SIG MMG 338 Program Series

Archive for the ‘Contracts’ Category

Quantum Systems Equips the Romanian Ministry of Defence with Vector systems

Tuesday, June 18th, 2024

Munich, 17.06.2024 – Quantum Systems, the Munich-based manufacturer of dual-use reconnaissance drones that use multi-sensor technology to collect data for government agencies and commercial users, is pleased to announce that it has been awarded a significant contract to supply the Romanian Ministry of Defence (MoD) with its advanced Vector unmanned aerial systems (UAS).

The contract, valued at aproximately 18.4 million EUR was finalized on May 14, 2024, and will span over a period of 36 months. This marks a significant step in enhancing the capabilities of the Romanian Armed Forces with state-of-the-art UAS technology. Romtehnica S.A., the purchasing authority, has contracted Quantum Systems to supply these advanced systems to the Romanian Armed Forces, who will utilize them in various operations across the region. 

Meeting the Romanian MoD’s requirements

The decision criteria for the contract were heavily weighted towards quality. Quantum Systems’ Vector UAS was selected based on its superior range, flight autonomy, sensor quality, and robust warranty terms, along with a competitive pricing structure.

The vertical take-off and landing capable drone type Vector provides the Romanian MoD with a market-available tactical reconnaissance system meeting requirements in terms of range, flight time and sensor capability. The Vector enables precise reconnaissance and has a flight duration of up to three hours. The integrated ‘Raptor’ combi-sensor is equipped with an optical and an infrared camera, enabling day and night operations in all climates and under challenging environmental conditions.

Army Leverages Army SBIR and xTech Prize Competitions to Secure AI Pipeline

Saturday, June 15th, 2024

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Army Small Business Innovation Research and xTech Programs collaborate with artificial intelligence innovators to find and scale solutions across the Army. Led by the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics and Technology, Army SBIR and xTech prize competitions support a secure, Army-ready AI pipeline.

In March 2024, Mr. Young Bang, ASA(ALT) principal deputy, announced the ASA(ALT) AI Implementation Plan, that kicked off with a 100-day sprint. The plan aims to deliver a single, coherent approach to AI across the Army, aligning multiple, complex efforts within 100 and 500-day execution windows, and establishes the baseline to continuously modernize AI and contributing solutions as technologies rapidly evolve.

The Army SBIR and xTech Programs’ initiatives are at the forefront of these efforts to drive digital transformation and deliver required AI capabilities across the Army.

As the 100-day window concludes this summer, the Army is outlining a plan that leverages the outcomes of the 100-day sprint to adopt industry solutions without competing with commercial vendors. However, there are inherent risk factors associated with the adoption of AI solutions.

“Some of the obstacles include looking at and understanding AI risks such as poison data sets, adversarial attacks and trojans,” Bang said. “Developing AI in a controlled, trusted environment owned by the Army or Department of Defense can make addressing these risks easier.”

Bang and his team have prepared an initial AI Layered Defense Framework called #DefendAI to help tackle the risks associated with third-party algorithms, while helping to operationalize industry AI technologies. His team is looking to collaborate across industry and academia to evolve the framework and prioritize capability exploration and implementation in support of Army programs, such as Project Linchpin, which is building an operational pipeline of trusted AI solutions.

Initiated by Program Executive Office Intelligence, Electronic Warfare and Sensors, Project Linchpinaligns with Bang’s AI risk evaluation efforts. Bharat Patel, Project Linchpin-Sensor AI product lead, noted that the program aims to deliver commercial capabilities to the Army by applying fundamental concepts such as test and evaluations, and adopting an AI risk framework.

“It’s your infrastructure, it’s your standards, it’s your governance, it’s your process. All those areas are things that we’re taking on, because that’s how you can tap into the AI ecosystem and that’s how you deliver capabilities at scale,” Patel said.

ASA(ALT) is progressing with the AI Implementation Plan and its alignment to Project Linchpin to prepare the Army for AI at scale. As these initiatives ramp up, the Army SBIR and xTech Programs are strategically focused on leveraging excellence in the private sector to speed up the Army’s broad adoption of AI.

Army SBIR’s AI funding

The Army SBIR Program collaborates with small businesses and Army customers to align innovative solutions with Army priorities. It awards more than $350 million annually to reinvigorate the Army’s technology ecosystem, and is prioritizing and funding cutting-edge AI solutions.

The program has invested nearly $102 million in active AI projects in fiscal year 2024, distributed among approximately 75 small businesses across the country, and aims to align small businesses with the Army’s larger AI pipeline through funded AI initiatives.

In FY24, Automated Detection and Prevention solutions received $30 million in Army SBIR investments, representing 29% of the program’s AI and machine learning portfolio by the number of awards. Within this framework, the Army categorizes technologies as automated systemic-based controls that stop threats and predict the next attack for improved prevention.

There are currently 20 active Army SBIR Automated Detection and Prevention awards with organizations such as PEO IEW&S; PEO Simulation, Training and Instrumentation; and Army Test and Evaluation Command.

Army SBIR investments in FY24 have directly supported Army programs such as Project Linchpin, with two awards made in FY24 and 16 additional planned to start in FY25. The Joint Program Executive Office Armaments and Ammunition also recently leveraged $48 million in Army SBIR funding to modernize munitions manufacturing processes using AI.

Looking forward to FY25, Army SBIR’s AI/ML portfolio is projecting upwards of $105 million in AI funding. Six AI-focused solicitations are slated for release this summer, which will comprise approximately $55 million of the FY25 funding. Several of the solicitations, which include an AI/ML open topic solicitation, align to Project Linchpin thrust areas, amongst other potential Army transition partners.

xTech’s scalable AI

In late 2023, Bang requested that Dr. Matt Willis, the director of Army Prize Competitions and Army SBIR Program, and his team leverage xTech prize competitions to scale AI. This led to the launch of xTechScalable AI in December 2023, which sought innovative AI solutions from U.S.-based small businesses with scalable solutions to defend against adversarial AI threat vectors.

Leveraging prize competition authorities, xTech offers cash prizes along with opportunities for participants to receive direct feedback on their solutions, plus mentorship and networking opportunities with Army customers to help accelerate their unique AI solutions towards Army capabilities. xTech competition winners find themselves well-positioned to compete for follow-on contracts, such as Army SBIR awards.

xTechScalable AI was not the first competition aligning AI with Army needs. Earlier in the year, the xTechPrime competition funded two Army SBIR contract awards to inform Project Linchpin pipeline tools and services, totaling almost $4 million.

The xTechScalable AI competition is following a similar track, offering up to $370,000 in cash prizes and $8 million in follow-on Army SBIR contract awards for critical AI solutions.  Through these competitions, 150 small businesses received exposure and feedback from Army customers and experts, and introductions to follow-on contract opportunities to continue the development of their AI solutions for the Army.

“xTech is a valuable mechanism for identifying and nurturing scalable, commercial AI solutions to strengthen the Army’s security framework,” Willis said. “Paired with ASA(ALT)’s vision, we can operationalize AI to enhance data accuracy and combat cybersecurity threats.”

xTechScalable AI 2 launched in March 2024 and focuses on identifying small businesses with game-changing technologies that can feed into Project Linchpin’s operational AI pipeline. The competition offers up to $603,000 in cash prizes and opportunities post-competition to submit proposals for a Phase I or Phase II Army SBIR contract valued at up to $250,000 and $2 million, respectively.

xTech will host the finals at the Association of the United States Army Annual Meeting and Expo in October. Additionally, xTech will hold more AI-focused competitions in the coming year, including several AI-focused Technical Grand Challenges.

Commercial vendors and small businesses have made quick progress in developing and implementing AI capabilities. As part of ASA(ALT)’s AI Implementation Plan and the upcoming 500-day execution window, Army SBIR and xTech are adopting AI solutions and preparing them for operational use in a secure, government-owned environment.

“Army SBIR and xTech are committed to strategically investing in areas where we can leverage the excellence of the private sector and transition technologies to Army programs such as Project Linchpin,” Willis said. “We have the funding and processes in place to drive industry collaboration and investment opportunities for these large-scale Army efforts.”

About the programs

The Army SBIR Program offers Phase I contract opportunities to U.S.-based small businesses showing commercial viability, feasibility and technical merit. It also offers Phase II and Direct to Phase II contracts to vendors with mature technologies meeting Phase I qualifications.

The Army SBIR Program releases contract opportunities on an ad-hoc basis to address current and expected Soldier needs. The program will promote new contract releases via solicitation announcements and email. For more information, please visit the Army SBIR website.

Established in 2018, the Army xTech Program offers prize competition opportunities for entities including nontraditional vendors direct exposure to Army laboratories, program executive offices, program managers and end-users. Participants receive feedback from Army DoD stakeholders and have access to training, mentorship and networking, and opportunities to win non-dilutive cash prizes.

For current and upcoming competitions, visit the xTech website.

By Anna Volkwine, Office of Army Prize Competitions and Army SBIR Program

Bundeswehr Orders Another 1,515 Military Trucks from Rheinmetall out of Special Fund within Framework Contract – Order Value Over €920m

Thursday, June 13th, 2024

Rheinmetall has been commissioned by the Bundeswehr with a further delivery of 1,515 logistic vehicles, 265 of which are protected swap-body systems. This is another call-off from the framework contract for swap-body systems (WLS) signed in June 2020. This large-scale call-off is largely financed by the Bundeswehr’s special fund. In addition to the vehicles, the Bundeswehr’s procurement agency, BAAINBw, ordered 500 swap-body platforms to serve as interchangeable load carriers and 500 tarpaulin / roof bow setups. The call-off is worth over €920m gross. Delivery of the vehicles will take place in the second half of 2024 and will be completed by mid-November 2024.

“The extensive call-off from the framework contract, financed by the special fund shows the high relevance of Bundeswehr logistics in the conection with the turning point. By delivering all vehicles by the end of 2024, the special fund is helping to directly equip and strengthen the logistical capabilities and sustainability of the armed forces,” explains Michael Wittlinger, chairman of the management of Rheinmetall MAN Military Vehicles GmbH. “With over 4,000 vehicles delivered since 2018, our HX-series military trucks are now an essential component of the Bundeswehr’s logistical capabilities and underline the importance of Rheinmetall for logistics.”

In June 2020, the BAAINBw concluded a framework contract with Rheinmetall until 2027 for the delivery of up to 4,000 trucks with swap-body systems, of which 1,008 have already been delivered. The swap-body trucks join the successful project of Unprotected Transport Vehicles, or UTFs, and expand the Bundeswehr’s fleet of vehicles from the military HX family. The swap-body system’s core equipment is the hook-loader developed by Hiab. It can lift and set down the swap-body carriers in the Bundeswehr in virtually any type of terrain with no need for additional handling equipment. As an alternative, the vehicles can carry a swap-body platform or a container via a standardised 20-foot ISO interface. 

A large share of the swap-body trucks for the Bundeswehr will feature an armoured cab, substantially enhancing crew survivability and sustainment as well as the tactical flexibility of logistic units and formations. Swap-body trucks are used primarily for supplying combat formations with bulk consumables such as ammunition, fuel and water.

Both the swap-body systems and UTFs are based on Rheinmetall’s robust HX family of vehicles. Designed from the outset for military use, they assure excellent mobility even in rough terrain. Moreover, the widespread presence of the HX family offers major advantages in terms of interoperability and logistics, particularly during multinational deployments. At present, the user nations include, among other nations, the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Austria, Hungary and Denmark. Together with the Bundeswehr and the armed forces of Germany’s partners, Rheinmetall is eager to continue writing the ongoing HX vehicles’ success story. 

US Government Secures $73 Million Contract with UVision and Mistral for Hero-120SF Loitering Munitions

Wednesday, June 5th, 2024

Contract with U.S. Special Operations Command Expected to be Completed by May 2029

June 05, 2024 – UVision Inc., a global leader in aerial loitering systems, and Mistral Inc., a distinguished player in the US defense industry, have secured a $73,552,208 contract with the U.S. Government to supply Hero-120SF Loitering Munitions for the U.S. Special Operations Command. The contract includes munitions, spare parts, engineering change proposals, new equipment training, and conversion from organic precision fires-mounted to medium-range precision strike systems.

The Hero-120SF Loitering Munition System is a state-of-the-art, mid-range, anti-tank system designed specifically for heavy strikes against armored targets like tanks, vehicles, and other hard targets on the modern battlefield. With its ability to cause minimal collateral damage and equipped with a range of multi-purpose warheads, the Hero-120SF provides operational users with an unparalleled effective engagement solution.

Tailored for Special Forces operations, the Hero-120SF includes enhancements such as improved payload capacity, advanced guidance systems, and increased flexibility for deployment from various platforms.

Major General (Ret.) Avi Mizrachi, Chairman of the Board of Directors of UVision USA, stated, “This significant contract with the U.S. Special Operations Command, a uniquely important entity, supported by our strong partnership with Mistral, underscores the commitment of both UVision and Mistral to provide cutting-edge technology and operational expertise to safeguard US national security.”

Production of the Hero-120SF will take place at UVision USA’s facilities in Virginia and at the new SAIC plant that opened in March. Mistral Inc, the exclusive representative of UVision in the USA, and the prime contractor of this contract, offering the Hero series to meet the discerning needs of the United States military will oversee the industrial and commercial aspects of the contract.

The work under this contract is expected to be completed by 2029.

 

Irregular Warfare Technical Support Directorate Awards Oak Grove Technologies Special Operations Robotics Capability Course Contract

Wednesday, June 5th, 2024

According to a statement by Oak Grove Technologies (OGT), they were recently awarded the Special Operations Robotics Capability Course (SORCC) contract from the Irregular Warfare Technical Support Directorate (IWTSD), under the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations/Low-Intensity Conflict (ASD SO/LIC), to train on customization and adaptability in Small Uncrewed System Operations.

This is very exciting news as Special Operations Forces (SOF) are at the forefront of small unit unmanned systems across the air, ground and maritime domains.

SOF requires the ability to swiftly redesign, manufacture, build, test, and operate customized small uncrewed systems (sUXS). Please note that the X is used to describe unmanned systems write large while A is used for aerial, G is used for ground and U is used for undersea.

It is also important to note that this effort will build upon the US Army’s John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School’s six week program called Robotics and Unmanned Systems Integration Course (RUSIC) as well as IWTSD Human Performance and Training Subgroup’s Organically Designed and Built Small UAS (ODB sUAS) Course.

Operating often alongside partner forces, SOF leverages readily available equipment to enhance its capabilities. “SOF activities demand agile and adaptable solutions,” said Eli Monroe, Director of Uncrewed Systems at OGT. “By emphasizing customization and leveraging existing resources, we enhance our effectiveness while ensuring compatibility within diverse operational environments.”

Efforts are underway to address these training gaps, focusing on efficiently incorporating methodologies for sourcing, procuring, and manufacturing tailored systems using commercially available components. This initiative aims to empower SOF operators with the knowledge and skills necessary to optimize the utilization of small uncrewed systems in their missions.

Framework Contract for Rheinmetall: Bundeswehr Orders Around One Million DM45 Smoke Grenades – Worth up to €67 Million

Wednesday, May 29th, 2024

Rheinmetall has been commissioned by the Bundeswehr to supply around one million DM45 smoke hand grenades. On 22 May, Annette Lehnigk-Emden, President of the Federal Office of Bundeswehr Information Technology and In-Service Support (BAAINBw), and Rheinmetall Waffe Munition GmbH signed a framework agreement for the manufacture and supply of the grenades. A total of up to 1.5 million DM 45 smoke hand grenades can be procured under the agreement over the coming years. The potential order volume for the approximately one million smoke hand grenades is around EUR 67 million and will be financed from the Bundeswehr’s special fund. The framework agreement runs until 2027 and allows flexible annual call-off of the ammunition based on the identified requirements of the troops. The DM45 will be produced at Rheinmetall’s Silberhütte site in the Harz Mountains, Saxony Anhalt. The order that has now been placed means that the production facility will be utilised over the longer term.

The smoke hand grenade bears the official designation ‘Granate, Hand, DM45, 800 g, KM (grenade, hand, DM45, 800 g, KM)’. It has been in service with the Bundeswehr since the mid-1990s. When its pyrotechnic charge burns, the smoke hand grenade produces heavy smoke and thus forms a smoke screen. This interrupts the line of sight, making it possible to deceive enemy forces or disguise one’s own movements. The DM45 smoke grenade fully fulfils the requirements of the troops during training, exercises and operations. 

Major Order for Ammunition: NATO Customer Orders Artillery Ammunition from Rheinmetall – Worth Almost €300m

Sunday, May 26th, 2024

A NATO customer has placed an order with Rheinmetall for the supply of artillery ammunition. The order comprises several tens of thousands of artillery shells and several hundred thousand propellant charge modules. The total gross value of the orders booked in the second quarter of 2024 amounts to almost €300 million. The deliveries will take place between 2024 and 2028.

The need to replenish the armed forces’ ammunition stocks resulting from the war in Ukraine has brought Rheinmetall major orders in the field of artillery ammunition. The new orders once again emphasise Rheinmetall’s leading technological position in ammunition development and production in Europe.

Rheinmetall MAN Contracted for Delivery of 48 HX 8×8 Protected Military Trucks for Swedish Archer Artillery System

Saturday, May 25th, 2024

Rheinmetall has been contracted by the Swedish company BAE Systems Bofors AB to deliver 48 all-terrain HX Cab Chassis with protected cabins. The highly mobile 8×8 military vehicles from Rheinmetall MAN Military Vehicles (RMMV) will serve as carriers for the Swedish Armed Forces’ Archer artillery systems. The contract, which was concluded in March 2024, has a volume of around €71 million. Deliveries are foreseen to start in the third quarter of 2024 and to be completed by the end of 2027.

Besides the vehicles the order also includes additional service and maintenance scope. The robust HX vehicles are specially adapted to the requirements of a 155mm wheeled howitzer, for example to withstand the pressure wave when firing, and provide the operator with the highest level of off-road mobility. The particular hardened Rheinmetall integrated armoured cabin contributes significantly to the protection of the crew during deployment in high-risk scenarios. This contract constitutes the first series integration of Archer system on the HX truck family.

The integration of the system is done by BAE Systems Bofors AB. The Archer wheeled artillery system is currently being used by the Swedish Armed Forces on a 6×6 platform, which will now be replaced by the new HX-8×8 systems.

High-mobility trucks from RMMV’s HX2 series are already in service with the Swedish armed forces in large numbers – as logistics trucks and as carrier vehicles for the Patriot air defence missile system, for example. Thanks to the ‘family concept’ of the HX vehicle family, the new artillery system can be seamlessly integrated into the existing logistics of the Swedish armed forces.

With the current order, Rheinmetall is making a further contribution to increasing interoperability within NATO. Vehicles of the HX family have been introduced in a growing number of armed forces of the defence alliance and allied nations. In addition to Sweden, other nations such as Germany, Great Britain, Australia, Denmark, Austria and Norway are also using HX military trucks in large numbers and in various configurations. The use of similar systems offers synergy potential in the areas of training, deployment, maintenance and repair.