GAO finds problems with F-35 costs and technology in new report
01 June 2023
by Zach Rosenberg
A US triservice formation of the US Air Force F-35A (lead), the US Marine Corps F-35B, and the US Navy F-35C. (US Air Force)
On 30 May the US Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report about the Lockheed Martin F-35, finding that the programme has not adequately explained a cost increase of USD13.4 billion since 2019, that the upgraded Block 4 version has run into technical snags and a USD1 billion cost increase, and that the US Department of Defense (DoD) has not fully defined requirements for an engine cooling system upgrade.
The USD13.4 billion increase is because of greater acquisition costs, the GAO wrote. “The programme attributes the increased procurement cost to additional years of costs related to airframe and engine production, along with support costs for equipment, technical data, and training,” the GAO wrote. “According to programme officials, the programme is deferring the delivery of these 215 aircraft to later years at the request of the air force.” F-35 development costs have increased by a total of USD21.1 billion between 2012 and 2021, the GAO found. The programme's total 77-year lifespan cost now hovers around USD1.7 trillion.
The US Army has selected four companies that will build two prototypes each for the service's Robotic Combat Vehicle-Light (RCV-L) programme, officials announced on 20 September.
Textron Systems, General Dynamics Land Systems, McQ Inc, and Oshkosh Defense were awarded the contracts, which task them with delivering prototypes by August 2024. The companies will also go through a preliminary design review during the first phase, David Phillips, senior vice-president of Textron Systems' Land and Sea Systems, told
on 22 September.
The army will hold a competition between the first-phase awardees for the second-phase contracts, according to an army press release. A single winner will be selected in fiscal year (FY) 2025 to finalise system designs, build, and deliver up to nine full-system prototypes in FY 2026, the release said. Further testing will support a follow-on production decision in FY 2027, with first unit fielding planned for FY 2028.
“Human-machine integrated teams are the future of successful ground combat in the land domain,” said Brigadier General Geoffrey Norman, director of the Next Generation Combat Vehicles Cross Functional Team.
TADTE 2023: GEOSAT to manufacture Japanese C-UAV systems in Taiwan
18 September 2023
by Kapil Kajal
DDD (Drone Detective & Disabilitating System), pictured above from TADTE 2023, can detect UAVs within a range of 25 km. (Janes/Kapil Kajal)
Taiwan's GEOSAT Aerospace & Technology signed a transfer of technology (ToT) agreement with Fortunio Japan to manufacture the latter's counter-unmanned aerial vehicle (C-UAV) known as ‘DDD (Drone Detective & Disabilitating System)' in Taiwan at the Taipei Aerospace & Defense Technology Exhibition 2023 (TADTE 2023) held in Taipei from 14 to 16 September.
A GEOSAT spokesperson told Janes at the showthat the system will be offered to the Republic of China (RoC) Armed Forces to meet the service's C-UAV requirements.
According to the company specifications, the DDD can detect UAVs within a range of 25 km.
The DDD comprises three units: detection head unit, tripod, and software and personal computer. The circular detection head unit is mounted on the tripod with an overall height and weight of 1,430 mm and 35 kg respectively.
The height, weight, and diameter of the head unit are 150 mm, 7 kg, and 375 mm respectively. The system can be mounted on a ship or a military vehicle, the spokesperson added.
The Norwegian Defence Research Establishment (FFI) has purchased two IDV Robotics Viking Unmanned Ground Vehicles (UGVs),
Speaking at DSEI 2023 in London, IDV Robotics' head of sales and marketing, Robert Mohacsi, said that the vehicles will undergo testing for operations in extreme weather conditions.
The Viking UGV is a 6×6 electric and diesel hybrid platform that features a large payload bay. It is primarily designed to operate as a robotic mule and transport up to 750 kg. At DSEI 2023, IDV Robotics also displayed a variant equipped with a 12.7 mm Machine Gun (MG) and a Thales FZ602 LGR Launcher.
understands that IDV Robotics is planning to perform firing tests within the next year.
According to the company, the Viking can operate in temperatures from -20 to 39 ˚C. On a flat road at the nominal temperature of 20 ˚C the range in electric and hybrid modes is 20 and 250 km respectively.
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