29 Jun 06. Visitors and Exhibitors alike at DVD were waiting with anxious expectation with regard to a Ministerial Announcement with regard to developments in various armoured vehicle requirements for the British Army from FRES to the SNATCH replacement.
Rumours abounded that procurement supremo Lord Drayson was to announce the Vector order and the taking up of the option on the SV contract with MAN ERF.
Suddenly nothing happened, and the media was restricted to the opening ceremony remarks from Nigel Gilhead Head of the SUV IPT and Tim Flesher, the Deputy Chief of Defence Logistics (DCDL) (See: BATTLESPACE MILITARY VEHICLE NEWS Vol. 5 Issue 3, 28 June 2006, DVD 2006 NEWS, DAY 1, DVD – BIGGER AND BETTER FOR 2006)
When questioned, a DPA spokesman said that Lord Drayson was reserving his remarks for the Farnborough Air Show(!?) where he would make an overall statement concerning all of the above.
When questioned this morning on this procedure the MoD Press Office confirmed that they knew of the rumours flying around about the statement s and the major FRES statement in particular but would not confirm or deny that the Minister would be making all or none of the rumoured announcements. What is it about Air Shows and helicopters in particular that attracts politicians? In 1994 Lord Heseltine led a huge entourage touring Farnborough and making long drawn-out statements about the C130J in particular.
Logic would have suggested that DVD was THE place for making statements about vehicles not Farnborough as the majority of Specialist Press at Farnborough are aerospace journalists whilst at DVD the vehicle specialists are there. Perhaps it is the lure of the TV?
However the lack of presence from the Minister a first since Lord Bach did not detract from the success of DVD 2006 and with Ministerial and DESO support it is set to become THE Military Vehicle event on the annual calendar.
With BAE pulling out of Airbus, the likelihood of Paris becoming the dominant Air Show is a foregone conclusion but, with the U.K. now becoming the recognised centre for Formula 1, DVD’s position will only become more important given the technology flowing from Formula 1 and the presence of such firms as Beru now attending DVD.
We give below some of the major stories that should have been fanfarerd at DVD.