Israeli arms manufacturer Rafael wants to take over the Penzberg, Bavaria-based troubled drone manufacturer EMT, Handelsblatt, a business newspaper published in Düsseldorf, reported last Thursday, citing a response by the German Defense Ministry to an inquiry from Leftist politician Tobias Pflüger (Israelis wollen deutschen Drohnenhersteller EMT übernehmen).
According to the defense ministry, there is still no green light for the acquisition.
Following the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi who was critical of the Saudi government in 2018, the German government banned military exports to Saudi Arabia, which caused substantial financial harm to EMT. In addition, there were delays in the development of the EMT unmanned reconnaissance system Luna NG, which also resulted in financial difficulties for the company.
As a result of both unfortunate occurrences, EMT had to lay off around 30 employees at the end of 2019. In early 2020, EMT tried unsuccessfully to acquire several defense manufacturers, which resulted in a district court appointing a provisional administrator for the company in December 2020. EMT is currently in insolvency proceedings and is restructuring itself.
According to Handelsblatt, Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd. informed the Bundeswehr Procurement Office in writing that they have an exclusive agreement to take over EMT. The defense ministry stated that “the acquisition is subject to the investment protection test that has yet to be carried out.”
Rafael states on its website that it views UAVs as key components in the modern battlefield, and “this is why in 2019 Rafael completed the acquisition of the Aeronautics Group and has since worked to expand the collaboration and integration of Aeronautics into Rafael’s portfolio of products, technologies, and solutions. This created unique synergies between the companies, delivering significant added-value to the warfighter.”
According to Rafael, “the Aeronautics Group is a world leader in unmanned aerial solutions for these strata. Aeronautics’ UAV platforms, which have amassed proven battlefield experience, already provide superior operational capabilities.”
Rafael stated that “together, Rafael and Aeronautics offer a state-of-the-art concept called Thunder Storm delivering aerial and ground-based system-of-systems with Autonomous Mission Management Capabilities. This will help revolutionize modern warfare and ensure battlefield overmatch.”