Daily Defence Report

CMS Strategic News Report April 28

by CMS Team on 28 April, 2021

April 28, 2021

General Electric revenues fall in ‘difficult environment’ for aviation, Germany contracts Top Aces to deliver advanced airborne training, Military redesigning body armour to fit female recruits, General Dynamics Land Systems UK unveil new Ajax-Brimstone Overwatch variant.

Ministry of Defence

Military Bases: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, pursuant to the Answer of 9 September 2020 to Question 285057 on Cape Wrath, who the industry partner is that undertakes routine internal audits of Environmental Management Systems delivered across the UK Training Estate including Cape Wrath (Deidre Brock Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Wales), Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs))).
• Answer from Jeremy Quin The Minister of State, Ministry of Defence

“The Defence Infrastructure Organisation manage the Defence Training Estate across the UK in partnership with its industry partner, Landmarc Support Services Ltd. Landmarc Support Services Ltd is the company who undertakes internal audits of Environmental Management Systems across the UK Defence Training Estate, including Cape Wrath.”

Nuclear Weapons: Testing: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what (a) health measures and (b) radiobiological monitoring did the Government introduce after the British Nuclear Test Programme ended in 1991 for (i) all service personnel involved in the operations, (ii) all indigenous peoples living near or on the test sites during or after the time of operations, (iii) any others locally present during operations or now living near the test sites (Rebecca Long-Bailey Labour, Salford and Eccles)
• Answer from Leo Docherty Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State (jointly with the Ministry of Defence)

“The UK atmospheric nuclear test programme experimented on weapons not Service personnel; the health of all those involved was a vital consideration, as shown by the detailed documented safety measures and radiobiological monitoring that took place during experiments. The Service personnel who took part were not subject to ongoing routine health measures or radiobiological monitoring after the programme ended. To date, any published peer-reviewed research has found no evidence of a general excess of illness or mortality among nuclear test veterans as a group that could be linked to their participation in the tests. Any nuclear test veterans who believe they have suffered ill health due to service, have the right to apply for no-fault compensation under the War Pensions Scheme.
In 1968, the UK and Australia signed an agreement confirming that the clean-up of all test sites had been completed satisfactorily. As announced to the House on 10 December 1993, (Official Report, column 421), the Government agreed to make an ex gratia payment of £20 million to the Federal Government of Australia as part of a full and final settlement of the UK Government’s liability for any claims resulting from the British test programme. A copy of the note giving effect to this agreement was placed in the Library of the House. The note also records that the Government of Australia indemnified the Government of the UK against claims from Australian nationals or residents. The Government now regards the matter as closed.”

Leidos: Contracts: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, how much his Department has paid to Leidos to operate the logistics, commodities and services transformation programme in each year since 2015 (Deidre Brock Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Wales), Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs))
• Answer from Leo Docherty Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State (jointly with the Ministry of Defence)

“The Ministry of Defence has made the following payments to Leidos to operate the Logistics, Commodities and Services Transformation programme since 2015:
Year £million (ex-VAT)

Year £million (ex-VAT)
2015-16 89
2016-17 268
2017-18 326
2018-19 385
2019-20 432
2020-21 355
2021-22 13

The cost for 2020-21 has yet to be finalised and fully paid. The figure for 2021-22 covers the period 1 April 2021 to 26 April 2021.

Military Aviation Authority: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what agreements are in place to allow the Military Aviation Authority to use evidence from other countries to support rapid assessment (Kevan Jones Labour, North Durham).
• Answer from Jeremy Quin The Minister of State, Ministry of Defence

“The relevant agreements are known as Recognition. At present the UK MAA has Recognized nine MAA-equivalents and has been Recognized by 12 MAA-equivalents a full list of which are published on the website at the following link:”

A400M Aircraft: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, whether the Release of Service Authority has certified personnel parachute operations safe, with regards to the A400M (Kevan Jones Labour, North Durham).
• Answer from Jeremy Quin The Minister of State, Ministry of Defence

“The RAF Atlas A400M trials of specific personnel paradrop capabilities have commenced under Military Permit To Fly clearances, required to develop safe operating procedures to allow our own Release To Service Authority to consider authorising the capability.”


General Electric revenues fall in ‘difficult environment’ for aviation (FT)
• Revenues at General Electric fell and the company reported a loss in the first quarter due in part to what it described as a “still difficult environment for aviation” as the pandemic weighs on air travel.
• The 129-year-old industrial giant’s revenues fell 12 per cent from a year ago to $17.1bn, missing expectations for $17.5bn, according to analysts polled by Refinitiv.
• Its aviation business, which supplies aircraft engines and other components, has been hit hard by the pandemic and its impact on air travel. Aviation revenues were down 28 per cent from a year ago to $4.99bn and orders fell 26 per cent “amid ongoing pandemic-related challenges”, the company said. That was still an improvement from the fourth quarter of last year, when orders were down 41 per cent.
• The pandemic blow prompted GE to cut about 20,000 jobs last year, and its shares halved between March and mid-May 2020. GE expects the aviation market recovery to begin in the second half of the year, with revenues expected to be “flat to up”.
• The cash burn by its industrial divisions totalled $845m, an improvement from $2.2bn in the same period last year.
• GE shares, which are up 25 per cent year-to-date, slid 2.5 per cent in pre-market trade on Tuesday.
• The Boston-based company reported a net loss of $2.8bn, or 33 cents a share, in the first three months of the year, compared with net income of $6.1bn, or 70 cents a share, in the same period last year. Adjusting for one-off items, the company reported earnings of 3 cents a share, topping analysts’ expectations for earnings of 1 cent.

Germany contracts Top Aces to deliver advanced airborne training (Janes)
• Germany has contracted Top Aces to deliver fast jet adversary air training services to its armed forces from 1 January 2022.
• Announced by the Canadian-based contractor owned and contractor operated (COCO) company on 26 April, the contract is a follow-on award for Top Aces, which has been providing its services to the German armed forces over the previous six years.
• “In support of the growing programme, we plan to increase our staffing levels in Germany, adding more than 20 highly skilled employment opportunities to the local economy,” Senior Program Manager, German Operations, at Top Aces, Rolf Brandt said.
• Top Aces (formerly Discovery Air) fields Dornier Alpha Jets, Douglas A-4 Skyhawks, and Bombardier Learjets that it uses for contractor COCO training, and recently began receiving 29 former Israeli Air Force Lockheed Martin F-16A/B ‘Netz’ jets also.

Military redesigning body armour to fit female recruits (Telegraph)
• The military is redesigning body armour and ejection seats to better accommodate female recruits, MPs have been told.
• Baroness Goldie, the minister of state for defence, told the defence sub-committee looking into women in the Armed Forces that trials for combat body armour and a special design of a “prototype” of female tactical vests would begin next month.
• She insisted “things are actually happening” to make uniforms more comfortable for women, as she pointed to ballistic hard armour plates, and the “interim solution of a smaller Osprey plate”, which will be introduced at the end of 2022 and “used in conjunction with the female fit scalable tactical vest”.
• Meanwhile Maria Byford, chief of staff personnel and air secretary, sighted the work the RAF was doing with female air crew alongside uniforms in order to make aircraft more comfortable for women on flights.
• Ms Byford said: “Up until recently, we’ve only used male shapes and sizes in order to design crew equipment. So things like ejection seat design, in-flight urination systems, breathing system designs are now being redesigned, as you say to accommodate the female anatomy.”
• She added: “These were absolutely in response to the concerns that were raised by serving servicewomen.”
• The Telegraph understands that the Ministry of Defence is engaging with current female fast jet pilots during the development stage of the next generation aircrew equipment. These requirements are directly incorporated into Tempest, but will indirectly flow to other platforms. Areas of specific cross-industry consideration include ejection seat design, in-flight urination, clothing design, breathing system design and G-protection systems.

General Dynamics Land Systems UK unveil new Ajax-Brimstone Overwatch variant (Shephard News)
• General Dynamics Land Systems UK has revealed the new Ajax-Brimstone Overwatch variant armoured vehicle and its capabilities.
• General Dynamics Land Systems (GDLS) UK has showcased a new variant in its Ajax family of vehicles. Armed with the MBDA Brimstone antitank guided weapon, the Overwatch variant is designed to operate in future British Army heavy brigade and deep recce strike combat teams.
• Brimstone can provide vital protection for a dispersed force and ensure the integrity of long-range surveillance, GDLS UK announced on 26 April.
• The Overwatch capability can be integrated onboard an Ares vehicle by using the cutting-edge electronic architecture that is installed across the Ajax range. This architecture is designed to enable the rapid insertion and integration of new technologies and capabilities.
• According to GDLS UK, Brimstone can defeat all known defensive aide suits and armour with high precision and in difficult conditions.
• Brimstone can also provide several targeting options while enhancing platform and operator survivability through insensitive munition compliance.

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‘Let the bodies pile high’: What really happened on night Boris Johnson was accused of outburst (Times)
• The accounts of what happened on the evening of October 30, 2020 could not be further apart – but on one matter there is unanimity. Boris Johnson was in a foul mood on a day he now wishes he could forget.
• Having publicly pledged to do everything he could to avoid the “disaster” of a second lockdown, the Prime Minister had been strong-armed by his most senior ministers and aides into agreeing to just that.
• Mr Johnson feared he would pay a heavy price politically for a decision that would hit the economy and rile Tory MPs and the public at large. He was wrong.
• Six months on, it is not the U-turn that has come to haunt him but two other events that happened within minutes of each other that evening – an alleged outburst and the ongoing reverberations of a highly disruptive leak.
• According to two separate accounts published on Monday, Mr Johnson barked in frustration after losing the argument over lockdown: “No more —-ing lockdowns. Let the bodies pile high in their thousands!” It is alleged that three different people overheard the remark and have confirmed what he said.
• Not so, says Number 10. The Prime Minister denied making the comment when asked about it during a visit to Wrexham on Monday, while his official spokesman said the story was “untrue”. Downing Street sources described it as “just another lie”.
• At around the same time as the Prime Minister’s alleged comment was made, someone with intimate knowledge of what had happened in the lockdown meeting was busily leaking details of it to the press.
• Memorably described by a Johnson ally in the days that followed as a “chatty rat” inside Number 10, the leaker made sure the public knew about the coming lockdown even before Mr Johnson had time to finalise the detals


British troops in Mali asked by locals ‘to stay forever’ peacekeeping commander says (Telegraph)

• British troops in Mali have been asked by locals “to stay forever” a peacekeeping commander has said.
• Soldiers deployed on the UN peacekeeping mission to the west African country say they have, so far, been received well by local people.
• Major Jamie Powell, Officer Commanding B Company, 2nd Battalion The Royal Anglian Regiment, was speaking after a 24-day patrol as the British Long Range Reconnaissance Group deployed in Mali on Operation MINUSMA.
• “The purpose of the patrol is to understand what is going on in local towns and villages and to understand what problems those villages have, mainly focussed on the security concerns,” he said.
• “The most tangible thing for us is when we patrol into a village and the locals are very happy to see us. A lot of people ask us if we can stay in the area forever to continue to provide security.”
• Maj Powell said it was difficult to go into a village where people are initially too scared to talk to his troops.
• “Obviously we don’t want to put anyone’s life at risk and put anyone in danger, but we need to get the information so that we can help provide security in an area.
• “MINUSMA is here providing security in support of the Malian defence and security forces [and] deterring terrorist activity.
• “One of the greatest strengths of our Task Group is our ability to endure in an area for a period of time, which is what most people want – to see that MINUSMA presence, or FAMa [Malian army] presence for a longer period of time.”


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