Royal Marines accommodation in Lympstone reaches milestone

The Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO) project to build new accommodation for personnel at the Commando Training Centre Royal Marines (CTCRM) in Devon has celebrated a major milestone.

The socially distanced topping out ceremony held at the Royal Marines’ principal training centre in Lympstone means that the building’s framework has now reached its highest point. The event was held in line with the current Covid-19 guidelines.

Representatives from the Royal Marines, DIO and its contractors Galliford Try and AECOM attended a socially distanced event to mark this achievement and to view progress on the building.

The project is worth approximately £10 million in total and will see the creation of a 181-bed block for junior ranks as well as supporting facilities, such as a communal area and administrative offices, at the site near Lympstone.

The accommodation will comprise of 21 eight-bed rooms and one ten-bed unit plus three single Duty of Care rooms for supporting staff. All rooms have been designed so that they can be allocated to either male or female occupants.

The new blocks will house Royal Marine recruits who have either been injured in training or are undergoing remedial professional military training.

Progress has carried on at this important facility in accordance with strict Covid-19 guidelines.

Simon Jones, DIO Project Manager, said: “This is an incredibly exciting milestone for the project and one we are pleased to be working on with Galliford Try and with our technical support providers Aecom.

“This purpose-built facility will provide modern and essential accommodation to personnel as they recover from injury and undergo rehabilitation on site.

“We are delighted with the progress on the facility to date especially in these challenging times and we look forward to celebrating its completion.”

Mark Wusthoff, Area Director for Galliford Try Building West Midlands & South West, said: “We were delighted to be able to welcome our partners on site to signify this important milestone, demonstrating the progress we have safely made despite the challenges presented by the pandemic.

“Defence is a key sector for our business and we are looking forward to the successful completion of this project, demonstrating the breadth of our offering to the sector and our capabilities within it.”

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GA-ASI selects 18 companies for Virtual Blue Magic Belgium

As part of the second annual “Blue Magic Belgium” industry engagement event hosted by General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA‑ASI), 18 Belgium-based companies have been selected to present their ideas and cutting-edge capabilities to a panel of GA-ASI technical experts.

The panel will evaluate the companies in a virtual interview setting and make decisions on which capabilities can support the development of MQ-9B SkyGuardian®, the GA-ASI Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) selected by Belgian Defense.

The presentations will be held during the week of September 21st and unlike the first Blue Magic Belgium (BMB) industry outreach event in 2019, this year’s event will be held virtually due to travel and in-person meeting restrictions stemming from the coronavirus.

“We’re very excited to host our second Blue Magic Belgium event,” said Linden Blue, CEO, GA-ASI. “Our first BMB event was a great success as we identified four Belgian companies who are now part of our SkyGuardian development team. We look forward to the same success this year. We know that attracting new Belgian businesses means more jobs for Belgium and it helps GA-ASI produce the best RPA for Belgian Defense and all NATO countries.”

As part of last year’s event, AeroSimulators Group (ASG), AIRobot, ALX Systems and Hexagon joined Team SkyGuardian, which already included these five Belgium companies: SABCA, Thales Belgium, ScioTeq, ST Engineering and DronePort. GA-ASI is working with these companies now to generate next-generation capabilities for their RPA.

The companies participating in Blue Magic Belgium the week of September 21st will be Airobot , AKKA BENELUX, Altran Belgium, ALX Systems, Any-Shape, Cenaero, Feronyl, Hexagon Geospatial, IDRONECT, Lambda-X, ML2Grow, Moss Composites, Optrion, Oscars, ScioTeq, Siemens, VITO-Remote Sensing, and von Karman Institute for Fluid Dynamics.

image courtesy of GA‑ASI

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GA-ASI Signs SkyGuardian Contract for Belgium

General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA-ASI) has signed a Foreign Military Sales contract with the US Air Force for Belgian Ministry of Defense to acquire the MQ-9B SkyGuardian Remotely Piloted Aircraft System (RPAS).

The SkyGuardian contract covers the design, development, integration and production of the RPAS with its EO/IR video and SAR/GMTI surveillance payloads, as well as Certifiable Ground Control Stations (CGCS), Portable Pre-Flight/Post-Flight Equipment (P3E), ground support equipment and spares. First delivery is expected in 2023.

Linden Blue, CEO of GA-ASI, said: “We look forward to providing our RPAS to meet Belgium’s mission requirements, while also supporting the NATO Alliance.

“Through our Belgian R&D seed-funding initiative, we are connected with many Belgian companies interested in further improving the capabilities of the SkyGuardian system.”

SkyGuardian has garnered significant interest from customers throughout the world. The UK Ministry of Defence selected SkyGuardian for its MQ-9B Protector program, and recently concluded the production contract for deliveries to the Royal Air Force. SkyGuardian was also selected by the Australian Defence Force under Project Air 7003.

MQ-9B is GA-ASI’s most advanced RPAS. GA-ASI named its MQ-9B aircraft SkyGuardian, and the maritime surveillance variant SeaGuardian, which is fitted with a multimode 360-degree field-of-regard Maritime Patrol Radar and optional sonobuoy capability.

MQ-9B development began in 2014 as a company-funded program to deliver an RPAS to meet NATO’s stringent airworthiness type-certification standard (STANAG 4671). STANAG certification will enable SkyGuardian to operate in civil airspace and better perform border patrol, fire detection and firefighting support, maritime patrol, and resource monitoring missions. MQ-9B is provisioned for the GA-ASI-developed Detect and Avoid System (DAAS) to enhance safety of operations in civil and military airspace. The MQ-9B is built for all-weather performance with lightning protection, a damage tolerant airframe, and a de-icing system.

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Defence Secretary sets out package of support to Lebanon

Royal Navy survey ship HMS Enterprise will sail to Lebanon as part of a wide-ranging package of military support made available by Defence Secretary Ben Wallace.

The survey vessel will travel to Lebanon to assess the damage of Beirut’s port following last week’s explosion and help return it to normal operations. The deployment of the ship will complement an immediate package of military and civilian support and £5 million worth of aid.

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said: “At the request of the Lebanese Government I have authorised the sending of HMS Enterprise to help survey the Port of Beirut, assessing the damage and supporting Lebanon rebuild this vital piece of national infrastructure.

We have a close and enduring friendship with the Lebanese people, our military is ready to support them in their time of need.”

The Port of Beirut is crucially important for the economic stability of Lebanon and receives the majority of the country’s imports.

HMS Enterprise is currently docked in Limassol and will make her way to Lebanon in due course. The UK is working with the Lebanese authorities to determine the optimum time for the ship’s deployment.

The UK Armed Forces is also deploying a small team to the UK Embassy in Beirut to help identify requirements and coordinate the package of wider support to the Lebanese Armed Forces. This includes the offer of tailored medical support, military air transport assistance and engineering and communications capabilities.

The UK’s Chief of Defence Staff General Sir Nick Carter called General Joseph Aoun, Commander of Lebanon’s Armed Forces, on Tuesday evening to offer his condolences.

image © MOD Crown Copyright

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Centre of Excellence for Laser and RF Directed Energy Weapons (DEW)

Team Hersa, the MOD Centre of Excellence for Laser and RF Directed Energy Weapons (DEW), have released an Expression of Interest request for Project Ealing.  This project is the integrated C-UAS and C-Mobility RF DEW element of Team Hersa, and will be released through the Weapons Sector Research Framework (WSRF).  Those companies interested in participation who are not signed up to WSRF should contact WSRFdelivery@qinetiq.com immediately for further information on the process.

MOD Team Hersa Expression of Interest

Team Hersa, the MOD Centre of Excellence for Laser and RF Directed Energy Weapons (DEW), will shortly release an Expression of Interest request for Project Tracey.  This project is the maritime Laser DEW element of Team Hersa and will be released through the Weapons Sector Research Framework (WSRF).  Those companies interested in participation who are not signed up to WSRF should contact WSRFdelivery@qinetiq.com for further information on the process.

Airbus signs contract for integration of 115 new Eurofighter ESCAN radars

Airbus has been awarded a contract for the development, supply and integration of 115 Eurofighter ESCAN Radars for the German and Spanish Eurofighter fleet.

It marks the largest order so far for the electronically scanned array radar, . The contract signature followed the approval by both governments in recent weeks.

The contract foresees the delivery and integration of 110 Captor-E radars for Germany and an initial batch of 5 radars for Spain to be delivered by 2023. The new sensor will equip Tranche 2 and Tranche 3 Eurofighters as well as new aircraft. Whereas the Airbus sites in Manching, Germany and Getafe, Spain will act as overall integration Hub, the development and building of the radar will be subcontracted to a consortium under the leadership of Hensoldt and Indra and by participation of further Eurofighter partner companies.

“The contract for the Captor-E radar is a main achievement to equip Eurofighter with sensors that ensure todays dominance of the aircraft also in the threat scenarios of tomorrow”, said Dirk Hoke, CEO of Airbus Defence and Space. “With Eurofighter, Germany and Spain are investing in a strong backbone of European air defence and in the leading project of the European defence industry.”

The design of the front fuselage airframe of the Eurofighter Captor-E allows thenEurofighter to deliver the largest electronically scanned array for increased detection and tracking ranges, advanced Air-to-Surface capability and enhanced electronic protection measures. The large antenna surface also allows a wider field of regard than any other platform pushing the aircraft’s performance and guaranteeing its role as a valuable asset within the Future Combat Aircraft System environment.

The signed contract will also give an additional push to the export tenders Eurofighter is currently bidding for.

image © Andrew Harker / Shutterstock.com

Babcock appoints David Lockwood as new Chief Executive

Babcock International Group PLC (Babcock) has announced the appointment of David Lockwood as CEO, succeeding Archie Bethel, who earlier this year announced his intention to retire.

David will join the Company and the Board on 17 August 2020 as CEO designate and will become CEO on 14 September 2020, at which point Archie will step down from the Board.

David was previously CEO of Cobham plc, one of the UK’s largest defence companies and a leading global technology and services innovator. Prior to that, he was CEO of Laird PLC, a FTSE 250 technology company, from 2012 to 2016.

His career includes senior management roles at BT Global Services, BAE Systems and Thales Corporation. David has a Degree in Mathematics from the University of York and is a chartered accountant. He is a Fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society and the Royal Society of Arts and Commerce. He received an OBE for services to industry in Scotland in 2011.

Ruth Cairnie, Chair, said: “After an extensive search and selection process, I am delighted to welcome David to the Company. He brings wide-ranging knowledge of the defence and aviation markets, as well as a wealth of experience in both technology and innovation. His skills and industry expertise will help ensure the delivery of our operational performance and strategic objectives.

“I would like to thank Archie for his outstanding contribution to Babcock over 16 years. He enhanced our deep relationship with our customers, reflected in our record order book and pipeline, and made significant progress in internationalising the Company and streamlining our portfolio. We have been very fortunate to have a leader with such profound knowledge of the business. Archie will retire from the Board with our very best wishes and our sincere appreciation for everything he has achieved.”

Archie Bethel said: “It has been an honour and a privilege to serve at Babcock, which makes a unique contribution to national security and to saving lives. I would like to thank all our employees worldwide for their hard work and commitment over my time of service, which has been exemplified in their outstanding response to the pandemic.”

David Lockwood said: “I am looking forward to joining Babcock, a company I have long respected, which makes such an important contribution to the critical markets it serves. This is an exciting opportunity to position Babcock for further success and future growth, and to make full use of technology and innovation to support customers in the UK and internationally.”

image courtesy of Babcock International

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Government fires up R&D to cement the UK as science superpower

New plans to cement the UK as the world’s leading research and science superpower have been set out by the Business Secretary Alok Sharma.

The government says the new Research and Development Roadmap will place pursuing ground-breaking research, attracting global talent, and cutting unnecessary red tape at the forefront of its long-term plan to ensure the UK is the best place in the world for scientists, researchers and entrepreneurs to live, work and innovate.

£300 million will also be brought forwards to upgrade scientific infrastructure across the UK through the government’s World Class Labs funding scheme. This funding will enable research institutes and universities to make sure UK researchers have access to better lab equipment, digital resources, and to improve and maintain current research facilities.

The Roadmap will also support the government’s efforts to address global challenges from eradicating our contribution to climate change by 2050 and developing new medicines, to improving life at home by strengthening national security and improving public services.

To achieve this, the government has today committed to:

  • increasing investment in ground-breaking research, cutting unnecessary bureaucracy and setting ambitious new goals for research to keep the UK ahead in cutting-edge discoveries
  • attracting, retaining and developing top talent to ensure the UK is the best place for researchers to work, offering careers at all stages that attract a diverse range of people. The government will also establish a new Office for Talent, making it easier for top global science, research and innovation talent to come to the UK
  • securing the economic and societal benefits of world-class research across the UK by setting up a new Innovation Expert Group to review and improve how the government supports research, from idea stage right through to product development
  • supporting our innovators and risk-takers by backing entrepreneurs and start-ups with the funding needed to scale up their innovations, as well as ensuring the UK is making the most of its first-class industries and technologies
  • boosting international collaboration to ensure the UK benefits from global scientific partnerships. This will create new opportunities for trade, growth and influence for the science and innovation communities and research institutions
  • aiming to maintain a close relationship with European partners by seeking to agree a fair and balanced deal for participation in EU R&D schemes. If the UK does not associate with programmes such as the EU’s research programme, Horizon Europe, the government will commit to meeting any funding shortfalls and putting in place alternative schemes to support vital UK research

The new Office for Talent is a team based in No. 10 with delivery teams across government departments. It will ensure the UK’s talent offer is stronger than ever for students, those building their careers, and those who are already world leaders in their fields, and will make it easier for those with the most talent, potential, energy and creativity to come to the UK from around the world.

The Office will begin work immediately to review the effectiveness of the current rules and ensure excellent customer service across the immigration system, so that it is simple, easy, and quick. They will also help those coming to the UK better understand the opportunities on offer and break down any barriers they might face.

The government announced, as part of the new graduate route, international students who complete a PhD from Summer 2021 can stay in the UK for 3 years after study to live and work. As previously announced, students who have successfully completed undergraduate and master’s degrees will be able to stay 2 years after study. This will make it easier for some of the best, young international graduates to secure skilled jobs in the UK and contribute to economic growth.

In addition, when the student route opens this autumn as part of the UK’s new points-based immigration system, there will be a number of improvements which will further streamline the immigration process. These include extending the window in which prospective students can make visa applications, removing study time limits at postgraduate level and allowing all students to switch to another type of visa from within the UK. Existing students and those who start their course this autumn will benefit from these changes, once they have been introduced.

The global talent scheme will also be opened up to EU citizens which will allow highly-skilled scientists and researchers to come to the UK without needing a job offer.

To attract the top digital and tech talent from across the UK and from overseas into government itself, a flagship innovation fellowship programme will be launched, sponsored by No. 10. Those admitted to the programme will help transform the delivery of public services by accelerating the adoption of cutting-edge technologies and approaches from industry, academia and civil society.

Business Secretary Alok Sharma said: “The UK has a strong history of turning new ideas into revolutionary technologies – from penicillin to graphene and the world wide web. Our vision builds on these incredible successes to cement Britain’s reputation as a global science superpower.

“The R&D Roadmap sets out our plan to attract global talent, cut unnecessary red tape and ensure our best minds get the support they need to solve the biggest challenges of our time.”

BAE Systems presses ahead with plans to recruit 800 apprentices

BAE Systems are moving forward with the recruitment of a record number of apprentices, despite the Covid-19 pandemic.

More than 9,000 people across the UK applied for the 800 apprenticeship roles during February. BAE Systems have put in place measures, including virtual interviews, which have enabled us to restart our recruitment drive with almost 2,000 shortlisted candidates.
Charles Woodburn, Chief Executive, BAE Systems, said: “Getting people back to work and creating new jobs, especially for younger people, is a national priority and we’re pleased to play our part in supporting the UK’s economic recovery. The contribution apprentices make to our business is vital in maintaining our ability to continue to deliver cutting edge technologies which protect national security. We’ve worked hard to adapt our application and training processes to allow education to continue, whilst protecting the health and wellbeing of our employees and new recruits.”
Recent research from the Resolution Foundation found that those born in the late 1990s are expected to be hardest hit by the current crisis. Over the last few weeks, early careers teams have developed new ways to enable candidates – most of whom are aged between 16 19 – to be interviewed safely and remotely.
The successful applicants will begin their careers on one of more than 25 apprenticeship training programmes in our Air, Maritime and Electronic Systems divisions, with the majority joining from September to January.
Secretary of State for Education, Gavin Williamson, said: “It is brilliant to see BAE Systems’ continued support for apprenticeships, recognising the hard work, skills and value that apprentices bring to a world-leading British company. 
“BAE Systems’ recruitment of 800 apprentices is yet more evidence that apprenticeships are an excellent choice for young people and shows that they are an excellent route into a wide range of high-quality and exciting careers. I am certain that apprenticeships will play a vital role in our economic recovery from coronavirus.  
“I’d like to wish all of those who applied the best of luck and to thank BAE Systems for their ongoing commitment to invest in their next generation of highly skilled staff.”
Those who make it through the selection process could find themselves working on some of the UK’s most exciting and nationally important programmes. Apprentices play a role in developing future combat air technologies for the Tempest programme in Warton, Lancashire, as well as in the design and build of Dreadnought submarines in Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria, and Type 26 frigates in Glasgow. Applicants could also find themselves working alongside the Armed Forces at RAF Coningsby or Portsmouth Naval Base.
More than 70% of new apprenticeships are based in the North of England.  Since 2016, BAE Systems have invested more than £40 million in two state of the art Academies for Skills & Knowledge at Samlesbury, Lancashire, and Barrow-in-Furness to train and develop employees, including the Company’s apprentices.
The apprentices train in a number of disciplines including engineering, manufacturing, project management, finance, business administration and IT – representing a diverse and rigorous training programme. Approximately 95% successfully complete their training and our apprentices have a strong track record of enjoying long careers with good progression in the Company.
Throughout lockdown, BAE System’s early careers teams have supported more than 1,500 apprentices providing them with a virtual learning environment to continue their training. A new remote approach to end point assessments will ensure apprentices can complete their training and transition to their first permanent roles within the Company.
In addition, BAE Systems have recently introduced a new graduate programme, with multiple intakes through the year. Applications have remained open throughout this period and we the Company committed to the plan to recruit approximately 250 graduates between September this year and June 2021. We are also offering more than 60 one-year industrial placements, with successful candidates joining in September.
For more information about early careers opportunities visit our early careers website.
image courtesy of BAE Systems