September’s top stories: Northrop / Orbital ATK $9.2bn deal, HAL’s $951.9m ALH order

Northrop Grumman agreed to acquire Orbital ATK in $9.2bn deal, India’s HAL won $951.9m contract to deliver ALHs and BIRN, and OCCRP said that the US spent $2.2bn on Soviet-style arms for Syrian rebels. wraps up key headlines from September.

Northrop agreed to acquire Orbital ATK in $9.2bn deal

Northrop Grumman agreed to acquire aerospace and defence technologies company Orbital ATK in a deal valued at approximately $9.2bn.

Under the agreement, Northrop will pay $134.50 per share to Orbital ATK.

Northrop Grumman chairman, chief executive officer and president Wes Bush said: “The acquisition of Orbital ATK is an exciting strategic step as we continue to invest for profitable growth. Through our combination, customers will benefit from expanded capabilities, accelerated innovation and greater competition in critical global security domains."

India’s HAL won $951.9m contract for advanced light helicopters

Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) secured a contract worth Rs61bn ($951.9m) from the Indian Ministry of Defence to deliver advanced light helicopters (ALHs) to the nation’s armed forces.

Under the contract, the company has been tasked with supplying a total of 41 ALHs over a period of five years.

Of the total ALHs, 40 will be delivered to the Indian Army, while one will be sent to the Indian Navy.

HAL CMD T. Suvarna Raju said: “The latest order reflects the trust on HAL’s capabilities and gives an impetus to make-in-India campaign. It reposes faith of Indian Defence forces in indigenous ALH, which has been serving them with distinction for a long time.”

US spent $2.2bn on Soviet-style arms for Syrian rebels, said BIRN and OCCRP

An investigation into the US Department of Defense's (DoD) arms spending concluded that up to $2.2bn is being spent on Soviet-style arms and ammunition for Syrian rebels fighting against ISIS.

The Balkan Investigative Reporting Network (BIRN) and the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) conducted the investigation, which involved gathering information from procurement records, ship-tracking data, official reports and leaked emails to evaluate the DoD’s supply line.

The DoD is working with contractors and sub-contractors from the Balkans and Eastern Europe to implement the arms and ammunition supply programme.

Patria conducted first test firings of Nemo Container

Patria successfully conducted the first test firings of its 120mm mortar system integrated with a container on a truck platform.

During the tests conducted in Finland, the Patria Nemo Container underwent test firings both on Sisu ETP E13 8x8 off-road trucks and as a stand-alone ground unit.

The testing was conducted to validate the integration of the Nemo turreted mortar system into a 20in sea container.

Patria said that the Nemo Container performed as expected and 'the concept of the 20in sea container with 120mm turreted mortar system was proving its ingenuity by combining unforeseen flexibility / mobility and firepower during the testing'.

Spanish Army demonstrated BMS-Lince combat management system capabilities

The Spanish Army’s Infantería Acorazada Guadarrama XII Brigade (BRIAC XII) demonstrated the capabilities of the BMS-Lince combat management system fitted on its light armoured vehicles.

Developed by Indra and Thales, version one of the BMS-Lince system is currently installed on six Leopard combat tanks and 14 Pizarro light armoured vehicles deployed in Latvia.

The system was designed to help commanders plan and conduct ground missions by enabling vehicles to share information in real-time.

Sweden to provide $287.6m for military and civil defence in 2018 budget

The Swedish Government proposed a significant funding boost for the country’s military defence and civil defence in its 2018 budget.

The government aims to increase funding by Skr2.7bn for total defence annually, Skr2.3bn ($287.6m) of which will be allocated for military defence and Skr0.4bn ($50m) for civil defence.

Funding will be used to increase unit activities and preparedness, as well as prioritise measures aimed at military units with the lowest battle readiness to enhance their capabilities and increase training activities.

Rolls-Royce to supply MTU Series 106 engines for Polish Army’s JELCZ trucks

Rolls-Royce was contracted to supply 500 MTU Series 106 engines for vehicles to be used by the Polish Armed Forces.

Manufactured by Rolls-Royce’s subsidiary MTU Friedrichshafen, the MTU 6R 106 TD21 engines will be fitted on JELCZ four-wheel-drive 442.32 all-terrain trucks.

The JELCZ 442.32 is a two-axle, high-mobility special vehicle that can be used to transport goods in bulk or on pallets and 10ft ISO containers.

Iran test-fired Khorramshahr ballistic missile

Iran reportedly test-fired a ballistic missile despite US sanctions on its missile programme.

The latest missile test involved a Khorramshahr missile with a range of 2,000km, according to media sources.

Prior to the launch, the missile that can carry multiple warheads was showcased at a military parade in Tehran.

Commenting on the missile launch, US President Donald J. Trump tweeted: “Iran just test-fired a Ballistic Missile capable of reaching Israel. They are also working with North Korea. Not much of an agreement we have!”

EDA launched new Main Battle Tank capabilities optimisation initiative

The European Defence Agency (EDA) launched a new project to optimise existing Main Battle Tank (MBT) capabilities in Europe.

Under the ‘OMBT-Leo2’ project, EDA expects to transfer surplus MBT platforms available in certain member states to other member states interested in acquiring the technology.

The pooling and sharing initiative will initially focus on the lease, rental or sale of Leopard 2A4.

The member states owning and operating the same type of MBTs for national purposes can opt-in to upgrade their in-service fleet.

Irish Army completed live firing trials with RBS 70 and RBS 70 NG

The Irish Army completed live firing trials of its RBS 70 and RBS 70 NG short-range ground-based air defence missile systems.

The trials were conducted at the Bofors Test Center in Karlskoga, Sweden, over four days to improve Irish soldiers' ability to engage both aerial and static targets.

Irish Army lieutenant colonel Noel Murphy said: “The RBS 70 system is a reliable air defence system which is easy to use. It has been in service with our army for many years and we have used it in various environments for protection of national events and state visits."