Sponsored by Bertin Exensor
16 Nov 23. Will Tucker appointed Managing Director of Bertin Exensor Ltd.
Bertin Exensor is delighted to announce the appointment of a new Managing Director for its UK branch. The nomination of Will Tucker marks a significant moment for the company as it charts a course for continued growth and innovation.
* Will, for how long have you been working at Bertin Exensor?
“I have been with Bertin Exensor since 2017 and took on the Production Director position almost 2 years ago. “
* A few words on your academic background and previous experience?
“In 2010 I graduated from the University of Bath with a First-Class Masters Degree in Electronic and Communication Engineering. I started immediately working in defence-related technologies and gradually moved from Engineering into Product Management. I have been very fortunate to work on some incredibly interesting projects that have taken me all over the world. And because one having Master’s degree was clearly not enough, between 2019 and 2022 I also undertook a Masters in Business Administration (MBA) in Technology Management with the Open University.”
* How will your missions evolve with this new position?
“Being the MD of Bertin Exensor brings with it a range of new responsibilities and challenges. Whilst maintaining the focus on delivering our world-class Flexnet products my role has now expanded to include some of our other projects and programmes whilst also providing leadership for the UK entity.”
* What makes you so passionate about the company and its products?
“From the moment I joined Bertin Exensor I recognized that the passion for our world-leading capabilities is shared with our customers. This close partnership means we are always at the forefront of our sector and are able to offer significant advantage to the end user. In addition, every day I work with incredibly talented, skilled people both here in the UK, in our Swedish office and in our parent company, Bertin Technologies. It’s for all these reasons and many more that I can truly say I am delighted to be part of such a special company.”
The role of a Managing Director extends beyond internal operations; it involves fostering strong relationships with stakeholders, including employees, clients, investors, and the community. Will Tucker is anticipated to uphold a commitment to transparency, integrity, and corporate responsibility, ensuring that the company remains a valued and trusted entity within its ecosystem.
The nomination of Will Tucker as Managing Director heralds a new chapter in the journey of Bertin Exensor. We wish him the best in his new position.
14 Nov 23. Red Arrows in ‘special measures’ after sex harassment report. The Red Arrows are in “special measures” after a report found women were plied with alcohol, treated like property and harassed for sex, a government minister said.
Andrew Murrison, the defence minister, told the defence committee on Tuesday that the display team had been “put on notice”, adding: “They are best described as being in special measures.”
A report published earlier this month found the campaign of bullying, sexual harassment and predatory behaviour was “widespread and normalised” in the squadron – with female personnel forced to form groups known as “shark watch” to protect themselves at social events.
Air Chief Marshal Sir Rich Knighton, the Chief of Air Staff, offered his “unreserved apologies” following the report’s release, and said he was “appalled” at its findings.
Addressing the report’s conclusions, Mr Murrison told the committee: “The Red Arrows have been put on notice – there’s no question about that.
“I think they are best described as being in ‘special measures’ following this performance.
“Now, they are subject to the most intense scrutiny, I think, of any part of defence at the moment, and none of them can be under any misapprehension about what is expected of them.”
The minister for defence people, veterans and service families continued: “I’m comforted in the knowledge that there has been significant churn since this happened – so we have a fresher slate of people who now populate this organisation.
“You will also know that RAF Scampton, their home, has now closed and they’ve gone elsewhere.
“And you’ll also be aware that there are ongoing climate assessments of this organisation to make sure that they are where we want them to be.
“No part of defence, including the Red Arrows, can expect special treatment despite their high profile, if they start to tarnish the good name of defence and give entirely the wrong impression to the public that they serve, and in particular, those who may be tempted to join the Armed Forces.”
Evidence of possible criminal behaviour was passed to the service police, but they were unable to gather sufficient evidence to begin prosecutions.
The non-statutory inquiry, launched in 2021, found examples dating back to 2017 of team members flashing their genitals, several extra-marital affairs and one case of criminal battery.
The report added that it was highly likely women had to deal with being hounded for sex, unwanted physical contact and derogatory comments about their appearance. (Source: Daily Telegraph)
15 Nov 23. EU Defence Ministers Agree to Prioritise 22 Military Capabilities to Bolster European Armed Forces. Today, at the Steering Board of the European Defence Agency (EDA), the 27 EU Ministers of Defence approved the 2023 EU Capability Development Priorities. The document serves as a baseline for EU-wide defence planning, and all EU defence-related initiatives. The 22 priorities reflect the military realities observed in Ukraine; support EU defence objectives; and are designed to lead to concrete projects.
Persistent underinvestment and insufficient European cooperation have created substantial defence capability gaps. The twenty-two priorities agreed today address the need for full-spectrum defence capabilities, enabling high-intensity operations. They include fourteen priorities across five military domains, and eight related to strategic enablers and multipliers.
Head of Agency and HR/VP, Josep Borrell said: “The newly adopted military Capability Development Priorities will provide us with an impactful and actionable framework that will guide defence planning and all EU defence initiatives. In line with the objectives of the Strategic Compass, the new priorities will allow our Member States and their armed forces to maintain freedom of action and be better prepared to respond to an ever-changing and increasingly deteriorating security environment. Now is time to translate these priorities into concrete defence cooperation projects to ensure more resilient, agile and robust European armed forces, ready to tackle present and future threats.”
The priorities – developed with an equal focus on short, medium, and long-term planning – emphasise harnessing cutting-edge capabilities and strengthening European armed forces. Moreover, they address current operational realities and being ready to face future threats and challenges.
These priorities, among others, include:
- Land Based Precision Engagement: The range, precision, and mobility of land-based precision strike capabilities must be extended and enhanced, including in quantitative terms, with enhancements in large-calibre ammunition stockpiles, advanced anti-tank systems, versatile close fire support, and resilience against cyber threats.
- Integrated Air and Missile Defence: Encompasses all surface-based capabilities facing an airborne threat. Priorities in this area focus both on upgrading current air defence systems, and on developing next-generation systems with space-based early warning, and counter-Unmanned Air Systems capabilities.
- Underwater/Seabed Warfare: Enhancements in seabed warfare, underwater protection, and anti-submarine capabilities with advanced autonomous underwater vehicles, and surveillance systems.
- Sustainable and Agile Logistics: Incorporates capabilities to facilitate the projection, sustainment, and effectiveness of forces. Key areas include shared stocks and common warehousing, logistics footprint and strengthening maintenance requirements to deal with extreme weather conditions.
- Cohesive and Well-Trained Militaries: Centres on the development of professional military education, training, and ability to adapt to an ever-changing environment, and to operate in new military domains, such as space and cyber.
EDA Chief Executive, Jikí Šedivý said: “These priorities are a significant step in strengthening the EU’s capabilities, extending beyond traditional equipment and platforms to encompass a broader operational perspective. The 22 priorities also look to future threats over the medium- and long-term time horizon.”
Lessons from Ukraine loom large
The 2023 EU CDP reaffirms the long-standing priorities and balance them with new ones arising from the profound shift in the EU’s strategic environment. The newly adopted set of priorities also reflect the objectives of the EU’s Strategic Compass and the military realities observed in Ukraine, including high-intensity requirements, and is therefore fully coherent with NATO.
Amongst the key lessons observed in the context of Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine is the necessity for agile, mobile, interoperable, technologically advanced, energy efficient, and resilient full spectrum land forces. Moreover, the Ukraine context highlighted the importance of multilayer Integrated Air and Missile Defence, along with an appropriate rebalance between the qualitative and quantitative dimensions in many capability areas.
Baseline for EU defence capability development
Over the last 18 months, EU Member States worked together with EDA and the EU Military Staff, to assess and conceptualise the various dimensions of military capability requirements.
The agreed priorities will serve as the baseline for all EU defence related initiatives and instruments, such as the Coordinated Annual Review on Defence (CARD), the Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO), the European Defence Fund (EDF) and any future EU defence supporting tools. In line with the Strategic Compass, this set of priorities shall also serve as a prime reference for national planning. In addition, they provide a valuable overview of the capability development landscape for the defence industry.
Cooperation and coherent implementation
After today’s endorsement, the focus will be on the implementation of the new set of priorities.
- These priorities will be the driver for capability-led research and innovation activities, informing the research agenda and engagement with industry.
- EDA will steer the collaborative activities aimed at implementing these priorities, establishing a clear, correlation from priority to action.
- EDA will use the third CARD cycle and bilateral dialogues with each EU Member State as a forum to support implementation and possible cooperative capability development activities with others.
(Source: https://www.defense-aerospace.com/ European Defence Agency)
14 Nov 23. UK sees ‘incredible acceleration’ in military capabilities from Ukraine war. Supporting Ukraine has led to a sharp increase in the British military’s technological capabilities, thanks to captured Russian technology and Ukrainians’ battlefield observations, Britain’s armed forces minister said.
Costly experience and the acid tests of combat have brought about an “incredible acceleration in Western military capability,” James Heappey said while visiting the United States aboard the HMS Prince of Wales, a British aircraft carrier visiting Norfolk last week, in part to test F-35s.
Britain is learning from information shared by Ukraine, including data gained from compromised Russian equipment, Heappey said. Within days of Russia’s full-scale invasion in February 2022, Ukraine began to capture highly sophisticated Russian electronic warfare systems and other sensitive equipment.
Britain is also closely observing how donated British weapons and gear—cutting-edge prototypes as well as standard-issue kit—are performing on Ukrainian battlefields. (Poland is doing much the same with donated armored vehicles.)
“You learn very quickly what works and doesn’t work,” said Heappey. “The pace of defense innovation within NATO countries is kind of where you expect it to be in wartime.”
Britain has led efforts to send more experimental equipment to Ukraine, in part through its International Fund for Ukraine, which has a mandate to procure “priority” equipment for the war-torn country by skipping the standard procurement process.
The fund has sent a variety of systems that have only been recently developed, such as MSI’s Terrahawk Paladin. The counter-drone system entered serial production in January, said product manager Robert Gordon at London arms show DSEI. The U.S. has also sent a variety of experimental or newly designed anti-drone systems to Ukraine.
Some UK companies are using reports from Ukrainian troops to improve their products far more quickly than would otherwise be possible, Heappey said.
“It turns out that these companies that were patiently working away with the British Army, on a sort of five-year horizon, were accessing the latest information on Russian [electronic warfare] capabilities,” he said. The companies are “rapidly evolving their drone capability and getting it to the Ukrainians within five weeks.”
Battlefield observations are even changing the British military’s general concept of how future wars may be fought.
One key lesson, Heappey said, is that modern armies need to move away from perfectly engineered but easily destroyed weapons and instead focus on cheaper weapons whose sheer number and variation can overwhelm an adversary’s decision-making capabilities.
He pointed to Ukraine’s obliteration of one of Russia’s advanced S-400 anti-aircraft systems by using drones to attack radars before sending in cruise missiles.
The lesson for Britain is that “you don’t have to blow bns of pounds’ worth of taxpayers money on everything being the most exquisite imaginable” weapon, he said.
The HMS Prince of Wales’ own namesake is in some ways a potent reminder of the need to keep pace with modern military technology. A World War II battleship built for an era of gunnery, the first Prince of Wales was sunk by Imperial Japanese airplanes mere days after it reached the Pacific.
Britain is looking for defense manufacturers to mimic the Ukraine weapons development experience, Heappey said, with an emphasis on speed, affordability, and quickly learning the lessons of the battlefield.
Britain is also working on making its own forces less vulnerable to the tactics that have taken out Russian forces, particularly the use of long-range precision weapons. Ukraine has routinely used a combination of intelligence and Western-donated long-range missiles to wipe out Russian supply dumps and headquarters.
In the future, the British military must “hide to survive,” Heappey said, echoing similar statements by U.S. officials. “If you’re found, you’re dead.”
With Ukraine’s own generals admitting a southern counter-offensive has stalemated and flagging U.S. public support for Ukraine, it is unclear how much longer Western support will continue.
Heappey pointed to Ukraine’s success in clearing Russian vessels from the Black Sea as evidence that Western support should go on.
“What’s been happening in the Black Sea is every bit as significant as what was happening in Kharkiv Oblast last year,” he said, referring to swift Ukrainian territorial gains in September 2022. The wider donor community continues to believe Ukraine can win the war, Heappey said.
Amid some criticism of international efforts to train Ukrainian soldiers, Heappey said that Ukrainian contacts at all levels of Ukraine’s military had been happy with the types of training they’ve received from Britain.
Britain has trained more Ukrainian soldiers than any other nation: 30,000 since June 2022. The program teaches basic battlefield skills such as dressing wounds and weapons handling.
The five-week program is far shorter than the 14-week bootcamp afforded the British Army’s own recruits. Ukraine’s urgent and continuing need for new troops forced UK trainers to pare training to the essentials, Heappey said.
“Fundamentally, what the Ukrainian Armed Forces is asking for is a set of basic infantry skills that give pretty new recruits…the best chance possible of surviving,” he said. (Source: Defense One)
13 Nov 23. German Minister Presents Bundeswehr Organizational Reform. Minister Pistorius Presents Plans for Organizational Reform. At the Bundeswehr conference in Berlin today, Defense Minister Boris Pistorius presented the next step in the reorganization of the ministry announced in the spring. The company’s strategic control ability will be further strengthened in order to be prepared for all security policy challenges and the requirements of the new era.
With the reorganization of the management level and the establishment of the planning and management staff, the prerequisites were created to achieve more coherence in the preparation of management decisions. With the decisions announced today, the focus is now on the structures of the defense department.
Reducing redundancies, eliminating unclear interfaces, becoming leaner – that was the stated goal. Organizational clarity and targeted collaboration are needed. Decisions must be made where they belong. Non-ministerial, purely supporting tasks are layered, synergy effects are used and tasks that are too comprehensive are eliminated.
For this purpose, three sub-departments of the ministry will be dissolved, more than 200 positions will be relocated to the subordinate area of the Bundeswehr and more than 1,000 positions – and therefore more than a third of the total – will be restructured internally. Overall, this is the largest structural change in the BMVg Federal Ministry of Defense since 2012.
Minister Pistorius said: “It is clear to me that the organizational reform also presents challenges for our employees. The effort will be worth it because it will improve collaboration within the company. With this new organization we want to contribute to better, bolder and faster decisions. Our departmental partners, our international partners and also our own subordinate area will particularly appreciate this.”
This means that phase one, adapting the structures of the Ministry of Defense, has been completed. Minister Pistorius has instructed to begin analyzing the need for adjustment in the subordinate organizational areas in a second phase. The Inspector General and State Secretary Hilmer are tasked with presenting proposals for structural changes to the armed forces by the end of the first quarter of 2024. (Unofficial translation by Defense-Aerospace.com) (Source: https://www.defense-aerospace.com/ German Ministry of Defense; issued Nov 09, 2023)
13 Nov 23. New SAM system will boost skills of 64 F-35s along Russian border. The Israeli Defence Ministry, on November 12, confirmed the sealing of a deal that would enable the provision of David’s Sling long-range air defense systems to the Finnish Armed Forces. This critical development came soon after Helsinki’s affiliation with the NATO alliance within the same month.
- From now on dozens of F-35s will fly 124 miles from St. Petersburg
- Finland is one step closer to improving its high-altitude air defenses
- Demining Leopard vehicles in Ukraine cannot work in 35-degree heat
The Ministry provided more details about the contract, with the statement: “Our Director General, MG [Res] Eyal Zamir, has finalized an agreement to sell ‘David’s Sling’ to Finland at an approximate cost of 317m EUR. David’s Sling is esteemed as one of the global leaders in combating advanced threats, inclusive of ballistic missiles, cruise missiles, aircraft, and drones.”
David’s Sling and F-35s
Consider the David’s Sling as a handy addition to Finland’s fleet of 64 F-35 fifth-generation fighters, purchased from the United States in December 2021. This Israeli air defense system can receive targeting data from these aircraft, effectively safeguarding Finnish air bases. This boosts the overall protection of Finnish territory against airborne threats.
Given the F-35’s notoriously low availability rates, which translates into more time grounded for each hour flown compared to other fighter classes, it becomes especially critical to safeguard facilities housing these aircraft.
Delivery may be delayed
The timeliness of Israel’s David’s Sling systems delivery is increasingly under scrutiny. This comes in the wake of heightened tensions with the Palestinian militia groups in the Gaza Strip. Notably, the country is quickly grappling with ammunition shortages, especially for short-range air defense systems.
If the growing tensions between Israel and the Lebanese militia Hezbollah, or their strategic companion Iran, amplify, it is anticipated that Israel will significantly depend on David’s Sling for protection. Why? Both Hezbollah and Iran possess substantial stockpiles of sophisticated ballistic and cruise missiles, not to mention aircraft capable of attacking Israeli territory.
Given the increased likelihood of conflict, Israel might decide to bolster its reserves of missiles for the current David’s Sling launchers. However, considerations like arsenal depletion due to skirmishes or the risk of them being targeted by air defense suppression assets could curb the capability of Israeli manufacturers to supply international customers with additional David’s Sling systems.
Notable defense system
David’s Sling, a notable defense system, has yet to be exported. However, after it was deployed against targets in Syrian airspace, the captured munitions were dispatched to Russia for analysis. This occurrence has sparked a discussion about the potential risks. Specifically, if the knowledge obtained through this analysis permits Russia to develop countermeasures, it may jeopardize the effectiveness of the system if it were deployed to Europe.
The role of David’s Sling systems in Finland continues to grow. This surge in importance comes as the United States is keen on expanding its military footprint in the country. This includes pursuing basing rights for several F-35 squadrons. Notably, the stealth aircraft, with its nuclear capability, presents a significant concern for Russian security. The influence of these planes is expected to be high, particularly with the enhanced protection offered by the Israeli air defense systems safeguarding the hosting facilities.
Security of Europe
The timely delivery of David’s Sling by Israel not only exhibits their commitment but also holds wider implications for the security of Europe. Pini Yungman, the Executive Vice President and General Manager at Rafael’s Air and Missile Defence Systems Division, an Israeli defense manufacturing entity, has voiced optimism about expanding the system’s reach further into Europe after the contract with Finland.
In the wake of combat losses sustained by NATO’s principal ground-based air defense system, the Patriot, in Ukraine – which allowed for a close examination of its capabilities by Russian forces – there has been an increase in the demand for a more advanced next-generation system. Currently, no substantial NATO-compatible alternatives to David’s Sling are available on the market.
Will it counter Ishkander?
There has been considerable debate about the system’s effectiveness against missiles that employ semi-ballistic depressed trajectories, such as the Russian Iskander. Furthermore, it is generally agreed that the system cannot likely dependably intercept missiles equipped with hypersonic glide vehicles like the Russian Zircon. (Source: News Now/https://bulgarianmilitary.com/)
Founded in 1987, Exensor Technology is a world leading supplier of Networked Unattended Ground Sensor (UGS) Systems providing tailored sensor solutions to customers all over the world. From our Headquarters in Lund Sweden, our centre of expertise in Network Communications at Communications Research Lab in Kalmar Sweden and our Production site outside of Basingstoke UK, we design, develop and produce latest state of the art rugged UGS solutions at the highest quality to meet the most stringent demands of our customers. Our systems are in operation and used in a wide number of Military as well as Homeland Security applications worldwide. The modular nature of the system ensures any external sensor can be integrated, providing the user with a fully meshed “silent” network capable of self-healing. Exensor Technology will continue to lead the field in UGS technology, provide our customers with excellent customer service and a bespoke package able to meet every need. A CNIM Group Company