April 26, 2021
Leonardo clinches Hensoldt stake to boost presence in Germany, Ex-SAS soldier to row Atlantic without GPS after stars helped him escape Syria kidnap, Space Force prepares to launch fifth GPS III satellite, Airbus sees sustainment as key to UK NMH success
HERE ARE THE TOP INDUSTRY AND WORLD STORIES
Leonardo clinches Hensoldt stake to boost presence in Germany (FT)
• Leonardo, the Italian defence group, intends to use the purchase of a stake in military sensor maker Hensoldt as a springboard to expand its presence in Germany’s growing defence market, according to its chief executive.
• The deal, agreed at the weekend, could help drive European consolidation in the sector and eventually pave the way for the creation of a major defence electronics concern.
• Under the terms of the deal, Leonardo will buy a 25.1 per cent stake in Hensoldt from private equity group KKR for €23 a share in cash or about €606m.
• The Italian group will become Hensoldt’s largest shareholder alongside German state bank KfW, which bought a 25.1 per cent stake in March. KKR will maintain a share of about 18 per cent. The balance of the shares are listed in Germany.
• Leonardo held off competition from France’s Thales and Sweden’s Saab to clinch the purchase.
• “It is another step in the European defence system,” Alessandro Profumo, Leonardo chief executive, told the Financial Times. While Leonardo had “some presence” in Germany, it was a country where the company “could improve”.
• “Germany is an incredibly important country,” he added, noting that in a previous role as chief executive of UniCredit he had said that “you can’t be European without Germany”.
• “It is the same in this case,” Profumo added.
• The deal will strengthen Leonardo’s position in Europe’s three core defence markets: Italy, the UK and Germany.
• It is also an important step in what could be a series of strategic partnerships in defence electronics, according to industry analysts.
• Leonardo and Hensoldt already co-operate on pan-European programmes including the Eurofighter Typhoon fighter. The two companies, together with Spain’s Indra, provide the advanced radar on the aircraft. The German air force last year ordered a further 38 Typhoons.
Ex-SAS soldier to row Atlantic without GPS after stars helped him escape Syria kidnap (Telegraph)
• A former SAS soldier will row the Atlantic solo using the stars to guide him after being inspired by his escape from kidnapping in Syria.
• Ian Rivers will attempt the 3,000 nautical mile voyage “the wrong way”, with only a sextant for navigation.
• It will be the first time a solo unsupported rower has ever crossed the Atlantic from New York to the Isles of Scilly without a GPS.
• Speaking exclusively to the Telegraph Mr Rivers said: “My definition of true adventure is when you don’t actually know the outcome.
• “You go into it as best prepared as you can be, but you honestly don’t really know what the ultimate outcome is.
• “It’s you against the elements.”
• Ian, 55, from Hereford, will use only the stars and a sextant on his voyage in Sentinel, a 27-foot long ocean rowing boat. He is raising money for the SAS Regimental Association’s Sentinels programme, a mental health initiative, and St Michael’s Hospice in Herefordshire.
• Due to leave New York in mid-May, Mr Rivers expects to arrive in the Isles of Scilly around 90 days later.
• The start date will be driven by a five-day weather window of favourable offshore wind – westerly winds coming from America – to allow him time to get into deep water around 160 miles offshore, away from the shallow continental shelf which can produce big waves.
Space Force prepares to launch fifth GPS III satellite (Shephard News)
• GPS III SV05 will be horizontally integrated with the first-ever SpaceX Falcon 9 launch vehicle to be reflown for a National Security Space Launch mission.
• The fifth Lockheed Martin-built GPS III Space Vehicle (GPS III SV05) has been shipped to Cape Canaveral in preparation for a June 2021 launch, the US Space Force (USSF) announced on 21 April.
• It added: ‘SV05 will be horizontally integrated with the first-ever SpaceX Falcon 9 launch vehicle to be reflown for a National Security Space Launch (NSSL) mission.’
• Once in orbit, GPS III SV05 will be the 24th satellite in the 31 GPS-satellite constellation capable of broadcasting the GPS Military Code (M-Code) encrypted signal that enhances anti-jamming and anti-spoofing capabilities.
• This is significant as 24 M-Code enabled satellites will bring M-Code to full operational capability.
• Eight older GPS IIR satellites are in orbit without M-Code.
Airbus sees sustainment as key to UK NMH success (Janes)
• Airbus is to offer a solution for the New Medium Helicopter (NMH) requirement that provides long-term sustainment for the company, and for the United Kingdom’s rotorcraft industry.
• Speaking to Janes and other defence media at its Oxford Airport facility on 22 April, Airbus Helicopters UK said that the company’s bid to replace the Royal Air Force’s (RAF’s) fleet of Puma HC2s and three other helicopter types later in the decade will be driven by sustainability, as much as anything else.
• “It is more about making sure that what we do is sustainable. Manufacturing would always be for more than the UK – if not, it is not sustainable and it just wouldn’t make any sense,” Managing Director of Airbus Helicopters UK, Colin James, said. “The New Medium Helicopter is an opportunity to do something for the UK helicopter industry, but also helicopters are important for the sustainability of Airbus, which has provided great success for the UK.”
• James’ comments on sustainability reflect the UK Defence and Security Industrial Strategy (DSIS) document that was released earlier this year in tandem with the Integrated Review and Defence Command Paper. This document placed a greater emphasis on supporting UK industry at home and national prosperity through exports abroad, over the more traditional procurement priorities of cost and capability.
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WE’RE KEEPING AN EYE ON
Dominic Cummings still in frame as lockdown leaks ‘rat’ (Times)
• Britain’s most senior civil servant is still investigating Dominic Cummings as part of the inquiry into who leaked sensitive details of the government’s lockdown plans.
• Senior Whitehall sources said that Simon Case, the cabinet secretary, had not cleared Cummings of being the so-called chatty rat leaker despite claims by Boris Johnson’s former adviser.
• Case is due to give evidence to MPs today. He will make clear that inquiries are continuing in the investigation prompted by the revelation in October that Johnson had decided to implement a second lockdown.
• A Whitehall source said that despite claims by Cummings last week that Case had cleared him of involvement in the leak, this was not the case. “That could well have been true some week in November last year,” the source said. “But things change. No one has been exonerated and the investigation is still active.”
• Case is also expected to be pressed on his role in the Downing Street flat scandal, and if and when he knew of alleged plans by Johnson to use a £58,000 loan from a Tory donor to pay for refurbishments ordered by his fiancée, Carrie Symonds.
DID YOU HEAR ABOUT THIS?
Biggest deployment of UK naval firepower since the Falklands war will set sail next month (Telegraph)
• Britain’s biggest deployment of UK naval and aerial military firepower since the Falklands war will set sail next month in a 28-week voyage which will be closely watched by China.
• This move, which includes the first operational deployment of the aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth, will see Britain use its power to bring other nation’s forces together such as the US and Netherlands.
• The £3 billion warship, with eight RAF F35B stealth fighter jets on board, will depart for Asia accompanied by six Royal Navy ships, a submarine, 14 naval helicopters and a company of Royal Marines.
• The Carrier Strike Group (CSG), which will carry out visits to India, Japan, South Korea and Singapore, will include the US destroyer USS The Sullivans and the Dutch frigate HNLMS Evertsen.
• It comes after Iceland became the 10th nation to join the Joint Expeditionary Force (JEF), a defence group of northern European countries intent on maintaining the security of the region.
• A squadron of 10 US Marine Corps F35B Lightning II jets will also be embarked on the carrier in what the Ministry of Defence (MoD) is describing as the “largest concentration of maritime and air power to leave the UK in a generation”.
• Defence Secretary Ben Wallace, who will reveal details of the deployment to Parliament, said: “When our Carrier Strike Group sets sail next month, it will be flying the flag for Global Britain – projecting our influence, signalling our power, engaging with our friends and reaffirming our commitment to addressing the security challenges of today and tomorrow.
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