30 May 19. New momentum on the west coast. Prime minister Justin Trudeau’s announcement last week that Seaspan Shipyards will build 16 new Multi-Purpose Vessels for the Canadian Coast Guard brings new momentum to Canada’s two-coast strategy. As builder of the combat ship portion of Canada’s national shipbuilding strategy, east coast-based Irving Shipbuilding’s Halifax yard on the Atlantic coast naturally gets most of the attention.
However, 2,300 employees at Seaspan Shipyards – many of whom work at its integrated shipbuilding and maintenance facilities in Vancouver and Victoria on the Pacific Coast – have been quietly beavering away building non-combat vessels. The company continues to repair and maintain Royal Canadian Navy Victoria-class submarines and Halifax-class frigates.
Seaspan’s three-ship Offshore Fisheries and Science Vessel construction programme is also proceeding apace. The first two ships are slated to be delivered later this year and the third is under construction. Company officials say Seaspan continues to build efficiencies as the initiative progresses. These include a 27 per cent productivity increase on the second ship and a further 30 per cent on the third.
This provides great news both on the jobs and regional benefits fronts. Seaspan officials claim to have awarded more than C$870m in contracts to 540 Canadian suppliers across the country, to have trained more than 200 apprentices and coached 75 intern engineers, architects, programme managers, finance analysts and estimators, and ships’ planners during the past year.
Yet Seaspan officials are far from satisfied. The company continues to invest in its Vancouver shipyard to build capacity for current and anticipated future work.
Seaspan officials also worry about the potential effects of Trudeau’s announcement that the government is introducing a third shipyard – presumably Davie Shipbuilding of Levis, Quebec – into its national strategy. Canada’s joint support ship programme remains Seaspan’s biggest hope. Company officials said it has begun work on 18 blocks on the programme and is planning to start work on a further 27. However the real action will only begin once a formal contract is signed, which Seaspan officials hope will take place in the spring of 2020. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
28 May 19. HII cuts steel for lead Columbia-class ballistic missile submarine. Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII) has started advance construction work on Columbia (SSBN 826), the US Navy’s lead ballistic missile submarine. The first steel plate was cut using a plasma-burning machine during a ceremony at HII’s Newport News Shipbuilding division.
The ceremony was attended by officials from General Dynamics Electric Boat and Newport News. General Dynamics Electric Boat is the main contractor on the Columbia-class submarine programme that involves building 12 submarines. The company awarded a contract to Newport News division to conduct advance construction activities for the vessels.
The contract makes Newport News a shipbuilding partner in the programme.
HII noted that the Columbia-class will be built using fully digital blueprints.
Newport News Columbia-class construction vice-president Jason Ward said: “It has been a half-century since Newport News Shipbuilding has constructed a ballistic submarine.
“Today, we celebrate the decade-plus effort spent working with Electric Boat on the design of this new class of submarine as we formally transition from design to material procurement and now to construction execution.”
The Columbia-class vessels are anticipated to replace the US Navy’s existing fleet of Ohio-class nuclear ballistic submarines.
Ward added: “The first cut of steel is a major construction milestone that signifies our shipyard and submarine industrial base are ready to move forward with production.
“We have worked to engage the submarine industrial base and leveraged lessons learned from the successful Virginia-class programme to building the Columbia-class submarines in the most efficient and affordable manner to provide the best value to the navy.”
The Columbia-class vessels will be built in Virginia, Rhode Island and Connecticut. Electric Boat is responsible for assembling and delivering all the submarines, with the first boat expected to be delivered to the navy in 2027.
Last week, Electric Boat secured a contract modification from the US Department of Defence (DoD) to expand its supplier base to support Columbia-class submarines and the nuclear shipbuilding enterprise, including Virginia-class and Ford-class. (Source: naval-technology.com)
29 May 19. Northrop Grumman Delivers First E-2D Aircraft to Japan. New aircraft provides enhanced early warning, command and control capability for evolving security needs. Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE: NOC) completed its first delivery of an E-2D Advanced Hawkeye to the Japanese Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF) on March 29. In November 2014, the Japan Ministry of Defense competitively selected the Northrop Grumman E-2D to fulfill an emerging next-generation airborne early warning requirement.
“Northrop Grumman’s longstanding partnership with Japan is beginning a new chapter with the delivery of the first Japan E-2D,” said Jane Bishop, vice president and integrated product team leader, manned airborne surveillance programs, Northrop Grumman. “This aircraft provides a significant increase in early warning and surveillance capability to outpace Japan’s evolving security needs.”
Japan has operated the Northrop Grumman E-2C Hawkeye since 1983 and is the largest E-2 operator outside the U.S. The E-2D delivers a two-generation leap in radar technology, allowing the aircraft to track threats at extended range. The aircraft can also be used in a humanitarian assistance and disaster relief capacity for civilian emergency coordination. The E-2D offers interoperability with next-generation aircraft systems and U.S. Navy allies to support regional security cooperation. To ensure long-term success of the Japan E-2D fleet, Northrop Grumman is providing continued support to JASDF in the areas of sustainment and maintenance, in coordination with several Japanese firms.
30 May 19. Spanish Navy receives last refurbished AB-212 helicopter. The last of seven AB-212 helicopters refurbished for the Spanish Navy was handed over on the first day of the International Defence and Security Fair (FEINDEF) held in Madrid on 29-31 May. Now converted to a multi-purpose role from the anti-submarine one they had when they entered service from 1974 onwards, the helicopters have become a showcase for attracting cost-conscious countries looking to save on buying new, according to one of the partners in the project. Diego Rodriguez, director of Space and Defense at SENER, which carried out the work with Babcock, told Jane’s that the contract signed with the Spanish Navy had been the first of its kind for his company. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
30 May 19. IOC anticipated for Australia’s F-35As in December 2020. The Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) has now received 14 Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightning II Joint Strike Fighters, with the aircraft type on track to achieve initial operating capability (IOC) in December 2020, according to the commanding officer of the RAAF’s first operational F-35A unit. Australia has ordered 72 F-35As, the first of which was delivered to the RAAF in the United States in December 2014. By the end of April this year RAAF F-35As had flown more than 2,900 hours and 1,750 sorties, primarily with the F-35 International Training Centre at Luke Air Force Base (AFB) in Arizona. The first two Australian F-35As arrived at RAAF Base Williamtown north of Sydney in December 2018. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
30 May 19. Israel set to evaluate CH-53K helicopter. Senior Israeli Air Force (IAF) officials have told Lockheed Martin that they intend to evaluate the Sikorsky CH-53K King Stallion as a possible replacement for the CH-53 Yas’ur (Sea Stallion) helicopters that have been in Israeli service for more than 40 years.
“We were very fortunate to meet Brigadier General Noam Reef [head of the IAF Helicopter Division] and the IAF attaché to the US, Brigadier General [Amir] Keren,” Beth Parcella, director of the international CH-53K programme at Lockheed Martin, told journalists in Israel on 23 May. “They let us know that a formal request for flight evaluation would occur this year.” (Source: IHS Jane’s)
29 May 19. Embraer enters final stretch of KC-390 military certification tests. Key Points:
- Embraer is completing its final set of tasks to achieve military certification for its KC-390 aircraft
- The company hopes the aircraft will enter service with the Brazilian Air Force later this year. Embraer is entering the final stretch of military certification tests for its KC-390 tanker/transport aircraft with the goal of it entering service with the Brazilian Air Force (Força Aérea Brasileira: FAB) by the end of the year.
Walter Pinto, Embraer vice-president of defence and security, told reporters on 28 May that the company will next complete continuous computed drop point (CCDP) certification, combat offload, and aerial refuelling. The KC-390, he said, previously performed dry contact refuelling tests with a Northrop F-5 Tiger II. Fuel transfers will start on the next test.
Other military certification tests to take place next include the KC-390’s self-protection system, both the chaff and flare and the direct infrared countermeasure (DIRCM) capability. Pinto said the plan is to show compliance with major FAB requirements by the end of 2019.
Pinto added that some tests may be pushed to 2020 depending on aircraft availability and the FAB supporting tests with equipment and crew. The flight test campaign, he said, has flown 2,200 flight hours.
Embraer’s most recent test was extraction air drops, performed this month. Aircraft FAB 1, the first KC-390 that will be delivered to the FAB, performed its first production flight test the weekend of 25 May, a key milestone on the path to initiating delivery with the FAB. There are seven KC-390s in various states of assembly on the production line. FAB 1 is completely assembled, according to photos shown to reporters. FAB 2 is in final assembly with wings assembled, but no engines. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
29 May 19. US, French, and Canadian MPA fly operations from UK. US, Canadian, and French maritime patrol aircraft (MPA) have deployed to the United Kingdom on 80 occasions since 2015 as part of an expansion of NATO surveillance of Russian naval and submarine activity in the North Atlantic. The extend of allied MPA deployments to Royal Air Force (RAF) Lossiemouth in northeast Scotland was revealed for the first time by the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) in a Freedom of Information Act document posted online on 23 May. The majority of the deployments were carried out by US Navy (USN) MPA visiting Lossiemouth for exercises, training, or maritime operations on 50 occasions, according to the document. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
PLANT CLOSURES, JOB LOSSES AND STRIKES
31 May 19. BAE executive leaves abruptly after just 12 months. Former Crossrail chief Andrew Wolstenholme departs UK’s largest defence contractor. Andrew Wolstenholme has overseen some of BAE’s most high-profile UK naval programmes. The head of BAE Systems’ naval and armoured vehicles business in the UK has left abruptly after just 12 months in the role at Britain’s largest defence contractor. Andrew Wolstenholme joined BAE in May last year in a newly created position on the company’s executive committee as group managing director for Maritime and Land UK. He reported directly to chief executive Charles Woodburn. He was previously chief executive at Crossrail, the £17.6bn railway project that involves the construction of a 118km line across London from east to west. Prior to that he was in charge of Heathrow airport’s Terminal 5. In his role at BAE, he oversaw some of the company’s most high-profile UK naval programmes, including the construction of the second of the Royal Navy’s two aircraft carriers. The naval business also covers BAE’s substantial submarine business, notably Dreadnought, the programme to deliver the next-generation nuclear deterrent.
Writing in BAE’s 2018 annual report, published in March, Mr Woodburn said Mr Wolstenholme had been appointed to lead the maritime business “with a clear focus on programme schedule and cost performance”. The company has made operational performance across its business a priority as it seeks to strengthen its order book. Just weeks after his resignation from Crossrail in March 2018, Mr Wolstenholme’s successor, Simon Wright, announced that the project would be delivered a year late. Mr Wolstenholme received £946,000 in remuneration in 2016-17, which fell to £736,000 in 2017-18 after he was denied access to the long-term incentive plans as a result of the delays. The Crossrail train line will run between Reading and Heathrow airport in the west through central London to Shenfield in Essex and Abbey Wood in south-east London. A spokesman for BAE confirmed that Mr Wolstenholme had left last week for “personal reasons” but declined to provide further details. He said the company’s naval programmes were performing in line with previous guidance issued at BAE’s annual results in February. Mr Wolstenholme’s deputy has stepped up to the role in an acting capacity, the spokesman added. Mr Wolstenholme could not be reached for comment. (Source: FT.com)
27 May 19. Delair Closes Belgian Production Site. We heard a rumour (via an alert reader) that Delair is closing down its production facility in Ghent, Belgium by the end of June 2019 in order to move all activities to Toulouse. We contacted the company to check the reasoning behind the move and received the following response: “As part of planned expansion of capacity at its headquarters in Toulouse, France, Delair will be consolidating all worldwide production at this facility. This includes the production of UX11, UX11 Ag, and the DT26 UAV platforms. This consolidation is strictly to optimize operational efficiency as it ramps up to meet customer demand, evolve its product line, and allow more effective collaboration between their hardware and software development teams. It results in the decision to close the facility in Ghent, Belgium in order to maximize the production capacity in their state-of-the-art Toulouse facility and centralize development efforts there for greater efficiency. All employees of the Ghent operation have been offered positions with Delair in Toulouse with relocation assistance.” (Source: UAS VISION)
28 May 19. General Electric planning to cut around 1,000 jobs in France: union source. General Electric (GE) has announced a plan to cut around 1,000 jobs in France, said a trade union source, in a move that could set the U.S. company at odds with the French government which has consistently urged GE not to cut French jobs. GE’s planned job cuts would occur principally at its site in Belfort, in the east of France, added the source. The Belfort site has been consistently at risk of job cuts, as GE looks to save money, and French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said earlier this month that he had asked GE not to close any sites in France. Last month, GE reported in its first quarter results that it had generated more profit and lost less cash than expected, although new CEO Larry Culp warned it still had issues over negative cash flow pressures. (Source: Reuters)
MILITARY AND GOVERNMENT
28 May 19. The Department of Defense announced the selection of Christian L. Reismeier to serve as the Convening Authority for Military Commissions and Director of the Office of the Convening Authority for Military Commissions. Mr. Reismeier is a retired U.S. Navy rear admiral. During his last active-duty tour, he simultaneously served as Assistant Judge Advocate General of the Navy and Chief Judge, Department of the Navy. Throughout his career, he provided legal and policy advice to a variety of federal agencies, including the White House, Department of State, Office of the Secretary of Defense, Secretary of the Navy, Chief of Naval Operations, and the Judge Advocate General of the Navy, with specific concentration on the topic of military criminal justice.
28 May 19. USAF MG Mary F. O’Brien for appointment to the rank of lieutenant general, and assignment as deputy chief of staff, Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance, and Cyber Effects Operations, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Pentagon, Washington, District of Columbia. O’Brien is currently serving as commander, Twenty-Fifth Air Force, Air Combat Command, Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas.
24 May 19. MG Lenny J. Richoux, commander, Joint Enabling Capabilities Command, U.S. Transportation Command, Norfolk, Virginia, to director, Manpower and Personnel, J-1, Joint Staff, Pentagon, Washington, District of Columbia.
24 May 19. Col. Christopher R. Amrhien, selected for the grade of brigadier general, from commander, 100th Air Refueling Wing, U.S. Air Forces in Europe – Air Forces Africa, Royal Air Force Mildenhall, England, to deputy, Deputy Chief of Staff Support, Resolute Support; and director, CJ4, U.S. Forces-Afghanistan, U.S. Central Command, Kabul, Afghanistan.
24 May 19. Col. David A. Mineau, selected for the grade of brigadier general, from director, Joint and National Security Council Matters, Deputy Chief of Staff, Operations, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Pentagon, Washington, District of Columbia, to director, Current Operations, Deputy Chief of Staff, Operations, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Pentagon, Washington, District of Columbia.
24 May 19. Col. John C. Walker, selected for the grade of brigadier general, from director, Joint Staff Legislative Affairs, Office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Joint Staff, Pentagon, Washington, District of Columbia, to director, Deliberate Air Campaign; deputy commander, 9th Air Expeditionary Task Force – Afghanistan; and director, CJ35, Future Operations, Headquarters Resolute Support, U.S. Central Command, Kabul, Afghanistan.
REST OF THE WORLD APPOINTMENTS
29 May 19. Former Canadian Navy Chief takes helm of UNSW Defence Research Institute. The inaugural head of the University of NSW Defence Research Institute is a former Canadian sailor who rose to command the RCN and most recently served as Canada’s diplomatic representative in Canberra. Vice Admiral (Ret’d) Paul Maddison served 37 years in the Canadian military, serving aboard and then commanding frigates, culminating in his appointment as Commander of the Royal Canadian Navy 2011-2013. He served as Canadian high commissioner to Australia from 2015 to earlier this year. So, how did a former Canadian sailor comes to end up down under? For one thing, he’s married to an Aussie, Fay, who originally hails from Brisbane and Darwin. All that gives him a very different perspective on Australia’s defence and security. (Source: Defence Connect)
30 May 19. The number of British SME manufacturers planning to increase staff headcount in the coming months has plummeted to just 30 per cent, its lowest level for a decade, raising crucial questions around growth, productivity and competitiveness for the UK. With this concern tied to flat sales expectations and profit predictions in the next six months, those considering how the sector will realise its ongoing growth plans will be buoyed by manufacturers’ longer-term growth and investment intentions. The findings, published in the national Manufacturing Barometer, show that 44 per cent of SME manufacturers had increased their investments in new premises and machinery in the last six months, up on the previous quarter’s 37 per cent. Whilst the number of manufacturers wanting to increase investment in their business will hold steady in the coming months, by this time next year half of all UK SME manufacturers want to have increased investment in machinery and premises.
In three years’ time, 56 per cent anticipate investing more than they currently do in their businesses.
Simon Howes, MD of SWMAS who published the findings in the latest Manufacturing Barometer with partner Economic Growth Solutions, said: “We are seeing a 10 year low in plans to recruit new staff, and whilst this initially raises some alarm bells, it must be read in conjunction with the investment manufacturers plan to make in machinery and premises.
“We found that some businesses have slowed recruitment, and this could be in line with worries that their customers have lost confidence given the uncertainty around Brexit.
“However, we really need to unpick this. The stories we hear of manufacturers unable to find the talent they need – as revealed in findings in another recent Barometer – prevail. This struggle to recruit is moving manufacturers into a new reality: they face the prospect of managing growth and meeting increasing customer demands with fewer people.
“In this context their plans to focus on investment in new machinery, equipment, and premises ahead of creating new jobs, makes sense. If investment in automation and smarter equipment delivers more output with the same number of employees, a constrained labour market becomes less of an issue in the short to medium term. This presents the opportunity for manufacturers to utilise any latent capacity in their businesses and it’s an intelligent strategy as manufacturers can anticipate rewards to come if the surge in sales they predict during the next three years can be delivered.”
The Manufacturing Barometer shows that in just 12 months from now the number of SME manufacturers expecting sales to increase climbs to 59 per cent. A year after that, a whopping 73 per cent anticipate sales increases. Three years from now and the figures start to event out a little, but still 77 per cent forecast that their sales will have increased.
23 May 19. UK-based data-driven decision support consultancy and technology company Techmodal has experienced such a large growth in demand for its services by the likes of the Ministry of Defence and Army HQ that it has had to increase its staff by 30% in the last year. Founded in 2005 by PhD students Martin Jonik and David Evans, Techmodal now has a thriving team employing more than 90 data scientists, systems analysts, cost modellers, software developers and consultants. Techmodal’s roots are in the Defence sector where it is a trusted partner of the MOD. However, the company also applies its expertise in data analysis and problem solving to the commercial world, working with other consultancies and manufacturers and a specialist partner. Working in the public sector Techmodal has also built a reputation in large scale procurement and infrastructure process optimisation.
27 May 19. Thales Alenia Space’s Telecommunications Business Line’s Executive VP. Thales Alenia Space’s Telecommunications Business Line has a new executive vice president who brings a vast history of sales experience in Europe and Asia. Pascal Homsy, 54, has been appointed Executive Vice President of Thales Alenia Space’s Telecom. He succeeds Bertrand Maureau, who takes on new responsibilities within the Thales Group. Homsy graduated from Telecom Paris Tech in 1991 and began his career in sales at TRT- Philips. From 1994 to 1998, he served as Area Sales Manager, Asia-Pacific, at Lucent Technologies. He subsequently moved up the ranks within the Alcatel-Lucent Group, where he held positions as Consultant, Customer Strategies; Asia Sales Director; Vice President, Local Multipoint Distribution Systems Business Unit; Vice President, Voice and Services Business Unit, Fixed Switching Systems; Vice President Sales, France Telecom/Orange global account; and CEO of Alcatel- Lucent France for more than three years. He was also Vice President Sales, West and South Europe, in charge of France and the FT/Orange account; and President of the Strategic Industries Segment. In April 2015, he was appointed President of the Europe and MEA Regional Business Centre, Software and Services, for Nokia/Alcatel-Lucent. From 2017 until this latest appointment, Pascal Homsy served as Global Head of Sales, Big Data and Security Division for ATOS (Bull SAS). (Source: Satnews)