06 June 19. Philippines Navy to get three more multi-purpose attack vessels. The Philippines Navy (PN) is reportedly set to receive three additional multi-purpose attack craft (MPACs).
Speaking to the Philippine News Agency (PNA), PN spokesperson captain Jonathan Zata stated that the MPACs will be fitted with Rafael Advanced Defense’s Spike extended range (ER) surface-to-surface missile system.
The craft will also feature remotely controlled .50 calibre machine guns and are designed to travel at a speed of up to 45k. Before accepting delivery of the vessels, the Department of National Defense (DND) Technical Inspection and Acceptance Committee will perform a series of tests and evaluation.
Zata was quoted by PNA as saying: “The three MPACs being constructed are still with the builder and will still undergo the systems integration phase in one of the facilities in Subic. Based from the approved contract, the delivery date is on August 2019.
“The PN Technical Working Group is working closely with the DND to ensure the completion of the project.”
Following delivery of the MPACs in August, the navy will have a total of six vessels armed with the Israeli-made weapon.
Earlier, PN flag-officer-in-command vice-admiral Robert Empedrad told the news agency that three more Spike-ER armed MPACs would become operational this year.
Empedrad said: “We have another three building, and they are expected to be delivered this year. They will also be armed with the Spike-ER missiles.”
The MPACs will be designated as Mark IV by PN. Construction of the vessels began in November last year. These three Mark IV vessels are being built by Propmech. The PN’s three Mark III MPACs were activated in May 2017. In November last year, the navy performed a test firing of the Spike-ER surface-to-surface missile system delivered by Rafael in April 2018. (Source: naval-technology.com)
06 June 19. USAF’s KC-46 Pegasus and F-35 complete receiver certification testing. The US Air Force (USAF) has completed receiver certification testing with the KC-46 Pegasus mid-air refuelling tanker and F-35 Lightning II fighter aircraft. Certification testing was performed at Edwards Air Force Base, California, US. The USAF’s 418th Flight Test Squadron and the 461st FLTS took part in testing with the platforms.
461st FLTS commander and F-35 Integrated Test Force director lieutenant colonel Tucker Hamilton noted that the completion of receiver certification testing will contribute towards enhancing capabilities that will assist the warfighter.
Hamilton said: “The ability for the F-35 to receive fuel from the KC-46 is a tremendous capability for the warfighter. Through our combined test effort, the F-35 will soon gain clearance that is the foundation of an aircraft pairing, F-35 and KC-46, that will define the battlespace for decades to come.”
Derived from Boeing’s commercial 767 airframe, KC-46 is a multirole tanker capable of refuelling allied and coalition military aircraft. The aircraft can also carry passengers, cargo and patients. The KC-46 Pegasus will replace the USAF’s ageing KC-135 Stratotankers fleet. The service is expected to procure 179 tankers. Boeing is currently under contract to deliver the first 52 aircraft.
In April, the company secured a $5.7bn contract from the US Department of Defense to provide post-production requirements for the KC-46 aircraft.
In December, Boeing and the USAF completed Phase II receiver certification flight testing, featuring three weeks of flights with F-15E aircraft out of Edwards Air Force Base. The tanker has so far completed testing with KC-135, C-17, A-10, KC-46, B-52, and F/A-18, F-15E, and F-35 aircraft. (Source: airforce-technology.com)
05 June 19. Qatar Amir Attends Ceremony to Welcome First Rafale Squadron. His Highness the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, who is the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, on Wednesday attended a reception ceremony to welcome the first squadron of Rafale fighter jets of the Qatari Amiri Air Force from France. The reception was attended by officers, non-commissioned officers and members of the squadron Al Adiyat. The deal for the Rafale fighter jets was concluded in May 2015 with French company Dassault Aviation SA. HH the Amir witnessed a live air show of the Rafale aircraft carried out by the Qatar Amiri Air Force pilots upon arrival at Dukhan Air Base on Wednesday afternoon. The Amir also toured the base after welcoming the arriving pilots, and inspecting the squadron of Al Adiyat. The Amir was accompanied by HE the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of State for Defence Affairs Dr Khalid bin Mohamed al-Attiyah, HE Chief of Staff of Qatari Armed Forces Lieutenant General (Pilot) Ghanem bin Shaheen al-Ghanim, Commander of Qatari Amiri Air Force Major General (Pilot) Salem Hamad al-Nabet, Commander of thDukhan Air Base and the officer of the Rafale aircraft project Brigadier General Salim Abdullah al-Dosari. The Amir was briefed on the base and the most prominent operations and the combat and offensive capabilities of Al Adiyat squadron. During the ceremony, al-Nabet and al-Dosari delivered speeches. Senior officers of the Qatar Armed Forces and the Amiri Air Force, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Dassault Eric Trappier, French ambassador Franck Gellet, and Representative of the executive director of French company MBDA Jean Luc Lamothe attended the ceremony. The Amir and HE the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of State for Defence Affairs Dr Khalid bin Mohamed al-Attiyah at the Dukhan Air Base.
(defense-aerospace.com EDITOR’S NOTE: Yesterday’s delivery comprised five Rafales, out of the first batch of 24 that Qatar ordered in 2015; a second order for 12 more was signed in 2018.
France formally handed the first aircraft over to Qatar in February during a ceremony in Merignac, in southwestern France, where the planes are built. The aircraft have remained in France since then for pilot training.) (Source: defense-aerospace.com)
03 June 19. The F-35 fleet has achieved 200,000 flight hours across global operations, a significant milestone demonstrating the program’s progress and growing maturity. Within the same week, the F-35 Joint Program Office and Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT) also delivered the 400th production F-35.
“The F-35 air system is a key enabler of our National Defense Strategy and delivers the combat proven, advanced capabilities our warfighters and Partners need to meet mission requirements,” said Vice Admiral Mat Winter, Program Executive Officer for the F-35 Joint Program Office. “This 400th delivery is a significant milestone as the F-35 Enterprise continues to grow and expand around the world. The collaborative efforts across the JPO, U.S. services, partners, and industry remain focused on driving costs down, quality up, and faster delivery timelines across our development, production, and sustainment lines of effort.”
The 400th production aircraft is a U.S. Air Force F-35A, to be delivered to Hill Air Force Base, Utah. The production total is comprised of 283 F-35A, 87 F-35B and 30 F-35C deliveries. The 200,000 flight hours includes all F-35s in the fleet comprised of developmental test jets, training, operational, U.S. and international aircraft. Among the three variants, approximately 125,850 hours were flown by the F-35A, 52,410 hours by the F-35B and 22,630 by the F-35C.
“These milestones are a testament to the joint government, military and industry teams designing, building, sustaining, maintaining, operating and flying F-35s around the globe,” said Greg Ulmer, Lockheed Martin vice president and general manager of the F-35 Program. “The F-35 is delivering transformational capabilities to the warfighter and with every delivery and every flight hour, the enterprise gets smarter, more mature and more effective.”
To date, 400 F-35s have been delivered and are now operating from 17 bases worldwide. More than 800 pilots and over 7,500 maintainers are trained. Ten nations are flying the F-35, eight countries have F-35s operating from a base on their home soil, seven services have declared Initial Operating Capability, and three services have announced their F-35s have been used in combat operations. The enterprise is on track to deliver 131 aircraft to the warfighter this year, up 40 percent from last year. The F-35 program is expected to complete Initial Operational Test and Evaluation (IOT&E) this year and officially transition from the System Development and Demonstration phase and into full rate production and focus on our development, production, and sustainment lines of effort.
With stealth technology, advanced sensors, supersonic speed, weapons capacity and superior range, the F-35 is the most lethal, survivable and connected aircraft in the world. More than a fighter jet, the F-35’s ability to collect, analyze and share data, is a powerful force multiplier that enhances all airborne, surface and ground-based assets in the battlespace enabling men and women in uniform to execute their mission and return home safely.
03 June 19. NRL introduces UV-18 Twin Otter aircraft into test fleet. The US Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) science and technology research squadron has added a new aircraft to its fleet in the guise of a De Havilland DHC-6 Twin Otter. Unveiled by Scientific Development Squadron One (VXS-1) on 11 May, the Twin Otter is designated as the UV-18 in US military service. The Twin Otter is a high-wing, twin turboprop, short take off/landing utility aircraft with fixed tricycle landing gear. According to VXS-1 commanding officer Commander Erik Thomas, the fact that the UV-18 is unpressurised simplifies modifications and this reduced the time needed to take research payloads into flight test. The VXS-1 fleet already includes three NP-3C and P-3C Orion maritime patrol aircraft, an RC-12 King Air, and 12 TigerShark unmanned air systems. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
PLANT CLOSURES, JOB LOSSES AND STRIKES
05 June 19. Insitu Cuts Global Workforce. Boeing drone unit Insitu, which employs about 1,000 people in the Columbia River Gorge and about 500 elsewhere, said Tuesday it is cutting its workforce due to competitive pressures and a falloff in business.
Chief executive Esina Alic announced the news to employees without providing any details on the overall number of people who will be laid off. A person familiar with the details said the workforce will be cut by about 15 percent, which will slash more than 200 jobs.
That’s a major blow to employment in the area around Bingen, Wash., where Insitu is based, and Hood River, Ore., across the Columbia River. A small cluster of aerospace suppliers has grown up there.
Insitu spokeswoman Jenny Beloy said Alic told employees Tuesday that cutting the workforce was necessary to cope with increased competition in the drone business.
“Our market has become more challenging, and with that we’ve seen an increased need to reduce costs,” Alic said.
Insitu’s catapult-launched ScanEagle drones are used by the military for surveillance in battle zones and by the Coast Guard for maritime surveillance. The company provides both the drone systems and the field operators who deploy them. One Insitu engineer, who doesn’t expect to be laid off but who spoke on condition of anonymity to protect his job, said Alic, who was appointed CEO only last year, is a good leader. He blamed mismanagement at the level below her for a series of quality issues that has hurt the company’s reputation. Insitu lost out this spring in a competition to provide the U.S. Army with a new drone scout called the Future Tactical Unmanned Aerial System (FTUAS). In a “fly-off” competition between the contending drones conducted in Utah in November, the engineer said, the Insitu drone crashed repeatedly during the field tests.
“We had flown it only a few times. The configuration wasn’t ready,” the engineer said. “It crashed three times in front of the customer.”
“There are huge quality issues. We are not competitive in pricing,” he added. “We’re losing contracts.”
Spokeswoman Beloy acknowledged the three FTUAS field-test crashes and said the causes “are under review.” She added that Insitu remains focused on “developing the best technology to support our soldiers.”
Andy von Flotow, a co-founder of Insitu, left the company when Boeing bought it in 2008. He later launched Hood Tech on the Oregon side of the river, making camera systems and catapult launchers for ScanEagle with a payroll of more than 100.
Von Flotow said Insitu invented its specific drone niche: a large, long-endurance aircraft of about 50 pounds, featuring high-quality cameras, along with the contractor business model of providing a team of operators to field the drones.
But von Flotow said a lot of competitors have jumped into that niche, which doesn’t require huge investment.
“Insitu invented that business model in the early 2000s,” he said. “Now there’s a whole bunch of me-toos.”
He said various small suppliers in the Gorge area depend upon doing business with Insitu, including Australian firm Orbital UAV, which makes drone engines; Sagetech, which makes transponders for the drones; and Zepher, which builds mechanisms for capturing the drones on return from their missions.
As a result, Insitu has helped reshape a Gorge economy that was once dominated by aluminum smelters, timber mills and agriculture and now is something of a high-tech aerospace incubator. Now all those suppliers will likely be hit by the downturn at Insitu.
“Our own business will probably also shrink,” said von Flotow. “We’ll have to see how deeply.”
Those laid off will get 60-day notices, said Insitu’s Beloy. (Source: UAS VISION/The Seattle Times)
04 June 19. US Navy’s USS Pittsburgh submarine undergoes decommissioning. The US Navy’s Los Angeles-class nuclear-powered fast-attack submarine USS Pittsburgh (SSN 720) is set to undergo the inactivation and left Naval Submarine Base New London in Groton, Connecticut, and arrived at Kitsap-Bremerton. USS Pittsburgh made its first Arctic transit from Groton to Bremerton for its final underway and homeport change. USS Pittsburgh commander Jason Deichler said: “We are the first second flight 688 to complete an Arctic transit from Groton to Bremerton for an inactivation.
“It was an amazing transit, one that is unique to submarines. There aren’t too many people in the history of the world, let alone the submarine force, let alone the navy, that have done that transit under the ice.”
The vessel was last deployed in this February during when it steamed more than 39,000nm and visited three foreign ports.
Deichler added: “All I heard from the crew during the transit was ‘this is the last’. This is the last meal; this is the last time we are going to eat Pittsburgh steak on Pittsburgh; this is the last turn; this is the last shut down.
“We have been involved in two tomahawk strike exercises and a multitude of missions vital to national security.”
Commissioned in 1985, Pittsburgh has performed a range of missions, including anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface ship warfare, strike warfare, surveillance and reconnaissance.
Puget Sound Naval Shipyard and Intermediate Maintenance Facility will take care of de-fuelling the submarine during the inactivation process. Meanwhile, the hull will be kept in safe storage until decommissioning.
It is the fourth US Navy vessel to be named after the city of Pittsburgh. The mission of the 360ft-long, 6,900t vessel is to ‘seek out and destroy enemy ships and submarines. The submarine is equipped with sophisticated MK48 advanced capability torpedoes and Tomahawk cruise missiles. (Source: naval-technology.com)
MILITARY AND GOVERNMENT
03 June 19. High-flying woman: RAF appoints first female Air Marshal. Royal Air Force (RAF) engineer Sue Gray was promoted to the rank of Air Marshal in February, making her a three-star commander and the most senior female military officer in the British Armed Forces. We talk to Gray about her career in the RAF and the importance of inspiring girls and young women into engineering careers. The first female Air Marshal Sue Gray joined the RAF in August 1985 and has held a wide variety of roles, from engineering on VC10 Transport aircraft and working with the Joint Helicopter Force during both Gulf Wars to leading the Combat Clothing Project Team. She will soon be taking up the position of Director General of the UK Defence Safety Authority and is keen to inspire girls and young women into technical careers through her role as the RAF’s STEM ambassador. (Source: airforce-technology.com)
03 June 19. MG James A. Jacobson, commander, Air Force District of Washington, Joint Base Andrews, Maryland, to director, Training and Readiness, Deputy Chief of Staff, Operations, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Pentagon, Washington, District of Columbia.
03 June 19. BG Jeffrey H. Hurlbert, director, Senior Official Inquiries, Office of the Secretary of the Air Force Inspector General, Office of the Secretary of the Air Force, Pentagon, Washington, District of Columbia, to deputy inspector general of the Air Force, Office of the Secretary of the Air Force, Pentagon, Washington, District of Columbia.
03 June 19. Col. Stewart A. Hammons, who has been selected for the grade of brigadier general, from commander, 27th Special Operations Wing, Air Force Special Operations Command, Cannon Air Force Base, New Mexico, to director, Expeditionary Support, Air Force Installation and Mission Support Center, Air Force Materiel Command, Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas.
31 May 19. USAF Chief Master Sgt. David P. Klink, currently assigned as the command chief master sergeant, 24th Air Force, Air Forces Cyber senior enlisted advisor, Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas, has been selected to replace Chief Master Sgt. Andrea J. Gates as the command senior enlisted leader for the Defense Information System Agency, Fort Meade, Maryland.
31 May 19. Coast Guard Command Master Chief Lucas M. Pullen, currently assigned as the command master chief of Coast Guard Sector Guam, has been selected to replace Command Master Chief Lateef Compton as the command senior enlisted leader for the Combined Maritime Forces Coalition, Bahrain.
REST OF THE WORLD APPOINTMENTS
01 June 19. India gets a new defense minister. A senior politician of the right-wing Bharatiya Janata Party has been appointed the new defense minister of India. It seems that Rajnath Singh, who previously severed as home minister and has a reputation as a taskmaster, has quite the workload ahead of him if he’s to speed up defense procurement and modernization. Bureaucrats in the Ministry of Defence argue that the overall pace of defense purchases and contracts will slow over the next two years because of fiscal troubles. The Indian Army is currently committed to $4.31bn in liabilities, with the Air Force committed to $7.40bn and the Navy to $3.98bn. Under its policy aimed at bolstering the domestic industry, the government “will find it very tough to roll out big-ticket Make in India defense projects, including multirole fighters, submarines and helicopters,” according to defense analyst and retired Indian Army Maj. Gen. Mahindra Singh. (Source: glstrade.com/Defense News)
07 June 19. AIDN-NSW welcomes new executive and committee. The Australian Industry & Defence Network has announced its new executive and committee following its annual general meeting for the 2018 financial year. The AGM ended on a positive note with the new executive and committee committing to an extensive program based on AIDN-NSW’s strategic and business plans. Key points from the strategic plan include:
- Extending alliances and collaboration across the broader region of NSW – including important areas such as the Hunter and Shoalhaven;
- Committing to improving the value for our membership and continuing to advocate on behalf of SMEs into the Department of Defence and the defence primes;
- Partnering with Hunter Defence around a supplier readiness program to assist SMEs who want to do business in the Department of Defence;
- To continue to support AIDN National in achieving its objectives, unlocking greater value for NSW members at the national level; and
- Forming alliances with innovation and skills organisations.
The new AIDN-NSW executive and committee includes:
- President – Anna Murray (Bentley Systems);
- Vice president – Peter Jenkins (Jenkins Engineering Defence Systems);
- Secretary – Alan Rankins (Goal Group);
- Treasurer – Bruno Favretti (Favcote);
- Past president – Medhat Wassef (Swift Defence);
- Committee member – Malcolm Cazier (Baker and Provan);
- Committee member – Peter Freed (Cirrus Real Time Processing Systems);
- Committee member – Chris Jenkins (Thales Australia);
- Committee member – Victoria Lewis (Defence Connect);
- Committee member – John Macaulay (Embassy Freight Services);
- Committee member – Leon Notelovitz (Santova Logistics);
- Committee member – Aaron Parnell (Castlereagh Advisory);
- Committee member – Christine Purvis (Deco Australia); and
- Committee member – Jamie Young (Crondo).
In a statement, AIDN-NSW said, “This is an exciting time in NSW for defence industry with continuing commitment from NSW government to Defence NSW and defence industry throughout NSW.
“We are pleased to confirm that due to increased membership year on year since 2017, we are in a solid position to implement our strategic plan and to play an important part in growing Defence industry in NSW.”
The AIDN is a national peak body, established in 1995, and continues to support SME suppliers to defence and security related customers via advocacy, partnerships and member services. (Source: Defence Connect)
06 June 19. WA announces creation of Defence Advisory Forum and new Executive Director. West Australian Minister for Defence Issues Paul Papalia has announced the formation of the new Defence Advisory Forum and welcomed the appointment of the inaugural executive director for Defence West. The Defence Advisory Forum, announced by Minister Papalia, will advise and support the state government on defence industry capability and business development and investment issues including workforce, skills, research and infrastructure requirements.
Chaired by WA defence advocate Rear Admiral (Ret’d) Raydon Gates, AO, CSM, the forum includes representatives from key industry and defence sector stakeholders, including:
- Australian Industry and Defence Network;
- Chamber of Commerce and Industry (WA);
- Henderson Alliance;
- Australian Industry Group;
- Construction Contractors Association;
- Centre for Defence Industry Capability; and
- Each of the four WA public universities.
Minister Papalia said, “Promoting WA’s defence industry capability is a key government priority. The forum will help us identify and target opportunities for WA’s defence industry and make sure we have the workforce, skills and infrastructure to support it.”
State government representatives from Defence West, the Department of Training and Workforce Development and South Metropolitan TAFE will also be included.
The forum will report directly to the minister, providing independent advice to support the sustainable growth of the WA defence industry sector.
“I welcome Rear Admiral Gates as the forum chairperson and look forward to the ideas and issues that will be raised. Western Australia is home to a world-class and globally competitive defence industry, including a thriving research and development sector,” Minister Papalia added.
The steering committee, which is overseeing the implementation of the WA Defence and Defence Industries Strategic Plan, will also engage with the forum to seek feedback and advice. Establishment of the Defence Advisory Forum was a key action from the WA Defence and Defence Industries Strategic Plan, and the state government’s Plan for Jobs.
Minister Papalia also welcomed the appointment of the inaugural executive director of Defence West, Matt Moran, who brings an extensive knowledge of Defence, having experience as a senior adviser to the federal Minister for Defence Industry and federal Minister for Defence. He worked on Defence’s most complex and expensive projects over the last few years.
He was also a media adviser to prime minister Malcolm Turnbull. Moran deployed to Afghanistan as an Army public affairs officer in 2009 and East Timor in 2007. He previously worked as a journalist with the ABC and Network Ten. He will start soon with an early focus on meeting with Defence and industry stakeholders in WA.
Moran said, “It’s a privilege to be offered this exciting position, I’m looking forward to working with the local defence industry to make the most of the amazing opportunities on offer.” (Source: Defence Connect)
04 June 19. Hybrid Air Vehicles has appointed Tom Grundy as Chief Executive Officer, effective 30th May. Tom has been with the business for six years and has been instrumental in driving progress forward with customers and other stakeholders across a variety of markets. Tom brings with him significant experience in the aerospace and defence industry which has proved very valuable to HAV, and will continue to be so in his new role. A Chartered Engineer and Fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society, his prior experience covers a range of senior engineering and programme leadership roles at BAE Systems, including serving as the Head of Business Management for ATTAC, the Tornado availability support service.
04 June 19. Patria’s Board of Directors has appointed Esa Rautalinko, 56, Master of Science (Economics), as President and Chief Executive Officer of Patria Group. Chief Financial Officer Ville Jaakonsalo has been acting President and CEO since January 2019. Rautalinko will start in this position 1st of July 2019. He is currently the CEO of Örum Group and has also been Patria’s Chairman of the Board of Directors since November 2018. He has an extensive leadership experience in domestic and international companies and in the boards of several companies and organisations. Due to this announcement, Petri Vihervuori, member of Patria’s Board of Directors, will be the acting Chairman of the Board of Directors.
REST OF THE WORLD APPOINTMENTS
03 June 19. SAAB Australia appoints new general manager sales and marketing. SAAB Australia has announced Tony Vonthoff as its new general manager sales and marketing, taking over from Gerard Ogden who has moved on to become head of business development in Saab’s Asia-Pacific organisation. Vonthoff will now oversee the strategy for Saab’s sales and marketing pursuits within the Australia/New Zealand region and Saab Australia’s domestic business, and brings with him a wealth of experience working in business development and sales in the defence and international capacity building sectors. In two tenures with SAAB, Vonthoff spent three years in Sweden as sales strategist for the Middle East market, as well as managing civil solution sales, and representing Saab’s global business locally for land defence systems. Prior to joining the defence industry, Vonthoff spent two decades serving with the Australian Army, and holds a Master’s of Defence from Canberra University, and is a graduate of the Australian Command and Staff College Queenscliff. (Source: Defence Connect)