25 Sep 23. Titanic Yard Revamp Begins to Construct RFA’s New Support Ships. Work has begun revamping the world-famous Harland & Wolff yard in Belfast so it can build three new support ships for the Navy. The existing fabrication halls at the shipbuilders are being significantly enhanced to support construction of the successors to RFA Fort Victoria.
Three Fleet Solid Support vessels are being ordered to replace the venerable ‘one-stop-shop’ which provides ammunition, food, dry stores and spare parts to Royal Navy warships.
The new ships will be an integral part of a carrier strike group. At 40,000 tonnes and 216 metres long they will be second only to HMS Queen Elizabeth and Prince of Wales in length and displacement, more than 34 metres wide, with a capacity for 9,000 square metres of stores (that’s almost the size of a football pitch).
The trio – as yet unnamed – are being constructed by the Team Resolute consortium (comprising Navantia UK, Harland and Wolff and BMT) which was selected back in January by the MOD.
The final assembly of all three ships will be completed at Harland & Wolff, famous for building the Titanic and her sisters and, more during WW2 and afterwards, a host of RN vessels from Flower-class corvettes through to carrier HMS Eagle.
Blocks and modules for each vessel will be constructed in Belfast, plus Appledore in Devon, and Navantia’s yard in Cadiz, Spain.
Winning the contract unlocked £77m of investment in Harland & Wolff in preparation for constructing the three ships, notably upgrading to the very latest equipment and technologies and expanding the facilities by 5,000 square metres – enhancements which will serve the yard, long after the Solid Support ships have sailed.
Leader of the House of Commons and Portsmouth North MP Penny Mordaunt symbolically got work under way on the expanded facilities by cutting the first turf.
At the peak of construction work, Harland & Wolff alone are expected to employ 1,200 personnel across various sites, with an expected additional 800 people involved in the UK supply chain (Source: defense-aerospace.com/Royal Navy)
21 Sep 23. HII’s Ingalls Shipbuilding Authenticates Keel Of Amphibious Assault Ship Fallujah (LHA 9). HII’s (NYSE: HII) Ingalls Shipbuilding division authenticated the keel today for the America -class amphibious ship Fallujah (LHA 9). The ship’s sponsor, Donna Berger, former first lady of the Marine Corps and spouse of Gen. David H. Berger, 38 th commandant of the Marine Corps, was in attendance to declare the keel “truly and fairly laid.”
During the authentication ceremony Ingalls Welder Seveta Gray welded the initials of the sponsor onto a ceremonial keel plate that will remain with the ship throughout its life.
“Ingalls is honored to mark this important milestone with our shipbuilders and so many of our critical partners here today,” Ingalls Shipbuilding President Kari Wilkinson said. “Whether representing namesake, customer, community or shipyard, today’s keel event demonstrates the unique connection we have to one another through this industry and through our respective devotion to service.”
Ingalls was pleased to host Under Secretary of the Navy Erik Raven who also provided remarks at the ceremony.
“The USS Fallujah, like her predecessors the USS America, USS Tripoli and USS Bougainville, will one day join the amphibious fleet, and serve as the centerpiece for amphibious ready groups and Marine Expeditionary Units,” Raven said. “L-class ships like the future USS Fallujah make our Navy and Marine Corps a potent fighting team, forward-postured around the globe, ready to respond to crisis and disaster.”
The future USS Fallujah (LHA 9) is the fourth America-class large-deck amphibious assault ship built at Ingalls Shipbuilding and the second ship in the class to be built with a well deck. Similar to Bougainville, Fallujah will retain the aviation capability of the America -class design while adding the surface assault capability of a well deck and a larger flight deck configured for F-35B Joint Strike Fighter and MV-22 Osprey aircraft. These large-deck amphibious assault ships also include top-of-the-line medical facilities with full operating suites and triage capabilities.
The America class is a multi-functional and versatile ship that is capable of operating in a high density, multi-threat environment as an integral member of an expeditionary strike group, an amphibious task force or an amphibious ready group.
Ingalls has delivered 15 large-deck amphibious ships to the U.S. Navy. The shipyard delivered the first in the new America class of amphibious assault ships (LHA 6) in 2014. The second ship in the America class, USS Tripoli (LHA 7), was delivered to the Navy in early 2020 and Bougainville (LHA 8) and Fallujah (LHA 9) are currently under construction.
HII is a global, all-domain defense provider. HII’s mission is to deliver the world’s most powerful ships and all-domain solutions in service of the nation, creating the advantage for our customers to protect peace and freedom around the world.
As the nation’s largest military shipbuilder, and with a more than 135-year history of advancing U.S. national security, HII delivers critical capabilities extending from ships to unmanned systems, cyber, ISR, AI/ML and synthetic training. Headquartered in Virginia, HII’s workforce is 43,000 strong. (Source: ASD Network)
PLANT CLOSURES, JOB LOSSES AND STRIKES
29 Sep 23. Australia to retire Taipan helicopter fleet early after crash. Australia said on Friday it would retire its fleet of Taipan helicopters earlier than expected after a crash off its east coast in July during a joint military exercise with the United States killed four Australian aircrew. The Taipan fleet will not return to flying operations before the previously planned withdrawal date of December 2024, Defence Minister Richard Marles said.
“Today’s announcement does not presuppose or any way suggest the outcome of the investigations into the tragic incident,” he said in a statement.
Australia in January said it would buy 40 Black Hawk military helicopters, manufactured by Lockheed Martin (LMT.N), for an estimated A$2.8bn ($1.80bn).
The Black Hawks are set to replace the Australian army’s fleet of Taipan helicopters, which have been plagued for years by maintenance issues. Australia had deployed 47 Taipans since their induction, Marles said.
“The first of the 40 Black Hawks that will replace the (Taipan) MRH-90 have arrived and are already flying in Australia. We are focused on seeing their introduction to service as quickly as possible,” he added.
Taipans are made by France-based NHIndustries, jointly controlled by Airbus (AIR.PA) and Italy’s Leonardo (LDOF.MI). Airbus and Leonardo did not respond immediately to requests to comment.
Norway last year said it would return the NH90 military helicopters it ordered from NHIndustries because they were either unreliable or delivered late, in a decision the manufacturer called “legally groundless”.
Australia had grounded its Taipan fleet after the July crash into the ocean off the coast of Queensland state and said the helicopters would not fly again until the findings from a detailed investigation were published.
“What is now clear is that these investigations, there are four of them, will take some time, one of them has already said it will take a year,” Marles told ABC television.
Marles acknowledged there would be “capability challenges” without an operational Taipan fleet and as defence waits for the delivery of more Black Hawks. The first three Black Hawks have arrived in Australia and started flying this month.
To help mitigate further impacts on defence, Marles said Australia had been exploring options to accelerate the delivery of Black Hawks and for aircrew training with allies, including the United States. ($1 = 1.5557 Australian dollars) (Source: Reuters)
MILITARY AND GOVERNMENT
28 Sep 23. Major Changes Announced for Australian Army. The Government has outlined key changes to Army’s units and formations – as well as changes to equipment locations – to boost capabilities, preparedness and projection.
Defence Minister Richard Marles said the changes were in response to recommendations of the Defence Strategic Review (DSR) to maintain peace, security and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific region.
“Our Army has always played a vital role in the defence of our nation and will continue to do so as it adapts to the challenges of our times,” Mr Marles said. “These changes involve some hard decisions. But these decisions are necessary to build the Army Australia needs.
“This will mean Army has a concentration of people and capabilities in Australia’s north, making it easier to deploy for training, major exercises, or to support our partners and allies in the region.”
The DSR signals a shift from having a defence force with a broad range of capabilities to a more focused force directed to maintaining peace and security in the region.
Accordingly, Army is being restructured to moving from generalist combat brigades to specialist combat brigades.
— 1st Brigade will be light, agile and quick to deploy in the littoral environment.
— 3rd Brigade will be an armoured brigade designed for amphibious operations with the Royal Australian Navy in order to secure decisive terrain.
— 7th Brigade will be motorised and optimised to project by air and sea to respond to regional contingencies.
The 1st Brigade, based in Darwin, will be a light combat brigade.
The 3rd Brigade, based in Townsville, will be an armoured combat brigade.
The 7th Brigade, based in Brisbane, will be a motorised combat brigade.
The 10th Brigade, based in Adelaide, will be raised as a fires brigade.
The 5th Battalion and the 7th Battalion will be relinked to become 5th/7th Battalion, the Royal Australian Regiment, and will be based in Darwin.
The 1st Armoured Regiment will be re-roled as an experimental unit to deliver and integrate emerging technologies. This will remain in Adelaide.
“The change is about organising Army to train as we would fight and making the most of the resources we have been assigned.”
To minimise the impact of the changes on soldiers and their families, Army will not move personnel between regions outside of the normal posting cycles.
Personnel from 7th Battalion and 1st Armoured Regiment will post to new locations as their planned postings end, or earlier if they choose. This means most personnel will be posting in the December 2024 and January 2025 period.
Acting Chief of Army Major General Richard Vagg said supporting personnel and their families would be central in Army’s approach to implementing the changes. “The change is about organising Army to train as we would fight and making the most of the resources we have been assigned,” Major General Vagg said. “These changes will deliver world-class, relevant and credible combat capabilities that are focused and optimised for operating in the littoral environments of our region, on land, at sea and in the air.
“Our aim is to limit the disruption to our people and their families as we make these important changes. Our people are our Army and I thank each and every one for your service and commitment to adapting our Army.”
The 2nd (Australian) Division – the division that commands all security and response brigades in Australia – will maintain largely part-time brigades around Australia. The Regional Force Surveillance Group will remain focused on security in northern Australia.
Army Aviation and Special Operations Commands will continue on their current modernisation pathways.
Army’s presence in Western Australia, Tasmania, Victoria, and NSW will be largely unaffected by the changes.
Changes to Army equipment locations:
— Townsville will become the home of armoured vehicles and army attack and medium-lift aviation. Army’s presence in Townsville will grow as a result.
— Brisbane will be home to a motorised combat brigade with a focus on the ability to uplift and move personnel.
— Darwin will see minor changes to the combat brigade, with a focus on light forces that are agile and quick to move. The number of Army personnel posted to Darwin will remain steady over time.
— Adelaide will become future-focused, where key future long-range strike capabilities will be consolidated:
Accelerated and expanded long-range strike (HIMARS) and integrated air and missile Defence capabilities (NASAMS) will be based in Adelaide.
The number of full-time personnel in Adelaide will decrease over the short term. Numbers are expected to return to current levels from 2028. (Source: https://www.defense-aerospace.com/ Australia Department of Defence)
25 Sep 23. Vice Admiral Andy Kyte CB will lead Support operations for the Armed Forces. As CDLS, VAdm Kyte is responsible for leading the Defence Support organisation as it enables Defence activities around the world today, while continually modernising and integrating how Support will be delivered in the future. He is the Functional Owner for Support, responsible for improving coherence and performance of Support across Defence. VAdm Kyte is also responsible for overseeing the implementation of the Defence Support Strategy, available: Defence Support Strategy – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
28 Sep 23. Rear Adm. (lower half) Heidi K. Berg for appointment to the grade of rear admiral. Berg is currently serving as assistant deputy chief of naval operations for Operations, Plans, and Strategy, N3/N5B, Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, Washington, D.C.
22 Sep 23. MG Brian W. Gibson, commanding general, 94th Army Air and Missile Defense Command, Joint-Base Pearl Harbor Hickam, Hawaii, to director, Plans and Policy, J-5, U.S. Space Command, Peterson Space Force Base, Colorado.
22 Sep 23. MG Michael J. Talley, commanding general, U.S. Army Medical Center of Excellence; and chief of the U.S. Army Medical Service Corps, Joint Base San Antonio, Texas, to deputy commanding general (Support); chief of staff, U.S. Army Medical Command; and chief of the U.S. Army Medical Service Corps, Falls Church, Virginia.
22 Sep 23. BG John W. Lubas to director, Operations, Readiness and Mobilization, Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff, G-3/5/7, U.S. Army, Washington, D.C. He most recently served as deputy commanding general (Operations), 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), Fort Campbell, Kentucky.
22 Sep 23. BG Roger S. Giraud, deputy commanding general (Operations), U.S. Army Medical Command, Joint Base San Antonio, Texas, to commanding general, Medical Readiness Command, Europe; and command surgeon, U.S. Army Europe-Africa, Germany.
22 Sep 23. BG Clinton K. Murray, commanding general, Medical Readiness Command, Europe; command surgeon, U.S. Army Europe-Africa; and director, Defense Health Region-Europe, Defense Health Agency, Germany, to commanding general, U.S. Army Medical Center of Excellence, Joint Base San Antonio, Texas.
22 Sep 23. BG Lance C. Raney to commanding general, Medical Readiness Command, East, Fort Belvoir, Virginia. He most recently served as command surgeon, U.S. Army Forces Command, Fort Liberty, North Carolina.
22 Sep 23. MG John H. Phillips, military deputy to Deputy Chief of Staff, G-6 (Individual Mobilized Augmentee), Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff, G-6, Washington, D.C., to director, J-6, Cyber/C4, U.S. European Command, Germany.
22 Sep 23. BG Daphne D. Davis, deputy commanding general (Support) (Inactive Ready Reserve), U.S. Army Recruiting Command, Fort Knox, Kentucky, to commander (Troop Program Unit), 95th Training Division (Initial Entry Training), Fort Sill, Oklahoma.
22 Sep 23. BG Susie S. Kuilan, commander (Troop Program Unit), 95th Training Division (Initial Entry Training), Fort Sill, Oklahoma, to deputy commander (Troop Program Unit), 108th Training Command, Charlotte, North Carolina.
22 Sep 23. BG Jed J. Schaertl, deputy commanding general, Mobilization and Reserve Affairs (Individual Mobilized Augmentee), U.S. Army Europe-Africa, Germany, to deputy commander – Readiness (Troop Program Unit), 81st Readiness Division, Fort Jackson, South Carolina.
REST OF THE WORLD APPOINTMENTS
28 Sep 23. Former SA Army chief director is new Chief Reserve Force. The “new” man leading the Reserve component of the SA National Defence Force (SANDF) is 64-year-old retired major general Stephen Marumo. He has replaced Roy Andersen, who stood down in May 2021 when then SANDF chief, General Solly Shoke, retired. Ahead of Marumo’s appointment, said by the Reserve Force Volunteer publication to have been effective from September last year, SA Air Force (SAAF) Brigadier General Zoleka Niyabo was acting Defence Reserves chief. In January this year Marumo was presented with the symbol of the Chief: Defence Reserves’ office – a plaque-mounted bayonet symbolising authority and status. Responding to a Parliamentary question 13 months ago, Defence and Military Veterans Minister Thandi Modise indicated selection of a replacement for Andersen was “at an advanced stage” – a month before Marumo, as per the Reserve Force publication, took office. Marumo’s military career started in 1976 when he left South Africa to join the African National Congress (ANC) military wing, Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK). Basic training was followed by anti-aircraft missile training and rank advancement until he returned to South Africa in 1993. Integration into the then fledgling SANDF, Marumo found himself in the then Anti-Aircraft Corps of the SA Army. (Source: https://www.defenceweb.co.za/)
25 Sep 23. AAR recommends collaborative approaches to solving aviation mechanic shortage. AAR CORP. (NYSE: AIR), a leading provider of aviation services to commercial and government operators, MROs, and OEMs, launched its 2023 mid skills gap report.
“Mid skills” describes careers that require industry certifications but not a college degree, including aviation mechanics. Recognizing the importance of gathering information on the state of mid skills talent development efforts and providing tangible recommendations for collaboration, AAR launched its first mid skills gap report in 2011. AAR has become a trusted source for this information and thought leadership on innovative solutions, launching subsequent editions of the report in 2018 and 2023.
AAR’s 2023 report warns that the aircraft mechanic shortage has reached a critical point and urges employers to break down silos and collaborate with high schools, colleges, nonprofits, and elected officials to expand early access to aviation maintenance curriculum and training. It includes case studies and opportunities to attract talent under the updated FAA Part 147, which removes a seat time requirement that measures competency based on hours and paves the way for more collaboration and additional training locations.
The Company partnered with Choose Aerospace, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, to release a general aviation curriculum based upon the Federal Aviation Administration’s Airman Certification Standards into high schools and colleges. Choose Aerospace is aligned with the FAA’s Part 147 certification standards that went into effect last year. AAR recommends the FAA further update regulations to allow AMT candidates who complete a general aviation curriculum in high school, like Choose Aerospace, to take the FAA general exam to become certified. It also calls on lawmakers to pass immigration policies that allow aviation companies to recruit talent from abroad to meet demand.
“Workforce development is a team effort across industry, education, and government,” said John M. Holmes, AAR’s Chairman, President and CEO. “Given the forecasted demand for aviation maintenance technicians, these efforts could not come at a better time.”
“We have the facilities to grow. We just need the talent,” said Ryan Goertzen, AAR’s Vice President of Workforce Development. “Companies that invest in training must look to solve the issue not only for themselves but for the industry.”
25 Sep 23. EDGE Expands Footprint in Eastern Europe by Signing Two Strategic Partnership Agreements in Bulgaria. EDGE Group PJSC (EDGE), one of the world’s leading advanced technology and defence groups, today announced the signings of two separate partnership agreements with key Bulgarian partners. EDGE has partnered with TBS Ltd. (TBS), an international trading company providing some of the world’s most innovative and advanced technological solutions securing Land, Air and Space, and Samel-90, a manufacturer of a wide variety of high-performance electronic communications equipment and systems. The signing ceremonies took place during an EDGE Group delegation visit to Bulgaria, during which members of EDGE’s senior management met with local dignitaries as well as industry partners, providing the Group the opportunity to showcase its capabilities, explore potential collaborations, and expand its footprint in the Eastern European region.
Speaking on the partnerships, Omar Al Zaabi, President of Trading & Mission Support at EDGE, said: “These collaborations are another key step towards achieving the EDGE growth strategy, furthering EDGE’s goal to pursue global, mutually beneficial partnerships supporting defence capability development. We look forward to how these valuable partnerships will expand our footprint in Bulgaria and the Eastern European region.”
TBS and EDGE will seek collaboration through international trade expansion, knowledge transfer, research and development within space science technologies, cyber security, security communication, land vehicle acquisition, and range development. As per the agreement with Samel-90, the two organisations will jointly identify business opportunities within multiple electronic development domains. Samel-90 currently specialises in products such as jammer solutions, surveillance equipment, tools and mechanical parts, and satellite components. (Source: defense-aerospace.com/EDGE)
25 Sep 23. Airbus (AIR.PA) is appointing sales chief Christian Scherer as head of its core planemaking business in its biggest management revamp for years, as it juggles supply pressures with challenges in defence and space, industry sources said. The move, to be announced within days, frees CEO Guillaume Faury to focus on broader strategy after four years of doubling up as planemaking boss, notably during the pandemic. (Source: Reuters)
28 Sep 23. Artificial Intelligence expert Dr. Gopichand Katragadda has been appointed as the 142nd President of the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET). He will be the first Indian in the history of the IET to assume this role, including the first Indian to assume the presidency of a global engineering body. A seasoned technologist and executive leader, Dr. Gopichand is the Founder of Myelin Foundry – an AI company with a vision to transform human experiences and industry outcomes. He is also an Independent Director of Bosch India Limited and ICICI Securities and a member of the NASSCOM governing council for the Centre of Excellence for Data Science and AI.
27 Sep 23. MilDef Group AB (publ) announces the following changes in the company’s corporate management team as of September 27, 2023. Martina Karlsson has been employed as HR manager at MilDef since March 2023. Martina comes from Axis Communications AB where she worked with both strategic and operational HR issues. Martina strengthens the corporate management team in her new role as Chief People Officer (CPO) and reports to CEO Daniel Ljunggren. At the same time, Ola Alfredsson and Olof Engvall resign from their positions in the corporate management team. In his continued role, Ola will focus on selected strategic projects and Olof will continue his role as Head of Investor Relations, both reporting directly to the CEO. In addition to the above-mentioned changes, the current Chief Technology Officer (CTO), Fredrik Persson, will also have a broader role as the company’s Deputy CEO. After today’s change, MilDef’s corporate management team consists of: Daniel Ljunggren, CEO, Fredrik Persson, Deputy CEO/CTO, Viveca Johnsson, CFO, Evelina Hedskog, Head of Business Unit Sweden, Fredrik Jacobsson, CSO, Karin Svalander, General Counsel, Per Björnson, COO and Martina Karlsson, CPO. All members of the corporate management team report to the CEO.
26 Sep 23. Cyemptive Technologies, an award-winning provider of preemptive cybersecurity solutions for business and government, today announced international business executive and cybersecurity veteran Varun Vaid as vice president of cyber solutions – strategic accounts. In his new role, Vaid will be responsible for strategic accounts and strategic partnerships in the Americas and serve as regional head of Cyemptive in the Middle East. (Source: BUSINESS WIRE)
21 Sep 23. Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE: NOC) announces that its board of directors has elected Robert Fleming corporate vice president and president, Space Systems sector, effective October 9, 2023. Fleming will succeed Tom Wilson, who has chosen to take a new role in the company for personal reasons. Fleming is currently vice president and general manager of the Strategic Space Systems division in the Space Systems sector. Previously, he led the Space Systems strategy and business development organization. In his nearly 18-year career with Northrop Grumman, he has led different businesses and functions in many of the company’s sectors. He began his career as an aerospace systems engineer.
27 Sep 23. Securonix, Inc., a leader in Unified Defense SIEM, today announced the appointment of Haggai Polak as Chief Product Officer. In this role, Polak will be responsible for developing and implementing plans that grow the company’s portfolio of products and services to deliver world-class results for Securonix’s customers and partners. (Source: BUSINESS WIRE)