In February 2006, DID published a report from the Teal Group that put the global UAV and missile market at $103.7 billion between 2005-2016. Discussions with the Teal Group pegged the UAV procurement market at 17,976 projected units valued at $12.5 billion, or 12.1%.
Market forecasts are always educated guesses, and they vary. In November 2005, we covered a Forecast International report that placed the UAV market at $13.6 billion from 2006-2014. Now a forthcoming Teal Group market study adds R&D, maintenance, related sensors, et. al. to their total, and estimates that overall UAV sector spending will more than triple over the next decade… to a much higher figure than the ones offered in earlier procurement-only reports.
While recent announcements of stealth investment by Russia’s government have been grabbing the headlines, EADS is quietly making some noteworthy moves elsewhere. On August 29, 2006, CEO Tom Enders highlighted a wide-ranging set of initiatives in India.
One was the registration of 100% subsidiary EADS India Private Ltd. to lead the development of EADS Group businesses in India.
Another was the EADS Technology Centre India, bringing EADS subsidiaries and their Indian partners under the same roof for engineering and information technology services. Operations are expected to begin in the second quarter of 2007 and the entire campus will be inaugurated in early 2008. It will include the Airbus Engineering Centre, focused on high-end engineering analysis and design and scheduled to begin operations in early 2007.
Speculation has rippled through Europe and beyond since leading Russian business daily Vedemosti reported that Russia’s VneshTorgBank (VTB) has invested around $1 billion to acquire 4.5 – 4.8% of the European Aeronautic Defence & Space Corporation (EADS), the Franco-German aerospace concern that owns Airbus and serves as Europe’s largest defense contractor. Their timing has been timely, given problems with subsidiary Airbus that have depressed EADS’ share prices almost 33% from its $35 high in March 2006.
VTB, which is Russia’s second largest bank and 100% government-owned, is hardly seen as an independent entity… and its actions could have wider ripples in the global defense market.
DID has covered iRobot Corp’s PackBot, an explosive ordnance disposal robot with a price tag of around $100,000 that’s being produced as part of the USA’s MTRS program along with QinetiQ’s TALON. Now the maker of those nifty Roomba robot vacuum cleaners has signed an agreement with the German Bundeswehr to deliver 18 iRobot PackBot robots, spare parts and repair services this year, with a follow-on option for 22 additional robots in 2007. iRobot reports that they were one of 6 companies that participated in the competitive bid process.
Small business qualifier Universal Technologies Inc. in Estill Springs, TN received a $7.6 million delivery order as part of a $43.9 million firm-fixed-price contract for manufacture, inspection, assembly, packing and delivery of M192 Lightweight Ground Mount Units. Work will be performed in Estill Springs, TN and is expected to be complete by Aug. 30, 2011. There were an unknown number of bids solicited via the World Wide Web on April 21, 2006 (see also pre-solicitation with details), and 6 bids were received by the U.S. Army Tank-Automotive and Armaments Command in Picatinny, NJ (W15QKN-06-D-0023).
The M192 replaces the existing M122/M122A1 tripods for the M249 Light Machine Gun/SAW and M240B Medium Machine Gun. Compact and collapsible, the M192 is about 6.5 pounds lighter than its predecessors, while still providing a tripod’s improvements in weapon stability and effective range. It was listed by the US Army as one of the top 10 inventions of 2005 – and if you don’t think it’s all that great, try carrying it for about 10 miles and then having it available for use in a firefight.
The USA has led the way in robots for explosives/ordnance disposal, but interest from allies is growing. Now Allen-Vanguard Corp. of Ottawa, Canada has been selected for the Canadian Forces (CF) 5-year “MINI-ROV” program by the Canadian Department of National Defence (DND). Ultimate quantities and contract values including in-service support over the life of the program are not yet established, but the initial order for its Vanguard Mk2 ROV robots is valued at CDN$ 3.7 million, with an option for additional robot orders at a value of CDN$ 1.6 million. The Company expects to fulfill the initial order in the first half of its 2007 fiscal year commencing October 1st, 2006.
The Vanguard Mk2 ROV is a smaller, lower-end military/civilian UGV, as opposed to the firm’s larger and more capable BombTec Defender D2. Instead, the Vanguard emphasizes portability, modularity and field maintenance, and low cost. This combination won it an award in an evaluation of competing robots for the Technical Support Working Group (TSWG) of the USA’s National Institute of Justice. The TSWG is the U.S. national forum that identifies, prioritizes, and coordinates interagency and international research and development (R&D) requirements for combating terrorism.