MBDA ANNOUNCES LONG-TERM GROWTH PROSPECTS IN ERA OF DEFENCE AUSTERITY
By Matthew Shoemaker
18 Mar 14. In the last year, MBDA’s financial prospects are improving compared to 2012 according to CFO Peter Bols. In 2013, the company had 2.8 billion euros worth of sales versus 2.4 billion euros the previous year.
At a press conference in London, Peter Bols and Technical and Managing Director Steve Wadey announced the company’s positive forecast over the next year to deliver its products on time to its customers. Order intakes, according to Bols, stood at 4 billion euros for 2013 versus 2.3 billion in 2012.
“Thanks to a renewed portfolio of products well adapted to the market and thanks to the continued support of its domestic customers, MBDA was able to achieve a remarkable performance in terms of exports, with a total of 2.1bn euros of orders received” said Antoine Bouvier, CEO of MBDA. “For a second year in succession, export order intake exceeded domestic orders, compensating for a difficult budgetary environment in Europe.”
Despite the current austerity-minded atmosphere in Europe and America, MBDA secured a development and production order for the new generation MMP land combat missile system for France, production contracts for the Sea Ceptor naval air defence system for the UK as well as for the Meteor missile in Germany.
However, in a sign of where the defence market presently stands, MBDA announced a dip in revenue for 2013 which it said were in line with expectations. In order to regain growth, Wadey stated that long-term cooperation with the UK MoD as well as the Brize Norton Anglo-French Summit on 31 January of this year were important achievements for MBDA’s growth strategy in the coming years.
According to a press statement released by the company, “MBDA’s cooperative business model, together with its specialisation strategy, are necessary to sustain the long term sovereign capabilities needed in Europe and to face the competitive market challenges of the future.”
As an example of MBDA’s ability to stay on top of current market conditions and to continue providing its customers with a timely delivery of its products, Wadey said that all 6 Sea-Viper anti-missile missile systems had been delivered to the Royal Navy for use on its Type-45 destroyers.
Similarly, improvements are being made for the new Dual Mode Brimstone (Brimstone 2) air-to-ground precision strike weapon. Despite problems MBDA has been having with the rocket motor, the issue has apparently been stabilised and the first missile production is anticipated by the end of 2014.
Successful trials have been conducted using the Brimstone 2 from the Reaper UAV which MBDA markets as providing a first shot, first kill capability on the battlefield with low collateral damage due to its precision. Although details were scarce, Brimstone 2 was said to have been tested under various types of targets including a truck traveling at 70 mph.
In a sign of things to come, MBDA released a statement on 21 March saying that it had tested its Brimstone 2 missile on an MQ-9 REAPER UAV, obtaining nine direct hits on its targets. The tests, conducted on behalf of the UK Ministry of Defence by the Royal Air Force’s (RAF) Air Warfare Centre Unmanned Air Systems Test and Evaluation Squadron, the Defence Equipment & Support Weapons Operating Centre, the United States Air Force’s BIG SAFARI Organisation, General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Incorporated, and MBDA. The tests occurred between December 2013 and January 2014 at the US Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake, California. (This is covered in detail next week)
At the same time, it was also announced that the Meteor missile system is currently in its pre-production phase. Stated to be one of the world’s most capable beyond visual range air-to-air missile systems, it is currently being integrated on the Eurofighter Typhoon, Grippon, as well as the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. MBDA released that i