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20 Mar 07. France’s two main warship makers, DCN and Thales SA, won EU approval Tuesday to combine their shipbuilding businesses, boosting the prospect of wider consolidation in Europe’s fragmented naval sector. The French government has backed the deal, in which state-owned naval shipyard DCN is buying Thales’ shipbuilding activities in France — excluding its parts-making business. Thales has taken a 25 percent stake in DCN, with the option of raising the stake to 35 percent over the next two years. The European Commission said its investigation showed the deal would not cause antitrust problems because the two already cooperate closely and a number of effective rivals would remain standing. Thales had already sold most of its naval equipment business to DCN before the deal, it said, meaning that any new changes would be limited and there was little chance of the combined company choking supply to rivals. “Other shipyards would not be deprived of access to naval equipment after the merger,” it said, mentioning a number of rivals and the strong bargaining position of defense ministries, their main clients, who it said can influence the subcontracting process. DCN will acquire Thales’ naval assets, including its stakes in their existing joint ventures, Armaris and MOPA2 — the unit established to build a second aircraft carrier for the French navy. Thales paid around €150m (US$180m) for a 25 percent stake DCN, valuing the company at €2.8bn (US$3.4bn). The French state currently owns a 75 percent stake in DCN, and held 31 percent of Thales when the deal was announced on Dec. 15. Unlike the military aerospace sector, concentrated around Britain’s BAE Systems PLC and Airbus’ Franco-German parent, European Aeronautic Defence and Space Co., Europe’s warship building industry remains fragmented and inefficient. But any attempt to build a European giant to rival U.S. warship maker Northrop Grumman Corp. would be fraught with political problems — not least of which would be the prospect of widespread shipyard restructuring and job cuts.

22 Mar 07. IBM has joined the Raytheon Company-led team in a bid for the U.S. Army Integrated Battle Command System (IBCS). IBM joins General Dynamics C4 Systems, Davidson Technologies, Inc., and Raytheon on Team IBCS, which will leverage its combined domain expertise while employing innovative, industrywide best practices to provide the Army with a transformational, affordable and extensible air defense solution for integrated air and missile defense.

22 Mar 07. The U.S. Army today announced a partnership with the Sky Soldiers Demonstration Team, a precision flight team that will perform at numerous air shows to increase visibility and generate interest in the U.S. Army. The group holds a combined 68,000 military flight hours with 5,400 combat hours, 10 Distinguished Flying Crosses, nine Bronze Stars, and 130 Air Medals among team members. The mission of the Atlanta-based Sky Soldiers is to demonstrate the mental, emotional, and physical strengths of today’s Army Strong Soldiers to tomorrow’s future leaders. The U.S. Army Sky Soldiers are a unique and highly-experienced air show performance team. Composed of veteran, military aviators, the pilots have performed at 93 air shows over the last eight years before more than 8.7 million people.

22 Mar 07. BAE Systems and Rolls-Royce to strengthen customer service. BAE Systems and Rolls-Royce have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the aim of identifying opportunities for alignment and for progressing joint initiatives in order to deliver improved performance to the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) and other worldwide customers. The principles of the MoU can be used to address the requirements of all customers, and in particular will focus on building upon the success achieved in two availability contracts held by BAE Systems and Rolls-Royce supporting the UK’s RB199-powered Tornado fleet. The joint teams have developed a Tornado Future

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