South Korea launches new ‘localisation' plan

by Jon Grevatt

Funding allocated to DAPA's defence parts localisation programme has expanded sixfold in the past two years. (Janes)

South Korea's Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) has launched the latest version of its plan to increase the domestic production of components and systems for defence platforms.

DAPA said the new ‘2023−27 parts localisation plan' outlines a requirement for local industry to put more emphasis on next-generation technologies, including materials such as alloys and carbon fibres.

Under the plan, DAPA said it will provide research and development funding for priority components; increase the efficiency of procuring such components from local industry; and encourage more companies from civilian sectors to take part in the programme.

DAPA said the plan is intended to bolster exports and reduce dependency on imports. Another aim of the programme is to fill gaps in international supply chains and ensure the supply of capability to the Republic of Korea (RoK) Armed Forces.

Data from DAPA provided to Janes earlier in 2022 shows that the South Korean government has stepped up its parts localisation programme in recent years, allocating a sixfold increase in related funding.

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Comtech eyes new partnerships to fill capability gaps

by Marc Selinger

Comtech's products include the Modular Transportable Transmission System (MTTS), which enables beyond-line-of-sight communications. (Comtech)

Comtech Telecommunications Corporation is forming “strategic relationships” with six companies to fill gaps in its capabilities and improve its offering, according to the chief executive of the US-based communications equipment provider.

Comtech has agreed to the terms for two of the partnerships and is drafting paperwork for the other four, the company's chairman, president, and CEO Ken Peterman told Janes on 20 January. The partners will provide technology such as artificial intelligence and data analytics.

Comtech is gearing up to disclose the names of the partners. “You're going to see press releases on those relationships over the next 45 or so days,” Peterman said.

Peterman, who became CEO in August 2022, is also pushing his company to integrate its past acquisitions more tightly so it can offer “more comprehensive solutions” to customers. “Instead of just boxes, we can offer systems and services both in the satellite and the terrestrial networking market,” he said. Comtech's acquisitions include TeleCommunication Systems (TCS) in 2016, CGC Technology in 2020, and UHP Networks in 2021.

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Columbia programme running ahead of contract schedule, GD CEO says

by Michael Fabey

General Dynamics says the Columbia-class lead submarine is running ahead of contract schedule. (US Navy)

Amid government oversight concerns about lead-ship construction delays of the new Columbia-class strategic ballistic missile submarines, the programme is actually running ahead of contract schedule, according to Phebe Novakovic, chairman and chief executive officer of General Dynamics, whose submarine-building Electric Boat (EB) unit is building the boats.

“We're about 30% done on the first ship and we are ahead of the contract schedule,” Novakovic said on 25 January during an earnings call with financial analysts.

Two US shipbuilders – Electric Boat and HII's Newport News Shipbuilding – design and build the nuclear submarines. Electric Boat is the prime contractor for design and construction of the Columbia class, with Newport News serving as its major subcontractor.

The navy plans to acquire 12 Columbia-class nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines for about USD132 billion, while shipbuilders also build the Virginia-class boats.

“After more than a year of full-scale construction on the lead Columbia submarine, the shipbuilders are facing delays because of challenges with design, materials, and quality,” the US Government Accountability Office (GAO) said in its report

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Stinger missile production to rise 50% by 2025, US Army says

by Marc Selinger

US Army soldiers prepare to fire a Stinger missile during an exercise. (US Army)

The US Army expects to increase production of Stinger missiles to 60 a month by 2025, up 50% from the current rate, according to a spokesperson for the service's Program Executive Office Missiles and Space (PEO MS).

The ramp-up comes amid growing demand for the surface-to-air missile. The US government has provided about 1,500 Stinger missiles to Ukraine to help it counter Russia's February 2022 invasion. “The Stinger has proven to be effective in the support of Ukraine,” the PEO MS spokesperson wrote in response to a series of written questions.

To support the higher production rate, the Stinger programme is redesigning the Dual Detector Assembly (DDA), a component of the missile's seeker, because a DDA part is no longer being made, the PEO MS spokesperson told Janes . The DDA is a sensor with infrared and ultraviolet detectors.

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South Korea's Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) has launched the latest version of i...

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