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29 Apr 14. Ecuadorian MoD establishes aircraft and aerospace component factory. The Ecuadorian Ministry of Defence (MoD) and the Ministry of Industries have launched a joint programme for the design and development of a light aircraft to replace the country’s ageing fleet of primary trainers and crop dusters. According to both ministries there is a domestic market for 424 aircraft: 274 crop dusters and 150 trainers.
The new factory is to be established near the Cotopaxi airbase in Latacunga and will be able to produce up to 40 aircraft annually from 2016. A prototype is being developed by the Ecuadorian Air Force’s (FAE’s) Aeronautics Industry Directorate through a USD3.5m research and development grant, and its first flight is expected in October 2015. (Source: IHS Jane’s)

30 Apr 14. Building on its 35-year success story in the Sultanate of Oman, Thales consolidates its presence in the Sultanate by inaugurating new offices. This decision was driven by a growth in business opportunities in Oman and is of particular relevance as the Middle East represents one of the regions which will drive growth for Thales in the future. The new offices highlight the Group’s strategy and ambition to increase local operational capabilities, mainly to serve security, ground transportation and aerospace projects. The relationship between Oman and Thales dates back to the end of the 70’s when the first radio communications equipment was delivered to the Sultanate. Ever since then, Thales has been involved in a broad spectrum of activities and has partnered with a wide variety of customers including, the Ministry of Transport and Communication (MOTC), Oman Air, the Omani Armed Forces and the Security Agencies of Oman. This deep bond led to the establishment of Thales Oman in 2010 in order to facilitate a more dynamic engagement with the Group’s key customers in the region. The new site is in the Al Tilal Complex, at the Muscat Grand Mall and has been operational since the beginning of 2014.

28 Apr 14. MoD Director Ships, Tony Graham, officially opened a new Babcock office in Bristol – Babcock House – which now accommodates the Submarine and Surface Ship Naval Design Partnering (NDP) Teams and Babcock’s Energy & Marine Technology (E&MT) team. Babcock House, located in the Bristol Business Park close to the Ministry of Defence Abbey Wood site in Bristol, has the capacity to accommodate 64 NDP staff, as well as the Babcock E&MT team. The Submarine and Surface Ship NDPs are unique consortia of MoD and industry. The MoD led multi-industry teams capitalise on the wealth of naval capabilities within the UK drawing expertise from Babcock, BAES, Rolls-Royce, BMT, Selex, MBDA, QinetiQ, Thales and Atlas. The co-location opportunity that Babcock’s new facility provides is a valuable enabler for a collaborative environment in which MoD and select industry contractors work closely together on naval design. The co-location brings together a vast breadth and depth of experience, combining RN operational and cross-industry expertise in MoD-industry integrated teams, which can be applied to develop innovative solutions through a collaborative approach optimising efficiency and value for money. The official opening of the new office took place, Monday 28 April, and was attended by NDP Ship and Submarine engineers, senior representatives from each of the NDP core companies, MoD senior management and senior international representatives from Australia, Canada and India. Following the formal opening, presentations were given by the NDP teams and Babcock.

30 Apr 14. BAE to break ground on plant. BAE Systems announced plans to start construction Friday on a new plant near Fort Wayne International Airport. The project will involve a $39m investment to buy land at the northwest corner of Ardmore Avenue and Airport Expressway and build a 355,000-square-foot facility, as well as $3.2m to equip the plant.
With a workforce of about

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