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Raytheon has received a $235m contract to begin the low-rate initial production of GPS-equipped systems designed to guide military aircraft on to carriers or amphibious assault ships.
The company will manufacture 23 Joint Precision Approach and Landing Systems along with three upgrade kits, associated data and engineering change proposals, the US Department of Defense said Wednesday.
Recently, F-35Bs deployed to the Pacific aboard the USS Wasp used the Joint Precision Approach and Landing System (JPALS) to guide them onto the ship’s deck in all weather and surface conditions up to the rough waters of Sea State 5.
The system allows precise landings through GPS receivers and an encrypted, jam-proof datalink.
“We’re asking our pilots to land in some of the most difficult conditions on Earth,” said U.S. Navy Captain B. Joseph Hornbuckle III, programme manager, Naval Air Traffic Management Systems Program Office.
“JPALS goes a long way toward ensuring the safety of our aircrews and the success of our missions.”
JPAL’s precision navigation is equally effective ashore they say. A land-based version of the system can be small enough to be either dropped into an austere environment via parachute or driven in on a trailer.
“Deploying with the F-35 is a good start, but it’s just the beginning,” said Matt Gilligan, Raytheon vice president of Navigation, Weather and Services.
“There are many fixed and rotary wing aircraft around the world and across the services that deploy to harsh, low-visibility environments where JPALS would be extremely valuable.”
More than 1,500 military personnel, 60 fighter jets and 13 helicopters are practicing their flying skills this month at the 2019 NATO Tiger Meet at the French Air Base at Mont-de-Marsan.
Around 900 sorties are being planned, prepared, conducted and debriefed at the 2019 NATO Tiger Meet. According to a NATO news release:
“International military flying units with a tiger in their logo are getting together at the base south of Bordeaux to conduct tactical flying exercises. The participants from fighter and helicopter units from NATO Allies Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Poland, Portugal, Spain, the United Kingdom, Partner Austria and a NATO AWACS plane are flying large mixed aircraft formations also known as composite air operations (COMAOs).
For ten days, two aircraft waves are flown. During the morning COMAO waves of some forty aircraft take off to simulate aerial manoeuvres against twenty others; this takes more than two hours and requires thorough preparation and debriefing sessions for the pilots and planners. In the afternoons the so-called shadow wave will provide training opportunities for junior pilots with limited scenarios and smaller training areas. All flights are conducted in separated airspace over the ocean, the Mont-de-Marsan area or the central parts of France.”
The different Tiger squadrons coordinate and fly together so they will find it easier to cooperate in real-world scenarios whenever and wherever required.
The NATO Tiger Meet is a tactical-level live-fly event that has existed since 1961.
Following significant recent investment to stay ahead of modern test aircrew training demands, Qinetiq say that ETPS now provides modular courses that are flexible, adaptable, and cost effective, and that deliver for both military and commercial training needs.
ETPS, traditionally a military school, is now also a European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) Approved Training Organisation, leading the field in flight test training for both military and civilian customers. The new modular delivery model includes long and short courses to meet customers’ individual needs. It focuses on student-centred learning and coaching, underpinned by modern education technologies that use completely modernised aircraft.
ETPS Commanding Officer Cdr Stuart Irwin RN, said:
“Flt Lt Ed Eldred (RAF C130J pilot) became the first ETPS student to make a solo sortie under the new model. He enjoyed 45 minutes airborne in glorious weather around Boscombe Down, in an aircraft which represents a huge capability leap for us, and that has been serviceable for every sortie for which it’s been programmed.
Although just another type in Ed’s logbook, it represents an important milestone on ETPS’ transformation journey, and is the fruit of much hard work by the Air Warfare Centre (AWC) and QinetiQ team.”
The U.S. Air Force Space Fence system detected the breakup field from an anti-satellite test conducted by India during a scheduled endurance exercise of the new space surveillance radar.
The agency say that as MICROSAT-R was expected to pass through the un-cued surveillance fence, the sensor (named Space Fence) automatically issued a “breakup alert” indicating there were multiple objects within close proximity.
“Space Fence observed a significant amount of debris tracks surrounding the time of the event crossing labeled as uncorrelated targets. Long-arc tracking was initiated within the orbital debris cloud to form accurate initial orbit determinations. With this information, the system was able to automatically predict and correlate the next crossing time.”
“Although the Space Fence system is still under test, it continues to demonstrate its advanced capabilities providing operationally-relevant information in all orbital regimes from Low Earth Orbit through Geosynchronous Earth Orbit,” said Dr. Rob Smith, vice president and general manager of Radar and Sensor Systems for Lockheed Martin.
“The criticality of space assets to both national defense and the world economy cannot be understated. As multiple new mega constellations consisting of thousands of satellites become a reality and the space domain continues to become more congested, the demand for more accurate and timely space situational awareness data will be of the utmost importance to the warfighter.”
The Space Fence system continues to track objects from the anti-satellite event through the government-led testing phase which began in early April.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg met with the United Kingdom’s Defence Secretary, Penny Mordaunt this week.
Mr. Stoltenberg congratulated the Defence Secretary on her appointment and said he looked forward to working with her to address the security challenges the Alliance faces, according to a news release.
“They discussed the current security environment, NATO’s adaption to new threats and preparations for the Summit of NATO Heads of State and Government to be held in London this December.
Mr. Stoltenberg thanked the United Kingdom for its leadership in NATO and its strong commitment to the Alliance, on land, in the air, at sea, and in cyberspace.”
Along with The North Atlantic Council, Mr. Stoltenberg will attend the Cyber Defence Pledge Conference at the National Cyber Security Centre in London on Thursday.
The Secretary General will make a keynote speech on NATO’s adaption to counter cyber threats. The United Kingdom’s Foreign Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, will also address the conference.
The NATO Communications and Information (NCI) Agency is planning to release £1.2 billion in business opportunities in the next 18 months.
As NATO’s tech and cyber leader, the Agency works to deliver technology and services to NATO Nations and Commands. During these next 18 months, the Agency plans to issue bids for, or award contracts in areas such as cyber security; joint intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance; and satellite communications.
According to the NATO website, the 1.4bn Euro is comprised of:
Satellite Communications The Agency plans to contract out 189 million EUR in satellite communications transmission services for the space, ground and control resources to support NATO operations from 2020 to 2034.
Cyber Security 129 million EUR is planned for refreshing and optimizing the security technology for NATO’s communications and information systems.
Deployable Communications and Information Systems (CIS) Through several other projects, the Agency is also planning to contract out 153.2 million EUR on deployable CIS and capability enhancements.
Nuclear Command and Control Services NATO plans to make investments in the order of 15-to-20 million EUR to ensure a safe, secure and effective nuclear deterrent in the face of new technologies and threats. These funds will be used to develop software and procure IT equipment, among other things.
Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) Functional Services NATO also plans to invest 10 million EUR in this area to develop software, replace certain ageing tools and support command and control of CBRN assets.
Joint Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance The Agency plans to issue a bid worth 17 million EUR in the area of Joint ISR, to provide additional intelligence collecting and sharing capabilities to NATO Commands.
NATO minehunters took part in Lithuanian-led historical ordnance disposal operation Open Spirit 2019 this month, say the Alliance.
According to the Lithuanian Ministry of National Defence, more than 80,000 thousand naval mines and other explosive ordnance placed during World War I and World War II are estimated to be still under the water and pose a threat to individuals working on and in the Baltic Sea.
Open Spirit is an international maritime operation led on a rotating basis by Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia. The Lithuanian Navy is leading the operation in 2019 in coordination with the NATO Centre of Excellence for Operations in Confined and Shallow Waters.
They brought together more than 15 ships from Lithuania, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Latvia, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland and the United Kingdom to participate in the explosive ordnance disposal operation this year.
“Open Spirit provides a unique opportunity to train in our core warfare in a multinational and realistic environment,” said Commander of Standing NATO Mine Countermeasures Group One (SNMCMG1) Commander Peter Krogh, of the Danish Navy.
“We are pleased to make the Baltic Sea safer for those who use the sea for commercial reasons. For us as well as the civilian society it is a win – win.”
HMS Westminster is approaching the half-way point of a six-month mission to keep the Baltic secure with NATO.
The Royal Navy say in a release that the frigate is spending the bulk of the spring and summer as part of a task group charged with ‘keeping the waters safe and being ready at the drop of a hat to respond to any major incident – anything from disaster relief through to conflict’.
“Westminster is part of a seven-strong NATO force led by flagship American destroyer USS Gravely with Spanish frigate EPS Almirante Juan de Borbón, Turkish frigate TCG Gokova and her sister ship ORP Generał Kazimierz Pułaski (both are former US Perry-class warships), Denmark’s support/command/amphibious ship HDMS Absalon, and German tanker FGS Rhön keeping the fuel tanks of all topped up.
Group 1 is one of four task forces directed from NATO’s naval headquarters in Northwood, northwest London, where the Royal Navy’s Vice Admiral Keith Blount took over from Vice Admiral Sir Clive Johnstone just this week.”
The ship met up with the force in time for the first Joint Warrior exercise of 2019. Since then, say NATO, the group has focused the bulk of its time in the Baltic, linking up with that sea’s numerous navies.
British services firm Serco has announced it is to acquire the US Naval Systems Business Unit for $225m.
NSBU is a leading provider of naval design, systems engineering, as well as production and lifecycle support services to the US Navy, US Army and Royal Canadian Navy.
In the 12 months to September 2018 NSBU had revenues of $336m, which compares with Serco’s North American Defence revenues in 2018 of $453m; NSBU has an order book of around $600m and a new business pipeline of over $2bn.
Commenting on the Acquisition, Rupert Soames, Serco Group Chief Executive, said:
“This is an important step for Serco which materially adds to the scale and capability of our US defence business, and in particular to the maritime support segment. Serco employs some 6,000 people in North America, of whom 2,300 work in defence, and has been providing services to the US Navy for nearly 30 years, so we know this market well. NSBU, which employs around 1,000 people, brings world-class ship and submarine design, systems, and engineering services, production support and in-service sustainment capabilities, which are highly complementary to Serco’s existing skills in ship modernisation, hardware integration and naval logistics.
The combined business will be a top tier supplier of services to the US Navy, which has recently announced plans to increase the fleet from 280 to 355 ships by 2034, and we see a long-term and growing demand for the capabilities that the combination of Serco and NSBU will be able to provide. We are financing the Acquisition through a mix of debt and equity which will allow us to maintain leverage well within our target range of 1-2x EBITDA, and we expect the Acquisition to be materially accretive to earnings in the first full year of ownership.
We greatly look forward to welcoming our new colleagues to Serco. The current management team of NSBU will continue to run the business and lead the integration into Serco, and we know they are as excited as we are by the opportunity to create a major new supplier of maritime engineering services, combining our joint capabilities in ship and systems design, modification and sustainment.”
Serco Group plc is a British provider of public services with headquarters based in Hook, Hampshire. Serco operates in six sectors of public service provision: Health, Transport, Justice, Immigration, Defence, and Citizens Services.