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04 Jun 20. DIO concludes work at RNAS Yeovilton for Royal Navy. The Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO) has completed essential improvements at Royal Naval Air Station (RNAS) Yeovilton and has handed over the station to the British Royal Navy. Under the project, essential access to the sites from the public highway was improved. The project included a new Fuel Bowser Vehicle Park aimed at minimising the potential risk of a fuel spillage from the fuel tankers. The scope of the work also included restarting an existing gymnasium and enhancing electronic firing range. Last week, the naval station was handed over to the Royal Navy, one month prior to the scheduled delivery date. DIO senior project manager Simon Jones said: “DIO is proud to deliver this project at RNAS Yeovilton which has improved the infrastructure and buildings on the site.
“We used our expertise throughout DIO along with our partners Mott Macdonald and Galliford Try Ltd to deliver this technically challenging project.
“The project team worked together collaboratively to overcome a range of construction challenges which required continual rescheduling and working in multiple areas simultaneously to complete the project ahead of schedule especially in these unprecedented times.”
To deliver the project as scheduled, new working practices were adapted by all partners. The health and safety of all staff was ensured as per the government and construction industry guidelines issued due to the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.
The work did not disrupt navy flying operations and was carried out in a way to ensure minimum disruptions were made to public highway.
Galliford Try Building South West area director Mark Wusthoff said: “The safe and successful completion of our works, ahead of schedule, against the backdrop of the pandemic, is testament to the collaborative approach employed between all parties.” (Source: naval-technology.com)
04 Jun 20. Australia starts construction of Submarine Rescue System facility. The Australian Government has commenced the construction of its new purpose-built facility at Henderson in Western Australia. Once complete, this facility will house the Royal Australian Navy’s Submarine Rescue System.
As part of the Liberal National Government’s air transportable Submarine Rescue Service, the facility will support personnel serving in navy submarines.
Work on the facility is expected to create more than 55 jobs.
Australian Minister for Defence Linda Reynolds, who turned the first sod on the new site, said that the new system is being designed and built to support the capability requirements of the navy.
The $12.5m facility is being built by Civmec. The acquisition phase of the project is worth around $279m.
Construction of the facility is expected to conclude in February next year.
Reynolds said: “In a time where our submarines are operating more than ever, we must continue to ensure our submarines are prepared for any mission, including rescue operations.
“This purpose-built facility being built in Henderson will house this important new capability, which will ensure ongoing support and training can be conducted to facilitate rapid deployment in support of a distressed submarine.
“While the primary mission of the Submarine Rescue Service is to deliver a rescue capability for Australia’s submarine fleet, the system will also be capable of supporting other submarines operating in our region.”
In February this year, the RAN had deployed Mine Counter-Measures (MCM) capability under Project SEA 1778 in order to protect maritime task groups from the threat of sea mines.
Under the Phase I of the project, Australian Mine Warfare Team 16 (MWT 16) was commissioned to operate a host of unmanned surface vessels (USV), expendable mine neutralisation systems, MCM support craft, and autonomous underwater vehicles (AUV).
29 May 20. Russian Navy accepts delivery of ballistic missile carrier submarine. The Russian Navy has accepted delivery of the strategic ballistic missile carrier submarine Knyaz Vladimir from the Sevmash shipyard. Xinhua quoted Sevmash shipyard as saying in a statement: “The acceptance certificate has been signed after the successful completion of all stages of the submarine’s testing, confirming its readiness for transfer to the navy.”
Laid down at Sevmash in 2012, the vessel delivered is the improved Borei-A class project of the fourth-generation nuclear submarines.
Borei-A-class submarines have the ability to carry up to 16 Bulava intercontinental ballistic missiles each. They are also armed with 533mm torpedo tubes. The submarine has also upgraded features with better acoustic stealth, maneuvering and deep-sea running capabilities, and an improved armament control system.
The upgraded version of previous Borei-class vessels, these vessels are said to be a significant part of the Russia’s naval strategic nuclear forces in the future. The missile carrier successfully concluded the state test cycle in December last year.
In October the same year, the vessel’s crew was successful in performing its first test launch of the Bulava missile from the White Sea. They also conducted the Kura test site in the far eastern Kamchatka Peninsula.
Currently, the Russian Navy operates three baseline Project 955 Borei submarines including Yuri Dolgoruky, Vladimir Monomakh, and Alexander Nevsky.
Located in the port city of Severodvinsk on the White Sea, Sevmash is the Russian Navy’s sole nuclear submarine manufacturer.
It is scheduled to deliver four more nuclear-powered Borei-A submarines to the Russian Navy this year. In addition, it plans to build two more vessels. (Source: naval-technology.com)
04 Jun 20. USAF F-35A Lighting II deployed from Hill AFB to Al Dhafra Air Base. The US Air Force (USAF) F-35A Lighting II jets have been deployed recently from Hill Air Force Base (AFB) in Utah, US, to Al Dhafra Air Base, UAE, for combat.
The 421st Fighter Squadron departed Hill AFB for Al Dhafra Air Base to support the UASF Central Command mission in the region.
This is the third time in around 12 months that airmen from the 388th and 419th Fighter Wings at Hill AFB deployed F-35A Lighting IIs into combat.
USAF 388th Fighter Wing commander Colonel Steven Behmer said: “The 421st Fighter Squadron completed their stand up in December and now they’re our latest squadron heading into the fight.
“This demonstrates the readiness of our airmen, our weapons system, and the importance of both the airforce and our national defence mission.”
The squadron recently deployed to the Middle Eastern country includes pilots and maintainers from the 421st and Reserve 466th Fighter Squadrons. It also includes aircraft maintenance units and other support personnel.
Around three weeks ago, an initial contingent of active and reserve airmen deployed with the 34th Fighter Squadron returned to Hill AFB after completing a six-month deployment to the Middle East.
A large group from the 34th FS deployed to the Middle East are expected to return to the US soon.
During the mission, the 34th FS squadron carried out close air support, offensive and defensive counter-air and maritime escort.
This squadron participated in multinational exercises and operated from two different bases for more than three months. The 421st Fighter Squadron is expected to assume a similar role.
The F-35A offers operational capability by combining advanced stealth capabilities with the latest weapons technology.
In October 2015, the first operational F-35As arrived at Hill AFB, which is now home to 78 F-35s.
In a total force partnership, the active-duty 388th FW and USAF Reserve 419th FW fly and maintain the jets. (Source: airforce-technology.com)
05 Jun 20. Boeing delivers first Super Hornet Blue Angel test aircraft to US Navy. Boeing in early May delivered the first F/A-18E/F Super Hornet fighter test aircraft to the US Navy’s (USN’s) Blue Angel flight demonstration squadron, according to a company statement.
The navy selects eligible F/A-18 Hornets and Super Hornets and ensures proper flying condition before turning them over to Boeing for conversion at the company’s Cecil Field facility in Jacksonville, Florida. Boeing then performs major modifications which include the addition of an oil tank for the smoke-generation system and fuel systems that enable the aircraft to fly inverted for extended periods of time. Other modifications include civilian-compatible navigation equipment, cameras, and adjustments for the aircraft’s centre of gravity.
Boeing in May 2020 delivered its first F/A-18E/F Super Hornet fighter aircraft to the US Navy for use in its Blue Angel flight demonstration squadron. It will later be painted with Blue Angel livery.
Boeing spokesperson Jessica Carlton said on 4 June that the first two Blue Angel Super Hornets are designated as flight test aircraft. Boeing delivered the first one, which is now at Naval Air Station (NAS) Patuxent River, Maryland, for flight testing. The USN flight test squadron (VX-23) will perform the flight test. The second flight test aircraft is scheduled to be delivered to NAS Patuxent River before the end of June.
Once both of these aircraft complete flight testing, they will return to NAS Jacksonville and be painted before joining the squadron. The remaining nine Super Hornet Blue Angels are scheduled to be delivered already painted. Carlton said these aircraft are currently undergoing modifications for delivery to the squadron to support mid-2020 and fourth quarter 2020/first quarter 2021 training events.
05 Jun 20. US Navy delays VH-92A fielding to address commission system related challenges. The US Navy (USN) is delaying fielding of the Sikorsky VH-92A presidential helicopter by three months to January 2021 in part to provide more time to address mission communication system (MCS)-related challenges, according to a new Government Accountability Office (GAO) report.
The GAO said on 3 June that the VH-92A programme entered production in June 2019 with a stable design and a developmental version of the government-developed mission communications system (MCS). This replaces the current fleet’s communications and is expected to provide passengers, pilot, and crew with simultaneous short- and long-range secure and non-secure voice and data communications capabilities. While the MCS is not in use on any other aircraft, the VH-92A programme reports no critical technologies.
Marine Helicopter Squadron One (HMX-1) runs test flights of the new VH-92A over the south lawn of the White House on 22 September 2018. Fielding of the aircraft has been delayed by three months to provide more time to address mission communication system (MCS)-related challenges.
The USN, using two developmental VH-92As and a developmental MCS software version, conducted an operational assessment from March-April 2019 to inform its production design. This assessment confirmed MCS-related performance shortfalls, some of which led to inconsistent and unreliable communications.
According to programme officials, many of these MCS issues were known deficiencies. Upgraded software intended to address those limitations is to be evaluated during the initial operational test and evaluation (IOT&E) phase scheduled to be conducted between June-September 2020. The programme has delayed initial fielding by three months to January 2021, in part to provide more time to address MCS-related challenges. GAO said the MCS-upgraded software’s effectiveness remains an area of concern. (Source: Jane’s)
MILITARY AND GOVERNMENT
02 Jun 20. Department of Defense Announces Tour Length Change for the Middle East. The Department of Defense has changed the current overseas tour length for DoD military personnel under COCOM (Title 10) authority assigned to permanent duty locations in the Arabian Peninsula and Iraq.
As a byproduct of the Department’s continuous reassessment of personnel policies worldwide, DoD military personnel will gradually transition to 12-month unaccompanied tours for designated duty stations in the region.
This change will not affect the number or readiness of U.S. forces in the region.
DoD military personnel currently assigned to the region will finish out their accompanied tours and cycle out gradually over the course of two years. Those who have orders to prepare to move up to 30 days from today will be allowed to PCS to their accompanied tour, though all accompanied tours must be complete by August 31, 2022.
While this change applies to a number of countries in the region, only Bahrain and Qatar currently host military families under COCOM authority.
The Department remains committed to supporting our partners in this vital region. (Source: US DoD)
03 Jun 20. US Marines arrive in Darwin post-COVID 19. Defence Minister Linda Reynolds has welcomed the first group of 200 US Marines to RAAF Base Darwin as part of the ninth Marine Rotational Force – Darwin (MRF-D). Minister Reynolds said their arrival was the result of extensive planning and co-ordination between both nations to address challenges posed by COVID-19.
“MRF-D is an important initiative that deepens interoperability between the Australian Defence Force and the US military,” Minister Reynolds said.
“Australia’s alliance with the United States is our most important Defence relationship. It sends a clear signal about our commitment to the security and stability of our region.
“The fact that we were able to modify MRF-D and mitigate risks associated with COVID-19 to allow it to proceed is a strong testament of the resilience of our alliance.”
All Marines will be quarantined for 14 days at Defence facilities in the Darwin area, following biosecurity screening and COVID-19 testing on arrival. The Marines will be tested again for COVID-19 before exiting quarantine.
These arrangements have been established after close consultation with the Northern Territory government. The US Marines will train with ADF personnel at various Defence training facilities around the greater Darwin area, including Mount Bundey and Kangaroo Flats.
MRF-D will grow to 1,200 personnel over the next eight weeks and will train through to September. The rotation will finish with the signature MRF-D/ADF bilateral high-end warfighting activity, Exercise Koolendong. The Marines will then redeploy back to Japan and the US.
The MRF-D for 2020 had been paused in March as the COVID-19 pandemic spread and strict travel restrictions were put in place by governments across the world, including limiting military training operations.
The MRF–D initiative involves the annual rotation of US Marines through northern Australia for approximately six months during the dry season.
While in Australia, the MRF–D undertakes a range of activities including training unilaterally and with the Australian Defence Force and other Indo-Pacific nations. The MRF–D initiative has grown in size and complexity since the first rotation of 200 US Marines in 2012. The 2019 rotation consisted of 2,500 US Marines.
The decision was based on Australia’s record to date in managing the impacts from COVID-19, as well as strict adherence by deployed US Marines to the mandatory 14-day quarantine and other requirements.
Hosting this key alliance activity provides interoperability benefits as well as signals a firm joint commitment to regional security. It is a clear testimony to the strength and value of the Australia-US alliance.
(Source: Defence Connect)
03 Jun 20. Historic nomination of first black service chief to move forward after lawmaker lifts secret hold.
As the country is gripped by civil unrest over racial injustice and the death of George Floyd, the U.S. Senate has been poised to confirm the first black chief of a military service branch. But the nomination was being quietly delayed by one senator as leverage in a basing decision for the KC-46 aerial refueling tanker.
Sen. Dan Sullivan has lifted a legislative hold he placed on the nomination of Air Force Gen. Charles Brown, Defense News has learned. The Alaska Republican established the hold shortly after Brown’s confirmation hearing in front of the Senate Armed Services Committee in early May, preventing his nomination from moving forward, according to three sources with knowledge of the matter.
President Donald Trump on March 2 nominated Brown, currently the commander of Pacific Air Forces, to replace Gen. Dave Goldfein as the Air Force’s top general. Brown was one of four nominees SASC reported favorably on May 19, but the only one not to receive Senate floor consideration in the days since.
The weekslong delay for Brown’s historic confirmation vote has flown under the radar amid other controversies surrounding Trump’s involvement of the military as a response to protests and violence around the country — and as the Pentagon wrestles with its own sensitivities to racial issues.
On Wednesday evening, Sullivan confirmed to Defense News that he had held up Brown’s nomination while waiting for responses to additional questions about the KC-46.
“You probably saw the confirmation hearing. I had some follow up questions on it. They got back to me now and so he’s cleared hot,” he said. “You know the nomination process, you’ve seen that I take it very seriously. The questions I asked are serious and then when we have questions for the record, they’ve got to be answered appropriately. So we’re just going through that. And we got there, so yeah he’s cleared hot.”
Sullivan is widely known as a dogged advocate for his state as a strategic hub for the U.S. military. The lawmaker has lobbied the Air Force to base the KC-46 tanker in Eielson Air Force Base in Alaska, which is under consideration as one of four candidate bases in the Asia-Pacific region.
In a May 2 interview with Defense News, Sullivan said, “it’s a complete no brainer that it should be Alaska.”
During Brown’s hearing, Sullivan engaged Brown in a long line of questioning about whether it would be advantageous to position the KC-46 within reach of several combatant commands, near an installation with access to both a large airspace, and close to fifth generation fighter jets like the F-35 and F-22 — all characteristics of U.S. air bases in Alaska.
Brown responded in the affirmative.
“Does it make sense, on the flip side, to have OCONUS [outside the contiguous United States] KC-46s in a location that’s focused only on one combatant command and will be vulnerable soon to long-range precision weapons from our adversaries in the [U.S. Indo-Pacific Command] region?” Sullivan asked.
“Senator, it probably does not because it increases the risk to the fleet,” Brown responded. (Source: Defense News)
02 Jun 20. Navy Command Master Chief Laura S. Nunley, currently assigned to the Office of Naval Intelligence, Washington, D.C., has been selected to replace Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Benjamin J. Higginbotham as the command senior enlisted leader for the Defense Intelligence Agency, Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling, Washington, D.C.
02 Jun 20. Rear Adm. James S. Bynum is currently serving as director, warfare development, N72, Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, Washington, D.C. Bynum previously served as director, Assessment Division, N81, Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, Washington, D.C.
02 Jun 20. Rear Adm. Charles B. Cooper II will be assigned as commander, Naval Surface Force Atlantic, Norfolk, Virginia. Copper previously served as chief of legislative affairs, Washington, D.C.
02 Jun 20. Rear Adm. Marc H. Dalton is currently serving as director, Assessment Division, N81, Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, Washington, D.C. Dalton previously served as director, maritime operations (DMOC/N04), U.S. Pacific Fleet, Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.
02 Jun 20. Rear Adm. Roy I. Kitchener will be assigned as commander, Naval Surface Forces; and commander, Naval Surface Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet, San Diego, California. Kitchener is currently serving as commander, Naval Surface Force Atlantic, Norfolk, Virginia.
02 Jun 20. Rear Adm. John F. Meier is currently serving as commander, Naval Air Force Atlantic, Norfolk, Virginia. Meier previously served as commander, Navy Warfare Development Command, Norfolk, Virginia.
02 Jun 20. Rear Adm. Lorin C. Selby is currently serving as chief of naval research, Arlington, Virginia. Selby previously served as deputy commander for ship design, integration, and naval engineering, SEA-05, Naval Sea Systems Command, Washington, D.C.
02 Jun 20. Rear Adm. John B. Skillman will be assigned as director, Programming Division, N80, Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, Washington, D.C. Skillman is currently serving as director, enterprise support, N1, Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, Arlington, Virginia.
02 Jun 20. Rear Adm. (lower half) Daniel W. Dwyer, selected for promotion to rear admiral, will be assigned as director, plans and policy, J5, U.S. Cyber Command, Fort Meade, Maryland. Dwyer is currently serving chief of naval air training, Corpus Christi, Texas.
02 Jun 20. Rear Adm. (lower half) Peter A. Garvin, selected for promotion to rear admiral, will be assigned as commander, Naval Education and Training Command, Pensacola, Florida. Garvin is currently assigned as commander, Patrol and Reconnaissance Group, Norfolk, Virginia.
02 Jun 20. Rear Adm. (lower half) Fred I. Pyle, selected for promotion to rear admiral, is currently serving as commander, Navy Warfare Development Command, Norfolk, Virginia. Pyle previously served as commander, Carrier Strike Group Three, Bremerton, Washington.
02 Jun 20. Rear Adm. (lower half) James A. Aiken is currently serving as commander, Carrier Strike Group Three, Bremerton, Washington. Aiken previously served as deputy director for resources and acquisition, J8, Joint Staff, Washington, D.C.
02 Jun 20. Rear Adm. (lower half) Thomas J. Anderson will be assigned as program executive officer for ships, Washington, D.C. Anderson previously served as commander, Regional Maintenance Center, Washington, D.C.
02 Jun 20. Rear Adm. (lower half) Michael E. Boyle will be assigned as
director, maritime operations (DMOC/N04), U.S. Pacific Fleet, Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. Boyle previously served as commander, Carrier Strike Group Twelve, Norfolk, Virginia.
02 Jun 20. Rear Adm. (lower half) Richard J. Cheeseman Jr., is currently serving as commander, Carrier Strike Group Two, Norfolk, Virginia. Cheeseman previously served as assistant commander for career management, PERS-4, Navy Personnel Command, Millington, Tennessee.
02 Jun 20. Rear Adm. (lower half) Craig A. Clapperton is currently serving as commander, Carrier Strike Group Twelve, Norfolk, Virginia. Clapperton previously served as deputy director, operations, J3, U.S. Cyber Command, Fort Meade, Maryland.
02 Jun 20. Rear Adm. (lower half) Kristen B. Fabry will be assigned as commander, Defense Logistics Agency – Land and Maritime, Columbus, Ohio. Fabry is currently serving as director, logistics, fleet supply and ordnance, N4, U.S. Pacific Fleet, Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.
02 Jun 20. Rear Adm. (lower half) Sara A. Joyner is currently serving as chief of legislative affairs, Washington, D.C. Joyner previously served as commander, Carrier Strike Group Two, Norfolk, Virginia.
02 Jun 20. Rear Adm. (lower half) Robert D. Katz is currently serving as commander, Expeditionary Strike Group Two, Virginia Beach, Virginia. Katz previously served as director, joint/fleet operations, U.S. Fleet Forces Command, Norfolk, Virginia.
02 Jun 20. Rear Adm. (lower half) James A. Kirk is currently serving as commander, Carrier Strike Group Eleven, Everett, Washington. Kirk previously served as deputy commander/chief of staff, Joint Warfare Center, Allied Command Transformation, Stavanger, Norway.
02 Jun 20. Rear Adm. (lower half) Timothy J. Kott will be assigned as commander, Carrier Strike Group One, San Diego, California. Kott is currently serving as assistant chief of staff, operations, Allied Joint Forces Command, Naples, Italy.
02 Jun 20. Rear Adm. (lower half) Frederick R. Luchtman is currently serving as commander, Naval Safety Center; and lead for the Physiological Episodes (PE) Effort, Norfolk, Virginia. Luchtman previously served as lead for the PE Effort, Arlington, Virginia.
02 Jun 20. Rear Adm. (lower half) Lance G. Scott will be assigned as commander, Patrol and Reconnaissance Group, Norfolk, Virginia. Scott is currently serving as chief, Global Operations Center, U.S. Transportation Command, Scott Air Force Base, Illinois.
02 Jun 20. Rear Adm. (lower half) John D. Spencer will be assigned as commander, Submarine Group Ten, Kings Bay, Georgia. Spencer is currently serving as director, Nuclear Support Directorate, Defense Threat Reduction Agency, Fort Belvoir, Virginia.
02 Jun 20. Rear Adm. (lower half) Eric H. Ver Hage is currently serving as commander, Regional Maintenance Center, Washington, D.C. Ver Hage previously served as commander, Naval Surface Warfare Center; and commander, Naval Undersea Warfare Center, Washington, D.C.
01 Jun 20. Jeff Lewis has been appointed Raytheon UK’s new Chief Executive and Managing Director, effective today. Lewis joined Raytheon UK from Babcock Marine in May 2019 as Chief Operating Officer. He has significant experience in the global defence sector having previously worked at The Weir Group PLC and Balfour Beatty PLC. He takes over from Richard Daniel, who is moving to a new advisory role following six years at the helm. During that period, Raytheon UK has grown its defence and aerospace portfolio, established a new Cyber & Digital business and Space programme.
03 Jun 20. U.S. industrial conglomerate 3M Co (MMM.N) on Wednesday appointed General Electric Co (GE.N) executive Monish Patolawala as the company’s chief financial officer, effective July 1. Patolawala, 51, currently serves as the CFO of GE’s healthcare unit. He will replace Nick Gangestad, who will retire, 3M said. (Source: Reuters)
REST OF THE WORLD APPOINTMENTS
02 Jun 20. MDA announced that retired astronaut Tim Kopra will join its leadership team as Vice President of Robotics and Space Operations, effective immediately. As the leader for this business area, he will be responsible for the work of the robotics and space operations teams at MDA sites in Brampton, Ottawa, Saint-Hubert and Houston. (Source: PR Newswire)
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