UK to investigate Parker Hannifin’s planned $8.7bn Meggitt takeover

// Credit: Meggitt

The UK Government has ordered an investigation into the planned $8.7bn takeover of British company Meggitt by US-based Parker Hannifin on national security grounds.

The UK Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Kwasi Kwarteng issued a public interest intervention notice regarding the planned acquisition and asked the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) to prepare a report. The CMA will assess the potential consequences of the deal and determine if it will adversely affect competition in any market within the UK for goods or services. It is expected to submit the report by 18 March 2022.

The CMA has invited interested parties to submit their responses on the impact of the transaction by 19 November 2021. The final report will include a summary of these representations. The move by the government represents the first phase of assessment. The UK Secretary of State will make the final decision and may recommend a Phase 2 assessment of the transaction, if necessary.

Meggitt announced that it has noted the government announcement and said that it is looking forward to engaging constructively with the CMA on its review. Despite the review, Meggitt added that it still expects the acquisition to be completed in the third quarter of 2022. Meggitt is an engineering company operating in the aerospace, defence and energy markets. It employs more than 9,000 people.


Australian Army’s drone fleet passes DASA audit

The Australian Government has announced that the army’s uncrewed aerial systems fleet recently underwent a comprehensive audit by the Australian Defence Aviation Safety Authority (DASA).

According to a Department of Defence statement, the whole drone fleet passed the audit. DASA Squadron Leader Malcolm Walker said: “Army has been operating small to large UAS platforms for years and has learnt significant lessons in how to safely and effectively operate them in a variety of environments.”

The audit, however, also identified some areas that require improvements. Notably, the Australian Army operates more than 1,000 UAS with sizes ranging from a mobile phone to a small car.

Walker added: “Such a large and diverse fleet presents a number of challenges, such as training, and, to use a pilot term, airmanship.

“It is very difficult to teach a soldier who flies a mobile phone-sized UAS to think like a pilot of a helicopter. Clearly, we don’t need the soldier to have all the training that the pilot has, but there are aspects that we do want them to have. So the soldier’s airmanship needs to be scalable based upon the size and complexity of the UAS being operated.”


India’s DRDO tests aerial target Abhyas

India’s Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has flight-tested the high-speed expendable aerial target (HEAT), Abhyas.

Abhyas was tested from DRDO’s integrated test range in Chandipur, Odisha, India, on 22 October. It was designed and developed by DRDO’s Aeronautical Development Establishment in Bengaluru. The target aircraft’s performance was monitored through telemetry and other tracking sensors, including radars and an electro-optical tracking system.

In a statement, the Indian Ministry of Defence (MoD) stated that the current flight test is executed as a part of developmental flight trials. According to the MoD, the expression of interest for vehicle production has already been sent to Indian industries.


Lockheed Martin reports 3% drop in net sales in Q3 2021

Lockheed Martin has reported net sales of $16bn in Q3 2021, a 3% drop from $16.5bn in the same period last year. In the three months ending 26 September 2021, the company’s net earnings stood at $1.7bn, compared with $1.8bn in Q3 2020. Cash from operations in the latest quarter stood at $1.9bn.

Lockheed Martin chairman, president and CEO James Taiclet said: “During the third quarter, the men and women of Lockheed Martin continued to deliver essential products and capabilities for domestic and allied national defence, and for pioneering civil space endeavours.

“At the same time, we continued to advance the state of the art and innovation across key technologies, including Future Vertical Lift, Integrated Air and Missile Defence, hypersonic weapon systems, next-generation satellites, and many others.”


Boeing-GA-EMS team wins US Army contract for 300kW HELWS prototype

A team formed between General Atomics Electromagnetic Systems (GA-EMS) and Boeing has secured a contract to develop a distributed gain high-energy laser weapon system.

The contract was awarded by the US Army Rapid Capabilities and Critical Technologies Office. It will see the team deliver a 300kW-class solid-state distributed gain laser, which features an integrated Boeing beam director.

The contract is aimed at demonstrating the design of the laser weapon system prototype. Both GA-EMS and Boeing will use their respective expertise in directed energy to provide troops with safe and efficient combat-ready protection.

GA-EMS noted that the laser system will use the company’s scalable distributed gain laser technology combined with precision acquisition, tracking, and pointing software offered by Boeing. The companies will provide a full demonstrator with ‘sophisticated laser and beam control’.


Parsons wins $1.1bn US Army Corps of Engineers contract

Parsons has secured a $1.1bn multiple award task order contract from the US Corps of Engineers (USACE). The potential ten-year order will support USACE Huntsville in meeting challenges related to environmental and munitions responses.

The chemical, environmental and munitions response unrestricted contract supports Military Munitions Response (MMR) programme responses. Involving conventional munitions, chemical warfare materiel, environmental compliance, and remediation services, the MMR programme is intended to safeguard the environment and the public.

Parsons engineered systems president Jon Moretta said: “For more than 20 years, Parsons has partnered with USACE Huntsville in the identification and recovery of munitions. We are committed to bringing the latest technologies to safely and efficiently deliver on their environmental remediation and munitions response needs.”

Leveraging its expertise across environmental and technology markets, the company plans to deploy a suite of advanced solutions to remediate munitions, explosives of concern, and hazardous, toxic and radioactive waste across existing and former defence locations. Geophysical classification, digital geophysical mapping, robotic munitions recovery, innovative drone applications, as well as underwater munitions identification and recovery are particular capabilities that the company intends to deploy.

MOD selects Improbable to provide digital twin network

UK digital infrastructure specialist Improbable Defence and National Security is to provide a next-generation communication network digital twin to help Defence Digital operate its complex technical infrastructure. The contract is part of the UK Ministry of Defence’s digital transformation programme and is led by Defence Digital which forms a part of Strategic Command.

Led by Chief Information Officer Charlie Forte, Defence Digital is responsible for ensuring the military and the business front line has access to the most effective digital and information technology.

Defence Digital brought together and replaced several organisations, including Information Systems and Services in 2019. This latest programme follows on from the successful completion of two previous phases of the contract and will enable users to enhance service operations, perform network upgrades and management, complex procurement and enhance network resilience.

The digital twin will use a single synthetic environment (SSE) platform which was developed by Improbable in partnership with Strategic Command.

Avon Protection wins US DLA’s ESAPI body armour contract

Avon Protection has secured a contract from the US Defense Logistics Agency to supply enhanced small arms protective insert (ESAPI) body armour plates. This contract is the first of two one-year extension options exercised by the DLA under the original ESAPI contract awarded to the company in March last year.

The framework contract has a maximum value of $333m over 3.5 years. The exercise of this initial option extends the contract until September next year. It also allows a minimum order value of $19m for the option year.

ESAPI is a product from 3M’s Ceradyne ballistic-protection business, which was purchased by Avon earlier last year.

According to the company, the exercise of the option also allows an additional $3m in contingency payments to 3M under the acquisition terms of the Ceradyne ballistic protection business, bringing the total contingent consideration payable so far to $7m.

Liteye wins contract to support US Army RCCTO C-sUAS HEL prototype effort

Liteye Systems has secured a contract to integrate the company’s Liteye SHIELD counter-small uncrewed aerial system (C-sUAS) payload.

The multiple-year $5.5m contract supports the US Army Rapid Capabilities and Critical Technologies Office High Energy Laser prototype effort. Liteye Systems and its partners, alongside SAIC, were chosen by the US Army to take part in the HEL prototype programme development to expand C-sUAS capabilities.

According to the company, the C-sUAS HEL prototype effort is aimed at developing, integrating, manufacturing, and eventually testing a HEL prototype in an operationally suitable environment. The latest contract allows the rapid prototyping of a cost-effective HEL.

This HEL prototype will be integrated with existing military battle management systems (BMS). Liteye’s SHIELD payload is capable of detecting, tracking, and identifying group 1 and 2 drones on a battlefield.


US Navy plans to use UAS for cargo transport

The US Navy is assessing the feasibility of using uncrewed aerial systems (UAS) for cargo transport between vessels or from ship to shore. The Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division has acquired a logistics UAS prototype to demonstrate the transfer of cargo over long ranges. The vehicle will be tested and upgraded for military sealift requirements.

Naval Group delivers first Suffren-class submarine to French Navy 

French shipbuilder Naval Group has delivered the first of six Suffren-class nuclear attack submarines for the French Navy. This delivery marks an important milestone in the Barracuda programme, which upgrades the submarine component of France's nuclear deterrent.

Iran unveils domestic ballistic missile launcher

Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps has reportedly unveiled a domestically built ballistic missile launching system. Tasnim news agency reported that the air force manufactured thdine automated system, which is used for launching long-range ballistic missiles.


Australian Navy tests robots for counter-disaster operation

The Royal Australian Navy has tested robots in a simulated counter-disaster operation. As part of exercise Autonomous Warrior Genesis, the navy tested uncrewed land, air and sea vehicles in response to a simulated humanitarian relief scenario.

US and Japan complete exercise Keen Sword 21 

US Indo-Pacific Command units and the Japan Self-Defense Force have completed exercise Keen Sword 21, a joint-bilateral field training exercise in Japan. It involved maritime and air operations, amphibious landings, missile defence exercises, resupply, cyber and space operations.

Royal Air Force concludes Exercise Crimson Warrior 

The Royal Air Force has concluded Exercise Crimson Warrior, a three-week training operation involving fast jets, helicopters and unmanned air systems with involvement from the British Army, US Air Force and US Marines. Exercise Crimson Warrior has been adapted from Cobra Warrior with missiodinns being added to support the F-35B and helicopters that form part of the Carrier Strike Group Air Wing.

In brief

Fabri-Kal launches Recycleware Containers to expand sustainability

Food packaging solutions provider Fabri-Kal has expanded its sustainable product offerings with the launch of its new Recycleware Containers. Manufactured in the US, the products contain a minimum of 20-50% post-consumer recycled PET material and are recyclable.

Burger King and TerraCycle’s Loop to pilot new reusable packaging 

Fast-food chain Burger King has partnered with TerraCycle’s circular packaging service, Loop, to pilot new reusable packaging. The partnership is part of the brand’s Restaurant Brands for Good framework to help reduce packaging waste.

Stora Enso launches take-away bowls for food service packaging 

Pulp and paper manufacturer Stora Enso has partnered with wholesale company Tingstad to market its new food service take-away bowls, PureFiber. The packaging is designed to replace plastic on-the-go food packaging. It is free from plastic and PFAS.

H&M presents new Looop garment-to-garment recycling system

Swedish clothing-retail company H&M is introducing a garment-to-garment recycling system that helps transform old textiles into new ones. Known as Looop, the container-sized machine promotes circularity in fashion and keeps unwanted garments from turning into waste.