July's top stories: KMW and Nexter merger, DoD healthcare management upgrade

Krauss-Maffei Wegmann (KMW) signed an agreement with French armoured vehicle maker, Nexter Systems to establish a joint holding company, Leidos received a $4.3bn contract to modernise the US DoD’s healthcare management system, and Airbus Helicopters completed factory acceptance of the first of 15 EC135 T2+ helicopters for the ADF’s JP 9000 Phase 7 helicopter aircrew training system project. Army-technology.com wraps up the key headlines from July 2015.


Leopard 1 tank

KMW and Nexter seal deal to establish joint holding company

German tank manufacturer Krauss-Maffei Wegmann (KMW) signed an agreement with French armoured vehicle maker, Nexter Systems to establish a joint holding company.

The merger creates a European defence technology group employing more than 6,000 people, with a current annual turnover of nearly €2bn and order book of approximately €6.5bn.

KMW and Nexter signed agreement to establish the joint venture, which will be named Kant, in July 2014.

Leidos wins $4.3bn DoD healthcare management system upgrade contract

Leidos received a $4.3bn contract to modernise the US Department of Defense's (DoD) healthcare management system.

Under the indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity contract, the company, in collaboration with Cerner and Accenture, will provide an electronic health record off-the-shelf solution, integration activities, and deployment across the military health system.

The contract has a two-year initial ordering period, with two three-year option periods, and also features a potential two-year award term, which, if awarded, would bring the total ordering period to ten years.

Canada commits additional assistance for Iraq to counter ISIS

CF-18

The Canadian Government agreed to provide up to $8.3m assistance to the Iraqi Government to combat security and political challenges posed by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

The funding will be used to build the capacity of Iraqi authorities in mine action, supply non-lethal military equipment to countries affected by ISIS to curb the flow of foreign fighters and secure their borders, counter chemical and biological threats, and improve the flow of humanitarian assistance.

Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Rob Nicholson said: "Canada and our coalition partners are making a tangible difference in the fight against ISIS, while providing humanitarian aid to those who need it the most.

Airbus completes factory acceptance for ADF's first HATS helicopter

EC135 T2+helicopter

Airbus Helicopters completed factory acceptance of the first of 15 EC135 T2+ helicopters for the Australian Defence Force's (ADF) JP 9000 Phase 7 Helicopter Aircrew Training System (HATS) project.

The project envisions development of a new joint helicopter training system for both the Australian Army and the Royal Australian Navy, using the EC135 T2+ helicopters.

Boeing Defence Australia is the prime contractor for the programme, which also covers the delivery of flight simulators and a new flight-deck equipped sea-going training vessel.

Exercise Rapid Trident 2015 starts in Ukraine

soldiers

More than 1,800 military personnel from 18 different countries began a multi-national exercise, code-named Rapid Trident 2015, at the International Peacekeeping and Security Centre in Yavoriv, Ukraine.

Led by the US Army Europe, the cooperative training exercise focused on peacekeeping and stability operations, and was part of a US European Command joint exercise programme designed to enhance joint combined interoperability with allied and partner nations.

Participating nations included Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Estonia, Georgia, Germany, Great Britain, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Norway, Poland, Romania, Spain, Sweden, and Turkey, as well as Ukraine and the US.

GD receives contract to continue support for UK Army's Scout SV fleet

The UK Government awarded a contract to General Dynamics (GD) to continue support for the national army's armoured fighting vehicles.

Valued at £390m, the contract will extend the current in service support contract for the Scout Specialist Vehicles (SV) to 2024, delivering onshore technical engineering and maintenance from a GD facility in South Wales.

The deal also brings an additional 250 new highly-skilled jobs to Wales, as the company relocates the vehicle assembly, integration, and testing from overseas to the region.

Lockheed to acquire UTC's Sikorsky Aircraft business for $9bn

Lockheed Martin signed a definitive agreement to acquire Sikorsky Aircraft from United Technologies (UTC) for $9bn.

United Technologies is expected to use the transaction proceeds to fund additional share repurchase to reduce the impact on earnings related to the sale.

UTC president and CEO Gregory Hayes said: "Exiting the helicopter business will allow UTC to better focus on providing high-technology systems and services to the aerospace and building industries and to deliver improved and sustained value to our customers and shareowners."


Canadian Rangers presented with new C-19 rifle prototype

Rangers

The Canadian Rangers received the first opportunity to review a prototype of the new C-19 rifle that is scheduled to replace the currently used Lee Enfield rifles.

In June, Colt Canada received a $1.5m contract for the management of the design competition for the C-19 rifles.

In particular, the contract covered the delivery and testing of 125 test and evaluation rifles by the Canadian Rangers during the military exercise, dubbed Operation Nanook.

US Army announces plans to cut 40,000 soldiers by 2018

soldiers

The US Army announced force structure decisions and stationing plans that would see the size of the regular army shrink from 490,000 to 450,000 soldiers by 2018.

Driven by fiscal constraints arising from the Budget Control Act of 2011 and defence strategic and budgetary guidance, the reductions are expected to impact nearly every army installation, both in the continental US and overseas.

Fort Leonard Wood, alone, will have to bear the loss of 774 positions between now and 2017.

In addition to the regular forces reductions, the army is also set to reduce the number of civilian employees to approximately 17,000. The cuts will be absorbed through attrition and positions that are currently unfilled.

Britain to meet Nato defence spending target of 2% over next five years

The UK Government outlined plans to maintain Nato's defence spending target of 2% of the gross domestic product (GDP) over the next five years.

The commitment will be accompanied by a 0.5% rise, above inflation, in the Ministry of Defence's (MoD) budget every year up until 2020 to 2021.

The MoD will also receive up to an additional £1.5bn a year by the specified timeframe to fund increased spending on the military and intelligence agencies.