Perfectly timed to coincide with the Neuron roll-out by arch-UAV rival Dassault (see Robert Wall's post earlier today) Rheinmetall and Cassidian have announced the creation of a joint venture in unmanned aerial systems (UAS) in which Cassidian will hold 51% and Rheinmetall 49% once all necessary authorizations and antitrust approvals have been granted. The joint venture is expected to have about 160 employees.
Basically the deal means Cassidian absorbs Rheinmetall's UAS product unit. The latter's Bremen-based subsidiary Rheinmetall Defence Electronics GmbH expects the move to provide better opportunities for development of this unit and to secure sustainable long-term prospects for it. For Cassidian's CEO Stefan Zoller, “we see this as a logical step towards expanding our present UAS programmes.”
The as-yet-unamed joint venture will continue manufacturing the KZO (Kleinfluggerät Zielortung) unmanned reconnaissance system used by the German Armed Forces and work on the Heron UAS in the SAATEG (system for imagery reconnaissance deep in the area of operations) program.