Royal Netherlands Army to procures IMI’s “Iron Fist”

Active protection systems such as Rafael’s Trophy and IMI Systems Iron Fist are perceived as exceptional systems, due to their extreme capabilities and performance. It now seems that NATO is choosing the path taken by Israel some time ago – deploying active protection systems for its combat vehicles.

the Iron Fist integrated into an IDF APC

This week, Swedish BAE Systems, announced it has received a contract from the Netherlands for supplying its CV90 combat vehicles with active protection systems. The active protection system will supply a protection suit against RPG rockets, anti-tank missiles and other threats endangering the APC and its personnel.

BAE will install the Iron Fist – an Israeli developed automated protection system. The Iron Fist was developed by IMI (former state owned Israeli Military Industries), and is already integrated into many of the IDFs “Namer” APCs, based on the renowned Israeli “Merkava” tank. Iron Fist is an automated system, using a RADA tactical radar to detect and track threats, taking action to eliminate these.

Infantry fighting platform

“Iron Fist will give the Dutch Army a highly sophisticated defensive tool on its CV90s to counter threats and improve the safety of the vehicle and its crew,” said Tommy Gustafsson-Rask, managing director of Sweden-based BAE Systems Hägglunds. The CV90 combat vehicle was developed in Sweden in the 80es. It was designed to supply the Swedish army vehicles with high mobility, air defence and anti-tank capability, high survivability and protection. The BAE vehicles have enjoyed great popularity ever since. The current geo-political tensions have led Estonia to acquire new vehicles from the series, while the Netherlands deployed 200 CV90s only two years ago.


the Iron Fist in action

“During this test phase we will pre-qualify the active system against our threat specification, and together with our partners analyze system safety and prepare for its integration onto our CV9035NL vehicles,” said Hans de Goeij, project manager at the Netherlands Defence Materiel Organisation, Ministry of Defence. “We expect to make a decision on the next phase by early 2018. With Iron Fist, the Netherlands is expected to become the first NATO country with an Active Protection System of its kind on combat vehicles.”

Iron Fist with double edge

IRON FIST employs a sophisticated, multi-sensor early warning system, utilizing both infrared and radar sensors, providing the crew with enhanced situational awareness and early warning from potential threats. Upon a threat warning, the modular system employs the multi-layered defenses, comprising electro-optical jammers, Instantaneous smoke screens and, if necessary, an interceptor-based hard kill Active Protection System (APS). The system effectively protects against the full spectrum of Anti-Tank (AT) threats including AT Rockets fired at short range, in open area or urban environment, AT Guided Missiles, High Explosive AT and Kinetic Energy rounds.


RADA Expects Significant Growth in Sales of Tactical Radars for Active Protection Systems

Netanya, Israel based Rada technologies, developer if the CHR tactical Radar, expects a significant growth in sales of tactical Radar for active protection systems, mainly from western armies. The APS market is a strategic market for RADA, accounting for most of the Israeli company’s revenues. Last month the company reported a 20% increase in q3 2016 revenues due to strong radar sales.

A multibillion market

The addressable APS market in the Western World is estimated at the tens of thousands of vehicles, implying a multi-billion dollar market potential for tactical radars that can perform such functions.

For the past decade, Israel was the only Western nation to apply APS technology on its main battle tanks. Recently, however, this global APS market is awakening. A few days ago, BAE Systems announced the award of a contract by the Dutch Army for the testing and verification of the Iron Fist APS for its CV90 Infantry Fighting Vehicles, becoming the first NATO combat vehicles to receive APS which includes our technology. Furthermore, recent publications in the US press indicate the intention of the US Military to test and evaluate Active Protection Systems for its tanks and Armored Fighting Vehicles. Hence, we are excited with our potential and look forward to a strong growth in our APS tactical radar sales over the coming years.

Rada’s CHR radar for active defense systems

RADA’s Compact Hemispheric Radar (CHR) platform, developed to address the needs of the APS market, is an S-band, software-defined, pulse-Doppler, active electronically scanned array radar. The radar system introduces sophisticated beam forming capabilities and advanced signal processing, which can provide various missions on each radar platform and offers an unprecedented performance-to-price ratio. It is compact and mobile, enabling hostile fire detection capabilities for combat vehicles and providing critical targeting information for APS.

The CHR is incorporated into IMI Systems’ “Iron Fist” family of APS and has undergone hundreds of live fire tests. Recently RADA delivered CHRs to Artis, to be integrated and tested with its“Iron Curtain” close-in APS.

Dov Sella, Rada’s CEO, commented: “We have developed the CHR to meet the highest requirements of active protection systems. The global APS market is gaining strong momentum; we believe that as a result, new and significant business opportunities will come across RADA in the near future”.

Israeli Eltek sells its share in Kubatronik-Leiterplatten

Israeli PCB manufacturer, Eltek is ending selling its share in German Kubatronik. The partnership between the two companies started in 2002. At the time, Eltek acquired 76% of the german company’s shares. Last week, Eltek aanounced the sale of its share in Kubatronik to the company’s founder and second partner, Alois Kubat. German Kubatronik produces advanced PCB prototypes. The company specializes in the production of multi layered high density interconnect PCB’s in very small quantities.

In consideration for the sale, Eltek shall be entitled to contingent consideration equal to 20% of Kubatronik’s net profit in 2017, and 10% of Kubatronik’s net profit in each of 2018 and 2019. Eltek and Kubatronik further agreed, that until the end of 2017 they shall offer a 10% discount on sales to one another of their corresponding products and pay a 10% commission on sales each party effects to customers introduced by the other, as applicable.

In addition, during this period, Kubatronik shall continue to manage Eltek Europe GmbH, and Mr. Avi Gal shall continue to serve as Kubatronik’s CEO, on a part-time basis. Following consummation of the transaction – expected to happen by the end on 2016 – Eltek will recognise a loss of 675,000$.

Mr. Yitzhak Nissan, Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer, commented: “During the last several years Kubatrunik’s [sic] business has failed to pick up and it has drawn significant resources from Eltek. The sale of Kubatronik will allow us to focus on our continued development of advanced technological solutions and is expected, in the long run, to positively impact our financial results.”

A 15.5% decrease in Israeli high-tech exports in September-November

The downward trend in Israeli high-tech exports in 2016 continued, even worsened, in the months from September to November.  According to data published by the Israeli central bureau of statistics show an annual decrease of 15.5% the yearly export of Israeli high-tech goods, continuing a decrease of 9.8% in June-August 2016.

The manufacture of electronic components and boards, the mainstay of Israel’s high-tech industry, suffered the most. According to the bureau of statistics, the export of manufactured electronic components and boards dropped by a whooping annual rate of 32.8% in September-November, or a 3.3% monthly decrease.

A passing phase, or a real threat to Israel’s high-tech industry?

the downward trend in exports is clear to see

The high-tech industry accounts for 47% of Israel’s exports (excluding diamonds). It is Israel’s main growth engine, pulling the country’s economy even in times of economic stress. The ongoing downward trend will have macro-economic implications, which will no doubt affect the Israeli economy.

Techtime assess that Israel’s electronic manufacturing industry employs 10,000-15,000 workers, most of these in the country’s weaker social periphery. The ongoing slump in international demand for Israeli electronic goods could lead companies to restructuring and even layoffs.

Some analysts maintain that the current slump is a passing phenomenon. Ramzi Gabay, the CEO of the Israeli export institute said that “the data for September-November is an exeption, and can’t be seen as an indication for future trends”. Gabay concluded by saying “there are no grounds for panic”.

Put the blame on Intel

Some of the analysts put the blabe for the negative figures on Intel. The chip giant’s activities account for a major part of Israel’s high-tech exports. These analysts claim that the upgrading of Intel’s factory in southern Israel are the cause for the alarming data.

One also has to bear in mind, that this year’s data is calculated in comparison with 2015 – an exceptionally good year for Israeli high-tech. in 2016, is which exports grew from 14$ billion to over 17$ billion. The Online IVC data base strengthens this assumption, by showing that from the beginning of 2016 to the end of Q3, Israeli high-tech companies raised almost a billion dollars – threatning to break the previous fund raising record set in 2015.

The chip Industry is maturing, and growth is expected to slow down

A survey published by global professional service company KPMG shows that nearly half of semiconductor company business leaders believe their industry is in a late expansion phase and another 20 percent believe the industry is at an inflection point from expansion to contraction.

In addition, only about half of the semiconductor executives surveyed expect revenue to grow and research and development spending to increase over the next three years. This is less than last year when the vast majority of respondents predicted revenue growth and R&D spending increases in the three-year outlook.

“These are signs of a maturing industry, and lower growth rates may be the theme over the intermediate future,” said Lincoln Clark, KPMG Global Semiconductor Industry Leader. “While there are some industry forecasts with a more optimistic one year outlook, there’s also caution that the industry may be approaching the end of a growth cycle, and that caution is reflected in the three year outlook by semiconductor executives in our survey. Pressure on the average sales price of semiconductors will continue to impact revenue and investment spending.”

A main concern – Price erosion

Semiconductor company business leaders said average sales price erosion is the top issue facing the industry over the next three years. Therefore, it follows that the number one strategic priority for semiconductor execs, according to the survey, is “diversifying into a new business area”, with both “acquisition, merger or joint venture” and “talent development/management” second.

“The focus on diversification means that to successfully capitalize on future growth trends, companies must invest their R&D funds wisely and efficiently,” said Clark. “Yet, this appears to be a challenge for some semiconductor companies.”

Almost half (49 percent) of the semiconductor executives said their current R&D spending is not aligned efficiently with current core products and 40 percent said their R&D spending is not aligned efficiently with future growth opportunities.

Complementing M&A’s selection as a top strategic priority is the fact that nearly 6 out of 10 respondents (57 percent) said that total M&A valuations will increase in 2017 compared to 2016. It is worth noting that the survey was conducted just ahead of some significant 4th quarter M&A announcements, which may have been in respondents’ consideration for 2017. The survey found that revenue growth and intellectual property acquisition are still the top M&A drivers.

As semiconductor executives project lower revenue growth and seek to diversify, they are also are concerned about new competitors and disruptors, which are seen as having the biggest potential impact on their company’s growth over the next three years.

Sensors and MEMS present the highest growth opportunities

In looking at growth drivers in 2017, sensors/MEMS jumped to the top of the list of the highest growth opportunity. Wireless communications and Internet of Things solidified their positions as the top two most important application markets for revenue over the next year. Automotive was a close third.

Semiconductor executives also placed the U.S. back in the number one position, ahead of China, as the most important geographic area for both revenue growth and headcount growth. China was ranked first last year.

Israel’s space commission recommends: a new satellite every 4 years

Israel’s minister of science, technology and space Ofir Akunis: “Israel’s space industry could lose its production capacities, eradicating its ability to compete”. The commission recommends the development and production of a new satellite every four years. The commission recommends to block the sale of Israeli Spacecom to a Chinese company

Amos 6 explodes

“A thriving telecommunication satellites industry is an imperative for Israel’s survival said Israel’s Israel’s minister of science, technology and space Ofir Akunis at the unveiling of Israel’s space commission’s recommendations earlier this week. The commission was formed by the minister following the explosion of the Amos 6 Satellite. “Following the explosion of the satellite at spacecom’s launching pad in the US, the Israeli satellite industry is facing an existential crisis. The very survival of Israel’s knowledge and capabilities in the field of satellite development and production. Furthermore – the allotment of space Israel losing its satellite allocations, as well as substantial damage to Israel’s communication infrastructure the states emergency infrastructure.

At the presentation of the commission’s recommendations, minister Akunis said that swift action is needed, in order to save Israel’s communication satellites industry. “As a result of Amos 6’s explosion, the industry is facing a crisis. If a new satellite is not developed immediately, our space industry may cease to exist.”

As a first step, the commission recommends to allocate 5$ million to Spacecom, in order for the company to lease a substitute satellite for Amos 6, until a new satellite is developed and produced. This recommendation was made due to the fact that in a few months’ time, satellite Amos 2 will cease operations, leaving Israel with only 2, outdated communication satellites – Amos 3 and Amos 4 (Russian built Amos 5 is lost due to an accidend), and abandoned satellite allocations.

four operational sattelites at any given time

Minster of science Akunis and Peretz Vazan

In the medium term, the commission recommends a budget of 18$ million for the purpose of launching a multi-year national plan for the development and production of one satellite every four years. The commission’s believes that Israel’s goal should be a state in which it always has a least four operational communications satellites – three in the UN allocated satellite points, and a fourth at a different location. Satellite allocations are in high demand today, and if Israel fails to fill its vacant allocation points, it could very well lose them. In order to fill the points, presuming that a communication satellite average lifespan is 15 years, Israel will have to build a new satellite every four years.

In sedition, the commission recommends to increase Israel’s space agency’s budget by a yearly sum of 7.5$ million in order to fund further Israeli projects. Such an increase would bring the agencies budget from a mere annual budget of 20$million to some 50$ million.

Nevertheless, the recommendations are much more interesting, than mere monetary issues. One of the commission’s recommendations calls for the company operating Israel’s communication satellite to be an Israeli company, managed from Israel. This is a crucial decision concerning Spacecom’s future – as the company is negotiating a takeover by a Chinese company. Minister Akunis refused to comment on the chances that the regulatory authorities in Israel will in fact give the green light for such a deal, saying that this is a matter of national security, to be dealt by Israel’s security agencies. The minster’s comment does certainly not bode well for those wishing the takeover to take place.

Awaiting Cabinets approval

The minister said that the cabinet would soon be handed the space commission’s recommendation for approval. The Israeli government has adopted many space related plans in the past, but most of these were never funded, and faded away without being implemented. This time, the recommendations will be handed to the prestigious ministerial committee on security rather than cabinet, in order to emphasize the graveness of the current crisis. The recommendation will be handed in cooperation with Israel’s national Security Council. These measures, as well as the fact that the current crisis, severe as it may be, could be overcome by investing relatively small amounts, raise hopes for real government commitment this time around.


Israeli CellMining sells its SON solution to Russian MegaFon

Cesarea, Israel based startup CellMining, a developer of Self-Organizing Networks (SON) and subscriber network solution won an SON contract with Russian MegaFon. The Russian service tier 1 service provider will utilize CellMining’s Behavior-Based SON solution to optimize its network performance in the Moscow region and to improve subscriber experience.

Selectively shutting down radio power

CellMining’s product are based on Subscriber Network Analytics technology, it delivers a safe way of reducing operating costs by selectively shutting down radio power when traffic levels are low, without risking any degradation in the subscriber experience.
Initial roll-out can start with simple and rigid rules for shutting down and powering up radio amplifiers during pre-scheduled nightly slots. Once cell analytics have been established, a more sophisticated scheme can be introduced to filter and analyze subscribers’ usage patterns. The result is a set of precise, real-time subscriber/device profiles that can help make energy saving decisions, based on network technologies, bands, carriers, and even day-time slots.

Cellmining CEO Giora Snipper

MegaFon is Russia’s federal telecommunications service provider, a major player in the Russian, and the global telecommunication market. The company and its subsidiaries are active in most parts of the vast Russian territories, as well as in Abkhazia, South Ossetia and Tajikistan. The company had over 76.8 million subscribers in 2015.

Each call is analyzed

“This new contract is a further affirmation that our unique subscriber experience-driven network optimization provides mobile operators with the competitive edge they need to retain customer loyalty,” said Greg Giora Snipper, CEO of CellMining. “With millions of subscribers across its 2G, 3G and 4G networks in Moscow, MegaFon has decided that CellMining offers the industry’s best SON solution, which can be flexibly deployed to deliver the excellent user experience its customers demand. We are also providing MegaFon with the unique ability to detect low quality calls on 2G and 3G as well as on the VoLTE service it is currently launching,” he added. “We are very pleased that this contract gives us potential for growth.”

“We are pleased to announce our cooperation with CellMining. Its product offers us considerable flexibility and the ability to customize its algorithms to the needs of our Moscow region network,” said Alexey Semenov, Director of the Stolichny Branch PJSC MegaFon. “I am confident that this technology will help us to provide 24/7 quality management on the scale of the entire network. It means that we will be able to instantaneously react to unexpected network fluctuations, and continuously provide the best voice and data services to our clients.”

CellMining was founded in 2013 by seasoned veterans of the Israeli telecommunication industry. The company co-founder and CEO Giora Snipper was a senior excutive at Redcomm, while co-founder and chairman Omer Geva founded and served as CEO of eGlue Business Technologies which was acquired by NICE Systems It developed the Analytics Subscriber Network technology. The company’s head of research is an expert in cellular networks specializing in network optimization. Jose has over 17 years of professional experience in RF engineering.