Jiří Šedivý, Chief Executive, European Defence Agency
(Picture above) Jiří Šedivý, Chief Executive, European Defence Agency

Dear Readers,

The European Defence Agency (EDA) has been losing the battle to unify its member states into a secure, cohesive defence structure. This has recently triggered a number of initiatives designed to bring states closer together through a common defence review, priority setting, defence planning and funding.

The difficulty the EDA faces is the high tech nature of defence which is seeing a burgeoning emphasis on the strategic development of space, the complex advance of cyber being used both offensively and defensively, and the exploitation of big data and artificial intelligence which is currently outpacing the EU’s ability to move forward at sufficient speed. The very nature of the EU with its need for debate, research, national commitment by states who will continue to balance EU projects against sovereign national priorities, means that its programmes need to persuade its members that a collective approach really is the way ahead. However, the EDA’s ongoing challenge is its ability to react to, and match, the speed at which the defence environment is changing.

Editor

EUROPEAN DEFENCE AGENCY INITIATIVES AIM FOR GREATER COLLABORATION THROUGH BETTER INSIGHT INTO COLLECTIVE DEFENCE NEEDS

“The EU suffers from fragmentation, duplication and insufficient engagement,” stated Jiří Šedivý, chief executive, European Defence Agency (EDA), during his opening address at the organisation’s annual conference, this year being held virtually from Brussels over 3-4 December with the theme Sustaining European Defence. He challenged the conference to debate how change could be achieved.

Benedikt Zimmer, State Secretary, in the German Ministry of Defence reminded delegates that “rules based order and the balance of power in the world was under pressure.” While he called for the nations of the EU to stand together in collective defence, he also noted that NATO remained as the ‘cornerstone of collective defence.”

There were advantages that both organisations could offer, explained Zimmer, and the recognition and implementation of collective goals would be advantageous to both organisations. He called for EU member states to be clearer regarding their intentions and objectives adding that this also required “more transparency between partners.”

Zimmer praised the way that European nations had worked together collectively in the fact of the COVID pandemic and added that this had resulted in a positive perception of what could be achieved collectively.

He praised the establishment of the EDA’s Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO) policy, adopted in March 2018, as well as initiatives including Coordinated Annual Defence Review (CARD), the Capability Development Plan (CDP) and the European Defence Fund (EDF). Zimmer said that work on all of these areas needed to be done quickly not only to meet ambitious objectives set for 2021-26, but to improve European strategic planning and to close European capability gaps.

One view from the EDA’s periphery was provided by Jukka Juusti, permanent secretary at Finland’s Ministry of Defence and chair of the Security Committee during a panel discussion on ‘Delivering on military effectiveness: from priorities to implementation’ . He highlighted the fact that “regional differences and strategic differences” needed to be recognised. He used Finland as an example, saying that its long border with Russia meant that national defence solutions were often more appropriate that ones coming out of the industry clusters in Europe.

Juusti called for greater resilience within the EU and suggested that the CDP was a good step forward and needed to develop defence industry ‘tools’ that would support national development capabilities. Pointing to specific projects, he underscored the need for “a collaborative approach” to defence in space and other areas such as countering unmanned aerial systems (C-UAS).

The drive to improvement of the EDA and its member states may well be driven by the results of the CARD findings, published in November 2020. This provides for the first time an EU vision of defence and the opportunities for capability collaboration in key focus areas. These have been identified as: main battle tank; soldier systems, European patrol class surface ships; counter UAS/ anti access/area denial; space defence; and military mobility.

WILL LIFE IN 2021 BE AS WE KNEW IT? VIEWPOINTS FROM THE ECONOMIST

As a subscriber to The Economist magazine, I participated in a virtual briefing hosted by Tom Standage, the magazine’s deputy editor, which provided a look ahead to The World in 2021.

Unsurprisingly there was no apology for any predictions for 2020. The COVID-19 pandemic has, of course, impacted all sectors across the global economic community. Standage’s initial point was to underline the global quest for a vaccine – who would get it, in what order, and who might refuse it.

Internationally he added, the actual impact of the pandemic was being masked by government support schemes and the true impact to national economies would come into view once these schemes tailed off.

The economic recovery, when it begins, will not be smooth but likely “unpredictable and uneven.” He opined that “China’s growth by the end of 2021 will be as though the pandemic had never happened.” The reason for this, he continued, was that having been hit by the pandemic first, “China was reopening its factories as the rest of the world went into lockdown.”

The United States trade war with China, inflated by the policies of President Trump, will be a challenge for incoming President-elect Biden’s administration. Standage did not expect the host of tariffs to be rolled back in the short term, but the damage done among traditional allies and unaligned countries needed to be repaired. “Many countries around the world are trying not to pick sides,” he said, something that Trump’s policies were pressurising them into.

Standage also saw the effects of ‘tech-celeration’ brought about by the impact of the pandemic. Home working, shopping and learning had taken off like never before. “We have moved forward in a few weeks and months than would usually take years,” he commented. But would this be a permanent shift, or would behaviours ‘snap back’ once life was returning to normal?

But considering the points above, will 2021 we a re-run of all the things we haven’t done in 2020 (almost a déjà vu), or will the effect of the pandemic be more profound and cause a change of economic thinking and direction at home and in the workplace.

USS BONHOMME RICHARD TO BE SCRAPPED; FIRE DAMAGE TOO EXTENSIVE

The Wasp-class amphibious assault ship, USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6), that suffered major widespread damage following an onboard fire during maintenance is to be scrapped.

On 12 July, while a pre-planned refit was coming to the end, a fire broke out within the ship which lasted for four days and extensively damaged around 60 percent of the warship.

Options of what to do dwindled. The cost of repairing the 22 year old ship were prohibitive ($3-4 billion) and the process would have taken years. Re-rolling it would have been equally expensive but the age of the hull would have not given good operational return for the investment required. This left decommissioning as the last and most realistic option.

“We did not come to this decision lightly,” said Secretary of the Navy Kenneth J. Braithwaite. While the decision had been difficult to make, “we came to the conclusion that it is not fiscally responsible to restore her.”

An inactivation plan is being drawn up to salvage still usable systems and components for other US naval vessels.

US MAJOR ARMS SALES (Defence Security Cooperation Agency – DSCA).

4 December, 2020 – Australia. The State Department has approved a possible Foreign Military Sale to the Government of Australia of 155mm Ammunition and Accessories, and related equipment, for an estimated cost of $132.2 million.

1 December, 2020 – Republic of Korea. The State Department has approved a possible Foreign Military Sale to the Republic of Korea of two (2) MK 15 MOD 25 Phalanx Close-In Weapons System (CIWS) Block 1B Baseline 2 (IB2) systems and related equipment for an estimated cost of $39 million.

1 December, 2020 – Brazil. The State Department has approved a possible Foreign Military Sale to the Government of Brazil of MK 54 Lightweight Torpedoes and related equipment for an estimated cost of $70 million.

1 December, 2020 – Lebanon. The State Department has approved a possible Foreign Military Sale to the Government of Lebanon of up to three hundred (300) M1152 High Mobility Multi-purpose Wheeled Vehicles (HMMWVs) and related equipment for an estimated cost of $55.5 million.

1 December, 2020 – Saudi Arabia. The State Department has approved a possible Foreign Military Sale to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia of US Security Assistance Office (SAO) support services to include technical assistance and advisory support to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Defence (MOD) for an additional five years, through the U.S. Military Training Mission to Saudi Arabia (USMTM) located in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, and related equipment for an estimated cost of $350 million.

1 December, 2020 – Croatia. The State Department has approved a possible Foreign Military Sale to the Government of Croatia of refurbishment/modernisation and support for seventy-six (76) M2A2 Operation Desert Storm (ODS) Bradley Fighting vehicles and related equipment for an estimated cost of $757 million.

1 December 1, 2020 – Canada. The State Department has approved a possible Foreign Military Sale to the Government of Canada of C-17 Sustainment and related equipment for an estimated cost of $275 million.

US GOVERNMENT CONTRACTS

Highlighting a selection of $100 million+ government awarded contracts awarded between 30 November-4 December and Foreign Military Sales contracts.

4 December
US NAVY
DRS Laurel Technologies; and VT Milcom, are each awarded an IDIQ multiple award contracts to sustain the Technical Insertion 2016 equipment. The maximum dollar value for both contracts combined is $211 million. This contract will provide for the manufacture, assembly, and testing of Technical Insertion 2016 equipment spares; associated engineering services, procurement, and harvesting; and installation of ordinance alteration kits and related products. The Naval Surface Warfare Center is the contracting activity.

US ARMY
Dobco received a $137 million contract for construction of the Cyber Engineering Academic Center structure and parking lot at the US Military Academy. The estimated completion date is 4 Dec, 2024. The US Army Corps of Engineers is the contracting activity.

US Air Force
BlueForce has been awarded a $14 million Option Two modification contract for continued support for the Royal Saudi Air Force English language training outside the continental US programme. This contract involves 100 percent Foreign Military Sales (FMS) to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The total cumulative face value of the contract is $42 million. The 338th Enterprise Sourcing Squadron is the contracting activity.

3 December
US NAVY
Bechtel Plant Machinery has been awarded two modification contracts worth $662 million and $482 million for naval nuclear propulsion components. The Naval Sea Systems Command is the contracting activity.

General Dynamics National Steel and Shipbuilding received a $100 million contract for the execution of the USS Comstock (LSD 45) fiscal 2021 docking selected restricted availability. This availability will include a combination of maintenance, modernisation and repair of the USS Comstock (LSD 45). This contract includes options which, if exercised, would bring the cumulative value of this contract to $128 million. The Naval Sea Systems Command is the contracting activity.

Bell Boeing Joint Program Office was awarded a $18 million modification IDIQ contract that exercises an option to continue providing technical analysis, engineering and integration services for various systems and sub-systems in support of the V-22 aircraft for the Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force and Foreign Military Sales customers. The Naval Air Systems Command is the contracting activity.

2 December
US NAVY
(Largest award of the day). Lockheed Martin, Rotary and Mission Systems was awarded a $48 million modification contract to exercise an option for AEGIS Combat System Engineering Agent efforts for the design, development, integration, test and delivery of Advanced Capability Build 20. The Naval Sea Systems Command is the contracting activity.

1 December
US ARMY
(Largest award of the day). Better by Design; Davinroy Mechanical Contractor; Eagle Eye Electric); Gale Construction of Illinois; Bloomsdale Excavating; Keller Construction; Magruder Construction; Shinn Kellogg; Syte; Medvolt Construction Services; and A&H Ambica JV, will compete for each order of the $95 million contract for the construction of various civil and flood recovery projects. The US Army Corps of Engineers is the contracting activity.

US NAVY
Lockheed Martin received a $12 million modification contract that adds scope to provide non-recurring engineering and obsolescence services in support of the Airborne Low Frequency Sonars integration into MH-60R production aircraft for the governments of India and Denmark. Foreign Military Sales funds in the amount of $12 million will be obligated at time of award. The Naval Air Systems Command is the contracting activity.

30 November
US NAVY
Balfour Beatty Construction; B.L. Harbert International; Clark Construction Group – California; ECC Infrastructure; Harper Construction; Heffler Contracting Group; Korte Construction doing business as The Korte; M. A. Mortenson doing business as M.A. Mortenson Construction; R. A. Burch Construction; RQ Construction; Sundt Construction; Walsh Federal; Webcor Construction, doing business as Webcor Builders; and The Whiting-Turner Contracting, are each being awarded an IDIQ contract for new construction, repair and renovation of commercial and institutional facilities at various government installations located in California, Arizona, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, and New Mexico. The maximum dollar value including the base period and one option period for all fourteen contracts combined is $2.5 billion. The work to be performed provides for new construction, repair and renovation within the North American Industry Classification System code 236220, by design-build or design-bid-build, of commercial and institutional facilities. Types of projects may include, but are not limited to, airport buildings, office/administrative buildings, communications facilities, vehicle maintenance facilities, armories, parking garages, barracks facilities, prison facilities, fire stations, religious buildings, hotels, dining facilities, hospital/medical facilities, warehouse facilities, school facilities and/or retail facilities. Future task orders will be primarily funded by military construction (Navy); O&M (Navy); O&M (Marine Corps); and Navy working capital funds. NAVFAC Southwest is the contracting activity.

Raytheon Technologies, Pratt and Whitney Military Engines, is awarded a $642 million contract that provides for the procurement of performance-based logistics activities including maintenance of support equipment, common programme activities, unique and common base recurring sustainment, repair of repairables, field service representatives, common replenishment spares, conventional take-off and landing/carrier variant F135 unique maintenance services and short take-off and landing F135 unique services in support of the F-35 Lightning II F135 propulsion system for the Air Force, Marine Corps, Navy, non-Department of Defense participants and Foreign Military Sales customers. The Naval Air Systems Command is the contracting activity.

Bechtel Plant Machinery has received a $397 million modification contract for Naval nuclear propulsion components. The Naval Sea Systems Command is the contracting activity.

Boeing has received a $9 million modification order which exercises an option to provide follow-on integrated logistics and engineering services in support of the Harpoon/Standoff Land Attack Missile-Expanded Response missile system and Harpoon Launch system for the Navy and Foreign Military Sales (FMS) customers. The Naval Air Systems Command is the contracting activity.

US AIR FORCE
Lockheed Martin Aeronautics has been awarded a $1.4 billion IDIQ contract under Foreign Military Sales (FMS) for C-130J aircraft sustainment support. Services include program management support, spares, supply support services, support equipment, diminishing manufacturing sources, sustaining engineering services, sustaining engineering/technical services, field services representatives, logistics service representatives, technical order updates, technical order print and distribution, country standard time compliance technical orders and depot maintenance. This award is 100 percent FMS. The Air Force Life Cycle Management Center is the contracting activity.

L3 Communications Integrated Systems has received an estimated $667 million IDIQ contract for C-130H unscheduled depot-level maintenance/programmed depot maintenance in support of all C-130 variants and C-130J mid-cycle paint in support of C-130J variants. The Air Force Life Cycle Management Center is the contracting activity.

US ARMY
Oshkosh Defense was awarded an $888 million modification contract to exercise options (1,001 trailers; 2,679 vehicles; and 6,725 kits) for the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle Family of Vehicles for the Army, Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force. The US Army Contracting Command is the contracting activity.

Dyncorp International has been awarded a $52 million modification contract for support of various Army Model Design Series aircraft and equipment in support of deployed units. Work will be performed in the US, Afghanistan, Kosovo, Kuwait and Germany. Fiscal 2010 Foreign Military Sales; 2019 aircraft procurement (Army); 2021 aircraft procurement (Army); and 2021 operation and maintenance (Army) funds in the amount of $52 million were obligated at the time of the award. The US Army Contracting Command is the contracting activity.

AITC-Five Domains JV was awarded a $36 million contract to provide train, advise, assist and mentor services to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Fiscal 2021 Foreign Military Sales funds in the amount of $36 million were obligated at the time of the award. The US Army Contracting Command is the contracting activity.

Oshkosh Defense has been awarded a $23 million modification contract to exercise options to procure vehicles and kits for the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle Family of Vehicles for Brazil, Lithuania and Macedonia. Fiscal 2021 Foreign Military Sales funds in the amount of $23 million were obligated at the time of the award. The US Army Contracting Command is the contracting activity.

NO EVENT UPDATES THIS WEEK.

Keep safe and healthy everyone.

Andrew Drwiega

Editor-in-Chief
Armada International / Asian Military Review

Andrew Drwiega
Andrew Drwiega, Editor-in-Chief, Armada International / Asian Military Review.