Berlin Security Conference 2021: Germany likely to issue letter of request for Super Hornet, Growler in January

by Gareth Jennings

Germany is expected to acquire the Super Hornet (pictured) and the Growler to partially satisfy the Luftwaffe's Tornado replacement requirement. (Janes/Patrick Allen)

Germany is expected to issue a letter of request (LOR) to the US government in the coming weeks, as it seeks to procure the Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet and EA-18G Growler aircraft.

Vice president, Boeing Defense, Space & Security Germany, Michael Hostetter, told Janes that the LOR that would move the intended sale forward is likely to be issued in January, shortly after the German government is next seated in early December.

“I would say that everything is continuing to move forward,” Hostetter said. “The selection decision was made by AKK [German Defence Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer] in 2019, and obviously there is a new government that is being formed right now. Between the United States government, the Bundeswehr, and Boeing, we are all now working together to drive the development of a letter of agreement, and I expect that to happen in the near term after the government is seated.”

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Quick-fielding contracting model touted for US Navy Task Force 59 unmanned systems in the Middle East

by Michael Fabey

The US Navy Task Force 59 is experimenting with Saildrone platforms. (Saildrone)

The contracting model employed by US Navy (USN) Task Force 59 (TF 59) makes it possible to field, test, and evaluate unmanned systems quickly in the Middle East, according to Michael Stewart, USN Unmanned Task Force lead.

“Task Force 59 is using a fee-for-service contracting model,” Stewart said on 25 May during a media roundtable update on unmanned systems' work. “They can get stuff out there really quick. They see it, lease it, get it into the theatre and test it.”

Established by the US 5th Fleet in September 2021, TF 59 works closely with members of industry and academia as well as other experts to provide operator feedback and help drive the innovation process forward for unmanned systems.

TF 59 is testing the limits of commercial technology, Stewart noted. “They are trying to get to the leading edge of commercial [technology] and see what the gaps are.”

In particular, he cited the task force's work with Martac unmanned surface vessels (USVs) and Saildrone unmanned platforms.

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US Navy works with industry to explore alternative fuel sources

by Michael Fabey

The US Navy cites the potential for hybrid power like that employed by the amphibious assault ship USS Makin Island. (US Navy)

The US Navy (USN) is working with industry to develop other potential sources of fuel as well as possible alternative modes of power, according to Meredith Berger, acting assistant secretary of the navy for energy, installations, and environment.

“We are working with industry on what other types of low-emissions fuel-energy types are out there,” Berger said on 23 May during a media roundtable discussion of the USN's “Climate Action 2030” plan, which was released on 24 May.

She described such work as being in the “survey stage” and noted the “driving element”, always, would be the impact on the USN and US Marine Corps (USMC) to “make mission”.

Berger also added that the USN was successful with hybrid-electric ship propulsion plant efforts, with vessels like Wasp-class amphibious assault ship USS Makin Island (LHD 8). “But there's also a lot of development to do in terms of technology.”

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North Korea launches ‘ballistic missiles' into East Sea

by Jon Grevatt

This graphic by the Japanese MoD shows what it said are the trajectories of two of three ballistic missiles launched by North Korea on 25 May. The MoD said both fell in the East Sea outside of Japan's exclusive economic zone. (Japanese Ministry of Defense)

North Korea has fired three more ballistic missiles towards the East Sea, defence officials from Japan, South Korea, and the United States announced on 25 May.

Pyongyang has not confirmed the launches, but South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) and the Japanese Ministry of Defense (MoD) said possibly three ballistic missiles were from fired from the west coast of North Korea around 0600 h local time.

According to the JCS, the first of the three missiles featured what it said was a suspected intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), possibly the Hwaseong-17, that flew 360 km at a top altitude of 540 km.

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Germany is expected to issue a letter of request (LOR) to the US government in the coming weeks, as ...

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