The Weekly Wire: For Your Situational Awareness 11/1/2019
2019 International Maritime Defense Industry Exhibition Update
Aaron Lin, Senior Market Analyst
Last week, the 2019 International Maritime Defense Industry Exhibition (MADEX 2019) was held in Busan, South Korea. The exhibition not only provided an opportunity for Korean contractors to showcase their products to the South Korean military, but also for the export market to explore what the Korean’s were showcasing.
- Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering (DSME) displayed the DSME 2000 design, a 2180-ton attack submarine. This design is likely based on the similarly sized KSS-II submarines that were built for the South Korean Navy. The DSME 2000 incorporates an air-independent propulsion system that leverages lithium-ion batteries. The South Korean Navy’s upcoming KSS-III Batch 2 will feature lithium-ion batteries as well, using a commercial Samsung SDI battery. Regarding the KSS-III Batch 2 submarine, previous reporting had suggested the incorporation of launch tubes to accommodate a version of the Hyunmoo 2 ballistic missile, but DSME’s display only had tubes for the Hyunmoo 3 cruise missile.
- Hanwha Defense displayed a large displacement unmanned undersea vehicle (UUV) designed for anti-submarine warfare. Designed to operate in conjunction with other sensors, the UUV could enable multi-static anti-submarine warfare, which would allow for better sensor coverage and precision by fusing data from multiple sensors that could be placed far from other sources of noise. Most UUV’s to date have been focused on missions such as hydrography and mine clearance.
- Korean Aerospace Industries’ is offering its’ KUH-1 Surion helicopter for mine countermeasures and maritime-based attack roles. The KUH-1 is already being delivered for utility missions for the South Korean Army and Marine Corps, with the latter’s version being modified for operating in a maritime environment. The Marine Corps variant, which was involved in a crash last year, is likely the basis of the mine countermeasures and maritime attack variants.
- Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) revealed an ambitious concept called the HCX-19, that is marketed as a single solution that can perform the duties of today’s mine-warfare ships, corvettes, frigates, and destroyers. The design envisions the fusion of roles and traditional ships types being achieved through extensive used of unmanned systems and swappable mission modules. Enabling a ship to perform such a wide range of missions could allow navies to purchase fewer hulls while still performing the same missions. HHI hopes the concept will turn into an actual vessel in the 2030s. The Australian Navy had envisioned a similar concept using a smaller ship that would combine patrol and mine warfare roles, relying extensively on unmanned systems. This project was initially delayed to the 2030s due to doubts about the capability of unmanned systems to perform such roles. However, the project was later brought forward due to perceived faster than expected progress in unmanned systems capability.
Last week, the Pentagon potentially awakened a new, major force in government cloud computing by awarding the omnibus Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) contract to Microsoft. The 10-year, $10 billion contract represents a new hope for the Defense Department’s plans to unify its cloud and IT infrastructures under a new JEDI order for contract and platform services, allowing seamless sharing and integration across DoD and IC databases and applications. While the contract starts out with a $1 million, two-year award, its total value will rapidly expand as agencies migrate to the JEDI Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) and Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS), and tie fighters and users into the new, hardened network.
The JEDI contract was previously mired by several bidders’ attempts to strike back against a perceived bias toward Amazon as the preferred bidder, criticizing Amazon’s proposal for likely attempting to attack the problem with clones of its work supporting the US intelligence community. With Amazon expected to seek its revenge, a phantom menace then emerged from a recent memoir by a speechwriter to former Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis, which raised claims that President Trump attempted to order sixty-six Amazon’s bid. Therefore, it will not be long before the news cycle sees the return of the JEDI contract.
On October 29, the US Department of State announced it had approved a potential Foreign Military Sale to Japan valued at $4.5 billion that would cover upgrading 98 F-15J aircraft to the Japanese Super Interceptor configuration. The sale would cover an array of subsystem upgrades, including the installation of APG-82(v)1 Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) Radars, Advanced Display Core Processor II Mission System Computers, ALQ-239 Digital Electronic Warfare System, and Selective Availability Anti-Spoofing Modules, as well as costs associated with integration, training, and support. The goal of the upgrade is to improve Japan’s ability to counter airborne threats, secure its airspace, and protect both Japanese and American interests in the region. However, the sale has not been finalized and may change in the interim.
On October 25, the Finnish Armed Forces received the last delivery of the secondhand Leopard 2A6 main battle tank. Finland purchased the secondhand main battle tanks from the Netherlands in 2014 for $276 million. In addition to the completion of the main battle tank delivery, Finland awarded Patria a $38 million contract on October 29 to upgrade its fleet of XA-180 armored personnel carriers (APC) beginning in 2020. A total of 139 APCs will undergo upgrades to the electric systems, power transmission components, renewed suspension, and external coating. This is part of a larger mid-life upgrade for the APCs that began in 2013. Finland plans to keep the XA-180s active until the 2040s.