July’s top news stories

6 August 2019 (Last Updated July 1st, 2020 11:18)

Advent to buy UK defence firm Cobham in £4bn deal and UK to develop laser and radio frequency directed energy weapons. Army-Technology.com wraps up key stories from July 2019.

July’s top news stories
Cobham Falcon about to touch down. Credit: Jerry Gunner.

Advent to buy UK defence firm Cobham in £4bn deal

US buyout group Advent International reached an agreement to acquire British aerospace and defence firm Cobham for a total cash consideration of £4bn ($4.98bn).

Under the agreement, Cobham shareholders will receive £1.65 in cash in exchange for each share held in the company.

Cobham is specialised in satellite communications, defence electronics, air-to-air refuelling, aviation services, life support and mission equipment markets.


UK to develop laser and radio frequency directed energy weapons

The UK Government announced that it will invest £130m to develop laser and radio frequency directed energy weapons (DEW).

In a statement, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) stated that these weapons have the potential to ‘revolutionise the battlefield’.

Laser weapons systems will use high-energy light beams to target and destroy unmanned aerial systems and missiles.

Radio frequency weapons will have the ability to disrupt and disable adversary computers and electronics.


SAMI and Paramount Group sign defence cooperation pact

Saudi Arabian Military Industries (SAMI) entered an agreement with South African company Paramount Group for cooperation in defence.

SAMI noted that the agreement is consistent with Saudi Arabia’s vision for the creation of an integrated defence industrial ecosystem.

The collaboration will cover the development of technologies and capabilities across land, sea and air domains, as well as system integration.

It will support the country’s Vision 2030 economic development plan that aims to manufacture half of the kingdom’s military equipment needs locally by 2030.


US Army to launch ten SHORAD battalions

The US Army began working on rebuilding a short-range air defence (SHORAD) capability to defend manoeuvre units against aircraft, unmanned aerial vehicles (drones) and cruise missiles.

Air Defense Artillery School commandant colonel Mark Holler said that the service deactivated most of the SHORAD battalions a decade ago in view of the need for manoeuvre brigade combat teams for counter-insurgency operations.

The renewed focus on SHORAD units is due to the need for significant capability and capacity to stand up to the might of adversaries. Holler added that the army realised this during the conflict in Ukraine.


New Zealand gives approval for acquisition of new military vehicles

The New Zealand Government approved two projects to procure high-mobility utility light vehicles and protected vehicle mediums to replace the existing vehicles that have reached the end of their life.

The cabinet decision marks the beginning of the first phase of the Protected Mobility project, which is intended to replace the New Zealand Defence Force’s operational Pinzgauer and Unimog vehicles.

New Zealand Defence Minister Ron Mark said: “Vehicles that protect our people when they move around in hostile environments are vital. Our current fleet of vehicles have reached the end of their life and it’s time to replace them.”


Amazon and Microsoft compete for Pentagon’s ‘war cloud’ contract

Amazon and Microsoft began battling to land a $10bn (£8.1bn) contract to develop an AI-driven Cloud computing solution to store and process US military information for a decade.

Formerly named the Joint Enterprise Defence Infrastructure Plan (JEDI), the project will store classified data that can be analysed using AI to help the Pentagon make military decisions and pool information more easily.

The technology could fundamentally shift combat operations by giving ground forces direct access to classified information and a constant stream of data for operations.


KRAS wins $100m order for Barak 8 missile kits

KRAS (Kalyani Rafael Advanced Systems) signed a $100m order with Rafael Advanced Defence Systems to manufacture 1,000 Barak 8 missile systems for the Indian Armed Forces.

KRAS is a joint venture between Israeli state-owned Rafael Advanced Defence Systems and Indian defence company Kalyani Strategic Systems with Rafael investing heavily in facilities and lifecycle support in India.

KRAS will hire an extra 300 personnel by 2023 in part to support further contracts.


France, Germany and UK reaffirm commitment to JCPoA

European nations France, Germany and the UK reaffirmed their commitment to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPoA).

The JCPoA mandated Tehran to scale down its nuclear activities in exchange for the lifting of economic sanctions on the country.

In a joint statement issued on 14 July, the countries urged Iran and the US to restart dialogue and work towards peace amid concerns over the future of the nuclear deal reached in 2015.


MBDA to deliver Mistral 3 air defence systems to Serbia

MBDA secured a contract from the Ministry of Defence of Serbia to deliver Mistral 3 short-range air defence systems.

Under the contract, MBDA will supply Mistral missiles, launchers for dismounted soldiers, related equipment and logistics.

The company will also provide technical and material support for the integration of the Mistral missile on the PASARS vehicles of Serbian Armed Forces.


Rheinmetall to upgrade Puma vehicles for Nato VJTF 2023

Rheinmetall began delivering a project to modernise the Puma infantry fighting vehicle for the Nato spearhead Very High Joint Readiness Task Force 2023 (VJTF 2023).

The Federal Office for Bundeswehr Equipment, Information Technology and In-Service Support awarded a contract to ARGE Puma for the ‘System Panzergrenadier VJTF 2023’ project on 11 July.

ARGE Puma is a consortium between Puma manufacturer PSM Projekt System Management and Rheinmetall Electronics.