25 June 19. UAE armed forces and defence industry representatives attended the opening of a new facility at Tawazun Industrial Park (TIP) for the assembly of unmanned aerial and maritime target systems used in military training, test and evaluation in the UAE. The new venture, established by Houbara Defence and Security LLC, is a partnership between Middle East General Enterprises (MGE), and QinetiQ of the UK, a leading provider of scientific and defence solutions.
Guest of honour at the event was Major General Staff Pilot Ishaq Saleh Al Balushi, Head of the Executive Directorate of Industries and Development of Defence Capabilities at the UAE Ministry of Defence.
Saeed Ghanim, Chairman of Houbara, said: “This new facility is part of Houbara’s strategy to build local capacity in the defence sector. It focuses upon creating technology systems that will be used for training and skills development for the UAE military, reflecting the goals set out by our leadership in Vision 2021.”
Houbara, will combine proven expertise of QinetiQ to test, manufacture and distribute specialist unmanned targets, satisfying the increasing demand for operational training and mission rehearsal. The initial product range includes the Jet Banshee aerial target designed to simulate the threat of aircraft for air defence systems and the Hammerhead maritime target, an unmanned speedboat designed to simulate fast inshore attack craft in a multi-vehicle swarm.
Tim Allen, CEO of Houbara said: “We are delighted to open our new facility at TIP. It demonstrates Houbara’s commitment to customers and our collaborative approach through direct investment into the UAE’s defence industry. In addition to our locally-based resources, we offer unique access in the UAE to QinetiQ’s global resources of 6,000 dedicated professionals, providing technological and scientific expertise that helps our customers protect and optimise their defence and security capabilities.”
25 June 19. MSB Global Resources begins phase one of Wichita expansion plans. The American division of Montreal-headquartered MSB Global Resources, MGR has begun implementation of phase one of an ambitious strategic growth plan, which will see the company evolve both in terms of office size and number of employees. The Wichita, KS. facility has already moved to a 4,500 square feet location and plans include recruiting a further 30 aerospace engineers by the end of the summer. MGR supports OEMs, maintenance, refurbishment and completion centers by providing a wide range of specialized and general aerospace engineering services. The recent signing of a major interiors contract for an undisclosed North American customer has been the catalyst for the MGR expansion. The primary recruitment focus is on sourcing precision design engineers, although other specialities including electrical and stress expertise, will also be required. The newly created workforce will not only service the latest contract, but also complement the existing MGR workforce in various locations throughout the United States including Indiana, Washington and California.
“The strong economy, the growth in aerospace as an industry and the seemingly diminishing number of aerospace engineers are all factors that have inspired us to become creative as hiring gets more challenging. We are utilizing our network to find talent with the desired qualifications, as well as training new engineers to understand interiors. Recruits are not just from aviation but from the automotive industry too. Our expertise lies in finding and building talented teams to support our customers, and the industry at large,” said Gemma Dendurent, Director of Operations, MGR.
Dendurent is heading up the expansion project, while Belinda Fortin, Program Manager – Engineering Services, is responsible for the successful delivery of all ongoing work package solutions to the new customer.
To support the growth MGR has created a new sales manager position in San Diego, California. With a history of business development in the engineering services sector, Kam Avval will bolster the presence of MGR in one of the most dynamic business aviation states in the Americas. Avval will focus on developing a wider client base in the United States as well as maximizing the MGR team skills by winning new work packages for additional aerospace companies throughout North America.
The North American recruitment activity is complemented by the MGR parent company headquartered in France, Sogeclair Aerospace. With its international network it can supply skilled workers for short-term projects, as well as supporting global recruitment needs.
The persistent growth of MGR highlights the success of MSB Group’s strategic expansion into the U.S., which also included the opening of a new manufacturing facility in Savannah, GA, in 2017. Expansion for this division is also on the horizon.
24 June 19. Upgrades to the Scottish facility used to ammunition the Royal Navy’s aircraft carriers. The MoD is about start work on a major upgrade of the Northern Ammunition Jetty in on Loch Long in order to enable the Queen Elizabeth class (QEC) aircraft carriers to load and unload ordnance. Here we look at the jetty project in detail. In an extremis it is would be possible for the QEC to be fully stored for war at their home base of Portsmouth. However, the Upper Harbour Ammunition Facility (UHAF) used by other warships is too small and handling explosives alongside in the dockyard is avoided under most circumstances. Although DM Gosport is close by, the key facility for dealing with the UK complex weapons inventory, including F-35 weapons, is at DM Beith in Scotland. Glen Mallen on Loch Long will, therefore, continue to be the site where RN aircraft carriers will load and unload the majority of their ammunition. This facility, known officially as the Northern Ammunition Jetty, was built in 1958, the most recent upgrade was completed in the 1970s. It has been used by RN and RFA vessels for many years but without remedial work would become unsafe the next 10-15 years.
Loch Long is steep-sided, relatively narrow but very deep and can accommodate large vessels with careful navigation. There is another ammunition facility at Crombie on the Firth of Forth but it appears it has not been chosen to support the QEC as it requires transits under the Forth bridges within time-constrained tidal windows. Glen Mallen also benefits from being supplied from nearby DM Glen Douglas which is the largest weapons storage site in Western Europe and has the capacity to handle the high volume of ordnance required by the QEC.
To accommodate the much larger QEC the old jetty and piles are being demolished entirely and replaced with a new platform built from scratch which can support a vessel twice the size of the existing facility. The new jetty will have a reinforced concrete deck supported by 200 piles. Five new mooring dolphins will be connected to the jetty by pedestrian access bridges. To ensure the QEC can be securely berthed, to resist tidal movement and hurricane-force winds that may occasionally be experienced in the area requires at least 14 separate mooring lines and springs. Head and stern lines need to be secured at an oblique angle to the ship to reduce strain on them and this necessitates the mooring dolphins that extend beyond the jetty.
Modern pedestal cranes will be installed and new pre-fabricated modular buildings for offices, stores, fuel store, back-up generators and switchgear will be built. The site will be protected by new fencing, a CCTV system and lighting masts. Two 6m high towers for navigation lights will be installed on the new jetty itself but a further four navigational aids will be required either side of Loch Long placed on towers in the water. Work on the £52M project is scheduled to begin shortly and will take around 2 years with completion due in the summer of 2021. The majority of construction material and waste will be transported by barge with minimal disruption to the public. The new jetty is intended to have a 50-year design life, similar to the QEC ships and last into the 2070s.
It is estimated it will take three days to load or unload the QEC with a complete outfit of munitions, but this evolution would only happen about every three years for each ship. With two carriers in service, this process will take place on average about once every 18 months and the main public road will be closed as a safety precaution during that time. Considering the large munition requirements of potentially up to 40-50 aircraft, three days to complete this work illustrates the great efficiency of the modern weapons handling systems of the QEC design (to be discussed in more detail in a future article). The operation to transport and prepare what will be hundreds of pieces of ordnance at the Defence Munitions sites beforehand must be many weeks of work. Once fully operational, the carriers will retain much of their munitions outfit safely stowed in their deep magazines for up to three years at a time and only fully de-ammunition prior to refit periods. To maintain their Lloyds Certification, after the initial dry docking inspection (recently completed by HMS Queen Elizabeth) dry docking is then expected to be carried out about once every six years probably as part of a major refit package.
The work at Glen Mallen is just one of several DIO (Defence Infrastructure Organisation) upgrades to naval Jetties, partly prompted by the needs of the aircraft carriers, but to the benefit of the navy as a whole. Bedenham Jetty which is used to deliver ammunition from DM Gosport to warships at the UHAF in Portsmouth also being rebuilt and having new cranes in a £36M project. The Oil and Fuel Jetty at Gosport is having a £30M refurbishment. Work on a £43M replacement for Yonderberry Oil and Fuel Jetty at Torpoint is well underway and should be completed this year.
It is important to note further defence infrastructure investment being literally put into the ground in Scotland, counter to nationalist claims that Scotland somehow gets a ‘raw deal’ in the division of defence spending. Brexit has given new impetus for demands for an independent Scotland which is an existential threat to the Royal Navy in particular (and by implication the security of everyone in the United Kingdom). Besides the obviously critical Faslane/Coulport facilities and Clyde shipbuilding, the logistic and support chain for the carriers is heavily dependent on DM Beith, DM Glen Douglas and Rosyth. There is continued expenditure on existing, and often ideal, Scottish facilities, for example at Faslane, RAF Lossiemouth and this modest project at Glen Mallen, but with no apparent ‘Plan B’ in the event of independence. (Source: News Now/https://www.savetheroyalnavy.org)
25 June 19. One year after its foundation, Schiebel Pacific Pty Ltd (SPL) celebrates the opening of its new office and workshop at the Albatross Aviation Technical Park (AATP) in Yerriyong, New South Wales, and announces its cooperation with Air Affairs Australia Pty Ltd (AAA).
This new SPL facility at the AATP firmly establishes Schiebel in Australia and allows for further expansion as the company grows over the next years. It puts SPL in close proximity to its customer, the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) at HMAS Albatross and provides direct access to the airfield. It also facilitates close cooperation with its next-door neighbour and new partner, AAA, who is an established provider of equipment and services to the Australian Defence Force, major government departments and multinational companies.
As part of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), SPL and AAA agree to collaborate on the compilation and submission of Request For Tender (RFT) responses for Remotely Piloted Aerial System (RPAS) opportunities in Australia and the Pacific region, as well as the subsequent close cooperation in contract delivery, support and services.
“Building on our current contracts, we see enormous potential in Australia for Schiebel and our unrivalled CAMCOPTER® S-100 RPAS due to several significant upcoming programmes and working with established Australian companies will be key to success,” notes Hans Georg Schiebel, Chairman of the Schiebel Group. “A strong physical presence through SPL and a MoU with a strong partner are logical steps in preparing for the tremendous opportunities in Australia, a nation at the forefront of embracing robotic technology and modernizing its Defence Force.”
As a mature and proven capability for shipborne intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR), Schiebel’s CAMCOPTER® S-100 is currently under contract for the Navy Minor Project (NMP) 1942. This evaluation programme aims to develop the RAN’s understanding of the capabilities of an advanced Vertical Takeoff and Landing (VTOL) Tactical Unmanned Air System (TUAS). SPL is working closely with the RAN on achieving all the goals of the project, while simultaneously preparing for the upcoming tenders for LAND and SEA 129.
In parallel, to help develop doctrine and future requirements, as well as gain further insight into future TUAS capabilities and payloads, the Royal Australian Army has contractually leased the CAMCOPTER® S-100 to conduct a series of advanced payload evaluations. The Army testing focuses on multiple payloads, including the L3 Wescam MX-10, ELTA Systems’ state-of-the-art ELK-7065 Compact Airborne HF COMINT/DF 3D System, Overwatch’s Multi Spectrum Imaging TK-5 and Leonardo’s PicoSAR radar. The most recent S-100 activities will culminate in the participation in Australia’s largest joint high-end warfighting exercise, Talisman Sabre 2019. The S-100 provides the Australian Army with the latest VTOL Multi Role Multi Environment (MRME) TUAS capability.
27 June 19. US Navy Christened Littoral Combat Ship Oakland. The U.S. Navy christened its newest Independence-variant littoral combat ship (LCS), the future USS Oakland (LCS 24), during a 10 a.m. EDT ceremony Saturday, June 29, in Mobile, Alabama. U.S. Representative Ken Calvert of California delivered the christening ceremony’s principal address. Ms. Kate Brandt, Google’s sustainability officer, will serve as the ship’s sponsor. In a time-honored Navy tradition, Ms. Brandt will christen the ship by breaking a bottle of sparkling wine across the bow.
“The christening of the future USS Oakland marks an important step toward this great ship’s entry into the fleet,” said Secretary of the Navy Richard V. Spencer. “The dedication and skilled work of our industry partners ensure this ship will represent the great city of Oakland and serve our Navy and Marine Corps team for decades to come.”
The future USS Oakland is a fast, agile, focused-mission platform designed for operation in near-shore environments yet capable of open-ocean operation. It is designed to defeat asymmetric “anti-access” threats such as mines, quiet diesel submarines and fast surface craft. The ship will be homeported in San Diego. The LCS class consists of two variants, the Freedom variant and the Independence variant, designed and built by two industry teams. The Freedom variant team is led by Lockheed Martin in Marinette, Wisconsin (for the odd-numbered hulls). The Independence variant team is led by Austal USA in Mobile, Alabama, (for LCS 6 and subsequent even-numbered hulls). The future USS Oakland (LCS 24) is the third U.S. Navy ship named for the city in California. The first Oakland (2847) was commissioned in 1918 and used for cargo transport. The second, CL 95, was commissioned in 1942 and during seven years of service was key in many antiaircraft missions across the Asia-Pacific theater of operations. (Source: US DoD)
27 June 19. Japan begins development of next-generation attack submarines. As Australia’s own $50bn Attack Class submarine program enters the design phase, Japan, one of the contenders for the program, has commenced research, design and development for the successor to its Soryu Class, which entered service in 2009 – again raising questions about Australia’s delivery time frames.
Japan’s Soryu Class is widely recognised as one of the world’s best submarines and often acknowledged to be the world’s most advanced, quietest, conventionally powered submarine. The diesel-electric vessels weigh in at approximately 4,000 long tonnes and are Japan’s largest post-war submarines, providing an important tactical and strategic edge over competitors.
Designed from the keel up to have an operation life of about 20 years, approximately half of comparable vessels operated by nations, including Australia, Japan’s planned fleet of 15 Soryu Class has recently been upgraded to include large banks of advanced lithium-ion batteries as a quiet source of power and is one of the major technological breakthroughs expected to be included in the next generation of attack submarines.
Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Japan’s leading submarine builder, has unveiled provisional designs for what is tentatively being designated the 29SS submarine design – with the first submarine due to be introduced in service in late-2020s. The research and development phase will take place from 2025 to 2028, and the first ship of this class will probably hit the water around 2031.
Noted submarine authority HI Sutton said 29SS is a “new design… based on the Soryu class, with its distinctive bow form and hull outline, but [it] differs significantly in the sail and hydroplane arrangement”.
It is expected that while the 29SS submarine will retain the general hull form of the earlier Soryu Class vessels, the new vessels will incorporate a range of important design changes, including a substantially reduced sail, which is expected to be blended into the hull with the aim of reducing hydrodynamic drag, helping to lower the noise signature of the submarines, while the dive planes will be moved from the sail to the hull.
Additionally, it is expected that the 29SS will include a pumpjet as opposed to the traditional propeller for propulsion, in a similar fashion to what is expected to be introduced on Australia’s future Attack Class submarines.
29SS will likely retain the same armament as the Soryu boats, which consist of six bow-mounted 533-millimetre torpedo tubes. The submarine can carry up to 30 torpedo-launched weapons, a mixture of the Type 89 heavyweight torpedo and the Sub Harpoon anti-ship missile. Although there is a general trend towards installing vertical launch silos behind a submarine’s sail, Japan does not have the missiles to fill them.
Pumpjet propulsion provides propulsion by sucking in water and ejecting it under pressure, providing quieter propulsion and are expected to be significantly more maneuverable than bare propellers and are generally standard on larger, faster nuclear-powered submarines.
Japan operates one of the largest submarine fleets in the world, centred on a highly capable, modern fleet of conventional attack submarines that are used to conduct maritime interdiction, anti-shipping, anti-submarine and patrol operations of Japan’s maritime approaches and zones.
This rapid turnaround of submarine research, development, design and manufacturing process across a large number of submarines raises some poignant questions about the delivery time frame for Australia’s own $50bn SEA 1000 Attack Class program.
Australia’s fleet of Attack Class submarines have recently entered the next stage in the design phase, with the Naval Group Shortfin Barracuda serving as the basic design for the Attack Class. The Attack Class vessels will begin replacing the ageing Collins Class vessels at a time when 50 per cent of the world’s submarines will be operating in the Indo-Pacific region.
The 12 vessels will be built by Naval Group at a specialist submarine shipyard at Osborne, South Australia. The Commonwealth government’s Australian Naval Infrastructure program will support the development of the future submarine shipyards. The Commonwealth government formally signed the strategic partnering agreement with Naval Group in February 2019 ahead of confirming the final design specifications and requirements for the Attack Class submarines.
Naval Group Australia’s involvement in this $50bn project, supporting an annual average of about 2,800 jobs, amounts to more than just the design and construction of 12 submarines for the Australian Navy – and will also bolster local industry, create thousands of jobs and transfer world-class technology, knowledge and expertise to Australia. (Source: Defence Connect)
26 June 19. Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) 17, the future USS Indianapolis, completed Acceptance Trials in Lake Michigan. This is the ship’s final significant milestone before the ship is delivered to the U.S. Navy. LCS 17 is the ninth Freedom-variant LCS designed and built by the Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT)-led industry team and is slated for delivery to the Navy this year.
“LCS 17 is joining the second-largest class of ships in the U.S. Navy fleet, and we are proud to get the newest Littoral Combat Ship one step closer to delivery,” said Joe DePietro, Lockheed Martin vice president and general manager, Small Combatants and Ship Systems. “This ship is lethal and flexible, and we are confident that she will capably serve critical U.S. Navy missions today and in future.”
Unique among combat ships, LCS is designed to complete close-to-shore missions and is a growing and relevant part of the Navy’s fleet.
- It is flexible — with 40 percent of the hull easily reconfigurable, LCS can be modified to integrate capabilities including over-the-horizon missiles, advanced electronic warfare systems and decoys.
- It is fast — capable of speeds in excess of 40 knots.
- It is lethal — standard equipped with Rolling Airframe Missiles (RAM) and a Mark 110 gun, capable of firing 220 rounds per minute.
- It is automated — with the most efficient staffing of any combat ship.
The trials included a full-power run, maneuverability testing, and surface and air detect-to-engage demonstrations of the ship’s combat system. Major systems and features were demonstrated, including aviation support, small boat launch handling and recovery and machinery control and automation.
“I am extremely proud of our LCS team including our shipbuilders at Fincantieri Marinette Marine,” said Jan Allman, Fincantieri Marinette Marine president and CEO. “These are complex vessels, and it takes a strong team effort to design, build and test these American warships.”
25 June 19. US Navy to name future rescue vessel to honour Cherokee Nation. The US Navy will name its newest towing, salvage, and rescue ship (T-ATS) Cherokee Nation in recognition of the service by tribal people. The future USNS Cherokee Nation is the fifth US ship to be named in honour of the Cherokee people.
US Navy Secretary Richard Spencer said: “It is my privilege to announce that the many Cherokee Nation citizens who’ve served throughout the years will be remembered with the highest honour a secretary of the navy can bestow, the naming of a ship.
“The future USNS Cherokee Nation will expand our capabilities and form a critical backbone for the strength and readiness of our entire fleet.”
Cherokee Nation is the second ship in the new class of T-ATS. It is expected to replace the existing T-ATF 166 and T-ARS 50 class ships in service with the US Military Sealift Command.
The future USNS Cherokee Nation will be T-ATS 7. The design of the T-ATS 7 will be based on existing commercial towing offshore vessels.
Vessels in the new class will be used for open ocean towing and in support of salvage operations and submarine rescue missions.
Cherokee Nation principal chief Bill John Baker said: “The Cherokee Nation is extremely honoured that the US Navy is recognising our tribal nation and the generations of Cherokee men and women who have bravely and humbly sacrificed for our freedom today.
“Our Cherokee people have contributed in every major battle and war ever fought in this country and continue to serve in the Armed Forces in some of the highest rates per ethnicity. Cherokees are a strong, resilient people and we are privileged to have a US ship at sea that reflects both our country and tribe’s history and values.”
Last year, the US Navy awarded a $64.8m contract option to Gulf Island Shipyards for the detail design and construction of the new towing, salvage and rescue ship.
Gulf Island Shipyards will build the vessel at its shipyard in Houma, Louisiana, with completion scheduled for July 2021.
The contract includes options for construction of six more vessels.
Each of these additional ships is planned to be named after prominent Native Americans or Native American tribes, the service added.
The company received a contract to build two additional towing, salvage and rescue ships after the navy exercised its second and third options in May. (Source: naval-technology.com)
25 June 19. Austal delivers future USS Cincinnati littoral combat ship to US Navy. Austal USA has delivered the future USS Cincinnati littoral combat ship (LCS) to the US Navy during a ceremony at the facility in Mobile, Alabama. Designed LCS 20, the future USS Cincinnati is the 18th LCS vessel to be delivered to the navy and the tenth Independence-class ship to enter the fleet. The official handover of the ship comes ahead of its planned commissioning during this autumn in Gulfport, Mississippi.
LCS programme manager captain Mike Taylor said: “This is a great day for the navy and our country with the delivery of the future USS Cincinnati.
“I look forward to celebrating the commissioning of this great ship alongside the crew later this year. This ship will play an essential role in carrying out our nation’s maritime strategy.”
Before delivery, LCS 20 successfully completed acceptance trials in the Gulf of Mexico. The ship underwent testing to demonstrate the performance of the propulsion plant, ship-handling, and auxiliary systems.
Austal will also perform post-delivery availability work on LCS 20 under a contract secured earlier this year.
The company is currently building five more Independence-variant LCS ships for the Navy at its Mobile facility.
Delivery of the future USS Kansas City (LCS 22) is expected to take place this autumn. The remaining four ships, the future USS Oakland (LCS 24), Mobile (LCS 26), Savannah (LCS 28) and Canberra (LCS 30), are in various stages of construction. The navy has plans to acquire four additional ships. LCS is a fast, agile, mission-focused platform that can deal with threats such as submarines, mines and swarming small craft. The vessel has the ability to operate in both near-shore environments and open-ocean. They can be deployed in support of forward presence, maritime security, sea control, and deterrence. (Source: naval-technology.com)
21 June 19. Mitsui unveils design proposal for JMSDF’s OPV requirement. Japan’s Mitsui E&S Shipbuilding Co unveiled during the 2019 Maritime/Air Systems & Technologies Asia exhibition near Tokyo, which was held from 17 to 19 June, its design proposal to meet the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force’s (JMSDF’s) requirement for 12 offshore patrol vessels (OPVs).
The company is expected to compete against Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) and Japan Marine United Corporation for the contract to build the OPVs over the coming decade, as envisaged in Japan’s National Defense Program Guidelines (NDPGs), which were approved by the cabinet of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in December 2018.
In a brochure released at the show Mitsui states that its OPV, which would be able to carry unmanned aerial vehicles and two autonomous unmanned surface vessels, would be capable of conducting surveillance, coastal patrol, and intelligence-gathering operations.
The 100 m-long vessel, which would feature a 360° panoramic bridge, is expected to have a top speed of more than 25kt and a displacement of 2,000 tonnes. It would have a crew of 23 and be armed with a 76mm main gun and two 12.7mm remotely operated machine guns. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
24 June 19. US Navy to christen 68th Arleigh Burke-class destroyer. The US Navy’s newest Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer the future USS Daniel Inouye (DDG 118) is set to be christened at General Dynamics’ Bath Iron Works subsidiary in Maine. DDG 118 is named for Daniel Inouye, a late-Hawaiian Senator and Medal of Honor recipient. Inouye served with the 442nd Infantry Regiment Combat Team during the Second World War and as US Senator from 1963 until his death in 2012. Wife of the late Senator and the ship’s sponsor, Irene Hirano Inouye will attend the christening ceremony.
US Navy Secretary Richard Spencer said: “The future USS Daniel Inouye will serve for decades as a reminder of Senator Inouye’s service to our nation and his unwavering support of a strong Navy and Marine Corps team.
“This ship honours not only his service but the service of our shipbuilders who help make ours the greatest Navy and Marine Corps team in the world.”
DDG 118 is configured as a Flight IIA destroyer. It will be the 68th destroyer in the Arleigh Burke-class. Currently, the navy has 21 ships under contract for the DDG 51 programme.
The USS Harvey C Barnum Jr (DDG 124) is the last ship in the Flight IIA configuration. The navy is substantially modifying the design of the DDG-51 Flight IIA destroyer to create a Flight III configuration.
This configuration is designed to deliver quick reaction time, high firepower, and increased electronic countermeasures capability for anti-air warfare. At 509.5ft-long and 59ft-wide, the future Daniel Inouye will have a displacement of 9,496t. The ship will be homeported in Pearl Harbor. The keel for the vessel was laid in May last year. (Source: naval-technology.com)
24 June 19. Tonga receives Guardian Class patrol boat. Defence has continued to “step up” in the Pacific following the handover of a new Guardian Class patrol boat to the Kingdom of Tonga. The vessel, entering service with the Tongan Roval Navy as Nghahau Koula, was received in a ceremony in Western Australia with His Royal Highness, Crown Prince Tupouto’a ‘Ulukalala and Captain Sione Ulakai, Deputy Chief of Defence Staff to His Majesty’s Armed Forces.
Minister for Defence, Linda Reynolds, said the replacement of the Pacific Patrol Boats is an important part of the government’s $2bn 30-year commitment to the Pacific region under the Pacific Maritime Security Program.
“The Australian government is delivering 21 new Guardian Class Patrol Boats to 12 Pacific Island nations and Timor-Leste, as well as delivering improved maritime surveillance capability to our Pacific partners,” Minister Reynolds said.
Minister for Defence Industry, Melissa Price, highlighted the importance of the Pacific Maritime Security Program to Australian defence industry.
“The Guardian Class Patrol Boat Project supports around 400 direct and indirect Australian jobs through the supply chain and is part of our government’s wider commitment to increasing opportunities for small and medium enterprises in the Australian defence industry,” Minister Price said.
Nghahau Koula is the third Guardian Class Patrol Boat gifted under the program, with the first gifted to Papua New Guinea last year and the second to Tuvalu in April this year.
“Tonga is one of Australia’s key partners in the Pacific region and we work closely together to address regional maritime security threats,” Assistant Defence Minister and Minister for International Development and the Pacific Alex Hawke said. “Tonga’s military plays an important and active role in the security of the region.
“The enhanced capabilities of the Ngahau Koula, together with other maritime surveillance and law enforcement operations, contribute to the Pacific community’s efforts in securing the sea.” (Source: Defence Connect)
20 Jun 19. Australian Navy’s HMAS Arunta rejoins fleet after AMCAP upgrade. The Royal Australian Navy’s (RAN) Anzac-class frigate HMAS Arunta has rejoined the fleet following completion of a 20-month-long Anzac mid-life capability assurance programme (AMCAP) upgrade.
The programme is designed to provide enhancements to the ship’s key sensor and communications systems. The successful upgrade performed at BAE Systems’ Henderson facility makes Arunta the first ship to undergo the AMCAP programme. AMCAP upgrade was performed by Australia’s Warship Asset Management Agreement (WAMA) Alliance, which is a partnership between the national government, BAE Systems, Saab Australia and Naval Ship Management Australia. BAE Systems Australia is the prime contractor on an eight-year programme to maintain the Anzac fleet.
HMAS Arunta commanding officer commander Troy Duggan said: “Rejoining the fleet marks an incredible achievement by the ship’s company, our support organisations, and our Australian defence industry partners in the WAMA Alliance.
“We have worked hard together to deliver one of the world’s most advanced warships, and are looking forward to getting underway for sea trials very soon.”
As part of the upgrade, the ship underwent a platform systems remediation programme for improved reliability and maintainability.
The upgrade involved replacing the Anzac-class ship’s legacy long-range air search radar with new digital phased array radar. This is intended to enhance air search capabilities.
In addition, enhancements included an upgrade to the ship’s communications systems to help improve capabilities.
Arunta will soon undergo extensive testing and sea trials as part of the upgrade. Last month, the ship undertook an inclining experiment to test stability at Henderson Shipyard, Western Australia.
Australia seeks to replace the Anzac-class frigate in the 2030s with nine Hunter-class future frigates. (Source: naval-technology.com)
26 June 19. US Army conducts operational testing of Version 6 configuration AH-64E Apaches. The US Army has conducted operational trials of the Boeing AH-64E Apache Guardian upgraded to the new Lot/Version 6 configuration, the service announced on 24 June. The tests at Fort Hood in Texas saw the upgraded Apache operate alongside unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) and ground units to test the helicopter’s upgraded target acquisition and interoperability capabilities.
“The operational test collected data on the ability of an AH-64E Version 6-equipped unit to conduct attack, reconnaissance, and security missions in land and maritime environments,” Larry Hood, a Supervisor Military Test Plans Analyst with the US Army Operational Test Command’s Aviation Test Directorate, was quoted by the service as saying.
The Version 6 upgrade for the Apache was launched as part of a wider USD1.5bn effort to remanufacture the army’s current AH-64Ds into AH-64Es. As noted by the US Army, the Version 6 upgrade comprises a Modernized Day Sensor Assembly (MDSA), “which greatly extends standoff and is a game-changer against a complex and hybrid threat”, an improved cognitive decision aiding system (CDAS), software upgrades, and an upgraded mission processor.
The service has previously told Jane’s that the Version 6 configuration specifically includes a new maritime targeting mode, as well as aided target detection/classification; multimode laser image blending; a radar frequency interferometer (RFI); passive ranging/range extension; fire-control radar enhancements; Longbow integrated maintenance support system ground analysis software improvement; an interactive electronic technical manual upgrade; and Soldier Radio Waveform (SRW)-embedded diagnostics. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
PLANT CLOSURES, JOB LOSSES AND STRIKES
25 June 19. Norway to scrap damaged frigate. Norway’s government has confirmed that the Fridtjof Nansen-class frigate KNM Helge Ingstad is beyond economic repair and will be scrapped. The Ministry of Defence confirmed in a press release on 21 June that it had accepted the conclusions of a report submitted by the Norwegian Defence Materiel Agency (Forsvarsmateriell) in mid-May. This found that repairing the salvaged ship – one of five Fridtjof Nansen-class ships commissioned between April 2006 and January 2011 – would cost more than buying a new-build replacement. Helge Ingstad was severely damaged on 8 November 2018 after colliding with the tanker Sola TS in waters just outside Ågåtnes oil terminal in Hjeltefjorden. The ship was run aground, but later sank in shallow water. A salvage operation was undertaken in late February/early March following the recovery of missiles and torpedoes from the submerged frigate. After being lifted onto the submersible barge Boabarge 33, Helge Ingstad arrived at Haakonsvern Naval Base, Bergen, on 3 March. Following surveys of the ship, the Forsvarsmateriell estimated that repairs to the frigate would cost NOK12-14bn (USD1.4-1.6 bn) and take more than five years. The cost of purchasing a new similar vessel is estimated at NOK11-13bn, with a similar time to completion and less risk, leading the government to conclude that it should dispose of Helge Ingstad rather than proceed with repairs. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
MILITARY AND GOVERNMENT
23 Jun 19. Professor Dame Angela McLean will be the MOD’s next Chief Scientific Adviser. This includes articles in the Sunday Telegraph and Sun on Sunday. Defence Secretary Penny Mordaunt said: “The Chief Scientific Adviser plays a key role in ensuring that our armed forces stay at the cutting edge of technology and innovation. It’s poignant that we appoint Professor McLean as our first female Chief Scientific Adviser on International Women in Engineering Day, where we look to increase female participation in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.” As a highly respected scientist, Professor McLean is a role model to all those wanting to pursue a career in this area, and will bring extensive knowledge and expertise to the role. (Source: U.K. MoD)
25 June 19. Pentagon’s top IT official formally nominated for his own job. Dana Deasy, the Department of Defense’s chief information officer, has been officially nominated to become the Department of Defense’s chief information officer, according to a June 25 presidential announcement.
Deasy, a former executive at J.P. Morgan and BP, took the Pentagon’s top IT job in May 2018. But Congress had changed the rules so that beginning in 2019 the position now requires confirmation from the Senate.
President Donald Trump issued an intent to nominate Deasy to the role June 25.
“I have been going through the delightful process over the last six months, going through all you have to do behind the scenes to become nominated,” Deasy, told a group of reporters during a breakfast roundtable June 25.
Deasy, surprised by the announcement, said the nomination could have happened anytime within the last five months. He added there is nothing to be read into the publication date of the nomination.
The Defense Department’s chief information officer is the top technology adviser to the secretary of defense. His portfolio includes information management, information technology information assurance, non-intelligence space systems, critical satellite communications, navigation and timing programs, spectrum and telecommunications. The Pentagon spends about $47bn annually on IT. (Source: C4ISR & Networks)
22 June 19. Trump Announces Intent to Nominate Esper, Norquist and McCarthy to Top Posts. President Donald Trump has announced his intent to nominate Mark Esper for Secretary of Defense, David Norquist as Deputy Secretary of Defense, and Ryan McCarthy as Secretary of the Army. The announcements, released Friday evening, came after a week which saw Acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan withdraw his name from consideration for the SecDef role. Trump had announced his intent to nominate Shanahan in May. The three nominations would lock the officials into positions that, come the start of next week, they will be fulfilling. Esper, currently the Army secretary, will take over as acting secretary of defense come Monday; McCarthy, the under secretary of the Army, will then become acting secretary for that service. Norquist, the Pentagon’s comptroller, has been serving as deputy secretary of defense for the last six months while Shanahan was serving as acting secretary. His nomination has been expected for several weeks, but there were questions whether another name would surface following Shanahan’s departure. Should all three men be confirmed, it would create stability among top leadership at the Pentagon that has been absent since Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis left the building. (Source: glstrade.com)
20 Jun 19. USMC MG David G. Bellon for appointment to the rank of lieutenant general, and assignment as commander, U.S. Marine Corps Forces Reserve; and commander, U.S. Marine Corps Forces North. Bellon is currently serving as the director, J-5, U.S. Southern Command, Doral, Florida.
25 June 19. BAE Systems has called today for a concerted and co-ordinated effort by industry, Government and the education sector to ensure the UK can fully benefit from the digital revolution and Industry 4.0.
Nigel Whitehead, Chief Technology Officer at BAE Systems, stated that defence, aerospace, engineering and manufacturing sectors need to work together and prioritise investment in digital and ‘soft skills’, upskilling and retraining and supporting supply chains and SMEs, to respond to the expected levels of complexity in industrial and business systems and unprecedented demand from technologies such as artificial intelligence.
Mr Whitehead also suggested that businesses in these sectors need to create a more diverse, inclusive and flexible workplace by reflecting different working preferences and lifestyles. To help address the UK’s shortage of engineers, he called for a nationwide programme of activity to improve the perception of science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) subjects and careers and for the engineering industry to consider recruiting more people with highly applicable skills that traditionally are more associated with arts subjects, such as creativity and problem solving.
In its whitepaper – ‘Future Skills for our UK Business’ – BAE Systems sets out six guiding principles for the development of skills in the UK in an environment of rapid technological change and fierce global competition:
- Create a more diverse, inclusive and flexible workplace for the employees of tomorrow; the UK must attract and retain top class talent;
- Commit to retraining and upskilling; it is vital for innovation and growth that employees continue to learn throughout their careers;
- Prioritise investment in digital, soft and behavioural skills; to give the employees the broad range of technical and people skills needed to succeed in the modern workplace;
- Continue to support suppliers and the SME community so that they can develop skills in the digitally-enabled workplace; successful and innovative partners help the UK economy thrive;
- Continue to improve the perception of STEM subjects and careers; encouraging graduates and young people into a dynamic and rewarding industry;
- Continue to champion vocational training; working with Government to ensure training is funded and prioritised.
At a launch event hosted at the Company’s state-of-the-art Academy for Skills & Knowledge in Samlesbury, Lancashire, Nigel Whitehead, said: “I am personally really excited by the opportunities in today’s highly connected world and what the future will bring, but we cannot be complacent. By taking tangible action now and capitalising on the ambition of young people coupled with the UK’s traditions and advantages – education, strong legal frameworks, technical innovations and leadership – we can exploit the digital revolution and compete on the world stage.”
Joining Mr Whitehead at the event in Samlesbury, Dr Hayaatun Sillem, Chief Executive of the Royal Academy of Engineering added: “Failure to successfully prepare for the impact of technological disruption means we will put at risk our ability to benefit from the opportunities created by digital transformation and other waves of technological change.”
BAE Systems invests £90m annually in skills in the UK, providing world-class training facilities for its employees and education to ensure its current and future workforce are trained to the highest standards. At any given time, there are approximately 2,500 apprentices and graduates in training across its UK business.
24 June 19. KAI, Safran sign partnership deal. Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) and Safran have signed an agreement to expand collaboration, it was announced on 20 June. Under the memorandum of understanding (MOU), which was signed at the 2019 Paris Air Show that was held from 17 to 23 June, the two sides said they would explore opportunities across space, military, and commercial domains.
KAI chief executive Kim Jo-Won said, “This MOU will allow us to identify the possible opportunities for collaboration and strengthen the partnership between the companies.”
The two corporations already have strong industrial ties through programmes such as KAI’s Light Armed Helicopter (LAH) and Light Civil Helicopter (LCH) projects. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
20 Jun 19. Last month, Lockheed Martin UK Ampthill Managing Director and Vice President, Alan Lines, hosted Gary Aitkenhead, Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) Chief Executive at its Ampthill site.
The event marked the official signing of the collaboration agreement between the two organisations, which will set the foundation of how they will work together, in partnership, to achieve strategic goals.
This is an opportunity for Lockheed Martin and Dstl to work together in an innovative way to ensure joint investments are maximised.
The contractual work carried out under this agreement will be delivered through the Lockheed Martin Special Projects Team.
This long-term collaborative agreement is a pledge made between the two organisations which acknowledges the benefits of shared visions and commitments to deliver UK Sovereign capability development and joint research; maximising the benefits to the Strategic Systems domain for the UK. This is key for Lockheed Martin, it demonstrates that its expertise in this field is recognised by the UK Government and that Lockheed Martin is comfortable taking on a co-ordinating role that will leverage the broader supply chain and academia.
This agreement stemmed from the Lockheed Martin Prosperity Agenda Framework which was signed by the [then in post] Secretary of State during Farnborough Airshow last year.
Managing Director of Lockheed Martin, Alan Lines, said: “I see this as an exciting opportunity to work differently with Government, managing an open and flexible relationship will maximise the development and relevance of UK capability. This is a credit to our expertise and skills here at Ampthill.”
Gary Aitkenhead, Chief Executive at Dstl, said: “This is a great opportunity for Dstl. Working with Lockheed Martin will enable us to strengthen and grow the UK’s capability, skills and knowledge in this area. Partnership with industry is absolutely the way for Dstl and its customers to stay at the cutting-edge of innovation.”
As part of the visit, the group took the opportunity to tour Ampthill facilities so that Gary and his team could see first-hand what the Ampthill site has to offer.
20 Jun 19. Lockheed Martin and Airbus reaffirm tanker partnership at 2019 Paris Air Show. With an agreement in place to explore U.S. military tanking opportunities, Airbus and Lockheed Martin senior executive leaders met for some “tanker talk” during the 2019 Paris Air Show. The Airbus A330 Multi Role Tanker Transport (A330 MRTT) provided the perfect backdrop for the meeting with (l to r) Alberto Gutierrez, Head of Military Aircraft, Airbus Defence and Space; Michele Evans, Executive Vice President of Lockheed Martin Aeronautics, and Dirk Hoke, CEO of Airbus Defence and Space.
“Since signing our Memorandum of Agreement with Airbus last December, our teams have been working to expand our business relationship with a focus on providing the U.S. Air Force with the very best capability in aerial refueling,” said Michele Evans, Executive Vice President for Lockheed Martin Aeronautics. “We believe with Airbus’ and Lockheed Martin’s expertise in air refueling and innovative, combat-tested technologies such as low observability and networking operations, we make a powerful team to address the U.S. Air Force’s tanker needs today and into the future.”
Dirk Hoke, CEO of Airbus Defence and Space, said: “The relationship with Lockheed Martin through this exciting project is growing day by day, and we’re looking forward to presenting our offer to the U.S. military in the near future. Our A330MRTT has been refueling U.S. military aircraft on combat missions since 2014, and together with Lockheed Martin’s proven record serving the U.S. Air Force we truly believe we can offer unbeatable capabilities.”
“We have said it before and I can only repeat it – the A330MRTT is the most successful and most capable tanker platform in the world. It has proven its versatility and capability time and again. It is a tremendous asset for any military, including the U.S.,” said Alberto Gutiérrez, Head of Military Aircraft at Airbus.
REST OF THE WORLD APPOINTMENTS
25 June 19. Surendra Ahuja appointed MD of Boeing Defence India. Boeing Co on Tuesday appointed former Indian Navy official Surendra Ahuja as the managing director of its defence vertical, Boeing Defence India (BDI). Ahuja had earlier held the position of Rear Admiral before opting for early retirement in 2018. (Source: Google/https://www.livemint.com)
28 Jun 19. Former defence minister Christopher Pyne has made the move to the corporate sector and joined the EY team, with the aim to support the consulting firm’s ambitions with Australia’s defence industry. EY is ramping up its defence capability ahead of a surge in consolidation activity and the largest expansion of Australia’s military capability in our peacetime history – $200bn over 10 years out to 2026 with an ambition to build Australian science, technology, engineering, innovation and industrial capability. EY has headquartered its defence industry capability out of SA, headed by Stewart. This is a complement to EY’s extensive defence capability led by Darrin Grimsey out of Canberra. Large domestic defence players are actively looking for mergers to bulk up to deliver on the government’s $200bn Integrated Investment Program. Big multinational players are also shopping for acquisitions to scale their onshore delivery capability. (Source: Defence Connect)
21 Jun 19. Lockheed Martin announced that Lorraine Ben has been appointed vice-president and chief executive for Lockheed Martin Canada effective immediately reporting to Richard H. Edwards, executive vice-president of Lockheed Martin International. Ben will oversee Lockheed Martin’s 1,000 Canadian employees located across more than 10 facilities from coast-to-coast. (Source: Google/https://www.skiesmag.com)