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17 Jan 12. WFEL, the Stockport-based defence engineering business, has constructed a new 14,000 sq ft manufacturing facility to support its fast-growing support services division. The new building, which is situated at its Heaton Chapel-headquarters, follows a £200,000 investment by the tactical military bridging specialist. With revenues now accounting for more than 10 per cent of WFEL’s total turnover each year, its support services arm has outgrown its existing 6,000 sq ft facilities as it looks to meet demand to repair and refurbish its bridges returning from active use. The new building includes two new and state-of-the-art five tonne overhead cranes, enabling it to deal with three entire bridging systems, with some reaching almost 50 metres, in length simultaneously. WFEL’ support services division is currently preparing for a further tranche of new orders from the United States, one of the firm’s key longstanding clients, as part of its ongoing Military Reset programme for equipment returning from Iraq and Afghanistan.

20 Jan 12. Link expands test capability with environmental chamber. Link Microtek, the specialist manufacturer and supplier of RF, microwave and infra-red products, has invested in a state-of-the-art environmental test chamber at its premises in the centre of Basingstoke. As well as enabling the company to offer diagnostic testing and burn-in capability for standard products such as microwave power amplifier modules, the new Design Environmental Alpha 335H test chamber also supports Link’s design-and-build service for RF and microwave subsystems. Products and assemblies can be powered up in the test chamber and subjected to prolonged temperature extremes and a relative humidity of up to 95%, with software-controlled cycling to meet customers’ specific requirements.
Commenting on the new equipment, Link Microtek’s managing director Steve Cranstone said: “The environmental chamber is already proving to be a valuable addition to our in-house test facilities. Many of the products we manufacture and supply are used in defence and aerospace applications, where environmental conditions may be extremely demanding. By taking advantage of this test and burn-in capability, customers can be assured that products will achieve the highest levels of reliability in the field.”

Jan 12. Space Security: Visit to RAF Fylingdales. The Defence Equipment Minister, accompanied by the Minister for Universities and Science, visited RAF Fylingdales in order to discuss the drafting of a National Space Security Policy.
Comment: The primary role of RAF Fylingdales is ballistic missile warning but the Station has a secondary role of space surveillance. National Space Security Policy Team members, part of the Cabinet Office, accompanied the Ministers. The planned policy document is to cover both civil and military space issues. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 12/04, 23 Jan 12)

MARITIME

11 Jan 12. Chile looks to boost naval capacity. Chile has kicked off plans to rapidly bolster its navy’s power-projection and emergency-reaction capabilities with transport helicopters, amphibious tractors and a hallmark acquisition of the former French Navy landing ship dock (LSD) Foudre . The amphibious assault ship was originally set to be transferred in April 2012, but procurement was completed on 24 December 2011 when the vessel was handed over to a Chilean crew and rechristened Sargento Aldea at the French naval base at Toulon. (Source: Jane’s, IDR)

16 Jan 12. Raytheon Company delivered the final Ship Self-Defense System (SSDS MK 2) hardware ship set of its 2010 production contract, completing all system deliveries ahead of schedule. The system is slated for installation and integration onboard the John P. Murtha (LPD 26), providing the ship’s U.S. Navy-certified open-architecture combat management system. SSDS is an open, distributed combat management system in service on carriers and expeditiona

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