Cassidian, Rheinmetall form Unmanned systems’ JV

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Talarion MALE UAS from Cassidian.
Talarion MALE UAS from Cassidian.

Rheinmetall and Cassidian are pooling their Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) activities in tactical, Medium-Altitude Long Endurance (MALE) UAS and cargo loading systems. The two companies have agreed form a joint venture (JV) where EADS’ military division Cassidian will hold 51 percent and Rheinmetall own the remaining 49 percent of the shares. Both companies are active in the UAS business for many years, research, development, production and support of technologies and systems addressing German military requirements. In recent years the two companies have spent significant R&D efforts in new systems developments, but eventually opted to offer their customers platforms and systems provided by other equipment manufacturers (OEM). The newly announced cooperation will consolidate the offering of the two companies to gain customer support.

Getting its UAS business right will be critical for Cassidian, as it expend the potential of manned fighters (namely Eurofighter Typhoon). With alternative programs including the Talarion and Barracuda stalling to gain European government support, Cassidian needs new programs and marketing traction to secure its future. The JV will also give Rheinmetall’s Airborne Systems product unit access to broader development resources and international market access opportunities that had not so far existed to any comparable extent.

According to Stefan Zoller, Cassidian Chief Exceutive Officer, the JV will establish the company’s offering “a full product range of customized solutions, including tactical UAS and UAS for medium- and high-altitude.” He said the JV is now positioned as “Europe’s leading provider of Unmanned Aerial Systems”. Klaus Eberhardt, Chairman of the Executive Board of Rheinmetall AG, emphasized the Bremen location of the JV will be securing about 160 positions of Rheinmetall’s employees, to continue supporting the company’s unmanned reconnaissance system KZO (Kleinfluggerät Zielortung) for the German Armed Forces. The site also supports the Heron UAS operated as part of the SAATEG aerial recce system for the German Bundeswehr.

KZO is a ground launched, tactical UAV equipped with high-performance sensors used for target acquisition. Harop, a loitering attack drone developed by IAI offers the actionable segment of the WABEP system, through precision engagement. Photo: Rheinmetall defence