25 Mar 13. Joint Strike Fighter: Basing. The Defence Secretary announced (25 Mar 13) that the Joint Strike Fighter (or Lightning II) is to be based at RAF Marham, which will become the Main Operating Base for the aircraft. Lightning II will be jointly operated by the RN and the RAF and is planned to be based on board Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carriers as well as at RAF Marham. The MoD expects to receive front-line aircraft from 2015 onwards, with an initial operating capability from land in 2018 and initial flights from an aircraft carrier later in the same year.
Comment: As announced in 2005 it had been intended to base the Joint Strike Fighter/Lightning II at RAF Lossiemouth. However, Lossiemouth is now to become the home base for the Typhoon fleet while the out of service date for the Tornado GR4 (based at RAF Marham) has been brought forward to 2019. The third Lightning II destined for the RAF embarked on its first flight on 2 Apr 13, at Naval Air Station Fort Worth. The aircraft will join the two already accepted by the UK at Eglin Air Base later in 2013, for crew training. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 13/14, 08 Apr 13)
25 Mar 13. Defence Estate: Rationalisation. In a Written Ministerial Statement (25 Mar 13) confirmation was provided for a number of base changes. As well as the arrangements for the Joint Strike Fighter (Item 4), further ‘rationalisation’ was announced. RAF bases at
Lossiemouth, Leuchars and Prestwick in Scotland, RAF Church Fenton in Yorkshire, RAF Kirton in Lincolnshire and RAF Wyton in Cambridgeshire are affected. The Army garrison at Shorncliffe in Kent will see some change, as will the MoD sites at St Athan in Wales, Ashchurch in Gloucestershire and Bicester in Oxfordshire.
Comment: An outline of the above plans is at page 3 and further details can be found in Hansard for 25 Mar 13. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 13/14, 08 Apr 13)
04 Apr 13. Eurocopter and Turbomeca (Safran) announced the signature of industrial cooperation agreements with Wojskowe Zaklady Lotnicze No. 1 (WZL-1) that include the creation of two separate full assembly lines within Poland for the EC725 Caracal helicopter and its Makila 2 turboshaft engines in the framework of this country’s current tender for 70 new multi-role helicopters. The agreement brings together the resources of rotorcraft manufacturer Eurocopter, engine manufacturer Turbomeca and WZL-1, ensuring a comprehensive in-country industrial work package that also includes training for locally-hired workers, along with a comprehensive maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) capability that will last far beyond the duration of the contract itself – and potentially be open to future export contracts.
04 Apr 13. Vector Aerospace UK announced the successful transition of its Hercules C-130 propeller maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) capability to the Vector Aerospace Component Services site at Almondbank in Perthshire. The Almondbank facility – a leading provider of MRO for rotary and fixed wing aircraft – will be supporting operators of the renowned Hercules transport aircraft around the world.
02 Apr 13. The new headquarters organisation of EADS 1st became effective April including the setting up of a single operational headquarters in Toulouse. In the frame of the reorganisation, a total of 116 positions currently based in Paris and 75 positions currently based in Munich are transferred to Toulouse. Upon conclusion of the Headquarters reorganisation, more than 500 positions – including the integrated functions of EADS and Airbus Human Resources and Finance and a part of Shared Services as well as other key steering functions – will be permanently located in Toulouse, while the Group will retain around 250 service and support functions in Paris and more than 300 in Munich. The new EADS headquarters in Toulouse will be fully operational as of 1 September 2013.
02 Apr 13. The Institute for Near Ea