October’s top news stories

8 November 2018 (Last Updated May 28th, 2020 13:03)

Harris and L3 agreed to merge as $33.5bn military technology company, PAE won US Army contract to compete for $2.4bn in task orders and the UK MoD opened all roles in the military to women. Army-Technology.com wraps up key stories from October.

October’s top news stories
Women can now serve all roles in the UK military. Credit: © Crown.

Harris and L3 agree to merge as $33.5bn military technology company

American technology firm Harris and aerospace and defence company L3 Technologies agreed to merge in an all-stock deal to establish a $33.5bn global defence technology conglomerate.

Named L3 Harris Technologies, the combined military technology company will focus on developing differentiated and mission-critical solutions for military customers worldwide.

With the completion of the merger, Harris will own 54% shares and L3 Technologies will have a 46% stake in the conglomerate on a fully diluted basis.


PAE wins US Army contract to compete for $2.4bn in task orders

The US Army awarded a contract position to defence and government services contractor Pacific Architects and Engineers (PAE) to compete on task orders worth up to $2.4bn.

Under the indefinite-delivery indefinite-quantity Enterprise Training Services contract, the company will be responsible for providing the army with training and assistance, as well as exercise planning, management, and support.

As one of the three large business awardees for the contract, PAE will also be responsible for delivering training systems, range operations, and maintenance.


UK MoD opens all roles in military to women

UK Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson confirmed that all roles in the military are now open to women.

The announcement was marked with the joining of some of the first women into the British Army’s Royal Armoured Corps.

With the new regulation, women already serving in the UK Army can be transferred into different infantry roles, while those not currently in service will be able to apply for infantry roles in December.


Bahrain requests $300m sale of GMLRS and ATACMS systems from US

The US Defense Security Cooperation Agency notified Congress of a possible foreign military sale of guided multiple launch rocket system (GMLRS) unitary rocket pods and army tactical missiles system (ATACMS) unitary missiles to Bahrain.

With an estimated cost of $300m, the possible deal has been approved by the US State Department.

Under the sale, the Kingdom of Bahrain has requested the acquisition of a total of 120 M31 GMLRS unitary rocket pods and 110 units of the M57 T2K ATACMS unitary missiles.


EU Council adopts new chemical weapons sanctions regime

The EU Council formally adopted new restrictive measures on chemical weapons at the Foreign Affairs Council in Luxembourg.

The regime has been adopted to address and reduce the rapid growth and use of chemical weapons, which pose a serious threat to international security.

Under the measures, EU members will be able to impose restrictions on persons and organisations directly involved in the development and use of chemical weapons, irrespective of their nationality and location.


US Army flight tests Sikorsky autonomous optionally piloted helicopter

The US Army flight tested an autonomous optionally piloted helicopter (OPV) developed by Lockheed Martin company Sikorsky.

During the series of missions, US army pilots exercised supervised autonomy to direct the Sikorsky Autonomy Research Aircraft (SARA) to demonstrate the technology developed by the company together with the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.

The flights marked the first time that non-Sikorsky pilots operated the SARA as an OPV aircraft. SARA is a modified and upgraded variant of the S-76B commercial helicopter.


General Dynamics delivers first A-GMV 1.1 vehicles to US Army

The US Army received the delivery of the first lot of army-ground mobility vehicles (A-GMV 1.1) from General Dynamics Ordnance and Tactical Systems.

Successful completion of the delivery marks the first unit equipped with the new A-GMV 1.1 capability, which was provided to the US Army within four months of the contract award.

The project comprised the delivery of vehicles, in addition to associated spares and training.


France approves MMP 5th generation missile for semi-desert operations

The MBDA-developed MMP 5th generation land combat missile system passed an assessment carried out by French Armed Forces and has been declared suitable for use in semi-desert conditions.

The French Army Technical Service and the French Direction Générale de l’Armement completed the evaluation of the missile system in a month-long exercise from 25 August to 22 September in Djibouti with the support of manufacturer MBDA.

As part of the evaluation campaign, nine firings were carried out with all the missiles hitting their target.


Australia breaks ground on new defence satellite ground station in NSW

The Australian Government has marked the start of construction on a new Defence Satellite Ground Station at the Army Recruit Training Centre in Kapooka, New South Wales (NSW) by turning the first sod.

Dubbed Wideband Satellite Capability, the new project involved the acquisition and sustainment of a new satellite ground station in the east of Australia.

Australian Deputy Prime Minister, and Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Minister Michael McCormack said the project has been designed to support the implementation of a wideband satellite communications network management system in the region.


Arturius and DTI sign MOA to build Counter Threat COE in Thailand

UK security and defence company Arturius is set to build a Counter Threat Centre of Excellence (COE) in Thailand to analyse any threats that the country faces.

The company has signed a memorandum of agreement with Thai Government organisation Defence Technology Institute (DTI) and local representative GCS Group Corporation Company.

Under the agreement, Arturius will work in close collaboration with DTI to evaluate and assess the threat landscape faced in Thailand, in addition to developing policy and doctrine, as well as evaluating the optimal training and technology needs.