, he provided compelling evidence of the system’s powerful capability  to detect small aircraft at very low altitude, small marine targets (as small as jet-skis, for example) and moving ground targets in a seamless, integrated manner, providing operators with a highly accurate and reliable intelligence picture of an area of interest – in all weathers.

Launched at the Singapore Air Show in February, GLOBALEYE is based on the Bombardier Global 6000 business jet and combines ERIEYE with a maritime surveillance radar and five operator workstations to enable real time analysis of retrieved data. The platform offers operators “unparalleled endurance of up to 11 hours,” according to Winberg, and in the maritime role can detect objects down to the size of a submarine periscope at “tactically significant ranges.”

Stressing the ability the system features to operate independently and its flexible nature, allowing for changes in mission profile at short notice, Tossman called GLOBALEYE “the strategic hub of future air forces,” saying the combination of capabilities in a single platform makes the system unique.

Interestingly, though, when asked what the ‘secret sauce’ that underlies such a claim might be, Tossman did not fall back on technology, expertise or heritage. Instead, he put forward the view that “customer dialogue” is what sets the company’s solution apart from the competition. Saab has a strong reputation for being attentive and responsive to customer requirements and agile in formulating a graceful and customer-centric solution. Which explains why their products and services – ranging from combat aircraft to live training service solutions – continue to upset predictions time and time again.

GLOBALEYE needs to win several contracts in order to justify the company’s claims for it. But it would be a brave man who suggests this will not happen in the very near future.

FIA2016: Eurofighter capability enhancement update

At Farnborough 2016, Eurofighter and its partner companies provided a detailed update on the various strands of its update programmes for the TYPHOON, focusing on the trials taking place for radar and weapons.

Full integration of the E-SCAN radar has come a step closer with the successful completion of ground tests, which were carried out on a UK TYPHOON, Instrumented Production Aircraft (IPA) 5. The results, which the company describes as achieving “detection and tracking of airborne targets at significant range,” have paved the way for flight testing, which has now begun at Warton. IPA 5 conducted a one hour test flight on 8 July and a second aircraft (IPA 8, based in Germany) is about to join the integration programme.

The trials programme is aimed at ensuring required capability levels for both radar and weapons systems in time for initial deliveries to Kuwait, TYPHOON’s eighth customer nation with 28 aircraft on order. Over the next three years the radar and weapons systems will be incrementally enhanced to reach the Phase 3 Enhancement (P3E) standard required for that delivery to begin.

“The TYPHOON CAPTOR-E provides significantly more power than most competing system [and] combined with the fighter’s large nose aperture and the ability to move the radar antenna, the TYPHOON has a field of view of 200 degrees….the flight tests will show the discriminating advantages this will bring,” said Andrew Cowdery, Chairman of Euroradar.

On the weapons front, the MBDA BRIMSTONE precision strike missile has successfully completed an initial series of flight trials ahead of a live fire event from a TYPHOON next year. BRIMSTONE integration work moves TYPHOON closer to the P2E (which includes the MBDA STORM SHADOW cruise missile) and P3E standards, which will bring supplementary long range precision strike to the aircraft.

Additional firing trials have also been completed for the MBDA METEOR Beyond Visual Range AAM (BVRAAM). Completed in June using IPA 2 at the UK Hebrides range, the trials were aimed at expanding the weapon’s clearance envelope to validate the estimated results provided by modelling and simulation exercises.

Paul Smith, BAE Systems’ Aircrew Advisor, pointed to the combination of trials as part of the continued expansion of the aircraft’s capability. “We are continuing to significantly improve capability across the board and [the BRIMSTONE trials] lie at the heart of our air combat capability,” he said.

The companies gave examples of the way in which TYPHOON’s capability has been proven in operational conditions in recent months, especially in the Baltic Air Policing mission, in which operational tempo has increased considerably as tensions in Europe refuse to ease.

Although the focus at Farnborough was on the weapons and radar enhancements, additional ongoing programmes aimed at ensuring the avionics continue to bring advanced capability, lethality and survivability  to TYPHOON operators are just as crucial: especially work aimed at improving the defensive aids sub-system DASS. Flight tests of the LITENING IV targeting pod will commence next year, Smith indicated.

Of the total of 599 TYPHOONs currently on order, 483 have now been delivered, according to Smith, which have logged some 350,000 flight hours in service with 22 operational units.

FIA2016: US and UK strengthen cooperation in autonomous systems

UK Defence Minister Philip Dunne and US Under Secretary of Defense Frank Kendall announced at Farnborough 14 July that the two nations have committed to a joint programme to accelerate the impact of robotic and autonomous systems on resupplying their armed forces.

Science and technology teams on both sides of the Atlantic have already spent six months developing innovative proposals to enhance capabilities in ‘the last mile’ of the defence resupply process. The final stage in transporting supplies to operational units, frequently in hazardous and challenging environments, can often be lengthy and tremendously dangerous for the personnel involved. The new programme – which will last for up to four years – is aimed at examining and proofing concepts that can reduce risk to personnel and accelerate, strengthen and secure the delivery of essential supplies.

A series of trials, involving unmanned air and ground systems, will begin in October 2017. The first iteration of the programme is likely to be demonstration of an autonomous truck convoy at the US Army’s Warfighting Assessment trials, the officials revealed. A final trial, in which a selected range of technologies will be brought together in an integrated, seamless systems, is scheduled for October 2019, they added.

Philip Dunne said: “Defence Science and Technology collaboration has been a core part of the special relationship with the US for over 75 years. Robotics and autonomous systems offer opportunities to operate in fundamentally different ways. This collaboration on assured resupply will put our nations at the forefront of future developments – allowing us to transform our approach to military logistics.”

Under Secretary of Defense Frank Kendall added: “This joint effort deepens bilateral defense Science and Technology (S&T) cooperation. The Third Offset is about insuring the competitive advantage of US forces and our allies and partners over the coming decades. Our collaboration will help grow our advantage in autonomous systems and human-machine collaboration and will help drive interoperability between US and UK systems into the future.”

Last year US Defense Secretary Ash Carter and UK Defence Secretary Michael Fallon challenged their departments to drive a collaborative approach on innovation between the US and UK. UK participation will be led by the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL) in partnership with the Army. In the US, work will be led by the Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center (TARDEC). The US is also providing personnel and equipment in support of the demonstrations and experiments.

FIA2016: GDUK Delivers LINK 16 for Export AW159

General Dynamics Mission Systems–UK has worked closely with Leonardo Helicopters (previously known as AgustaWestland) to develop and integrate a LINK 16 datalink system for the first export variant of the AW159 Wildcat helicopter.

The advanced LINK 16 datalink system is one of the most advanced for a rotary platform, providing a full Command and Control surveillance solution.

In 2015, the LINK 16 system for the export variant of the AW159 helicopter successfully completed the Standard Conformance Test, which is a detailed, independent review of the datalink system conducted by a US military organisation, the Joint Interoperability Test Command (JITC).  This will allow the LINK 16 datalink equipped AW159 to join an open live network.

In recent months, the export variant of the AW159 helicopter has flown with an operational LINK 16 datalink system, and it has provided valuable feedback to the teams delivering the datalink system in terms of navigational accuracy and network stability.

FIA2016: Thales and Elettronica Strengthen EW Ties

Thales and Elettronica chose Farnborough this week to announce (and sign) a Memorandum of Understanding that will take both companies further forward in collaboration on joint development and marketing of their electronic warfare technologies. The two companies already have a long history of collaboration on programmes such as the Mirage 2000 aircraft and the HORIZON-class and FREMM frigates.

A perfect example of the benefits of this enhanced collaboration was revealed at the same time. The CYBELE airborne self-protection suite is a scalable system customisable for a wide variety of platforms, operational requirements and doctrines. Embodying an electronic warfare command and control (EWC2) system, CYBELE is aimed primarily at helicopters and transport aircraft, offering two levels of self-protection against surface- and air-launched threats.

The Enhanced level of protection provides an EWC2 capability that controls the laser warning, radar warning, IR missile warning and countermeasures systems as well as the SPARC expemdable active decoy, which will be available in 2017, according to the companies. The Expert level of protection adds electronic support measures, active jamming and directional IR countermeasures.

FIA2016: F-35 Blueprint for Affordability

U$85 million. That is what the F-35 LIGHTNING II will cost operators under volume production conditions. At least, that is the target price for the F-35A variant according to an announcement made by programme officials at Farnborough this week.

Officials confirmed the extension of a joint government/industry initiative aimed at reduction of production costs, dubbed the ‘Blueprint for Affordability,’ and also described a second initiative focused on reduction of support and sustainment costs (the Sustainment Cost Reduction Initiative), with the intent of saving 10% (equating to $1 billion) over FY2018-2022.

With the Unit Recurring Flyaway Cost (URFC) currently standing at about $100 million for an F-35A, such a reduction will be welcome news to the entire community – although no figures were given for the F-35B STOVL or F-35C carrier launched variants, both of which will be significantly higher. The reduced price will apply to aircraft produced with effect from 2019.

In a parallel announcement Lockheed Martin said that, in collaboration with BAE Systems and Northrop Grumman, the company will invest some $250 million in initiatives aimed at bulk buy of spares and the creation of regional hubs for the aircraft’s Autonomous Logistics Information System (ALIS).

F-35 Joint Programme Office head Lt. Gen. Christopher Bogdan indicated that initial selections for avionics repair services will be made in November. He also revealed that previous indications of probable regional depots for overhaul of airframes and engines should not be considered as definitive: ‘best value’ will continue to be the overriding selection criterion for such decisions, he explained.

13 July 2016

FIA2016: Continuous Eurofighter TYPHOON Development

Flight trials of the E-Scan radar have begun following the successful completion of ground tests using a UK Eurofighter TYPHOON test aircraft, clearing the path towards full integration of the radar, MT learned at FIA2016.

The ground tests were carried out on Instrumented Production Aircraft (IPA) 5 with the detection and tracking of airborne targets at significant range. Flight tests have now begun at BAE Systems’ site in Warton, Lancashire, where IPA5 undertook a flight of around one hour in duration on Friday 8 July. A second test aircraft, IPA8 based in Germany, is also set to join the integration programme. The trials are designed to ensure the radar and weapons system reach the required capability in time for first deliveries to the Kuwait Air Force, which became the aircraft’s eighth customer earlier this year.

The E-Scan Radar equipment and Weapons System capability will be incrementally enhanced over the next three years to enable the required capability (P3E Standard) to be available for the first deliveries to the Kuwait Air Force. The new radar, provided by the Euroradar consortium, which is led by Leonardo-Finmeccanica, underpins the TYPHOON's current and future capability evolution.

Furthermore at FIA2016, Leonardo and BAE Systems are working together to include comprehensive avionics support to support the UK TYPHOON fleet (an initiative known as the TYPHOON Total Availability Enterprise or TyTAN), expected to be worth €2.5 billion with the Ministry of Defence (MoD). Known as Joint Avionics Solution (JAS) and expected to be worth over €600 million, the support arrangement will see Leonardo Airborne and Space Systems, working alongside BAE Systems to support the TYPHOON's avionics equipment for at least the next ten years.   TyTAN will see the established European support model for the TYPHOON reviewed, delivering improved support and cost savings for at least the next ten years. A significant part of these savings will be reinvested in programmes aimed at further developing the capabilities of the TYPHOON.

MBDA is supporting the integration of BRIMSTONE onto Eurofighter TYPHOON, which will enter service on TYPHOON as part of the P3E programme and the Royal Air Force’s Project Centurion.

A UK Eurofighter TYPHOON has successfully completed an initial series of flight trials with the BRIMSTONE precision strike missile ahead of firing trials as part of a programme of work to integrate the weapon on to the aircraft. The tests were conducted using UK TYPHOON Instrumented Production Aircraft (IPA) 6 and led by BAE Systems with the support of Eurofighter GmbH, MBDA, and the UK MoD.

Central to the programme is the weapons integration work as part of the Phase 2 and Phase 3 Enhancement (P2E/P3E) packages, which will bring additional long range and precision strike capabilities to TYPHOON. The integration of the deep strike MBDA STORM SHADOW missile, led by Leonardo, is continuing. This builds on the ground trials of the weapon and two successful releases of STORM SHADOW from Italian IPA2 in 2015. The close collaboration between the partner companies, especially Leonardo and BAE Systems, is ensuring the required capability is delivered in both the P2E and P3E programmes.

In addition, further firing trials have been completed with MBDA‘s METEOR Beyond Visual Range Air-to-Air missile. The sixth in a series of firings, which were also completed last month by aircrew from Leonardo using IPA2 at the UK‘s Hebrides range, were intended to continue to expand the clearance envelope of the weapon validate the modelling and simulation that has been performed by the Eurofighter partner companies, Leonardo and MBDA.

FIA2016: UK Will Re-engage Maritime Patrol With P-8A POSEIDON; Skills Retained Through Kindness of Others

The announcement by the United Kingdom’s Ministry of Defence (MoD) on the first day of the Farnborough airshow confirming that it will purchase nine Boeing P-8A POSEIDON Maritime Patrol Aircraft (MPA) follows hard on the heels of the news that the US Navy recently received its 42nd P-8A POSEIDON. The UK is to follow the same US specification.

The order will finally provide a replacement aircraft for the NIMROD MRA4 fleet that was cancelled and all of the aircraft unceremoniously sliced up following the UK’s 2010 Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR).

Defence secretary Michael Fallow, who had visited the US Navy’s P-8A home base at Naval Air Station (NAS) Jacksonville, FL/USS in May, said that the deal would provide, “significant protection to the UK’s nuclear deterrent and our £6 billion aircraft carriers.”

The aircraft have been purchased through a Foreign Military Sales (FMS) agreement that was cleared by the US State Department back in March. The deal includes associated equipment, training, and support. The estimated cost of the purchase is $3.2 billion (€2.88 billion) with the POSEIDON fleet destined to be based in Scotland at RAF Lossiemouth, not far from the old NIMROD MR2’s operational base at Kinloss where flight operations ceased on 31 July 2011.

Since the demise of he NIMROD MRA4 fleet, the UK government has tried to ensure that its long reputed anti-submarine warfare skills have not been lost, through a police of personnel placements with the US Navy, the Australian and New Zealand forces as well as others. In the United States, Project Seedcorn was established at NAS Jacksonville to help train and retain the maritime patrol skills which UK flight crew had long been associated. Maintainers have also been working on the US Navy’s fleet of P-8As to ensure their skills continuity. The responsibility for this training will eventually return to Scotland once the Royal Air Force (RAF) has taken delivery of its own fleet of MPAs.

The UK government will have its nine aircraft delivered between April 2019 with the final delivery expected in early 2022. The first deliveries to the UK will be two Lot 8 production aircraft, followed by three Lot 9 aircraft and finally four Lot 10 aircraft. Boeing is currently delivering Lot 5 in the factory with the last and Lot 4 aircraft already delivered. Lot 7 was passed in January this year so is likely to go into USN aircraft in late 2018.

The P-8A POSEIDON is a multi-mission militarised version of the hugely successful Boeing 737 (the RAF version is 737-800) and will provide the UK with intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR), anti-submarine warfare (ASW), anti-surface warfare (ASuW) as well as Search and Rescue capability.

The payload and weapons carried by the UK are suited to its multi-mission role. It addition to the large stock of over 120 sonobuoys (64 of which it can monitor at any moment), it can carry and deliver up to five Raytheon Mk54 anti-submarine torpedoes and up to four HARPOON anti-ship missiles.

The US Navy has contracted for 80 P-8As although it stipulated an eventual requirement for a total of 117 (although the minimum capability risk has been identified as 109 P-8As). As the main operating base and training centre for the maritime patrol mission, whether P-8As or the older P-3 ORIONs, NAS Jacksonville has one of the largest hangers ever built for the US Navy at a total of 165,000 square feet. Its runway has recently undergone strengthening which was completed this summer.

Speaking to media during a pre-Farnborough trip to NAS Jacksonville, Boeing’s Global Sales and Marketing representative Perry Yaw stated that his company had already delivered eight P-8Is to the Indian Navy and that the first of eight aircraft for the Australian Air Force was to having its mission systems installed in Seattle prior to delivery later in the year.

The P-8A is manufactured in Seattle through in-line production and is a 737-800 derivative of the 737 series. “The fuselage comes from Spirit Aerosystem in Wichita, KN. When it rolls off the production line it is a P-8A. The estimated reduction of cost of the life of the programme is around 30%,” Perry pointed out that, due to its civil aviation history, “there is a global support logistics supply base which customers can leverage around the world.” The current P-8A production rate is 18 aircraft per year. Yaw said that to date Boeing had delivered the P-8A programme $2 billion under the original cost due to efficiencies gained through in-line production.

The commander of the USN’s VP-30 training squadron, Commander Andy Miller, provided media with a tour of the Integrated Training Centre at NAS Jacksonville that incorporates ten full motion flight simulators, seven rear-operator trainers and 30 classrooms. “We conduct 70% of training events in the simulator which also now combines training scenarios to support aircraft carrier group protection sorties,” he said, adding that by the end of 2016. “We should have linked training in Florida with helicopter training and the West Coast P-8A Squadron based out of W NAS Whidbey Island in Washington state."

Lt Eric ‘Heedro’ Andrews is a training officer with VP-30. He was originally with the VP-10 Squadron (the Red Lancers) and has amassed 2,100 flying hours, of which 500 have been on the P-8A. His was the first unit to deploy to Japan. “The essence of maritime patrol is knowing who and what is where - and for all the mission systems we employ we still use hand-held photography on occasions,” he said. Perhaps one of the only drawbacks on the P-8A against the P-3 is that the all round physical visibility from the ORION is better, and as the POSEIDON is a jet the slower it flies the more nose-up attitude it has to adopt.

At Farnborough Airshow Captain Tony Rossi, the USN Program Manager PMA-290 said that the USN had conducted over 10,000 sorties totalling around 55,000 mission hours to date.

Rossi added that one of the advantages of the current mission equipped P-8A was that it had enough space and system capability to allow future expansion. With a projected 25-30 year lifetime it was to be expected that there would be equipment expansion. To allow for this he said: “There is a reserve of around 200 cubic feet inside the aircraft, a 60% power reserve and a 25% cooling reserve.” He also pointed out that the P-8A’s mission systems are based on open systems architecture should allow rapid technology insertion during its lifetime as it is developed.

NAS Jacksonville will begin operating the Northrop Grumman MQ-4C TRITON unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) from 2017. Three TRITON aircraft are currently located at NAS Pax River in Maryland with training squadron VX20. It will work with the P-8As as a maritime patrol asset but has around a 20 hour endurance.

The older Lockheed P-3 ORION MPAs have a mission radius of 2,380 nautical miles (nm) although this deceases to 1346nm allowing for three hours on-station at 1,500 feet. In contrast the P-8A has over one hour longer on station and can get to its search area much master (440kts to the P-3s 340kts). The P-8A can carry nearly 50% more sonobuoys than its predecessor.

The conversion of six west coast squadrons from the P-3 to the P-8A will begin towards the end of this year with VP-4 the first to make the switch. All six of the east cost squadrons had received their P-8As by the end of April with the transition of the whole US Navy MPA force due to be completed by the end of 2019.

Andrew Drwiega, Farnborough UK and NAS Jacksonville, Florida

FIA2016: Roketsan Weapons Arm Future C295

At FIA2016, an MoU was signed between Airbus DS and Roketsan to integrate Roketsan's CIRIT 70mm laser-guided missile, LUMTAS laser-guided long range anti-tank missile, and TEBER laser-guided bomb onto C295 surveillance and transport aircraft.

Firing tests are to be held for future customers in the future, while Roketsan will put a lot of effort into the process, according to company officials at the show.

FIA2016: Airbus DS CN235 in Turkey

Airbus Defence & Space (DS) has authorised the Turkish Air Force’s 2nd Air Supply and Maintenance Centre (2nd ASMC) in Kayseri as a regional support and maintenance centre for Airbus CN235 aircraft following a detailed certification process conducted over the last year. The approval brings to a successful completion the process first announced at IDEF 2015.

Turkey is the world’s largest operator of CN235s with 59 aircraft and has accumulated a wealth of expertise in the maintenance, repair, overhaul and updating of the aircraft in 20 years of operations.

The agreement capitalises on those proven capabilities to provide support for aircraft of the Turkish Air Force, Coast Guard and Navy as well as those of other operators in the region. A single CN235 aircraft will be brought to Kayseri from an allied country to perform tests and begin the implementation process in October.

FIA2016: Leonardo FALCO EVO Goes to the Middle East

Leonardo-Finmeccanica’s  FALCO EVO unmanned  air  system  (UAS),  has  been  selected  by  two customers  in  the  Middle  East  and  Gulf  region.  A  surveillance  and  intelligence-gathering  platform, the  FALCO  EVO  can  fly  for  up  to  20  hours,  carrying  a  payload  of  up  to  100  kilogrammes.  With  access  to  a range  of  advanced  sensors,  including  the  newly-launched  Leonardo  OSPREY  radar,  the  FALCO EVO’s  new  users  will  be  able  to  conduct  persistent  missions  such  as  stand-off  target  detection, classification, identification and shadowing.  The  FALCO  has  been  an  export  success  story  for  Leonardo,  gaining  five  international  customers  and seeing  more  than  50  air  vehicles  operating  around  the  world.  One  of  those  customers  is  the  UN,  to  whom  Leonardo  provides  FALCO  services  in  support  of  its  humanitarian  MONUSCO mission  in  the  Democratic  Republic  of  Congo.

FIA2016: GD to Deliver Mission System for Brazilian Super LYNX 300

At FIA2016, Leonardo Helicopters (previously AgustaWestland Limited)  awarded General Dynamics Mission Systems–UK a contract by to provide mission system equipment for the Brazil Super LYNX upgrade programme. The aircraft’s full glass cockpit will be integrated with General Dynamics Mission System–UK’s Tactical Processing System, alongside its Secure Data Recorder, which will provide increased performance and capability onboard the helicopters. The company’s Tactical Processing System equipment is currently incorporated into the Leonardo Helicopters developed cockpit display system installed on the UK and export variants of the Leonardo Helicopters AW159 LYNX WILDCAT helicopter.

FIA2016: Lockheed Martin Completes Rapid SNIPER Pod Deliveries to RNLAF

It was announced at FIA2016 that Lockheed Martin recently completed rapid delivery of 14 SNIPER Advanced Targeting Pods (ATP) to the Royal Netherlands Air Force (RNLAF), outfitting a squadron in support of urgent mission requirements.

Five of the 14 SNIPER ATPs were delivered within 180 days of contract for fielding on the RNLAF’s F-16s. Initial training, spares and support equipment were also provided.

The RNLAF selected SNIPER ATP to equip its F-16 fleet in 2015. Contract requirements include 29 SNIPER ATPs, spares, support equipment and sustainment. Deliveries will be complete in first quarter 2017.

FIA2016: MBDA BRIMSTONE News Detailed

The latest version of MBDA’s BRIMSTONE precision strike missile has formally entered service on the RAF’s TORNADO GR4. This upgrade is a significant step in the spiral development of the BRIMSTONE weapon. It introduces an insensitive munition compliant rocket motor and warhead. Together with an enhanced version of MBDA’s Dual Mode Semi-Active Laser/ Millimetric Wave seeker and an enhanced autopilot this significantly increases the weapon’s envelope (off-axis and maximum range).

MBDA is furthermore supporting the integration of BRIMSTONE onto Eurofighter TYPHOON. Carriage of the BRIMSTONE three missile launchers and missiles is also part of the flying display at Farnborough Air Show for the first time. BRIMSTONE will enter service on Typhoon as part of the P3E programme and the Royal Air Force’s Project Centurion. A UK Eurofighter TYPHOON has successfully completed an initial series of flight trials with the BRIMSTONE precision strike missile ahead of firing trials as part of a programme of work to integrate the weapon on to the aircraft. The tests were conducted using UK TYPHOON Instrumented Production Aircraft (IPA) 6 and led by BAE Systems with the support of Eurofighter GmbH, MBDA, and the UK MoD.

Central to the programme is the weapons integration work as part of the Phase 2 and Phase 3 Enhancement (P2E/P3E) packages, which will bring additional long range and precision strike capabilities to TYPHOON. The integration of the deep strike MBDA STORM SHADOW missile, led by Leonardo, is continuing. This builds on the ground trials of the weapon and two successful releases of STORM SHADOW from Italian IPA2 in 2015. The close collaboration between the partner companies, especially Leonardo and BAE Systems, is ensuring the required capability is delivered in both the P2E and P3E programmes.

In addition, further firing trials have been completed with MBDA‘s METEOR Beyond Visual Range Air-to-Air missile. The sixth in a series of firings, which were also completed last month by aircrew from Leonardo using IPA2 at the UK‘s Hebrides range, were intended to continue to expand the clearance envelope of the weapon validate the modelling and simulation that has been performed by the Eurofighter partner companies, Leonardo and MBDA.

Furthermore, MBDA and Boeing have successfully completed a series of physical trials and firings of BRIMSTONE on the AH-64E attack helicopter to confirm the feasibility of integrating the missile with the United Kingdom’s future APACHE AH-64E fleet. These trials validate a prior UK MoD study contract with MBDA and Boeing that confirmed integration was expected to be low risk.

The programme was funded by a UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) contract, awarded to MBDA in September 2015. It included a range of environmental and sensor compatibility trials, as well as functional and avionic trials to demonstrate new platform software and functionality implemented into the platform and cockpit by Boeing. Boeing performed the platform and cockpit software modifications and managed the trials programme at Mesa and Yuma, AZ/USA, using a leased US government AH-64E in just nine months. All this activity culminated in a number of successful guided firings.

These firings demonstrated the capability of the weapon to guide using BRIMSTONE's Semi-Active Laser (SAL), Dual Mode SAL/millimetric wave (mmW) and fully autonomous mmW guidance modes. The weapon releases were from hovering, moving and manoeuvring/banking scenarios against Main Battle Tanks and Pickup Truck targets.  All of the firings utilised fully telemetered missiles instead of those with a warhead to confirm performance. The UK MoD’s trials objectives were met with missile telemetry being gathered, confirming that the weapons separated with active fin control off the rails, with no tip-off concerns. The data collected from these missile firings will be used to enable future optimisation of Brimstone for the AH-64E capability.

Photos show BRIMSTONE on Eurofighter TYPHOON and fired from Boeing's APACHE.

FIA2016: Kongsberg & Raytheon Detail JSM/NSM Future

Kongsberg Defence Systems and Raytheon announced at FIA2016 that are finalising plans to assemble, integrate and test the Naval Strike Missile (NSM) in the US. The two companies also plan to produce NSM launchers in the US.

Raytheon expects to perform final assembly, integration and test of NSM at the company’s Tucson, AZ/USA facility, while the launchers would be manufactured at Raytheon’s factory in Louisville, KN.

Both companies believe NSM is an ideal solution for navies around the globe and the "best over-the-horizon missile for the US Navy’s Littoral Combat Ship," according to them. Wven though there is no RfP yet, Raytheon believes the Surface-to-Surface missile programme for the LCS will include a canister launch. Furthermore, it was stated during FIA2016, that they see the need for the NSM internationally with navies replacing their legacy systems, e.g. Australia.

The companies are also teamed on the development of the Joint Strike Missile (JSM), which they are touting to all F-35 customers.

Designed as a smart weapon, moving the brains into the missile, according to Kongsberg, the JSM, just like the NSM, are fully funded by Norway. This means there will be two production lines, one in Norway, one in the US, as Kongsberg expects large production numbers.

FIA2016: OGMA & Saab Sign Long-Term MRO Service Agreement

OGMA and Saab have entered into a long-term MRO Service agreement. Under the agreement, OGMA will provide repair and overhaul services at its Alverca facility in Portugal, as well as on-site support to Saab and Saab customers. The initial scope covers RR AE2100A/P engines and components for SAAB 2000 commercial and defence operators.

OGMA is using its long-running experience of AE2100 overhaul capabilities to provide comprehensive ‘Reliability On Wing’ (ROW) support designed to achieve engine availability at competitive rates. OGMA has overhauled more than 750 RR AE2100 turbo-prop engines of different variants to date under its Rolls-Royce Authorized Maintenance Center contract

It is a starting point for a long and fruitful relationship benefiting both parties," Ronnie Candemark, VP Saab Procurement, said. "Saab is confident in OGMA’s capability to support Saab customers.”

Nelson Vaz, VP OGMA MRO Services, concluded by saying that, “we are pleased to formalise our relationship with Saab joining their network supporting the SAAB 2000 operation. Our philosophy is to be part of the team rather than just a service provider.”

FIA2016: Lockheed Martin and Roketsan to Develop SOM-J for Turkish F-35

Lockheed Martin and Roketsan have signed a follow-on contract to finalise development of the Stand Off Missile-Joint Strike Fighter (SOM-J) cruise missile for the Turkish F-35 programme.

The SOM-J is a medium range, air-to-surface missile designed for use against heavily defended, high-value land and sea targets, such as surface-to-air missile sites, exposed aircraft, strategic assets, command and control centres, and naval vessels.  The missile’s modular design supports the required operational flexibility. SOM-J will carry a single 350lbs blast-fragmentation/semi-armor-piercing warhead and have a range exceeding 100 nautical miles.

The two companies announced their partnership on SOM-J initial development in August 2014. The Lockheed Martin/Roketsan team will co-develop and co-produce the SOM-J for F-35 internal bay applications, as well as for various fighter aircraft with smart weapon external carriage capabilities. The contract calls for the two companies to collaborate on final development, integration and test support, with qualification occurring in early 2018.

We forsee that in the changing era of fighter aircrafts F-35 will set a bench with the capabilities and technologies provided within. We provide SOM-J as a weapon of choice for the optimum solution for various missions by enhancing the precision strike capabilities and maintaining the survivability and maneuverability. Our partnership with Lockheed Martin will extend much further with the steps we take today,” Emin Alpman, Chairman of the Board at Roketsan, said.

This partnership between Lockheed Martin and Roketsan will result in a highly effective weapon that will provide a valuable precision strike capability at stand-off ranges,” Frank St. John, vice president of Tactical Missile/Combat Maneuver Systems at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control, continued. “We expect this internal carry capability to appeal to not only F-35 customers, but also as an external carry weapon for other aircraft.”

The SOM-J provides enhanced capabilities by building on existing SOM air-to-surface cruise missile technologies already in service with the Turkish Air Force. The SOM-J missile uses Global Positioning System as its primary guidance and is aided by inertial, terrain-referenced and image-based navigation systems, as well as an imaging infrared seeker. SOM-J complements long-range weapon systems like Lockheed Martin’s Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile (JASSM) and the Long Range Anti-Ship Missile (LRASM).

FIA2016: Raytheon: “Missile defence is a team sport”

Briefing journalists during Farnborough 2016, Wes Kramer, President of Raytheon Integrated Systems, stressed the issue of collaboration, cooperation and partnership in European missile defence. Not only, did he say, is “missile defence a team sport,” but he also put forward the viewpoint that only an integrated range of solutions offered a real chance of countering the increasing range of threats from ‘traditional’ adversaries and non-state actors. “The bad guys only have to get lucky once; those who defend us need to be perfect all the time,” he said.

Showing the range of Raytheon ballistic missile defence solutions covering the integrated air missile defence (IAMD), endoatmospheric and exoatmospheric flight regimes, he emphasised not only the way in which the company’s own developments – in systems such as PATRIOT, SM-3 and SM-6 – had paved the way for enhanced defensive capability, but also its collaboration with others – such as the SM-3 Block 2A co-development between the US and Japan or the DAVID’s SLING and IRON DOME developments with Israel.

Initiatives such as the PATRIOT user group, in which collaborating nations can fund experience-based development and enhancement, receiving 100% of resulting benefits while contributing only a portion of the costs, will continue to provide a cost-effective and graceful solution to the conundrum of remaining competent and capable in a rapidly changing threat environment, Kramer pointed out, while admitting, “there are lots of opportunities for greater collaboration.”

The company already espouses the concept of deep collaboration at the European level: With 500 suppliers in Europe and some 66% of its global supply chain resident in the continent, it remains committed to providing the best possible European missile defence across the broadest possible number of allied nations, while ensuring capability development and technology insertion provide powerful drivers for continued development. “All politics are local and we are very focused on providing customisable and complementary solutions for nations with widely differing capabilities, aspirations and requirements,” said Kramer.

The company does not rest easily on its laurels, either. With considerable investment of time, effort and intellectual capital (as well as cash) in pushing continued development of the SM-3 Block 2A, which will contribute significantly to European missile defence from 2018 through its extended range and greatly improved performance, Raytheon is also keeping its eyes firmly fixed on the next generation of technologies for further improvements. “The next frontier has to be directed energy weapons. They are varied in nature and will have to be approached in a ‘crawl, walk, run’ manner in order to ensure they mature in the right way. But we are an engineering company: I can assure you we are paying very close attention to these methods of improving the service we offer our global customers.”

Part of the rationale that sustains the continual search for superior effect is, unsurprisingly, cost-based. “We fully recognise the argument of the cost exchange ratio. The use of relatively high cost interceptors to defeat threats that adversaries can develop for pennies on the dollar is, frankly, unsustainable. While an integrated capability will always be required in order to defeat the full threat spectrum, there will have to be solutions developed that allow for cost-effective as well as effects-oriented engagement results,” Kramer observed.

FIA2016: CAE “Strategic Shift in Emphasis”

In the run up to Farnborough 2016, CAE announced two important contracts with the government of the United Arab Emirates. The nation’s Joint Aviation Command, which operates a variety of platforms including the Sikorsky BLACK HAWK and UH-60M helicopters and the NorthStar Aviation 407MRH, has developed to the point at which it requires its own training capability at the command level. The solution adopted focuses on the instructor pilots being provided by the military themselves, with CAE contracted to provide a comprehensive ground-based training system.

Alongside this win – and perhaps more importantly from a strategic perspective, the company also won a contract for the provision of an all-embracing naval training centre solution for the UAE’s maritime forces. Providing the UAE with its first distributed training capability, covering all classes of surface vessel and providing an architecture that includes CAE’s Common Database embedded throughout the synthetic environment and a comprehensive learning management system, this contract builds gracefully on the efforts the company has been devoting to leveraging its modelling, simulation and training systems expertise into the naval environment. It follows a recent success in providing naval warfare training facilities to the Swedish Navy.

Between them, these contracts represent, “a huge strategic shift in emphasis for CAE,” in the words of Ian Bell, Vice President responsible for the company’s defence and security activities in Europe, Middle East and Africa. “They also provide a strategic vote of confidence in our core competencies from a very well educated customer. We have spent a long time developing the right levels of trust and the right partnerships in country – and we can now deliver a capability to the customer that provides them with a sound basis for maturing and enhancing capabilities for their aviation and naval forces.”

CAE has a long tradition of supplying training capability to the UAE through the Foreign Military Sales system. These contracts, however, represent a successful return to ‘direct supply’ that has been a decade in the making.

Picture shows how CAE will develop and build a naval training centre for the UAE that will provide comprehensive, distributed training capabilities across all the nation’s classes of surface vessels

FIA2016: Leonardo-Finmeccanica Leads Team to Upgrade 400 UK Platforms

Team Skytale, led by Leonardo-Finmeccanica, has been selected as the preferred bidder to provide upgraded Identification Friend or Foe (IFF) capabilities for over 400 British military platforms, the company announced during Farnborough 2016 this week.

The UK MoD intends to upgrade more than 400 operational aircraft, naval vessels and ground-based air defence systems to the new NATO Mode 5 IFF capability by 2020. Making use of state-of-the-art cryptographic technology, Mode 5 provides operators with a more secure and reliable interrogation facility, overcoming limitations and potential vulnerability to countermeasures that previous technologies unavoidably allow.

Leonardo-Finmeccanica already delivered the technology to Italy, Japan and the UK as well as providing it for the Saab GRIPEN E combat aircraft. The company will use its M428 Transponder and SIT 2010 cryptographic computer for all the UK platforms, minimising equipment variety and thus reducing the required support footprint as well as enhancing interoperability.

Team Skytale member Airbus Defence & Space Electronics and Border Security will provide its proven MSSR 2000 I and MSR 1000 I Interrogator in addition to its BTI 1000 I test equipment. French, German and UK forces already use the Interrogator and are among customers in 30 nations to whom Airbus has delivered some 400 IFF interrogator systems.

Leonardo-Finmeccanica will manage the IFF upgrade for 11 aircraft types with an out-of-service date later than 2020, while Airbus will be responsible for 18 naval and two ground-based platform types. The team will also establish a UK-based support hub for Mode 5 IFF, thereby creating a sovereign capability.

FIA2016: Boeing P-8 POSEIDON on Schedule, on Track

Providing an update to the Boeing P-8 POSEIDON maritime patro, aircraft programme at Farnborough 2016 this week, Steve Tripp, responsible for global sales and marketing for Boeing Military Aircraft, emphasised the fact that the programme’s unique ‘in-line production’ features has resulted in the world’s, “most advanced ASW/ASuW (Anti-Submarine Wafare/Anti-Surface Vessel Warfare) aircraft," being on cost, on schedule and has already saved over US$2.1 billion. “The aircraft are built from the ground up as P-8s but leverage all the benefits of Boeing 737 heritage,” he explained.

Capt. Tony Rossi, US Navy (USN), the P-8A programme manager, added that the result is, “a truly multi-mission, multi-role aircraft, providing a wide range of capabilities from Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) to ASW and offering full flex in terms of equipment and operators for mission requirement changes.”

The USN has 80 POSEIDONs currently on contract and has so far received 42, including all the low rate initial production (LRIP) aircraft, on a delivery schedule that, “has averaged about one month earlier than anticipated,” according to Rossi. Current production rate is running at about one and a half aircraft a month and the fleet has already achieved some 10,000 sorties and 55,000 operational flying hours, he added.

The Royal Australian Air Force has eight aircraft on contract, of which the first is scheduled for delivery later this year, according to Tripp. Four further aircraft have been approved and funded by the Australian government. India, meanwhile, has received all eight of the P-8Is it ordered and is understood to be close to exercising the option for a further four contained in the original contract.

In a widely anticipated announcement at Farnborough, outgoing Prime Minister David Cameron confirmed the UK has committed to the procurement of nine P-8s, worth in excess of £3 billion over the next ten years. In addition to the aircraft, Boeing will provide a £100 million training facility for the UK POSEIDONs at RAF Lossiemouth in Scotland.

Capt. Rossi confirmed that unit cost savings of over 30% have been achieved between the first LRIP aircraft and the current Lot 7. Tripp added that those cost savings are reflected in the prices being offered to new customers, including India and the UK.

Picture shows a P-8A POSEIDON and a P-3 ORION over NAS Patuxent River, MD.

FIA2016: Diamond Aircraft DART-450 Unveiled

First announced at Farnborough two years ago, the Diamond Aircraft DART-450 trainer aircraft was unveiled at Farnborough 2016 this week, just two months after making its maiden flight.

A tandem two seat aircraft aimed at both the aerobatic and military flying training markets, the DART-450 is an all carbon fibre airframe and provides a variety of capabilities that stretch its potential role to that of a special missions aircraft. The fuselage has been preconfigured to accommodate sensors ranging from retractable surveillance cameras to electronic intelligence gathering systems. Stressed to +7/-4g, the aircraft features an Ivchenko-Progress/Motor Sich AI-450S turboprop engine and has a range of 1,500 nautical miles and endurance of eight hours. A GARMIN avionics system, sidestick HOTAS control system and an intelligent flight management system all contribute to making the aircraft a flexible and potentially highly valuable multirole aircraft at a cost-effective price.

FIA2016: Canada’s F-35 Saga

Several themes characterise the conversations at Farnborough 2016 this week. Proof that politics dominates our industry can be found in the multiple conversations taking place over Britain’s decision to exit the European Union and what the consequences might be for the defence and aerospace industries. The long awaited appearance of the F-35 at the show is also a dominant feature of chat in the chalets, booths and hallways of the show.

The F-35 may not be getting it all its own way, however. Just the week before Farnborough opened, the Canadian government began a detailed re-evaluation of its CF-18 recapitalisation programme in a move that telegraphs continuing concerns regarding the decision to procure the LIGHTNING II as the replacement for the Canadian Air Force’s HORNETs.

In the national elections last year, Justin Trudeau’s liberal party was quite emphatic that it would kill off the F-35 acquisition and last week’s move is being widely viewed as the first step on the path to cancellation. But it is a complex and multi-faceted equation: According to Lockheed Martin, Canadian industry could benefit by up to U$11 billion in future opportunities on the F-35 programme, and has already concluded about $750 million of business. So what happens to existing contracts – and future opportunities – if the decision not to proceed with the LIGHTNING acquisition is taken?

The answer is nobody really knows. There is apparently no formal codicil to the agreement that says “if you don’t buy the aircraft you don’t get the benefits.” But there is widespread acceptance of the fact that this would be a perfectly logical negotiating stance for Lockheed Martin to take.

Just like Brexit, the decision Canada faces is a complex one and could become a startling example of the Law of Unintended Consequences. The complex equation of defence requirements, political imperatives and economic necessities will play out over months – if not years – to come. Which won’t prevent speculation, fierce debate and a potentially not inconsiderable measure of acrimony. Watch this space!

12 July 2016

FIA2016: Upgraded Israeli Air Force C-130 First Flight Test Successfully Completed

A successful first flight test was recently completed for the C-130H HERCULES transport aircraft upgraded by Elbit Systems for the Israeli Air Force (IAF), under an agreement signed with the Israeli Ministry of Defense. This initial flight test was the first in a series of flight tests, and future flight tests were agreed upon and will be performed in the coming months.

During the flight tests, the aircraft's systems performance was tested in various modes of operation and in a variety of flight altitudes and conditions, in both day and night. The test demonstrated “out of the window” flight, in which live video was displayed on the head-up display (HUD), presenting flight and navigation data overlaying the real world by using two and three dimensional symbols, enhanced degraded visual landing applications and head tracking capabilities. Airborne refueling was also demonstrated as part of the flight tests.

The IAF pilots were impressed with the new capabilities, and the feedback was positive. They emphasised the contribution to flight safety of the new configuration and the enhanced situational awareness gained in different phases of the flight. They also noted the reduced workload and the improved cockpit communication due to flight in “head out” orientation.

The modernisation project, which began in 2012, extends the operational life of the aircraft and significantly improves its operational capability, particularly in precision flying, low-level night flight and operations in adverse weather. The modernisation not only contributes to improved flight safety but also reduces operating costs by introducing cutting-edge digital systems to replace obsolete analog systems that have become unreliable and costly to maintain after four decades of intensive service.

FIA2016: Tour of Embraer KC-390

FIA2016: GDMS to Update Stores Management System for Royal Navy WILDCATs

General Dynamics Mission Systems–UK (Facility J3 on J row) has been awarded a contract by Leonardo Helicopters (previously AgustaWestland) to update the Stores Management Systems (SMS) aboard Royal Navy WILDCAT helicopters.

The SMS update will introduce new functionality to control two new missile types, previously known as Future Air to Surface Guided Weapon (FASGW).  These missile types are the SEA VENOM from MBDA and the MARTLET from Thales.

Under the contract, the company will: Develop new safety-critical software to control the complex MIL-STD-1760 missile interfaces; implement plug and play software architecture, which will significantly reduce the cost of integrating future weapons; introduce hardware design changes to the existing SMS design to support two additional weapon stations on the helicopter, design and manufacture a handheld test set to allow the helicopter electrical interfaces to be rapidly tested in conjunction with the SMS Built-in-Test capability; re-test and certify the overall SMS functionality in accordance with UK safety standards DEF-STAN 0055/56; and update the existing in-service SMS equipment to the ‘FASGW’ standard.

General Dynamics Mission Systems–UK will deliver initial software releases in early 2017 for rig testing at the Leonardo Helicopters facility in Yeovil, England, before flight testing commences later in the year. Missile firing trials and full helicopter clearance testing will continue through 2018 and 2019.

FIA2016: Leonardo-Finmeccanica to provide Mode  5 IFF solution for Japan MoD Radar Programme

Leonardo-Finmeccanica  will  provide  its  latest  Identification  Friend  or Foe  (IFF)  technology  for  the  Japan  Ground  Self  Defense  Force  (JGSDF).  The  deal,  signed  with  a Japanese prime contractor, will see Leonardo supplying its SIT-422/5J interrogator to the JGSDF. 

Japan’s radars  will  be  used  to  monitor  the  skies  for  aircraft  and  will  use  Leonardo’s  SIT-422/5J  to  send  out the  ‘interrogation’  signal  to  see  if  the  targets  are  affiliated  forces  or  possible  foes. 

The  company  will  partner  with  a  prime  contractor  in  Japan  to  deliver  the  technology  and  will  provide the necessary support to enable in-country service-level maintenance of the equipment. 

FIA2016: QinetiQ & Thales Select Textron AirLand SCORPION for ASDOT Bid

QinetiQ, Thales, and Textron AirLand, a Textron company, have announced a collaboration that will bid for the UK Ministry of Defence’s (MoD) upcoming Air Support to Defence Operational Training (ASDOT) programme.

The three companies’ CEOs met at Farnborough International Airshow today to announce the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) setting the foundation for the bid. The operational training activities that will comprise the ASDOT programme are currently fulfilled by a number of providers, both military and civilian. This team will propose an innovative, cost effective, technologically advanced reliable managed service using the Textron AirLand SCORPION jet equipped with Thales and QinetiQ sensors to provide a broad spectrum of training for all three armed services. The competitive contract, expected to be awarded in September 2018 with a service delivery start in Jan 2020, is anticipated to be worth up to £1.2 billion over 15 years.

QinetiQ will offer the safe operation of a highly capable and flexible mixed fleet of SCORPION and other platforms – including maintenance and provision of pilots. Its proposal will include integration of sensors and jamming pods into the aerial fleet and certification of the aircraft to ensure compliance with military air worthiness regulations. The solution will include provision for the introduction of synthetic operational training and airborne aerial target capabilities. Steve Wadey, QinetiQ CEO, said: “Our test and evaluation pedigree makes us ideally placed to introduce the highly capable SCORPION for use in the ASDOT programme. Our people are experts in cost effective aircraft operation, providing significant savings to the MOD while offering the highest standard of support to UK defence operational training. Collaborative working of this nature is vital within the aerospace and defence industries, and I believe this partnership puts us all in a strong position to succeed.”    

Thales’s breadth of training service provision for air platforms spans from jet fighters, tactical transporters, helicopters to refuelling aircraft. Thales brings extensive experience in delivering fully managed training services and engineering bespoke high fidelity training equipment such as full mission simulators for leading air platforms such as A400M, Voyager, Tornado, Rafale, Mirage 2000, Hawk, and Eurofighter. Thales has an international footprint providing training and simulation products and services to a global customer network. Thales will also offer a range of sensors optimised for situational awareness, threat replication and targeting training, as well as Electronic Warfare capability.  Victor Chavez, Thales UK CEO, said: “Through this unique partnership with QinetiQ and Textron and the complementary expertise within our respective fields, we have the opportunity to offer all three armed services the most effective, cutting edge technology coupled with world leading training and services expertise. The UK Ministry of Defence will be able to benefit from the collaboration of technologies and knowledge to deliver important long-term Air Operational Training services.”

Textron AirLand will offer its SCORPION jet, selected by QinetiQ and Thales after a comprehensive analysis of over 50 aircraft. This selection was based on the aircraft’s multi-mission capability, combined with unparalleled acquisition and operating costs and a dispatch reliability rating exceeding 98 percent.

Scott Donnelly, Textron’s Chairman and CEO, said: “The SCORPION jet provides the multi-role capability and performance necessary to perform the ASDOT programme missions at a fraction of the acquisition and operating costs compared to any other aircraft in its class. Textron is confident this team will provide the platform and support necessary to carry out vital military training missions. We look forward to strengthening our relationship with these industry-leading companies as we compete for the ASDOT programme.”

FIA2016: L-3 WESCAM MX-15D Selected for GA-ASI PREDATOR XP

L-3  Communications announced  today that  its  WESCAM  division  has  received  multiple orders  from  General  Atomics  Aeronautical Systems,  Inc.  (GA-ASI)  for  its  MX-15D  electro-optical  and  infrared  (EO/IR)  designator  systems for  an  international  military  customer.

L-3’s  equipment  will  support  medium-altitude  covert intelligence,  surveillance and reconnaissance  (ISR)  missions  carried  out  by  GA-ASI’s  PREDATOR XP remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) system.

L-3’s  imaging  systems  range  in size  from  8-25in  in diameter  and provide  highresolution,  stabilised  full-motion  intelligence  in  support  of  low-level  tactical  to  high-altitude,  ultra long-range persistent  missions. 

L-3’s  MX-8,  MX-10  and MX-25  surveillance systems  are on display  and available for  demonstration next to the L-3 Chalet – A15.

Deliveries  to  GA-ASI  in  California began  earlier  this  year.  Once  fielded,  the  systems  will  be maintained by one of L-3 WESCAM’s 14 authorised service centres.

Our  MX  line  represents  state-of-the-art  technology  for  military  and security  projects,  and  we are focused  on  expanding  this  business  area.  L-3  has  the  global  reach  and  technical  know-how  to respond  quickly  with innovative solutions that  meet  specific  customer  requirements,”  said Steve Kantor, president of L-3’s Electronic Systems business segment.

We  take  great  pride  in providing  GA-ASI  and  its  customers  with an  EO/IR  system  designed with a suite of  high-sensitivity,  proven  technologies,”  added  Paul  Jennison,  vice president  of government  sales and  business  development  for  L-3  WESCAM.  “Configured  with high-definition IR  and precise laser  designation  capabilities,  these  systems  are  fully  equipped with the  essential tools required to meet dynamic mission requirements.”

FIA2016: MBDA SPEAR Fired from Eurofighter TYPHOON

A UK Eurofighter TYPHOON aircraft has successfully fired a SPEAR air-to-surface precision strike weapon for the first time in a flight trial conducted from BAE Systems’ site in Warton, Lancashire.

The MBDA SPEAR networked precision strike weapon was launched from Eurofighter TYPHOON Production Aircraft BS116 earlier this year. The test flight was led by teams from MBDA and BAE Systems, with BAE Systems Chief Test Pilot Steve Formoso at the controls.

Following the launch, which took place at the UK Ministry of Defence’s Aberporth range, in Wales, the weapon transitioned to powered flight and completed a series of manoeuvres before reaching its pre-planned point of impact.

The aircraft, which is subject to a continual programme of capability upgrades, has been designated as the test aircraft for trials and development of the weapon.

The success of this trial demonstrates the inherent flexibility of the Typhoon aircraft as a platform in supporting such a crucial phase of testing on this next generation missile - and further cements the strong relationship between BAE Systems, MBDA and the UK customer." Paul Stone, TYPHOON Product Development and Future Capability Manager for BAE Systems, said. "The weapon operated exactly as expected during the trial and we are delighted to have supported such important step in further development of SPEAR using Typhoon.”

The SPEAR missile is being developed to meet the UK’s Selective Precision Effects At Range Capability 3 (SPEAR Cap 3) requirement for the UK’s F-35 Lightning II aircraft, with the potential to equip Typhoon. SPEAR will precisely engage long range, mobile, fleeting and re-locatable targets in all weathers, day or night, in the presence of countermeasures, obscurants and camouflage, whilst ensuring a safe stand-off range between the aircrew and threat air defences.

Paul Wester, SPEAR Programme Director for MBDA, explained: “The first release and successful flight of SPEAR from Typhoon is a real demonstration of the close working relationship between the MoD, BAE Systems, Qinetiq and MBDA. We can anticipate that SPEAR will deliver significant operational advantage to users, and a real and tangible capability advantage to any platform deploying this new precision strike weapon.”

The test firing from the Typhoon was the culmination of trials work undertaken by MBDA to prove the weapon is ready to move to the next stage of development work, which will now continue through to 2020. SPEAR is one of a number of smart weapons which may be integrated on to the Typhoon aircraft to meet future operational requirements, including anti-ship missiles such as Marte-ER.

At FIA2016, MBDA showcases its next generation air-launched networked precision strike weapon, SPEAR, for which the company has recently been awarded a £411 million weapon development contract by the UK MoD. It is to be operated by the United Kingdom’s F-35 LIGHTNING II and will provide the aircraft with a unique strike capability, fully exploiting its advanced sensor and network capabilities. There is also an option to equip the Eurofighter TYPHOON for future phase enhancements.

SPEAR is being developed to precisely engage long range, mobile, fleeting and re-locatable targets in all weathers, day or night, in the presence of countermeasures, obscurants and camouflage, whilst ensuring a safe stand-off range between aircrew and threat.

Prior to being contracted for its development phase by the MoD, the SPEAR programme underwent an extensive set of test and trials activities, as part of an Assessment Phase contract. 

Paul Wester, SPEAR Programme Director, explained the significance of the success: “This trial systematically demonstrated an advanced degree of maturity and technical progress that is unusual in an Assessment Phase. The trial had to achieve a variety of “firsts” for SPEAR including the safe separation from the jet, commencement of powered flight, the manoeuvre whereby it rolled and opened its wing in free flight, navigation and the final simulated precision attack. All those actions were a challenge with a new airframe that had never flown and we are building on this very successful foundation with the weapon development phase.”

Photos by BAE Systems/Jamie Hunter; Graphic by MBDA

Airbus A400M in Paratrooping Testing

Airbus Defence & Space is conducting intensive paratrooping trials of the A400M new generation airlifter. The photo below shows 30 paratroopers being dropped at the Tarbes drop zone in southern France and certification of this capability is expected imminently. Continuing trials will move stepwise to 40 paratroopers and beyond as the capability is demonstrated in flight-test.

FIA2016: Rafael's DRONE DOME Neutralises UAVs

Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, chalet C22, is showcasing DRONE DOME, an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV or drone) detection and neutralisation system.

Rafael's DRONE DOME makes use of RADA's RPS-42 radar to detect and neutralise UAVs. (Photos: Rafael)

Making use of a combination of a RADA RPS-42 tactical air-surveillance radar and electro-optical sensors to detect UAVs through 360°, once a target has been detected, it begins to track and classify it, according to the company. The system can disrupt UAVs by jamming global navigation satellite system (GNSS) and radio frequency (RF) signals.

The DRONE DOME System is an innovative end-to-end system designed to provide effective airspace defence against hostile micro and nano UAVs (no word on whether Prox Dynamics' BLACK HORNET has been neutralised) used by terrorists to perform aerial attacks, collect intelligence, and other intimidating activities. DRONE DOME has 360° circular coverage and is designed to detect, track, and neutralise drones classified as threats flying in No-Fly zones. It has a very fast response time, it causes minimal collateral interruptions to the surrounding urban environment, with maximum safety to friendly aircraft.The DRONE DOME system is operational under all weather condition, 24 hours a day.  First, the threat is detected and identified by RADA's radar and EO/IR sensors. The data is combined and correlated and alerts the operator of the hostile UAV. The system initiates either automatic interference operation, as per pre-defined rules in the C4I engine, or manual operation by the operator.  When the threat reaches the neutralisation area, the hostile drone is neutralised by activation of directional GNSS and RF Inhibitor/Jammer system.

FIA2016: Nasmyth Group to Consolidate Presence in the Defence Sector

Nasmyth Group uses Farnborough International Airshow as a showplace and build on an already strong and expanding position in the defence sector. Nasmyth illustrates and identifies its growing presence in the defence market on stand #H/60 in hall 4, featuring three interactive screens demonstrating its product capabilities across air, land and sea for defence, airframes, and jet engines. Nasmyth has a range of exhibits including a Flat Panel Flight Training Simulator designed and manufactured by the group that in its full form is approved for full standard pilot training.

The global Aerospace and Defence (A&D) industry is expected to return to growth in 2016 with total sector revenues estimated to grow at three percent, according to Deloitte's 2016 Global A&D sector outlook. For the past decade, those responsible for defence procurement have increasingly looked to the expertise of 'crossover' industries, particularly innovative technology firms which have the flexibility of successfully delivering products and services within short time frames. In light of this Nasmyth is ideally positioned to continue its growth in the defence market.

Nasmyth Group brings together the collective expertise, resources and technology of 13 precision engineering businesses in four specialised divisions - Systems and Defence, Metallics, Technologies and Metal Treatments. In Defence, Nasmyth manufactures airframe assemblies, engine and instrumentation components and performance-critical components for a variety of military applications. For example, Nasmyth directly contributes to UK national security by manufacturing engine components for the Eurofighter TYPHOON and supplying part of the inflight refuelling system for the BAE Systems HAWK trainer. Nasmyth is also involved in two ATLAS ELEKTRONIK UK systems - the ARCIMS Mine Counter Measures (MCM) solution - a multi-role unmanned surface vehicle, and the Cerberus Mod2 Portable Diver Detection Sonar which is a diver detection system for harbour security.