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Special review: Israel’s largest defense technology display at Eurosatory 2014

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A miniature drone made of styrofoam help protects airbases in Afghanistan

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US Navy to test powerful mobile lasers against drones

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US Navy to test powerful mobile lasers against drones

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Better helmets, headgear improve blast protection, reduce facial injury

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Update: FAA lifts flight restriction on Israel’s Ben-Gurion Airport,

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Israel scrambles the 8th Iron Dome unit with David’s Sling elements

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Eurosatory 2014 – First Impressions

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IDF completes evaluation of IAI’s Green-Rock tactical C-RAM radar

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US Navy evaluates laser weapons to augment ground-based air defense counter-UAS capability

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Driverless Convoy Roam through S.C. Test Range at 40mph

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10Kw laser demonstrates directed energy weapons’ role in force protection

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Common Anti-air Modular Missile (CAMM) Assessed as Rapier FSC Replacement

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Counter-IED techniques to be demonstrated at the Counter Terror Expo in London this week

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Forces from the UK, Denmark and Estonia Form Safe Corridor for US Forces in Helmand

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Armor Technology 2014

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Better Communications Link Trainers, Working Dogs

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New Multi-Int System Tailored for Force Protection

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Controp Scouting for Applications for SPEED-A Aerostat-Based Payloads

Controp is displaying its latest aerostat-optimized SPEED-A stabilized electro-optically payload system at Aero-India 2013, in anticipation of new opportunities maturing fr this unique system. The company is hopeful the system would be applicable for the Indian requirements for border and coastal protection, site protection and force protection, where tethered systems are have proved highly effective and economical in covering large areas, particularly over densely vegetated urban or flat terrain.

Controp Scout Applications for SPEED-A Aerostat-Based Payloads

Controp is displaying its latest aerostat-optimized SPEED-A stabilized electro-optically payload system at Aero-India 2013, in anticipation of new opportunities maturing fr this unique system. The company is hopeful the system would be applicable for the Indian requirements for border and coastal protection, site protection and force protection, where tethered systems are have proved highly effective and economical in covering large areas, particularly over densely vegetated urban or flat terrain.

GD’s Force Protection Divison Wins U.K. Contract

Force Protection was one of the first and largest manufacturers of Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles used by the U.S. and its Allies in Afghanistan and Iraq. For a time during the first decade of this century the company won a large number of contracts to build, service and maintain these vehicles as the U.S. quickly ramped up its inventory.

Over the last few years though it was a different story as the company faced struggles due to declining demand and the fact that the new MRAP for Afghanistan, the MRAP-AT, contract was won by Oshkosh (OSK). Eventually the company and its assets were acquired by General Dynamics (GD) who also has made MRAP and armor for these vehicles.

That does not mean that different military forces are not investing in MRAP just that the market has shrunk significantly. The U.K. just awarded GD a contract for 51 more Force Protection Foxhound vehicles for use in Afghanistan. The value is just over $73 million.

The U.K. already operates Foxhounds and in 2010 ordered 376 of them. They are made in the U.K. by the former Force Protection.

The military vehicle market still remains strong as the U.S. needs to replace and upgrade large amounts of vehicles from the 1980′s that have seen heavy use since 2001. They also need to fit the stocks of MRAP’s into their tactical formations and doctrine.

Photo from Think Defence flickr photostream.

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General Dynamics Brings New Work to South Carolina — Press Release

General Dynamics Brings New Work to South Carolina

STERLING HEIGHTS, Mich., Jan. 10, 2012 /PRNewswire/ — General Dynamics Land Systems announced today that the newly acquired Force Protection manufacturing facility in Ladson, S.C., will install additional combat-related equipment on 292 Double-V Hull Strykers to be deployed to Afghanistan.

The equipment provides combat capabilities to the vehicles in preparation for Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) deployment. It includes additional communication, protection and situational-awareness enablers for the warfighter.

The $10 million in new work begins in March 2012 and leverages the skills of mechanics, supply professionals and management. Approximately 45 jobs will be created for the work, which is expected to be completed by February of 2013.

General Dynamics (NYSE: GD) completed its acquisition in December 2011 of Force Protection, Inc., a provider of blast- and ballistic-protected platforms that support the armed forces of the United States and its allies. The transaction, valued at approximately $360 million, was announced on November 7 and is expected to be accretive to General Dynamics’ earnings in 2012. Force Protection is part of General Dynamics Land Systems.

General Dynamics Land Systems is a leading manufacturer of wheeled, tracked and amphibious combat vehicles, offering a spectrum of design, production and lifecycle support to customers worldwide. Its portfolio of vehicle platforms includes the Stryker wheeled combat vehicle, the Abrams main battle tank and the MRAP class of tactical vehicles. The company employs world-class manufacturing and systems-integration processes to develop vehicles designed to meet current and future ground-combat requirements.

More information about General Dynamics is available at www.generaldynamics.com.

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General Dynamics To Acquire Force Protection

In a major shakeup of the U.S. armored vehicle industry General Dynamics (GD) announced late yesterday that it intends to acquire Force Protection (FRPT). GD is one of the largest defense contractors in the United States and makes a diverse product line including the Stryker wheeled combat vehicle, submarines, C4I systems and other defense related systems. Force Protection came to the fore in the middle part of the last decade as a successful provider of Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles used by the U.S. and its Allies in Iraq and Afghanistan.

GD will pay about $5.52 a share for the South Carolina based company for a total cost of around $360 million. The transaction still needs to go through all of the necessary shareholder and Government wickets but GD hopes to close it out by the end of 2011.

Force Protection is a good example of the boom-and-bust aspect of the defense industry. They were early producers of MRAP vehicles selling quite a few to select customers before in 2004-2005 Congress and the DoD decided to invest in thousands of the heavily armored vehicles. MRAP were seen as the best counter to the mine and Improvised Explosive Device (IED) threat in Iraq and Afghanistan that were causing hundreds of casualties among U.S. troops traveling in their support vehicles which tended not to be heavily armored.

MRAP were bought initially to equip engineering units responsible for removing these threats but then became standard tactical vehicles. Hundreds were purchased from a variety of suppliers including Force Protection, Navistar (NAV), BAE Systems (BAE:LSE) and other companies across the globe. Factories sprang up in South Carolina, Mississippi and other states to produce them. The U.S. used rapid acquisition to buy the MRAP, spares and logistical support and by 2007 deaths were much reduced.

Force Protection’s earnings and stock mirrored this boom going up to a high in 2008 in the mid-$20 range. Unfortunately at a certain point the U.S. had purchased all that it needed especially of the first generation MRAP and by the end of 2008 Force Protection was struggling to make a profit and its stock had dropped below $10.

The company did not win contracts for the new MRAP vehicle being purchased for Afghanistan losing out to Oshkosh (OSK) for the MRAP-ATV contract. It had bid on some other work like Australia’s and Canada’s new armored vehicles but those contracts are yet to be awarded. It did in 2010 win a contract to build vehicles for the U.K. worth a substantial amount.

The acquisition by GD reflects the changing market that currently exists. With defense cuts coming it will be hard for the U.S. to support multiple suppliers for this product. GD gains manufacturing capability and staff who will make money supporting their existing vehicles and will help GD with the design and production of new systems.

It can be expected that there will be an uptick in M&A with mid-level companies like this that will see limited markets. The U.S. Government has made clear that it is not in favor of the bigger defense contractors merging as happened in the Nineties but the cut backs will see many smaller corporations disappear either changing markets or being absorbed by their competitors.

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Force Protection Submits Bid for Canada’s Tactical Armoured Patrol Vehicle Project — Press Release

Force Protection Submits Bid for Canada’s Tactical Armoured Patrol Vehicle Project

LADSON, S.C., Sept. 1, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — Force Protection Industries, Inc., a FORCE PROTECTION, INC. (NASDAQ:FRPT) group company, today announced the submission of a bid and test vehicle to the Canadian Forces for the Tactical Armoured Patrol Vehicle (TAPV) project.

Force Protection is offering the Canadian Forces a 6×6 variant of the battle proven Cougar wheeled combat vehicle developed by Force Protection to meet the TAPV requirements. Force Protection will be the design authority and have overall responsibility for the acquisition contract to supply the TAPV vehicles and maintain configuration control.

As Force Protection’s main Canadian partner, CAE will have overall responsibility for the comprehensive in-service support (ISS) solution, including: vehicle operator and mission training systems; engineering information environment; fleet management services; systems engineering support; and, lifecycle and integrated logistics support services. CAE will also be responsible for assembling a pan-Canadian team of companies to develop and support any country-specific requirements for Canada’s replacement fleet of tactical armored patrol vehicles.

Force Protection and CAE previously announced a collaboration that includes Elbit Systems as the provider for a dual remote weapons system (DRWS) and Lockheed Martin Canada as the provider of C4ISR suite for the Timberwolf vehicle. Elbit Systems’ Land and C4I DRWS was chosen based on its superior performance, reliability and ease of integration. Lockheed Martin Canada was chosen as the C4ISR integrator for Timberwolf based on its recognized capability in the development, production and support for integrated C4 systems.

Randy Hutcherson, Chief of Business Development for Force Protection, said, “Partnered with CAE, Force Protection is pleased to formally submit Timberwolf as the optimal solution for the TAPV project. Along with our key providers, we are committed to offering the Canadian Forces a highly-protected and reliable vehicle, as well as Industrial and Regional Benefits that will contribute to investment in Canadian industry and provide further experience and capability in the armored vehicle market.”

A contract award to the final selected bidder for the TAPV requirement is currently expected by the second quarter of 2012.

About Force Protection, Inc.

Force Protection, Inc. is a leading designer, developer and manufacturer of survivability solutions, including blast- and ballistic-protected wheeled vehicles currently deployed by the U.S. military and its allies to support armed forces and security personnel in conflict zones. The Company’s specialty vehicles, including the Buffalo, Cougar, Ocelot and the related variants of each, are designed specifically for reconnaissance and other operations and protect their occupants from landmines, hostile fire, and improvised explosive devices (commonly referred to as roadside bombs). Complementing these efforts, the Company is designing, developing and marketing the JAMMA, a new vehicle platform that provides increased modularity, transportability, speed and mobility. The Company also develops, manufactures, tests, delivers and supports products and services aimed at further enhancing the survivability of users against additional threats. In addition, the Company provides long-term life cycle support services of its vehicles that involve development of technical data packages, supply of spares, field and depot maintenance activities, assignment of skilled field service representatives, and advanced driver and maintenance training programs. For more information on Force Protection and its products and services, visit www.forceprotection.net.
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Force Protection Receives $71.3 Million in Awards for Additional Buffalo Vehicles and Field Service Representative Support — Press Release

Force Protection Receives $71.3 Million in Awards for Additional Buffalo Vehicles and Field Service Representative Support

~U.S. Army Orders 56 Buffalo Route Clearance Vehicles~
~U.S. Marine Corps Contracts for Six Month Extension of 55 FSRs~

LADSON, S.C., June 28, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — Force Protection Industries, Inc., a FORCE PROTECTION, INC. (NASDAQ: FRPT) group company, today announced it has received two awards totaling $71.3 million.

(Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20110321/CL67729LOGO )

The first award is a firm fixed price modification under contract W56HZV-08-C-0028 totaling $63.8 million from U.S. Army Contracting Command for delivery of 56 Buffalo Mine Protected Clearance Vehicles. Work will be performed in Ladson and is expected to begin in January 2012 and be completed by July 31, 2012.

The second award is a $7.5 million firm-fixed-price modification under previously awarded contract M67854-07-D-5031 for a six-month renewal of 55 Field Service Representatives (FSRs) to conduct general maintenance and upgrade operations on Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles. Work will be performed in overseas theaters of operation, and is expected to be completed by Dec. 31, 2011.

Randy Hutcherson, Chief Operating Officer of Force Protection, said, “The Buffalo remains the cornerstone of the U.S. Army’s route clearance operations. It has performed exceptionally well since going into initial service in 2003 and saved countless lives. Complementing our vehicle design, development and manufacturing efforts, we are also supporting the U.S. military with exceptional service and support of our vehicles. Today’s announcement of the U.S. Marine Corps’ extension of FSR support is another clear indicator of the key role of our vehicles in combat operations. We take pride in working closely with our customers and will continue to ensure they have the critical resources to promote operational success in the current conflict and beyond.”

About Force Protection, Inc.

Force Protection, Inc. is a leading designer, developer and manufacturer of survivability solutions, including blast- and ballistic-protected wheeled vehicles currently deployed by the U.S. military and its allies to support armed forces and security personnel in conflict zones. The Company’s specialty vehicles, including the Buffalo, Cougar, Ocelot and related variants, are designed specifically for reconnaissance and urban operations and to protect their occupants from landmines, hostile fire, and improvised explosive devices (commonly referred to as roadside bombs). Complementing these efforts, the Company is designing, developing and marketing the JAMMA, a new vehicle platform that provides increased modularity, transportability, speed and mobility. The Company also develops, manufactures, tests, delivers and supports products and services aimed at further enhancing the survivability of users against additional threats. In addition, the Company provides long-term life cycle support services of its vehicles that involve development of technical data packages, supply of spares, field and depot maintenance activities, assignment of skilled field service representatives, and advanced driver and maintenance training programs. For more information on Force Protection and its products and services, visit http://www.forceprotection.net/.
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