The Swedish aerospace company Saab, which builds the Gripen Next Generation fighter jet, and the Italian Finmeccanica subsidiary Selex Galileo have confirmed they will cooperate on developing a new radar system for the Gripen NG.
The new active electronically scanned array radar will be based on Selex's Vixen e-scan radar, but it will also be compatible with the PS-05/A on current Gripen combat fighters.
Initially, the new radar will be offered only to Brazil, which is considering buying the Gripen NG. But a spokesman for Saab said that, if successful, the cooperation could be expanded to develop a line of radar systems that could be retrofitted onto Gripen jets already in service.
Selex has just produced its e-scan Vixen and sold it to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection service, which will use it on its C-550 Citation Tracker planes.
DCNS of France discusses frigate plans with Greece
The French shipbuilders Direction des Constructions Navales Services has won a tender competition to supply Greece with new frigates.
DCNS beat out an Italian rival to win the contract. It was helped by its close cooperation agreement with Elefsis Shipyards in Greece. DCNS also opened a new office in Athens office last year.
Greece has been struggling to stretch its reduced and relatively small defense budget to meet the operational needs of its navy. The country is expected to buy four to six 6,000-metric-ton Europeene Multi-Mission frigates, known as FREMMs, from DCNS.
DCNS is also in talks with the European missile-making consortium MBDA about supplying missiles for the ship.
No budget for the frigate project has been disclosed yet, but the warships usually cost about $665 million each.
The Greek Ministry of Defense has also decided to buy 15 Eurocopter AS-332 Super Puma search-and-rescue helicopters.
Italian air force orders radar system from Selex
The Italian air force is buying a new D-band radar system for its aircraft from Selex Sistemi Integrati, a subsidiary of Finmeccanica, in Italy.
The deal is worth $345 million, Defense News reported earlier this month.
Selex Sistemi Integrati will deliver 12 of its RAT 31 DL long-range air-surveillance radar systems in fixed configuration and will also provide support. Deliveries should be completed by 2014.
The Italian air force is expected to buy two mobile versions of the radar system. Defense News said they should be delivered by the end of 2009.
The Italian air force currently operates S-band RAT 31 SL radars that it bought in the 1980s and 1990s.
Selex has now sold 20 RAT 31 fixed-configuration and two RAT 31 mobile units. The Italian army and navy are expected to buy more of them soon.
Rheinmetall dismisses 1,000 more employees
The German defense-equipment and automaker Rheinmetall is dismissing another 1,000 employees.
The troubled company sacked 1,500 workers in February and January and put 6,000 more on partial unemployment.
As recently as December, Rheinmetall had 21,000 workers. Its huge cutbacks were caused by a collapse in demand for automobiles as the global economic recession spread across Europe in the final quarter of 2008.
Rheinmetall still managed to achieve a net profit of $180 million in 2008. It also produced attractive dividend payouts for its stockholders. Despite the huge staff layoffs in the first quarter of this year, the company still expects to turn a profit in 2009, thanks to its sale of tanks.
Rheinmetall's defense-equipment sector expects to gross $2.52 billion this year, up from 2008, thanks to several Bundeswehr -- German federal army -- contracts it expects to land. It also expects several acquisitions and mergers to take place this year.
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