“The military don’t start wars. Politicians start wars.” ― William Westmoreland
“If you don’t change course I will fire.” Words clearly heard and recorded by a BBC television crew onboard HMS Defender as the naval ship transited from Odessa in Ukraine to Georgia between 22-23 June, passing close to the Crimean peninsula which was illegally annexed by Russia in 2014.
The British warship was transiting close to Crimea and the Russian Naval base at Sevastopol – a deliberate path designed to ignore Russia’s assertion that these are now its territorial waters, stating that HMS Defender was in a recognised international shipping lane.
The crew on HMS Defender certainly took the threat seriously, donning anti-flash gear and going to action stations as the ship was closely overflown by around 20 military aircraft and closely escorted by two Russian Coast Guard vessels during the transit. Thanks to the fact that BBC reporter Jonathon Beale was onboard we have a first hand independent account of the incident, and not the ‘sanitised’ version that the UK’s Ministry of Defence would like everyone to believe.
According RT, Russian state-controlled media: ‘“At 12:06 and 12:08, a border patrol ship fired warning shots,”’ the Russian defence ministry said. “(And) at 12:19, a Su-24m aircraft performed a warning bombing (4 OFAB-250).” The UK Ministry of Defence denied this version of events: “We believe the Russians were undertaking a gunnery exercise in the Black Sea and provided the maritime community with prior-warning of their activity. No shots were directed at HMS Defender and we do not recognise the claim that bombs were dropped in her path.”
On the BBC’s recording, made at the time, Beale stated “shots are fired but they are well out of range”; gunfire is clearly audible in the distance on the recording.
If the UK government really wishes set an example to persuade Russia that force and illegal activity in foreign relations will not be tolerated, it needs to be open and honest about events such as this, instead of placing a warship in a challenging position and then playing down the events that unfolded in public. Was the Russian ambassador called to Downing Street to explain the clear threat to open fire during peacetime…no! However, according to the BBC’s website: “The British ambassador was summoned to the Russian foreign ministry in Moscow, and met officials on Wednesday [23 June] afternoon.”
Can’t wait for the Queen Elizabeth’s carrier group to patrol through the South China Sea later this year…with China claiming virtually the entire sea as its own territory through island building and its Nine-Dash Line affirmation. I wonder if any independent journalists will be allowed onboard…
Best to all,
EDA INITIATES PROJECT FOR UNMANNED INTEROPERABILITY STANDARDS
On 21 June the European Defence Agency (EDA) has just initiated a project entitled INTERACT (Interoperability Standards for Unmanned Armed Forces Systems).
Financed by the European Commission on a budget of $1.79 million (€1.5 million), its objective is to establish a future European interoperability standard for military unmanned systems. European technical knowledge and operational experience “on control, monitoring, and application of unmanned systems will be integrated for the concept definition of a future European cross-industry interoperability standard.”
This will lead to a standard that will allow unmanned platforms to be deployed either singly, as part of manned-unmanned teaming or as a swarm “independent of organisational or national provenance.”
The Fraunhofer Institute for Optronics, System Technology and Image Exploitation (IOSB) will lead 19 member organisations including those involved in research and technology, small and medium-sized enterprises as well as other larger industry groups.
a project selected under the 2019 call for proposals for the EU Preparatory Action on Defence Research (PADR) managed by EDA, was officially launched at an online kick-off meeting on 21 June 2021.
NAO REPORT STATES UK MOD MUST LEARN AND ‘BE HONEST’ ABOUT RECOGNISING POOR VALUE FOR MONEY
On 24 June, the United Kingdom’s National Audit Office (NAO) issued a summary relating to its report Improving the performance of major equipment contracts.
In the report, the NAO looks to identify “the causes of persistent delays and cost increases that have affected the Ministry of Defence’s equipment contracts.”
Within its scope it reports on: schedule delays and cost increases; contract and programme management; shortages of skilled staff; and delivering value for money through the life of the contract.
It took into account 20 major programmes delivering equipment across all defence domains. As the summary states: “Together these programmes have a budgeted whole-life cost of more than £120 billion.”
The NAO report concludes that the MoD “regularly experienced difficulties in effectively managing its major equipment contracts, with frequent delays and cost increases. These stem from supplier under-performance; weaknesses in departmental contract management; the Department and suppliers underestimating the scope and technical complexity; and the Department prioritising short-term solutions given its affordability challenges.” It concludes that this has not meant it has delivered “value for money.”
Improvements, the report suggests must include “follow through on its initial efforts to embed wider good practice in its commercial relationships and project delivery. Strong leadership and sustained resources will be needed to fully embed these changes and deliver real benefits. A key part of the Department’s agenda must also be to learn lessons routinely across the portfolio, including being honest in acknowledging and learning from examples of poor value for money when they occur.”
US MAJOR ARMS SALES (Defence Security Cooperation Agency – DSCA)
24 June, 2021 – Philippines. F-16 Block 70/72 Aircraft
The State Department has approved a possible Foreign Military Sale to the Government of the Philippines of F-16 Block 70/72 Aircraft and related equipment for an estimated cost of $2.43 billion.
24 June, 2021 – Philippines. AIM-9X SIidewinder Block II Tactical Missiles
The State Department has also approved a possible Foreign Military Sale to the Government of the Philippines of AIM-9X Sidewinder Block II Tactical Missiles and related equipment for an estimated cost of $42.4 million.
24 June, 2021 – Philippines. AGM-84L-1 Harpoon Air launched Block II Missiles
The State Department has also approved a possible Foreign Military Sale to the Government of the Philippines of AGM-84L-1 Harpoon Air Launched Block II Missiles and related equipment for an estimated cost of $120 million.
US GOVERNMENT CONTRACTS
Highlighting a selection of $100 million+ government awarded contracts awarded between 21-25 June 2021 and Foreign Military Sales contracts.
Sikorsky has been awarded a $735 million modification contract which increases the scope for nine Lot Five low rate initial production CH-53K heavy-lift aircraft and associated aircraft, programmatic and logistical support. The Naval Air Systems Command is the contracting activity.
Peckham Vocational Industries was awarded a $109 million hybrid contract for organiSational clothing and individual equipment repair, cleaning, warehousing and distribution. US Army Contracting Command is the contracting activity.
Inter-Coastal Electronics received a $11.3 million contract for the procurement of laser integrated field training systems, training and logistics support. US Army Contracting Command is the contracting activity.
US AIR FORCE
HP Enterprise Services has been awarded a $443 million contract for the US Strategic Command Information Technology Capabilities. This contract will provide services, capabilities and functions to include information technology infrastructure, mission critical systems and applications. The 55th Contracting Squadron is the contracting activity.
RQ Construction is awarded a $217 million task order for the design and construction of the Michelson Laboratory Complex and repair of wings Six and Seven at the Michelson Laboratory building at Naval Air Weapons Station, China Lake. The task order also contains 25 unexercised options, which if exercised, would increase cumulative task order value to $225 million. Naval Facilities Engineering Systems Command is the contracting activity.
organisational Construction, doing business as Webcor Builders, is awarded a $113 million task order for design and construction of a range control complex at Naval Air Weapons Station, China Lake. The task order also contains 15 unexercised options, which if exercised, would increase cumulative task order value to $115 million. The work to be performed includes design and construction of a range control complex consisting of four buildings, a range control center, range engineering and operations building, range instrumentation support facility and one building that will contain both the range fire control and missile assembly buildings. Naval Facilities Engineering Systems Command is the contracting activity.
US TRANSPORTATION COMMAND
Air Transport International; American President Lines; American Roll-On Roll-Off Carrier; Amerijet International; Farrell Lines; Hawaiian Airlines; Liberty Global Logistics; National Air Cargo Group; Northern Air Cargo; Schuyler Line Navigation; and United Airlines, were awarded a firm fixed price modification in the estimated amount of $152 million for international, commercial, multimodal transportation service between various continental US and outside continental US points and ports. Transportation services include time-definite, door to door/port to door pickup and delivery, electronic data interchange, customs processing and clearance of containerized and breakbulk cargo. This modification brings the total estimated cumulative face value of the contract to $278 million. The location of performance is worldwide, as specified on each individual order. US Transportation Command is the contracting activity.
BL Harbert International; Archer Western Federal JV; Hensel Phelps Construction; JE Dunn Construction; and Turner Construction, will compete for each order of the $950 million contract for new construction relating to site work, fire protection, mechanical systems, plumbing, utility systems, structural, electrical, heating, ventilation and air conditioning, instrumentation, security and safety areas of government facilities. US Army Corps of Engineers is the contracting activity.
US AIR FORCE
Amentum Services; Applied Research Associates; Booz Allen Hamilton; Ball Aerospace & Technologies; Dynetics; EWA Government Systems; Georgia Tech Applied Research; IERUS Technologies; KIHOMAC; DRS Training & Control Systems; Lockheed Martin; Amherst Systems; Radiance Technologies; Raytheon; Saab; Scientific Research; Signature Research; SRC; Technology Service; and Viasat, have been awarded a not-to-exceed $950 million multiple-award, IDIQ contract for support of Range Threat Systems Branch, including Advanced Radar Threat Systems, Joint Treat Emitter and Branch Modernisation programs. This entails threat radar systems, along with supporting tools and infrastructure to the Air Force combat training ranges. Air Force Life Cycle Management Center is the contracting activity.
Raytheon Missiles & Defense is awarded a $136 million contract for MK15 close-in weapon system upgrades and conversions, system overhauls and associated hardware. This contract includes options which, if exercised, would bring the cumulative value of this contract to $344 million. This contract combines purchases for the Navy (85 percent); and the government of South Korea (15 percent), under the foreign military sales (FMS) program. The Naval Sea Systems Command is the contracting activity.
US SPECIAL OPERATIONS COMMAND
Boeing received a delivery order in the amount of $580 million on a previously negotiated option for 14 H-47 extended range rotary wing aircraft that satisfy the United Kingdom’s requirement for heavy assault, rotary wing aircraft. Foreign Military Sales funding from the United Kingdom in the amount of $580 million is being obligated at the time of award. US Special Operations Command is the contracting activity.
ModernaTX was awarded a $3.3 billion modification contract for 200 million filled drug production doses of SARS-CoV-2 mRNA-1273 Moderna vaccine. US Army Contracting Command is the contracting activity. (Awarded June 15, 2021)
Boeing was awarded a $169 million contract to support the Apache full-rate production Lot 12 long lead effort. US Army Contracting Command is the contracting activity. (Awarded June 18, 2021)
Dell Marketing is being awarded an estimated $155 million; and Insight Public Sector is being awarded an estimated $161 million, short-term, single-award, purchase agreement under the Department of Defense Enterprise Software Initiative (DoD ESI) which streamlines software licensing acquisition and provides information technology products that are compliant with DoD technical standards and represent the best value for the DoD. This agreement will provide commercially available perpetual licenses, software assurance, user-based subscription licenses to include Microsoft 365, Microsoft Azure and client access licenses among others. This agreement will be used by the Department of Navy to include the Marine Corp and Coast Guard. The total value of this award is $316 million. Naval Information Warfare Center Pacific is the contracting activity. (Awarded June 16, 2021)
Lockheed Martin is awarded a $472 million contract modification that adds scope to further develop and integrate three unique weapons capabilities through system functional review to development test complete on the F-35A and F-35B aircraft for the governments of the United Kingdom and Italy. Non-Department of Defense participant funds in the amount of $116 million will be obligated at time of award. The Naval Air Systems Command is the contracting activity. (Awarded June 18, 2021)
Benaka; CCI Utility and Construction Services; Kunj Construction; Ocean Construction Services; PEM-Harkins JV and Tantara, were each awarded an IDIQ, multiple award construction contract for facilities within the Naval Facilities Engineering Systems Command (NAVFAC) Mid-Atlantic area of responsibility (AOR). The maximum dollar value including the base period and four option years for all five contracts combined is $249 million. Types of projects include construction, demolition, repair, alteration and renovation of buildings, systems and infrastructure. NAVFAC Mid-Atlantic is the contracting activity. (Awarded June 17, 2021)
Lockheed Martin Rotary and Mission Systems is awarded a $70.1 million modification contract to exercise Option Year Three in support of Aegis development test sites operation and maintenance. This contract combines purchases for the US government (66 percent) and the government of Japan (5 percent); and the Commonwealth of Australia (4 percent); South Korea (3 percent); and Spain (1 percent), under the Foreign Military Sales (FMS) program. The Naval Sea Systems Command is the contracting activity. (Awarded June 17, 2021)
DEFEA, 13 – 15 July, 2021
Metropolitan Expo, Athens, Greece.
SAHA EXPO, 10-13 November 2021
Defence and Aerospace Exhibition, Istanbul Expo Centre, Turkey.
AVALON 2021 30 November – 5 December 2021
Avalon Airport, Geelong, Victoria, Australia.
No further updates.
Armada International / Asian Military Review