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21 Mar 12. South Korea wants to strike a controversial agreement with the US that will allow Seoul to extend the range of its ballistic missiles to counter the threat of a nuclear-armed North Korea. President Lee Myung-bak said on Wednesday it was no longer acceptable that South Korea limited its missiles to a range of 300km while North Korea was poised to test a rocket next month with a range estimated at more than 3,000km. Seoul restricts its firepower under a 2001 memorandum of understanding with Washington. Mr Lee has seized on the issue just days before the visit of Barack Obama, the US president, to Seoul for a nuclear security summit. Mr Obama is due to visit the demilitarised zone shortly before the summit starts in what the White House has called a strong show of support for South Korea. While Seoul has long issued contradictory statements over the 300km restriction, Mr Lee’s unusually direct remarks indicate official policy will now be to push to overturn it. (Source: FT.com)

20 Mar 12. Meprolight is planning to create more of a ‘synergy’ with sister company IWI in order to best integrate its weapon sights onto firearms, company sources have stated. Speaking to Shephard at a briefing in Tel Aviv, Israel on 19 March, Benny Kokia, director of sales and marketing for Meprolight, said: ‘Synergy is very important for the group. In the future [firearms] will be more of an integrated system.
‘When IWI is creating the new generation of rifles, they’re considering the optics,’ he said, adding that the R&D divisions in the companies are sitting down and concentrating on co-operation now.
‘We are like a testing house and Meprolight is part of the development here,’ Ronen Hamudot, VP marketing and sales for the IWI continued.
Kokia explained that at the moment the ‘rifle is like a Christmas Tree’ with all the added systems that are required for efficient operations. He also called for more integration between optics and firearms manufacturers.
‘In the future the optics will be pre-set in the design level- an integrated system with less and less accessories,’ he explained. ‘We understand the optics industry. Nobody else is doing such a clean and clear synergy.’ Although 90% of Meprolight’s sales are exported, Eli Gold, CEO of the company said: ‘The IDF is our most important customer. We’re developing the product with the customer, whatever it is. We have a demanding customer in Europe. We’re working with them to develop a product with their need in mind. ‘We’re hoping this will aid the transition into Europe with other demanding customers. There are sensitive issues today in Europe. There is also a very strong local industry,’ Kokia continued. However, he explained that the particular European customer that Gold referred to was a member of NATO, and described how Meprolight was selling its products under a different name.
‘You have to remember that as an Israeli company we’re not part of an alliance,’ he explained. ‘Usually what we make for the IDF will not be permitted for export. All of our products do not contain any US components. We want to sell our products with no restrictions from Washington. Kokia also underlined Meprolight’s aspiration to be a ‘big player’ in the night vision market. But he warned that due to costs and flexibility, future development would see more thermal imagers in place of night vision or image intensification (I2) systems. (Source: Shephard)

20 Mar 12. MBDA is in talks with French authorities regarding an upgrade of its ground-based air defense missile, dubbed Aster New Technology (NT), intended to hit ballistic missiles at longer range, MBDA Chief Executive Antoine Bouvier said March 20. “Aster New Technology is an evolution on which we are working,” Bouvier told a press conference on the company’s 2011 results. “Discussions are going on. I can’t be more specific.” MBDA has presented the Aster NT concept to French and Italian authorities, he said. The NT model is part of MBDA’s strategy

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