DE&S awards contracts to upgrade Type 45 missile systems

The UK’s Defence Equipment & Support (DE&S) organisation has awarded contracts worth £500m to upgrade missile systems on the Royal Navy's Type 45 destroyers.

MBDA UK will integrate the Common Anti-air Modular Missile (CAMM) into the Type 45 destroyer’s Sea Viper weapon system under an 11-year contract. Eurosam will undertake a 10-year Aster Mid-Life Refresh programme of work to missiles that the Type 45 destroyers currently use.

The two contracts will support more than 100 highly skilled jobs in Bristol, Stevenage, Gosport and Bolton upgrading the air defence systems of the Type 45 destroyers.

DE&S Maritime Anti-air Weapon Systems (MAWS) team leader Captain Matt Stratton RN said: “The placement of these contracts cements the next step in the UK’s development of the Type 45 Destroyer’s Sea Viper capability and is the result of a tremendous amount of activity between MBDA and the MAWS delivery team.

“The introduction of the UK produced CAMM as the inner layer missile in conjunction with a refresh of the fielded ASTER 30 outer layer missile will provide the Type 45 with a significant uplift in anti-air capability into the future as the Type 45 delivers the backbone of Air Defence to the Royal Navy’s Carrier Strike Group (CSG).

“These contracts are the critical element of the Sea Viper Mid Life Refresh programme which will sustain the weapon system through to the platform’s out of service date. We now enter the incredibly exciting demonstration and manufacture phase where we will bring this capability to the hands of the end-user.”

Type 45 destroyers currently use a combination of short-range Aster 15 and long-range Aster 30 anti-air missiles to engage with and destroy enemy threats.


France’s PNF orders judicial probe into Rafale jet deal with India

A judicial investigation has been ordered by France’s national financial prosecutor's office (PNF) to look into alleged ‘corruption’ and ‘favouritism’ in the Rs590bn ($7.94bn) Rafale fighter jet deal with India.

French investigative website Mediapart reported that the probe was ordered after fresh reports on suspected wrongdoings in the deal and a complaint filed by Sherpa, a France-based financial crime specialist non-governmental organisation.

India’s current National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government had signed a deal on 23 September 2016 to procure 36 Rafale jets from French aerospace firm Dassault Aviation.

This deal was signed by India after an almost seven-year exercise to procure 126 Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) for its air force did not materialise.

Mediapart reported that the highly sensitive probe into the inter-governmental deal signed off in 2016 was formally opened on 14 June.


Switzerland selects F-35

The Swiss Federal Council has decided to purchase 36 Lockheed Martin-built F-35A Lightning II fighter aircraft for its Air2030 air defence programme.

In November 2020, the Federal Office for Defence Procurement received the second proposal for the new fighter aircraft from four potential manufacturers. The shortlisted aircraft candidates were Airbus Eurofighter, Dassault Rafale, Boeing F/A-18 Super Hornet and Lockheed-Martin F-35A.

During a comprehensive technical evaluation, the F-35A offered the highest overall benefit in terms of effectiveness, product support, and cooperation at the lowest cost. The council also based its decision on the manufacturer’s and the production country’s existing technological dependencies.

It found that the F-35A system’s cyber management, computer architecture and protection measures offer a high level of cybersecurity and decided that a fleet of 36 aircraft would be enough to meet the airspace protection needs of the country.


UK MOD invests in missile systems development

The UK Ministry of Defence has granted £3.5m to Defence Science Technology Laboratory (Dstl) for the development of smarter missile systems.

The new grant will support Dstl’s Co-operative Strike Weapons Technology Demonstrator project. The Dstl-led project will explore how inter-missile communication can allow the weapons systems to jointly work. It also explores ways to enhance the performance of current systems.

UK Defence Procurement Minister Jeremy Quin said: “Drawing on the vital expertise of our Dstl scientists, innovative new missile systems will enhance our current capabilities as Defence adapts to meet future threats.

“With an investment into research and development, this project highlights the central role science and technology plays in informing how our assets operate.”

The funding forms part of a broader £6.6bn investment in defence research and development. It is expected to support the delivery of future cooperative missiles, including hardware and software and provide systems studies informing the use of cooperative missiles in operational cases.


US and French leaders discuss cooperation

US Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III has met French Minister of the Armed Forces Florence Parly at the Pentagon to discuss ways US and French armed forces can work together. The two leaders signed the Special Operations Forces roadmap, which enhances cooperation between French and US special forces.

Austin said at the meeting: "Our cooperation in NATO, the Sahel and the Middle East are a key to our long-standing partnership, which is grounded in common strategic interests, our shared understanding of the importance of diplomacy and a powerful interest in preserving the international rules-based order.”

The two leaders discussed the ways the two nations can work together in NATO and bilaterally including facing the challenge from China.

"Today, as you well know, some of our competitors are working to undermine the stable and open order that we both support," Austin said. "So, in the Indo-Pacific in particular, France is an ideal partner for the United States as we work to bolster our shared interests in the region.

The two nations also agreed to work together on Russian challenges in Europe and elsewhere.


Russian frigate set to carry hypersonic missile

The Russian Navy’s third Admiral Gorshkov-class frigate Admiral Golovko will become the first to regularly carry Tsirkon hypersonic missiles, a defence industry source has told news agency Tass.

The main weapons for Gorshkov-class frigate are currently two 16-cell universal vertical launchers 3S-14 for Kalibr missiles. Admiral Golovko has carried out test firings of Tsirkon missiles since October 2020.

The Tsirkon missile, also spelt Zircon, is a scramjet-powered manoeuvring anti-ship hypersonic cruise missile. It has a maximum speed of up to MACH 9, a range of 1,000 to 2,000km depending on the target and can carry a warhead weighing up to 400kg.

Admiral Golovko was laid down on 1 February 2012 and launched on 22 May 2020 from Severnaya Verf shipyard in Saint Petersburg. She is scheduled to be commissioned in late 2021 or 2022.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said the Tsirkon missiles will enter combat duty in Russia soon.


Parsons buys digital security firm BlackHorse for $203m

Defence technology solutions provider Parsons has closed the purchase of digital security firm BlackHorse Solutions in an ‘accretive deal’ worth $203m. The agreement to acquire the digital security firm was signed in June.

The completion of this acquisition will expand Parsons’ customer base and adds capabilities related to cyber, digital operations, artificial intelligence/machine learning to Parsons’ portfolio. It will also enable Parsons to expand its proven solutions and products that address next-generation military, intelligence, and space operations.

Boeing enters new partnership for potential German P-8A support deal

Boeing has signed cooperation agreements with two companies in preparation for a potential P-8A Poseidon aircraft order from Germany.

The aerospace company partnered with German firms ESG Elektroniksystem- und Logistik-GmbH and Lufthansa Technik to explore potential areas of collaboration.

The companies may sign definitive collaborative agreements if Germany decides to purchase the P-8A Poseidon as its next maritime surveillance aircraft.

L3Harris closes sale of certain business units to CAE and RENK for $1.45bn

L3Harris Technologies has completed the sale of its military training business to CAE for a cash consideration of $1.05bn and closed the sale of its Combat Propulsion Systems and related businesses to RENK AG for $400m in cash.

In March this year, L3Harris Technologies signed a definitive agreement to divest its military training business and Combat Propulsion Systems business, to CAE and RENK, respectively. The company plans to use proceeds from the divestitures towards share repurchases. Both the deals are jointly valued at $1.45bn.

Triumph to supply HUAVs to support F-35 fleet readiness

Lockheed Martin has selected Triumph Group’s Actuation Products & Services operating company to supply its hydraulic utility actuation valves (HUAVs) for F-35 sustainment.

The HUAVs will be used to support F-35 fleet readiness at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point.

Over the next five years, Triumph’s Clemmons facility in North Carolina, US, will also offer material and engineering support.

Since last year, the company started providing HUAV aftermarket parts for military depot operations as part of its partnership with Lockheed Martin.

According to Triumph, the engineering and logistics that supports sustainment efforts at the MCAS Cherry Point will further demonstrate the company’s technical capability in ‘high demand depot settings’.

Triumph Actuation Product and Services president Scott Ledbetter said: “We are excited to expand our support of the F-35 programme and support MCAS Cherry Point and the US fighters who expect and demand fleet readiness.

TKMS to build six Type 212CD submarines for Germany and Norway

Thyssenkrupp Marine Systems (TKMS) has been commissioned to construct six new Type 212 Common Design (CD) submarines for the Norwegian and German Navies.

Valued around €5.5bn, the contracts involve the delivery of two 212CD submarines to Germany and the remaining four to Norway.

TKMS CEO Rolf Wirtz said: “The 212CD order is a major milestone. The Norwegian and German navies are getting the most modern submarines in the world, international and industrial teamwork will permanently shape cooperation in the maritime sector, and we have created capacity utilisation for our company.”

TKMS will start work on building the first vessel in 2023. Norway is expected to take delivery of the first of its four submarines in 2029.

Germany will receive its two vessels in 2032 and 2034.

The 73m-long 212CD submarine will have a beam of 10m and a 2,500m³ surface displacement.

TKMS has already started preparatory works for the order with the construction of a new shipbuilding hall at its shipyard site.

USAF awards Northrop Grumman $306m ICBM support contract

The US Air Force has awarded Northrop Grumman Corporation a $306m five-year base contract to continue its role as the Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) Ground Subsystems Support Contractor. This competitive award has a potential ceiling of $3.86bn over 18 years.

“Northrop Grumman brings proven performance, a highly skilled team of experts, and a continued commitment to ensuring Minuteman III weapon system operational readiness for the U.S. Air Force,” said Greg Manuel, sector vice president and general manager, strategic deterrent systems division, Northrop Grumman.

“Our team is using the latest in digital engineering and innovation to keep today’s system reliable, safe and secure while positioning the Air Force for a smooth transition to the Ground-Based Strategic Deterrent system over the next couple decades.”

As prime contractor on GSSC since 2015, Northrop Grumman will continue to provide engineering and field services to sustain Minuteman III, the world’s oldest deployed strategic ballistic missile system, through the end of its service life later next decade.

£230m boost for RAF submarine-hunter fleet

The Royal Air Force has awarded Boeing Defence UK a contract worth over £230m for its Poseidon P8-A maritime aircraft fleet, creating 153 UK jobs.

The majority of the jobs will be based at RAF Lossiemouth – the home of the Poseidon fleet – and will provide aircraft maintenance support and personnel alongside a comprehensive training package for aircraft crews. The remaining 46 jobs will be spread across sites at Bristol, Yeovil and Gosport.

Specialising in anti-submarine warfare, the Poseidon is the RAF’s multi-role maritime patrol aircraft. Working alongside the Royal Navy and close maritime allies such as the US and Norway, Poseidon locates, identifies and tracks potentially hostile submarines operating around UK waters.


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

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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.