Rheinmetall acquire majority stake in BAE Systems’ armoured vehicle business
It was announced on Monday that German company Rheinmetall is to buy a majority stake in BAE Systems’ armoured vehicle business. The two companies signed an agreement to create a joint venture based at BAE Systems' Telford site. If approved by Government, Rheinmetall would take a 55% stake in ‘Rheinmetall BAE Systems Land’. The companies' initial focus is to pool forces to secure an order from MOD for Boxer, the Army’s preferred solution to their Mechanized Infantry Vehicle requirement, which is currently in an exclusive assessment phase with a view to an order being placed by the end of the year. BAE and Rheinmetall are also the only contenders for the Challenger 2 Life Extension Programme. Rheinmetall has committed to more than 60 percent of the work being done in the U.K. and has already engaged with BAE Systems about their involvement, with Thales and Pearson Engineering also part of the local supply team.
Airbus urges against no-deal Brexit
On Thursday, Airbus CEO, Tom Enders condemned the uncertainty over the UK Government’s arrangements for Brexit as a “disgrace”. As the largest commercial aerospace company in the UK and its biggest civil aerospace exporter, the announcement was timed to influence MPs thought to be contemplating a no-deal exit as a viable outcome to negotiations with the European Union. In the most strongly worded rebuttal from an industry executive about the consequences of such an exit, Mr Enders said that any suggestion that the scale of Airbus’s UK production operation assures its long term presence is incorrect. Mr Enders pointed out that aerospace is a long-term business and future investments could be redirected if a Brexit scenario unfurled that was disadvantageous to the company.
TYPE 26 FRIGATE: Asked what consideration, if any, MOD has given to accelerating the Type 26 build programme, Defence Minister for the Lords, Earl Howe relpied that “The Ministry of Defence has no plans to change the schedule for the Type 26 Frigate procurement programme. The first Type 26 ship, HMS Glasgow, will enter service with the Royal Navy in 2027.”
ADVANCED RADAR DEVELOPMENT: Asked what action the MOD is taking to ensure continued advanced radar development in the UK, Defence Minister for the Lords, Earl Howe replied that “Radar is one of the key underlying technologies that provide the UK Armed Forces with our critical Intelligence, Surveillance, Targeting and Reconnaissance (ISTAR) capability. The Ministry of Defence (MOD) continues to fund advanced UK radar programmes such as Sampson and Artisan. Looking to the future, the MOD is conducting a Radar review to ensure we understand the capability needed to adapt to the future environments and threats. The review will consider how we assure our future freedom of action and operational advantage in radar capability.”
UK SPACE SECTOR: Asked what assessment has been made of the strength of the UK space defence sector, Defence Procurement Minister, Stuart Andrew replied that “The UK Space Agency regularly monitor the progress of the sector and Ministers and officials regularly engage with representatives of the industry. The space sector has grown at an average of over 8% per year over the last decade and three times faster than the average sector over the last five years. The UK is a world-leader in small satellite technology, telecommunications, robotics and earth observation, while British universities are some of the best in the world for space science.”