The first full scale model of the European Medium-Altitude Long-Endurance Remotely Piloted Aircraft (MALE RPAS) was unveiled on April 26, 2018 during a ceremony held at the 2018 ILA Berlin Air Show, which opened its gates at Schönefeld airport.
The reveal ceremony, led by Dirk Hoke, Airbus Defence and Space Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Eric Trappier, Dassault Aviation Chairman and CEO and Lucio Valerio Cioffi, Leonardo’s Aircraft Division Managing Director, confirms the commitment of the four European States and Industrial partners to jointly develop a sovereign solution for European Defence and Security.
The unveiling of the full-scale model and the reaffirmed commitment comes after a nearly two-year definition study launched in September 2016 by the four participating nations Germany, France, Italy and Spain and follows the Declaration of Intent to work together on a European MALE unmanned aerial system signed by the countries in May 2015.
«While still a lot of work lies ahead of us, this full-scale model represents a first milestone of what Europe can achieve in a high-technology sector if it bundles its industrial strength and know-how», said Dirk Hoke, CEO of Airbus Defence and Space. «The MALE RPAS will become an integral part in guaranteeing Europe’s sovereignty in the future. This programme is ideally suited to meet urgent capability requirements of Europe’s armed forces. This innovative partnership also eases the countries’ constrained budgetary situation through clever pooling of research and development funds», he added.
«Today’s unveiling reflects our companies’ total dedication to the European Defence and Security sovereignty. Cooperation and high technology legitimate the leadership of the European Industry and guarantee the strategic autonomy of Europe», declared Eric Trappier, Chairman and CEO of Dassault Aviation. «Innovative programmes through efficient partnerships will serve European competitiveness and will offer new alternatives to the off-the-shelf acquisition of non-European products. Dassault Aviation reaffirms its full support to Airbus Defence and Space as programme leader of the MALE RPAS».
«Unmanned technologies and their applications represent one of the key technological foundations for the future evolution of European Defence Industries», said Lucio Valerio Cioffi, Leonardo’s Aircraft Division Managing Director. «The European MALE RPAS is orientated to foster the development of high technologies and will contribute to sustaining key competencies and jobs within Europe providing Armed Forces with a high performance and sovereign operational system», he added.
On April 24, 2018, the U.S. Navy accepted Hull, Mechanical and Electrical (HM&E) delivery of the future USS Michael Monsoor (DDG-1001) from shipbuilder General Dynamics Bath Iron Works (BIW).
Delivery of USS Michael Monsoor (DDG-1001) follows extensive tests, trials and demonstrations of the ship’s HM&E systems including the boat handling, anchor and mooring systems as well as major demonstrations of the damage control, ballasting, navigation and communications systems.
«Delivery of DDG-1001 marks the culmination of years of dedication and hard work from our Navy and industry team», said Captain Kevin Smith, DDG-1000 program manager, Program Executive Office, Ships. «We have incorporated many lessons learned from DDG 1000 and are proud of the end result. DDG-1001 will be a tremendous asset to the Navy».
The 610-foot, wave-piercing tumblehome ship design provides a wide array of advancements. The shape of the superstructure and the arrangement of its antennas significantly reduce radar cross section, making the ship less visible to enemy radars.
Like the first ship of the class, USS Zumwalt (DDG-1000), DDG-1001 employs an innovative and highly survivable Integrated Power System (IPS), distributing 1000 volts of direct current across the ship. The IPS’ unique architectural capabilities include the ability to allocate all 78 megawatts of installed power to propulsion, ship’s service, and combat system loads from the same gas turbine prime movers based on operational requirements.
DDG-1000 class ships are delivered through a two-phase approach in which combat systems are installed and activated subsequent to HM&E delivery. Following HM&E delivery, Michael Monsoor will transit to its homeport in San Diego, California for commissioning in January 2019 and to begin Combat Systems Activation, testing and trials.
USS Michael Monsoor (DDG-1001) is the second ship of the Zumwalt class. The third and final ship of the class, the future USS Lyndon B. Johnson (DDG-1002), is currently in construction at BIW’s shipyard along with Arleigh Burke class destroyers USS Daniel Inouye (DDG-118), USS Carl M. Levin (DDG-120) and USS John Basilone (DDG-122).
As one of the Defense Department’s largest acquisition organizations, Program Executive Office (PEO) Ships is responsible for executing the development and procurement of all destroyers, amphibious ships, special mission and support ships, and special warfare craft.
Features unique to DDG 1000:
Eighty peripheral Vertical Launch System (VLS) cells, two Advanced Gun System (AGS) 155-mm guns, and two 30-mm Close In Guns (CIGs);
A stern boat ramp for two 7-meter Rigid Hull Inflatable Boats (RHIBs), designed with room for two 11-meter RHIBs;
Aviation capacity for two MH-60R or one MH-60R and 3 VT Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs);
It will be powered by an Integrated Power System (IPS) with an Integrated Fight Through Power (IFTP). This is created by an Advanced Induction Motor (AIM);
A superstructure with integrated apertures and low signature profile;
Advanced sensors including a SPY-3 Multi-Function Radar;
Hensoldt, the leading German sensor solutions provider, is presenting its passive radar system called «TwInvis» to the public for the first time in live operation during this year’s International Aerospace Exhibition (ILA) in Berlin. The new product name «TwInvis» is made up from «twin» + «invisible», as neither TwInvis itself nor the targets to be detected emit any signals on their own, which means that they are «invisible». The TwInvis system, which can be integrated into an all-terrain vehicle or a van, does not emit its own signals to monitor air traffic, but simply «passively» analyses the echoes of signals from radio or TV stations.
«Our newly developed, highly sensitive digital receivers now make it possible for a single TwInvis system to monitor up to 200 aircraft in 3D within a radius of 250 kilometres/155 miles. This was unthinkable even just a few years ago», said Hensoldt CEO Thomas Müller. «This will open up completely new options for application in such fields as air defence, the protection of large events or air traffic control».
Working as mere receivers, passive radar systems detect aircraft by analysing the signals that they reflect from existing third-party emissions. Hensoldt’s TwInvis system excels with a very precise picture of the airspace covered, which is obtained by simultaneously analysing a large number of frequency bands. For example, up to 16 FM transmitters (analogue radio) plus 5 frequencies used by several DAB and DAB+ transmitters (digital radio) as well as DVB-T and DVB-T2 (digital, terrestrial television) can be simultaneously analysed for the first time. Furthermore, Hensoldt’s new generation of software will provide unprecedented performance in terms of range and precision of detection.
In civil applications, passive radar systems make cost-effective air traffic control possible without any additional emissions and without using transmission frequencies, which are in short supply. In military applications, the system enables wide-area surveillance using networked receivers, while offering the advantage that passive radar systems cannot be located by the enemy and are very hard to jam. Moreover, no agreement is required with any other public authority, as there is no radiation, which allows the system to be quickly ready for deployment in new locations and to also be used in urban areas. This results in another advantage of the new technology: the system can be used in places where coverage was previously inadequate, in particular/for example, in mountainous regions.
TwInvis has already shown what it can do in several demonstrations to military customers, air traffic control organisations and other interested parties. Two TwInvis demonstrators have already been delivered to potential customers in Europe.
The world’s largest aircraft, the AN-225 «Mriya», landed in Berlin, Germany today, as its Ukrainian owner, Antonov Company, announced it is ready to provide additional support to the Strategic Airlift International Solution (SALIS) programme with the necessary number of AN-124-100 aircraft for strategic air transportations in the interest of NATO and EU nations.
The AN-225, which is operated by Antonov Company’s air transportation division, Antonov Airlines, is taking part in the Berlin Innovation and Leadership in Aerospace (ILA) Air Show.
The AN-225, with its 250-tonne payload capacity, is part of a fleet of heavy lift aircraft operated by Antonov Airlines, including seven AN-124-100s, two of which have an increased payload capacity of 150 tonnes.
The fleet is undergoing a modernisation programme, ensuring it can continue to safely fly outsized and emergency cargo globally, with a rapid turnaround time.
The AN-225 will be at the ILA Berlin Air Show 2018 until Sunday, 29th April 2018.
Antonov Airlines specialises in the transport of outsized and project cargo worldwide using its fleet of seven AN-124-100-type «Ruslan» aircraft with up to 150 tonnes payload, its 60-tonne payload AN-22, and its unique 250-tonne payload AN-225 «Mriya», which is the largest aircraft in the world, and smaller AN-26 and AN-74 aircraft.
More than 28 years after launching as the first company to offer the AN-124-100 commercially, Antonov Airlines continues to deliver air cargo solutions across the aerospace, defence, energy, humanitarian, industrial, automotive, and oil and gas sectors.
Antonov Airlines is a division of Antonov Company, headquartered in Kyiv, Ukraine, and a Ukrainian state-owned enterprise, which designs, develops, produces and maintains the AN aircraft.
The UK Office of Antonov Airlines is based at Diamond Hangar, London Stansted Airport. The USA Office of Antonov Airlines is based at Houston, Texas.
Airbus Helicopters and Schiebel have tested Manned Unmanned Teaming (MUM-T) capabilities between an H145 platform and a CAMCOPTER S-100 Unmanned Air System (UAS), thus becoming the first European helicopter manufacturers to demonstrate this technology with the highest level of interoperability (LOI°5).
The companies carried out test flights with the support of the Austrian Armaments and Defence Technology Agency. The two aircraft jointly flew different scenarios including the detection of objects hidden in places not accessible by traditional helicopters. The S-100 was controlled and piloted by an operator sitting in the helicopter. During the flights, the control was also temporarily handed over to a ground-based control station by the pilot in order to simulate the return of the manned helicopter for refueling.
The trials carried out by Airbus Helicopters and Schiebel went up to MUM-T LOI 5. This allows the manned platform to exercise full control of the UAS including its take-off and landing. LOI 1, the lowest level, is the indirect receipt and /or transmission of sensor data obtained by the UAS to the manned aircraft.
«Manned-Unmanned Teaming multiplies the capabilities of both systems», said Mark R. Henning, Program Manager at Airbus Helicopters. Smaller UAS with vertical take-off and landing capabilities can, for example, fly around obstacles as trees or buildings closer than a helicopter could. They are able to explore unknown territory and deliver information to the helicopter crew which is operating from a safe position and which can then step in with the helicopter’s superior effects, having received a clear picture from the UAS. Our airborne MUM-T management system will become a highly attractive feature for our entire product range including the NH90, NFH, and the Tiger together with the H145 as it adds an extremely valuable operational capability. The MUM-T capability can be implemented in any kind of helicopter and can interact with all types of unmanned systems, in particular Airbus Helicopters’ new VSR 700 UAS.
In the framework of the test, the challenges of data transfer interference and electromagnetic compatibility of the UAS with the helicopter as well as the integration of a complete UAS mission planning and control system into the helicopter’s architecture were successfully managed. The S-100 mission planning and control system was provided by Schiebel. The next step will be to optimize the human machine interface based on a thorough analysis of the crew workload using the results of the flight tests.
The H145 is a tried-and-tested, twin-engine H145 civil helicopter that was first delivered in 2014. It is a rugged workhorse and best in its class for rough EMS and police missions. The H145M is the helicopter’s military version.
Germany’s Panzergrenadiere mechanized infantry will receive one of the most modern armored infantry fighting vehicles in the world with the new Puma. Planning for the successor to the current Marder armored infantry combat vehicle began in 2002, and its operational clearance was granted in April 2015.
«Unlike the Marder, the entire crew of the Puma sits in the highly-protected trough, and the turret is unmanned», explains Christoph Jansen of the Koblenz Federal Office for Equipment, Information Technology and Use of the Bundeswehr. The Government Technical Director is Deputy Project Manager for the Puma infantry fighting vehicle. «Due to its exposed position, the turret is the most vulnerable part of the vehicle, and with no crew, less armored space is needed, and at the same time, crew safety increases as does space for radios and other equipment».
This innovation has far-reaching consequences. «It is and must be our goal to keep the Puma under armored protection and not relying on the vehicle to pass through unprotected, which requires the use of modern electronic observation and sighting sensors», Jansen continues. «Therefore, in future, and in addition to the existing visual means, even more powerful cameras will be integrated into the turret and the chassis. This way, the crew of the Puma will remain under armor protection day and night, while both stationary and moving, with good all-round visibility».
Maximum protection and air-transportability in the Airbus A400M
The Puma is the first armored vehicle of the Bundeswehr equipped with add-on reactive armor on the sides. This armor can be removed for transport, for example, in the Airbus A400M and replaced with little effort against other protection modules. Furthermore, a so-called distance-active «Multifunctional Self-Protection System» (MUST) ensures maximum protection of the vehicle crew.
High hit rate, tactile ammunition
«Another strength of the Puma is its high first hit probability», emphasizes Jansen. «One type of ammunition has a programmable detonator. The explosion time can therefore be determined according to the objective».
With the stabilized 30-millimeter automatic cannon, the fully-tracked vehicle can hit targets up to 3,000 meters/9,843 feet away while moving. The Israeli-manufactured multi-role lightweight missile system (MELLS) can engage heavily armored ground targets, such as battle tanks, at distances up to 4,000 meters/13,123 feet.
Full operational readiness planned by 2024
«In addition to the Puma, another important building block in the ‘Panzergrenadier system’ is the armed forces’ Infantryman of the Future (IdZ-ES) soldier equipment. In addition to modern sighting equipment, it also includes modern protection equipment and weapons», explains Jansen. «All in all, the interaction between the vehicle and the IdZ-ES results in a high added value for the Panzergrenadier».
Many additional «features» will be integrated in the future, such as the in 7.62-mm caliber MG 5 machine-gun, which will replace the MG 4 in the Puma. The turret-independent secondary weapons system is also provided, which allows the rifle squad in the rear combat area significantly enhanced capabilities of observation and action, with lethal and non-lethal agents. Threats can be engaged both in the rear and in the flank.
Full operational readiness – with all required services – will be achieved by 2024. But that also has its price. «Each Puma will cost around 12 million euros», says Jansen, «and the Bundeswehr has ordered a total of 350 vehicles».
Marines and Soldiers will finish testing the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle Thursday at the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center here.
Soldiers from Bravo Troop, 1st Squadron, 33rd Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Brigade, 101st Airborne Division joined with Marines of Weapons Company, 1st Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, to run the JLTV through its paces by conducting real-world missions in an operational environment as realistic as Iraq or Afghanistan.
Testing began late February, and according to Randall G. Fincher, JLTV test officer with the U.S. Army Operational Test Command, 39 JLTVs in two variants of Combat Tactical Vehicle and Combat Support Vehicle were split, with 18 going to the Marines and 21 to the Army test units.
«The Marines and the Army were equipped with both variants in the following mission packages: Heavy Guns Carrier, General Purpose, Close Combat Weapons Carrier, and the Utility version», said Fincher.
The biggest advantage to testing was the almost unreserved size of the MCAGCC training area and its harsh terrain, providing a true test of the vehicle’s maneuverability.
«The Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center offers us a large expanse of maneuverable terrain with hardball routes, secondary routes, and cross-country terrain in a realistic desert environment», said Colonel John W. Leffers, director of USAOTC’s Maneuver Support and Sustainment Test Directorate.
«The terrain I see out there, is very indicative of what a Soldier or Marine would see in southern Afghanistan», he continued. «It’s absolutely the conditions the JLTV will be operating in, real-world, based on past deployments and the strong possibility of areas we will operate in for the foreseeable future».
Leffers said the two particular Marine and Army units performing tests represent the JLTV’s primary customers.
«It’s a joint vehicle», he said. «We used the Marines, who picked the company they thought would use the JLTV on a frequent basis. And, for the Army, the Recon Troop was perfect because of the number of JLTVs we wanted to test in a variety of missions that we project the JLTV might be operating under».
Operationally realistic scenarios allowed the test unit Marines and Soldiers to tell the Department of Defense how well the system supports their mission execution.
For the Marines, live fire and helicopter sling load operations, as well as a Marine Amphibious Landing mission at Camp Pendleton, California were added to testing.
One combined anti-armor team section leader Marine who has been deployed to Iraq twice, said training during JLTV testing was beneficial.
«In terms of everything we did specific to Twentynine Palms and the combat center here – all of the scenarios – we’re pretty much experts at», said Marine Sergeant McLennan S. Janes. «That’s all we do. That’s our bread and butter, in terms of movement to contact and conducting deliberate attacks, defense in-depths, and conducting raids and clearances. The things exclusive to JLTV testing included the amphibious landings and sling loads by helicopter that we never get to do».
The 101st Airborne Division Soldiers from Fort Campbell, Kentucky compared the MCAGCC terrain and size to much smaller training areas at their home station.
«It’s not very often my Troop gets to go out anywhere for an extended period of time and train mounted tactics, especially in this kind of terrain», said Captain Michael D. Rodriguez, Bravo Troop commander. «It’s just not what’s at Fort Campbell».
Rodriguez said a Mounted Cavalry Troop is required to spread out over distances up to 15 kilometers and be able to shoot, move and communicate.
«The main thing we can’t get at Campbell that we can get out here is the ability to do our mission over a great distance», he said. We’ve been doing long movements, we’ve been doing missions at distance, and we’ve been identifying enemy outside of our weapons range, which is ideal for what we want to do as Scouts – we want to identify the enemy outside of weapons range and use indirect fire instead of direct fire to disrupt their ability to operate. At Fort Campbell, we come right up on our pretend enemy and get into a direct engagement with them. That’s good training, but it helps to be out here for my Soldiers to be able to see how big the battlespace is that we are required to cover as a Mounted Troop».
Rodriguez also said he welcomed the opportunity to be involved in an operational test without the normal distractions at home station.
«I was able to look at all of my Soldiers and say, ‘Hey, your job is scouting for the next two months.’ That’s pretty valuable», he said.
One of Rodriguez’s platoon leaders said the training experience during the JLTV test will go a long way for him and his Soldiers.
«Traversing in new terrain which is unfamiliar is just like being on a deployment and it’s a good experience for all of us», said First Lieutenant Mike D. Towery. «Now, we have this knowledge base of what it’s like to maneuver in a desert environment, which will most likely be coming up for us, so now we have that experience in our back pocket. We now know the best way to maneuver these vehicles, and especially for myself, I will know how to maneuver a platoon in this type of desert environment».
The operational test’s purpose is to collect data to be used to address operational effectiveness, suitability and survivability of the JLTV in its intended environment, according to Fincher.
The Soldiers and Marines felt their opinions were being listened to and considered when test officers solicited their feedback.
«It is a good opportunity to be able to work out the kinks and provide the future generations in the Marine Corps with a vehicle that is going to be able to operate efficiently in combat», said Janes.
«After every test after action review, I would write about three pages and submit about 20 comment cards per week», said Staff Sergeant Matthew A. Smith, 2nd Platoon Sergeant for the 101st’s Bravo Troop.
With 9-and-a-half years as a Cavalry Scout and five wartime deployments, Smith was content with giving his opinion on what works and what does not work with the JLTV.
Smith said that while USAOTC Commander, Brigadier General John C. Ulrich, was on the ground April 10, he felt the general listened to him with great concern.
«A lot of the comments that I’ve made have been brought up», he explained.
«I was actually able to talk with the general one-on-one about some issues I addressed during data collection», said Smith. «They’re definitely taking our recommendations. It seems like they want to make this the best vehicle possible, so they’re like, ‘Hey, here is what we’ve designed. What do we need to improve upon?’»
Smith said a lot of his Soldiers are young, and outside of JLTV testing, his troops got lots of training on battlefield operations.
«At Fort Campbell, we focus more on dismounted and air assault tactics, and we focus more on the squad level», he said. So, to come here, we have a 100-kilometer square that we can operate in and we’re out here with 20 vehicles fighting as a unit. Space is something that’s limited at Fort Campbell because there’s trees everywhere, and you can’t put every vehicle in the Troop out there and be able to fight a threat like you can here».
The Army, lead for the JLTV portfolio, plans to purchase some 49,000 JLTVs while the Marine Corps plans to purchase 9,000.
According to Samantha Masunaga, Los Angeles Times correspondent, a U.S. Air Force official told a Senate subcommittee Wednesday that the new B-21 Raider bomber has completed its preliminary design review and that he was «comfortable» with the progress made by builder Northrop Grumman Corp.
The bomber is now on its way to critical design review, said Lieutenant General Arnold Bunch Jr., the military deputy of the office of the assistant secretary of the Air Force for acquisition.
Citing the «nature of the work», Bunch declined to go into further detail about how the Air Force planned to spend the $2.3 billion it requested for the bomber program for fiscal year 2019 when asked by Senator Ted Cruz (Republican-Texas). However, he said the program was «continuing engineering manufacturing development» and «some of those risk reduction areas».
The first set of software for the platform has been delivered, and the program is getting «set up» for the next set of software to come in, Bunch told the Senate Armed Forces Subcommittee on Airland during a hearing about Air Force modernization efforts.
«We’re making everything ready to begin our test program in the future», he said. «We’re making good progress. I’m comfortable today with where we’re at, and the progress that Northrop Grumman is making on the program».
Northrop Grumman, which won the bomber contract in 2015, is building the aircraft at its plant in Palmdale. The plant also churns out the Global Hawk high-altitude surveillance drone for the Air Force, the closely related Triton drone for the Navy and the center fuselage for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF).
The defense giant has been hiring at a rapid pace in Palmdale and expects to have 5,200 employees at the site by late 2019.
Lockheed Martin Corp., Lockheed Martin Space, Huntsville, Alabama, is the successful offeror of a $928,000,000 ceiling indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for the hypersonic conventional strike weapon.
This contract provides for the design, development, engineering, systems integration, test, logistics planning, and aircraft integration support of all the elements of a hypersonic, conventional, air-launched, stand-off weapon.
Work will be performed in Huntsville, Alabama. This award is the result of a competitive acquisition and three offers were received. Fiscal 2018 research, development, test and evaluation funds will be obligated at the time of award on the first task order.
Air Force Life Cycle Management, Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, is the contracting activity (FA8682-18-D-0003).
April 18, 2018, Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) welcomed the 10th and final C-27J Spartan into service during a ceremony at RAAF Base Richmond.
Minister for Defence, Senator the Hon Marise Payne, and Minister for Defence Industry, the Hon Christopher Pyne MP, congratulated RAAF on completing the upgrade to the Australian Defence Force’s comprehensive fleet of air mobility platforms.
Minister Payne said the Spartan was a highly versatile aircraft that would enhance battlefield airlift capability of the Australian Defence Force.
«The Spartan provides flexibility to Defence operations, allowing us to land at airfields that are smaller or unsuitable for our much larger transport aircraft like the C-130J Hercules and C-17A Globemaster», Minister Payne said.
«The Spartan can carry up to five tonnes of cargo and is capable of moving troops, equipment and supplies; conducting aero-medical evacuation missions and conducting air drops».
Minister Payne said the Spartans are currently operated by No. 35 Squadron at RAAF Base Richmond and would relocate to RAAF Base Amberley in early 2019.
«The relocation to Amberley will allow No. 35 Squadron to work from facilities purpose-built for the Spartan, and to be more responsive when deploying across Australia and into the Asia Pacific», Minister Payne said.
Minister Pyne said Australia’s defence industry would provide important sustainment support for the capability.
«Northrop Grumman Australia has been selected to provide through-life support to the fleet», Minister Pyne said. «In addition, Fibre Tech Solutions has delivered a cargo restraint system for use on board the Spartan and other air mobility aircraft, increasing the speed and ease of loading and unloading these aircraft. This project supports jobs at both RAAF Base Richmond and Amberley and will contribute toward developing Australian defence industry into the future».
Over the last 12 months, the Spartan has supported Whole-of-Government efforts in the 2017 Papua New Guinea parliamentary elections and during international exercises in New Zealand, Guam and New Caledonia.
Initial Operating Capability for the Spartan was declared in late 2016, and Final Operating Capability is scheduled to be declared in late 2019.