USAF team to assess Thailand's ability to operate F-35s

by Akhil Kadidal

The USAF is preparing to send a team to assess Thailand's ability to operate F-35s. (US Air Force)

The United States will assess Thailand's capability to operate fifth-generation Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter. The planned visitation suggests that the country has moved closer to potentially acquiring the stealth fighters.

Speaking to Janes, a Royal Thai Air Force (RTAF) spokesperson said, “We have been informed that the US Air Force (USAF) is now under the process of setting up a team to travel to Thailand for [assessment], as well as providing advice for the right practices to prepare the receiving and use of the fifth-generation fighter.”

“However, we still don't know the exact schedule of when to travel, as this will be decided by the US Air Force,” he added.

The US Department of State declined to comment on the specifics of the USAF visitation and “potential procurements” of a “longtime treaty ally and security partner”.

The USAF team will likely assess the RTAF's capabilities and infrastructure to determine if the Southeast Asian country can support F-35 operations.

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Hensoldt and Theon to deliver 20,000 night-vision goggles to Germany

by Olivia Savage & Kasthurica Panigrahy

A Hensoldt and Theon consortium has received a follow-on contract for 20,000 Mikron night-vision goggles from the Organisation for Joint Armament Cooperation (OCCAR), Hensoldt announced on 5 July.

The contract amendment, signed by OCCAR on behalf of Belgium and Germany, activates an existing option for the supply of an additional 20,000 Mikron Binocular Night-Vision Googles (BNVGs) to the German armed forces (Bundeswehr), Hensoldt detailed.

The original contract, signed on 5 July 2021, involved the delivery of 4550 16 mm BNVGs to the Belgium Armed Forces and 5000 to the Bundeswehr, with deliveries starting in 2021. Following this contract amendment, the Hensoldt and Theon consortium will deliver 29,550 goggles to the German and Belgian armed forces.

A Hensoldt spokesperson told Janes that the amended contract also involves accelerating the delivery of the goggles originally ordered in July 2021.

The company said that the “mid-three-digit million” euro contract amendment includes various enhancements to the Mikron and changes to the system configuration, as a result of the completion of the Operational Testing and Acceptance phase (OT&A) in February 2022. The Hensoldt spokesperson was unable to elaborate further on this.

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Aerojet Rocketdyne shareholders elect CEO slate to board

by Marc Selinger

Aerojet Rocketdyne tests a rocket engine's thrust chamber assembly. (Aerojet Rocketdyne)

A slate of candidates led by Aerojet Rocketdyne CEO Eileen Drake has won the publicly traded company's contentious election for board of directors, defeating a group led by executive chairman and major shareholder Warren Lichtenstein, the Drake team announced on 30 June.

The eight-member Drake slate received more than 75% of the votes cast, with Drake receiving over 83%, more than any other candidate, the CEO's group wrote in a press release. Drake's slate consists of four incumbent directors, including Drake, and four new directors.

“We look forward to putting this proxy fight behind us so we can continue to focus on creating value for our shareholders,” Drake said.

A spokesperson for the Lichtenstein slate declined to comment.

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Parker's bid for Meggitt advances

by Marc Selinger

Meggitt provides ammunition handling systems for military aircraft, including the Apache attack helicopter. (Crown Copyright)

UK Secretary of State for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) Kwasi Kwarteng is “minded to accept” the commitments that Parker Hannifin Corporation is offering to ease concerns about its proposed acquisition of Meggitt, the UK government announced on 28 June.

Kwarteng will not make a final decision on Parker's legally binding commitments, or “undertakings”, until a public comment period ends on 13 July, the government said.

Parker, which welcomed the announcement, is headquartered in the United States, and Meggitt is based in the United Kingdom. To address UK national security concerns about the deal, Parker has committed to honouring Meggitt's existing contracts with the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) and will notify the MoD if Meggitt's ability to supply the ministry changes. Parker has also agreed that UK nationals residing in the UK would continue to make up a majority of Meggitt's board of directors.

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