Sponsored by TCI International Inc.
30 Dec 20. Mercury Systems Inc. (NASDAQ: MRCY, www.mrcy.com), a leader in trusted, secure mission-critical technologies for aerospace and defense, today announced the completion of its acquisition of Physical Optics Corporation (POC). Pursuant to the terms of the definitive agreement applicable to the acquisition, Mercury acquired POC for a purchase price of $310m, subject to net working capital and net debt adjustments. The acquisition was funded through a combination of cash on hand and Mercury’s existing revolving credit facility.
“We’re pleased that this transaction was completed on schedule; the next step is executing a seamless integration,” said Mark Aslett, Mercury’s president and chief executive officer. “The acquisition is directly aligned with our strategy and will enable us to deliver more complete, pre-integrated avionics subsystems to our customers. We welcome the POC team to the Mercury family.”
28 Dec 20. Ligado investors should be scared of its future. By now it shouldn’t be any surprise that I oppose the decision by the Federal Communications Commission to approve Ligado Networks’ application to repurpose low-band spectrum for a terrestrial commercial network that will interfere with GPS and satellite communications signals.
What is surprising, however, is that after my push to dispel the Ligado lies, Ligado still has investors willing to bet big on them.
In October, the Wall Street Journal reported that Ligado, which went bankrupt in 2012 after a failed effort to repurpose its spectrum, needed to refinance $4b2020n in debt to prevent bankruptcy, and gave plum offerings and high returns to hedge fund investors to do so. Having survived one bankruptcy, Ligado will do anything to make sure its Wall Street hedge fund and private equity investors make money — even when it would jeopardize the signals supporting our national and economic security that Americans rely on every day.
Ligado has an agenda — and it’s a scary one. Just think about what activities GPS and satellite communications signals support across the nation. Our troops rely on them for equipment used on the battlefield, farmers rely on them to harvest their crops, and truckers and airlines rely on them to move supplies and people safely; the list goes on and on.
Since its decision, made on a Sunday in April, I’ve been sounding the alarm, and Ligado has been spending tons of cash on lobbyists to try and silence me. So far in 2020, Ligado has spent more than $3m to lobby members of Congress. And while it has been busy trying to block my efforts to undo the FCC’s decision, my expectation is that Ligado has not communicated to its investors the massive risks they face.
That’s why I’m writing here. For anyone considering an investment in Ligado, I have a free piece of advice: buyer beware.
Sure, the FCC approved the Ligado order back in April, but there are eight separate petitions to reconsider the order pending right now. They are signed by 22 private sector organizations and 14 federal agencies represented by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, or NTIA. I believe these petitions will be successful in completely repealing Ligado’s permission slip to create interference. Even if they are not, there are three additional strikes that should make any investor fear for their investment.
Ligado’s plan will be detrimental to our nation’s GPS and everything that relies on it. Ligado has claimed the three major GPS manufacturers (Trimble, Garmin and Deere) support Ligado’s plans, pointing to settlement agreements signed in 2015. In fact, these settlement agreements were to resolve lawsuits filed by Ligado! Each GPS manufacturer has publicly stated its settlement agreement is not an endorsement of what Ligado wants to do, nor can it be used as evidence that Ligado will not cause interference to the GPS devices it manufactures. Strike one.
The Department of Defense has reported it could cost billions to upgrade, repair or replace the equipment and systems impacted by Ligado’s plan, but the DoD does not have the money to do that and it shouldn’t be forced to spend taxpayer money to fix problems Ligado causes. That’s why I authored provisions in this year’s annual defense bill that would make it clear: By law, the DoD will not be on the hook for the damages Ligado causes to its equipment and systems.
“We expect the FCC to resolve Department of Defense concerns before moving forward, as required by law,” the Big Four defense authorizers write in this commentary. “If they do not, and unless President Trump intervenes to stop this from moving forward, it will be up to Congress to clean up this mess.”
By: Sen. Jim Inhofe, Sen. Jack Reed, Rep. Adam Smith, Rep. Mac Thornberry
Furthermore, Ligado — and any other company that may seek to purchase Ligado — is prohibited from contracting with the DoD if they cause interference with the important signals used by the DoD’s equipment and systems. As of this writing, the defense bill has passed both the House and Senate with broad, bipartisan majorities. It will shortly become law. Strike two.
Finally, the Senate confirmed Nathan Simington to the FCC. Simington is the right choice for the FCC. He supports overhauling Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act to end Big Tech’s censorship of conservative voices on social media platforms. He most recently served as an adviser at the NTIA, which has coordinated all the federal agencies’ efforts to articulate the dangers of Ligado’s plan, including in filings with the FCC. He appreciates that in approving the Ligado order in April, the FCC steamrolled over objections from 14 separate government agencies — all responsible for ensuring safety-of-life operations dependent on GPS and satellite communication signals.
Nathan Simington knows the process was broken and will make sure the FCC does a better job of engaging with federal agencies in the future. Strike three for Ligado’s future.
Investors need to decide for themselves if they can trust Ligado’s future viability — but I doubt it has been forthcoming about the reality of what’s happening in Washington. If it has not disclosed these three strikes, what else might it be hiding? Three strikes should be enough to show investors that they shouldn’t trust Ligado with any more capital.
Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., is chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee. (Source: Defense News)
29 Dec 20. SAMI acquires Advanced Electronics Company. Saudi Arabian Military Industries (SAMI) has acquired Advanced Electronics Company (AEC) as part of the largest military industries deal ever concluded in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The purchase is expected to complete in the first quarter of 2021 following regulatory approvals. As a result, AEC will become a 100% Saudi-owned company.
The acquisition was announced during a ceremony organised by SAMI in the presence of the members of SAMI’s and AEC’s Board of Directors, and senior officials from the Ministry of Defence, General Authority for Military Industries (GAMI), PIF, Saudi Arabian Airlines (SAUDIA), BAE Systems Saudi Arabia, and other stakeholders.
Ahmed Al-Khateeb, Chairman of SAMI, said: “This deal strengthens SAMI’s presence in the strategically important defense industries market and supports its plans to transfer and localize the military industries. The acquisition will also enhance AEC’s opportunities to expand and compete in its field.”
Al-Khateeb affirmed the support of H.R.H. the Minister of Defense for the transfer and localization of military industries as a key part of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030. “This achievement also supports PIF’s efforts through SAMI in localizing cutting-edge technology and knowledge, as well as building strategic economic partnerships.”
Al-Khateeb added: “Considered the ‘crown jewel’ of Saudi Arabia’s military industries and a proud accomplishment for its citizens, AEC will bring about transformative change in the Kingdom’s defense sector by enhancing the industry’s competencies and advancing innovation. With state-of-the-art products, innovative technologies, several decades of experience, and the collective efforts of both SAMI and AEC, the acquisition will shape the future of the domestic defense ecosystem and make long-lasting contributions to the national economy for the upcoming years, through skills development, employment generation, and exports.” (Source: Google/https://www.arabianaerospace.aero/)
28 Dec 20. J.F. Lehman & Company Acquires CTS Engines. J.F. Lehman & Company (“JFLCO”), a leading middle-market private equity firm focused exclusively on the aerospace, defense, maritime, government and environmental sectors, is pleased to announce that an investment affiliate has acquired CTS Engines, LLC and CTS Testing, LLC (collectively, “CTS” or the “Company”).
Headquartered in Ft. Lauderdale, FL, CTS is a leading independent provider of maintenance, repair and overhaul (“MRO”) services for mature aircraft engines worldwide. The Company’s core services include end-to-end engine overhauls, component repairs, and return-to-service testing for engine owners and operators primarily in the air cargo and military end markets. The Company’s MRO services require complex logistical planning with customers and vendors to manage an approximately 13,000 piece-part repair and replacement process for each engine overhaul.
“CTS has built an excellent reputation as a leading independent aircraft engine MRO service provider and is a strong addition to JFLCO’s portfolio of companies,” said Steve Brooks, Partner with JFLCO. “CTS’s high quality customer service, well-differentiated value proposition, and talented workforce reflect core characteristics we seek in our investments. We look forward to partnering with Vesa Paukkeri and his team to continue to build CTS’s strong position as a leading provider in its mature engine MRO market.”
Vesa Paukkeri, CEO of CTS, commented, “J.F. Lehman & Company is an ideal partner for CTS. They bring a unique combination of sector and operational expertise, deep relationships in our target industries, and capital to accelerate our growth. We look forward to expanding CTS’s position as a global leader in high quality jet engine maintenance with the support of JFL.”
Debt financing for the transaction was provided by Barings Finance and Siemens Financial Services. Jones Day served as lead legal counsel for J.F. Lehman & Company. Baker Hostetler provided Government Contracts, Defense Security and International Trade advice to J.F. Lehman & Company. William Blair served as lead financial advisor to CTS, and Lincoln International served as co-advisor. Bartlit Beck provided legal counsel to CTS and the selling equity holders.
28 Dec 20. Altitude Angel Raises a Further £4m Investment. Altitude Angel, a global UTM (Unified Traffic Management) technology provider, announced that it raised a further £4m ($5.3m US) from one of Europe’s largest VC investors, Octopus Ventures.
The latest fundraising concludes Altitude Angel’s series A round, led by Octopus Ventures and existing investor Seraphim Capital. It also brings the total invested in Altitude Angel in 2020 to £7.05m ($9.4m)
UTM is the platform which will allow UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, sometimes called drones) and manned aircraft to operate harmoniously in shared skies. Through the widespread adoption of UTM platforms, governments and authorities will be able to begin building the super-highways of the future – networks of interlinking drone corridors which will revolutionise the transportation of goods; from medical supplies and fast-food deliveries to ‘Amazon-like’ parcel drop off and collections.
The investment will allow Altitude Angel to capitalise on its reputation as the world’s leader in developing and deploying local and national UTM platforms, allowing it to further expand its international presence and in doing so, accelerate the safe and secure use of drones in skies across the globe. Following the opening of its Dutch HQ in September, the company will be opening offices local to its international partners in addition to increasing its presence in markets promoting UTM growth through H1 2021.
Octopus Ventures’ Zoë Chambers will join the Altitude Angel board, which is chaired by former Microsoft executive Pieter Knook.
Zoë Chambers, deep tech investor at Octopus Ventures, said: “We’ve been talking about the potential of drones to radically transform all sorts of industries for a long time now, as the number of applications is huge, but for it to be viable, we need a system that can manage drones and, eventually, other types of unmanned air traffic at scale.
“Altitude Angel’s technology solves this problem and allows highly automated drones to be safely integrated within a nation’s airspace and, in doing so, allow drones to be used to survey infrastructure, deliver small parcels, or even deliver important medical supplies, such as donor organs, without disturbing normal air traffic.
“The market opportunity is enormous, and we firmly believe Altitude Angel’s UTM platform will become the blueprint for drone integration and the infrastructure layer for an unmanned air traffic network across the globe. Richard and his team have already made meaningful progress towards this goal and we’re excited to get to work to help realise their vision.”
Richard Parker, Altitude Angel, founder and CEO added, “Altitude Angel has consistently broken new ground in the development and deployment of Unified Traffic Management technology, pioneering the integration of UTM within existing ATM (Air Traffic Management) systems and networks. Our partnership with Octopus Ventures and the investment they have made in our business will allow us to significantly build on the foundations we’ve spent the past years laying. The substantial investments made in our company throughout 2020 – during a time of immense globally instability – demonstrate the solid basis for the business we’re building and means we can focus more on accelerating our growth and expansion plans, strengthening our existing solution portfolio and continue to deliver on our vision for the future of automated transport. As countries around the world rebuild from the impact of COVID, we’re going to help them build-back bigger, stronger and, most importantly: equipped to deal with tomorrow’s skies.”
This latest investment follows Altitude Angel’s announcement in September it would be opening the world’s first commercial drone super-highway in open and unrestricted airspace in the Thames Valley, to the west of London, in 2021. The corridor uses Altitude Angel’s “Arrow” technology.
Operated and managed by Altitude Angel, the site will be available to support fully automated drone flights beyond visual line-of-sight (BVLOS) from any drone company which completes a series of basic technical integrations which, crucially, don’t require specialist hardware on-board the drone.
Altitude Angel was founded in 2014 by Richard Parker and has quickly become the world’s leading UTM technology company. Its solutions are deployed by air navigation service providers (ANSPs) around the globe, including the Netherlands’ LVNL, Norway’s Avinor and the UK’s NATS, with further significant rollouts planned in 2021. Its market leading data is also used by drone manufactures, including the world’s largest, DJI, flight planning platforms and enterprise businesses. (Source: UAS VISION)
22 Dec 20. Viasat Enters Definitive Agreement To Acquire RigNet. Viasat Inc. (NASDAQ: VSAT) has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire RigNet, Inc. (NASDAQ: RNET) in an all-stock transaction that values RigNet at an enterprise value of approximately $222m, based on Viasat’s share price as of the date of the agreement and RigNet’s net debt at September 30, 2020.
The acquisition will help to further accelerate Viasat’s strategy to provide high-quality, ubiquitous, affordable broadband connectivity and communications to the hardest-to-reach locations around the globe. RigNet provides premier, global end-to-end, secure managed communications service and installation capabilities, along with digital transformation solutions, which will enable Viasat to quickly expand into new adjacent industries, including: energy, shipping, maritime, mining and additional enterprises.
Acquiring RigNet will give Viasat direct access to more than 650 customers and expand and diversify Viasat’s commercial connectivity portfolio, providing Viasat an opportunity to more quickly enter adjacent industries. For example, by combining the strong gains in bandwidth efficiencies expected from the impending ViaSat-3 constellation and RigNet’s portfolio of services, Viasat will become a leading, vertically-integrated, energy communications provider with deep domain and customer expertise.
Additionally, RigNet will give Viasat access to complementary core technology and services, including RigNet’s digital transformation toolset, which includes its end-to-end managed communications and connectivity service capabilities, such as SD-WAN; the Cyphre™ cybersecurity product-line; its large-scale applications and IIoT offering; and the Intelie Live™ real-time machine learning and AI analytics platform. Viasat expects to leverage and combine RigNet’s digital transformation solutions, global enterprise experience, support infrastructure and back office systems to expand into new global services.
With more than 650 employees, RigNet has a strong global support infrastructure and operations foundation with more than 50% of its employees overseas. RigNet’s international presence aligns with Viasat’s expanding global operations, enabling Viasat to find additional value and business complements for its ViaSat-3 globalization efforts.
Viasat intends to incorporate RigNet into its Global Enterprise and Mobility business unit, led by President Jimmy Dodd, which will provide further complementary capabilities and support synergies to Viasat’s existing mobility businesses. The RigNet team operates from its headquarters in Houston, Texas; management is expected to stay on to provide leadership, in-depth industry knowledge and customer relationship support.
Rick Baldridge, Viasat’s President and CEO, commented, “With the acquisition of RigNet, we are accelerating the diversification of our connectivity portfolio and establishing a global foundation for expansion of our remote enterprise service offerings. RigNet’s successful track record, global footprint, deep customer relationships and emerging technology expertise in areas like machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) make this transaction an ideal fit as we launch our integrated global broadband platform. The transaction is accretive to cashflow, and is expected to improve our leverage position as well as offer multiple opportunities for expansion and performance upside beyond RigNet’s robust energy services business. We’re looking forward to welcoming the RigNet team to the Viasat family post-closing.”
“There is a powerful alignment between RigNet and Viasat given our shared mission to provide fast, reliable coverage, anywhere customers require it,” said Steven Pickett, President and CEO, RigNet. “We have broad experience integrating broadband connectivity and networking capabilities in the most challenging environments—gained from our global deployment of more than 1,200 onshore and offshore sites and 11,000 Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) sites. This combination also represents an outstanding opportunity for us to accelerate both the investment in and the adoption of our digital transformation solutions more rapidly outside of our core oil & gas vertical. Our customers are demanding more enhanced communications solutions, and joining forces with Viasat—a recognized leader in satellite broadband connectivity—will enable us to serve them better.” details
Under the terms of the agreement, RigNet stockholders will receive 0.1845 shares of Viasat common stock for each share of RigNet common stock, which represents a 17.9% premium based on the 20-day volume-weighted average prices of Viasat and RigNet. The transaction represents an enterprise value for RigNet of approximately $222m, consisting of approximately $130m in RigNet equity value, based on the closing price of Viasat common stock as of the date of the agreement and the assumption of approximately $92m in RigNet debt, net of cash, at September 30, 2020. The transaction is expected to close by mid-calendar year 2021, subject to the satisfaction of regulatory approvals and other customary closing conditions.
Viasat has also entered into a support agreement with certain stockholders of RigNet, under which such stockholders have agreed to vote all of their RigNet shares in favor of the transaction at the special meeting of RigNet stockholders to be held in connection with the transaction, subject to certain terms and conditions. The RigNet shares subject to the agreement represent approximately 25% of the current outstanding voting power of the RigNet common stock. (Source: Satnews)
17 Dec 20. AST Space Mobile To Become A Publicly Traded Company. AST & Science LLC (“AST SpaceMobile”) has entered into a business combination agreement with New Providence Acquisition Corp. (“New Providence”) (NASDAQ: NPA, NPAUU and NPAWW), a publicly traded special purpose acquisition company. Upon closing of the transaction, AST SpaceMobile will become a publicly traded company and it is expected that its common stock will be listed on the NASDAQ exchange under the symbol “ASTS” upon closing the transaction.
Abel Avellan, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of AST SpaceMobile, will continue to lead the business post-transaction. The combined company will have an implied pro forma enterprise value of approximately $1.4bn and is expected to have an equity value of approximately $1.8bn at closing.
Backed by an extensive IP and patent portfolio, AST SpaceMobile will address the $1trn global mobile wireless services market by delivering seamless broadband cellular connectivity directly to unmodified, existing mobile phones, without any need for specialized hardware.
With an expected initial access to 1.3 billion subscribers of some of the world’s largest cellular operators, AST SpaceMobile will be positioned to rapidly scale its revenue streams as it deploys its space assets for nearly complete global coverage, while benefiting from operating leverage and low maintenance capital costs via its super-wholesale, business-to-business model.
Once deployed, AST SpaceMobile’s services will meet the needs of at least five billion mobile subscribers who face broadband connectivity issues when moving in and out of cellular coverage, and will enable access by more than half of the world population that do not have internet on their phone.
AST SpaceMobile and New Providence have secured a commitment for a $230m private placement investment (“PIPE”) to be consummated at the closing of the transaction. The PIPE is being led by AST SpaceMobile’s strategic partners, including Vodafone, Rakuten (Japan) and American Tower (communications infrastructure), as well as UBS O’Connor and a broad base of financial institutions.
Pursuant to the transaction, New Providence, which currently holds approximately $232m in cash in trust, will combine with AST SpaceMobile at an estimated $1.4bn pro forma enterprise value, or 1.4 times calendar year 2024’s estimated EBITDA of approximately $1bn. The company will have no debt on the balance sheet at closing. Assuming no redemptions by New Providence’s existing public stockholders, AST SpaceMobile’s existing shareholders will hold approximately 71 percent of the issued and outstanding shares of common stock immediately following the closing of the business combination.
The combined company expects to receive up to $462m in gross proceeds, assuming no redemptions of New Providence’s existing public stockholders, including the private placement backed by strategic partners, existing investors and a broad base of financial institutions. All AST SpaceMobile shareholders are retaining 100% of their equity in the combined company. The cash proceeds are expected to be used to fund phase one of the commercial launch of AST SpaceMobile’s space assets.
The transaction has been unanimously approved by the New Providence Board of Directors, as well as the Board of Directors of AST SpaceMobile, and is subject to the satisfaction of customary closing conditions, including the approval of the shareholders of New Providence.
Additional information about the proposed business combination, including a copy of the equity purchase agreement and investor presentation, will be provided in a Current Report on Form 8-K to be filed by New Providence today with the Securities and Exchange Commission and available at www.sec.gov. The investor presentation can also be found on AST SpaceMobile’s website at https://ast-science.com/ and www.npa-corp.com. (Source: Satnews)
23 Dec 20. Orbex secures $24m funding round for UK Space Launch. Orbex, an innovative European space launch company, has secured $24m in a funding round led by BGF, the UK’s most active investment company, and Octopus Ventures, one of the largest VCs in Europe.
BGF and Octopus Ventures have joined existing investors High-Tech Gründerfonds, Heartcore Capital and Elecnor S.A. – parent company of the multi-national space firm Deimos Space – in a new funding round for the orbital launch services company. The new investments secure the roadmap to the first launch from the Space Hub Sutherland spaceport in Scotland.
Keith Barclay, investor at BGF said, “Orbex is an impressive UK company which is developing a strongly differentiated and innovative launch solution for the rapidly-growing small satellite market. In Europe, they are a recognised leader with an experienced team, substantial institutional support, a growing customer list and patented technology. The private space sector remains a key future industry for both Scottish and UK governments and we’re very excited to be backing one of the most compelling examples of this evolving sector.”
Conceived and developed as an environmentally sustainable launch system, the Orbex Prime rocket uniquely uses bio-propane, a renewable biofuel that cuts CO2 emissions by 90 per cent compared to traditional kerosene-based rocket fuels.
Designed to be recoverable and re-usable, Orbex Prime is intended to leave no debris in the ocean or in orbit around the Earth. The company is constructing the rocket vehicle at factories in Forres, near Inverness in Scotland, and Copenhagen in Denmark.
“Orbex is creating a highly innovative launch solution that is rapidly gaining market traction with very serious customers. We’re delighted to be part of the future of the company and are very excited about what they’re looking to achieve, including the first ever vertical launches from UK soil,” said Simon King, Partner at Octopus Ventures.
Orbex has already confirmed six commercial satellite launch contracts, with the first launches expected in 2022. The company’s preferred launch site will be the Sutherland spaceport on the northernmost coast of Scotland, which was granted planning permission in mid-August 2020.
“This financing round is an important step forward for Orbex. It helps us maintain our rapid pace and allows us to move forward with certainty towards our first launch from the Sutherland spaceport. With BGF and Octopus Ventures we have found significant strategic partners who recognise our vision, and who have the capability to support our development through both the early flights and into subsequent growth and production,“ said Chris Larmour, Orbex CEO.
“We want the UK to be Europe’s leading destination for launching small satellites – driving economic growth in communities up and down the country,” said UK Science Minister Amanda Solloway. “Companies like Orbex are playing a vital role in the UK’s thriving commercial spaceflight market and today’s funding reflects the confidence that investors have in Orbex, helping to bring a small satellite launch from Sutherland one step closer.”
The announcement by Orbex will bring significant new investment in high technology employment opportunities and large-scale production facilities in the Highlands region of Scotland, close to the launch site at the A’Mhoine peninsula in Sutherland. The A’Mhoine site was granted planning permission in August 2020 and is expected to begin construction in 2021.
“This is great for Forres, Moray and the Highlands and marks further strong progress for Orbex,” said Scottish Minister for Trade, Investment and Innovation Ivan McKee.
“Our aim is for Scotland to secure a £4bn slice of the global space market by 2030 – an ambitious but realistic target. The Scottish space sector has a unique selling point – using space as a force for good – designing lighter, more efficient rockets, developing clean-burning and renewable fuel and using satellite data to combat climate change and promote scientific discovery. This investment will help Orbex take a significant step towards their goal of placing small satellites into orbit from Space Hub Sutherland, and help build an innovative new industry for Scotland’s economy.”
The funding round is completed by a €2.5m grant from the European Horizon 2020 SME Instrument program – the first for a UK space-sector company – to support the development of patented coaxial tanking technology. Orbex previously won £5.5m in grant funding from the UK Space Agency’s Launch UK program in 2018.
Orbex is a UK-based spaceflight company with headquarters, production and testing facilities in Scotland, and design and testing facilities in Denmark. Orbex staff members have professional backgrounds with NASA, ESA, Ariane and several commercial spaceflight organisations. (Source: Space Connect)
23 Dec 20. China looks to ‘protect’ defence investors. China is preparing to introduce legislation that will look to protect the interests of investors in the country’s defence sector.
The proposal to amend the ‘Law of the People’s Republic of China on National Defence’ is seen as a countermeasure to recent initiatives announced by the United States government to deter US firms from investing in Chinese companies linked to the country’s military.
The State Council said in a statement that a draft revision of the national defence law was submitted to the continuing session in Beijing of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress for a second reading on 22 December.
Commenting on the newly proposed changes to the law, the official Xinhua news agency said it will safeguard the rights and interests of investors in the national defence sector.
Citing the draft legislation, Xinhua said it contained new measures that will “encourage and support eligible citizens and enterprises to invest in the national defence sector, protect the legitimate rights and interests of investors, and grant preferential policies in accordance with the law.”
The specific measures that will seek to protect these rights have not yet been detailed.
Other elements of the amended law will, according to Xinhua, “support the accelerated modernisation of the national defence sector and the military” and “strengthen the responsibilities of military agencies [and] clarify that these agencies should support relevant state agencies in carrying out national defence work and provide relevant facilities in accordance with the law”. (Source: Jane’s)
23 Dec 20. Elbit Systems Ltd. (NASDAQ:ESLT and TASE: ESLT) (“Elbit Systems”) announced today that its U.S. subsidiary, Elbit Systems of America, LLC (“Elbit Systems of America”), has signed a definitive agreement with an affiliate of Cerberus Capital Management, L.P. for the acquisition of Sparton Corporation (“Sparton”) for a purchase price of $380m. The transaction is conditioned on various closing conditions, including receipt of U.S. regulatory approvals, the pursuit of which could encompass a number of months. Headquartered in De Leon Springs, Florida, Sparton is a premier developer, producer and supplier of electronic systems supporting Undersea Warfare for the U.S. Navy and allied military forces.
Bezhalel (Butzi) Machlis, Elbit Systems President & CEO, commented: “The acquisition of Sparton will strengthen Elbit Systems of America’s capabilities and will enable expansion of activities in the naval arena. We believe this acquisition will be beneficial for both Elbit Systems’ and Sparton’s employees and customers.”
22 Dec 20. NuWave Solutions Acquires ProModel Government Services, a Leading Provider of Analytic Software Solutions to the Department of Defense and Federal Government. NuWave Solutions (“NuWave”), a leading provider of data management, advanced analytics, artificial intelligence, cloud solutions and technologies to the Federal Government, announced today that it has acquired ProModel Government Services (or “the Company”) from ProModel Corporation. ProModel Government Services is an agile provider of mission critical predictive and prescriptive analytic software solutions for decision support to the Department of Defense and U.S. Government. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
This is the second acquisition completed by NuWave since being acquired by AE Industrial Partners, LP (“AEI”) in June 2020, following its acquisition of BigBear earlier this month. AEI is a private equity firm specializing in Aerospace, Defense & Government Services, Power Generation, and Specialty Industrial markets.
For more than 25 years, ProModel Government Services has built innovative and adaptable custom model-based software solutions to visualize complex and disparate data, synchronize operational needs, mitigate risk and optimize resources to support strategic and tactical decisions for the Department of Defense and other Federal Government agencies. The Company’s technology solutions provide near real-time situational awareness of the current environment and a predictive view of the future environment based on today’s decisions. Its solutions operationalize and automate disparate data and business processes, significantly enhancing customers’ “decision space” and enabling Federal Government organizations to make rapid, informed decisions that directly impact current and future defense readiness.
“It’s critical that the Department of Defense and other government organizations not only make the best decisions for today, but also have the tools to accurately predict how those decisions will impact future plans. ProModel Government Services is uniquely qualified to help federal government agencies with their decision making, and help ensure that their processes are more efficient and resources are better managed,” said Dr. Reggie Brothers, CEO of NuWave. “The technologies and methodologies developed by ProModel Government Services are best in class, and NuWave is excited to welcome them into our growing family of companies.”
“It’s an exciting opportunity for our team to join NuWave, a national security focused advanced analytics company that deeply understands the unique challenges and opportunities of our sector,” said Carl Napoletano, Senior Vice President and General Manager of ProModel Government Services. “Being part of NuWave will provide us with greater support and additional solution offerings, which will benefit both our customers and employees alike.”
“ProModel Government Services’ deep mission intimacy and ability to create technology-driven solutions for their customer is incredibly impressive,” said Jeffrey Hart, Principal at AEI. “When we initially partnered with NuWave, we set out to create a platform focused on information and decision dominance, and ProModel Government Services significantly contributes to our vision and value proposition.”
“We believe the combination of ProModel Government Services and NuWave provides government organizations and commercial customers proven methodologies and technologies that can reduce risk by increasing confidence in their predictive decision making,” said Kirk Konert, Partner at AEI. “As a recognized leader in analytical technology solutions, we are proud that NuWave is well positioned to assist leading national security agencies when making critical decisions and planning for the future.”
Akerman LLP served as legal advisor and Ernst & Young LLP served as financial advisor to NuWave. Klehr Harrison Harvey Branzburg LLP served as legal advisor and Baird served as the financial advisor to ProModel Corporation.
Based in the Washington, D.C. metro area, NuWave is a leading provider of data management, advanced analytics, artificial intelligence, machine learning, and cloud solutions that delivers anticipatory intelligence and advanced decision support solutions and technologies to the Federal Government. NuWave provides innovative, customized solutions through development, selection, and integration of leading technologies. NuWave has unmatched expertise in advanced technologies across the analytics and data management lifecycle and applies its expertise and teamwork to give customers the ability to solve complex problems, communicate, and manage information. For more information, please visit https://www.nuwavesolutions.com/.
About ProModel Government Services
ProModel Government Services is an agile provider of mission critical predictive and prescriptive analytic software solutions for decision support to the Department of Defense and U.S. Government. For more than 25 years, ProModel Government Services has built innovative and adaptable custom model-based software solutions to visualize complex and disparate data, synchronize operational needs, mitigate risk and optimize resources to support strategic and tactical decisions for the Department of Defense and other Federal Government agencies.
About AE Industrial Partners
AE Industrial Partners is a private equity firm specializing in Aerospace, Defense & Government Services, Power Generation, and Specialty Industrial markets. AE Industrial Partners invests in market-leading companies that can benefit from its deep industry knowledge, operating experience, and relationships throughout its target markets. AE Industrial Partners is a signatory to the United Nations Principles for Responsible Investing. Learn more at www.aeroequity.com. (Source: PR Newswire)
22 Dec 20. Honeywell Expands Life Sciences And Software Capabilities Through Acquisition Of Sparta Systems.
– Sparta’s AI-enabled software as a service (SaaS) quality management software (QMS) offering will combine with Honeywell Forge – an industry-leading enterprise performance solution – and Experion® Process Knowledge System to significantly enhance value for life sciences customers in the U.S., Europe and Asia
– Honeywell will leverage Sparta’s technologies to continue to drive global growth and expand into new market segments, including highly regulated verticals, that require advanced process technologies
– Sparta’s technologies will accelerate Honeywell’s breakthrough initiative to further penetrate the life sciences market and strengthen Honeywell’s existing portfolio of advanced automation and process control technologies
Honeywell (NYSE: HON) today announced it has agreed to acquire privately held Sparta Systems for $1.3bn in an all-cash transaction from New Mountain Capital. Sparta Systems is a leading provider of enterprise quality management software (QMS), including a next-generation SaaS platform, for the life sciences industry. The acquisition further strengthens Honeywell’s leadership in industrial automation, digital transformation solutions and enterprise performance management software.
Honeywell will leverage its global presence, Honeywell Forge and Sparta’s expertise to introduce new, integrated solutions, including QMS offerings, for life sciences and adjacent industries. Honeywell’s customers will benefit from advanced digital QMS solutions to help them proactively achieve better quality, which results in improved new therapies, faster time to market, better business and patient outcomes, and effective regulatory compliance.
“Sparta’s TrackWise Digital® and QualityWise.aiSM are a welcome addition to Honeywell’s enterprise performance management software, Honeywell Forge, and will further enhance the link between quality and production data for life sciences manufacturers,” said Que Dallara, president and chief executive officer of Honeywell Connected Enterprise. “Our combined offerings will make it easier for customers to gain critical insights from manufacturing and quality data that can improve their manufacturing processes while ensuring product quality, patient safety, and supply chain continuity.”
Honeywell has provided the world’s leading drug manufacturers and biomedical firms with consistently innovative advancements in automation technologies, systems and services for more than 30 years. Honeywell’s portfolio includes advanced automation and process controls for consistency and oversight of both continuous and batch processing; data capture and recording solutions that simplify and safeguard compliance; and technologies that help maintain auditability, optimize production, and speed time to market while ensuring quality and repeatability. Honeywell’s Fast Track Automation helps life science manufacturers expedite development and production of vital vaccines and medical therapies.
“Sparta Systems is an ideal complement to our life sciences portfolio,” said Rajeev Gautam, president and chief executive officer of Honeywell Performance Materials and Technologies. “While Sparta’s capabilities will initially help us expand our capabilities for our existing breakthrough initiative in life sciences, we plan to leverage Honeywell’s global footprint and expertise to quickly expand Sparta’s capabilities to serve other markets. We have strong conviction in the growth opportunities in the life sciences and pharmaceuticals space and in the synergies between Sparta and Honeywell both for Honeywell Connected Enterprise and Honeywell Forge as well as for Honeywell Process Solutions.”
Sparta Systems is headquartered in Hamilton, N.J., and has approximately 250 employees globally. Sparta serves more than 400 customers, including 42 of the world’s top 50 pharma companies and 33 of the top 50 medical device companies.
“Organizations need a quality management software solution with advanced digital capabilities that effectively automates, optimizes and standardizes quality processes across the board,” said Dana Jones, chief executive officer of Sparta Systems. “When you combine Sparta’s leading QMS platform with Honeywell’s existing process automation and software offerings, you create a highly differentiated, comprehensive solution that allows customers to focus more on the value-add activities that will accelerate their growth.”
Honeywell will continue to enhance TrackWise Digital QMS by adding AI and machine learning capabilities that augment human decision making. Honeywell will also add new IoT-enabled connectivity between quality and operational data to detect manufacturing anomalies and triage quality events in near real time. These continuing innovations will help customers proactively address quality to improve patient safety and effective regulatory compliance.
Pete Masucci, managing director of New Mountain Capital, said, “Since we partnered with Sparta in 2017, the company launched its TrackWise Digital platform – the only AI-enabled QMS solution, expanded its SaaS customer base by two-and-a-half times, and significantly invested in product development and R&D. We are excited to watch Sparta continue to thrive within the Honeywell organization.”
The acquisition is expected to close by the end of the first quarter of 2021 and is subject to certain regulatory approvals and other customary closing conditions. There is no change to Honeywell’s 2020 financial outlook as a result of the acquisition. (Source: PR Newswire)
22 Dec 20. CAE expands into crew management and optimization software with Merlot acquisition .
- Accelerates expansion into software-enabled civil aviation services
- Strengthens CAE’s digital flight operations portfolio
- Expands addressable market in airline crew operations and optimization software
- Represents CAE’s third announced acquisition since November
(NYSE: CAE) (TSX: CAE) – CAE announced today the acquisition of Merlot Aero Limited (Merlot), a leading civil aviation crew management and optimization software company for US$25m, plus additional consideration of up to US$10m in the form of an earn-out. The acquisition marks CAE’s expansion into digital flight crew management and represents an important milestone in the Company’s goal to unify the digital flight operations ecosystem.
The acquisition of Merlot’s industry-leading crew optimization software allows CAE to provide an end-to-end offering of digitally-enabled crew performance software and expertise that extends from training through optimized crew operations and is unrivaled in the industry.
“This acquisition further expands our reach beyond pilot training and into the rapidly growing market for digitally-enabled crew optimization services. As we demonstrated with our acquisitions of FSC, TRU Canada, and now Merlot, we are focused on deploying the capital we recently raised to strengthen our position and expand our suite of solutions for our aviation customers,” said Marc Parent, CAE President and CEO. “We are thrilled to integrate Merlot’s capabilities and expertise in crew optimization technology to serve global operators as they look for flight operations efficiencies.”
Pioneering a digital flight operations ecosystem
Over the past two years, CAE has been steadily unifying the digital flight operations ecosystem with the goal of delivering a holistic suite of solutions designed to improve operations and enhance the crew experience. Our vision began in 2018 with the acquisition of Pelesys, an aviation training courseware developer and publisher, with one of the most comprehensive training and compliance systems in the industry, and was expanded with the launch of CAE RiseTM, the Company’s predictive management and training visibility system.
In 2018, CAE announced a commitment to invest C$1bn in digital transformation over 5 years and in 2019 launched a new Flight Services organization to facilitate the Company’s expansion into crew management to support the growth of the Company’s core pilot training market, while expanding into an attractive new adjacency.
The unprecedented disruption caused by COVID has only accelerated customer demand for these services and the acquisition of Merlot marks another milestone in CAE’s journey to pioneer the development of a digital flight operations ecosystem. (Source: PR Newswire)
22 Dec 20. Raytheon Technologies acquires small satellite maker Blue Canyon. US aerospace and defence company Raytheon Technologies has acquired small satellite manufacturer and mission services provider Blue Canyon Technologies (BCT).
US aerospace and defence company Raytheon Technologies has acquired small satellite manufacturer and mission services provider Blue Canyon Technologies (BCT).
The acquisition follows the announcement of a definitive agreement reached between both the companies last month.
The acquisition enables BCT to strengthen its product line, including small satellite solutions such as nanosatellites, microsatellites, EELV Secondary Payload Adapter (ESPA)-class satellites, and associated technology.
Blue Canyon Technologies president and CEO Technologies George Stafford said: “Raytheon Intelligence & Space delivers the disruptive technologies customers need to succeed.
“Joining this team will enable our innovative small-satellite solutions to continue to transform the space industry and drive our customers’ success.”
Financial details of the deal have not been disclosed by the companies.
Following the completion of the transaction, BCT now reports into Raytheon Intelligence & Space.
BCT designs, manufactures, tests, and operates small spacecraft, including airspace components and system buses. (Source: Google/airforce-technology.com)
22 Dec 20. China urges U.S. to stop erroneous actions after listing firms with military ties. China urged the United States on Tuesday to stop what it called erroneous actions after the U.S. ordered restrictions on Chinese and Russian firms with military ties from buying U.S. goods.
The United States has been abusing the concept of national security in order to crack down on foreign companies, foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said at a news briefing in Beijing.
The Trump administration on Monday published a list of Chinese and Russian companies with alleged military ties that restrict them from buying a wide range of U.S. goods and technology. (Source: Reuters)
TCI International, Inc., is a wholly-owned subsidiary of SPX Corporation. TCI provides turn-key solutions for spectrum management and monitoring, direction finding, geolocation and communications intelligence to civilian, government, military and intelligence agencies as well as antennas for communications and high-power radio broadcasting. TCI is headquartered in Fremont, California, USA. For more information, visit www.tcibr.com.
MILITARY VEHICLE NEWS
30 Dec 20. On the 30th December 2020 at Guidoni Palace, headquarters of the General Secretariat of Defence and of the National Armaments Directorate, the Land Armaments Director Lieutenant General Paolo Giovannini and the Commercial Director of the Iveco – Oto Melara Consortium (CIO) Dr. Eng. Giovanni Luisi, signed a contract for 86 Centauro II armoured vehicles, plus 10 additional units in option, integrated logistic support and equipment.
The contract, marking the follow-up of the initial supply of 10 units (purchased with the contract signed in July 2018) on a total need of the Italian Army of 150 units, ensures a long-term stability thus strengthening the strategic know-how for the land sector of the national industry of Defence and guaranteeing the production continuity. Besides the excellent technical and human resources of the two partner companies, Iveco Defence Vehicles and Leonardo, the program leverages predominantly on a national supply chain thanks to the proven capabilities of the national Defence industry.
The Centauro II marks a major step forward compared to the previous Centauro I, in terms of power, observation capability, mobility, ergonomics, firing range, communication and maximum crew protection.
Equipped with a new power pack delivering over 700hp and with H-drive architecture, a hallmark of the 8×8 Centauro range, Centauro II features an entirely digital system and a new generation turret mounting with a 120mm gun and Command and Control Communication systems making Centauro the most innovative vehicle in service with the Italian Army.
The result is a new concept of wheeled armoured vehicle capable of operating in any scenario: from national security missions, to peace-keeping and support operations including all interventions involving the
Italian Armed Forces.
28 Dec 20. Indian Army to procure 118 Arjun Mk-1A tanks. The Indian Army has initiated the process to procure 118 Arjun Mk-1A Main Battle Tanks (MBT) for nearly Rs89.57bn ($1.22bn).
The Indian Army has initiated the process to procure 118 Arjun Mk-1A Main Battle Tanks (MBT) for nearly Rs89.57bn ($1.22bn).
The Deputy Chief of Army Staff will soon forward the file for procurement to the Integrated Defence Staff (IDS) to put up the case, The Hindu reported quoting sources familiar with the development.
The case is expected to be placed before the Defence Procurement Board (DPB) and the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) next month, the report further added.
The Arjun Mk-1A features 14 major upgrades over the earlier Mk1 variant. Limited user validation trials were conducted to test all the upgrades.
Additionally, the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has established an Arjun hub in Jaisalmer to provide spare parts and associated support services.
The DRDO is also working to set up an obsolescence management of Arjun tanks for replacing antiquated electronics on existing vehicles. The move will also address indigenisation of assemblies and sub-assemblies.
Notably, the Indian Army inducted two regiments of Arjun Mk1 tanks between 2005 and 2010.
After DAC approves the case, the Indian Army will proceed to place the order with the Heavy Vehicles Factory (HVF), Avadi.
Subsequently, HVF will manufacture five tanks, which will undergo General Service Quality Requirement (GSQR) evaluation. If the Arjun Mk-1A variant secures the Bulk Production Clearance (BPC), the general production of the tanks will begin.
Recently, the DRDO handed over the Border Surveillance System (BOSS), an all-weather electronic surveillance system, to the Indian Army.
29 Dec 20. New in 2021: The final year for Marine tankers. The year 2021 will go down as the year that the Marine Corps ditched its tank Marines.
Though the official decision came down in March 2020 from Maine Corps Commandant Gen. David Berger, and the tanks rolled away on train cars from 1st Tank Battalion, 2nd Tank Battalion, and 4th Tank Battalion this past summer, the tankers themselves are still in uniform and their units remain at least for a few more months.
The first to go was A Company, 4th Tank Battalion, in July when the unit cased its colors. Then C Company deactivated in August.
So, following the announcement, an estimated 800 Marines in a tank-related military occupational specialty were given the option to swap jobs or, if they had 15 years retire early. Then, in December, the Corps posted an official administrative message that allowed enlisted and officer tank MOS holders to end their contracts one year early.
Shortly after the C Company deactivation, 39 of its approximately 80 members transferred from the Marine Corps Reserve to the Idaho Army National Guard, most to continue on in tank jobs.
War games from 2018 and 2019 helped Berger and top Marine leaders pull the trigger on ditching tanks and other major force redesign efforts. Those include reducing the size of the Corps by 12,000 Marines in the next decade, increasing training, reducing conventional artillery in favor of rocket systems and pushing funding to more advanced weapons systems.
Former Marine tank mechanic and 2nd Tank Battalion member Sgt. James Webb also held billets as a driver, rigger and vehicle commander with deployments to Greece, Kuwait and Jordan, he said in a statement.
Begging in October, he started on-the-job training at the Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, headquarters building, running the Marine Mart.
He offered advice to fellow former tankers, and any Marine looking for a change.
“Don’t base your whole Marine Corps experience on your MOS, on your one duty station, or on one enlistment,” Webb said. “Don’t give up. There are so many MOSs that people don’t know about. Do research and find the one that clicks for you.”
The 2nd Tank Battalion is undergoing steps for formal deactivation, which is scheduled for sometime in mid-2021, 2nd Marine Division spokesman 1st Lt. Dan Linfante told Marine Corps Times.
The 1st Tank Battalion is planning its deactivation ceremony for summer 2021, officials with 1st Marine Division said in October.
Fourth Tank Battalion is expected to also be fully deactivated by the end of fiscal year 2021, which concludes at the end of September.
Third Tank Battalion was deactivated in the early 1990s following the Persian Gulf War. (Source: Defense News)
23 Dec 20. General Dynamics awarded $4.6bn U.S. Army contract for latest configuration of Abrams Main Battle Tanks. M1A2 SEPv3 configuration features innovative advancements. General Dynamics Land Systems, a business unit of General Dynamics (NYSE:GD), announced today that it was awarded a $4.6bn fixed-price-incentive contract to produce M1A2 SEPv3 Abrams main battle tanks for the U.S. Army.
Work locations and funding will be determined with each order, with an estimated completion date of June 17, 2028. The first delivery order is valued at an estimated $406m.
“We are pleased to continue our support to the Army on the modernization of the Abrams main battle tank,” said Don Kotchman, Vice President and General Manager of General Dynamics Land Systems U.S.
The state-of-the-art M1A2 SEPv3 configuration features technological advancements in communications, fire control and lethality, reliability, sustainment and fuel efficiency, plus upgraded armor. Additionally, the SEPv3 Abrams is designed to seamlessly accept future upgrades.
The SEPv3 configuration further modernizes the tank that has set the global standard for four decades. The Abrams main battle tank is built to confront and destroy enemy forces using unrivaled firepower, maneuverability and shock effect. With its manually loaded, 120mm M256 smoothbore cannon, the Abrams can overmatch against armored vehicles, personnel and even low-flying aircraft. General Dynamics Land Systems is collaborating with the Army to ensure it continues to have the strongest and most technologically advanced tank fleet in the world.
General Dynamics Land Systems provides innovative design, engineering, technology, production and full life-cycle support for land combat vehicles around the globe. The company’s extensive experience, customer-first focus and seasoned supply chain network provide unmatched capabilities to the U.S. military and its allies.
General Dynamics is a global aerospace and defense company that offers a broad portfolio of products and services in business aviation; combat vehicles, weapons systems and munitions; IT services; C4ISR solutions; and shipbuilding and ship repair. General Dynamics employs more than 100,000 people worldwide and generated $39.4bn in revenue in 2019. More information about General Dynamics Land Systems is available at www.gdls.com. More information about General Dynamics is available at www.gd.com. (Source: PR Newswire)
23 Dec 20. Nexter, Thales et Arquus succeed in presenting the 128 GRIFFONs planned for 2020. On December 18, 2020, Nexter, Thales and Arquus, as part of the temporary grouping of companies (GME) EBMR (Engins Blindés Multi-Rôles), presented the 128th GRIFFON planned for 2020 to the French Delegation for Armaments (DGA). Under the terms of the SCORPION program, and despite an unprecedented health crisis that profoundly affected production, the three manufacturers were able to take the challenge and meet their contractual objectives.
After this step, the last GRIFFONs will have to be submitted to the verification operations carried out by the DGA’s quality department. The vehicles will then be transported to the Canjuers site where the Army will proceed to take them into account; it is then that the DGA will formally receive them. To date, 90 GRIFFON have completed this route, adding to the 92 GRIFFON delivered in 2019. From January 2021, the last vehicles that left the production line in December will join them in the regiments, catching up very early in 2021 with the delay due to the health crisis.
From March 2020, Covid-19 has indeed strongly disrupted the industrial organization of the program. The site of Roanne, where the GRIFFON and JAGUAR are assembled, was forced to suspend its activity from March 20 to 30 in order to allow the installation of a structure adapted to the resumption of the activity under maximum safety conditions. Since then, two teams have been working on the lines in shifts of eight consecutive hours (2×8) to ensure that the lines are operational during these 16-hour days. Closely linked to their government contacts and after consulting their suppliers, the members of the GME quickly reviewed the initial schedule: the 2020 objectives were maintained for GRIFFON; the first deliveries of JAGUAR were postponed to April 2021; and this, while preserving the amount of deliveries at the end of 2021.
The year 2020 was marked by the passage of several major milestones for the GME. In September, the DGA notified the third conditional tranche of the EBMR contract, enabling the second batch of vehicles (271 GRIFFON and 42 JAGUAR by 2023) to go into production. In November, the GRIFFON command post vehicle (EPC) was qualified. Thus, among the 128 GRIFFONs of 2020, 35 examples of this new variant were presented to the administration, an additional difficulty that the EPC teams overcame. Finally, the new-generation T1 remotely operated turret that will arm the GRIFFONs was also qualified by the DGA.
Nexter, Arquus and Thales would like to pay tribute to the exceptional commitment of their teams. Their sense of duty and creativity have enabled them to meet the expectations of the French Army and its combatants as best they could, while greatly limiting the impact of the health crisis.
23 Dec 20. XTEK, Milrem Robotics sign MOU. The defence technologies firm has agreed to support the growth of Milrem Robotics’ footprint in Australia and New Zealand. XTEK Limited has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Milrem Robotics, becoming the firm’s Unmanned Ground Vehicle (UGV) representative in Australian and New Zealand.
As part of the agreement, XTEK is expected to leverage its established networks and experience in unmanned systems, and its maintenance capabilities and facility in Canberra to boost Milrem’s presence in the region.
“We are delighted to have confirmed this agreement with Milrem Robotics – a global leader in UGV design,” Philippe Odouard, XTEK’s managing director, said.
“This agreement will support our focus on actionable intelligence and innovative solutions in the field, to protect the frontline protectors.”
Odouard continued: “In addition, the maintenance and support services are a pleasing addition to our broader value-added services, with the capabilities already in place to support Milrem Robotics’ UGVs through our established logistics support services.
“We look forward to working with Milrem Robotics going forward and further developing the relationship.”
Milrem has also stated its intent to appoint XTEK to act as its UGV maintenance service provider in Australia and New Zealand, subject to respective representation and service agreements to be negotiated and concluded.
XTEK’s established maintenance facilities include a Logistics Engineering Business Unit based in Canberra, which provides maintenance support, and software development and engineering design services.
XTEK added that it plans to leverage its Adelaide Manufacturing Centre and XTclave technology for novel ballistic protection design and other engineering and manufacturing services for Milrem Robotics’ UGVs.
The firm stated it would explore opportunities with local industry and research partners in Australia and New Zealand to support the delivery of its offering.
The signing of the MOU with Milrem Robotics comes just days after Xtek announced that its US subsidiary, HighCom Armor Solutions, secured approval for permanent export licences for ballistic product sales to Mexico City.
Current orders are worth a total of US$2.1m, and will be used for federal, state, and local municipal personal protection deployment.
This follows the approval of a warehousing distribution agreement (WDA) with Performance Materials by the US State Department office of Directorate of Defense Trade Controls.
The WDA is projected to value armour products distribution over the next 10 years up to US$50m. (Source: Defence Connect)
22 Dec 20. Unimog celebrates its 70th anniversary. 27 October 2020 marked exactly 70 years since Daimler AG took over production of the Unimog. Since then, well over 380,000 units of the Mercedes-Benz Unimog have been sold to date, and large volumes of these vehicles are still being procured for front-line action, even after 70 years.
22 Dec 20. Hyundai Rotem to produce third batch of K2 MBTs for RoKA. South Korean company Hyundai Rotem announced on 22 December that it has been awarded a KRW533bn (USD481.4m) contract by the Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) for the production of a third batch of K2 Black Panther main battle tanks (MBTs) for the Republic of Korea Army (RoKA).
The company provided no details about the number of MBTs set to be built but sources told Janes that the third batch is expected to comprise a total of 54 K2s, with the new tanks set to feature a locally developed engine and a German-made transmission system, like those made under the second batch.
The company said delivery of the MBTs is set to be completed by 2023.
In 2015 Hyundai Rotem completed delivery of the 100 K2s ordered in 2010 as part of the first production batch and is expected to complete in 2021 delivery of the 106 K2s ordered in 2014 as part of the second batch.
According to Janes Land Warfare Platforms: Armoured Fighting Vehicles, the K2, which is operated by a crew of three, is 10.8m long and 3.6m wide. The tank, development of which was completed in 2007, has a combat weight of 56 tonnes and, when fitted with the German-produced engine and transmission system, a maximum road speed of 70 km/h. It is equipped with an in-arm suspension system that allows its ground clearance to be adjusted. (Source: Jane’s)