- The Department of Defense (DoD) is upgrading its IT-infrastructure and will introduce various cloud-services across its branches. On May 4th the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center Pacific announced that it is contracting Insight Public Sector Inc., Chantilly, Virginia for the provision of Microsoft brand-name software licenses, software assurance, and cloud offerings to the Department of the Navy. The United States military has long relied on its superior ability to obtain, process, access and share data within the US Joint Forces and with allies as an “offset” to the capabilities of other states. Moving to the ‘cloud’ is the next step towards maintaining this superiority. In December 2017 the Defense Department senior leaders have directed DoD to adopt cloud computing to support the warfighter, a direction that will become a pillar of the department’s strength and security. “Accelerating DoD’s adoption of cloud computing technologies is critical to maintaining our military’s technological advantage,” Deputy Defense Secretary Patrick M. Shanahan said in a memo. The Cloud boosts several military benefits. An increased access to large amounts of connected data allows for better organized warfighting, it has the benefit of fiscal savings by using virtual equipment and hiring contractors to do the computing at a cheaper, at-scale rate, and in virtual space information can be moved around the network which better insulates it from attacks. A perk that may come in handy, considering that China stole about 50GB of data about the F-35 program back in 2016. The contract is a firm-fixed-price blanket purchase with an estimated value of $653 million and an ordering period of three years that runs from May 2018 to May 2021.
- Sikorsky has announced that its fleet of VH-92A helicopters, that are replacing the President’s Marine One, are on schedule and slightly below previous cost estimates by 2.4%, or about $123 million. Cost reductions came from a small number of design changes, stable requirements and efficiencies from cost saving initiatives. The Marine Corps currently operates 11 VH-3D Sea Kings, and 8 smaller VH-60N Black Hawk helicopters. The VH-3Ds were originally placed in service in 1974 and 1975, and the VH-60s entered service in the 1980s. They’re safe and reliable due to low and careful use, but they no longer had the growth capability to incorporate the equipment in a post 9/11 environment. The US Navy plans to acquire a fleet of 23 VH-92A helicopters to replace the Marine Corps’ existing fleet of VH-3D and VH-60N helicopters at a total cost of $5.1 billion, and with an initial delivery scheduled by FY 2020 through FY 2023. The new “Marine One” helicopters are expected to be in service for up to 4 decades.
- The US Navy has awarded General Dynamics Mission Systems, Fairfax, Virginia a contract for services in support of the Navy’s Surface Electronic Warfare Program (SEWIP) at a cost of $9.7 million. The program is an evolutionary acquisition and incremental development program to upgrade the existing AN/SLQ-32(V) electronic warfare system to Block 1B3. This system provides enhanced shipboard electronic warfare for early detection, analysis, threat warning, and protection from anti-ship missiles. The US Navy’s AN/SLQ-32 system uses radar warning receivers, and in some cases active jamming, as the part of ships’ self-defense system. The ’Slick 32s’ provides warning of incoming attacks and is integrated with the ships’ defenses to trigger Rapid Blooming Offboard Chaff (RBOC) and other decoys, which can fire either semi-automatically or on manual direction from a ship’s ECM operators. The “Slick 32” variants are based on modular building blocks, and each variant is suited to a different type of ship. Work will be performed at various locations, including Pittsfield, Massachusetts; Thousand Oaks, California and Fairfax, Virginia and is scheduled for completion by May 2020.
Middle East & Africa
- The US Government has contracted ContiTech USA Inc. in support of its strategic partners Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. The contract has a value of $23.9 million and provides for the procurement of complete rolls of shoe track assemblies for the M1A2 Abrams. The M1 Abrams comes in different variants designed for different combat scenarios. Both Saudi Arabia and Kuwait currently have a the M1A2 variant in service. The tanks are designed by the US Army, in response to their experiences in Iraq. Its upgrades add a set of advanced sensors and machine gun operated from inside the vehicle, a loader’s armored gun shield, explosive-reactive armor tiles, a remote thermal sight, and an improved power distribution box, as well as other key modifications that enhance its warfighting capabilities. Work will be performed in Fairlawn, Ohio, with an estimated completion date of April 2020.
- The Defense Security Cooperation Agency announced that Germany is set to buy six planes of the Type C-130. The deal provides for the acquisition of three C-130J-30 and three KC-130J aircraft for an estimated cost of $1.4 billion. The aircraft will be equipped with Rolls Royce AE-2100D turboprop engines, a Link-16 MIDS Terminal, an AN/ALE 47 Electronic Countermeasure Dispenser, an AN/AAR-47A(V)2 Missile Warning System and several other packages allowing for Friend or Foe identification and secure communications, among others. The delivery of the aircrafts will increase the airlift, air refueling, and air drop capabilities of the German Air Force. Providing these capabilities to the German Air Force will greatly increase interoperability between the U.S. Air Force and the German Air Force as well as other NATO allies. The German Air Force will use these aircraft to conduct airlift, air refueling, and air drop missions as part of a French-German allied squadron based in Evreux, France. The approval comes as the aircraft’s larger European competitor, Airbus Defense & Space’s A400M transport aircraft, has struggled with production issues and has ramped down its delivery rate. The deal is part of the US government foreign policy and national security strategy that helps to improve the security of a NATO ally and therefore strengthening the alliance and the region as a whole. The prime contractor will be Lockheed Martin, Ft Worth, TX.
- The Indonesian Defense Minister Ryamirzard Ryacudu recently confirmed that Indonesia and South Korea will continue to cooperate on the manufacture of their next-generation fighter jets. The KF-X and IF-X respectively are 4.5 generation aircraft. South Korea has been thinking seriously about designing its own fighter jet since 2008. KF-X has progressed in fits and starts, and became a multinational program when Indonesia joined in June 2010. The development project was once delayed in 2009 but again gained traction after Indonesia and South Korea signed a cost share agreement in 2016. The total cost of the KF-X/IF-X program amounts to an estimated $6.5 billion. South Korea bores 80 percent, or $5.2 billion of the total cost, with Indonesia paying $1.3 billion to cover the remaining 20 percent. It is currently planned that the fighter het will be ready for manufacture by 2020 and fully operational by 2025. If all necessary program milestones can be met within this timeframe remains to be seen.
- Embraer’s KC-390 is covered up after its crash