L-3 Communications has moved to buy Northrop Grumman’s Electro-Optical Systems (EOS) business for $175 million in cash. L-3 currently offers EO/IR (electro-optical/infrared) sensors, high-definition turrets, tactical sights and laser designators for air, land and sea applications. Northrop Grumman’s EOS’ portfolio is itself the result of absorbing multiple firms and includes night vision goggles, weapons sights, driver viewers, image intensification tubes and applied optics products. The sale should be completed in the second quarter of 2008, subject to standard regulatory approvals.
L-3 EO/IR, Inc. is a division of the L-3 Communications EO/IR Group, comprising: L-3 WESCAM (Canada); L-3 Sonoma EO; L-3 EO/IR, Inc.; and L-3 Broadcast Sports, Inc. In L-3’s words, “EO/IR, Inc. acts as a contracting agency to permit a select group of important U.S. customers to contract with L-3 WESCAM via a U.S. entity. EO/IR, Inc. also deals with all export controls and licensing issues for the EO/IR Group under the direction of L-3’s Washington Office. In addition, EO/IR, Inc. facilitates the pursuit of major U.S. Defense programs for both L-3 WESCAM and L-3 Sonoma EO.”
Northrop Grumman’s EOS business is headquartered in Garland, TX, and generated approximately $190 million of sales for the year ended Dec 31/07. L-3 expects the firm to be immediately accretive to its earnings, and James W. Dunn, president of L-3’s Sensors and Simulation Group, says that “Including EOS, L-3’s EO/IR businesses will generate approximately $800 million in annual sales, with growth exceeding 10%.” L-3 release | NGC release.
FN Manufacturing Inc. in Columbia, SC received a $7.7 million firm-fixed price contract for 17,433 M249 Short Barrels. Work will be performed in Columbia, SC, and is expected to be complete by Oct 31/08. There was one bid solicited on Sept 24/03, and 1 bid was received. The U.S. Army TACOM LCMC, Rock Island, IL isued the contract (DAAE20-03-C-0100).
The M249 Squad Automatic Weapon (SAW, aka. “Minimi”) is a 5.56mm gas-operated, air-cooled, belt or magazine-fed light machine gun used in US Army and Marine Corps squads as a higher volume of fire complement to the M-16 rifle or M4 carbine. It weighs 16.41 pounds and can fire 100 rounds per minute in sustained fire, or 200 rounds at its practical rapid rate. Note that this contrasts with maximum theoretical “cyclic rate” of 650-850 rounds/ minute continuous fire, which is far less accurate and requires barrel replacement once per minute due to heating issues. While most SAW variants will accept M-16 or M4 magazines, the Army Field Manual instructs soldiers to “Use the 20- or 30-round magazine for emergency use only when linked ammunition is not available.” A 200 round drum or less-noisy 100 round soft pouch is frequently used instead, and the weapon is belt-fed [good YouTube video shows loading]. A more compact variant known as the Mk46 is used by Special Forces, and by the US Navy.
The M249 has many positive characteristics, but has been the subject of some complaints from the field…
The Ttec-Tesoro Joint Venture in Norcross, GA received a $21.5 million firm-fixed price contract for design-build of the Consolidated Drill Sergeant School at Fort Jackson, SC. It includes classrooms, dining facility and administrative areas. There were 4 bids solicited on Nov 1/07, and 4 bids were received by the U.S. Army Engineer District in Savannah, GA (W912HN-07-D-0058).
NOTE: The actor R. Lee “Gunny” Emery from the movie Full Metal Jacket, History Channel’s “Mail Call”, his own web site, et. al. is the best-known popular representation of an American Drill Sgt. Good public domain pictures of that type are scarce; nevertheless, his character was a Marine, and so is Gunnery Sergeant R. Lee Emery (ret.). After due consideration, and with full respect for our favorite Gunnery Sgt., we have switched the picture to U.S. Army Drill Sergeant Rayford, the 2003 Drill Sergeant of the Year winner at Fort Gordon, Georgia.
L-3 Communications may be a Tier 2 defense firm in size, but it may be one of the most diversified. On March 11/08, the firm announced a strategic realignment to form a new Marine and Power Systems Group, with $1.2 billion in sales. Steven Kantor, currently corporate vice president and group president of L-3’s Power and Control Systems, will lead the new Group. L-3 release.
The new entity includes L-3’s Power and Control, Automation, Navigation, Undersea Warfare and Offshore businesses. L-3’s Ocean Systems businesses, currently in the Sensors and Simulation Group, will be consolidated with the Power and Control Systems Group, resulting in a line of ocean and undersea warfare and sonar products along with power and control systems. It’s an interesting offering set, one that’s very well-suited to maintenance and upgrade needs on its own, as well as mid-tier cooperation in compatible shipbuilding projects.