Defense Business Brief: Increase in US Arms Deals with Australia; One-on-one with the new L3Harris Manager; Production of Marine Corps AH-1Z ends; and more.

In addition to having a cool name, Jon Rambeau became President of L3Harris Technologies’ Integrated Mission Systems business last month. He replaced Sean Stackley, the former Navy acquisitions director who is now senior vice president of strategy and growth at L3Harris.

After 26 years in various positions at Lockheed Martin, Rambeau said he wasn’t looking for a career leap, but was drawn to L3Harris CEO Chris Kubasik’s vision of building the company into a “trustworthy disruptor.”

“It’s about thinking differently [and] it’s about bringing innovation to the table, not just from within our company but from others out there, whether in the traditional defense industry or more on the commercial side,” said Rambeau. “How do you bring all these innovations to bear to be more agile, to stay ahead of our customers’ needs and really anticipate what they’re going to need, so we can act and deliver faster [these] Capabilities in disruptive ways, sometimes at a much more affordable cost in less time.”

As the US increasingly faces peer-level threats from Russia and China, there are “certain areas where we absolutely need to move a little differently than in the past to ensure we keep up and stay on top stay,” Rambeau said. “I am focused on unleashing the potential of the proven disruptor vision.”

Rambeau oversees airborne intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance; distributed naval operations; and the company’s electro-optical sensors.

In the ISR business, the leading integrator for the Air Force’s RC-135 and EC-37 intelligence aircraft, Rambeau sees a future “trend away from the larger platforms” towards “missionary business jets”.

“One of the things that we’re really focused on is making the investments that are necessary to be able to move faster, to feel ability,” he said of this shift.

Unmanned technology “is a big focus” for the company as the US Navy develops a teaming strategy for crewed and unmanned ships, Rambeau said. L3Harris’ partnership with Shield Capital could prove beneficial to invest in small companies “to extend our reach a little bit and capitalize on the investments of these companies and how we can combine that with our capabilities.”

Although he’s only been with the company for a few weeks, Rambeau said he’s “impressed by how quickly we can go from consensus around a conference table to actual implementation.”

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On the other side of the pond, the Royal Air Force does not have enough pilots to fly its F-35 fighters, reports Sky News. The problem is that the RAF cannot train its pilots in time, Defense Secretary Ben Wallace told Parliament. Britain has 27 F-35s but only 33 pilots to fly them Aviation Week reports.

Still, Britain is moving forward with plans to purchase 74 jets for its two Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carriers by the end of the decade. “The announcement comes at a time of major shifts in the global security environment, as the UK is still trying to reassert its position in the defense industry in a post-Brexit world,” said Madeline Wild, analyst at Global Data, in a note to investors. “The financial importance of the F-35 and other programs should not be underestimated as allies such as the US place great value on Britain’s economic commitment to defense.”

Britain plans to spend about $11.7 billion on the F-35 over the next 10 years, Wild wrote. About 15 percent of F-35 parts are manufactured in the UK. The Royal Air Force flies the F-35B, which can take off from short runways and land vertically like a small aircraft carrier.

on the way down The US State Department approved a $6.35 billion sale to Australia of 24 C-130J cargo planes. “The strategic location of this political and economic power is instrumental in ensuring peace and economic stability in the region,” the Defense Security Cooperation Agency, the arm of the Pentagon that oversees foreign arms sales, said in a statement. The US has approved 16 arms deals for Australia worth $18 billion since January 2021, according to the Forum on the Arms Trade. That’s well over six deals totaling $3.15 billion approved for Canberra in 2019 and 2020. The US has deepened its defense ties with Australia, in part to counter China in the Pacific. In September 2021, Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States signed the trilateral AUKUS pact, which is expected to result in Australia receiving nuclear-powered submarines.

The offers go to the next phase the US Army’s manned combat vehicle option, the troop carrier that would replace the decades-old Bradley. BAE Systems, General Dynamics, Oshkosh, Point Blank Enterprises and Rheinmetall all submitted bids, according to the sources break defenses. All five companies had previously received design contracts from the Army. Now the army plans to buy prototypes from up to three bidders. A decision is expected next year. The Army is not expected to pick a single winner until 2027.

Bell has delivered the last AH-1Z Viper Attack helicopter for the US Marine Corps, the 189th rolled off the company’s assembly line in Amarillo, Texas. This assembly line continues to build AH-1Zs for Bahrain. Eight UH-1Ys and four AH-1Zs will also be built for the Czech Republic over the next year, Bell said.

Teledyne FLIR Defense announced that it has developed a new drone sensor that can detect radioactive material. “[T]The R430 allows users to quickly locate and accurately identify sources of radioactivity remotely,” the company said.

Meanwhile, the army of Norway awarded Kongsberg a $1.5 billion deal for its Commonly Remotely Operated Weapon Station, known as CROWS. The company has delivered more than 18,000 CROWS systems to the US military. The new contract will allow the Pentagon to “fully realize the investments made in Tech Refresh systems and make these capabilities available to new and existing customers in the US and abroad,” said Eirik Tord Jensen, executive vice president of Kongsberg Defense & Aerospace Land Systems Department said in a statement. “The Tech Refresh systems are designed to provide greater distance, increased precision and networking capabilities, and vastly improved situational awareness, in addition to being backwards compatible.”

Leidos has completed its acquisition of Cobham Aviation Services Australia’s Special Mission business. The company will trade as Leidos Australia. “The acquisition of Cobham Special Mission represents Leidos’ entry into the Australian aviation market, deploying state-of-the-art command and control systems and sensors onboard aircraft to achieve mission-critical results for the Australian Government,” Leidos said in a statement.

make movements: The Printed Circuit Board Association of America on November 2nd named David Schild as the association’s first executive director. The consortium supports US domestic production of printed circuit boards. Schild is the founder and managing partner of Three Rivers Strategies.


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