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23 Jul 20. Lockheed Martin commences construction on US Navy’s LCS 29. Lockheed Martin and Fincantieri Marinette Marine have commenced construction on the US Navy’s future USS Beloit Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) 29. The start of construction on the 15th Freedom-variant LCS 29 was marked by a ceremony in Marinette. During the ceremony, the initials of the sponsor of the vessel were welded onto a keel plate that was affixed to the ship. Once constructed, LCS 29 will join over 30 sister ships. To date, the US Navy has deployed four Freedom-variant LCS to support its peacekeeping missions. LCS is designed to deliver advanced capability in anti-submarine, surface and mine countermeasure missions. Led by Lockheed Martin, the team has partnered with the US Navy to upgrade the LCSs to defend against evolving threats. To support upcoming deployments, the vessels are undergoing upgrades, with the installation of naval strike missiles. The ships will be installed with improved electronic warfare and decoy launching systems. There are currently six LCSs, including USS Beloit, under different stages of construction and testing at the Fincantieri Marinette Marine shipyard. Earlier this year, USS Detroit (LCS 7) conducted missions with US Navy destroyer and Coast Guard teams in the US Southern Command Area of Responsibility.
Lockheed Martin Small Combatants and Ship Systems vice-president and general manager Joe DePietro said: “With two deployments so far this year, Freedom-variant LCS have proven that they are capable and can serve a unique role in the US Navy’s fleet. LCS speed, manoeuvrability and flexibility allows the ship to serve a multitude of missions by quickly integrating equipment and deploying manned and unmanned aerial, surface or sub-surface vehicles.” (Source: naval-technology.com)
30 Jul 20. USAF’s Eglin AFB receives F-15EX aircraft. US Air Force’s (USAF) Eglin Air Force Base (AFB) in Florida, US, has received the latest F-15EX advanced fighter aircraft. The airbase is planning to conduct developmental testing (DT) and operational testing (OT) as soon as possible following the delivery of EX1 and EX2 next year. The DT and OT planning and provisioning for the aircraft will be managed by the Operational Flight Program Combined Test Force. EX1 will be delivered to the 40th Flight Test Squadron (FLTS), while EX2 will be delivered to the 85th Test and Evaluation Squadron. DT and OT will be conducted simultaneously by squadron aircrews and testers together.
Earlier this month, the USAF awarded Boeing a $1.2bn contract for the production of the first lot of eight F-15EX advanced fighter aircraft.
USAF 40th FLTS lead F-15EX DT pilot Major Brett Hughes said: “The time has come to upgrade the aging F-15C/D fleet and that presents itself in the form of F-15EX, the most advanced F-15 ever created.
“This represents years of iterative design and battle-proven technologies. The 40th FLTS, a squadron full of developmental testers, is ready to meet the challenge of testing America’s newest fighter.”
Similar in appearance with F-15, which entered service in 1976, F-15EX features digital flight controls, advanced cockpit touch displays, new sensors and advanced computer technology.
These upgrade features provide F-15EX with improved capability, as well as rapid adaptability to new weapons and technologies.
The F-15EX has the ability to carry weapons payload three times more than the F-35.
Airmen from the 96th Maintenance Group have been selected to undergo familiarisation classroom academics and gain hands-on training experience to maintain the fighter advancements.
These newly qualified technicians will become trainers for the maintenance group. The aircrew will receive Boeing training and an F-15EX simulator this year to gain first hands-on experience.
Following aircrew familiarisation mission, they will commence test and evaluation of the aircraft’s hardware, software and weapons.
The initial testing phase will focus on ensuring that the software and avionics systems are integrated with the aircraft’s advanced cockpit and controls as per standards. (Source: airforce-technology.com)
27 Jul 20. China’s AG600 amphibious aircraft conducts first take-off from sea. China’s locally built and developed AG600 amphibious aircraft conducted its first take-off from the sea on 26 July, the aircraft’s developer, the Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC), announced that same day via its Weixin social media site. AVIC said that the 37 m-long aircraft took off from waters off the coastal Chinese city of Qingdao, in eastern Shandong Province, at 1018 h (local time), conducted a set of aerial manoeuvres, and completed the test flight 31 minutes later by returning to Rizhao Shanzihe Airport, also in Shandong Province, where it had originally set out from to conduct the test.
The move follows the aircraft’s first waterborne take-off on 20 October from a reservoir near Zhanghe Airport in Jingmen, in China’s central Hubei Province, and its first take-off from land, which took place in December 2017 from Zhuhai in southern Guangdong Province.
The move comes after AVIC was quoted in May 2018 as saying that the AG600 is expected to be available for delivery to customers by 2022. “We are endeavouring to get the airworthiness certification from the civil aviation authorities by 2021 and deliver it [the aircraft] to the customers by 2022,” the aircraft’s chief designer, Huang Lingcai, said at the time without naming any countries as possible customers.
The AG600 has a wing span of 38.8m and is the third-largest aircraft designed and built in China following the Y-20 military transport aircraft, which entered service in 2016, and the 190-seat C-919 commercial passenger aircraft, which made its maiden flight in July 2017.
Powered by four WJ-6 turboprop engines (derivatives of the Ivchenko AI-20), the AG600 has a cruising speed of 500km/h, an endurance of 12 hours, and a maximum take-off weight of 53.5 tonnes. (Source: Jane’s)
MILITARY AND GOVERNMENT
29 Jul 20. British diplomat Richard Moore has been named as the new chief of the UK’s Secret Intelligence Service, MI6. Mr Moore, who is currently director-general of political affairs at the Foreign Office, previously served as deputy national security adviser and ambassador to Turkey. The 57-year-old secured the post in a closely-fought race against an internal SIS candidate and will take up the role — traditionally known as “C” — this autumn. Outgoing chief Alex Younger has led MI6 for the past six years, managing a shift in focus from Islamist terrorism to the threats posed by Russia, Iran and China and the challenges of conducting espionage in a digital age. (Source: FT.com)
29 Jul 20. USAF MG Sam C. Barrett for appointment to the rank of lieutenant general, with assignment as director for logistics, J-4, Joint Staff, Pentagon, Washington, D.C. Barrett is currently serving as commander, Eighteenth Air Force, Air Mobility Command, Scott Air Force Base, Illinois.
29 Jul 20. USAF MG Nina M. Armagno for appointment to the rank of lieutenant general, with assignment as director of staff, Office of the Chief of Space Operations, Pentagon, Washington, D.C. Armagno is currently serving as director, space programs, Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force (Acquisition, Technology and Logistics), Pentagon, Washington, D.C.
29 Jul 20. USAF MG William J. Liquori Jr. for appointment to the rank of lieutenant general, with assignment as deputy chief of space operations for strategy, plans, programs, requirements and analysis, Office of the Chief of Space Operations, Pentagon, Washington, D.C. Liquori is currently serving as director, strategic requirements, architectures and analysis, Headquarters Air Force Space Command (redesignated U.S. Space Force), Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado.
29 Jul 20. USAF MG Bradley C. Saltzman for appointment to the rank of lieutenant general, with assignment as deputy chief of space operations, operations, cyber, and nuclear, Office of the Chief of Space Operations, Pentagon, Washington, D.C. Saltzman is currently serving as deputy commander, U.S. Air Forces Central Command; and deputy commander, Combined Forces Air Component Command, U.S. Central Command, Al Udeid, Qatar.
29 Jul 20. USAF MG Stephen N. Whiting for appointment to the rank of lieutenant general, with assignment as commander, Space Operations Command, Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado. Whiting is currently serving as deputy commander, Headquarters Air Force Space Command (redesignated U.S. Space Force), Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado.
29 Jul 20. Reutech Radar Systems (a subsidiary of Reunert Limited, a South African defence and aerospace technology company) has signed a dealership agreement with DJI, a world-leading supplier of commercial unmanned aerial vehicles (drones). The dealership agreement will focus on the provision of an Enterprise range of industrial products to enhance the South African defence and security domain. The Enterprise range of industrial drone products as agreed will include the Mavic 2 Enterprise and Enterprise Dual, and the Matrice 300 RTK. Furthermore, the Matrice 300 RTK drones might be equipped with high-performance payloads such as the Zenmuse H20 and H20T series of multi-function optical and thermal sensors. The South African defence and aerospace technology company has well established a defence and security user environment, making it an excellent match for the introduction of products from the DJI Enterprise, and this will complement the overall radar system applications. In addition, the Reutech Radar Systems provides DJI’s FlightHub software for comprehensive drone mission management operations. (Source: Google/https://africanews.space/)
28 Jul 20. Jaguar Land Rovers has named Thierry Bolloré as its new chief executive, betting that the former Renault Boss can steer Britain’s biggest carmaker through a pandemic that has ravaged the industry. Mr Bolloré, who will join in September, replaces Ralf Speth, who had led the group for more than a decade and will remain with it as non-executive chairman. As well as the coronavirus crisis, the new French chief executive faces a litany of internal company problems including poor build quality, a slow rollout of electric technology and an overlapping line-up of vehicles. The company, which is owned by India’s Tata Motors, lost £500m in the three months to March, and is expected to announce its latest results this week. It is cutting more than 1,000 jobs and is seeking extra cost savings of £1bn as it confronts the collapse in sales brought about by the pandemic. (Source: FT.com)
28 Jul 20. AE Industrial Partners, LP (“AEI”), a private equity firm specializing in Aerospace, Defense & Government Services, Power Generation, and Specialty Industrial markets, announced today that Mano Nazar has joined the firm as an Operating Partner effective immediately. Mr. Nazar will also serve as Chairman of the Board of BHI Energy, an AEI portfolio company. Mr. Nazar, who most recently served as President of the nuclear business unit at NextEra Energy, Inc., brings more than 35 years of extensive utility industry experience to AEI. During his tenure at NextEra, he was responsible for the safe operation of the company’s eight nuclear units, and he also led the $4.5bn expansion of six of those units, adding more than 700 megawatts to the fleet’s generation capacity. Under Mr. Nazar’s leadership, NextEra Energy’s nuclear fleet achieved the Nuclear Energy Institute’s “industry best of the best” performance award and lowest production cost in the industry. (Source: PR Newswire)
30 Jul 20. Behrman Capital portfolio co appoints CEO. Behrman Capital, a private equity investment firm based in New York and San Francisco, has appointed Vincent M Buffa as Chief Executive Officer of its portfolio company Micross Components (Micross), a global supplier of high-reliability microelectronic services and products for the defence, space, commercial aerospace, medical and severe-duty industrial applications. Buffa currently serves as Chairman of Micross and is a Behrman Capital Operating Partner. Behrman andcBuffa have a successful history of collaboration in the defense and aerospace industry and, in particular, the high-reliability electronic components sector. Buffa served for seven years as the CEO and President of Data Device Corporation (DDC), which Behrman sold to Transdigm, Inc in 2016 for USD1bn. (Source: Google/https://www.privateequitywire.co.uk/)
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