BAE acquires unmanned underwater vehicle producer
BAE Systems Inc., the U.S. subsidiary of British defence contractor BAE Systems, has announced the acquisition of an unmanned underwater vehicle (UUV) manufacturer.
Riptide Autonomous Solutions specialises in small UUVs which are said to be efficient and flexible, offering greater depth, range, endurance, and speed.
“Adding Riptide's technological capabilities will position us to provide customers unmatched flexibility by offering a family of UUVs and integrated payload solutions capable of supporting a variety of critical missions,” said Terry Crimmins, president of BAE Systems Electronic Systems. “Coupling our extensive expertise in sonar, signal processing, sensor fusion, undersea communications, electronic warfare, and autonomous systems with Riptide’s unique UUV platforms will enable us to affordably address rapidly expanding maritime mission requirements in the global defense, commercial, and research markets.”
The company is located in Plymouth, Massachusetts. BAE said that they would maintain Riptide’s current facilities, seeing it as an opportunity to expand their presence in New England. Riptide’s employees will become part of BAE’s FAST Labs organisation, which is dedicated to innovation in defence, aerospace and security. As part of FAST Labs, Riptide’s technology will be matured and manufacturing of its products will be scaled up.
Jeff Smith, founder and president of Riptide Autonomous Solutions, said “everyone at Riptide is excited to be joining BAE Systems, given our shared focus and strategic vision for the undersea market.”
BAE described the purpose as in line with their strategy of achieving disruptive technology breakthroughs by incorporating small business innovations.
IMF: Variants Can Still Hurt Manufacturing Recovery
After a year of on-and-off manufacturing in the US, UK, and the eurozone, demand for goods surged early last week. Factories set growth records in April and May, suppliers started to recover, and US crude hit its highest price point since pre-COVID. As vaccination efforts immunise much of the US and UK populations, manufacturers are now able to fully ramp up their supply chains. In fact, GDP growth could approach double-digits by 2022.
Now, the ISM productivity measure has surpassed the 50-point mark that separates industry expansion from contraction. Since U.S. president Biden passed his US$1.9tn stimulus package and the UK purchasing managers index (PMI) increased to 65.6, both sides of the Atlantic are facing a much-welcomed manufacturing recovery.
Lingering Concerns Over COVID
Even as Spain, France, Italy, and Germany race to catch up, and mining companies pushed the FTSE 100 index of list shares to a monthly high of 7,129, some say that UK and US markets still suffer from a lack of confidence in raw material supplies. Yes, the Dow Jones has made up its 19,173-point crash of March 2020, and MSCI’s global stock index is at an all-time high.
Yet manufacturers around the world realise that these wins will be short-lived until pandemic supply chain bottlenecks are solved. If we keep the status quo, consumers will pay the price. In April, inflation in Germany reached 2.4%, and across the EU’s 19 member countries, overall prices have increased at an unusual pace. Some ask: Is this true recovery?
IMF: Current Boom Could Falter
Even as Elon Musk tweeted about chip shortages forcing Tesla to raise its prices, UK mining demand skyrocketed; housing markets lifted; and the pound sterling gained value. The International Monetary Fund (IMF), however, cautioned that manufacturing recovery won’t last long if COVID mutates into forms our vaccinations can’t touch. Kristalina Georgieva, Washington’s IMF director, noted that fewer than 1% of African citizens have been vaccinated: “Worldwide access to vaccines offers the best hope for stopping the coronavirus pandemic, saving lives, and securing a broad-based economic recovery”.
Across the globe, manufacturing companies are keeping a watchful eye on new developments in the spread of COVID. Though US FDA officials don’t think we’ll have to “start at square one” with new vaccines, the March 2021 World Economic Outlook states that “high uncertainty” surrounds the projected 6% global growth. Continued manufacturing success will in large part depend on “the path of the pandemic, the effectiveness of policy support, and the evolution of financial conditions”.
Mathias Cormann, secretary-general of the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) concurred—without global immunisation, the estimated economic boom expected by 2025 could go kaput. “We need to...pursue an all-out effort to reach the entire world population”, Australia’s finance minister added. US$50bn to end COVID across the world, they imply, is a small investment to restart our economies.