January 20, 2012. David Pugliese - Defence Watch
Press release from the companies:
Rheinmetall and Cassidian pool their Unmanned Aerial Systems activities
20 January 2012 – Rheinmetall and Cassidian have agreed to pursue Rheinmetall’s Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) activities together in a Joint Venture. It was agreed in a contract that Cassidian should hold 51 percent and Rheinmetall 49 percent of the shares in the newly established Joint Venture. The ownership interests are to be assigned to Cassidian by mid-2012 once all the necessary authorisations and antitrust approvals have been granted. The announcement was made by the two companies in Munich and Düsseldorf on Friday.
For Cassidian, the incorporation of this sector of Rheinmetall is an ideal supplement to its existing UAS product portfolio. Rheinmetall’s Bremen-based subsidiary Rheinmetall Defence Electronics GmbH firmly expects this step to improve the opportunities for development of its Airborne Systems product unit and secure sustainable long-term prospects for it. From the point of view of both partners, the Joint Venture will give the Airborne Systems product unit access to broader development resources and international market access opportunities that had not so far existed to any comparable extent and will thus secure jobs at the Bremen site.
Stefan Zoller, CEO of Cassidian, said to the agreed creation of the Joint Venture: “As Europe’s leading provider of Unmanned Aerial Systems, we see this as a logical step towards expanding our present UAS programmes. We can offer our global customers a full product range of customised solutions, including tactical UAS and UAS for medium- and high-altitude.”
Klaus Eberhardt, Chairman of the Executive Board of Rheinmetall AG, stressed: “First and foremost, our goal is to strengthen the Airborne Systems product unit in a sustained way, providing it with new opportunities for marketing its state-of-the-art products in years to come. And of course we also want our employees to have a secure future in Bremen, a traditional centre of German high-tech excellence that will continue to host our Defence Electronics and Simulation and Training divisions.”
Innovative high-tech activities at the Bremen site
The Joint Venture, counting about 160 employees, will continue the following activities in Bremen: manufacturing of the unmanned reconnaissance system KZO (Kleinfluggerät Zielortung), which is one of the world’s most advanced Unmanned Aerial Systems and renders valuable services to the German Armed Forces. Work on the Heron UAS in the SAATEG (system for imagery reconnaissance deep in the area of operations) programme, which enables the Bundeswehr to use long-range unmanned reconnaissance systems for the first time. Both KZO and Heron are already making a significant contribution to protecting German and allied soldiers today. The joint venture also plays a significant part in the success of the world’s largest passenger airliner, the A380, with its cargo loading system in the lower deck. This system made in Bremen is installed in all A380 aircraft – as well as in several other Airbus models – and will also be fitted in the Bundeswehr’s A400M transport aircraft in the future.