RUSSIA’S UKRAINE MADNESS
I restart Bunker Briefing again in 2022 much where I left off in November 2021, shaking my head at the madness of the Russian leadership.
While President Putin, on the surface, complains that NATO is encroaching eastward towards Russia and that Russian security is threatened, the reason why so many ex-Soviet Bloc countries want to join NATO is conveniently forgotten.
The years that many of those countries spent, post World War Two, under the draconian occupation of Soviet forces with puppet governments installed has left them with a resolute commitment never to return to such dark days of Russian oppression. Events such as the Hungarian Uprising of 1956 and the Prague Spring of 1968 underline the difference between free and democratic societies of the West and those held down and their populations subservient to the will of the Kremlin.
The complete charade of Russia’s claim that its armed forces are – en masse – just surrounding the Ukraine for the purpose of military exercises holds little credibility. The huge numbers of troops with the complete set of supporting arms threatens, as many commentators have said, the biggest military conflict on mainland Europe since the Second World War. Perhaps the most unbelievable aspect to this will that it will pitch two nations together that have close historic links and family ties.
One certain result will be the rapid re-armament of European NATO states facing Russia, a massive rejuvenation and strengthening in the resolve of the organisation in general, and a resulting return to Cold War styled bases, deployments and readiness. Economically the fall out will effect the global economy at a time when it is still suffering from the impact of COVID.
Let us hope all of the above does not happen.
Thanks for reading,
THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK
“Tracers work both ways.” – US Army Ordnance
UK MOD KEEPS ROTORCRAFT MODERNISATION OPTIONS OPEN
During the International Military Helicopter conference, staged over three days from 15-17 February, in London, UK and managed by DefenceIQ, the theme of the future of military rotorcraft was at the fore. The conference was well attended by a good international audience and backed by a good range of industry sponsors.
Prior to the conference, on Monday 14 February, UK Minister of the Armed Forces James Heappey and US Secretary of the Army Ryan McCarthy signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MoU) to collaborate on the modernisation of a number of Army capabilities, not least the US Army’s next generation rotorcraft covered by the Future Vertical Lift development.
The FVL Co-operative Program Feasibility Assessment agreement is more of a ‘hanging onto the coat-tails’ of two programmes that have long been in motion to produce the US Army’s next generation of Future Long-Range Assault Aircraft (FLRAA) and the Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft (FARA). The underlining requirements are for speed, range and open system architecture so that through-life systems upgrades are not proprietary and that the cost of ownership should be reduced over time.
The UK is also a member of the the NATO Next Generation Rotorcraft Capability (NGRC). In November 2020 the UK four other NATO member nations – France, Germany, Greece and Italy – in signing a Letter of Intent (LoI) to develop a new helicopter capability.
Incidentally, the UK also needs a New Medium Helicopter (NMH) to replace its fleet of 24 AS 330 Puma HC2s, upgraded and delivered by Airbus Helicopter from 2012 to 2015. Upgrades included two Turbomeca Makila 1A1 turboshaft engines and a new digital cockpit among other improvements. However, the fleet is due for retirement in 2025, with replacements also being sought for six AS365 Dauphan IIs, the three Bell 412 Griffin HAR2 helicopters operated in Cyprus, five Bell 212s operated in Brunei and Kenya, as well as filling a light attack helicopter role now vacant following the retirement of the Lynx AH Mk9. There are already a number of potential contenders for the NMH including the Leonardo AW149, Airbus H160M or H175M, Sikorsky’s S-70I or even the Bell 525 Relentless. But this is not a replacement for a next generation helicopter requirement, be it of the FVL or NGRC type.
One comment made during a coffee break to this writer by a serving European officer was along the lines of – “why is so much being made of the US FVL strategy – the US may have to fly ‘far and fast’ if it operates in the Indo Pacific, but that rule does not have to apply to Europe.” However, with the ever present demands from military pilots for more speed, range and power – it is unlikely that next generation designs will be overlooked.
US MAJOR ARMS SALES (Defence Security Cooperation Agency – DSCA).
17 February – Poland, M1A2 SEPV3 Main Battle Tank
The State Department has approved a possible Foreign Military Sale to the Government of Poland of M1A2 SEPv3 Main Battle Tanks and related equipment for an estimated cost of $6.0 billion.
10 February – Indonesia, F-15ID Aircraft
The State Department has approved a possible Foreign Military Sale to the Government of Indonesia of F-15ID Aircraft and related equipment for an estimated cost of $13.9 billion.
8 February – Jordan, Guided Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (GMLRS) Alternate Warhead (AW) Unitary Rocket Pods
The State Department has approvws a possible Foreign Military Sale to the Government of Jordan of Guided Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (GMLRS) Alternate Warhead (AW) Unitary Rocket Pods and related equipment for an estimated cost of $70 million.
7 February – Taiwan, Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in the United States – International Engineering Services Program (IESP) and Field Surveillance Program (FSP) Support.
The State Department has approved a possible Foreign Military Sale to the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in the United States (TECRO) of equipment and services to support participation in the Patriot International Engineering Services Program (IESP) and Field Surveillance Program (FSP) for five years, including engineering services support, designed to sustain, maintain, and improve the Patriot Air Defense System for an estimated cost of $100 million.
3 February – Jordan, F-16 C/D Block 70 Aircraft
The State Department has made a determination approving a possible Foreign Military Sale to the Government of Jordan of F-16 C/D Block 70 Aircraft and related equipment for an estimated cost of $4.21 billion. The Defense Security Cooperation Agency delivered the required certification notifying Congress of this possible sale today.
3 February – Saudi Arabia, Multifunctional Information Distribution Systems – Low Vlume Terminals (MIDS-LVT)
The State Department has approved a possible Foreign Military Sale to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia of Multifunctional Information Distribution System-Low Volume Terminals (MIDS-LVT) and related equipment for an estimated cost of $23.7 million.
US GOVERNMENT CONTRACTS
Highlighting a selection of major equipment and support contracts and Foreign Military Sales between 13-18 February 2022. This list is the Editor’s selection and is arbitrary.
Boeing was awarded a $103 million modification contract for AH-6 aircraft for Thailand. Fiscal 2010 Foreign Military Sales (Thailand) funds in the amount of $103 million were obligated at the time of the award. US Army Contracting Command is the contracting activity.
Lockheed Martin Aeronautics is awarded a $42 million modification IDIQ contract that exercises an option to procure ancillary mission equipment in support of F-35 Joint Strike Fighter Lot 16 production aircraft for the Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, Foreign Military Sales customers, and non-U.S. Department of Defense participants. Work will be performed in Fort Worth, Texas, and is expected to be completed in December 2024. No funds are being obligated at time of award; funds will be obligated on individual orders as they are issued. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Maryland, is the contracting activity.
Northrop Grumman Systems is awarded a $252 million hybrid contract to provide for the Next Generation Targeting Handheld System (NGHTS). The effort includes low-rate initial production, full-rate production, testing, spare parts, engineering services, logistics support, training and documentation. The contract is a follow-on to the NGHTS Other Transaction Authority (OTA) Agreement prototyping effort, awarded in September 2018. The Marine Corps Systems Command is the contracting activity.
Huntington Ingalls Industries was awarded an $188 million modification contract to continue performance of the repair, maintenance, upgrades, and modernisation efforts on the USS Columbus (SSN 762) engineered overhaul. The Supervisor of Shipbuilding, Conversion and Repair, USN, is the contracting activity. (Awarded Feb. 16, 2022)
Sikorsky Aircraft is awarded a $99 million IDIQ contract that provides products and support required to rapidly integrate and field VH-92A aircraft simulators and trainers in support of the Presidential Helicopter Program. The products include delivery of technical analysis, technical reports, trade studies, and retrofit kits for ground support equipment modifications that support deficiency resolution, capability/technology insertions, obsolescence redesigns, and reliability/sustainability improvements. The Naval Air Systems Command is the contracting activity.
CORRECTION: The $492 million contract announced on 28 December, 2021, to Lockheed Martin to provide logistics support for ground maintenance activities, action request solutions, depot activities, automatic logistics information system operation and maintenance, reliability and maintainability, supply chain management, pilot training, maintainer training, and training system sustainment in support of delivered F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter aircraft systems for the Air Force, Marine Corps, Navy, non-U.S. Department of Defense participants and Foreign Military Sales customers has been amended to the amount of $2.1 billion. All other variables in the contract remain unchanged.
BB Government Services, Germany; Conti Federal Services; ECCO, Germany; J&J Maintenance; KLEBL, Germany; Mickan Generalbaugesellschaft Amberg, Germany; Sociedad Española De Montajes Industriales, Spain; SKE Support Services, Germany; Wayss & Freytag Ingenieurbau, Germany; and Wolff & Muller Government Services, Germany, will compete for each order of the $400 million contract to provide design-build and design-bid-build construction services in Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands. The estimated completion date of 15 February, 2027. US Army Corps of Engineers is the contracting activity.
US Air Force
Rockwell Collins, Military Avionics & Helicopters, has been awarded a $99 million IDIQ contract for avionics sustaining engineering services that provides for propitiatory engineering services and support for recurring and non-recurring requirements relating to the E-3 Airborne Warning and Control System. This contract is 35 percent Foreign Military Sales to NATO. Air Force Life Cycle Management Center is the contracting activity. (Awarded 11 February, 2022)
Sikorsky Aircraft is awarded a $372 million modification contract that exercises an option for the production and delivery of four low-rate initial production, Lot 6, CH-53K Heavy Lift aircraft, as well as associated aircraft programmatic and logistical support for the government of Israel. It is expected to be completed in November 2025. Foreign Military Sales funds in the amount of $372 million will be obligated at time of award. The Naval Air Systems Command is the contracting activity.
Lockheed Martin Rotary and Mission Systems is awarded a $12.5 million order against a previously issued basic ordering agreement that provides non-recurring engineering for the development of preliminary software design, software coding, maturation, test, and integration for Link 16 Advanced Capabilities with the Multifunctional Information Distribution System Joint Tactical Radio System into the MH-60R/S aircraft for the Navy and Foreign Military Sales (FMS) customers. The Naval Air Systems Command is the contracting activity.
Alion Science and Technology; Amentum Services; Leidos; SAAB; and Scientific Research, are awarded a maximum ceiling $249 million IDIQ contract for research, development, upgrades, sustainment, engineering, integration, testing, and cybersecurity to tactical and electronic warfare threat systems and peripheral instrumentation, including threat simulators, radars, and training instrumentation capable of operating in network-centric warfare and battlespace environments, in support of pre-deployment aircrew training and weapons and countermeasures development to improve aircrew lethality and survivability. Companies have an opportunity to compete for individual orders. The Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division is the contracting activity.
Defense Information Systems Agency
Trace Systems was awarded an IDIQ contract for $181 million to supply various Iridium-certified equipment, provisioning support, and 24/7/365-dedicated help desk support to all authorised Enhanced Mobile Satellite Services (EMSS) customers, including the Department of Defense and federal government, state and local government, approved foreign and allied governments, and other sponsored customers. The Defense Information Technology Contracting Organisation is the contracting activity.
Northrop Grumman Systems was awarded a $61 million modification contract for procurement of M1156 Precision Guidance Kits. US Army Corps of Engineers is the contracting activity.
Lockheed Martin was awarded a $16 million contract for Patriot Advanced Capability-3 flight test support. Work will be performed in Saudi Arabia and Qatar, with an estimated completion date of 13 February, 2025. Fiscal 2022 Foreign Military Sales (Saudi Arabia and Qatar) funds in the amount of $16 million were obligated at the time of the award. US Army Contracting Command is the contracting activity.
Textron Aviation was awarded an $11 million contract for new commercial Beechcraft King Air 360ER aircraft. Fiscal 2022 Foreign Military Sales (Sri Lanka) funds in the amount of $11 million were obligated at the time of the award. US Army Contracting Command is the contracting activity.
Northrop Grumman Military Aircraft Systems is awarded a $22 million modification contract that adds scope to provide non-recurring engineering risk reduction to support the delivery schedule for E-2D aircraft FAA1-FAA3 for the government of France. Work is expected to be completed in April 2022. Foreign Military Sales funds in the amount of $22 million will be obligated at the time of award. The Naval Air Systems Command is the contracting activity.
WORLD DEFENCE SHOW
6-9 March, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
21-23 March, Qatar National Convention Centre (QNCC), Doha, Qatar.
Army Aviation Mission Solutions Summit, 3-5 April, Nashville, TN, USA.
Thanks for reading,
Armada International / Asian Military Review