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U.S. ARMY PULLS PLUG ON OPTIONALLY MANNED FIGHTING VEHICLE
Thursday, January 16, 2020
WASHINGTON -- The U.S. Army has cancelled its solicitation for an optionally manned fighting vehicle (OMFV) to replace the Bradley after only one company submitted a bid. The service was pursuing the program through a rapid prototyping mechanism with a very aggressive schedule, and General Dynamics Land Systems was the only contractor to submit a bid in October 2019. The company was pitching the Griffin III vehicle.

BAE Systems was planning to enter the competition with a version of the CV90 Mk IV, but the company dropped out of the program in June 2019. The company stated that the OMFV program did not align with the company's current developmental priorities, and appeared to take issue with the aggressive schedule. BAE Systems is building the Army's new AMPV and Marine Corps' new Amphibious Combat Vehicle, and is in the running for the Army's future Mobile Protected Firepower light tank. A team of Raytheon and Rheinmetall was disqualified from the OMFV program when it did not deliver a bid before the submission deadline.

In a statement, the Army said it will revisit program requirements, acquisition strategy, and schedule. It remains to be seen how big an impact this decision will have on the capabilities of the future Bradley replacement, including the service's desire for unmanned and eventually autonomous capabilities.

Troubles with replacing the Bradley is nothing new for the Army. Prior to the OMFV, the service struggled for years to develop a new combat vehicle. An effort to develop a family of 20- to 30-ton manned ground vehicles under the now defunct Future Combat Systems program was terminated in 2009. A follow-on ground combat vehicle effort was canceled in the FY15 budget due to affordability issues. The $30+ billion GCV aimed to procure 1,874 vehicles to replace a portion of the Bradley fleet. There were also concerns that the GCV concept had grown to some 70 tons, on par with an Abrams tank, which would limit vehicle mobility.

Source:  Defense News
Associated URL: Click here to visit
Author: S. McDougall, Defense Analyst 

 
KEEL LAYING CEREMONY HELD FOR FIRST CANADIAN JOINT SUPPORT SHIP
Thursday, January 16, 2020
OTTAWA -- A keel laying ceremony was held January 16 for the first of two Canadian Joint Support Ships being built at Seaspan's Vancouver Shipyards. The ships are being built using modular construction methods, and so they lack a keel that runs the length of the ship. The milestone was celebrated with the laying of a ceremonial coin near the center section of the lead ship, the future HMCS Protecteur.

Initial construction of the first ship began with a steel-cutting ceremony in June 2018, but a full construction contract to finish the ship is expected in spring 2020.

The new class is using an off-the-shelf ship design from ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems Canada. The long-delayed effort will replace Canada's former supply ships, HMCS Preserver and HMCS Protecteur (the new class will reuse the names of the old auxiliaries). The replacement effort was originally launched in 2004, but the initial attempt was canceled in 2008 because of high costs. The original Preserver and Protecteur were removed from service ahead of schedule in 2014, leaving a capability gap that has been filled through agreements to utilize foreign logistics ships and the conversion of a container ship into an interim supply ship.

JSS delivery dates have been pushed back multiple times. At one point, the first ship was expected to arrive by 2020, but delivery will not take place until 2023. The second ship is not expected to arrive until 2025.

In October 2019, Navamar was awarded a CAD11.7 million contract for five ship-to-shore connector craft that will eventually be used by the JSS fleet.

Source:  DND
Associated URL: Click here to visit
Author: S. McDougall, Defense Analyst 

 
U.S. COAST GUARD MH-65 PROGRAM MOVES INTO FULL RATE PRODUCTION
Thursday, January 16, 2020
ELIZABETH CITY, N.C. -- The U.S. Coast Guard MH-65 short range recovery helicopter program began full rate production of the MH-65E configuration Nov. 21, 2019, with the transfer of CGNR 6522 to the Aviation Logistics Center (ALC) in Elizabeth City, North Carolina. Two additional aircraft - CGNR 6514 and CGNR 6593- were transferred to the ALC production line in December 2019 and one - CGNR 6507 - was transferred in January 2020. The program is executing concurrent Service Life Extension Program (SLEP) work and avionics upgrades for the MH-65E conversion on the entire fleet.

Full rate production means that the ALC will transition to producing MH-65Es at a rate of 22 aircraft per year.

The avionics upgrades include reliability and capability improvements for the Automatic Flight Control System; installation of a digital cockpit display system and an upgraded digital weather/surface search radar; integration of a robust command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance suite; and modernization of the digital flight deck with Common Avionics Architecture System, common with the Coast Guard H-60 medium range recovery helicopter and similar Department of Defense aircraft. Once the upgrades are complete, the helicopter is redesignated an MH-65E.

At the same time, the Coast Guard is completing SLEP activities to replace five major structure components: the nine-degree frame, canopy, center console floor assembly, floorboards and side panels. These mission-critical improvements are designed to extend the service life of the helicopter by 10,000 flight hours.

The avionics upgrades and SLEP are being completed at the same time to achieve schedule and cost efficiencies.

The Coast Guard plans to convert all 98 aircraft to the MH-65E configuration by fiscal year 2024.

Source:  U.S. Coast Guard
Associated URL: Click here to visit

 

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