Croatia signs contracts for 12 Rafale fighters

by Igor Tabak

Croatia signed the contracts for the acquisition of 12 used Rafale fighters from France on 25 November. (Dassault)

Almost six months since selecting the Rafale fighter, Croatia on 25 November signed the contracts for the acquisition of 12 aircraft from France: 10 single seaters and two twin seaters.

On the second day of French President Emmanuel Macron's visit to Croatia, Croatian Defence Minister Mario Banožić and his French counterpart, Florence Parly, signed a technical agreement on defence co-operation. Banožić also signed contracts on the Rafale procurement with Dassault CEO Eric Trappier, MBDA CEO Eric Beranger, and the director of Safran's Defence Division, Frédéric Mazzanti.

The Rafales will be up to 14 years old when they arrive in Croatia, with around 3,800 flight hours per aircraft remaining. Deliveries are expected to start in late 2023, with the first actual arrival of eight aircraft in Croatia during 2024 and the remaining four in early 2025.

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US FTC sues to block Lockheed Martin's purchase of Aerojet Rocketdyne

by Marc Selinger

A US Navy destroyer launches a Standard Missile-6 (SM-6) during a test. Aerojet Rocketdyne provides propulsion for most Raytheon missiles, including the SM-6. (US Navy)

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) filed a lawsuit on 25 January seeking to block US defence contractor Lockheed Martin's proposed USD4.4 billion acquisition of US propulsion manufacturer Aerojet Rocketdyne, saying the combination could reduce competition in the missile market.

The FTC described Aerojet Rocketdyne as the last independent provider of missile propulsion in the United States and the only US supplier of divert-and-attitude control systems for missile defence kill vehicles. Lockheed Martin, meanwhile, is one of only a few prime contractors for missiles.

“If consummated, this deal would give Lockheed the ability to cut off other defence contractors from the critical components they need to build competing missiles,” said FTC Bureau of Competition Director Holly Vedova. “Without competitive pressure, Lockheed can jack up the price the US government has to pay, while delivering lower quality and less innovation.”

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Curtiss-Wright to buy Safran's aircraft arresting systems business

by Marc Selinger

US industrial conglomerate Curtiss-Wright Corporation plans to expand its defence portfolio by acquiring Safran Aerosystems Arresting Company (SAA) for USD240 million in cash, the buyer announced on 21 January.

SAA's arresting equipment for fixed-wing military aircraft is used on aircraft carriers and on land and will complement Curtiss-Wright's existing landing and recovery systems for military rotorcraft, Curtiss-Wright said. In addition, SAA sells to more than 70 countries, which is expected to give its future owner increased opportunities for foreign military sales.

SAA, which is part of the Aerosystems company within France's Safran Group, will operate within Curtiss-Wright's Naval & Power segment after the acquisition is completed. The deal is expected to close in the third quarter of 2022.

SAA is based in Aston, Pennsylvania, and also has operations in Merpins, France. It employs about 140 people and generated sales of about USD70 million in 2021. Safran did not say why it agreed to divest the business.

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Elbit Systems UK builds British team to compete for domestic UAS projects

by Olivia Savage

Elbit Systems UK forms British industrial team to deliver UAS. (Elbit Systems UK)

Elbit Systems UK has formed and will lead a British industrial team of suppliers to compete for emerging unmanned aircraft system (UAS) programmes, the company announced on 20 January.

While Elbit Systems UK is experienced in UAS design and systems integration, the company hopes that utilising the skills of partner organisations and suppliers will enable the team to collectively deliver fully integrated and supported UAS capabilities. Co-operatively, Team Elbit intends to leverage their product portfolio, including the Skylark mini-UAS, to meet emerging requirements.

An Elbit Systems UK joint venture – UAV Tactical Systems (U-TacS) – will be one member of the team. Based in Leicester, U-TacS is responsible for delivering the Watchkeeper UAS to the British Army, and will contribute system integration, through-life support, and through-life management to the wider industrial team.

QinetiQ will join the group to drive innovation by “developing a collaborative supplier framework of leading UAS technology”, according to the announcement.

Meanwhile, the announcement revealed that Aviation Systems Group (ASG), a UAS specialist subject-matter expert, will support Team Elbit in the management of air safety and airworthiness, operational flight planning, and training.

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Almost six months since selecting the Rafale fighter, Croatia on 25 November signed the contracts fo...

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