Airbus keeps eye on Kazakh situation

by Charles Forrester

The Kazakhstan Air Defence Force operates the Airbus Military C295, and recently ordered two A400M aircraft. (Airbus Military)

Airbus officials are maintaining a watchful eye on the situation in Kazakhstan as the country experiences civil unrest and the deployment of a Russian-led rapid reaction force (RRF).

“We are monitoring the difficult situation in Kazakhstan, a long-term customer of Airbus. We are maintaining our commitments to the customer, [and] we will keep ensuring full compliance with all applicable export rules and regulations,” an Airbus spokesperson told Janes.

The Kazakhstan Air Defence Force operates the Airbus C295, with the first its eight aircraft being delivered in 2013. The country's Border Service ordered a single aircraft in 2019. Airbus Helicopters has also been active in the country, with eight EC 145 helicopters being operated by the Ministry of Defence for transport and search-and-rescue operations.

As part of the country's market entry requirements, Airbus has also established a joint venture with Kazakhstan Engineering, called Eurocopter Kazakhstan Engineering, to undertake maintenance on EC 145-C2, H125, and H130 helicopters, as well as painting and flight testing.

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El Salvador begins air force modernisation effort

by Santiago Rivas

The Salvadoran Air Force (FAS), as part of a wider modernisation plan started this month, has received four MD530F helicopters donated by the United States, which are being assembled at Ilopango Air Base, an FAS source told Janes .

Three of the MD530Fs will be sent to Mali to replace the three MD500Es the FAS currently has there as part of a United Nations mission. The original plan was to receive 12 helicopters, but a deterioration in US- El Salvador relations led to the quantity reduction.

FAS modernisation plans also include buying one Schweizer 300C helicopter for training for USD507,000, and one Bell 412EPI multirole medium helicopterfor USD11.5 million. The air force is also requesting authorisation to purchase another 412EPI that Bell operates as demonstrator for about USD7 million.

Meanwhile, the FAS is negotiating with Airbus Helicopters for six H145s, for about USD8 million each, which would replace the current fleet of Bell UH-1Hs.

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Rheinmetall and UVision agree strategic partnership on loitering munition

by Nicholas Fiorenza

The US Marine Corps is equipping vehicles with Hero-120 for its OPF-M requirement, and Rheinmetall and UVision foresee integrating Hero into Lynx and Fuchs armoured vehicles. (UVision)

Rheinmetall announced in a press release on 12 January that it had signed a strategic partnership agreement with UVision on the Israeli company's Hero loitering munition aimed in the medium term at establishing a joint venture for the development and production of the munition. Romano Ricca, chief business development and sales officer of Rheinmetall Weapons and Munition subsidiary RWM Italia, said that the agreement was signed on 11 October 2021.

Rheinmetall will market UVision products in Europe as the first phase of the co-operation, with joint development activities planned for the second stage. The German company will pursue European and NATO standards for Hero, as well as work on requirements and customisation of the loitering munition, Ricca said. The weapon would be integrated into land and sea platforms, he added.

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Investor firm asks Mercury Systems to scrap anti-takeover plan

by Marc Selinger

US activist investor firm Starboard Value is urging US defence electronics supplier Mercury Systems to “immediately eliminate” its new anti-takeover plan, saying the measure is “not in the best interests of the company's shareholders”.

“We are available at your convenience to discuss this matter further,” Starboard told Mercury's board of directors in a 13 January letter. “[We] believe there is a bright future for the company and its stakeholders, and we look forward to continuing to engage with you to help unlock this value.”

Starboard, which owns 7.33% of Mercury's stock, said that if Mercury is unwilling to terminate the plan, it should at least increase the ownership threshold that triggers it from 7.5% to 15%.

Mercury had not responded to a request for comment on the letter at the time of publication.

Mercury's board approved the plan to prevent an unwelcome party from gaining control of the company. Mercury said its stock was undervalued and that the plan, which could make a hostile takeover prohibitively expensive, was needed to prevent anyone from gaining control of the company without paying a fair price.

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