Report Urges Industry Diversification in UK Shipbuilding Projects

By: Andrew Chuter, November 29, 2016

LONDON – The UK government could use the new Type 31 frigate program to boost national shipbuilding capabilities and end BAE Systems’ monopoly on the construction of surface warships here, said a report into the future of the industry released Nov 29.

Having the Type 31 built by an industry alliance not led by BAE could be a « pathfinder » towards the rejuvenation of naval shipbuilding, Sir John Parker said in a report about the implementation of a national shipbuilding strategy commissioned by the government.

The report has been published just days after the Ministry of Defence announced it was throwing open to public consultation a possible revamp of its wider defense industrial strategy. Parker’s recommendations will be considered as part of the wider strategy work.

Under new Prime Minister Theresa May, the government is championing the introduction of a new industrial strategy to boost Britain’s manufacturing sector.

Britain committed to building eight Type 26 anti-submarine warfare frigates and five Type 31 general-purpose frigates in the strategic defence and security review last year.

Parker, currently the chairman of Anglo American but previously a highly regarded figure in the shipbuilding sector here, recommended that all the Type 26’s should be built by BAE at its two yards in Glasgow, Scotland, but the Type 31 program should be led by another company or alliance.

BAE responded to the report issuing a statement saying that as the « custodian of the UK’s capability to design and build complex warships we are confident that we will continue to play a prominent role in the delivery of future UK warships. … The commitment to five River-class offshore patrol vessels and eight Type 26’s protects this capability and our shipbuilding skills providing continuous warship building production at our facilities in Glasgow into the 2030s. »

Parker justified the two-primes approach saying, « There is no precedence for building two first-of-class Royal Navy frigates in one location [in a similar timeframe]. »

The executive said the Type 31 program should « harness » regional shipyards in the UK that have demonstrated their competitiveness and capability to build fully outfitted blocks of the warship.

If the recommendation is accepted by the government it could open the door to largely commercial shipyards like the A&P Group, Babcock’s Appledore facility, Cammell Laird and Harland & Wolff.

Parker never mentioned the issue but most of the potential block builders are English-based and their presence on a program like the Type 31 would leave open some options to the government in London were Scotland to vote for independence in any future referendum.

Ahead of the last referendum in 2014 the government threatened to pull it’s warship orders out of Scotland had voters north of the border voted for independence.

Parker said there was already a renaissance in shipbuilding in a range of regional shipbuilding companies.

The national shipbuilding strategy « could take the industry on a transformational journey similar to that experienced by our rejuvenated car industry, » he said.

Once the world’s largest warship builder, the industry directly employs around just 15,000 people today.

Parker said an alliance approach could also be used to allow British yards to bid against international rivals for the construction of three large logistics supply ships. Contract award is expected in 2020.

Logistics vessels are not required to be built in Britain, unlike complex warships like the Type 26.

The Royal Navy’s two 70,000 tonne aircraft carriers now coming to the end of their build program at Babcock International’s Rosyth, Scotland, yard contracted out the construction of modules to several yards around Britain.

The BAE-led industry alliance responsible for the program had the huge modules floated around the coast of Britain to Rosyth where they were assembled like a giant Meccano set.

The Ministry of Defence recently announced it expected BAE to cut the first steel on the lead Type 26 frigate next summer.

The first warship is needed by 2023 to start replacing the Royal Navy’s Type 23 frigate fleet.

The Type 31 timeline has not been made public but work is someway behind the anti-submarine warfare frigate.

For the moment, the general-purpose warship is in the pre-concept stage, with program officials still looking which of several potential designs to adopt.

« The Type 26 is critical for the Royal Navy and the nation while the Type 31 is urgently required to maintain frigate fleet numbers.To establish a separate lead shipyard or alliance would appear to be the best way forward for Type 31e to minimise the overall risk, » Parker said.

One industry analyst, who asked not to be named, queried Parker’s take on which approach offered the greatest risk.

« Is it giving BAE two warship types to build or signing up a contractor who may not have built a complex ship of this nature in a generation? » he said.

The analyst said the problem for BAE in losing control of the Type 31e program would come in a design department which is likely to see a rundown in Type 26 work around the end of 2019.

BAE would still be able to compete for combat systems and block building work, said Parker.

The Anglo Amercian executive said he had called the general-purpose frigate the Type31e to emphasize the warship had to be exportable.

Parker said the MoD needed to get on and procure the Type31e as rapidly as possible and place it in service as early as possible in the 2020s.

If the money is not available to match the timeline, « wider government support should be provided to allow early vessel build, » he said.

Money is a real issue if Parker is to meet his aspirations for an early start to the Type 31e.

« There is no money in the government’s ten-year equipment plan for Type 31e, and it would likely take somewhere between £1.5 billion and £2 billion to get the program on the road in the timescale Sir Peter is recommending, » said one industry executive who asked not to be named.

The report said the MoD needed to come up with a 30-year naval shipbuilding road plan for the different shipbuilding programs, with assured budgets not subject to « random » program changes triggered by annual budget adjustments.

Parker didn’t restrict his recommendations to the industrial aspect of shipbuilding. The executive also took a pot shot at MoD’s procurement and program governance shortcomings.

The executive said naval procurement took far too long. « There are too many people who think they have a vote and even a veto in the process. »

« There was a lack of governance systems that grip design and specifications to budget and time to contract, » he said.

Trevor Taylor, a defense-management analyst at the Royal United Services Institute think tank in London, said the report highlighted longstanding acquisition issues at the MoD.

« The report reflects the problems in defense acquisition that were visible at the time of the Smart Acquisition initiative in 1998.The Royal Navy appears to have learned little about the management of the supply base or the link between requirement and cost, » said Taylor

Source: defensenews.com

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BAE signs Saudi-Eurofighter deal

London : Wed, 04 Apr 2012

British defence contractor BAE Systems said a contract to build 48 Typhoon aircraft in Britain for the Saudi Arabian air force had been signed but changes to the price of the deal had yet to be agreed.

BAE had expected changes to the terms of the deal to be signed off in 2011, but it warned in January this year that talks over proposed adjustments to the final assembly of the last 48 of the 72 Typhoon aircraft would continue into 2012 and could hit 2011 profit.

The proposed changes — such as the creation of a maintenance facility in Saudi Arabia, the addition of new capability to some aircraft and the formalisation of price changes — could affect the price of the deal.

The Salam deal to build a total of 72 aircraft was signed in 2007 and is worth around 4.5 billion pounds ($7.21 billion), with the first squadron of 24 already delivered to the Royal Saudi Air Force (RSAF).

‘The contract for the final assembly of 48 Typhoon aircraft in the UK has now been signed and final assembly has commenced at our Warton facility, discussions are ongoing with regard to the creation of a maintenance facility in Saudi Arabia and the formalisation of price variations,’ BAE said in an email sent to Reuters on Tuesday.

‘In terms of … conversion to Tranche 3 and formalisation of price escalation, good progress has been made with budgets approved in December 2011 through the royal decree. Negotiations on price escalation will continue into 2012.’

Conversion of the jets to a Tranche 3 variant will see new missile and radar technology added to the Typhoon.

The Saudi royal decree, which was signed off at the end of 2011, releases some 1.5 billion pounds ($2.40 billion) on top of the existing Salam programme commitment for a series of enhancements, BAE said.

Saudi Arabia’s Defence Minister Prince Salman bin Abdulaziz is due to meet British Prime Minister David Cameron and Defence Secretary Philip Hammond in London later on Tuesday. Saudi Arabia is a key Arab ally and a major buyer of British-made defence equipment.

Prince Salman is responsible for securing multi-billion dollar arms purchases, which have been used to cement Saudi Arabia’s ties with the West. He is also seen as a possible candidate to one day rule the conservative Islamic kingdom.

Earlier this year two Western defence sources said Saudi Arabia, which placed a $29.4 billion order for new Boeing F-15 jets in late 2011, was in the early stage of talks to increase its Typhoon order by as many as 48 aircraft.

Earlier this year BAE said talks with Saudi over changes to its order for 72 Eurofighter Typhoon jets would continue into 2012. The delay hit its earnings last year, which fell 7 percent.

Source: Reuters

BAE Systems, Denel & Jorsin keeps Ratels at the ready

Five work orders for the maintenance and repair of the veteran BAE Systems Ratel Mk3 infantry combat vehicle product system takes the known amount spent on keeping the operational with the South African Army to over R96 613 428.41 since 2007.

The contracts include work worth R7 891 905.91 to Jorsin the Group CC for general maintenance and repair and R3 001 285.50 to Denel Land Systems for the supply of 20mm automatic gun and 90mm turret items as well as four contracts to BAE Systems for the maintenance and repair of transmissions (R3 625 836.00), the maintenance and repair of dropdown gearboxes (R380 411.10), the supply of various A and E class spares (R6 270 741.20) and the maintenance and repair Ratel MK3 A-class spares and components (R9 043 214,00).

The Ratel has now been in service for 34 years. It is an indigenous design developed in the early 1970s to replace the Saracen armoured personnel carrier. The prototype was delivered in 1974 and the first production vehicle in 1976. The Mk2 entered production in 1979 and the Mk3 in 1988. The Mk3 fleet was upgraded in 2001 when about 70 modifications were made.

Writing in the Engineering News in October 2008, Keith Campbell described the development of the Ratel as follows: “This programme started in the early 1970s, when the South African Army evaluated four AFVs – the Unimog UR-416 from Germany, the French Panhard M3, the Brazilian Engesa Urutu, and a vehicle from local company Springfield Bussing, confusingly named Buffel” [confusingly, as this name was already being used for a mine-protected troop carrier].

Campbell added the three foreign designs were all armoured personnel carriers – “basically, armoured ‘battle taxis’, armed only with a machine gun, which carried troops into battle, at which point they had to disembark to fight”. He noted the SA Army decided to go with a new concept instead. Variously called the armoured infantry fighting vehicle (AIFV) or infantry combat vehicle (ICV), this was pioneered by the Soviet Army in the form of the BMP-1 and the West German Army in the shape of the Marder.

“An AIFV carries a powerful gun (20 mm or 30 mm) as well as a squad of troops, who have their own vision ports and firing ports, so that they can fight from within the vehicle,” Campbell wrote. “So, around 1975/1976, the South African Army decided to adopt an AIFV based on the Springfield Bussing vehicle. This became the Ratel (honey badger, in English), which was mass-produced by Sandock Austral. A monocoque design, the Ratel hulls were made in Sandock Austral’s Durban dockyard and taken by rail to Boksburg for fitting out. The turrets were based on those on the Eland armoured cars – the 20-mm gun turret of the standard Ratel IFV, for example, was a redesigned Eland 90 turret.

A whole family of Ratels was developed – command vehicles, fire support vehicles (with 90mm gun turrets taken from Eland), mortar vehicles (with 60mm breech-loading mortar turrets taken from Eland 60s), and, later, tank destroyers armed with Denel Dynamics ZT3 Ingwe antitank missiles, and mortar carriers with 81mm muzzle-loading mortars carried in what had been the troop compartment.

The Ratel is scheduled for partial replacement by the Badger, some 264 of which are slated for production under Project Hoefyster.

Source: defenceweb.co.za

BAE Systems Announces Agreement to Sell Regional Aircraft Fleet and Asset Management Business

BAE Systems announced today an agreement to sell its commercial aircraft lease portfolio and Asset Management business to investment affiliates of Fortress Investment Group LLC.

The sale, which is expected to close in the third quarter of 2011, is for a cash consideration of $187 million, subject to certain post-completion adjustments. Completion is conditional, amongst other things, upon regulatory approval.

The business, known as BAE Systems Asset Management, is the world’s second largest regional jet lessor by fleet value and the tenth largest aircraft lessor by fleet size. It has 16 lease customers in 11 countries. The business is responsible for the management of 151 commercial aircraft owned by BAE Systems, which are included within the sale, plus the management of third party owned commercial aircraft on behalf of airlines and investors.

The support and engineering activities of BAE Systems Regional Aircraft are not included in this sale.

Alan Fraser, Managing Director of BAE Systems Regional Aircraft said today, « We are pleased to confirm the sale of BAE Systems’ regional aircraft fleet and Asset Management business. We believe that this business will have a promising future and that we have found a buyer with the resources and expertise to support the growth of this activity.

« BAE Systems Regional Aircraft support and engineering businesses will continue to provide the full range of support to the new owner, including continuing airworthiness and engineering services. We are looking forward to continuing our close working relationship with the Asset Management business under its new ownership. »

Peter Briger, Co-Chairman of Fortress Investment Group and head of Fortress’s Credit business, said, « We believe that this will prove an outstanding investment for our Limited Partners, and anticipate that Regional Aircraft’s proven business model, and scalability that can support significant growth over time. »

In connection with the disposal of this business, BAE Systems has also entered into an agreement enabling the redemption of $514 million of the Series G Equipment Notes and Series B Equipment Notes issued under the Systems 2001 Asset Trust financing, a private placement of debt securities completed in 2001. This will be funded from BAE Systems’ available resources.

BAE Systems Asset Management was founded in 1993 to manage the portfolio of BAe 146/Avro RJ jetliners and the ATP and Jetstream turboprop airliners. Over the past 17 years to the end of 2010, the organisation has concluded more than 1800 lease, sale and other transactions, worth in excess of US$3.1 billion. The business is predominantly based in the UK and employs approximately 70 people.

Fortress is a leading global investment manager with approximately $43.1 billion in assets under management as of March 31, 2011. Fortress offers alternative and traditional investment products and was founded in 1998.

BAE Systems, Dassault Await UAS Requirement

Jun 1, 2011

By Robert Wall
Warton, England

One of the flagship programs underpinning the ambitious Franco-British effort to establish a 50-year strategic partnership in national security is several steps closer to being clarified.

France and the U.K. have committed to jointly address their medium-, long-endurance unmanned aircraft (MALE) requirement under the new defense agreement that was formulated in November 2010. But much of the program’s success will hinge on devising combined requirements and a cohesive acquisition strategy. Progress on both fronts is being made, and a definitive shape is likely in the next few months.

The French defense procurement agency, DGA, has already dispatched a cadre to Abbey Wood, home of the U.K. defense ministry’s defense equipment and support organization, to help run the project. The detailed acquisition strategy is now being defined.

Many industry officials in Europe are eagerly anticipating the outcome, but probably none more so than BAE Systems and Dassault—they have agreed to jointly pursue the program. Others, such as Thales, are still pondering a commitment and EADS Cassidian is mulling over building a proposal featuring its Talarion unmanned aircraft concept.

While BAE Systems and Dassault have agreed on the broad outline, details are closely coupled to the requirements document. Although the two national prime contractors appear strange bedfellows, Ian Fairclough, project director for strategic unmanned aerial systems (UAS) programs at BAE Systems, argues that the two firms offer “complementary capabilities.”

Fairclough suggests that open competition and a sole-source approach to the Franco-British industrial partnership are under consideration; European competition rules could influence the outcome.

Regardless of what course is taken, Fairclough argues, there are benefits to moving quickly beyond just preserving the notional 2015-20 fielding agenda. A prolonged competitive process jeopardizes design engineering skills, which would otherwise be idle during that time.

Detailed program definition between the partners is still being worked out. What is less clear is how specific that document will be and whether it will be sufficient to begin detailed design activity.

One matter still under discussion is whether the system would have to be certified to civil requirements, which would ease operations in civil airspace but add complexity and cost.

Industry also is waiting for word from both governments over their preference for final assembly.

The current plan calls for BAE Systems to be responsible for defining the aircraft and engine selection—turbofans and turboprops are still in the mix—while Dassault would focus on systems integration and testing, Eric Trappier, executive vice president/international at Dassault Aviation, said recently.

The concept would be an evolution of the Mantis flying demonstrator developed by BAE Systems. Many details, though, remain undetermined, including how many air vehicles will be featured in each system.

Another decision revolves around devising an exportable system. The two countries “would like to minimize ITAR content,” Fairclough says of equipment governed by the complex U.S. International Transfer of Arms Regulations.

The air vehicle would be designed to be able to both target and deliver ordnance.

Cost estimates vary for the program. Some put the development/production bill at €1 billion ($1.4 billion), which would be shared equally, although a U.K. defense ministry document cites a £2 billion ($3.2 billion) life-cycle cost for the U.K. alone. That assumes around 20 aircraft, although no number has been set.

For the U.K., the program would take on much of the requirement of the so-called Scavenger UAS requirement, although it remains uncertain whether all aspects would be covered by the Franco-British effort. The U.K.’s UAS document, developed by the defense ministry’s doctrine center, suggests “the U.K. will consider if other complementary components are needed to fully satisfy the U.K. capability requirement.”

Although the program is bilateral, so far, Dassault’s Yves Robins, a counselor to Trappier, says that if the two governments change course, industry would adapt.

Source: AviationWeek

Le temps des essais : le sysème britannique Sea Viper sort ses crocs

Publié le 30 mai 2011,

Le plus récent système de missiles anti-aérien de la Royal Navy est désormais prêt au service. Richard Scott étudie l’intégration et les essais qui ont mené à sa qualification opérationnelle.

Le 17 juin 2010, la barge Longbow était mouillé à quelques nautiques au large d’ l’île du Levant, le centre d’essais de missiles de la Délégation Générale pour l’Armement. Le personnel du centre et des ingénieurs de MBDA, le concepteur du missile Aster et maître d’œuvre du système Sea Viper, se préparaient pour un essai important du système de missiles anti-aérien Sea Viper destiné à la Royal Navy.

Après des essais réussis en juin 2008 et en février 2009, le programme Sea Viper avait connu des problèmes en mai 2009 lorsque le 3è essai de qualification, qui comprenait un tir en salve sur une cible manœuvrant à basse altitude, avait raté l’interception. En novembre de la même année, un nouvel essai avait conduit au même échec.

Des investigations avaient conduit à la découverte d’un problème de production au niveau du missile Aster 30.

Dans les semaines qui ont précédé le nouvel essai du Sea Viper, la réussite des essais depuis des bâtiments français et italiens, avec des missiles réparés, ont semblé confirmer que le problème était résolu. Mais cet essai du Sea Viper, avec un environnement complexe, était destiné à tester les limites du système.

A 12 heures 55, une cible Mirach 100/5 est lancée depuis l’île du Levant. Sur la barge Longbow, l’antenne du radar multi-fonctions du Sea Viper, le Sampson, tourne à 30 tours par minute au sommet d’un mât de 34 m de haut. Le radar peut effectuer simultanément une recherche sur tout l’horizon et une recherche en volume.

12 minutes plus tard, la cible est détectée par le radar Sampson. La trace est transmise au système Sea Viper pour évaluation de la menace.

Le système informatique, utilisant des ordinateurs à haute vitesse de traitement, a immédiatement pris la piste en compte et place le radar en mode poursuite. La trace a été identifiée comme une menace.

Deux missiles Aster 30 — stockés dans un module de lancement vertical SYLVER A50, sur le pont de la barge Longbow — reçoivent des messages d’initialisation — position et trajectoire prédite de la cible à intercepter. La nature de la cible nécessitait un tir en salve pour augmenter la probabilité de destruction.

« 3, 2, 1 , 0, » annonce le responsable des essais depuis la barge Longbow, puis « Autorisation de lancement. »

Un panneau s’ouvre sur le module de lancement et, 2 secondes plus tard, une flamme orange et brillante précède un nuage de fumées blanches alors que le 1er missile Aster 30 décolle et se dirige vers sa cible.

Puis, 5 secondes plus tard, nouveau lancement pour le 2è missile. Après avoir largué leur propulseur d’accélération, les 2 missiles se dirigent à plus de Mach 4 (4 fois la vitesse du son) vers la cible Mirach. Dans le même temps, le radar Sampson continue de pister la cible et transmet à mi-course des messages de correction, modulés sur le faisceau radar.

Cette mise à jour continue de la position de la cible et du missile a permis au 1er de s’approcher de la cible. Dans la phase finale, il est passé en mode de recherche active, allumant son propre radar. La cible Mirach a alors effectué une manœuvre d’évitement à fort taux de « g », pour tenter d’échapper à l’interception. Le missile Aster a donné une poussée latérale pour s’approcher de la cible, effectué un coup direct et détruire la cible. Quelques secondes plus tard, le 2è missiles Aster 30 traversait les débris de la cible.

Le système Sea Viper

Le système Sea Viper est le système de missiles anti-aérien retenu par la Royal Navy pour équiper ses nouveaux destroyers Type 45.

La nécessité d’un tel système est apparue immédiatement après la Guerre des Malouines en 1982. Les pertes survenues pendant le conflit ont mis en lumière les limites des systèmes existants de lutte anti-aérienne, que ce soit en haute-mer ou en environnement littoral. Les systèmes de l’époque étaient trop lents à réagir, très limités en canaux de contrôle de tir et incapable d’intercepter les cibles les plus difficiles.

Les nouveaux types de missiles anti-navires nécessitaient le développement de nouveaux systèmes, dit de défense de la zone locale, qui pourraient fournir un « parapluie » au-dessus et autour d’un bâtiment ou d’un groupe de bâtiments.

Destiné à fournir une capacité d’auto-défense, à courte et moyenne portée, contre un large éventail de menaces aériennes, le système Sea Viper est une des 2 versions du système tri-national PAAMS (Principal Anti-Air Missile System) développé par MBDA pour répondre aux besoins de défense anti-aérienne de la France, de l’Italie et du Royamune-Uni.

La version retenue par la France et l’Italie, le PAAMS(E) qualifié en 2007, pour leurs frégates Horizon/Orizzonte, partage avec le Sea Viper un certain nombre de sous-systèmes, en particulier les missiles Aster 15 Aster 30, et le système de lancement vertical SYLVER A50.

En revanche, le PAAMS(E) utilisé par la France et l’Italie utilise le radar multi-fonction EMPAR (bande G) de Selex Sistemi Integrati et un système de contrôle commande différent.

De son côté, le Sea Viper (aussi baptisé PAAMS[S]) utilise le radar Sampson (bande E/F) de BAE Systems et un système de contrôle commande développé en Grande-Bretagne. Il permet de répondre à une spécification de performances plus restrictives. En effet, la Grande-Bretagne a exigé que son système puisse traiter des cibles plus difficiles : cibles supersoniques plongeant depuis une haute altitude, missiles subsoniques très manœuvrants et supersoniques à vol rasant effectuant des manœuvres terminales.

Cette spécification britannique plus exigeante prévoit de protéger toutes les unités situées dans un rayon de 6,5 km contre 8 missiles supersoniques à vol rasant.

Difficultés techniques

Comme tous les systèmes nouveaux, le système Sea Viper a connu quelques problèmes de jeunesse, qui sont maintenant résolus.

Au début 2005, il est apparu que les modules émission réception (utilisant de l’arséniure de gallium) se répondaient pas aux attentes. Les modules ont été modifiés et depuis, le radar Sampson se comporte conformément aux attentes.

MBDA n’a pas dévoilé la nature précise des problèmes rencontrés dans la production du missile Aster. Mais des sources bien placées ont indiqué à Jane’s que des forces aérodynamiques très fortes pouvaient exciter le revêtement, pouvant conduire à sa séparation du corps du missile. Le flux d’air très chaud pouvait alors endommager le câblage, empêchant la transmission des ordres de vol. Les éléments du revêtement et leur fixation ont été modifiés pour améliorer leur tenue. Plusieurs « dizaines de missiles » Aster seraient concernés, tous seront réparés.

Les essais conduits depuis, sur l’Andrea Doria italien et la barge Longbow ont permis de confirmer la solution retenue.

L’avenir : la défense contre les missiles balistiques

Bien qu’officiellement, la Royal Navy n’en ait pas exprimé officiellement le besoin, MBDA et BAE Systems ont étudié un calendrier d’évolution qui permettrait de donner à l’ensemble actuel Destroyer Type 45 / Sea Viper une capacité de défense contre les missiles balistiques, sans dégrader les performances anti-aériennes.

Dans un premier temps, cette évolution pourrait s’appuyer sur les versions Aster Block 1 et Aster Block 1NT dont le développement est déjà en cours. Ces 2 versions permettront d’améliorer les performances contre les menaces conventionnelles tout en ajoutant une capacité à portée plus courte contre des missiles balistiques . Selon MBDA et BAE Systems, une capacité anti-missiles balistiques limitée pourrait ajoutée sans impact majeur sur l’architecture actuelle du système de combat du Type 45. Seules des améliorations logicielles seraient nécessaires.

Le missile Aster Block 1NT est considéré comme un point de départ pour la défense anti-missiles balistiques. Mais une version plus évoluée, l’Aster Block 2, permettant une interception extra-atmosphérique, est prévue pour après 2020.

Source: Portail des Sous-marins et Jane’s

BAE Systems Announces Agreement to Sell Composite Structures Business

BREA, California

BAE Systems announced today that it has reached an agreement for the proposed sale of its Composite Structures business in Brea, California, to EnCore Composites Holdings, Inc.

“The decision to sell the Composite Structures business was made to better align the company’s strategic objectives and business portfolio,” said Frank Pope, President of BAE Systems Land & Armaments.

BAE Systems acquired the Composite Structures business through its purchase of United Defense in 2005. Composite Structures designs and manufactures complex, highly-engineered composite components and assemblies that are primarily used on commercial and defense aerospace platforms.

The proposed sale is expected to close during the second or third quarter of 2011.

BAES reveals RG35 RPU variant

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

BAE Systems (BAES) South Africa has developed a reconnaissance patrol and utility (RPU) version of the 4×4 variant of their RG35 mine resistant armour protected (MRAP) vehicle. The company says the RG35 RPU is an open architecture fit for many applications and is currently being adapted to suit the Canadian Tactical Armoured Patrol Vehicle (TAPV) programme.

BAES adds the vehicle delivers a “crucial balance between firepower, proven survivability and tactical mobility troops currently need and will require in the future.” The multinational defence company rolled out the baseline RG35 at the Defence Systems & Equipment International (DSEi) exhibition in London in September 2009. The RG35 combines the high levels of survivability of the RG31 MRAP with much of the tactical capability of a modern combat vehicle, the company said at the time.

BAE Systems Land Systems South Africa MD Johan Steyn noted the RG35 incorporated the best of 30 years experience in mobility, protection and sustainability, while meeting current challenges and threats. The vehicle was designed to carry light and medium turrets as well as direct and indirect-fire weapons. It can also be configured as an ambulance, weapon carrier, command post, cargo transport or be outfitted with cameras and other electronics for surveillance missions. Furthermore, the RG35 could be scaled as a 4×4 or 6×6 to meet customer needs.

“No matter the mission, ensuring that troops make it to and from their home base safely is paramount,” said Chris Chambers, Vice President and General Manager of BAE Systems’ Tactical Wheeled Vehicles business. “With the RG35 RPU, we’ve developed a unique armour protected capsule, integrating decades of expertise and experience that we call the ‘crew citadel.’ It is designed to shield troops inside the vehicle from mine blasts, road side bombs and gunfire while ensuring they can fulfill their missions effectively.”

The RG35 RPU is a 4X4 mine protected multi-mission tactical wheeled vehicle. It measures approximately 5.2 meters in length, 2.6 meters in width, and 2.5 meters in height, with a ground clearance of 414 millimetres. The RG35 RGU’s gross vehicle mass is 21 000kg with a payload of 8000kg and seats driver plus nine crew members. The 6×6 variant is 7.4m in length, 2.5m in width and 2.7m in height with a ground clearance of 0.458m. The gross vehicle mass is 33mt with a payload of 14.870mt and 15sqm volume under armour. The RG35 6×6 has a turning circle of 15m and seats driver plus 15 crew members.

Source: defenceWeb

CAE lorgne un contrat pour des véhicules de combat

Publié le 11 mai 2011

Marie Tison

(Montréal) CAE fera équipe avec l’entreprise américaine Force Protection dans l’espoir de remporter un contrat de plus de 1,5 milliard pour la fourniture de 600 véhicules de combat pour la défense canadienne.

«Si nous l’emportons, nous aurons deux rôles, a indiqué la porte-parole de CAE, Pascale Alpha. Premièrement, nous fournirons le même genre de services de soutien que nous fournissons présentement pour les CF-18 à Mirabel et pour les hélicoptères maritimes dans les provinces de l’Atlantique. Deuxièmement, nous mettrons en place une équipe d’entreprises pancanadiennes pour répondre aux exigences du contrat.»

En juillet 2009, le gouvernement conservateur a annoncé son intention d’acquérir divers types de véhicules blindés pour remplacer ou compléter les véhicules utilisés actuellement par la Défense nationale. Ottawa entend notamment acquérir 500 véhicules blindés tactiques de patrouille afin d’effectuer des missions de reconnaissance et de transporter des troupes. Le contrat sera assorti d’une option pour 100 véhicules additionnels.

Plusieurs entreprises se sont déjà qualifiées pour participer au processus formel d’appel d’offres pour ces véhicules blindés de patrouille, dont Force Protection, Textron Marine and Land Systems, BAE Systems et Thales. Ces entreprises sont maintenant à la recherche de partenaires canadiens pour participer au processus d’appel d’offres parce que le gouvernement canadien exige des retombées industrielles régionales équivalentes à 100% de la valeur du contrat, évalué à plus de 1,5 milliard sur une période de 25 ans.

Si l’équipe Force Protection-CAE remporte le contrat, la part de CAE représentera environ la moitié de cette somme. Ce contrat permettrait de créer ou de conserver 250 emplois chez CAE, notamment à Mirabel, Montréal, au Nouveau-Brunswick et en Nouvelle-Écosse.

«Ce sont des emplois liés notamment aux logiciels et aux systèmes d’ingénierie impliqués dans les services de soutien», a spécifié Mme Alpha.

Le gouvernement devrait lancer l’appel d’offres en juillet 2011 et devrait attribuer le contrat au premier trimestre de 2012.

Source: La Presse

BAE Systems may wield axe again to offset sales fall

By Rhys Jones

LONDON | Wed May 4, 2011

(Reuters) – BAE Systems may be forced to cut more staff this year to help offset lower 2011 sales, which it still expects to be hit by reduced UK military spending and weakness at its land and armaments unit.

« The group continues to anticipate a reduction in sales in 2011 as the volume adjustment in land and armaments is expected to complete and as the changes arising from the Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR) reduce activity in the UK businesses, » BAE said in a statement ahead of its annual general meeting in London on Wednesday.

Europe’s biggest defence contractor said in February that it expected full-year revenues to be dented by weakness at its unit which makes artillery and armoured combat vehicles, and accounts for around a quarter of group profits.

« Actions to lower cost and improve efficiency are expected to benefit return on sales and mitigate the impact of that lower activity, » the company added.

BAE, which is involved in the production of F-35 jets and Astute class submarines, has cut around 15,000 employees in the last two years in a bid to lower costs.

Britain last year slashed its defence budget by 8 percent to help reduce its budget deficit — cutting its army, navy and air force — hitting arms makers such as BAE, which makes around a fifth of its revenues in the UK.

Defence firms with exposure to the United States — where around half of BAE’s sales come from — have also been hit by a slowdown in U.S. defence spending in recent months.

The U.S., which has the world’s largest defence budget, recently reached agreement on a funding bill for 2011 after having operated on a continuing resolution that funded the military at 2010 levels — some $20 billion (12 billion pounds) less than its defence department requested for 2011 — since October.

BAE, however, said the delayed approval of the U.S. budget was unlikely to have a material impact on its annual results.

Shares in BAE, which have fallen 6 percent in the last three months, were 0.3 percent down at 328.9 pence by 08:40 a.m. British time, valuing the company at around 11.2 billion pounds.

The company is expected to post an average pretax profit of 2.03 billion pounds in 2011, according to a Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S poll of 22 analysts.

« In the U.S., we continue to regard BAE’s business as robust at worst and quite capable of generating satisfactory growth … on balance, we believe the downside risk to now be limited and the upside risk to be rather more substantial, certainly on a 12- month view, » said RBS analyst Sandy Morris.

BAE, part of the four-nation consortium building the Eurofighter jet, added that its 2011 performance was expected to be weighted to the second half of the year, primarily reflecting the negotiation of changes to the Saudi Arabian Salam programme.

(Editing by James Davey; and Louise Heavens)

Source: Reuters