02 May 19. Big boost to Make in India! Boeing to set up a new facility for F/A 18 Super Hornet production in India. The Advanced Medium Combat aircraft (AMCA) could be a fifth-generation plane being developed by the state owned Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL).
US aerospace major Boeing has offered to set up a new production facility in India for the production of its F/A-18 Super Hornet fighters if the company gets contracts for large number of fighters for both the Indian Air Force as well as the Indian Navy. Also, since the Indo-US defence and security ties have been on an upswing, the company does not foresee any issues related to transfer of technology (ToT).
Dan Gillian, vice president of F/A-18 and E/A-18 programs at Boeing, while discussing the Block III Super Hornet’s capabilities, with Financial Express Online, said that “India-US relationship is uniquely positioned and we are working on setting up a new production facility for building the next generation aircraft in India. We have a robust ToT plan.”
With the US Navy making major investments in Block III, F/A-18 Super Hornet has a long life ahead. “The Super Hornet is the most advanced fighter that India could manufacture here and this will help the Indian side to make the AMCA (Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft) air plane,” he said.
The Advanced Medium Combat aircraft (AMCA) could be a fifth-generation plane being developed by the state owned Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL).
Since the time India has been designated as “Major Defence Partner” by the Trump administration in 2016, the defence trade and technology sharing with India has been elevated to a level of its trusted allies and partners.
To a question if the company is focusing on the Indian Navy’s planned acquisition of 57 multi-role carrier-borne fighters, the company official said that F/A 18 Super Hornet would be the ideal machine for the Navy’s carrier, as no modifications will be required.
Companies including the French Rafale of Dassault Aviation, F/A-18 Super Hornet of US based Boeing MIG-29K of Russia, F-35B and F-35C of Lockheed Martin, US and Gripen from Saab, Sweden are in race for the Naval order.
According to Gillian the company is also offering F/A 18 Super Hornet for the Indian Air Force requirement of 114 fighter aircraft.
Boeing Company which has been present in India for several decades has been working to set up 21st century ecosystem for aerospace & defence manufacturing in India, which will help in making Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘Make in India’ initiative in the defence and aerospace sector a success.
According to Gillian, “The Company through its Indian partners has been building parts for helicopters and aircraft here in India. And we have more than 160 Indian suppliers.” This will lead to also lead to maximizing indigenous content in the production of the F/A-18 in India for its armed forces.
And, he added that there are tie ups with state owned Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) and Mahindra Defence Systems (MDS) for manufacturing the F/A-18 Super Hornet in India for its armed forces and will also work towards jointly developing of future technologies.
“Depending on the order from the Indian side for the F/A-18 Super Hornet, the number of suppliers can go up higher and we are already in talks with them as all of this depends on the requirements,” he added.
The infrared search and track system (IRST), already in development as part of the earlier Block II upgrade, to give the advanced fourth generation aircraft an additional means to detect hostile low-observable aircraft at long distances.
New Distributed Targeting Processor-Networked (DTP-N) and Tactical Targeting Network Technology (TTNT) data link.
A single Block III Super Hornet will be able to passively scan with the IRST, spot targets, and present the pilot with a rough bearing overlaid on the aircraft’s radar screen.
To further enhance this flexibility, along with DTP-N and TTNT systems, the Block III aircraft will also have an updated satellite communications system, another hold-over from the Block II programme.
Information from the aircraft’s own sensors and mission systems, as well as the data it receives from other sources, to feed into different displays on a single 10-inch by 19-inch flat panel touch screen that replaces the existing multi-function displays.
The completely redesigned cockpit architecture, known as the Advanced Cockpit System, will also include additional backup displays and manual buttons in case this single screen fails in part or in full.
Dual seat F/A-18Fs can have this practicality in each the front and rear cockpits. (Source: Google/https://www.financialexpress.com)
03 May 19. Australia opens trade and defence office in Israel. Australia quietly opened a trade and defence office in West Jerusalem in March, with no official government announcement and no officials attending the opening. The office is located in the Migdal Ha’ir office in Jerusalem, but does not have formal diplomatic status. The establishment of the office isn’t a surprise, however, with Prime Minister Scott Morrison revealing the government’s intention to do so six months ago.
“Out of respect for the clearly communicated preference of the Israeli government for countries to not establish consulates or honorary consular offices in West Jerusalem, the Australian government will establish a trade and defence office in West Jerusalem,” Morrison said at the time.
“With deepening defence industry ties and Australia-Israel trade now running at over $1.3bn per year, this will help continue to build our strong bilateral relationship.”
It was established and will managed by the Australian Trade and Investment Commission, and is a “commercially focused office”, a spokesperson from the Australian embassy in Tel Aviv said.
“We are currently recruiting locally engaged staff to work in the [defense and trade office] on a permanent basis. The Australian government has been liaising closely with the Israeli government and other partners in the establishment of the [office], to ensure it is fully operational as quickly as possible,” the spokesperson told The Times of Israel.
Israel’s Deputy Director General for Asia and the Pacific, and ambassador for Ministry of Foreign Affairs Jerusalem, Gilad Cohen, shared some images of himself visiting the newly opened office, with the caption: “Visited the newly opened Australian trade & defence industry office in #Jerusalem! Happy to welcome our Australian friends in their new office and confident it will assist in further advancing the close trade & defence industry relations between our countries.” (Source: Defence Connect)
02 May 19. Lack of funding forces USAF to stop Tyndall rebuilding efforts. The US Air Force (USAF) has halted all rebuilding efforts at Tyndall Air Force Base (AFB) in Florida, US, due to lack of funding. The service announced that work would be suspended because of the absence of Congressional funding. In October, the Tyndall AFB suffered $4.7bn of damage when category five hurricane Michael made landfall in Florida.
At a public event on 27 March, USAF Secretary Heather Wilson underscored a critical need for supplemental funding to undertake repair works at Tyndall and Offutt AFBs, which were damaged by natural disasters.
Hurricane Michael was the first category five hurricane to strike the contiguous US since hurricane Andrew in 1992 and one of only four of this category to make recorded landfall in the continental US.
The hurricane damaged nearly 700 buildings and forced the service to evacuate 11,000 personnel and 46 aircraft.
Offutt AFB in Nebraska, headquarters of US Strategic Command, was crippled by a massive flood in March this year. The flooding event inundated the base, with dozens of buildings and much of the flight line becoming submerged in water.
Wilson said: “Homeowners and businesses purchase insurance to protect themselves from these kinds of disasters, but that’s not an option for the military.
“When unavoidable catastrophes strike our facilities, supplemental funding from Congress is our only recourse. If they don’t step in, our communities, our readiness, and our security all pay the price.”
She added that the work stoppage would mainly affect new contracts, including rebuilding efforts. However, contracts already funded for clean-up and repair efforts would remain unaffected.
The shortage of funds has forced the service to prioritise funds to more important projects to ensure the safety of its personnel and equipment.
The USAF Secretary already deferred 61 critical infrastructure projects across 18 states and five overseas locations. These projects are valued at $272.4m.
Wilson further stated: “The supplemental funding and budget reprogramming requests are about more than just Tyndall and Offutt.
“We’re robbing other projects to fund minimal recovery efforts because Congress hasn’t moved forward yet with recovery funding. The lack of funding now for these projects is impacting all of our bases.”
Furthermore, the lack of immediate supplemental funding will force the USAF to stop intensive depot-level aircraft repairs starting this month.
This would result in five bomber aircraft being grounded later this fall and creation of a long-term backlog for E-3 Airborne Warning and Control System aircraft maintenance. Funding delays will also have an impact on Offutt AFB recovery efforts and flying operations, the USAF noted. (Source: airforce-technology.com)
29 Apr 19. Mettis Aerospace has announced plans to build a new factory on its site in the UK in response to a number of multi-million-pound aerospace contracts awarded to the company recently. The factory will enable the expansion of the company’s machining business. Mettis will be investing in six new state-of-the-art machines which will be fully automated so they can process components 24/7. The advanced levels of automation will enable Mettis to further reduce lead times for customers. Components produced using the onsite forges will be machined in the factory, reducing processing and transporting time for customers. The new factory will be the first new facility of this scale Mettis has built in many years and demonstrates its commitment to manufacturing in the UK, creating jobs and investing in an exciting future. (Source: News Now/https://www.aero-mag.com)
02 May 19. F125 frigate Baden-Württemberg handed over to Bundeswehr. Key Points:
- The Bundeswehr received the frigate Baden-Württemberg from the ARGE F125 consortium on 30 April
- The first-in-class Baden-Württemberg is scheduled to enter service in June
The frigate Baden-Württemberg is slated to enter service with the German Navy in June after the Arbeitsgemeinschaft (ARGE) F125 consortium delivered it to Germany’s Federal Office of Equipment, Information Technology and In-Service Support (BAAINBw) at the Wilhelmshaven naval base on 30 April.
The German Navy said on its website that it and industry would conduct further sea trials and safety tests with Baden-Württemberg and test the radiation emissions of its IT systems over the next seven weeks. In parallel, these systems will be integrated into the Bundeswehr’s communications network.
The German Navy said the F125 class is highly automated, allowing the crew to be reduced to 126 compared with 200 for the oldest F122 frigates. In addition, the F125 class can remain in a deployment area for two years, with the rotation of entire crews (Source: IHS Jane’s)
26 Apr 19. USS America, USS New Orleans to Forward Deploy to Japan; USS Stethem, USS Wasp to Return to US. The U.S. Navy announced today that the amphibious assault ship USS America (LHA 6) and landing platform dock USS New Orleans (LPD 18) will become part of the U.S. 7th Fleet forward-deployed naval forces (FDNF) in Sasebo, Japan. The guided-missile destroyer USS Stethem (DDG 63) will shift its homeport to San Diego for its midlife modernization and the amphibious assault ship USS Wasp (LHD 1) will shift its homeport to Norfolk to undergo scheduled maintenance. America is capable of supporting the Joint Strike Fighter (F-35B) as part of an embarked U.S. Marine Corps Air Combat Element (ACE).
The United States values Japan’s contributions to the peace, security and stability of the Indo-Pacific and its long-term commitment and hospitality in hosting U.S. forces forward deployed there. These forces, along with their counterparts in the Japan Self-Defense Forces, make up the core capabilities needed by the alliance to meet our common strategic objectives. The security environment in the Indo-Pacific requires that the U.S. Navy station the most capable ships forward. This posture allows the most rapid response times possible for maritime and joint forces, and brings our most capable ships with the greatest amount of striking power and operational capability to bear in the timeliest manner. Maintaining an FDNF capability supports the United States’ commitment to the defense of Japan and the security and stability of the vital Indo-Pacific region. America will provide the Marine Corps with a means of combat operations utilizing the newest technologically advanced aircraft Joint Strike Fighter, the F-35B Lightning II. New Orleans is capable of ship-to-shore movement by tilt-rotor and helicopter. In addition to combat operations, both ships can conduct humanitarian-assistance operations. Maintaining the most advanced ships is vital to support the United States’ commitment to the security, stability and prosperity of the Indo-Pacific region. (Source: ASD Network/US Navy)
29 Apr 19. US Navy christens third Zumwalt-class guided missile destroyer. The US Navy has christened its newest Zumwalt-class guided missile destroyer, the future USS Lyndon B Johnson (DDG 1002), during a ceremony at General Dynamics-Bath Iron Works shipyard in Bath, Maine.
DDG 1002 is named in honour of late US President Lyndon Johnson and is the third ship in the Zumwalt-class. The vessel will be sponsored by Lynda Johnson Robb and Luci Johnson, the two daughters of the former president. To mark the christening of the ship, the sponsors broke a bottle of sparkling wine across the bow.
US Navy Secretary Richard Spencer said: “The future USS Lyndon B Johnson will serve for decades as a reminder of President Johnson’s service to our nation and support of a strong navy and Marine Corps team.
“This ship honours not only President Johnson’s service, but also the service of our industry partners who are vital in making the navy the nation needs.”
The multi-mission Zumwalt-class destroyers are designed to conduct deterrence, power projection, sea control, and command and control missions. Measuring 610ft in length, Zumwalt is 100ft longer and 13ft wider than the Arleigh Burke-class destroyer. The additional space can be used to execute a wide range of surface, undersea, and aviation missions. The Zumwalt vessels have a beam of 80.7ft and a displacement of around 16,000t. The ships can travel at speeds of 30k. In September 2011, General Dynamics Bath Iron Works received a $1.8bn fixed-price-incentive contract to build DDG 1001 and DDG 1002.
DDG 1000 Zumwalt is the first vessel that was delivered to the US Navy in May 2016. The second vessel, USS Michael Monsoor (DDG 1001), was commissioned on 26 January. (Source: naval-technology.com)
25 Apr 19. US Navy Christened Expeditionary Fast Transport Guam. The US Navy christened its newest high-speed transport vessel, the future USNS Guam (T-HST 1), during a 10 a.m. Japan Standard Time ceremony Saturday, April 27, in Okinawa, Japan. USNS Guam is named to honor the long-standing historical and military relationship between Guam and the United States. She will be the fourth ship to bear the name Guam.
Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of Korea Harry B. Harris Jr. was the principal speaker, and Mrs. Bruni Bradley, a 25-year Navy veteran and wife of Harris, will serve as the ship’s sponsor. In a time-honored Navy tradition, she will christen the ship by breaking a bottle of sparkling wine across the bow.
“This ship honors the island of Guam and the important contributions Guamanians have made to our nation and our Navy and Marine Corps team,” said Secretary of the Navy Richard V. Spencer. “For decades to come, USNS Guam and its crew will carry on the Guamanian tradition of service by providing our commanders with much needed high-speed sealift mobility and agility.”
Long before Guam joined the U.S. as a territory, the island had a military relationship with the United States. The long-standing historical and military relationship between Guam and the U.S. began in 1898 when the U.S. acquired the island from Spain as a result of the Treaty of Paris that ended the Spanish-American War. Shortly after the attack on Pearl Harbor, the Japanese captured Guam, and they occupied it until U.S. troops retook the island July 21, 1944, commemorated in Guam every year as “Liberation Day.” Guam continues to host many critical U.S. military installations.
USNS Guam is an aluminum catamaran designed to be fast, flexible and maneuverable, even in austere port conditions, making the vessel ideal for transporting troops and equipment quickly. USNS Guam’s 25,000-square-foot mission-bay areas can be quickly reconfigured for any cargo requirement, from supporting disaster relief to transporting troops and equipment.
The ship is preceded in service by the patrol gunboat USS Guam (PG 43), which was renamed Wake in 1941 and captured by the Japanese later that year, the Alaska-class large cruiser USS Guam (CB 2) in service 1944-1947, and the Iwo Jima-class amphibious assault ship USS Guam (LPH 9) in service 1965-1998. (Source: ASD Network/US Navy)
25 Apr 19. South Korea’s HHI launches RNZN’s future fleet support vessel. South Korean shipbuilder Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) launched the Royal New Zealand Navy’s (RNZN’s) future fleet tanker/replenishment vessel at the company’s dockyard in the southeastern coastal city of Ulsan on 24 April. The 173m-long auxiliary oiler replenishment (AOR) ship, which will be known as HMNZS Aotearoa once commissioned, was floated in the drydock at Ulsan in a ceremony attended by RNZN chief Rear Admiral David Proctor, among others.
Ordered for NZD493m (USD323m) in 2016 under New Zealand’s Maritime Sustainment Capability (MSC) programme, the vessel was laid down in August 2018 and is expected to be delivered and commissioned in 2020 when it will replace fleet replenishment tanker Endeavour, which was decommissioned in December 2017.
The ship’s home port will be New Plymouth in the country’s western region of Taranaki.
Aotearoa, which will have twice the displacement of Endeavour and carry 30% more fuel, will be the largest vessel to be operated by the RNZN. It was designed to have a full-load displacement of 26,000 tonnes, an overall beam of 24.5 m, and a draught of 8.5m.
The vessel will be able to carry 8,000 tonnes of diesel fuel, 1,550 tonnes of aviation fuel, and 250 tonnes of fresh water for resupply operations. It will also be capable of carrying 12 standard 20 ft containers – four of which can contain dangerous goods – and of producing 100 tonnes of fresh water each day, according to the RNZN.
Aotearoa will be capable of embarking one SH-2G(NZ) Seasprite or NH90 medium utility helicopter, and will be equipped with self-defence systems, integrated communications and bridge systems, an integrated platform management system, and two NATO-compliant replenishment-at-sea (RAS) masts. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
26 Apr 19. China’s first Type 055 destroyer to enter service ‘soon’, says MND. China’s Ministry of National Defense (MND) announced on 25 April that the first Type 055 (Renhai)-class destroyer on order for the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) is set to enter service in the near future. “As far as I know, Nanchang … has completed most of the sea trials and will be delivered to the PLA Navy soon,” MND spokesperson Senior Colonel Ren Guoqiang said during a press conference, without providing further details. Nanchang (with pennant number 101) was launched in June 2017 and recently took part in the PLAN’s fleet review off the coastal city of Qingdao to mark the 70th anniversary of the service. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
26 Apr 19. Ukraine launches new reconnaissance ship. Kiev shipbuilder PSC Kuznya on Rybalsky launched a new medium reconnaissance ship for the Ukrainian Navy at its yard on the Dnieper River. The vessel forms part of the Programme for the Development of Arms and Military Equipment, running through 2020, to meet the needs of Ukraine’s Navy and strengthen its maritime borders.
The new medium reconnaissance ship is based on the hull and power plant of Project 502 EM fisheries and refrigeration vessel design, which carries a complement of 29, displaces 1,220 tonnes, and has an overall length of 54.8 m, a beam of 9.8 m, and a draught of 4.14m. Its top speed is 11.6kt at a range of 7,200n miles. The technical equipment and weaponry to be installed have yet to be announced. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
28 Apr 19. India commissions first Priyadarshini-class patrol vessel. The Indian Coast Guard (ICG) has commissioned the first fast patrol vessel (FPV) that has been designed and built by local government-affiliated company Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers (GRSE) Limited. The 50m boat, which has been named Priyadarshini with pennant number 221, was commissioned at Kakinada on 26 April. Priyadarshini is part of a contract for five FPVs concluded with GRSE in March 2016. It was launched in December 2017. The remaining four vessels under the contract are currently in “advanced stages of construction”, said GRSE in a statement on Priyadarshini ’s launch. The vessel has an overall length of 50 m, an overall beam of 7.5 m, and a displacement of about 308 tonnes. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
29 Apr 19. Bangladesh Navy receives final two Chinese-made Type C13B corvettes. The Bangladesh Navy (BN) has received the two Shadhinota (Type C13B)-class corvettes it ordered from China in late 2015, according to a statement by Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), the media wing of the Bangladeshi military. The two new 90m long ships, which have been named Sangram (with pennant number F 113) and Prottasha (F 113), were handed over to the service on 28 March and arrived at the naval base in Chittagong on 27 April, said ISPR. The ships, which are expected to enter service in the near future, are the third and fourth of the class. Both ships were built in Wuhan by China’s Wuchang Shipbuilding Industry Group, with Sangram being launched in February 2018 and Prottasha two months later. These vessels follow BNS Shadhinota (F111) and BNS Prottoy (F112), both of which were launched in Wuhan in late 2014 and entered service in March 2016, according to Jane’s Fighting Ships. However, images show that, unlike the first two ships of the class, the latest two appear to be equipped with a more advanced phased-array radar, which, according to the website sina.com, could be the SR2410C 3-D multifunctional radar, although no official confirmation has emerged. The Type C13B corvettes, the design of that is based on China’s Type 056-class corvettes, have a beam of 11m, a draught of 4.4m, a full-load displacement of 1,330 tonnes, and top speed of about 25kt. Each of the ships has a complement of 78, including 60 crew and 18 officers. The Type C13B class is fitted with a 76mm H/PJ-26 main gun, two 30 mm H/PJ-17-1 close-in weapon systems, an FL-3000N eight-cell launcher for surface-to-air missiles, four C-802 (YJ-83) surface-to-surface missiles, and a helipad. Although the combat systems of the Type C13B are broadly similar to those of the Type 056, the BN ships lack a sonar system and anti-submarine weapons. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
29 Apr 19. Russia builds new frigates, landing ships. The Russian shipbuilding industry has begun to build new frigates and landing ships, according to national officials. The announcement follows the launch of the Project 09852 special-purpose nuclear-powered submarine Belgorod on 23 April. Since 2012 the Russian Navy has received more than 80 new naval platforms, including three Project 955 nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines, a Project 885 nuclear-powered cruise missile submarine, six Project 636.1 diesel-electric submarines, and 21 surface combatants, President Vladimir Putin said during the Belgorod launch ceremony. The Severnaya Verf has begun building the fifth and sixth Project 22350 (Gorshkov-class) frigates, Admiral Chichagov and Admiral Amelko, and has linked the sections of the Project 20386 corvette Merkuriy. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
02 May 19. RAF stands up 9 Squadron as latest Typhoon unit. (B) Squadron. The UK Royal Air Force (RAF) stood up 9 Squadron as its latest Eurofighter Typhoon unit on 2 May. A re-activation ceremony held at RAF Lossiemouth in Scotland marked the return of the former RAF Marham-based Panavia Tornado GR4 squadron as the RAF’s sixth front-line operational Typhoon unit. The Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Sir Steven Hillier, first announced the return of 9 Squadron in July 2018. Speaking at the Air Power Conference 2018 in London, ACM Hillier said that 9 Squadron and 12 (Bomber) squadron would be stood up at RAF Coningsby at a later date and would be populated with Typhoons that were slated for retirement but were spared during the Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR) in 2015.
Jane’s had previously been told by then (now retired) Deputy Commander of Operations Air Marshal Greg Bagwell that these 24-early model Tranche 1 Typhoons would be fielded as a separate air defence force, with the later and more capable Tranche 2 and Tranche 3 aircraft used in a multirole capacity. “The issue was how to operate the Tranche 1 alongside the Tranche 2 and 3 as there is very little spares commonality between them, so it was decided that the plan [should be] for two new squadrons of Tranche 1 Typhoons,” AM Bagwell said in April 2016.
However, when he announced the reformation of 9 Squadron ACM Hillier said that it is no longer intended to separate the Tranche 1 and Tranche 2/3 fleets in this way, and that 1 (Fighter), 2 (Army Cooperation), 3 (Fighter), 6, 9, 11 (Fighter) and 12 (B) squadrons would field a mix of standards. The CAS did note that the Tranche 1 aircraft would make “superb air defenders” while the Tranche 3 aircraft would be saved for high-tempo multirole operations (Source: News Now/IHS Jane’s)
01 May 19. French air force receives first ‘tactical’ A400M transport plane. The French air force has taken delivery of its 15th A400M Atlas military transport aircraft, the first directly outfitted to the “tactical standard,” including an expanded ability to land and take off from unprepared terrain and the capacity to make landing approaches under automatic pilot in all weather.
Three previously delivered aircraft have been upgraded to this new standard. Two new capabilities will be added in the fall: the ejection of heavy loads up to 16 tons from the rear ramp, and refueling by the central point.
The 11 other Atlas aircraft currently in the French inventory will be upgraded to this tactical standard by 2020.
Refueling from a central point will be by means of a Hose Drum Unit (HDU) stored in the hold when not in use. Combat aircraft are already refueled via the wing pods on the Atlas, a capacity available on all 15 of the French A400Ms. Another refueling system will be put into place to refuel helicopters but a DGA French procurement agency official told Defense News that is “for later.”
Also “for later” will be the capacity to parachute more than 30 paratroopers per door and per dispatch. The military’s requirement is that 116 paratroopers jump out of the aircraft in one dispatch. But for the moment this is impossible because of an issue with the so-called D-Bags, which hold the paratroopers chutes on their backs. This bag is opened automatically by a static line connected to an anchor cable and to the paratroopers. As they step out of the aircraft door the static line pulls taut, removing the D-Bag from the parachute and allowing it to open very quickly. The D-Bag remains attached to the static line and flaps alongside the outside of the aircraft. As more paratroopers jump out, the volume of discarded D-Bags increases, presenting a hazard to those waiting to jump.
Manufacturer Airbus has been looking at a way to make the paratroopers step out onto the outer edge of the aircraft frame before jumping. This would take them a sufficient distance from the flapping bags to neutralize the risk of D-Bag interference. It could also help resolve the issue of simultaneous dispatch, which is where parachutists exit the aircraft from both sides at the same time. Currently the danger is that they could get too close together after dispatch, risking collision.
France’s 2019-2025 military programming law provides for the delivery of another 10 A400Ms during the period, for a total of 25 aircraft in service by the end of 2025. (Source: Defense News Early Bird/Defense News)
28 Apr 19. Brazilian C295 SAR aircraft to receive refuelling probe. The three Airbus Defence and Space C295 (known as SC-105 Amazonas in national service) search-and-rescue (SAR) aircraft operated by the Brazilian Air Force (FAB) will have an in-flight refuelling probe fitted to enhance their operating range, the service’s procurement organisation, the COPAC (Comissão Coordenadora do Programa Aeronave de Combate) told Jane’s .
The first aircraft was formally received in August 2017 without the probe, which will be installed at a later date. The second aircraft, which is scheduled for delivery in September, will be the first to include the probe, while the third aircraft will be delivered in mid-2020 with the probe installed. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
26 Apr 19. USAF resumes flight operations of B-1B Lancers after stand-down. The B-1B aircraft have been cleared to return to flight following the completion of inspections and maintenance on each aircraft. On 28 March, Air Force Global Strike Command commander general Timothy Ray issued a precautionary safety stand-down after issues were identified with the rigging of the aircraft’s drogue chute during a routine inspection. The drogue chute is part of the system that allows an airman to safely eject from the bomber in case of an emergency. The USAF ordered a holistic inspection of the entire egress system in light of the issue. Maintenance personnel and aircrew flight equipment technicians implemented the order and carried out an inspection of the system before clearing the B-1B aircraft for operations. 8th Air Force commander major general James Dawkins said: “We are proud of the tremendous efforts of our maintainers and aircrew flight equipment technicians in identifying, inspecting, and remediating any potential issues with the B-1B egress system.
“The aircraft are still safe to fly and we are confident that this stand-down has resulted in increased safety within the B-1B fleet.”
The B-1B Lancers were previously grounded after the service identified problems related to the seat ejection system in May last year. Built by Boeing, the B-1B is a long-range, multi-mission, supersonic conventional bomber. The aircraft has been in service with the USAF since 1985. The service has a total of 62 aircraft of this type. The company hopes to keep the bombers in service up to 2040 and beyond. (Source: airforce-technology.com)
PLANT CLOSURES, JOB LOSSES AND STRIKES
01 May 19. UK Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson has been sacked following an investigation into the leak of information from the National Security Council. A statement said Theresa May’s decision was “informed by his conduct”, following an inquiry into the leak. She had “lost confidence in his ability to serve” in his role, No 10 said. The inquiry followed reports that ministers had raised concerns over a plan to allow Huawei limited access to help build the UK’s new 5G network.
Mr Williamson has been defence secretary – his first cabinet role – since 2017 in the wake of Sir Michael Fallon’s sudden resignation.
The inquiry into the National Security Council leak began after a Daily Telegraph report on warnings within cabinet about possible risks to national security over a deal with Huawei.
The National Security Council (NSC) is made up of senior cabinet ministers and its weekly meetings are chaired by the prime minister, with other ministers, officials and senior figures from the armed forces and intelligence agencies invited when needed.
It is a forum where secret intelligence can be shared by GCHQ, MI6 and MI5 with ministers, all of whom have signed the Official Secrets Act.
There has been no formal confirmation of Huawei’s role in the 5G network and No 10 said a final decision would be made at the end of spring.
Huawei has denied there is any risk of spying or sabotage, or that it is controlled by the Chinese government.
Penny Mordaunt has been appointed as the new Defence Secretary.
BATTLESPACE Comment: Another Lady Bracknell moment for Theresa May and her crumbling administration! There was always an air of semi-permanence about Gavin Williamson at Defence, where a number of blunders including the statement that “Russia should go away and shut up,” over the Skripal affair. He did manage a token £1bn extra for defence and initiated a number of high tech initiatives including £2m for C-UAV. However, he did not manage to break the Treasury strangle hold over the defence budget with the current equipment plan still being unaffordable. A new Minister will only delay implementation of new Programmes stuck in the queue awaiting approval for more money.
On wider issues, it now looks that Mrs May’s departure will be speeded up with the crashing defeat at the Local Elections tomorrow. A General Election will then beckon with a new Conservative leader, with Boris Johnson one of the favourites. However, speculation that Jeremy Corbyn will walk into No. 10 with a majority look wide of the mark. Labour and the Unions are divided over Brexit and the anti-Semitic stand by Corbyn has lost any chance of the Jewish vote. A hung parliament looks likely with a Conservative/LibDem coalition being the result. This will give the parties time to realign to the new policies and Brexit. However, it doesn’t stop there as the Daily Telegraph reports today that Scotland is likely to get independence within the next two years with Northern Ireland likely to follow into a united Ireland.
Theresa May’s letter sacking Gavin Williamson. Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson has been sacked by the prime minister after information from a National Security Council meeting was leaked to a newspaper. Here is Theresa May’s full letter dismissing him.
Thank you for your time this evening. We discussed the investigation into the unauthorised disclosure of information from the National Security Council meeting on 23 April.
This is an extremely serious matter, and a deeply disappointing one.
It is vital for the operation of good government and for the UK’s national interest in some of the most sensitive and important areas that the members of the NSC – from our Armed Forces, our Security and Intelligence Agencies, and the most senior level of government – are able to have frank and detailed discussions in full confidence that the advice and analysis provided is not discussed or divulged beyond that trusted environment.
That is why I commissioned the cabinet secretary to establish an investigation into the unprecedented leak from the NSC meeting last week, and why I expected everyone connected to it – ministers and officials alike – to comply with it fully. You undertook to do so.
I am therefore concerned by the manner in which you have engaged with this investigation.
It has been conducted fairly, with the full co-operation of other NSC attendees.
They have all answered questions, engaged properly, provided as much information as possible to assist with the investigation, and encouraged their staff to do the same. Your conduct has not been of the same standard as others.
In our meeting this evening, I put to you the latest information from the investigation, which provides compelling evidence suggesting your responsibility for the unauthorised disclosure.
No other credible version of events to explain this leak has been identified.
It is vital that I have full confidence in the members of my cabinet and of the National Security Council. The gravity of this issue alone, and its ramifications for the operation of the NSC and the UK’s national interest, warrants the serious steps we have taken, and an equally serious response.
It is therefore with great sadness that I have concluded that I can no longer have full confidence in you as secretary of state for defence and a minister in my cabinet and asked you to leave Her Majesty’s government.
As you do so, I would like to thank you for the wider contribution you have made to it over the last three years, and for your unquestionable personal commitment to the men and women of our Armed Forces.” (Source: BBC)
MILITARY AND GOVERNMENT
30 Apr 19. Daigle to exit as CAPE head, leaving another Pentagon vacancy. Robert Daigle, the head of the Pentagon’s powerful Cost Assessment and Program Evaluation (CAPE) office, will be stepping down in mid-May. The news, first reported by Foreign Policy, was confirmed by a Pentagon source who said a formal announcement would be coming later this week.
“He thinks he has accomplished what he set out to accomplish, and he wants to rejoin the private sector,” the source said of Daigle’s decision.
Daigle took over CAPE in August 2017 and has overseen a number of bold, if controversial, moves. His office was central in both the decision to require the Air Force buy the F-15X, as well as the call to decommission the Truman aircraft carrier.
Daigle was also a vocal defender of the Pentagon’s cloud computing JEDI contract at a time when that program came under intense pressure.
Before joining the Pentagon, Daigle worked as a staffer on the House Armed Services Committee and spent three years leading the Military Compensation and Retirement Modernization Commission.
His departure leaves yet another major hole in the Pentagon’s structure, with a number of top jobs being filled by individuals who are either acting or performing the duties on an ad-hoc basis. That includes the secretary and deputy secretary of defense, as well as the chief management officer — technically the top three jobs in the department — and soon will include the CAPE director and Air Force secretary. In addition, the office of the undersecretary of personnel and readiness remains without a confirmed leader, as does the chief management officer role, as long as CMO David Norquist is acting as deputy secretary of defense. (Source: Defense News)
01 May 19. Penny Mordaunt, the Eurosceptic international development secretary, has been promoted to be the UK’s first female defence secretary after Gavin Williamson was sacked from the role on Wednesday. Ms Mordaunt, a 46-year-old Royal Naval reservist who serves as MP for Portsmouth North, is one of the few prominent female Brexiters in the government and considered a potential party leadership contender. She had been widely tipped for the role of defence secretary when Mr Williamson was appointed in November 2017, having served in the department as minister of state for the armed forces from 2015 to 2016. She won respect from military chiefs and officials for her own career as a Navy reservist. (Source: FT.com)
01 May 19. USMC LG Brian D. Beaudreault for appointment to the rank of lieutenant general, and assignment as commanding general, II Marine Expeditionary Force, U.S. Marine Corps. Beaudreault is currently serving as the deputy commandant for plans, policies, and operations, Washington, District of Columbia.
01 May 19. USMC LG Robert F. Hedelund for appointment to the rank of lieutenant general, and assignment as commander, U.S. Marine Corps Forces Command; and commanding general, Fleet Marine Force Atlantic. Hedelund is currently serving as the commanding general, II Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.
01 May 19. USMC LG John J. Broadmeadow for appointment to the rank of lieutenant general, and assignment as director, Marine Corps Staff. Broadmeadow is currently serving as the deputy commander, U.S. Transportation Command, Scott Air Force Base, Illinois.
01 May 19. USMC LG George W. Smith Jr. for appointment to the rank of lieutenant general, and assignment as deputy commandant for plans, policies, and operations, Headquarters, U.S. Marine Corps. Smith is currently serving as the senior military assistant to the acting secretary of defense, Washington, District of Columbia.
REST OF THE WORLD APPOINTMENTS
02 May 19. Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Joseph Dunford jnr, has confirmed the appointment of the Australian Defence Force’s Rear Admiral Stuart Mayer as the Deputy Commander United Nations Command Headquarters in the Republic of Korea. The appointment of RADM Mayer is a great opportunity for Australia to work with the Republic of Korea, the US and regional partners to further contribute to the peace and stability of the Korean peninsula. This is the first time an Australian will serve as the Deputy Commander of the United Nations Command Headquarters, Korea, and only the second time in the Command’s 69-year history that this post has been offered to a non-American officer. (Source: Defence Connect)
01 May 19. Inspiring the next generation of defence experts with BAE Systems. BAE Systems plans to recruit 700 new apprentices across its UK air, land and maritime businesses in 2019. What sort of tasks do apprentices take on at the nation’s largest defence company and how does it help them to find their feet early on in their defence careers?
This year, BAE Systems is opening its doors to 700 new apprentices, a 30% increase on last year’s recruitment numbers. Successful candidates will be sorted into one of more than 30 training programmes across BAE’s UK air, land and maritime sectors, giving young people the opportunity to gain paid experience – a luxury in today’s job market – and, in some cases, study for a recognised engineering degree or qualification.
The company expects around half of apprentices will intern within its air business at Samlesbury and Warton, where they will assist teams working on the latest aircraft, including the Eurofighter Typhoon and the F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter – the latter heralded as the world’s largest defence project. However, BAE’s new £25m Academy for Skills and Knowledge at Barrow-in-Furness is also looking to take on 800 apprentices to work on its complex submarine programmes for the Royal Navy.
What opportunities are there for BAE’s apprentices and how does the scheme help to encourage the defence experts of tomorrow?
The next generation of defence experts: who qualifies?
BAE’s decision to increase the number of apprentices grabbed the attention of UK Prime Minister Theresa May, who took time out of negotiating Brexit to publicly commend the firm.
“I’m delighted that BAE Systems is taking on even more apprentices in 2019, with 700 young people being given the opportunity to kick-start their careers in this world-class firm,” May said in December last year.
“Britain’s businesses have a hugely important role to play in training the next generation and themselves benefit by attracting diverse talent and improving their skills base. Through our modern Industrial Strategy we will encourage even more partnerships to create high-quality jobs across the UK.”
BAE’s apprenticeships, which can last up to four years, begin with intermediate and advanced categories that take on high-school students from as young as 16 years of age.
There are also higher and degree-level apprenticeships, which typically lead to qualifications, such as a Higher National Diploma, foundation degree, or even a full university degree in a variety of fields, including Aerospace Engineering, Management, Nuclear Engineering, Project Management, Software Engineering and Information Management.
BAE Systems education and skills director Richard Hamer says: “Our apprenticeship programmes combine the opportunity to study with hands-on training, allowing our apprentices to get a great grounding in engineering and technology while learning about the practical applications and challenges.”
When choosing an apprentice, more important than prior work experience for Hamer is the candidate’s desire and interest in the defence company’s activities. However, there are minimum academic requirements that are used to help sort through applicants.
“Our apprentices are generally recruited directly from school or college so will not typically have prior work experience or the related skills,” he says.
“What we do look at is their potential, behaviours and interest in our company and in their chosen area of work. We set – depending on the apprenticeship programme - academic entry requirements, typically five GCSEs, including Maths and English as a minimum.”
Some of the more technical apprenticeships require a candidate to have obtained a Science GCSCE qualification but for many of the business-focussed roles, this is not a necessity.
A range of exciting opportunities
Interning at BAE Systems is still very much ‘work’, and there’s no denying that some of the tasks require high levels of diligence and patience.
Routine manual tasks, such as painting, scaffolding, welding and metallurgy are some examples. But there are also jobs to be done in administration and project management, which often require a completely different set of academic and communication skills.
One such apprentice is Ahmed Munshi, a 22-year-old project management student in his penultimate year at Samlesbury.
“When I finished school, I was encouraged to follow a route into university however I wanted to gain a practical, hands-on experience while earning and studying for a degree,” Munshi said.
“My apprenticeship experience has been at full speed from the beginning and really pushes me to exceed – both in my work placements and during my studies towards my degree.”
As well as the aforementioned aircraft and submarine projects, there are more tech-focussed opportunities in robotics and cybersecurity. For outstanding candidates, there are also chances to prove their abilities in the form of a yearly global skills competition.
“Some exciting examples include working on the next generation concept military aircraft or learning how to use new cobotic and robotic manufacturing systems. In our maritime business our apprentices are supporting the Royal Navy’s next generation of naval ships,” Hamer says.
“We also have cyber apprenticeships in which apprentices are helping defend against increasing cyber threats. Our apprentices take part in the WorldSkills skills competition and we typically have finalists taking part in the national competition at WorldSkills UK in November each year.”
On 7 March 2019, BAE announced the winner of its annual internal Apprentice of the Year award, which was won by Advanced Manufacturing apprentice Luke Benson of the Samlesbury air facility.
Securing a permanent role with BAE
Investing in education, skills and early career development is important to BAE, demonstrated by the continued level of financial support. The firm injects approximately £90m in funding to support the activities of more than 2,000 apprentices each year.
The scheme is not just about giving young people a work experience opportunity, the relationship between company and apprentice is symbiotic in the sense that an overwhelming majority of apprentices go on to become one of the 35,000 full-time BAE employees in the UK.
“We have one of the highest apprenticeship completion rates in the country with [circa] 95% of our apprentices completing their programme on time. Virtually all of those who complete the programme go on to secure a permanent role within the company,” says Hamer.
“Our commitment to the career progression and development of our apprentices within our business is supported by the investment of close to £100k we make on each apprentice. (Source: army-technology.com)
01 May 19. Boeing (NYSE: BA) today named J. Michael Luttig to the newly-created position of counselor and senior advisor to Boeing Chairman, President and CEO Dennis Muilenburg and the Boeing board of directors. Brett Gerry succeeds Luttig as general counsel. Both changes are effective immediately. Luttig, 64, who has served as general counsel since joining the company in 2006, will manage all legal matters associated with the Lion Air Flight 610 and Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 accidents. He also will serve as counselor and senior advisor to Muilenburg and the Boeing board of directors on these and other special matters. Luttig continues to hold the title of executive vice president and remains on the company’s Executive Council.
01 May 19. Cubic appoint new additions to Defense leadership team. Cubic Corporation have announced the appointment of three new leaders to its Cubic Global Defense business division. Three new faces will join Cubic’s executive team: Mark Schmaltz, vice president and general manager of synthetic/digital solutions; Michael Maughan, vice president of business development and strategy; and Kenneth Lowe, vice president of financial operations and controller. (Source: Defence Connect)
29 Apr 19. Robert Lightfoot, a longtime NASA executive who served as both the agency’s acting administrator and highest-ranking civil servant, will join Lockheed Martin Space as vice president, Strategy and Business Development, effective May 6. In his new role, Lightfoot will lead strategic planning, advanced technology concepts, and new business strategy for the corporation’s Space business area. Lockheed Martin Space is a $9bn, 18,000-person enterprise that has been a leader in satellite and launch systems since the dawn of the space age. The business area’s programs include GPS, missile warning and communications satellites for the Department of Defense; human and robotic exploration systems for NASA; weather and commercial communications satellites, and strategic missile and missile defense systems. During his career at NASA, Lightfoot served in several critical leadership roles to support space operations, exploration and science missions including director of the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, and director of Propulsion Test at Stennis Space Center in Mississippi. He also focused on strategies for key missions including the shuttle’s return to flight following the Columbia tragedy, then initial transition and retirement efforts for shuttle infrastructure. Lightfoot retired from NASA in April 2018 and has served as president of LSINC Corporation in Huntsville for the past year. Lightfoot is the latest of a series of recent executive appointments to Lockheed Martin’s Strategy and Business Development organization:
- Doug Laurendeau has been named Rotary and Mission Systems (RMS) vice president of Strategy and Business Development. Doug has been with Lockheed Martin for 35 years and will be responsible for developing and executing the business strategy for RMS’ $16bn portfolio across four lines of business.
- Ken Kota has been named Missiles and Fire Control (MFC) vice president of Strategy and Business Development. He joins Lockheed Martin from Cobham, where he led strategy and business development for the company’s Mission Systems sector. He will be responsible for both domestic and international pursuits as he oversees MFC’s business growth, customer relationships and partnerships in 45 countries worldwide.
- Mike Smith has been appointed vice president of Strategic Planning. Mike joins Lockheed Martin from Huntington Ingalls Industries. He will oversee the development of critical actions and strategic decisions that will sustain and generate long-term business growth for the corporation.
- Erin Moseley has been named the Aeronautics vice president of Strategy and Business Development. She joins Lockheed Martin from Inglee, Sauer, Moseley Strategies. She will be responsible for both domestic and international pursuits for the entire line of Aeronautics aircraft and services.
“Our new executives bring a collection of perspectives and experiences to Lockheed Martin. All five are industry veterans with a deep understanding of the defense industry. We are pleased to have them on board,” said Rob Mullins, senior vice president, Corporate Strategy and Business Development.
REST OF THE WORLD APPOINTMENTS
28 Apr 19. Shrikant Walgad New CVO Of BEL. Shrikant Walgad has taken charge as the Chief Vigilance Officer (CVO) of Navratna Defence PSU Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL). Walgad completed his BE in Electronics & Communications from the Karnataka Regional Engineering College (now NITK Surathkal), Mangalore University, in 1986. He also holds a Post Graduate Degree in Public Policy and Management (PGPPM) from IIM-Bangalore. On completion of his IAS training Walgad was posted as Sub Divisional Magistrate of Ellenabad/Bhiwani, Haryana. He subsequently worked in various capacities serving as Additional District Collector of Sirsa/Sonepat and Jhajjar, Haryana; and District Collector of Jhajjar and Bhiwani, Haryana, and Kodagu, Karnataka. He also became Registrar Magistrate of Maharshi Dayanand University, Rohtak, Haryana. Walgad also served in different areas of Haryana Urban Development administration, like Urban Development, Rural Development, Election management, Housing and Environment. (Source: ESD Spotlight)