Elbit Systems UK wins contract for Royal Navy future training programme

Elbit Systems UK has secured a contract from the UK Ministry of Defence (MOD) for the Royal Navy Future Naval Training Programme.

Awarded as part of the Fisher consortium led by British company Capita, Elbit Systems UK will serve as a training solutions provider for the consortium.

The contract is valued at about £123m and will be carried out over a period of 12 years.

According to Elbit, the programme seeks to transform and upgrade the UK Navy’s shore-based training. It also the includes the creation of the ‘Future Submarine School’.

Under the contract, the company will ‘modernise and manage legacy synthetic training systems’ across the British Navy. It will deliver a new combat systems operator trainer in the Future Submarine School.

Elbit noted that its UK subsidiary will provide new training technologies that will enhance the Royal Navy's maritime defence operational training capability.

Elbit Systems UK Martin Fausset CEO said: “The programme will be a pathfinder for the Royal Navy’s transformation agenda, with the introduction of enhanced training capabilities at the forefront of personnel achieving their potential and arriving at the front line quicker. 

“We are proud to be a part of the team to deliver next-generation training capabilities to the Royal Navy, following on the success of the company’s provision of advanced training capabilities to the British Army and the Royal Air Force.”

// Image: Astute-class attack submarine HMS Ambush. Credit: MOD


DASA awards £3m funding for Intelligent Ship competition

The UK’s Defence and Security Accelerator (DASA) has awarded £3m in funding for its Intelligent Ship competition to improve decision-making, mission planning and automation using artificial intelligence.

The competition, led by DASA on behalf of the Ministry of Defence’s Defence Science Technology Laboratory, seeks to develop technologies for naval vessels from 2030 onward.

The £3m funding was split between nine projects, including a decision-making support system for engineering crews to manage power and propulsion systems and an AI prototype agent to support decision-making during pre-mission preparation, mission execution and post-mission analysis.


DARPA launches project to develop compact night-vision technology

The US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has announced a new programme to develop lightweight and compact night-vision goggles (NVG).

The 'Enhanced Night Vision in eyeglass form' programme aims to design lightweight NVGs that will offer a wide field of view across multiple infrared spectrum bands.

The technology replaces existing night-vision technology that uses binocular-like optics mounted on a helmet with a single flat lens in a pair of regular eyeglasses.

The compact set will provide pilots and ground forces with night vision to operate in low light conditions, including fog, dust and other obscurants, as well as with thermal vision.


US Department of Navy releases new Blue Arctic document

The US Department of Navy has released a new Blue Arctic strategic blueprint that will guide the service on maintaining America’s interests across the Arctic Ocean.

The strategy calls for an increase in the country’s regular presence in the Arctic to help make the region more navigable and accessible.

Navy Secretary Kenneth J Braithwaite said: “As our naval force continues to meet the challenging demands of a Blue Arctic in this era of great power competition, the Department of the Navy remains committed to protecting the Arctic environment and ensuring naval forces do their part to help preserve it.

“This blueprint guides how the department will continue to provide the right levels and types of presence on, under, and above Arctic water, ensuring America is prepared to compete effectively and efficiently to maintain favourable balances of power. This includes strengthening cooperative partnerships to ensure coordination with key allies and partners in the region.”

According to the blueprint, the department will take a ‘tailored approach when considering permanently stationed forces, rotational forces, and temporary forces’ across the region. It also states that the department will improve military education, training, as well as exercises with partners in and around the Arctic.


Pentagon orders USS Nimitz to remain in Middle East

US aircraft carrier USS Nimitz and its carrier strike group will reportedly remain in the Middle East due to concerns over potential threats from Iran.

US acting Secretary of Defense Christopher Miller has issued a statement confirming that the USS Nimitz nuclear-powered aircraft carrier and its carrier strike group will remain in the Middle East.

USS Nimitz was supposed to return home after a nine-month deployment with plans to prepare it for its next deployment. However, Miller said he decided to keep the carrier strike group in the Middle East, citing threats from Iran without going into details.

The tensions between Washington and Tehran come around the anniversary of the killing of Iranian General Qasem Soleimani.


China withdraws troops from training areas near LAC border

China has reportedly withdrawn 10,000 troops from training areas located near the disputed Line of Actual Control (LAC) with India.

According to reports, the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has shifted soldiers from these training centres to other positions, possibly due to extreme weather conditions in the region.

However, there is no change in the PLA’s frontline deployments.

The Indian Armed Forces and the PLA have been engaged in a border stand-off near the Ladakh region since May. The two sides held several rounds of discussions to resolve the impasse without any concrete result.

Following the military standoff, India has ramped up spending on new equipment and upgrades. 


RAN’s Hunter-class frigate programme’s prototyping phase underway

The Australian Department of Defence has announced that the prototyping phase of the Royal Australian Navy’s (RAN) Hunter-class frigate programme is underway at the Osborne shipyard in Adelaide.

Last month, the Hunter-class frigate programme officially entered the prototyping phase, marking a key milestone for the National Naval Shipbuilding Enterprise.

This phase will prepare the shipyard and workforce for the construction of the frigates.

The five prototype blocks, which will be manufactured and assembled during this phase, will be used to test the shipyard’s production systems. It will also allow training of the staff and help with the development of facilities.


USAF Golden Horde Vanguard programme tests collaborative weapons

The US Air Force (USAF) Golden Horde Vanguard programme has completed the first flight demonstration of collaborative weapons, which was partly successful.

Using technology developed by the Air Force Research Laboratory and Scientific Applications & Research Associates, an Air Force Test Center team flew an F-16 releasing two small diameter bombs modified with a collaborative autonomous payload.

The bombs established communication with each other and collaborated to identify the highest priority targets. However, the weapon navigation system failed to receive the collaboration guidance commands due to an improper weapon software load and the weapons impacted a failsafe target.


US develops testbed to support designing future tiltrotor aircraft

A team of US Army researchers and industry partners has built a testbed to help with designing a stable tiltrotor aircraft.

The researchers will use the TiltRotor aeroelastic stability testbed (TRAST) in a massive wind tunnel at the Nasa Langley Research Center to assess the effectiveness of modern tiltrotor stability models.

The US is working to develop a tiltrotor aircraft for future operational requirements. Such aircraft can hover in the air and travel in great speeds, combining the advantages of a helicopter and an aircraft. However, they face severe stability issues as they are designed with heavy engines with large rotors on the end of the wings, a feature that generates strong aerodynamic forces which can cause aircraft failure.

The TRAST will help the researchers in developing new analysis software that can help in exploring different design possibilities of tiltrotor aircraft.


France selects Parrot ANAFI USA for its armed forces

France’s national defence procurement agency has selected Parrot to supply the country’s armed forces with 300 ANAFI USA micro-UAS under a five-year contract.

The small drone will be used for surveillance and reconnaissance missions.

Saab to deliver Carl-Gustaf M4 weapons to Norwegian Armed Forces

Saab has secured a contract to deliver Carl-Gustaf M4 weapon systems to the ;Norwegian Armed Forces. The framework agreement allows Norway to place orders for the man-portable shoulder-fired weapon systems, associated equipment and training systems over a seven-year period.

US DoD awards $110m contract to Puritan for foam tip swabs

The US Department of Defense (DoD), in partnership with the Department of Health and Human Services, has awarded a $110m contract to Puritan Medical Products for foam tip swabs. Puritan will use the funds to increase domestic production of the swabs used in critical Covid-19 diagnostic tests.

GA-EMS receives contract modification to develop hypersonic projectiles

General Atomics Electromagnetic Systems (GA-EMS) has received a contract modification from the US Army to support development and maturation of hypersonic projectiles. GA-EMS will manufacture guided projectiles for test firings later this year. The live-fire testing will assess the effectiveness of the projectiles, which are designed to intercept moving airborne targets under high G-force and in electromagnetic field environments.

US Air Force downselects Northrop Grumman to provide F-16 electronic warfare suite

Northrop Grumman has been downselected as a sole contractor to provide the US Air Force's F-16 electronic warfare suite. The contract will see the completion of the final project efforts in providing EW suite for the fighter jet fleet. According to Northrop, this critical capability for the F-16 Fighting Falcon fleet will protect pilots from the danger of radio frequency-guided weapons.

USAF awards $275m contract to CAE for KC-135 training services

The US Air Force has awarded CAE USA an eight-year contract to continue providing complete KC-135 aircrew training services. The contract has a one-year base performance period and comes with seven additional one-year option periods. The total contract is valued at over $275m. 

Kratos secures task order to complete turbojet engine development

Kratos Defense & Security Solutions' Turbine Technologies Division has secured a $12.7m task order to complete the development of a turbojet engine for future cruise missiles and attritable unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). The Turbine Engine Division of the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL/RQT) will be managing the programme.

Lockheed Martin industry team wins $1.28bn F-35 sustainment contract

Lockheed Martin's industry team has been awarded a $1.28bn undefinitised contract action to support sustainment of the global F-35 aircraft fleet. Awarded by the F-35 Joint Program Office, the team will provide support through 30 June 2021. Under the contract, the team will be responsible for initial ‘critical sustainment activities’ for a global fleet of F-35s.

Royal Moroccan Navy awards OPV contract to Spain’s Navantia

The Royal Moroccan Navy has awarded a contract to Spanish shipbuilder Navantia to build a new offshore patrol vessel (OPV). The company will use the design of the Avante-class ship for the 80m-long Moroccan OPV. Avante is a littoral patrol vessel with a 1,500t full load displacement and 4,000nm range.

Babcock wins Royal Navy Harpoon missile in-service support contract extension

Babcock International has won the in-service support contract extension for the UK Royal Navy’s Harpoon Missile System. The extension will allow the company to continue provide support for an additional one-year. Babcock is responsible to provide air and missile attack defence expertise to support the Harpoon missile system’s availability. The long-range anti-ship missile is installed on all the UK Navy’s Type 23 frigates and Type 45 destroyers.


US Navy plans to use UAS for cargo transport

The US Navy is assessing the feasibility of using uncrewed aerial systems (UAS) for cargo transport between vessels or from ship to shore. The Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division has acquired a logistics UAS prototype to demonstrate the transfer of cargo over long ranges. The vehicle will be tested and upgraded for military sealift requirements.

Naval Group delivers first Suffren-class submarine to French Navy 

French shipbuilder Naval Group has delivered the first of six Suffren-class nuclear attack submarines for the French Navy. This delivery marks an important milestone in the Barracuda programme, which upgrades the submarine component of France's nuclear deterrent.

Iran unveils domestic ballistic missile launcher

Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps has reportedly unveiled a domestically built ballistic missile launching system. Tasnim news agency reported that the air force manufactured thdine automated system, which is used for launching long-range ballistic missiles.


Australian Navy tests robots for counter-disaster operation

The Royal Australian Navy has tested robots in a simulated counter-disaster operation. As part of exercise Autonomous Warrior Genesis, the navy tested uncrewed land, air and sea vehicles in response to a simulated humanitarian relief scenario.

US and Japan complete exercise Keen Sword 21 

US Indo-Pacific Command units and the Japan Self-Defense Force have completed exercise Keen Sword 21, a joint-bilateral field training exercise in Japan. It involved maritime and air operations, amphibious landings, missile defence exercises, resupply, cyber and space operations.

Royal Air Force concludes Exercise Crimson Warrior 

The Royal Air Force has concluded Exercise Crimson Warrior, a three-week training operation involving fast jets, helicopters and unmanned air systems with involvement from the British Army, US Air Force and US Marines. Exercise Crimson Warrior has been adapted from Cobra Warrior with missiodinns being added to support the F-35B and helicopters that form part of the Carrier Strike Group Air Wing.

In brief

Fabri-Kal launches Recycleware Containers to expand sustainability

Food packaging solutions provider Fabri-Kal has expanded its sustainable product offerings with the launch of its new Recycleware Containers. Manufactured in the US, the products contain a minimum of 20-50% post-consumer recycled PET material and are recyclable.

Burger King and TerraCycle’s Loop to pilot new reusable packaging 

Fast-food chain Burger King has partnered with TerraCycle’s circular packaging service, Loop, to pilot new reusable packaging. The partnership is part of the brand’s Restaurant Brands for Good framework to help reduce packaging waste.

Stora Enso launches take-away bowls for food service packaging 

Pulp and paper manufacturer Stora Enso has partnered with wholesale company Tingstad to market its new food service take-away bowls, PureFiber. The packaging is designed to replace plastic on-the-go food packaging. It is free from plastic and PFAS.

H&M presents new Looop garment-to-garment recycling system

Swedish clothing-retail company H&M is introducing a garment-to-garment recycling system that helps transform old textiles into new ones. Known as Looop, the container-sized machine promotes circularity in fashion and keeps unwanted garments from turning into waste.