Byron Callan

Byron Callan

Contributing columnist Byron Callan is a director at Capital Alpha Partners in Washington.

Articles
Opinion: Green Sprouts In Pentagon’s Tech-Sector Outreach 
Carter unveils plans and delivers observations that could weigh on defense company strategies and how those businesses are valued.
Opinion: Defense Company Restructuring Pace Picks Up 
Reasons for the surge in mergers and acquisitions vary with the motivations of the involved companises.
Opinion: Why The Defense 'Upturn' Is A Mirage
New program starts are going to be extremely hard-fought and without increased budgets, and extensions of mature lines also may be more difficult.
Opinion: Cheaper Oil’s Winners—and Losers 1
Like most abrupt macroeconomic changes, there are mixed implications for the defense sector from the recent drop in oil prices.
Opinion: Plenty Of Risk Remains For The F-35 Program  11
There shouldn’t be much doubt that the F-35 program is making progress, but the larger questions remain.
Opinion: U.S. Company Shares Generally Doing OK 
Defense stocks are traditionally thought of by investors as defensive.
Opinion: NATO Summit Marks Base For Defense  1
Getting Europe to increase support for NATO is easier said than done
Opinion: Political Dust May Cover Defense Innovation 1
Defense cultural change needs to earn support
Opinion: More Pressure On Margins Likely By 2020
Record-high operating profit margins being reported by U.S. defense prime contractors could be sustained for another year, perhaps even three, but later this decade and into next, margins may come under pressure. Of course, this has to be considered on a company-by-company basis, but there are some broader changes to consider
Shock Therapy For Slow Weapons Development Programs?
More capable adversaries could jolt lengthy weapons development
Why Defense M&A May Wake Up
Does a different backdrop foretell a revival of defense deals in 2014?
Defense And Industry Need New R&D Resources 

While there is plenty to debate about where U.S. defense budgets could settle in 2014-15, there is no debate about the Pentagon's desire to continue to compete with cutting-edge technology. It expects defense advantages to be sustained through investment in new weapons and support systems that provide a generational lead over those fielded by adversaries.

How The U.S. Should Watch Its Technical Back 

The Center for New American Security (CNAS) recently released a report entitled “Game Changers: Disruptive Technology and U.S. Defense Strategy.” That study considered additive manufacturing (3-D printers), autonomous vehicles, directed energy, cyber capabilities, human performance modification and other emerging technologies that the center believes need to be factored into U.S. security policy and planning.

How Defense M&A Could Emerge From Its Slumber 

Mergers and acquisitions (M&A) activity in the defense sector has been at a standstill in 2013 in the over-$100 million category. There have been several noteworthy commercial acquisitions announced by companies with defense operations: Rockwell Collins said last month it is buying Arinc from Carlyle, and Alliant Techsystems is purchasing Caliber Co. from Norwest Equity Partners and Bushnell from MidOcean Partners. But heading into September, the number of defense deals with prices in excess of $100 million is easy to add up: zero.

Why Rising Profit Margins Should Be A Worry 

U.S. defense primes are reporting impressive second-quarter earnings. General Dynamics, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and Raytheon all raised guidance for 2013, and their stock prices responded favorably. The bite of sequestration—automatic, across-the-board cuts in the Defense Department's budget—has initially proved to be not as harsh as was expected earlier in the year, and operating profits are benefitting from cost-cutting. Shareholders adore the primes' share repurchase

Special Topics
 
Blogs
May 18, 2015
Article

Fire In the Cabin 2

While installing a fireplace in a cabin clearly would be a bad idea, Lufthansa Technik develops a technology that uses illuminated water mist with an image of burning wood to create a fireplace for VIP aircraft....More
May 15, 2015
blog

Cardington: Britain’s Airship Heritage 2

Construction of Cardington’s Number 1 shed, currently housing the HAV project, began in 1916 when Construction of Cardington’s No. 1 shed, currently housing the HAV project, began in 1916 when Short Brothers was awarded an Admiralty contract for the development of dirigible airships....More
May 11, 2015
blog

NavWeek: China Coastal Catch 8

China last year accelerated its plans to “reclaim” areas like the Spratly Islands, and the Asian giant is banking on its coast guard to protect its disputed maritime stakes in the region, according to the Pentagon....More
May 10, 2015
Article

Ethiopian Airlines Takes Delivery Of Newest 737-800

Ethiopian Airlines' fleet renewal and growth continued this week with the delivery of a new Boeing 737-800 from Seattle. Routing through Washington-Dulles and then Dublin, Ireland, the latest 737NG is Ethiopian's 16th. Since 2010, the East African carrier has taken delivery of 25 Boeing 737/777/787s as well as 13 Bombardier DHC8-Q400 regional turbo aircraft. One of the fastest-growing and most modern of African airlines, Ethiopian also has a burgeoning MRO business....More
May 7, 2015
blog

Vantage Searches For An Advantage 3

It's easy to see why the composite machine turns heads; it sits high on a fighter-jet type landing gear, has a spaceship-like cockpit and those forward-swept wings, which beyond looking awesome, allow for a larger cabin as the main structure for the wings can be behind the seating area....More

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