Update: Canada strikes Super Hornet from fighter competition

by Pat Host

A Royal Canadian Air Force CF-188 takes off on 1 December 2021. Boeing and its Block III Super Hornet was eliminated from final eligibility for Canada's fighter procurement. (Canadian Armed Forces)

Canada has eliminated the Boeing F/A-18 Block III Super Hornet from its Future Fighter Capability Project (FFCP) competition, leaving the Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) and the Saab Gripen E as the finalists.

Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC) said on 1 December that proposals were rigorously assessed on elements of capability, cost, and economic benefits. The evaluation also included an assessment of economic impact. A PSPC spokesman declined to say why it eliminated the Block III Super Hornet, other than that all proposals were subject to the same evaluation criteria with oversight by an independent fairness monitor.

Over the coming weeks, Canada will finalise the next steps in the process. Based on further analysis of the two remaining bids, this could involve proceeding to final negotiations with the top-ranked bidder or entering into a competitive dialogue. Here, the two remaining bidders would be provided an opportunity to improve their proposals.

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Snakehead LDUUV prototype completes ‘milestone' IPOE demonstration

by Richard Scott

The single Snakehead prototype was built under LDUUV Phase 1 (US Navy)

The US Naval Undersea Warfare Center (NUWC) Division Newport has revealed an end-to-end demonstration of a so-called intelligence preparation of the operational environment (IPOE) mission involving the Snakehead Large Displacement Unmanned Undersea Vehicle (LDUUV) prototype.

Undertaken at the Narragansett Bay Test Facility in Newport, Rhode Island, in July, the test scenario was designed to build confidence in the vehicle software and hardware systems ahead of more complex extended endurance operations and additional system capability, according to the NUWC.

The Snakehead prototype, built under Phase 1 of the LDUUV programme, is a modular, reconfigurable, multimission undersea vehicle incorporating undisclosed hull materials and certified lithium-ion batteries. While plans for a follow-on Phase 2 production programme were cut from the US Navy's (USN's) fiscal year (FY) 2023 budget, NUWC is continuing risk reduction and fleet experimentation with the prototype as it seeks to mature undersea autonomy technologies.

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US Army approves new top-attack, anti-tank landmine production

by Ashley Roque

In 2018 the US Army released the illustration of its vision for a networked landmine concept. The service has awarded Textron Systems with a low-rate initial production contract to produce its new XM204 top-attack munition. (US Army)

The US Army awarded Textron Systems with a five-year, low-rate initial production contract to produce its new XM204 top-attack munition, a landmine designed to destroy combat vehicles.

Henry Finneral, the company's senior vice-president for weapon systems, told Janes on 9 August about the new contract inked in late July worth up to USD354 million. So far, he said the army has ordered 117 XM204 units and 38 trainers for delivery between July and late September 2023. Each subsequent order could range from 25 to 400-plus weapons, Finneral added.

This new weapon is part of the army's plan to replace its Family of Scatterable Mines (FASCAM), which it deems to be ‘nearing their end of useful life'. This replacement plan includes the XM204 top-attack munition and a future bottom-attack munition. Both would eventually be tied together to form a ‘full network capability'.

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India reports growth in offsets value but says firms are missing deadlines

by Jon Grevatt

The total value of discharged defence offsets in India has grown strongly since 2020, according to Indian MoD statistics. (Indian MoD)

Foreign companies have implemented defence offsets in India worth USD6.83 billion in the past 15 years, India's Minister of State for Defence Ajay Bhatt has said in parliament. This total, he added, represents 82% of foreign firms' total offset obligations in the period up until 1 August.

In his parliamentary reply, Bhatt said 15 foreign companies have “missed the first deadline” set for offset obligations but gave no details. He also pointed to measures that the Indian Ministry of Defence (MoD) has introduced to prevent foreign suppliers defaulting on, or delaying, their offset obligations.

“For unfulfilled offset obligations, penalties, as applicable, have been imposed on the defaulting vendors as per the governing defence offset guidelines,” said Bhatt. “Further, in genuine cases, re-phasing of offset obligations has been allowed to enable vendors to discharge the pending offset obligations.”

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Canada has eliminated the Boeing F/A-18 Block III Super Hornet from its Future Fighter Capability Pr...

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