02 Nov 23. UK DIO invests £256m in the MoD’s large Cyprus estate.
The Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO) continues to invest in maintenance, repairs and servicing across the UK’s overseas military facilities.
The UK Government continues to invest in its global overseas military facilities, this time across its entire Cyprus estate.
Allocated under DIO’s Overseas Prime Contracts (OPC) programme – which began this time last year, kicking off with a seven-year-long, £155m ($188.8m) investment in its Gibraltar estate – a further £256m will be awarded to Mitie Defence Limited for maintenance, repairs and servicing the UK Ministry of Defence’s (MoD) bases in Cyprus.
This is the second OPC contract to be issued. It covers every part of the MoD estate in Cyprus, including RAF Akrotiri, Episkopi, Dhekelia, Ayios Nikolias, Troodos, Bloodhound Camp and Radio Sonde, as well as Cypriot companies within the supply chain.
Further facilities management contracts will follow in other locations, including Germany and wider Europe, Cyprus Soft FM, and the Falklands and Ascension Islands.
The next contract to be awarded as part of the OPC programme in the coming months will be the Cyprus Soft Facilities Management contract. The final contract under the programme will be the South Atlantic Islands in summer 2024.
The contract is for an initial period of seven years and aims to be more flexible and responsive to the needs of service personnel and staff in Cyprus.
“This will allow them to focus on their work in the knowledge that they have safe and resilient infrastructure to work from,” an MoD press release conveyed.
Maintaining a global military presence from Cyprus
The demand for adequate military infrastructure is there; now more than ever before as the geopolitical scene falls back into a multi-polar environment.
Located in the Eastern Mediterranean, Cyprus is situated off the coast of the Levant, where the Hamas-Israeli conflict has recently entered what the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has recently labelled, “the second-stage of the war.”
This Government investment also comes a day after the MoD announced that the Royal Air Force will deliver humanitarian aid to Egypt to support civilians in Gaza.
Additionally, the British military presence in Cyprus emulates the military deterrence exhibited by the US with its two Carrier Strike Groups in the region.
Shoring up Britain’s geostrategic assets elsewhere
Only seven months earlier, the DIO also allocated £6.96m to extend the lifespan of the runways and taxiways at the Mount Pleasant Complex airfield in the Falkland Islands.
The refurbishment project involved repainting runway and taxiway markings in reflective paint, replacing airfield signage with new compliant back-lit units, and coating the runway asphalt with a layer of bitumen. This protective layer is expected to extend the life of the treated surfaces until they can be fully re-laid in the coming years.
Britain’s Government has already identified the new “volatile and contested world” today in its Integrated Review Refresh in March; this then places importance on maintaining its global military infrastructure.
A few months later, in the Defence Command Paper Refresh, the Government stated it would build “an estate that is focused on both people and military capability, more resilient, better aligned with the future operating environment, and that connects our domestic and overseas estates.” (Source: army-technology.com)
31 Oct 23. Sigma Defense Systems, a leading innovator in defense technology, has officially broken ground on its state-of-the-art production facility in Perry, Georgia. This significant expansion is a testament to the company’s commitment to advancing Combined Joint All-Domain Command and Control (CJADC2) and Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Cyber, Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (C5ISR) solutions. The new facility is set to create more than 30 new jobs in the region in 2024 with additional jobs projected beyond, further enhancing the local economy.
Perry Mayor Randall Walker and Co-founder and Executive Vice President & Systems General Manager of Sigma Defense, Scott Ritchie at the site of the new Sigma Defense state-of-the-art production facility in Perry, Georgia
The groundbreaking ceremony, attended by Sigma Defense Systems executives, employees, and community leaders, took place on October 27th, 2023. Perry Mayor Randall Walker, along with other local officials, expressed their support and appreciation for Sigma Defense’s investment in the community.
Mayor Walker shared his excitement about the project, saying, “Sigma Defense Systems has a long history of innovation and commitment to our community. This new facility is a testament to their dedication to advancing defense technology and creating jobs right here in Perry. We’re proud to have them as a partner in our community and look forward to the positive impact this expansion will bring.”
Sigma Defense Systems is recognized for its cutting-edge solutions and technologies that are vital to the modern defense landscape. The new facility in Perry will significantly enhance the company’s capabilities to support the development of critical JADC2 and C5ISR systems. These systems play a crucial role in ensuring efficient and secure communications and data exchange for the armed forces. The expansion not only bolsters Sigma Defense Systems’ position in the defense industry but also provides valuable employment opportunities to the local community. With the addition of up to 30 new jobs, the company is contributing to the economic growth and vitality of Perry and the surrounding areas.
Scott Ritchie, Co-founder and Executive Vice President & Systems General Manager of Sigma Defense Systems stated, “Sigma Defense Systems is proud to be a part of the Perry community, and we are excited to embark on this expansion journey. We believe that the cutting-edge technology developed in this facility will have a significant impact on our national defense capabilities. At the same time, we are pleased to be able to provide valuable job opportunities to the local workforce, fostering economic growth in the region.”
The new production facility is expected to be operational in April 2024 with Sigma Defense Systems reaffirming its commitment to delivering advanced defense solutions while making a positive impact on the local economy. (Source: PR Newswire)
31 Oct 23. Polish Land Forces Take Delivery of Their 1st AW149 Helicopters. The Polish Land Forces has taken delivery of their first two AW149 helicopters during a ceremony held at the 25th Air Cavalry Brigade in Tomaszów Mazowiecki yesterday, where they are entering service 15 months after the contract signing. The new Polish military helicopters’ configuration allows combat support missions among others. Fully meeting the requirements of the Polish Armed Forces, the configuration will also include, among other capabilities, observation systems, small arms, guided/unguided rockets and missiles and self-defence systems. The armament, depending on the helicopter variant and configuration, is installed in the cabin or on the helicopter’s external hard points. The delivery follows the contract announced on 1st July 2022 including logistics, training, and simulator packages. The logistics package includes a stock of spares and consumable parts, as well as equipment for the ground handling of the helicopters. The training and simulator package includes comprehensive training of pilots and technical personnel and the delivery of a set of advanced simulators and training equipment. The Polish MoD’s programme is based on localized production through PZL-Swidnik, which is the prime contractor also covering the integration of the helicopter’s systems and dedicated armament. Thanks to local production, Poland gains not only state-of-the-art helicopters, but also a domestic logistics base and technical facilities located close to the Polish Land Forces. This delivery marks the quick reaction of PZL-Swidnik as contractor and local industrial partner of Polish Armed Forces for many decades. PZL-Swidnik, the Polish company fully owned by Leonardo, will also deliver support services for these helicopters and modernize them in accordance with the future needs of the operator.
Gian Piero Cutillo, Managing Director of Leonardo Helicopters, said: “The state-of-the-art AW149 helicopter represents a quantum leap forward in true multirole mission and growth capability, efficient fleet management and emergency responsiveness for modern armed forces. The localisation of industrial and logistical capabilities for these new helicopters to meet Poland’s needs, leverage the long established and unique capabilities of PZL-Swidnik and its professional skills combined with the outstanding operational capabilities of the AW149 will deliver unparalleled advantages to the country.”
Jacek Libucha, President of PZL-Swidnik said: “With complete capabilities in helicopter design, development, customisation and servicing, PZL-Swidnik confirmed again its leadership and the continuation of its over 70-year heritage through the setting of key milestones for Polish aviation industry. As a former military officer with experience in country and through international missions, I have an even greater sense of fulfillment of my duties leading PZL-Swidnik now. I am convinced that the AW149 will meet the Armed Forces’ high-end needs and those helicopters will provide them the best in class combat support. This is what the platform has been designed for.” (Source: ASD Network)
MILITARY AND GOVERNMENT
02 Nov 23. RAF reforms 42 Sqn as joint P-8A, E-7A operational conversion unit. The UK Royal Air Force (RAF) has reformed 42 Squadron as a joint operational conversion unit (OCU) for its Boeing 737-based aircraft, it announced on 1 November. Most latterly the former OCU for the BAC Nimrod MR2 maritime patrol aircraft before its disbandment in 2010, 42 Sqn was stood up at RAF Lossiemouth in Scotland on 21 September. This is the station from where both the Boeing P-8A Poseidon MRA1 maritime multimission aircraft (MMA) and Boeing E-7A Wedgetail airborne early warning Mk1 (AEW1) aircraft will be operated. Also known as 42 (Torpedo Bomber) Sqn on account of its role during the Second World War, the unit’s first P-8A training sortie was flown on 26 September. The RAF has received nine P-8As, with the first of three E-7As to be delivered in 2024. Poseidon operations are being flown by 120 Sqn and 201 Sqn, while Wedgetail operations will be flown by 8 Sqn. (Source: Janes)
27 Oct 23. USAF BG Thomas P. Sherman for appointment to the grade of major general. Sherman is currently serving as the director, Security Forces, Deputy Chief of Staff, Logistics, Engineering and Force Protection, Headquarters, U.S. Air Force, Pentagon, Washington, D.C
REST OF THE WORLD APPOINTMENTS
27 Oct 23. Russia’s defence ministry on Friday confirmed the appointment of Colonel-General Viktor Afzalov as commander of the country’s aerospace forces, replacing General Sergei Surovikin who was removed from the role in August. Russian state-run RIA and TASS news agencies had reported his appointment last week, citing sources. Russia’s Aerospace Forces comprise the air and space branches of its armed forces. Afzalov, 55, had been acting head of the aerospace forces after Surovikin’s dismissal. Kyiv says Afzalov played a direct role in the planning and prosecution of Russia’s “special military operation” launched against Ukraine on Feb. 24, 2022. (Source: Google/Reuters)
02 Nov 23. Adarga, the British AI leader in information intelligence, today announced that Lieutenant General Michael S. Groen (U.S. Marine Corps, Ret.), the former director of the Pentagon’s Joint Artificial Intelligence Center (JAIC), has joined its global board of advisors. General Groen will bring profound operational and command experience, particularly in the field of military intelligence, to Adarga’s Advisory Group. He will support Adarga’s ongoing expansion in the US, its AUKUS endeavours and its work with other allied nations. General Groen previously served over 36 years in the US military. Prior to his role at the JAIC, where he served as the US Department of Defense’s (US DoD) most senior executive for AI, he served in the Intelligence Community through multiple assignments. He served in the National Security Agency (NSA) overseeing Computer Network Operations, and as the Director of Joint Staff Intelligence (JSJ2), working closely with the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Secretary of Defense, the Defense Intelligence Agency and senior leaders across the US DoD. He is an experienced US Marine commander and a multi-tour combat veteran who has served in a variety of command and staff appointments in operational, ground, air, and naval units.
01 Nov 23. Immersive close combat training technology specialists, 4GD, has officially welcomed John Spencer to its board in an advisory capacity. John has been advising 4GD informally for several years but is now brought into the 4GD team to bolster their existing knowledge of the urban warfare space, especially in the US market. Broadly considered one of the world’s leading experts on urban warfare, he has served as an advisor to the top US four-star general and other senior leaders in the US Army as part of strategic research groups from the Pentagon to the United States Military Academy. John W. Spencer is the chair of urban warfare studies at the Madison Policy Forum, codirector of the Urban Warfare Project, and host of the Urban Warfare Project Podcast. He served over 25 years in the Army as an infantry soldier having held ranks from private to sergeant and lieutenant to major. John is a well-know commentator on the subject of urban warfare, regularly contributing to programmes on CNN, MSNBC, BBC, and numerous news and media organisations. Since March 2022 he has contributed regularly on the developing Russo-Ukraine conflict. 4GD are looking to build on their existing US portfolio and network. 4GD’s footprint in the US has grown since 2018 where 4GD’s maiden SmartFacility was built in Albuquerque. Adapted around a complex existing structure the facility enables on site urban and immersive mission training.
30 Oct 23. Amentum, a leading global engineering, advanced intelligence, and systems modernization provider, announced that it welcomed Dave Marlowe as Vice President, Client Executive. In this role, he will act as a liaison between the company and our customers, and serve as a customer advocate within the organization, supporting our strategy, pipeline development and growth priorities. Prior to joining Amentum, Dave spent more than thirty years at the Central Intelligence Agency, primarily living and working across the Middle East. He served most recently as the Deputy Director of CIA for Operations, overseeing the operational work force and global clandestine intelligence collection activity. He served previously as the Assistant Director of CIA for the Near East, managing all CIA activity – intelligence collection and analysis – related to the Middle East and North Africa. Dave also served in other key leadership roles, both overseas and in the U.S. (Source: BUSINESS WIRE)
30 Oct 23. Embraer today announced changes in the leadership for Defense & Security. The company appointed Jake Williams as the new Vice President of Business Development & Sales for Embraer Defense & Security (EDS) in North America. The change will take effect in November 2023. Bruce Bunin will retire from his position, after a distinguished aerospace career and will assist in the transition to Jake and in support of special projects. Jake Williams joins Embraer from the L3Harris Corporation where he was Director of Business Development, Strategy and Partnerships for JADC2 and C4ISR Programs. Over his 20-year career he has held a variety of Business Development and Program Management assignments on modernization and upgrades of multiple fixed-wing and rotary-wing aircraft. His experience includes international assignments as well as the formation of his own successful aerospace consulting company. Williams will be based in Melbourne, Florida.
02 Nov 23. Leidos, a global leader in technology solutions and services, today announced a realignment of its operating groups and changes to its corporate leadership structure and personnel, effective Jan. 1, 2024. These changes will help position the company to execute its ambitious, long-term strategy and achieve success on all measures.
The company will be organized into five sectors:
- Health and Civil Sector led by President Liz Porter
- National Security Sector led by President Roy Stevens
- Commercial and International Sector led by President Vicki Schmanske
- Digital Modernization Sector led by President Steve Hull
- Defense Systems Sector led by President Cindy Gruensfelder. Gruensfelder joins Leidos bringing decades of extensive Aerospace and Defense platform engineering and program management experience. Leidos Dynetics will continue to be led by President Steve Cook.
The company is also making changes to its corporate leadership structure and personnel:
- Gerry Fasano, current Defense Group president, will become Chief Growth Officer, responsible for fusing strategy, marketing, sales, government affairs, and communications into one cohesive force for growth.
- Carly Kimball, current Chief Accounting Officer and Corporate Controller, will become Chief Performance Officer, responsible for driving Leidos operational excellence, bringing together program execution, real estate, security, IT, and procurement.
Other members of the executive leadership team will continue in their current roles:
- Jim Carlini, Chief Technology Officer
- Jerry Howe, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary
- Maureen Waterston, Chief Human Resources Officer
- Chris Cage, Chief Financial Officer
- (Source: PR Newswire)
30 Oct 23. Maxar Intelligence, a provider of secure, precise, geospatial intelligence, today announced the appointment of Dan Smoot as CEO, effective November 6, 2023, completing an exciting phase of investment in the business’ senior leadership talent. Daniel Jablonsky, who has been serving as interim CEO of Maxar Intelligence, will transition to the Board of Directors. Smoot is an accomplished technology executive with over 30 years of management experience at some of the world’s most successful software and IT companies, including senior executive positions at Salesforce, Cisco and VMWare. Most recently, he served as CEO of Riverbed Technology, where he led the IT company’s transformation from a hardware provider to a software-focused business that today serves national security agencies and 95% of the Fortune 100. (Source: BUSINESS WIRE)
31 Oct 23. SIG SAUER announced that former United States Military Representative to the NATO Military Committee Lieutenant General E. John Deedrick has joined SIG SAUER as Advisor to CEO, Ron Cohen. Lt. General E. John Deedrick served 35-years in the United State Army as an Infantry and Special Forces Officer; he has commanded units at every level through multiple combat tours including Special Operations Command – Korea, Combined Special Operations Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve, the 1st Special Forces Command (Airborne), the Combined Security Transition Command-Afghanistan, and culminated his career as the United States Military Representative to the NATO Military Committee in Brussels, Belgium where he represented the U.S. military position on all aspects of Military advice and policy to NATO.