05 Jun 23. Pratt & Whitney break ground on Oklahoma facility for F135 upgrade. Oklahoma will host the only facility capable of supporting Pratt & Whitney’s Engine Core Upgrade to the F135 fifth-generation engine. On June 2, 2023, Pratt & Whitney conducted a groundbreaking ceremony for their new 845,000 square foot facility in Oklahoma, representing $255m of investment from the company, on a facility to support military engines that are maintained at Tinker Air Force Base and other locations, including depot support of the F-35, C-17, F-22, F-15, F-16, B-52, and E-3 AWACS. Pratt & Whitney has announced the development of an Engine Core Upgrade (ECU) for the F135, designed to offer a cost-effective, low-risk, and flexible solution for all F-35 customers seeking to achieve Block 4 capabilities. According to Congressman Tom Cole, OK-04. “Pratt & Whitney’s Oklahoma City site is the only depot capable of performing all F135 power module scope levels for the F-35, and expanding its capacities is the right decision as the military begins adopting the new F135 Engine Core Upgrade.” According to Jill Albertelli, the President of Pratt & Whitney Military Engines, the company has expanded its presence in Oklahoma City due to the high demand for their newer products, including the F135 engine for the F-35 fighter. The engine is about to undergo its first scheduled maintenance cycle, and the company has seen an increase in operational tempo for other engine programmes aimed at safeguarding US national security interests. The expansion is aimed at ensuring that the company has the necessary personnel, processes, and infrastructure to keep up with the growing demand. Dating back to the 1940s, Pratt & Whitney has established deep roots in Oklahoma City. At that time, the Army set up a depot for the C-47 Skytrain and its R-1830 Twin Wasp engines, which marked the beginning of the company’s presence in the area. The location has become the central hub of Pratt & Whitney’s worldwide sustainment network, serving as a crucial component in several of the company’s most significant military engine initiatives. In 2022, the F117, F119, and F135 Heavy Maintenance Centres achieved unprecedented production levels, underscoring the city’s pivotal role in these programmes. (Source: airforce-technology.com)
08 Jun 23. Piriou hands over first OPV 58S patrol vessel to Senegal. French shipyard Piriou has handed over the first of three OPV 58S patrol vessels to Senegal’s Navy as part of a contract signed in November 2019. Construction of the first vessel, Walo, bean in October 2020 and it was launched in April 2022 before being handed over at Piriou’s shipyard in Concarneau on 2 June. The handover ceremony was attended by Senega’s defence minister Sidiki Kaba and Chief of Staff of the Senegalese Navy, Rear-Admiral Abdou Sene.
The delivery of the Walo will be followed by the second vessel, Niani, later this year (Niani was launched in September 2022). The third vessel, Cayor, was launched on 2 May and will be delivered early next year.
The construction programme is being conducted with the support of Kership, the joint venture founded by Piriou and Naval Group in 2013. Construction of the hulls is being divided between Concarneau and Lanester, near Lorient, where the Kership shipyard is located. The contract includes seven years of follow-on support in Senegal, with the vessels to be supported in Senegal by Piriou subsidiary Pirou Ngom Senegal, created in October 2017 through a partnership with Ngom & Freres. This facility is dedicated to the maintenance of naval and commercial vessels as well as the construction of small fishing craft.
The vessels have a length of 62.2 meters, displacement of 600 tonnes, a top speed of 21 knots and range of 4 500 nautical miles at 12 knots. Endurance is three weeks with a crew of 24, although another 24 personnel can be accommodated.
The OPV 58 S design is based on the ‘C-Sharp’ (Combined-Speeds Hull with All-Round Performances) hull developed by Piriou and Kership, which increases the ship’s endurance and seagoing capabilities. The hull is all-steel with an aluminium superstructure, featuring a 360° panoramic bridge and an aft ramp for the rapid launch and recovery of two rigid-hull inflatable boats. A large rear deck can accommodate two 20-foot containers, handled by a crane (7.5 t to 8 m).
The vessels are armed with four MBDA anti-ship missiles (Marte Mk 2Ns) and the MBDA SIMBAD-RC air defence system with two Mistral 3 surface-to-air missiles, along with a 76 mm gun. France’s Naval Group supplies the combat management system (POLARIS). (Source: https://www.defenceweb.co.za/)
MILITARY AND GOVERNMENT
08 Jun 23. Ms Dawn McKen has been appointed His Majesty’s Ambassador to Montenegro in succession to Ms Karen Maddocks, who will be transferring to another Diplomatic Service appointment. Ms McKen will take up her appointment during August 2023.
07 Jun 23. Ian Annett, the Deputy Chief Executive Officer at the UK Space Agency, has announced he will leave his role and the Civil Service at the end of August, after more than three and a half years leading the delivery of UK national civil space programmes. Ian joined the UK Space Agency in January 2020 as Deputy CEO, and currently oversees the Agency’s three Missions and Capabilities directorates for Launch, Discovery and Sustainability and Earth Observation and Low Earth Orbit. He is Head of Profession for Project and Programme Delivery and oversees the Office of the Chief Engineer and the orbital regulations office, as well as chairing the UK Space Agency Delivery Board and sitting as a member of the Steering Board.
07 Jun 23. Dr Liane Saunders OBE has been appointed His Majesty’s Ambassador to the Sultanate of Oman in succession to Mr William Murray who has retired from the Diplomatic Service. Dr Saunders will take up her appointment during June 2023.
06 Jun 23. Ms Abda Sharif OBE has been appointed His Majesty’s Ambassador to the Republic of Yemen in succession to Mr Richard Oppenheim who will be transferring to another Diplomatic Service appointment. Ms Sharif will take up her appointment during September 2023.
06 Jun 23. Seradata Welcomes Melissa Quinn: From Spaceport Cornwall to New Horizons with EVONA. Following a transformative journey at Spaceport Cornwall, Melissa Quinn is poised to chart new territories in her newly unveiled role as general manager at Slingshot Seradata. Her appointment to this crucial position at a leading space market analysis firm signals another significant milestone in her illustrious career. Melissa Quinn’s tenure at Spaceport Cornwall was nothing short of legendary. Beginning her journey as aerospace sector engagement manager in 2010, Melissa’s consistent demonstration of excellence led to her promotion to head of engagement in 2015. Recognizing her substantial contributions, the organization further elevated her to the role of head of spaceport in 2020. As the world’s first female spaceport leader, Melissa carved out a significant place in history, paving the way for more diverse leadership in the sector. Under her skilled guidance, Spaceport Cornwall carried out the UK’s first ever satellite launch, made possible through a strategic alliance with Virgin Orbit. During her leadership, not only did Spaceport Cornwall secure the UK’s first licensed spaceport, but it also set new standards for the UK’s broader engagement in space exploration and technology. This marked a significant milestone, redefining the landscape of the industry.
07 Jun 23. AE Industrial Partners, LP (“AEI”), a private equity firm specializing in aerospace, defense & government services, space, power & utility services, and specialty industrial markets, announced today that longtime GE and aerospace industry leaders Gary Mercer and Shane Wright have joined the firm as Special Advisors, effective immediately.
Mr. Mercer’s decades of aerospace engineering and technology experience includes 36 years of service at various GE entities. He most recently served as Vice President and General Manager of Engineering at GE Aviation, overseeing the design, development, certification, and field services of GE Aviation’s commercial and military engines. Mr. Mercer was also previously the Vice President and Chief Engineer of GE Aviation’s Engineering division. Prior to joining GE Aviation, he worked at GE Energy as the global engineering leader for GE’s Renewables Energy business and held various engineering and technology positions at GE and GE Oil & Gas over his career. Mr. Mercer holds a BS degree in Mechanical Engineering from the State University of New York.
Mr. Wright is also a seasoned aerospace finance executive with 35 years of experience at GE, most recently serving as Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer for GE Aviation. In that role, from which he retired in December 2022, he oversaw all aspects of financial strategy for GE Aviation’s $30 bn aerospace business with more than 80 facilities in 21 countries around the globe. Mr. Wright previously was the Chief Financial Officer for GE Healthcare International, GE Transportation, and Property & Casualty for Insurance Solutions. Earlier he held global finance leadership roles for GE’s Transportation, Energy and Oil & Gas businesses. Mr. Wright earned a BA degree in Economics from Whitman College. (Source: PR Newswire)
06 Jun 23. The first director of the U.S. Army’s Rapid Capabilities and Critical Technologies Office is joining Anduril Industries as senior vice president. Anduril is a defense technology company that specializes in artificial intelligence, machine learning and automation. The company said retired Lt. Gen. L. Neil Thurgood will lead Anduril’s expansion into Huntsville, Alabama. Huntsville is near Redstone Arsenal, home to the Army’s program executive offices for missiles and space and aviation, the service’s Space and Missile Defense Command and the RCCTO. Thurgood retired from the Army last year after 38 years of service. In his new role, he will shape Anduril’s business strategy to help deliver “critical company priorities, such as counter-unmanned air systems, air and missile defense, tactical weapons and mission systems, and command and control capabilities,” according to a company statement. (Source: C4ISR & Networks)
07 Jun 23. The board of directors of General Dynamics (NYSE: GD) elected Charles W. “Hoop” Hooper to be a director of the corporation, effective today. Hooper, age 65, is a retired U.S. Army Lieutenant General who previously served as Director of the Defense Security Cooperation Agency, where he oversaw the execution of U.S. policy on sales of defense articles and services to foreign governments. His prior military assignments include U.S. Defense Attaché to Egypt, U.S. Defense Attaché to China, Director of Strategy, Plans and Programs at U.S. Africa Command, Deputy Director of Strategic Planning and Policy at U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, and Senior Director for China, Taiwan and Mongolia Policy in the Office of the Secretary of Defense. He retired from the Army in 2020 after 41 years of service. (Source: PR Newswire)
06 Jun 23. Red River, a technology transformation company serving government and enterprise customers, today announced that Curtis Puckett has been appointed President of its Government Technology Services business. In this role, Puckett will oversee Red River’s diverse government programs portfolio and provide strategic direction and management for the teams delivering mission-critical IT solutions and services programs to government agencies. Puckett is a former Air Force Cyber Officer with 25 years of service in the military and extensive experience bringing emerging technologies to the Department of Defense. With over 30 years supporting military and federal government contracting, he is a proven leader with a broad range of expertise including systems engineering and integration, software engineering and development, artificial intelligence and machine learning, network operations, cloud architectures, information assurance and cybersecurity. (Source: BUSINESS WIRE)
REST OF THE WORLD APPOINTMENTS
06 Jun 23. KBR has announced that Nic Maan will take up the role of Vice President (VP) for its Government Solutions APAC business after current VP, Rob Hawketts took the decision to retire effective 31 July 2023. Hawketts has been with the company for 24 years in total and has served as Vice President since 2015. (Source: Google/https://www.australiandefence.com.au/)
07 Jun 23. Thales Australia has appointed a former secretary of the Department of Defence and Ambassador as chair of the Thales Australia Board. Duncan Lewis AO DSC CSC, former secretary of the Department of Defence and Director-General of the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation has been appointed as board chair of Thales Australia. Lewis will replace outgoing chair Belinda Hutchinson AM. Lewis was appointed to the role following a career in the Australian Army and public service, having served as Commander of the SAS, Secretary of the Department of Defence, and ambassador to Belgium, the European Union Luxembourg and NATO. He was appointed to the role following three years as a non-executive director at Thales Australia. (Source: Defence Connect)