PALM BEACH, Fla., Aug. 5, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Global Digital Solutions (PINKSHEETS:GDSI), a company that is positioning itself as a leader in providing small arms manufacturing, knowledge-based and culturally attuned social consulting combined with complementary security and technology-related solutions in unsettled areas, today released a photograph showing the RPG-7(USA) – manufactured by planned merger partner Airtronic USA, Inc. ("Airtronic") – in use by the Peruvian Army.
The companies also announced that Airtronic's second-generation RPG – the breakthrough, lightweight MK 777 – is expected to be ready for shipping in the second quarter of 2014.
The Airtronic RPG-7 (see accompanying photograph) weighs 14.9 pounds, has an aluminum trigger group to reduce weight, and is compatible with all RPG-7 rounds currently available. Unlike every other RPG manufactured in the world, Airtronic's RPG-7 is machined from a tube of ordnance grade barrel steel, allowing it to fire 1,000 shots. All other RPG tubes are manufactured from castings, a small number of which will have voids that can cause the tubes to explode with potentially deadly consequences for operators.
The Airtronic RPG-7 comes with a Picatinny rail system which allows the end user to upgrade the optics. In the accompanying Peru Army photograph, the operators have attached an Eotech sight to the Picatinny rail. Airtronic is currently delivering RPG-7 weapon systems to friendly foreign militaries.
Airtronic's second-generation RPG – currently in final testing – is the lightweight, effective and affordable MK 777. This breakthrough weapon has the exact same form factor as the RPG-7 and uses the same aluminum trigger group. However, the MK 777 is made from a steel liner with a carbon composite wrap. This new material reduces the weight by half – to 7.77 pounds – hence the MK 777 name. The MK 777 is also compatible with all existing RPG-7 rounds and has a Picatinny rail system for mounting upgraded optics. The company expects to begin shipping the MK 777 in the second quarter of 2014.
"This photograph is indicative of Airtronic's long-standing relationships with selected militaries around the world," said GDSI founder and largest shareholder Richard J. Sullivan, who will become Chairman and CEO after the acquisition with Airtronic is completed. "As I commented in May when we announced a substantial Airtronic contract and again in June when we announced an OEM relationship and new purchase order, Airtronic has a strong track record of meeting critical customer needs for quality weapons-related products. And that's true with regard to the U.S. Department of Defense, various law enforcement agencies and several international military organizations."
On May 30, 2013, GDSI and Airtronic announced the first in what is expected to be a series of contracts involving the company's core business products. On June 24, 2013, the two companies announced that Airtronic agreed to become an OEM supplier to a major international defense contractor for the Airtronic family of M203 grenade launchers and received the first of many expected orders for M203 grenade launchers.
"An RPG-7 from Europe or Asia weighs about nine or ten pounds more than the MK 777," said Dr. Merriellyn Kett, Airtronic's President and CEO who is expected to continue serving as CEO after the merger between GDSI and Airtronic is finalized. "At tradeshows soldiers often tell me that I could never imagine the difference ten pounds makes when they have to cover ten kilometers on foot fast over difficult terrain. I always tell them that we can imagine the advantage of a lightweight weapon and that's exactly why Airtronic developed the MK 777."
On or about August 13, 2012, GDSI and Airtronic announced that they had signed a letter of intent to enter into good faith discussions involving a potential strategic combination in which Airtronic would be acquired by GDSI. Having completed those good faith discussions, the companies signed a merger agreement on or about October 22, 2012. The companies are working together to file an Amended Plan of Reorganization ("Plan"). If confirmed, the Plan will allow Airtronic to emerge from chapter 11 bankruptcy with adequate working capital.
More About Richard J. Sullivan
Dick Sullivan is an entrepreneurial pioneer. In 2001, Sullivan received the prestigious World Economic Forum's "Award for Advanced Chip Technology" presented in Davos, Switzerland. He served as Chairman and CEO of Applied Digital Solutions, where he executed a technology rollup involving 42 acquisitions that succeeded in increasing the company's share price from $2.50 to a peak of $18 per share. During Sullivan's decade-long tenure as Chairman and CEO, Applied Digital was one of the highest volume traded stocks on NASDAQ. Sullivan also served as Chairman and CEO of Digital Angel Corporation and led the effort to spin off VeriChip Corporation. In 1970, he was a founding member of the management team of Manufacturing Data Systems, Inc., which listed at $7.50 per share and was sold to Schlumberger N.V. in 1980 at $65 per share.
More About Merriellyn Kett, PhD
Airtronic's CEO and President joined the company in 2003 as a partner and helped to refocus the business on several essential battlefield weapons, including the M203 40mm Grenade Launcher – one of the most widely used grenade launchers in the world – the .50 cal. Machine Gun, the MK 19 Grenade Machine Gun, and most recently the MK 777, a shoulder-fired recoilless weapon that is light, lethal, and affordable. Dr. Kett received her doctorate in analytic philosophy from DePaul University in Chicago, IL, and spent a year studying at the Sorbonne in Paris, France. Before joining Airtronic in 2003, she worked in infrastructure development in China, building a metallurgical coking plant in Shanxi Province.
About Global Digital Solutions, Inc.
Global Digital Solutions is refocusing its business strategy on providing small arms manufacturing, knowledge-based and culturally attuned social consulting combined with complementary security and technology-related solutions in unsettled areas. For more information please visit http://www.gdsi.co.
About Airtronic USA, Inc.
Airtronic is an electro-mechanical engineering design and manufacturing company. The largest woman-owned small arms manufacturer in the United States, Airtronic provides small arms and small arms spare parts to the U.S. Department of Defense, foreign militaries and the law enforcement market. The company also manufactures medical, avionics and telecommunications original equipment. The company's products include grenade launchers, rocket propelled grenade launchers, grenade launcher guns, flex machine guns, grenade machine guns, rifles, and magazines. Founded in 1990, the company is based in Elk Grove Village, Illinois. On May 16, 2012, the voluntary petition of Airtronic, Inc. for liquidation under Chapter 7 was converted to Chapter 11 reorganization. The company had filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy on March 13, 2012. For more information, please visit www.Airtronic.net.
Statements about the company's expectations, including revenue and earnings and all other statements in this press release, other than historical facts, are "forward looking" statements and are made pursuant to the safe harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Such forward looking statements involve risks and uncertainties and are subject to change at any time. The company's actual results could differ materially from expected results. In reflecting subsequent events or circumstances, the company undertakes no obligation to update forward looking statements.
William J. Delgado
Richard J. Sullivan
SOURCE Global Digital Solutions, Inc.