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26 Feb 20. XTEK opens new composite fabrication plant in Adelaide. Defence and technology company XTEK has opened a new advanced manufacturing centre in South Australia in a move to expand into new markets and new industries, including space.
The fabrication centre in Adelaide will be equipped with the company’s XTclave composite materials curing and consolidation technology and will be used to manufacture lightweight ballistic armour plates and helmets for the US market.
This technology can also be used to manufacture composite components for space applications. Last July, XTEK signed a statement of strategic intent and co-operation with the Australian Space Agency.
XTEK has also signed a memorandum of understanding with space company Skykraft to jointly develop a range of new small spacecraft and launcher systems.
The XTclave is a machine about the size of four shipping containers that runs cycles of ultra-high pressure at high temperatures to cure composite and thermoplastic resin.
The new machine will allow the company to ramp up production from the three plates per cycle it can now make, to more than 40 plates in less time. It will also prove the manufacturing process for XTEK’s expansion into the US.
“With this acquisition we now have the largest distribution network in the US and with this facility in Australia we have the manufacturing capability necessary to address the US military market,” said XTEK managing director Philippe Odouard.
XTEK showed off some of its products at the SHOT Show in the US earlier this year. That’s the premier US expo for firearms and related products.
Odouard said the reception was incredibly pleasing.
“We got confirmation from everyone that there was massive interest for this product at the price point we discussed,” he said.
“This is a huge opportunity to distribute our high-margin ballistic solutions in Australia and export globally, by leveraging our well-established US distribution network.
“We continue to work towards commercial-scale orders, progressing the long-standing relationships we have developed with potential major customers globally as they near the end of the testing and validation process.”
Odouard said XTEK was targeting production capacity producing up to $20m revenue.
XTEK chair Uwe Boettcher said the expansion would not only enable the company to fulfil expected demand for its ballistic products but also allow it to expand into the space industry by being able to make larger more complex shaped parts than were currently available.
“We are starting the research cycle again with the space industry and we see great potential,” Boettcher said.
XTEK can leverage its XTclave technology for space applications because the ultra-high process pressure reduces plastic outgassing.
That’s the process whereby in the vacuum of space, trace amounts of chemicals are emitted by the composite material, potentially degrading mechanical performance and also contaminating delicate instruments.
That’s often considered a limiting factor for lightweight composite materials used in space.
Additionally, XTEK materials achieve a higher specific strength to weight ratio.
XTEK has based its research and development operations in Adelaide for the last 13 years, developing the lightweight armour plates and helmets and other defence related products. (Source: Space Connect)
24 Feb 20. SITAEL launches Adelaide satellite design office. SITAEL has launched a specialist new satellite design office in Adelaide and signed a co-operation agreement with Inovor Technologies for the Buccaneer satellite. A promising and exciting year has begun for SITAEL Australia, with today’s opening of its new satellite design office at Lot Fourteen innovation neighbourhood in Adelaide, continuing the company’s expansion in South Australia.
SITAEL, the largest privately-owned Italian space company, indicated the new office will help expand its Australian capability to design, build and manufacture 50-300 kilogram class satellites locally.
Managing director of the SITAEL space division Pierluigi Pirrelli welcomed the milestone: “By expanding our Australian footprint, we can better deliver our space technology solutions to Australian and regional customers. With such rapid growth and development in the Australian space sector, we are very pleased to be expanding our presence in South Australia.”
Mark Ramsey, general manager of SITAEL Australia, added, “The proximity to other space organisations such as the Australian Space Agency, SmartSat CRC, Inovor Technologies, Myriota and Neumann Space sealed the decision to locate in Lot Fourteen, and we are excited about expanding the company in such an environment.”
Following the announcement on 29 November 2019 of Inovor Technologies winning the $2.5m Defence contract for the Buccaneer satellite bus, SITAEL Australia has also today signed a contract with Inovor Technologies to formally support the project.
Chief executive of Inovor Technologies Matt Tetlow added, “After signing a Letter of Intent at IAC in 2017, Inovor Technologies and SITAEL have looked for co-operative opportunities to work together. Today we see the fruits of that co-operation, and we are very pleased to be working with SITAEL Australia on this project.”
In addition to providing turnkey solutions for clients wanting missions flown in space, Inovor is also developing a small satellite based space situational awareness (SSA) mission called Hyperion to enhance Australia’s Space Traffic Management capability.
Further missions in Earth imaging and remote sensing are also under development. Inovor is located at the centre of Australia’s growing space hub in Lot Fourteen, and all of its hardware and technology is manufactured in Australia.
SITAEL is a leader in the development of next-generation small satellites and satellite electric propulsion technologies and is headquartered in Italy.
SITAEL Australia is the first company in Australia with the ability to design and manufacture satellites of up to 300 kilograms for local and regional customers. SITAEL Australia’s capabilities include design, build and test of small satellites for a broad range of missions including research and development, communications, and Earth observation. (Source: Space Connect)
27 Feb 20. Spanish S 80 AIP system passes final tests. The air-independent propulsion (AIP) system for Spain’s new S 80-class submarines has now passed its final tests, with Abengoa being chosen as the supplier, Navantia announced on 26 February. The AIP system was originally due to be integrated into all four ships during their construction, but development delays meant the decision had already been made to retrofit it to the first two when they undergo their first major overhauls. The S 80 AIP system is based on fuel-cell technology that uses hydrogen processed from bioethanol and oxygen to generate electricity, enabling the vessel to stay under water for several weeks. (Source: Jane’s)
27 Feb 20. US Arleigh Burke destroyer DDG 119 completes second builder’s trials. Huntington Ingalls Industries’ (HII) Ingalls Shipbuilding division has conducted the second builder’s sea trials of the US Navy’s Delbert D Black (DDG 119) destroyer. The Arleigh Burke-class (DDG 51) Aegis guided-missile destroyer was named in honour of the first master chief petty officer of the navy (MCPON), Delbert D Black. Configured as a Flight IIA destroyer, DDG 119 was launched in 2017.
During trials, the vessel’s main propulsion, combat and other ship systems were put to test over several days in the Gulf of Mexico. Ingalls DDG 51 programme manager George Nungesser said: “It truly takes a team to accomplish what we did during this set of trials.
“Our shipbuilders, test and trials personnel, and the supervisor of shipbuilding team showed tremendous dedication to the programme while at sea. Our team will continue to prepare DDG 119 for the next set of trials and its future as a state-of-the-art navy destroyer.”
The ship completed Alpha trials in December and will undergo Acceptance trials next month with the US Navy’s Board of Inspection and Survey. Four DDGs are currently under construction at Ingalls shipbuilding facility. These include Delbert D Black (DDG 119), Frank E Petersen Jr (DDG 121), Lenah H Sutcliffe Higbee (DDG 123) and the first Flight III ship Jack H Lucas (DDG 125).
The US Navy has taken delivery of 31 Arleigh Burke-class destroyers from Ingalls so far.
Equipped with several offensive and defensive weapons, these destroyers are capable of conducting a variety of operations ranging from sea control and power projection to peacetime presence and crisis management. (Source: naval-technology.com)
25 Feb 20. Babcock International, the Aerospace and Defence Company, has completed the Power Generation and Machinery Controls Update (PGMU) embodiment for the Type 23 Class frigate, HMS Richmond at Babcock’s Devonport Royal Dockyard. HMS Richmond, is the first Type 23 frigate to receive such a work package. The PGMU replaced the main generators and conversion equipment and was accompanied by a fully-modernised control and surveillance system, making it easier to control and monitor the engines.
The design team at Babcock built a Virtual Reality (VR) model which they used to support the design and production process. Each affected compartment was laser scanned from 10 different positions to create a detailed digital image. Designers then removed redundant systems from the model, and overlaid the new systems in software.
Following the refit HMS Richmond is now ready for sea trials.
The PGMU package is the biggest design change for the Type 23 platform since build and formed a large proportion of a total upkeep package which involved a team of over 350 Babcock employees working a total of 1 million hours. The installation included 600 metres of new pipework and over 8 km of new cable.
Mark Varney, Project Manager for Marine Warships, said: “The use of virtual reality and 3D CAD technology allowed us to anticipate any issues ahead of working on HMS Richmond. In particular, the pipefitters working on the frigate were enthused by it, as it provided an opportunity to manufacture accurate pipework by CNC rather than traditional wire methods; resulting in a significant saving in production hours.”
Will Erith, Babcock’s Surface Ships Managing Director, said: “We are delighted to have worked with our Customer to complete this rigorous work package and are excited to see her progress through sea trials in the final important phase of the project. Following sea trials HMS Richmond will spend the rest of the year undergoing extensive training.
26 Feb 20. Y-20 tanker and AEW&C variants in the pipeline, senior PLAAF officer confirms. An in-flight refuelling tanker variant of the Xian Aircraft Corporation (XAC) Y-20 Kunpeng strategic transport aircraft will appear in public “in the near future”, said the commander of a People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) aviation regiment in an interview with state-owned China Central Television (CCTV) broadcast on 24 February. Variants of the Y-20 have been anticipated for some time. Satellite imagery from November 2018 of the XAC assembly facility at Xian-Yanliang airfield appeared to show a Y-20 fitted with underwing refuelling pods, and a low-resolution image that appeared in October 2019 suggested that flight testing of this variant was in progress. (Source: Jane’s)
25 Feb 20. Shenyang resumes production of carrier-borne J-15 fighters. Images released on 21 February in an announcement by the Shenyang Aircraft Company (SAC), a subsidiary of the Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC), indicate that the manufacturer has resumed production of its carrier-borne J-15 multirole fighter aircraft. The images, the publication of which comes about three months after the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) commissioned its second aircraft carrier, Shandong , show at least one J-15 painted in green primer – suggesting that the aircraft is part of a new batch – and technicians working on the platform at what appears to be a factory.
Although the SAC announcement does not specifically mention the J-15, the aircraft type can be identified by its shape and canards. The images also feature a short text, stating, among other things, “full resumption of production”.
It is unclear, however, when the images were taken and whether the new J-15s will be different in any way from the ones currently in service with the PLAN on the service’s first aircraft carrier, Liaoning.
That said, the technicians are wearing surgical masks presumably as protection against the Covid-19 coronavirus, indicating the images were taken relatively recently.
Since 2012 the J-15, which is a Sukhoi Su-33 derivative, has been the PLAN’s sole fixed-wing carrier-borne aircraft. Only 24 of these aircraft had been delivered to the PLAN in two batches before production was apparently halted in mid-2017. At least two J-15s have so far been lost and two more have been damaged, meaning that fewer than 20 of these aircraft are believed to currently be available for the PLAN’s two carriers as well as for training. The additional aircraft will most likely be used to set up a second carrier-based air wing to be assigned to Shandong. (Source: Jane’s)
PLANT CLOSURES, JOB LOSSES AND STRIKES
27 Feb 20. Spain to cannibalise original six Tigre helicopters. Spain has decided to withdraw its six original Tigre Helicópteros de Apoyo y Protección (HAP) support and protection helicopters from service and use them for spares and testing for the new Mk III version rather than convert them to the Helicóptero Apoyo y Destrucción (HAD) support and destruction standard. Asked for confirmation of local media reports to this effect, the Spanish Army told Jane’s on 27 February that the HAPs were “acquired as an interim solution until the development of the final version of the Tigre HAD. It is planned to use the HAP helicopters for the development of the prototype MK III (future attack helicopter) and to make use of common components of the HAP and HAD versions.” (Source: Jane’s)
21 Feb 20. Russian Navy ocean-going warship numbers to be radically reduced. The number of Russian large ocean-going warships is to decrease significantly by 2027. This development and the prospects for large naval vessel construction were discussed at the end of 2019, at a special meeting of the Naval High Command, local military media disclosed on 14 February. At the end of the State Armaments Programme (GPV) 2018-2027, the aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov and nuclear-powered missile cruiser Admiral Nakhimov should remain in operation. The Kirov-class Orlan nuclear-powered cruiser Pyotr Velikiy, flagship of the Northern Fleet, and possibly the Atlant-class missile cruisers Moskva (first of class) and Varyag will undergo refits and upgrades. (Source: News Now/Jane’s)
MILITARY AND GOVERNMENT
25 Feb 20. Trump picks Army official for sustainment job; intel nominee coming soon. The White House on Tuesday formally nominated William Jordan Gillis to be the next assistant secretary of defense for sustainment, and the administration expects to soon send to Congress a nomination for a new intelligence leader.
Gillis joined the Defense Department in October 2017, serving as acting assistant secretary of the Army for installations, energy and environment. Since January 2019, he has been principal deputy assistant secretary of the Army for installations, energy and environment.
He replaces Robert McMahon, who took over the sustainment job in late 2018. McMahon exited the department in November, according to a Pentagon spokesman, as part of a wave of exits that saw at least six key department officials retire or resign their posts before the end of the year. Peter Potochney has been serving as the acting assistant secretary of defense for sustainment in McMahon’s stead.
The ASD for sustainment serves two levels down from acquisition and sustainment chief Ellen Lord, and is in charge of logistics and material readiness as well as oversight of facilities and infrastructure issues.
Meanwhile, the Trump administration announced its intent to nominate Kathryn Wheelbarger as deputy undersecretary of defense for intelligence and security.
Wheelbarger started in the administration as principal deputy assistant secretary for international security affairs. Since October 2018, she has served as acting assistant defense secretary for international security affairs, following the departure of Robert Karem from that role. She had a number of jobs prior to joining the administration, including as deputy staff director and senior counsel for the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, and a stint as Senate Armed Services Committee policy director from January 2015 to January 2017.
A number of international partners have praised Wheelbarger’s work, with several telling Defense News last year that they were concerned she may look to depart the building if not given a more permanent role.
She replaces Kari Bingen, who departed earlier this year, as the No. 2 intelligence official in the Defense Department. However, Wheelbarger’s departure from the Office of the Secretary of Defense’s policy division leaves yet another hole there, whose top two leaders have both left within the last eight months. (Source: Defense News)
27 Feb 20. Trump taps Pentagon’s acting personnel head to take over permanent job. On Thursday, President The White House on Thursday nominated Air Force Under Secretary Matthew Donovan to fill the Pentagon’s top personnel post, officially promoting him from the acting role he has served since early December. Donovan, who spent 30 years as an active-duty airman, including time as a combat fighter pilot, has served in a variety of senior military roles since his military retirement. That includes time serving as acting Air Force secretary for five months last summer and fall.
In December, Donovan was tapped as acting under secretary of defense for personnel and readiness after the retirement of Jimmy Stewart, who had served in that role since October 2018.
If Donovan is confirmed by the Senate in coming months, he’ll be the first permanent leader for the office since July 2018, when Robert Wilkie left the role to become Veterans Affairs secretary. In the last five years, the office has only had an official under secretary in the post for about eight months.
The nomination comes about three weeks after President Donald Trump’s previous pick for the role — J. David Patterson — withdrew his name from consideration after a past controversial, anti-immigrant opinion piece began circulating on Capitol Hill. Donovan was confirmed to his current Air Force role in 2017 without any opposition.
The White House on Thursday also announced plans to nominate Victor Mercado as assistant secretary of defense for strategy, plans and capabilities, a role he has been performing the duties of since James Anderson was promoted to a Pentagon policy post last year.
Meracdo retired as a rear admiral after 35 years in the Navy in late 2018, becoming deputy assistant secretary of defense for plans and posture a few months later.
Jimmy Stewart has served as the acting head of the personnel office for the last 14 months.
The new appointments help fill multiple leadership voids at the Pentagon. Last week, White House officials pushed out Under Secretary for Policy John Rood, a move that again raised concern on Capitol Hill about the lack of Senate-confirmed individuals in key planning roles.
The two men join William Jordan Gillis, to be the next assistant secretary of defense for sustainment, and Kathryn Wheelbarger, to be deputy undersecretary of defense for intelligence and security, in the nominations queue. (Source: Defense News)
27 Feb 20. USAF Col. Kathleen M. Flarity has been nominated for appointment to the rank of brigadier general. Flarity is currently serving as the mobilization assistant to the Command Surgeon, Air Mobility Command, Scott Air Force Base, Illinois.
25 Feb 20. United States Coast Guard Command Master Chief Michael Koch, currently assigned to the Fifth Coast Guard District, Sector Delaware Bay, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, has been selected to replace Sgt. Maj. Steven M. Burkett as the command senior enlisted leader for Joint Task Force Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
27 Feb 20. Army Command Sgt. Maj. Michael L. Gragg, currently assigned as the command sergeant major for the U.S. Army Center of Initial Military Training, Fort Eustis, Virginia, has been selected to replace Command Master Chief Charles A. Collins as the command senior enlisted leader for the Defense Health Agency, Falls Church, Virginia.
REST OF THE WORLD APPOINTMENTS
26 Feb 20. According to ISPR Press Release, Pakistan Navy has promoted Rear Admiral Faisal Rasul Lodhi and Rear Admiral Zahid Ilyas to the rank of Vice Admiral with immediate effect.
Vice Admiral Faisal Rasul Lodhi got commission in Operations Branch of Pakistan Navy in 1986. The Flag Officer is a graduate of Pakistan Navy War College Lahore, National Defence University Islamabad and has also done professional courses from United Kingdom and Philippines. He has also attained Master’s Degree in International Security & Strategic Studies from UK and is an alumni of Royal College of London.
The Admiral has an illustrious career with vast experience of various Command and Staff appointments. His Command appointments include Commanding Officer PNS TARIQ and Director Pakistan Navy Tactical School. His major Staff appointments include Directing Staff at Pakistan Navy War College, Liaison Officer US CENTCOM, Director Naval Warfare Operational Plans at Naval Headquarters, Fleet Operation Officer and Chief Staff Officer to Commander Pakistan Fleet.
His major appointments in Flag Rank (Admiral) include Naval Secretary, Flag Officer Sea Training and Deputy Chief of Naval Staff (Operations) at Naval Headquarters. He has also preformed duties as Additional Secretary-III in Ministry of Defence. The Admiral is currently performing the duties of Commander Coast. In recognition of his meritorious services, the Admiral was awarded Hilal-e-Imtiaz (Military).
Vice Admiral Zahid Ilyas got commission in Operations Branch of Pakistan Navy in 1988 and awarded Sword of Honour. The Flag Officer is a graduate of Pakistan Navy War College Lahore, National Defence University Islamabad and has done professional course from China. He has also attained Master’s Degree in Military Operational Research from United Kingdom.
The Admiral has an illustrious career with vast experience of various Command and Staff appointments. His Command appointments include Commanding Officer PNS BABUR, PNS ZULFIQUAR, Commandant Pakistan Naval Academy, Commander 18th Destroyer Squadron, Commander Combined Task Force (CTF-151) NAVCENT, Bahrain and Commander Central Punjab/ Commandant PN War College. His major Staff appointments include Directing Staff at PN War College and Principal Secretary to Chief of the Naval Staff. His major appointments in Flag Rank (Admiral) include Director General Joint Cantonment Gwadar Branch at Joint Staff Headquarters Rawalpindi, Director General C4I and Deputy Chief of Naval Staff (Training & Evaluation) at Naval Headquarters, Islamabad. The Admiral is currently performing the duties of Commander Karachi. In recognition of his meritorious services, the Admiral was awarded Hilal-e-Imtiaz (Military) and Sitara-e-Basalat. (Source: ESD Spotlight)
28 Feb 20. Defence commences new HydroScheme Industry Partnership Program. A long-term partnership between Defence and members of Australia’s hydrographic industry has been established with the commencement of the new HydroScheme Industry Partnership Program.
Chief of Navy, Vice Admiral Michael Noonan, AO, said that through the program, industry will be able to use the latest hydrographic techniques and state-of-the-art equipment to deliver quality hydrographic data to Defence, which charts and disseminates this information.
“The HydroScheme Industry Partnership Program is a $150m government investment in Australia’s commercial hydrographic industry over the next five years,” VADM Noonan said.
“This is the first step in an ongoing partnership with Australia’s commercial hydrographic industry.”
Defence is charged with the responsibility by the Australian government, under the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea 1974, to provide hydrographic services covering the Australian charting area. The HydroScheme aims to produce high quality hydrographic information and deliver this service to mariners navigating in Australian and New Zealand regional waters. Australia is also the Primary Charting Authority for Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands.
A panel of six Australian and one New Zealand-based hydrographic survey companies will support Defence in conducting maritime surveys that enable safe navigation for mariners and support Australia’s maritime industry. The panel members are:
- Discovery Marine Australia – Tauranga, NZ
- FUGRO Australia Marine – Perth, WA
- iXblue – Wynnum West, Qld
- EGS Survey – Mount Lawley, WA
- Guardian Geomatics – Subiaco, WA
- Neptune Geomatics – Welshpool, WA
- Precision Hydrographic Services – Glandore, SA.
The panel will be administered by the Australian Hydrographic Office in Wollongong, NSW, which will be celebrating its 100-year anniversary on 1 October 2020.
With the transition of the national surveying responsibility to industry partners, the Navy survey capability is being redeveloped to focus on military environmental information collection to support Australian and allied maritime operations. The next Navy military survey vessel will be built in Henderson, WA, in the 2020s. (Source: Defence Connect)
28 Feb 20. GE’s Power Conversion business and Hanwha Aerospace signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) whereby the parties will work together to bring electric propulsion solutions to the Republic of Korea (ROK) Navy for its new, six-ship KDDX destroyer program. Under the MOU, GE’s Power Conversion business offers its proven and low-risk naval electric drive propulsion solutions including Integrated Full Electric Propulsion (IFEP) or Hybrid Electric Drive (HED) as well as propulsion integration capabilities. As a ROK defense industry leader, Hanwha Aerospace is the ideal customer focal point to provide in-country manufacturing and product support for the life of the ship.
Power Conversion’s sister company, GE Aviation Marine, already has a long-standing working relationship with Hanwha Aerospace whereby Hanwha Aerospace co-manufactures gas turbine engine components, assembles the naval module package, and provides product support. This MOU creates Hanwha Aerospace as a single customer to support the ROK Navy with a proven integrated power and propulsion solution, backed by Power Conversion and GE Aviation Marine technology.
“GE and Hanwha Aerospace will work with the ROK Navy and its shipyards, Hyundai Heavy Industries and Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering, to support requests for proposals and program execution to bring proven electric drive technology to the ROK,” said Andy Cooper, U.K. Managing Director of GE’s Power Conversion business. “Hanwha Aerospace will locally manufacture, test and assemble the determined GE propulsion equipment and manage procurement of other equipment from ROK suppliers to GE requirements. GE and Hanwha Aerospace skills are complementary, and our goal is shared: to provide a proven low-risk electric drive solution to the ROK Navy.” Cooper added.
“Hanwha Aerospace is pleased to team with GE’s Power Conversion business and GE Aviation Marine which have proven solution in IFEP system. Hanwha Aerospace, as a local manufacturer will contribute providing reliable equipment with integrated system to the ROK Navy. Hanwha Aerospace will achieve localization on the core equipment in IFEP system by cooperating with small & medium-sized enterprises in Korea and be responsible for lifetime support” said Hyunwoo Shin, CEO of Hanwha Aerospace.
The MOU signing was held at Power Conversion’s Rotating Machine Rugby (RMR) facility in the United Kingdom and marked the start of a four-day KDDX team meeting with Power Conversion, Hanwha and GE Aviation Marine. Highlights included a tour of the RMR factory to view the 20 MW advanced induction propulsion motor and the U.K. Royal Navy’s Type 26 frigate hybrid electric motors, as well as the Whetstone Marine Power Test Facility that showcases the U.K. Royal Navy’s Type 45 IFEP propulsion plant.
The Type 45-based IFEP is an attractive and flexible solution for the proposed 6,000- to 8,000-tonne KDDX destroyer that will satisfy the larger and ever-increasing power demands of weapons and radar systems. In fact, the ROK Navy’s KDDX IFEP system would be nearly identical to the electrical system GE designed for the 8,000-ton Type 45. This low risk solution uses GE’s fourth generation advanced induction motors, shock-proof drives and generator – coupled to a reliable GE LM2500 gas turbine – to provide a low-risk, fully compliant solution.
26 Feb 20. SUTD and Thales Collaborate to Accelerate the Development of Smart Aviation Technologies
- Both organisations signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to collaborate on digital technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), using industry-led use cases and data-driven insights to drive innovation.
- The partnership will involve design innovation workshops and research projects on the following topics: drones and unmanned air mobility (UAM), robotics and swarming technologies, cybersecurity and materials science.
- The collaboration between SUTD and Thales builds on the existing strategic partnerships between Thales and local academia, reinforcing Thales’ commitment in supporting Singapore’s Smart Nation ambitions.
The Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD) and Thales have inked a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), paving the way for deeper collaboration on R&D, and the development of innovative solutions for mission critical systems design.
As industry needs evolve in the wake of rapid digitalisation, this partnership is reflective of Thales’ strong commitment to research and technology. Over the years, Thales has demonstrated this commitment through engagements with customers and partners in user-centered innovation, co-designing, prototyping and testing of new concepts across various sectors including defence and security, aerospace, air traffic management and smart cities.
SUTD being a multidisciplinary university is well-positioned to undertake research and seek solutions to these aviation challenges by bringing their design and technology expertise in the various research areas. Working together, Thales will strengthen its capabilities in the digitalisation and development of cutting-edge local solutions for key topics that include drones, robotics and cybersecurity.
Thales has a strong legacy of academic partnerships in Singapore with the country’s renowned institutions, including two joint labs at the Nanyang Technological University, one of which is with the French CNRS research agency.
Over the last six years, Thales and SUTD have worked closely on innovation topics at Thales’ Innovation Hub. Thales has also hosted 10 SUTD interns since 2013 and participated in SUTD’s Capstone Programme, a final year student project based on real-world problems set by the industry. This MoU reinforces that collaboration, with Thales translating academic research into innovative practical solutions while cultivating a talent pipeline from SUTD by offering an experience to work on real-world projects.
“Thales, with its strong commitment to research and technology, is a valued industry partner for SUTD. We are pleased to see that our collaborations with Thales have blossomed over the years and this partnership will strongly benefit our students and faculty, keeping them constantly abreast with the latest industry developments. With this new round of research projects jointly identified under the MOU, we will further advance our research partnership. Together with Thales, SUTD hopes to co-design and co-develop novel solutions in the aviation sector that can eventually benefit Singapore and the world.” Mr Lim King Boon, General Manager of Partnership, Innovation and Enterprise, SUTD
“Thales is aware that digital technologies are constantly evolving at a rapid-fire pace. These solutions have to be applicable to real-life challenges and use-cases, and there is no better way than to do it in direct collaboration with design experts. As two organisations driven by the excitement of digital technology, I’m thrilled that Thales will be working with SUTD on topics like unmanned air mobility and cybersecurity, in mission critical systems, to develop smarter solutions that can answer to Singapore’s digital ambitions.” Kevin Chow, Country Director & CEO, Thales in Singapore. (Source: ASD Network)
25 Feb 20. Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE: NOC) has added Bechtel and Kratos Defense and Security Solutions to its Ground Based Strategic Deterrent (GBSD) nationwide team. Together, this expanded team is investing in the people and facilities necessary to be ready, day-one, if awarded the GBSD engineering and manufacturing development (EMD) phase.
GBSD is a vital U.S. Air Force program designed to modernize our nation’s aging force of inter-continental ballistic missiles (ICBM), the land-leg of the nuclear triad.
As part of the Northrop Grumman GBSD nationwide team, Bechtel will provide launch system design, construction and integration, and Kratos will provide other vehicle transporters including the missile transporters and payload transporter.
“We are on a path toward day-one readiness, bolstered by the addition of Bechtel and Kratos, and our team’s commitment to invest now in people and facilities in order to meet the Air Force schedule of fielding GBSD in 2029,” said Greg Manuel, vice president, GBSD enterprise, Northrop Grumman. “Together, this expanded team has the capacity, capability and credentials needed to deliver – on time – a safe, secure, reliable and effective nuclear deterrent capability for the U.S. and its allies for the next 50 years.”
Northrop Grumman announced its GBSD nationwide team in September 2019, comprised of hundreds of small, medium and large companies from across the defense, construction and engineering industries. If awarded EMD, the Northrop Grumman GBSD program will involve more than 10,000 people across the United States directly working on this critical national security program.
In August of last year, Northrop Grumman broke ground on a new facility, near Hill Air Force Base, to serve as a future headquarters for its workforce and nationwide team, with the opportunity to add thousands of jobs in the state of Utah.
Bechtel is a trusted engineering, construction and project management partner to industry and government. Bechtel serves the infrastructure; nuclear, security and environmental; oil, gas and chemicals; and mining and metals markets. The company delivered silos and launch infrastructure for the U.S. Ground-based Midcourse Missile Defense program and launch infrastructure for NASA.
Kratos Defense & Security Solutions, Inc. (NASDAQ:KTOS) develops and fields transformative, affordable technology, platforms and systems for U.S. national security related customers, allies and commercial enterprises. Kratos specializes in unmanned systems, satellite communications, cyber security/warfare, microwave electronics, missile defense, hypersonic systems, training, combat systems, and next generation turbo jet and turbo fan engine development.
20 Feb 20. Airbus is Joining Forces With Europe’s Premier Missile Systems House MBDA to Develop Demonstrators for Remote Carriers. As part of last week’s awarding of the Phase 1A Demonstrators contract for the Future Combat Air System (FCAS), Airbus and Europe’s premier missile systems house MBDA decided to join forces to develop demonstrators for Remote Carriers.
The teaming involves MBDA focusing on the development of small and medium class platforms together and under the lead of Airbus. On its side, Airbus will address the whole Remote Carrier scope and in particular teaming intelligence, whilst focusing on medium to large platforms.
MBDA’s portfolio of capabilities brings complementary expertise into the Airbus led Remote Carrier domain and is expected to contribute significantly to the future capabilities of Air Power. As the European champion in missiles, with industrial presence in France, Germany and Spain, MBDA brings in a unique expertise in launching, flying and autonomy of small and large missiles.
Airbus, as a major European player in UAS, is building on its full scale expertise in small to large systems and in Man-Unmanned Teaming. Among its demonstrators, Airbus has operated since 2006 the Barracuda, a flying test bed for developing technologies and procedures to be used by mature next-generation UAVs to test fast reconnaissance, surveillance, targeting and battle damage assessment capabilities.
Designed to act as force multipliers, the Remote Carriers, are unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), which aim at reducing the risks for manned aircraft by taking over specific air operations’ roles within high risk environments, providing new air warfare capabilities and teaming in combination with and coordinated by other manned air assets.
Capable of “Cross Platform Mission Management”, the Remote Carriers will complement and augment manned fighter aircraft capabilities performing in close cooperation yet with a high degree of automation to improve the mission performance in high intensity conflicts, and increase the combat mass to better compensate limited numbers of sophisticated manned fighter aircraft.
Allowing more agile and faster adaptation and development of technologies, the Remote Carriers will drastically increase operational capabilities at a very fast pace. Several types of Remote Carriers are being studied, including expendable swarms possibly followed by more sophisticated groups, providing a wide scope of potential missions to better support a safer penetration of manned aircraft into hostile environment. (Source: ASD Network)
20 Feb 20. Defense Contractors are Hiring for the Space Force: Here Are the Jobs! Earlier this month, ClearanceJobs rounded up the job areas about to see a surge of demand thanks to the newly official and finally funded U.S. Space Force. Since then, details about the newest branch of the armed forces have rocketed in every direction, including its proposed 2021 budget, with implications for what it will mean for defense contractors, and contracting jobs in particular.
But first, the state of things. Notable Space Force news includes the appointment of the first top enlisted noncommissioned officer to the service: Chief Master Sgt. Roger Towberman, transferring from the Air Force and previously the top senior enlisted member of U.S. Space Command. Brass in the National Guard, meanwhile, are angling hard for the Department of Defense to establish what role the guard would play as it relates to the new service.
Major General David Baldwin, adjutant general of the California National Guard, was direct with reporters, saying: “We are strongly advocating for a Space National Guard.” As SpaceNews reports, the Defense Department is afraid that once the National Guard pandora’s box is opened, every state is going to want its own Space Guard, because it’ll bring oodles of dollars to state coffers. (These sorts of predicted, spiraling defense expenses were one of the chief arguments against a Space Force in the first place, but, details, am I right?)
Meanwhile—and ClearanceJobs was all over this—the Space Force has no idea what to call its members, nor what their ranks should be. (We also called the gender-neutral name requirement, i.e. Spaceperson Brown as opposed to Spaceman Brown.)
The obvious solution to this is to go with a sort of hybrid Army/Navy system. Navy for the officer’s ranks (one day—maybe a century from now, but one day—the Space Force will have a crewed vessel, and you want Captain Kirk in the big chair; not Colonel Kirk), and Army for the enlisted ranks, private through command chief sergeant major. My only argument against this is that there are enough sergeants major in the world.
As for a catchall name—e.g. “sailor” or “airman” or “soldier”—I like “mercuries,” which 1. Honors the military heritage of the Mercury program, which put the first Americans in space, 2. Comes from Mercury, the fastest of the Roman gods—speed being essential for an organization concerning itself with missile defense, 3. Already has a space connotation with the planet Mercury, and 4. Just sounds great in a war context: “Yesterday the Space Force mobilized a squadron of mercuries to deal with the growing threat to… whatever.” I am not allowed to submit this because I am a civilian, but if YOU, dear reader, are a member of the Air Force, you can! The submission form is here. And I want credit, though we can discuss that later. Once you submit, let me know in the comments.
The most important Space Force news to emerge in the last two weeks has been the release of the president’s budget request which finally delivers unto the Space Force big dollars to do big things. And by big, I mean big: $15.4bn. Note that these are not fifteen bn new dollars going to national defense. Rather, that funding was previously allocated to the Air Force for space activities and transferred to the new service branch. During the shaping of the budget, the likely priorities and needs of the Space Force were taken into account. The upshot is that for the first time, we have a solid look at what the Space Force will be doing, but more importantly, the sort of defense contracts the branch will be pursuing.
And it is exciting stuff.
In 2021, the White House is asking for $10.3bn for Space Force “Research, Development, Test, and Evaluation” costs. This is just what it sounds like, and among the programs in its aegis: space situational awareness systems; next-generation GPS nodes; military satellite communications systems; missile defense radars; space-based nuclear detonation detection systems; and rapid technology development programs.
Space Force procurement funding reaches $2.4bn. Some of those procurements include the completion of the advanced extremely high frequency (AEHF) satellite system, which are geostationary spacecraft that relay signals for U.S. and allied military services. Another is the GSIN, or: Global Sensor Integrated on Network, which is used for integrating disparate sensor data for a real-time portrait of what is happening during a “missile event,” e.g. total thermonuclear war.
Operations and maintenance costs for the Space Force round out at $2.6bn. This includes launch services and space operations; base support; communications, command, control and intelligence (C3I) mission operations; and mission training.
The aforementioned next-generation GPS system—GPS III—is being built by Lockheed Martin. The next of its nodes (GPS is a constellation of satellites) will be launched by the Space Force in April. Notably, or at least, intriguingly, the spacecraft was transported to Cape Canaveral Space Force Station on an Air Force C-17—a glimpse of one small way that the services will work together.
CONTRACTOR JOBS NOW FOR HIRE
As all of this relates to contractor jobs, the thing you have to remember—the thing that will be the lodestar of the big contracts going forward for the Space Force—is that spacecraft development and launch services businesses are everything when it comes to the future of the branch. That might seem obvious, but it isn’t necessarily so. Remember: Don’t think of launches and satellites as we have for the last fifty years—big beasts in orbit, launched infrequently but performing technological miracles. No, think of multiple launches every week, and perhaps soon, every day, launching thousands of satellites, a dozen or more at a time. The only analogue to what the space revolution has in store is the Internet circa 1995. One year earlier, nobody had heard of it. One year later, it was everywhere, all the time.
The ClearanceJobs database of contractor jobs is seeing Space Force positions beginning to appear. (Bookmark that link because those numbers will grow by orders of magnitude in the coming months.) And what do those jobs relate to? Satellite communications, as is funded in Space Force procurement numbers. Mission design, as you see for such things as C3I operations. Space operations, which involves just keeping those spacecraft running in orbit (funded by the “operations” part of the budget).
Research and architecture development—these are particularly interesting. Companies like SpaceX have made the cost of access to space dirt cheap, and SpaceX itself is planning to launch constellations of tens of thousands of satellites—great global networks talking to each other and to the planet below. The satellites are relatively small and cheap. The same sort of thing is beginning to happen for weather satellites—we stand on the precipice of a new understanding of forecasting determined by the volume of data soon to be available.
(For example: the “Hurricane Hunters” out of Keesler, who fly WC-130J planes into ongoing hurricanes, will soon be a thing of the past—or at least, a supplement to a satellite constellation that can do the work safely, and passively.)
The Space Force—which has run launch operations for those very SpaceX satellites—will be on the lookout for what else we can put in space in large numbers, distributed and thus safe from, say a couple of anti-satellite missiles.
Other Space Force jobs in the database include cybersecurity—you’ve got to keep those systems safe on the ground, and perhaps more pressingly, that satellite software safe in orbit. This field is only going to grow more important for obvious reasons. In many ways, space is the wild west of cyber: many of the fundamental technologies driving the American space program were developed and implemented before cybersecurity was a word, let alone a thing people worried about.
Lastly, as the United States begins to play fast and loose with nuclear arms treaties, strategic sensorsaren’t exactly going to go away as a vital national security technology. Which is, in some way, fitting and tragic. The Space Race was founded, after all, on the drive to develop intercontinental ballistic missiles for nuclear war between the U.S. and Soviet Union. Seventy years later, we are still keeping watch for those very weapons.
Those are but a few of the jobs for which cleared workers can now start sending resumes. But there are more to come. Note that the Space Force’s actual retail price is about $16.2bn; branch personnel cost another $800m atop the $15.4bn figure, but that money remains with the Air Force because the Space Force lacks an accounting system able to handle it. This is the primary reason why, earlier, this month, ClearanceJobs listed accounting as being a huge job opportunity for prospective Space Force employees.
And on that note, and on the note of the above engineering-heavy fields, know that it’s not too late to get your degree in accounting—and you can do it online from such accredited and respected universities as the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. ClearanceJobs covered other online degrees you could earn while keeping your current job. And on the list? A skill that Space Force contractors are begging for: aerospace engineering. (Source: Satnews)
25 Feb 20. Airbus Helicopters has appointed Thomas Hundt Executive Vice-President Finance and Member of the Executive Committee of Airbus Helicopters, effective 1 March 2020. Previously, he served as Senior Vice-President of Performance Management and Costing for Airbus Helicopters and Managing Director for Airbus Helicopters Germany. He succeeds Linda Honold, who will retire after more than three decades with Airbus and its predecessor companies. Linda Honold began her career with MTU Aeroengines in 1988, where she started in the Controlling department. She held several management positions before becoming Member of the Board of Management of EADS Military Aircraft as Head of Finance in 1999. In 2004, she was appointed Chief Financial Officer of Cassidian and ultimately appointed as Executive Vice-President Finance of Airbus Helicopters in 2012. (Source: ESD Spotlight)
24 Feb 20. ABGI UK partnership director Sandy Findlay has been appointed to a body that supports Scottish businesses in the aerospace sector. Findlay joins the National Aerospace Technology Exploitation Programme (NATEP) Scotland Proposal Review Panel (PRP). The programme offers technical and management resources to help companies bring their technology to market. Findlay brings expertise of helping firms apply for R&D funding and tax breaks from his work with Edinburgh-headquartered ABGI UK. The NATEP Scotland PRP is led by ADS Scotland, the official trade organisation for the Scottish Aerospace, Defence and Security sectors. The programme aims to support innovation that will enhance the productivity and competitiveness of the aerospace manufacturing sector. (Source: Google/https://www.insider.co.uk/)
25 Feb 20. Sir Nigel Rudd, a man of many boards, is stepping down as chairman of Meggitt, the aerospace and defence group, to spend more time on his business and other interests. (Source: FT.com)
27 Feb 20. Boeing [NYSE: BA] today named Susan Doniz as the company’s chief information officer and senior vice president of Information Technology & Data Analytics, effective in May. She will succeed Vishwa Uddanwadiker, who has served in an interim capacity since October 2019. In this role, Doniz, 50, will oversee all aspects of information technology, information security, data and analytics for the world’s largest aerospace company. She also will support the growth of Boeing’s business through IT- and analytics-related revenue generating programs. She will report to Boeing President and CEO David Calhoun, serve on the company’s Executive Council and be based in Chicago. Doniz joins Boeing from Qantas Group, where she has served as Group chief information officer since January 2017. In that role, she oversaw technology innovation, development and integration, digital capabilities and cybersecurity across the Group’s companies, including Qantas Airlines, QantasLink, Qantas Loyalty and Jetstar. Doniz has more than 25 years of global technology leadership experience, including strategic roles at SAP, Aimia and Procter & Gamble. She holds a bachelor’s degree in applied science and engineering from the University of Toronto, and serves as vice chair of the Digital Transformation Advisory Council of the International Air Transport Association.
24 Feb 20. The Boeing Company [NYSE: BA] Board of Directors has nominated Steve Mollenkopf and Akhil Johri to be elected as directors at the company’s upcoming annual meeting of shareholders. The board also announced independent directors Edward Liddy and Mike Zafirovski will not stand for re-election and will retire from board service at the meeting. Mollenkopf, 51, has served as CEO of Qualcomm Incorporated since 2014. He has helped lead the company through the transitions to 3G, 4G and 5G since the beginning of his career as an engineer more than 25 years ago. Johri, 58, served as CFO of United Technologies Corporation from 2015 to 2019. He previously held various executive positions of increasing responsibility over his 31-year career at the company and currently serves as an independent director of Cardinal Health.
28 Feb 20. Huntington Ingalls names new chairman. Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII) has chosen retired US Navy admiral Kirkland Donald as the new chairman of its board of directors, the American shipbuilder announced on 26 February. Donald will begin his new role on 28 April, the date of HII’s next annual shareholders’ meeting. He will replace retired US Navy admiral Thomas Fargo, who has decided to step down after almost nine years as HII chairman. Donald spent 37 years in the navy, retiring in 2013. His last military assignment was as director of the Naval Nuclear Propulsion Program, which oversees the nuclear reactors that power aircraft carriers and submarines. (Source: Jane’s)
28 Feb 20. KBR (NYSE: KBR) announced today the appointment of Lynn A. Dugle to its Board of Directors effective February 24, 2020. Ms. Dugle has been appointed to serve on the Audit and the Nominating and Corporate Governance Committees of the KBR Board of Directors. Ms. Dugle is a member of the Board of Directors of State Street Corporation. She recently served as the chairman, president and chief executive officer of Engility Holdings Inc. prior to its acquisition by Science Applications International Corp. in January 2019. Prior to her roles at Engility, Ms. Dugle served as the president of Intelligence, Information and Services at Raytheon Company.
27 Feb 20. Visible Assets, Inc. (Visible®) develops, manufactures and markets RuBee (IEEE 1902.1), wireless defense/industrial Internet of Things (IoT) products, including high-security asset visibility and sensor networks. Visible announced today the appointment of Richard A. Clarke to its Board of Directors. As a national security advisor to four presidents, and as Chairman and CEO of Good Harbor Consulting, Richard A. Clarke has championed and managed many country-wide cybersecurity programs, both in the U.S. and globally. Richard A. Clarke served in the White House for an unprecedented ten years, including as the first national Counter-Terrorism czar (National Coordinator for Security and Counter-terrorism), serving under President George H.W. Bush, President Bill Clinton, and President George W. Bush. On 9/11, Clarke was the national crisis manager. During the Bush (43) administration as the nation’s “Cyber-Czar,” Clarke developed the country’s first National Strategy to Defend Cyberspace. Previously, Clarke was confirmed by the US Senate as Assistant Secretary of State for Political Military Affairs in the Bush (41) administration and served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Intelligence under President Ronald Reagan.
After leaving the government following a thirty-year public service career, President Obama, asked Clarke to serve on the five-person President’s Review Group on Intelligence and Technology. Also, after his government career, Clarke taught national security management at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government for five years and was an ABC News-on-Air Commentator for fifteen years. He has also authored nine books. His first book, Against All Enemies: Inside America’s War on Terror (2004) was a New York Times #1 bestseller. His latest work is The Fifth Domain: Protecting our Country, Our Companies, and Ourselves in the Age of Cyber Threats. Clarke has been honored with membership in the National Cyber Security Hall of Fame and given the Lifetime Achievement Award for Cybersecurity by the annual RSA Conference. Dick Clarke is CEO of Good Harbor LLC, a boutique cybersecurity/risk management consultancy and Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Middle East Institute. (Source: PR Newswire)
REST OF THE WORLD APPOINTMENTS
26 Feb 20. RAFAEL Advanced Defense Systems Ltd. has appointed EVP Dr. Zach Glikman as head of its R&D and Engineering division. Glikman is replacing EVP Dr. Ran Gozali who has recently been appointed as head of the company’s Land and Naval Systems division. Dr. Glikman (52 years old) holds BSc, MSc and PhD degrees in mechanical engineering from Israel’s Technion. He joined RAFAEL in 1996 and has served in a variety of senior managerial and technological roles. In the last 5 years he has served as head of RAFAEL’s Ordnance Division. RAFAEL’s R&D and Engineering division is made up of some 3000 engineers, researchers and scientists from a variety of disciplines, including computer software, image processing, mechanics, electronics, aeronautics and more. RAFAEL’s President and CEO, Maj. Gen. (Ret.) Yoav Har-Even stated that Glikman’s experience and managerial skills will lead the division forward in reaching its goals and in continuing to give RAFAEL the technological leadership necessary to achieve its business objectives and provide its users with an operational advantage. Har-Even thanked Dr. Gozali for cementing RAFAEL’s R&D and Engineering division’s position as a core engine in the company’s growth and success.
21 Feb 20. Thales Australia announced that Duncan Lewis, AO, DSC, CSC, will join the Thales Australia board following an extensive career in the Australian Defence Force and Australian Public Service. Lewis is one of Australia’s most distinguished veterans, having served the nation at the most senior levels of the Army, public service, diplomatic service and security agencies. He retired as Director-General of the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation in 2019 following a career that included Commander of Australia’s Special Air Service Regiment, National Security Advisor to the federal government, Secretary of the Department of Defence and ambassador to Belgium, the European Union, Luxembourg and NATO. Chair of the Thales Australia board, Belinda Hutchinson, said Lewis would bring a wealth of experience and a deep understanding of international relations and national security to the board. (Source: Defence Connect)
ExFor+ CIC is a relatively new organisation but has been established with the objective of becoming a National overarching organisation within the Veterans Support Sector. Our aim is to bring about, positive Social and Economic change for the country as well as a significant
transformation of how Service leavers, Veterans, their families and communities are supported. We will do this through effective collaboration, communication and management of a number of services and departments, ranging from engaging with Government, The Third sector and also the supporters of, those who’ve served and often sacrificed so much for their country. We are currently supporting a number of service leavers and veterans with a range of issues ranging from housing, unemployment, benefits, personal development, education, and are constantly looking for employers who see the positives in recruiting and supporting individuals in to work to create longterm and sustainable futures.