25 Mar 13. The new cutting edge Lightning II stealth fighter aircraft will be based at RAF Marham, the Defence Secretary Philip Hammond announced. The Lightning II is the most advanced jet our Armed Forces have ever operated and the decision to base it at RAF Marham has secured the future of the base. The decision will also mean new investment and infrastructure to make RAF Marham the Main Operating Base for the aircraft. Lightning II will be jointly operated by the Royal Air Force and the Royal Navy and the aircraft will operate from the Navy’s new Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carriers as well as from RAF Marham. The Defence Secretary visited RAF Marham this morning toview the facilities and talk to personnel ahead of the announcement. The announcement also provided clarity on a number of other changes to bases in the UK, details of which were announced to Parliament in a Written Ministerial Statement. This includes RAF bases at Lossiemouth, Leuchars and Prestwick in Scotland, RAF Church Fenton in North Yorkshire, RAF Kirton in Lindsey in Lincolnshire; the Army base at Shorncliffe in Kent, and Ministry of Defence sites at St Athan in Wales, Ashchurch in Gloucestershire and Bicester.
26 Mar 13. Keighley Laboratories Achieves Nadcap Merit Accreditation. The Technical Services division of Keighley Laboratories has achieved world-class Nadcap accreditation for a Materials Testing Laboratory (MTL), a status recognised by the majority of global aerospace primes as a mark of quality assurance excellence. The West Yorkshire Company also gained coveted Merit grade, which rewards superior performance in Nadcap audits and reduces subsequent audit frequency. Accreditation has also prompted affirmation and prolongation of its Airbus approval, the aircraft manufacturer having adopted the Nadcap programme for its global supply chain. As one of the few Nadcap-accredited MTL facilities in the UK, Keighley Labs has been successfully assessed for the evaluation of aerospace welds, tensile, impact and bend testing, metallographic and micro indentation hardness procedures, and specimen preparation and machining. Combined with UKAS accredited testing and certification to many international standards and Civil Aviation Authority approval of in-house weld specimen supervisors, this confirms the company as a centre of excellence for weld testing, at a time when there is a Europe-wide shortage of the necessary expertise.
28 Mar 13. Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company announced an initiative aimed at expanding its collaboration with Silicon Valley companies to meet the diverse technology needs of the federal government. Called the Lockheed Martin Silicon Valley Alliance, this technology hub will provide the federal government with greater visibility into innovative technology solutions developed locally, including affordable software and cyber security solutions. For example, a game developer’s software could improve the realism of a military simulation system. (Source: Yahoo!/PRNewswire)
25 Mar 13. Upgraded HMS Somerset completes extensive sea trials
The UK Royal Navy’s Type 23 Duke-class guided-missile frigate, HMS Somerset (F82), has successfully completed extensive sea trials, following completion of its refit programme. In addition to validating all onboard equipment, HMS Somerset used its navigation, ship handling and core war fighting capabilities to operate safely during the sea trials. During testing, the ship also validated its newly installed radars, sonars and communication systems, as well as guns capabilities. The ship successfully completed a nine-month £20m refit programme with Babcock Marine, as part of the Surface Ship Support Phase 2 programme at Devonport Naval base. Under the Surface Ship Support Alliance (SSSA) class output management (COM) Phase 2 arrangements, HMS Somerset is the first destroyer to undergo and complete a refit programme. (Source: naval-technology.com)