May 18, 2020

Kalashnikov's growing Middle East market is helping Russia offset sanctions

Kalashnikov
armaments
Russia
Sanctions
Bizclik Editor
1 min
Kalashnikov's growing Middle East market is helping Russia offset sanctions

The Russian armaments manufacturer Kalashnikov plans to concentrate on its markets in the Middle East and Africa, and diversify its product range to offset the impact of Western sanctions, said its CEO Alexei Krivoruchko speaking at the International Defence Exhibition (IDEX) in Abu Dhabi. "Sanctions impacted sales. Following that we had more sales of military weapons in new markets in the Middle East and Africa." As well as the AK-47, the company is diversifying its strategy into a wide range of products — rockets, drones and others equipment, he added.

Kalashnikov and its majority owner, Rostec State Corporation are among the companies made the subject of sanctions over Russia's role in the Ukraine, where the West accuses Moscow of fanning separatist unrest and arming rebels. This cut off its biggest foreign market for civilian weapons. "We had big plans for the U.S. market. People there love our products and our sales had doubled there," said Krivoruchko.

On Sunday Kalashnikov announced in Abu Dhabi that it had acquired 51 percent stakes in both Zala Aero, a Russian developer of drones, and Euroyachting Rybinskaya Shipyard, which makes landing craft. "Both these companies have big potential. The demand for drones is huge in many markets," he said, but refused to comment further on the acquisitions.

Sales of assault rifles doubled last year to 120,000, driven by demand in the Middle East, Africa and Asia, and the company also earned its first profit in seven years, of 88 million roubles ($1.43 million). Kalashnikov has also budgeted to spend $100 million over the next two years on developing new products.

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Jun 16, 2021

SAS: Improving the British Army’s decision making with data

SAS
British Army
3 min
Roderick Crawford, VP and Country GM, explains the important role that SAS is playing in the British Army’s digital transformation

SAS’ long-standing relationship with the British Army is built on mutual respect and grounded by a reciprocal understanding of each others’ capabilities, strengths, and weaknesses. Roderick Crawford, VP and Country GM for SAS UKI, states that the company’s thorough grasp of the defence sector makes it an ideal partner for the Army as it undergoes its own digital transformation. 

“Major General Jon Cole told us that he wanted to enable better, faster decision-making in order to improve operational efficiency,” he explains. Therefore, SAS’ task was to help the British Army realise the “significant potential” of data through the use of artificial intelligence (AI) to automate tasks and conduct complex analysis.

In 2020, the Army invested in the SAS ‘Viya platform’ as an overture to embarking on its new digital roadmap. The goal was to deliver a new way of working that enabled agility, flexibility, faster deployment, and reduced risk and cost: “SAS put a commercial framework in place to free the Army of limits in terms of their access to our tech capabilities.”

Doing so was important not just in terms of facilitating faster innovation but also, in Crawford’s words, to “connect the unconnected.” This means structuring data in a simultaneously secure and accessible manner for all skill levels, from analysts to data engineers and military commanders. The result is that analytics and decision-making that drives innovation and increases collaboration.

Crawford also highlights the importance of the SAS platform’s open nature, “General Cole was very clear that the Army wanted a way to work with other data and analytics tools such as Python. We allow them to do that, but with improved governance and faster delivery capabilities.”

SAS realises that collaboration is at the heart of a strong partnership and has been closely developing a long-term roadmap with the Army. “Although we're separate organisations, we come together to work effectively as one,” says Crawford. “Companies usually find it very easy to partner with SAS because we're a very open, honest, and people-based business by nature.”

With digital technology itself changing with great regularity, it’s safe to imagine that SAS’ own relationship with the Army will become even closer and more diverse. As SAS assists it in enhancing its operational readiness and providing its commanders with a secure view of key data points, Crawford is certain that the company will have a continually valuable role to play.

“As warfare moves into what we might call ‘the grey-zone’, the need to understand, decide, and act on complex information streams and diverse sources has never been more important. AI, computer vision and natural language processing are technologies that we hope to exploit over the next three to five years in conjunction with the Army.”

Fundamentally, data analytics is a tool for gaining valuable insights and expediting the delivery of outcomes. The goal of the two parties’ partnership, concludes Crawford, will be to reach the point where both access to data and decision-making can be performed qualitatively and in real-time.

“SAS is absolutely delighted to have this relationship with the British Army, and across the MOD. It’s a great privilege to be part of the armed forces covenant.”

 

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