19 Nov 12. St Helena: Airport on Schedule. Ministerial Answers (29 Oct & 19 Nov 12) indicated that work on the airport is “progressing well” and is both on schedule and on budget. The contractor (Basil Read) has established a dedicated shipping service for materials to the island and has transported all major construction equipment to the airport site. Various studies have concluded that tourist numbers to St Helena are likely to increase from around 1,000 a year under current arrangements to around 29,000 a year within 25 years of the opening of the airport.
Comment: A design and build contract for an airport, worth just over £200m, was announced on 3 Nov 11. At present the only way to get to St Helena is by an infrequent mail boat, RMS St Helena, from Cape Town. The UK Government subsidy for the (ageing) RMS St Helena will cease once air services start but alternative sea cargo services are to be arranged through commercial shipping. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 12/46, 26 Nov 12)
22 Nov 12. Merlin Equipment Announces Multi-Million Pound Investment. Merlin is delighted to announce the completion of a multi-million pound investment into our business that will kick-start an exciting expansion plan. In addition to significantly increasing Research, Product & Business Development resources in the UK and Europe, Merlin has just opened its new US Headquarters in Hampton Bays, New York and a 70,000 square foot Vehicle Integration Facility in Fort Bragge, North Carolina. From a product perspective, Merlin will be launching new generation power management products over the next three months. Combined with recently signed strategic partnerships with a number of blue chip companies, including the renowned engineering firm Cosworth and leading battery manufacturer Enersys, Merlin is well placed to significantly expand in the Defence Business. Merlin Equipment Limited has rebranded to coincide with the US Launch as Merlin Power Systems – a new global leader in power management majoring on the marine, specialist vehicle and defence industries. Merlin Power Systems USA is being spearheaded by Mr William (Billy) Silhan. Mr Silhan brings a wealth of experience to Merlin through his background in successfully developing leading edge marine and military electronic solutions. In addition to his pioneering work in moving map technologies in the early 1990’s (Pinpoint Systems), Mr Silhan’s next company Tactronics Inc developed the critical Network Centric Warfare Architecture used today by US, UK and International Special Forces.
19 Nov 12. US Army establishes new proteomics research facility. The US Army has established a new Proteomics Core Facility, to support basic and applied research projects aimed at developing solutions to counter an array of chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and high-yield explosives (CBRNE) issues. Jointly opened by the Army Edgewood Chemical Biological Center (ECBC) and Medical Research Institute of Chemical Defense (MRICD), the facility is designed to support Defense Threat Reduction Agency/Joint Science and Technology Chemical and Biological Defense Programme, MRICD and ECBC objectives to improvement soldiers’ defence against chemical and biological threats. ECBC technical director Joseph Wienand said the facility represented a collaborative effort by scientists to enable resources sharing and cost-savings, while working towards the common goal of increasing protection of troops and the country. (Source: army-technology.com)
20 Nov 12. ODSecurity, manufacturers of the SOTER RS Security Through Body Scanner, one of the world’s most advanced security x-ray scanning systems, continues to expand its presence around the globe with the opening of a new office in the USA. The new branch, ODSecurity USA, will be based at College Station, Texas, USA, and will provide sales operations, as well as offer customer training, product demonstrations and technical support to cus