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13 Feb 20. Abaco Systems today announced that the company has completed its move into its new headquarters, which significantly expands its footprint in Huntsville. 8800 Redstone Gateway hosts a significant new Engineering Innovation Center, a purpose-built training facility, and close proximity to key customers. Abaco’s new headquarters has space available for further expansion in line with the company’s continued growth.
The move provides Abaco with the head room and resources that will allow the company to continue to develop the innovative embedded computing technologies and solutions that have enabled it to become a leading supplier to the defense market, with longstanding relationships with all major primes and tier-1 suppliers.
“Increased demand for electronics content to power contemporary platforms is driving significant growth at Abaco,” said Rich Sorelle, President and CEO. “Our expertise in areas such as modular, open-standards architectures; rugged reliability and advanced thermal management; artificial intelligence, machine learning and autonomy; software tools; high performance video and graphics; and advanced, secure networking has earned us positions on national asset platforms. Our new Engineering Innovation Center will accelerate these efforts and bring more value to our customers.”
Acquiring the new facility enables Abaco to expand the company’s manufacturing capacity at its original headquarters at Memorial Parkway SW. It also allows Abaco to respond to growing customer demand for shorter lead times as defense technology programs come under increasing pressure to move from conception to deployment more rapidly.
“This expansion is a milestone for Abaco and evidence of the continued success and growth of our business,” continued Sorelle. “We look for the most talented people to join us in our mission to solve our customers’ most complex embedded computing challenges. We believe the quality of our new facilities and the attractive location will prove to be a major draw to prospective employees.” (Source: PR Newswire)
Approximately 300 of Abaco’s 750 worldwide employees are located in Huntsville. Huntsville is well known as a key location within the aerospace and defense industry, with high profile companies including Boeing, DRS, Georgia Tech Research Institute, L-3, Leonardo, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and Raytheon – all of which Abaco counts as customers – having a presence in the city.
17 Feb 20. Rolls-Royce invests in facility expansion for Canada’s CSC project. Rolls-Royce has started expansion work on its Centre of Excellence for Naval Handling equipment in Peterborough, Ontario, Canada.
The ground-breaking ceremony was witnessed by Peterborough-Kawartha Minister Maryam Monsef, Provincial Parliament Member Dave Smith, and Peterborough Mayor Diane Therrien.
The newly expanded facility will accommodate the design and manufacture of Rolls-Royce Mission Bay Handling System (MBHS).
MBHS is a manufacturing system that will support the Canadian Surface Combatant (CSC), as well as the UK’s Type 26 and Australian Hunter-class programmes.
The MBHS offers a flexible and compatible low-risk solution, holding the capability to launch and recover naval vehicles.
It can also move containerised packages without the aid of a dockside crane.
Rolls-Royce Business Development & Government Affairs vice-president Bruce Lennie said: “We are pleased to welcome Minister Monsef, MPP Smith and Mayor Therrien to mark this significant milestone in developing our infrastructure, which will support the Canadian Surface Combatant programme.
“This centre will harness and build upon the wealth of Canadian engineering and technological expertise we have at Rolls-Royce. We look forward to growing our business in-country, further developing our supply chain and enhancing our contributions to the Canadian economy.”
The upcoming infrastructure expansion is aimed to benefit the Canadian economy and Canada’s Armed Forces. The Global Combat Ship design for ships CSC ships have been approved by the Canadian Federal Government.
Under the deal, 15 new CSC ships are to be manufactured.
According to the company, the Canadian supply chain network has also been expanded to support the domestic and international export openings created by the Global Combat Ship programme.
Rolls-Royce currently has over 1,000 Canadian workforces across five facilities, including in Montreal, Ottawa and Peterborough. (Source: naval-technology.com)
19 Feb 20. New Zealand progresses hydrographic vessel towards operational readiness. The Royal New Zealand Navy’s (RNZN’s) new hydrographic survey and diving support vessel, HMNZS Manawanui, has sailed out to sea for the first time since it was commissioned, the service announced on 17 February.
The operation is being done as part of the vessel’s Sea Acceptance Readiness Checks, said the RNZN via an official social media channel. The process also paves the way for Manawanui to attain its operational readiness status, the service added.
Manawanui was commissioned in June 2019 at the Devonport Naval Base in Auckland, New Zealand. Prior to its service with the RNZN, it existed as a commercial offshore support vessel known as Edda Fonn. (Source: Jane’s)
19 Feb 20. South Korea to donate a Pohang Class Corvette to the Colombian Navy. South Korea plans to donate a corvette to the Colombian Navy by the end of 2020 to help bolster the naval relations between the two navies.
The agreement was closed last year during a bilateral meeting in Bogota between Colombian President Iván Duque and South Korea Prime Minister, Lee Nak-Yon.
The ship is the Pohang Class corvette ROKS Iksan (PCC-768). It was decommissioned on 31 December 2018 and is being refitted to suit the Colombian Navy needs.
The refitting may include the removal of some or all of the two OTO Melara 76 mm/62 compact cannon and two Otobreda 40 mm Close-in Weapon Systems as well as modifications of the crew quarters and general crew-habitability improvements. (Source: Jane’s)
14 Feb 20. Pakistan Navy commissions first of two 2,300 tonne corvettes. The Pakistan Navy (PN) has commissioned the first of two 2,300 tonnes multirole corvettes ordered from Dutch shipbuilder Damen in 2017.
Named PNS Yarmook (F-271), the ship, which the company said is based on a Damen Offshore Patrol Vessel (OPV) 1900, entered serviced in a ceremony held on 13 February at Constanta Port in Romania that was also attended by the PN’s Vice Chief of the Naval Staff Vice Admiral Muhammad Fayyaz Gilani.
In a 14 February statement Damen said that Yarmook, which had been launched on 17 May 2019 at the company’s facilities in Galati, Romania, is capable of performing “a variety of maritime operations” and can transport both a helicopter and an unmanned aerial vehicle.
The ship, which can also carry two high-speed rigid-hulled inflatable boats – of 11.5 m and 6.5 m in length – has a capacity of two twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) for special mission operations.
The second vessel of the class, Tabuk, which was launched on 3 September 2019, is set to enter service in May.
The Dutch shipbuilder had signed a contract with Pakistan’s Ministry of Defence Production on 30 June 2017 to build two multipurpose OPVs for the PN.
PN officials had previously stated that these vessels “will act as force multipliers in enhancing [the] navy’s capability of safeguarding maritime frontiers and will offer more flexibility in the conduct of [the] Pakistan Navy’s initiative of independent Regional Maritime Security Patrols in the Indian Ocean Region”.(Source: Jane’s)
17 Feb 20. Gecko Boats for the German Navy. The German Navy will receive 22 Geckos. These powerful and flexible boats will be used for rescue and transportation. They can be adapted according to the role. If, for example, more space is required for transporting materials, six of the eight seats can be removed or flexibly installed due to a rail system. Another twelve Geckos for the K 130 corvette are also under contract.
Users of the boats are seagoing units and training organisation. The equipment with same boats for all users reduces the current variety of products considerably and saves costs for procurement, supply and logistics in the future. The standardization has two further advantages: on the one hand, fewer trials and tests of different units or new boats will have to be carried out in future. On the other hand, the training effort is reduced, since the personnel on different units of the German Navy will be able to operate the with same equipment.
Parallel to the new boats, their launching gear (ASV) on the class 404 support ships has also been redesigned in an independent project.
The new ASV will initially be installed on the ELBE support ship, which is due to leave the shipyard in spring. The other five 404s will be fitted with it in the coming shipyard lay days. In order to benefit from the advantages of reducing the variety of products, this system will also be installed on the class 130 corvettes 2nd batch. (Source: ESD Spotlight)
14 Feb 20. Mexican Navy commissions first POLA long-range OPV. The Mexican Navy’s first POLA (Patrulla Oceánica de Largo Alcance) long-range ocean patrol vessel, ARM Reformador (101), was commissioned on 6 February, the service has announced. Reformador is based on the Damen Shipyards SIGMA 10514 light frigate design, displacing 2,570 tonnes, with a length of 105.1m, a beam of 14m, and a draft of 3.7m. The ship was launched on 23 November 2018 and completed sea acceptance trials in December 2019. Construction was split between Mexico and the Netherlands. Four of the OPV’s six modular sections were built at the Mexican Navy’s ASTIMAR Salina Cruz shipyard in Oaxaca, and two were built by Damen Schelde Naval Shipbuilding at its yard in Vlissingen. (Source: Jane’s)
17 Feb 20. Pakistan Navy commissions Damen-built offshore patrol vessel. The Pakistan Navy has commissioned a 2,300t Corvette PNS YARMOOK (F-271) offshore patrol vessel (OPV) built by Damen in a ceremony held at Constanta Port in Romania. Following a tender process, the company signed the contract with the Pakistan Ministry of Defence Production (MoDP) for the construction of two multipurpose OPVs for the navy in June 2017.
The second vessel PNS TABUK (Designate) will be delivered by Damen in May this year.
PNS YARMOOK, which was constructed by Damen at its yard in Galati, can carry out various maritime operations and is capable of transporting both a helicopter and an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV).
The ship is based on a Damen OPV 1900 and can accommodate two twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) for special mission-based operations.
It can also launch two high-speed rigid hull inflatable boats (RHIBs) of 11.5m and 6.5m at a time.
Pakistan Navy vice-chief Muhammad Fayyaz Gilani said that both vessels will significantly improve the navy’s capability to safeguard its maritime borders. The 55ha Galati yard has built nearly 40 vessels for the defence and security segment.
It built the last seven complex naval vessels for the Royal Netherlands Navy and the Stefan cel Mare OPV for the Romanian Border Police.
Damen launched the second OPV for the Pakistan Navy at its shipyard in September last year.
In October 2018, the Pakistan Navy commissioned a domestically built 17,000t fleet tanker named PNS Moawin, which is claimed to be the biggest ship ever constructed at Karachi Shipyard & Engineering Works. (Source: naval-technology.com)
14 Feb 20. Austal USA delivers Independence-class Kansas City LCS 22. Austal USA has delivered the 11th Independence-class littoral combat ship (LCS) to the US Navy during a ceremony at its shipyard in Mobile, Alabama. The future USS Kansas City (LCS 22) is the first Independence-class LCS delivered by the company this year.
In November 2019, the acceptance trials of LCS 22 were completed. Kansas City will be commissioned later this year.
LCS programme manager captain Mike Taylor said: “This is a tremendous day for the Navy and our country with the delivery of the future USS Kansas City.
“I look forward to celebrating the commissioning of this great ship alongside the crew later this year. Kansas City will play an essential role in carrying out our nation’s future maritime strategy.”
Austal USA is currently working on four additional Independence-class LCSs. These include Oakland (LCS 24), Mobile (LCS 26), Savannah (LCS 28) and Canberra (LCS 30). In December 2019, the US Navy named LCS Mobile at the Austal USA facility in Alabama. (Source: naval-technology.com)
20 Feb 20. Portuguese Super Lynx Mk 95A helicopter performs first flight. The Portuguese Navy’s first modified Super Lynx Mk 95A shipborne helicopter has made its first test flight, the service announced on 18 February. Work to modernise and extend the lives of the navy’s fleet of five Super Lynx Mk 95 helicopters is being carried out by Leonardo Helicopters at its facility in Yeovil, United Kingdom, under a contract awarded in July 2016 worth an estimated EUR69m (USD76.4m). The first modernised helicopter, which completed its initial test flight on 14 February, will be delivered to Portugal in early May, with the fifth expected to be handed over in late 2021, the navy told Jane’s. The modernisation package includes the replacement of the original Rolls-Royce Gem 42 engines with more powerful LHTEC CTS800-4N turboshafts. (Source: Jane’s)
20 Feb 20. USAF concludes test flight of MH-139A Grey Wolf helicopter. The US Air Force (USAF) has completed its first combined test flight of Boeing’s MH-139A Grey Wolf multi-mission helicopter.
The flight test was carried out at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida, US, with a Boeing pilot in command. It gave the USAF its first in-flight look at the capabilities of the aircraft.
Following the test, Zach Roycroft was made 413th Flight Test Squadron lead test pilot for the programme.
Roycroft said: “This first flight with Boeing was a critical step for the MH-139A programme and allows us to establish a foundation for government testing.”
Boeing concluded extensive flight-testing on MH-139A Grey Wolf to satisfy the requirement of Federal Aviation Administration prior to the introduction of mixed contractor and airforce crews.
Initial military ground testing of the programme is expected to be completed later this month.
MH-139A flight chief Andrew Whitten said: “This flight represents a tremendous amount of work and we are all very excited to see it happen.”
The MH-139A closes the capability gaps of the UH-1N in the areas of speed, range, endurance, payload and survivability. It is set to replace the USAF’s fleet of UH-1N Huey, a twin-engined, medium military helicopter. In December last year, the USAF named the Boeing MH-139A intercontinental ballistic missile base security and support helicopter the ‘Grey Wolf’.
Grey Wolf is based on the commercial AW139 helicopter designed to protect intercontinental ballistic missiles and transport US Government officials and security forces. It will provide vertical airlift and support the requirements of five airforce major commands and operating agencies. (Source: airforce-technology.com)
19 Feb 20. Singapore Airshow 2020: Malaysia reveals future plans for A400M airlifters. The Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) has laid out plans to further unlock the tactical capabilities of its A400M heavy airlifters, including equipping the aircraft with full paradropping capabilities. The plans were revealed by Major Lo Chee Sing, an RMAF A400M pilot from the service’s 22 Squadron, during a briefing organised by Airbus at the Singapore Airshow 2020. The RMAF operates a fleet of four A400Ms. “The Royal Malaysian Air Force is very keen to conduct, and get more involved in, the tactical capabilities of this aircraft,” said Maj Lo. According to the pilot, the RMAF began unlocking these capabilities in early 2018 when it successfully conducted the first two-point tanking operations with the A400M. (Source: Jane’s)
19 Feb 20. Indonesian Air Force’s upgraded F-16 makes first flight. A recently upgraded Indonesian Air Force (Tentara Nasional Indonesia – Angkatan Udara: TNI-AU) F-16 A/B fighter aircraft has conducted its first flight.
The aircraft, with serial number TS-1610, conducted the flight on 18 February from the Iswahyudi Air Force Base in Madiun, East Java.
The airframe is the first Indonesian F-16 to undergo the Falcon STAR (Structural Augmentation Roadmap) and enhanced mid-life upgrade programmes, the TNI-AU said in a statement on the same day. The aircraft operates with the service’s Skuadron Udara (Aviation Squadron) 3.
As part of the upgrades, the aircraft received structural enhancements, enhanced avionics and weapon systems, and can operate up to 8,000 actual flying hours, said the TNI-AU. (Source: Jane’s)
17 Feb 20. Singapore Airshow 2020: Indonesia designates final Panther helicopter for anti-submarine operations. The final AS 565MBe Panther helicopter on order for the Indonesian Navy (Tentara Nasional Indonesia – Angkatan Laut: TNI-AL) is one of two aircraft that has been designated as an anti-submarine warfare (ASW) airframe, an industry source close to the matter has confirmed with Jane’s.
The helicopter, which is currently undergoing fitting-out at PT Dirgantara’s facilities in Bandung, is also the final of 11 Panther helicopters ordered by the Indonesian government in 2014.
The TNI-AL has thus far taken delivery of 10 airframes in the contract. As Jane’s reported in June 2019, the service has designated two of the 11 helicopters for anti-submarine operations. (Source: Jane’s)
17 Feb 20. Indonesia receives final C-130H Hercules transport from Australia. Indonesia has taken delivery of the fifth and final C-130H Hercules transport aircraft ordered from Australia in July 2013. The aircraft was formally inducted into the Indonesian Air Force (Tentara Nasional Indonesia – Angkatan Udara: TNI-AU) in a ceremony held on 15 February at the Abdul Rachman Saleh airbase in Malang, East Java. The aircraft, with tail number A-1338, will be operated by Skadron Udara 32 (Aviation Squadron 32), which is headquartered at the airbase. In 2012 Australia approved the donation of four ex-Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) C-130Hs to the TNI-AU, with all of the aircraft being handed over to the TNI-AU by early 2017 after undergoing maintenance work. (Source: Jane’s)
13 Feb 20. Singapore Airshow 2020: Indonesia to develop MPA variant of N219. State-owned aerospace company PT Dirgantara Indonesia (PTDI) has been approached by the country’s navy to develop a militarised version of the N219 Nurtanio twin-turboprop aircraft, the company confirmed with Jane’s at Singapore Airshow 2020.
The indigenously developed aircraft, which derives its design from the Airbus Military C212 Aviocar, made its maiden flight in August 2017 from the Husein Sastranegara International Airport in Bandung, Indonesia.
“The Indonesian Armed Forces have approached us to develop a military-specifications variant of the aircraft, including for maritime patrol operations,” said Igan Satyawati, vice-president of business development and marketing at PTDI.
“To meet their requirements, we will study how the aircraft can be structurally reinforced and balanced out, such that it can be mounted with sensors and other equipment related to operations such as maritime patrol,” she added.
“However, these are future plans, and at this point of time, our team is focused on attaining certification from the Civil Aviation Authority of Indonesia for the aircraft,” she emphasised. The certification is expected to complete in 2020.
The N219 has an overall length of 16.7m, a height of 6.2m, and a wingspan of 19.5m. The aircraft has a maximum take-off weight of 7,030kg (15,498lb) and can deliver a maximum payload of 2,313kg. (Source: Jane’s)
PLANT CLOSURES, JOB LOSSES AND STRIKES
19 Feb 20. Airbus to shed 10pc of UK staff. The aerospace giant said it would cut 2,350 jobs worldwide, including 350 defence and space roles in Britain. Sales of the A400M have not delivered as much revenue as the company hoped. Airbus is shedding almost one in 10 staff in the UK working in its defence and space arm after poor sales. The cuts are part of wider restructuring of the pan-European company’s badly performing unit, with 2,350 jobs going worldwide by the end of next year.
In Britain about 350 jobs will go, mainly at its space site in Stevenage which developed the European Space Agency’s ExoMars rover, and its Portsmouth base which is defence-focused. Germany will see 800 jobs go, alongside 630 in Spain and 400 in France, while the rest will be spread around the world. The division currently has about 34,000 staff worldwide. (Source: Daily Telegraph)
15 Feb 20. Airbus defence division to start talks on job cuts. The head of the defence business of Airbus (AIR.PA) said he would start talks with labour representatives next week on job cuts, as the German-based group retrenches following setbacks with its A400M military transporter.
“We will enter the first talks soon with the European works council,” Airbus Defence and Space chief Dirk Hoke told Reuters in an interview cleared for publication on Saturday, adding that negotiations would then take place at national level.
Recurring technical problems with the A400M led the German air force to refuse delivery of two of the aircraft last autumn.
The group has also taken a 1.2bn euro (1bn pounds) charge on the worsening sales outlook, with a German ban on defence exports to Saudi Arabia causing Airbus Defence and Space to lose a promising potential customer, said Hoke.
German-headquartered Airbus Defence and Space, formed in 2014 as part of a broader restructuring, employs 34,000 staff – 13,000 of them in Germany – and contributes around a fifth of revenues to parent group Airbus.
“The works councils know that I will fight to keep every job I can. We won’t come with disproportionate numbers,” Hoke said.
Job cuts would depend on capacity utilisation and project pipeline at different facilities: “Here I have to tell local politicians that the guarantees to keep plants open that many of them demand depend on projects.”
Hoke expressed optimism over the prospects for a project to develop joint next-generation Franco-German fighter jets and military drones after German lawmakers allocated nearly 80bn euros for the test phase of the project. (Source: Reuters)
12 Feb 20. The US Navy Wants to Retire a Ship That’s Only Six Years Old. The U.S. Navy has unveiled plans to retire the first four Littoral Combat Ships, the youngest of which is only six years old. The four ships all have at least 10, if not 20 years of service in them but are currently non-deployable test ships not rated for combat. It’s unclear why the Navy wants to dump them when at the same time it is trying to reach a fleet of 355 ships by 2030. The Navy wants to retire the first two ships from the Freedom class of Littoral Combat Ships, USS Freedom and Fort Worth, commissioned into the fleet in 2008 and 2012, respectively. It also wants to retire the first two ships of the Independence-class. USS Independence, the lead ship in the class, was commissioned in 2010. USS Coronado was just commissioned in 2014, making it less than six years old. The Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) program has been fraught with problems since its conception in the early 2000s. LCS was originally inspired by the concept of a small (500 ton), nimble, heavily armed “Streetfighter” of a ship capable of duking it out with large ships while operating in coastal regions and island chains. This gradually morphed into a much larger ship, lightly armed, and equipped with interchangeable, self-contained “mission modules” that allowed it to become a submarine hunter, minesweeper, ship-killer, or commando transport within hours. LCS was an ambitious program. One ship, forward deployed in the South China Sea for example, could swap modules to fulfill different roles without having to return to the U.S. to undergo an expensive and time-consuming refit—at least that was the theory.(Source: defense-aerospace.com/Popular Mechanics)
MILITARY AND GOVERNMENT
19 Feb 20. Top Pentagon policy official who warned against withholding Ukraine aid resigns at Trump’s request. The Pentagon’s top policy official who warned against withholding military aid to Ukraine last year resigned on Wednesday at the request of President Donald Trump, according to a copy of his resignation letter obtained by CNN. John Rood, Under Secretary of Defense for Policy at the Pentagon, is the latest senior national security official involved in the Ukraine controversy to be forced out following Trump’s acquittal in the Senate impeachment trial. but sources told CNN that he broke with the administration on several issues, in addition to the handling of aid to Ukraine, leading to a loss of support from leadership.
“It is my understanding from Secretary Esper that you requested my resignation from serving as Under Secretary of Defense for Policy. Senior administration officials appointed by the President serve at the pleasure of the President, and therefore, as you have requested, I am providing my resignation effective February 28, 2020,” Rood wrote in his letter to President Donald Trump, dated Wednesday.
CNN was first to report Rood’s impending departure which was confirmed by Trump in a tweet Wednesday.
“I would like to thank John Rood for his service to our Country, and wish him well in his future endeavors!” Trump wrote, also sharing a story from Bloomberg News which indicated that Rood “faced pressure to resign from some who lost confidence in his ability to carry out Trump agenda.”
Defense Department press secretary Alyssa Farah said in a statement that “Dr. James Anderson, the current senior official Performing the Duties of the Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Policy will take over the responsibilities of Undersecretary Rood until a permanent replacement is appointed by the President and confirmed.”
Officials tell CNN that Rood has differed with the administration on a number of issues including Afghanistan and Ukraine. Officials have said Rood often was perceived as not embracing some of the changes in policy the White House and senior Pentagon officials wanted.
One official said some examples of Rood’s differing views from some of Trump’s key policy stances included being skeptical about peace talks with the Taliban as well as the administration decision to scale down military exercises with South Korea during talks with North Korea and him pushing for a more aggressive approach to Russia by supporting Ukraine.
Rood is the Pentagon’s top policy official and oversees aspects of the Pentagon’s relationship with US allies and partners.
He was involved in certifying to Congress that Ukraine had embarked on significant reforms to justify its receipt of $250m in security assistance.
That certification undermined one of the justifications — concerns about corruption in Kiev — that some members of the Trump administration made to defend blocking aid to Ukraine.
Hours after Trump’s July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, a conversation that was at the center of impeachment proceedings, Rood emailed Secretary of Defense Mark Esper — who had been in the job two days — informing him about an upcoming deputies meeting, “to discuss the President’s concern about endemic corruption in Ukraine and his reported view that US should cease providing security assistance,” according to emails reviewed by CNN.
Rood notes in his email to the secretary that “placing a hold on security assistance at this time would jeopardize this unique window of opportunity and undermine our defense priorities with a key partner in the strategic competition with Russia.”
As head of policy at the Pentagon, Rood helped oversee implementing the Trump administration’s National Defense Strategy, which placed a greater emphasis on countering China and Russia, as well as overseeing the Nuclear Posture Review, which called for changes to the US nuclear arsenal, including the addition of new low-yield nuclear weapons.
“I would like to thank John Rood for his service to the Department,” Esper said in a statement Wednesday. “John has played a critical role on a wide range of DoD issues including modernizing our nuclear deterrence capability, efforts to increase burden sharing by our NATO allies, our Missile Defense Review and implementing the National Defense Strategy. I wish him all the best in his future endeavors.”
Rood joined the administration in January 2018 serving under then-Defense Secretary James Mattis. He has had numerous policy jobs at the Pentagon in previous administrations and also previously worked for the CIA as an analyst. He has also held senior roles with major defense contractors Lockheed Martin and Raytheon. (Source: CNN)
19 Feb 20. Supreme Court orders permanent commission for women in Indian Army. A Supreme Court order extends permanent service for womenin the Indian Army and makes them eligible for ranks, pensions and promotions. India’s Supreme Court has ordered for permanent commission for all women officers in the Indian Army.
The order extends permanent service for women and makes them eligible for ranks, pensions and promotions. It also marks a milestone in the decade-long legal fight.
The move is a step closer to gender equality and supports by providing female soldiers with the same opportunities and benefits as their male counterparts.
A bench of Justices D Y Chandrachud and Ajay Rastogi ruled: “To cast aspersion on their abilities on the ground of gender is an affront not only to their dignity as women but to the dignity of the members of the Indian Army, men and women, who serve as equal citizens in a common mission.
“The submissions advanced in the note tendered to this court are based on sex stereotypes premised on assumptions about socially ascribed roles of gender which discriminate against women.”
The court noted that there are currently 1,653 women officers. With this ruling, all serving short service commission (SSC) women officers will be considered for permanent commission within three months.
In addition, if women officers have more than 14 years of service and do not opt for grant of PC, they should be allowed to serve until they reach 20 years of pensionable service. (Source: army-technology.com)
18 Feb 20. Flinders Uni study identifies needs of transitioning veterans. A pilot program developed by Flinders University to help military veterans embrace new futures has identified key obstacles to re-training and delivered valuable information to support returned or retired service people at a transitional time in their lives.
The federal government’s creation of a commissioner to investigate defence and veteran suicides highlights the complex challenges facing those who have completed service, and the broader impacts on families and communities.
Led by associate professor Ben Wadham, Flinders University developed a one-of-a-kind program in Australia last year – the Military Academic Pathway Program (MAPP) – which incorporates international best practice in veterans’ academic pathways.
A military veteran himself, Wadham said, “Our aim was to establish a veteran entry pathway that minimised the red tape people experience when leaving the Australian Defence Force and considering university as an option.”
The Flinders University MAPP, launched on Remembrance Day 2019, attracted 27 participants with 19 completing the course and 14 subsequently applying for university in engineering, paramedics, international relations and psychology fields.
“We found the program helped them feel confident and prepared for university study. Among the most valued content was academic writing sessions and exposure to a variety of disciplines; challenges included work-related interruptions, such as being called in unexpectedly,” Wadham said.
Results from the pilot will be shared with key stakeholders at a symposium next week, including details on the new Australian Student Veterans Association established at Flinders University as part of project.
The Higher Education Pathways for Younger Veterans Symposium will also explore broader transitioning issues and the wellbeing of military, veterans and their families. It will be attended by military, university and other government representatives including Flinders alumna Air Vice-Marshal (Ret’d) Dr Tracy Smart, former Surgeon General of the Australian Defence Force.
“Separation from the military is a challenging time for veterans and Flinders University is leading the way nationally in opening up study opportunities,” Wadham explained.
Significantly, almost half of participants in the pilot program were younger veterans who had served in arms corps and had minimal exposure to military study entitlements due to their junior ranking.
“We know there are key challenges younger veterans face if they want to study at university. There needs to be recognition of service skills and their value to university studies, bridging opportunities and awareness of what pathways are available,” Wadham said.
“I took this path after my own time in the Defence Force and negotiated a way to higher education, but it was not without its challenges.”
This project was funded by a Department of Veterans Affairs Supporting Younger Veterans grant. (Source: Space Connect)
14 Feb 20. UK Dstl offers veterans second career in defence science. The UK’s Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) has launched a venture to apply veterans’ specialist skills to defence science.
The pilot project aims to harness the specialist skills and careers veterans learnt during their time in the military and apply them to projects across Dstl. The pilot is part of wider defence innovation funding designed to retain STEM skills within Dstl and the wider Ministry of Defence (MOD).
For the project, Dstl has created a specialised careers site hiring for roles across air, sea and land domains as well as niche positions such as radar engineers and analysts.
A Dstl spokesperson said: “We’re trying to work out where these skilled veterans are – it’s a different way to try and reach that community.
“We’re not just offering you a job; this is an opportunity for a second career within MOD, one which includes personal development and qualifications. It’s a fairly wide approach – the focus is slightly different. We’re after a broad range of technical skills across nine different roles and we wanted a range of applicants.”
If successful, the project could be rolled across other defence STEM employers like the UK’s Defence and Security Accelerator (DASA) or Defence Equipment and Support (DE&S).
DASA chief of staff Nicholas Barsby said: “My role is to bring the experiences and skills that I learnt from my full career and try and help out the people here to do their job in delivering innovation. (Source: army-technology.com)
20 Feb 20. President Donald Trump announced Wednesday that he has named Richard Grenell, a staunch loyalist, as acting spy chief. “I am pleased to announce that our highly respected Ambassador to Germany, RichardGrenell, will become the Acting Director of National Intelligence. Rick has represented our Country exceedingly well and I look forward to working with him,” Trump tweeted. Trump also thanked outgoing acting director Joseph Maguire “for the wonderful job he has done, and we look forward to working with him closely, perhaps in another capacity within the Administration!” News of the pick, which was first reported by the New York Times, comes as Trump faces a March 11 deadline to nominate a new director of national intelligence or name a new acting spy chief as federal law prevents Maguire from serving beyond that date. (Source: CNN)
20 Feb 20. BG Michael A. Greiner, director, budget operations and personnel, Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Financial Management and Comptroller, Pentagon, Washington, District of Columbia, to director, financial management, Headquarters Air Force Materiel Command, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio.
20 Feb 20. BG Michael G. Koscheski, director, operations, strategic deterrence and nuclear integration, Headquarters U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa, Ramstein Air Base, Germany, to deputy commander, U.S. Air Forces Central Command; and deputy, Combined Forces Air Component Commander, U.S. Central Command, Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar.
20 Feb 20. BG (select) Patrick S. Ryder, special assistant to the director, public affairs, Office of the Secretary of the Air Force, Pentagon, Washington, District of Columbia, to director, public affairs, Office of the Secretary of the Air Force, Pentagon, Washington, District of Columbia.
19 Feb 20. $2.9m Industry 4.0 research to drive digital manufacturing in Hunter Class. BAE Systems Australia, Flinders University and the Innovative Manufacturing Cooperative Research Centre (IMCRC) have announced a $2.9m partnership (out of a $9m in total value) to develop and pilot cutting-edge manufacturing technologies that will be used to build nine anti-submarine warfare frigates. The new technologies will be used by BAE Systems Australia’s shipbuilding business, ASC Shipbuilding, to build the Hunter Class frigates for the Royal Australian Navy at the world-class shipyard at Osborne in South Australia.
In partnership with Flinders University and local small and medium enterprises (SMEs), the project will drive digital transformation through advanced robotics, assistive manufacturing and readiness for Industry 4.0 utilisation – both inside the shipyard and more widely in the Australian supply chain.
BAE Systems Australia welcomed the funding from the IMCRC, which matches the company’s $1.45m investment and is on top of the $5m already invested in developing digital technologies, to turn the digital shipyard concept into reality.
IMCRC CEO and managing director David Chuter said, “Digital technologies such as artificial intelligence, robotics, cognitive automation and advanced analytics are redefining the Australian manufacturing sector and therefore the nature of its work.”
The new $2.9m cash investment will create seven new research positions at Flinders University – bringing the total number of researchers to 16 – at the digital test and trial collaboration hub at Tonsley Innovation District in Adelaide’s south.
“Australian manufacturers, particularly small and medium enterprises, need to learn how to embrace and contribute to new work environments that blend advanced technologies and digital skills with uniquely human skills,” Chuter added.
Chuter explained to Defence Connect, “The really exciting part of this announcement is the development of high technology jobs here in Australia, which won’t replace existing jobs, it will enhance them.
“A key component of this program is bringing, high-skill, high-wage jobs to Australia and producing world beating technology right here at home that will provide robust partnerships at home and abroad – it is a really exciting example of what happens when Industry, Government and Academia work together,” Chuter added.
From March 2020 until 2022 – when steel is cut on the first Hunter Class frigate – the researchers will work with the shipbuilding workforce to trial advanced manufacturing technologies for application in the shipyard and beyond.
ASC Shipbuilding managing director Craig Lockhart said, “At Tonsley we are working in partnership with Flinders University to embrace a culture of innovation, conducting research and developing emerging technologies in order to gain an insight into how shipyard workers will interact with digital technologies, and so we welcome the $1.45m funding from the IMCRC.”
These technologies enable connectivity between manufacturing equipment to databases that will provide real-time insights into shipyard and supply chain performance, leading to enhanced productivity, safety and quality outcomes.
“Our employees will use these technologies alongside advanced manufacturing techniques to drive greater efficiency and increased productivity, enabling us to operate smarter and be more agile in our decision-making and responsive to our environment. An important aspect of the research at the collaboration hub is that we want to share the outcomes with industry, to help educate others on the importance and implementation of Industry 4.0,” Lockhart added.
The Tonsley Innovation District will be located at the former Mitsubishi car factory and includes Flinders University and Tonsley TAFE, as well as a range of businesses – new and established – focusing on advanced manufacturing.
Flinders University president and vice-chancellor Professor Colin Stirling said, “Thanks to this strategic investment, Flinders University’s research expertise in advanced manufacturing will help to ensure that the Hunter Class frigates will be built by ASC Shipbuilding using world-leading technologies.”
In October 2019, ASC Shipbuilding and Flinders University announced a partnership to establish the digital test and trial collaboration hub, located within the university’s advanced manufacturing research facility at Tonsley.
“Our strengths in Industry 4.0 and cutting-edge digital laboratories will enable the development and testing of bespoke technologies to advance the specialised construction processes required for this nationally significant project,” Professor Stirling added.
“The IMCRC’s commitment recognises the value of the partnership that Flinders University has forged with ASC Shipbuilding and is further testament to the calibre of our researchers, our exceptional facilities and our leadership in innovation.”
By June 2020, it is expected there will be more than 20 researchers working in the hub, together with other SME collaborators. Prototyping on the Hunter program will begin late this year. Prototyping is where all the processes, systems, tools, facilities and workforce competencies will be tested and refined before construction on the first frigate commences at the Osborne Naval Shipyard in 2022.
The Hunter Class Frigate Program will create and sustain 5,000 jobs across BAE Systems Australia and the defence supply chain over the life of the program. (Source: Defence Connect)
14 Feb 20. Naval Group presents its industrial and academic cooperation plan with Greece. During an event at the French Embassy on the 13th of February, Naval Group unveiled its long-term cooperation plan developed to support the acquisition program of two FDI frigates (Belh@rra class) for the Hellenic Navy. Naval Group, based in Athens since 2008, is proud to be an integral part of the strong strategic alliance between Greece and France.
Thanks to its long-lasting presence in Greece, Naval Group created the conditions for a long-term cooperation with profits for the Greek industry and the creation of high-technology jobs. Naval Group has a robust expertise in building such partnerships worldwide.
Alain Guillou, Naval Group Executive Vice-President Development declared “This cooperation plan will support the Hellenic Navy in achieving regional superiority at sea, but also the ability of the Hellenic industry to actively prepare the future of naval warfare.”
Investing to support the FDI program
Naval Group will share expertise and knowledge with the Hellenic Navy and industry to ensure the ships’ availability over their 30-year lifespan.
Alain Guillou explained “We want to build a long-term partnership with the Hellenic industry and to guarantee the success of the frigate program as well as Hellenic sovereignty through an extensive transfer of technology. The local industry will master the know-how required to support the entire life-cycle of the frigates.”
The follow-on support will be based on the creation of a Digital Support Centre, capable of securing and verifying the integrity of the ship’s data. Naval Group’s combined capabilities in terms of i-maintenance, artificial intelligence and big data will ensure an improved operational availability and a reduced maintenance cost. Together with its Hellenic partners, Naval Group will also support the training of both crews and maintenance teams of the Hellenic Navy with the best simulation technologies.
France will also be operating 5 FDI frigates (Belh@rra class) The first of class will be delivered in 2023 with an entry into active duty in 2025. The group plans on creating an Engineering Centre in charge of the design and development studies for future standards of the Belh@rra-class frigates, making Greece a European centre of excellence for naval warfare innovation.
Beyond Naval Group, the FDI program will bring different actors from the French naval industry to invest in the country and develop partnerships with Greek companies, creating added-value and jobs for decades to come. The FDI program already fostered the rapprochement of the two naval sectors with the GICAN and SEKPY signing a Protocol of Agreement at the same event at the French Embassy.
Increasing the industrial naval activity in Greece
The structured and long-term partnership with the Hellenic industry and naval ecosystem proposed by Naval Group will foster production in Greece but also the capability to address future needs.
“Naval Group has been working with the Hellenic Industry for many years. Sunlight in particular is a strategic supplier for Naval Group’s submarines programs. We know the quality of the companies here and we want more to join our supply chain and to join us on-board our different programs” mentioned Alain Guillou during his speech.
Following the progress of the FDI program, 8 new Greek companies have joined Naval Group international supply chain in late 2019. They signed Letters of Intent during the 13th of February event regarding their involvement in future programs of the French group. About 20 more are currently being surveyed to join later this year.
Making Greece a centre for naval innovation
Regarding the longer vision of the program, Alain Guillou explained “the Belh@rra class frigates will integrate successive generations of systems over their 30-year lifespan. We want Greece to be at the centre of European naval innovation. We already signed partnerships with 3 universities but we want to go further with industry and academic partners here to address the future needs of the frigates but also more largely the future of the naval sector.”
Naval Group has a strong interest in developing collaborative R&D projects with Hellenic companies, universities and research institute in cutting edge technologies such as additive manufacturing or drones. Naval Group aims at developing a network of technological and research projects so as to build the Hellenic future naval warfare capabilities. During the event, Naval Group signed partnerships with NTUA, University of Patras and the University of Crete.
Naval Group also intends to support the development of Greek startups by setting up a startup and SME accelerator.
Naval Group is already working on cyber security applied to the naval and maritime domains with Greek partners in the frame of different European programs such as CYBERMAR as well as the PESCO Pandora and H2020 projects.
Finally, France and Greece share a common need for maritime surveillance. Naval Group proposes to create, together with Greek partners, an industrial and commercial activity that would address the European market from Greece. Naval Group has begun discussions with Hellenic companies in order to position itself on European research programs and to carry out joint projects.
20 Feb 20. More Young People Need to Pursue the ‘Magic of Engineering.’ The Defense Department’s chief technology officer said more must be done to encourage young people to pursue engineering careers.
“One of our critical tasks is how to induce more young people into the magic of engineering, as opposed to being a Hollywood star, an NBA basketball player, [or] a denizen of Wall Street,” Michael D. Griffin, the undersecretary of defense for research and engineering, said during a National Engineers Week event yesterday at the Pentagon.
“When I am asked to talk to younger folks about just this, I often say — and I will pass it along to you — that my favorite quote about what it means to be an engineer comes from Theodore von Kármán, one of the great engineers of history. Von Kármán said about engineering, versus science in particular, ‘Scientists study the world that is. Engineers create the world that has never been.'”
Engineering, Griffin said, is every bit as creative a pursuit as art, music, literature or poetry.
“Our tools are just different,” he said. “Our tools are the tools of physical law and mathematics, but also of human ingenuity and creativity.”
For example, Griffin said, if a young woman aspires to creativity, she is as apt to accomplish that within engineering as in any other field.
“That applies to any of us,” he said. “I would offer that as something to pass along to the next generation. A new engineering creation is something that has never existed before in the history of the universe. … It’s an awesome thought when you realize as an engineer you can divine an idea, bring it to practice, something that has never existed before in the history of the universe.”
Griffin is responsible for the research, development and prototyping activities across the Defense Department enterprise. Among other things, he ensures technological superiority for the department and oversees the activities of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, the Missile Defense Agency, the Defense Innovation Unit and the DOD Laboratory enterprise. (Source: US DoD)
19 Feb 20. Airbus Defence and Space enters consultation process with employee representatives on restructuring. Today, Airbus Defence and Space has entered the consultation process with the company’s European works council on the division’s planned restructuring. While the underlying business perspectives especially in the core business remain solid, these steps became necessary after the division achieved a book-to-bill ratio below 1 for the third year in a row, mainly caused by a flat space market and postponed contracts on the defence side.
The plans presented to the employee representatives foresee the reduction of 2,362 positions until end of 2021, thereof 829 in Germany, 357 in UK, 630 in Spain, 404 in France and 142 in other countries. These efforts will be supported by a reinforced profitability programme and further measures to increase long-term competitiveness and safeguard the division’s future positioning.
The need for restructuring was first announced in December 2019 and emphasized also during the company’s Annual Press Conference in Toulouse on February 13. Airbus Defence and Space will provide updates on its plans and continues a constructive dialogue with employee representatives. Further financial implications are under assessment and will be communicated at a later stage.
19 Feb 20. Avon Rubber (AVON) has appointed former Diploma (DPLM) chief executive Bruce Thomson as chair-designate with effect from 1 March 2020. (Source: Investors Chronicle)
13 Feb 20. PA Consulting, the consultancy that’s bringing ingenuity to life, has announced the appointment of Panos Kakoullis as CEO-Elect. Panos has over 30 years industry experience with Deloitte and most recently served as Managing Director – Global Audit & Assurance Business Leader, leading the transformation and innovation of the business using the latest digital technologies to improve quality and value to clients and investors. (Source: PR Newswire)
17 Feb 20. Enview announced the appointment of John Dombzalski as public sector vice-president to support US National Security strategies. Over the past ten years, Dombzalski worked with US agencies and allied nations with a focus on the application of geospatial and location-based capabilities to improve mission-critical outcomes and increase efficiencies. (Source: airforce-technology.com)
REST OF THE WORLD APPOINTMENTS
17 Feb 20. Myriota appoints new chief revenue officer to drive global growth. South Australia-based Myriota, global leader in nanosatellite internet of things (IoT) connectivity, has appointed Barbara Swanson as its first CRO to grow its global customer base. Swanson will head up the sales and marketing teams and be responsible for building and executing the strategy to drive uptake in key international markets. The position will be integral to building Myriota’s global partner network and making data accessible to all through low-cost, low-power, secure direct-to-orbit connectivity for IoT. Swanson is a highly experienced global sales executive, specialised in SaaS technology for the past 20 years. Most recently, she held the role of vice president, sales and managing director, Asia-Pacific for Germany-based TeamViewer, which is a leader in IoT and produces remote control, monitoring and collaboration software.
Swanson is now returning to her career after taking two years of parental leave with her three young children. As a dual Australian-US citizen, Swanson has strong international experience and a record of establishing and executing global sales strategies. She was transferred to Sydney by West Corporation in 2002 to lead the Asia-Pacific sales organisation. There, her team grew revenue in the region from $20m to $150m in five years. Prior to the move to Australia, Swanson has held various sales and marketing roles in the US with an emphasis on launching and expanding new markets. (Source: Space Connect)
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