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16 septembre 2015 3 16 /09 /septembre /2015 11:50
SME Showcase at DSEI 2015


16 September 2015, Centre for Defence Enterprise, Defence Science and Technology Laboratory and Ministry of Defence


The Centre for Defence Enterprise (CDE) will showcase some of the best research ideas it's funded, delivered by small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).


At DSEI 2015, 10 SMEs who have been successful through CDE funding competitions will present their work in 5-minute pitches. Time for networking will follow.

This session will take place on Thursday 17 September 2015, 12pm to 2pm in the West Theatre, Unmanned Zone. Find out more.

It will include an introduction to CDE opportunities, before hearing first hand from the 10 SMEs about their companies and their innovations.

The session will be very useful for those with an interest in innovative defence research and to meet up-and-coming SMEs who have been funded as part of the CDE supply chain.

The companies exhibiting for CDE are listed below. The innovation summaries link to a case study from each organisation.



Innovation summary

Autonomous Devices

Improvised robotic devices

Folium Optics

Adaptive camouflage technology


High-resilience radio communication receivers


Use of plasmonic meta materials in lenses


Deriving secure encryption keys from the properties of digital systems


Secure mobile communications software

The Technology Partnership (TTP)

Sensing solution for SONAR applications

Thinking Safe

Insider threat detection

Trauma Simulation

Realistic trauma simulation


On-device, voice biometric mobile identity management solution

Presentations from the companies will be also be published after the event via the links above.


About CDE

CDE funds novel, high-risk, high-potential-benefit research. We work with the broadest possible range of science and technology providers, including academia and small companies, to develop cost-effective capabilities for UK armed forces and national security.

CDE is part of Dstl.

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17 septembre 2013 2 17 /09 /septembre /2013 17:50
Seconds-out for Cassius UAV

Sept. 17, 2013 by Craig Hoyle – FG


London - Cranfield Aerospace and Raytheon UK are testing a new lightweight unmanned air system, which is now being promoted to potential buyers.


Aimed at the military intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance market, but also potentially suitable for a range of civilian applications, Cassius features a high level of autonomy, says Cranfield business adviser Keith Marshall.


"The operator just has to check if the weather conditions are within launch tolerance and find the wind direction, then after launch all they have to do is 'fly' the sensor," Marshall says.


First flown around two months ago and exhibited for the first time at the 10-13 September DSEi show in London, Cassius has a maximum take-off weight of 8.75kg (19.3lb), including a Raytheon-sourced electro-optical/infrared sensor payload. Flight endurance is in excess of 3h, and service ceiling above 5,000ft (1,520m).


"We have had a lot of interest, including with international customers," Marshall says. Civilian applications could include performing border or environmental monitoring tasks, he adds.


Flight-testing with the system is continuing, with the partners seeking to complete an initial 50h of activity.


"In the not too distant future there will be more UAS," says Phil Nettleship, chief of engineering at Raytheon UK's Airborne Solutions unit. "As a group, we have an interest in this sector."

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17 septembre 2013 2 17 /09 /septembre /2013 07:55
Sherpa APC XL photo Guillaume Belan

Sherpa APC XL photo Guillaume Belan

13.09.2013 par Guillaume Belan (FOB)


Deux nouveautés étaient présentées sur le stand de Renault Trucks Défense au salon britannique DSEI. Ou plutôt des évolutions de véhicules existants.


Le blindé 4X4 Sherpa APC se dote d’un grand frère, Le Sherpa APC XL, dont le volume intérieur gagne 1m3 et offre en option des portes latérales. Il s’agit en fait d’une version adaptée aux compétitions en cours pour les forces de sécurité intérieures brésiliennes.


Bastion APC HM photo Guillaume Belan

Bastion APC HM photo Guillaume Belan

L’autre évolution concerne le Bastion APC, développée en version haute mobilité (« HM »). Doté de suspensions indépendantes au lieu et place de ponts rigides, il gagne également en puissance avec un moteur de 340 chevaux (le même qui propulse le VAB Mark 3). Cette version aurait été vendue à des forces spéciales européennes.

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16 septembre 2013 1 16 /09 /septembre /2013 16:55
Une bonne nouvelle pour Nexter

16.09.2013 RP Defense


Selon une source industrielle proche du dossier, Nexter a annoncée en interne le projet de 145 nouveaux recrutements.


L’entreprise, qui vient de présenter son nouveau blindé TITUS au salon DSEI, envisage de lancer le recrutement de 85 CDI, qui viennent s’ajouter aux 55 déjà réalisés en 2013 ainsi que 60 contrats en alternance.


le Titus  (crédits Nexter)

le Titus (crédits Nexter)

Ces recrutements sont en lien avec les précédentes déclarations du leader de la Défense terrestre qui souhaite participer à l’effort national actuel ayant notamment pour objectif d’améliorer la situation de l’emploi en France, en favorisant les contrats durables et l’insertion des jeunes.

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13 septembre 2013 5 13 /09 /septembre /2013 16:50
Selex ES reveals UNIMAST, an innovative approach to integrated naval mast design

Sep 12, 2013 ASDNews Source : Selex ES


Selex ES, a Finmeccanica company, has revealed UNIMAST, its new integrated multi-sensor naval mast at DSEi 2013. UNIMAST brings together air and surface target detection and tracking, communications, IFF and electronic warfare capabilities housed in a single, low-radar cross section profile structure featuring a single management system. The latter integrates the operations of multifunctional 3D AESA radars, phased array IFF operating at Mode 5 and below, optronic systems, communication suites (including tactical data links) and EW systems.


UNIMAST offers significant operational effectiveness benefits over the conventional approach of adding and replacing separate mast sub-systems over time, with the risks of sub-optimal performance and mutual interference. Every sensor has an unobstructed field of view, and systems can operate simultaneously without conflicting. All systems can be operated from a common System Manager, which acts as the “brain” of the integrated mast.


“The UNIMAST will make a huge difference to a vessel’s operational capability. Historically, Navies installed and qualified multiple sub-systems, and then struggled to operate them simultaneously to their optimum performance - those days are over.” said Lorenzo Mariani, Managing Director of Selex ES’s Land & Naval division, adding; “Our expertise goes from large systems integration through to best-of-breed enabling-sensors and communications, so we’re able to combine systems into a single structure and ensure they operate seamlessly together.”


The UNIMAST is a modular system which will be reconfigured depending on the vessel mission.

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12 septembre 2013 4 12 /09 /septembre /2013 07:55
RTD and Thales present packaged solutions for digitised armoured units

11 September 2013 Thales


DSEI, London, 11 September 2013 – Renault Trucks Defense (RTD) and Thales are proud to present a new range of solutions for combined arms armoured units and security agencies. The two companies are leaders in their respective fields and have partnered up to propose a complete range of packaged "off-the-shelf" solutions to customers.


Each package for company or battalion level units includes VAB Mk3 and Sherpa armoured vehicles from Renault Trucks Defense with mission systems developed by Thales and tailored to each vehicle variant. At battalion level, for example, a fleet of up to 85 digitised vehicles, including VAB Mk3 armoured vehicle in APC (Armoured Personal Carrier) or IFV (Infantry Fighting Vehicle) configurations, can be delivered with the same electronic architecture (Battlenet Inside from RTD) and the field-proven Comm@nder Battlegroup command system from Thales. RTD and Thales committo providing a fully operational system on a turnkey basis.


Other packaged solutions are available for battlefield reconnaissance and surveillance units, based on the Bastion and ALTV platforms from ACMAT (a subsidiary of RTD), with sensor suites from Thales including day/night optronics, battlefield surveillance radars, COMINT systems and CBRN sensors. These solutions are also suitable for domestic security agencies deploying the same units on border control and critical infrastructure protection missions.


RTD and Thales are long-term partners and the packaged solutions available today are based on well-developed technologies. The two companies presented an ALTV vehicle configured for border surveillance at Milipol 2011 and a digitised version of the VAB Mk3 at Eurosatory 2012. A Special Forces version of the Sherpa equipped with Thales sensors was presented at the Sofins special operations event in 2013.

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12 septembre 2013 4 12 /09 /septembre /2013 07:55
Blindé à six roues motrices Titus - Nexter

Blindé à six roues motrices Titus - Nexter

11/09 Par Alain Ruello - lesechos.fr


Le groupe d’armement a dévoilé un véhicule de moins de 1 million d’euros pour l’exportation


Dans le marché très encombré des blindés à six roues motrices, Nexter a fait sensation ce mercredi au salon DSEI de Londres. Le numéro un français de l’armement terrestre a dévoilé Titus, un projet secret sur lequel il travaillait depuis 2010. Avec ce nouveau véhicule, l’industriel s’engage dans le low cost, pour mieux se ­frotter à ses concurrents des pays émergents, comme le turc Ottokar. Prix de départ : 700.000 euros.


Titus revendique la capacité de mener un grand nombre de missions de basse, moyenne ou haute intensité : transport de troupes, combat, ou encore logistique. Fortement protégé, armé de n’importe quelle tourelle téléopérée de 7,62 à 20 mm, dotée d’une électronique, dernier cri, il peut emporter jusqu’à 12 soldats, en plus de l’équipage.


« Le maître mot c’est la modularité », explique Michel Lautier, expert opérationnel véhicule blindé chez Nexter. En moins de six heures, on doit pouvoir reconfigurer le véhicule sans repasser au garage, à deux ou trois exceptions près, comme pour la version mortier. Pour en arriver là, Philippe Burtin, le PDG, a donné liberté totale à ses équipes pour se fournir au meilleur rapport coût­-efficacité. D’où un châssis fabriqué par le tchèque Tatra et un moteur pioché chez l’américain Cummins. Le projet a aussi bénéficié des apports du chantier « grand large » de chasse aux coûts internes et récupère des développements déjà financés. Ainsi, les sièges sont ceux de l’Aravis,.


Appel d’offres de l’armée


Stratégiquement, il s’agit d’un développement important. Char lourd Leclerc, canon Caesar ou blindé d’infanterie VBCI : fournisseur historique de l’armée française, Nexter a toujours fait dans le haut de gamme. Titus rencontrera-t-il le même succès que le Duster de Renault ? Au prix annoncé, Michel Lautier assure que le blindé n’a rien à envier à ses concurrents. De quoi intéresser la France, qui prévoit de remplacer ses VAB dans le cadre du programme Scorpion ? L’armée de terre a beau être exigeante sur le prix, Titus n’est pas éligible pour des raisons techniques. On en reste donc au schéma prévu : une alliance Nexter-Renault Trucks Defense pour répondre au futur appel d’offres. A condition que les deux industriels renouvellent leur accord, qui arrive prochainement à expiration.

Blindés : Nexter s’engage dans le low cost

TITUS®, le véhicule 6x6 blindé polyvalent du XXIème siècle


Grâce à un niveau de modularité exceptionnel reposant sur des kits missions, des kits environnements opérationnels ainsi que de nombreuses variantes, TITUS® est capable d'accomplir un large éventail de missions (transport de troupe, missions de combat, appui au combat et fonctions de soutien logistique) dans n'importe quel type d'engagements susceptibles de se produire dans un conflit hybride.


Equipé d'un châssis Tatra 6x6 combiné à un moteur de 440 ch, TITUS® se distingue par une extrême mobilité. La protection est également au cœur de la conception de TITUS®. Le véhicule est ainsi doté d'un blindage modulaire nouvelle génération qui lui confère une protection balistique (niveaux 2 à 4), une protection aux mines (niveaux 4a et 4b) ainsi qu'une protection contre les attaques d'engins explosifs improvisés (IED) de 150 kg maximum, renforcées par la conception Nexter SAFEPRO® d'origine. Pour permettre à l'équipage de 2 ou 3 hommes et au groupe de combat de 12 hommes maximum de rester longtemps au sol, Nexter a accompli un énorme travail d'intégration du facteur humain. La puissance de feu n'a pas été négligée puisque TITUS® peut être équipé de n'importe quel type de tourelle téléopérée de 7,62 à 20 mm, ainsi que des lance-grenades de 40 mm, selon le niveau de menace et le type de mission. TITUS® est totalement intégré au réseau C4I grâce à une vétronique nouvelle génération. Baptisé FINDERS®C2, le Système d’Information Terminal de Nexter optimise la connaissance de l’environnement autour du véhicule, et est optimisé grâce à un système de caméras périmétriques et un robot de reconnaissance (NERVA® LG) permettant un débarquement sûr.

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12 septembre 2013 4 12 /09 /septembre /2013 07:50
Foxhound Patrol Vehicle in Afghanistan - photo UK MoD

Foxhound Patrol Vehicle in Afghanistan - photo UK MoD

Sep. 11, 2013 By ANDREW CHUTER – Defense news


LONDON — Helicopter support contracts, a further order for Foxhound armored vehicles and the creation of an armor research center were unveiled by British defence procurement minister Philip Dunne on the second day of the DSEi defense show Sept 11.


Pick of the orders, at least in size, was a six year £367 million deal with Rolls Royce Turbomeca to support the RTM322 engine used to power the British Army’s Apache attack helicopter and the Merlin machines used by the Royal Navy and, the Royal Air Force.


Dunne told the DSEi audience that the Ministry of Defence expected to save more than £300 million compared with previous support arrangements.


Dunne also announced a further order for 24 Foxhound protected patrol vehicles from the Force Protection Europe arm of General Dynamics.


The £23 million deal brings total British military Foxhound orders to 400. To date, the company has delivered 350 of the 376 vehicles previously ordered.


The vehicle was deployed for the first time to Afghanistan in 2012 after a launch order from the British in 2010.


Armor was also the subject of Dunne’s third announcement: a plan to create a ceramic armor development center in Newport, South Wales, involving the MoD’s Defence Science and Technology Laboratory and Kennametal Manufacturing.


The joint funding of a £2 million specialized manufacturing center will enable the partners to develop full-size ceramic armor components for personnel and vehicle protection in sufficient quantity to enable full-scale impact tests.


The MoD said in a statement that improved development and production will help reduce the reliance on armor imports.


Dunne said the facility, trhe largest in Europe “will further advance the UK’s freedom of action in advanced ceramic armor.”

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12 septembre 2013 4 12 /09 /septembre /2013 06:55
Nexter TITUS Tactical Infantry Transport and Utility System 6x6 armoured vehicle DSEI 2013

11 sept. 2013 Army Recognition

United Kingdom, London. At DSEI 2013, French manufacturer Nexter unveils its new 6x6 armoured vehicle TITUS (Tactical Infantry Transport & Utility System).

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11 septembre 2013 3 11 /09 /septembre /2013 17:50
Rolls-Royce Unveils New Maritime Patrol Vessel Design

Sep 11, 2013 ASDNews Source : Rolls-Royce Plc


Rolls-Royce has unveiled a new design of maritime patrol craft at the Defence & Security Event International (DSEI) in London.


The first of a 'protection vessel family' of designs, is a new 55-metre craft featuring a range of equipment from Rolls-Royce (stabilisers, thrusters, steering gear, fixed pitch propellers) and MTU (diesels, diesel generators, Callosum IPMS), offering a cost-effective design that can be tailored to mission requirements.


Weighing around 500 tonnes, the new vessel is suited to patrol, search and rescue and interception duties. A 90-metre version of the craft will be on offer by the end of the year, with a 75-metre design following in 2014.


Garry Mills, Rolls-Royce, Chief of Naval Ship Design, said: "Coastal protection and offshore patrol vessels is a growing sector and this new design offers multi-purpose capability, incorporating core design elements that are replicated across the family of vessels.


"Our customers often face short timescales in the procurement of this type of craft, and having a scalable, cost effective offering is essential.


"There is a growing trend of commercial marine technology crossing into naval markets as governments seek cost reduction through proven capability. Naval vessels generally comprise many disparate and complex technologies, and that’s what Rolls-Royce, with its broad product base, is good at integrating bespoke whole-ship systems to minimise programme risk."

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11 septembre 2013 3 11 /09 /septembre /2013 17:50
Patria future generation armoured wheeled vehicle concept launched at DSEI 2013

11.09.2013 Patria - army-guide.com


Patria’s new vehicle concept is built on the success of the market leader Patria AMV, but takes the overall performance of the modern 8x8 armoured wheeled vehicle platform to a new level fulfilling the customer needs of tomorrow.


Patria launched its top notch, armoured wheeled vehicle concept at DSEI 2013 exhibition in London. The new vehicle concept is built on experience and verified solutions based on the Patria AMV, which has been the unrivalled market leader of modern 8x8 AWVs for the last decade with nearly 1400 units contracted, selected by seven different nations and combat proven in real mission environment.


Unique features


Patria has decades of experience in armoured wheeled vehicles and the products are under continuous development and fitted with the latest technology. The new vehicle concept has many unique features e.g.


    Flexibility through modularity – It has a modular vehicle architecture allowing easy adaptation to various roles and providing built-in growth potential for future customer requirements.


    Payload efficiency – 13 ton payload at 30 ton gross vehicle weight provides the needed payload capacity without sacrificing the off-road mobility.


    Superior performance – Based on combat proven solution with upgraded power line and a new integrated terrain control system.


    Protected future – Modular, tailorable protection solutions match the threats and can also be easily upgraded in the future.


    Firepower to match – It is an ideal platform for weapon systems up to 120 mm including also Patria Nemo 120 mm - Ready for 21st century soldier – Electrical power output, connectivity and ergonomics are designed for the needs of future soldier systems.


By developing the new armoured vehicle concept Patria provides the best solutions to match the customer needs of tomorrow. The new vehicle concept at DSEI is the first concept vehicle and its extensive testing will be continued after the exhibition.


“The new vehicle concept with very high standards has been provided by us at Patria, a company with the proven track record and solid owners committed to take care of the life-cycle support of its products. The unique technology know-how is a very valuable asset for us in the future, and based on that we want to provide even better vehicles for our customers in future”, highlights Seppo Seppälä, President, Patria Land Systems and Land Services.

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11 septembre 2013 3 11 /09 /septembre /2013 17:20
Harris' new RF-7850A radio – Photo Sgt. DeNoris A. Mickle.

Harris' new RF-7850A radio – Photo Sgt. DeNoris A. Mickle.

11 September 2013 army-technology.com


Harris has introduced a new airborne mission radio for enhanced international ground-to-air tactical communications at the ongoing Defence Security and Equipment International (DSEI) exhibition in London, UK.


Dubbed RF-7850A, the new tactical radio is designed to deliver secure and reliable voice and wideband data communications for a range of ground-to-air missions, including intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR), close-air support (CAS) and border patrol.


Harris RF communications international business president, Brendan O'Connell, said the radio enables international forces on both ground and in aircraft to exchange real-time information through interoperable voice, video, images and other ISR applications.


''With more information in hand, air crews will be able to respond quickly and appropriately, resulting in improved mission success,'' O'Connell said.


The radio has been launched in two configurations, namely RF-7850A-UA and RF-7850A-MR, to help offer a better solution than current systems for a broad range of platforms..


A lightweight and single-channel radio, RF-7850A-UA is designed for use with unmanned aerial systems (UAS) for rapid data transmission from ISR platforms to air and ground forces, as well as range extension for ground tactical networks.


Featuring significant size, weight and power advantages over the existing communication systems, RF-7850A-MR is a multiband dual-channel radio engineered for use in helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft.


Capable of easily integrating with airframe intercom systems, the radio delivers two independent channels in the same physical space as legacy single-channel solutions. It also has cross-banding capabilities for bridging of disparate radio networks.


The radios feature a simple user interface and are fully interoperable with all members of the company's Falcon II and Falcon III families, including the RF-7800M wideband radio.


In addition, the radios use the Harris adaptive networking wideband waveform (ANW2) and the new time division multiple access (TDMA) networking waveform for wideband networking.

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11 septembre 2013 3 11 /09 /septembre /2013 12:50
The ScanEagle ready for launch on a pneumatic catapult - Picture Boeing Defence UK

The ScanEagle ready for launch on a pneumatic catapult - Picture Boeing Defence UK

Sept. 11, 2013 by Craig Hoyle – FG


London - The UK Royal Navy expects to conduct its first contractor-supported operations with the Boeing Insitu ScanEagle unmanned air system from late this year, although its timetable for the type's introduction has been affected by a lack of manpower.


Operations with the ScanEagle will occur under a contractor-owned and operated deal awarded to Boeing Defence UK earlier in June 2013 worth £30 million ($47 million). This will see the equipment launched from and recovered aboard some RN and Royal Fleet Auxiliary vessels.


Urgent operational requirement acquisitions such as the ScanEagle deal are routinely expected to see equipment enter use within six months of a contract award, but the RN process is likely to require at least nine months, says Wg Cdr Dave Postlethwaite, commander of the UK Air Warfare Centre's UAS test and evaluation squadron.


Speaking at a pre-DSEi UAS conference in London on 9 September, RN Lt Cdr Pete Whitehead attributed the additional time requirement to the challenge of sourcing sufficient naval personnel to support the ScanEagle's introduction. This includes the service's need to have at least one person trained to fly the type, to serve as a safety officer.


Around three RN staff will be required per ScanEagle detachment, with this having been reduced from an earlier objective of up to eight. "We simply can't find the people at the moment" to achieve the latter figure, Whitehead says.


While the contractor will be responsible for flying the UAS in support of RN operations, Postlethwaite notes: "Whoever is looking at the [camera] picture will be trained, and will be military."


While the UAS will be flown by a contractor-hired operator, the Ministry of Defence must issue a release to service clearance before ScanEagle operations can commence, as activities will be conducted from a military vessel.


"We expect the capability to start becoming available from the end of 2013 onwards," minister for defence equipment, support and technology Philip Dunne said on 5 September.

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10 septembre 2013 2 10 /09 /septembre /2013 18:50
UK's Hammond Announces Missile Deal

Sep. 10, 2013 - by ANDREW CHUTER  - Defense News


At DSEi, Defense Minister Also Resists EU 'Interference'


LONDON — Britain’s Defence Secretary Philip Hammond opened this year’s DSEi defense and security exhibition in London with a £250 million (US $391 million) deal for missile maker MBDA and a broadside for European Union plans to reform the defense sector.


Hammond announced the production deal for the Sea Ceptor missile, which will provide air defense for the Royal Navy’s Type 23 and later Type 26 frigate fleet.


The contract follows a £483 million development deal, signed in December 2011, to get the missile into service in 2016.


The Sea Ceptor, the naval variant of the Common Anti-air Modular Missile, is the first of several contracts or selection announcements due this week at DSEi.


BAE Systems is likely to roll out several suppliers selected for the Royal Navy’s upcoming Type 26 frigate program. Rolls-Royce, with the MT30 gas turbine, is likely to top the list of suppliers announced on Wednesday.


An order for a fourth F-35B joint strike fighter to join three jets already delivered to the British for operational evaluation is possible by the end of the week.


While the missile industry here will have welcomed the defense secretary’s speech, the same can’t be said of the European Union.


Hammond said Britain will resist EU attempts to interfere in the defense market as outlined in a policy paper published by the commission in July.


The British are invariably opposed to further regulations and oversight by Brussels and are expected to hold a referendum in the next few years on whether to stay in the European Union.


Hammond told this DSEi audience of industry executives and military personnel that on this issue, his German counterpart has also been expressing reservations about the ideas scheduled to be considered at a EU defense ministers summit in December.


The British defense secretary said that some of the proposals, such as improving competition in the internal defense market and support for small- and medium-sized enterprises, were welcome


Other proposals were not. “Interference in defense exports and government-to-government defense sales represent a significant extension of the commission’s role and is not necessarily in the best interests of the UK defense industry and will be resisted,” Hammond said. “We will carefully eye potential interference from Brussels,” he said


“We don’t believe, and we are not alone — my German counterpart speaks with vigor in this area as well — that increased competitiveness in the defense industry means actually more competition, not less. We cannot embrace a solution that feels like somebody in Brussels is directing some kind of latter-day command policy,” Hammond said.


“For Europe to stand a chance in the global defense industry of the future we have to have products that are exportable. It’s no longer going to be enough for three or four European countries to get together. Typically that will not create enough demand. We want to to see an approach supportive of the industry which doesn’t try and deliver that support by imposing a solution which is actually anti-competitive. The UK would be very resistant to that,” he said.


The Brussels policy paper recommends a series of reforms aimed at what the EU reckons is required to create a more competitive and efficient defense and security in the face of falling defense budgets across the region.


Howard Wheeldon, of Wheeldon Strategic Advisory, said Hammond’s attack on Brussels was “absolutely justified and the words he used were the [ones] industry would support. However, actions speak louder than words.”

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10 septembre 2013 2 10 /09 /septembre /2013 17:50
Launched from a submarine hanger the SUB SEAL can deliver a six-man diver. Photo JDF

Launched from a submarine hanger the SUB SEAL can deliver a six-man diver. Photo JDF

September 10, 2013 defense-update.com


A range of Swimmer Delivery Vehicles (SDVs) known as The SEAL Pod was introduced today at DSEI 2013 by James Fisher Defence (JFD), a leading sub-sea rescue, operations and engineering company. The launch of The SEAL Pod is a result of JFD’s partnership with Swedish company DCE AB, a leading consultancy and manufacturer of specialist marine crafts.


Read more

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10 septembre 2013 2 10 /09 /septembre /2013 17:50
Supacat Debut the LRV 400 Light Recce Vehicle at DSEI 2013



September 10, 2013 defense-update.com


The Supacat LRV 400 unveiled today at DSEI 2013 is a militarized variant of Qt Services’ successful `Wildcat` off-road motorsport vehicle, which has a proven record on the Rally Raid circuit and has earned a reputation for rugged reliability and high speeds over rough terrain.


Supacat is launching the Light Reconnaissance Vehicle 400 (LRV 400) at the DSEi 2013 exhibition opened in London today. The vehicle is designed as a low cost, high performance capability for special forces, border patrol, reconnaissance, rapid intervention and light strike roles. Offering light forces supreme levels of all-terrain mobility, the LRV 400 is able to be tactically loaded within a CH-47 Chinook with its full operational payload on board.


The LRV 400 is a militarized variant of Qt Services’ successful `Wildcat` off-road motorsport vehicle, which has a proven record on the Rally Raid circuit and has earned a reputation for rugged reliability and high speeds over rough terrain.


Using a fresh approach, Supacat have teamed with Qt to modify and integrate the COTS vehicle to military standards, thus providing an affordable capability using proven technology. The LRV 400 fills the gap in Supacat’s product portfolio between the heavier `Jackal` surveillance, reconnaissance and patrol vehicle and the smaller All-Terrain Mobility Platform (ATMP).


“The LRV 400 meets the gap in the military market for a light reconnaissance vehicle with an overall capability as close to that of Jackal as possible, but smaller and at less cost by adopting a COTS approach. We’ve taken motorsports’ best of breed in Qt’s Wildcat and modified it to military specification using Supacat’s proven expertise in developing Jackal,” said Jamie Clarke, Head of Marketing & Communications, Supacat. “Supreme performance and tactical CH-47 internal loading have been key targets on this project. The users will be able to drive in and drive out without the need to offload their payload or to conduct any lengthy preparation for flight. When they get there, they will be afforded the very best terrain access and operational capability. Applying motorsport technology to Defence applications is an exciting approach and one that will deliver unrivalled performance”.


The LRV 400 has evolved out of customer feedback on a proof-of-concept closed cab demonstrator developed by Supacat and Qt in 2011. Wildcat’s tubular space-frame chassis and state of the art suspension are critical to the LRV’s performance and rugged reliability. The display vehicle at DSEi is shown in a three crew configuration of commander, driver and gunner but the flexibility of the space-frame design allows the LRV 400 to be easily re-configured to meet different operational roles.


With a Gross Vehicle Weight of 3500kg, a width of 1.8m and a height of 1.8m (weapon removed or lowered) the LRV 400 is easily air portable in a CH-47 Chinook helicopter. It boasts a maximum speed of 106 mph (170km/h) and a range of 1000km. Payload is up to 1400 kg, depending on customer specification and configuration. It can be fitted with a range of powertrain options – the display vehicle has a Ford 3.2-litre, 5-cylinder diesel engine developing 236 hp and 550 Nm torque coupled to a Ford-supplied 6-speed automatic gearbox and two-speed transfer box however, other engine and transmission options are available.

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10 septembre 2013 2 10 /09 /septembre /2013 12:50
Optronic Mast System for Submarines with Optimized Stealth Characteristics Presented at DSEI

Sep 10, 2013 ASDNews Source : Cassidian


    Unique sensor combination enhances reconnaissance capabilities

    Compact and modular design enables easy installation and integration into all types of submarines


At this year’s DSEI exhibition in London, Cassidian Optronics GmbH, previously known as Carl Zeiss Optronics, presents its new OMS 200 low-profile optronic mast. Using newly developed passive sensors the system improves reconnaissance capabilities, especially when visibility is bad. At the same time, the optronic mast features optimized stealth characteristics resulting from its highly integrated, compact design. Thus the OMS 200 is able, as a single system, to carry out the attack and reconnaissance tasks previously assigned to separate systems. The OMS 200 can be installed into all types of submarines, not just in newly built units, but also into existing submarines, as part of upgrade programmes.


The optronic mast system comprises the latest generation of high-resolution sensors, which can be combined in a modular way. All of the sensors are bundled behind a single viewing window. A camera operating in the short-wave infrared range (SWIR), a high-resolution daylight camera and an eye-safe laser rangefinder are combined here in an extremely small space. The resulting compactness offers the smallest possible radar signature, making detection more difficult, especially in offensive roles.


Moreover, the combination with a mid-wave infrared system (MWIR) allows additional data to be gathered, which adds to the high image quality and resolution achieved by the integrated SWIR camera. This optional solution allows the optronic mast system to be used for intelligence and reconnaissance missions, evenunder difficult visual conditions. Particularly in mist and haze which frequently occurs during twilight at sea, the system can still meet the high requirements for submarines.


The universal aerial interface enables the sensor equipment to interact with a variety of aerials, such as ESM-EW/GPS aerials (ESM = electronic support measures; EW = electronic warfare; GPS = global positioning system). The digital data supplied can be exchanged directly with naval and ground forces. The role of submarines is thus strengthened in an all-encompassing defence strategy.


The compact design of the OMS 200 also means that it can be installed and integrated into all types of submarines, whether for new builds or for a modernization programme. In addition, its modular design permits new sensors to be quickly installed over the entire life cycle of the product, without having to change the configuration of the mast. This results in a sustained reduction of maintenance and logistics costs.


Since 1903, both as Carl Zeiss and as Cassidian, the company has manufactured and delivered more than 3,000 periscopes. The current systems are in use by 19 leading naval forces around the world.

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10 septembre 2013 2 10 /09 /septembre /2013 11:50
Terrier Demonstrating Innovation in Military Vehicles at DSEI

Sep 10, 2013 ASDNews Source : BAE Systems PLC


BAE Systems’ Terrier® Combat Engineer Vehicle, the most advanced combat engineer vehicle which delivers uncompromising performance from a medium weight chassis, is on display on the BAE Systems stand at DSEI


The latest vehicle to be accepted into service with the British Army, Terrier has been designed with an integrated electronic architecture which facilitates ‘drive-by-wire’ and remote control making the vehicle highly capable, survivable and adaptable.


Likened to a combat ‘Swiss Army Knife’, Terrier is one of the most versatile, agile and adaptable combat vehicles and can carry out multiple roles in the most demanding battlefield conditions. Typical applications include providing mobility support (obstacle and route clearance), counter-mobility (digging of anti-tank ditches and other obstacles) and survivability (digging of trenches and Armoured Fighting Vehicle slots). With a flying weight of 32 tonnes, which allows it to be transported in the A400M airlifter, Terrier provides strategic air transportability as well as being extremely mobile on the ground on all terrains, reaching speeds of up to 70 kph and with a road range of 600km.


Terrier is the first combat vehicle with drive-by-wire technology and “special to role” computers which manage the automotive and combat engineer systems respectively allowing electronic signals sent by the vehicle’s computers to perform functions. Physical connections are maintained between the driver and the essential automotive systems for safety and survivability reasons, but the vehicle is capable of being fully controlled via the commander’s joysticks through the drive-by-wire systems and the front loader and the excavator arm hydraulic systems are fully controlled through the databus.


Moreover, the vehicle can be operated by wireless remote control up to 1km away, using a gaming type controller and remote cameras.  The remote control interface would be readily recognised by any computer gamer, making this capability easy for new recruits to learn.


David Bond, Managing Director of Combat Vehicles (UK) said: “With Terrier making its first ever appearance at an international defence exhibition, we anticipate plenty of interest from international markets and customers keen to see the benefits of the most up to date technological advancements in armoured vehicle technology as well as confirming our position as the UK’s leading design authority on combat engineer vehicles”


In addition to the Terrier vehicle, BAE Systems has delivered a full suite of integrated logistic support and a complete state of the art training capability including mission and scenario based training using innovative student led exploration to maximise engagement and knowledge retention. Operators and maintainers are trained simultaneously through a combination of high fidelity, full motion simulators, virtual emulations of the vehicle and its systems and hands-on ‘live’ experience.  An initial five year programme of Contractor Logistic Support covering fleet management, technical advice, maintenance and logistics support was commenced on 1 April 2013.


Sixty vehicles are being delivered under the programme which are being built in Newcastle.


Terrier® is a registered trademark of the Secretary State for Defence

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10 septembre 2013 2 10 /09 /septembre /2013 11:50
Le Groupe Nexter sera présent au salon DSEI 2013

10.09.2013 Nexter Group


… et dévoilera la nouvelle référence en termes de mobilité du soldat


Héritier d'une industrie nationale multiséculaire, Nexter est un des leaders européens de la défense terrestre. Le groupe Nexter propose aujourd'hui une vaste gamme de systèmes de défense terrestre et équipe plus d'une centaine d'armées à travers le monde.


Du 10 au 13 septembre 2013, le Groupe Nexter dévoilera sur son stand (N8-160) une multitude de produits dont des véhicules blindés (VBCI) ainsi que l'ensemble de son offre de munitions et d'équipements produits par ses filiales (N7-460).


Véritable atout de l'Armée française lors des conflits en Afghanistan, au Liban et au Mali, le Véhicule Blindé de Combat d'Infanterie (VBCI) 8x8 sera à l'honneur sur le stand Nexter (N8-160), mais également dans l'aire d'exposition statique des forces françaises où aura lieu une conférence sur le RETEX Mali. Nexter Munitions présentera également sa gamme complète de produits (munitions du moyen au gros calibre).


Sur le stand N7-460, les équipements Nexter seront à l'honneur et les filiales du groupe présenteront quelques-uns de leurs produits les plus novateurs : notamment Nexter Mechanics avec son système centralisé de gonflage de pneumatiques Syegon® et son siège anti-mines Safepro® ; NBC-Sys avec ses systèmes de protection contre les menaces nucléaires, radiologiques, biologiques ou chimiques (NRBC) ; Nexter Robotics (robots terrestres et aéroterrestres) avec le robot NERVA® ; Optsys (systèmes optomécaniques et optoélectroniques) qui dévoilera pour la première fois son tout dernier démonstrateur technologique « Optsee » ; et enfin Nexter Systems avec son Système d’Information Terminal FINDERS C2®.


Parce que l'innovation est notre moteur et que le Groupe Nexter ne cesse de développer de nouvelles références dans le secteur de la défense, Nexter Systems vous invite le second jour du salon, mercredi à 10h, sur son stand pour découvrir en avant-première son tout nouveau système.

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10 septembre 2013 2 10 /09 /septembre /2013 11:50
Nexter Robotics dévoile son nouveau robot NERVA S

t annonce le lancement commercial du système NERVA® LG lors du salon DSEI 2013


DSEI, Londres, le 10 septembre 2013 – Nexter Group


A l'occasion du salon de la défense et de la sécurité DSEI 2013 à Londres, Nexter Robotics, la filiale du Groupe Nexter entièrement consacrée aux systèmes robotiques, a dévoilé NERVA® S, un robot plus petit que le NERVA® LG, dédié à l'observation. Avec NERVA® S, Nexter Robotics enrichit sa gamme de produits en introduisant des robots très abordables tout en continuant à proposer le même niveau de résistance opérationnelle et de facilité de manœuvre sur le terrain.


Nexter Robotics a également annoncé le lancement commercial de son système robotique NERVA® LG. Fruit d'une approche itérative combinant étroitement des essais opérationnels et des ajustements techniques, le NERVA® LG répond exactement aux exigences opérationnelles et propose une technologie aboutie à un prix extrêmement abordable. Outre une résistance à toute épreuve (jetable, complètement résistant à l'eau, etc.), le robot peut être commandé par un PC, une tablette ou un smartphone standard et propose des fonctionnalités semi-autonomes pour diminuer la charge de travail de l'opérateur (navigation par points de cheminement ou retour à la base automatique une fois la mission achevée). La plate-forme NERVA® LG peut être équipée d'un grand choix de charges utiles standard ou dédiées. Par exemple, la version de reconnaissance est proposée avec une caméra infrarouge thermique (8-12 µ), la vision diurne panoramique (360°) et un bloc d'interconnexion général (Ethernet, USB, vidéo, etc.) qui permet d'équiper la plate-forme robotique de n'importe quel type d'équipement conforme aux standards les plus répandus.

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10 septembre 2013 2 10 /09 /septembre /2013 11:50
OPTSYS présente OPTSee, son nouveau démonstrateur de savoir-faire,

et annonce son partenariat avec SCHOTT pendant DSEI


DSEI, Londres, le 10 septembre 2013 – Nexter Group


Acteur français reconnu de la vision protégée à bord de véhicules blindés, la société OPTSYS, filiale du Groupe Nexter, propose à l'occasion du salon DSEI un démonstrateur innovant, OPTSee, pour la présentation de ses produits. De manière dynamique et interactive, la cellule de démonstration permet de découvrir l'ensemble de la gamme produit OPTSYS.


Le démonstrateur sera équipé de sa gamme DVE (Driver Vision Enhancement) et notamment de deux innovations phares, et uniques sur le marché, répondant aux contraintes d'encombrement et d'intégration à bord d'un véhicule militaire. D'abord, le ViDOK, module vidéo indépendant, compact et économique permettant d'ajouter une voie vidéo à n'importe quel épiscope grâce à son système d'attache innovant : une solution intéressante économiquement pour la modernisation d'un véhicule type M113. Ensuite, RuDi, un écran de recopie tactile et durci qui s'intègre facilement dans n'importe quelle configuration de véhicule grâce à ses connecteurs orientables.


Par ailleurs, OPTSYS confirme sa position d'acteur reconnu sur le marché LSAS puisqu'il produit en série depuis 2012 son système ViPer (Vision 360°) dont vous pourrez découvrir la dernière évolution ViPER 361° sur le démonstrateur.


Enfin, OPTSYS poursuit sa volonté d'être un partenaire solide et une référence dans la vision protégée. Dans ce sens, OPTSYS vient de conclure un accord de partenariat avec SCHOTT, s'affichant ainsi en tant qu'intégrateur de solution complète de vitrage blindé à forte valeur ajoutée.

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5 septembre 2013 4 05 /09 /septembre /2013 17:45
M10 60mm Mortar

M10 60mm Mortar

04 September 2013 by defenceWeb


New innovations in landward defence products manufactured by Denel will debut internationally at the DSEI (Defence and Security Equipment International) exhibition in London this month.


“We have chosen DSEI to launch these systems internationally because it is the world’s largest fully-integrated defence expo and attracts industry leaders, decision-makers and analysts from across the globe,” Riaz Saloojee, Denel Group chief executive, said ahead of the exhibition which runs from next Tuesday to Friday.


On display for the first time will be the GI-30 30mm CamGun and the M10 – 60mm breech –loading mortar, both designed and manufactured at Denel Land Systems (DLS) in Lyttelton, Centurion.


“We are confident the GI-30 will impress and excite the industry and visitors to DSEI. It was developed as part of our contract to deliver a first class infantry combat vehicle (ICV) for the SA Army.


“It will be the main weapon system on the South African Badger ICV but can be easily fitted into other turrets on the market,” Stephan Burger, DLS chief executive, said.


He maintains both the GI-30 and the M10 mortar system are global leaders in their fields with unique features not yet available on other systems.


The GI-30 is an externally driven electro-mechanical cannon, utilising a drum-cam to cycle the breech to chamber rounds and extract spent cartridges. This reduces gases in the confines of a turret and improves the controlled firing rate. DLS designed the GI-30 to fire link-less 30 x 173mm ammunition through a dual feeder – a world-first for this kind of weapon.



As a single-shot weapon, it is seen as unique for its sniper mode of operation. Fired from a closed-breech position it offers more accurate fire because no movement takes place immediately before the round is fired. It has an effective range of 4 000 metres and can fire up to 100 rounds per minute.



The GI-30 CamGun uses SAPHEI, APFSDS (Armoured Piercing Fin-Stabilised Discarding Sabot) and TPT (Target Practice Type) ammunition types, designed and manufactured by Denel PMP (Pretoria Metal Pressings), as well as ammunition from Oerlikon and Nammo. Ammunition is replenished from a supply inside the turret.


Burger said the 60mm long-range mortar system was also developed in parallel with the Badger but can easily be adapted to fit into most standard turrets. Its range of 6 000 metres at sea level makes it a world leader in its class.


Another unique feature is its range of elevation -- from -5° to +70° -- which allows it to be employed in a direct fire application.


The new features make it an ideal weapon system for peace support operations and the changing nature of modern conflict in urban or other close environments. With its compact size and low recoil (54kN), the mortar can be fitted to light vehicles such as a pickup truck or even a boat.


The system can provide a sustained rate of fire of six rounds per minute or eight rounds per minute at one minute intervals – for 250 bombs.

Denel to debut new products at DSEI
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5 septembre 2013 4 05 /09 /septembre /2013 16:55
Optsys to Exhibit at DESi 2013

 September 05, 2013 by OPTSYS


Optsys will be exhibiting at the DSEi 2013 event from 10-13 September at the ExCeL centre in London, UK.


At the event, Optsys will be showcasing their latest innovations and product developments, and staff will be on hand to answer any questions.


Optsys is the French specialist and one of the European leaders in the field of optical and protected vision equipment for armoured vehicles. For more than 40 years, Optsys has been designing, manufacturing and marketing onboard opto-mechanical and optronic systems for use by the land defence industries.

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12 septembre 2011 1 12 /09 /septembre /2011 12:55
DSEi 2011: Thales shows optronics products


September 12, 2011 Beth Stevenson,SHEPARD GROUP


London - Thales has demonstrated advancements in its ISR capabilities through a series of new products and platform upgrades.


At a pre-DSEi briefing on 13 July, Thales introduced the new Orion stabilised panoramic sight, and Video Eyesafe Laser Transceiver (VELT), as well as upgrades to its Catherine and Sophie systems.


The Orion is a new armoured vehicle sighting system, fitted with Thales’ Catherine MP IR camera, David Low, head of the vehicles optronics group at Thales said at the briefing.


In response to soldier demand for multiple functions to be delivered from one fighting vehicle, it has a gigabit ethernet data and video interface that is ‘easily upgradable and easily integrated’, and the company believes this is a market first in terms of being an all-digital sighting system.


‘It is an enhanced capability in terms of its panoramic capability. It is a fully stabilised sighting system, so you have got stabilised line of sight. It provides a full 360o continuous azimuth rotation capability, and is qualified for both tracked and wheeled vehicles,’ Low explained.


‘We have developed a number of fairly sophisticated algorithms and processing units that allow us to do automatic target tracking, automatic target detection, and wide area surveillance.’ The system was selected on 8 July as the primary sight for the Scout SV programme.


‘It provides what we believe to be one of the longest range surveillance and target acquisition capabilities within the vehicle market,’ Low added.


Fitted on the Orion is the new VELT eyesafe laser rangefinder (LRF), which comes in two variants, direct (VELT-D) and indirect (VELT-I).


‘We’ve introduced two variants, one for the other sights, the direct view, which has a direct view optical channel, and also a second colour TV,’ Richard French, head of the sensors product group at Thales, explained.


‘We have two cameras, both wide and narrow, for wide area surveillance and high performance identification.’


Features that distinguish it include: the expansion port for adding other capabilities; the reticle and symbology that is now software generated; the ‘industry leading’ athermal boresight stability; and the high-resolution digital colour video.


French said the system has received ‘significant interest from the US marketplace’.


The Catherine mega pixel (MP) medium wave (MW) IR camera is a ‘fully configurable’ medium wave and lighter addition to the Catherine MP family.


The original Catherine MP long wave camera was launched at DSEi in 2005, and ‘since then we’ve taken the fields of view of that camera from 5o down to 3.5 o in the long wave, and have two long wave cameras on the marketplace’, French commented.


‘We’ve introduced three fields of view to give 10o for wide area surveillance, dropping down to 2.3 degrees, to give us class-leading identification.


‘This medium wave megapixel camera adds to the already established 5o and 15o and 3.5o and 10o degree variants that we have on the marketplace.’


The camera has an extended range, is carried under armour, and has periscopic sight applications.


The Sophie UF2 is a long wave, dismounted soldier, handheld, thermal imaging target locator based on the Sophie UF released some three years ago, with Thales having sold some 10,000 of this type of system worldwide.


The ‘highly successful’ Sophie UF uncooled target locator has been bought by the British Army and is ‘highly successful’, French said, although soldiers still come back to the issue of how to make it lighter and smaller.


‘The message that comes back from the user every time we launch a target locator is “when can I have a smaller and lighter one?”’ French explained.


The new platform has the same functionality as the original system, but has dropped from 3.4kg to 2.4kg through better integration.


It is used for accurate infantry indirect fire control, ISR, enhanced force protection, and day/night operation.


All the Thales systems are at production standard and are available to order.

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7 septembre 2011 3 07 /09 /septembre /2011 16:50


The Nimrod MRA4 project was axed photo BAE Systems


07/09/11 By Craig Hoyle SOURCE:Flight International


Late last year, the UK armed forces were rocked by the effects of a Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR) process overseen by a new coalition government determined to tackle a massive budget deficit head-on.


Almost 12 months later, the defence industry will gather for its largest post-SDSR coming-together at the Defence & Security Equipment International show, or DSEi, which will be held in London's Docklands on 13-16 September.

Since the event was last held two years ago, the UK has lost its fixed-wing carrier strike capability with the early retirement of its BAE Systems Harrier GR7/9s, and seen its replacement maritime patrol aircraft, BAE's Nimrod MRA4, axed after a programme investment of over £3 billion ($4.8 billion).


Also gone are two of the Royal Navy's three Invincible-class aircraft carriers and the Royal Air Force's last Panavia Tornado F3 fighters and Nimrod R1 electronic intelligence aircraft. Two squadrons equipped with the Tornado GR4 strike aircraft have also recently been disbanded, with the move having also trimmed a fleet that is expected to remain in use until around 2020.


Dramatic in nature, these cuts were adopted against a backdrop of the UK's recent withdrawal of forces from Iraq, and with plans in place for the country to end its combat commitment in Afghanistan around 2015, following the progressive transfer of control to local authorities. But the rise of the "Arab Spring" movement in nations across the Middle East and North Africa throughout this year has provided an unexpected test for a military hard-hit by the spending cuts introduced by UK defence secretary Dr Liam Fox.


In announcing the recommendations of the SDSR last October, UK Prime Minister David Cameron said his country's coalition government was seeking to tackle an investment "black hole" inherited from the previous Labour administration, which it valued at £38 billion. Failure to tackle this shortfall now could result in a more "severe recalibration in the future", Fox told the Royal United Services Institute's Air Power conference in London in mid-July.

The SDSR has received much criticism for the swift nature of its completion and the severity of its cuts. Speaking at the same event, one analyst described the process as having been "four years in anticipation, but only four months in gestation".


Sir Brian Burridge, Finmeccanica UK's vice-president, strategic marketing, and formerly one of the RAF's most senior ranking officers, drew a different analogy when referring to the loss of key capabilities. "The concern is that this government might come out of the supermarket without a balanced meal, and that the next time it goes the shelves will be empty," he said.


RAF Panavia Tornado GR4, SAC Simon Armstrong/Crown Copyright
 © SAC Simon Armstrong/Crown Copyright
Tornado GR4s will serve until around 2020


DSEi will provide a focus for the UK's defence contractors to pursue already planned deals and fresh business, both at home and on the international stage. It will also highlight the security opportunities available, with London preparing to host the Olympic Games in mid-2012.


Speaking at a pre-show media briefing on 6 September, minister for international security strategy Gerald Howarth identified the role that global defence and security sales could play in helping to repair the UK's economic prospects. "Exports are critical to a sustainable recovery," he said. "The UK defence industry is proving itself to be well-placed to weather the storm."


With UK defence exports having totalled around £6 billion in 2010 - when it was second only to the USA in terms of total exports - and security systems around £2 billion more, selling on the global stage is a vital requirement at a time of domestic squeeze. Current targets include closing a proposed government-to-government deal to supply Eurofighter Typhoons to Oman, and a campaign to offer the same type for India's medium multi-role combat aircraft deal.


The Typhoon made its combat debut for the UK as a multi-role platform earlier this year, with the RAF employing the type's air-to-surface weapons against regime targets in Libya. Perhaps crucially for the European type, the fighter also looks set to receive an active electronically scanned array radar enhancement, while MBDA's Meteor beyond-visual-range air-to-air missile also should be available for operational use from around 2015.


But more attention at DSEi will be given to Lockheed Martin's F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF), which will be on display as a full-scale mock-up. However, reflecting the UK's last-minute decision to swap to the C-model carrier variant, the design on show will be in the short take-off and vertical landing guise.


To meet the Joint Combat Aircraft requirement from late this decade, the F-35C will be flown from the Royal Navy's (RN's) two future aircraft carriers, with the combination to reintroduce a big-deck operating model last employed by the UK in the late 1970s.


UK Carrier with F-35s, BAE Systems
 © BAE Systems

F-35Cs will fly from the UK's future carriers


One source previously involved with the JSF programme describes the SDSR's surprise variant switch as potentially "one of the most catastrophic procurement decisions ever made". Abandoning years of experience in flying vertical/short take-off and landing Harriers could end up costing UK taxpayers billions of pounds extra, the source claims, as a result of the additional training needed to ensure pilots maintain proficiency. Regaining this skill is already a focus of attention, with the RN looking to train a new cadre of Fleet Air Arm officers on US Navy Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornets.


The UK's exact requirements for the F-35 have yet to be set, but the Ministry of Defence has previously identified a need for up to 138 of the aircraft. An initial three F-35Bs were ordered to participate alongside the US military during initial operational test and evaluation of the new aircraft, but the allies are working out the details of a deal to exchange the last example for an F-35C.


The new type could achieve initial operating capability as a land-based asset from roughly 2018, before launching embarked operations around 2020. Its introduction must be balanced with the planned draw-down of the Tornado GR4 force: an activity that Fox says will be "particularly challenging".


Some level of funding commitment will be required next year, to cover the order of long-lead items for an initial batch of around 16 aircraft to be built during the programme's low-rate initial production phase.


"We are still in the midst of the post-defence review figuring our conversion from -35B to -35C, and there's an awful lot of work still in that rescheduling process," says Air Marshal Kevin Leeson, the UK's chief of materiel (air).


For now, while the UK's carrier strike capability lapses, the strong performance of the Army Air Corps' Westland/Boeing Apache AH1 attack helicopters over Libya in May 2011 from HMS Ocean has highlighted one likely means by which the nation could respond to other such contingencies until its future aircraft carriers and F-35Cs enter use.


Plans to buy the JSF were safeguarded in July, when the government announced a planned £3 billion increase in defence spending for the five-year period starting 2015-16. This sum will help to cover initial spending on the F-35C, as well as the costs of converting both Queen Elizabeth-class carriers with catapults and arrestor gear.


The commitment also enabled the MoD last month to sign a £1 billion order for 14 Boeing CH-47 Chinook HC6 transport helicopters and to complete the acquisition of three Air Seeker (RC-135 Rivet Joint) surveillance aircraft. A memorandum of understanding covering logistics support activities and capability updates for the latter fleet until 2025 was also recently signed, with this valued at more than $850 million. The aircraft will replace the retired Nimrod R1s from 2014.


One glaring capability shortfall created by the SDSR has yet to be addressed, however. The cancellation of the Nimrod MRA4 has left the MoD having to improvise on the provision of long-range maritime patrol aircraft cover by using RAF Lockheed C-130J transports and RN AgustaWestland AW101 Merlin HM1 shipborne helicopters.


Proposals have been made by industry to adapt some C-130Js to assume the role on a more formal basis, but other contractors are looking at any potential demand to field a smaller aircraft, possibly using an airframe such as the Alenia Aeronautica C-27J or Hawker Beechcraft King Air. With money to remain tight for some years to come, the idea of acquiring a more dedicated type - such as Boeing's 737-based P-8, now in development for the US Navy - seems fanciful.


Apache/Ocean, Crown Copyright
 © Crown Copyright

The Apache/Ocean pairing could sail again


Importantly, the costs associated with supporting NATO's Libyan operation since March have been covered from the Treasury reserve, and not the over-stretched defence budget.


The Libyan campaign has underlined the importance of the pending introduction of 14 Airbus A330-200-based Voyager tanker/transports from late this year, and of past investments in weapons systems such as MBDA's Storm Shadow cruise missile and dual-mode Brimstone air-to-surface missile, and Raytheon Systems' Paveway IV precision-guided bomb. It has also highlighted the value of the Bombardier Global Express-based Sentinel R1 surveillance aircraft's synthetic aperture radar/ground moving target indication sensor, months after it was identified in the SDSR for disposal after the needs of Afghanistan.


The jury is still out as to whether the government's cuts to date and commitment for a future spending increase will cover the armed forces' procurement plans. Answers could be quick in coming, however, with an independent body having been tasked with conducting an "affordability audit" late this year on the MoD's top projects.


Looking at the likely equipment spending bill out to 2018-19 in his Defence Analysis publication, military analyst Francis Tusa says: "The spend curve looks far from balanced, and [SDSR] could well cause as many troubles as it resolved." He adds: "The extra 1% annual defence budget rise is only kicking in after 2015, so one has to ask how the books have been balanced prior to that time, when some £3 billion in funding will be needed."

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