Rapid Fire, March 8 2012: EADS Thrives on Commercial Sales
- EADS announced they grew yearly revenue by 7.4% to 49.1 billion euros in 2011 (about $65B). Growth was driven by Airbus Commercial (their best year ever) and Eurocopter (whose revenue was 47% military). The Airbus Military business lost 6.7% from 2010 to 2.5 billion euros, with an order book of 217 aircraft down from 241 with only 5 new net orders. The A400M generated sales of 758M vs 1.04B in the previous year. Astrium (34% defense sales) and Cassidian (92% defense sales) saw smaller topline decreases.
EADS overall defense revenue dropped by 6% to 11.6B while the defense backlog dropped by 9% to 52.8B. The group has increased its Euro sales to lower its exposure to currency risk and about half its US revenue in dollars is hedged by local procurement in the same currency. EADS was sitting on about $15B worth of net cash at the end of 2011, lending credence to talks of forthcoming acquisitions.
- Northrop Grumman produced a report [PDF] for the US-China Economic and
“While the modernization of China’s military hardware continues to capture headlines, the rapid development of a comprehensive C4ISR infrastructure, linking platforms, personnel, and operations, is arguably the most transformative of all PLA efforts currently underway.”
- RAND’s Arroyo Center reviewed ways to reduce body armor weight. Using modular configurations has the highest risk/highest reward profile, short of inventing new material at an unknown cost within an unknown timeframe. It is an important issue with a study from the Naval Research Advisory Committee showing combat loads at twice or more the recommended level of 50 pounds (23kg).
- In a recent testimony before the Senate Budget Committee, Michael O’Hanlon – a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution – recommended deep cuts in the F-35 and LCS programs. He also advocates the use of sea swaps, a concept that failed when the Navy tried it during last decade that Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Greenert wants to experiment with again.
- Expect another messy appropriations process this year in the US Congress, though “process” may not be the most appropriate word. Sometimes it must be tough to be the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget… [emphasis ours].
- Several units of the US Naval Research Laboratory are working with Virginia Tech and the University of Pennsylvania on an anthropomorphic robot design to suppress fires aboard ships, as a follow-up to VT’s CHARLI. The plan is to start testing the Shipboard Autonomous Firefighting Robot (SAFFiR) on a decommissioned ship in the fall 2013.
- $72.8M connector? US Air Combat Command could not determine with certitude what caused an EQ-4B Global Hawk to crash in August last year but “a substantially contributing factor in the crash, was the failure of a single Line Replaceable Unit. Specifically, a partial separation of a connector led to interruption of electrical power to aileron and spoiler flight control actuators, rendering the aircraft uncontrollable.”