Sponsored by TCI International Inc.
24 Mar 22. Neuraspace, the developer of an advanced AI-powered Space debris monitoring & satellite collision avoidance platform, announced today that it has raised €2.5m from Armilar Venture Partners. The company will use these funds to accelerate the commercialisation of its platform.
Neuraspace’s proprietary AI technology enables more accurate satellite collision risk prediction and, by applying a data fusion strategy, offers increased robustness and resilience. The platform also automates many of the current manual processes and communications and delivers an end-to-end solution, providing operators with actionable orbital maneuver recommendations to avoid collisions, while delivering valuable insights to various other stakeholders including regulators, insurers and other Space-asset dependent businesses. With an estimated 1 million debris objects, sized between 1cm and 10cm, in Earth orbit and an exponential growth of launched and planned constellations, satellite collision risk is already increasing dramatically and will continue to do so, as will the consequent massive business disruption and security risks.
Nuno Sebastião, the co-founder and CEO of Feedzai – a unicorn-status, leading company that is fighting financial crime with its RiskOps platform -, established and funded Neuraspace and hired an international management team to run it. Nuno Sebastião shared Neuraspace’s background and vision: “I worked at the European Space Agency (ESA) Operations Center early in my career, and kept in close contact with the Space ecosystem since then, so I know how this industry operates. Neuraspace will do for Space what Feedzai is doing for Finance: using advanced AI and a fully automated risk operations platform to provide actionable insights and manage risk.”
He added: “To execute on this vision, Neuraspace has the privilege of having Chiara Manfletti leading the team – Chiara is a former Space researcher and advisor to ESA’s Director General, having setup and served as the first President of the Portuguese Space Agency.”
Nuno also elaborated on the partnership for this round: “Armilar was the first institutional investor in Feedzai back in 2011 and has been in the Board of Directors since then, so I know by direct experience how much value Armilar adds to the teams it invests in. I couldn’t be happier to have Armilar help us take Neuraspace to the next level.”
Chiara Manfletti shared: “Having dedicated my entire career to Space, in particular to research, policy and international strategy, I have spent the past decade supporting the democratisation of Space by fostering New Space. One critical factor that will make or break the New Space economy is achieving safe, scalable and sustainable, both economically and environmentally, in-orbit operations. In fact, ESA recently defined “The Protection of Space Assets” as one of three strategic cornerstones (“accelerators”) of its vision.” She added: “Neuraspace has the technology and the right strategy to provide satellite operators the solution that will help them unlock the extraordinary value of the New Space economy”
For Armilar, this investment fits perfectly with the firm’s long-standing strategy and experience of investing in early-stage companies, led by top-tier teams, addressing massive opportunities and disrupting industries with high-performing products backed by proprietary technology. Armilar invested in Neuraspace through its TechTransfer Fund, a Venture Capital fund that aims to invest in startups that strive to commercialize R&D outputs.
Joaquim Sérvulo Rodrigues, Partner at Armilar, said: “Until recently, and with some exceptions, Space used to be an Institutional sector, which did not attract significant Venture Capital investments. But thanks to trailblazers like SpaceX and other companies led by bold entrepreneurs, many with previous successful entrepreneurial experiences in other industries (just like Nuno Sebastião), the status quo has changed. We fully share Neuraspace’s vision to provide for a safe and sustainable Space exploration as an enabler to support businesses on Earth using satellite data, and couldn’t be happier to back the team.”
He added: “We continue seeing amazing startups originating from Europe and addressing global challenges, and remain committed to be a long-term partner to the best teams.”
The Armilar Venture Partners TechTransfer Fund is supported by InnovFin Equity, with the financial backing of the European Union under Horizon 2020 Financial Instruments and the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI) set up under the Investment Plan for Europe. The purpose of EFSI is to help support financing and implementing productive investments in the European Union and to ensure increased access to financing. The fund is also co-financed by Fundo de Capital e Quase Capital (FC&QC), managed by Banco Português de Fomento, S.A. (Source: PR Newswire)
24 Mar 22. Fincantieri to expand defence business, M&A halted for now. As Europe steps up its military spending after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri (FCT.MI) expects to expand its defence business, but sees M&A activity halted for now, its top executives said on Thursday. Speaking at an analysts call on 2021 results, Fincantieri CFO Giuseppe Dado said that the group’s naval division was poised to grow in the short term thanks to the backlog of orders already secured.
In the long-term the naval business, which makes military vessels, could rise to up to 40% of its shipbuilding segment, from a current figure of 31%, Dado said.
In 2021 the shipbuilding segment reported a 27% rise in sales to 5.9 billion euros, the group said late on Wednesday, adding that total revenue reached 6.7 billion euros.
Fincantieri did not give specific guidance on 2022 results citing the uncertainty stemming from both geo-political tensions and raw materials and energy prices inflation.
The group’s executives however said that the core profit margin, which is an indicator of profitability, would remain high, after recovering to 7.4% last year.
Last year Fincantieri made a non-binding offer to buy Leonardo’s (LDOF.MI) OTO Melara and Wass units, which make cannons and torpedoes.
At the same time, the shipbuilder has also considered buying Thyssenkrupp’s (TKAG.DE) submarine business in partnership with Germany’s Rheinmetall (RHMG.DE), sources had told Reuters.
“Everything is suspended in the current scenario,” General Manager Fabio Gallia said, answering a question about the two potential deals.
On Wednesday, Fincantieri said it had swung to profit of 22 million euros last year after booking a 245 million euros loss in 2020.
Excluding uncertainties connected to the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, as well as health concerns, the group said in a statement it could return to a “sustainable dividend distribution starting from 2022”. (Source: Google/Reuters)
24 Mar 22. UK defence spending to increase later this year, suggests Citi. Rishi Sunak might yet increase defence spending this year even though, to the surprise of many, there was no formal increase announced in the Budget despite the war in Ukraine and threat from Russia.
The chancellor’s figures showed 3.6% nominal year-on-year (CAGR) increase from 2021 to 2025, said Citigroup, which would mean flat real defence spending against pledges from the Tories to increase it by 0.5% per year in real terms through the life of the government.
Citigroup added, however, that the Capital DEL (Departmental Expenditure Limit) for defence, a proxy for procurement, is forecast to grow at 8.6% CAGR in nominal terms or 4.8% CAGR real.
gainst that, the Resource DEL, for day-to-day expenditure, will shrink (2.2%) CAGR in real terms, which means teh government is keeping its powder dry said the broker.
“We believe the UK government is preferring to wait and see and potentially announce an increase in the Autumn budget – we believe an increase to 0.5% real growth is likely and 2.5% of GDP possible.”
Shares in weapons specialists BAE Systems and Babcock International rose by 1% to 742.6p and 0.6% to 335.9p respectively. (Source: proactiveinvestors.co.uk)
22 Mar 22. AE Industrial Partners Leads $75m Series B Growth Equity Investment in Firefly Aerospace, a Leading Provider of Launch and In-Space Vehicles. AE Industrial Partners, LP (“AEI”), a U.S-based private equity firm specializing in aerospace, defense and government services, space, power and utility services, and specialty industrial markets, announced today that it led a $75mSeries B financing round in Firefly Aerospace (“Firefly” or the “Company”), an emerging leader in economical launch vehicles, spacecraft, and in-space services. The Series B investment will support Firefly’s next stage of growth by providing capital for future Alpha flights, the Blue Ghost Lunar Lander Program, and the development of additional launch and in-space solutions. Concurrently, AEI completed its previously reported acquisition of Noosphere Venture Partners LP’s (“Noosphere Ventures”) stake in the Company. The transaction values Firefly above its May 2021 Series A valuation of more than $1bn.
“With the closing of our previously announced acquisition, plus the additional Series B funding, Firefly now has the resources to deliver new innovations in space launch vehicles,” said Kirk Konert, Partner at AEI. “Having recently notched some significant milestones, the Company is at an inflection point, and our investments will allow Firefly to take advantage of the significant opportunities ahead. We look forward to partnering with the Firefly team at such an exciting time for space transportation.”
Headquartered in Cedar Park, TX, Firefly is committed to providing economical and convenient access to space for small-to-medium payloads through the design, manufacturing, and operation of reliable spacecraft and launch vehicles. The Company’s vertical integration business model also leverages U.S. commercial off-the-shelf components. This approach allows Firefly to minimize development time and be first to market with new low cost capabilities to the space-based transportation industry. Firefly is committed to strengthening U.S. leadership in the small-to-medium launch market, while establishing international strategic partnerships to effectively serve the global market.
“AE Industrial’s ownership marks a new, exciting chapter for Firefly,” said Tom Markusic, Firefly’s CEO. “These investments allow Firefly to build on the momentum from last year’s financing, and better position us for future growth. We’re eager to work with the AEI team and benefit from their industry and financial markets experience.”
The Company performed its first launch of Alpha, its flagship launch vehicle, in September 2021. With the closing of the transaction, Firefly looks forward to resuming its government relationships and expects to have a second launch of Alpha in the second quarter of 2022. Its second vehicle recently completed acceptance testing of both stages and will be ready for launch in the next few months. Firefly also recently completed the “Critical Design Review” (CDR) phase for its Blue Ghost lunar lander, and is currently working towards final pre-fabrication “Integration Readiness Review” (IRR) that will be presented in April.
AEI’s portfolio companies have a history of serving as strategic partners to the top national security agencies, including the Department of Defense. AEI believes that leveraging this experience will be a critical advantage as Firefly looks to secure additional U.S. federal government contracts.
“Firefly is a great addition to AE Industrial’s portfolio of space assets,” said Tyler Letarte, Vice President at AEI. “We see significant tailwinds and opportunity for Firefly in the small and mid-sized launch landscape and look forward to accelerating the Company’s path to successful payload delivery.”
“The AE Industrial transaction provides a clear path for Firefly to achieve lasting success,” said Noosphere Ventures founder Max Polyakov, who co-founded Firefly Aerospace in 2017. “Firefly has enormous potential to capture a significant share of the space market. While Noosphere’s financing of the Company has been a tremendous success story returning a multiple of our original investment, we remain excited about the long-term success of this unicorn.”
Covington & Burling LLP served as legal advisor and Ernst & Young served as financial advisor to AEI. Crowell & Moring LLP and Hogan Lovells LLP served as legal advisors to Firefly. DLA Piper LLP (US) and Kirkland & Ellis LLP served as legal advisors, and Jefferies LLC served as the exclusive financial advisor, to Noosphere Ventures.
About Firefly Aerospace
Firefly is developing a family of launch and in-space vehicles and services that provide industry-leading affordability, convenience, and reliability. Firefly’s launch vehicles utilize common technologies, manufacturing infrastructure and launch capabilities, providing LEO launch solutions for up to ten metric tons of payload at the lowest cost per kg in the small-launch class. Combined with Firefly’s in-space vehicles, such as the Space Utility Vehicle and Blue Ghost Lunar Lander, Firefly provides the space industry with a single source for missions from LEO to the surface of the Moon or beyond. Firefly is headquartered in Cedar Park, TX. For more information please see: www.firefly.com.
About AE Industrial Partners
AE Industrial Partners is a private equity firm specializing in aerospace, defense & government services, space, power & utility services, and specialty industrial markets. AE Industrial Partners invests in market-leading companies that can benefit from our deep industry knowledge, operating experience, and relationships throughout our target markets. AE Industrial Partners is a signatory to the United Nations Principles for Responsible Investment and the ILPA Diversity in Action initiative. Learn more at www.aeroequity.com.
About Noosphere Venture Partners LP
Noosphere Venture Partners LP, founded by Dr. Max Polyakov, is an international asset management firm with the strategic vision to transform high-potential companies into definitive market leaders. The company’s mission is to change the landscape of the digital economy and Noosphere invests in projects around the world that primarily are focused on space, consumer internet, advertising and marketing technologies. About Noosphere Venture Partners: www.noosphereventures.com. (Source: PR Newswire)
22 Mar 22. Terra Drone Raises $70m in Series B Funding to Accelerate Growth and Worldwide Adoption of Unmanned Aircraft System Traffic Management (UTM) and Urban Air Mobility (UAM) solutions. Drone and Urban Air Mobility (UAM) technology company Terra Drone Corporation announced today that it has raised $70m (8bn Japanese yen) in Series B funding with investments from Mitsui & Co., Ltd., SBI Investment Co., Ltd., Tokyu Land Corporation, Kyushu Electric Power T&D, and Seika Corporation. The round also saw the funding by Japan Overseas Infrastructure Investment Corporation for Transport & Urban Development (JOIN) – a public-private infrastructure fund by the Japanese Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT) – to the newly established joint venture, as well as participation from existing investor Venture Lab Investment.
“Our airspace is going to get more crowded than ever, but most companies today are concentrating only on hardware development,” says Toru Tokushige, founder and CEO of Terra Drone. “There’s an urgent need for a global air traffic management solution to enable safe and efficient drone and UAM operations, and Terra Drone aims to be the leading player building the digital infrastructure in the sky.”
To that end, Terra Drone has been working with the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) to coordinate flight management of both crewed and uncrewed aircraft.
Meanwhile, in the drone inspection vertical, Netherlands-based group company Terra Inspectioneering is serving Oil and Gas production and processing companies such as Shell, BASF, and Bunge. In Southeast Asia, Terra Drone offers survey, inspection, and surveillance services through group company Terra Drone Indonesia whose clients include Chevron, ConocoPhillips, and AECOM.
The company is further enhancing safety and efficiency in many other industries by implementing drone-based solutions worldwide.
“A focus on increasing recurring revenue through the sale of survey-grade hardware and cloud based software such as Terra LiDAR; providing specialized solutions such as ultrasonic thickness (UT) measurements and non-destructive testing (NDT) using drones through Terra Inspectioneering; and a strategic consolidation of overseas business has made us well-positioned for success. With this latest round of funding, we will be able to scale up operations and innovate faster,” Tokushige says.
Terra Drone will continue with its commitment of “Evolving the world from the sky”.
About Terra Drone
Founded in 2016, Terra Drone is a leading drone and Urban Air Mobility (UAM) technology company providing drone hardware and cloud-based software for survey and inspection such as Terra Lidar and thickness measurement by ultrasonic NDT. Also, in the field of UTM for drones and UAM, we have completed a partial technology transfer from JAXA in Japan.
We are the world’s largest provider of industrial drone solutions, with offices throughout Japan, including its Tokyo headquarters, and overseas operations primarily in Europe and Southeast Asia. We’ve been ranked No. 1 in the world in the “Drone Services Companies Worldwide Ranking 2020” by Drone Industry Insights, a global drone market research organization, for two years in a row and and raised Series B funding in March 2022, bringing total funding to $83m. (Source: PR Newswire)
22 Mar 22. Booz Allen Invests in End-to-End AI Company Synthetaic. Investment Advances the Firm’s AI Capabilities for Faster, More Accurate Model Training and Deployment. Booz Allen Hamilton (NYSE: BAH) announced today that it has made a strategic investment in Synthetaic, an end-to-end artificial intelligence (AI) company. Synthetaic provides organizations with an end-to-end pipeline for AI-enabled solutions without the traditional dependency on human labeled data—bypassing costs and delays while accelerating AI adoption in critical areas of importance, including national security and defense, healthcare, climate science, and conservation. Synthetaic’s flagship technology, RAIC (Rapid Automatic Image Categorization), enables rapid object labeling, AI modeling, and solution deployment by analyzing large, multidimensional imagery datasets, and allows both experts and non-experts to build and run detection AI models in minutes, instead of after months of human annotation.
“Advances in unsupervised machine learning methods present an opportunity to reimagine the AI model development and integration process,” said Steve Escaravage, Booz Allen Senior Vice President and AI business leader. “Our investment in Synthetaic provides access to technology that will reduce the time and cost to mission impact from AI solutions, which is absolutely critical in national security, defense, and domestic agendas.”
Booz Allen is committed to investing in strategic dual-use technologies that help speed up the adoption of advanced commercial technologies for public sector missions.
“Through our Tech Scouting division, Booz Allen is uniquely positioned to help the government find, vet and access critical dual-use emerging technologies and deliver impact faster to important programs of record,” said Brian MacCarthy, Booz Allen Vice President of tech scouting and ventures. “By investing in leading-edge companies like Synthetaic, we are meeting the government’s call to accelerate access to advanced solutions through partnerships, sponsorships and collaboration.”
Founded in 2019, Synthetaic recently announced the close of its Series A financing round led by Lupa Systems.
“We are thrilled to count Booz Allen Hamilton among our strategic investment partners,” said Corey Jaskolski, CEO and Founder of Synthetaic. “By automating data labeling at scale, RAIC increases rapid accessibility to AI, allowing users to build models and iterate in a matter of minutes instead of months. We’re excited to explore how our technologies can further enhance Booz Allen Hamilton’s ability to develop and deploy AI solutions for mission-critical use cases.”
As the largest provider of AI services for the federal government, Booz Allen delivers some of the most advanced AI, ML and data architecture technologies, services and strategies through its work with the Joint AI Center, Army Futures Command and U.S. Air Force Air Combat Command, among others. Learn more about AI at Booz Allen at http://www.boozallen.com/AI. (Source: BUSINESS WIRE)
22 Mar 22. Leonardo DRS Announces Sale of Global SATCOM Business to SES. Combination of SES GS and DRS GES unites the leader in multi-orbit satellite networking with unparalleled US Government satellite communications integration to deliver broader suite of high-value, best-in-class satcom solutions to US government customers.
Leonardo DRS Inc., announced today it has signed a definitive agreement to sell its Global Enterprise Solutions (GES) business to SES for $450m. The transaction has been approved by the boards of directors of Leonardo and of SES. Finalization of the deal is targeted for the second half of 2022 subject to regulatory approvals.
“The DRS GES business is well-respected by its customers and within the satellite communications (SATCOM) provider services market, and we are very pleased with the agreement reached with SES,” said Bill Lynn, CEO of Leonardo DRS. “While the DRS GES business has flourished, Leonardo DRS has shifted its portfolio focus, and selling it now makes the most business sense,” he said.
The DRS GES business is a leading provider of commercial satellite communications to the US Government, and delivers world-class, mission-critical satellite communications and security solutions to customers anywhere in the world.
SES plans to organize the DRS GES business unit under SES Government Solutions (SES GS), a wholly-owned subsidiary of SES. For over 40 years, SES GS has supported the mission essential operations of Combatant Command (COCOM), Military Services, and other US Government customers. SES GS delivers satellite communication solutions leveraging SES’s 70 satellites at geostationary and medium earth orbits and supporting ground infrastructure.
“SES GS is the only satellite operator with operational experience delivering multi-orbit, multi-band managed SATCOM services to the Department of Defense (DoD) and its warfighters,” said Pete Hoene, President and CEO of SES Government Solutions. “With SES GS and DRS GES’ deep and trusted relationships with US Government agencies, we look forward to continuing to provide critical elements to meet the DoD’s connectivity requirements and deliver assured communications.”
Leonardo DRS regularly assesses its portfolio to ensure strong alignment with our customers’ needs and priorities. As the company continues to focus on transforming to meet the DoD’s important priorities, this divestiture will allow the company to consider larger potential acquisitions that would strengthen its core capabilities and open new market opportunities.
“As we enter a new and exciting phase at Leonardo DRS, we remain focused on shaping the future of the battlefield by developing advanced technologies to address the complex needs of the Department of Defense,” Lynn said. “These investments will strengthen our core capabilities and deliver market-disruptive technologies for our customer needs today, and well into the future,” he said.
“The combination of SES GS and DRS GES businesses unites the leader in multi-orbit satellite networking with unparalleled US Government satellite communications integration,” Hoene said. “Both SES GS and DRS GES have a trusted reputation for delivering the best network solutions to meet unique and demanding US Government requirements.”
About Leonardo DRS
Leonardo DRS is a leading provider of defense products and technologies that are used across land, air, sea, space and cyber domains. Its diverse array of defense systems and solutions is offered to all branches of the U.S. military, major aerospace and defense prime contractors, government intelligence agencies and international military customers for deployment on a wide range of military platforms. Leonardo DRS focuses its capabilities in areas of critical importance to the U.S. military, such as sensing, electronic warfare & cyber, network computing, force protection and electrical power and propulsion. We anticipate our customer’s complex needs and produce ground-breaking, market-disruptive technologies to ensure mission success today and well into the future. Headquartered in Arlington, Virginia, Leonardo DRS is a wholly owned subsidiary of Leonardo S.p.A. See the full range of capabilities at www.LeonardoDRS.com
About SES Government Solutions
SES Government Solutions (SES GS) is a wholly-owned subsidiary of SES, the leader in global content connectivity solutions. SES GS operates under a proxy board allowing them to provide services through contracts with the U.S. Government, including classified work. SES GS is exclusively focused on meeting the satellite communications needs of the U.S. Government. Leveraging more than four decades of experience in the government SATCOM market, SES GS offers robust and secure end-to-end satellite communications solutions. Further information can be found at www.ses-gs.com.
22 Mar 22. Questions over R180m plus DoD rent payments to Armscor. United Democratic Movement (UDM) leader, retired general Bantu Holomisa, maintains all is not well with the rental lease entered into between the Department of Public Works and Infrastructure (DPWI) and Armscor for office space the Department of Defence (DoD) occupies in the Armscor building.
In an effort to establish the details of an agreement going back over three years, he wrote to Patricia de Lille as the responsible minister and Parliament’s Standing Committee on Public Accounts (SCOPA). The former two-star maintains the lease, apparently issued in February 2019 and signed this January, was not a factor in “processing or affecting the processing” of about R180m for arrears rent in “a minimum of two tranches”. This he sets out in his letter to De Lille and SCOPA chair, Mkhuleko Hlengwa.
According to the letter, Holomisa was informed Mosiuoa Lekota (defence minister from June 1999 to September 2008) “apparently” wrote to the then Department of Public Works “instructing” it not to pay rent to Armscor. This was because “he apparently could not understand why rent should be paid for a building owned by the DoD”. Armscor is listed as a public entity reporting to “the Executive Authority” (vested in the President of South Africa, currently Cyril Ramaphosa).
Armscor’s latest available annual report (2020/21) states, in part: “The Minister of Defence and Military Veterans (DoDMV) is the sole shareholder and the Executive Authority of Armscor”. In essence the SOE reports to the Defence and Military Veterans Ministry, making current minister Thandi Modise the responsible civilian representative of government while at the same time paying rental to an entity under DoDMV control. Four other public entities – the Castle Control Board, Office of the Military Ombud, the Reserve Force Council and the Defence Force Service Commission – are in the same position as Armscor reporting to Modise.
Holomisa further asks De Lille and the public accounts oversight committee to establish if “kickbacks” were paid for processing the arrears rental payments.
He also wants the Minister to inform him “to who the rent is paid and by whom” as well as “why did it take three years to sign a contract” with payments allegedly made on the strength of an unsigned contract.
Holomisa further asks who owns the Armscor building and wants to know why it took three years for a rental/lease contract to be signed. The building, occupying a prominent location immediately east of the N1 highway, also known as the Ben Schoeman Freeway, was purpose-built for the State owned defence and acquisition agency and is owned by it. At the time of publishing Holomisa had not received response from either Minister de Lille’s office or the Standing Committee on Public Accounts. (Source: https://www.defenceweb.co.za/)
21 Mar 22. Qatari investment firm Barzan looking to cash in with small defense firms outside region. The firm has invested in, among others, US-based Electra Aero and UK-based Aeralis, both aviation companies targeting the defense sector. Unlike other Gulf defense conglomerates and companies, which focus primarily on teaming with international companies to bring technology transfer back to the home nation, Qatari firm Barzan holdings takes a different tact: serving as an early capitol investor for international aerospace and defense firms.
It’s an unusual strategy for firms from the region, one akin to the kind of early investment seen in Silicon Valley. But like those investment firms, the return could be notable should even one of the technologies being invested in become a hit.
Among the firm’s investments are US-based Electra Aero, a company looking to develop electric, short takeoff and landing airplanes, and UK-based Aeralis, which is developing a modular military training jet. Both firms were well represented at this week’s DIMDEX conference in Qatar.
“Barzan Holdings is a seed investor with a significant investment to the whole company, but the size of investment can’t be disclosed,” Electra Aero CEO John Langfard told Breaking Defense. “Barzan Holdings is an equity investor, so it owns a portion of the company.”
Barzan is helping fund a facility in Charleston, South Carolina, which Electra Aero will be a part of. But according to Langfard, Electra Aero is hoping to eventually have launch facilities and production lines in Barzan’s native Qatar.
“There are examples internationally and in the region of entities providing very advanced composite materials to Airbus and Boeing and others, we would like to go to the next step beyond that to Qatar and to eventually to do whole aircraft production at the appropriate time,” Langfard said about the company’s strategy.
Electra Aero’s aircraft is still at the prototype stage, but the company expects to fly the technology demonstrator which is a two-seat version of the aircraft by the end of 2022. In 2021, the US Air Force signed a contract with the company to look into development hybrid-electric propulsion systems for planes that can take off with less than a 150 foot runway.
“The design is finished and is in the manufacture phase. Regarding the full-scale aircraft, it is expected to be rolled out as soon as 2024, and to be certified into production by 2027,” Langfard told Breaking Defense.
While it is unknown how much Barzan has invested in Electra Aero, it is public that the Qatari-firm has invested $14m in Aeralis during the 2021 DSEI show. The company was a big feature of the first day of DIMDEX, with a ceremony unveiling two full-scale replicas of the company’s modular jet that was attended by the Emir of Qatar, His Highness Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani.
One of the two models had Barzan Holdings logo on it and decorated with livery inspired by the Qatari Emiri Air Force (QEAF)- reflecting the company’s aspirations of customers.
The other aircraft, in a light attack configuration, was tagged with only the Aeralis logo, and was showcased in a semi-disassembled state to demonstrate how the common-core fuselage can form the basis of a number of other aircraft variants.
The aircraft models are life-sized replicas of the two variants of the Aeralis modular jet, with a length of 11.3m and a wingspan of 10m. The replicas were produced in the UK and shipped to Qatar specifically for this event
“We are developing innovative modular aircraft system, it has one fuselage and different wings and engines, so the wing and engine can be changed depending on the mission. This creates a lot of efficiency for the operator, with one fleet of airplane that does everything,” Aeralis CEO Tristan Crawford told Breaking Defense.
He added that Aeralis does all the design and integration, while working with a number of other companies, including Rolls-Royce for the engine, Thales for the avionics, Siemens for the data system, and Martin Baker for ejection seats.
The trainer is expected to fly by the end of 2024, and then go for certification phase and start production by 2027.
“The advanced trainer jet the Qatari Emiri Air Force might use as a future training aircraft system, but nothing is decided yet,” Crawford said. “Our negotiations include how we grow some of our programs in Qatar,” but he didn’t respond to Breaking Defense question about the particular programs.
“From Aeralis’ perspective our ambition regarding the Gulf region is to offer an air support service, operational training, tanking and autonomous flying services,” Crawford added.
He disclosed that the company is in discussions with many customers at the moment. (Source: Breaking Defense.com)
21 Mar 22. Stellex Capital Management LLC Acquires RTC Aerospace. Stellex Capital Management (“Stellex”), a middle-market private equity firm with extensive aerospace and defense industry experience, today announced a new platform investment in RTC Aerospace LLC (“RTC” or the “Company”), a leading provider of complex machined components and assemblies for mission-critical aerospace and defense applications. The financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
Based outside of Los Angeles, CA, RTC is a leading manufacturer of high-precision, difficult-to-machine components for commercial and military aircraft and varied aerospace and defense applications. For over 65 years, the Company has been providing blue-chip commercial and military aerospace OEMs and Tier 1 suppliers with specialized manufacturing solutions that enable the production of unique product families, including hydraulic housings, landing gear components, aerostructures, and missile assemblies.
“Stellex has a strong track record in the aerospace and defense manufacturing industry and a deep understanding of what it takes to be a collaborative, quality partner to leading commercial and military aircraft OEMs and Tier 1 suppliers,” said David Waxman, Managing Director at Stellex. “RTC is a critical partner to its customers, meeting the stringent quality and delivery requirements of premier military and commercial programs. We are excited to provide our capital and resources to support RTC’s contemplated organic and strategic M&A-focused expansion plan. Our goal is to materially expand RTC’s market presence and continue being a trusted, industry-leading partner on blue-chip military and commercial platforms.”
As part of the transaction, Brad Hart, an investor and executive of RTC since 1986, remains an investor in the Company and a board member. To further drive RTC’s next chapter of growth, Stellex is partnering with Dave Herr, a seasoned aerospace and defense executive with more than 30 years of experience with GE Aircraft Engines and BAE Systems.
“I’m thrilled to partner with Stellex as it leverages the strong platform we’ve built at RTC as we are striving to deploy an acquisition-focused growth strategy. We’ve carefully built a strong culture of collaboration with customers and a focus on delivery and quality excellence, and we believe the Company is ready to grow to the next level,” commented Mr. Hart. “We plan to create value for RTC’s customers and employees and to become an even more valuable manufacturing partner.”
Michael Vincent, who serves as CEO of RTC, said, “I am excited for the road ahead as we grow the RTC platform both organically and inorganically. Our vision is to become a viable closed- loop manufacturer of precision components in the commercial aerospace and defense space.”
Greenberg Traurig, LLC provided legal support to Stellex, and Arena Strategic Advisors, LLC supported Stellex’s commercial due diligence for the transaction.
RTC is a manufacturer of complex machined components and high-precision parts for military and commercial aircraft, serving a variety of Tier 1 and OEM customers on key platforms with operations in Chatsworth, California, and Fife, Washington. Additional information may be found at https://www.rtcaerospace.com/.
About Stellex Capital Management LLC
With offices in New York, Detroit, Pittsburgh, and London, Stellex Capital is a private equity firm with over $2.6bn in AUM. Stellex seeks to identify and deploy capital in opportunities that have the potential to provide stability, improvement, and growth. Portfolio companies benefit from Stellex’s industry knowledge, operating capabilities, network of senior executives, strategic insight, and access to capital. Sectors of particular focus include specialty manufacturing, industrial and business services, aerospace & defense, automotive, government services, transportation, logistics and food. Additional information may be found at www.stellexcapital.com. (Source: BUSINESS WIRE)
21 Mar 22. Parker offers remedies in bid for EU clearance of $8.3bn Meggitt deal. U.S. engineering and aerospace company Parker-Hannifin (PH.N) has offered remedies to try to secure EU antitrust approval for its £6.3bn ($8.3bn) bid for British rival Meggitt , a European Commission filing showed on Monday. Parker put in its offer on Friday. The EU competition enforcer, which did not provide details in line with its policy, extended its deadline for a decision to April 11 from March 28. It is expected to seek feedback from rivals and customers before deciding whether to clear the deal, demand more or open a four-month long investigation. Meggitt’s customers include Boeing (BA.N) and Airbus (AIR.PA). It also supplies wheel and brake systems for military fighter programmes. ($1 = 0.7610 pounds) (Source: Google/Reuters)
18 Mar 22. Textron to Acquire Electric Aircraft Pioneer Pipistrel. Textron Inc., home to the Cessna, Beechcraft, and Bell aviation brands, has announced that it has entered into an agreement to purchase Pipistrel, an award-winning pioneer and global leader in electrically powered aircraft, based in Slovenia and Italy. With Textron, Pipistrel will have access to greater resources, technical and regulatory expertise and a global aircraft sales and support network, enabling it to accelerate its development and certification of electric and hybrid electric aircraft. Upon closing of the transaction, Textron plans to form a new business segment, Textron eAviation, focused on the development of sustainable aircraft, which will include Pipistrel.
“Pipistrel puts Textron in a uniquely strong position to develop technologies for the sustainable aviation market and develop a variety of new aircraft to meet a wide range of customer missions,” said Textron Chairman and CEO Scott Donnelly. “Today’s announcement supports Textron’s long-term strategy to offer a family of sustainable aircraft for urban air mobility, general aviation, cargo and special mission roles.”
“Pipistrel has been celebrated as one of the world’s most important and successful manufacturers of electric aircraft,” continued Donnelly. “Textron is committed to maintaining Pipistrel’s brand, headquarters, research and development, and manufacturing in Slovenia and Italy, while making additional investments in Pipistrel for the development and production of future products.”
Pipistrel founder and CEO Ivo Boscarol will remain a minority shareholder as well as Chairman Emeritus, consulting on future product plans and strategies for a two-year period.
“Under my 30-year leadership, Pipistrel’s team has achieved a unique prime position in personal, affordable, environmentally friendly and electric aviation. The trend and foundation for future projects has clearly been set,” said Boscarol. “To drive Pipistrel’s ambitious goals and to continue its story of success, the joining of Textron and Pipistrel provides deep expertise and resources which would otherwise be inaccessible to Pipistrel alone. With Textron, we are together geared to strive for future growth and look forward to announcing exciting new products and projects. I am delighted to continue witnessing my vision become a reality by being actively engaged with the company for the future.”
The transaction is expected to close during the second quarter of 2022, subject to customary closing conditions, including regulatory approvals. (Source: UAS VISION)
14 Mar 22. AWS Announces 2022 AWS Space Accelerator For Startups In Space Tech. The AWS Space Accelerator is a four-week technical, business, and mentorship opportunity open to space startups from around the globe. Now in its second year, the AWS Space Accelerator is designed to support innovative startups from around the world looking to power their space missions using AWS. Applications are due by April 15, 2022.
In 2022, AWS will deliver the AWS Space Accelerator in collaboration with AlchemistX, an organization based in Silicon Valley with extensive experience running customized accelerator programs for startups at all stages of development. AWS and AlchemistX will select 10 startups to participate in the four-week curriculum taking place in June.
Privately held startups worldwide, at all stages of maturity, are encouraged to apply for this opportunity. AWS welcomes compelling ideas from across the industry that help to reimagine solutions for both government and commercial space missions by leveraging advanced cloud-based technologies. Applications for the AWS Space Accelerator will be judged on several factors, including but not limited to: the innovative and unique nature of the project, the overall value the solution may bring to the industry, the creative application of AWS technology to solve problems, and the team’s ability to deliver on an identified opportunity.
Startups will receive up to $100,000 in AWS Activate credit, as well as mentoring from space domain and technical subject matter experts with deep experience working on AWS. The program offers collaboration and networking opportunities with other participating startups, AWS customers, and members of the AWS Partner Network (APN) looking for cutting-edge technology solutions to their most challenging space problems. It will also bring participants together with space-savvy venture investors for fundraising conversations.
Now in its second year, the AWS Space Accelerator has demonstrated success in helping startups identify ways to optimize their space missions using cloud computing, and communicate their unique value proposition to the public. Since last year’s accelerator participants were selected in May of 2021, the group collectively raised more than $359m. In addition, Space Accelerator alum LeoLabs was listed among Fast Company’s list of The World’s most Innovative Companies, and several others were recognized as leaders in industry innovation from organizations including Euroconsult and the Intelligence and National Security Alliance (INSA).
The 2021 cohort of startups integrated AWS Cloud solutions to boost their missions related to Earth Observation (EO), robotics, spacecraft launch and delivery, spacecraft hardware and software, satellite operations, human space travel, and launch operations.
“The AWS Space Accelerator provided us at Lunar Outpost the technical and business tool kit to prepare us for the rapid growth we are currently undergoing. Additionally, the accelerator provided a unique opportunity to network and collaborate with the best in class in the space industry. Opportunities such as the AWS Space Accelerator are a must for any space company looking to leverage the cloud to reach the stars,” said Justin Cyrus, chief executive officer (CEO), Lunar Outpost
Apply now for the AWS Space Accelerator. Learn more about how AWS Aerospace and Satellite supports customers and partners. (Source: Satnews)
21 Mar 22. NSI Global acquires Geopolitical Intelligence Group. tn Today, NSI Global Counter Intelligence (NSI) announced it has acquired Geopolitical Intelligence Group (GIG), a leading geopolitical risk advisory firm, previously established in Canberra, Australia. The amalgamation will enable NSI and GIG to deliver an expanded suite of services for corporate risk teams, corporations, and governments who aim to mitigate, manage, and understand geopolitical threats from across the globe. For over 20 years, NSI has provided counterintelligence, counterterrorism, and counter-insurgency services to businesses, governments, and high/ultra-high-net-worth clients. GIG has provided geopolitical risk analysis and forecasting of threats and global trends since 2018 across a selection of industries and government departments. GIG’s analysts discover emerging trends to understand the consequences of events that occur around the globe.
“In today’s volatile environment, it is important for risk professionals, C-Suite executives, diplomats and government officials to be able to navigate changes in the global geopolitical environment with ease due to the speed of changes that occur,” said Navid Sobbi, Group CEO of NSI and GIG.
“The acquisition of Geopolitical Intelligence Group (GIG) will see us able to offer our clients the most sophisticated and comprehensive global intelligence and executive support services available today. We emphasize concise and timely reporting with a focus on solid assessments and practical recommendations including emerging trends, developing events, and imminent events that may impact business continuity and travel security,” said Claude Khoury Group COO of NSI and GIG.
The Group COO also stated: “The reports provide critical intelligence information and assessments integrating near real-time, ear to the street intelligence gathered from in-field operatives, blogs, social media, the deep and dark web, traditional media, and cover a wide range of events such as imminent terror attacks, natural disasters, armed conflicts, targeted industrial espionage, hacking radar, health hazards, civil unrest and more. Our intelligence reports will assist you in taking proactive countermeasures, making informed decisions, and most importantly, helping you ensure the security of your most valuable assets.”
GIG’s geopolitical risk reports and analysis will be available through both GIG and NSI.
About Geopolitical Intelligence Group
GIG is a leading geopolitical risk management advisory firm. All areas of the globe are covered by our seasoned team of subject matter experts, national security advisors, consultants, analysts, and in-field agents. Our objective is to provide our clients with strategic intelligence so they may make informed decisions.
About NSI Global Counter Intelligence
NSI is a global counterintelligence, counterterror/insurgency intelligence, technical surveillance counter measures, digital forensic incident response, and risk management firm. NSI is trusted by Governments, Law Enforcement, and Multinational Organisations to advise them on all aspects of Information Risk, Operational Risk, Cyber Risk, Corporate Risk, and Economic Espionage Risk. (Source: PR Newswire)
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.