Babcock, Rolls-Royce to sell stakes in AirTanker asset joint venture
14 September 2021
by Marc Selinger
A UK Royal Air Force A330 tanker owned by AirTanker Holdings Ltd prepares to refuel a Tornado strike aircraft. (Airbus)
UK engineering company Babcock International and British engine manufacturer Rolls-Royce have agreed to divest their minority stakes in the AirTanker Holdings Ltd joint venture, which owns a fleet of Airbus A330 Multi Role Tanker Transport (MRTT) aircraft for the UK's Royal Air Force (RAF), Babcock and Rolls-Royce announced on 13 September.
UK private equity firm Equitix Investment Management will buy Babcock's 15.4% share for GBP126 million (USD174.3 million) and Rolls-Royce's 23.1% share for GBP189 million, joining Airbus and Thales as owners of AirTanker Holdings. The deals are expected to close by the end of the first quarter of calendar year 2022 after receiving regulatory approvals.
Both transactions are part of broader efforts by Babcock and Rolls-Royce to divest non-core businesses and generate proceeds to reduce debt. Babcock and Rolls-Royce want to raise a total of at least GBP400 million and GBP2 billion, respectively.
BlackSky, which is fielding a small-satellite constellation to monitor rapid changes on Earth for defence and intelligence agencies and commercial customers, has become a publicly held company, raising USD283 million to fuel its growth, the US-based firm announced on 10 September.
BlackSky altered its ownership status by merging with special purpose acquisition company Osprey Technology Acquisition Corp, which already had a listing on the New York Stock Exchange. The combined company has been renamed BlackSky Technology, and its ticker symbol is ‘BKSY'.
BlackSky plans to use the proceeds to expand its workforce, build and launch satellites, and develop more advanced data analytics software. It expects to have 14 satellites on orbit by year's end.
The constellation is scheduled to grow to 23 high-resolution satellites by the end of 2023, providing the ability to monitor “the most important locations on Earth every 60 minutes from dawn to dusk”, according to BlackSky. The company announced in June that it would create a UK office “to address growing international opportunities”.
AFA 2021: US TRANSCOM awards Rolls-Royce contract for air refuelling management software prototype
20 September 2021
by Pat Host
The US Transportation Command (TRANSCOM) has awarded Rolls-Royce a USD800,000 contract to demonstrate and continue developing air refuelling asset management software, according to a company statement.
The Rolls-Royce Air Refueling Optimization and Planning System (AROPS) is intended to increase air tanker availability and eliminate inefficiencies caused by disconnected systems and process challenges within a highly complex air refuelling enterprise. Nadine Melind, services executive for Rolls-Royce Digital Services, told
on 15 September, ahead of the Air Force Association's (AFA's) annual conference, that this is because the current air refuelling enterprise is a mix of software packages and general communication methods, such as email, mobile phone text messages, spreadsheets, and whiteboards.
The idea is to standardise the toolset to make it faster, more efficient, repeatable, and feature more effective communication, Melind said. Rolls-Royce's AROPS software will be more agile and will optimise assets for mission requirements, she added.
DSEI 2021: Saudi Arabia continuing to build on engagement opportunities for foreign suppliers
17 September 2021
by Charles Forrester
Saudi Arabia is continuing to promote inward investment and contracting opportunities in its defence industry, His Excellency Ahmad Abdulaziz Al-Ohali, Governor of the General Authority for Military Industries (GAMI), told
during the DSEI 2021 trade show in London.
“We have identified that we have up to 74 supply chain opportunities that branch into hundreds of billions of dollars of opportunities worldwide,” Al-Ohali said. “This represents a green-field environment for people who want to invest and who want to join our journey.”
The formal release of the Industrial Participation Program (IPP) in 2020 has allowed the country to codify its requirements and engagement with foreign suppliers, linking offset obligations to defence procurements. The focus on growing Saudi industry has been a key aspect of the IPP as part of efforts to grow the country's sovereign capabilities.
In this episode we speak to Adam Hadley on understanding and countering terrorist use of the internet.
Adam Hadley is the CEO of London-based data science consultancy QuantSpark and Founder of the Online Harms Foundation which implements Tech A...