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12 Mar 20. Rolls-Royce launches engine controls capability at Purdue University. Rolls-Royce has launched an engine controls capability at Purdue University in the US to assemble and test electronic engine controllers. The new capability will support the company’s US defence business and will be installed in the engines competing for the US Air Force (USAF) B-52 programme. Rolls-Royce noted that the controllers will help manage in-flight engine operations.
The company completed the first controller in the Purdue Research Foundation’s Discovery Park District located adjacent to the Purdue campus at West Lafayette, Indiana.
It will be installed onto a Rolls-Royce AE 3007H engine, which was manufactured at the company’s facilities located in Indianapolis, US.
Rolls-Royce North America CEO Tom Bell said: “Rolls-Royce has partnered with Purdue University for decades and we are excited to launch our new controls capability on campus to assemble and test these high-tech engine components.
“Whether for the Rolls-Royce AE family of engines or for our competitive F130 engine for the B-52, these new controllers will support US military pilots as they fly around the world, offering the highest-quality technical product.”
Northrop Grumman will receive the first engine equipped with the new controller for installation on a US Navy Triton aircraft.
The controllers will also be installed on AE 3007 engines designated for the USAF Global Hawk and the US Navy MQ-25 Stingray aircraft.
If Rolls-Royce wins the engine competition later this year, the facility located at Purdue will also assemble electronic controllers for the company’s F130 engines for the USAF B-52 strategic bomber re-engining programme.
The company will manufacture these engines at its Indianapolis facilities. Additionally, the company is completing a $600m investment in modernisation and technology programmes in Indiana. (Source: airforce-technology.com)
11 Mar 20. Keel laid for US Navy’s future USS Canberra littoral combat ship. The keel has been laid for the US Navy’s 15th Independence-class Littoral Combat Ship, the future USS Canberra (LCS 30). A ceremony was held to celebrate the milestone at Austal USA’s shipyard in Mobile, Alabama. The event was attended by Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs Marise Payne, who has been appointed as the ship’s sponsor. The LCS 30 is the second warship to bear the name Canberra, Australia’s capital city.
Payne said in a statement: “Austal is a world-leading naval shipbuilder entrusted with constructing the littoral combat ships for the US Navy. The success of Austal showcases Australian technical innovation and business expertise and underscores the deep strategic relationship between Australia and the US, uniquely reflected in the naming of the second USS Canberra, in honour of HMAS Canberra, lost at the Battle of Savo Island in 1942 along with three US heavy cruisers.”
In February last year, the first piece of aluminium for the ship was cut.
The US Navy’s LCS programme involves construction of the vessels in two variants, the Freedom-class and the Independence-class.
Austal USA is serving as the prime contractor for the Independence-class, while Lockheed Martin is developing the Freedom-variant.
Last month, the 11th Independence-class Kansas City (LCS 22) was delivered to the US Navy.
Oakland (LCS 24), Mobile (LCS 26), Savannah (LCS 28), Santa Barbara (LCS 32), Kingsville (LCS 36) and USS Pierre (LCS 38) are the other Independence-class LCSs to be built by Austal USA.(Source: naval-technology.com)
09 Mar 20. Delivery of Guardian Class patrol boat to Fiji. Minister for Defence Linda Reynolds and Minister for Defence Industry Melissa Price have attended the official gifting ceremony of the new Guardian Class patrol boat to Fiji. In the latest milestone for the Pacific Maritime Security Program, Australia has handed over the newest Guardian Class patrol boat to Fiji at a ceremony at Austal Shipyard in Henderson, Western Australia.
The Chief of the Defence Force, General Angus Campbell, AO, DSC, accepted the sixth Guardian Class patrol boat from Austal before it is formally gifted to the Republic of Fiji Military Forces.
The Republic of Fiji Military Forces’ RFNS Savenaca was received by the Prime Minister of the Republic of Fiji Josaia Voreqe Bainimarama; Minister for Defence, National Security and Foreign Affairs Inia Seruiratu; and Commander Republic of Fiji Military Forces Rear Admiral Viliame Naupoto.
Minister for Defence Linda Reynolds said the replacement of the Pacific patrol boats is an important part of Australia’s $2bn 30-year commitment to the Pacific region under the Pacific Maritime Security Program.
“Australia and Fiji have a long history of warm and productive relations and have worked closely in pursuit of common goals and values for decades,” Minister Reynolds said.
“Under the Vuvale Partnership signed between Prime Minister Bainimarama and Prime Minister [Scott] Morrison we agreed to take our co-operation to next level.
“It is in the spirit of this partnership that we hand over the RFNS Savenaca to one of our closest regional partners.
“We will continue to work with Fiji on our shared commitment to a support a region that is strategically secure, economically stable and politically sovereign.”
RFNS Savenaca will be named after Fijian Navy sailor Ordinary Seaman Savenaca Naulumatua, who served in World War II and gave his life in defence of freedom in the Pacific.
“I’m confident that the new Guardian Class will significantly enhance Fiji’s capability to patrol and protect its exclusive economic zone, support humanitarian assistance and disaster relief tasks, and combat illegal activities in its maritime domain,” Minister Reynolds said.
Minister for Defence Industry Melissa Price said the Pacific Maritime Security Program demonstrates the government’s commitment to delivering more jobs and opportunities in Australia’s defence industry.
“The Guardian Class patrol boat, an essential part of the government’s Pacific Maritime Security Program, is built by Australian company Austal in Perth, and supports around 400 direct and indirect jobs,” Minister Price said.
“The Guardian Class is part of the government’s wider investment to increase opportunities for small companies in Australia’s defence industry.”
The RFNS Savenaca is the first of two Guardian Class patrol boats that will be gifted to Fiji under the Pacific Maritime Security Program. The second boat will be delivered in 2023. (Source: Defence Connect)
06 Mar 20. US Navy Commissioned Expeditionary Sea Base USS Hershel “Woody” Williams. The Navy commissioned its newest Expeditionary Sea Base, USS Hershel “Woody” Williams (ESB 4), during a 10 a.m. EST ceremony Saturday, March 7, in Norfolk, Virginia.
The future Hershel “Woody” Williams is the first ship to bear the name of Marine Corps Chief Warrant Officer Four Hershel Woodrow Williams, the last surviving Medal of Honor recipient recognized for heroism at the Battle of Iwo Jima during World War II.
U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia delivered the commissioning ceremony’s principal address. The ceremony will be highlighted by a time-honored Navy tradition when Tracie Jean Ross and Travie Jane Ross, ship sponsors and daughters of Hershel “Woody” Williams, will give the first order to “man our ship and bring her to life!”
“This ship honors a man who dedicated his life to service — heroic service as a Marine, and continued service to his fellow veterans,” said Acting Secretary of the Navy Thomas Modly. “This dedication will live on in USS Hershel ‘Woody’ Williams as the ship is deployed around the world bringing additional capability to our growing fleet. The ceremony on Saturday will also represent the dedication to service demonstrated by the men and women who worked tirelessly to build this ship and their commitment to quality and innovation.”
The future Hershel “Woody” Williams is optimized to support a variety of maritime-based missions and designed around four core capabilities: aviation facilities, berthing, equipment staging support, and command and control assets. ESBs can be enhanced to meet special operations force missions through increased communications, aviation and unmanned aircraft system support.
Built by General Dynamics NASSCO, the Montford Point class is comprised of five ships across two variants: Expeditionary Transfer Docks and Expeditionary Sea Bases. Acting as a mobile sea base, ESBs are part of the critical access infrastructure that supports the deployment of forces and supplies to provide prepositioned equipment and sustainment with flexible distribution.
The platform has an aviation hangar and flight deck that include four operating spots capable of landing V-22 and MH-53E equivalent helicopters, accommodations, work spaces, and ordnance storage for an embarked force. The platform will also provide unmanned aviation vehicle operations, enhanced command and control, communications, computers, and intelligence capabilities to support embarked force mission planning and execution. The reconfigurable mission deck area can store embarked force equipment including mine sleds and rigid hull inflatable boats. (Source: US DoD)
06 Mar 20. Australia delivers sixth Guardian-class patrol boat. Key Points:
- Australia has handed over a Guardian-class patrol boat to Fiji
- The programme to equip 13 countries with the vessel is on track for completion by October 2023
The Australian government has handed over a Guardian-class patrol boat to Fiji. The vessel, which is part of a 21-vessel donation by Canberra to 12 Pacific Island countries and Timor-Leste, was handed over on 6 March at Austal Shipyard in Henderson, Western Australia. The vessel will be in service with the Republic of Fiji Military Forces as RFNS Savenaca. It is the sixth vessel in the Guardian class overall but the first of two boats that Fiji is receiving from Australia. (Source: Jane’s)
06 Mar 20. Mitsubishi reveals further details of Philippine Coast Guard’s 94m MRRV. Japan’s Mitsubishi Shipbuilding has given further details of the two 94m multirole response vessels (MRRVs) that it will be constructing for the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG). The details were given in a 6 March media release, to announce the conclusion of a supplementary agreement to construct the vessels. The agreement follows a February 2020 contract for the vessels signed between Mitsubishi, and the Philippine Department of Transportation (DOTr). Among features that were revealed in the March media release include a helideck and a hangar for helicopter operations, and the ability to deploy an underwater remotely operated vehicle for subsurface search and survey. (Source: Jane’s)
06 Mar 20. Spain decides to rebuild grounded minesweeper. The Spanish Navy has decided to rebuild a Segura-class minesweeper that ran aground in August 2019 rather than replace it with a new vessel. Announcing the decision on 5 March, the navy said a budget of approximately EUR25m (USD28.3m) is expected to cover repair costs for its fourth Segura-class minesweeper SPS Turia. Repairs will be contracted out to state-owned shipbuilder Navantia, with the backing of companies specialising in the glass-fibre hulls used for Turia and its five sister ships of the Segura class. “The decision has been taken after ratifying the technical viability of the repairs [with the cost estimates being] appreciably lower than acquiring a new one. (Source: Jane’s)
09 Mar 20. F-35 makes QRA debut against Russian aircraft. The Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) has been used to intercept and shadow Russian aircraft for the first time, with a pair of Norwegian aircraft contributing to a wider NATO mission on 7 March. The two Royal Norwegian Air Force (RoNAF) F-35As were scrambled out of the homebase at Ørland on the Norwegian coast as part of a NATO quick reaction alert (QRA) effort to monitor a flight of Russian military aircraft that was transiting across the North Atlantic. During the incident, which also involved RoNAF Lockheed Martin F-16 Fighting Falcon and UK Royal Air Force (RAF) Eurofighter Typhoon aircraft, a flight of Russian Tupolev Tu-142 long-range maritime patrol and anti-submarine warfare aircraft and escorting fighters and tankers flew through the Greenland-Iceland-UK (GIUK) gap down to the sea off the west coast of Ireland, before turning round and heading back to Russia.(Source: Jane’s)
MILITARY AND GOVERNMENT
06 Mar 20. Time runs out to fill Pentagon jobs. Of 60 positions at the Pentagon that must be confirmed by the Senate, more than one third are unfilled, and time is running out for the Trump administration on the Senate’s abbreviated, election-year calendar.
With the Senate Armed Services Committee facing a busy schedule and Senate floor time a scarce commodity, the prospects for filling top-level jobs at the Pentagon is slowly dwindling. Adding urgency, Sen. Jack Reed, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Armed Service Committee, said that too many beleaguered civil servants are doing the work of political appointees.
“If the administration moves quickly, I would recommend we move to accommodate and try to get the hearings done to get the nominees through,” Reed, D-R.I, said in a hallway interview Thursday. “They have to send the nominees up before we can even consider them, so the ball is in their court.”
Asked if the White House should hurry up with nominees, SASC Chairman Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., said, “They need to do it. They’ve been encouraged by everyone I can think of.”
In Capitol Hill testimony this week, Defense Secretary Mark Esper admitted it has become challenging to find candidates in the final year of President Donald Trump’s term and that the process has dragged for candidates it has found. “And we also have challenges with moving people through the process. These are long processes,” Esper said. “I don’t think the situation is as dire as some may think.”
But Reed expressed concern that the civilian vacancies would further tilt the balance of power between civilian and military leadership at the Defense Department toward uniformed officers. The recent firing of John Rood as undersecretary of defense for policy left a total of seven vacancies in the policy directorate.
“These vacancies continue to challenge the department’s ability to effectively respond to national security challenges and undermine civilian inputs into the decision-making process,” Reed told Esper.
Meanwhile, the panel is set to hold a confirmation hearing Tuesday for Matthew Donovan to be undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness, William Jordan Gillis to be assistant secretary of defense for sustainment and Victor Mercado to be assistant secretary of defense for strategy, plans, and capabilities.
No hearing date has been set for Kenneth “K.J.” Braithwaite as Navy secretary, whose official paperwork was submitted by the White House to the Senate only this week.
On March 2, Trump announced his intent to nominate James Anderson to be deputy under secretary of defense for policy and Kathryn Wheelbarger to be the deputy under secretary of defense for intelligence and security. However, the White House has yet to submit them to the Senate―a part of the process that has often dragged for this administration.
On Feb. 13, SASC advanced James McPherson to be undersecretary of the Army and Charles Williams to be an assistant secretary of the Navy for installations, energy and the environment. They’ve since been added to the executive calendar where more than 40 others, across multiple agencies, are waiting for time for a Senate floor vote.
Behind all of those known officials, there are nine more names in the pipeline to an official nomination at DoD, according to Esper.
‘It’s the calendar, stupid.’
The Trump administration’s process for vetting nominees has been notoriously slow, but there has been some high-profile tumult in recent days.
After Trump hired in February a new chief for the Presidential Personnel Office, John McEntee, came reports that McEntee was emphasizing loyalty to the president in the hiring process and purging officials he deems disloyal.
Trump’s pick to help lead the Pentagon’s personnel office, J. David Patterson, abruptly withdrew his name from consideration last month after a controversial, anti-immigrant opinion piece he wrote in 2017 began circulating on Capitol Hill. Donovan has since been tapped for that slot.
Trump announced on March 2 that he was withdrawing the nomination of Elaine McCusker, who had questioned his temporary freeze of military aid to Ukraine, for the post of Pentagon comptroller.
Beyond those specific cases, the Senate’s recent disharmony on nominations and its election-year calendar full of short days and recesses are the primary enemies of speedy nominations to DoD and beyond, according to SASC staff director and Marine general Arnold Punaro.
“It’s not the Senate’s fault or the committee’s fault. It’s the calendar, stupid,” Punaro said.
Though the Senate generally operates by unanimous consent, the trend has been for senators to refuse easy up-or-down votes, forcing Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., to hold “cloture” votes to overrule them and get to a final vote. Under Senate rules, it takes 51 votes to invoke cloture.
When the leader files cloture on a nomination, it has to lie over for two Senate calendar days. When the Senate is in and a cloture is filed on Monday for example, senators can vote on Wednesday. If it’s filed on a Friday when they are in session, it ripens on the following Tuesday.
If cloture is approved, the rules require 30 hours of post-cloture debate, essentially four full days. But because the Senate’s week during an election-year accommodates more time for senators to campaign at home, a typical week in the upper chamber begins late Monday and ends early Thursday. That means that unless there’s an unanimous agreement to limit debate, a single nomination could stretch over two weeks.
This is the environment in which Veronica Daigle, assistant secretary of defense for readiness, was nominated in January, 2019, and was only confirmed in June. After all that, Daigle left at the end of January, leaving a career civil servant to fill the assistant secretary role on an acting basis.
Though it’s unlikely, Punaro said, that cloture would be invoked in all cases, the calendar still doesn’t leave much wiggle room. The Senate will be out of session for ten weeks total between this week and early October, when the Senate leaves town for the November election.
Those dynamics put pressure on McConnell, who has to decide which nominees to prioritize within the time available, Punaro said. By Punaro’s reckoning, DoD confirmations compare favorably with other agencies, which are also waiting to be fully staffed.
These dynamics also put pressure on Inhofe to move quickly when the White House does send over a nomination. The committee’s schedule will be dominated for the next few weeks by hearings reviewing the Pentagon’s budget proposal, leaving windows in late April or early May before the committee begins its markup for its version of the 2021 National Defense Authorization Act.
If the White House does make more nominations, SASC will make the time to hold hearings, Punaro predicted.
“The Pentagon and Armed Services Committee will do triple backflips to get this done,” he said. (Source: Defense News)
11 Mar 20. USMC Master Gunnery Sgt. Andrew D. McCurry, currently assigned as the Marine Raider Support Group senior enlisted advisor, Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, has been selected to replace Command Sgt. Maj. Dave S. Lance as the command senior enlisted leader for Special Operations Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve, Iraq.
10 Mar 20. Boeing Chief Engineer and Senior Vice President of Engineering, Test & Technology Greg Hyslop issued the following statement after a four-year contract extension was ratified by the Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace (SPEEA) professional unit but rejected by the technical unit: We are pleased that the SPEEA professional unit employees have ratified the agreement. The agreement is good for our engineers, our company and our customers. It was our hope that the four-year contract extension would benefit both the professional and the technical groups. Our professional unit employees will be covered by the ratified contract that expires in 2026 and the technical unit will remain covered by the existing contract through 2022. We will continue to work toward the company’s top priorities, and our ongoing commitment to engineering excellence remains unchanged.
09 Mar 20. Aitech has named Pratish Shah as general manager for the North American business unit. In addition to leading the North American business unit, Shah will assist in developing and implementing the company’s global growth initiatives as well as manage technology offerings. Shah has led several technology companies through business transformations that leveraged existing technologies and produced a culture of innovation. Most recently, he served as general manager of Zen Technologies USA, where he developed global opportunities in the US and in the Middle East. As president and CEO of Quantum 3D, he helped relaunch the company’s advanced technologies to bring virtual, augmented and mixed reality training and simulation to military and defense companies.
09 Mar 20. J.F. Lehman & Company Welcomes New Team Members and Announces Promotions. J.F. Lehman & Company (“JFLCO”), a leading middle-market private equity firm focused exclusively on the aerospace, defense, maritime, government and environmental sectors, is pleased to announce a series of new additions and promotions throughout its organization. Last month, Zachary R. Mattler and Nicole Kim joined a group of other new hires over the last year, which included Nandit Gandhi, Michael J. Greenspan, Karina Perelmuter, Scott K. McKnight, Nathaniel O. Heagney and Sarah J. Cabrera. In addition to welcoming its newest team members, the firm recently announced the promotion of both Scott K. McKnight and Michael W. Cueter to Vice President.
Michael W. Cueter, Vice President. Prior to joining the firm in January 2018 as a Senior Associate, Mr. Cueter was an Associate at Olympus Partners, where he focused on private equity investments across several sectors. He began his career as an Investment Banking Analyst in Harris Williams & Co.’s Consumer Group. Mr. Cueter graduated from the Stephen M. Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan, where he earned a B.B.A. with concentrations in accounting and finance.
Scott K. McKnight, Vice President. Prior to joining the firm in April 2019 as a Senior Associate, Mr. McKnight was an Associate at Odyssey Investment Partners, where he focused on private equity investments in aerospace and industrials. Previously, Mr. McKnight worked as a Senior Investment Banking Analyst at MHT Partners. He began his career in management consulting at Dean & Company. Mr. McKnight graduated from Dartmouth College, where he earned an A.B. in philosophy and English with a minor in Japanese.
Zachary R. Mattler, Vice President. Prior to joining the firm in February 2020, Mr. Mattler was a Senior Associate at Harvest Partners, where he focused on private equity investments across several sectors. Previously, Mr. Mattler worked as an Associate at J.H. Whitney Capital Partners. He began his career as an Investment Banking Analyst in Bank of America Merrill Lynch’s Global Industrials Group. Mr. Mattler graduated from Pomona College, where he earned a B.A. in economics.
Nicole Kim, Senior Associate. Prior to joining the firm in February 2020, Ms. Kim was an Associate at The Carlyle Group, where she focused on private equity investments in aerospace, defense and government services. Previously, Ms. Kim worked as an Analyst at Cartica Capital. She began her career as an Investment Banking Analyst in Lazard’s Mergers & Acquisitions Group. Ms. Kim earned a B.S. in operations research and information engineering from Cornell University and an M.B.A. from Stanford’s Graduate School of Business.
Nandit Gandhi, Managing Director – Portfolio Operations. Prior to joining the firm in July 2019, Mr. Gandhi was a Partner at American Infrastructure Partners, where he was responsible for leading investments, managing portfolio companies, directing strategic and operational due diligence for new acquisitions and serving as CEO for Agspring. Previously, Mr. Gandhi served as a Senior Vice President at Platinum Equity, where he also served as CEO for GeesinkNorba Group. He started his career in manufacturing, progressing into operations and financial consulting, and held many business leadership roles across diverse industries and companies, including at Ingersoll Rand, Lucent Technologies, TRW and Delphi Automotive. Mr. Gandhi earned a B.S. in mechanical engineering from Birla Institute of Technology and an M.B.A. from Babson College.
Nathaniel O. Heagney, Associate. Prior to joining the firm in July 2019, Mr. Heagney was an Investment Banking Analyst in Wells Fargo Securities’ Middle Market Group. Mr. Heagney graduated from Vanderbilt University, where he earned a B.A. in economics with a minor in English.
Michael J. Greenspan, Vice President – Portfolio Operations. Prior to joining the firm in a newly created position in April 2019, Mr. Greenspan was a Manager in Alvarez & Marsal’s Private Equity Services Group and a Senior Associate at HBR Consulting. Mr. Greenspan graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he earned a B.A. in economics.
Karina Perelmuter, Vice President – Investor Relations & Marketing. Prior to joining the firm in a newly created position in April 2019, Ms. Perelmuter served as a Vice President in Lazard’s Private Capital Advisory practice, where she joined after spending nearly four years in Investor Relations at Tiger Global. Previously, she worked as a Fund Accountant at Mount Kellett and began her career at Ernst & Young. Ms. Perelmuter graduated magna cum laude with a B.S. in Finance and Accounting from American University.
Sarah J. Cabrera, Assistant Controller. Prior to joining the firm in a newly created position in February 2019, Ms. Cabrera served as Director of Accounting for Politico and worked for a public company with SEC filing requirements. Ms. Cabrera is a Certified Public Accountant and graduated from Strayer University, where she earned a B.S. in accounting.
11 Mar 20. Steampunk announced today that the Honorable Kevin K. McAleenan, former Acting Secretary of Homeland Security and Commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection, has been appointed to its Board of Directors to help direct the enterprise as it accelerates its progressive growth journey. Mr. McAleenan served as the Acting Secretary of Homeland Security from April to November 2019. Prior to this appointment, he served as Commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), having been confirmed by the U.S. Senate in March 2018. Previously, he had served as CBP Acting Commissioner since January 2017. (Source: PR Newswire)
REST OF THE WORLD APPOINTMENTS
11 Mar 20. Melbourne-based Amaero International, a specialist in metal additive manufacturing (3D printing) for the defence, aerospace and tooling sectors, has appointed David Wolf as its global defence offsets and counter trade investment adviser. Wolf is recognised globally for his expertise within defence offsets, counter trade and private equity. Over the past 40 years, he has negotiated successful outcomes for more than $15bn worth of defence offsets and investment. As a member of the board of the Global Offset and Countertrade Association (GOCA), Wolf joins 14 other global leaders of the world’s largest defence companies, including the global heads of offsets from Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, Northrop Grumman, Safran, Bell, Leonardo and Saab AB. (Source: Defence Connect)
05 Mar 20. Cyient, a leading provider of technology services and solutions, today announced the appointment of Karthikeyan Natarajan to the role of President and Chief Operating Officer (COO). As Cyient focuses on its transformation from a service to a solutions company, underpinned by strong design-led manufacturing expertise and digital capabilities, Karthik’s appointment will bring valuable leadership to the Cyient executive team. As President and COO, Karthik will lead global business operations management for the company, including sales, delivery, and business development as a P&L focused on multiple industry verticals such as Aerospace & Defense, Communications, Transportation, Semiconductor, Energy, Utilities, Geospatial, and Industrial. (Source: PR Newswire)
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