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NEWS IN BRIEF

12 Feb 04. Boeing Co.’s commercial jet operation could soon find that one of its largest customers is a very familiar business: the company’s own defense division. Boeing is in fierce competition with rival Lockheed Martin for a U.S. Navy contract to build between 115 and 150 marine-patrol planes. Boeing’s entry is based on a conversion of the company’s popular 737 commercial jet for military use. That decision, which may not be made until early summer, is also strategic for other customer’s such as the RAF. Comment: Boeing has been noticeably quite about the Nimrod debacle in which it holds a major contract for the Mission System. Could it be that its 737 maritime variant would suit the RAF if Nimrod is eventually, like its AEW predecessor, consigned to the scrap heap? Don’t forget Boeing was the winner last time when Arnold Weinstock is reputed to have said, “You’ll never buy a U.S. aircraft while GEC is in the frame.” The reply from an unnamed MoD official was, “Just you watch us!” (at an eventual total cost of £1bn for the E3-C). Watch this space!

10 Feb 04. Brazil’s defense minister, Jose Viegas, said on Tuesday he expected the government to decide next month on whom it will award a $700 million contract for at least 12 new fighter jets. Pursuing the contract are U.S. aerospace manufacturer Lockheed Martin Corp. with its F-16 fighter; Sweden’s Saab together with BAE Systems with the Gripen jet; and a joint offering by Brazil’s Embraer and France’s Dassault Aviation SA with a special version of the Mirage strike plane. Russian airplane makers Sohkoi and MiG are also bidding with separate fighter jet models.

10 Feb 04. Saab’s results in brief – Sales amounted to SEK 17,250m. (16,538).
Net income for the year was SEK 746m. (732). Earnings per share amounted to SEK 7.00 (6.87). The proposed dividend per share is SEK 3.50 (3.50). Order bookings totaled SEK 19.6bn (19.5), of which SEK 4.5bn in the fourth quarter (3.8). The order backlog thereby amounts to SEK 46bn (43). Operating income amounted to SEK 1,293m. (1,220) and income after financial items was SEK 1,073m. (993). Operating cash flow was SEK 545m. (-92).

09 Feb 04. The FT reported that the Russian government announced a radical overhaul of the struggling aerospace sector by bringing together the country’s four largest design bureaux and the disparate production facilities under a single parent company. The proposal will end the independence of the four best known names in Russian aviation – Mig, Sukhoi, Ilyushin and Tupolev – and integrate them with the various manufacturing sites that built the aircraft under the old Soviet industrial model. The company, dubbed United Aircraft Manufacturing Holding (UAMH), is expected to take at least two years to establish and not be fully operational before 2007. It will also include the Irkut Corporation, a privately-owned manufacturer that builds Sukhoi jets under
licence.

09 Feb 04. The U.S. Air Force, U.S. Navy, U.S. Army and an industry team led by Lockheed Martin [NYSE: LMT] have begun an initiative to integrate the Air Force Command and Control (C2) Constellation, Navy FORCEnet and Army Enterprise Architecture (AEA). The services will work collaboratively with the Lockheed Martin team to design, implement and test a Joint architecture for time-critical targeting that ties together the military’s next-generation, network-centric architectures for the first time.

05 Feb 04. The FT reported that the Carlyle Group sent a strong signal that the private equity business was reviving when it said on Thursday it would return $2.1bn to investors because of a superb performance last year. Glenn Youngkin, a partner at the US private equity house, said it was the first year in recent history in which the firm “actually saw tremendous activity”. Good valuations, ready financing, diminished competition and a reserve of “dry powder” drove momentum, Carlyle said. The firm, which rarely publicises information about its perf

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