Hanwha Defense plots course to become US ‘prime contractor' by 2031

by Ashley Roque

Hanwha Defense displayed its K9A1 Thunder self-propelled howitzer at AUSA 2021 in Washington, DC. (Ashley Roque/Janes)

Hanwha Defense is using the US Army's revamped M2 Bradley infantry fighting vehicle replacement competition to expand its footprint inside the country.

John Kelly, the president and CEO of Hanwha Defense USA, recently detailed evolving plans to make the South Korean company a prime contractor for Pentagon ground combat vehicle programmes by 2031.

“Within 10 years or so we want to be able to offer the same sort of capabilities as existing land systems prime contractors here,” Kelly said during a 12 October interview. “We have the product suite to do that already, we now have to build that capability in the United States [and] it's not going to be an export model.”

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Australia launches defence industry agency

by Jon Grevatt

The Australian Department of Defence (DoD) launched on 26 November a new agency to support local firms' entrance and expansion in the country's defence market.

The Office of Defence Industry Support (ODIS) replaces the Centre for Defence Industry Capability (CDIC), which was established in December 2016.

ODIS advertises itself as a “one-stop shop” for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) that do business with the DoD.

It said its key services include direct links between SMEs and defence procurement programmes and military end-users; identifying SMEs that can meet Australia's defence requirements; and assisting SMEs to co-operate with end-users.

ODIS will also provide financial grants to assist the development of SMEs and train and support the companies in identifying opportunities and pursuing defence contracts.

Minister for Defence Industry Melissa Price said, “This new organisation will work directly with state and territory agencies, industry associations, SMEs, and major contractors to build greater sovereign capability.”

“We need to start dragging the right SMEs through the door with the ability to provide local solutions [to meet] defence's capability requirements,” she added.

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Lithuania orders navigation radars for OPVs

by Nicholas Fiorenza

Lithuania's OPV Dzūkas is one of four Lithuanian OPVs that will receive a GEM Elettronica Columbus Mk2 3D navigation radar from Leonardo. (Lithuanian MND)

Lithuania has ordered GEM Elettronica Columbus Mk2 3D navigation radars from Leonardo for its offshore patrol vessels (OPVs), the Ministry of National Defence (MND) confirmed to Janes on 19 November.

The ministry announced on its website on 27 October that the EUR7.9 million (USD8.9 million) contract was signed the previous week, with its Defence Resource Agency carrying out the procurement. Leonardo will install and integrate the radars, provide technical documentation, and train their operators by the end of 2023.

The radars will be installed on Lithuania's former Royal Danish Navy (RDN) Flyvefisken‐class (Standard Flex 300) Žemaitis , Dzūkas , Aukštaitis , and Sėlis OPVs. Identification friend or foe antennas will also be integrated into the radars.

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Rheinmetall to buy assets of drone firm EMT

by Marc Selinger

Rheinmetall Group has agreed to acquire the assets of EMT, whose products include the newly developed Luna Next Generation (NG) reconnaissance unmanned aerial vehicle. (EMT)

German conglomerate Rheinmetall Group plans to expand its defence technology offering by acquiring the operating activities, personnel, and real estate of EMT, a financially struggling Bavarian business that makes unmanned aerial vehicles for reconnaissance missions, Rheinmetall announced on 23 November.

“The transaction reflects Rheinmetall's strategy of expanding its portfolio of systems and equipment to meet the complete needs of its military customers,” Rheinmetall said. “At the same time, this approach ensures that important defence technology capabilities will be maintained in Germany.”

EMT's products include the newly developed Luna Next Generation (NG) UAV, which the German Bundeswehr is starting to use. The fixed-wing, catapult-launched Luna NG has more range and payload capacity than the original Luna, which the Bundeswehr has flown in operations since 2000.

After the acquisition closes in late December, Rheinmetall intends to fold EMT's activities into its Technical Publications subsidiary, which already maintains Germany's KZO target location UAV. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

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