“This Officer has the wisdom of youth, and the energy of old age.” – Apocryphal Officer Fitness Report.

Dear Readers,

Russian forces began to pull back from the Ukrainian border region at the end of last week after the arrival of over 100,000 soldiers and a mass of equipment caused alarm within the Ukraine and those concerned about the stability of the region. Official Russian sources passed it off as just an exercise, but any such massive move of military matériel is designed to serve a political purpose not just a case of proving military logistical capability.

Russia’s illegal annexation of the Crimea in 2014 and its thinly veiled push into eastern Ukraine under the excuse of supporting separatists has ensured a constant tension with not only Ukraine, but also triggered worries that at some point it might try the same tactic in against the Baltic states of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia.

In addition to this land border threat, Russia has reportedly issued a restriction to international military access into the Black Sea for six months up to October. Blocking Ukraine from trading through the Sea of Azov would be yet another tactic to bring pressure upon the Ukraine.

At a NATO-Ukraine Commission meeting in Brussels on 13 April NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg promised to “further enhance our cooperation with Ukraine and Georgia on Black Sea security.” Russia’s announcement seems to directly challenge that assertion. Russia, it seems, would like to make the Black Sea its own personal ‘lake’ in the same way that China is eyeing control of the South China Sea, although that ambition is likely to be restricted not least because of NATO member Turkey along the Black Sea’s eastern rim.




The loss of the Indonesian Navy Type 209/1300 submarine KRI Nanggala 402 with the loss of 53 personnel has been mourned by international naval forces across the world. The submarine went missing around 60 miles off the coast of Bali after reportedly requesting permission to dive during a torpedo firing drill. Wreckage found on 24 April and identified through the use of multi-beam sonar and magnetometer, as well as underwater imagery confirmed the location of the submarine on the sea bed.

While it is still too early to pinpoint the cause of the accident the Indonesian Navy (Tentara Nasional Indonesia-Angkatan Laut – TNI-AL) chief of staff Yudo Margono stated during a news conference that the submarine had been found in “at least three pieces at a depth of 838 metres (2,750ft), much deeper than its structure was rated to endure. He added that there had been no recorded problems associated with the submarine since it returned from its 2012 refit in South Korea.

While there was speculation about how much oxygen the crew might have had, the evidence so far seems to indicate a catastrophic break-up of the submarine as it exceeded its depth limit.


The U.S. government’s Defense Advanced Projects Research Agency (DARPA) has recently awarded contracts to FLIR Systems, Leidos, and Charles River Analytics in connection with its Personalised Protective Biosystem (PPB) programme.

The PPB programme’s objective is to improve Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for individual users facing chemical and biological (CB) threats, which naturally extends into the civilian world in terms of care staff working in vulnerable areas during a pandemic. Current equipment can be bulky and cumbersome, limited the user’s flexibility and slowing down their performance.

In terms of what it means to soldiers in the field facing such threats, Eric Van Gieson, PPB programme manager said the project is intended to “address PPE limitations, including threat-specific vulnerabilities, thermal/logistical burdens, and potential exposure risks…The capability to provide unburdened CB protection will be invaluable in maximising time on target, providing operational flexibility, extending mission duration, and enabling operations in austere environments, regardless of the threat.”

With the industry awards, DARPA is seeking the development of ‘lightweight materials and adaptable, tissue-protective countermeasures to provide on-demand, broad spectrum, and rapid long-term protection.’

The five-year programme is divided into two technical areas (TAs):
TA1 technologies aim to prevent external contact between the threat and the body, providing 100 percent survival against more than 10 CB agents with smart, lightweight materials.
TA2 technologies will neutralise threats at vulnerable internal tissue barriers (i.e. skin, airway, ocular) using a configurable countermeasure.

DARPA’s PPB team is working with a range of organisations including the Joint Program Executive Office for Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear Defense (JPEO-CBRND), the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), the U.S. Center for Disease Control /National Personal Protective Technology Laboratory (NPPTL), and the World Health Organisation International (WHO).

“Successful PPB technologies have the potential to revolutionise how the military and public health communities perform in unpredictable threat environments, while also offering prophylactic and therapeutic solutions to known and emerging infectious diseases,” concluded Van Gieson.

US MAJOR ARMS SALES (Defence Security Cooperation Agency – DSCA).

23 April, 2020 – Australia. MQ-9B Remotely Piloted Aircraft
The State Department has approved a possible Foreign Military Sale to the Government of Australia of MQ-9B Remotely Piloted Aircraft and related equipment for an estimated cost of $1.651 billion.


Highlighting a selection of $100 million+ government awarded contracts awarded between 19-23 April 2021 and Foreign Military Sales contracts.

23 April
(Highest award of the day). Ball Aerospace & Technologies has been awarded a $91 million contract for Trusted and Elastic Military Platforms and Electronic Warfare (EW) System Technologies (TEMPEST) Resilient and Agile Mission Systems (RAMS). This contract provides for the leveraging of current advances in open system architecture standards and approaches, commercial high-speed networking technologies, heterogeneous processing, precision timing, cybersecurity and cyber-resiliency, modelling and simulation, and advanced computing paradigms such as cloud infrastructure to enable advanced mission system capability. Air Force Research Laboratory is the contracting activity.

Yulista Services has received an $8 million contract to provide sustaining engineering services for the F-16 Advanced Integrated Defense Electronic Warfare Suite (AIDEWS) ALQ-211 weapon system. This contract involves Foreign Military Sales (FMS) to support air forces of Pakistan and Turkey. Procurement of this services will enhance operational safety, suitability, and effectiveness of the AIDEWS and bolster F-16 FMS fleets’ survivability against electromagnetic threats. Air Force Life Cycle Management Center is the contracting activity.

Northrop Grumman Systems was awarded an $11million modification contract for integrating air defense systems in Poland. Fiscal 2020 Foreign Military Sales (Poland) funds in the amount of $11 million were obligated at the time of the award. U.S. Army Contracting Command is the contracting activity.

22 April
(Highest award of the day). CJW Construction; Romero General Construction; Martin Brothers Construction; De La Fuente Construction; Command Performance Constructors; Access General Contracting; and Portillo Concrete, are awarded a combined maximum value $99 million IDIQ multiple award construction contract for new construction, renovation, and repair by design-build or design-bid-build of paving projects located at various government installations within the Naval Facilities Engineering Systems Command Southwest area of responsibility including, but not limited to, California, Arizona, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, and New Mexico. The Naval Facilities Engineering Systems Command Southwest is the contracting activity.

Leidos is awarded a $9 million contract for contractor support to operate and maintain the active and passive sonar systems necessary to provide mobile undersea acoustic surveillance capabilities. Foreign Military Sales funds in the amount of $994,036 will be obligated at the time of award. The Naval Information Warfare Systems Command is the contracting activity.

21 April
Raytheon Technologies has received a $243 million modification contract for one AN/TPY-2 Radar (Radar #13) to support Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) Battery #8. The modification brings the total cumulative face value of the contract to $1.2 billion. The Missile Defense Agency is the contracting activity.

Mancon is awarded a $132 million IDIQ contract that will include terms and conditions for the placement of firm-fixed-price task orders to acquire supplies, parts, equipment, and store operation services required by Naval Supply Systems Command Fleet Logistics Center Norfolk for the Norfolk Super Servmart. Naval Supply Systems Command Fleet Logistics Center Norfolk is the contracting activity.

AITC-Five Domains JV was awarded a $27 million contract for to provide train, advise, assist and mentor services. Fiscal 2021 Foreign Military Sales (Saudi Arabia) funds in the amount of $27 million were obligated at the time of the award. U.S. Army Contracting Command is the contracting activity.

IronMountain Solutions received a $13 million modification contract for technical management support for the Apache attack helicopter project manager’s office. Fiscal 2019 and 2020 aircraft procurement, Army funds; and fiscal 2021 Foreign Military Sales (Australia, Morocco, Netherlands, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, and United Kingdom) funds in the amount of $13 million were obligated at the time of the award. U.S. Army Contracting Command is the contracting activity.

20 April
Northrop Grumman Systems has been awarded a ceiling $2.3 billion contract with an ordering period of 18.5 years for sustaining engineering support and program management support services for the Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) propulsion subsystem. This contract provides for assistance to the government in maintaining the Minuteman III weapon system. Work shall be in areas including, but not limited to; sustaining engineering, maintenance engineering, modification of systems and equipment, hardware and software maintenance, developmental and production engineering, procurement, replenishment, repair and refurbishment. The contractor shall be required to conduct materials and subcomponent analysis and test, including ageing surveillance test and evaluation. The primary focus shall be to identify ageing mechanism, anomalous behaviour, and ensure any modifications or changes to the system which shall maintain and/or improve system-level performance. Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center is the contracting activity.

Boeing was awarded a $436 million modification contract for full rate production of Apache AH-64E aircraft. U.S. Army Contracting Command is the contracting activity.

Alabama Industries for the Blind; Alphapointe; Arizona Industries for the Blind; Associated Industries for the Blind; Beacon Lighthouse; Blind Industries and Services of Maryland; Central Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired; Cincinnati Association for the Blind; Envision; IFB Solutions; Industries for the Blind and Visually Impaired; LCI; San Antonio Lighthouse for the Blind and Vision Impaired; South Texas Lighthouse for the Blind; The Lighthouse for the Blind; and Virginia Industries for the Blind, are sharing a maximum $150 million IDIQ contract for the Ability One Base Supply Center Tailored Logistics Support Program. Using customers are Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and Coast Guard. The contracting activity is the Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support.

19 April
Science Applications International was awarded a $199 million IDIQ contract to provide laboratory operations and support to the Defense Intelligence Agency. The Virginia Contracting Activity is the contracting activity.

Huntington Ingalls Industries has been awarded a $107 million contract action for long lead-time material (LLTM) in support of one Amphibious Assault Ship Replacement (LHA(R)) Flight 1 Ship (LHA 9). This action will be the fifth increment of LLTM awarded to Huntington Ingalls Industries. The Naval Sea Systems Command is the contracting activity.

Boeing has been awarded a $79 million modification contract for KC-46A long lead spares, initial spares and support equipment. This modification provides mission essential long lead spares, initial spares, and support equipment for use on the Japan KC-46 aircraft being produced under the basic contract. This modification involves Foreign Military Sales to Japan. Total cumulative face value of the contract is $880 million. Air Force Life Cycle Management Center is the contracting activity.

Advanced Electronics, Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, has been awarded a $10 million modification contract to definitise the previously awarded letter contract for the F-15 Royal Saudi Air Force (RSAF) Electronic System Test Set (ESTS). Services acquired under this effort are to provide the RSAF with an upgraded ESTS. The RSAF currently uses an A31U18240-2 ESTS configuration, and this shall provide the scope to upgrade and install the A31U18240-3 and A31U18240-4 configuration (frequently referred to as -3 and -4, respectively), as well as familiarisation training, regression testing, and travel. Foreign Military Sales funds in the amount of $6 million are being obligated at the time of award. Air Force Life Cycle Management Center is the contracting activity.


  1. “Scotland Forever!” is an 1881 painting by Lady Butler depicting the start of the cavalry charge of the Royal Scots Greys at the Battle of Waterloo in 1815 during the Napoleonic wars.
  2. “Chamberlain’s Charge” painting by Mort Kunstler depicting the counter-attack down the slopes of Little Round Top by the 20th Maine infantry regiment commanded by Colonel Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain during the Battle of Gettysburg.
  3. The Battle of Tutoburg Forest “Die Hermannsschlacht” painted by Gemälde von Friedrich Gunkel, 1862–1864. In the year A.D. 9, it is understood that a combined force of deeply independent Germanic tribes ambushed and destroyed three Roman legions over the course of three days.


No further updates.


No further updates.

Andrew Drwiega
Andrew Drwiega, Editor-in-Chief, Armada International / Asian Military Review.

Best wishes,

Andrew Drwiega

Armada International / Asian Military Review